Search found 56 matches

by K-SawDude
Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FHA Condo Mortgage Question
Replies: 8
Views: 794

Re: FHA Condo Mortgage Question

It used to be the case that FHA would cancel the monthly insurance payment (MIP) after 5 years for 30 year loans, or at any time for 15 year loans, once you hit 78% loan-to-value (LTV). But it sounds like they've made FHA ridiculously undesirable now: http://themortgagereports.com/12740/new-fha-mort...
by K-SawDude
Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Europe for the first time...need help!
Replies: 67
Views: 16931

Re: Traveling to Europe for the first time...need help!

Switzerland is definitely pricey, but from there consider going down into Italy for cheaper housing and transit options. Lake Como has some wonderful sights, and you won't be far from a number of major cities in the Northern part of Italy. For cheap housing options in Europe, explore this site as a ...
by K-SawDude
Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more?)
Replies: 14
Views: 3235

Re: Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more

Thanks for the nudge, retiredjg . I just got off the phone with Fidelity and they confirmed that the 401K funds do NOT have fees and minimums, just as you explained in your last post. It's genuinely been confusing, as I certainly *was* assessed an annual fee for having a balance under 10K for FFNOX ...
by K-SawDude
Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more?)
Replies: 14
Views: 3235

Re: Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more

I don't think your current situation is clear. Is the FFNOX in your 401k along with your Spartan bond? Or is it in an IRA or Roth IRA or a taxable account? Your questions don't make much since if the FFNOX is in your 401k. The answers might be different if the FFNOX is in an IRA vs a taxable accoun...
by K-SawDude
Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more?)
Replies: 14
Views: 3235

Fidelity: Shift from FFNOX to underlying funds (and more?)

I've really liked the Fidelity Four-in-one Index over the last couple of years. But with the recent announcement from Fidelity that they're lowering ERs and account minimums on Spartan accounts, it seems to make more sense for me to shift away from FFNOX to the underlying funds--and possibly add one...
by K-SawDude
Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would You Do This FHA Streamline Refinance?
Replies: 7
Views: 1617

Re: Would You Do This FHA Streamline Refinance?

If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't do it. You're locking in a lower interest rate, of course, but that jump in monthly MI is huge. And they really do get you on the 5-year reset on MI payments. (It's a ridiculous requirement for refinancers, IMO--something they ought to change.) You could get locke...
by K-SawDude
Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High LTV refinance options?
Replies: 3
Views: 836

Re: High LTV refinance options?

Can you afford an FHA 15 year? The MI will be removed as soon as you hit 78% LTV, so there's no 5-year requirement. Plus, if you pay it down to 90% as you refi, the monthly MI is a lot lower than if you refi at > 90%. But the upfront FHA premium may not make it worth your time and money. Another opt...
by K-SawDude
Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FHA Refinance Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1386

Re: FHA Refinance Question

I will also ask about paying the prepaids and 1 month out of pocket as well. Thanks for the suggestion. Ask about the insurance refund, too, if it's an FHA to FHA refi. Unfortunately, with my house being so far underwater I don't think I have any other options besides FHA along with the 5 year mini...
by K-SawDude
Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FHA Refinance Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1386

Re: FHA Refinance Question

If it's an FHA to FHA refi, you'll want to ask for clarification on whether or not you'll be getting a partial refund on your upfront mortgage insurance premium paid on the initial FHA loan. And, if so, you'll want to know if that's being factored into the closing costs. You usually get a partial re...
by K-SawDude
Wed May 23, 2012 11:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: FHA Loans for first timers
Replies: 4
Views: 1213

Re: FHA Loans for first timers

I agree with the suggestion to check to make sure the condo is already FHA approved. While it's possible to have a lender do its own "in-house" FHA approval, it will be a nightmare of paperwork and pickiness, without necessarily getting approval in the end. (At least based on my experience.) You may...
by K-SawDude
Sun May 06, 2012 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Rent or Buy? 23, Secure Job, Single
Replies: 55
Views: 3737

Re: Should I Rent or Buy? 23, Secure Job, Single

Condo owner here. Even though I've been happy with my condo purchase thus far, in your case I'd recommend renting for a short bit first if you're totally new to the area. Or at least give yourself a very, very solid couple of weeks of visiting neighborhoods and properties before making any such big ...
by K-SawDude
Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan
Replies: 7
Views: 1069

Re: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan

I thought you only had to wait until 6/11/12. Where is this July date coming from? It comes from me misreading the link. Apologies. The important point here is for the borrower to make sure with the lender/broker that the new FHA rules are in effect before getting the FHA case number assigned. It s...
by K-SawDude
Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan
Replies: 7
Views: 1069

Re: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan

Thanks for the info. Looks like it could be worth waiting till July to do a FHA streamline since we refi'd last in 2008. Do you know what the 55 basis point refers to for annual MIP? Trying to figure out what that would come to in monthly payments. Thanks. Basis points refer to hundredths of a perc...
by K-SawDude
Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan
Replies: 7
Views: 1069

Re: Your Experience Refinancing a FHA Loan

Not underwater, but I've just wrapped up a LONG process going through an FHA refi myself. From my understanding, if you're underwater and need FHA, you need to go for a streamline. The streamline requires no new appraisal, which would be very helpful for you. Ideally, if you bought before 6/1/2009 A...
by K-SawDude
Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insuring Car Rental?: AmEx vs. "Damage Loss Waiver"
Replies: 11
Views: 2422

Insuring Car Rental?: AmEx vs. "Damage Loss Waiver"

I've been fretting recently about what to do regarding car rental insurance during a trip to Hawaii coming up in a few weeks. Reading around about all of my options, I'm still really split on what direction to go here. I have an AmEx with their basic automatic car rental coverage; I unfortunately ca...
by K-SawDude
Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr
Replies: 26
Views: 2789

Re: Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr

P.S. I can't refi into another 30 year FHA loan without having to pay *double* the monthly MI AND resetting the clock for paying it for 5 years. Doesn't make sense to do that, though I wish that were an option. This is the boat I'm in. What's the deal with the double MI costs?? I'm about 2 years in...
by K-SawDude
Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr
Replies: 26
Views: 2789

Re: Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr

15 sounds affordable to you: though see if you can do better than a 3.5/no-cost, last I looked you should be able to get under that... but maybe it's a LTV issue :beer Thanks for the feedback. Any suggestions for places to shop around? (I should have mentioned that I got the quote above from Ameris...
by K-SawDude
Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr
Replies: 26
Views: 2789

Torn on whether or not to refi 30yr to 15yr

Hi all, I'm hoping to get some reactions from Bogleheads as to whether or not I should refi now. I'm literally changing my mind every other couple of days trying to figure out which option--either keeping the current 30yr loan or refi-ing to 15yr--makes the most financial sense. I really don't think...
by K-SawDude
Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?
Replies: 7
Views: 1040

Re: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?

Thanks, David. Very helpful perspective there. I can see what you're saying about the "IRS matching" benefits of an HSA. It's funny you mention the mortgage refi, as that's also been on the plate as a possibility. Unfortunately I'm under FHA and in a condo, so I'd need a substantial sum more to get ...
by K-SawDude
Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?
Replies: 7
Views: 1040

Re: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?

Thanks for helping me think through all of this, centrifuge . You seem to be echoing my gut (and hence the lack of clarity on which way to go here). The HSA seems like a good deal at face value, but the interest rate and account/management concerns worry me a bit. (It's almost like I'm forced to wat...
by K-SawDude
Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?
Replies: 7
Views: 1040

Re: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?

what is your current balance? I ask because once you hit 5k, you can start transferring to HSA Bank and investing tax-free (HSA Bank's first 5k has to be held in the deposit account before subsequent balance can be invested at TD Ameritrade tax-free). I'm at 3K right now in the HSA. But I could eas...
by K-SawDude
Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Filling HSA vs. Roth space?
Replies: 7
Views: 1040

Filling HSA vs. Roth space?

I'm curious to know how Bogleheads would manage this decision... I will have money next year to put in my HSA and/or Roth space, but likely not enough to fill both. If you were in my shoes, would you prioritize filling the HSA first or the Roth? Or perhaps other options such as paying down a 5% mort...
by K-SawDude
Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are condos a good alternative to renting an apartment?
Replies: 34
Views: 5032

I also tend to think people overstate the cons of condos. Any home purchase, condo or townhome or single family home, should be subject to risk/reward analysis. HOAs can plague all sorts of domiciles; they can also ensure properties are maintained well. There are some neighborhoods where condos are ...
by K-SawDude
Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: T Rowe Price new Min Investment Req.-Looking for Alternative
Replies: 11
Views: 2565

Take a look at Fidelity. I have a Roth IRA there which started with a $200 automatic deposit every three months. (I think I could have gone even lower than that, possibly to $100.) Averages out to $66.67/month deposit. While there is a $100 minimum, it seems to be a minimum for either monthly or qua...
by K-SawDude
Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New fee schedule at HSA bank
Replies: 53
Views: 12785

Re: New fee schedule at HSA bank

I have an HSA account at HSA bank . The $13000 balance is currently in their savings account earning 0.8%. I called them today to link my account to TD ameritrade and I plan on using Vanguard's TBM index fund( to fit in with the rest of my portfolio). I pay all my medical bills out of pocket and am...
by K-SawDude
Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Single people who cut their food budgets
Replies: 36
Views: 4462

Oh, also: If you're eating out at both lunch and dinner, as a first step try cutting out the dinners while maintaining some of the lunches. Over time, you're more likely to save money since you'll be eating out less AND targeting the cheaper deals (i.e., lunch prices are typically cheaper than dinne...
by K-SawDude
Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Single people who cut their food budgets
Replies: 36
Views: 4462

What's worked best for me is to force myself to pick days where I don't spend any money at all. If routines work for you, you could make every Tuesday a "No eating out" day. That means bringing lunch to work, making dinner at home, making a cocktail at home, etc. If you already have such a day in yo...
by K-SawDude
Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIAA-CREF Real Estate: Anyone Buying These Days?
Replies: 39
Views: 12450

As a new investor, I've been pretty happy with TREA over the last couple of years. A couple of questions about its role in the portfolio, though: (1) How do Bogleheads generally feel about the very high expense ratio of TREA (over 1% for most investors, I think). Anyone think that's a problem? (2) A...
by K-SawDude
Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First Time Home Buying Help
Replies: 3
Views: 653

I have very, very similar financials compared to the OP. I just bought a new home (new construction, condo) over a year ago in that price range. It's a very comfortable mortgage payment. I went for a 30 year for the flexibility, though at times I wonder if it might have been smarter to go for a 15. ...
by K-SawDude
Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Max out ROTH IRA or HSA first?
Replies: 26
Views: 12203

2) Many HSA accounts have very limited investment options. Consider opting for the best non volatile option and adjust to AA elsewhere. And if you intend to preserve your HSA for retirement and restrict annual distributions, be sure to get your HSA to the best custodian, perhaps one that caters to ...
by K-SawDude
Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should/Can I refinance?
Replies: 15
Views: 2090

Thank you for the helpful links. I will bring both questions up again with the bank. I also noticed the following from the first link: "Mortgages with terms 15 years and less and with loan to value ratios of 89.99 percent and less will not be charged annual mortgage insurance premiums. " In essence...
by K-SawDude
Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should/Can I refinance?
Replies: 15
Views: 2090

I received a couple of answers to previous questions from the bank: 1) PMI of $27 would drop off in approx. 5 years Was this for both the 15 year AND 30 year? Unless it's going to take 5 years for you to get below 78% LTV (which would seem awfully strange), the 15 year MI should drop much sooner th...
by K-SawDude
Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should/Can I refinance?
Replies: 15
Views: 2090

Wow! I tried a couple of banks and Amerisave and heard, more than once, that you couldn't streamline 30-to-15. Did you confirm with them that it was a no-appraisal streamline? If so, it seems like you should go for option 2 only if you are certain the extra $ per month won't strain your finances. Th...
by K-SawDude
Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should/Can I refinance?
Replies: 15
Views: 2090

One option to consider is an FHA Streamline loan: http://www.fha.com/fha_article.cfm?id=27 The advantage of this loan is that you typically don't need an appraisal. It also requires much less paperwork usually. The downside is that (I think) you can't streamline from 30 yr to 15 yr. You can however ...
by K-SawDude
Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking about getting a PhD
Replies: 49
Views: 7833

My main question is is it a good idea to chase a PhD program in a discipline that may be more "in-demand" as opposed to doing something you truly love. No. A Ph. D. is not a preparation for something, it's a thing in itself. It is an invitation to join the community of scholars, and it is granted t...
by K-SawDude
Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking about getting a PhD
Replies: 49
Views: 7833

Re: Thinking about getting a PhD

As for being "concerned that I may be forced to work in academia," you clearly don't have any understanding of the academic job market. If you are an outstanding graduate of your PhD program, you may be competitive for an academic position. Good academic jobs (tenure track at a good university) get...
by K-SawDude
Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house - Things to look (or look out) for
Replies: 27
Views: 4210

Walkscore

For another perspective, plug in the addresses of the places you're considering into Walkscore: http://www.walkscore.com/ It's not a perfect tool, but it can show you some of the pedestrian (un)friendliness of various neighborhoods. It will also help you discover nearby amenities that might not be a...
by K-SawDude
Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would buying this condo be a bad idea?
Replies: 62
Views: 5056

Skyline, Is there a rental cap on the property in terms of how many total units can be rented? The rental cap is a two-edged sword. Generally, you want to limit the number of renters since the building can get better financing (read: more potential buyers) and generally better appraisals/property va...
by K-SawDude
Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Opened Fidelity ROTH- good first fund before Spartan index?
Replies: 7
Views: 1395

Beware of the FFNOX index fund fee if your balance is too low. It is $10/year. I'll echo this. I have this fund in my 401K, and their expenses/fees section in the overview didn't mention the $10 fee. So I was surprised to see my first statement have a magic $2 fee (for 1/5 of the year, I guess). Th...
by K-SawDude
Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding Fees for new Roth IRA at Fidelity & portfolio
Replies: 3
Views: 1796

Thanks Crystal and Livesoft. ETFs were exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of, but I didn't know if they made sense as a first fund for a Roth. @Crystal: I think I will speak to a Fidelity adviser; thanks for that suggestion. It's immensely helpful to go into the discussion with a sense of what...
by K-SawDude
Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding Fees for new Roth IRA at Fidelity & portfolio
Replies: 3
Views: 1796

Avoiding Fees for new Roth IRA at Fidelity & portfolio

Hi all, Love this site! A few months back, I got some great general advice from y'all about how to better manage my new-ish 401K, asset allocation strategies, etc. At present, I'm starting to set up a Roth IRA account. I chose Fidelity since I got their 2% retirement rewards card, and since I alread...
by K-SawDude
Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA advice? (savings vs. investment options)
Replies: 2
Views: 768

Sure, not a problem. Use this credit union HSA to receive contributions so you can save on 5.65% payroll taxes. Once your balance is substantial enough, you can transfer out for free once a year to another HSA. Adirondirack gives 3%, I believe, while if you get HSA bank, you can invest everything o...
by K-SawDude
Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA advice? (savings vs. investment options)
Replies: 2
Views: 768

HSA advice? (savings vs. investment options)

I had decided to join the HSA/HDHP train over the last year since I'm young-ish (33) and healthy (I think!). I was surprised to learn on this forum that some folks use the HSA to invest in various funds. My employer requires that our pre-tax HSA contributions go into a specific credit union savings ...
by K-SawDude
Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to invest $100-$400 a month?
Replies: 41
Views: 6706

Somebody just gave me the following advice: - contribute to my 401K up to the employer match (currently 6%) - then max out the annual Roth contributions of $5,000 - then turn back to the 401K and max the total amount they allow me to contribute, for tax sheltering purposes - then once all 3 of thos...
by K-SawDude
Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay someone to do my taxes this year?
Replies: 10
Views: 1782

Thanks all for the suggestions. Had NO idea turbotax (and similar software) was so popular. I'll definitely give it a try this year. I also like the idea of running this on paper too, just to help me understand how the whole process works. To those above who were wondering why I'm asking about this ...
by K-SawDude
Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay someone to do my taxes this year?
Replies: 10
Views: 1782

Should I pay someone to do my taxes this year?

Hi all, I normally do my own taxes, but this is the first year where things have gotten a little more complicated for me. In the past, I've been able to just take the standard deduction and be mostly done with it all. But for 2010 I have the following additional concerns which (unless I'm completely...
by K-SawDude
Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Novice Needs Help (Fidelity vs. TIAA-CREF; Bond allocations)
Replies: 21
Views: 4511

I'm not an expert, but surely one of the factors is that the NAV on a TIPS fund is going to react to whatever the market forecast for inflation is. This is an extra variability factor that doesn't directly affect nominal bonds. The wiki has some good discussions of bonds. Among the links there is t...
by K-SawDude
Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Novice Needs Help (Fidelity vs. TIAA-CREF; Bond allocations)
Replies: 21
Views: 4511

Thanks for the advice on bonds.

Any ideas on why the TIPS fund has been so much more volatile than the regular bond fund? I would have guessed the opposite would be true.
by K-SawDude
Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Novice Needs Help (Fidelity vs. TIAA-CREF; Bond allocations)
Replies: 21
Views: 4511

Are there advantages/disadvantages to choosing the CREF Inflation-Linked Bond rather than the CREF Bond Market? Or splitting the bond allocation evenly between the Bond fund and the Inflation-Linked fund? Another way of asking this: is there any logical reason to reflect worries about future inflati...
by K-SawDude
Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Novice Needs Help (Fidelity vs. TIAA-CREF; Bond allocations)
Replies: 21
Views: 4511

Re: Student loan

k-saw Pay off the student loan. That is a guaranteed rate of return of 6.8% and you can't beat that anywhere else today. Once you have that student loan gone then direct excess money toward upcoming expenses like a car or perhaps building a larger emergency fund. After that, put that money in your ...