Search found 2018 matches

by scrabbler1
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What unexpected emergencies require sizeable emergency cash funds available immediately in a checking account?
Replies: 69
Views: 5095

Re: What unexpected emergencies require sizeable emergency cash funds available immediately in a checking account?

Back in 2015, I had two instances where I unexpectedly needed to tap into some money immediately. The first was when my ladyfriend's out-of-state daughter needed $250 right away to cover an expense. My ladyfriend herself would have done it, but she was laid up in a rehab center after suffering an in...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: why emergency savings?
Replies: 42
Views: 3640

Re: why emergency savings?

So suppose I pull $20k out of savings and put it into stocks and bonds. Maybe to slightly increase my sense of security I increase my bond allocation by 1-2%. Now I have more money invested, and I can still virtually guarantee that I'll be able to sell up to $20k when I need to. What do you think? ...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got raise. Taxes taking 41% of it?
Replies: 30
Views: 3838

Re: Got raise. Taxes taking 41% of it?

I remember this happening to me back in my working days, mainly the full-time working days of the 1990s. The tax rates, federal and state, were a little higher than they are now. My overall marginal tax rate was about 43% for a time. One thing I saw in your list which puzzled me: Why did the pre-tax...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Insurance - Bodily Injury/Physical Damage Liability
Replies: 11
Views: 949

Re: Auto Insurance - Bodily Injury/Physical Damage Liability

I worked in the actuarial field for 23 years, specializing in personal auto insurance, so I can add a few things to the good replies you have seen here so far. First, you can separately choose Bodily Injury (BI) and Property Damage (PD, not Physical Damage, that's Comprehensive and Collision) limits...
by scrabbler1
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long do you save tax returns?
Replies: 39
Views: 3158

Re: How long do you save tax returns?

Another forever here. Have my returns back to the first one I filed in 1963. They don't take up much room when you throw out all the supporting material. Gill Like Gill and Geologist, I keep everything after I toss the supporting material for all years since 1985, the first year I filed returns. I ...
by scrabbler1
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone disenchanted with retirement?
Replies: 172
Views: 17299

Re: Anyone disenchanted with retirement?

I retired 9 years ago at age 45. Disenchanted with retirement? HELL NO! Every time I see some problem with the trains or when it's bad weather or blistering hot in the summer or cold in the winter, I say to myself, I am soooooooo glad I don't have to deal with that CRAP any more!" Superstorm Sandy? ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Emergency Fund" Strategy
Replies: 39
Views: 3918

Re: "Emergency Fund" Strategy

I have a layered, or tiered approach to the money in my portfolio. Call it an EF or not, I have had this tiered approach both before and after I retired 9 years ago. The first tier is a small buffer, or cushion, I keep in my local bank's checking account, over the minimum balance requirement to avoi...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone else enjoying an afternoon nap in retirement?
Replies: 19
Views: 1773

Re: anyone else enjoying an afternoon nap in retirement?

When I was working full-time, I would nap on the weekends for about 60-90 minutes in the late afternoon. Also sometimes on Fridays when I got home from work (I would make sure to get home a little earlier than usual) before I'd go out that night and stay out late. Best sleep I'd get all week, someti...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone spoofing my phone number?
Replies: 65
Views: 5062

Re: Someone spoofing my phone number?

from the Washington Post magazine: 'How robo-callers outwitted the government and completely wrecked the Do Not Call list' https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/how-robo-call-moguls-outwitted-the-government-and-completely-wrecked-the-do-not-call-list/2018/01/09/52c769b6-df7a-11e7-bbd0-9...
by scrabbler1
Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone spoofing my phone number?
Replies: 65
Views: 5062

Re: Someone spoofing my phone number?

For those getting spam and robocalls there are apps for that. If you have land line phone via internet provider, many of those give you option to use “nomorobo”. It works very well. Eliminates almost 100% of robocalls. You get one brief ring but then no more. There are also apps for mobile phones. ...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you ever win the game?
Replies: 50
Views: 5146

Re: Can you ever win the game?

Can an investor (not a famously rich person) ever reasonably say, I have won the game and have saved enough money to support myself in retirement for the rest of my life? Moe I say "Yes." I retired 9 years ago at age 45 and had as a condition to it no change to my everyday lifestyle. I am living of...
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to drop comprehensive auto coverage?
Replies: 25
Views: 2455

Re: When to drop comprehensive auto coverage?

On my previous car, a 1991 Prism, I dropped Collision after 13 years but probably should have dropped a year or two earlier. I kept Comprehensive, which for that car was cheap ($60 per year, $250 deductible with full coverage glass, a must) because I wanted the high-frequency glass claims protected....
by scrabbler1
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping a checkbook register
Replies: 95
Views: 5742

Re: Keeping a checkbook register

I use a spreadsheet check register and do balance it when I get my statement. The paper register in the checkbook is only used when I am out and writing a check so I don't forget to put it in my spreadsheet. Back when I wrote a few more checks than I do today, especially monthly ones, my checkbook ...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping a checkbook register
Replies: 95
Views: 5742

Re: Keeping a checkbook register

I keep a checkbook register but also have a spreadsheet which replicates the paper register and does a lot more than the register itself. The only special thing I use the register for any more is when I balance the checkbook - I can make easy notations to keep track of outstanding checks. I write ve...
by scrabbler1
Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 878
Views: 48734

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

On another issue, I have seen people posting that they won’t be able to itemize anymore. That is incorrect. You can always itemize, even if the standard deduction is larger. I don’t know why you would want to, but you are free to do so. If you are using tax software you still want to enter itemize ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 878
Views: 48734

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

Does paying estimated tax in December vs January 2018 apply to both state and federal tax, or just state? I have a large, anomalous capital gain this year for which I was planning to pay the tax in April. But it seems like I should pay in 2017 in order to itemize; having said that, I don't know if ...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 878
Views: 48734

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

How can you submit a new W4 in Jan when it appears there will be no legal W4s to submit? Must get done before year end then. I submitted a new W4 yesterday. I'm strongly considering this action myself. I'd rather be headed towards an underpayment right now and then have to add extra withholding a l...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 878
Views: 48734

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

Starting in 2018, my days of bunching deductions will very, very likely be over. For the last several years, my itemized deduction has been between $5,000 and $7,500 (single filer). This range has been ripe to bunch some deductions so I can get a decent bump-up to the standard deduction (~$6,000) in...
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Planning - 11 days to donate "stuff" from garage/basement
Replies: 27
Views: 2034

Re: Tax Planning - 11 days to donate "stuff" from garage/basement

I had been contemplating a donation of old clothes for a while. The tax law change gave me the needed kick-in-the-pants to organize this and make the call for a pick-up last week. It is very, very unlikely that I will be itemizing my deductions in 2018 and beyond, so the last chance I will have to g...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
Replies: 43
Views: 3241

Re: Why You Took an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

When I took a mortgage on my co-op apartment back in 1989, all that was available was ARMs. I didn't like the interest rate risk for 1-year ARMs at the time, especially with rates in general so high (nearly 11%). I was teetering between a 3-year ARM and a 5-year ARM and opted for the latter. Turned ...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?
Replies: 151
Views: 8980

Re: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?

I don't strictly track my food expenses but my best guess is $200-$225 per month. I always to load up on boneless chicken on sale for well under $3 a pound and freeze it for later. That's my biggest food expense but also my biggest source of savings on food. I rarely eat out (for dinner), maybe once...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dividends
Replies: 40
Views: 3999

Re: Dividends

I am retired and I take nearly all or all dividends from my taxable accounts in cash to pay my expenses. In my IRA, I reinvest dividends because I am still at least 5 years away from having unfettered access to it. Any excess dividends I reinvest but I do that only a few times a year, when it is cle...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting rid of junk mail?
Replies: 21
Views: 1483

Re: Getting rid of junk mail?

What fills up my junk mail lately are all the inserts and ads included with legit bills. Yes, I could switch to paperless billing but I actually do like having those paper bills in front of me, especially if I have to call them about a billing question, which happens more often than I want it to.
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those in retirement, how close is your post retirement spending to your pre-retirement estimate?
Replies: 26
Views: 2559

Re: For those in retirement, how close is your post retirement spending to your pre-retirement estimate?

When I was putting together my ER plan back in 2007-08, I looked at my expenses to guess what would change in my spreadsheet. I eliminated two items, the FICA taxes and the commutation expenses, both going to zero (YAY!). But in return, I used those savings to pay the added health insurance premiums...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your favorite tax deductions and credits for 2017?
Replies: 33
Views: 2182

Re: What are your favorite tax deductions and credits for 2017?

basspond wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:55 am
Bunching SALT and contributions.
Same here, but I expect my days of trying to bunch deductions will come to an end next year with the new tax bill.
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting rid of junk mail?
Replies: 21
Views: 1483

Re: Getting rid of junk mail?

I have made a few phone calls to get some commonly received junk mail removed. I got on that DMA do-not-mail list years ago, not sure how much that helped. I don't get nearly as much JM as I did 5 years ago.
by scrabbler1
Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retire in my early 40s? Crazy or actually doable?
Replies: 77
Views: 10951

Re: Retire in my early 40s? Crazy or actually doable?

Yarnandthread, I retired 9 years ago at age 45 (single and no kids). I can address your second and third questions. First, When I was putting together my retirement plan, I split it into two parts. The first part was getting to age ~59.5 intact using only my taxable account, the more challenging par...
by scrabbler1
Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 financial goals - what are yours?
Replies: 92
Views: 11456

Re: 2018 financial goals - what are yours?

Okay, I'll play.

(1) Remain comfortably retired, financially, for my 10th year.
(2) Hit he $1M mark in investments, not including my IRA.
by scrabbler1
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: At what age your investments start making more money than you?
Replies: 107
Views: 7680

Re: At what age your investments start making more money than you?

I compared my total change in investment value (including 401k and company stock) and salary (back in my working years) to see when the former was more than twice the latter. Because my salary contributed to my total investment value, only if the total investment minus salary exceeded salary alone c...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me understand the ACA Cliff
Replies: 21
Views: 1724

Re: Help me understand the ACA Cliff

It all depending on the income. then how do we define income? We understand that SS is an income? Is dividend/interest an income? Is stock gain an income? For the purpose of determining an ACA subsidy, income includes tax-exempt interest, cap gains and CG distributions, and qualified dividends, as ...
by scrabbler1
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me understand the ACA Cliff
Replies: 21
Views: 1724

Re: Help me understand the ACA Cliff

If one man makes 48k and a second man makes 49k is the difference that much with the ACA? As someone who has barely qualified for an ACA subsidy the last 3 years, I will likely not qualify for one in 2017 because of a huge, unexpected spike in my income (due to a large LTCG distribution) later this...
by scrabbler1
Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Financial Moves You've Made
Replies: 158
Views: 22136

Re: Best Financial Moves You've Made

It wasn't intended as a financial move when I made it, but it turned out to be one: Never wanting children.

In the more conventional vein, avoiding debt or paying off debt early - student loans and mortgage paid off years early, never taking a car loan.
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9677

Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

I throw a few dollars ($55) to my alma mater, NYU, every year. I recognize the reasons many don't wish to donate, and at times I feel ambivalent about donating. But NYU was good to me while I was there back in the early 1980s, both academically, financially (they paid for half of my tuition), and ot...
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Price of haircut?
Replies: 194
Views: 10862

Re: Price of haircut?

Long Island, NY. I pay $15 + $4 tip. Local barber, less than a 5-minute walk from where I live. I go every 2 months. Quick and easy and reasonably priced.
by scrabbler1
Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FIRE [financial independence/retire early]
Replies: 140
Views: 13982

Re: FIRE [financial independence/retire early]

I've been reading and listening to choosefi.com and have followed Mr. Money Mustache for some time now and I've always wondered what some Bogleheads think of these topics? Specifically, the ability to declare yourself "financially independent" once you have 25x your annual expenses invested in a 50...
by scrabbler1
Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What did you do right?
Replies: 96
Views: 9708

Re: What did you do right?

What I did right: Never wanted to marry or have children. Bought the worst (co-op) apartment in the best building. LBYM Avoided debt: Paid off the student loans in 18 months, mortgage in 9 years, paid cash for cars. Never smoked. Worked for a company which began its ESOP during my peak earnings year...
by scrabbler1
Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Returns - How Long Do you Keep?
Replies: 56
Views: 5224

Re: Tax Returns - How Long Do you Keep?

I do my returns on paper although since 2014 I have been using the fill-in version of the forms so they are saved as pdf files on my PC. I keep 5 years of the full workfolders in my file cabinet. Earlier than 5 years I have stripped out unnecessary paper, mainly the tax booklets (minus any worksheet...
by scrabbler1
Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Portfolio Advisory service?
Replies: 23
Views: 1782

Re: Fidelity Portfolio Advisory service?

I have had an unpaid Account Executive at Fidelity for the last 9 years. He has helped me with Fidelity's retirement program and I have bounced some ideas off him over the years. Back in 2008-2010 there was some turnover with AEs and someone there tried to "poach" me from another AE and sell me on t...
by scrabbler1
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay cash for a car?
Replies: 179
Views: 15793

Re: Why pay cash for a car?

If you have cash in a taxable account, then you have to do the math with the return on that account versus the loan interest rate. If your cash is in a tax deferred account you have to look at the marginal tax rate when turning that into actual spending cash. I would argue that a low interest loan ...
by scrabbler1
Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dave Ramsey says don't use credit cards, even if you pay them off
Replies: 221
Views: 14400

Re: Dave Ramsey says don't use credit cards, even if you pay them off

I can't say I disagree with the notion that buying with a CC can encourage more spending than using cash, for example. For the last few years, I have been using my CC most of the time when I do my grocery shopping, and even though I prepare a shopping list before I leave, I often buy a few more thin...
by scrabbler1
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where did you first learn about investing?
Replies: 98
Views: 5378

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

On the lighter side, I forgot to mention another little thing I learned about investing. It was from a "Flintstones" episode I watched as a kid where Fred pretends he is some high-society bigshot. When asked how he made his fortune, he gives this simple reply: "Buy low, sell high!" :mrgreen:
by scrabbler1
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where did you first learn about investing?
Replies: 98
Views: 5378

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

If you define investing the way Jerry Seinfeld did in a "Seinfeld" episode ("make money without doing anything") then I first learned about it in a few ways as a kid growing up. The first was receiving a small dividend check every quarter from the one share of Ford Motor Company I was given by my un...
by scrabbler1
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10/Edge Conflicts
Replies: 12
Views: 927

Re: Windows 10/Edge Conflicts

I couldn't stand Edge and switched back to IE11. I do use Chrome for a few websites which IE11 doesn't work well.
by scrabbler1
Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Regrets after reaching retirement?
Replies: 42
Views: 4646

Re: Regrets after reaching retirement?

Early retirement did not appear on my radar until I turned 35, when I paid off my mortgage and greatly reduced my living expenses, setting up my switch from full-time to part-time work 3 years later. By then, early retirement was well within my radar and I was able to retire in 2008 at age 45. Singl...
by scrabbler1
Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you stop junk mail?
Replies: 29
Views: 1707

Re: How do you stop junk mail?

This was many years ago, back in the 1990s, when I sent something (pre-internet) to some direct mail or direct marketing association to get off their lists. Calling customer service lines from some companies has helped with the cable-TV providers although I still get some stuff from them. Same for b...
by scrabbler1
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay cash for a car?
Replies: 179
Views: 15793

Re: Why pay cash for a car?

If you are acquiring a new car, you major cost is not loan interest, but depreciation. In stead of spending $20k on a new compact, consider spending $15 on a used $25-30k car that is 3-5yrs old and has a great durability record reliability record . Search on auto-trader over a wide area, find a low...
by scrabbler1
Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term capital gains tax - effective tax is higher than 15%
Replies: 15
Views: 1225

Re: Long term capital gains tax - effective tax is higher than 15%

Two things which increased the effective marginal tax rate on LTCG were: (a) it reduced the ACA premium subsidy, and (b) it reduced my deductible medical expenses because of the 10% threshold. My marginal rate on LTCG was 0%, but my tax bill rose significantly.
by scrabbler1
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bunching Deductions property state
Replies: 5
Views: 668

Re: Bunching Deductions property state

I have bunched state income taxes into a single calendar year by paying the 4th quarter for year x in January of year x+1, then paying the 4th quarter of year x+1 in December of year x+1. I am retired and I make only 1 state estimated tax payment per year, giving me the freedom to bunch this way. On...
by scrabbler1
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you project the amount you will have to spend annually in retirement?
Replies: 76
Views: 4705

Re: How do you project the amount you will have to spend annually in retirement?

Planning for early retirement ages 45-50. I am planning for 2.5% inflation per year and 100-150% my current spending. I'm taking that number x 25 via the 4% rule and planning to retire some time between there. I feel it's very safe yet is a reasonable goal. (Note I am not factoring in my pension <5...
by scrabbler1
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why pay cash for a car?
Replies: 179
Views: 15793

Re: Why pay cash for a car?

What about telling the car salesman you plan to get a loan but at the last minute, after agreeing on a price, tell him you plan to pay cash? Would that work? Put me down for paying cash anyway for the reasons others have already stated. When you do that, if they had a deal based on the financing - ...