Search found 109 matches

by almostretired1965
Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review: I want to simplify
Replies: 9
Views: 727

Re: Portfolio Review: I want to simplify

Whether target retirement funds are good or not depends on how comfortable and disciplined you are about establishing and monitoring a desired asset allocation ratio (stocks/bonds, us/foreign, etc.) The expense ratios are probably marginally higher for the target funds versus constructing one of you...
by almostretired1965
Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Full-time to Contractor - What to do with 401K and HSA?
Replies: 7
Views: 434

Re: Full-time to Contractor - What to do with 401K and HSA?

So one reason to move the HSA is that employer plans usually covers a monthly fee that you will now be expected to pay for. In my case, it was $3 a month if your balance was below $5K. Not a big deal in the scheme of things. I actually had a balance above that and basically waited until I had expens...
by almostretired1965
Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?
Replies: 47
Views: 2871

Re: SAT/ACT prep courses worth the money?

Obviously it's been a long time since I took them (~ 1982), but I've always been of the opinion that the key is just practice, focusing on your weak areas. It's been a while, but I knew, for example, from taking the PSATs that my weakness was entirely in verbal, and literally, it was my vocabulary. ...
by almostretired1965
Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I take the job in OKC or Orlando?
Replies: 98
Views: 5237

Re: Should I take the job in OKC or Orlando?

I would not live in OKC for the weather & the reasons the poster above listed. Using “oriental” as a term? Last time I heard/saw that was in a book describing how loaded that term is. I am that poster you mentioned. Just as a favor to satisfy my curiosity, what is loaded about "oriental" because I ...
by almostretired1965
Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Married, unemployed, and wanting to open a Roth IRA 
Replies: 9
Views: 736

Re: Married, unemployed, and wanting to open a Roth IRA 

I believe that if you are married, so long as one of you has sufficient income to cover the total contribution, the unemployed spouse can contribute to his/her IRA. To open a Roth IRA you need to have earned income in the year the contribution is being made for. So, if you've been unemployed all yea...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is private (elementary) school worth it?
Replies: 100
Views: 7305

Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Interesting how different children deal with such things. My first four years of elementary school was in Taiwan where the emphasis was on rote learning and is highly regimented, or at least what I could remember. Funny thing was I never really cared much about what I was learning in school at that ...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: car battery change or not? 2 year old battery
Replies: 83
Views: 4224

Re: car battery change or not? 2 year old battery

There have been a number of replies that suggest waiting for the battery to fail, and then replace it. This runs the risk of such a failure at a most inconvenient time and in a very inconvenient place. In my climate, the expected life of an auto battery varies between 4 to 6 years depending on mile...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota Extended Warranty
Replies: 13
Views: 976

Re: Toyota Extended Warranty

I've always been of the opinion that if I ever thought extended warranties was a good idea for a new car I'm contemplating purchasing, it's time to look at another car. Of course, I view cars solely as the means to get from point A to point B, nothing more.

A
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Cash basically sitting uninvested. What to do?
Replies: 40
Views: 3431

Re: Cash basically sitting uninvested. What to do?

I think there are a couple of different ways to look at this. One is the fact that the dividend yield is actually 20 basis points higher than the yield on 10 year Treasuries at the moment. So if you can hold out and not sell at the bottom when and if we have a big correction, the odds that you will ...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prenuptial agreement for moderately successful 30 year olds
Replies: 68
Views: 4696

Re: Prenuptial agreement for moderately successful 30 year olds

From a financial and risk mitigation point of view, I think a pre-nup makes sense given the disparity in what the two of you bring on your own into the marriage. But as a matter of sentiment, it does feel rather hard-headed for what should be a true partnership, and after you have children, money wi...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard: the case for global equity investing
Replies: 155
Views: 10390

Re: Vanguard: the case for global equity investing

So I am actually one of those people who do think the US, for both institutional and historic reasons, is exceptional as a place to invest capital, and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future . But on our healthcare system as a whole, it is absolutely dysfunctional. If you are a typical...
by almostretired1965
Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Finally moving from high yield savings to Vanguard
Replies: 32
Views: 2997

Re: Finally moving from high yield savings to Vanguard

OP noted that he does not have access to 401K. That being the case and in the early stages of his career, I suspect Roth IRA is the best savings vehicle for him (since his marginal income tax rate is likely to be low). As others have noted, I think second one makes the most sense given what we know ...
by almostretired1965
Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If we visit Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Parkway, do we "need" to see Great Smoky Mtns. NP, too?
Replies: 52
Views: 4844

Re: If we visit Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Parkway, do we "need" to see Great Smoky Mtns. NP, too?

I think the Smokies is definitely worth a visit, but if I remember correctly, dogs are not allowed on nearly all the trails, unlike in Shenandoah.

A
by almostretired1965
Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:54 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?
Replies: 53
Views: 4688

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Not so much planning, but starting around 40 I began actually tracking our net worth (not including pensions, real estate, etc. but including 401Ks, just stuff that could be liquidated quickly if necessary.) I had a number in mind that would generate enough income to maintain our current lifestyle a...
by almostretired1965
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Cell Phone Plan
Replies: 48
Views: 4393

Re: Cheap Cell Phone Plan

You can get Tracfone even cheaper now, less than $5 a month. On ebay, they sell a one-year plan targeted at getting byop people to switch to Tracfone, but current customers can also use it. Normally $50 for 1200 min/1200 text/3GB data and 1 year service time. If you are willing to swap sims, T-mobil...
by almostretired1965
Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: first house- 1 bedroom vs. 2 bedroom
Replies: 60
Views: 4859

Re: first house- 1 bedroom vs. 2 bedroom

Thank you all! I really appreciate it. A lender recommended buying property in order to build equity and maximize my tax deductions. He recommended a $750K rather than $700K loan, to maximize my tax deduction. He said property taxes and interest on a mortgage are deductible. For a $900K property, p...
by almostretired1965
Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting ready to move to a better school area
Replies: 11
Views: 782

Re: Getting ready to move to a better school area

So I would look into the kindergarten and elementary school that your children will be assigned to. They may not be as bad as you think. In Washington DC, which I am somewhat familiar with, for example, lots of parents have no problems with their local public schools up to Junior High. It is at that...
by almostretired1965
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How hard is it to get into college?
Replies: 167
Views: 10022

Re: How hard is it to get into college?

- You lose nearly all the dispriviliged minorities in your student body. Like <5% left. This almost certainly has less to do with innate intelligence, and everything to do with the lack of income, safety, and resources these minorities encounter. Even the brightest dispriviliged minority from a poo...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house
Replies: 109
Views: 18039

Re: Success stories of NOT buying more/too much house

My wife and I bought our first and to date only house about 1 year after we moved to NoVA after grad school. At the time we bought more than we needed, ~2300 sq ft and another 1500 or so unfinished space in the basement. When we were looking we saw a place with, I think around 4000 sq ft on 5 acres ...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How hard is it to get into college?
Replies: 167
Views: 10022

Re: How hard is it to get into college?

Back in my day, in the 1980s, if you had an SAT > 1500 and was at the top of your class at a decent high school, you were pretty much guaranteed to be admitted to an Ivy equivalent institution even if you didn't have much else to distinguish your application. Keep in mind that SAT (and probably ACT...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT compensation comparison
Replies: 259
Views: 21835

Re: IT compensation comparison

Nothing, though, is quite like going through it live. It can be very stressful. I consider myself really good at taking tests and thinking on my feet, but sometimes your brain just freezes. I got, in hindsight, a pretty simple recursion based, number theory problem on one of these. Any other day I ...
by almostretired1965
Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How hard is it to get into college?
Replies: 167
Views: 10022

Re: How hard is it to get into college?

It is demonstrably harder today to get into a highly selective college, both in an absolute and relative sense. Back in my day, in the 1980s, if you had an SAT > 1500 and was at the top of your class at a decent high school, you were pretty much guaranteed to be admitted to an Ivy equivalent institu...
by almostretired1965
Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT compensation comparison
Replies: 259
Views: 21835

Re: IT compensation comparison

My take on this is that you will learn more if you prepare a bit. In some sense it is not a big deal to fail since it is just one company. And if it is not a miserable flame out, you probably won't get black-listed so the failure itself may not cost anything in the long run. Nothing, though, is quit...
by almostretired1965
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT compensation comparison
Replies: 259
Views: 21835

Re: IT compensation comparison

Yes, unless you are working at Netflix, the key delta comes from RSUs. But for Principal (and maybe senior) levels for higher, RSUs can be 50% or more of your base salary, so it is a big deal. As far as I know, Amazon's back loaded sign-on RSU grants is rather unusual. Given their culture/employee t...
by almostretired1965
Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT compensation comparison
Replies: 259
Views: 21835

Re: IT compensation comparison

This is exactly right. It's a young person's game. It helps a lot to be physically in the Bay area. If you are a mid-career professional with a family to support, getting a shot at one of these places takes a lot of work and you need to be able to pass their screening mechanisms. For example, places...
by almostretired1965
Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT compensation comparison
Replies: 259
Views: 21835

Re: IT compensation comparison

They are, sort of. Due to the nature of how this business works, it is all about having access to a large enough labor pool with the right characteristics. Historically there were only two metro areas in the US that had it in spades: Boston and San Francisco. (For those of you who were around in the...
by almostretired1965
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheaper option than redoing hardwood floors?
Replies: 27
Views: 2322

Re: Cheaper option than redoing hardwood floors?

It depends on the nature of the damage. If it is just a lot of unsightly scratches, a stain pen closely matched to the color of your floor might work. I did this for a floor in my old house and it worked really well. If you bend down and looked really closely, you would still see the blemishes. But ...
by almostretired1965
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best places to live to raise a family (cost doesn't matter)
Replies: 95
Views: 8835

Re: Best places to live to raise a family (cost doesn't matter)

As others have noted, it depends a lot on what is important to you. Some may seem trivial in the scheme of things, but really matter to you. For example, someone earlier mentioned Charlottesville. We actually lived there for almost three years and it is a lovely town, the invasion of the white supre...
by almostretired1965
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)
Replies: 493
Views: 26503

Re: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)

Last year I accepted a position with one of the big tech companies to relocate to Seattle, with roughly the same job title I had before, still just an IC, though fairly senior. I'm at the one year mark and my total compensation (in hand) for this year is turning out to be roughly 2.5x what i was ea...
by almostretired1965
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)
Replies: 493
Views: 26503

Re: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)

This is really hard for even well informed people to fathom. I sort of knew it was the case but didn't really comprehend how extreme it has gotten. Though I don't talk salary with family, I have two cousins who have worked in SV since the mid-1990s. Have a sister who worked in finance based out of S...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA
Replies: 16
Views: 1140

Re: Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA

I just finished moving a relative's belongings across country. We are selling all of the furniture. As far as the other items, we found UPS was by far the cheapest way to go. I had around 15 boxes totaling around 700 pounds or so. The total UPS charge was around $650, if I'm remembering correctly. ...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)
Replies: 493
Views: 26503

Re: Bay Area teacher saving half my income – why the doubt? (and asking more questions)

Are teachers normally this overpaid in the Bay Area? I have lived in the Bay area and now Sacramento area for 30 plus years. I am in education and have many many friends in education. It is very rare for a teacher in their 40s to make $115,000. I have no idea what the going rate is and I'm sure Ron...
by almostretired1965
Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA
Replies: 16
Views: 1140

Re: Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I think we will try and get rid of as much stuff as possible. U-Pack option does not make financial sense since they are not really able to do it themselves and I will need to take time off from work. I am currently planning to fly out from Seattle and stay/vi...
by almostretired1965
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What generalist books attempt to explain human nature?
Replies: 39
Views: 2533

Re: What generalist books attempt to explain human nature?

I came across this book by Robert Wright when I was an undergrad in the mid-1980s after reading a shorter piece in the New Republic: https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Animal-Science-Evolutionary-Psychology/dp/B003VXI8DO At the time, it felt like the veil has finally been lifted from my eyes. In hindsight...
by almostretired1965
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA
Replies: 16
Views: 1140

Long Distance Mover from Rockville MD to Bellevue WA

Looking for some advice on how to go about getting a long distance mover. We are in the process of moving my elderly parents from their senior apartment in Rockville, MD to another similar facility in Bellevue, WA in the next month or two. Their current place has two bedrooms and a bit over 1000 sq ...
by almostretired1965
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist
Replies: 122
Views: 7722

Re: Managing joint finances when one is a perfectionist

Indeed, it is a little weird now that I think about it, but my wife and I never had an actual discussion about it; sort of just happened. Our split, from the moment we started living together was that I did all the finances (except for her personal brokerage account, which, admittedly was by far the...
by almostretired1965
Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I'm gonna need a bigger TV...
Replies: 36
Views: 4363

Re: I'm gonna need a bigger TV...

My experience is that failures happen early. They might be more reliable now, but my personal batting average on flat screens is 0.333. My first big screen was a 50" Panasonic Plasma that we still have. It died about 6 month into the first year. No one makes Plasmas anymore, but back then, I preferr...
by almostretired1965
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me out - What am I doing wrong - Job Hunt related
Replies: 70
Views: 5041

Re: Help me out - What am I doing wrong - Job Hunt related

I personally don't think it is always a kiss of death, but depending on the position, it may be. In management consulting, for example, I think it is the exact opposite. You would not want to hire someone who shows no aptitude/interest in learning new things. On the other hand, if you know the role ...
by almostretired1965
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unique rental Income situation: Tax Question
Replies: 20
Views: 1164

Re: Unique rental Income situation: Tax Question

CoastalWinds wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:45 pm

On Schedule E, I don’t even see an expense line for rent paid that would allow me to deduct it from rent income received.
How about Line 19?
by almostretired1965
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unique rental Income situation: Tax Question
Replies: 20
Views: 1164

Re: Unique rental Income situation: Tax Question

It strikes me that the implicit assumption in the Pub587 quote is that you are renting a home you own to your employer. Since you don't own the asset being "rented", deducting a justifiable proportional part of your total housing expense (rent + utilities, etc.) as someone noted earlier makes perfec...
by almostretired1965
Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need a Will? A Trust? Nothing?
Replies: 22
Views: 1533

Re: Do I need a Will? A Trust? Nothing?

Can't hurt, but if you don't care about how your physical assets are disposed of then it does not seem to me that you need to bother.

However, I would establish a medical power of attorney so that someone you trust can make medical decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated.

A
by almostretired1965
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda CRV, Accord, or Toyota RAV? UPDATE
Replies: 53
Views: 4199

Re: Honda CRV, Accord, or Toyota RAV?

For small SUVs, I think the Suburu Forrester is a good choice. It is significantly better than any car in its class based on CR ratings. It may not be quite as reliable as a Toyota, however.
by almostretired1965
Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Schwab user. Where should I put my Emergency Fund?
Replies: 35
Views: 4540

Re: Schwab user. Where should I put my Emergency Fund?

For convenience, I put my emergency funds in my Vanguard brokerage account. One less vendor I have to work with. It's parked in the Prime Money Market account right now. When MM rates hit zero in the aftermath of the great recession, I moved it to short term investment grade/corporate bond. Granted,...
by almostretired1965
Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Chinese property bubble?
Replies: 59
Views: 2877

Re: Chinese property bubble?

It is definitely a Chinese thing. I'm from Taiwan originally (but my dad was born on the mainland) and on my mother's side of the family, there is a, to me at least, an irrational desire to own and speculate on real estate. My aunt managed to bankrupt herself twice over the years speculating. Growin...
by almostretired1965
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why investment complexity is appealing and simplicity isn't
Replies: 65
Views: 3650

Re: Why investment complexity is appealing and simplicity isn't

One of my hobbies is board wargames and in that community, there is a long standing discussion/problem about complexity/detail versus realism. Intuitively, many people assume that if a model (and that is what a board war game is, a mathematical simulation of a real world conflict) is detailed and co...
by almostretired1965
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estimating social security in the future
Replies: 18
Views: 1328

Re: Estimating social security in the future

One thing I will add is that if you place a decent probability on my "reasonable" worst case occurring, then if you turn 62 before Armageddon, you should immediately start taking the money .....
by almostretired1965
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estimating social security in the future
Replies: 18
Views: 1328

Re: Estimating social security in the future

I think the way to approach it is to consider what a "reasonable" worst case might look like. In my opinion (and that is all anybody is going to be able to do), this is the 76% number the SSA actuaries currently project, plus or minus a few %. (In other words, I do not believe the idea that the whol...
by almostretired1965
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?
Replies: 278
Views: 27350

Re: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?

To which I'd respond, if you're simply going to a college with the same exact peer group you grew up in, you're probably missing out on the biggest benefit of college, which is being surrounded by outstanding peers as I've described above. I know that such colleges can be hard to get into, but I be...
by almostretired1965
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?
Replies: 278
Views: 27350

Re: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?

the success rate for community college matriculants in securing a 4 year degree is pretty dismal. It's something like 1 out of 7. And how would the other 6 out of 7 have done if they had gone straight to a 4-year college? Of course there's no way to know for sure, but I do think there are a few obs...
by almostretired1965
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New laptop advice
Replies: 39
Views: 2346

Re: New laptop advice

Have you checked out an MS Surface book or laptop? One good benefit is if you have their warranty and have an issue, they can swap it out at the store. I’d go for 16gb if you could, and with large media files you might find 512gb ssd to be a little cramped so may want to consider 1tb. Laptops are p...