Search found 33 matches

by Bernard
Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any reason to not buy this car?
Replies: 66
Views: 4387

Re: Any reason to not buy this car?

I'm a former attorney who 21 years ago turned his hobby -- classic cars -- into a business. I've owned, literally, thousands of cars. You name the brand and model, I've owned it. Yet, my somewhat daily driver for the past 20 years is a 1962 Volvo with several hundred thousand miles on the clock. Eve...
by Bernard
Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sewer Line Replacement - Expensive/Next Steps
Replies: 22
Views: 2137

Re: Sewer Line Replacement - Expensive/Next Steps

Here in California, this is a common issue. When a house is sold, a sewer line inspection is mandatory. If it has not been replaced at that very inspection, it can only be certified for 5 years. If it has been replaced, it can be certified for 10 years. Pretty much all of the cast iron pipes are cra...
by Bernard
Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Concrete stairs on front porch are crooked, best way to fix?
Replies: 16
Views: 1466

Re: Concrete stairs on front porch are crooked, best way to fix?

The line of action depends on the value of your house, the local market, meaning, how easy or how difficult it is to sell a house, and whether additional investments will provide a return. Not knowing any of this . . . if you can fix this for $400 or $500, I think that's a path I would take, given t...
by Bernard
Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping babysitter manage large insurance payout?
Replies: 11
Views: 1589

Re: Helping babysitter manage large insurance payout?

A 22-year-old very unlikely thinks about money long term. Thus, I would show her a compound interest calculator and tell her if she were to put $100,000 into a low-fee index fund, and does not add a single dime to it for the rest of her natural life, this $100K would grow to about $1,5 MILLION dolla...
by Bernard
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is owed to realtor?
Replies: 17
Views: 2410

Re: What is owed to realtor?

Buying a house is like a divorce. In a divorce you have an attorney and the spouse has an attorney. They both look out at their client's interest. In case of a house purchase the seller has an agent and the buyer has an agent. The buyer's agent is to make sure that his client isn't been taken advant...
by Bernard
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family member with almost no retirement savings or assets, what to do?
Replies: 55
Views: 7117

Re: Family member with almost no retirement savings or assets, what to do?

My wife has a very good friend who had a car accident many years back when she was rear-ended and accepted a way too low settlement. She's 62 now, looks 82, bent over, and can't even wash herself. She has a multitude of severe health problems, among others sleeps for years in a chair as she can't li...
by Bernard
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Insurance Policy Increased by 26.8%!!
Replies: 27
Views: 2202

Re: Home Insurance Policy Increased by 26.8%!!

I have all my (non-classic) cars and my motorcycle insured with GEICO. When shopping for home insurance in 2017, I got 8 quotes. GEICO beat them all by a wide margin. Being a BRK shareholder got me another discount.
by Bernard
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When a bargain car loan is no "bargain"
Replies: 49
Views: 3352

Re: When a bargain car loan is no "bargain"

That's why smart people who are still working for a living buy a good used car between $3K and $10K, and the very most. I'm 62 now, and only once in my life, in a moment of weakness, have I spent $10K on a car, my wife's 2002 MINI Cooper that we bought 8-1/2 years ago. It's worth $3K now and will pr...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: travel from the U.S. to Europe given geo-political tensions?
Replies: 117
Views: 7160

Re: travel from the U.S. to Europe given geo-political tensions?

As an American, I would not travel to Iran right now with a sign "Gay and Proud of it" around my neck, while burning Korans at a public place, but short of that, I wouldn't hesitate to travel to any place in the world. In fact, there are TONS of YouTube video out there from Americans who travel thro...
by Bernard
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Housekeepers
Replies: 32
Views: 2988

Re: Housekeepers

We have a super-nice [cleaning lady --admin LadyGeek] . She cleans our entire house, scrubs like I've never seen before, bathroom, fridge, floors, you name it. She comes once every other week and stays for about 3-1/2 hours. We pay her $75.00 per gig, so $150 per month. I couldn't do what she does i...
by Bernard
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using 401k funds to pay off debt?
Replies: 33
Views: 1859

Re: Using 401k funds to pay off debt?

Many people, and many of us, myself included, once walked in your shoes. I too had no idea at the end of the month were all my money went. Sure, I bought clothes, had my daily Starbucks, DirecTV, went out for lunch and occasionally for dinner. The good food I bought at Whole Foods. Don't we all do t...
by Bernard
Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living in a HCOL and making a middle class salary is a struggle
Replies: 340
Views: 17975

Re: Living in a HCOL and making a middle class salary is a struggle

My wife and I are in our mid-50s, have assets in the mid to high 7 figures and even with wife retired, our taxable income this year is roughly 10x what the two of us made together when we started out as a married couple 30 years or so ago . . . . We still drive one car, a 4 door sedan. Live in a 4 ...
by Bernard
Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does pulling money out because of fear make the market go down?
Replies: 79
Views: 5587

Re: Does pulling money out because of fear make the market go down?

I'm 62, fit like a sneaker, and plan on working 'til 70. I started saving for retirement late in life, so I have catch-up to do. I am 100% in equities, individual stocks as well as ETFs. Am I afraid that there's another recession in the coming 8 years? I cannot afford to be afraid. You pointed out t...
by Bernard
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2015 Jeep Cherokee, transmission issues, warranty ending soon
Replies: 35
Views: 1705

Re: 2015 Jeep Cherokee, transmission issues, warranty ending soon

It's a god-send to be able to sell a car before the brown stuff hits the fan. Once the transmission fails, you'll have to bite the bullet. At this point in time, you can sell the car and let the next owner figure out what to do when this happens. Since the dealer told you repeatedly there's no probl...
by Bernard
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting without income
Replies: 21
Views: 1828

Re: Renting without income

When I immigrated to the United States in 1986, I had no credit history and no income. I looked for an apartment in Florida and when I found one I liked, I showed them my bank statement with about $80K in it. That was all they wanted to see.
by Bernard
Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do fellow savers and frugalateers think
Replies: 19
Views: 2438

Re: What do fellow savers and frugalateers think

Your post makes no sense without numbers. If you make $1,000 per month, and couldn't find a room for $500, but spend $750 per month on a fabulous apartment while eating rice and beans, that's one thing. But if you make $10,000 per month and spend $7,500 for a penthouse apartment while having $2,500 ...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades
Replies: 234
Views: 31906

Re: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades

My grandfather was Danish, my dad Swedish, my mom German. I lived in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy, and extensively visited every European country west of the former Iron Curtain before emigrating to the United States, first to Florida, eventually to California. I've visit...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: MarketWatch Three-Fund Portfolio Wins Again!
Replies: 73
Views: 4941

Re: MARKETWATCH Three-Fund Portfolio Wins Again!

Back in 2008, Warren Buffet picked the S&P 500 (Vanguard's VFIAX fund specifically) in his bet against the hedge funds for the ten year period ending last year. He said he would make the same bet again. I doubt the next 10 years will look like the last, but I'm not going to bet broad U.S. stocks wi...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you pay home renovation with cash?
Replies: 17
Views: 1886

Re: Would you pay home renovation with cash?

I've bought a house in 2017 and have since renovated non-stop. In my experience, paying "cash" for work got me a 30% to 50% discount on labor, literally tens of thousands of dollars in my case. Since I can't deduct home remodel cost from my taxes, I think that's a return far better than putting it s...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Sister wants advice since I disagreed with her financial advisers.
Replies: 141
Views: 13078

Re: Sister wants advice since I disagreed with her financial advisers.

Happy New Year, offthetop! Let's face it, your sister isn't an outlier. She is like the overwhelming majority of Americans. She is like me and many of us before we've seen the light. It's just "normal" to live paycheck to paycheck, and to indulge in lifestyle creep. That's what we do, and that's why...
by Bernard
Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shiller: Homeownership is a bad investment
Replies: 475
Views: 62032

Re: Shiller: Homeownership is a bad investment

Let me tell you my story. I've rented a cute midtown home in a HCOL area for 13-1/2 years from a couple who promised to never sell it. Initial rent was $1,400, and it grew to $1,500 a couple of years later. Since I took great care of the home, treated it like my own, my rent stayed at $1,500 for 11-...
by Bernard
Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ok so I think I have a plan after a month of learning investing
Replies: 134
Views: 6022

Re: Ok so I think I have a plan after a month of learning investing

I'm 62, and I have 100% in equities, no bonds at all. The later you start (and I started later than you!), the more aggressive you'll have to be in order to catch up as best as you can. If you have a time horizon of at least 10 years, you need to put all of your money into the market so that your do...
by Bernard
Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: EFC of 59K?! That is more than my net pay
Replies: 227
Views: 12227

Re: EFC of 59K?! That is more than my net pay

I have great doctors, lawyers, accountants and architects in my inner circle. One of my sisters-in-law is a computer science wizard, and so is her husband. I don't think I have ever asked any of them about what schools they attended or what their GPA was. Suze Orman attended Chicago State and Dave R...
by Bernard
Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement outside USA - How does Roth work?
Replies: 18
Views: 5706

Re: Retirement outside USA - How does Roth work?

I'm a citizen of 3 countries (US, Germany, Sweden) and I've looked into retiring abroad. More to the point, I watch a lot of this stuff on YouTube. To answer your question: it depends on the country. Your Roth withdraws are tax-free, of course, as they are post-tax investments, but even if you take ...
by Bernard
Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Side hustles on H1B
Replies: 22
Views: 1447

Re: Side hustles on H1B

I'm a former immigration lawyer. Your H-1B doesn't allow you to seek employment outside your current one, unless you get a secondary H-1B, but there are many ways you can legally make money:

https://myrawealth.com/insights/8-ways- ... n-h1b-visa
by Bernard
Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Narrowing down where to live
Replies: 55
Views: 5280

Re: Narrowing down where to live

I live in one of the nicest areas on planet Earth, the Ojai Vally in California. I should know, as I've lived in 6 European countries before emigrating to the United States and I have visited 33 countries so far. When retiring, I'll have to leave California as the cost of living is out of control. I...
by Bernard
Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:54 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Age 62 - just lost job - seeking advice
Replies: 110
Views: 11727

Re: Age 62 - just lost job - seeking advice

I'm 62 as well, my wife is 57. We started saving for retirement late in life, and that created some kind of emergency for us. I want to retire at 70, at which time my wife will be 65-1/2. At that time I will sell our home in a HCOL area, and use the equity to buy another house in the Asheville, NC a...
by Bernard
Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Would you refi this 30yr mortgage with a 10/1 ARM?
Replies: 32
Views: 1379

Re: Would you refi this 30yr mortgage with a 10/1 ARM?

Nope. While I personally believe it's possible that mortgage rates will go lower as they ever have been, I would not take that gamble. I got a 30-year mortgage in June of 2017 with 1% points at 4.00%. Wish I had paid a bit more and gotten 3.85% back then. If you can refinance cost-free into another ...
by Bernard
Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: E*Trade vs Ameritrade
Replies: 20
Views: 1740

Re: E*Trade vs Ameritrade

I'm with E*Trade for a very long time. I started out there when I was actively trading, then went through a period of actively managed mutual funds, and when I was ready to go all out and move my money to Vanguard in order to buy Vanguard index funds, E*Trade changed its policy and allowed me to buy...
by Bernard
Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:25 pm
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Non resident Alien considering relocation from US to EU
Replies: 10
Views: 864

Re: Non resident Alien considering relocation from US to EU

As a former immigration attorney, let me tell you that you are NOT a non resident alien . You are a resident alien. A lawful permanent resident in USCIS lingo, in short, a LPR. I wonder why you don't you naturalize, after 20 years as a Green Card holder? There are only 2 reasons I can think of: 1) Y...
by Bernard
Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: BRK.B
Replies: 22
Views: 2607

BRK.B

Years before I discovered the FIRE movement and low cost index funds, I invested all my money in individual stocks. Some were winners, some losers. A few years ago, after seeing the light, I started selling those stocks whenever they experienced a spike and invested the money in VTI, VOO, and VGT in...
by Bernard
Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should we downshift and move to Europe?
Replies: 40
Views: 5397

Re: Should we downshift and move to Europe?

I'm not sure I didn't miss your country or countries of citizenship, but I couldn't find that information in this thread. My grandfather was Danish, my dad Swedish, my mom German. I lived in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy. After spending six months in India in 1985, I immig...