Search found 43 matches

by alamo
Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best cash back rewards Card
Replies: 13
Views: 1757

Re: Best cash back rewards Card

It may be a little daunting to go through, but the answer to your question (multiple answers, actually) is here: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=192008 Edit to add: I'm pretty sure you are no longer getting 2+% back on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I used to love that card,...
by alamo
Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best cash back rewards Card
Replies: 13
Views: 1757

Best cash back rewards Card

Hi, looking for the current options for cash back rewards credit cards. Is the BofA preferred awards still the best combined rate available? I have been using the BarclayCard ArrivalPlus for years at 2+%. I have cash to park to get a higher rate.
by alamo
Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?
Replies: 94
Views: 6500

Re: Does Biomedical Engineering School Matter?

My DD initially wanted to major in BME but the school she was first attending had a fairly weak BME program. Their BME program was basically a ME degree with a few Bio related electives. She didnt want to go the ME route so she transferred to another school that offered the ChemE major (ABET) and wi...
by alamo
Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Compact Luxury Car < $35k... Acura ILX?
Replies: 17
Views: 1766

Re: Best Compact Luxury Car < $35k... Acura ILX?

Lifelong Honda accord and Toyota Camry driver here. We usually keep our cars at least a decade. Looking to upgrade as we near mid life. Currently, debating fully loaded Honda accord versus the Acura ILX. Any happy owners on here? Having conventional engine with high mileage efficiency is key. Also ...
by alamo
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Allowable 529 expenses
Replies: 6
Views: 581

Re: Allowable 529 expenses

leftcoaster wrote: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:51 pm I know that room and board is allowable. What about things like bedsheets and mattress toppers?
Room and board covers the room charges (rent) and meal plan (board). Anything in the room, other than a computer required for school use would not be a 529 expense.
by alamo
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Foundation Repair Questions
Replies: 11
Views: 1075

Re: Foundation Repair Questions

We are seeing cracks in our garage (Texas - Clay soil, slab foundation). We called a few foundation companies and are going to have an engineer survey the property next week. Upon meeting two people so far, we have received conflicting recommendation 1. One recommends concrete press piling and othe...
by alamo
Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the best way to build credit for a teen/young adult
Replies: 9
Views: 773

What is the best way to build credit for a teen/young adult

What is the best way for a 19 yo college student to start building credit? Should they get a basic, no fee CC in their own name or is it better to add them as a secondary cardholder on one of the parent's cards? Do they need to actually use the card on the parent's account to build credit or just be...
by alamo
Tue May 07, 2019 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lost out on 401k match for over-contributing
Replies: 49
Views: 6068

Re: Lost out on 401k match for over-contributing

I over-contribute to my 401k. Have been doing so for about a decade now!! This means I am done with my 401k contribution limit (18.5k last year, 19k this year) by sometime around September, and then I get big, fat paychecks for last 3 months of the year. I got down to doing some actual spreadsheet ...
by alamo
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 college savings over-funded - how to proceed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2120

Re: 529 college savings over-funded - how to proceed?

However, if the student is applying for merit aid, why does it matter what the EFC number is? If the school is distributing scholarships based on EFC, it's need based aid. If they are distributing money without regard to EFC, it's merit based aid. But then it doesn't matter what the EFC is. I actua...
by alamo
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 college savings over-funded - how to proceed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2120

Re: 529 college savings over-funded - how to proceed?

My parents have a 529 plan for each of their grand children, of which there are many. My oldest kiddo is a Junior in high school and looking at college now. I spoke with my father about the funds in her 529. Apparently, each of my father's 529s are invested differently, and the fund for my daughter...
by alamo
Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expenses in Quicken, Moneydance
Replies: 8
Views: 879

Re: Expenses in Quicken, Moneydance

I'd like to start using an expense analysis tool, and we're looking at Quicken and Moneydance (open to other recommendations if folks have them). One key feature we need is to be able to cleanly separate our personal and work expenses. We spent ~$100K last year on personal cards that was reimbursed...
by alamo
Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My wife's 2016 Mazda CX-5 lease is up. Now what?
Replies: 37
Views: 3257

Re: My wife's 2016 Mazda CX-5 lease is up. Now what?

1. she is definitely not going to buy it out 2. she wants a CUV or small SUV 3. budget ~$35,000 (assuming buy, but lease is an option) right now she's considering the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or a 2019 CX-5. she can certainly be convinced to test drive a few other options. i have a 2017 Subaru Fores...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

All good thoughts and I guess in time I will be able to answer those questions. For now, I am planning on paying close to full $$ for each kid . If that doesn't happen, we can figure out the path forward. If they get a scholarship/aide, we will give them the $$ to jump stat their lives. I sincerely...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on bypassing a Realtor to sell property
Replies: 13
Views: 1226

Re: Thoughts on bypassing a Realtor to sell property

Thanks for the input. I have told the Realtor what we need to net but with two involved it has not worked out so far. I am not real comfortable about bypassing the Realtor but after working with him for a year after the listing ended, I feel I have given him a good opportunity to make the sale. It ...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying cash for a vehicle
Replies: 87
Views: 12213

Re: Paying cash for a vehicle

Yesterday, I truly realized why Dave Ramsey says to pay cash for a vehicle. I was thinking about “upgrading” my 2003 Honda Pilot with 228,000 miles. Found a decked out 2011 Honda Pilot Touring for $10,990 with 149,000 miles. If I was focused on payments, it would have been easy to pull the trigger....
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

In that case, Public U it is :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: All kidding aside that number (436K) just does not make sense to me. It's basically saying, if you are not poor or rich, you are are expected to pay that insane amount for 1 kid for college. Something is gotta give.... Exactly. Its better t...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

The Net Price Calculator is what is used to determine your EFC. The EFC is your expected financial contribution to the school. If your EFC is $50k and the total costs are $40k you get no need based aid. EFC is what matters at all schools. The two are different. The EFC is what the government thinks...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

KlangFool, I appreciate your concerns and thoughts. My kids are still young, so I have 10+ years until the first one hits the college age. I also wish it was that simple, to say no to anything but Public U. I am committed to paying for kids undergraduate degrees whether they go to Ivy leagues or co...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

You have to use the EFC calculator for the specific college based on your income at the time your kid is going to attend. An EFC is nearly meaningless for most people. The Net Price Calculator is much more accurate. The Net Price Calculator is what is used to determine your EFC. The EFC is your exp...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

OP, I am in Virginia. For my kids, the total college cost for an in-state public university is 30K per kid per year (tuition, room, and board). If the kid stays at home, the cost is cut by half to 15K per year. KlangFool Thanks! I still have hope that my kids will want to go to Tech or UVA... So ta...
by alamo
Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College cost trends - 2018 report
Replies: 116
Views: 4485

Re: College cost trends - 2018 report

You have to use the EFC calculator for the specific college based on your income at the time your kid is going to attend. Many colleges site their financial aid to get kids to apply. They need applicants to drive their acceptance rates which is an important measure used in those USNews lists and suc...
by alamo
Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I just buy the townhouse I'm currently renting
Replies: 33
Views: 3271

Re: Should I just buy the townhouse I'm currently renting

Me and my wife (ages 33 and 31) are currently renting a spacious 2,300 sq foot townhouse for $2,400 per month and have been for over 2 years in a HCOL area. My landlord contacted me about putting the house up for sale. Similar homes in the neighborhood have been selling for 485K-505K. I predict me ...
by alamo
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tire protection plans?
Replies: 18
Views: 903

Re: Tire protection plans?

researcher wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:29 pm
louiethelilac wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:47 pm over 3 years ...I would have had to outlay about $1,300 between tires that had to be fixed or replaced.
How is this possible?

Were you leasing a Bugatti Veyron?
Cost of the factory wheels on one of my vehices is around $900 each with OEM tire at $295. This is on a ~$60k vehicle (was)
by alamo
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tire protection plans?
Replies: 18
Views: 903

Re: Tire protection plans?

In the process of leasing a new car. For my last lease I purchased the dealer's wheel/tire protection plan (about $450 over 3 years; was glad I did since during that time I would have had to outlay about $1,300 between tires that had to be fixed or replaced; cost was zero each time with no hassle)....
by alamo
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Cash at online savings bank or Fidelity MMF?
Replies: 7
Views: 828

Cash at online savings bank or Fidelity MMF?

Any pros/cons to putting emergency fund and short term (~5 years) cash in an online savings account at %2.10+ etc vs in Fidelity brokerage in one of their money market funds?
by alamo
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trying to understand how I got hit with such a big amount in taxes owed
Replies: 40
Views: 6035

Re: Trying to understand how I got hit with such a big amount in taxes owed

I'm doing my 2018 taxes and found that I owe I big chunk. so big, that I need to pay a penalty. That was a total surprise to me. I'm in the 35% federal tax bracket. Worked for only 1 employer in 2018. I'm not an expert on the subject, but my common sense tells me that in the beginning of the year m...
by alamo
Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should you own company shares in 401(k)?
Replies: 20
Views: 1140

Re: Should you own company shares in 401(k)?

One of my good friends had her total savings in Enron stock. She is now a widow and having to live very frugally. Ditto, had neighbors both husband and wife worked for Enron and lots of investments were in Enron stock. Both laid off and investments at basically zero after the collapse. Your employm...
by alamo
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: First time bonus question
Replies: 14
Views: 792

Re: First time bonus question

This past year i started a new job at a new company. this new job comes with a 10% annual bonus as part of my pay structure. this is my first time receiving a bonus Now, i knew bonuses are taxed heavily...but mine was taxed at just over 50%, which is even higher than i expected. I thought i underst...
by alamo
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Best 529 options
Replies: 6
Views: 919

Re: Best 529 options

Initial threshold questions to get to a comprehensive and thoughtful answer: 1- what state are you in? 2- are you maxing all your retirement accounts (401k, IRAs, 457s, TSP etc)? Thanks for the response. We are in Texas. We are maxing out our Roth IRAs. We contribute to our 403(b)'s, but don't max ...
by alamo
Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan
Replies: 70
Views: 5036

Re: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan

There are other variables at *low* income - when the auto EFC = zero threshold was ~$32k, we could put enough in DH's 401k to hit that threshold. No, it wasn't maxing retirement, at the time. Later when they retroactively dropped it to $23k, we couldn't afford to put the amount needed into his 401k...
by alamo
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan
Replies: 70
Views: 5036

Re: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan

That's not how I read it - UNLESS you already max out all retirement accounts is the key phrase. If you have not maxed out all retirement accounts, putting saving in retirement is better for financial aid purposes, because retirement account balances are not reported on the FAFSA. After you've maxe...
by alamo
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan
Replies: 70
Views: 5036

Re: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan

Would you have gotten more need based aid if more of that money had been in your wife's lousy 403b instead of the 529? Your need based aid is primarily based on the parents Income not savings. All 529s are considered available for child 1 when they start college. If you have 4 529s with each kid as...
by alamo
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan
Replies: 70
Views: 5036

Re: Bad Idea or Good Idea? - Investing in 529 College Savings Plan

Is it a bad idea or a good idea to invest in a 529 College Savings Plan? 1. I have heard that having a lot of assets in a 529 College Savings Plan can hurt the chances of your child getting "free" grants and scholarships for college. Is this true? 2. Are there are any other downsides to h...
by alamo
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Newlyweds and joint accounts for household expenses
Replies: 120
Views: 6919

Re: Newlyweds and joint accounts for household expenses

Tried multiple ways and this is what works the best for us. Joint account that both parent's paychecks get deposited into automatically. Large difference in paychecks but all income is "ours". All income goes into this account. All fixed monthly bills are paid out of this account (home, ca...
by alamo
Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Interest on mortgage no longer deductible. Should I pay this off instead? Edited for clarification
Replies: 8
Views: 783

Re: Interest on mortgage no longer deductible. Should I pay this off instead?

So it happens, with interest paid in 2018 of $13000, and income tax deduction of $10,000, I am better off filing with standard deduction. Property taxes although ridiculously high ($12000) can’t be deducted, right? I paid $13500 in state income taxes. My mortgage loan is 4.125%. I am thinking it ma...
by alamo
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CA homes and new SALT limits
Replies: 48
Views: 6116

Re: CA homes and new SALT limits

FWIW not in CA but just completed my 2018 return (MFJ 24% bracket) and it has a report with a line by line comparison to 2017. Basically identical Taxable income for 2017 and 2018. Thats net of all the changes with capped $10k SALT, no std exemption, child tax credit changes, etc. No state income ta...
by alamo
Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

Re: 401k Fund Review

That's a good idea, if Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund or a similar fund is offered in her employer's plans. Are you limiting yourself to contributing just enough to your 401k to get the employer match? I guess thats a good point. I was thinking about re balancing our current total retirement...
by alamo
Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of college and 529
Replies: 642
Views: 28468

Re: Cost of college and 529

I'm curious to hear how others on this forum are estimating future cost of college when it comes to their 529s. From my research: - 4 year cost for elite Private college in 2029 will be ~$500K - 4 year cost for good Public school (out of state) such as a Big Ten school will be ~$300K - 4 year in-st...
by alamo
Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

Re: 401k Fund Review

Thanks for the input. Based on the 3 cash/bond options available in my 401k (above), which would be recommended if balancing with an S&P 500 index fund? Do you have an IRA? Are you eligible to contribute to a traditional deductible IRA or a Roth IRA? It's much better to use an IRA at a low cost...
by alamo
Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

Re: 401k Fund Review

Thanks for the input. Based on the 3 cash/bond options available in my 401k (above), which would be recommended if balancing with an S&P 500 index fund?
by alamo
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

Re: 401k Fund Review

For my cash/bond options I have these available via my 401k plan: Metro West Total Return Bond - MWTRX - .67% ER Bond Sector (as of 09/30/2018) Government ...................................................... 18.51% Govt. Related ...................................................... 0.03% Municipa...
by alamo
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

Re: 401k Fund Review

Looking for opinions on the attached funds available to me in my 401k. Potentially retire in 13 years, hopefully plus 30yrs after that. Currently 100% stocks. 53.4% BnY S&P 500 18.2% Dodge & Cox 28.3% T Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth If you really want to be 100% US stocks, then just use BNY M...
by alamo
Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401k Fund Review
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

401k Fund Review

Recently found the bogleheads forum. Heard about it from a podcast with Mr. Bogle. I have purchased The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning and am getting good info from it. Looking for opinions on the attached funds available to me in my 401k. Potentially retire in 13 years, hopefully plus 30y...