Search found 1764 matches

by curmudgeon
Sat May 18, 2019 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?
Replies: 37
Views: 3318

Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

I think the ship--the Pacific Princess--has a capacity of 600 guests. It's a "boutique cruise ship," and this will be her final voyage, I'm told. Is that the ship that is the 7th (or 8th?) of almost identical ships that have ended up at Oceania and Azamara? RM There were eight R-class built: https:...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 17, 2019 5:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reporter doing story on new indexes
Replies: 13
Views: 1331

Re: Reporter doing story on new indexes

I personally DO have some qualms about what I see as the ownership responsibility inherent in index investing. There are some companies which I would prefer not to own, regardless of the profitability of their business. I also have concerns (for the long term) about companies which have skewed owner...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 17, 2019 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost to regrade/flatten a backyard
Replies: 26
Views: 1642

Re: Cost to regrade/flatten a backyard

Depending on the layout of the backyard, you might consider doing two lines of wall, maybe one near the house and one at the bottom of the lot. This could keep the individual wall height lower to keep the engineering simpler and avoid potential failure problems over time. If planned well, it might a...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 17, 2019 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?
Replies: 37
Views: 3318

Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Not to Bermuda, but I have used Costco for my previous two cruises and two coming up. They have good pricing, often good shipboard credits and may include a cash back card. Their buyer's choice or Kirkland Signature cruise deals are really good - but are typically not during peak season but if your...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 16, 2019 11:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?
Replies: 37
Views: 3318

Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

I just returned from a 3 week TransAtlantic cruise with Holland America (HAL). I have always just booked with HAL but I discovered in talking to other guests, they use cruisecompete.com after they decide on their cruise to link up with several travel agents who compete with each other to offer you ...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 08, 2019 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpacking/study abroad for young folks
Replies: 31
Views: 2011

Re: Backpacking/study abroad for young folks

My kids all liked travel, and did so in a variety of ways from middle school onward. I view it as a "luxury good", rather than key character development or anything like that. They generally had "skin in the game" in terms of forward financing at least part of their trips, and I think that was a pos...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 08, 2019 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: should I go with inverter/optimizers or micro-inverters for home solar?
Replies: 9
Views: 975

Re: should I go with inverter/optimizers or micro-inverters for home solar?

I'm back struggling with this decision point again. I was waiting until we had replaced the old roof, and that should now be finished in a couple of weeks. For solar, I'd pretty well decided to go with Enphase micro-inverters, but now the rep I'm working with says they are back-ordered until October...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 08, 2019 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going solar
Replies: 29
Views: 2251

Re: Going solar

I've just signed up for a solar lease...they pay a bit up front as a bonus, come and install new panels, and it will lower my energy bill. They are on the hook to repair/replace if anything happens to them. I went the route of the lease because I didn't want to pay anything out of pocket, and not s...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 04, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Nearing retirement, enough money, but need planning
Replies: 13
Views: 2860

Re: Nearing retirement, enough money, but need planning

I am 65 and will retire in one to two years. Between pension, a small trust, and SS I will have more than enough money. My objective at this point is to maximize what I can pass on to my two children, now in their twenties as health issues could cloud their futures. Assuming I retired next year, I ...
by curmudgeon
Fri May 03, 2019 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Tax Questions - more detail
Replies: 11
Views: 1107

Re: Retirement Tax Questions - more detail

A few points: As noted elsewhere, moving back to the condo gives limited help on the tax situation. Depreciation recapture comes first (at higher than cap gains rate), and any remaining cap gains are pro-rated based on rental vs residence use. It still may be worth doing for other reasons (you might...
by curmudgeon
Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is the United Airlines Online Reservation System Confusing, or Is It Me?
Replies: 17
Views: 1186

Re: Is the United Airlines Online Reservation System Confusing, or Is It Me?

Yes, they can be painful, but a significant part of the issue is that you are flying "partner" flights in some cases, which are not as well integrated into the selling airline website. It's pretty rare to be able to do seat selection for other airlines before completing the booking (and sometimes th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is 2 weeks in Amsterdam a bit much?
Replies: 45
Views: 3325

Re: Is 2 weeks in Amsterdam a bit much?

I’m planning to visit Amsterdam for tulip season. I have never been to Amsterdam and we’re slow travellers. I do have my art interest, so a visit to some of the art museums there is a must. I’m thinking of going there in April. Any suggestions? Keukenhof Gardens are amazing in April. They plant to ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA subsidy for specific plan
Replies: 16
Views: 595

Re: ACA subsidy for specific plan

Okay. Thanks. It seems like managing our income can give these results for a subsidy: $44k: $6800 subsidy $54k: $5300 subsidy $64k: $4300 subsidy This is useful in figuring out how much to do in Roth conversions. Note that if you have an HSA-eligible plan, you can use HSA contributions to reduce yo...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Which tax lots to sell?
Replies: 10
Views: 905

Re: Which tax lots to sell?

Do you have space in the 0% LTCG bracket based on your other income? If so, I would at least consider cap gain harvesting more than what you mention, and using up all your carryover losses and then filling up the 0% LTCG space (and doing more gain harvesting the next few years as well, until you hit...
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: travel budget in retirement
Replies: 47
Views: 3313

Re: travel budget in retirement

Travel is the largest part of our discretionary expenses, and targeted at about 50% of our total expenses presently. It's more a reference limit than a specific budget; sometimes we spend less. We enjoy travel, but it wouldn't be hard for us to cut back significantly on travel dollars.
by curmudgeon
Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Single Family House - aging in place challenges
Replies: 47
Views: 2640

Re: Single Family House - aging in place challenges

Unfortunately, beautiful design rarely comes at a low price point. A ramp at the shallow angle you'd want for easy navigation on crutches or with a walker or in a wheelchair will need to be fairly long to accommodate six stairs. ... Have you considered a shallow angle ramp along the front of the ho...
by curmudgeon
Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When did you start spending more and saving less?
Replies: 77
Views: 5056

Re: When did you start spending more and saving less?

We've tended to operate in a "consumption smoothing" model, where we gradually opened up spending over time, though always in a fairly conservative, LBYM, fashion. The most notable bump was probably when we finished paying college bills for the kids (we cash-flowed that). At that point (early 50's),...
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Increase homeowners insurance deductible?
Replies: 22
Views: 1383

Re: Increase homeowners insurance deductible?

I cannot recall how much I saved when I moved to $5K deductible, but I think it was well over the $150 savings I have seen quoted here. I do remember that moving from $500 to $1000 saved $400/year, so really wondered why I ever had it set at $500. Cannot remember the incremental savings since then....
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are family vacations considered a reportable gift?
Replies: 33
Views: 3700

Re: Are family vacations considered a reportable gift?

Are family vacations considered a reportable gift? Yes, they are. You can find many CPAs/tax lawyers online saying it is. Here's one: Taking adult children on vacation. Anytime you give an item of value, whether it is a sweater, a new car or a family vacation, you have given a gift. http://www.trou...
by curmudgeon
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military Spouses Residency Relief Act
Replies: 9
Views: 662

Re: Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

I'm no expert on this, but my understanding would be that you will have nonresident income in whatever states you work in. You can claim Florida as your state of residence (and presumably count any investment income as occurring there), but you will still have to file (and pay) nonresident state inc...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1st time on ACA
Replies: 35
Views: 3077

Re: 1st time on ACA

ACA/Obamacare can be pretty treacherous to navigate. If you get it right, it can provide very substantial subsidies, but as noted, getting things wrong can be quite expensive. One question to understand is whether your new employer is offering healthcare (or is the additional income coming from your...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Men & Women: What do you pack for travel inside 1 carry-on luggage only??
Replies: 169
Views: 10568

Re: Men & Women: What do you pack for travel inside 1 carry-on luggage only??

I also bring laundry soap “flakes”, tide stain remover, and sanitizing wipes. Thanks for the great tips. Passed on to DW as well. The "laundry soap powder" is an excellent idea". Doesn't it clump up when handwashing and get on clothes? Most airlines have a 25 pound weight limit on carry on. How do ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Men & Women: What do you pack for travel inside 1 carry-on luggage only??
Replies: 169
Views: 10568

Re: Men & Women: What do you pack for travel inside 1 carry-on luggage only??

I also bring laundry soap “flakes”, tide stain remover, and sanitizing wipes. Thanks for the great tips. Passed on to DW as well. The "laundry soap powder" is an excellent idea". Doesn't it clump up when handwashing and get on clothes? Most airlines have a 25 pound weight limit on carry on. How do ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:38 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ready to FIRE @ 55 with Real Estate Portfolio?
Replies: 28
Views: 3455

Re: Ready to FIRE @ 55 with Real Estate Portfolio?

I think the key factor you need to consider is your overall risk picture. The techniques and investments that helped you grow your net worth are not necessarily the ones that are the best when you are retired and don't have other income; you want to reduce risk as well as management effort. Lots of ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 401k penalty if no other income during the year
Replies: 6
Views: 587

Re: 401k penalty if no other income during the year

Keep in simpler. When you stop working, roll over your 401K to an IRA (or several). Then either: 1) set up a 5-year Roth conversion ladder, or 2) set up a SEPP payment plan (possibly dividing up the IRAs if you want a bit more control on the amounts). Either one will avoid penalties. Choice 1 means ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What I wish I had done - 20/20 hindsight
Replies: 28
Views: 4870

Re: What I wish I had done - 20/20 hindsight

Sure I have lots of wouldas, couldas, shouldas that would have made me a rich man. But those aren't my regrets. Mine are the thoughtless words and actions that hurt other people. Very well expressed. I have a tendency to overthink financial issues, and sometimes underthink interpersonal ones. But I...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you have 1 or 2 numbers for expenses in retirement?
Replies: 59
Views: 4282

Re: Do you have 1 or 2 numbers for expenses in retirement?

We have been retired two years now, and I suppose I think in something like 3 numbers. One is the baseline comfortable retirement in our paid-off home, with occasional modest travel, but not the big international trips or expensive cruises. Our SS taken at age 70 would cover this number. If push rea...
by curmudgeon
Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: California Estimated Taxes
Replies: 8
Views: 587

Re: California Estimated Taxes

The pettiness of various California income tax rules can be really annoying. The general cases work mostly ok, but if you get a little bit into the less common situations, beware!
by curmudgeon
Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: ESPP shares tank before I can sell
Replies: 26
Views: 1461

Re: ESPP shares tank before I can sell

I've seen that before when I worked at a mid-size megacorp. If you have a specific day with a lot of extra selling pressure from ESOP, it doesn't even have to be market makers playing games. I generally waited a week or two to sell, but if the market in general (or the specific stock) takes a longer...
by curmudgeon
Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Estimates in Retirement
Replies: 15
Views: 1158

Re: Tax Estimates in Retirement

There are actually some widely varying marginal rates at income levels below what your are targeting as taxation of SS benefits phases in, but you are past that churn. I would keep in mind these potential taxation issues: 1. State income tax - even if you aren't subject to it currently, that might c...
by curmudgeon
Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH could you live off your SS benefit?
Replies: 141
Views: 7140

Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

The question of housing costs is an interesting point. I posted earlier in the thread that we could live comfortably on our FRA SS benefit, and with some to spare on age 70 benefit, but that is assuming our mortgage-free house. In effect, that's saying that we could live off our SS benefit plus $1M ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

Re: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)

Being 6'2" with long legs, I have found it well worthwhile to fly foreign airlines over American based airlines whenever possible. Their seats seem to always have more room for my legs and much better service, even in economy. When flying west, I choose from a number of Asian airlines. When flying ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Men & Women: What do you pack for travel inside 1 carry-on luggage only??
Replies: 169
Views: 10568

Re: What do you pack for international vacation travel??

Newbie Global Traveler needs advice and suggestions and your examples. DW and I. so. . male and female. Various International Travel Vacations (europe, asia, etc) Cruise ship, land, train, International flights, 3-5 star hotels, custom road tours. It depends on where you are going and what you'll b...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

Re: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)

In Europe, book a 1st class train ticket 90 days in advance, if you know your schedule. These can be cheaper than buying a 2nd class ticket the day of your trip. 1st class usually has 3 seats in each row vs. 4 seats per row in 2nd class. That is one less person to potentially disturb you by talking...
by curmudgeon
Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH could you live off your SS benefit?
Replies: 141
Views: 7140

Re: BH could you live off your SS benefit?

If I delay claiming till age 70 (as planned), then SS should easily cover our baseline and a modest amount of travel/extras while we are both alive. Survivor would be OK, but a bit tighter (though either of us would likely downsize further from the current 2000sf house if that occurred). Claiming at...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

Re: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)

For longer trips airport parking is too expensive so I sometimes will get a one way rental car to and from the airport. I will pick the rental car up in a suburban location the day before then drop it off at the airport. At least around here I can usually find a company that does not charge a large...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

Re: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)

You might want to consider Premium Economy as a compromise between coach and business class. Or redeem miles. Also, booking somewhat far in advance with > 1 week at the destination might help you find discounted business class fares, especially during low season (for business travel). I have flown ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)
Replies: 43
Views: 4573

What vacation travel "extras" do you find worthwhile? (and why?)

I've been doing some planning for a trip to Europe coming up soon, and I keep debating myself over the cost/benefit of certain aspects of the trip. Everyone has different tradeoffs that are important to them, and I'd be interested in hearing what others have found adds value to their travels. In our...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you currently or are planning to spend over $120k/year in retirement, what is your projected budget?
Replies: 196
Views: 14760

Re: If you currently or are planning to spend over $120k/year in retirement, what is your projected budget?

Retired mid-2017 (ages 57/56) to travel. As others have noted, that is an easy way to spend however much you are willing to let go. Last year's travel expenditures came in at $149,000--we were home for 12 weeks total, and among our international trips was 3 months diving the south pacific. The othe...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can solar be worth it??
Replies: 77
Views: 7055

Re: Can solar be worth it??

Have to disagree with above comment on highest rates being during solar collection periods. New TOU guidance here in San Diego will certainly raise my electric bill as the CHEAPEST hours are during solar collection periods, then gets expensive around 6-9 PM. Looks to me like two things will happen ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question on Affordable Care Act
Replies: 19
Views: 1241

Re: Question on Affordable Care Act

There is a LOT of variation from state to state (and even locations within a state) in ACA costs, subsidy, and availability. And it can also change from year to year. Health insurance costs normally increase substantially with age, my understanding is that there would normally be a 5X difference in ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foresight question: did YOU make a killing on NECCO Sweethearts candy?
Replies: 30
Views: 3509

Re: Foresight question: did YOU make a killing on NECCO Sweethearts candy?

For the last few years, I did suspect that the company might be in trouble, because they seemed to have drifted into very poor distribution capability, at least on the west coast. The wafers (which we liked for travel snacks) had become pretty hard to find, and most of the hearts around were Brachs ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity Mobile
Replies: 25
Views: 1638

Re: Xfinity Mobile

As for the data size, it is possible i mis-heard. So how much is 0.1G data in the sense of how much can you use say if you are checking email, writing a post on Boglehead etc. .1G is 100MB, but if you aren't familiar with computer data that may not mean much. Bogleheads is a very data-efficient sit...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on upgrading home in Bay Area
Replies: 12
Views: 1645

Re: Advice on upgrading home in Bay Area

In the past, it was not unusual for folks to keep their "starter" home as a rental in the bay area when they moved up to a large house/better neighborhood. Given the history of property prices, it has often worked out fairly well, but there are definitely complications. Concentration of risk is defi...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario
Replies: 14
Views: 1832

Re: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario

As I hit early retirement, I chose to place a substantial chunk of bonds/FI in taxable. Yes, the interest is taxable (I'm not bothering with muni's, because the first-order limit is keeping under the ACA cliff). Can you elaborate - how does that help stay under the ACA cliff? Doesn't investing in n...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario
Replies: 14
Views: 1832

Re: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario

As I hit early retirement, I chose to place a substantial chunk of bonds/FI in taxable. Yes, the interest is taxable (I'm not bothering with muni's, because the first-order limit is keeping under the ACA cliff). We are living off of taxable investments for the new few years, while doing Roth convers...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pay cash for house or 50% down and continue to invest the rest
Replies: 21
Views: 1748

Re: Pay cash for house or 50% down and continue to invest the rest

I'm not sure it matters all that much. When I was 15 years out from retirement (though didn't have a specific target date), we did the 50% down and 15-year mortgage option. Then the 2008 market panic came along to make that feel like a bad decision... We hung in, and it worked out ok. You should thi...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apartment through booking.com in Paris and cash payment
Replies: 14
Views: 817

Re: Apartment through booking.com in Paris and cash payment

Short term apartments in Paris is a tricky space. The city government really cracked down hard on anything in central Paris under (30?) days for various tax/political reasons. There may still be some legit options, but proceed with some care. We've rented short term apartments in a variety of Europe...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Financial impact of purchasing a home to retire to (with cash)
Replies: 9
Views: 560

Re: Financial impact of purchasing a home to retire to (with cash)

It's not necessarily a totally bad idea, but there are enough negatives that I would suggest holding off. A few points that seem to be off in your analysis: 1) You can't actually deduct the net rental loss against your current taxes (though it will accumulate and eventually sit as a suspended passiv...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Car Company Preferences
Replies: 26
Views: 1618

Re: Rental Car Company Preferences

I was finding good prices through Costco for a while, but not so much lately. In Europe I've been getting substantially better deals going directly through Hertz. In US, it's more 50/50 in which one comes out better. For Hertz, I've found it worthwhile to look through any deals or sales on their web...