Search found 436 matches

by mervinj7
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you invest in Real Estate ? Why ?
Replies: 55
Views: 4659

Re: Do you invest in Real Estate ? Why ?

1. Yes. We own a duplex. We live in the larger unit and rent out the smaller unit. 2. We are accidental landlords in some way. We were looking for housing in the Bay Area and found this opportunity. We don't treat it as an investment per se but more as a way to offset the ridiculous pricing of housi...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much car to buy reasonably?
Replies: 86
Views: 4718

Re: How much car to buy reasonably?

Considering that your avatar is a yellow BMW, you should buy a yellow BMW. Everybody knows Blue is the best color for a BMW. Maybe ;) My wife's dream car when she was growing up in Hawaii was a yellow BMW with a surfboard on top. :sharebeer However, she recently bought a blue Nissan Leaf. Even with...
by mervinj7
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]
Replies: 91
Views: 8626

Re: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]

w/ $28.5k 401k, $6.8k HSA, $2.6k dep FSA, 2 child tax credits: $82.9k --> 18.7% Child tax credits phase out starting at 110K for couples. The OP will get get nothing. HSAs only make sense if the employer is willing to give you more salary (or make your contributions) for taking a higher deductible ...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]
Replies: 91
Views: 8626

Re: Getting killed on taxes - any ideas?

What's wrong/different with this estimate? They're in the ballpark, but a bit off, and adding IRA/401k maintains the discrepancy. Federal Tax Calculator Taxable income $409,900 Effective tax rate 21.5% Estimated federal taxes $94,844 Federal taxes withheld $0 We estimate you will owe $94,844 Income...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]
Replies: 91
Views: 8626

Re: Getting killed on taxes - any ideas?

I changed the thread title to reflect the OP's intent. Thanks, LadyGeek! I think posters were getting far too distracted by the hyperbolic title. I just wanted to follow-up on my worked out tax example from before under different suggested scenarios for 2018. Gross Income: $442k 2018 Federal Income...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Looking for ways to reduce taxes and keep more of my income]
Replies: 91
Views: 8626

Re: Getting killed on taxes - any ideas?

Just for clarification, we are not paying $100K in taxes. We paid $112,000 federal taxes on an income of about $442,000. Not a huge difference, but I did want to make that correction, as some are quoting an effective rate of 22%, which is not accurate. Have you recalculated your taxes based on the ...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Some questions about purchasing earthquake insurance in CA
Replies: 10
Views: 971

Re: Some questions about purchasing earthquake insurance in CA

I don't have the answers to your specific questions but you can get your CEA estimated quote here: https://www.earthquakeauthority.com/California-Earthquake-Insurance-Policies/Earthquake-Insurance-Premium-Calculator As far as I understand, all insurance providers should give you the same quote. Also...
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I contribute to this ESPP?
Replies: 21
Views: 1261

Re: Should I contribute to this ESPP?

emlowe wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:45 pm
He must hold for one year per his plan - he cannot sell immediately.

According to OP

-Earle
Got it. In that case, I would hold for one year and sell off the previous year's investments as each new batch comes in. That way, he's never risking more than $25k of equity.
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I contribute to this ESPP?
Replies: 21
Views: 1261

Re: Should I contribute to this ESPP?

I personally would not contribute if this was a plan for my company as the price of the stocks move up and down 15% almost every year so basically it is like investing in a single stock. Worse, your income is tied to the same underlying company. I would just take your contribution and invest it in ...
by mervinj7
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expensive house in HCOL area
Replies: 70
Views: 6249

Re: Expensive house in HCOL area

I still don't see how one can "profit" from an increase in home value other than selling it. I'm sure they plan on selling their home eventually (average American moves 11 times in their life) and if the loans are not paid off by then they can use some of the proceeds from the house sale. If they d...
by mervinj7
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expensive house in HCOL area
Replies: 70
Views: 6249

Re: Expensive house in HCOL area

2m2037 wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:25 am
Yes, but what would you do with the additional loan... invest it?
In their case, they bought solar panels, a chicken coop, and a new EV.
by mervinj7
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expensive house in HCOL area
Replies: 70
Views: 6249

Re: Expensive house in HCOL area

They don't have to sell and leave, they can just HELC . Pro 13 capped property tax which is good for earlier buyers. What does this mean? He means people can use HELOC (home equity line of credit) to access the equity in their house. Very common in CA with people sitting on houses with greatly appr...
by mervinj7
Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expensive house in HCOL area
Replies: 70
Views: 6249

Re: Expensive house in HCOL area

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:52 pm
Buy the least expensive house in the most expensive area in your city.
How about a burned down shell of a house in a mid-range neighborhood?
https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/19/ ... -san-jose/
by mervinj7
Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do average kids from upper middle class families get any free college money (Scholarships / non-repayable grants etc)
Replies: 266
Views: 17540

Re: Do average kids from upper middle class families get any free college money (Scholarships / non-repayable grants etc

Hello, :P you have Assumptions 1. my kids grow up to be average " students. 2. We are an upper middle class family when my kids apply b he b for college (i.e. a few million dollar net worth). 3. Have some 529 balances. Say $75k each kind i but w Can Do kids like these typically get any "free" money...
by mervinj7
Fri May 25, 2018 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Folks, I'm calling the Tops for Bay area RE market
Replies: 46
Views: 2694

Re: Folks, I'm calling the Tops for Bay area RE market

Something else to consider is that large corporations are recognizing the benefits of decentralizing their workforces. I think any corporation with their HQ in Shakeytown and a long view would definitely want to decentralize. In before the lock. Decentralization must why companies like Apple, Googl...
by mervinj7
Wed May 23, 2018 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Negotiating for Residential Solar
Replies: 11
Views: 895

Re: Negotiating for Residential Solar

Here's my previous post that shows a worked out example for a solar quote in Northern CA.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=223055&start=50#p3932615
by mervinj7
Wed May 23, 2018 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)
Replies: 52
Views: 5139

Re: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)

I usually ask a few local mechanics what car has the least problems. The ones I spoke to all recommended prius. However am looking to go 100% electric to replace my other car for local things. noticed a friend this weekend had a leaf. maybe will ask about it. thanks for the tip on the good deal! Th...
by mervinj7
Wed May 23, 2018 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)
Replies: 52
Views: 5139

Re: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)

Your lease quote is pretty high. I would be shooting for around the $12k mark total cost BEFORE the rebates. Check out this site for reference so you don't get fleeced at the dealership - http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/?m=1 Great! I edited my original post to reflect the best quote for a 2018 Nissan Le...
by mervinj7
Tue May 22, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)
Replies: 52
Views: 5139

Re: New 2018 Nissan Leaf (with 150 mi range)

By all means calculate both outcomes....but the LEAF lease deals were WAY cheaper than buying a couple years ago. Frank, as you suggested I was trying to work out the Lease Vs Buy deal. As hedgefundie mentioned, there are some discounts that are only available if you buy and Nissan seems to be pock...
by mervinj7
Tue May 22, 2018 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SF Bay Area Credit Unions or Banks Questions
Replies: 8
Views: 790

Re: SF Bay Area Credit Unions or Banks Questions

I use SF Fire CU (sffirecu.org) and love them for many of my banking needs. However, for moving large sums of money, I have used my Fidelity Cash Management account instead. You can walk right in to any of their service centers and have them work with you.
by mervinj7
Mon May 21, 2018 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels
Replies: 96
Views: 9231

Re: Solar panels

There is a big LBNL presentation here http://eta-publications.lbl.gov/sites/default/files/presentation_pdf.pdf that suggests that more wind+solar on the grid will lead to a reduction in future electricity prices. On the order of 10-20% with high penetration factor (currently wind and solar are at 1...
by mervinj7
Fri May 18, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12417

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

Now, that I have a better understanding of your commuting needs and your unique loan situation, here's a worked out example of a "modest" house purchase in Campbell with a 10 rated elementary school. https://www.redfin.com/CA/Campbell/4764-Westmont-Ave-95008/home/1326696 4 Beds, 2 Baths, 1825 sq ft,...
by mervinj7
Fri May 18, 2018 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels
Replies: 96
Views: 9231

Re: Solar panels

A friend recently (late last year) got solar and I helped extensively so I am up to date on prices and suggestions. This is in silicon valley w/ PG&E. A few comments. 1. The price is good. You can probably get them down a bit more as that is close to what my friend got in a very large city w/ presu...
by mervinj7
Fri May 18, 2018 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels
Replies: 96
Views: 9231

Re: Solar panels

+1 to energy production costs going down. As more and more renewable energy gets added to the mix the cost to generate a unit of energy will decrease to near 0. The biggest costs will be maintaining he grid and transmission costs. And of course taxes. Although energy production costs have been goin...
by mervinj7
Thu May 17, 2018 6:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels
Replies: 96
Views: 9231

Re: Solar panels

The investment is not without its risks however. As solar gets cheaper and continues to grow eventually there will be an oversupply of electricity during daylight hours, which will lead to time of use rates, and cut into your savings. This will likely become a factor when solar on your local grid r...
by mervinj7
Thu May 17, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels
Replies: 96
Views: 9231

Re: Solar panels

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but did anybody find a good spreadsheet to calculate ROI for rooftop solar panels? I'm probably overthinking this but here's an example for a solar quote in Campbell, CA assuming the electricity provider is Silicon Valley Clean Energy and the rate plan is EV-A. 1. Up...
by mervinj7
Tue May 15, 2018 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12417

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

somekevinguy wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:13 pm
Carefreeap wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:03 pm
So to clarify, you would owe no payments until year 10 for the 175k loan and no payments for 30 years for the $450k loan?
Correct
:greedy :sharebeer :sharebeer :greedy
by mervinj7
Tue May 15, 2018 4:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12417

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

You have $500k cash for downpayment, a 2 comma net worth, dual physician incomes (relatively recession proof), 0% loan (how is that possible?), and family who live in the area. Seems like a no brainer to me. Buy a $1.5M-$2M starter home close to work. If you are going to "stretch", buy a smaller pla...
by mervinj7
Tue May 15, 2018 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tenant/Landlord Question
Replies: 12
Views: 1140

Re: Tenent/Landlord Question

I prefer to give at least 60 days notice.
by mervinj7
Mon May 14, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing
Replies: 150
Views: 12417

Re: New(ish) attending physicians in the Bay Area: Housing

Are you sure the tech industry is here to stay? Will any of them be moving elsewhere? Here is a an article in Redfin that talks about people moving out https://www.redfin.com/blog/2018/02/q4-migration-report.html And another older article talking about the same topic: https://thenextweb.com/contrib...
by mervinj7
Wed May 09, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparing 2 physician jobs
Replies: 69
Views: 6141

Re: Comparing 2 physician jobs

randomizer wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 3:27 pm
The numbers in this post are too large for me to make sense of them.
+1
At this income level, I would pick the location that would lead to the best quality of life. With the rural location, it doesn't seem like you would stay there more than 2-3 years.
by mervinj7
Mon May 07, 2018 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To take or not to take delivery of Tesla 3
Replies: 1107
Views: 86537

Re: To take or not to take delivery of Tesla 3

That sounds like a great deal, and I was wondering why/how PG&E can afford to throw $10k at buyers. Turns out they don't. It's a discount offered by BMW to customers in a particular geography (PG&E country). If I hadn't just bought a 2018 LEAF, I might have to seriously consider moving in with fami...
by mervinj7
Mon May 07, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: To take or not to take delivery of Tesla 3
Replies: 1107
Views: 86537

Re: To take or not to take delivery of Tesla 3

I’m not sure what newer hybrids you are talking about other than perhaps the Honda Clarity. What you are describing is the BMW i3 which I own. Perfect for my needs and used ones with under 20,000 miles can be had for under $20k. I get roughly 75 miles on a charge and 80 miles more using the gas gen...
by mervinj7
Thu May 03, 2018 6:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?
Replies: 15
Views: 2536

Re: can someone explain me AMT in dummy terms?

Peppergrass wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 6:00 pm
right now I'm at about 36k in margin fees, but as I understand it, with AMT at work you cannot claim investment expenses?
$36k in margin fees... my mind is blown.
by mervinj7
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you estimate your home's market value?
Replies: 53
Views: 3681

Re: How do you estimate your home's market value?

In CA, it depends on whether or not one is in a Prop 13 "decline in value" reduction, regardless of when the house is sold. If the property has a decline in value reduction, then it is being assessed based on market value, not on the Prop 13 cap. If the property is not in decline, then the Prop 13 ...
by mervinj7
Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ivy school education. Is it worth it?
Replies: 238
Views: 13654

Re: Ivy school education. Is it worth it?

The second year I did work with the professor directly. At the time, I was the only undergraduate in the research group. A 2:1 student:faculty ratio makes that possible. Yes, that's my point. I wasn't calling you a liar. I was making the point that not EVERY person who goes to an Ivy league gets to...
by mervinj7
Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ivy school education. Is it worth it?
Replies: 238
Views: 13654

Re: Ivy school education. Is it worth it?

If your parents make say $100-150k pa in Middle America, then you are likely to get relatively little aid at Stanford? You are not a wealthy legacy admit, nor on some super athletic or academic scholarship? So you will wind up with $200k of debt from undergrad? No need to make up numbers, there are...
by mervinj7
Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5316

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

Prop 13 in California also makes regular home "upgrades" an expensive thing to do. Just to clarify this: If I were to add, say, a bedroom and bathroom to my California home, the whole property would be reassessed to current market value? If so, that's a tremendous disincentive for those of us who'v...
by mervinj7
Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)
Replies: 65
Views: 5316

Re: VHCOL Home Buying Advice (Bay Area, where else?)

Listen to this guy. Prop 13 highly incentivizes buying one dream home and never moving. And then passing it on to your children/grandchildren so they can pay next to nothing in inflation adjusted property tax. Yep, that's what many of our neighbors are doing. A few are cashing out their appreciated...
by mervinj7
Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?
Replies: 67
Views: 9555

Re: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?

To get back on topic, if enough people start leaving the state, this probably has a bigger effect on housing prices than the SALT changes. And, of course, the ultimate driver is the economy. A dot-com like recession would hit prices in the Bay Area more than almost anything else. Even during the wo...
by mervinj7
Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?
Replies: 67
Views: 9555

Re: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?

The latest data shows there has been no change to the Bay Area housing market due to the SALT reform. By no change, I mean it keeps going up to new record levels. In Santa Clara County, the median price for a resale, single family home hit $1.29 million last month — up 34 percent from the same time ...
by mervinj7
Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should a recent college grad look for a job in the Bay Area or Texas?
Replies: 39
Views: 2859

Re: Should a recent college grad look for a job in the Bay Area or Texas?

We are not suppose to talk politics here but that does play a big role in where some one chooses to live, it can determine the tax situation, job situation, and growth of the state which leads to better wages and future job prospects. The two states are almost opposites when it comes to how they ar...
by mervinj7
Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: On-line rent payment rec's?
Replies: 10
Views: 955

Re: On-line rent payment rec's?

I use Zelle as well. No fees, the money is instantly deposited, and it works directly with most banks. That means there is no third party app between you and your tenant. Best of all, neither of you needs to share bank information, just an email address. No more bounced checks!
by mervinj7
Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this a housing bubble?
Replies: 71
Views: 8806

Re: Is this a housing bubble?

Mountain View and Sunnyvale have been creeping up in price steadily over the last 2 decades. First, Mountain View was for those wanted to live in Palo Alto and couldn't afford it and then Sunnyvale was for those who couldn't afford Mountain View. It's now at the point that Santa Clara is for those ...
by mervinj7
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this a housing bubble?
Replies: 71
Views: 8806

Re: Is this a housing bubble?

The price per sq ft record may not stand for long, if this place sells for asking: https://www.redfin.com/CA/Palo-Alto/3519-Emerson-St-94306/home/1732003 Check out the "Beautiful" in-ground pool. That listing is for Palo Alto which has been traditionally expensive for decades. The article was discu...
by mervinj7
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?
Replies: 72
Views: 5982

Re: Can we afford to stay in HCOL area?

$80k in expenses for one child, for one year? We have two young children, both in daycare, and our total household expenses (including mortgage, daycare, wife's college tuition, daughter's gymnastics and jiu jitsu classes...everything) were ~$45k for '17. If you are spending nearly twice that on ta...
by mervinj7
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard passes $1 trillion in DC assets
Replies: 3
Views: 706

Re: Vanguard passes $1 trillion in DC assets

Cool. Anybody know if this includes 401ks where the funds are all Vanguard but the accounts are managed by Fidelity?
by mervinj7
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Exchanging stocks for index funds on Fidelity
Replies: 2
Views: 226

Re: Exchanging stocks for index funds on Fidelity

If these stocks are held in taxable accounts, please consider the tax implications before selling them. No reason to incur potentially thousands of dollars in capital gains taxes just to save a few dollars each year in expenses.
by mervinj7
Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity balances not updating on Personal Capital
Replies: 3
Views: 551

Re: Fidelity balances not updating on Personal Capital

Yep, seeing the same issue. Too many people (including me) checking their balances.
by mervinj7
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Torn between Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab
Replies: 171
Views: 19320

Re: Torn between Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab

I use Fidelity since my 401k was there. The branch was great when I needed incoming Rollovers to combine our old 401ks with our existing 401k. They handled all the paperwork and helped laid the groundwork for facilitating backdoor Roth IRAS. I also use their cash management service for the free ATM ...