Search found 566 matches

by random_walker_77
Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thought on replacing roof before sale?
Replies: 12
Views: 1150

Re: Thought on replacing roof before sale?

If the market is screaming hot, it doesn't matter. Otherwise, it's to your advantage to get it fixed before it goes on the market. As a seller, your incentive is to get it replaced to be "good enough." No need to get the lifetime shingles vs cheap shingles -- the odds are the buyer isn't going to va...
by random_walker_77
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boston trip with small kids
Replies: 15
Views: 1238

Re: Boston trip with small kids

Regarding that duck tour... just want to make sure you are aware that the accident rate for those tours seems to be a tad high. You're probably fine to go, but it's good to be aware all the same. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/real-time/At-least-26-have-died-in-.html https://www.seattletimes.co...
by random_walker_77
Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrade to SSD for 5-year old desktop?
Replies: 64
Views: 3366

Re: Upgrade to SSD for 5-year old desktop?

absolutely upgrade to a SSD. Many ship with cloning software. (For others using laptops, a USB HD enclosure for ~$12 facilitates easy cloning).

Or, even just get this: 2TB SSD for $240
https://slickdeals.net/f/11675043-micro ... daily-deal
by random_walker_77
Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boston trip with small kids
Replies: 15
Views: 1238

Re: Boston trip with small kids

Regarding that duck tour... just want to make sure you are aware that the accident rate for those tours seems to be a tad high. You're probably fine to go, but it's good to be aware all the same. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/real-time/At-least-26-have-died-in-.html https://www.seattletimes.com...
by random_walker_77
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safeco Auto Insurance
Replies: 12
Views: 1060

Re: Safeco Auto Insurance

We've had safeco for about 12 years now for auto/home/umbrella. They were quite good w/ auto and home claims. We've had claims from being rear-endeded (minor) and hail (major auto damage, and new roof on the house). Safeco was very responsive and quite reasonable. At one point, we almost switched aw...
by random_walker_77
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any aerospace engineers? Pros v. cons of working for NASA v. private sector
Replies: 50
Views: 4639

Re: Any aerospace engineers? Pros v. cons of working for NASA v. private sector

Congrats to your son on such an early graduation! Though really, this means he can simply work more years before full retirement age :twisted: ...unless he saves enough to retire early. How are his people skills? I'm an engineer, but not in aero, and have observed that academia and industry reward d...
by random_walker_77
Thu May 31, 2018 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need some advice in regards to A/C System
Replies: 29
Views: 1620

Re: Need some advice in regards to A/C System

You're getting good advice here. Reiterating the point above that the contactor is a $20 part. Here in texas, you're going to want to think of the contactors and capacitors as consumable items. They're $20 parts plus labor. So spending $100-150 for a new contactor/cap as preventative maintenance... ...
by random_walker_77
Wed May 30, 2018 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation
Replies: 24
Views: 1918

Re: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation

For noise insulation, there are after-market products you can apply to reduce the noise. I'm not sure how well it works, but look around:
https://soundproofexpert.com/quiet-road-noise-car/
by random_walker_77
Wed May 30, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation
Replies: 24
Views: 1918

Re: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation

Lately I have severe headaches after a day on the road. Be sure to talk to your doctor about this, there could be something else going on. You might also think about putting a carbon monoxide detector in your car for a trip or two just to rule that out. Something like this with a numerical readout....
by random_walker_77
Fri May 25, 2018 10:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reducing mosquitos by pool
Replies: 14
Views: 1483

Re: Reducing mosquitos by pool

If you think these mosquitoes are breeding in the pool, then you really need to use pool chemicals. If you just need general mosquito control, look into ovitraps. You can find instructions to build your own or buy them. I bought these and found that they help a lot: https://www.amazon.com/Mosquito-L...
by random_walker_77
Fri May 25, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there a good one stop website/broker for car insurance quotes?
Replies: 8
Views: 788

Re: Is there a good one stop website/broker for car insurance quotes?

In my experience, it's important to shop around for insurance every 3-4 years. They seem to gradually raise rates, but new customers get better rates. One time, I ended up going from a safeco policy that was approaching $900/yr and got placed into a safeco policy w/ the same coverage "under a new pr...
by random_walker_77
Wed May 16, 2018 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage decision killing me
Replies: 52
Views: 6850

Re: Mortgage decision killing me

This is about comfort with risk. You've got the income, you've got the savings, but do you want the flexibility and security that a 30yr gives you? The 30 yr helps you if inflation charges upwards, but you're paying for that "benefit" with the higher interest rate. When we bought our original, we we...
by random_walker_77
Tue May 15, 2018 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12421

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

Yes. The home we rent (which is quite nice) has a price/annual rent ratio of over 38 (being conservative)- more realistically about 45. That is the benefit of these home owners who literally pay property taxes of only a few thousand dollars a year due to prop 13 whereas if I were to buy the same ho...
by random_walker_77
Mon May 14, 2018 9:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another ESPP question
Replies: 5
Views: 567

Re: Another ESPP question

I agree w/ Manedark along roughly the same reasoning. Buying at a 15% discount is a nice tailwind and this does seem like a deal, but it is not without risk. What is your ability and willingness to take risk? If the next recession rolls along and you lose a lot of the ESPP money, how disastrous is t...
by random_walker_77
Sun May 13, 2018 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12421

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

Understood- we have two young kids so schools also come into play. It seems that as 2 high income professionals who have delayed gratification for 10+year’s post-college and save 40+% of gross income we’d be able to afford a not that fancy 4/2 2000 sq ft home but perhaps not...? Keep in mind that, ...
by random_walker_77
Sun May 13, 2018 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12421

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

Daunting thought: to fund all those 2M+ all-cash offers, think about how much money had to be earned. With a nearly 50% marginal rate, between federal and state taxes, they'd have to make $4M to come up with $2M in cash. That's assuming it's an ordinary-income vesting of a lot of RSUs or options. I...
by random_walker_77
Sat May 12, 2018 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12421

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

If it were straight income, I think we'd be fine... I suspect it is the RSU's, coupled with the booming stock market and the extra 10+ years of earnings while we were in school/training that make it extra challenging. Yes, that is challenging. It might be yet another reason to rent. This bull marke...
by random_walker_77
Sat May 12, 2018 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12421

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

There are parts of the country where a dual physician household will mean living in the best neighborhoods, but unfortunately the Bay Area isn’t one of them. You might have to look at townhomes or condos or living further out. I see lots of high income households taking on expensive homes where I l...
by random_walker_77
Sat May 12, 2018 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water leaking from shared wall in condo - next steps?
Replies: 21
Views: 2413

Re: Water leaking from shared wall in condo - next steps?

As a homeowner, for plumbing, I think everyone should have at least a) a toilet plunger b) a $3 zip-it for cleaning shower/sink drains https://www.homedepot.com/p/Zip-It-Bath-and-Sink-Hair-Snare-BC00400/100665735?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal2_rr-_-301879459-_-100665735-_-N (works for 95% of clogs I've ...
by random_walker_77
Fri May 11, 2018 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water leaking from shared wall in condo - next steps?
Replies: 21
Views: 2413

Re: Water leaking from shared wall in condo - next steps?

You're going to want the source of the leak fixed asap. Insurance (not sure if that's HOA's or yours) is going to need to know soon. For water damage, they're going to want to send out their water remediation contractor asap to dry it out before it turns into a mold problem. When we had a water leak...
by random_walker_77
Thu May 10, 2018 9:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you quantify the risk differential between 85/15 and 70/30?
Replies: 70
Views: 5936

Re: How do you quantify the risk differential between 85/15 and 70/30?

viewtopic.php?t=187870

Read the first post in this thread quoting Taylor Larimore on the Great Depression
by random_walker_77
Thu May 10, 2018 9:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you quantify the risk differential between 85/15 and 70/30?
Replies: 70
Views: 5936

Re: How do you quantify the risk differential between 85/15 and 70/30?

I think it's worth keeping in mind that the worst case might possibly be worse than anything we've seen before in the US. Not likely, mind you, but possible. A 50% loss in stocks is often used for planning purposes, but don't confuse that for worst case. In the great depression, the market dropped n...
by random_walker_77
Tue May 08, 2018 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to handle problem employee
Replies: 84
Views: 5775

Re: How to handle problem employee

It would be helpful to provide some context into the type of position. Is this a knowledge worker role (it sounds like it is)? To what extent are you paying this employee to think independently? For example, in my industry, older engineers tend to be more conservative and come off as less enthusiast...
by random_walker_77
Mon May 07, 2018 10:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%
Replies: 104
Views: 12663

Re: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%

Don't forget taxation. Depending on your bracket, between federal and state taxes, you might be keeping only 60% of that interest. That knocks you down to 1.56% after taxes, and now you're losing (a little) relative to inflation. That's ok -- you count on stocks to provide the growth, and bonds to ...
by random_walker_77
Mon May 07, 2018 10:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%
Replies: 104
Views: 12663

Re: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%

Does this mean that I get 3% dividend if I put money in this fund? ie is it like I get a 3% dividend , just like a cd but better .... but caveat that my principal might go down? This always confuses me ie ... is the yield shown ie 3.00% here .. a genuine firm figure that I can bet the farm on? It i...
by random_walker_77
Mon May 07, 2018 10:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%
Replies: 104
Views: 12663

Re: Total Bond - SEC yield breaks 3%

However the CD isn't as safe as you might think, because there is something less visible happening too: inflation. Your CD is losing value to it all the time. Inflation takes more away from cash, in the long run, than changes in interest rates will take away from intermediate bond funds. A 2% infla...
by random_walker_77
Thu May 03, 2018 8:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?
Replies: 15
Views: 2537

Re: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?

AMT is an alternate tax calculation. Flat** rate at 28%, larger exemption*** (kind of like a big "standard deduction for AMT"), and you lose some things like deducting state taxes, and investment expenses greater than 2% of your income. The idea is to ensure that everyone pays a "minimum" tax. It st...
by random_walker_77
Wed May 02, 2018 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC technician recommendations--should I have them installed?
Replies: 11
Views: 1799

Re: HVAC technician recommendations--should I have them installed?

I just got the quote for installing the pan switch and wet switch, and it came to $413. That sounds pretty high to me. Is it a reasonable quote? This is in a HCOL area, if it matters. No idea, but plumbing isn't cheap. Take the cost of parts, double them, then add some hourly billable rate ($100/hr...
by random_walker_77
Tue May 01, 2018 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric shock hazard [opening a DVD player]
Replies: 11
Views: 1211

Re: electric shock hazard

You will be fine. There are two aspects to the shock hazard: 1 - Touching something inside while its plugged in and energized. 2 - After its turned off and unplugged, the electrolytic filter capacitors in the power supply retain charge for a short time and can shock you. Depending on the design of ...
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Company has Fidelity...Is Brokeragelink good or bad?
Replies: 27
Views: 1455

Re: Company has Fidelity...Is Brokeragelink good or bad?

Good job on your progress. The two other books I'd recommend are "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" and "The Millionaire Next Door"

For the former, you can find the top quotes at https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taylor_ ... tment_Gems
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cashing out of the Bay Area
Replies: 84
Views: 10673

Re: Cashing out of the Bay Area

For what it is worth, we sold out of the Bay area in very early 2000. Turned out to be a good time, but we were just going on gut. It had run up 2.5x in 6 years. Eighteen years later, our home there is worth well more than twice now than what we sold it for. However, you couldn’t pay me enough to m...
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sound Proofing Upstairs Rental Unit
Replies: 9
Views: 1232

Re: Sound Proofing Upstairs Rental Unit

Might look into http://www.greengluecompany.com/products/noiseproofing-compound or https://www.nationalgypsum.com/products/Product.aspx?ProductID=2353 A coworker highly recommended green glue + an additional layer of drywall. The amazon reviews are encouraging, but I haven't tried it yet: https://sm...
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Company has Fidelity...Is Brokeragelink good or bad?
Replies: 27
Views: 1455

Re: Company has Fidelity...Is Brokeragelink good or bad?

Same boat. My company's 401k has poor bond options, but brokeragelink allows me to get AGG (iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund) commission free. 0.06 expense ratio and often compared to vanguard's BND etf (total bond) I'm lazy so I actually use the 401k bond fund and then bulk transfer to AGG once...
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much is too much in a Fidelity or VG account?
Replies: 24
Views: 4745

Re: How much is too much in a Fidelity or VG account?

I'm less worried about losing money outright, so much as losing access for an extended period of time. Perhaps an account is frozen and it takes a few months to get things straightened out. I think some diversity is useful for liquidity's sake.
by random_walker_77
Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Learning about buying a home for complete beginner
Replies: 12
Views: 1434

Re: Learning about buying a home for complete beginner

I'd recommend borrowing or buying the Nolo book: https://smile.amazon.com/Nolos-Essential-Guide-Buying-Guidel/dp/1413321186/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g2609328962?_encoding=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&ie=UTF8 They've also got pretty good info on their website: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encycl...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quitting job - what to do if getting walked to the door
Replies: 106
Views: 11664

Re: Quitting job - what to do if getting walked to the door

We have a policy at my company of walking people out the door if they are going to a direct competitor BUT we still pay them and provide them with their benefits for the two weeks as if they are still working for us. Or course you have the option not to disclose as well. That would be ideal in this...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help evaluating Employee Stock Option Plan
Replies: 4
Views: 352

Re: Need help evaluating Employee Stock Option Plan

Yeah... not a huge surprise. After posting, I was thinking about it and the best employee deals will usually have a restriction on how much you're allowed to invest. Since you can put in up to 100%, it wouldn't be *that* good of a deal. Darn. 25% for a 1-2 year CALL implies a really volatile stock. ...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help evaluating Employee Stock Option Plan
Replies: 4
Views: 352

Re: Need help evaluating Employee Stock Option Plan

This is a publicly traded company, yes? How much are the 1 year and 2 year calls going for? As I understand it, options are quoted with a "per-share" price. But you buy options in contracts, which are units of 100 shares, so a call quoted at $0.40 would cost $40 per contract. If your purchase is in ...
by random_walker_77
Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Undecided students and STEM majors
Replies: 51
Views: 4351

Re: Undecided students and STEM majors

EE is a field where it's important to attend an ABET-accredited program. But, as an EE, while you could become a licensed PE, most EE's I know don't bother as it matters only for certain subspecialties (power transmission?). If your plan is to work for a silicon-valley type job in microelectronics, ...
by random_walker_77
Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning Violin as an adult...now with progress Audio
Replies: 186
Views: 25885

Re: Learning Violin as an adult...now with progress Audio

Congrats on the progress! That's pretty good intonation, which proves this *can* be learned as an adult. Please keep sending periodic updates.
by random_walker_77
Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: replace 2004 Honda Accord ?
Replies: 14
Views: 1390

Re: replace 2004 Honda Accord ?

Drive belt is not the same as a timing belt tensioner. Given the OPs description, he doesn’t appear to have the mechanical ability to replace the tensioner himself. That’s probably $500 in labor at least. With water pump and new belt could be $700-$1000. I’d personally keep the car, do the maintena...
by random_walker_77
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: replace 2004 Honda Accord ?
Replies: 14
Views: 1390

Re: replace 2004 Honda Accord ?

The PCV valve is a $10 part and easy to replace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRO-4X0jwvI The belt tensioner is $50, and shouldn't be too hard to replace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQk-aEHbYvM https://www.amazon.com/Gates-38278-Belt-Tensioner/dp/B000CHMMJS While you're at it, you might as w...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5320

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

Some people argue that this is sustainable and prices will keep rising, because the bay area is such an incomparably valuable place to be. I think it's the opposite. Not incomparable, but rather comparable to other major economic centers around the world where prices have been rising rapidly and pr...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5320

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

...is that they're mutually exclusive, at least at my income level. Wow. The problem is supply and demand. And right now, on the demand side, there's too many people with "too much money." Dual-engineer households w/ a $400+K base and another $400K in RSUs. Engineers whose equity lottery tickets ha...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5320

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

Another thing to keep in mind is that companies prefer to keep their payroll flexible and bonuses and RSUs are a way to do that. The vesting schedule are another way to do this as it spreads costs out over time, and helps minimize undesired attrition. It's been a while since we've had a downturn, bu...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5320

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

What's your annual budget look like? How much do you spend, and what how much can you afford to spend on this house in PITI? Is $330K your base, or average total compensation? i.e. Do you have another $300K in RSUs coming in? Or is your based more like $200K and it's been about $330K due to equity c...
by random_walker_77
Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any seasoned advisors to discuss best sectors/mutual funds for market out-performance?
Replies: 93
Views: 4863

Re: Any seasoned advisors to discuss best sectors/mutual funds for market out-performance?

OP, Congrats on beating the market. If you truly believe you can continue to beat the market, maybe you're in the wrong line of work? Start a fund of your own, and make 10+x what you're currently making. Can you believe it? Most funds don't even beat the market in the long run, which is why so many ...
by random_walker_77
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help getting started [dual citzenship - US and Israel]
Replies: 17
Views: 1702

Re: Help getting started [dual citzenship - US and Israel]

For international vs domestic, 50-50 is on the high end of the ranges I've seen, but since you're living overseas, it's probably fine. Make sure you have an emergency fund fully funded first to cover 6+ months of expenses. I'd recommend against going 100% into stocks. I did that when I was a new col...
by random_walker_77
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No income but sold a house... (taxes)
Replies: 29
Views: 2707

Re: No income but sold a house... (taxes)

Keep the receipts. Money spent to fix up the house may or may not add to your basis depending on whether it's an improvement or a repair. (https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/home-ownership/home-improvements-and-your-taxes/L6IwHGrx6) The realtor fees and closing costs are deducted from the gain. If...
by random_walker_77
Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No income but sold a house... (taxes)
Replies: 29
Views: 2707

Re: No income but sold a house... (taxes)

Interesting... if your gain was large enough in this short time that you had it, that you'd owe capital gain taxes that aren't just at a 0% rate, then read the section in the IRS booklet titled "Does Your Home Qualify for a Partial Exclusion of Gain?" (https://www.irs.gov/publications/p523#en_US_201...