Search found 364 matches

by sjb19
Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gardening 2018
Replies: 70
Views: 7301

Re: Gardening 2018

I've had a pretty good tomato harvest this year. Like a lot of the country, summer got an early start. The bad thing was that it knocked out the snow peas early. I have put in an attempt at a fall crop for those. Interestingly, one of my tomato plants wasn't what I bought. Here's an attempt by me t...
by sjb19
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chipotle question
Replies: 73
Views: 4584

Re: Chipotle question

If you are only getting 700 calories per order at chipotle, you are simply choosing not to maximize your order's potential and that is why you aren't getting more than one meal out of it. Yes and no. I love Chipotle and have little doubt that if I stretched my bowl to 1300+ calories I would still b...
by sjb19
Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Wolf of Wall Street
Replies: 33
Views: 5195

Re: The Wolf of Wall Street

I read both and liked the second book better because it had more financial details, so I might be weird. Neither of them made a lasting impression though.
by sjb19
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Funny/frustrating FedEx situation
Replies: 19
Views: 2823

Re: Funny/frustrating FedEx situation

Not related to FedEx, but if you are going from a micro sim to a nano sim you can find templates on the internet and cut the card down to size.
by sjb19
Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donation question
Replies: 22
Views: 3151

Re: Donation question

FYI, Maryland has a similar tax credit program. It's called the Community Investment Tax Credit program here, and it only applies to a very specific list of projects from specific charities.
by sjb19
Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to retire early (in your 30s or 40s)?
Replies: 173
Views: 29365

Re: How to retire early (in your 30s or 40s)?

awizard wrote:I get what you are saying. However, all the funds in tax advantage are "locked up" until 59 1/2. The only solution I see is to have a savings rate that is gigantic.
Not fully locked up. Google 72t distributions.
by sjb19
Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Denied Term Life Insurance/A Reminder to Get Your House in Order
Replies: 40
Views: 5499

Re: Denied Term Life Insurance/A Reminder to Get Your House in Order

No. Your wife is employable and you more than enough to cover a few years of living expenses already. Also, check to see how much SS your minor child would receive if you die. Another recommendation to find out how much SS survivor benefits your kid(s) and wife would receive. It can be quite a bit ...
by sjb19
Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.
Replies: 23
Views: 2913

Re: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.

Re-check your PMI numbers, something seems off. FWIW, I pay about $75/month on a similar size loan and there were no PMI-related costs at closing.
by sjb19
Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do mortgage lenders underestimate taxes to make the closing payment more attractive (and entice borrowers)?
Replies: 13
Views: 2216

Re: Do mortgage lenders underestimate taxes to make the closing payment more attractive (and entice borrowers)?

I wouldn't worry about it except to make sure they know that their payment will increase after an escrow analysis to the higher, correct monthly escrow rate plus an additional amount (one-time or monthly) to make up for the shortage from this year.
by sjb19
Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I am presenting on Vanguard vs. AXA, can you help?
Replies: 54
Views: 5336

Re: I am presenting on Vanguard vs. AXA, can you help?

"An Investor who pays the average .74% fee for a mutual fund and invests $500 a month for 30 years (with a 6% gain) will pay more than $33,615 more than an investor in a low-cost index fund that charges .05%." I agree with this approach. Keep specific funds out of it and you will eliminate a potent...
by sjb19
Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Prosper.com Update Total Return
Replies: 39
Views: 6026

Re: Prosper.com Update Total Return

I just checked their website and the returns that they display begin in 2009. I'll have to see if I can find data from during the financial crisis to see if the current returns being generated are worth it. It seems pretty misleading of them to not include this, especially when marketing their prod...
by sjb19
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Prosper.com Update Total Return
Replies: 39
Views: 6026

Re: Prosper.com Update Total Return

I think it is extremely difficult to evaluate p2p lending as an investment until it is seen how it performs during an economic downturn. My intuition is that the currently available returns don't justify the downside risk. Haven't run any numbers to back this up, but I'd imagine default rates would...
by sjb19
Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quick Chromecast question
Replies: 8
Views: 1294

Re: Quick Chromecast question

Once the chromecast stream starts you can do whatever you want with the controlling device, including turning it off, and the stream will continue. The data is flowing between chromecast and router at that point. Your tablet/computer/phone is only a remote control. It's probably different if you are...
by sjb19
Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New commute car for longish commute tall commuter
Replies: 14
Views: 1571

Re: New commute car for longish commute tall commuter

I have an '06 civic with ~230k miles on it. Similar height and commute time as your husband. Car has been great and actually feels more spacious to me as driver than my wife's Santa Fe SUV, in which I bump the roof with my head occasionally. However, I currently have 2 backless booster seats in the ...
by sjb19
Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k loan for down payment?
Replies: 4
Views: 747

Re: 401k loan for down payment?

Liberty1100 wrote:The risks there is that if he looses his job during the repayment period, you would have to instantly pay back the 401k loan.
Maybe. Maybe not. Details of the specific plan matter.
by sjb19
Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on 401k loan for home purchase?
Replies: 29
Views: 5757

Re: Thoughts on 401k loan for home purchase?

I would say it depends on the rules of your particular 401k plan. I used a 401k loan as a bridge between 2 houses and it worked out ok. I still contributed in the time I had the loan, I still got the company match and contrary to what just about everyone here thinks, I would not have had to repay th...
by sjb19
Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Completed taxes, need to file new Fed & State W4
Replies: 10
Views: 1181

Re: Completed taxes, need to file new Fed & State W4

IMO, you are overthinking this. You have a good idea how much less you want withheld since you know your refund amount. Just bump up exemptions a few, wait a few paycycles for things to stabilize and re-check. Repeat as necessary. Not sure if it applies to your situation, but my wife and I make reas...
by sjb19
Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Health Insurer, Anthem, Hacked
Replies: 100
Views: 11846

Re: Health Insurer, Anthem, Hacked

Disconcerting to me, at least, is the apparent necessity to have "unfrozen" credit reports to buy CDs, open savings accounts, and the like (known as "hard pulls"). I noted this above, and have yet to see any solution posted herein (i.e., how can I "freeze" credit reports for thieves who want to bor...
by sjb19
Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Health Insurer, Anthem, Hacked
Replies: 100
Views: 11846

Re: Health Insurer, Anthem, Hacked

Since this hack also includes my kids personal data, should I be doing something to protect their identities/credit? Is it even possible to freeze credit activity for children? I doubt it, but, you could occasionally check for availability of a credit report for a child. If there is a credit report...
by sjb19
Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tablet recommendations: Asus Memo Pad 7?
Replies: 7
Views: 1263

Re: Tablet recommendations: Asus Memo Pad 7?

We got one for my son so my wife could reclaim her ipad. He is only 7, so he really only uses it for netflix and minecraft, but it seems to work just fine. The main drawback I have noticed in my limited time with it is that the screen resolution is not the greatest. Overall though, it is certainly b...
by sjb19
Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 36 y.o. New at investing, am I in too much debt?
Replies: 63
Views: 9101

Re: 36 y.o. New at investing, am I in too much debt?

I think you will be fine. It seems most of your expense/debt issues come from compressing what most people do over the course of 10-15 years after getting out of school (get married, buy house, have kids) down to about a 5 year plan. Your debt "hole" will possibly be deeper and hopefully narrower (d...
by sjb19
Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consider freezing your credit
Replies: 66
Views: 10864

Re: Consider freezing your credit

It looks like putting on a security freeze prevents you from getting a copy of your credit report or using services like Credit Karma to monitor your score. If so it seems like the freeze has to be instead of self-monitoring, not in addition. Am I understanding it correctly? If you set up credit ka...
by sjb19
Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone
Replies: 51
Views: 14233

Re: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone

I checked out the rates and it seems you can get 600 minutes for $20 per month, plus $10 per month per line added. And then $20 per month for 5000 texts and 1GB data. Are the texts are data shared between the two phones, without any additional charges for sharing on the second line? If yes that com...
by sjb19
Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying First Home Questions
Replies: 29
Views: 2230

Re: Buying First Home Questions

... His Income: 75k Her Income: 75k Tax %: 25% bracket (once married most likely 28% due to small raises at beginning of year) Off topic, but I can't imagine this is true, given the salaries you listed. It seems right to me after 401k contributions. I think the 28% after getting married was the poi...
by sjb19
Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying First Home Questions
Replies: 29
Views: 2230

Re: Buying First Home Questions

... His Income: 75k Her Income: 75k Tax %: 25% bracket (once married most likely 28% due to small raises at beginning of year) Off topic, but I can't imagine this is true, given the salaries you listed. And I agree with the general sentiment to save until you have 20% down and also give yourselves ...
by sjb19
Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Betterment Explanation on Investment Returns
Replies: 14
Views: 2732

Re: Betterment Explanation on Investment Returns

The explanation provided isn't the best, but I agree with the general point in that time-weighted returns are of more interest to me in gauging my portfolio performance than are dollar-weighted returns. It is not hand waving. If you are so inclined, play around with the xirr() function in excel to h...
by sjb19
Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a "catch" in this Xfinity offer ?
Replies: 23
Views: 2246

Re: Is there a "catch" in this Xfinity offer ?

Seems like a reasonable price, so I doubt there is any catch other than maybe some early termination fee within the year contract. I have switched around tv/internet/cell phone providers so much that I have largely lost interest. I only do it now if I get both better service and a better price, so i...
by sjb19
Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the benefits of a good credit score?
Replies: 16
Views: 1684

Re: What are the benefits of a good credit score?

Score can impact security deposits required on leased equipment from Directv, verizon, etc.
by sjb19
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone used Zander Insurance ID theft protection?
Replies: 5
Views: 1903

Re: Has anyone used Zander Insurance ID theft protection?

Why not just freeze your credit files? Very cheap or free. Much easier to prevent ID theft in the first place than to clean it up, even with the help of one of those businesses.
by sjb19
Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Offered Promotion, but longer commute
Replies: 37
Views: 4678

Re: Offered Promotion, but longer commute

It is 90 miles roundtrip on freeways against traffic. I didn't know "against traffic" existed in DC/MD/VA. I have a similar commute and don't particularly mind it, but I realize I am in the very small minority. It was a more stressful ride when contending with fixed time limits though, like daycare...
by sjb19
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help wanted: After 20+ years finally looking at expenses
Replies: 13
Views: 2206

Re: Help wanted: After 20+ years finally looking at expenses

Seems overly complicated to me. Starting from scratch you could probably design a similar, much simpler portfolio for less than 1/10 of your newly lowered fee. But, you are not starting from scratch and there will be other considerations, some financial, some not. Good luck.
by sjb19
Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tangible vs Intangibles when choosing an investment company
Replies: 18
Views: 1243

Re: Tangible vs Intangibles when choosing an investment comp

Interesting perspective. I agree with you that basing decisions solely on intangibles can be foolish. In fact, the first investment account I ever created was at TD Ameritrade and I chose them for no other reason besides that's where my dad invested. I lost a lot of money very quickly. That being s...
by sjb19
Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Grade Vanguard's performance: is 77% an A?
Replies: 10
Views: 1059

Re: Grade Vanguard's performance: is 77% an A?

I think you might be expecting too much if you are disappointed by these numbers. They seem pretty consistent with past comparisons I have seen.
by sjb19
Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings
Replies: 5
Views: 1104

Re: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings

1) make sure you account for state taxes as well. 2) The Child Tax credit is capped at $3000 for 1 child or $6000 for multiple children. If you spend more than that on child care, it can make sense to mix the two. Yes, this too. You can combine savings if you have multiple kids and you are careful....
by sjb19
Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings
Replies: 5
Views: 1104

Re: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings

Tax savings are at your marginal rate, not your effective rate. FSA also comes out of your check pre-FICA taxes.
by sjb19
Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Would you take a tax free loan on investments?
Replies: 15
Views: 1237

Re: Would you take a tax free loan on investments?

FWIW, the monthly payment on the 401k loan I used as a bridge loan was not considered in calculating my debt-to-income ratios for the new mortgage. I guess that policy may be lender-specific though.
by sjb19
Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone
Replies: 51
Views: 14233

Re: Consumer Cellular with 4G-LTE android smartphone

I never did get the correct APN from Consumer Cellular for 4G-LTE. The rep I talked to didn't even know they had 4G-LTE. I ferreted out the setting via a google search. There must not be much consistency in training of the service reps. I had my wife's LTE up and running on a Nexus 5 within 1 call,...
by sjb19
Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: engineers - please help with engineering school selection
Replies: 185
Views: 17455

Re: engineers - please help with engineering school selectio

Get great grades at a quality school and he will be fine. And many non-engineers do not realize how common it is for employers to pay employee's grad school costs. He would probably have to take the classes part-time, but it would get him into the workforce sooner and if he plans well, his experienc...
by sjb19
Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How To Encourage A Young (Sensitive) Child In Sports
Replies: 115
Views: 11392

Re: How To Encourage A Young (Sensitive) Child In Sports

My son is almost 7 and I can relate, fortunately without the father/coach dynamic that is definitely complicating your situation. They start soccer young around here, so I have a few years of experience watching him. His first year he was a ball of energy and very aggressive to the ball after a brie...
by sjb19
Thu May 29, 2014 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BoA - Paying extra on mortgage principal
Replies: 26
Views: 7149

Re: BoA - Paying extra on mortgage principal

BoA serviced our loan for a while before we refi'd a few years ago. For whatever reason I couldn't setup automatic payments with them so each month I had to go online and schedule an ACH pull from my external checking acct. One of the fields in that form was to add additional principal. I did that o...
by sjb19
Fri May 23, 2014 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: declining job due to travel
Replies: 92
Views: 36186

Re: declining job due to travel

If you want to pursue this, I would try very hard to make sure it really is one week per 3 months. My "one or two days per month" travel assignemnt pretty quickly became 2-3 times a month for 3-4 days at a time. At the time I was single and unattached and the work was very cool and only about a 2 ho...
by sjb19
Tue May 06, 2014 1:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Have I Not Rebalanced?
Replies: 9
Views: 1819

Re: Why Have I Not Rebalanced?

Looks like you are doing things right to me. Keep in mind that at smaller account values the behavior of your account is dominated by your periodic contributions, that is, things can't get too out of whack because every 2 weeks a meaningful amount (relative to the total account value) of appropriate...
by sjb19
Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Privately Held Company Stock
Replies: 8
Views: 755

Re: Privately Held Company Stock

I'm in a similar situation (assuming you cannot sell the stock until leaving) and I ignore it completely since I have no control over selling or buying for rebalancing purposes. Also, until somewhat recently the company stock would have represented well over half of my retirement assets, and as what...
by sjb19
Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to read currency breakdown of a global bond fund
Replies: 2
Views: 802

Re: How to read currency breakdown of a global bond fund

I don't own the fund, but your question interested me. Yes, it is short the currencies with the negative %s. See pages 5&6 of most recent annual report for more detail.
by sjb19
Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: FDIC insurance (for "cash" in brokerage account)
Replies: 6
Views: 1083

Re: FDIC insurance (for "cash" in brokerage account)

My Ameritrade account seems to have 2 cash sweep options. One is covered by FDIC, the other by SIPC.
by sjb19
Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interest rates will rise, so flee REITS and Bonds?
Replies: 17
Views: 6103

Re: Interest rates will rise, so flee REITS and Bonds?

I admit minimal expertise here, but I was always under the impression that REITs were more influenced by longer-term real rates. It looks like the real 10-yr rate was pretty steady in the high 1's to low 2's percent range most of that time period you quoted. Perhaps the increasing leverage of the pe...
by sjb19
Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401(k) loan for down payment
Replies: 15
Views: 1940

Re: 401(k) loan for down payment

I would probably just keep saving for the down payment. I put a large value on liquidity of money in the year or two before and after home purchases. You may be comfortable with less cash available. 401k loans tend to cause nausea and a loss of reading comprehension on this site. Expect mostly negat...
by sjb19
Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TMobile $30 plan...
Replies: 52
Views: 14678

Re: TMobile $30 plan...

Wife and I used this plan for about a year. It was as advertised, no gotchas. Ended up switching due to coverage issues in our house.
by sjb19
Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Understanding credit score
Replies: 15
Views: 1682

Re: Understanding credit score

I believe the credit ratings agencies calculate utilization based on account balance at closing date. So, for example, if you have a $10k limit and have $5k balance at closing date, even if you pay it on time and in full, they will still say you have a very high utilization rate of 50%. Paying it do...
by sjb19
Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Scary Parallel to 1928-29?
Replies: 7
Views: 984

Re: Scary Parallel to 1928-29?

Scale matters.