Search found 227 matches

by DarthSage
Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids inherited $8,000 each - 529 or regular brokerage?
Replies: 25
Views: 1434

Re: Kids inherited $8,000 each - 529 or regular brokerage?

Personally, I'm not such a fan of 529s. I'm sure a lot of people here would argue with me--I think they limit the options. What if a child doesn't go to college? Yeah, sure the funds could grow and provide college for their future children, but that doesn't seem fair. This was a gift to the children...
by DarthSage
Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids inherited $8,000 each - 529 or regular brokerage?
Replies: 25
Views: 1434

Re: Kids inherited $8,000 each - 529 or regular brokerage?

Here's a weird question, but: How do you think the decedent would have wanted your kids to have used this money? If you follow the values of the person who left this money to your kids, you can't go wrong. I know when I inherited money at a young age from my great aunt (who was basically another gr...
by DarthSage
Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift for two of four grandchildren
Replies: 18
Views: 2181

Re: Gift for two of four grandchildren

Since the intent is a gift for going to college, an UTMA is probably the easiest choice. Does she want special consideration for the special needs child? By that I mean, does that child get the money, even if college isn't an appropriate choice? (I have no idea if it is or isn't.) My MIL set up a le...
by DarthSage
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Black Friday is coming.. what's on your list?
Replies: 70
Views: 5854

Re: Black Friday is coming.. what's on your list?

A new bread machine! Mine died over the weekend. I use it quite a bit--I make bread to go with homemade soup, and we make homemade pizza. Naturally, I'll be looking in thrift stores as well, but it's likely that I'll want a specific type/brand. I haven't done any research yet. If I can't find a good...
by DarthSage
Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suit for Teenager
Replies: 18
Views: 1175

Re: Suit for Teenager

The thrift store. Where I live, Goodwill has a better selection of suits than Salvation Army. It helps if you visit a thrift store in a nicer part of town. When my MIL died last year, we came up with a suit for DS(then)11, plus an outfit for DD(then)14 to wear--she was playing the cello at her grand...
by DarthSage
Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking of moving to Texas, Iowa, Idaho, or North Carolina
Replies: 209
Views: 14271

Re: Thinking of moving to Texas, Iowa, Idaho, or North Carolina

We moved to North Carolina, 3 years ago. I can't speak to the other three places, except I recommend visiting, if possible, to draw your own conclusions. NC is a big, diverse state--much to love in every area. Raleigh and Charlotte are huge--Charlotte is growing rapidly, but also housing costs are g...
by DarthSage
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Goat Milk Soap
Replies: 26
Views: 1833

Re: Goat Milk Soap

I'm also a fan of goat's milk soap--my favorite is goatmeal (oatmeal and goat's milk), which is very good for sensitive/itchy skin. I usually buy off Etsy, or go to a local farmer's market/permanent craft fair place. Any store that sells local products would likely have some-when we lived in NH, our...
by DarthSage
Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reminder on Keeping an Emergency Fund
Replies: 27
Views: 2903

Re: Reminder on Keeping an Emergency Fund

Resident of North Carolina here--we had our reminder of why you need an emergency fund, just a couple weeks ago. Luckily, we had a few days to prep, so I had pulled out a fair amount of cash--cash is king when there's no power. We ended up not needing so much, but it came in handy at the gas pump (g...
by DarthSage
Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions on Phonics & Reading programs for 4 year old? Pre-K to Kindergarten
Replies: 27
Views: 1233

Re: Suggestions on Phonics & Reading programs for 4 year old? Pre-K to Kindergarten

Another vote for "just get books and read to/with them". Those programs are a huge waste of money, IMHO. When my kids were little, I'd start with identifying letters, and talking about what sounds they make. Then we'd go to letter blends ( "ch", "st" and so forth). We'd do this in books, and also ab...
by DarthSage
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Successful techniques to helping parents be less risky?
Replies: 15
Views: 1228

Re: Successful techniques to helping parents be less risky?

Good luck. When my MIL died last year, we found out that, even at 86, she was still actively managing her stock portfolio. On the good side, she had all blue-chip stocks. OTOH, though, half of these were in her CMA--you know, the account that she used to pay bills. Including college tuition for her ...
by DarthSage
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: where to learn to sew?
Replies: 33
Views: 2056

Re: where to learn to sew?

Does she have access to a sewing machine? If not, consider picking one up second-hand. Not only is this cheaper, but the older machines are much sturdier. You might even get lucky if you ask around--my DD15 inherited her grandmother's old machine--it's nothing exciting, but it works. Get her some fa...
by DarthSage
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $250,000 family loan to parents?
Replies: 50
Views: 4630

Re: $250,000 family loan to parents?

If they have $100k/year income in pension and other income, why would they not qualify for a HELOC? I may be missing something--if so, please enlighten me. If they can't do that, I recommend they sell the stock. Yeah, I get the whole "stepped-up basis" thing that might benefit the OP, but this isn't...
by DarthSage
Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?
Replies: 85
Views: 4782

Re: How much do you spend on kids extracurriculars?

out of curiosity, how much time do these kids spend doing these activities outside of the scheduled lessons/classes/practice? i don't mean practicing piano because you are required to learn certain material for your next lesson... i consider that part of the structured practice. i mean time that co...
by DarthSage
Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Affordability - Question on standard advice
Replies: 35
Views: 3216

Re: House Affordability - Question on standard advice

We did things a different way. We applied for a mortgage, the bank said they wold loan us X. We then used X/2 as maximum mortgage amount. I realize there's no scientific basis for this, but when we bought our first house, we were 23/24 and newly married. WE couldn't believe the bank would loan us so...
by DarthSage
Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills and children
Replies: 25
Views: 2904

Re: Wills and children

I definitely agree that it depends on the person involved. DD23 is doing a fabulous job "adulting"--she has a 2 jobs, an apartment, a car, a Roth IRA plus a 403b--definitely on a good path. I didn't mention it earlier, but we also have a DS21--he has several issues (Asperger's, anxiety, depression, ...
by DarthSage
Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills and children
Replies: 25
Views: 2904

Re: Wills and children

Your daughter sounds like a wonderful person. As a parent I would not go along with that plan if I had any reasonable alternative. She is already out of the house, living far away, so the family is not together as it is. I would of course look to keep the two younger children together, but would ho...
by DarthSage
Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills and children
Replies: 25
Views: 2904

Re: Wills and children

We have a sort-of similar situation--our DD23 insists that, should something happen to DH and I, she wants to raise her younger siblings (DD15, DS12). While I obviously don't know your DD23, she sounds like a great person; and this might be a good choice. If the others were 5 and 2, it might be dif...
by DarthSage
Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills and children
Replies: 25
Views: 2904

Re: Wills and children

We have a sort-of similar situation--our DD23 insists that, should something happen to DH and I, she wants to raise her younger siblings (DD15, DS12). While DD23 would be guardian, and get extra money via life insurance, she wouldn't be handling the execution of the estate. In our particular case, D...
by DarthSage
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions for a Generous Grandparent?
Replies: 53
Views: 4382

Re: Suggestions for a Generous Grandparent?

There's no way to make this 100% "even" among the children. Especially since there might be more grandchildren on the horizon--who knows? It's also impossible to know what the actual needs of each child will be when they turn 18. Your mother should do what she feels is fair, maybe explain her reason...
by DarthSage
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a million really the benchmark for retirement
Replies: 109
Views: 12031

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: 45
Views: 2695

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: 99
Views: 5121

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: 4662

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: 50
Views: 2549

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: 5869

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: 5869

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: 3741

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: 2180

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: 2839

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: 4582

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: 3164

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: 10304

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: 9397

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: 882

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: 9397

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: 3900

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: 1280

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: 2761

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: 1257

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: 2109

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: 4667

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: 4667

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: 2372

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: 32
Views: 2552

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: 5376

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: 2055

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: 104
Views: 5995

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: 104
Views: 5995

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: 104
Views: 5995

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: 13381

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...