Search found 1722 matches

by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Xfinity Mobile
Replies: 24
Views: 1235

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: 11
Views: 1338

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: 1706

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: 1706

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: 1662

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: 778

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: 533

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: 1522

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...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nissan Slate of SUV's
Replies: 16
Views: 852

Re: Nissan Slate of SUV's

I've been pretty content with the Nissan's we've owned over the past 10-15 years. The only significant repair across about 250,000 miles and three vehicles was a set of front struts and mounts on a Sentra. I've personally found them to be equal quality and a bit better value than Toyota/Honda, but e...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How much Fixed Income on the day you retire?
Replies: 76
Views: 5333

Re: How much Fixed Income on the day you retire?

To the original topic, I had very little fixed income on the day I retired, maybe $50K or so. But we were in the process of downsizing, which generated a big pile of cash to invest, so a few months later we did settle into a larger FI position. At retirement, my default plan was (and still is) to wa...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: quick double check that 85% of my SS will be subject to tax
Replies: 88
Views: 6610

Re: quick double check that my SS will be taxed at 85%

I think we need to audit Bankerton's tax return to figure just how this 51% thing is happening... I did a what-if in TurboTax. It may have something to do with how much of my LTCG are taxes. I had a wild year taking large gains in January and then some losses in December. I also had to do a RMD, hu...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mazda Miata as Daily Commute Fun Car?
Replies: 94
Views: 4783

Re: Mazda Miata as Daily Commute Fun Car?

Piggybacking on this topic as I think I have a relevant question- I have an opportunity to acquire a late 90s Mercedes 500 SL with very low miles. It's been in the family and needs a new home. It's a convertible (soft top and removable fixed hardtop), 5 speed automatic transmission, and a quite hea...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Just about retirement age...am I on the right track?
Replies: 15
Views: 2325

Re: Just about retirement age...am I on the right track?

Your financial situation sounds somewhat similar to mine. I chose to retire two years ago, in part because there didn't seem much point in piling up more money. After doing some analysis, it seemed pretty clear that we had plenty to retire with the lifestyle we prefer. I entertain myself by tweaking...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: can you overpay state taxes the year before you retire to shift income?
Replies: 3
Views: 456

Re: can you overpay state taxes the year before you retire to shift income?

The last year of employment can you intentionally overpay your state taxes to ensure you hit the $10K limit for state & property tax deductibility on the Federal return or is there a penalty for withholding too much? I looked online and found plenty of discussion for under-payment penalties but not...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Southwest Companion Pass for 2019
Replies: 57
Views: 4571

Re: Free Southwest Companion Pass for 2019

We had the Southwest CP last year. Fairly useful, though it supposes that you want to go places that SW flies into. One of the best features is that the "paid" ticket can be paid in miles/points. Most of the other airline "companion" offers, aside from being one-time certificates, also require you t...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to San Francisco & San Jose - tips on travel
Replies: 20
Views: 1101

Re: Trip to San Francisco & San Jose - tips on travel

I agree that a car in SF proper tends to be a nuisance and expensive for parking, so doing that portion without a rental car makes sense. Most people do enjoy spending some time in some of the more scenic surrounding areas, though, where a rental car can be helpful. I would be inclined to give some ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mazda Miata as Daily Commute Fun Car?
Replies: 94
Views: 4783

Re: Mazda Miata as Daily Commute Fun Car?

It's certainly doable, but it might not be that enjoyable. Depends somewhat on the nature of the roads and weather involved, and also how you specifically fit in the car. Miatas may or may not fit you comfortably depending on your specific build. The seating position with legs out in front may be an...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Were you 100% debt free at retirement
Replies: 163
Views: 9790

Re: Were you 100% debt free at retirement

I still had two mortgages on the actual date that I retired, but we were in the process of selling one house, and used the proceeds to pay off the other mortgage (and set the remainder aside towards living expenses for the next few years). I was never one to hold a lot of bonds, but I view being deb...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing strategies for a taxable account
Replies: 7
Views: 801

Re: Investing strategies for a taxable account

It depends a bit on your tax bracket, but generally you don't want more active strategies in your taxable account, as these are more likely to generate gains taxable at higher rates. It's doesn't seem natural, but your taxable account is really where you want the simplest, most tax-efficient investm...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extra days in Nice, France area
Replies: 17
Views: 1096

Re: Extra days in Nice, France area

Thank you all for the suggestions and replies. maybe someplace like Aix or Avignon Curmudgeon, in fact, AFTER the meeting in Nice, we are going on a week Uniworld cruise from Avignon to Lyon. Since we live on a beach, those "norther" cities sound interesting. I will check those out and maybe be bac...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extra days in Nice, France area
Replies: 17
Views: 1096

Re: Extra days in Nice, France area

Will you have a car? I find some of the areas in the hills to the north more attractive than the coast. Fairly close are places like Eze, St Paul-de-Vence, or Gourdon. A bit farther could be Moustier-St-Marie and gorges du Verdon. By train would be a bit more challenging, maybe someplace like Aix or...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for old school CD player & bookshelf stereo
Replies: 28
Views: 1966

Re: Looking for old school CD player & bookshelf stereo

Maybe something like this: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sharp-5-disc-micro-system-black/5937003.p?skuId=5937003 I don't have personal experience with it, but it has 5-CD changer and radio with direct station preset buttons. Also on Amazon. So this thread actually stirred me to buying the unit above...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Office Decor Ideas.. (Budget)
Replies: 14
Views: 652

Re: Office Decor Ideas.. (Budget)

One time when I had that kind of office, I bought a large wallpaper mural and put it up on one wall (came in a set of rolls). Didn't paste it on, just stuck it up with thumbtacks. Like a window on some nice NZ forest scene. I've also used large maps for one wall at times. It somewhat depends if you ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: light fixtures with integrated LED
Replies: 19
Views: 1057

Re: light fixtures with integrated LED

I actually lean somewhat the other way from most folks here. That is, I'm becoming inclined to look primarily for "integrated" led fixtures. I definitely pay attention to the temp/color factors in the led light, but I expect the integrated fixtures to be quite reliable, and they have better options ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What lifestyle creep made you happier?
Replies: 291
Views: 25017

Re: What lifestyle creep made you happier?

I don't think there is much in the way of lifestyle creep which actually makes us happier . We do spend additional money on a variety of luxuries, most of which we find convenient or useful, but I don't think of it as bringing happiness. Happiness is internally generated, not externally. Being able ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too Much Savings for Income Manipulation for ACA Purposes?
Replies: 84
Views: 4827

Re: Too Much Savings for Income Manipulation for ACA Purposes?

I regard the ACA subsidy as a bonus, not as a retirement baseline. While I can reasonably get it, I do, but I won't twist my investments or retirement excessively for that purpose (I do limit my Roth conversions for this purpose currently). It's certainly possible to have too much in taxable investm...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best home medical alert systems
Replies: 10
Views: 524

Re: Best home medical alert systems

This might seem like a scenario where one of the "smartwatch" systems such as the Apple Watch might be a possible option. Most of my current 80's and up relatives are somewhat smartphone-phobic, so it's not so much an option for them, but as more of us who are more comfortable with technology hit th...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for old school CD player & bookshelf stereo
Replies: 28
Views: 1966

Re: Looking for old school CD player & bookshelf stereo

Maybe something like this:
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sharp-5-di ... Id=5937003

I don't have personal experience with it, but it has 5-CD changer and radio with direct station preset buttons. Also on Amazon.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cleaning up Facebook feed for elderly relative
Replies: 12
Views: 2284

Re: Cleaning up Facebook feed for elderly relative

Thanks everyone for some helpful suggestions. Her email is another challenge with lots of junk, though we've filtered a bunch there. The younger generations in the family wouldn't think to include her in email, but she does appreciate seeing the occasional FB posts from them. I'd prefer to get by wi...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cleaning up Facebook feed for elderly relative
Replies: 12
Views: 2284

Cleaning up Facebook feed for elderly relative

I have a 95-yr old aunt who uses Facebook, but has been finding it more and more difficult to see relevant content. She is very minimally computer literate; most stuff is managed for her by nieces/nephews. I don't use facebook myself, but I do occasionally check her feed when I'm visiting and helpin...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital gains on house sale
Replies: 16
Views: 1236

Re: Capital gains on house sale

There is an IRS booklet (publication 523) on "selling your home" which will provide some basic guidance on the tax situation. Essentially all the costs of selling (real estate commissions, transfer taxes, other fees) get deducted from the sales price in establishing the gains. Similarly, improvement...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?
Replies: 144
Views: 7928

Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

I contemplated starting a new thread about this and a moderator can let me know if that's still best. I fly out of a small regional airport several times a year, mainly for pleasure, though once or twice a year for business. I don't have status with any airlines and normally fly with whoever has th...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversion Advice
Replies: 14
Views: 1519

Re: Roth Conversion Advice

With a substantial pension, I suspect Roth conversions may not have much effect. You can speculate on future tax rates, but that is always fairly unknown. If there is a likelihood you may move to a state with income tax, that would argue for a bit more conversion. I would probably estimate a baselin...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Attn Tax Experts: Sold Primary Residence
Replies: 24
Views: 1055

Re: Repost: MGAI and sale of primary residence

As long as your gains from the house sale are under the exclusion amount, there won't be tax, and there won't be an impact on ACA subsidy/eligibility. Taking the number from your other post, you have $380K sale price, minus $20K sales expense, minus $25K improvements, minus $148K original cost. This...
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BHers, what is your Roth IRA %?
Replies: 137
Views: 7734

Re: BHers, what is your Roth IRA %?

44% ira 49% taxable 7% Roth IRA. Conversions slow now with ACA subsidies. I intend to end up at 25% ira, 25% Roth, 50% taxable. This is very similar to the situation for my wife and I. It's possible we'll end up more like 33% ira, 33% Roth, 33% taxable as we draw down from taxable over the next ten...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trusting Up
Replies: 8
Views: 863

Re: Trusting Up

Thank you fir the reply. To clarify. I’m willing to give up any and all access to the trust principal forever. But I want to retain the income for life. There are charitable trust options for this, but the remainder has to go to charity, not specific people. A common term is "charitable remainder t...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: For those retired a few years
Replies: 58
Views: 4877

Re: For those retired a few years

It's about two years retired now for us. No real surprises on spending. We are doing quite a lot of travelling, but that was in the plan, and we've actually been under the mental "travel spend limit" that I had set before retirement. I wouldn't mind spending a bit more on home improvements, but in o...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Escaping capital gains on second home ideas?
Replies: 22
Views: 1597

Re: Escaping capital gains on second home ideas?

Premise: IF I establish residency here in Arizona and pay the state taxes this year AND get a driver's license and register to vote in Arizona, THEN I would be an Arizona resident. IF I maintain residency for two years, THEN I could sell it as my primary home, cap gain free. Questions: Is my premis...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do you view a savings surplus in retirement?
Replies: 117
Views: 6129

Re: How do you view a savings surplus in retirement?

If there was some big-ticket item which was very important to me (maybe a $200K RV, boat, round-the-world trip, beach house...), I would certainly consider using a savings surplus for it. But only after weighing the impact to my budget of any ongoing expenses involved. I don't think I personally wou...
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Downsizing to fund early retirement - where's the cutoff?
Replies: 14
Views: 1571

Re: Downsizing to fund early retirement - where's the cutoff?

We downsized at the time of early retirement. I don't think of it so much as funding years of the ER, but as "bullet-proofing" it. We reduced about $8K/year of expenses from property tax and utilities, in addition to generating a large block of cash to draw on without tax consequences and getting ri...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: how to get into a low tax bracket when retired, so as to convert from tIRA to Roth
Replies: 17
Views: 1963

Re: how to get into a low tax bracket when retired, so as to convert from tIRA to Roth

thanks to all. i will get familiar with the iorp tool. i have time to plan and your ideas are helpful If you have a pension, then Roth conversions *tend* to be less meaningful. There can be other factors in play as well, though, such as state income tax treatment, estate/inheritance taxes, etc. On ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Retirement - Roth Conversions, Tax Gain Harvest, or Other?
Replies: 11
Views: 565

Re: Early Retirement - Roth Conversions, Tax Gain Harvest, or Other?

.... I've got taxable fixed-income investments I can spend without creating much taxable income. just wondering, if you don't mind, and without saying what you specifically hold, can you educate me on what general types of taxable fixed-income investments are available that do not create much in th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Retirement - Roth Conversions, Tax Gain Harvest, or Other?
Replies: 11
Views: 565

Re: Early Retirement - Roth Conversions, Tax Gain Harvest, or Other?

I would keep a general plan of doing some Roth conversions in low income years. That money just has a lot of flexibility. If you don't already have a Roth and are over the direct income limits, I would do a small conversion now just to get a stake in the ground and start the 5-year clock which appli...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?
Replies: 144
Views: 7928

Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

I don't have a strong differentiation between the three, though I fly United much more often because their SFO hub gives me many more nonstop flight options. I've actually felt like cabin crew service has gotten a little better in recent years (less bad attitude) on United and American; haven't been...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance
Replies: 29
Views: 2106

Re: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance

I can pay attention to where fees are coming from. As I'm reviewing the main options, it looks like Fidelity has the best overall option for me. Unless I'm missing something, no minimums per investment (plus I can do it in mutual funds, so any amount). great fund ERs (0 to 0.015 on the ones I'm loo...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Do You Spend The Most On Annually?
Replies: 158
Views: 8395

Re: What Do You Spend The Most On Annually?

I've sometimes thought that there would be a place for a GAAP to use in personal finance. Obviously we don't have the reporting responsibilities of public companies, but a number of the basics do play an important role in truly understanding your financial situation. Knowing what is OpEx (operating ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retirees: any major goals for 2019?
Replies: 72
Views: 4508

Re: Retirees: any major goals for 2019?

I've got a number of home improvement projects in the pipeline. Most of them I'll do myself, some I'll hire out. We travel quite a bit, so the projects may well stretch out over several years. Hopefully some of these projects, like tearing out and rebuilding retaining walls, will also help with fitn...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance
Replies: 29
Views: 2106

Re: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance

A few thoughts for you: Paying extra on the mortgage would have had better return than almost anything else this past year. I wouldn't discount it completely. Biggest limitation is that what you put into that is not liquid (easily available if you lose a job or have other cash shortage). Maxing 401K...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Time to Sell Rental Property?
Replies: 26
Views: 1702

Re: Time to Sell Rental Property?

Thanks for everyone's input ... I think if anything I will list the place to gauge the interest of the market. Also I realized that I can qualify for the home exclusion capital tax gains since it was my primary residence before I leased it out the past 3 years or so, however can someone tell me if ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap
Replies: 128
Views: 7889

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

I don't live in California, but how in the world do you get off with state income taxes of only $15/month? And if your wife stays at home, why do you need a house cleaner? California income taxes are highly "progressive". If you can drive your AGI down to that level, and then have mortgage and prop...