Search found 210 matches

by MarkBarb
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan - Safety
Replies: 34
Views: 1499

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: 5724

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: 66
Views: 4362

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: 3038

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: 5299

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: 10528

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: 3488

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: 1500

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: 2603

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: 2154

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: 1014

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: 3004

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: 3932

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: 26
Views: 3692

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: 3399

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: 3399

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: 2601

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: 467

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: 3275

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: 2072

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: 40
Views: 3602

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: 2224

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: 3739

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.
by MarkBarb
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expensive DSLR through airport security
Replies: 45
Views: 3186

Re: Expensive DSLR through airport security

It seems semi-random to me. Some TSA agents let me go through taking out nothing but a laptop. Others want things like Kindles taken out. I had one goomer demand that we take out everything with a screen. We are an electronic heavy family, so they waited while we took out multiple DSLRs, phones, Nin...
by MarkBarb
Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engagement Ring (Affordable)
Replies: 138
Views: 7544

Re: Engagement Ring (Affordable)

Why do you feel compelled to get her a ring? Talk to her about it. My wife preferred that we not waste money on jewelry, so we didn't bother with an engagement ring and just kept the money invested. Just because most people want an engagement ring, don't assume that your fiance is one of them. Incid...
by MarkBarb
Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: OptionSellers.com FAQ “Have I lost all the money in my account, then?” “Yes.” You also have a negative balance
Replies: 23
Views: 2958

Re: OptionSellers.com FAQ “Have I lost all the money in my account, then?” “Yes.” You also have a negative balance

This isn't an apology: Cordier explained that volatility in the oil and natural gas markets created “a rogue wave I was unable to navigate” and that “this rogue wave capsized our boat.” This is a classic example of a non-apology apology. A non-apology apology occurs when someone uses the word "sorr...
by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions - how much do you pay to stay informed?
Replies: 53
Views: 2791

Re: Multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions - how much do you pay to stay informed?

I read WSJ online because my company pays for it. I don't pay for anything else. I use RealClearPolitics, Pocket, and lots of blogs to find interesting things to read. When I encounter sites to WaPo that limit the number of articles I read, I open them in private browsing mode. They don't limit the ...
by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a mini-van
Replies: 25
Views: 1895

Re: Buying a mini-van

We have two kids. They were essentially raised in a mini-van. We took trips in it. We hauled stuff in it. We took hordes of their friends around in it. We recently moved one of the kids to college in it. They are the least cool vehicles imaginable from a status perspective. They are extremely practi...
by MarkBarb
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel
Replies: 98
Views: 9472

Re: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel

Our plan is a tent, a minivan, and a mix of hotels. Tent camping gives you a lot more options (at least for the places we like to be) than RV camping. For hotels, I really mean a mix of Air BNB, VRBO, Priceline, and regular hotel stays. This is basically the way that we traveled with kids and it wor...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making Winter Camping more comfortable
Replies: 39
Views: 2796

Re: Making Winter Camping more comfortable

A good LED headlamp will help a lot with the long nights. Similarly an LED lantern for inside the tent also helps. Keep plenty of batteries handy. The LED lights last much, much, much longer than what I used when I started camping, but they don't last forever. I also love a good e-Ink Kindle for rea...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neighbor discussing finances with me
Replies: 64
Views: 6191

Re: Neighbor discussing finances with me

Probably the only thing I would say is that there is a difference between nominal vs real risk. If his bond fund is risk free and returns significantly more than a money market, it is presumably a federal bond fund with at least some longer maturities mixed in. If that is the case, his broker is cor...
by MarkBarb
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?
Replies: 49
Views: 3295

Re: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?

Whichever car you take, make sure that you have enough of the appropriate power to keep your electronics charged. I recommend a cheap AC Inverter. Then you can plug a multi-port charger into that. You'll probably want a phone running Google Maps plugged in at all times. We've done a lot of long driv...
by MarkBarb
Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lost Power for 24 hours - what food to toss?
Replies: 49
Views: 3578

Re: Lost Power for 24 hours - what food to toss?

Definitely throw out the Kale. You should do that based on even the flimsiest of excuses.
by MarkBarb
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:37 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Case for buying individual Stocks as 10% of portfolio
Replies: 43
Views: 3615

Re: Case for buying individual Stocks as 10% of portfolio

Let's assume for a minute that it is as easy as you imply to pick the winning tech stocks - the Facebooks and Googles over the Myspaces and AOLs. Wouldn't there be funds that specialize in this that would show outsized returns? Where are they? And if they existed, wouldn't their performance bring in...
by MarkBarb
Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First-time victim of credit card fraud
Replies: 48
Views: 4004

Re: First-time victim of credit card fraud

We have a card compromised every year or two. My defense is to have all of my recurring charges go against a card that we never use. The solution isn't perfect, but that card has never been compromised and that saves me the hassle of updating all of those recurring charge accounts. It seems like two...
by MarkBarb
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth getting BA after 16 years? Or should I go for certificate programs?
Replies: 10
Views: 1252

Re: Is it worth getting BA after 16 years? Or should I go for certificate programs?

It depends a lot on what type of industry/field you are in. For fields like law, accounting, medicine, and engineering, there are often strict legal requirements that virtually require a degree to be in certain positions. On the opposite side, tech is increasingly dropping degree requirements altoge...
by MarkBarb
Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thoughts on investing in Uranium???
Replies: 48
Views: 3242

Re: Thoughts on investing in Uranium???

I assume that there are a lot of people that know much more about the uranium market than I do. These people work together to form a market for uranium and for the shares in the companies that produce it. They know the information that you've posted here and have factored it into those prices. It wo...
by MarkBarb
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Audi A4 -- Does Anyone Have an Opinion About It?
Replies: 31
Views: 3190

Re: Audi A4 -- Does Anyone Have an Opinion About It?

I thought this article comparing the A4 to an Accord as interesting: https://www.motortrend.com/cars/audi/a4/2018/2018-audi-a4-ultra-premium-vs-2018-honda-accord-20t-touring-comparison-review/ It seemed to conclude that the Accord was a better deal because the low end A4 stripped too much to get dow...
by MarkBarb
Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?
Replies: 408
Views: 42456

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

Various jobs in software development, database development, and data engineering. I like it and recommend it. If I were starting now, I'd add a focus on data science. Just make sure that you are good at it.
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: changing my signature when signing checks and credit card receipts
Replies: 47
Views: 4082

Re: changing my signature when signing checks and credit card receipts

I'm near retirement age and I've gotten by with never having a legible signature. I've also never owned a signet ring.
by MarkBarb
Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads car buying strategies with new safety technologies
Replies: 71
Views: 6183

Re: Bogleheads car buying strategies with new safety technologies

New? My car is 12 years old and has collision mitigation braking. The tech is getting better and more widespread, but I'd hardly call it new. As for your question, my kids have been reaching driving age (one now driving the other getting there this year). I definitely weight active safety measures h...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What purpose (if any) does an ETF tracking the oil price have in a portfolio?
Replies: 14
Views: 1568

Re: What purpose (if any) does an ETF tracking the oil price have in a portfolio?

The only sensible scenario I can think of would be for someone that wants to hedge oil prices. For example, I work in the upstream oil business. I've sometimes wondered if it would make sense for me to short oil to hedge against the income loss I have associated with a drop in oil prices. I'm sure t...
by MarkBarb
Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Reports Auto Issue Out now
Replies: 48
Views: 5542

Re: Consumer Reports Auto Issue Out now

I find most cars to be more reliable than CR. Every time I read a review in CR about something for which I have a lot of knowledge, I'm appalled by how badly CR reviews things. I've found their information to be subpar at best.
by MarkBarb
Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Backdoor Roth technical question
Replies: 9
Views: 604

Re: Backdoor Roth technical question

When you do a conversion, you have to convert proportionally across all of your IRAs. So if you have $5,500 in a non-deductible IRA plus $94,500 in a pre-tax rollover IRA and you want to convert $1,000, that would be $55 from your non-deductible and $945 from your pre-tax IRA.
by MarkBarb
Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]
Replies: 157
Views: 12278

Re: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]

I'm guessing that I've conducted about a 100 interviews during my career. I can't recall ever noticing or not noticing whether an applicant was wearing a wedding ring.
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you wear a wedding band? [at a job interview]
Replies: 157
Views: 12278

Re: Do you wear a wedding band?

No. I tried for a few days. My wife took it away because she saw that it irritated me. I've never worn any jewelry. I'm one of the only Texas Aggies I know that didn't buy a school ring. My wife wore her wedding ring until she lost it. Then she wore mine until she lost it. They cost a total of $70, ...
by MarkBarb
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Valentines Day Gift
Replies: 12
Views: 2316

Re: Best Valentines Day Gift

For Valentine's day - nothing given, nothing received. We talked about it early in our relationships. I suggested that, if she wanted to celebrate Valentine's day, we pick our own special day to do it when prices and crowds would be lower. She said she wasn't really into that sort of thing anyway. W...
by MarkBarb
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Applying for a passport with a credit freeze
Replies: 7
Views: 1180

Re: Applying for a passport with a credit freeze

I heard a rumor that they will start checking your credit soon. They want to give extra scrutiny to suspicious people. If you aren't deep, deep in debt, they will have a reason to question whether you are really an American.
by MarkBarb
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?
Replies: 55
Views: 4558

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

For privacy reasons, I cannot disclose that information. I can say it's a recent car (less than 10 years old) and one of the major vehicle brands. This confused me at first. Then I realized that it isn't your car information that you are concerned about. You probably shared financial information in...
by MarkBarb
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: what do/did you do with your evenings with a Toddler in winters ?
Replies: 63
Views: 4957

Re: what do/did you do with your evenings with a Toddler in winters ?

Find a way to exercise the children. Beneficial,tires them out also. :happy When we lived in a colder area, we did something like this. I bought a cheap bounce house moon walk thing - one of those little castles with a blower that keeps the thing inflated. One day I came home from work and found th...