Search found 237 matches

by MarkBarb
Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Do I Monetize Retail Gift Cards & VISA/AMEX Gift Cards?
Replies: 8
Views: 630

Re: How Do I Monetize Retail Gift Cards & VISA/AMEX Gift Cards?

If you buy regularly on Amazon and for decent $ amounts you could load your VISA/AMEX gift cards onto an Amazon gift card. This is the right answer - I had a $100 VISA gift card with a strange balance after 1 purchase (something like $39.xx). Easy to load as an Amazon gift card, and it was easy to ...
by MarkBarb
Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag
Replies: 61
Views: 3237

Re: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag

Kit Kat and Reese’s peanut butter cups. I buy extra in case I have 100+ trick or treaters. I never have that many little goblins. So I feast on the excess. 65 kids tonight. Plenty of candy left for the adults. The good stuff. 70 here. Best turnout in years. Cold weather doesn't seem to deter as muc...
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag
Replies: 61
Views: 3237

Re: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag

Oh, and I'm following this thread for financially prudent Halloween candy ideas for next year, so that's why I think this is an actionable topic.
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag
Replies: 61
Views: 3237

Re: Halloween Candy - Favorites; Throw it in the Bag

My wife is handing out Sugar Skull rings, hot cocoa mix, and Slim Jim's (beef jerky).

My favorite as a child were the home made popcorn balls. You don't see any home made stuff anymore.
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: paying foreign medical bill - after the fact:( back from vacation
Replies: 30
Views: 2994

Re: paying foreign medical bill - after the fact:( back from vacation

I'm missing something here. Why wouldn't you pay them the $6,000 and then submit your claims through your insurers? It isn't the medical providers fault that your insurance is slow to pay. It isn't unreasonable for them to expect to be paid in a timely fashion. Is there some reason that you don't th...
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?
Replies: 182
Views: 8791

Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

I see two scenarios for my sons. The first is that they want a big, expensive, traditional wedding. In that case, we adhere strictly to the tradition that the bride's parents pay for the wedding. We'll host the rehearsal dinner and contribute to the honeymoon. The second case is that they will opt f...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead Boat Cover?
Replies: 3
Views: 211

Re: Boglehead Boat Cover?

I thought Bogleheads used their friend's boats.
by MarkBarb
Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pension rollover to IRA
Replies: 5
Views: 451

Re: Pension rollover to IRA

If you roll it into an IRA for her, you'll have to convert it to a Roth along with your $6,000 contribution and pay taxes on the conversion. Whether that makes sense or not depends on things like: Your current tax rate vs the tax rate you'll pay when you take it out How many years of backdoors you'l...
by MarkBarb
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:05 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Roll Call for the Retirement Class of 2019!
Replies: 384
Views: 54970

Re: Roll Call for the Retirement Class of 2019!

I think I'll be in the class of 2019. I accepted a voluntary separation package from my employer. We're still working on a date. I'd prefer sooner and they'd prefer later. We are tentatively agreeing on mid-December.
by MarkBarb
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you know what your partner spends money on?
Replies: 80
Views: 6546

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

Just because you have different cards doesn't mean that you cannot access each other's accounts. All of our expenditures funnel into Quicken, but any tracking software would accomplish the same thing. That said, just seeing the expenses doesn't tell the whole story. I frequently have to ask my wife ...
by MarkBarb
Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Going to a wedding party
Replies: 48
Views: 4347

Re: Going to a wedding party

If this is the first American wedding for the OP the most important thing that hasn't changed much over the years is the value of the wedding gift should equal (or exceed) the cost of the reception. The reception could be anything from a small, modest affair to be held in the church hall with no al...
by MarkBarb
Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Too Late To Get Back Into Stocks?
Replies: 115
Views: 9878

Re: Too Late To Get Back Into Stocks?

Interesting. You say that you are risk averse, but you jump in and out of the market based on some notion that you can out think the market. That seems much riskier than just picking a comfortable allocation and sticking with it.
by MarkBarb
Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ignorance regarding bonds
Replies: 15
Views: 1472

Re: Ignorance regarding bonds

When you own a fund, you hope to profit in two different ways. One is by eventually selling the fund for more than you paid for it. The other is by getting dividends paid by the fund. The combination of the two is your total return. It looks like VBTLX shows very little price appreciation over time ...
by MarkBarb
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash & Checkbook Register Reconciliation
Replies: 73
Views: 4601

Re: Cash & Checkbook Register Reconciliation

We don't. I download all financial transactions to Quicken 2-3 times a week. I reconcile my accounts at that point. We have a joint account. My wife and I can both write checks against the account. It seems like it would be a pain to coordinate the updates to a manual register. We have seen some ban...
by MarkBarb
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Happy DVC owners here? [Disney Vacation Club]
Replies: 61
Views: 5350

Re: Any Happy DVC owners here? [Disney Vacation Club]

"Re: Any Happy DVC owners here?" "It's not a timeshare!" I'm seeing red flags. Sounds like you are emotionally attached to this purchase and are looking for confirmation rather than an objective assessment. If you weren't, you'd have asked for opinions from all DVC owners, not just happy ones and y...
by MarkBarb
Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?
Replies: 142
Views: 22504

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

College. I remember calories/dollar being an important metric when grocery shopping.
by MarkBarb
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Access to Pension Before 59.5
Replies: 3
Views: 625

Re: Access to Pension Before 59.5

Thank you all for the information. It was very helpful.
by MarkBarb
Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Access to Pension Before 59.5
Replies: 3
Views: 625

Access to Pension Before 59.5

The company I worked for was recently acquired. Most of us over 40 are being offered a generous voluntary severance package. I know quite a few people younger than 55 that plan to take the package and retire. Our former company provided us with a generous 401(k) and defined benefit pension plan. The...
by MarkBarb
Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ink Pens
Replies: 77
Views: 5158

Re: Ink Pens

If you want a nice retractable refillable pen, look into the Pilot Vanishing Point series. These are fountain pens featuring a retractable nib with a hidden "door" that prevents the nib from drying out when retracted. https://www.gouletpens.com/collections/pilot-vanishing-point-fountain-pens They a...
by MarkBarb
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do couples work together on home finance
Replies: 60
Views: 4922

Re: how do couples work together on home finance

I'm the finance guy at our house. As with many above, my wife pays no attention to the finances other than our discussing major purchases before making them. I do sit down with her once a year for an annual review. Every couple is different and has to sort out what works for them.
by MarkBarb
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Backdoor Roth Timing
Replies: 9
Views: 642

Re: Backdoor Roth Timing

Yes, it will work if you do as you say. Perhaps the biggest caveat is to ensure your 401k accepts the incoming rollover. Some do not. Fortunately, my employer's plan recently began accepting IRA rollovers. Check to see if your plan allows megabackdoor Roth contributions. That might be a better path...
by MarkBarb
Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frontier or Spirit Airlines
Replies: 63
Views: 6545

Re: Frontier or Spirit Airlines

We used Spirit a few times. I liked that they split out charges so that you pay for what you use. I carry expensive camera gear with me and their carry-on prices discourage over-consumption, so I never had a problem finding a place for my carry-on bag. We stopped flying Spirit after they almost ruin...
by MarkBarb
Thu May 30, 2019 4:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hyundai Sonata for college.
Replies: 31
Views: 2186

Re: Hyundai Sonata for college.

I was going to get my younger son an Accord or Camry, but when we did the research and test drives, we ended up with the Sonata. It's super hot/humid where we live and he really liked the vented seats. It was also much, much cheaper. Part of the reason it was so much cheaper is that they were runnin...
by MarkBarb
Sat May 18, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Careers in art
Replies: 91
Views: 5172

Re: Careers in art

Lot's of great anecdotes here showing that it can be done, but I like data. The site below will show you median, 25th percentile and 75th percentile incomes by major. https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/valueofcollegemajors/ Some of it depends on her. I grew up with a friend that was born to be a...
by MarkBarb
Sun May 05, 2019 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Denver in August
Replies: 21
Views: 1978

Re: Denver in August

In addition to the other suggestions, I would include some rock climbing. I'm not sure if the kids are old enough, but we loved http://flycoloradoultralights.com/ in Colorado Springs. A Rockies baseball game could be fun. We enjoyed zip lines near Salida and a 150 foot tall swing over the Royal Gorg...
by MarkBarb
Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fun car advice
Replies: 140
Views: 10011

Re: fun car advice

Lotus 7 or Caterham. In the right conditions, I've never found anything more fun to drive. Yeah, it sucks when it is too hot or too cold or might rain or you're too tall or too wide or you want any creature comforts at all. There is no street legal car with a comparable driving experience except may...
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Welp, Backdoor Roth surprise!
Replies: 38
Views: 4016

Re: Welp, Backdoor Roth surprise!

I put after-tax money into a traditional IRA at Vanguard. Then I converted it to a Roth a couple of days later. A year after I filed my taxes, I got a letter from the IRS saying that I had failed to report $6,500 in income from an IRA. I sent them a copy of the Form 8606 I filed with an explanation ...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan - Safety
Replies: 34
Views: 1846

Re: Minivan - Safety

I'm a fan of the website https://informedforlife.org/ Good safety information and rankings.
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing should be no more than 28% of your income.
Replies: 66
Views: 6399

Re: Housing should be no more than 28% of your income.

We're around 5%. Paid off house. Peak earning years. Medium to low COL area. It was much higher when we bought our first house and were early in our career progression. I don't favor a rule. I think it's OK to be on the higher side when you are younger, but you should be slow to move as the affordab...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When were you able to max out your 401k, IRAs?
Replies: 69
Views: 5513

Re: When were you able to max out your 401k, IRAs?

What do you mean by "maxing" out your 401K? I've heard people use that phrase for putting in the amount that gets the maximum match from their employer. I've heard people use that for putting in the $19,000 max pre-tax contribution to their 401K. I've heard people using it to mean the full $56,000 a...
by MarkBarb
Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Divorce Question - 401K QDRO
Replies: 36
Views: 3499

Re: Divorce Question - 401K QDRO

Put $150,000 into the MM just like you planned. Then, as soon as they do the proportional withdrawal, re-invest the remaining MM funds. Aside from being out of the market for one day, it should work out identically to if they'd taken the money all from the MM fund. For example: 150K in MM + 450K in ...
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First “financial” thing you do in the morning
Replies: 80
Views: 6086

Re: First “financial” thing you do in the morning

The first thing I do each morning is to wake up. It defers probate expenses.
by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Car Values
Replies: 155
Views: 11676

Re: Best Car Values

The best car values are 10 year old cars that have a 100k miles on them especially the proven brands such as Honda and Toyota, I know many people will gravitate towards new cars but the value is just not there. That's a presumptuous statement. Perhaps for you , the best car values may be 10 year ol...
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Convince aging parents to pay for snow removal
Replies: 64
Views: 3995

Re: Convince aging parents to pay for snow removal

My parents are in their 80s and 90s. They live in Colorado. They shovel their own snow. It's good exercise for them. The key is to keep up with it when it is coming down. They have a snow blower in the garage they can use if things get too bad.
by MarkBarb
Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Satellite Phone rental for foreign travel
Replies: 23
Views: 1709

Re: Satellite Phone rental for foreign travel

My recommendation is that you stick with cell phones and add something like a Garmin inReach Explorer+ for emergency communications. It allows you to text via satellite. Rates are good.
by MarkBarb
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mega Backdoor Roth -- A Unicorn?
Replies: 45
Views: 2998

Re: Mega Backdoor Roth -- A Unicorn?

I do it. I work for a megacorp that has a Fidelity 401K. I can only do it twice a year. It's as easy as a 5 minute phone call to Fidelity. Many of my high savings friends do it, but with so many other opportunities to save ($19K in pre-tax or Roth 401K, $6K in catch-up contributions, $7K in HSA), so...
by MarkBarb
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A W-9 form requested from our HOA?
Replies: 30
Views: 2703

Re: A W-9 form requested from our HOA?

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:00 pm
The email has been forwarded to Wells Fargo's fraud department.
Which WF fraud department? The one that prevents frauds or the one that perpetrates them?
by MarkBarb
Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mega Backdoor Roth Mechanics Question
Replies: 17
Views: 1250

Re: Mega Backdoor Roth Mechanics Question

As long as your 401K administer is accounting for everything properly, I don't believe that the pro-rata rule applies to mega backdoor roth conversions.
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does investing actually help a company ?
Replies: 46
Views: 3191

Re: Does investing actually help a company ?

Of course it helps a company if you buy it's stock. If people quit buying it's stock, it's equity would drop making it more expensive for it to raise capital.
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ring Shopping
Replies: 82
Views: 4491

Re: Ring Shopping

I'd ask her about it. Her opinion is the one that really matters. She may prefer a really expensive ring. She may prefer having the money and forgoing the ring (that was my wife's choice). Why guess at what she wants when she can tell you?
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Am I missing out on Roth IRA
Replies: 28
Views: 4729

Re: Am I missing out on Roth IRA

Everyone is telling you to max your Roth before putting money into taxable. I generally agree but with the caveat that you should make sure that you have sufficient taxable savings and investments to provide an adequate emergency fund and for upcoming major purchases (new car, wedding, or whatever)....
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is higher deficit not leading to higher interest rates?
Replies: 70
Views: 3841

Re: Why is higher deficit not leading to higher interest rates?

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=n0Va That's a chart showing the 10 year treasury rate, the fed funds rate, and the debt/GDP ratio (scaled down by 10 to make the graph easier to read). I don't see any relationship between the debt and the interest rates. When you say "higher interest rates", yo...
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is higher deficit not leading to higher interest rates?
Replies: 70
Views: 3841

Re: Why is higher deficit not leading to higher interest rates?

A government is not a family or a company. Attempts to draw analogies to a person or business are fundamentally flawed. Among other things, few people or companies issues debt in their own currency or have taxing power over massive economies. Also, remember that US debt is mostly held by its own ci...
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is $53 too much for life insurance for me and my wife?
Replies: 36
Views: 2778

Re: Is $53 too much for life insurance for me and my wife?

$1.5M 20 year term starting at age 40 for $75/month for me. $250K 20 year term starting at age 41 for wife. She was a SAHM. I'm happy to say that it has been an almost total waste of money. My policy is with Banner Life. I think I got it through Select Quote, but it's been 15 years. I don't think I ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax 8606 Not Ready Until Late February
Replies: 1
Views: 498

TurboTax 8606 Not Ready Until Late February

I tried filing my taxes with TurboTax yesterday. All went well until it had to do a final check. It came back with some cryptic error about From 8606-S. I called their support line and they told me that the form isn't ready yet and that it will be available later in February. Technically, the form i...
by MarkBarb
Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car reviews - Consumer Reports or other sources?
Replies: 41
Views: 3526

Re: Car reviews - Consumer Reports or other sources?

Many years ago, I noticed that whenever CR did reviews of things that I knew really well, their reviews were bad. They were filled with lots of misinformation and poor understanding. I think that they are well intentioned, but lack expertise in most of what they review. I prefer reading reviews from...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Taking expensive DSLR on kayak?
Replies: 41
Views: 2269

Re: Taking expensive DSLR on kayak?

I take my camera gear in my canoe all the time. My wife and I have been canoeing for 25 years and have never tipped over the canoe. As for a kayak, it would depend on how stable the boat is. I wouldn't wear a baseball cap in my wife's racing kayak. That thing hates people. On the other hand, I've sp...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: too much college savings
Replies: 39
Views: 3764

Re: too much college savings

Can you pay out-of-pocket and keep the 529? It could be transferred to an ABLE account that might help with the medical issues. It can be kept for grandchildren. It can be used for some interesting post-retirement education. Incidentally, your predicament is why we decided to fund part of our childr...
by MarkBarb
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's your experience upgrading to Quicken 2018 or 2019?
Replies: 41
Views: 2558

Re: What's your experience upgrading to Quicken 2018 or 2019?

The biggest changes with 2019 are in online access to your data. I'm just starting to look at it. I like the concept, but I haven't started using it yet. Like others, I've seen an improvement in stability as well. I also like the subscription model. It's costing me a little more, but it saves me the...
by MarkBarb
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How do I buy gold?
Replies: 55
Views: 4439

Re: How do I buy gold?

If I were buying gold, I'd buy it in the form of jewelry. As bullion, it does nothing. Unlike bonds, it doesn't pay interest. Unlike stocks, it doesn't grow. At least as jewelry it provides a return in the form of being something to wear.