Search found 2406 matches

by texasdiver
Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend airline luggage fitting in overhead bin?
Replies: 23
Views: 1858

Re: Recommend airline luggage fitting in overhead bin?

What a great thread! It is pretty much like all the threads on luggage and there are quite a few. OK, if the OP wants a 4-wheel spinner, I can say I bought one and used it, then gave it to my spouse. I got a cheap TravelPro at TuesdayMorning. It is unremarkable, fits in overhead bins of planes bigg...
by texasdiver
Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to put TV in living room?
Replies: 12
Views: 944

Re: Where to put TV in living room?

Ours is above the fireplace because there was simply no other logical place to put it and that was the only place to put it where it could be viewed from the adjacent kitchen and dining area where I spend most of my time. I could have put it in the corner beside the fireplace but that would have loo...
by texasdiver
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?
Replies: 17
Views: 1322

Re: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Thanks for all the advice everyone. Lots to think about here. A couple of more details. 1. These are the same girls she is currently living with minus one. I've met them and their parents. All super responsible. Parents are all upper middle class like us and footing the bill so I see no issues with ...
by texasdiver
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?
Replies: 17
Views: 1322

Advice for daughter entering into college shared rental situation?

Oldest daughter will be starting her Jr. year of college next year. First year she lived on campus in the dorms. This year she has been living in a 4-bedroom private dorm apartment with friends. One of those new type operations common around universities where each roommate enters into an individual...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska - 8 nights in May
Replies: 10
Views: 842

Re: Alaska - 8 nights in May

In May you can still get have a lot of snow on the ground which means that roadside pullouts, parks and such on the Glenn Highway or Parks Highway may still be closed. In other words, they keep the main highways plowed all winter long but not necessarily all the tourist turnouts and parks and such....
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska - 8 nights in May
Replies: 10
Views: 842

Re: Alaska - 8 nights in May

In May you can still get have a lot of snow on the ground which means that roadside pullouts, parks and such on the Glenn Highway or Parks Highway may still be closed. In other words, they keep the main highways plowed all winter long but not necessarily all the tourist turnouts and parks and such. ...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school
Replies: 20
Views: 2822

Re: Child expenses - what to expect as your kids go from daycare to school

Parent of 3 girls ages 11, 14, and 19 Private daycare is a huge burden. For us it probably didn't get up to that level again until college but there are still endless costs that slowly increase from K up to 12. Just of the top of my head: Private music lessions: (piano, violin, sax) about $100-200 p...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel to Costa Rica
Replies: 19
Views: 1780

Re: Travel to Costa Rica

I've traveled their four times. First two times were decades ago when I was young and single. Flew into San Jose, rented a motorcycle, and toured the country by backpack and motorcycle. Last two times were more recently with family. Flew direct into Liberia Rented small 4x4 SUVs in Liberia for the d...
by texasdiver
Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age is the best to give a child control of an inheritance?
Replies: 192
Views: 10651

Re: What age is the best to give a child control of an inheritance?

A lot of this also has to do with the absolute amount of money that is at stake. If the inheritance is large and the child is young, you may want to start off with a life-long trust in your will. If you live long enough to see how they turn out you could then use a shorter control age to save admin...
by texasdiver
Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why does it seem there are so many bad/poor 401K plans?
Replies: 36
Views: 3529

Re: Why does it seem there are so many bad/poor 401K plans?

I watched this happen with my wife's employer which at the time was a small public health clinic. In her case it was a 403(b) plan but same difference. The CFO of the organization who was in charge of chosing plans was something of a control freak and the only MBA in the organization. All the other ...
by texasdiver
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?
Replies: 19
Views: 1694

Re: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?

I would favor pop up sprayers...I'm in NC and get very aggravated with our drip and the squirrels who are forever chewing on the lines. We back up to a greenbelt with a bazillion squirrels and rabbits so that might be something to bear in mind if they are chewing on the lines to get at water. I'm l...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?
Replies: 19
Views: 1694

Re: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?

OP.......just out of curiosity, what factors were involved in choosing drought tolerant plants for a very rainy climate? Vancouver WA has a wet season in the winter and a dry season in the summer. We can easily go all summer with little or no rainfall. And during a La Nina year we can have severe d...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher
Replies: 19
Views: 1103

Re: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher

Yes that is exactly like my wife's except that under her employer Vanguard nor Fidelity are part of the vendors. The ones I listed are the only ones that are approved for her to start a 403(b) so I don't have the option to use Vanguard. I did check out VALIC but for some reason for my wife's employ...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher
Replies: 19
Views: 1103

Re: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher

Yes that is exactly like my wife's except that under her employer Vanguard nor Fidelity are part of the vendors. The ones I listed are the only ones that are approved for her to start a 403(b) so I don't have the option to use Vanguard. I did check out VALIC but for some reason for my wife's employ...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?
Replies: 19
Views: 1694

Re: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?

We are in Western WA also and redid our yard a couple years ago along your lines -- took out most of the lawn and transitioned to plantings. But our plants are not all drought resistant, and we expect to have to irrigate over the summers. So we took our irrigation pretty seriously, and put in a fai...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher
Replies: 19
Views: 1103

Re: Lowest fees for 403(b) for Texas Teacher

I was a teacher in Texas for 9 years until we moved back to WA in 2016. I had a zero-fee 403(b) plan through Vanuard which should still be available. But you have to know how to get it because most of the districts are used to dealing with annuity salespeople and don't know how to deal with Vanguard...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?
Replies: 19
Views: 1694

Re: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?

One can just dig up the pop-up heads and replace with a short section of drip line, so you can always use your existing backbone of PVC and just replace heads as needed with a drip output. Or mix it up. Also if your system is old, there are newer adjustable nozzles. All parts are extremely cheap. A...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?
Replies: 19
Views: 1694

Drip irrigation or pop-up sprayers for garden?

I'm in the process of completely renovating our small back yard to rid it of grass and replace with hardscapes, dry streambed, and border plantings and beds. It is about 5000 sf and was basically a 100% grass fenced yard when we moved in with one zone of in-ground pop-up rotary sprinklers (6 sprinkl...
by texasdiver
Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Large life style creep that was completely worth it
Replies: 112
Views: 14261

Re: Large life style creep that was completely worth it

1. Hiring a weekly cleaning lady. This is the biggest game changer as we have a large house and pets. 2. Selling the camping trailer and switching to AirBnB or VRBO for vacation travel. Packing up the trailer, maintaining it, unpacking and cleaning after each trip, and trying to find reservations in...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?
Replies: 23
Views: 2004

Re: Backpacking in Guatemala and El Salvador?

I was a Peace Corps volunter for 2.5 years in Guatemala a couple decades ago but have been back half a dozen times over the years and have traveled over most every corner of the country by motorcycle and mountain bike. My perception is that the crime has gotten worse over the years but that there is...
by texasdiver
Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Met with School 403(b) Adviser: Need Clarification
Replies: 35
Views: 2000

Re: Met with School 403(b) Adviser: Need Clarification

I don't know about NJ but here in WA the state 457 plan for teacher is FAR superior than any of the for-profit 403(b) providers that we have available. For example, I can invest in a S&P 500 index fund through my 457 plan for a fee of 3 basis points (0.0030%) which is getting into the same ballpark ...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay
Replies: 53
Views: 3437

Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Check out the YMCA of the Rockies. There are two locations and we (wife and I) stayed there a couple of summers ago for 2 nights. We had a small cabin with stove and refrigerator and a porch with stunning views! Cost was very reasonable and lots of things for children (of all ages) to do. It is adj...
by texasdiver
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: In-law advice?
Replies: 24
Views: 2540

Re: In-law advice?

Life strategy or target retirement funds if looking for long-term investments. Reason being, you can sell it as being the asset allocation recommendations of Vanguard's top professional staff (as opposed to your own personal recommendations). When my brother asked me the same question I was able to ...
by texasdiver
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Samsung Chromebook vs Tablet for Travel?
Replies: 15
Views: 1076

Re: Samsung Chromebook vs Tablet for Travel?

I have both. For productivity that involves any kind of typing the chromebook is superior. For consumption of media (books, web sites, music, movies) the iPad is superior. The tablet is also MUCH easier to use without a table. So if you are traveling by bus, taxi, passenger in a car, or whatever. Or...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting old home to open plan layout?
Replies: 45
Views: 3992

Re: Converting old home to open plan layout?

We have a family of 3 girls. Last house had a very open floor plan. Got very old when the teenager had 6 friends over and basically had to hang out and socialize in our one great room, which exiled my wife and I to our master suite if we wanted privacy and didn't want to hover. The most recent house...
by texasdiver
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What iPhone podcast application do you use?
Replies: 40
Views: 3378

Re: What iPhone podcast application do you use?

Well, I've been using the stock apple podcast app for years and didn't know/think there was an alternative. Just downloaded overcast and going to give it a try.
by texasdiver
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Re: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

Is the ability to purchase pension credit a somewhat common thing? I wish I could take advantage of it here. I've looked on our pension website. The only way they allow it is for military service, peace corp service, or if the person has taught in public schools out of our state. That's the case he...
by texasdiver
Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Re: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

I haven't actually looked into whether Washington cares about the source of incoming funds. As WA has no state income tax I kind of doubt they would make any distinction about pre- or post- tax dollars for purchasing state pension credits. The tax issues are entirely Federal and not state. As far a...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Group life policy when you leave the group?
Replies: 6
Views: 560

Re: Group life policy when you leave the group?

I called the insurance company directly. It turns out that the group plan for the Association of Texas Professional Educators that I had a policy with had actually changed insurance underwriters from when I first opened the policy. The agent told me no problem, I could keep the policy as long as I ...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Re: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

I haven't actually looked into whether Washington cares about the source of incoming funds. As WA has no state income tax I kind of doubt they would make any distinction about pre- or post- tax dollars for purchasing state pension credits. The tax issues are entirely Federal and not state. As far a...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Re: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

Is the ability to purchase pension credit a somewhat common thing? I wish I could take advantage of it here. I've looked on our pension website. The only way they allow it is for military service, peace corp service, or if the person has taught in public schools out of our state. That's the case he...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Re: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

In a few months when I become eligible I plan to buy an additional 7 years worth of service credit with the Washington State Teacher's Pension plan which I am eligible to do as I have at least 7 years of teaching history in another state. By my calculation, the total cost will be in the neighborhoo...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are CD's or "savings accounts" allowed in 403b's?
Replies: 19
Views: 901

Re: Are CD's or "savings accounts" allowed in 403b's?

An actual CD wouldn't make any sense within a 403(b) because the time horizons are different. That said, it is unusual that your plan doesn't have any cash or fixed value type funds available. Every 403(b) and 401(k) plan I have ever participated in had some sort of stable value fund that was more o...
by texasdiver
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat Living
Replies: 58
Views: 6294

Re: Expat Living

I'm always somewhat amused when people uproot their lives and dash all the way off to some Latin American or Asian backwater just to save money in retirement. Have you visited any of these places, particularly the asian backwater ones as you describe recently, particularly the major cities? I've be...
by texasdiver
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?
Replies: 20
Views: 1306

Buying pension credit: Should I use pre or post tax dollars?

In a few months when I become eligible I plan to buy an additional 7 years worth of service credit with the Washington State Teacher's Pension plan which I am eligible to do as I have at least 7 years of teaching history in another state. By my calculation, the total cost will be in the neighborhood...
by texasdiver
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Group life policy when you leave the group?
Replies: 6
Views: 560

Re: Group life policy when you leave the group?

Just a follow-up here. I called the insurance company directly. It turns out that the group plan for the Association of Texas Professional Educators that I had a policy with had actually changed insurance underwriters from when I first opened the policy. The agent told me no problem, I could keep th...
by texasdiver
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat Living
Replies: 58
Views: 6294

Re: Expat Living

I'm always somewhat amused when people uproot their lives and dash all the way off to some Latin American or Asian backwater just to save money in retirement. Yes, of course it it cheaper than any HCOL urban area, especially on the coasts. But there are huge swaths of the US where the cost of living...
by texasdiver
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: manual typewriters?
Replies: 40
Views: 1715

Re: manual typewriters?

Well, it turns out we apparently have a good manual typewriter store across the river in Portland so I guess a field trip is in order the next time we have a free weekday: http://acetypewriter.com/
by texasdiver
Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: manual typewriters?
Replies: 40
Views: 1715

Re: manual typewriters?

I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece. It is...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: manual typewriters?
Replies: 40
Views: 1715

Re: manual typewriters?

When I went off to college in 1982 my parents sent me with a brand new portable electric typewriter that I used to type many papers on in my freshman year. I think it was a little Smith Corona. Then in Jan 1984 my college got a batch of the very first Apple Macintosh computers that came off the asse...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: manual typewriters?
Replies: 40
Views: 1715

manual typewriters?

My 15 year old daughter is something of a writer and is fascinated by typewriters. I think she's watched too many old movies or read too many old novels about writers slaving over typewriters! Anyway, I was thinking about trying to find one for her birthday. But don't have the slightest idea where t...
by texasdiver
Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat Living
Replies: 58
Views: 6294

Re: Expat Living

My wife and I talk about retiring in Chile or perhaps having a second residence there. She is Chilean and our kids are all dual citizens so I'm the only one in the family who doesn't actually hold a second Chilean passport. We have a few more years to go before having to make the decision. It would ...
by texasdiver
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]
Replies: 157
Views: 9844

Re: Do you wear a wedding band?

Yes.

Plain gold band bought at Costco when we married 18 years ago. I basically haven't taken it off since
by texasdiver
Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sams Club vs Costco
Replies: 78
Views: 6322

Re: Sams Club vs Costco

Sam's Club has gone to a lot of effort to copy Costco. Where we used to live in Texas we had a Sam's Club 15 minutes away in Waco and the nearest Costco was just over an hour away in Cedar Park. For a quick restocking I'd do Sam's but for a bigger weekend restocking I'd make the drive to Costco and ...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vancouver Vacation (Canada)
Replies: 18
Views: 1397

Re: Vancouver Vacation (Canada)

Vancouver is nice but with kids I'd plan a side trip to Vancouver Island and Victoria. The ferries themselves are fun. Victoria is a beautiful walkable small city with lots of attractions. You can also do whale watching tours. In Vancouver, my top two attractions are the UBC Museum of Anthropology h...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 403(b) plan provisions
Replies: 10
Views: 654

Re: 403(b) plan provisions

It looks like Vanguard offers 403(b) services with no asset based fee. Does anyone have experience with that, particularly the recordkeeping services? It appears those are outsourced to Newport Group. My last 403(b) as a teacher in Texas was a directly administered plan through Vanguard. I'm not su...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mixing fuel octanes for cars
Replies: 57
Views: 3774

Re: Mixing fuel octanes for cars

My 2004 Sienna called for 91 octane in the owners manual. 296,000 miles later I have still never once filled it up with premium fuel. Nothing but regular 87 octane for the life of the vehicle. To date I have had no engine-related issues with this vehicle. I've had suspension issues, had to replace t...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Which book for an 18 year old who is asking about investing?
Replies: 45
Views: 3068

Re: Which book for an 18 year old who is asking about investing?

HS teacher here. Most 18 year olds are going to find info online rather than reading books. Some good web sites, especially with forums might be a better option. This forum is going to be a bit much for an 18 year old new investor but there must be some good ones oriented towards basic boglehead typ...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 403(b) plan provisions
Replies: 10
Views: 654

Re: 403(b) plan provisions

There is a plan administrative asset-based charge of .0235% - I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Back in our previous jobs my wife and I both had 403(b) plans. Her plan through a local public health clinic had a 0.55% administrative fee imposed by the plan manager (Standard Insurance) on top of th...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 403(b) plan provisions
Replies: 10
Views: 654

Re: 403(b) plan provisions

Although it might be controversial on this board, a loan provision might be useful, especially to encourage increased participation on the part of younger participants. I was able to purchase my first home in a HCOL area ONLY because I was able to borrow part of the down payment from my Federal TSP....