Search found 1629 matches

by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Policy again with ACA
Replies: 6
Views: 820

Re: New Policy again with ACA

This will be our third year with a Bronze HSA plan. I looked at our typical medical expenditures (minimal) and the plan limits/costs, and figured that the Bronze plan saves us a decent chunk in typical years and would be about the same in a year with major health problems (because of the way the max...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Navigating Venice Italy Transportation System
Replies: 19
Views: 1331

Re: Navigating Venice Italy Transportation System

It's been several years since our last trip to Venice (we must be due again), but the Alilaguna is a boat option that goes fairly directly from airport to San Marco area. A bit expensive, but much cheaper than a water taxi. It's a bit of a walk from the airport terminal to the docks, maybe 1/3 mile....
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why I plan on buying a life annuity - even if it is a stupid idea
Replies: 88
Views: 7537

Re: Why I plan on buying a life annuity - even if it is a stupid idea

Considering buying SPIA at certain ages is on my general retirement plan, at age 70,75 and 80. I don't really expect to buy them, but I think they will deserve consideration at roughly those ages. If we go that way, we would split up the purchases, and we would certainly wait until age 80 for some o...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA MAGI, dependent, and subsidies questions
Replies: 17
Views: 1044

Re: ACA MAGI, dependent, and subsidies questions

I'll try to help a bit, if I can. It's a bit messy because ACA dependent and tax dependent don't necessarily correlate. I would try doing some dummy tax returns to nail things down a bit more. This tool might be helpful: https://www.mortgagecalculator.org/calcs/1040-calculator.php There are rules fo...
by curmudgeon
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Understanding the difference in cell phone OS types
Replies: 49
Views: 2458

Re: Understanding the difference in cell phone OS types

If you have an iPad you already have an Apple ID. If you go Android, you will need a Google Account/Gmail account. One extra "something" to deal with. I have a Google account but not Gmail. I won't be using any new email service. Hotmail all way. I've used the Google account for Google Groups for a...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security Claiming Strategy - Seeking Confirmation
Replies: 30
Views: 3019

Re: Social Security Claiming Strategy - Seeking Confirmation

Some of this fits into the category of "it won't make all that much difference", or perhaps more accurately, "the unknowns of life will be more important than the averages out of a tool". I think the tool should have told you what the benefits were at each stage, but I haven't looked at it lately. T...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we open 1 or 2 HSAs?
Replies: 10
Views: 823

Re: Should we open 1 or 2 HSAs?

Whether in one account or two, I would consider HSAs to be family assets. What my wife and I do is to have two HSAs. One at HSA bank gets the bulk of the contributions and has built up an investment balance, but it has fees associated. We have the second HSA at our local credit union; this one gets ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on sizing/installing a smallish residential solar system? (N Calif)
Replies: 3
Views: 490

Re: Thoughts on sizing/installing a smallish residential solar system? (N Calif)

We’ve had a 2.4kW system in Southern California for the past ten years. They installed it (you are correct, they won’t even install it on an old roof), and it does its thing. Other than washing the panels every year or two, we don’t do anything. The inverter is in a location where we walk past it r...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on sizing/installing a smallish residential solar system? (N Calif)
Replies: 3
Views: 490

Thoughts on sizing/installing a smallish residential solar system? (N Calif)

Despite having high electric rates and good sun, I have held off on installing solar because I didn't want to do it on a roof that would need replacing soon. I'm getting closer to doing the roof, and so I'm trying to evaluate solar options as well. Our electric usage is pretty light, 200-250 kwh mos...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve -points for family ?
Replies: 13
Views: 1643

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve -points for family ?

You have to sign up for the priority pass lounge access separately, and it can take a few weeks. Sometimes there are different rules for different lounge locations; pretty much all will allow at least one guest, a few may allow more.
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions
Replies: 10
Views: 905

Re: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions

A few more semi-random thoughts: - While there are two of you on ACA, it may be worth staying under the cliff to claim the subsidy. Once the older hits 65, the subsidy will drop quite a bit, and it may be worth giving it up to do more Roth conversions. - Do be aware of the IRMAA increase in cost for...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions
Replies: 10
Views: 905

Re: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions

With that much in tIRA/401K, you will have quite large RMD upon hitting 70 and claiming SS. If tax laws stay the same, you will well past any of the odd higher effective marginal brackets that come with increased taxation of SS (and higher rates on qualified dividends), and back into the normal 22% ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA in early retirement question.
Replies: 20
Views: 1379

Re: ACA in early retirement question.

I haven't looked into this precise scenario. My expectation would be that there would be no problem with signing up for ACA during the open enrollment period. You are no longer employed, so you don't have employer-provided insurance. You wouldn't be eligible for a "special enrollment period", such a...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much money are you leaving your kids after you die?
Replies: 234
Views: 14616

Re: How much money are you leaving your kids after you die?

We have, or will likely, receive several inheritances. Significant, but not huge (total less than $1M). In my mind, I treat that like a family emergency fund; I would spend it on needs but not luxuries, and I would prefer to pass at least that much on to our kids. Our kids are in their 30's, and set...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA question -please help
Replies: 7
Views: 652

Re: ACA question -please help

Yes, two persons in the household, but only one signing up for insurance. The subsidy will likely be quite a bit less than if both of you were on ACA. It may be worth considering giving up the subsidy and doing more Roth conversions, especially in the year your spouse turns 65 also since that would ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: RMDs and taxes
Replies: 28
Views: 2740

Re: RMDs and taxes

Huge tax hit is overstating things. There are definitely plenty of odd quirks and details to the tax code that may impact you, but for the most part they aren't huge. You've been socking away money without paying taxes on it, and the bill will (likely) come due. I think of this as maybe not a "one-p...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gap in Creditable coverage
Replies: 5
Views: 471

Re: Gap in Creditable coverage

I think this issue really applies to folks who are keeping their retiree (or employee) insurance after age 65. If you sign up for Medicare including Part D at 65, it should be a non-issue. It's something to think about as you approach age 65. Whether your retiree insurance is a better alternative to...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help...90-10, 80-10-10, HELOC?
Replies: 11
Views: 742

Re: Help...90-10, 80-10-10, HELOC?

Do you have investments in a taxable stock market account? One option for short term might be a margin loan. There is also the potential for a 401K loan, though that's something I'd only want to do if I was pretty sure the timeframe would be short. If you go with a 90% loan, you would want to make ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TDA ATM rebate - US only?
Replies: 7
Views: 501

Re: TDA ATM rebate - US only?

Thanks for the responses. It sounds like the TDA is the better bet. I have a Chase Ink Business with no foreign transaction fees for credit purchases. I hope I don't have issues. Last year in Europe several of my ATM/credit cards had problems. I have found that many (though not all) cards, both ATM...
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help...90-10, 80-10-10, HELOC?
Replies: 11
Views: 742

Re: Help...90-10, 80-10-10, HELOC?

Do you have investments in a taxable stock market account? One option for short term might be a margin loan. There is also the potential for a 401K loan, though that's something I'd only want to do if I was pretty sure the timeframe would be short. If you go with a 90% loan, you would want to make s...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel
Replies: 98
Views: 9234

Re: retirement travel: RVs vs fly/drive/hotel

I think you have to figure out your travel style. The seemingly "spontaneous" moving around when you like with an RV may not be quite so simple when it comes down to finding camping sites, especially in popular national parks. I'm not sure you save any money with an RV, but it does open up some opti...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My Grandmother has 80% stocks
Replies: 55
Views: 5386

Re: My Grandmother has 80% stocks

Why should she change? Staying the course will have done quite well for her over the years. Unless she expects a need to draw significantly from those investments, she is effectively investing for her heirs. My FIL is older than that, and still 100% equity, as he has been all his life.
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TDA ATM rebate - US only?
Replies: 7
Views: 501

Re: TDA ATM rebate - US only?

Generally if you use Bank ATMs out of your home country, you don't get hit with additional fees from the ATM provider side (due to some rules about the way the interbank systems work). Your own bank may choose to gouge you (places like BofA are bad on this). "Convenience" ATMs are a different story;...
by curmudgeon
Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth in a high tax bracket
Replies: 14
Views: 1513

Re: Roth in a high tax bracket

I wouldn't be inclined to do any major conversions to Roth while in a high bracket unless I saw something really odd coming in the future. I would, however, make sure to have some form of Roth open on the premise of being "grandfathered in" if there is a significant change in tax laws and there is a...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on RV rentals
Replies: 7
Views: 1045

Re: Advice on RV rentals

If you want an inexpensive way to start, you might look at CruiseAmerica relocation options. As motorhomes are getting towards the end of their rental cycle, CruiseAmerica collects them in Arizona, refurbishes them, and then distributes them out to various of their locations to be sold. If you can d...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement distribution strategy
Replies: 5
Views: 780

Re: Retirement distribution strategy

Think about what your goals are for your retirement savings. Do you want to spend as much as possible? Leave a large legacy? Live your normal life with a high degree of financial security? Then I would analyze your cash flow needs over the next 10 years or so. Are there any significant changes likel...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Too much risk in this retirement draw down plan?
Replies: 21
Views: 2009

Re: Too much risk in this retirement draw down plan?

It sounds reasonable to me, but it will work best if you are willing to allow for some variation in your AA. I might consider allowing for some variability in when to do the sell-off year; if the market is solid, then do it, but if not maybe draw down from bonds for another year or two.
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA and ACA PTC eligibility
Replies: 5
Views: 282

Re: COBRA and ACA PTC eligibility

Are you sure you are using the 2019 open enrollment, rather than the 2018 "special enrollment"? Picking the wrong one will get you this response. And I agree, the answer to the employment coverage will be "no", because you are dropping COBRA. Yes it definitely was the 2019 application. The key, as ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA and ACA PTC eligibility
Replies: 5
Views: 282

Re: COBRA and ACA PTC eligibility

Are you sure you are using the 2019 open enrollment, rather than the 2018 "special enrollment"? Picking the wrong one will get you this response.

And I agree, the answer to the employment coverage will be "no", because you are dropping COBRA.
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spouse Diagnosed Non-curable Cancer -- what now?
Replies: 54
Views: 10335

Re: Spouse Diagnosed Non-curable Cancer -- what now?

It's hard news to hear, and potentially difficult times ahead, but my first recommendation is to avoid obsessing over this and try to stay steady while you wrap your minds around this. I wouldn't try to hide the fact that there is bad news from the kids, but I would keep it low-key and a bit vague. ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe Trip
Replies: 38
Views: 2307

Re: Europe Trip

I was in Paris last year and London the year before the last two weeks of May and the last week of May and the first week of June, respectively. On both trips the weather was beautiful - in the high 70s, low 80s and no rain. Crowds were low(ish). Airfare was <$500. And an unexpected bonus in Paris ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: controlling retirement income for ACA threshold-457
Replies: 7
Views: 801

Re: controlling retirement income for ACA threshold-457

My understanding is that 457s can be rolled over into an IRA. So the question then becomes whether you can live off of other investments during that early retirement period without generating too much MAGI. From the dividends mentioned, it sounds like you have a substantial taxable account, but it w...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First Major Medical Expenses under HDHP
Replies: 31
Views: 3093

Re: First Major Medical Expenses under HDHP

I would base the choice on my other cash flows. If I could easily rebuild my EF over the next several months, I might just use that, and keep the receipts for potential later use. On the other hand, expenses like these are what the HSA is for. Most HSA are pretty straightforward to draw from; I just...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shower Door Does Not Close Properly
Replies: 13
Views: 887

Re: Shower Door Does Not Close Properly

I think that I have narrowed down the issue a bit. It seems like the rubber piece that runs along the bottom of the shower door is moving. When it moves close to where the door closes it gets stuck and will not let the door close properly. Perhaps the rubbery piece needs to be replaced? I suspect t...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: inherited IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 1340

Re: inherited IRA

Markets have ups and downs. Don't pay attention to them, and ignore the financial news. This is why your investments are in broad index funds, so they aren't dependent on the success of a single company. I might consider withdrawing enough additional to pay off the credit card debt (if you think you...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reducing MAGI to qualify for ACA Premium Tax Credit
Replies: 12
Views: 1375

Re: Reducing MAGI to qualify for ACA Premium Tax Credit

Take a close look at the Silver Plan with CSR. Just need to really control your MAGI. I know in NY, my deductible for my Silver Plan with CSR went from $2,500 per person to $200, Primary went from $25 to $0 and Specialist was $15. IMO, my risk went down from 50% of all bills to basically to just lo...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reducing MAGI to qualify for ACA Premium Tax Credit
Replies: 12
Views: 1375

Re: Reducing MAGI to qualify for ACA Premium Tax Credit

Depending on your circumstances, you might consider a Bronze HSA plan, which will let you put $8900 into an HSA (and reduces your MAGI by that amount). The normal HSA limit is $6900 for family, but you are each allowed another $1000 for "catch-up" contributions over age 55 (have to have a separate H...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recommendations for fee only Investment advisors/planner for in Silicon Valley
Replies: 6
Views: 636

Re: Recommendations for fee only Investment advisors/planner for in Silicon Valley

It can be a challenge to find good, independent, financial advice in Silicon Valley (or other places for that matter). The industry is oriented towards product sales as a major part of the economic model, and that makes much of the advice suspect. If I were in the $10M+ space, I might try one of the...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taking Equity out of Rental Property to Invest
Replies: 7
Views: 696

Re: Taking Equity out of Rental Property to Invest

It's really a question of how much leverage you are comfortable using. While leverage is powerful and has been the basis of many fortunes, it cuts both ways, and has also led to plenty of flameouts. If you are on a good financial trajectory, then amping up the risk may not be a wise choice. It sound...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dividend Investing vs. Index Funds
Replies: 19
Views: 1869

Re: Dividend Investing vs. Index Funds

I have a piece of my portfolio in selected higher dividend stocks. With a basket of them rather than a fund, it gives some opportunity for tax loss harvesting (though you have to be willing to stay out for 30 days, or otherwise pair with another stock which won't be as direct a match). Since I'm kee...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's Your Fixed Income Strategy?
Replies: 89
Views: 8652

Re: What's Your Fixed Income Strategy?

Retired about two years now. General strategy is to use FI to substitute for our SS benefits until we claim (probably at age 70). Everything else is in equities. This puts us at 85/15 AA now, and likely drifting back to maybe 95/5 over the next 10 years. FI is all in taxable, because that is what we...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Empty nester downsizing - any advice?
Replies: 51
Views: 5492

Re: Empty nester downsizing - any advice?

Much of this is really subject to the personal priorities for both you and your wife. And there can be regrets (or positives) that you won't recognize until you do it. I still gain a sense of satisfaction from doing projects around the house myself, so while I may grumble in the middle of a project,...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home with over $500k gain and retirement?
Replies: 10
Views: 1002

Re: Home with over $500k gain and retirement?

To some degree, that's "just the way it is". When the time comes, you bite the bullet and pay the taxes. It's something to keep track of, but you don't necessarily want to distort your life just to avoid taxes. The other alternative would be to sell now (you might get most of the excess gains after ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates
Replies: 32
Views: 2649

Re: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates

I have been considering this same issue, but in regard to tax loss harvesting. If the capital gains tax rate unexpectedly increases significantly, you could be worse off from your tax loss harvesting compared to if you had just left it alone. I agree that current capital gains treatment is by no me...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap
Replies: 101
Views: 5193

Re: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap

Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to spend down from your Roth/savings in this scenario, especially if it will only last for 2-3 years, since your net savings are still substantial. Essentially what you are doing is a Roth "de-conversion". The net effect is moving money from Roth to tax-deferred. The ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early retirement and use of ACA HDHP/HSA?
Replies: 4
Views: 600

Re: Early retirement and use of ACA HDHP/HSA?

I've been happy with the HDHP/HSA bronze option in early retirement the last couple of years. I actually used it instead of COBRA as well. Dealing with the California ACA marketplace was a pain, but otherwise it has worked well. We've had pretty minimal medical expenses so far. For my planning purpo...
by curmudgeon
Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare premiums will be down an average of 1.5 percent next year
Replies: 39
Views: 4077

Re: Obamacare premiums will be down an average of 1.5 percent next year

If I hold ages the same for both years, my Kaiser bronze HSA plan (one of the lowest cost options) in CA has an 11% increase for 2019. We do actually have more overall plan options available next year, but most are much more expensive. Managing our income to stay under the ACA cliff makes the net pr...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State income tax refund - Claimed if not received?
Replies: 9
Views: 712

Re: State income tax refund - Claimed if not received?

This is one of those areas that can be a bit of a gotcha in transition years. If you are regularly taking standard deduction instead of itemizing, then the refund won't be taxable. If you are consistently itemizing, then the refund is taxable, but the state tax you are paying each year is generally ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ACA - Silver plan cost sharing worth it?
Replies: 29
Views: 2359

Re: ACA - Silver plan cost sharing worth it?

So, I did the ACA application and put in my info. The eligibility document says "Choose a plan by October 30, 2018." "Until October 30, 2018, you're eligible to buy a 2018 Marketplace plan". So I think I am good if I get a plan for 11/1 and pay before that. One thing I will add is to think carefull...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ACA - Silver plan cost sharing worth it?
Replies: 29
Views: 2359

Re: ACA - Silver plan cost sharing worth it?

We are using a Bronze plan with HSA. No cost sharing, but the HSA creates more tax-advantaged space. In our specific circumstances, our plan cost is enough below the subsidy limit that our net premium is $0 even if we go all the way up to $64K of income. This is often age and location specific. Last...