Search found 1581 matches

by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ACA - Silver plan cost sharing worth it?
Replies: 29
Views: 2116

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: 2116

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...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a chainsaw to trim branches and limbs!!
Replies: 90
Views: 3811

Re: I need a chainsaw to trim branches and limbs!!

I prefer electric over gas for casual use because small gas engines turn finicky when not used regularly, and I find them a hassle. Consumer-grade chainsaws have chains which have fewer teeth, and therefor cut a bit more slowly, but are safer because they are less likely to kick back. This is approp...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Determining when to take Social Security if you don’t need the money
Replies: 21
Views: 1742

Re: Determining when to take Social Security if you don’t need the money

It's possible to way overthink this one, and since the interaction of two lifespans (and potential political changes) can't be predicted, it's all a bit of a stab in the dark. For our case I view SS as primarily "longevity insurance" in the case I (or more likely my wife) ends up living to an extend...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rent vs Buy for low-income retiree
Replies: 23
Views: 1977

Re: Rent vs Buy for low-income retiree

There are definitely options, though they may not be palatable to her. For any of these, you want to be thinking about how they come into play not just the next year or two, but five or ten years from now when her physical abilities may have changed. There are clearly multiple factors at play; if th...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: estimated tax payment after sale of primary home?
Replies: 6
Views: 480

Re: estimated tax payment after sale of primary home?

$150K would be taxable long term capital gain. The net tax due won't be quite 15% x $150K, however, because it will interact with other aspects of her tax return. I'm guessing more like $18K. It would be worth running her numbers through a tax estimator like https://www.mortgagecalculator.org/calcs/...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes in retirement too good to be true?
Replies: 23
Views: 4325

Re: Taxes in retirement too good to be true?

It's definitely possible to have pretty low income taxes in retirement if you have the right asset placement and sources. When you have been used to big tax bills, it can be a bit of a pleasant shock. There are occasional gotchas, so it pays to do evaluation and planning. Muni bonds are helpful some...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Re: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

I spent a lot of time playing with calculators and tax software looking at this. Could you recommend which calculators you used? Or, alternatively, a comprehensive resource that explains all of the details of the various ACA offerings, the tax implications of each, and how to make sense of it all? ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Re: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

You would think so, but ACA has many twists and turns. In my case, the benchmark plans created a subsidy baseline that is several hundred dollars/mo more than my particular plan cost. I could have gotten a "Gold" plan with more subsidy, but that in turn would put me into your 9.56% phase-out, and w...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Re: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

For us, we have the two conflicting priorities of staying under the ACA cliff, and doing Roth conversions. Make that three. It is important to remember that the amount of the subsidy is calculated based on your income and the maximum amount you pay is based on a percentage of your income. https://w...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Re: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

$3k from the ACA cliff would probably make me a little uncomfortable but it depends on how confident you feel in your projections. The tax savings from a couple grand in Roth conversions would not be worth loosing the subsidies for. Sounds like you have a good plan though as long as you don't miss ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Re: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

You seem like you are tracking things pretty closely and have accounted for anything i could think of. The end of year capital gains is a bit of a wild card. So, I think you are right to wait till the last minute to do the Roth conversions. It's too bad we don't get until tax filing time to do conv...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff
Replies: 24
Views: 1902

Fine tuning income around the ACA cliff

Does anyone have specific thoughts or advice on managing MAGI near the ACA cliff? How much margin for error would you feel you need? Going even $5 over the $64960 MAGI (4x the federal poverty level for two people) would cost us about $15,000 in ACA subsidy payback. It's a lot more painful than just ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell Depreciated Rental or use Charitable Remainder Trust
Replies: 2
Views: 244

Re: Sell Depreciated Rental or use Charitable Remainder Trust

It's a bit challenging. I had a somewhat similar situation, though I hadn't had the house for so long. To some degree it's just a fact of life and there are no cheap and simple exits. I gave a fair bit of thought to doing a CRUT, and it was a definite possibility, but in the end chose not to do it. ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA - AGI and MAGI ... The cliff ahead. need deductions
Replies: 5
Views: 691

Re: ACA - AGI and MAGI ... The cliff ahead. need deductions

Remember that you have to have an HSA-eligible insurance plan to be able to contribute to an HSA. Only a few plans qualify (usually certain Bronze ones). HSA contributions can be done up till Apr 15 of following year. Over age 55 you have an additional $1K HSA space each, but to use the space for sp...
by curmudgeon
Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric dryers more efficient than gas?!?!?!?
Replies: 22
Views: 2633

Re: Electric dryers more efficient than gas?!?!?!?

The same 100 units of energy in gas dries 267 lbs of clothes v. (53 x 3.1 = 162 lbs of clothes) for a normal dryer or 2.5 times that for a Heat Pump dryer. Cost considerations - are you buying a Heat Pump dryer? If no, you get more useful energy out of your gas dryer - electricity is usually c 2-3x...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much a buffer zone in your estimate of retirement expenses?
Replies: 64
Views: 2991

Re: How much a buffer zone in your estimate of retirement expenses?

I have tracked our expenses for 3 years and it comes about $45,000~$50,000, excluding taxes and health insurance. So I estimate my living expenses in retirement would be around $80,000 (with taxes and health insurance). However, there are many uncertainties in my mind: (1) Our current travel costs ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2000-2018 retirement - sequence of returns
Replies: 153
Views: 13251

Re: 2000-2018 retirement - sequence of returns

Yes, 2000 was definitely an outlier. Based on siamond's post, there were only six starting years since 1950 where 100% stock did not leave one with a larger real portfolio after 18 years of withdrawals than a 50/50 or 100% TBM portfolio. But don't lose sight of the fact that the U.S. stock market, ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I Wrong for being 100% Equities ?
Replies: 62
Views: 5606

Re: Am I Wrong for being 100% Equities ?

I do not think the bolded statement is correct. Bonds did pretty well during 2000-2012. Stocks returned 2% a year nominal from 8/2000-8/2012 Bonds returned 6% a year nominal from 8/2000-8/2012 A 50/50 stocks/bonds portfolio returned 4% a year, DOUBLE what the 100% stocks portfolio returned. double ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is SSD PCIe storage suitable for a database?
Replies: 15
Views: 1031

Re: Is SSD PCIe storage suitable for a database?

SSDs are not a magic bullet for database usage. And I've seen issues with nominally high-end SSDs (from various vendors) in the past when put to heavy use. Though the specs in theory may be up to the job, sometimes Murphy intervenes. Random read access is great (which is often an issue for database ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?
Replies: 82
Views: 4108

Re: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?

Sounds like you expect to be working close to full time on contract? Remember you can lower your MAGI for ACA purposes significantly by using IRA contributions (or more by setting up an individual 401K), and HSA contributions. At some point you might just try to negotiate a part-time schedule with ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?
Replies: 82
Views: 4108

Re: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?

I talked to a human being today who was very knowledgeable - and she is a local contact. Did she compare and contrast the benefits in the ACA policy to the short term HI? The specific benefits that I asked about, too? No, I did not ask about an exchange policy because I know I will not qualify for ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you buy a classic car in Europe and aim to keep to drive it daily for 50 years
Replies: 26
Views: 1793

Re: If you buy a classic car in Europe and aim to keep to drive it daily for 50 years

If you look at horsepower to weight ratios, acceleration, quantitative measures of handling, you will find the average American compact car significantly outperforms a 1980 muscle car. I learned to drive on a 1980 GM V8 sedan (I think the 354 cubic inch but I don't remember) - I do remember what th...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?
Replies: 82
Views: 4108

Re: Short Term Health Insurance regulation changes - good for age 62 retirement?

Personally, I would avoid short term insurance in ER scenario unless I was sure of the renewal regulations/requirements. I wouldn't want to be in the middle of an expensive issue and have the insurance refuse to renew. Of course, many of the options are on somewhat shaky ground. ACA holds together w...
by curmudgeon
Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I Wrong for being 100% Equities ?
Replies: 62
Views: 5606

Re: Am I Wrong for being 100% Equities ?

My default investment position has been 100% equities (and real estate). I've held fixed income at times, for specific reasons, but I don't regard it as inherently "safer", just different (perspective shaped by watching the impact of inflation in the 1960's-80's). During accumulation phase, 100% equ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best (most practical, low cost) Luggage for Airline Travel
Replies: 56
Views: 3795

Re: Best (most practical, low cost) Luggage for Airline Travel

It depends on your travel style. The 4-wheel spinners are nice for airports, though I see more than a few on the luggage conveyors missing a wheel. We travel a fair bit around Europe, often staying in smaller hotels and using trains. With all the cobbles in streets and sidewalks, we've stuck with th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sidewalk repair - price in line?
Replies: 32
Views: 2074

Re: Sidewalk repair - price in line?

Is the issue lifting? That is, tripping hazard because one side is higher than the other? Sometimes you can just have the high side ground down to resolve the difference if it's only and inch or so. If you've got tree roots that are causing this issue, this would only be a temporary fix, but it migh...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using ACA for early retirement years
Replies: 103
Views: 7164

Re: Using ACA for early retirement years

My concern is for someone retiring now in their 50s and having to rely on ACA until Medicare. For those early retirees on ACA... are you planning to stay on ACA until Medicare? I work with the current facts on the ground, but I try to have contingency plans for various possible scenarios. I would n...
by curmudgeon
Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refinishing Exterior Stucco
Replies: 8
Views: 791

Re: Refinishing Exterior Stucco

I'm no expert (I mostly want to follow this thread to see if I can learn), but I'd be surprised if you could coat a finish stucco layer over the painted surface. If you could, then you wouldn't need to paint again, as the stucco coat itself can be tinted. I have seen people advertising thicker coati...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you allow your car stereo to run USB debug mode on your android phone?
Replies: 6
Views: 922

Re: Would you allow your car stereo to run USB debug mode on your android phone?

I run ALL my Android phones in 'debug' mode. Why? Without it they aren't seen as a USB drive. I'd have no hesitation using Debug mode in any car and I've done so for years. (BTW, I stream the audio via BT not USB) Exactly. You used to be able to plug in a USB cable, authorize the access, and have a...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time ACA coverage with question
Replies: 21
Views: 1893

Re: First time ACA coverage with question

If you had turbotax last year (or another similar program), I would try doing some dummy tax returns and seeing how it gets calculated. There is a somewhat messy form which handles that stuff, but hopefully TT would populate it for you. If you can figure out where the cliff would be based on using l...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you allow your car stereo to run USB debug mode on your android phone?
Replies: 6
Views: 922

Would you allow your car stereo to run USB debug mode on your android phone?

So I swapped in a new aftermarket stereo into my 10-year old pickup. It's a cheap, off-brand unit from China purchased via Amazon. Works pretty well and adds backup camera, bluetooth phone, and navigation capability. It also, in theory, supports screen mirroring from my phone, which would be nice. T...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling old car with Airbag light on
Replies: 9
Views: 768

Re: Selling old car with Airbag light on

Some states have safety inspection requirements on cars (I haven't had to deal with them). Do those states fail cars with the airbag light on? I would expect that a chunk of potential buyers won't consider the car, Maybe 1/3 or more. Others won't care as long as they are getting a discount for that ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time for my annual sanity check
Replies: 8
Views: 1122

Re: Time for my annual sanity check

Backdoor Roth IRA is not helpful because of large traditional/rollover IRAs. You can search for other postings about it, but basically it generally only works when your only other tax-deferred savings are in 401K (or similar). There can still be times when having a Roth can be helpful, but it's pret...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 weeks in Australia
Replies: 21
Views: 1239

Re: 3 weeks in Australia

Everybody is different, but I would probably allocate at least one more day for the Great Barrier Reef, and that area. I really enjoyed Port Douglas and a couple of days out on the reef (and I'm not a regular diver). Snorkeling is great there, and you could also do "resort dive", accompanied withou...
by curmudgeon
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 weeks in Australia
Replies: 21
Views: 1239

Re: 3 weeks in Australia

Everybody is different, but I would probably allocate at least one more day for the Great Barrier Reef, and that area. I really enjoyed Port Douglas and a couple of days out on the reef (and I'm not a regular diver). Snorkeling is great there, and you could also do "resort dive", accompanied without...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Don't Obsess About Expense Ratios"
Replies: 240
Views: 21506

Re: "Don't Obsess About Expense Ratios"

I don't obsess about expense ratios, though I do pay attention to them. But then, I don't happen to own any Vanguard funds at the present either. I've gone out on enough investment limbs in the past that the perpetual discussions on "how do I get Admiral shares" don't even get a chuckle anymore. For...
by curmudgeon
Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Transition after Military
Replies: 13
Views: 1192

Re: Career Transition after Military

One area I might look at would be the career center from your college. If you are looking at things like Big4 accounting firms, that might be a decent connection. It's possible they won't be of any help, but it may pay to ask. A second question is whether you are interested in doing GI Bill for a gr...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USPS Informed Delivery
Replies: 43
Views: 3171

Re: USPS Informed Delivery

No problem getting signed up. And it's working pretty, maybe even too good. Sold my truck a few weeks ago, and Informed Delivery showed an envelope from my insurance company a few days later. I suspect it was my change of policy notice, but it never got as far as my mailbox. I don't know how the po...
by curmudgeon
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: retiring from military to federal job
Replies: 15
Views: 1636

Re: retiring from military to federal job

My brother did this. He retired from the Air Force about 4yrs ago after 20yrs, now he works at a different base doing the exact same job but now as a federal employee. I think he took 2 weeks off between positions, so no wait time. There were a few things he had to decide if I remember correctly, w...
by curmudgeon
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which diet soda pop do you enjoy?
Replies: 110
Views: 4844

Re: Which diet soda pop do you enjoy?

It took a long time for me to work around to tolerating diet sodas. Diet Mt Dew was the only one that tasted reasonable for a long time (and only over ice). It's still my default. I've had to start cutting off caffeine at about 4 in the afternoon to be able to sleep well. Fresca works for me in the ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security + term life
Replies: 41
Views: 2053

Re: Social Security + term life

Take a look at the scenario where the higher earner (or maybe oldest) defers taking SS until age 70. The other takes SS at 62. The deferred benefit will be nearly 1/3 larger than the FRA benefit, and that larger benefit will ALSO be the survivor benefit for the other spouse, replacing their smaller ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: retiring from military to federal job
Replies: 15
Views: 1636

Re: retiring from military to federal job

Some useful points here. I hadn't heard about the 6 month waiting period before being able to be hired as a DOD civilian. Sort of an odd rule, though I understand the issue they are trying to address. It would definitely make transition planning a challenge if you are targeting a specific area; can'...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: This Water Leak is Maddening
Replies: 13
Views: 2147

Re: This Water Leak is Maddening

I would look closely at the washer drain. If it has built up some link/gunk, it may have reduced flow. Then when you do an extra-large load of laundry (or some specific combination) and the spin starts, the surge of water draining out could overrun the drain capacity. If this is happening, you shoul...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: retiring from military to federal job
Replies: 15
Views: 1636

retiring from military to federal job

I'm curious about the implications in retiring from the military (normal retirement after 20 years service) and then taking a federal civil service job. Are there specific issues or decisions in the process? Any "gotchas" that would apply working a federal job vs defense contractor vs more typical c...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?
Replies: 22
Views: 2685

Re: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?

I looked back at my data and the 7year bucket is 41% of initial retirement start portfolio value. I have detailed all my current expenses for the last 2 years and added margin. I have run in multiple calculators without SS even and I am still 99-100% success rate. None the less I have the same drea...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recent Kia Soul obsedrvations
Replies: 5
Views: 913

Re: Recent Kia Soul obsedrvations

Had one as a rental for a few days earlier this year. Overall I thought it was a decent car, with flexible interior space, though not a large interior. My overall driving impressions were pretty good, except I didn't really care for the way the automatic transmission handled downshifts (I've noticed...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?
Replies: 22
Views: 2685

Re: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?

...calculate how much it would take to replace that between your retirement age and the starting age. Set that money aside in safe investments (CDs, short bonds, ...). I'm wrestling with this very AA issue. I interpret the above as a bucket strategy. The concern I have is that this CD/Short Bond bu...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?
Replies: 22
Views: 2685

Re: 7-8% SWR/year for first 7 years of Retirement...am I good?

It's not really a "SWR"; that implies a sustained withdrawal rate throughout retirement. It may still be workable, though. My model is to take the SS and/or pension benefit amount at the age you plan to start them, and then calculate how much it would take to replace that between your retirement age...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation in France in Aug 2019
Replies: 7
Views: 454

Re: Vacation in France in Aug 2019

If you could do the extra time "pre-cruise", you would avoid hitting the peak French vacation month. August will tend to be more expensive/crowded/booked in a lot of areas. I'd agree with Alsace as a gem of a region to visit (though I did find the average cafe or B&B there a bit less likely to have ...