Search found 2084 matches

by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA contribution question
Replies: 7
Views: 362

Re: HSA contribution question

You can deposit to any combination of account(s) up to the family max total between them.

One special case is if you and spouse are over 55 and using the "catch-up" provision of an extra $1000 contribution. Your spouses catch-up has to be made to a separate account in their name.
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-retirement and bridge to Medicare
Replies: 12
Views: 1366

Re: Pre-retirement and bridge to Medicare

It looks like I may be able to work remotely and relocate to our retirement location before I retire. One potential problem with that is that your work provided health insurance may not have any in-network doctors or facilities in that area. Be sure to check on that. I plan to buy the new house wit...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a Ladder—What type to get?
Replies: 33
Views: 1190

Re: I need a Ladder—What type to get?

Mainly whatever you get make sure it is at least the 300lb-rated variety. Is there a reason to buy 300 lb rated ladder (lets say if you are 150 lbs? (I am not the OP buy I thought I made a mistake in buying a heavy 300 lb rated ladder while I could have bought a cheaper, lighter, ladder rated for 2...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a Ladder—What type to get?
Replies: 33
Views: 1190

Re: I need a Ladder—What type to get?

Start with a simple 6' (maybe 7') stepladder. Wait a while before getting anything else. The multi-format ones tend to be heavy and awkward. After a year (or if a specific project requires it), you can see if you want another ladder, and you will have a better idea of what type. Thank you. Seems Ik...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a Ladder—What type to get?
Replies: 33
Views: 1190

Re: I need a Ladder—What type to get?

Start with a simple 6' (maybe 7') stepladder. Wait a while before getting anything else. The multi-format ones tend to be heavy and awkward.

After a year (or if a specific project requires it), you can see if you want another ladder, and you will have a better idea of what type.
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-retirement and bridge to Medicare
Replies: 12
Views: 1366

Re: Pre-retirement and bridge to Medicare

It looks like I may be able to work remotely and relocate to our retirement location before I retire. I plan to buy the new house with 20% down and a 15 or 20 year mortgage in about two years (once my other child graduates college), relocate and sell the current house, keeping the proceeds in a tax...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is this a perfect time to pile into a 3% yield, net of fees, stable value fund?
Replies: 21
Views: 3234

Re: Is this a perfect time to pile into a 3% yield, net of fees, stable value fund?

30 years ago (or so) I had an offering like that in my 401K, though with a substantially higher interest rate. The stock market was pretty unsettled at the time, so I piled in with a large chunk of my 401K money in these "guaranteed investment contracts" as they were referred to at the time. Turns o...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed
Replies: 44
Views: 2503

Re: Small Travel Trailer Advise needed

That's a long way to drive several times per year, especially towing a trailer. I wouldn't buy a trailer for that purpose as a reaction to covid. It does pay to spend some time thinking and evaluating before jumping in and buying an RV, as many people find they have made a mistake and end up selling...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar - after 1 year the results are in.
Replies: 64
Views: 6766

Re: Solar - after 1 year the results are in.

.... It's really crazy to me that Hawaii, where electricity can be 50 cents / kWh, isn't 100% solar right now. Burning diesel to make electricity there seems insane. People have this crazy habit of wanting to turn their lights on at night. And run their fans and tvs and even A/C (at least in large ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic
Replies: 278
Views: 24340

Re: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic

Contractor we use regularly was out to do a minor roof repair today. He said lumber prices are skyrocketing around here -- if you can even find it. Not your typical recession. I'm adding to this one: Declining lumber supplies were driven home today by $170 higher bill than I planned for 2 weeks ago...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement
Replies: 25
Views: 1843

Re: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement

Yes, *if* you deducted state income taxes the prior year. When I retired, I ran into this and another poster here on bogleheads gave me the alert which saved my bacon. The last full year I was working, I bunched deductions (paid property tax early, did a large DAF donation), which caused large stat...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement
Replies: 25
Views: 1843

Re: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement

Curmudgeon - that's very interesting re: state tax refunds from prior years counting in current year MAGI. Does that literally mean if i overestimate taxes one year (say pay the state $1,000 more) and they refund it to me, it's now a MAGI liability the following year? Yes, *if* you deducted state i...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar Installation - 1 Year Later (Updated)
Replies: 81
Views: 13692

Re: Solar Installation - 1 Year Later (Updated)

OP how long did installation take, from contract signing to install completion? I’m trying to assess how much lead time I need to budget for. Thanks! I'm going through the process now. 4 weeks in. I was told to realistically expect 3 months. Demand is high due to 26% rebate decreasing to 22% at the...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your base charge for electric? I have an $42 electric access fee.
Replies: 52
Views: 2646

Re: What is your base charge for electric? I have an $42 electric access fee.

My minimum charge for electric is $42,that’s the base charge. I was shocked to find that on first bill, as my old electric bill had a $8.50 base charge. I have confirmed that this is not a one time setup fee, and this will be the monthly fee before the cost of electricity. New house also has electr...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free powerwall worth it?
Replies: 33
Views: 4117

Re: Free powerwall worth it?

We have solar, no batteries, and net metering in SoCal Edison area. If we add batteries, do we have the option of keeping net metering, or will we need to go TOU? From reading this it may make sense to go TOU and benefit from selling battery storage back during high price time of day. If you have s...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement
Replies: 25
Views: 1843

Re: Keeping ACA Subsidy with Roth Ladder retirement

Are there any other gotchas I should be aware of? I want to make sure I have all of my assumptions correct as it looks like an extra $4K a year if I'm $1 over the 400% subsidy amount for us.. which is money i'd rather not spend :). One somewhat obscure gotcha is that state income tax refunds from p...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considerations Before Going Solar
Replies: 24
Views: 2216

Re: Considerations Before Going Solar

Thanks everyone for the replies. To respond to a few of the points in case this prompts any additional consderations: --We have no plans to move anytime soon. I'd happily never move. We bought this home with the intention we could stay here for the long haul. Plans could change, of course. --I thin...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considerations Before Going Solar
Replies: 24
Views: 2216

Re: Considerations Before Going Solar

Thanks for comments on the underlayment. I don’t know roofing at all and don’t have experience maintaining this type of roof. Seems like it might be worth having a roofer do an inspection in any event. The designs I’ve been shown so far, by they way, vary between clamping to the seams, drilling thr...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chemical Stump Removal
Replies: 17
Views: 1657

Re: Chemical Stump Removal

I never have been very impressed with the effects of potassium nitrate on relatively fresh stumps. If it's really in the way, grinding or digging/pulling are needed. If you are willing to wait several years, many stumps will start to rot by that point and they can be broken up a bit more easily (as ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security as my Bond Fund?
Replies: 70
Views: 3627

Re: Social Security as my Bond Fund?

I am and will continue to use social security as my so called bonds portion of diversification in investing. Rest of my money is Vanguard Index funds, and farm real estate we lease out. With the main vanguard fund being VITAX for the last 3 years. I am 60 years old now, going to fully retire in 2 y...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FIRE with major medical costs?
Replies: 35
Views: 2571

Re: FIRE with major medical costs?

I didn't realize that our utilization doesn't impact our rate, is that in the plan documents? It might be, but more importantly it's part of ACA. https://www.healthcare.gov/how-plans-set-your-premiums/ Insurers aren't allowed to charge more based on your health history. Thanks - I understood that t...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passenger van advice
Replies: 11
Views: 771

Re: Passenger van advice

Buying used full-size vans would be a bit tricky. There isn't near the churn of lower-mileage and lightly used stuff in the market compared to minivans and more generic cars/suvs. A lot of fleet service (airport shuttles, corporate shuttles, etc) is fairly hard on the vans, with lots of stops/starts...
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic
Replies: 278
Views: 24340

Re: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic

Diet Mountain Dew in cans are nowhere to be found in my area. Ditto Diet Barq's Root Beer in cans. Caffeine free Coke or Pepsi. We talked to one of the Coca-Cola reps at the store and he said there was an aluminum shortage and so they were only making their core product lines. Ah...not only are caf...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic
Replies: 278
Views: 24340

Re: Oddly Difficult to Find Items During the Pandemic

baking supplies (ie. yeast). did everyone start baking geez? We are going to have a lot of bigger folks when no one can buy exercise equipment and everyone is baking like crazy. yes there is a HUGE baking trend now for people bored at home and are trying to limit going out for food.... Angel Food c...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling car in OR licensed in MO
Replies: 17
Views: 1169

Re: Selling car in OR licensed in MO

Be aware that if you are selling a low-value car, there is a good chance that the buyer won't actually register and insure it, so be sure you go through whatever hoops you can to make sure you have severed any connection to the vehicle to avoid later headaches when it gets abandoned or in an accide...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling car in OR licensed in MO
Replies: 17
Views: 1169

Re: Selling car in OR licensed in MO

If you are selling the car to someone in Oregon, who will be registering the car in Oregon, the the MO title and a bill of sale (detailed, with VIN and price) should be the baseline. There may be additional Oregon-specific requirements. Be aware that if you are selling a low-value car, there is a go...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity mobile
Replies: 58
Views: 3800

Re: Xfinity mobile

Does anyone know if there is a cancellation fee with Xfinity Mobile at any time? Do they lock you into a contract (like they do for internet service)? I looked on their website and couldn't find any info. Thanks! No cancellation fee, but if you are using the current iphone $200 deal ($200 credit on...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Historically what has happened with capital gains tax changes?
Replies: 14
Views: 1495

Re: Historically what has happened with capital gains tax changes?

Some of us were around at the time and paid these taxes. See below: "Last year, Republicans in Congress argued that the Democratic majority was acting unconstitutionally when it raised tax rates on the estates of people who died in the months before the new tax bill became law. On Aug. 10, 1993, Pr...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Notes from an RV road trip in the year of coronavirus
Replies: 4
Views: 1784

Notes from an RV road trip in the year of coronavirus

There have been a few threads this year discussing potential RV trips as a vacation option this year. We just returned from a four-week trip with our RV, so I thought I would post a few notes about the impact of coronavirus on the trip. Our trip was on the West Coast, starting and ending in SF bay a...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Deck on setback- violation?
Replies: 27
Views: 1584

Re: Deck on setback- violation?

I don't know that I'd worry about the existing deck and it's history, but might have more concern for any future work/changes. A new owner down the street from us ran into an issue like this, but more challenging. The previous owner of the property had let the decks deteriorate seriously in the last...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is the bond tent effective at reducing SoRR?
Replies: 23
Views: 1456

Re: Is the bond tent effective at reducing SoRR?

I personally don't really consider a bond tent as all that meaningful to someone with a "middle of the road" asset allocation like the OP. It's just not going to move the needle that much differently than just withdrawing from whichever is overweight (or rebalancing). I DO think it can be useful for...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does Buying an RV make sense?
Replies: 97
Views: 6539

Re: Does Buying an RV make sense?

When you say 5 minutes in the shower, you don't run the water for 5 minutes, unless you have a water connection. Even then you don't because of your very limited hot water on all but the newest RVs. It's not like at home. You get yourself wet (damp?), apply some soap or shampoo whatever of your cho...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I think I need a new computer
Replies: 135
Views: 7237

Re: I think I need a new computer

I have avast anti virus and malwarebytes already installed. I'd give strong odds that avast is your problem. Many antivirus programs keep accumulating all the updates for new hacks to check against over the years into a massive unwieldy glob that is very slow to process. If you want to keep using a...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I think I need a new computer
Replies: 135
Views: 7237

Re: I think I need a new computer

I have avast anti virus and malwarebytes already installed. I'd give strong odds that avast is your problem. Many antivirus programs keep accumulating all the updates for new hacks to check against over the years into a massive unwieldy glob that is very slow to process. If you want to keep using a...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does Buying an RV make sense?
Replies: 97
Views: 6539

Re: Does Buying an RV make sense?

Were you looking for in-season or off-season? One problem with an RV is that it's difficult to make a single long trip off-season. A good example is the northeast, where campgrounds tend to close up very close to peak fall foliage season, and sometimes before. That's partly due to freezing, and par...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What happens to all my digitized photos when I die?
Replies: 68
Views: 5472

Re: What happens to all my digitized photos when I die?

My mom, the picture taker in the family, died about eighteen months ago and I must say, accessing her digital accounts was a nightmare from hell. I found pages of paper with hundreds of accounts written down along with their passwords, sometimes dozens of times as they changed over the years. So fi...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity mobile
Replies: 58
Views: 3800

Re: Xfinity mobile

I am starting to research Xfinity mobile. I already have them for internet service. I'm currently on Verizon but want to decrease costs. Regarding old iPhones, I was told by Apple that the issue with VOICE MAILS was Verizon and not the fact it was an old iPhone or the need to use cellular service v...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What cellphone plan do you recommend?
Replies: 60
Views: 3971

Re: What cellphone plan do you recommend?

Check out Consumer Cellular - not just for oldsters! Especially good if you have access to wifi at home; it uses that instead of cellular data. Our bill for two phones is under $40, but 1) bought our own phones for cash up front and 2) right now we aren't going out much. They have nice tiered plans...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are small houses cheaper to insure? If so how much have you seen the price drop by moving to a small house?
Replies: 14
Views: 1141

Re: Are small houses cheaper to insure? If so how much have you seen the price drop by moving to a small house?

We moved between two house in the same neighborhood. This is VHCOL area, where the land is probably half of the selling price of houses. At a rough guess, I'd say the smaller house would have about 50% of the rebuilding cost vs the larger one (not just smaller size, but lower features and finishes)....
by curmudgeon
Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foresight question: did YOU make a killing on NECCO Sweethearts candy?
Replies: 51
Views: 6315

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

I actually did know about the problems, but I did not buy the stock. I bought six rolls of the product for nostalgic purposes. I probably paid too much, paying $20 first six rolls of Necco Wafers. However, it is one of the best purchases that I have made in the way of a Splurge in my life. When doe...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this the right way to calculate the rate of return from a refi?
Replies: 7
Views: 565

Re: Is this the right way to calculate the rate of return from a refi?

I keep (kept) it more simple by just looking at it as an interest expense and cash flow problem. At the first order, the question is whether the higher cash flow requirements of the shorter mortgage are reasonable in your overall financial situation. Sometimes cash-flowing college expenses or other ...
by curmudgeon
Sun May 31, 2020 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Healthcare moving during the year
Replies: 5
Views: 444

Re: ACA Healthcare moving during the year

I don't have any direct experience, but I want to follow this thread because we will likely have a similar change in the next few years. I suspect some of this will be state-dependent, as some states run their own unique ACA exchanges while others use the national one. I'd keep the following points ...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 30, 2020 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Forget ACA subsidies and Max out Roth conversions early?
Replies: 46
Views: 2308

Re: Forget ACA subsidies and Max out Roth conversions early?

Playing with https://www.i-orp.com/Inflate/extended.html (one of the best tools out there imho) I find there's not a big difference with overall spending (3K per year max, in our situation) whether doing conversions early or late or not at all. Options I've been thinking about... 1. Convert early (...
by curmudgeon
Sat May 30, 2020 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Forget ACA subsidies and Max out Roth conversions early?
Replies: 46
Views: 2308

Re: Forget ACA subsidies and Max out Roth conversions early?

Things that will get in way include -taxes going up in 2026 as they are currently scheduled to do -the NITT if you convert too much in a year -IRMAA costs starting with your income at age 63 (not 65) and realizing that IRMAA for two can cost several thousand dollars a year if your income is high en...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 28, 2020 12:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to value "lower than market rate" property tax of your house?
Replies: 11
Views: 662

Re: How to value "lower than market rate" property tax of your house?

There are actually two tax factors to take into account here. You have the increased property tax, which could be modeled using a "net present value" function, and you also have point that you are bumping up against the capital gains exclusion limit (for a couple) upon selling. If you keep the curre...
by curmudgeon
Wed May 27, 2020 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Retirement Audition; House Budget; Cash Sub-Allocation Queries
Replies: 16
Views: 1085

Re: Early Retirement Audition; House Budget; Cash Sub-Allocation Queries

The expense ratio on buying/selling houses is pretty steep (and quite a bit of hassle as well). I wouldn't jump into doing that for ER until you've got a clear picture that: 1) you've found a location that you will be likely to stick with for a few years, and 2) you aren't going to get bored and wan...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 26, 2020 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alternatives to Craftsman Tools
Replies: 98
Views: 6728

Re: Alternatives to Craftsman Tools

The combination of this thread and being locked down inspired me to dig even deeper to see if I could find a replacement for my favorite pair of pliers. My dad had a pair of Schollhorn "Bernard" parallel action pliers that he (and I) always thought were just a bit better than any standard ones. Thes...
by curmudgeon
Thu May 21, 2020 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alternatives to Craftsman Tools
Replies: 98
Views: 6728

Re: Alternatives to Craftsman Tools

Harbor Freight is hit or miss. Some of their products are serviceable for at least occasional use. Others are tool-shaped garbage. TO BE FAIR: I was recently dragged to HF by one of these people and I did notice some useful things at good prices. So, HF isn't all bad. I guess that's the "hit or mis...
by curmudgeon
Tue May 19, 2020 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hot Tub hard water
Replies: 8
Views: 645

Re: Hot Tub hard water

Are you checking your water regularly? The "6-way" test strips will give you a picture of much more than just the chlorine levels. It may be that your water is getting out of balance in other ways (acidic, for example). There are treatments for various water adjustments. I wouldn't think hard water ...
by curmudgeon
Mon May 18, 2020 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Importing an almost new car into CA
Replies: 23
Views: 1508

Re: Importing an almost new car into CA

It still leaves the reg fee and ensuring that the car has a 50 state compliant smog certification as issues. 50-state smog is overblown as an issue. It only applies if you are a current CA resident when you buy and first register the car (and then only if it has less that 7500 miles or is less than...