Search found 3082 matches

by texasdiver
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What workout equipment to get?
Replies: 38
Views: 2179

Re: What workout equipment to get?

Whatever you choose to get, use Craiglist. You can find like-new barely ever used stuff there all the time for 10% of the original price. People just want it out of their house. Beware though, treadmills and ellipticals can be MONSTERS to move on your own. Heavy and bulky. You may need a commercial ...
by texasdiver
Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I invest in a ski in / ski out condo?
Replies: 38
Views: 2786

Re: Should I invest in a ski in / ski out condo?

It is unlikely to be a good investment compared to a myriad of other things you can do with your 300k Whether it is worth the cost for your increased enjoyment only you can decide. Around here there are endless AirB&B options at the usual ski areas that are easy to book pretty much any times except ...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for Carry on Luggage
Replies: 64
Views: 3963

Re: Recommendation for Carry on Luggage

I've been very pleased with eBags ( https://www.ebags.com ), especially the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible backpack and the TLS 22" Expandable Wheeled Carry-On. I had earlier tried the Rick Steves Classic Back Door Bag, but found the quality and sturdiness to be lacking. I second this. If yo...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Camper Trailers
Replies: 17
Views: 2103

Re: Camper Trailers

I’ve owned a few. If I were going to buy another, I’d go for one of the fiberglass campers like the Escape made in British Columbia or the Casita made in Texas in your size range. They are a step up from the wood frame campers pushed out by the traditional manufacturers but cheaper than the high-end...
by texasdiver
Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for Carry on Luggage
Replies: 64
Views: 3963

Re: Recommendation for Carry on Luggage

I've been very pleased with eBags ( https://www.ebags.com ), especially the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible backpack and the TLS 22" Expandable Wheeled Carry-On. I had earlier tried the Rick Steves Classic Back Door Bag, but found the quality and sturdiness to be lacking. I second this. If yo...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 60190

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that. CSRS spouses receive notification. The above is t...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TSP Participant Account Balances
Replies: 48
Views: 14064

Re: TSP Participant Account Balances

I just thought of two additional pieces of information that may be of interest to federal employees: First, of the ~$1.9 million in my TSP account, my contributions from my bi-weekly payroll deductions over 29 years was just under 25 percent of the total. I think this is like saying that every doll...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 60190

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Please note that the requirement to have spouse sign the TSP withdrawal form applies to FERS and military accounts, but not to CSRS accounts. The signature requirement is part of the FERS law, so yes, it would take an act of Congress to change that. CSRS spouses receive notification. The above is t...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If all brokerages charged zero commission for trades, which brokerage would you pick?
Replies: 75
Views: 6190

Re: If all brokerages charged zero commission for trades, which brokerage would you pick?

None of them. I just buy and hold index funds the old fashioned way. On the Vanguard web site and Federal TSP. I did some trading once when I had to use TDAmeritrade to invest in my HSA account and it was too much trouble trying to figure out the different kinds of orders and fractions of shares an...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If all brokerages charged zero commission for trades, which brokerage would you pick?
Replies: 75
Views: 6190

Re: If all brokerages charged zero commission for trades, which brokerage would you pick?

None of them. I just buy and hold index funds the old fashioned way. On the Vanguard web site and Federal TSP. I did some trading once when I had to use TDAmeritrade to invest in my HSA account and it was too much trouble trying to figure out the different kinds of orders and fractions of shares and...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Learnings/Regrets from last two recessions
Replies: 91
Views: 11968

Re: Learnings/Regrets from last two recessions

I did nothing and didn't really notice either recession because I was in stable government jobs the the whole time with pretty much zero chance of layoff of pay cut. Investments were all in retirement accounts with long-term horizons so I didn't really pay much attention and didn't make any changes ...
by texasdiver
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Target date retirement fund vs three funds
Replies: 19
Views: 2656

Re: Target date retirement fund vs three funds

Thanks for the reply's. Think we will go with the three fund roth. I don't know if I will go with total bond and total international, they have not done to well. Growth index seems to be doing well. Would you still recommend going with the those three even when two are doing so poorly? You are tryi...
by texasdiver
Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: financially clueless senior MIL who thinks she’s rich
Replies: 162
Views: 19291

Re: financially clueless senior MIL who thinks she’s rich

I haven't read all the responses but in my mind TWO separate conversations are in order: 1. Conversation with your spouse about what you as a couple are willing to do (and not do) for aging parents. Is this the only in-law or are there other aging parents who might need help in the future?: Financia...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in
Replies: 92
Views: 13548

Re: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in

True, to a point, but if you're investing in high fee, managed options, the fees and effect of taxes take a considerable chunk out of your portfolio. The effect of fees should not be underestimated. I realize BHs know that, but if this thread is read without that context, some people might miss thi...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in
Replies: 92
Views: 13548

Re: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in

I've done so many rollovers and consolidations over the years that it is really hard to figure out my percentages. I could go back and calculate the legal contribution maximums for each year as I generally contributed up to the max. But that doesn't take into account company matches and contribution...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Are You Using Your Target-Date Fund Wrong?"
Replies: 15
Views: 2436

Re: "Are You Using Your Target-Date Fund Wrong?"

Honestly, I don't know anyone past their 20s and first job who doesn't have more than one account. And especially married couples. My wife is in her late 40s and I'm in my early 50s. I have consolidated our accounts down to the absolute minimum number possible without doing ridiculous things that ge...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

Bottom line? I'm not particularly concerned about having the mortage paid off before retirement but I'm going to target having about 1.5 times the mortage balance in additional retirement savings by retirement to account for taxes vs what I'd want to have saved with a paid-off mortgage. I will say ...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Small pension options - how to understand.
Replies: 14
Views: 1052

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 texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Small pension options - how to understand.
Replies: 14
Views: 1052

Re: Small pension options - how to understand.

You don't say whether the pension has an annual COLA adjustment so I assume it doesn't. But that makes a big difference in your calculations. I think the term "single life" refers to the pension only applying to your lifespan and not that of your wife. So it would vanish when you die. I don't think ...
by texasdiver
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

Thanks guys. I'm always appreciative of how much accumulated wisdom is here. As always, I found new angles to issues that I hadn't thought of myself. Namely: 1. Taxes . Rolling into retirement with higher monthly costs (mortgage, car payments or whatever) means higher income is needed which is going...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

This is called sequence of returns risk. ...you're putting at risk your ability to pay off that mortgage. Sure, there are risks in life. Hindsight will clarify which risks, if any, materialized. Given that some of the "4% rule"s constraining years were ones of very high inflation, and the mortgage ...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

Your option #1 - provided all of your investments are expected to have a higher after-tax return than the after-tax cost of your mortgage - seems the most defensible. A couple of reasons #2 isn't applicable, both of them being contrary to the assumptions behind the "4% rule": - the mortgage will la...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP: Moving out of G Fund to F?
Replies: 49
Views: 3235

Re: TSP: Moving out of G Fund to F?

I have a large chunk of retiremement savings in the TSP. A couple of years ago I got tired of all the personal hand-wringing about C vs F and G vs S funds and decided to park 100% of it into the Target Date 2030 fund which is currently 33% G fund and 7% F fund giving me a nice even 40% fixed income...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Re: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

Your option #1 - provided all of your investments are expected to have a higher after-tax return than the after-tax cost of your mortgage - seems the most defensible. A couple of reasons #2 isn't applicable, both of them being contrary to the assumptions behind the "4% rule": - the mortgage will la...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Mother laid off without retirement savings
Replies: 24
Views: 5521

Re: Mother laid off without retirement savings

I agree with the others here. She needs to continue working until full retirement. Meanwhile one think you can do is plan ahead to be a safety net in the future. When my wife and I shopped for our current house we specifically looked for houses that could accommodate a future MIL suite with a guest ...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP: Moving out of G Fund to F?
Replies: 49
Views: 3235

Re: TSP: Moving out of G Fund to F?

I have a large chunk of retiremement savings in the TSP. A couple of years ago I got tired of all the personal hand-wringing about C vs F and G vs S funds and decided to park 100% of it into the Target Date 2030 fund which is currently 33% G fund and 7% F fund giving me a nice even 40% fixed income ...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Accounting for mortgage in retirement math
Replies: 20
Views: 1711

Accounting for mortgage in retirement math

Quite often on this forum I see people with the retirement savings goal of having x-amount saved and no mortgage. Typically something like having $2 million saved with no mortage. I expect I'm not unusual in having recently relocated and started a new mortgage a few years ago that will will have abo...
by texasdiver
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 25 year safe withdrawal rate
Replies: 8
Views: 1281

Re: 25 year safe withdrawal rate

I'm not sure that mathematically you are going get a different answer with 25 years vs 30 years. In both instances you are going to want to more or less arrive at year 20 with most of your nest egg intact. One difference might be that you are likely to have less high-spendng years in retirement if y...
by texasdiver
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fine Art Investments
Replies: 63
Views: 2723

Re: Fine Art Investments

The world is becoming increasingly digital. I don't see my children's generation being as interested in physical art as current and past generations. They are much more digital. I don't know what that means for art markets in the future though. But I do know they are much less interested in physica...
by texasdiver
Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing advice for teen
Replies: 7
Views: 380

Re: Investing advice for teen

It's not that a teen's earnings are going to necessarily be large amounts worthy of careful investment. It's about forming good financial habits early on so that when the teen does land that first career job the habits are well established. My daughter teaches piano part time and saves some of her s...
by texasdiver
Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fine Art Investments
Replies: 63
Views: 2723

Re: Fine Art Investments

Trends change. The market in expensive antiques has absolutely collapsed by as much as 80% in recent years as has been well documented by the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/03/style/how-low-will-market-for-antiques-actually-go.html The world is becoming increasingly digital. I don't see my chi...
by texasdiver
Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: retiring abroad with savings worth 200k...
Replies: 101
Views: 14946

Re: retiring abroad with savings worth 200k...

Exactly. A friend's father early retired to Thailand a decade or two ago. He's Austrian and apparently Hua Hin is a popular place for German and Austrian retirees for some reason. My friend tells me that over the years a decent number of his father's friends got priced out of Thailand. I guess they...
by texasdiver
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Real Estate investment college town condo?
Replies: 22
Views: 1656

Re: Real Estate investment college town condo?

My daughter is a senior at an SEC university. Her freshman year was dorms, her sophomore year was a shared suite in a privately operated dorm apartment. Her junior and senior years have been renting a duplex with roommates. At both the private suite style dorm and the current duplex the property man...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stump Grinder - Ridiculous Side Hustle??
Replies: 51
Views: 7115

Re: Stump Grinder - Ridiculous Side Hustle??

I'm not an expert here but I have paid to have stumps ground and I've also rented the equipment to do it myself. My thought is that the majority of customers who will pay $$$ to have stumps ground are going to be residential customers with landscaped yards that will not accommodate a tractor with a ...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: retiring abroad with savings worth 200k...
Replies: 101
Views: 14946

Re: retiring abroad with savings worth 200k...

50 years is a LONG LONG time to expect things to be stable in the developing world. Take South Korea, for example. In 1970 you could have lived decently in Seoul for the 1970 equivalent of $200,000 x 4% or $8,000 per year. Today you couldn't even afford a studio apartment in the worst neighborhood o...
by texasdiver
Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy
Replies: 150
Views: 8070

Re: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy

Start funding a 529 plan, now. You aren't getting any financial aid other than loans. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to suffer a massive drop in income later on down the road (IDK, say it is cut in 1/2 by the time college is approaching), does that change the equation in terms of what instrumen...
by texasdiver
Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy
Replies: 150
Views: 8070

Re: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy

We have income similar to yours. Daughter #1 is starting her senior year as an out-of-state student at an SEC (public) university. We had about $20,000 for her in a 529 which got spent during freshman year and have been just paying as we go out of cash flow ever since. There is some belt-tightening ...
by texasdiver
Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for a child?
Replies: 19
Views: 1319

Re: Laptop for a child?

Chromebooks do not use a full operating system. It's cheap and schools can buy them, but they aren't good for much else . Ouch! We are talking about an 8 year old child who according to the OP: "Has online subscriptions to learning websites. She will use this for watching YouTube with family member...
by texasdiver
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for a child?
Replies: 19
Views: 1319

Re: Laptop for a child?

If you think she will ever need to access online tutoring, then don't get a Chromebook. Most of those platforms need a full operating system. I'm not sure what platforms you are using or talking about. My HS daughter has taken two online classes so far. Last summer she took online Geometry through ...
by texasdiver
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan Vs SUV Experience
Replies: 128
Views: 9987

Re: Minivan Vs SUV Experience

I"ve owned both a FWD Sienna and AWD Highlander and had both of them at the same time for a few years. The AWD Highlander was better in snow and for towing. The FWD Sienna was hands down better for pretty much everything else. When we did long-distance trips, the kids would much rather ride in the b...
by texasdiver
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Options for travel emergencies - AAA, Amex, travel agencies, etc.
Replies: 14
Views: 768

Re: Options for travel emergencies - AAA, Amex, travel agencies, etc.

We have kids the same age range and send them down to Chile every year to visit their elderly grandparents and family. They travel down there alone and with their elderly grandparents. Some things that I do: 1. Make high quality digital scans of all their documents (passports, birth certificates, im...
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for a child?
Replies: 19
Views: 1319

Re: Laptop for a child?

Chromebook. If your school system uses technology it will almost certainly be either chromebooks or iPads and most likely chromebooks. Very few school systems use PCs anymore for general student use. They do use them for high-end computer classes, digital design, and that sort of thing.
by texasdiver
Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Senior fell in major store
Replies: 25
Views: 3104

Re: Senior fell in major store

If it is a big box store they almost certainly have the event on video. Cameras are everywhere in those sorts of stores these days. If you reported it as you say then the store manager almost certainly pulled the video and they are probably waiting to see if you make any claims that aren't supported...
by texasdiver
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for aging parents
Replies: 43
Views: 2601

Re: Laptop for aging parents

Skip the chrome book. Most chromebook are a LOT slower than just a right $400 laptop. $400 laptop will get you 8GB ram, i5 8th gen intel, 256GB SSD. It's more than enough computer for an aging parents. This machine will last you 10 years easy. Examples: https://slickdeals.net/f/13368472-dell-inspir...
by texasdiver
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for aging parents
Replies: 43
Views: 2601

Re: Laptop for aging parents

Thank you for the feedback everyone! For those of you with Chromebook experience, would a cell-phone data limit of 5-10gb be enough to get the job done? The hotspot would likely only get turned on when the Chromebook is in use, only about ~hour/day. I think a laptop is better option for my parents ...
by texasdiver
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Leaf Blower?
Replies: 70
Views: 3924

Re: Best Leaf Blower?

I haven't removed leaves in 15 years. I mulch them in place on the grass with a mower and just leave them be in the flower beds.
by texasdiver
Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for aging parents
Replies: 43
Views: 2601

Re: Laptop for aging parents

Chromebooks or possibly an iPad with a keyboard since they already know how to use iPhones. You will go crazy trying to keep malware off the windows laptop of an aging parent if my experience is any guide. And the office suite apps available on chromebooks (and iPads) is good enough for all but the ...
by texasdiver
Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American kids attending Canadian Universities??
Replies: 22
Views: 2669

Re: American kids attending Canadian Universities??

If you’re considering out of state public universities, it’s very possible that you could pay far less than the list price for an out of state college. With your child’s scores and grades, it is likely they could qualify for merit aid regardless of the FAFSA determination of what your family is abl...
by texasdiver
Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents
Replies: 34
Views: 3088

Re: Whether to change phone number for elderly parents

I got my parents cell phones with new numbers and dropped the landline.

Problem gone. And i can track their locations :happy
by texasdiver
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: American kids attending Canadian Universities??
Replies: 22
Views: 2669

Re: American kids attending Canadian Universities??

I don't know how to do selective quotes on this forum and don't want to quote entire postings. So addressing some of the above points separately: If she is as urban west coast oriented as you portray then you have it nailed down pretty much to places in the Portland, Seattle, Vancouver Victoria are...