Search found 249 matches

by Small Savanna
Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: percentage of portfolio in Roth?
Replies: 72
Views: 3533

Re: percentage of portfolio in Roth?

13% of our retirement assets are in Roth, 16% in taxable, and 71% in tax deferred. It's hard to know if those percentages are correct without some reliable information about future tax rates. We're in the 24% bracket now, and will probably be in 22% or 24% post-retirement, so I see this primarily as...
by Small Savanna
Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used cars
Replies: 45
Views: 4360

Re: Used cars

I've been looking on autotrader.com and a slightly used Nissan Versa can be had for less than $10K. I assume these are former rental cars, but they're typically 2-3 years old with less than 50K miles, so you should be able to get several more good years before needing any expensive maintenance.
by Small Savanna
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What fun car should I get in the $150k - $200k range?
Replies: 446
Views: 24518

Re: What fun car should I get in the $150k - $200k range?

I would dial it back to a Porsche 911 or the new Corvette. They seem to be fun to drive, with more power than you could ever use, yet not completely impractical, and on the lower end of your price range even with a lot of options. I'd love to drive a Lamborghini once, but I can't imagine it as a dai...
by Small Savanna
Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Markets back near all time highs - how are you feeling and path forward ?
Replies: 238
Views: 21009

Re: Markets back near all time highs - how are you feeling and path forward ?

Comparing our portfolio now to December, it looks like nothing happened in the last six months. We are within 1% of where we were. We were about 60/40 then, and we're about 60/40 now. But being down several hundred $K in the middle of March was emotionally challenging, and I'm a lot more wary about ...
by Small Savanna
Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford 600k house?
Replies: 95
Views: 8818

Re: Can we afford 600k house?

If you've been comfortably paying $2750 a month in rent, then the PITI on a $480K loan won't be appreciably different, and you may be able to itemize on taxes. But your budget will be a little tight until your wife goes back to work.
by Small Savanna
Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?
Replies: 20
Views: 1980

Re: Federal Retirees - Two questions, please?

I'm sure it depends on the agency, but here was my experience. I put in notice in July, my last day at work was Friday Sept 29, 2017 (also the end of a pay period). My final paycheck including all my saved annual leave was deposited on my normal payday, October 6th. First payment from OPM came on No...
by Small Savanna
Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car question for a white vehicle - acid washing?
Replies: 29
Views: 1341

Re: Car question for a white vehicle - acid washing?

According to this article, Hydrofluoric Acid is (or was) commonly used in car wash cleaning solutions:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 6X12001189
by Small Savanna
Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling wife's 1-year old car?
Replies: 86
Views: 6109

Re: Selling wife's 1-year old car?

Hindsight is 20/20, but now that you've got both cars maybe the best course of action is to pay them off and just keep them both for a very long time. You're not poor, and reliable safe transportation is worth something. Alternatively, give your wife the Subaru, sell her car and buy something like a...
by Small Savanna
Thu May 28, 2020 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employer approval for a side gig
Replies: 43
Views: 2340

Re: Employer approval for a side gig

As a possible work-around, your spouse could take the side gig and you could occasionally provide her and her business partner with free advice, but without having a formal ownership or management role.
by Small Savanna
Mon May 25, 2020 11:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calculating Capital Gains Taxable Amount
Replies: 22
Views: 1463

Re: Calculating Capital Gains Taxable Amount

It would be based on the price you purchased each share at. If you bought all shares all at once, each share has the same cost basis. Unless you reinvested dividends. Presuming you bought all shares all at once & no re-invested dividends, it'd be: ($14,858 / $93,463) * $14,670 = $2,332.12. I'm pret...
by Small Savanna
Sun May 24, 2020 11:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Examples of why NOT to hold individual stocks
Replies: 93
Views: 7757

Re: Examples of why NOT to hold individual stocks

I was a stock picker but I'm slowly getting away from it, and individual stocks are now about 10% of our total assets. The challenge in getting to zero is that some of them have substantial capital gains. You could think of that as another reason not to hold individual stocks - when you pick a good ...
by Small Savanna
Sun May 24, 2020 6:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth + Time vs Pretax + tax
Replies: 94
Views: 5480

Re: Roth + Time vs Pretax + tax

Important assumptions are that their income is level over a long period of years and that the tax laws won't change. Other assumptions: - Ignored state taxes - Ignored net investment income tax - 85% of Social Security would be taxable for this couple across all of the strategies - Standard deducti...
by Small Savanna
Sat May 23, 2020 1:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth + Time vs Pretax + tax
Replies: 94
Views: 5480

Re: Roth + Time vs Pretax + tax

Intuition wasn't helping me figure this out, so I did a spreadsheet to "what if" this for varying levels of Pre-tax vs Roth contributions. TLDR is that time doesn't seem to be a factor, and that Roth vs. Pre-tax doesn't matter as much as I expected. To keep it fair, I assumed that a couple in the mi...
by Small Savanna
Sat May 16, 2020 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Stock Screen
Replies: 21
Views: 1030

Re: Stock Screen

I've done what you're trying to do - find bargains. Most people on this forum will tell you that it won't work because markets are efficient, and if a stock seems like a bargain, the price likely reflects some underlying weakness in the company that isn't reflected in the balance sheet or the P/E ra...
by Small Savanna
Wed May 06, 2020 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Traditional IRA Contribution Limit Odd Situation
Replies: 7
Views: 303

Re: Traditional IRA Contribution Limit Odd Situation

If you're unsure if the contribution will be deductible, you can wait until early next year when you know for certain the amount of all your other 2020 income, and you have your W2 with the pension plan box either checked or unchecked. You can make a 2020 contribution up until April 15th 2021.
by Small Savanna
Mon May 04, 2020 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawnmower recommendation
Replies: 65
Views: 4072

Re: Lawnmower recommendation

I'm a convert to electric. We have a Ryobi with a 5 Amp-hr battery and I can get two mowings on a charge, but if I had a big lawn I'd just get an extra battery. We also have a Ryobi leaf blower and hedge trimmer that use the same form-factor battery. No need to keep highly flammable liquids in the ...
by Small Savanna
Sun May 03, 2020 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Getting 300k cash. What should we do with it?
Replies: 23
Views: 4006

Re: Getting 300k cash. What should we do with it?

It might depend on your plans for using the money. If it's part of your retirement portfolio, and you need it in 20 to 30 years, then you should invest consistent with your overall retirement asset allocation. If you plan to use it (or a big part of it) to buy a house in 6 years, then you probably w...
by Small Savanna
Sun May 03, 2020 10:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Airline Stocks
Replies: 42
Views: 4037

Re: Airline Stocks

Even before COVID-19, airlines were a bad investment. The product is a commodity, and consumers shop principally on price. Barriers to entry aren't all that high, as evidenced by the continued emergence of new budget airlines that keep taking market share from the bigger, older airlines. Airports, o...
by Small Savanna
Sun May 03, 2020 9:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawnmower recommendation
Replies: 65
Views: 4072

Re: Lawnmower recommendation

I'm a convert to electric. We have a Ryobi with a 5 Amp-hr battery and I can get two mowings on a charge, but if I had a big lawn I'd just get an extra battery. We also have a Ryobi leaf blower and hedge trimmer that use the same form-factor battery. No need to keep highly flammable liquids in the h...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace notebook/desktop with phone or tablet
Replies: 9
Views: 733

Re: Replace notebook/desktop with phone or tablet

My laptop broke recently and I used a Raspberry Pi 4 with an external monitor for web surfing. It was surprisingly adequate.
by Small Savanna
Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Early retirees who were close - how are you adjusting
Replies: 45
Views: 6184

Re: Early retirees who were close - how are you adjusting

Our situation may not exactly fit your template, but here it is: I'm 59 and my wife is 54. In 2017 I retired from a federal job with a pension that is about 36% of my "high three" salary. I wasn't ready to not work, but had an opportunity to take a job that pays slightly better than my final federal...
by Small Savanna
Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How best to swap houses in 2 different cities?
Replies: 11
Views: 1046

Re: How best to swap houses in 2 different cities?

There are three separate decisions here, and it seems that you are mentally linking them when they don't need to be linked: 1. A rental house that you want to sell - sell it and pay the taxes. 2. What to do with the proceeds from the sale - if you didn't enjoy being a landlord, invest the money in s...
by Small Savanna
Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Any high earners doing Roth conversion in 2020?
Replies: 32
Views: 2851

Re: Any high earners doing Roth conversion in 2020?

For someone who is currently working, high earner or not, the first question is whether your marginal rate in retirement will be as high or higher than your current marginal rate. If not, then it's hard to make a compelling case for a Roth Conversion this year. Here is a possible counterargument - i...
by Small Savanna
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving out of NYC due to pandemic
Replies: 164
Views: 13016

Re: Moving out of NYC due to pandemic

I agree with those who say wait a few months before you do anything that's hard to undo. In the interim, you can do some research and put out feelers to colleagues in other parts of the country. You should also think deeply about your reasons for wanting to move, and whether the grass will actually ...
by Small Savanna
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Different Spin on the question of "Should I pay of the house or Invest.."
Replies: 73
Views: 4632

Re: Different Spin on the question of "Should I pay of the house or Invest.."

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:26 am
Small Savanna wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:24 am

So let's say that your mortgage interest rate is 3.5% and you are able to get a 3.5% return on a low-risk investment (good luck finding that).
EE bonds
That's a good point, although you have to hold to maturity to get that.
by Small Savanna
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Different Spin on the question of "Should I pay of the house or Invest.."
Replies: 73
Views: 4632

Re: Different Spin on the question of "Should I pay of the house or Invest.."

One consideration is taxes - under the old tax law, most mortgage interest was tax deductible. Under the new law a lot of mortgage interest isn't tax deductible. For example, if you have $10K in state and local taxes, $2K in charitable, and $10K in mortgage interest for a married couple, you're stil...
by Small Savanna
Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Graph of how SS benefits can change with decreases in 2020 national wages for one born in 1960
Replies: 65
Views: 5438

Re: Graph of how SS benefits can change with decreases in 2020 national wages for one born in 1960

Ignoring the various truncations in the actual SS benefit calculations (these might affect monthly payments by $1 or so), one's monthly benefit is linearly dependent on the age 60 AWI. Quick 'n' dirty derivation below. AIME = Age_60_AWI * (sum of annual earnings, weighted by each year's AWI) Bend P...
by Small Savanna
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Graph of how SS benefits can change with decreases in 2020 national wages for one born in 1960
Replies: 65
Views: 5438

Re: Graph of how SS benefits can change with decreases in 2020 national wages for one born in 1960

I'm interested in this topic, since I was born in 1960. To get a sense of the possible impact, I looked at data from the last recession. The Social Security wage indexing series shows that average wages dropped 1.5% from 2008 to 2009. Would anyone care to speculate about whether 2019 to 2020 will be...
by Small Savanna
Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Care Insurance
Replies: 159
Views: 4642

Re: Long Term Care Insurance

There is a new thread on long term care insurance every few months, and I'm always surprised at the level of emotion around this topic. Insurance is designed to make money for the insurance company, so if you're truly risk neutral, you shouldn't buy any insurance at all unless it's subsidized or man...
by Small Savanna
Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How bad is market timing? Some thoughts
Replies: 37
Views: 2104

Re: How bad is market timing? Some thoughts

The OP started with the null hypothesis that stock moves are a random walk. If that's true, then market timing doesn't work. But there seems to be significant evidence for the alternative hypothesis of "reversion to the mean," the idea that there is a correlation between the price of stocks and the ...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many paid for kids' college?
Replies: 282
Views: 14044

Re: How many paid for kids' college?

I paid for most of my education, but that was 40 years ago. A part time job during the school year, a full time summer job, a Pell grant, and a few $K in loans were enough to cover it. In my last full year at Big State U, I made about $5K from employment, and that was enough to cover tuition, books,...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Well, I am market timing due to coronavirus... Wish me luck.
Replies: 1220
Views: 107710

Re: Well, I am market timing due to coronavirus... Wish me luck.

I can guarantee you that stocks will be lower than today. Interestingly the day the op said this was the lowest we've seen so far. We could always go down again but we are almost 30% higher today than 23rd March. Crystal ball broke I guess. So to make this work you have to be right twice - getting ...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where have you eaten out recently?
Replies: 21
Views: 1309

Re: Where have you eaten out recently?

Our last meal "out" was on March 12th, but we've gotten pizza a couple times from the Mellow Mushroom (Atlanta area). We like the pizza and it's close to home, and we want them to be there when things open up again. Tip generously!
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mesh Wifi
Replies: 130
Views: 9206

Re: Mesh Wifi

We went with Orbi. There were a few hiccups with initial set up, but overall it's been great.
by Small Savanna
Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stale Gasoline?
Replies: 25
Views: 1869

Re: Stale Gasoline?

I'd think twice about having 15 gallons of a highly flammable and volatile liquid in my garage, unless it's not connected to the house.
by Small Savanna
Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stimulus and College Student children - don't claim them as dependant?
Replies: 13
Views: 863

Re: Stimulus and College Student children - don't claim them as dependant?

Here is a slightly different situation - we claimed our daughter as a dependent on our 2018 return, but not on the 2019 return filed a few weeks ago. She graduated in May and has been supporting herself since then. I helped her fill out her tax return and she just filed it today. Will the IRS send h...
by Small Savanna
Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reason not to buy car at end of lease?
Replies: 28
Views: 2354

Re: Reason not to buy car at end of lease?

I've leased cars and bought them at the end of the lease. Given the facts that you've laid out, this sounds like a good plan.
by Small Savanna
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: paying short term capital gains tax, when? immediately or in april?
Replies: 1
Views: 158

Re: paying short term capital gains tax, when? immediately or in april?

Yes, you pay on the same schedule. But short term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long term gains, so if you don't have a burning need to sell, you may want to wait. Also, if you owe too much in April, you may be subject to an underpayment penalty. You can avoid the penalty by paying estimated...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Auto insurance companies issuing refunds due to coronavirus]
Replies: 101
Views: 6892

Re: GEICO 15% credit for auto/motorcycle renewal

With so many people staying at home and not driving, claims must be way down. I filled up my gas tank two weeks ago and it's still full. If premiums were proportional to miles driven, I'd expect about a 90% credit for March, April, and May.
by Small Savanna
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing Cable TV with Streaming: Critical Analysis
Replies: 86
Views: 5623

Re: Replacing Cable TV with Streaming: Critical Analysis

Cancelling cable TV is cathartic, and I would encourage anyone to do it. Plus, if you quit for six months, they have some excellent customer disloyalty discounts. If you're paying $180 now, they will probably take you back for $99. Here is what we have: AT&T internet $60/mo. Sling $25/mo. Amazon Pri...
by Small Savanna
Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are your personal expenses down during stay home and shelter?
Replies: 180
Views: 10848

Re: Are your personal expenses down during stay home and shelter?

Drinking coffee at home instead of Starbucks. Eating lunch at home instead of Jimmy Johns or the food truck. Occasional take out, but no nice restaurants. Netflix instead of going to the movie theater. I'm overdue for a haircut but can't spend money on that. No dry cleaning. I filled up my gas tank ...
by Small Savanna
Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do famous people invest?
Replies: 22
Views: 1887

Re: How do famous people invest?

Some celebrities have started their own companies, mostly investing in the industries that they work in. Oprah and Merv Griffin come to mind. Both talk show hosts who became media moguls. Merv's net worth when he passed away was about $1B, and Oprah's is over $2B.
by Small Savanna
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how much cash do you keep at home?
Replies: 130
Views: 8714

Re: how much cash do you keep at home?

Just checked - I have $75 in my wallet. We also have a bowl full of change; there might $20 or $30 in it. Somewhere I've got an Eisenhower dollar that my grandfather gave me.
by Small Savanna
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investments you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole
Replies: 110
Views: 9255

Re: Investments you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole

I still have some individual stocks, but I got burned a few times. Here are worst ones: Boston Market in the '90s - I thought it was a good concept, and the one in my neighborhood seemed to do good business. The restaurants stayed open, but the stockholders lost everything. GAP, also in the '90s. I ...
by Small Savanna
Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

I don't think it's confusing at all. In the specific example I gave, if I take the RMD now and sell the shares in 2023, I'll have $9000 - $1899 = $7101 in my pocket in 2023. If I wait and take the IRA distribution in 2023, I will have $9000 - $2160 = $6840 in my pocket in 2023. This works because c...
by Small Savanna
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

Even if RMDs are not required, it may be advantageous to take distributions now - I moved funds from VTSAX in a Vanguard inherited IRA into my regular Vanguard account two weeks ago, keeping them in VTSAX. By doing it now when the market is down, I pay less in taxes on the transferred shares, and f...
by Small Savanna
Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

It is not so complicated. It has nothing to do with market going up or down, but is a matter of "tax rates" now vs. later. If you have $1,000 pre-tax, either from your earnings or IRA, where would you save? Tax-deductible IRA or taxable? By complicated, I mean that it requires you to make guesses a...
by Small Savanna
Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

Why are taxable accounts better than tax-deferred accounts except in unusual cases? This is a complicated subject that has been addressed in many threads by people more knowledgeable than me. It involves speculation about whether the market will go up or down, what future tax rates will be, and wha...
by Small Savanna
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

Even if RMDs are not required, it may be advantageous to take distributions now - I moved funds from VTSAX in a Vanguard inherited IRA into my regular Vanguard account two weeks ago, keeping them in VTSAX. By doing it now when the market is down, I pay less in taxes on the transferred shares, and f...
by Small Savanna
Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020
Replies: 142
Views: 9893

Re: RMDs May Not Be Required for 2020

Even if RMDs are not required, it may be advantageous to take distributions now - I moved funds from VTSAX in a Vanguard inherited IRA into my regular Vanguard account two weeks ago, keeping them in VTSAX. By doing it now when the market is down, I pay less in taxes on the transferred shares, and f...