Search found 58 matches

by MJS
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good Dad, Bad Dad [pay for son's driving expenses (or not)]
Replies: 49
Views: 3397

Re: Good Dad, Bad Dad [pay for son's driving expenses (or not)]

Data makes decisions easier: Get a couple of quotes on car insurance comparing on-parental-policy vs teenager on his own. Get the campus parking costs & policies. $200/mo at (minimum wage minus taxes) is about 10 hours/week. Or, if the bus commute+wating for bus is 60 minutes each way, 5 days per we...
by MJS
Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Total Cost of Car Ownership over 10 years
Replies: 40
Views: 3160

Re: Total Cost of Car Ownership over 10 years

Like Edmund's, Kelly Blue Book does 5 year cost of ownership
https://www.kbb.com/new-cars/total-cost-of-ownership/

In Arizona, it's $36, 441 for a Toyota Camry LE 2018.
by MJS
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Yellowstone time needed
Replies: 22
Views: 2151

Re: Yellowstone time needed

Given your limited time, consider leaving Thursday evening instead of Friday morning. Many of the Eastern sites can all be reached before 10pm by car. Take a redeye flight if flying.
by MJS
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruises: How to Value Onboard Credit
Replies: 29
Views: 1549

Re: Cruises: How to Value Onboard Credit

Holland America has always refunded unexpended OBC to my credit card. CostCo has [historically] provided more OBC than other travel agencies/cruise lines ... and will match your best price for the cabin.
by MJS
Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Free 2017 Tax Software Suggestions
Replies: 12
Views: 425

Re: Free 2017 Tax Software Suggestions

patrick wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:32 pm
... Taxhawk (another name for Freetaxusa) .
+1 Freetaxusa / Taxhawk
by MJS
Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Persian Rug Passed Down From Grandmother
Replies: 28
Views: 2053

Re: Persian Rug Passed Down From Grandmother

If you have a smaller room where you would actually _love_ to use your grandmother's too-large Persian rug, consider having a professional remove a bit of the edges, then bind or fringe them. For heirlooms, sometimes love & usefulness are more important than investment value. Storing something you d...
by MJS
Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents have zero savings. What can I do?
Replies: 168
Views: 13895

Re: Parents have zero savings. What can I do?

No one else has mentioned (and it doesn't seem to apply in the OP's case,) but if the parents-in-law wasted their money buying expensive educations for the kids, providing professional & safe cars to the kids, paying for lavish weddings for the kids, funding 529s for the grandkids, and not rationall...
by MJS
Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tequila and Magaritas
Replies: 59
Views: 4391

Re: Tequila and Magaritas

Generally, I recommend that people setting up their home bar first add the ingredients for the 3-4 drinks they prefer, then add the 3-4 drinks their family & friends love most. Who exactly will you be serving margaritas to? If it's me... I like tequila -- & a bottled mix+Sauza margarita would be, ah...
by MJS
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Convert attached carport to Living Space
Replies: 16
Views: 1004

Re: Convert attached carport to Living Space

If you plan to sell the house in three years, then the conversion will need to be up to code - not just "good enough for us." Garage, carport & patio floors usually lack the waterproof barrier & insulation required for living spaces. Check with your county/city/builder, not just your neighbor.
by MJS
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth conversion Q - new tax brackets
Replies: 8
Views: 981

Re: Roth conversion Q - new tax brackets

When you turn 65, your deduction will be $13,500=12,000+1,500.
by MJS
Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Towel Warmers - worthwhile luxury or useless?
Replies: 39
Views: 3047

Re: Towel Warmers - worthwhile luxury or useless?

Worthwhile end:
Your bathroom is always humid
Your bathroom is always chilly
You have super thick towels that never quite dry out but absorb heat beautifully

Less valuable end:
Very low humidity
Usually warm
Thin hammam-style or linen towels, absorb water but not heat
by MJS
Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How can I get a passport?
Replies: 47
Views: 3742

Re: How can I get a passport?

All the universities in Arizona have passport offices on campus. Remember to bring _all_ the required documention, cash, & two photos.

AAA does passport photos for $10.

Expedited passports run $200-$600.
by MJS
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying vs renting - really tough decision to make
Replies: 64
Views: 4361

Re: Buying vs renting - really tough decision to make

Perhaps you could do both? Rent near work and still get some equity in a rising market? Do you need 3500 sq of everyday living space, or could some of this footage be rented, long term or just at need? Storage unit, studio, garage, guest space? Have you looked at renting for $3000/mo then buying a l...
by MJS
Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips on saving on living expenses for a first time single householder
Replies: 46
Views: 2908

Re: Tips on saving on living expenses for a first time single householder

Rather than CostCo*, save and look at the weekly paper-mail flyers offering sales on food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. Cook what's on sale. One low-cost and time-saving cooking system is to make 1-3 pots of food on the weekend (chile, stew, curry, soup, casserole) and freeze at least 2 qua...
by MJS
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your favorite reasonably priced bourbon?
Replies: 148
Views: 12448

Re: What is your favorite reasonably priced bourbon?

Your Four Roses Small Barrel has a mash bill of approximately 65% corn, 30% rye & 5% malted barley, so the high-rye recommendations might not be your cup of tea. Similar mash bills are Old GrandDad and Basil Hayden: Sort the ModernThirst list by Corn to see others. My personal recommendation is Rye,...
by MJS
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What steps to take as I get close to my number?
Replies: 20
Views: 2342

Re: What steps to take as I get close to my number?

On a broader level, you & your wife could take a couple of the more playful retirement quizzes, such as https://www.littlethings.com/how-should ... tire-quiz/ .

If nothing else, knowing where you have different expectations or hopes can smooth future tensions.
by MJS
Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luggage/travel recommendations?
Replies: 54
Views: 3452

Re: Luggage/travel recommendations?

My main advice: get a light colored interior, because hunting for something in a black bag by the light of your phone is very tedious. I prefer having two carry-on sized pieces (a rollie & a duffel) to one large bag: it's more flexible. And I'm not too strong, so I can carry one up at time where the...
by MJS
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:39 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If you're really rich you're probably not an index-fundi Boglehead
Replies: 61
Views: 11115

Re: If you're really rich you're probably not an index-fundi Boglehead

According to the chart, someone with $10k has a ~$3500 "primary residence." I assume this is a tree house in their parent's backyard.
by MJS
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Short Commute or Nicer House?
Replies: 142
Views: 7955

Re: Short Commute or Nicer House?

Besides the direction of the commute, consider the orientation of the houses. (Assuming Northern hemisphere) In colder climates, south facing back yards / windows provide warmth & light, and make the yard more usable for longer during the year & every day. It's easier to build shade than acquire sun...
by MJS
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?
Replies: 65
Views: 5597

Re: Do we need an emergency supplies kit (go bag)?

I keep my cat carrier & locked fire-safe box with essential papers (insurance, house deed, passport, cash) near the door. For fire, gas leaks, transport chemical spills -- when you have 5 minutes to gather & go. It's the stuff that it would be emotionally or tediously difficult to replace.
by MJS
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Short Commute or Nicer House?
Replies: 142
Views: 7955

Re: Short Commute or Nicer House?

A minor point about the quality of the commute... Is it eastward in the morning, westward in the evening, with the sun glaring in the driver's eyes while navigating rush hour -- twice a day? This increases the aggravation of commuting quite a bit.
by MJS
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can We Retire in Hawaii? Please Critique
Replies: 146
Views: 13908

Re: Can We Retire in Hawaii? Please Critique

Average single house construction cost in Honolulu is $760 per square foot, so for $500,000 you are looking at a 640 square foot house. Doing it yourself will be somewhat less, but permits and materials will, as you know, be quite dear. Also, building to earthquake & hurricane code can be a bit tric...
by MJS
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Adding 200k to Portfolio, don't want boring old VTSAX again -your criticism, suggestion for a little extra risk?
Replies: 46
Views: 5785

Re: Adding 200k to Portfolio, don't want boring old VTSAX again -your criticism, suggestion for a little extra risk?

1. Decouple fun from funds. 2. Invest 5% in exploration. I have 100 shares of cruise line stock so I can get "free" shipboard credit to spend on tips, meals, casino... 3. Many of the other Invest & Forget portfolios covered in the Boglehead Wiki have 4-7 core investments. The return may be no better...
by MJS
Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Option: Bankruptcy, just not paying, something else? (Massachusetts)
Replies: 5
Views: 1208

Re: Best Option: Bankruptcy, just not paying, something else? (Massachusetts)

For info, contact Mass Legal Services https://www.masslegalservices.org/ "MassLegalServices offers resources and information about legal issues facing lower income Massachusetts residents to legal services advocates and social services professionals. " For a [possibly] free lawyer, try https://www.m...
by MJS
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you define middle class? Which class do you consider yourself in?
Replies: 23
Views: 2299

Re: How do you define middle class? Which class do you consider yourself in?

The Christian Science Monitor has a 2013 survey-based quiz to determine your [American] social class.
https://m.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/201 ... -find-out/

It's not quite 2.5 kids and a 3.4 bedroom house.
by MJS
Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: RMD First-Timer needs help
Replies: 33
Views: 2487

Re: RMD First-Timer needs help

ralph124cf wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:33 am
MJS wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:43 pm
... a "Qualified charitable distribution. (QCD)" _After_ your husband's birthday in February, plus six months as Ralph124cf says below...


You must actually be over 70.5 to do the QCD. Turning 70.5 during the year is not enough. Wait until September.

Ralph
Thanks for catching that!
by MJS
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: RMD First-Timer needs help
Replies: 33
Views: 2487

Re: RMD First-Timer needs help

Do you make charitable donations or give to a religion? You can save on taxes with a "Qualified charitable distribution. (QCD)" _After_ your husband's birthday in February, have _*Fidelity*_ send the QCD. You deduct the amount from your income, and pay no taxes on that part of your RMD. "...charitab...
by MJS
Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oregon and N California trip, need advice
Replies: 20
Views: 1679

Re: Oregon and N California trip, need advice

Highway 199 between Grants Pass OR & Crescent City CA (CCC) is a lovely scenic road, alas, full of RVs in June. The trees change from Doug Fir to redwoods about 20 miles east of CCC. By late June, most days will be clear and um, warm by local standards. Sometimes the highs reach 65! Coming from inla...
by MJS
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ever drink Chartreuse?
Replies: 16
Views: 1591

Re: Ever drink Chartreuse?

Was the cocktail a Last Word? You might enjoy this article https://www.abarabove.com/chartreuse/

Chartreuse is held to improve in the bottle.
by MJS
Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: US National Parks
Replies: 36
Views: 3326

Re: US National Parks

The Tripadvisor forum discusses & can recommend tours, from roughing-it to luxury.

Several companies offer bus tours.
http://traveltips.usatoday.com/bus-tour ... -5430.html

Avoid high summer in national parks.
by MJS
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Instant Pot users here?
Replies: 102
Views: 11549

Re: Any Instant Pot users here?

The decluttering world has a principle of "One in, one out." What would you take _out_ of your kitchen when the iPot came _in_? If you don't already have a Crock pot OR Pressure cooker OR Rice cooker OR Yogurt maker .... then you won't get much use from the iPot. If you already use more than one of ...
by MJS
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Novel Gift Ideas for Adult Siblings
Replies: 27
Views: 2274

Re: Novel Gift Ideas for Adult Siblings

Chocolate-Covered Claxton Fruit Cake Nuggets. The stores in Bishop.CA sell them to the people doing Mt Whitney. An after-dinner walk isn't quite as strenuous, perhaps.
by MJS
Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please suggest a dry hands product
Replies: 82
Views: 4228

Re: Please suggest a dry hands product

InMyDreams wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:17 pm
... Amlactin - should work on hands, too.
+1.
Look for a product with alpha hydroxy acid to encourage healing.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047947/
by MJS
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do you have any guilty pleasure investments?
Replies: 53
Views: 3487

Re: Do you have any guilty pleasure investments?

cinghiale wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:59 pm
100 shares of Carnival xxNorwegianxx Cruise Lines.

Definitely more pleasure, not much guilt.
:sharebeer
And I enjoy the dividends each quarter, too, which is a second guilty pleasure. Two for one!
by MJS
Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive way to ship heavy item...
Replies: 23
Views: 2033

Re: Inexpensive way to ship heavy item...

Is there an auto driveaway service (that drives cars from one place to another) locally that might let you piggy back on a delivery? Or with Christmas coming, a homeward-bound student who would be willing to deliver your item for gas+ money?
by MJS
Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How are SPIA's taxed if taken from taxable or taxed deferred?
Replies: 31
Views: 2006

Re: How are SPIA's taxed if taken from taxable or taxed deferred?

Have you looked into QLACs, in order to postpone taxation? They're a specific kind of annuity for IRA/401 accounts.
https://learn.myabaris.com/guide/qlac/
https://www.investopedia.com/advisor-ne ... contracts/
by MJS
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luggage Update for Travel
Replies: 73
Views: 4761

Re: Luggage Update for Travel

Look for bags with light colored interiors. While trying to find something in a black tube by the light of a 40 watt bulb is a wonderful mental challenge, it is also very aggravating.

Look for an under-seat bag that fits neatly and securely on top of your rollie.
by MJS
Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Taking RMD'S
Replies: 15
Views: 1685

Re: Taking RMD'S

RMDs from non-traditional-IRAs have to be calculated and taken individually from each separate category: SEP IRAs SIMPLE IRAs 401(k) plans 403(b) plans 457(b) plans profit sharing plans other defined contribution plans https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/rmd-comparison-chart-iras-vs-defined-contrib...
by MJS
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Mother in retirement: Withdraw annually or monthly?
Replies: 19
Views: 2234

Re: Mother in retirement: Withdraw annually or monthly?

itstoomuch wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:22 pm
... Except for annuities where there is no benefit for doing monthly and may in fact be disadvantageous.
This feels right, but I wondered if there is some research on optimizing annuity withdrawals?
Thanks!
by MJS
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]
Replies: 63
Views: 7536

Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Animal shelters welcome your ratty old towels and holey blankets. Some take sheets, too.
by MJS
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to spend for bathroom remodel with these features in LCOL area
Replies: 27
Views: 1966

Re: How much to spend for bathroom remodel with these features in LCOL area

Have you looked at adding aging-in-place features during the remodel? Hand rails (or support blocks for them); possibly widening any doors too narrow for a walker; or a sink design that can be converted to let a wheelchair user access it. It will be a lot cheaper to do now than ever again.
by MJS
Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirees Move to Index Funds?
Replies: 13
Views: 2016

Re: Retirees Move to Index Funds?

Do you enjoy (or even tolerate) negotiating over car prices? You could negotiate for lower fees at Morgan Stanley. Also, the MS advisor might be willing to set up a Boglehead-style "set & forget" 3-fund portfolio for you, at _substantially_ lower cost than a complex, actively traded portfolio. After...
by MJS
Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help Planning Mom's Finances after Dad Passed
Replies: 27
Views: 2741

Re: Help Planning Mom's Finances after Dad Passed

Social Security can have some unfortunate gotcha's. Run some of the calculators - https://www.thebalance.com/social-secur ... rs-2388936 . If the answers vary, then consult an expert.
by MJS
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stucco vs Brick
Replies: 10
Views: 1233

Re: Stucco vs Brick

If you are in earthquake country, stucco is far less hazardous. And easier to paint a new color.
by MJS
Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is the best AA for me?
Replies: 24
Views: 1910

Re: What is the best AA for me?

Do you plan to fund 4-10 years of college for your 13 year old, ... Great question. My "dirty little secret" - to keep this discussion simpler - is that I have $120K sitting in 2.5% 5 year CD's for 4 years of college which I had not disclosed until now. Given the way you plan, retirement should be ...
by MJS
Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is the best AA for me?
Replies: 24
Views: 1910

Re: What is the best AA for me?

Do you plan to fund 4-10 years of college for your 13 year old, starting in 2023ish? Is there a 529 or are you setting aside some funds for this? Congratulations on your new life!
by MJS
Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heavy Duty Boxes for long term storage
Replies: 6
Views: 655

Re: Heavy Duty Boxes for long term storage

Former librarian. I recommend purchasing archival storage boxes from a library/museum supply company, such as Gaylord, Demco or Brodart. I find that some Amazon reviewers (and sellers) lack in-depth knowledge of what is needed for centuries of storage, rather than mere decades. Consider calling a ne...
by MJS
Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bedroom color-current trend?
Replies: 55
Views: 3564

Re: bedroom color-current trend?

Pick out fabrics - rugs, bed covers, curtains - then select a paint color that complements them. For one thing, fabric designers know more about color trends than financial gurus. For another, trying to find fabrics that go with paint colors is much harder than tweaking a paint color to go with fabr...
by MJS
Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Renting A Winter Escape For A Month
Replies: 26
Views: 2755

Re: Renting A Winter Escape For A Month

Check Craigslist. You might even find someone who wants a house sitter.