Search found 84 matches

by wstrdg
Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ: When to Pick Mutual Fund over ETF?
Replies: 16
Views: 1609

WSJ: When to Pick Mutual Fund over ETF?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-to-pick-a-mutual-fund-over-its-etf-version-1533521340 All else being equal, there are two primary factors that can differentiate mutual funds and ETFs tracking the same index—the tax efficiency of ETFs over the long run, and the implied cost of a bid-ask spread tha...
by wstrdg
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ashley furniture experience? 2000 dollars for 13x8x8 sectional
Replies: 40
Views: 3978

Re: Ashley furniture experience? 2000 dollars for 13x8x8 sectional

If you are in the SF Bay Area, take a look at http://customsofas4less.com/ Yes, the website is cheesy, but the furniture is made in the Central Valley (Calif) and is rock-solid. Custom orders at a big box price. You choose not only your fabric but your sofa length, depth, arm style, cushion style, l...
by wstrdg
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I want to sell my home, but I don't want to fix it up
Replies: 65
Views: 6212

Re: I want to sell my home, but I don't want to fix it up

Agree with ask a good local Realtor. It depends on how hot your local housing market is. Fix what needs to make the property move and sell "as is." Redfin offers "concierge service" in some US markets for a slightly higher listing fee (varies, but maybe 2% versus 1.5%) -- with concierge service, the...
by wstrdg
Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bears!!!
Replies: 60
Views: 5220

Re: Bears!!!

maybe one of those motion-activated sprinklers, to scare the bear away? of course, your garbage collectors aren't going to be very happy if they get soaked
by wstrdg
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is expensive olive oil worth it?
Replies: 59
Views: 5722

Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

We stick to California olive oils because we can trust that they are unadulterated and honestly labeled, and because they're local. Good oil is first-press, virgin. Cheaper oils can be heat-extracted and you don't want that, nor do you want chemical extraction methods. Costco carries a very good Cal...
by wstrdg
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Older Women Lifting Weights
Replies: 87
Views: 6467

Re: Older Women Lifting Weights

Do find someone who knows what they're doing to train you for a few months. This can be a relative, friend, gym, etc. You want good form to build strength, not huge weight lifts to show off "Full range of motion" is important. Don't cheat. This is part of good form. Good form means you won't hurt yo...
by wstrdg
Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchasing an old home in an old suburban area; to what old-house specific issues should I pay attention
Replies: 21
Views: 1406

Re: Purchasing an old home in an old suburban area; to what old-house specific issues should I pay attention

Personally, I would test any prospective home for radon gas. You can do this yourself with an inexpensive kit. If the house is built on radon-emitting soil/rock, mitigation can only do so much.
by wstrdg
Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?
Replies: 169
Views: 14932

Re: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?

Gerry L wrote: My mom was succumbing to Alzheimer's when we moved her into assisted living. As I cleared out her little apartment, I kept uncovering stashes of cash.
My dad stashed his mad money in books. We were careful to shake out the 20's and 10's. So, yeah.
by wstrdg
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Some questions about purchasing earthquake insurance in CA
Replies: 10
Views: 1063

Re: Some questions about purchasing earthquake insurance in CA

Palomar Specialty is another company that offers California EQ insurance NOT via the CEA.
by wstrdg
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Install different carpet styles/colors in same floor bedrooms?
Replies: 19
Views: 1040

Re: Install different carpet styles/colors in same floor bedrooms?

We bought a home with different carpet styles in each of the four upstairs bedrooms. One was patterned, one was sculpted, one was shag, one was plush pile. The prior owner was a carpet installer -- we presumed he was being frugal with his leftovers. :happy It may have been frugal, but it wasn't well...
by wstrdg
Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renter's Insurance for College Dorm
Replies: 32
Views: 2330

Re: Renter's Insurance for College Dorm

Both of my sons had policies through collegestudentinsurance.com (CSI - now Gallagher). NSSI is another company that offers student property insurance. These aren't normal renter's insurance policies but rather specialized policies for students. The advantage over homeowners insurance is the low de...
by wstrdg
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepping for College Fall 2019
Replies: 32
Views: 1907

Re: Prepping for College Fall 2019

You need to keep your own records to substantiate "qualified withdrawals" from the 529. We asked our kids to use a dedicated credit card for required textbooks, etc. Keep your tuition and dormitory invoices. If your student lives off-campus, you can find the budget for room and board on the college'...
by wstrdg
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First time Segway tour question
Replies: 14
Views: 1017

Re: First time Segway tour question

We did our first Segway tour this past year -- husband, wife & adult child. It's not super-easy to learn how so be prepared for a learning curve. The hardest part is stopping and getting off. We got the hang of it after about 15 minutes, so factor that into your tour time. We Segway'd (is that a wor...
by wstrdg
Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone used Zelle?
Replies: 53
Views: 9050

Re: Anyone used Zelle?

I deactivated Zelle today after reading the NYT article https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/business/zelle-banks-fraud.html I've had several problems with Zelle. Yes, if your phone number is linked to more than one bank account, your receipts may not end up where you expected. And I have tried severa...
by wstrdg
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me choose a top law school!
Replies: 65
Views: 6309

Re: Help me choose a top law school!

+1
Everyone I have met who went to UChicago Law absolutely hated the experience. But they are all making bank now, so take that for what it's worth.
by wstrdg
Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House vs Condo vs Townhouse
Replies: 36
Views: 2969

Re: House vs Condo vs Townhouse

HOA Board drama: sometimes you have a rational Board and sometimes you don't . . .
by wstrdg
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does Schwab ever offer transfer bonus into existing accounts
Replies: 20
Views: 2588

Re: Does Schwab ever offer transfer bonus into existing accounts

Not a bonus, but Schwab reimbursed the transfer fee charged by the other brokerage when we transferred new assets to an existing Schwab account. You do need to ask and submit a copy of statement showing the fee.
by wstrdg
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard site is crashed now?
Replies: 188
Views: 16876

Re: Vanguard site is crashed now?

can't log in either
by wstrdg
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard site is crashed now?
Replies: 188
Views: 16876

Re: Can't signon to Vanguard

same here
by wstrdg
Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: closet organizing system
Replies: 43
Views: 7814

Re: closet organizing system

Hi BashDash, This probably isn't the answer you're seeking, but an alternative solution is to remove the closet doors and hang a cloth curtain on a rod. This is popular in our area in old homes, where the bedrooms are too small to allow the closet doors to open into the room with anything other than...
by wstrdg
Wed Jan 31, 2018 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: undergrad major shortlist process
Replies: 20
Views: 1570

Re: undergrad major shortlist process

"Business" is not a very useful degree, IMO. Many colleges don't offer Business as a major, so maybe you and your student should research Economics, Finance, Marketing, etc. My own major was Accounting. Today, accounting is sometimes offered as a major, and sometimes as a concentration under Economi...
by wstrdg
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?
Replies: 119
Views: 12712

Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Agree with all the other posts. My parent's stuff mostly didn't sell at all after their deaths. Even the gigantic antique roll top desk was a no sale -- we had to pay to have it hauled away. And I just painted a solid, sturdy late 1950s maple side table: bright orange with yellow paisley stencil. Be...
by wstrdg
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: places to live near Stanford University
Replies: 35
Views: 3336

Re: places to live near Stanford University

Plus one for renting for at least a year. Despite being relatively small in acreage, the various neighborhoods of the Bay area are very distinct, and you need time to get a feel for what's what. The most frugal option is shared housing -- lots of adults (even entire families) share housing here. Che...
by wstrdg
Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings
Replies: 27
Views: 2183

Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Put up a "used furniture wanted" post on Nextdoor dot com. You might make your neighbors happy by picking up their old stuff.
by wstrdg
Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth IRA for children
Replies: 38
Views: 3867

Re: ROTH IRA for children

Bonnan wrote: How did the kids have earned income with a W2? Our kids had earnings from babysitting, substitute dance school teaching, summer internships, etc. Some of this income was reported on a 1099 but most wasn't. They self-reported the income as Miscellaneous on their income tax returns -- i...
by wstrdg
Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brick Chimney Issues
Replies: 25
Views: 2101

Re: Brick Chimney Issues

Are you in Texas' earthquake country? Unsupported masonry chimneys have collapsed into homes during earthquakes and killed residents in California. And now Texas has 4.0 shakers: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/science-medicine/2017/09/25/fault-produced-north-texas-largest-quake-produce-even-bigger-...
by wstrdg
Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Join ebates for extra cash back
Replies: 22
Views: 2162

Re: Join ebates for extra cash back

We've used ebates for a little over a year and have earned about $40 in rebates when shopping online at sites such as ZenniOptical (eye glasses), Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Jet.com, Land's End. And yes, the ebate is earned on top of any credit card reward. Like the OP, we credit our quarterly ebate ...
by wstrdg
Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 18364

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

Permanent renters in the Bay area: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/05/lifestyle-switch-more-bay-area-residents-are-choosing-to-rent-than-ever-before-and-theyre-paying-through-the-nose/ I don't think anyone has mentioned the Bay area's unique geography, especially compared to a city like Houston. ...
by wstrdg
Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 18364

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

calidude wrote: Not to be too morbid, but a lot of the housing supply is long held by people in their 60’s through 80’s who will not be around forever. I don’t know what percentage of houses have turned over in the last decade or two but I would bet because of prop 13 it’s lower Prop 13 has a huge i...
by wstrdg
Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: california homeowners - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 97
Views: 10692

Re: california homeowners - do you have earthquake insurance?

Palomar is an alternative to the California Earthquake Authority. You can phone them for an insurance broker in your area and get a quote.
by wstrdg
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor to buy home?
Replies: 36
Views: 3578

Re: Realtor to buy home?

denovo wrote: Since your son is probably young and tech--savvy, I say go with Redfin, which does most things online initially. They will rebate you part of the commission and it may be good for him to have an agent first round. Yes, go with Redfin. They are a true real estate brokerage, unlike Zillo...
by wstrdg
Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pocket money allowance for college student
Replies: 48
Views: 3556

Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

We didn't give our kids pocket money during college. Like you, we paid for tuition, room/board, books, travel home. They had some savings when college began and used that for pocket money. None had a car so no need for gas money. All had bikes. We did put authorize the kids on one of our credit card...
by wstrdg
Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Equifax customer information leak
Replies: 711
Views: 63108

Re: Equifax customer information leak

You may want to change your Equifax freeze PIN if it's just a date stamp. I froze my acct today and the PIN is random, so they seem to have fixed it. https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... t-reports/
by wstrdg
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do in slow travels?
Replies: 55
Views: 5172

Re: What do you do in slow travels?

Atlas Obscura is a wiki-driven encyclopedia of quirky spots to visit, the types of things that often only the locals know about. www.atlasobscura.com/
by wstrdg
Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco executive members now earn 2% on travel
Replies: 7
Views: 1355

Re: Costco executive members now earn 2% on travel

Costco Visa cardholders earn 3% on travel charges.
by wstrdg
Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car
Replies: 433
Views: 55370

Re: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car

2000 Honda Odyssey with just under 90,000 miles. Not high mileage for 17 years. No major repairs, and only big expense was the universal belt, hoses, spark plugs at 80,000.
by wstrdg
Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much electricity are you using and how expensive it is?
Replies: 93
Views: 7067

Re: How much electricity are you using and how expensive it is?

We use power strips for everything except the refrigerator/freezer. This eliminates the "background" usage of zombie appliances, like your TV. And we're on a tiered rate plan, so we try not to use much power during peak rate periods. Our rates are off-peak .15/kwh, semi-peak .23/kwh, peak .34/kwh. Y...
by wstrdg
Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, and other wholesaler clubs]
Replies: 274
Views: 20920

Re: Costco with a "gentle" bump for membership

Dental HMO is worth it for us. When our annual rebate is less than the annual membership fee, we will reconsider.
by wstrdg
Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most Effective Rat Poison
Replies: 42
Views: 4011

Re: Most Effective Rat Poison

Traps are the most effective
+1 for traps over poison

Sick rats can crawl under your buildings, into your walls, and/or into your attics. They die there and rot and you'll end up spending big bucks to find them, remove the remains and repair the structure. Go for the traps.
by wstrdg
Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bay Area housing
Replies: 69
Views: 8166

Re: Bay Area housing

You have a baby. What about school districts? Do you imagine that your child will apply to California public colleges? Have you looked at entrance standards for the UCs? - these change periodically, but the idea is to provide for a wide-range of qualified students, meaning that a good student at an ...
by wstrdg
Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CIT Bank offering 1.15% savings account and up to $400 bonus
Replies: 9
Views: 2014

Re: CIT Bank offering 1.15% savings account and up to $400 bonus

Note that the bonus may not post until 45 days after you complete qualification (three full statement-months). You will need to keep the account open until the bonus posts, but you can withdraw the bulk of your funds. Just keep a de minimis amount in the account to keep it alive.
by wstrdg
Tue May 30, 2017 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How best to care for someone who frequently falls
Replies: 32
Views: 3580

Re: How best to care for someone who frequently falls

If there are transitions between floor types (carpet vs hard floor, steps, etc), a visible color contrast may make it easier for him to navigate. You might do this with colored tape, a line of paint, etc. We painted a white stripe on the edge of my father's patio, after he fell off the 4-inch high s...
by wstrdg
Tue May 23, 2017 10:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lazy way to increase returns on cash in Vanguard
Replies: 22
Views: 3132

Re: Lazy way to increase returns on cash in Vanguard

PurePoint Financial online savings is paying 1.25%
by wstrdg
Mon May 22, 2017 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luxury Vinyl: Educate Me
Replies: 15
Views: 2931

Re: Luxury Vinyl: Educate Me

We were delighted with how easily LV cleans. A dash of vinegar and a drop or two of dish detergent in a bucket of warm water, mop, then mop again with clean water to rinse. Sparkling clean! Durable, difficult to scratch. You can use standard, tinted wood filler for any deep nicks. Up close, it doesn...
by wstrdg
Fri May 05, 2017 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fairness in College Savings
Replies: 47
Views: 4037

Re: Fairness in College Savings

+1 for 529 plans We used the Vanguard 529 plan (state of Nevada). We enjoyed the flexibility of shifting unused funds from one child (who had free scholarship money and a paid graduate education) to another child who pursued professional school after college. Maybe one of your donees will pursue gra...
by wstrdg
Thu May 04, 2017 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy for Mortgage Downpayment < 20%
Replies: 28
Views: 2221

Re: Strategy for Mortgage Downpayment < 20%

If you have the cash to put 20% down, still maintain 5 months of expenses in an emergency fund after you close, and have the ability to build back up your cash reserves to wherever it is you want them in around 4 months then I don't see what the issue is? I think you are being extremely overly caut...
by wstrdg
Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a home in the Bay Area
Replies: 28
Views: 4457

Re: Buying a home in the Bay Area

For resale value (and maybe that baby-to-be), school quality is extremely important, maybe more so in the Bay Area than in other places because there are so many (small) school districts. Check out Castro Valley, just a few miles down the road from San Leandro, and also on BART. Remember that BART b...