Search found 119 matches

by Small Savanna
Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: To retire or not to retire,,,,
Replies: 19
Views: 2948

Re: To retire or not to retire,,,,

If you retire, will your wife keep working? A few hundred $K is not a lot if it needs to last for another 40 years. We would need a lot more details to provide any good advice.
by Small Savanna
Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home appraisal 8% less sq ft than listing
Replies: 42
Views: 2386

Re: Home appraisal square ft less than Seller Listing

From recent experience selling and buying, the square feet stated in the listing is frequently wrong, or at least doesn't match other sources, like tax records. If it's important to you, invest in a tape measure. As far as whether you can renegotiate the price down, anything is negotiable before clo...
by Small Savanna
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:20 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403b/457 vs TSP
Replies: 10
Views: 768

Re: 403b/457 vs TSP

What is your TSP money invested in? C fund would have given you a much better return.
by Small Savanna
Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA VS Mutual Funds
Replies: 8
Views: 489

Re: Roth IRA VS Mutual Funds

If you can actually afford to invest $1000 per day in anything, you'll do just fine...

For those of us who can't afford that, the best way to grow wealth is slow and steady, relying on a diversified portfolio, maximizing use of tax advantaged accounts, and staying the course over many years.
by Small Savanna
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Statistics question
Replies: 33
Views: 2604

Re: Statistics question

I tried simulating this in R, with 100,000 trials. I’m getting a 28% loss after 10 years in the 1st percentile and a 7% loss in the 5th percentile. I know there are people on this forum who code for a living, so would welcome anybody who would like to check my work. Here is the code: # Inputs n <- 1...
by Small Savanna
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Desperately In Need Of Advice
Replies: 19
Views: 2867

Re: Desperately In Need Of Advice

A question you should ask yourself is whether you really want to put the whole $140K into a house. My advice to a young person would be to buy a house you can afford with a 20% down payment. 20% is a good number because you will avoid PMI. At your income, a $300K house with $60K down and a $240K mor...
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the essential and discretionary expenses in a retirement budget?
Replies: 110
Views: 6140

Re: What are the essential and discretionary expenses in a retirement budget?

Another way to look at this - we all get used to a certain lifestyle, and even though a lot of it isn't essential, we're in the habit of having certain things. So if you stop at Starbucks every day now, how would it feel about giving that up? As a first step, take a detailed look at what you're spen...
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Yet Another Can We Retire Thread
Replies: 11
Views: 1734

Re: Yet Another Can We Retire Thread

From a strictly financial perspective, this looks easy. Pensions plus social security will either fully cover or almost fully cover your living expenses. With FEHB, no worries about health care costs. $2M investments will generate $60 to 80K per year indefinitely, which should pay for some nice vaca...
by Small Savanna
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Family Finances
Replies: 18
Views: 3011

Re: Family Finances

I'm sorry to hear of your situation. Several people have mentioned either retiring immediately or using FMLA. As a Fed, you are able to use any accrued sick leave up to 12 weeks per year to care for your wife: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/sick-...
by Small Savanna
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care insurance [looking for information]
Replies: 52
Views: 3005

Re: Long term care insurance [looking for information]

To say that something is "unknowable" is only partially true, and not very helpful. Nobody can predict the future, but you can certainly estimate the likelihood of needing to spend time in a long term care facility, and rank it against other things you might buy insurance for. It's much more likely ...
by Small Savanna
Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investment Question [What is the difference between growth and value?]
Replies: 8
Views: 508

Re: Investment Question

Value stocks are characterized by low P/E. That sounds good, because who doesn't like a bargain? The danger is that low P/E often is an indicator of something wrong with the long term prospects of the business. Unless you really know a lot more about the company or the industry than experts who stud...
by Small Savanna
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care insurance [looking for information]
Replies: 52
Views: 3005

Re: Long term care insurance [looking for information]

You will hear a diversity of opinions from people on this forum, but I'm a fan of having long term care insurance. The rationale for long term care insurance is the same as for any insurance - to make a potentially large and unpredictable expense predicable. My father needed a home health aide and e...
by Small Savanna
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Over Confident in Old-age: Cognitive Decline and Financial Literacy
Replies: 83
Views: 7408

Re: Over Confident in Old-age: Cognitive Decline and Financial Literacy

When I was a kid, and later when my kids were young we used to play a game called 20 questions on long car trips. You've probably played it - any reasonably smart eight year old can do well. It just requires some basic skills in reasoning and memory. My dad was a very smart man, outgoing and articul...
by Small Savanna
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How Do I Get Out Of 61 Stock Positions?
Replies: 15
Views: 1497

Re: How Do I Get Out Of 61 Stock Positions?

You didn't say what your marginal tax rate is or whether a big capital gain would expose you to special taxes like the 3.8% surtax on investment income. That is an extra tax on dividends and capital gains that kicks in at $250K AGI for a married couple. I'd recommend taking all the long term gains i...
by Small Savanna
Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car price ratio to NW
Replies: 140
Views: 8939

Re: Car price ratio to NW

I bought my first new car at 24, and at that time my net worth was actually less than zero because of student loans. But I was single and had a good job, and even with the car payment I was saving about a third of my income. I think the ratio of car price to disposable income is probably a better me...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Practices Federal and State Withholding in respect to SS, RMDs
Replies: 12
Views: 636

Re: Best Practices Federal and State Withholding in respect to SS, RMDs

Vanguard allows both federal and state withholding from IRA distributions, and I would guess others do as well. So a possible strategy would be to use regular withholding from one pension to get close to your estimate for the year, then use your last IRA distribution of the year to "top up" your wit...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you know what your partner spends money on?
Replies: 80
Views: 6047

Re: Do you know what your partner spends money on?

Don't sweat the small stuff, talk about the big stuff.
by Small Savanna
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I sell my BMW
Replies: 48
Views: 3316

Re: Should I sell my BMW

At this point, trading your BMW for any new car won't save you money. Also, selling the BMW and buying any used car for less than what you get is just trading one set of unknown problems for another. Buy the tires, drive for a couple more years, and re-evaluate.
by Small Savanna
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is your AA, given your age? and, Why?
Replies: 246
Views: 29032

Re: What is your AA, given your age? and, Why?

I'm 59 and my spouse is 54. We are both still working, with a goal of retiring within five years. We are 67% stocks and 33% bonds. The overriding factor that keeps us mostly in stocks is research showing that the probability of being able to maintain a 4% withdrawal rate (or any withdrawal rate) for...
by Small Savanna
Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Inherited IRA Question
Replies: 32
Views: 1813

Re: Inherited IRA Question

Condolences on your loss. I also have an inherited IRA with Vanguard. They were very helpful in guiding me through the process. They may be able to help you calculate the RMDs, since the rules are a bit confusing. Here is how I understand it - If your father died in 2019, then it is important to fin...
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Withdrawing Funds from Inherited IRA
Replies: 11
Views: 843

Re: Withdrawing Funds from Inherited IRA

I'm assuming that the inherited IRA is not a Roth IRA. If that's correct, you need to consider the tax implications of a big withdrawal. You may need to take out between $50 and $60K to have $40K after taxes. If you're retiring soon, it may be better to defer this until you're in a lower tax bracket...
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?
Replies: 72
Views: 4810

Re: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?

I'm a recently retired Fed. FERS is a good program, combining a defined benefit pension with TSP and social security. If you take full advantage of the TSP, you will be in good shape for retirement. I always made sure I got the full employee match, but in hindsight I would have put away closer to th...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy
Replies: 150
Views: 8152

Re: Long Term FAFSA/College Strategy

Funds for college can come from multiple sources: - money you save in a 529 or elsewhere - money your children save from part time/summer work - money out of your paycheck while they are in college - money they earn while in college - loans you take - loans they take - money from grandparents - scho...
by Small Savanna
Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: TSP in retirement
Replies: 31
Views: 2726

Re: TSP in retirement

I'm in a similar boat - 59, retired from federal service on FERS two years ago but working in a second career for a few more years, so I don't anticipate starting TSP withdrawals until I'm in my mid-60s, and hoping to delay social security until I'm 70 or close to it. Here is my TSP allocation as of...
by Small Savanna
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market/Limit Orders
Replies: 39
Views: 2230

Re: Market/Limit Orders

When buying, I always use market orders; I wouldn't be buying if I didn't think the price was going up, so delaying probably equals a missed opportunity. When selling, I've used limit orders to try to get a better price. Recently I successfully used a limit order to get a somewhat better price on a ...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Left Over 529
Replies: 9
Views: 1375

Re: Left Over 529

Is it definite that grad school is not in the picture? My older daughter had no definite grad school plans when she finished her Bachelors, but after working two years she decided to go back to school. Even if he doesn't go full time or seek another degree lots of people end up taking courses to fil...
by Small Savanna
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Schwab cutting 600 jobs - announced today
Replies: 28
Views: 5567

Re: Schwab cutting 600 jobs - announced today

Cutting 3% of jobs may just be a decision not to fill vacancies. It seems like companies announce these as if they are news because it gooses the stock price.
by Small Savanna
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Dog Car?
Replies: 70
Views: 4410

Re: Best Dog Car?

For a white dog, do not buy a 2005 Accord with the black cloth upholstery. Speaking from experience...
by Small Savanna
Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Day Trading for a Living?
Replies: 44
Views: 3937

Re: Day Trading for a Living?

This is only slightly more surprising than discovering nobody makes a living playing Bingo or buying scratch tickets.
by Small Savanna
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Buying 1/2 pint milk in bulk for school lunches?]
Replies: 68
Views: 4326

Re: Buying 1/2 pint drinks in bulk for lunches?

I'm going to sound like a geezer, but $1.10 for an 8 ounce milk is nuts. When I was a kid it was 3 cents for white and 4 cents for chocolate. . .
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Post-kids Expenses?
Replies: 10
Views: 888

Re: Post-kids Expenses?

Our youngest of two graduated from college in May, so we are only a few months into the "post-kids" era. No more college expenses is the biggest noticeable difference. After school she moved to the big city and got a job, but we paid her first month's rent. Older child graduated, worked for two year...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Roth be an emergency EF?
Replies: 32
Views: 2693

Re: Can a Roth be an emergency EF?

With the additional information that the income won't be replaced for a few years, I'm less supportive of either the HELOC option or taking money from the Roth. It's okay to spend more than you make for a few months, such as in the case of short term unemployment. Spending more than you make for a f...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spouse/Widow Inheriting My IRA
Replies: 26
Views: 2394

Re: Spouse/Widow Inheriting My Stretch IRA

I took a look at the Wiki, and this seems to be the most relevant paragraph: "A spouse, however, might decide to forgo a spousal rollover if he/she is under the age of 59 and 1/2 and has a clear need for the income from the IRA. As beneficiary, the surviving spouse is required to take minumum distri...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Windfall - Investment Advice
Replies: 18
Views: 1917

Re: Windfall - Investment Advice

Have you looked at the tax consequences associated with the windfall? Is this a capital gain realized in one year? Are there ways to structure the sale of the business that would reduce the tax consequences? Regarding putting it all in the market at once, that is usually the best approach, but if do...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Roth be an emergency EF?
Replies: 32
Views: 2693

Re: Can a Roth be an emergency EF?

Is the reduction in income temporary or permanent? And if temporary, do you have a good guess of how long it will last? For example if one of you is unemployed but with good job prospects, then this is an issue of managing cash flow for a few months. That's a much different situation than permanent ...
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fers ss supplement, Leo question
Replies: 23
Views: 1260

Re: Fers ss supplement, Leo question

I retired as a Fed, received the supplement for a while, and then lost it because I took a post-retirement job, so this was my experience. A caveat is that I was not law enforcement, and as noted above those rules are different, particularly for earned income before MRA. How to estimate your FERS su...
by Small Savanna
Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:49 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Keep new house unoccupied or let sibling mind it rent free? [ex-pat in UAE]
Replies: 31
Views: 2675

Re: Keep new house unoccupied or let sibling mind it rent free? [ex-pat in UAE]

Empty houses are risky - insurers will often charge a premium for a house left vacant. Letting your brother live there rent free makes good sense.
by Small Savanna
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How much did changing my portfolio cost me?
Replies: 17
Views: 1686

Re: How much did not staying the course cost me?

No point looking in the rear view mirror. Where are you going now?
by Small Savanna
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:36 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Capital Gain Tax Strategies
Replies: 16
Views: 1835

Re: Capital Gain Tax Strategies

Is there any way you can spread the gain over several years by selling the asset in pieces? That might get some of it taxed at a lower rate. Another idea would be a charitable gift annuity, which combines some tax benefits with an annual income stream. Here is an article on charitable gift annuities...
by Small Savanna
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Possible to put too much into tax advantaged vs taxable?
Replies: 33
Views: 3678

Re: Possible to put too much into tax advantaged vs taxable?

I think a dollar invested in a Roth account is always better than dollar invested in a taxable account, assuming you don't need the money until retirement. Neither one saves you anything on this year's taxes. Future earnings on the taxable account are often taxed at favorable rates, but the earnings...
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal employee dental insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1108

Re: Federal employee dental insurance

An important point is that the dental insurance isn't subsidized. I had the Federal dental insurance for a few years and concluded that it was easier and cheaper to just pay out of pocket.
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Where to invest 250k ?
Replies: 2
Views: 727

Re: Where to invest 250k ?

For money that you might need right away, there have been several threads recently on high interest checking accounts. High in this context is about 2% but that's about the best you can do without tying the money up or accepting some downside risk.
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Has the bond bubble finally arrived? If so, is anyone doing anything about it?
Replies: 94
Views: 10451

Re: Has the bond bubble finally arrived? If so, is anyone doing anything about it?

You'll probably get a lot of responses about not trying to time the market, but I share your concern. I'm pleasantly surprised that the bond part of my portfolio has gone up over the last few months, but that also tells me it could just as easily go down. I'd be interested in hearing from some bond ...
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Expectancy For Those Born in 1960
Replies: 26
Views: 2227

Re: Life Expectancy For Those Born in 1960

Also Class of '78. For those of us males who have made it this far, there is a 20% chance of making it to 90, and a 1% chance of getting to 100. :)
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did humanity ever make good Gas cans
Replies: 70
Views: 6238

Re: Did humanity ever make good Gas cans

Another good reason to go electric - we now have a battery powered mower and other lawn tools. It's nice not to have to deal with filling gas cans and keeping highly flammable liquids in an attached garage. Not to mention easier on your ears.
by Small Savanna
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Avoid grandson poverty
Replies: 76
Views: 9491

Re: Avoid grandson poverty

Apologies in advance for not answering the question directly, but do you have reason to believe he will be poor? A college grad in any reasonable field during a good economy should do fine, particularly without a spouse or child right away. If you want to help him financially, gifting a car, paying ...
by Small Savanna
Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most economical way to move small load 1000 miles
Replies: 40
Views: 3190

Re: Most economical way to move small load 1000 miles

I've been intrigued by PODS, which is a system where you pack a small container and then they deliver and/or store it for you. There may be some savings from the fact that you pack and unpack it yourself. I don't know the price, though. UPS may be your best bet - can you sell or give away some of th...
by Small Savanna
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reasonable and Rational Information on Precious Metals
Replies: 30
Views: 1595

Re: Reasonable and Rational Information on Precious Metals

I know people do it, but is there a good reason to own gold or silver? I guess it's easier to store in your house than timber or some other tangible asset. It seems like real estate would be a better hedge against inflation while producing income along the way, and canned food would be a better hedg...
by Small Savanna
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving the DMV my SS # - safe?
Replies: 24
Views: 2028

Re: Giving the DMV my SS # - safe?

I recall that in the '80s Virginia driver's licenses had the SSN printed right on the license, so every time I went to a bar the bouncer or bartender got to see it. We also had a photocopied office roster that included everyone's DOB and SSN. Social norms about PII were a lot more relaxed in those d...