Search found 1697 matches

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: 14
Views: 1188

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: 470

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: 23
Views: 1510

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: 2227

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: 2227

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: 1215

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: 7778

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversion Advice
Replies: 14
Views: 1499

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: 1028

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: 113
Views: 5271

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: 848

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: 4774

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Escaping capital gains on second home ideas?
Replies: 22
Views: 1558

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: 5983

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: 1558

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: how to get into a low tax bracket when retired, so as to convert from tIRA to Roth
Replies: 17
Views: 1939

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: 555

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: 555

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: 7778

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance
Replies: 29
Views: 2082

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: 8262

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: 4455

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recent large raise and would appreciate some guidance
Replies: 29
Views: 2082

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: 1662

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: 7819

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...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Noise cancelling headphones for plane trips, advice?
Replies: 62
Views: 3014

Re: Noise cancelling headphones for plane trips, advice?

I find active noise cancelling headphones really reduce the fatigue factor on longer flights. The expanding foam earplugs also work reasonably, but not as well. Standard ear buds don't help much (for me). I don't bother with them on 2-hour flights, but anything coast-to-coast or longer I consider th...
by curmudgeon
Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: HCOL Real Estate as Retirement? Bay Area
Replies: 44
Views: 2607

Re: HCOL Real Estate as Retirement? Bay Area

Do you mean selling your equity rich home and taking the $1M+ to LCOL area upon retirement? I just bought in this year, with a timeline of living here for 10 years. With the market gyrations and my high entry point, I’m just hoping I can take out my principal. I think I was more on the subject of i...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you pay for cable/internet/cellphone
Replies: 95
Views: 5734

Re: How much do you pay for cable/internet/cellphone

Comcast xfinity internet $39/mo have never paid for cable tv; we don't watch much but have an antenna and Amazon Prime Xfinity wireless on a per-gig basis is generally $12-$25 per month for the two of us I'm actually paying $25 for a landline number at present, but will convert that to another opti...
by curmudgeon
Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Azamara Cruises
Replies: 10
Views: 870

Re: Azamara Cruises

I suppose it's really the entertainment factor I'm trying to get a sense of. My wife and I really enjoy live music; at home we probably get out twice a week for blues, jazz, rock, opera, symphony, etc. On a cruise ship, we've really enjoyed hanging out in various lounges with live music, but have f...
by curmudgeon
Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for a cold bedroom above a garage?
Replies: 36
Views: 2692

Re: Tips for a cold bedroom above a garage?

Hi all, The title says it all. An oversized one car garage with a master bedroom that is chilly even when heat is at 70 degrees. I know this is common. Any simple solutions? Thanks in advance! Do you have Central air/heat? All our upstairs bedrooms are colder than downstairs, especially the master ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Azamara Cruises
Replies: 10
Views: 870

Re: Azamara Cruises

Thanks for the feedback. Oceania does seem similar to Azamara, just with NCL as the corporate holder rather than RCL. I suppose it's really the entertainment factor I'm trying to get a sense of. My wife and I really enjoy live music; at home we probably get out twice a week for blues, jazz, rock, op...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vancouver BC/Vancouver Island Trip Summer 2019
Replies: 13
Views: 910

Re: Vancouver BC/Vancouver Island Trip Summer 2019

It's a pretty long drive out to Tofino. I'm not sure you would have time for for that given your other travels. Tofino and Pacific Rim NP is on my own to-do list, but the extra distance keeps getting in the way when we are in the area. I *would* consider taking the Nanaimo ferry one way though; pret...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Azamara Cruises
Replies: 10
Views: 870

Azamara Cruises

I'm curious if anyone has specific feedback on Azamara cruises. They are a small(ish) ship division of Royal Caribbean, with some of the old R-class ships of about 700 passengers. I've done some reading on CruiseCritic and other sources. My general feel is that the accommodations are nothing special...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you pay for cable/internet/cellphone
Replies: 95
Views: 5734

Re: How much do you pay for cable/internet/cellphone

Comcast xfinity internet $39/mo have never paid for cable tv; we don't watch much but have an antenna and Amazon Prime Xfinity wireless on a per-gig basis is generally $12-$25 per month for the two of us I'm actually paying $25 for a landline number at present, but will convert that to another optio...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Passing assets to next generation, best way !!!
Replies: 23
Views: 1233

Re: Passing assets to next generation, best way !!!

We have a living trust, because we hold real estate in CA. If/when that changes, we will revisit whether it is needed/appropriate and may just use TOD. Definitely if one of us passes, we will revisit, and we plan to do reviews every 10 years as well. There is a lot that is state-specific to make the...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare (ACA) Ruled Unconstitutional by Texas Federal Court
Replies: 190
Views: 14499

Re: Obamacare (ACA) Ruled Unconstitutional by Texas Federal Court

For my personal situation (ER, using ACA in Cal), I've done a couple of tweaks. In the first place, I chose Kaiser as a provider because I think there is a decent chance that if ACA falls apart (whether by this ruling or due to other structural weakness), Kaiser may provide some bridge plan offering...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military-Advice Needed
Replies: 13
Views: 1444

Re: Military-Advice Needed

I look at a mortgage as somewhat equivalent to a "negative bond" in terms of investments. That is, when you have a large mortgage you are being somewhat leveraged. Paying extra on your mortgage is another form of reducing the risk in your asset allocation. But that's at a very high level, and there ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affordable Care Act and subsidies
Replies: 24
Views: 1796

Re: Affordable Care Act and subsidies

Lots of variation in subsidy interactions for ACA. The big one is to not fall off the "ACA cliff" (go over $65K MAGI for two). In the intervening levels, yes, you might have to repay a portion of the subsidy at tax filing time if you go over the estimated income, but it's a fairly moderate amount. I...
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning first international trip - London/Paris
Replies: 74
Views: 4308

Re: Planning first international trip - London/Paris

OP here again, my wife and I have been looking at hotels and trying to find a good location near a tube station. We have narrowed it down to either the hotels in South Kensington (Park City or Park International) near the Gloucester Road tube station or closer to Covenant Garden area (Royal Horsegu...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adult Games / Board Games - Recommendations
Replies: 55
Views: 3573

Re: Adult Games / Board Games - Recommendations

Code Names is good with moderate size groups; easy to learn and handles various sizes well. Settlers of Catan is a modern classic, but best with 3-4 players. Citadels is another that handles various size groups well and is easy to learn. Dominion is pretty good, but more for those who can take more ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obamacare (ACA) Ruled Unconstitutional by Texas Federal Court
Replies: 190
Views: 14499

Re: Obamacare (ACA) Ruled Illegal by Texas Federal Court

Interesting times. I'll stay out of speculation on how the appeals rulings may go. An unfortunate side effect is that while the ruling is hanging fire, there is no real pressure on congress to come up with a bipartisan alternative. My actionable question is whether I should try to switch my 2019 ACA...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furnace in rental has issues with out-of-warranty parts, replace or repair?
Replies: 20
Views: 1368

Re: Furnace in rental has issues with out-of-warranty parts, replace or repair?

Sounds like you need a different HVAC repairman to me. That stuff is normally pretty easy to replace, and I wouldn't expect more than about $300 for parts (take a look on Amazon or search out an online HVAC parts site). Maybe a bit more if you are dealing with an attic install or something really di...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leased solar system quandry
Replies: 1
Views: 381

Re: Leased solar system quandry

Ouch! I have always ruled out buying houses with leased solar equipment, but still that's pretty ugly. You now have an option to buy a 10-year old solar system for substantially more than what a new one would cost. That solar system is a real liability. They may have justified that price against the...
by curmudgeon
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aca income question
Replies: 2
Views: 375

Re: Aca income question

Federal income tax refund doesn't count. State income tax refund *may* be counted... Specifically, if you deducted state income taxes for the prior year, then the refund counts as income in the current year.
by curmudgeon
Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: are pre-fabricated / manufactured homes a bad investment?
Replies: 99
Views: 6785

Re: are manufactured homes a bad investment?

I think one key is whether it is built to the standard building code, or the "trailer" one. "Manufactured" could potentially mean either, though I think "mobile home" would be more standard usage for homes built to the trailer code. The mobile homes are often lightly built and don't hold up well (an...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Converting t401 to rIRA, should I consider?
Replies: 2
Views: 277

Re: Converting t401 to rIRA, should I consider?

I would run some tax estimations of your likely taxes at various points along your retired years. Much depends on your other sources of income (pension, SS, other investments), and whether you will be withdrawing from IRA/401K for living expenses. Converting all at once would almost certainly be an ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA recordkeeping question (old receipts)
Replies: 9
Views: 840

Re: HSA recordkeeping question (old receipts)

I'm just wondering how the IRS sorts all of this stuff out and it seems like a huge potential loophole or invitation to fraud in that people can keep old medical receipts to make claims against decades in the future, long after which any documentation about whether the expense was reimbursed or not...
by curmudgeon
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Tax Credit
Replies: 11
Views: 1166

Re: Solar Tax Credit

Any other thoughts? Is this the new Bernie Madoff investment? I'd consider it very high risk. If it had the approval of one of the "Big 4" top accounting firms (and I would verify, not trust), I might look closer, but otherwise the odds of it being bogus and putting you at risk of getting hammered ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA - How long is a doctor's note valid?
Replies: 9
Views: 1580

Re: HSA - How long is a doctor's note valid?

For simple, low cost items with a clear purpose (like the OP), I would be comfortable treating my doctor's note as "good until cancelled". That is, I wouldn't fret about it and wouldn't worry about the IRS giving me grief. For something more expensive and less obvious (the all-day "massage therapy" ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Skipping last COBRA payment
Replies: 25
Views: 2594

Re: Skipping last cobra payment

While it may be tempting, there may be some downsides. This isn't like the delayed signup using the grace period on the front end (which people do sometimes when changing jobs). In this case you *may* have a contractual responsibility to make the payment unless you cancelled at the appropriate time....