Search found 174 matches

by sketchy9
Sat May 04, 2019 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does anyone here work for the VA? 401k Question
Replies: 34
Views: 2174

Re: Does anyone here work for the VA? 401k Question

That's right, IMO, re golden handcuffs. However, at least in my case, there were enough opportunities for a healthcare provider to change positions within the VA in the situation of hating one's job. I personally had several positions in my years there. As for bureaucratic, I would certainly agree ...
by sketchy9
Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does anyone here work for the VA? 401k Question
Replies: 34
Views: 2174

Re: Does anyone here work for the VA? 401k Question

Do you know how small the employee contributes? Is it a percentage per paycheck? That's complicated due to some changes by Congress to reduce the cost of federal benefits. For a regular FERS, a new federal employee (first started work since 1/1/14) pays 4.4% (agency pays 11.9%) You sound extremely ...
by sketchy9
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I get umbrella liability insurance?
Replies: 56
Views: 4919

Re: Should I get umbrella liability insurance?

I guess I'll be the contrarian and say that "everyone" does not need umbrella insurance. IMO you need to make an honest assessment of your exposure to liability in your life and make a decision based on that. In my case, I go without because: 1. I drive <4k miles/year. I have maxed out auto liabilit...
by sketchy9
Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sound bar as only music speaker?
Replies: 38
Views: 2480

Re: Sound bar as only music speaker?

I agree with others who say that you'll never replicate the channel separation you get with discrete speakers by switching to a soundbar. A soundbar may be good enough but I think it's important to recognize its limitations. The other question is how migrating to a soundbar simplifies anything. You...
by sketchy9
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sound bar as only music speaker?
Replies: 38
Views: 2480

Re: Sound bar as only music speaker?

I agree with others who say that you'll never replicate the channel separation you get with discrete speakers by switching to a soundbar. A soundbar may be good enough but I think it's important to recognize its limitations. The other question is how migrating to a soundbar simplifies anything. You'...
by sketchy9
Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PC Build Suggestions
Replies: 39
Views: 3150

Re: PC Build Suggestions

I'm late to the party but I recently built a gaming PC/HTPC/photo editing rig. It's my all-purpose computer. In addition to the photo editing, I use it to watch and record live TV, Netflix, Hulu, stream movies, use Oculus Rift, and oh yeah game with the latest AAA titles, all in 4k HDR. IMO the bea...
by sketchy9
Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PC Build Suggestions
Replies: 39
Views: 3150

Re: PC Build Suggestions

I'm late to the party but I recently built a gaming PC/HTPC/photo editing rig. It's my all-purpose computer. In addition to the photo editing, I use it to watch and record live TV, Netflix, Hulu, stream movies, use Oculus Rift, and oh yeah game with the latest AAA titles, all in 4k HDR. IMO the beau...
by sketchy9
Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Massive Student Loan Debt - Fiancee
Replies: 108
Views: 10864

Re: Massive Student Loan Debt - Fiancee

I came from a background where I never really experienced debt and was privileged to graduate college debt free. When my future wife told me about her student loans, I had a borderline panic attack. I never in my life thought I would ever owe anybody any number with that many zeroes. I can sympathi...
by sketchy9
Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [New Vanguard website layout starting Saturday, August 11]
Replies: 133
Views: 10682

Re: [New Vanguard website layout starting Saturday, August 11]

I just logged in and had the new interface. I'm on a desktop PC-- I refuse to do anything of financial consequence on my smartphone. I hate this interface, as it continues the "smartphone-ization" of the web. It's quite obviously designed for viewing on a smartphone or tablet, and a touch interface....
by sketchy9
Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection (UPDATE)
Replies: 25
Views: 2660

Re: Using Uber Without A Cellular Data Connection

If you have T-Mobile you get free international 2G data, which is good enough for Uber.

EDIT: Nvm, just saw that you have an MVNO
by sketchy9
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggest an electric car: Volt? Alternative?
Replies: 49
Views: 4580

Re: Suggest an electric car: Volt? Alternative?

Also bear in mind that if your motivation for going electric is at all environment-related, the "greenest" option is one that does not involve the manufacture of a new car, even if that means driving a gas engine car, simply because the amount of resources consumed and waste created to make a new ca...
by sketchy9
Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping in a hotel room/cruise ship room
Replies: 57
Views: 4521

Re: Tipping in a hotel room/cruise ship room

I don't cruise so can't comment on that. I never tip in hotel rooms-- my philosophy is that I've exchanged the nightly fare for a room and amenities such as a turndown service. Why would I pay more than the price I've agreed to? Like all tipping, it boils down to whether or not you feel it's your pe...
by sketchy9
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New Capital One 360 ACH limits
Replies: 63
Views: 18767

Re: New Capital One 360 ACH limits

This whole thing sounds like some C-level suit got a bee in his/her bonnet and decided that something that was never a problem had to be addressed with no thought whatsoever about how to roll it out, how to communicate the change, or what the reaction would be. This would have been the last straw fo...
by sketchy9
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth
Replies: 104
Views: 15142

Re: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth

Hmm.. you sure about that? The average diagnostic radiologist I know pulls in $500-600K. I currently live on less than 1/6th of that quite happily. With the real estate gains and tax benefits I am seeing, I won't need twenty years to reach $10M. However, having $10M in the bank has zero appeal to m...
by sketchy9
Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth
Replies: 104
Views: 15142

Re: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth

Hmm.. you sure about that? The average diagnostic radiologist I know pulls in $500-600K. I currently live on less than 1/6th of that quite happily. With the real estate gains and tax benefits I am seeing, I won't need twenty years to reach $10M. However, having $10M in the bank has zero appeal to m...
by sketchy9
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth
Replies: 104
Views: 15142

Re: Oh my! Cardone says we need $10m net worth

Fairly silly article with lots of holes. I would agree to be considered truly wealthy $10 million is a logical threshold. While I agree $1 million may not be enough, he ignores impact of social security. $40k swr+$30k SS = $70K is livable, although not at all extravagant. $5 million would give you ...
by sketchy9
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]
Replies: 91
Views: 9817

Re: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]

There's a reason the saying says that you can't avoid death and taxes. As a similarly high-earning W2 employee at one point in my life, I can share that there really aren't a lot of options. Livesoft's list covers them. You can frame the situation in such a way as to make it more palatable, e.g. it'...
by sketchy9
Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Imagine a 10 year, 0%, noncallable loan
Replies: 49
Views: 3489

Re: Imagine a 10 year, 0%, noncallable loan

Sounds almost like you're buying points, as you would with a mortgage. In this case, the points reduce the interest rate to 0. The thing with points, though, is that they still get factored into the APR, which is not the same as the interest rate. So it seems to me that what you're really asking is ...
by sketchy9
Mon May 14, 2018 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?
Replies: 158
Views: 10574

Re: Can a <median household save 1 year of expenses every year?

If you made $50 then live off of $25k? For a family, you are getting close to a poverty level of expenses. Perhaps if your house was already paid for, and you live frugally in a LCOL area. I imagine some MMM types could do it. But they have a fairly extraordinarily frugal lifestyle. Perhaps some fa...
by sketchy9
Sun May 13, 2018 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage question: 20% down or larger down payment?
Replies: 47
Views: 6087

Re: Mortgage question: 20% down or larger down payment?

I put 40% down because, at the time I bought my place, I was working less (with a lower monthly income) so I couldn't afford the monthly payment with a 20% down payment. This is confusing. If you had the money to put down 40%, couldn't you have used that same money to "afford the monthly payment wi...
by sketchy9
Fri May 11, 2018 6:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What Percentage CASH are you?
Replies: 168
Views: 19872

Re: What Percentage CASH are you?

Why do you do this? munemaker....You ask a fair question; I shall answer. ... munemaker, I hope this helps. I wanted to answer your question in a way where you'd understand why we did what we did. Thanks for the explanation. Sorry you had to go through all that. Glad you were able to pull yourselve...
by sketchy9
Fri May 11, 2018 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage question: 20% down or larger down payment?
Replies: 47
Views: 6087

Re: Mortgage question: 20% down or larger down payment?

Just remember your mortgage including taxes and insurance should be 25% of your net monthly income. That is incredibly conservative and would likely rule out homebuying for a large percentage of the population. OP: I put 40% down because, at the time I bought my place, I was working less (with a lo...
by sketchy9
Wed May 09, 2018 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Payoff mortgage early or save?
Replies: 27
Views: 3516

Re: Payoff mortgage early or save?

I've always felt that, unless and until you can make one lump sum payment to eliminate the mortgage, you should hold on to extra cash. The bank isn't interested in the fact that you're 12 months ahead of where you should be on your mortgage; your payment is due every month on the 1st. Lose your job?...
by sketchy9
Fri May 04, 2018 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio peepers: what do you do?
Replies: 48
Views: 4765

Re: Portfolio peepers: what do you do?

I absolutely LOVE it when the market tanks. I generally prefer to sell into market euphoria (sell high) at the tail end of a bull market (like around now), to accumulate cash positions before it tanks. When it stops tanking, I BUY. I buy on a small scale during limited corrections (ie 10%) and go a...
by sketchy9
Wed May 02, 2018 2:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio peepers: what do you do?
Replies: 48
Views: 4765

Re: Portfolio peepers: what do you do?

My portfolio value gets updated daily thanks to Quicken. I do virtually nothing with the information. The only time it's useful for me is when I get dividends, as none of my dividends are set to reinvest. I look at which of my investments are furthest away from their targets and buy accordingly. Oth...
by sketchy9
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in free fall
Replies: 10788
Views: 1887330

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Hello darkness my old friend...I wonder if today is a harbinger of sustained losses or more of the same volatility that we've been dealing with this whole year? My IRR (prior to today) was essentially zero for the year on a 70/30 allocation, but I feel like we've had several days of heavy losses (co...
by sketchy9
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MD-Phd (Harvard) vs MSTP (School X)
Replies: 44
Views: 4689

Re: MD-Phd (Harvard) vs MSTP (School X)

Don't discount location in this decision. San Francisco is considerably milder (and more expensive) than Baltimore, for instance. However, your child will be spending the better part of a decade in the city they choose, and that's a long time to be somewhere they don't want to be.
by sketchy9
Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Where to save/invest for a 15 years saving goals?!
Replies: 6
Views: 770

Re: Where to save/invest for a 15 years saving goals?!

I'm saving for an 8 year horizon and have settled on an equity allocation that is, essentially, the time left minus three years, times 5%, but at least 10%. So, as time marches on, I will slowly wind down my equity portion until it hits 10%. I arrived at this formula after reading a few threads here...
by sketchy9
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New Vanguard Security Code Requirement [2FA: Two-factor authentication]
Replies: 198
Views: 17715

Re: Two- Factor Authentication at Vanguard

Am not currently using the 2FA. Should probably start. So ... does the code get sent from VG every single time you want to log-in? I download all my transactions and balances every day in Quicken and dread the inconvenience of going through the text message process everyday. Of course, I dread the ...
by sketchy9
Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best home exercise equipment?
Replies: 151
Views: 17183

Re: What is the best home exercise equipment?

Brand new kit. I don't understand all the metrics (sorry my bad, haven't yet gone through their website) - but here are screenshots of my performance. 30 minutes each. What does each of them mean ? How am I doing ? Day 1 https://i.imgur.com/iwxvEKB.jpg Day 5 https://i.imgur.com/JRsmLsf.jpg Agree wi...
by sketchy9
Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why Edward Jones?
Replies: 92
Views: 18758

Re: Why Edward Jones?

My Mom uses Edward Jones, in spite of my exhortations. Why does she do it? Because, like many Americans, money/saving/retirement are scary and don't come easy. She thinks if she gives money to a "professional" every month, she is being taken care of and doesn't have to "worry" about her finances. T...
by sketchy9
Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New York Times--Why Are Mutual Fund Fees So High? This Billionaire Knows
Replies: 5
Views: 1975

Re: New York Times--Why Are Mutual Fund Fees So High? This Billionaire Knows

This article is like an advertisement for index funds. Baron funds are overseen by nine directors. Seven are listed as independent. Four of those seven have served as trustees since Mr. Baron established his first funds 30 years ago. One of them, David A. Silverman, has zero financial experience: He...
by sketchy9
Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepay property tax: California / AMT
Replies: 4
Views: 746

Re: Prepay property tax: California / AMT

It's not clear exactly how CA will deal with the federal cap on SALT deductions. Consider the following: federal schedule A, line 5 is State and local Income or Sales taxes. Line 6 is Real Estate Taxes. Right now, there is no cap on the combined amount but we know that it will be $10k next year. Now...
by sketchy9
Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 25836

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

It's ridiculous and, frankly, a little irresponsible that various tax calculators out there do not include all aspects of the individual tax code, especially one as pervasive as the AMT. In my own case, using frugal professors spreadsheets (which do include the AMT), My taxes will decrease ~$800, o...
by sketchy9
Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 25836

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

Wife and I pay in excess of $80,000 in state, local and property taxes. No kids. We can now only deduct $10,000 of that (perhaps double if filing jointly?). Guessing a small offset to that sizable hike via lower rate but the net is . . . suboptimal. We're fine financially. My primary concern is the...
by sketchy9
Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 25836

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

It's ridiculous and, frankly, a little irresponsible that various tax calculators out there do not include all aspects of the individual tax code, especially one as pervasive as the AMT. In my own case, using frugal professors spreadsheets (which do include the AMT), My taxes will decrease ~$800, on...
by sketchy9
Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 67391

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

One data point: I just ran a dummy return using TurboTax 2017, adding projections for my final paycheck (due next week). Thanks to the AMT, it makes absolutely no difference whether I make an extra property tax payment or not on my tax liability for 2017. I'm in CA.
by sketchy9
Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I-Bonds?
Replies: 80
Views: 17473

Re: I-Bonds?

Why not 100% of emergency funds ? I would say for the same reason why it's not recommended to have only one credit card or have credit cards with only one bank. If you ever need to use your emergency funds you don't want it to be when the Treasury Direct website is down for maintenance or you get l...
by sketchy9
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to tip movers?
Replies: 71
Views: 8908

Re: How much to tip movers?

What's stopping the owners from charging more to pay the movers more? How did it suddenly become the customer's job to make up for poor wages? If you hired a company to paint your house would you tip the workers? Why or why not? What's the difference? I did tip the painters, Plumbers, Furnace insta...
by sketchy9
Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to tip movers?
Replies: 71
Views: 8908

Re: How much to tip movers?

What's stopping the owners from charging more to pay the movers more? How did it suddenly become the customer's job to make up for poor wages? If you hired a company to paint your house would you tip the workers? Why or why not? What's the difference?
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets
Replies: 336
Views: 23225

Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

I am with eye surgeon that experiences are so overrated. We went to the Galapagos islands with National Geographics/ Lindblat for one week and I enjoyed the two hour National Geographics movie I saw on cable while I was walking on the treadmill so much more. For me it is a myth that vacations/exper...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets
Replies: 336
Views: 23225

Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

the Op makes somes good points Experiences vs. Things is irrelevant When i drove an italian or german exotic sports car, it was an "experience", not just a "thing" I am GLAD I spent thousands of dollars on trips to europe, vegas, and other places with friends in my 20s INSTEAD of investing in index...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: the psychology of a taxable account
Replies: 29
Views: 4772

Re: the psychology of a taxable account

I've never agreed with paying off debt early in small increments. Unless you can push the due date for the next payment into the future with extra payments (not common at all, and I've never heard of a mortgage that allowed you to do this), you still have to make timely monthly payments or you defa...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: the psychology of a taxable account
Replies: 29
Views: 4772

Re: the psychology of a taxable account

I've never agreed with paying off debt early in small increments. Unless you can push the due date for the next payment into the future with extra payments (not common at all, and I've never heard of a mortgage that allowed you to do this), you still have to make timely monthly payments or you defau...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Non-compete clause for employment
Replies: 3
Views: 756

Re: Non-compete clause for employment

What state are you in? Non-compete clauses are essentially unenforceable for non-management in CA. That being said, it sounds like you're unemployed at the moment, and, as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent
Replies: 34
Views: 4897

Re: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent

IMO, a dollar lost in 401k matches is worth more than $1 to you today. Your marginal tax bracket is 25%, while its true that your employer is able to deduct that match as employee compensation, that is not the question. The answer is if you had to replace that $5K match outside of the 401K plan (as...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 24791

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

So basically none of you would tip in advance? You would hit the "no tip" button and then tip at the end by leaving some cash on the table? nisiprius, I tip on the undiscounted total in your scenario. I tip in advance in all three situations listed earlier in this thread. My wife and daughters have...
by sketchy9
Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 24791

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Tipping is a direct subsidy to employers. In the US, an employer must legally pay an employee at least minimum wage-- if the employee doesn't earn enough in tips to reach minimum wage, then the employer has to make up the difference. Now, I have no illusion that everyone in the restaurant industry i...
by sketchy9
Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trade QUICKEN for Spreadsheet
Replies: 28
Views: 3044

Re: Trade QUICKEN for Spreadsheet

The thought of entering transactions by hand, or downloading from multiple financial websites, does not appeal to me in the least. That's really the only thing I do with Quicken, and then I export to a spreadsheet. Even with that limited use it's worth the money to me.