Search found 2794 matches

by carolinaman
Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New retiree really needs help with tax-deferred monies
Replies: 4
Views: 482

Re: New retiree really needs help with tax-deferred monies

I think moving all of your investments into VSMGX is a good idea. This gives you your targeted 60/40 AA and you said you were remiss in re balancing. VSGMX will do that automatically. You could do a 3 fund portfolio of Total Stock Market Index, Total International index and Total Bond which has a sl...
by carolinaman
Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth conversions to shrink RMDs
Replies: 15
Views: 988

Re: Roth conversions to shrink RMDs

She needs to consider what her modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) will be. If she exceeds $170k MAGI, Medicare Part B charges a premium. It still may be worth it, but she needs to figure out what the impact of the premium would be. An alternative, which I have used, is to take a Roth conversion t...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Working for a MegaCorp vs a Small Business
Replies: 19
Views: 1261

Re: Working for a MegaCorp vs a Small Business

I have worked at large corporations and government agencies and also at a small startup. The small startup was a technology company. I was the 70th employee and we grew to over 500 employees in my 5 years. I was hired as a consultant, but soon became a manager and was a senior VP the last 3 years. I...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reinvesting RMDs
Replies: 18
Views: 2052

Re: Reinvesting RMDs

RMDs can be part of your overall tax strategy. For that reason, I prefer to do RMDs late in the year when my tax situation is clearer. I do QCDs and also determine how much withholding for Fed and St taxes so I can avoid an under withholding penalty.
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Final Frontier...just did my own taxes!
Replies: 13
Views: 505

Re: The Final Frontier...just did my own taxes!

Congratulations !! If you are up for a bigger challenge, I would like to suggest the following - try doing your taxes without TT, but using an Excel sheet instead (you can construct the Excel sheet brick-by-brick using TT as reference and reviewing the internal TT forms closely). I started doing th...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Project Management - what certification?
Replies: 4
Views: 416

Re: Project Management - what certification?

I strongly agree with PMP certification. It is a necessary credential for those aspiring to be PMs. However, as others have said, the credentials itself does not make you a PM. It gives you a methodology and common terminology. I have been retired 7 years and when I retired the PM field seem to be g...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Enterprise Architecture worth building career upon?
Replies: 12
Views: 1012

Re: Is Enterprise Architecture worth building career upon?

EA can be an important function within a large organization and those that are good at it (many have limitations and are not effective in the role) are quite valuable. It is hard to say what upward opportunities there are for you in that role without knowing more about your organization. If it were ...
by carolinaman
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used car - warranty or no?
Replies: 24
Views: 849

Re: Used car - warranty or no?

Extended warranties are a bad idea. Consumer Reports, Clark Howard and other consumer advocates are strongly against them. Once you understand the fine print you will realize everything you think is covered is not. Many repairs are subject to interpretation as to whether it is covered as a warranty ...
by carolinaman
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Salary requirements
Replies: 6
Views: 1246

Re: Retirement Salary requirements

I have been retired 7 years. Prior to retirement, I projected inflation growth in my expense needs of 2% (I did model different inflation levels too). My income is non-COLA pension and SS. I planned to cover any expense shortfall from investments, although my pension and our SS was more than adequat...
by carolinaman
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda vs. Toyota: Which has more bang for the buck?
Replies: 82
Views: 5920

Re: Honda vs. Toyota: Which has more bang for the buck?

Longtime Toyota driver here. I have considered Honda equivalent vehicles, usually Accord vs Camry, several times when buying a new car. In each instance, Camrys were always less expensive. I have always been pleased with my Toyotas, and when they are less expensive, it seems a no brainer to me to pi...
by carolinaman
Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Planning for the unexpected in retirement
Replies: 14
Views: 1617

Re: Planning for the unexpected in retirement

You need a margin of safety for the unplanned issues that arise in retirement . IMO, 10% is bare minimum. A 15% to 20% cushion would be better. I have been retired 7 years and have encountered some major expenses like replacing HVAC and ductwork ($10k), tree trimming and removal ($8k), water/draina...
by carolinaman
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?
Replies: 23
Views: 1055

Re: Appliance repair: manufacturer authorized tech vs generic repairman?

The last appliance tech I had was for a Kenmore microwave. I learned that Sears has outsourced this service to another company. The tech was borderline incompetent. An independent may be pretty good and probably cheaper, but you need to research this carefully. It is best if you can get personal rec...
by carolinaman
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Planning and Pre or Post Tax
Replies: 6
Views: 609

Re: Retirement Planning and Pre or Post Tax

To determine spendable funds, yes you need to account for taxes. This will apply to pre tax retirement accounts (401k, IRA, etc.) and SS. Also, taxable accounts will be subject to capital gains when withdrawn. Tax planning is an integral part of retirement planning, and can offer opportunities to re...
by carolinaman
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switch to Pension or Stay in Funds?
Replies: 7
Views: 579

Re: Switch to Pension or Stay in Funds?

I took a senior management job in local govt at age 44 thinking I would not be there long term. I too had a portable skillset. I wound up retiring at age 66 after 22 years with a very good pension that, in conjunction with SS, more than provides for our retirement. Once I reached early 50s I realize...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: what to look for when buying a flipped house
Replies: 27
Views: 1827

Re: what to look for when buying a flipped house

Personally, I would avoid flipped homes. Too many of these are done by people with limited experience and they tend to cut a lot of corners. They focus on appearance and trendy things. Flippers try to get top dollar and, as a group, are less trustworthy. If I were buying, I would be looking at homes...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I tax loss harvest this downfall? I've never done it before.
Replies: 7
Views: 882

Re: Should I tax loss harvest this downfall? I've never done it before.

Hi BH, For the month of February, my main account (which is roughly 60% total US, 30% total international, and 10% BND) is down $40,000. That's a huge chunk to me as I'm near 30 and it's hard earned money. I'm not at all panicked, of course, this is a long term game and I'm optimistic/staying the c...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help Sell FIRE to spouse
Replies: 31
Views: 3533

Re: Help Sell FIRE to spouse

I suggest you ask your wife what she thinks the two of you need to retire? Ask her to be specific. You are constantly pitching your analysis and spreadsheets to her and so far she is not buying. Your current approach is not working. She is not comfortable about something. If I were you I would try t...
by carolinaman
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Accredited investor resources
Replies: 23
Views: 1279

Re: Accredited investor resources

Your request is quite reasonable. There is money to be made in some of these private equity deals, but the problem is separating the wheat from the chafe. Apparently the respondents so far do not appreciate the opportunity you have. I am unaware of any books or other resources. My only advise is to ...
by carolinaman
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can durable POA designate beneficiaries for Mom with dementia?
Replies: 8
Views: 482

Re: Can durable POA designate beneficiaries for Mom with dementia?

I am not a lawyer but will offer a few comments. It seems that your dad would be the one to make changes to the annuity if he survives his wife, not the wife's DPOA. If you mother has to go on medicaid during her illness, any assets she transfers to others may be subject to "clawback" by medicaid to...
by carolinaman
Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water Leak from shower stall - how to detect
Replies: 16
Views: 1221

Re: Water Leak from shower stall - how to detect

A slow leak like this can do a lot of damage over time. Unless one of the suggestions you have received is an obvious leak, you or a plumber is going to have to see what is going on inside the ceiling to spot the leak source. If you are handy, I would cut a section of ceiling out to inspect the plum...
by carolinaman
Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TIPS and Inflation
Replies: 8
Views: 563

Re: TIPS and Inflation

If the reason being given for the recent drop in the stock market is that inflation is expected to pick up, then why are TIPS mutual funds dropping and slightly underperforming total bond market funds? My guess: TIPS outperform nominal Treasury bonds when inflation is higher than expected. Otherwis...
by carolinaman
Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What time do you go to work?
Replies: 72
Views: 5173

Re: What time do you go to work?

Retired now but the last 30 years of my career was usually in office by 7am and did not leave until 6 or 7 most days. I was director of IT and my staff had flex time, most starting between 7 and 9am. We had some teleworkers but that has since been abandoned by new exec.
by carolinaman
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I saving too much for retirement?
Replies: 105
Views: 12150

Re: Am I saving too much for retirment?

You are doing great. If that level of spending is constraining your life, you can cut back some. Quality of life between now and retirement is as important as saving for retirement, and it is best to strike a balance between saving for retirement and meet your current needs and desires.
by carolinaman
Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best website to use for book reviews
Replies: 6
Views: 815

Re: Best website to use for book reviews

I use Amazon. They usually have lots of reviews for popular books.
by carolinaman
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2017: A hard, complicated time, i.e. Death & Taxes
Replies: 15
Views: 1791

Re: 2017: A hard, complicated time, i.e. Death & Taxes

My questions: 1.Step up basis on home sale? And from what point? The home will have a step up tax basis to the time of your mom's death in August 2017. So there is negligible, if any, increase in value prior to sale in November 2017. It is possible you could have a LT capital loss due to sales proc...
by carolinaman
Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2017: A hard, complicated time, i.e. Death & Taxes
Replies: 15
Views: 1791

Re: 2017: A hard, complicated time, i.e. Death & Taxes

A long time follower here and I have learned so much! Thanks to all for all you do. My questions: 1.Step up basis on home sale? And from what point? The home will have a step up tax basis to the time of your mom's death in August 2017. So there is negligible, if any, increase in value prior to sale...
by carolinaman
Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:18 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA recommendation: outsized cash position, 6-8 years till retirement
Replies: 15
Views: 1277

Re: AA recommendation: outsized cash position, 6-8 years till retirement

I agree with other posters to use some of your cash to pay down mortgage, although at that low an interest rate, I would not pay it off entirely. I would not do a Roth conversion until after you retire and have a much lower marginal tax rate (I assume that will be true). You should not do a Roth whe...
by carolinaman
Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:55 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: "Muni Bonds Time Bomb" Barron's
Replies: 47
Views: 4820

Re: "Muni Bonds Time Bomb" Barron's

As others cite, there are some states whose pension systems are poorly funded and it is a question when, not if, something is done about it. These states can simply not afford to keep paying benefits at the current level for much longer. However, most states' pension systems are in fair to good shap...
by carolinaman
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cut out the middleman (real estate purchase)
Replies: 5
Views: 675

Re: Cut out the middleman (real estate purchase)

I am interested in buying some land, very low cost. I would like to minimize closing expenses. What is the minimum I could do to get the land? Can I just have a contract with the seller and file with the county in some way or is lawyer still required? Land is offered at 5k, I am bidding less. Many ...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Index funds will, by their very definition, return the benchmark and be the median return."
Replies: 22
Views: 2386

Re: "Index funds will, by their very definition, return the benchmark and be the median return."

This article may be true with returns before expenses are deducted . However, over the long term, the ultra low expenses of low cost index funds clearly perform better than 80+% of all funds/investors. Costs really matter, they matter a lot, which makes it very hard for active investors with their h...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A weekend in Rome - what would you do?
Replies: 13
Views: 774

Re: A weekend in Rome - what would you do?

I've got a business trip coming up in a few weeks and the trip ends up in Rome at the end of the week. After I told this to my wife she said I should stay the weekend and she will join me. I've got Marriott points so can get a free hotel and also have Airline points so can probably fly her over for...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling a home yourself after cancelation of Realtor listing:
Replies: 18
Views: 1809

Re: Selling a home yourself after cancelation of Realtor listing:

If you want to avoid a huge mess, which will result in you paying the full commission, wait until the 90 days has expired. If you don't want to do this, be prepared to pay the commission. Real estate firms are not idiots and have seen this exact scenario a million times and so have the attorneys wh...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Boglehead perspectives on my financial plan
Replies: 4
Views: 617

Re: Boglehead perspectives on my financial plan

I agree with your wife. IMO, you should balance your retirement savings and future with the present time. Quality of life is extremely important. Your children are young only once, and this is your opportunity to enjoy raising your children and creating memories (vacations and other good times). You...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reads on insurance
Replies: 7
Views: 476

Re: Reads on insurance

Umbrella insurance is a good idea, but it will exclude certain kinds of liabilities (varies by policy). Mine excludes rental property and this may be true of most umbrella policies. You definitely need good property and liability coverage for rentals if you do not already have it.
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overwhelmed by the decisions--please help
Replies: 4
Views: 776

Re: Overwhelmed by the decisions--please help

Your plan to draw down your IRAs during the 7 year period you are at 12% tax bracket may increase your "sequence of return risk". A market downturn could seriously dilute your investments at the time they are needed to fund your retirement. You should have some "low risk" funds available to fund tho...
by carolinaman
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: retiring with small pension - % allocation rule of thumb?
Replies: 17
Views: 1540

Re: retiring with small pension - % allocation rule of thumb?

Since you have a pension, it should be subtracted from your expected retirement budget. The remainder is what you need to derive from your portfolio, at least until SS starts. This is brief description of 4% rule from Vanguard. The bold, underlined sections are mine to denote key conditions of this ...
by carolinaman
Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paris Hotel Recommendations
Replies: 21
Views: 1537

Re: Paris Hotel Recommendations

tripadvisor.com is a great website for travel. You can get good recommendations for hotels, sightseeing, etc. from travelers who know Paris well as well as locals.
by carolinaman
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Taxes
Replies: 17
Views: 1434

Re: Retirement Taxes

Your CPA should offer the best advice on the donation. How you do it can make a big difference so be sure to get CPA's advice first.
by carolinaman
Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to know if you really have enough for the future
Replies: 10
Views: 1546

Re: How to know if you really have enough for the future

I would suggest using a couple of retirement calculators to project how long your savings will last using different scenarios: spending, investment returns, AA, etc. IMO, this will give you a better understanding than just blindly following a certain withdrawal rate. Many retirement calculators use ...
by carolinaman
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road Trip Denver to Las Vegas
Replies: 12
Views: 980

Re: Road Trip Denver to Las Vegas

Is it 10 days one way? Will you have extra days on your way back? Here is a very ambitious plan. Denver to Moab (6 hrs) - 2 nights in Moab visiting Arches - Or stay 1 night in Grand Junction visiting Colorado National Monument and then 1 night in Moab for Arches Moab to Page(5 hrs) - 2 nights in Pa...
by carolinaman
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can a Roth Conversion bring about increased Medicare Premiums?
Replies: 10
Views: 858

Re: Can a Roth Conversion bring about increased Medicare Premiums?

Thanks for the replies. Alan S. - how come it doesn't come about in 2019 (2020 instead)? Probably because they won't know your 2018 MAGI until after you have filed your 2018 Form 1040 in April 2019 (or possibly even October 2019, if you get an extension to file.) OK. Color me stupid. CULater, This ...
by carolinaman
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?
Replies: 55
Views: 3716

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

Anytime your car is in the garage, the garage usually performs a complimentary visual inspection to see if anything else needs service, too. Some of this work needs to be done while some of the work is more optional. Recently, one of my cars was in the garage, and the mechanic came back with the fo...
by carolinaman
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take loan off net worth?
Replies: 17
Views: 1095

Re: Take loan off net worth?

From an accounting perspective, you should count bike at its current value as an asset and count the loan as a liability. Depending upon the materiality of this, you may decide bike is not worth including (it is a depreciating asset) but the loan should be counted. Since your net worth is your own s...
by carolinaman
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?
Replies: 68
Views: 3666

Re: Strategies to combat the urge to spend?

My best strategy is to stay out of stores (my wife has not learned that yet). If I go shopping, all of a sudden I find things that I cannot live without, but if I do not go shopping, somehow I survive without it. In your case, stay away from car dealerships. Anytime you get the urge to buy something...
by carolinaman
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amica Increase
Replies: 45
Views: 3456

Re: Amica Increase

I didn't read all the comments, but I have noticed something I don't like with some insurance companies. They give a new customer discount (sometimes named something else). That is to get you to go with them. Then it expires. I am not sure exactly what companies do this. It is best to look at all t...
by carolinaman
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your favorite beach vacation destination?
Replies: 64
Views: 5135

Re: Your favorite beach vacation destination?

Another US beach, Kiawah Island, SC near Charleston. Beautiful beaches, golf, upscale, and if you get bored, checkout downtown Charleston. Good to hear as we are going there with a few friends in the summer. Any recs on food? Good luck. p.s. Been to Charleston already. Trying to convince my wife to...
by carolinaman
Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your favorite beach vacation destination?
Replies: 64
Views: 5135

Re: Your favorite beach vacation destination?

Another US beach, Kiawah Island, SC near Charleston. Beautiful beaches, golf, upscale, and if you get bored, checkout downtown Charleston.
by carolinaman
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Could meditation help deal with market distress?
Replies: 32
Views: 1761

Re: Could meditation help deal with market distress?

Mediation is often sold as a way of coping with stress, of learning to detach oneself from ones emotions (observe them, acknowledge them, then let them go). I'm wondering whether it might have some utility in a bear market to deal with the emotional distress caused by seeing half of your portfolio ...
by carolinaman
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio re-do in mid-retirement
Replies: 4
Views: 695

Re: Portfolio re-do in mid-retirement

The actions you propose are reasonable and should help you simplify your portfolio. However, I do not see you getting to a 2 fund portfolio given your taxable fund constraints. Ideally, you would want to have equity in taxable and fixed income in pre tax. You should consider putting more of your tax...
by carolinaman
Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: switch Car insurance?
Replies: 12
Views: 922

Re: switch Car insurance?

What happens to your rates when or if you have an accident with Esurance? If they are quicker to raise rates than Geico, it may not be worth it since from what you say, you have a history of accidents. Also, better ratings for claims handling is important and should be considered. FWIW, State Farm w...