Search found 2658 matches

by texasdiver
Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often does Costco have the deals on 4 Michelin tires?
Replies: 17
Views: 1008

Re: How often does Costco have the deals on 4 Michelin tires?

They alternate the Michelin and Bridgestone coupons in their monthly coupon books which don't precisely match the calendar months. Mine just arrived in the mail yesterday and is valid from 10/31 through 11/26. It has the $70 off Bridgestone coupon in it so the next Michelin coupon will probably be i...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Don't buy a big house
Replies: 139
Views: 10565

Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

Anyone figure out how to change the tall smoke alarms without buying a taller ladder? We have one on a perhaps 12 foor ceiling. My 14' orchard ladder is too tall to set up; the regular 6' ladder isn't tall enough. I have the light bulb changing stick which works well, and all our other ceilings are...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Final Decision - Housing
Replies: 22
Views: 1556

Re: Final Decision - Housing

Interest rates are rising. What's the interest rate on your current mortgage compared to the rate you can lock in now? Is it worth walking away from a good rate that we may never see again in our lifetimes? We lived for over a decade in Central Texas so I have a sense of the market there. Neighborho...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2 rental car reservations?
Replies: 23
Views: 1262

Re: 2 rental car reservations?

I'm always surprised that rental car companies don't follow the same policy as hotels and charge for for at least the first day's rental if you cancel in less than 24 hours. That's typically what hotels do and they are basically in the same type of business. There must be some business logic to how ...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 50% of Cancer Patients Burn Through Their Life's Savings in Just 2 Years
Replies: 51
Views: 4329

Re: 50% of Cancer Patients Burn Through Their Life's Savings in Just 2 Years

Well.....kind of depends on what constitutes "life savings" doesn't it? The median "life savings" for US households is currently $11,700 and 29% of US households have less than $1,000 saved. So nearly 30% of American households will "burn through" their life savings just to buy a new appliance or pu...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sequoia or Land Cruiser
Replies: 25
Views: 1235

Re: Sequoia or Land Cruiser

The Sequoia is very long in the tooth and has more or less been abandoned by Toyota in terms of updates. The last major revamp of the Sequoia was in 2007 for the 2008 model year. That's very old for a current production vehicle. It's probably because sales have dwindled down to almost nothing. Sequo...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

The 92% would be after teaching for 40 years and winding up with a final salary in the $50-55k range after a decade of no pay raises. Not everyone would find that prospect thrilling. Take away 2.3 percentage points for every year less than 40. A teacher who taught nonstop for 40 years from age 25 - ...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

6. I do not see phasing in everyone as any bigger a challenge than phasing in federal employees. The increase in public payrolls would or could be offset by decreased pension payments into the existing systems. There are lots of public employees and school employees who now pay into the SS system. ...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

6. I do not see phasing in everyone as any bigger a challenge than phasing in federal employees. The increase in public payrolls would or could be offset by decreased pension payments into the existing systems. There are lots of public employees and school employees who now pay into the SS system. ...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

There is no possible way you can make the math work to suggest that a teacher earning $45 - 55k per year will be better off without social security. Especially because they almost certainly aren't going to be able to save the difference anyway. Sure, for high income people the math is different. No...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

They are most definitely not that great if you are a teacher in Texas or many other states. 1. Pension is non-COLA'd. The monthly check you get on day one is the same amount that you'll be getting 30 years later at age 90. 2. Most districts chose not to pay into social security so your non-COLA'd p...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]
Replies: 67
Views: 5256

Re: 8 reasons why pensions are [good]

They are most definitely not that great if you are a teacher in Texas or many other states. 1. Pension is non-COLA'd. The monthly check you get on day one is the same amount that you'll be getting 30 years later at age 90. 2. Most districts chose not to pay into social security so your non-COLA'd pe...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:27 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules
Replies: 3
Views: 512

Re: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules

This makes it so you can get up to a 5% matching contribution into your 401k if you either (1) contribute a certain amount into your 401k or (2) pay a similar amount of money into student loans. You can only do one or the other (there is no way to get two employer matches). Really this is only goin...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?
Replies: 40
Views: 3268

Re: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?

I’ve done it three ways in the past 10 years 1. In person through the branch office of a local lender 2. Through a strictly online lender 3. Semi online through a brick and mortar lender located on the other side of the state so it was mostly online and phone but not as slick or automated as the big...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules
Replies: 3
Views: 512

Re: How to take advantage of student loan 401(k) rules

I tried to read the IRS letter and found it absolutely unreadable. I couldn’t figure out exactly what they are saying. I assume the point of this is to use pre tax dollars to pay student loans? If not then what is the point? It seems rather inequitable to allow students to use pre-tax dollars for lo...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pull kids from school for vacations?
Replies: 136
Views: 5622

Re: Pull kids from school for vacations?

Teacher here: I would not do it in High School. It is the rare kid who can truly get caught back up after missing 2 weeks in HS. Most do not. The three most important years in HS are 9th-11th grades. If you fall behind in grades and class rank early in HS you can’t ever really catch up because the k...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question
Replies: 6
Views: 578

Re: Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question

Be very careful. I think that being eligible is sufficient to have the WEP kick in. Get the actual numbers (go to a Social Securty Office if necessary) before you do anything you'll regret. As I understand it, the impact of the WEP begins to lessen after 20 years of work that pays into Social Secur...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question
Replies: 6
Views: 578

Re: Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question

Thanks for the link. Very useful. It looks Iike I would be fine to close out my pension now because Texas only allows me to withdraw my own contributions and not those from the state or my district which remain in the system. I'm also 11 years away from being eligible to start receiving pension paym...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question
Replies: 6
Views: 578

Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) question

QUESTION: Can I avoid the WEP If I take the lump sum withdrawal out of an old pension program and close the account rather than waiting and taking the monthly pension? My situation is this: I had about 16 years of social security employment before moving to Texas and changing careers I taught for 9 ...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garage Shelving?
Replies: 31
Views: 3293

Re: Garage Shelving?

I'm surprised you all want such industrial-grade, expensive, pricey and sizeable shelving. What are you all putting on your shelves?! I have cheap plastic shelving for all my garage stuff, and it works great. Not wobbly, doesn't rust, and can build/up break/down in <5 mins. Unless the OP is storing...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Jury duty - already booked vacation
Replies: 51
Views: 5382

Re: Jury duty - already booked vacation

Perhaps the summons was lost in the mail and you didn't receive it.....? I knew a guy who that happened to for 30 years! Dave Yeah... DON'T do that. Some jurisdictions will issue a bench warrant for failure to respond which could get you arrested next time you cross paths with law inforcement such ...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where would you go for financial guidance if you win the Megamillions?
Replies: 162
Views: 13287

Re: Where would you go for financial guidance if you win the Megamillions?

I would take the 20-year payment plan not the reduced lump sum amount because I don't have anything immediate that I'd need that money for. I'd pre-pay everything I can think of (college tuition for the kids, pay off the mortgage, gold-plated LTC policy, etc. I'd consult the WIKI as regards tax effi...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

You know you are old when employer plans did not have an annual "deductible" ;) I have never had a deductible on any Kaiser employer plan so far in over 20 years. Other plans usually do have deductibles. Yes - never had a deductible with Kaiser employer plan either. We have a deductible with our Ka...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

You know you are old when employer plans did not have an annual "deductible" ;) I have never had a deductible on any Kaiser employer plan so far in over 20 years. Other plans usually do have deductibles. Yes - never had a deductible with Kaiser employer plan either. We have a deductible with our Ka...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bitcoin after death...some thoughts to consider
Replies: 10
Views: 2331

Bitcoin after death...some thoughts to consider

https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-after-death-the-perils-of-sharing-ones-fortune/ There have already been several examples around the world of bitcoin investors who have died without leaving their keys for their relatives. In such cases, families must deal with a kind of “double funeral,” as they mou...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Why Jack Bogle Doesn't Own Non-U.S. Stocks"
Replies: 203
Views: 10790

Re: "Why Jack Bogle Doesn't Own Non-U.S. Stocks"

All the giant companies that dominate both the US and foreign indexes are enormous multi-nationals that play heavily in both the US and world markets. Ford vs Toyota? Apple vs Samsung? Exxon vs BP? Proctor & Gamble vs Unilever? Pfizer Pharmaceuticals vs Roche? Monsanto vs Bayer? Chase vs HSBC? I wou...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off the mortgage early - Isn't this the opposite of "putting more money into your house"?
Replies: 82
Views: 6586

Re: Paying off the mortgage early - Isn't this the opposite of "putting more money into your house"?

. That said, whether it makes sense for a particular individual or couple to accelerate the payoff of their mortage loan, or add to it with a HLOC or 2nd motgage is an entirely different question. But in either case they are simply increasing or decreasing their debt, not actually putting money int...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What was max drop in 2000 and 2008?
Replies: 15
Views: 2971

Re: What was max drop in 2000 and 2008?

A picture's worth a 1000 words. The links above show you what the losses looked like (what $10,000 became worth at the bottom). Thanks for the links to the graphs a.p. It paints an even more striking picture of the losses your brain would have to come to grips with if you had just reached a $1 mill...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off the mortgage early - Isn't this the opposite of "putting more money into your house"?
Replies: 82
Views: 6586

Re: Paying off the mortgage early - Isn't this the opposite of "putting more money into your house"?

Hypothetically speaking, a typical upper middle class couple might have three different classes of assets and liabilities: $1 million investment portfolio Home worth $500,000 Mortgage loan of $400,000 The mortage happens to be linked to the house in the sense that the home is the collateral for the ...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: White LED Christmas Lights
Replies: 7
Views: 882

Re: White LED Christmas Lights

Sorry. I didn’t click through your link. If you are looking for the mini lights then I’d just get the Costco ones. Either pure white or warm white. Whichever is your preference. I strongly prefer the yellow tinted warm white to the colder blue tinted pure white. The commercial grade ones probably on...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?
Replies: 70
Views: 4925

Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Something else to think about, a lot of scholarships require your to be under a certain EFC number. Several actually wanted the SAR report when applying. Is an award that requires financial need really a "scholarship" in the true sense of the word? Having low family income is not really an achievem...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids not interested in money / allowance
Replies: 50
Views: 4889

Re: Kids not interested in money / allowance

She is endlessly broke and always needs more money. Same parents, totally different kids. What can you do? Thanks for the example. I highlighted the above, because from all the observations I have seen there seems to be a HUGE variations in how kids turn out despite what type of "nurturing" environ...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: White LED Christmas Lights
Replies: 7
Views: 882

Re: White LED Christmas Lights

A few years ago I did my entire house using commercial grade white C9 LED lights just like the pros use. You buy a spool of socket line and then the LED bulbs separately. The result is far superior to using pre-cut strings like you get from Costco or Home Depot. The shingle clips and lawn stakes are...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to spend on landscaping?
Replies: 6
Views: 1342

Re: How much to spend on landscaping?

By the way.... front yard is for your neighbors (and maybe curb appeal for resale) back yard is for you and your family (and friends if you entertain). I always put the minimum amount required into the front yard to keep up with the neighborhood standard and put all my money and effort into creating...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids not interested in money / allowance
Replies: 50
Views: 4889

Re: Kids not interested in money / allowance

My middle daughter was like that. Never cared about money and never asked for any until she got into high school. Her grandparents would give her gift cards for birthdays and Christmas and if I didn't pay attention they would just get lost in her desk and never spent. Now that she is in HS she occas...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

I'm switching jobs in the next few months and taking a federal job in the Washington DC area. I've always had CareFirst and my spouse uses Kaiser. The federal government offers excellent coverage and rates for plans with both providers so we'd like to get on the same plan going forward. My spouse l...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is it better to have fewer investment choices?
Replies: 23
Views: 1736

Re: Is it better to have fewer investment choices?

The TSP offers just 5 separate funds (G,F,C,S,I) and different allocations to each in their version of target date funds (L 2020, L2030 and so on). https://www.tsp.gov/InvestmentFunds/FundOptions/index.html If that's good enough for 2 million civilian federal employees, then what makes anyone think...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?
Replies: 70
Views: 4925

Re: Is it worth filing FAFSA even if you know you'll get nothing?

Oldest daughter is an out-of-state junior at a big public university (SEC school). I didn't bother with the FAFSA and it has never once come up with the school. As long as the invoices for tuition and fees are paid up they don't seem to care one bit. She is a very median student so merit scholarship...
by texasdiver
Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to spend on landscaping?
Replies: 6
Views: 1342

Re: How much to spend on landscaping?

20K sounds reasonable if not low for a complete landscape job that also includes hardscape improvements like raised beds and an outdoor fireplace. At least around here, the housing boom has meant that it has been difficult if not impossible to find landscaping companies to take on small odd jobs bec...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

As a Kaiser midwife in NorCal, I'm happy to see all these great recommendations for Kaiser! I needed to undergo cancer treatment 6 years ago and I can't say enough good things about how wonderful it was to everything "integrated." I need of orthopedic surgery in early 2019 and Kaiser will pay for m...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weigh in on our Marital Argument =)-- HCOL edition
Replies: 70
Views: 5394

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

If it were me, I'd look at row houses where you could convert the basement into an AirBnB guest suite and then just block out the dates for when your parents come to visit. As your kids get a bit older, put them to work maintaining the AirBnB. It would be a nice little educational job for a middle s...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pacific Northwest trip
Replies: 39
Views: 2867

Re: Pacific Northwest trip

Steer clear of Portland as the crazies seem to have taken over downtown. I'm not sure what you are talking about. My youngest daughter who is 11 likes doing long urban walks for exercise as opposed to hiking or biking which my other daughter and wife prefer. So about once a week I drive in with her...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

We are currently with Kaiser in the Pacific Northwest. Personally I can't say enough good things about it after many years of various PPOs I had when working as a Fed and in education (Blue Cross, Aetna, and I don't remember who all else). Also have family working for Kaiser so I get to see both si...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

I really liked CareFirst. Other than the fact that there's a deductible to hit (minimal), their rates are reasonable, and their annual cap is quite low (~$2k/person last time I checked). Most in the District and surrounding areas accept it as well. That said, I really wanted to join Kaiser, but the...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kaiser or CareFirst
Replies: 39
Views: 1988

Re: Kaiser or CareFirst

We are currently with Kaiser in the Pacific Northwest. Personally I can't say enough good things about it after many years of various PPOs I had when working as a Fed and in education (Blue Cross, Aetna, and I don't remember who all else). Also have family working for Kaiser so I get to see both sid...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What would you do with some bulk silver?
Replies: 41
Views: 2470

Re: What would you do with some bulk silver?

This is a reply I meant for this thread that I erroneously put in a different thread a couple days ago. Some of you might have already seen it in the other thread... "This is the second thread in the past 2 or 3 weeks where a father or grandfather has given directions of what he wants done with his...
by texasdiver
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pacific Northwest trip
Replies: 39
Views: 2867

Re: Pacific Northwest trip

About 1.5 hours South East from Portland is Silver Falls State Park. It offers an easy seven mile hike called trail of ten falls. The waterfalls are amazing, you walk behind at least three of them. If you like to hike or experience waterfalls this place is not to be missed. Unfortunately a 15 year ...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: “$1000/month job is worth $300k in retirement funds” // What are some retirement jobs you would actually enjoy doing?
Replies: 103
Views: 9642

Re: “$1000/month job is worth $300k in retirement funds” // What are some retirement jobs you would actually enjoy doing

“$1000/month job is worth $300k in retirement funds” Bringing in a $1000 a month would make a huge difference for some people but I would have to question the $300K figure. The math seems straightforward: $1000/month yields $12,000/year=4% withdrawal rate on $300,000 in retirement funds. As for wor...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Relaxing in America during this current market drop
Replies: 20
Views: 4160

Re: Relaxing in America during this current market drop

In my early 50s and still buying/saving for at least another 10 years. So every drop in the market is just a buying opportunity. This one was perfectly timed such that the montly 401k contribution went through at close of business yesterday. So it's all good. At least that's what I tell myself. We l...