Search found 1699 matches

by GerryL
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most vs. Least satisfying home impovements
Replies: 35
Views: 3025

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: 42
Views: 2802

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: 934

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: 934

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: 2445

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: 88
Views: 6685

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: 36
Views: 2740

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: 1929

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: 116
Views: 8817

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: 4024

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: 4443

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: 4845

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: 4706

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: 4845

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: 507

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: 19
Views: 1261

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: 2235

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: 1497

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: 901

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: 1497

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: 1497

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: 1497

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Charity giving how much? How much do other retirees give?
Replies: 7
Views: 500

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: 17953

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: 17953

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: 8602

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: 2305

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: 1700

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: 7
Views: 603

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: 1390

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: 424

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: 3101

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: 3101

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: 13459

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: 8592

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: 200

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: 4653

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: 8762

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: 8762

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: 2135

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...
by GerryL
Tue May 29, 2018 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best retirement places for shy senior singles
Replies: 32
Views: 3896

Re: Best retirement places for shy senior singles

OP, Have you heard of the Village Movement? It's about enabling people to age in place, in their own homes. A large part of it is providing services to help people maintain their homes and get around the community (transportation), but there is also a large social engagement component. These virtual...
by GerryL
Tue May 29, 2018 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on neighbor not keeping up his property...
Replies: 103
Views: 7423

Re: Advice on neighbor not keeping up his property...

Neighbor in the back, kitty-corner from my house is a complete mystery. In the at least 15 years since she moved in I don't believe I have ever seen her. (Went over to introduce myself when she was moving in. Woman came to door and said her mom was tired and resting.) Our backyards here are quite sm...
by GerryL
Tue May 29, 2018 1:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does anticipated SS alter today’s allocation?
Replies: 20
Views: 1856

Re: Does anticipated SS alter today’s allocation?

I stopped working/earning a wage at 66. Looking forward to age 70, I saw that SS would more than cover my basic living expenses, so I felt comfortable with the risk of a 60/40 AA. In other words, I don't count SS as a part of my AA, but it is an element in making decisions about my risk tolerance. ...
by GerryL
Mon May 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for Mom's LTC policy renewal
Replies: 9
Views: 791

Re: Advice for Mom's LTC policy renewal

Note that the options they give you in the letter may not be the only possibilities. If you're having trouble settling on one of the three, talk with your agent (or a rep at the company) and ask them to price out other options that are more in line with your mom's needs at her current age and state ...
by GerryL
Mon May 28, 2018 12:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does anticipated SS alter today’s allocation?
Replies: 20
Views: 1856

Re: Does anticipated SS alter today’s allocation?

I stopped working/earning a wage at 66. Looking forward to age 70, I saw that SS would more than cover my basic living expenses, so I felt comfortable with the risk of a 60/40 AA. In other words, I don't count SS as a part of my AA, but it is an element in making decisions about my risk tolerance. B...
by GerryL
Thu May 24, 2018 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I've never budgeted sucessfully
Replies: 59
Views: 4942

Re: I've never budgeted sucessfully

Look up 50-20-30 budget (or plan or rule). You'll find a lot of references on the web. The idea is no more than 50% should be spent on necessities (e.g. housing costs, transportation, basic food); at least 20% should be saved for goals (including retirement); the rest -- 30% -- is discretionary. The...
by GerryL
Wed May 23, 2018 3:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best buy and hold vanguard fund forever...
Replies: 28
Views: 3163

Re: Best buy and hold vanguard fund forever...

Anybody a fan of vanguards balanced index fund? I started with the VG Asset Allocation fund and was switching to Balanced Index when they did away with the former and replaced it the latter, so effectively, Balanced Index was my first VG fund. I know that bonds don't belong in taxable, but I didn't...
by GerryL
Tue May 22, 2018 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: French hotel amenities...
Replies: 15
Views: 1224

Re: French hotel amenities...

You are very likely to have a bidet in the bathroom. Bidets used to be highly likely. But recently, in cheaper hotels, I had no bidet. Victoria In recent years I have travelled in France a few times after a long absence. I saw no bidets at all. I stayed in both "economy" lodgings that had been retr...
by GerryL
Tue May 22, 2018 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken - Do you use it?
Replies: 50
Views: 2609

Re: Quicken - Do you use it?

I began using Quicken in the early 1990s just for managing my checking and savings accounts and tracking expenses and bills. Over time I added investments. I made lots of mistakes using it, especially when they did away with the printed manual, so the way I set up accounts is sometimes weird and uns...
by GerryL
Tue May 15, 2018 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I tell Social Security I retired?
Replies: 32
Views: 4081

Re: Do I tell Social Security I retired?

Just got back today from about a month of travel and found a letter from the SS office alerting me to the fact that it makes no sense to delay SS beyond age 70 and that I should file my return so I can start collecting when I hit the magic age in September. I already had "file for SS" on my to-do li...