Search found 1122 matches

by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you lower your annual expenses?
Replies: 49
Views: 3014

Re: How did you lower your annual expenses?

Our approach is perhaps different to that of many others on this forum. Rather than trying to make a ton of money, our goal is to have a great deal of time together as a family by keeping the number of hours worked to a moderate level (even though that means not having as much in earnings). In order...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share your net worth progression
Replies: 1005
Views: 266730

Re: Share your net worth progression

I last posted in 2015, at age 40. At that time, our net worth was around $575k. We’re at $1M now at age 44. I’m a public-school teacher and my wife is a stay-at-home parent. Our retirement expenses should be fully covered by my pension ($100k/year in 2019 dollars around age 60).
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta
Replies: 74
Views: 5523

Re: Where to Live? N. Orange County, CA or Vancouver, WA or Atlanta

This question is really about what is of importance to you and your wife. For me, this is what matters: my family, a work schedule that allows for lots of time off, and nice weather. I (nor my wife) really care about a mansion-sized home, fancy cars, and lots of money with jewels mixed in. So, we've...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: pension, 403b, 457 questions
Replies: 14
Views: 866

Re: pension, 403b, 457 questions

Personally, this is what I would do in your situation: 1) Reduce (or stop) contributions to the 529 2) Max out traditional accounts since you’re paying 28% in taxes. If investment options are comparable, I’d prioritize the 457b over the 403b since it offers the ability to access the account if/when...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: pension, 403b, 457 questions
Replies: 14
Views: 866

Re: pension, 403b, 457 questions

Personally, this is what I would do in your situation: 1) Reduce (or stop) contributions to the 529 2) Max out traditional accounts since you’re paying 28% in taxes. If investment options are comparable, I’d prioritize the 457b over the 403b since it offers the ability to access the account if/when ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion
Replies: 32
Views: 2922

Re: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion

By the way, I was able to earn 100k points instead of 80k on the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card by going into a branch in person and speaking with their Relationship Manager. The Relationship Managers have (or at least used to have) the ability to offer 100k points instead of the normal 80k. Tha...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?
Replies: 86
Views: 8466

Re: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?

I can't comment as to exactly why the situation is different in your state. It's probably a combination of factors. You did say that 23% of payroll was being directed toward retirement benefits where you are. Up until 5 years ago, the number was 18% for CalSTRS members. Perhaps, over many years, 5%...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?
Replies: 86
Views: 8466

Re: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?

The CalSTRS system does have inflation protection and benefits are likely higher than for people in many other states. However, the cost of living in certain parts of California is hard for many to wrap their heads around as well. So, just add a zero at the end of whatever number you think is reaso...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?
Replies: 86
Views: 8466

Re: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?

Are you saying that currently employees have 10% deducted from pay and their employer puts in 18% of pay and the state also puts in 10%? This would make the total pension plan cost 38% of payroll :!: . For comparison my state has a "fully" funded system (7% return assumption) and the total cost is ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?
Replies: 86
Views: 8466

Re: How safe are pensions in the U.S.?

Not too safe in California. On what basis do you make this statement? Moderators? Speculation and politics here. Not actionable. Cuts to public employee pensions in California have already happened and continue to happen, typically in the form of a haircut when insolvent municipalities or joint pow...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion
Replies: 32
Views: 2922

Re: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion

So trying to get the thread back on my original question, I have now narrowed down to two possibilities. I plan to spend ~$5,000 on travel (~$2,500 on airline tickets, $2,500 on airbnb). 1) Chase Ink Business Preferred : 80,000 points sign-on bonus, plus 3x points on travel. So if I purchase the fu...
by Ron Ronnerson
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion
Replies: 32
Views: 2922

Re: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion

I'm guessing you're joking here.. or are you serious? I mean with income of couple hundred dollars as a shell eBay "business"... what would be the chance of approval? I'm in California and this is what we did: My wife went to the county and submitted a fictitious business statement for a business f...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion
Replies: 32
Views: 2922

Re: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion

Sell a few things on craigslist or ebay and, bam, you're a sole proprietor. Chase Ink Preferred. I'm guessing you're joking here.. or are you serious? I mean with income of couple hundred dollars as a shell eBay "business"... what would be the chance of approval? I'm in California and this is what ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion
Replies: 32
Views: 2922

Re: Credit card sign on bonus suggestion

Sell a few things on craigslist or ebay and, bam, you're a sole proprietor. Chase Ink Preferred. I'm guessing you're joking here.. or are you serious? I mean with income of couple hundred dollars as a shell eBay "business"... what would be the chance of approval? I'm in California and this is what ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 4% APY credit unions
Replies: 22
Views: 3057

Re: 4% APY credit unions

Yes, which is why the ideal strategy includes doing only small purchases with the RCA debit card, to minimize the CC cashback rewards lost. I try to keep my RCA purchases under $10, with an average of about $5 or less. Ideal with respect to interest earned. It does take time away from potentially m...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it Wise to Remove Escrow if Bank Allows it?
Replies: 87
Views: 5514

Re: Is it Wise to Remove Escrow if Bank Allows it?

I don’t have an escrow account either. We open up two credit cards offering bonuses around the time that property taxes are due to pay the two installments. Even after accounting for the processing fee for paying with a credit card, we earn about $1k in rewards per year, effectively lowering our pro...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?
Replies: 13
Views: 1703

Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

I've made around $10k/year for each of the past four years. I prefer credit card bonuses but also do bank and brokerage bonuses. Orion Credit Union currently offers 4% interest on up to $30k. They do require a $500 deposit into the account each month, which I've set up to happen automatically (money...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?
Replies: 64
Views: 4997

Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

I’ve been teaching for 16 years and I would take the job. First of all, an 80% schedule at a new job can actually be a good thing. I remember how difficult my first few years were. I worked very long hours learning the curriculum and planning lessons. There was so much to learn and do and not nearly...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying half of my paycheck on health insurance?
Replies: 63
Views: 4461

Re: Paying half of my paycheck on health insurance?

You might very well be able to qualify for a premium tax credit on the exchange. Check out this link: https://www.healthinsurance.org/faqs/my-employer-offers-insurance-but-i-think-its-too-expensive-can-i-apply-for-a-subsidy-to-help-me-buy-my-own-insurance/ Here is a quote from the link: In 2019, a p...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Mint Mobile customers here?
Replies: 37
Views: 2050

Re: Any Mint Mobile customers here?

I called customer service at Mint Mobile once just to get the account number and it was easy enough. I switched from Cricket and have been happy with Mint Mobile. I wasn’t able to get a phone connection from the first floor of my home with Cricket (I’m in the Bay Area, not some place remote). Our ph...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do BH define Cost of Living Cities
Replies: 48
Views: 2654

Re: How do BH define Cost of Living Cities

I think the COL index is meaningless unless you're a new arrival. Long term homeowners in nominally HCOL cities usually have much lower costs than suggested by the index. Certainly true in the SF Bay Area, where only the newcomers are paying the insane $3-4k/month for an apartment, which is presuma...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon May 27, 2019 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teaching jobs
Replies: 79
Views: 4685

Re: Teaching jobs

I’m a mid-career teacher and am currently sitting in on interviews to help our principal make hiring decisions. There can be a lot of different circumstances involved with vacancies. Some great suggestions have already been made to improve the odds of being hired such as establishing a connection at...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon May 27, 2019 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What kind of jobs do people who have SEP IRAs do?
Replies: 32
Views: 2550

Re: What kind of jobs do people who have SEP IRAs do?

My wife’s previous employer compensated their workers largely with benefits and perks. The pay wasn’t high but benefits included: 1) SEP-IRA – employer contributed 15% of each employee’s salary to a SEP-IRA account while employee contributed nothing (no 401k available) 2) Work from home most of the ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 26, 2019 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Debt Free! Need Help to Develop New Game Plan
Replies: 6
Views: 800

Re: Debt Free! Need Help to Develop New Game Plan

Personally, I wouldn't put anything in a college fund unless you're able to first max out all the space you have available in retirement accounts. By the time your child is ready to go to college, you'll be over 59.5 and can access retirement accounts to pay for college if you wish to do so. I'm in ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat May 18, 2019 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Churning Credit Cards
Replies: 57
Views: 4518

Re: Churning Credit Cards

For my personal circumstances, it is most definitely worth it. Our expenses are around $75k per year (this includes all taxes). However, good things begin to happen for us if we drop our adjusted gross income to below $64k. Specifically: our effective California income tax rate goes down to 0%, we q...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed May 15, 2019 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: STATE TAXES: Predictor of Wealth Accumulation?
Replies: 21
Views: 2212

Re: STATE TAXES: Predictor of Wealth Accumulation?

Even though you said to hold other things besides state taxes the same, I’m not sure this is practical to do. I think you really have to consider many factors when comparing two locations. Some of the financial ones besides state taxes include property and sales taxes, job opportunities, commute, an...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 12, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we really afford $1.25M house?
Replies: 44
Views: 5731

Re: Can we really afford $1.25M house?

Car loan interest is also in the 3% range. I’m going to pay off the student loan in full imminently. Agree that we could stand to reduce spending. I drive my cars into the ground FWIW. Driving your car into the ground is fine but if it's a really expensive car, it could drive you into the ground as...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 12, 2019 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we really afford $1.25M house?
Replies: 44
Views: 5731

Re: Can we really afford $1.25M house?

So there you have it. We are committed to staying in the home for 5 yrs+, and need to stay in this area as my industry is here and my pay is 75% higher than would be elsewhere. But after a decade of frugality, it is scary to sell 300k stocks to make this purchase, and then also reduce monthly cash ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 12, 2019 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Continue working for benefit of adult children or retiring earlier?
Replies: 87
Views: 6323

Re: Continue working for benefit of adult children or retiring earlier?

I do not plan on working any longer or harder than necessary to provide the basics, then off you go. I'm still young in my late 30's but I've seen enough to realize that the most important gift I can provide to my family is time and availability, money is far down the list. I have reached the same ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat May 11, 2019 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What non frugal things save money?
Replies: 80
Views: 9551

Re: What non frugal things save money?

Time is money, they say. So we save money by paying someone to clean our house.
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat May 11, 2019 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Continue working for benefit of adult children or retiring earlier?
Replies: 87
Views: 6323

Re: Continue working for benefit of adult children or retiring earlier?

I’ll tell you our personal story. We live in a great neighborhood with outstanding schools in a VHCOL area (Bay Area). I teach at a public school and my wife is a stay-at-home parent. Our parents think we’re sort of poor but no one helps us financially. I’m grateful that they believe in us to make i...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon May 06, 2019 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is the low interest rate loan arbitrage always worth it?
Replies: 13
Views: 1290

Re: Is the low interest rate loan arbitrage always worth it?

For me, it depends on the dollars involved. I am planning to take advantage of arbitrage this year. It'll be for a 4% difference on at least $10k (with a little bit of work involved each month). I wouldn’t bother for 1.5% on $1k. Curious. Care to share more? You can borrow from a bank at 0% for 12-...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 05, 2019 6:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How and when did you do it - to get to 1 Million
Replies: 130
Views: 27370

Re: How and when did you do it - to get to 1 Million

I'm hoping to reach this figure but it's tougher than it seems... people throw around the figure so casually these days like it's nothing, but to actually save a million takes a ton of time and diligence. Perhaps sometimes. We had a negative net worth in 2008. As of last week, we’ve reached a net w...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun May 05, 2019 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is the low interest rate loan arbitrage always worth it?
Replies: 13
Views: 1290

Re: Is the low interest rate loan arbitrage always worth it?

For me, it depends on the dollars involved. I am planning to take advantage of arbitrage this year. It'll be for a 4% difference on at least $10k (with a little bit of work involved each month). I wouldn’t bother for 1.5% on $1k.
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat May 04, 2019 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Critique our Budget
Replies: 28
Views: 2243

Re: Please Critique our Budget

You have interesting numbers. Between your retirement accounts, HSA, pension contributions, and mortgage principal, you’re saving around $84k/year. I don’t know your gross income but that seems like a significant percentage for a principal and teacher. I get the impression that you want to quickly i...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?
Replies: 134
Views: 8401

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

You remind me a bit of myself. My wife and I are both 44 and we’ve been doing this for the past year. We currently have a four-year-old and my wife wanted to spend some quality time with our daughter while she was still young. So, she stopped working last year when the kid was three. The plan had be...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Colleague salary comparison
Replies: 54
Views: 6177

Re: Colleague salary comparison

I work for a school and our pay and benefits are publicly available. I looked up what others make once. It was not very interesting information to me. We’re paid based on years of experience and level of education so people’s salaries are not generally surprising. I do nothing with this information....
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is it worth it, and not, to live in a (very) high COL region?
Replies: 31
Views: 2634

Re: When is it worth it, and not, to live in a (very) high COL region?

I’ll share our story. We live in the Bay Area and both my wife and I have family here. We were your age in 2007 and had come to accept that we wouldn’t be able to own a home if we stayed in the Bay Area. However, we both wanted to be near family and that settled it for us. I’m a public school teache...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Savings rate
Replies: 104
Views: 9048

Re: Savings rate

To calculate the savings rate, I divided the total of things that increase net worth (including mortgage principal) by gross income. Someone with a lot of home equity has options even if they don’t have savings in other accounts. I find gross income to be more unclear. I include gross pay from work ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking the new job or not?
Replies: 24
Views: 1110

Re: Taking the new job or not?

The extra costs of day care, more meals eaten out, higher commuting costs, and taxes should be subtracted. Then factor in increased stress (strain on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being). While it is hard to put a monetary value on this stuff, try doing it. Also factor in the pressure pu...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: leaving state job / pension. ..... bad idea?
Replies: 44
Views: 3520

Re: leaving state job / pension. ..... bad idea?

I have some similar stats as you. I’m also 44 and have worked in my job for the past 16 years (I’m a public-school teacher). You and I have almost identical incomes and expected pensions. I plan to retire around age 61 with a pension of right around $100k. Unlike you, my work doesn’t provide any hea...
by Ron Ronnerson
Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How far would you commute?
Replies: 104
Views: 4885

Re: How far would you commute?

It depends on the particulars of the exact situation. The higher the pay, the longer I’d be willing to commute, but only up to a point. Also, the amount of days and hours worked matters. All things being equal, commuting is terrible and should be avoided. However, all things are usually not equal.
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 1763
Views: 278019

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Also, don't use the Money Show code. They'll demand proof that you were there. Also, always open a new account. Don't ask for a bonus to be added to an already open account, as this seems to be asking for scrutiny and trouble. Just one data point but I used the money code and no proof was demanded ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do 40 year olds decide what they can afford?
Replies: 85
Views: 9784

Re: How do 40 year olds decide what they can afford?

My wife and I are both 44 and have found that time is the most precious thing to us so we’re purchasing large amounts of it by not working too much. This allows us to spend a lot of time together as a family (I’m a teacher, my wife is a stay-at-home parent, and we have a four-year-old). If we really...
by Ron Ronnerson
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Robot vacuum cleaner - need recommendation
Replies: 13
Views: 986

Re: Robot vacuum cleaner - need recommendation

We have a Deebot N79S Self-Charging Robot Vacuum Cleaner. We bought it for $160 on Amazon last summer. It’s worked nicely for us. It sometimes gets trapped in places so we monitor it. For that price, we weren’t expecting perfection. It does a good job of cleaning up, though. We have a four-year-old ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boglehead teachers or those married to one: some questions about career and life...
Replies: 101
Views: 6846

Re: Boglehead teachers or those married to one: some questions about career and life...

Fair enough. Remember, high/low and over/under are relative terms though. A teacher getting paid $100,000 in say New Orleans Louisiana would indeed be considered being compensated "very highly" as you stated as only 18% of the population makes great than that and 50% of the population makes less th...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boglehead teachers or those married to one: some questions about career and life...
Replies: 101
Views: 6846

Re: Boglehead teachers or those married to one: some questions about career and life...

What do you think that others think k-12 school teachers earn? I don't think, if I want to know this information it is very easy to look up. I kind of roll my eyes when I hear the generalization that teachers are "underpaid". Some are not compensated very highly, many are. I would argue it is diffi...
by Ron Ronnerson
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Worried about being pushed into 'higher tax bracket' "
Replies: 25
Views: 2070

Re: "Worried about being pushed into 'higher tax bracket' "

I find that many of my coworkers (I’m a teacher) have the misconception that their entire income is taxed at the higher bracket if they fall into the next bracket. However, I think a bigger issue that many people don’t actually take enough time to evaluate is whether working extra hours is worth it ...
by Ron Ronnerson
Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Adoption Tax Credit for Special Needs Child
Replies: 3
Views: 219

Re: Adoption Tax Credit for Special Needs Child

We’ve used the adoption tax credit as well (about five years ago). In order to use it up, we converted funds in a traditional IRA account to Roth to raise our taxable income. If you have this option, you might want to consider it. I also agree with the previous response that contributing to Roth acc...