Search found 208 matches

by DarthSage
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a million really the benchmark for retirement
Replies: 51
Views: 4610

Re: Is a million really the benchmark for retirement

I agree with the PP's who said you need to look at you--your expenses, your retirement needs, etc.

I just wanted to add that DH and I achieved a $1M net worth, and I've been a SAHM for 23 years. Just like there's no one perfect "number", there's no one perfect path.
by DarthSage
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military career/college options (engineering - nukes?)
Replies: 20
Views: 815

Re: Military career/college options (engineering - nukes?)

DH and I are both engineers, both with nuke experience. I'm electrical, he's mechanical. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go into the field these days. The big money is in commercial nukes, but plants are closing, so there aren't a lot of jobs. Dh is 55, and we're confident that he can retire at 65 ...
by DarthSage
Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your major and investing/finance?
Replies: 88
Views: 3831

Re: Your major and investing/finance?

Electrical engineering. I love math! I think, though, that it's not just about major. In my case, I grew up poor, and was determined not to be poor ever again. Interestingly, DH is also an engineer (MSME, works in nuclear), and is much less interested in finances than I am. Maybe because he grew up ...
by DarthSage
Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to have “what if” discussion with retired parents?
Replies: 48
Views: 4360

Re: How to have “what if” discussion with retired parents?

What I do object to-strongly-is adult children taking it on themselves to decide that quite functional adults need their wisdom and advice regardless of how these quite functional adults are managing THEIR lives and THEIR money. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing, or all at once. If you're 60...
by DarthSage
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone Plan for US-Child doing a Semester Abroad (VerizonWirelss)
Replies: 35
Views: 1084

Re: Phone Plan for US-Child doing a Semester Abroad (VerizonWirelss)

When our DD was in Ecuador, we made do with Whatsapp and Skype. She was given a phone from a friend who had previously been to Ecuador, that's what she used there. It was pay-as-you-go, we never had her on a plan. Obviously, Europe might be different--it's probably easier to get a phone or plan ther...
by DarthSage
Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I accept a large cash gift from my mother?
Replies: 44
Views: 5535

Re: Should I accept a large cash gift from my mother?

They sell workbooks, titled charming ways like "Now That I'm Dead" that you can fill out to provide account numbers, insurance information, etc. While you might not want to shell out the $10 or so, it might be worthwhile to do something like this--have a computer or written file with all the pertine...
by DarthSage
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I accept a large cash gift from my mother?
Replies: 44
Views: 5535

Re: Should I accept a large cash gift from my mother?

I would encourage her to keep it. She might need it for unexpected expenses down the line. It doesn't sound like either of you have a need for this money right now--if she keeps it and, say, you then inherit in 25 years, your cost basis will be stepped up--any gains in those 25 won't be taxed. I als...
by DarthSage
Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving Enough for Retirement vs Vacation Home
Replies: 36
Views: 3561

Re: Saving Enough for Retirement vs Vacation Home

I have to agree with the previous posters. Do NOT buy a vacation home--you can't afford it. You are doing well, but not fabulous. Your retirement accounts aren't where they should be--the good news is, there's time and resources to get these in great shape. College is going to hit you sooner and har...
by DarthSage
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Learn Italian (a little) Before Trip to Italy
Replies: 34
Views: 2064

Re: How to Learn Italian (a little) Before Trip to Italy

I agree with the PPs--you won't really need much beyond the basics--please, thank you, etc. Italians speak English well, and are appreciative that you at least try to say the basics in Italian. We had no trouble. And my bilingual DD had an entire conversation with an immigrant from Syria--she spoke ...
by DarthSage
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much did your braces/invisalign braces cost?
Replies: 32
Views: 2727

Re: How much did your braces/invisalign braces cost?

About $4500 for Invisalign for DD15--she's currently at the maintenance phase. Insurance covers some--we paid upfront, but get a quarterly reimbursement check. We sprung for the Acceledent, which she uses nightly--it helps her teeth to move more quickly. It'll be about a year, start to finish. Howev...
by DarthSage
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?
Replies: 82
Views: 4363

Re: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?

Well, for my strings kids, we just bought student-quality instruments. My son plays violin--he has potential, but his playing is immature at this time. He has no interest in pursuing the violin seriously, so I'm not putting money there (well, beyond the basic instrument and lessons). My DD15 is seri...
by DarthSage
Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much furniture spending is ok?
Replies: 46
Views: 3106

Re: How much furniture spending is ok?

Since you are renting, I would buy as little as possible. But, I would also aim for classic, ageless items--our leather sofa is 20+ years, it has decades of life yet, and we have 4 kids and a dog (who's not supposed to go on the couch, but doesn't listen). Instead of going out to buy specific pieces...
by DarthSage
Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?
Replies: 136
Views: 10047

Re: When does frugal cross the line to cheapskate?

I think everyone draws the line in a different place. Our family rarely eats out, shops mostly at Walmart, drives older cars. OTOH, I won't be cheap on my kids' educations--right now, that means quality public schools and lessons/tutoring. We also value travel, which I consider educational as well a...
by DarthSage
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Supermarket are you?
Replies: 155
Views: 8790

Re: Which Supermarket are you?

Lidl opened here recently nearby. And immediately became our "go-to" store. Much better than the Aldi's which has been around for years, though, to be fair, Aldi's here is not in the best part of town. I'm so excited to hear this! We have a Lidl that's supposed to open soon--lot is cleared, road pu...
by DarthSage
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?
Replies: 14
Views: 795

Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

We had good luck purchasing used from a local music store. We did this with a trumpet, saxophone, cello, and violin. All were student instruments, not super high quality, but with good sound. Our older son's bagpipes, we had to order through a Scottish store--they came direct from Scotland. They wer...
by DarthSage
Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Supermarket are you?
Replies: 155
Views: 8790

Re: Which Supermarket are you?

Lidl opened here recently nearby. And immediately became our "go-to" store. Much better than the Aldi's which has been around for years, though, to be fair, Aldi's here is not in the best part of town. I'm so excited to hear this! We have a Lidl that's supposed to open soon--lot is cleared, road pu...
by DarthSage
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Standard buyer's remorse or poorly timed enlightenment?
Replies: 40
Views: 3745

Re: Standard buyer's remorse or poorly timed enlightenment?

I think this is more buyer's remorse than anything. It's kind of like sitting there on your couch at 3am, holding your newborn, crying and saying, "What have we done?" I agree with the PP who said wait 6 months, re-evaluate, then wait another 6 months. It looks like in a year you will have decreased...
by DarthSage
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How and what age to start piano lessons?
Replies: 13
Views: 1230

Re: How and what age to start piano lessons?

It's not the piano, but you might find this interesting... Right around her fifth birthday, my younger DD started begging for violin lessons. Being my third child, I'd been through this stuff before. I figured, three lessons, and then she'd decide she wanted a pony, KWIM? So, I put her off (we were ...
by DarthSage
Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to invest in elementary education?
Replies: 37
Views: 2618

Re: How much to invest in elementary education?

Disclaimer: 4 kids, all went/go to public school. I find that public school is what you make it. My DD15 is going into her sophomore year. She sees plenty at the HS, but she's in the IB program, in orchestra, and has a good-sized circle of geeky friends. In short, she's able to navigate away from th...
by DarthSage
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Mom's condo on contract, Mom dies and we inherit the condo, what happens then?
Replies: 9
Views: 1208

Re: Buying Mom's condo on contract, Mom dies and we inherit the condo, what happens then?

Am I missing something? If she's currently in assisted living, why would she not sell the condo now, on the regular market, and then use the money to pay for her ongoing care? I don't see the benefit of you and your sister buying it. You already know that her care costs will deplete this asset, and ...
by DarthSage
Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?
Replies: 30
Views: 1959

Re: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?

Another vote for pegboard. In my craft room, I didn't need much depth, so DH framed two large pieces and mounted them on the wall. In his workshop, he has 1"x2"s behind it. Pegboard has a bunch of hanging options, from long rods to curved hooks to special scissor-type holders to strips of little jar...
by DarthSage
Mon May 28, 2018 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help with grocery budget
Replies: 51
Views: 4462

Re: Please help with grocery budget

(last time bought around 30 lbs of spaghetti in HT). Nice! A 30 year supply in one shopping trip. :) Or one week, in our house! :wink: Okay, not THAT bad, but pasta is a staple here. Of course, my kids are picky about the shape--luckily, pasta is $0.77/lb at Walmart, in various shapes. Obviously, i...
by DarthSage
Mon May 28, 2018 6:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help with grocery budget
Replies: 51
Views: 4462

Re: Please help with grocery budget

Do you really expect useful advice as to what to eat? Eat less and cheaper stuff. Costco is the best place to get quantity at a reasonable price. No, but I expect to get advice like this: Then Aldi opened up down the street. I get eggs, milk, half-and-half, and sharp cheddar for about 60% of what I...
by DarthSage
Sun May 27, 2018 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was your experience inheriting assets held at Vanguard?
Replies: 24
Views: 2292

Re: What was your experience inheriting assets held at Vanguard?

My MIL died last year, and she had various accounts at three places--T. Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Merrill Lynch. Of the three, Vanguard was the worst in terms of losing paperwork, delays in cutting checks, and so forth.
by DarthSage
Sat May 26, 2018 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old
Replies: 31
Views: 2243

Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

Boston Children's Museum is huge and fun. The Science Museum is also a good choice. We love the New England Aquarium. There's also Boston Common, the Public Park (with the swan boats!). Fanueil Hall is interesting for eating and shopping. We love the Boston Public Library, but we're total nerds. OTO...
by DarthSage
Tue May 22, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy an old farmhouse?
Replies: 52
Views: 5212

Re: Buy an old farmhouse?

We went the other way. In 30+ years of marriage, we started in a small farmhouse...moved to a larger farmhouse after kid #2 was born..after 20 years of country living, moved to the "city"...7 years later, moved to a much bigger city. When we were first married, we loved the idea of living in the cou...
by DarthSage
Tue May 22, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Babymoon - Hawaii Recommendations/Expected Costs
Replies: 27
Views: 1966

Re: Babymoon - Hawaii Recommendations/Expected Costs

3-4 nights in Hawaii is hardly worth the effort, especially from the East Coast. I would save Hawaii for when you can go for longer. I flew there once from Chicago--that flight was excruciatingly long, and I wasn't pregnant. I agree with the PP that your wife could relax someplace closer and cheaper.
by DarthSage
Mon May 21, 2018 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany
Replies: 95
Views: 4997

Re: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany

Check online first about the Berkshires. I think Tanglewood is only open in the summer months. There's a big "premium outlet mall" at Exit 2 off the Mass Pike, but personally, I'd rather poke my own eye out than go there. But, I'm not a big shopper.
by DarthSage
Mon May 21, 2018 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany
Replies: 95
Views: 4997

Re: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany

Thanks.I would love to go to the Hall of Fame but my wife hates baseball.We will see how that works out :D I actually brought a book to read, when we went there! Still, it was much more interesting than I thought it would be. I'm still not a baseball fan, but I understand the reverence while viewin...
by DarthSage
Sun May 20, 2018 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany
Replies: 95
Views: 4997

Re: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany

There are decent hotels in both Albany and Saratoga, if you're interested. Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame) is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but an easy day trip from Albany. I'm not a baseball fan at all, and I still found the HoF to be worth a visit. There used to be airshows at Rhinebeck--...
by DarthSage
Sat May 19, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)
Replies: 152
Views: 12950

Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Our oldest (DD22) is what I consider "launched"--she has her degree, a "real" job (teaching), and she lives 800 miles away. She's always been fiercely independent, so, for example, she's still on our cell phone bill...but sends me a check every 3 months to pay for her portion. I cash the check, most...
by DarthSage
Fri May 18, 2018 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Loan from Parents
Replies: 24
Views: 2441

Re: Home Loan from Parents

I would recommend having a lawyer draw up the papers, just to make sure it's all aboveboard in the eyes of the IRS. The other issue nobody's mentioned so far is, do you have siblings? Might this be a cause of future resentment from siblings down the line? Even assuming that you pay everything back, ...
by DarthSage
Fri May 18, 2018 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany
Replies: 95
Views: 4997

Re: Road trip Newark NJ to Albany

It's a but touristy, but Howe Caverns are close to Albany. Smaller kids? Catskill Game Farm. I've done those with my parents when I was a kid,and then again with our grandkids. You might consider flying into Albany and taking the round trip by car from there. Depends on fares/rental cost/schedule b...
by DarthSage
Wed May 16, 2018 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Preparing for future unbalanced income
Replies: 8
Views: 870

Re: Preparing for future unbalanced income

Penalties for under-withholding are a real thing, sorry to say. On the good side, so long as you (and your spouse) withhold more this year than last year, you should be okay. You may owe a lot, but you shouldn't be penalized. I'll mention something that happened to us, just because I never saw it co...
by DarthSage
Mon May 07, 2018 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to spend less on kids' tutoring fee?
Replies: 13
Views: 1974

Re: How to spend less on kids' tutoring fee?

I have a question for the OP: If you know your child will struggle with Physics, why are they taking it? Physics is not generally required, like Bio and Chem. Wouldn't it make more sense to take a less difficult, possibly more interesting science class--Psychology, Forensics, Botany, Anatomy? I woul...
by DarthSage
Sun May 06, 2018 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care insurance
Replies: 45
Views: 3723

Re: Long term care insurance

Well, it's difficult to give specific advice without knowing the things that Freefun mentioned--assets (and liquidity), what you might want to preserve, and so forth. I also think Cheese-breath makes a good point--I'm sorry you're going through this, Cheese-breath, it can't be easy. That brings me t...
by DarthSage
Sat May 05, 2018 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying house from 1977
Replies: 20
Views: 1707

Re: Buying house from 1977

Our current house is 50 years old. We've owned another 50yo house, and two that were 150-200 years old. We like older houses, but they can be quirky--additions put on so they have an odd layout, that kind of thing. Our current house needs updating--most stuff is fine, but old. On the good side, it w...
by DarthSage
Thu May 03, 2018 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to spend less on kids' tutoring fee?
Replies: 13
Views: 1974

Re: How to spend less on kids' tutoring fee?

Do the teachers have extra tutoring sessions? Also, at some schools the National Honor Society runs tutoring, which could help. Although these things might be after school, they also might be before school, or during lunch. Can you tutor them yourself? It's kind of late in the school year, but in th...
by DarthSage
Thu May 03, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget for kid's sport?
Replies: 49
Views: 2531

Re: Budget for kid's sport?

I'm a big fan of having kids try a number of things to see what they like. I guess we were fortunate when my older two were little--we lived rural, and there was an amazing and cheap selection of rec leagues. In their younger years, my kids tried: soccer, gymnastics, dance, baseball, basketball, kar...
by DarthSage
Wed May 02, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Continuing Care facility - shielding some assets for the kids
Replies: 37
Views: 4105

Re: Continuing Care facility - shielding some assets for the kids

Your plan doesn't meet their requirement to not give away large gifts after move-in. I don't know your ages and relative health--you'd think $3M (or $2.5M, after these accounts are set up) would be enough, but it might not be, with an expensive illness. I think they would object if the money is with...
by DarthSage
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Process for] Turning over UTMA to Adult Daughter
Replies: 8
Views: 807

Re: Turning over UTMA to Adult Daughter

Yeah, there was a form or two to sign--that's it. Possibly more on the business end of things, but as a parent, very simple. Our two legal adults also signed something saying the company could discuss their financial circumstances with us. Our oldest is 22 and launched--I would have been fine with h...
by DarthSage
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maple syrup
Replies: 59
Views: 5447

Re: Maple syrup

You guys are making me long for our days in rural upstate NY. Literally, our electrician had a sugar farm--talk about local! Of course, it turned us into "syrup snobs". Nowadays, we get it at Aldi. Prices can vary quite a bit--if you don't have a local source (worth extra $$, IMHO), try looking in W...
by DarthSage
Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance
Replies: 31
Views: 3217

Re: how would you handle this--collecting life insurance

I'm sorry for your loss. My MIL died last year, so we went through this. We had an estate attorney help us. We had to provide the insurance company with an official copy of the death certificate. For better or worse, MIL was 86, she had been hospitalized due to a fall the week before she died, and s...
by DarthSage
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: estate planning with animals
Replies: 28
Views: 2535

Re: estate planning with animals

In addition to the PP's recommendations (local attorney, etc.), keep your antennae up when showing your chickens, etc. You probably have friends from the fairs, etc. who share your passion for heritage chickens and so forth, who could be a good potential landing pad for some animals. While we never ...
by DarthSage
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long does a will last? [Time to settle the estate]
Replies: 43
Views: 4449

Re: How long does a will last? [Time to settle the estate]

My MIL died in July, 2017, and we haven't seen a dime from the estate directly yet. We HAVE received life insurance payouts and RMDs from her IRAs. The more complicated the estate, the longer it takes, and I'm going to assume that the executor wants to make sure it's done right. Keep in mind, if she...
by DarthSage
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Building a New Home (Talk me out of it!)
Replies: 61
Views: 4964

Re: Building a New Home (Talk me out of it!)

I don't think you should buy it. I don't think your payback--financial, emotional, whatever--will be worth it. I don't think you have a house problem, it sounds like you have a "grass is greener" type problem--you think you want what you don't have. As an aside, we went the other way with lot size. ...
by DarthSage
Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: estate planning with animals
Replies: 28
Views: 2535

Re: estate planning with animals

No real advice, but I want to say that it's very thoughtful of you to be considering this now. It doesn't hurt to reach out to shelters/animal agencies NOW, in case of your untimely passing. But I think further down the road, it may be easier for you to decrease your animals through attrition. It se...
by DarthSage
Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle
Replies: 79
Views: 10392

Re: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle

OP--I understand what you're saying about clutter. One way to approach it might be to bring it up as an "us" problem--you both could stand to get rid of some stuff. No need to get into a debate over who has more clutter, right? But an important part of de-cluttering is to feel good about getting rid...
by DarthSage
Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle
Replies: 79
Views: 10392

Re: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle

As I see it, the only real issue here is the wife viewing the inheritance as a windfall, versus the husband wanting to maintain it as a legacy. I have what might be a different take on it, though. Imagine a typical frugal family, where the wife "makes do"--for example, she spends 10 years using the ...