Search found 1709 matches

by GerryL
Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone is using my cellphone number
Replies: 21
Views: 2735

Re: Someone is using my cellphone number

Years ago, before cell phones were as common as they are now, I frequently got calls on my landline for someone named Gerardo. Usually I ignored them, but after a while would sometimes pick up the call (as I was screening it and heard the name "Gerardo") to explain they had the wrong number and shou...
by GerryL
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masterbath Remodel - Tub or No Tub ?
Replies: 57
Views: 3115

Re: Masterbath Remodel - Tub or No Tub ?

With low-maintenance being a top priority, I went with large (12"x24") porcelain tiles on the walls and urethane grout.

-gfl
by GerryL
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masterbath Remodel - Tub or No Tub ?
Replies: 57
Views: 3115

Re: Masterbath Remodel - Tub or No Tub ?

A couple of years ago I had my acrylic shower/tub unit (original when house was new) taken out and replaced with a porcelain tiled, walk-in shower. My master bath is very tiny, not very masterful at all. No room to expand the footprint of the original tub unit, but the extra few internal inches now ...
by GerryL
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 28/F looking for some financial advice
Replies: 16
Views: 1450

Re: 28/F looking for some financial advice

I was thinking of holding on to the individual stocks and from this point on, only purchase Vanguard funds. The reason I didn’t want to sell them was because of taxes. Would you say that’s not a good reason? I also recently read the millionaire next door, where one of the repeated themes was to not...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me understand Roth vs Traditional IRA
Replies: 34
Views: 1443

Re: Help me understand Roth vs Traditional IRA

So to me it doesn't look like investment growth is a reason to choose between Roth and traditional. Have I missed something? Here is a non-math example: I had $22k in a tIRA early in my career and invested it in a stock mutual fund. After 22 years, without any further contributions, it had grown to...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help! Late Saver Approaching Retirement
Replies: 24
Views: 1465

Re: Help! Late Saver Approaching Retirement

Think about working longer. Even another year or two can make a significant difference, especially if you max out your 401k and Roth contributions. In other words, increase your investments while reducing the number of years your investments will need to support you.
by GerryL
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me understand Roth vs Traditional IRA
Replies: 34
Views: 1443

Re: Help me understand Roth vs Traditional IRA

Hello, I'm trying to understand something about how tax brackets and traditional IRAs. For the sake of illustration, let me use a highly artificial example: You make $50K which puts you in the 22% tax bracket. Let's ignore inflation or growth; you just have cash pegged to inflation. Suppose you put...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Q on appealling Medicare surcharge
Replies: 6
Views: 810

Re: Q on appealling Medicare surcharge

Here is an example from my experience: - 2014 - retired in July, so only worked 1/2 year but got severance package that was as much as I would have made if I had continued working until well into the following year. Applied for Medicare to begin immediately. - Late in 2014 was assessed an IRMAA prem...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Podcasts on money management and investing basics
Replies: 22
Views: 1326

Re: Podcasts on money management and investing basics

I often listen to Better Off with Jill Schlesinger. This is her new podcast that is sponsored by the Betterment robo-advisor. Promos for the sponsor, of course, but not pushy. I was going to mention the new one I just started listening to because he recently did a series on singletons (since so much...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to help my teen (14) grow their savings faster?
Replies: 18
Views: 1662

Re: How to help my teen (14) grow their savings faster?

To the OP: At this stage the way she can grow her savings faster is to continue to add to those savings, regularly and diligently. You will find that this forum is not about growing money quickly . It is about the growing money over the long haul. As others have mentioned, the intended use of the mo...
by GerryL
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most vs. Least satisfying home impovements
Replies: 35
Views: 3504

Re: Most vs. Least satisfying home impovements

Once I got past the practical stuff, like roof, windows (Love the upgrade!) and furnace, I looked at improvements to make the space more enjoyable. The first of those was to have my relatively small backyard ripped out and mostly (~3/4) replaced with hardscaping -- stone pavers. My little backyard i...
by GerryL
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much of your taxable holdings is unrealized capital gains?
Replies: 58
Views: 4998

Re: How much of your taxable holdings is unrealized capital gains?

I have about 50% capital gains in taxable, with the largest chunk in my stock holding even though that (now) makes up less than half of my taxable account. My plan for the stock is to gradually use the old shares with the lowest cost basis to fund my DAF and to sell off the newer shares with the hig...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Diversify within Roth account?
Replies: 14
Views: 997

Re: Diversify within Roth account?

GerryL - have you decided whether you will take their advice? Yes, I do plan to fill the Roth with the International Stock fund. I don't think, however, that I will implement their other suggestion around bonds. They recommend adding two funds -- short-term and intermediate-term bonds -- to my curr...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Diversify within Roth account?
Replies: 14
Views: 997

Re: Diversify within Roth account?

Interesting timing on this question. I just had Vanguard re-run my financial plan and one recommendation that came back was to consolidate my Total International Stock fund as much as possible in my Roth. (I posted a question about this the other day.) If I take their advice, my Roth would be 100% i...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to "raise my rate" (Ally bank CD)
Replies: 19
Views: 2556

Re: When to "raise my rate" (Ally bank CD)

Thanks for all the help. I guess it comes down to what the chances are that the rate will be 2.49% in a year. If higher, I should wait. If lower, I should use my option. Anybody got a crystal ball? No crystal ball here, but when faced with the same decision on several occasions I went ahead and rai...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how to make friends in new location?
Replies: 96
Views: 8381

Re: how to make friends in new location?

Volunteering? It can take a while to establish friendships, but in the meantime the individual is contributing to society.
I have moved around a lot and have generally joined clubs and volunteer activities to start meeting people with common interests. Some efforts pan out. Some don't.
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to calculate "fun money" per year?
Replies: 37
Views: 3445

Re: How to calculate "fun money" per year?

I'm a believer in the 50-20-30 plan, which I present to high school students in a Budgeting module. In this plan: - no more than 50% of your income goes to necessities (housing, transportation, basic food, etc) - at least 20% goes to savings -the remaining 30% is for everything else you want -- now ...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBIAX)
Replies: 22
Views: 2087

Re: Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Admiral Shares (VBIAX)

My taxable account has been in VBIAX for many years, since long before I understood anything about bonds being best held in retirement accounts. I've only ever added to the account. Have never taken anything out. By this time there would be significant tax consequences to selling the shares to get i...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?
Replies: 169
Views: 14697

Re: How much (green) cash at home for emergency ?

My mom was succumbing to Alzheimer's when we moved her into assisted living. As I cleared out her little apartment, I kept uncovering stashes of cash. Not an enormous amount, maybe about $1k total, but given her limited income that was a lot. Most of it was in the little coat closet by the front doo...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking spending before retirement useful for estimating retirement expenses?
Replies: 72
Views: 4368

Re: Tracking spending before retirement useful for estimating retirement expenses?

Tracking expenses prior to retirement was essential for knowing that I really did have enough to stop getting a paycheck. Of course, the pre-retirement expenses only served as a baseline that I could work with to create a plan for actual retirement.
by GerryL
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?
Replies: 57
Views: 4645

Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

I have many friends who have travelled to Africa, some multiple times, largely for the animal experience. Most are long-time zoo volunteers or employees. All have recommended the experience. I have long debated going and think that perhaps by now I don't have the stamina for that kind of travel. Esp...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your hobbies?
Replies: 59
Views: 5374

Re: What are your hobbies?

My newest hobbies seem to be about education You may be interested in these resources: 1. Coursera course "Learning how to learn" https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn 2. Scott Young has written some excellent articles about learning. His web site has a lot of information; this page ...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living Abroad - Who's done it?
Replies: 52
Views: 4896

Re: Living Abroad - Who's done it?

I spent most of my youth pretty footloose. Worked as an au pair in Paris a couple of time for almost two years. Five years in Air Force ending up in Germany and transitioning to another au pair post near Munich. Then to Hawaii to finish college and from there a couple of years living in Japan. Didn'...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your hobbies?
Replies: 59
Views: 5374

Re: What are your hobbies?

Since retiring about 4 years ago I have been able to get involved with the local fossil club. I'm not as diligent about formal learning as many of the other members, but I am gradually picking up an education in paleontology and geology -- more by osmosis than studying. Trips with my new friends to ...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth conversion advice - charitable beneficiaries
Replies: 6
Views: 535

Re: Roth conversion advice - charitable beneficiaries

I anticipated 4 low-income years between retirement and starting SS at 70 and started doing Roth conversions. Then midway through year #2 I had the same realization that you had: why should I pay taxes on money that would in all likelihood end up going to charity? (And the conversions were not going...
by GerryL
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cooling upstairs floor without central AC
Replies: 26
Views: 2283

Re: cooling upstairs floor without central AC

This summer I want to look into a more cost effective way to cool the second floor of my home which turns into a furnace. My current plan is to purchase 2 basic box fans that blow cool air inside from windows positioned in the back of the house and a floor fan pointed to a window in the front of th...
by GerryL
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using donor advised fund to diversify stock with large capital gains
Replies: 38
Views: 2359

Re: Using donor advised fund to diversify stock with large capital gains

This is what I am doing with my individual stock holdings (inherited and purchased from company plan). The inherited shares fed my DAF for the past few years, and I am now reducing the company share holdings, starting with the shares with the lowest cost basis. I may sell and reinvest some high cost...
by GerryL
Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on applying for SS benefits
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: Question on applying for SS benefits

Thanks for the info. Sounds like it might be a training problem with those who process the applications. Not surprising. So, when applying online, there is some place on the application to make it clear you want maximum DRC? There are several places on the application -- including at the end -- whe...
by GerryL
Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding Estimated Tax Penalty - Safe Haven
Replies: 7
Views: 936

Re: Avoiding Estimated Tax Penalty - Safe Haven

For an IRA withdrawal you can specify zero withholding, you can also specify anything from 10% to 100%. You just can't specify 1% to 9% withholding. Also you can take as many distributions as you like so if you want an exact dollar amount, make a withdrawal of that amount and withhold 100% and then...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on applying for SS benefits
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: Question on applying for SS benefits

I assume you waited until you were 70 to maximize your monthly benefit. Hope you specified that you did not want retroactive benefits since SSA will often issue 6mo retro benefits which will reduce the monthly benefits to age 69.5. Is that what you meant by “with issues “? Yup. As a "for example." ...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on applying for SS benefits
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: Question on applying for SS benefits

I assume you waited until you were 70 to maximize your monthly benefit. Hope you specified that you did not want retroactive benefits since SSA will often issue 6mo retro benefits which will reduce the monthly benefits to age 69.5. Is that what you meant by “with issues “? Yup. As a "for example."
by GerryL
Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on applying for SS benefits
Replies: 16
Views: 1571

Re: Question on applying for SS benefits

I will turn 70 in September. I had been planning to apply for SS when I returned from a Viking River cruise (an early birthday gift from my brother!) in May so I would see my first SS payment in October. When I got home and checked my mail, I found a letter from the SS Admin reminding me that it was...
by GerryL
Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charity giving how much? How much do other retirees give?
Replies: 44
Views: 3944

Re: Charity giving how much? How much do other retirees give?

Charity is an expense like any other expense. We’d need more information about your assets and income to help you figure out what is prudent. +1 When you estimate your expenses, include a line item for charity. You can always adjust it over the years -- up or down -- based on how your portfolio is ...
by GerryL
Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Don’t cheat yourself with the 4% rule
Replies: 159
Views: 18342

Re: Don’t cheat yourself with the 4% rule

Make no plans, when you get there see what you have, then you can decide what you will actually withdraw and what you'll actually spend. When you get where? I like this approach, but then it just shifts the challenge to defining a time/event target, rather than a dollar/multiple target. I think you...
by GerryL
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Don’t cheat yourself with the 4% rule
Replies: 159
Views: 18342

Re: Don’t cheat yourself with the 4% rule

Make no plans, when you get there see what you have, then you can decide what you will actually withdraw and what you'll actually spend. When you get where? I like this approach, but then it just shifts the challenge to defining a time/event target, rather than a dollar/multiple target. I think you...
by GerryL
Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't make the mistake I made (Telemarketing hell)
Replies: 67
Views: 8764

Re: Don't make the mistake I made (Telemarketing hell)

I stopped answering the phone. If they want to talk to me they have to leave a message. Ditto. I've been using "poor man's caller ID" for many years. My answering machine kicks in after just 2 rings and the voice message says "We're not here or WE'RE SCREENING CALLS." Talk to the machine." Anyone w...
by GerryL
Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and your portfolio?
Replies: 23
Views: 2402

Re: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and your portfolio?

Although I used to look at various funds and consider diversifying into specific industries or small biz or emerging markets, I never followed through. Everything seemed to be going well, and I didn't want to put in the work to make my portfolio more complicated. Rather than FOMO, I have FODSS (fear...
by GerryL
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Medicare card
Replies: 28
Views: 1789

Re: New Medicare card

if the number is blacked out, how does the provider file a claim? You make a photocopy and black out part of the number on the copy. Carry that with you, but probably bring intact one to first visit to a provider. Of course, if you need to use the copy, you need to remember what characters and digi...
by GerryL
Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRMAA reduction without "life changing event?"
Replies: 12
Views: 959

Re: IRMAA reduction without "life changing event?"

fourwheelcycle wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:17 pm

I assume RMD income does count as income as far as IRMAA is concerned - correct?
RMD income does indeed count for the purpose of determining IRMAA. My plan is to use QCDs (qualified charitable distributions) to keep my income below the level that would make me subject to IRMAA.
by GerryL
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [what to sell for] RMD
Replies: 21
Views: 1478

Re: [what to sell for] RMD

I will start taking RMDs early next year. My plan is to do QCDs in the first half of the year and to take the rest in the second half of the year, with tax withholding. So, I have a plan but like the OP I am still wondering how to figure out which funds to draw down. I like the suggestion (above) ab...
by GerryL
Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip Report(mini) - Barge and Bike trip - Middle Rhine - Germany
Replies: 3
Views: 466

Re: Trip Report(mini) - Barge and Bike trip - Middle Rhine - Germany

Interesting about barging in Germany. In September I will be taking a barge trip in France (Alsace) that is on a smaller vessel and organized tour. I may want to look into barging opportunities in other countries.

PS I may have passed you on the Rhine. I was on a Viking River cruise there in May.
by GerryL
Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Milestones on the way to FI [Financial Independence]
Replies: 28
Views: 3145

Re: Milestones on the way to FI

If you are a homeowner: When your net worth (including equity in home) goes positive. I made a chart that showed me the progress to that crossover point. Not sure I understood this (but then I've never been a homeowner). If you borrow 100k and buy a house worth 100k, surely this doesn't bring your ...
by GerryL
Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Milestones on the way to FI [Financial Independence]
Replies: 28
Views: 3145

Re: Milestones on the way to FI

If you are a homeowner: When your net worth (including equity in home) goes positive. I made a chart that showed me the progress to that crossover point. Or your could just chart how much you owe vs how much you have to confirm that the former is always going down while the latter is always going up.
by GerryL
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Advice You Never Took
Replies: 100
Views: 13665

Re: Best Advice You Never Took

I started acquiring company stock on the employee stock purchase plan as soon as possible. At first the maximum and later half (which eventually became the maximum). All around me people were doing immediate sales while I held on to every share. Then I acquired more through RSUs. I was told both dir...
by GerryL
Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: is Having more and needing less normal?
Replies: 113
Views: 8791

Re: is Having more and needing less normal?

After a lifetime of accumulation, many people come to the realization that having a lot of stuff is a lot of work. I am one of those people who is very hesitant to ditch perfectly good items (and even some that aren't so perfect). "I might be able to use that someday!" My mom was the same way. When ...
by GerryL
Thu May 31, 2018 8:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question about Roth holdings/AA
Replies: 1
Views: 206

Question about Roth holdings/AA

Hi all. I asked Vanguard to run another financial plan for me to review changes in my life since the last one about 5 years ago. (Including my intention to part with more money while I'm living instead of after I'm dead.) I just reviewed the document and will be discussing it with the CFP assigned t...
by GerryL
Wed May 30, 2018 5:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My mind exploded
Replies: 79
Views: 4778

Re: My mind exploded

OP, If you have not already done so, how about sitting down with DD and work out a budget that will help her learn how to manage her money (and yours) while she is in college. Include how much x costs and how much you will cover. Is the gas money unlimited, or will you cover up to a specific amount ...
by GerryL
Wed May 30, 2018 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Router hack, have you acted?
Replies: 101
Views: 9015

Re: Router hack, have you acted?

We turn ours off every night before going to bed. Hopefully, that provides us with some protection... Why would folks leave it on if you are sleeping? Learned why to leave it on back in 2015. I bought a Tivo device and planned to record my favorite shows while I was out of the country for a month. ...
by GerryL
Tue May 29, 2018 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Router hack, have you acted?
Replies: 101
Views: 9015

Re: Router hack, have you acted?

I got up from reading the article and turned my router off and then back on. Something I had not done in a couple of months.
My router is not one of the ones listed in the article, but I figured it couldn't hurt.
by GerryL
Tue May 29, 2018 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old
Replies: 31
Views: 2176

Re: 3 days in Boston with an 8 year old

It's been a very long time since I was an 8-year-old kid in Boston, but I did live there as an adult in the 1980s. People keep mentioning Duck Boats. What are those? I do remember the Swan Boats in the Public Gardens and was going to suggest those as an activity. And I think the Freedom Trail is a g...