Search found 202 matches

by Blake7
Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:36 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Everything in Vanguard
Replies: 23
Views: 2235

Re: Everything in Vanguard

Other than remaining under an insurance cap such as FDIC, spreading assets across multiple custodians just complicates managing finances, and also increases your risk of compromise proportionately as the number of entities increases, while only limiting the amount of damage per compromise, in which ...
by Blake7
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finished taxes. First time ever owing on Federal Tax
Replies: 38
Views: 3642

Re: Finished taxes. First time ever owing on Federal Tax

My philosophy: I want my tax withholding to be reasonably accurate, but I don’t worry about whether I end up getting a refund or owe. The amount of interest saved on owing taxes, or lost on refunded taxes, isn’t worth worrying about. I only care about avoiding an underpayment penalty (less than 90% ...
by Blake7
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepay rent for discount --> disadvantages?
Replies: 29
Views: 1857

Re: Prepay rent for discount --> disadvantages?

Be especially careful the landlord IS the landlord for the property. If so, just make sure it’s all in writing so you have a recourse, and I’d want some kind if assurance the property is either owned free and clear, or lender payments are current.
by Blake7
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you replace water heater?
Replies: 29
Views: 2306

Re: When do you replace water heater?

Our gas water heater is 14 yrs old now. It’s in the garage and will drain to the outside when it fails, but the drywall around and under it will be ruined when that happens. I was going to proactively replace it, but decided to install a drip pan so it doesn’t damage the drywall when it’s time comes...
by Blake7
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house instead of renting
Replies: 8
Views: 564

Re: Buying a house instead of renting

Rent, for sure. You'll kick yourself if the housing markets declines in the next 3 years. Significant downside risk, and low-to-no upside. Even if it's an extended stay hotel, rent!
by Blake7
Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for selecting our first home
Replies: 21
Views: 900

Re: Advice for selecting our first home

My advice would be to look at as many (dozens) of homes before you make an offer on your first home. The mistake most first time buyers make (I’m guilty too) is exactly that. Not withstanding the low inventory out there right now and the pressure you will feel to jump on the first house you really l...
by Blake7
Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice number- no privacy with personal info??
Replies: 26
Views: 2050

Re: Google Voice number- no privacy with personal info??

I’ve had a GV number since Google rolled out the service. I just searched my number and it came up associated with name, along with several other very old home phone numbers I’ve had in the past. I am not surprised since I use the number for everything except friends and family in order to keep my m...
by Blake7
Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension beneficiary
Replies: 14
Views: 1331

Re: Pension beneficiary

CalPERS would allow this (with an official spousal waiver). Keep in mind the beneficiary’s age will determine the amount of benefit you and your beneficiary receive. The younger the beneficiary, the less both benefits will be. I think you’ll find the reduction will be quite a bit more than 10% if yo...
by Blake7
Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Incorrect RMD Banner Info
Replies: 3
Views: 572

Re: Vanguard Incorrect RMD Banner Info

Vanguard has been having IT issues recently. I transferred $7k to my Roth and $6 to DW’s Roth on 1/1/20. The funds were sourced from our Vanguard joint taxable account. On 1/10/20, I called Vanguard because the transactions still had not completed. The agent was helpful and explained there had been ...
by Blake7
Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension options and term life ladder
Replies: 11
Views: 539

Re: Pension options and term life ladder

I have been looking at the pension joint survivor vs. term life recently too. I found this calculator on Suze Orman's site helpful:

https://www.suzeorman.com/dt/PensionOptions.html
by Blake7
Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual Tracking Spreadsheet Review?
Replies: 41
Views: 2862

Re: Annual Tracking Spreadsheet Review?

My spreadsheet has the following tabs, which share certain data amongst themselves. Investments: A breakout in $ and % of all of our investments (401k, 457, individual Roths, checking). It shows institutional ratios, pre-tax vs. taxable, investment types (stocks, cash), total assets, etc. Expenses: ...
by Blake7
Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online utility bill pay
Replies: 24
Views: 1327

Re: Online utility bill pay

Only our water, trash collection, and ISP accept credit cards, so that’s what I use. No fees. For gas and electric, “e-bill” bill pay works best as they can automatically deduct an amount that varies each month without me having to schedule the payment manually. It’s also more secure than using dire...
by Blake7
Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Options for Overfunded 529 Plan
Replies: 2
Views: 319

Re: Options for Overfunded 529 Plan

I can’t comment on the tax question off-hand, but regarding further funding the 529, I’d stop. If the balance about where you need it, adding more money that is somewhat restricted in it’s use would not be my choice. Also, if you daughter has any scholarship money coming, the equivalent amount I bel...
by Blake7
Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Citi double cash maximization
Replies: 20
Views: 2113

Re: Citi double cash credit card

Another consideration, if you opt to stay with cash back, is either transfer the rewards to your bank account or get a check sent. Crediting rewards to your statement is deducted from the "additional 1% as you pay for those purchases." It's a small amount depending on your utilization of the card, b...
by Blake7
Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Annuity purchase - ROI?
Replies: 11
Views: 575

Re: Annuity purchase - ROI?

Sorry for the initial lack details, I had to run off to somewhere, so it was a bit rushed. I’m currently 54, and life expectancy, say 80. The annuity (it’s technically a purchase of service credit I made in a gov pension, but I was advised it is like buying an annuity). The purchase was made with p...
by Blake7
Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Annuity purchase - ROI?
Replies: 11
Views: 575

Re: Annuity purchase - ROI?

In 2010 I paid $54,500 for an annuity that will provide ~$780/month single life or ~$670/month with 100% beneficiary, one of which I plan to select and draw on in 1 year from now. Both options are lifetime a 2% COLA is included on both options. Had the $54,500 been in the S&P500 since 2010, it woul...
by Blake7
Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Annuity purchase - ROI?
Replies: 11
Views: 575

Re: Annuity purchase - ROI?

Sorry for the initial lack details, I had to run off to somewhere, so it was a bit rushed. I’m currently 54, and life expectancy, say 80. The annuity (it’s technically a purchase of service credit I made in a gov pension, but I was advised it is like buying an annuity). The purchase was made with pr...
by Blake7
Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Annuity purchase - ROI?
Replies: 11
Views: 575

Annuity purchase - ROI?

In 2010 I paid $54,500 for an annuity that will provide ~$780/month single life or ~$670/month with 100% beneficiary, one of which I plan to select and draw on in 1 year from now. Both options are lifetime a 2% COLA is included on both options. Had the $54,500 been in the S&P500 since 2010, it would...
by Blake7
Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much money can retirees really save by moving to a state without income tax?
Replies: 143
Views: 11790

Re: How much money can retirees really save by moving to a state without income tax?

It of course depends on several factors, but this is the best guide I've found, an includes "total tax burden" for states: https://taxfoundation.org/publications/facts-and-figures/ One also has to consider other factors: Alaska looks great from an across-the-board tax standpoint and even pays it's r...
by Blake7
Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Advice for Cheap Wireless Plans
Replies: 23
Views: 1860

Re: Need Advice for Cheap Wireless Plans

Check out ting.com. $6 per device/month, bring your own device, no contracts, GSM or CDMA network. You can turn off data and texts, and just use pooled minutes starting at $3 for 100 minutes. I’ve used them for several years. Great customer service. (PM me for a $25 account credit link). :happy
by Blake7
Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Friendly States
Replies: 397
Views: 27112

Re: Retirement Friendly States

The best State tax comparison I’ve found (but only considers taxes):

https://taxfoundation.org/publications/ ... d-figures/
by Blake7
Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling truck on Craigslist
Replies: 42
Views: 2102

Re: Selling truck on Craigslist

Meet at Buyer's bank. Teller does Cashier's Check, hands to buyer who hands to you (or hands directly to you). At the buyer’s bank is also my recommendation. Sign over the vehicle registration on the spot as soon as your handed the cashier’s check. I think this is preferable to cash with large tran...
by Blake7
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Do you keep deposting money into IRA while "market crashes"?
Replies: 44
Views: 4382

Re: Do you keep deposting money into IRA while "market crashes"?

If you have the money available, max out your Roth IRA every year, even if you put it in a money market fund inside your Roth. You can never get that space back if you miss the opportunity. The advantages a Roth has over a T-IRA, especially in conjunction with a T-IRA once you start making withdrawa...
by Blake7
Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just had my credit cards stolen
Replies: 56
Views: 4441

Re: Just had my credit cards stolen

Gyms are hot targets for thieves. My recommendation is use a fanny pack at the gym to keep your wallet and keys on your person at all times, and shower at home. Lockers can be broken into, and certain locks are easy to defeat (especially the common combination locks out there, as others have mention...
by Blake7
Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing $140k in cash at 1k per week
Replies: 174
Views: 12983

Re: Investing $140k in cash at 1k per week

timetraveler, read this Vanguard study on lump sum vs. Dollar cost averaging first: https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/ISGDCA.pdf If you decide to DCA, pick a frequency/day of the week and stick with it, regardless of what the market is doing. Attempts to outsmart/time the market will more likely cos...
by Blake7
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions re mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs)
Replies: 7
Views: 422

Re: Questions re mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs)

You’ll very likely save substantially using an MVNO. If you want walk-in service and a storefront, fine, buts that’s why most MVNOs are virtual only and able to charge less. I’ve been with Ting (ting.com) for four years and have a ton of money vs. going with one of the four major carriers. I’ve foun...
by Blake7
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My 457 Special Catch Up. Help me understand.
Replies: 4
Views: 435

Re: My 457 Special Catch Up. Help me understand.

2020 will be my third year of special catchup. Assuming your NRA is 51, I think you’re good to go. You can contribute up to an extra $19k/yr (or whatever the IRS cap is) for 3 years, up to whatever you underutilized amount from the past is. Thanks Blake7. Glad to hear it is working out for someone....
by Blake7
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My 457 Special Catch Up. Help me understand.
Replies: 4
Views: 435

Re: My 457 Special Catch Up. Help me understand.

2020 will be my third year of special catchup. Assuming your NRA is 51, I think you’re good to go. You can contribute up to an extra $19k/yr (or whatever the IRS cap is) for 3 years, up to whatever you underutilized amount from the past is. Edit: so to clarify, if your NRA is 51, you can declare the...
by Blake7
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct Discounts for 2019 version
Replies: 35
Views: 3323

Re: TaxAct Discounts for 2019 version

I used it for several years but dropped it a couple of years ago for the same reason as the OP’s. I have used the IRS’s online Free File Fillable Forms for the last two years and have been very happy with it.
by Blake7
Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Benefits of Flagship Status at Vanguard?
Replies: 65
Views: 8726

Re: Benefits of Flagship Status at Vanguard?

Random Poster wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:18 am
Being Flagship got me a free hat from Vanguard. :happy
Actually, since Vanguard is client-owned and has 30 million clients, assuming the hat cost $30, you paid $0.000001 for that hat (and so did I). ;)
by Blake7
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency Fund - why not VTSAX?
Replies: 52
Views: 5161

Re: Emergency Fund - why not VSTAX?

Look at an emergency fund as insurance, rather than an investment. The returns are secondary to its intended purpose (to be there when you need it, regardless of what’s going on in the investment world).
by Blake7
Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing a Pre-Owned iPhone
Replies: 23
Views: 1789

Re: Purchasing a Pre-Owned iPhone

Directly from Apple is an option:

https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/iphone
by Blake7
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Starting out- Roth IRA-ETF's
Replies: 13
Views: 1292

Re: Starting out- Roth IRA-ETF's

Hi there. The nice thing about tax-sheltered accounts, such as an IRA, is you can move investments around inside the account without triggering current-year taxes from any investment gains. So I’d start with an ETF such as VTI. I’d also switch it to the VTSAX later once you have $3k, but you don’t h...
by Blake7
Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Small pension options - how to understand.
Replies: 14
Views: 1179

Re: Small pension options - how to understand.

I'm in a similar position with an additional twist in that my pension was from a public employer that didn't pay into social security so keeping the pension will generate a WEP clawback on my social security which diminishes the value of the pension annuity even further but won't be an issue if I d...
by Blake7
Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

I am pretty sure that her social security benefits wouldn’t be affected by the pension if something were to happen to you, but hopefully someone more knowledgeable about social security will chime in. That's a good question. I definitely need to confirm that. If that is the case, then it would make...
by Blake7
Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

You state CalPers is 71% funded, what really matters is what the funding level of your plan happens to be. CalPers is not one plan, it is an administrator of hundreds of plans. My plan is 83% funded. I retired with a Calpers pension 3 years ago. I spent years deciding and met with several professio...
by Blake7
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

Hello Blake 7, I have read this thread with some interest. I am in Calstrs and had the same dilemma about which option to give my wife. I decided upon the 100% option. The difference in my wife’s age compared to mine is 14 years so it was a slam dunk. Hi Needtoknow. At this point, I am leaning towa...
by Blake7
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)
Replies: 57
Views: 7166

Re: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)

Vulcan wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:13 am
theplayer11 wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:27 am
so much for 2FA on accounts..this is not good
I always recommend using Google Voice (or Google Fi) numbers for 2FA.
A lot harder to hijack those.
Same here. The only issue I’ve found is some entities don’t work with SMSing VOIP numbers like GV. Wells Fargo Bank is an example.
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

If your wife is five years younger, on average she'll be alive eight years after you're gone. When comparing the joint and single life annuities, It's not the wife's life expectancy that's relevant; it's the last to die expectancy. According to the SSA 1970 Cohort Life Table a 55 year old man is ex...
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

If someone doesn't need an annuity I usually favor the lump sum because it's more flexible and because if you're able to convert it to a Roth at not too high a bracket that's likely to add substantial value. But you said that the lump sum doesn't get the benefit of the employer's contributions. So ...
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

Take the lump sum. To clarify to all who are unfamiliar with this provision in a state pension: It is a partial lump sum, so you still get the rest of the proceeds. Invest it well and you will do better than the pension. However, since your pension has a COLA then that may be somewhat irrelevant. I...
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

I think the age of spouse may be factored in, it was for mine. But what they don't (and I think, legally, can't) consider is the sex of the spouse, so that means it is likely that if one's spouse is female the option with 100% survivor benefits is going to be the best value. But if the spouse is ma...
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

Thanks all for the continued valuable feedback. So, the "100% Beneficiary w/Allowance Increase," means a 14% reduction ($499) from the maximum Unmodified Allowance (no beneficiary option): $3,611 - $3,112 = $499. That's a $6k/yr, or ~$60k over 10 years, reduction in benefits. That's money I could p...
by Blake7
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

I've also been considering taking the full "Unmodified Allowance" and purchasing a term life insurance policy. The cost of the "50% Beneficiary w/Allowance Increase" is $268/month, and $499/month for the "100% Beneficiary w/Allowance Increase." I might be able to get term life for less. I plan on l...
by Blake7
Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:59 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Roll Call for the Retirement Class of 2020!
Replies: 88
Views: 11409

Re: Roll Call for the Retirement Class of 2020!

Blake7, 12/31/2020 @ age 55. Hired, FIRE’d, and soon to be retired. 8-) 39 years in the workforce, 12 employers. :beer
by Blake7
Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

If your wife is five years younger, on average she'll be alive eight years after you're gone. Yep With CalSTRS, I chose the 75% survivor option. It's a COLA pension, so that will make a difference keeping up with inflation. Yes, I also have the option of selecting anything between 1-100% Beneficiar...
by Blake7
Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

I thought that was reserved for people who work long enough to get vested in the pension but then go work somewhere else for 20+ years. In which case, taking the lump sum at separation may make better sense than waiting decades to get a frozen pension based on ancient salary information. :annoyed I...
by Blake7
Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with pension choices
Replies: 36
Views: 2923

Re: Help with pension choices

... to take the lump sum. It's really not an option for me, but I put it in my post for reference. I'm really looking at the monthly pensions options, and which one of those is best in my situation to take. I understand. So instead of calculating the pension return against the lump sum, using the s...