Search found 212 matches

by MJS
Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Planning with a Disabled Child
Replies: 12
Views: 1207

Re: Social Security Planning with a Disabled Child

... There is a lot of information to consider, but I do see that my library has the Kotlikoff book. Though I said I didn't necessarily want to get into the weeds, I think I will give it a try. Please be sure to check out the 2nd edition. The rules changed substantially after the 1st edition, and co...
by MJS
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Short term use of retirement funds
Replies: 4
Views: 410

Re: Short term use of retirement funds

Are your retirement investments in tax deferred accounts? The income tax and IRMAA hits might be several thousand dollars, unless you meet the 60(?) day window. And, of course, then the funds would no longer be tax deferred after replenishment. If the payment would come from a Roth account, I wouldn...
by MJS
Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California 8 days road trip LA-SFO
Replies: 40
Views: 2103

Re: California 8 days road trip LA-SFO

Raybo hits the highlights. If you are interested in history, I recommend looking at missions and presidios along the coast near LA. Consider stopping for the night in Solvang/Buellton (Motel 6 if a room is all you want.) Next morning, visit the Danish bakeries lining Solvang's streets.
by MJS
Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Southern California Vacation Questions
Replies: 39
Views: 2012

Re: Southern California Vacation Questions

If your daughter attends UCLA, will she have a car? If not, then spend some time testing what her experience will be like as a carless person, using public transportation & Uber: getting to different beaches, shopping for clothes or gifts, or hiking at Griffith park. Consider renting bikes, if that'...
by MJS
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...
Replies: 153
Views: 16269

Re: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...

My cat considers CostCo's beef jerky to be the finest possible commestibile. Cardboard boxes, gift wrap, cupboard doors - nothing stops him from finding the delicious double bags. Unfortunately.
by MJS
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in free fall
Replies: 8542
Views: 1671059

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

greg24 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:30 pm
RBD??
RBD? They're famous for their hit song "Sálvame," about the uses of market timing in chancy markets.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A1lvame
by MJS
Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bogle Sounds a Warning on Index Funds
Replies: 103
Views: 17897

Re: Bogle Sounds a Warning on Index Funds

This could be solved by having every owner of an index fund take a questionnaire that would train an algorithm to vote how the investor prefers. Then voting preferences could be applied per each investor automatically. Every year the questionnaire could be retaken to capture improvements in both te...
by MJS
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...
Replies: 153
Views: 16269

Re: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...

CostCo's florist service, and flower delivery, has worked very well for me. Prices are significantly lower than the big florists. The bouquets and vase arrangements are the most useful, but if you ever need 100 red roses, then $80 isn't a bad price.
by MJS
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparing Medicare Part D Plans
Replies: 8
Views: 661

Re: Comparing Medicare Part D Plans

Did you run Medicare's Part D finder, to be sure that all your current prescriptions are covered by the less expensive plan?
https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/qu ... /home.aspx
by MJS
Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Proper way to retire
Replies: 57
Views: 6357

Re: Proper way to retire

Consider working long enough in January to fully fund a Roth IRA contribution. Post-retirement reimbursement for PTO isn't eligible for earned income, unlike actual vacation time. Enjoy your new life!
by MJS
Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does it ever make sense to invest in ROTH IRA before maxing our 401K?
Replies: 49
Views: 3839

Re: Does it ever make sense to invest in ROTH IRA before maxing our 401K?

What are “RMD percentages”? Take a look at https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/retirement_and_planning/understanding_iras/ira_calculators/rmd Note how the RMD's increasing percent of increasing amounts each year will slowly move you into a higher tax bracket, even if it doesn't at age 70.
by MJS
Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is good, quality luggage worth the price?
Replies: 88
Views: 5526

Re: Is good, quality luggage worth the price?

Mainly, avoid luggage with dark interiors. One experience of trying to find a pair of black socks in a gaping black hole by the light of a car trunk convinced me. Second, spend either time or money to find a bag with excellent YKK zippers. Having your bag's zipper break is a pain, although rope is r...
by MJS
Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affordable Furniture for first adult apartment
Replies: 29
Views: 2519

Re: Affordable Furniture for first adult apartment

Relatives. If you will be traveling this December, ask for family and friends for furnishings from garages, attics, porches. Use the Roadie app (Uber for delivery) to find someone to deliver it/them, and maybe help you carry it upstairs. Or rent a pickup, and do Roadie deliveries yourself.
by MJS
Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Ireland
Replies: 12
Views: 1026

Re: Trip to Ireland

The CostCo Ireland trips are semi-do-your-own-way. They'll work with you on lodging and local travel.

https://www.costcotravel.com/Vacation-P ... pe/Ireland
Under Featured Deals
by MJS
Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many vacations per year is optimal?
Replies: 53
Views: 4675

Re: How many vacations per year is optimal?

Flobes wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:29 pm
My general guideline:
* Once a month, get out of the valley.
* Once a season, get out of the state.
* Once a year, get out of the country.
+1. And the further you go, the longer you stay.
by MJS
Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Draw Question
Replies: 32
Views: 2916

Re: Social Security Draw Question

Do you plan to do Roth conversions? If so, then wait on any extra income until you've done them.

Ask about Social Security consequences at
https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/ask-larry
by MJS
Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Black Friday 2018
Replies: 123
Views: 15032

Re: Black Friday 2018

Go out for breakfast at a locally owned restaurant on Small Business Saturday, then take a hike. Perhaps I'll stop by the National Park gift shop, too. Thankful for NP senior pass.
by MJS
Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can someone explain what's going on [with the stock market]?
Replies: 96
Views: 13093

Re: Can someone explain what's going on [with the stock market]?

This is the beginning of The Singularity; the computers hosting Wall Street's algorithms have transcended.
They are being a bit playful, but who knows what will come next. Smash your computers and invest in aluminum.
by MJS
Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee tablebooks??
Replies: 21
Views: 1465

Re: Coffee tablebooks??

100 Years of Wall Street. Charles Geisst

The Art of Money: The History and Design of Paper Currency from Around the World. David Standish

I am Rich, I am Very Very Rich: A Coffee Table Book for the One Percent. Mr. Money.
... this book seems a bit over-priced.
by MJS
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Starting to get serious about portfolio allocation, looking for feedback on my plan!
Replies: 3
Views: 388

Re: Starting to get serious about portfolio allocation, looking for feedback on my plan!

Do you foresee drawing on a portion of your savings in the next five years for moving expenses, a new car, a house down-payment, educational pursuits, vacations, or family needs? Consider putting that portion of your taxable savings into safer allocations than your retiring-in-30-years assets.
by MJS
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fumigating old paintings and books
Replies: 1
Views: 329

Re: Fumigating old paintings and books

Generally, applying unknown chemicals isn't recommended. Do you have access to a large freezer? Three days at 30° will deal with the majority of pests according to the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/collectioncare/publications/booklets/managing_pests_in_paper-based_collectio...
by MJS
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warm winter vacation
Replies: 25
Views: 2236

Re: Warm winter vacation

Do you like hiking, live shows, craft markets, golf, gardening, fine dining/food trucks/McDs, wine tasting, beer festivals, science - especially astronomy or archeology, zoos, museums, camping or some other things?
by MJS
Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Won a lawsuit after a wrongful death in the family. How to invest?
Replies: 18
Views: 3327

Re: Won a lawsuit after a wrongful death in the family. How to invest?

You mentioned "working towards a career change." As you make your plans, consider allocating 1-15% of your family legacy towards expenses for the new career, including a wardrobe, tools, or education.

Good luck and best wishes.
by MJS
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing taxes by hand
Replies: 83
Views: 4960

Re: Doing taxes by hand

Library staff here - it's the IRS and NYS no longer sending many forms to the libraries in recent years. We receive them later and later each year, too. Thank you, and all the librarians quietly helping their communities. Also.. doing taxes by hand is better than Sudoku or crosswords. On the other,...
by MJS
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite "free stuff"?
Replies: 137
Views: 10889

Re: Favorite "free stuff"?

... Materials were $1.9 million (I assume that is books and DVDs), and purchased services (Ebooks?) were $1.26 million. Materials include databases and subscriptions: recipes, ancestry, business data, census, grants, worldwide newspaper texts, paper newspapers, paper journals, magazine & journal se...
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If expenses are low, are some of us over saving?
Replies: 120
Views: 11942

Re: If expenses are low, are some of us over saving?

I read the title to mean lower investing expenses, so people could save 1-2% less per year as a result. It seemed like a really nice thought.
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where can I go to print a very high-quality book?
Replies: 14
Views: 998

Re: Where can I go to print a very high-quality book?

Bookmobile does archival printing and binding. https://www.bookmobile.com/book-production/yes-book-printing-binding-archival-quality/ Art quality printing and binding - hand tooled leather, rag paper - tend to be done by different craftspeople. Talk to the binders first, to see if they have particul...
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to donate to local police and fire department?
Replies: 23
Views: 1818

Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Maybe another $50 for your local Friends of the Public Library? They help the community, too.
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Guide to work out your asset allocation?
Replies: 12
Views: 1125

Re: Guide to work out your asset allocation?

In terms of risk, begin by figuring out the minimum amount you need to protect. Put that amount in safe investments, such as TIPS, bonds or cash, whether it's 5% or 95%. + 100% of the amount you plan to spend in the next 5 (to 10) years, such as a house down payment or college expenses. If you are r...
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Christmas gift suggestions for 2.5 year old?
Replies: 20
Views: 958

Re: Christmas gift suggestions for 2.5 year old?

You want fewer things. They want to pick out touchable reminders of affection. You could ask them to combine the two in fun ways, and plan to use the stuff during the whole year to remind your child of their grandparents: A zoo membership & old fashioned animal cookies, a stuffed panda, jungle puzzl...
by MJS
Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with windfall
Replies: 34
Views: 2707

Re: What to do with windfall

$6000 - Roth IRA contribution (you) $6000 - Roth IRA contribution (spouse) :?:$6900 - ... put towards other 5.65% loan $11,000 - pay off 6.35% student loan $10,000 - pay off 5.75% student loan $3,500 - pay off 5.65% student loan ... +1. Grow your retirement now. Others have commented on the HSA con...
by MJS
Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need ideas for unusual gifts for preteen boy
Replies: 27
Views: 1723

Re: Need ideas for unusual gifts for preteen boy

Do together: Hot air balloon ride. Parachute jump. Trapeze lessons. Escape room adventure - one aimed at kids...
by MJS
Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where can I put savings to live on for 2+ years?
Replies: 11
Views: 1633

Re: Where can I put savings to live on for 2+ years?

Do you plan to do Roth conversions at some point? Taking funds out of your IRAs & 401s now may keep you in a lower tax bracket at age 70.
by MJS
Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Camping in late December-January, SW US
Replies: 16
Views: 1180

Re: Camping in late December-January, SW US

Over Christmas, New Year's & MLK, state & national desert campgrounds can be packed. Make reservations in advance. The campervan will block the wind and contain body heat. Nevertheless, nights in the deserts from LA to Dallas will range from the teens to 50s. Cloudy nights will be the warmest: clear...
by MJS
Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Space needed small bathroom 1st floor?
Replies: 15
Views: 1359

Re: Space needed small bathroom 1st floor?

If the closet is in a private space, the toilet can be placed in the closet while the sink is placed on a wall near by. If you have sufficient wall space, a motorized barn-door that covers the entire closet-length can permit walker or wheel chair access to the facilities while entering/being seated,...
by MJS
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in free fall
Replies: 8542
Views: 1671059

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

c.coyle wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:55 am
Is something happening?
Bad things. Horrid things. Dreadful things.
All the stores have Christmas displays and it's not even Halloween yet!
by MJS
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making loose leaf tea
Replies: 32
Views: 1710

Re: Making loose leaf tea

Upton Tea has sampler kits. For robust tea, try the British Blend; for a more elegant trial, try Oolong or Darjeeling; for the most delicate, try Green.

Using a french press to brew tea is like using a hammer to drive a screw: not recommended. Get a teapot.
by MJS
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AAA Insurance is increasing my home insurance premium by 47.8%!!! with no claims filed
Replies: 30
Views: 2952

Re: AAA Insurance is increasing my home insurance premium by 47.8%!!! with no claims filed

I left AAA in September for CostCo's insurance affiliate (Ameriprise in my area). Saved $500 and got another 2% discount from using CostCo card to pay.
by MJS
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thank you from a widow
Replies: 24
Views: 4864

Re: Thank you from a widow

... she just learned she has emphysema. A month ago, I had challenged her to run the numbers on when to take Social Security because she wanted to claim at 62 so she and her partner could travel. She will likely have to continue to work for awhile to afford Chantix (does anyone know of any programs...
by MJS
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with inheritance
Replies: 17
Views: 2473

Re: What to do with inheritance

Perhaps a Fund for major repairs & replacements, in addition to your Emergency Fund: New car(s,) roof, fences, HVAC system, water harvesting, solar power, septic system, water heater, Home Owner Association (HOA) emergencies? If your house is less than 10 years old, these aren't a big issue, but aro...
by MJS
Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sneakers with good arch support
Replies: 33
Views: 1878

Re: Sneakers with good arch support

First, buy good quality sneakers that fit your feet and usual locomotion. In general, running shoes aren't well suited to walkers. The stride and foot strike are quite different. Second, get a pair of good insoles. Have your shoe person work with you. Note that Greenfeet has several styles: don't ju...
by MJS
Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did anyone change Experian Credit Freeze Pin?
Replies: 5
Views: 789

Re: Did anyone change Experian Credit Freeze Pin?

Yes, <5 minutes using those USPIRG directions. It's a good idea to change passwords frequently, so worth doing even if you aren't deeply worried.
by MJS
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?
Replies: 78
Views: 4152

Re: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?

My city in Arizona rewards low volume users:
Sewer = $20.25/month (~$61/quarter)
$13 service + 7.25 for 2 CCFs
The month that Comcast used my hose bibb for a street project, the sewer bill alone was over $100. Comcast compensated me.
by MJS
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making Winter Camping more comfortable
Replies: 39
Views: 2750

Re: Making Winter Camping more comfortable

For car camping: Get a family tent with room for a table and cots. On windy days, being able to get out of the breeze is very welcome. Sitting in the car gets tedious. Being able to roll up the sides/remove the tent's rain layer for nice days is pleasant. Having a front rain vestibule keeps clutter ...
by MJS
Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blue Ridge Suggestions
Replies: 4
Views: 764

Re: Blue Ridge Suggestions

Do you like to hike, rock climb, or bungee jump? Visit botanic gardens or science museums or factory tours? Eat exotic foods, gourmet cuisine or CostCo hotdogs? Do you like stately mansions, water skiing or religious pilgrimage sites? Do you like to drive on the Interstate or windy dirt roads? Would...
by MJS
Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm an employer looking to get the best 401k deal for my employees!
Replies: 17
Views: 1282

Re: I'm an employer looking to get the best 401k deal for my employees!

Some states have inexpensive 401 programs for small businesses. If not yours .... call your state representatives. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-have-a-401k-state-governments-have-a-retirement-plan-for-you-2018-10-05 "... , 10 states — Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington...
by MJS
Sat Oct 13, 2018 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Census [Received form in mail]
Replies: 21
Views: 1797

Re: Census

btenny wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:41 pm
. . But it does ask for lot of very intrusive data. I guess I have to do this survey or at least part of it.
Thank you. All public services, but especially public health, appreciate your taking part!
by MJS
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition
Replies: 102
Views: 10562

Re: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition

Hire an expert, as well as asking the BH community.

Invest $200-500 in a 2-hour interior designer consultation. Experts see not-obvious-to-us solutions that could save lots of aggravation and thousands of dollars. If they don't, then you have more data for your decision.

Good luck.