Search found 347 matches

by mervinj7
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Charles schwab - why so much cheaper?
Replies: 18
Views: 1637

Re: Charles schwab - why so much cheaper?

Thanks for all the insightful replies! My take away would be, if you wan free commission fee and wana win that 0.01% ER, then it's worth it. And the customer service. Since I'm only buying ETF, I don't think there's such a thing as customer service. I'll stick to vanguard as they do seem more trust...
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?
Replies: 19
Views: 1399

Re: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?

Plus if you use TDA , instead of commission free Vanguard VTI you can now use the new commission free SPDR Gender Diversity ETF. Regards, John Nice to know that SHE (SPDR Gender Diversity ETF) will be available commission-free! https://www.ssga.com/investment-topics/general-investing/2017/Better-To...
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about Personal Capital
Replies: 18
Views: 1317

Re: Question about Personal Capital

I've gotten a lot of calls and emails from Personal Capital. Kind of annoying. I also don't think their tools are all that great. I am happy using FutureAdvisor. They never bug you. All I really use them for is to get a second opinion on allocation weights (to compare to my own). The only advantage...
by mervinj7
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I contribute 100% of paycheck to 401k?
Replies: 13
Views: 2276

Re: Should I contribute 100% of paycheck to 401k?

Another issue is that if you change employers halfway through the year, you won't get a chance to get matching with the second employer and you will miss out on matching from the first employer.
by mervinj7
Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA taxation in Calif
Replies: 14
Views: 910

Re: HSA taxation in Calif

Since our HSA is managed by Fidelity, does anybody have any recommendations for good Fidelity TIPS fund that has no transaction fees? We also live in CA and just want to minimize any overhead (e.g. keeping track of all distributions manually in order to file CA taxes) with this HSA. We were looking...
by mervinj7
Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA taxation in Calif
Replies: 14
Views: 910

Re: HSA taxation in Calif

Additionally, the invested part of my HSA I have invested in TIPS fund and the sweep fund is in federal money market, so at least the income is state tax free, and I only have to worry about the cap gains (And I don't reinvest dividends or cap gains automatically, to keep it simpler). Since our HSA...
by mervinj7
Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 18 Year Old - Starting Investment
Replies: 8
Views: 672

Re: 18 Year Old - Starting Investment

Put $3k into a Vanguard 2060 Fund (VTTSX) if he earned at least that much in the current tax year. If you or your parents can match his contribution up to the $5500/year limit, he will be quite well set. No need to worry about re-balancing, asset classes, or expense ratios for now. Revisit after fin...
by mervinj7
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transfer Roth IRA from Fidelity to VG
Replies: 5
Views: 481

Re: Transfer Roth IRA from Fidelity to VG

I agree with the others. Fido has great service and very low ER index funds. Don't bother moving. Though, you may want to sell off that biotech find if you want to simplify your holdings.
by mervinj7
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?
Replies: 20
Views: 2015

Re: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?

BH's, We're ready to make our first deposit, to our first child's 529. Our little one is about 1 year old and we live in NJ. I've done a lot of research on the Utah and NY plans and feel one of these would be best. Could you please share your opinion with a little detail? NY is marginally cheaper. ...
by mervinj7
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Outback Vs Forester Vs CR-V ??
Replies: 37
Views: 3127

Re: Outback Vs Forester Vs CR-V ??

Oil burning is not good. CVT has longitivity issue. SUV CG is too high and easy to roll off. As a boglehead, I will just go for a Honda Civic hatchback with 6MT. Drive it 200k and sell it. Is the oil burning/longevity an inherent problem of the CVT? We've had our CRV for a couple of years and haven...
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Schwab now offering Index funds at lower ER than Vanguard
Replies: 9
Views: 1239

Re: Schwab now offering Index funds at lower ER than Vanguard

Not sure what the "Schwab 1000" index is, but if you want to track a broader index than the S&P 500, the Vanguard Total Market ETF is only 0.04% ER. https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundIntExt=INT&FundId=0970 An even cheaper option is the iShares Core S&P Total Market (ITOT) for 0.03%...
by mervinj7
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pro and cons of the Prime offer by Amazon.......
Replies: 39
Views: 3656

Re: Pro and cons of the Prime offer by Amazon.......

Prime has been absolutely essential for us ever since we had a baby. 20% off diapers already makes it a great deal plus all the weekly shipments of whatever baby product we need at the time we need it (e.g. bottles, nipples, food bowls, crib sheets, car seats, umbrella strollers). Not that it should...
by mervinj7
Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi Thermostat
Replies: 55
Views: 3634

Re: Wifi Thermostat

I got really turned-off to Wifi thermostats when I read the terms and conditions connected with one version awhile back. The wifi service in that instance required an account on a server operated by the manufacturer. The T&C said that while the service was currently provided without charge there wa...
by mervinj7
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rental properties in lieu of bond in AA?
Replies: 29
Views: 942

Re: Rental properties in lieu of bond in AA?

Yes. I happen to have lived at areas with lowest rent-to-price ratio. 2.5% is the current ratio. It used to be better before the price ran up recently. Appreciation beats rent hand down. I hire professional management and stay hands off. That is why I don't see it as business. It is a passive incom...
by mervinj7
Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Rollover Question
Replies: 4
Views: 414

Re: 529 Rollover Question

We have three kids and started a Maryland 529 account for each of them at the beginning of this year (2017). The fees in MD's plan (administered by T.Rowe Price) are fairly high (.66% for one and .72% for the other two) for the AA we want. I'm thinking of rolling the accounts over each year to anot...
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much worth house should one buy?
Replies: 73
Views: 4128

Re: How much worth house should one buy?

learning_head, In my neighborhood, the annual median household income is 150K and median house price is around 500K to 600K. Basically, there is no money left to save after the house. In general, people buy the house at about 3X to 4X their gross income. So, how can they save any money? KlangFool Q...
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home automation
Replies: 30
Views: 4383

Re: Home automation

Have you also thought about adding an Amazon Echo or Google Home for voice control? I was amazed how quickly my family got used it even though not everybody is as techy as me. Even my 72 year-old French mother-in-law commands the Google Home to turn off the lights.
by mervinj7
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 14193

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

SV Housing doesn't have to crash, by the way. It could stabilize at 6x, 7x in 2-3 years, and then just be stagnant for a decade or two. But 10% annual increases going forward long-term is very unlikely. I was looking through the thread again, I don't think anybody is saying that the RE here will co...
by mervinj7
Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 14193

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

That is a bad analogy. Over the long term the value of stock funds grow mostly because companies earn a profit and either pay more dividends that can be reinvested, invest the profit and grow, or do stock buybacks. There is no limit on how much the value of the companies and stock index can grow an...
by mervinj7
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 14193

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

As an outsider looking in, I think the way to win the California real estate game is to purchase a single home in your lifetime, preferably sooner than later, and die in this home. +1. I've been reading BH for years and have seen many Bay Area real estate posts over the years. In them, you will fin...
by mervinj7
Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I have to choose between buying home in HCOL and FIRE or can I have both?
Replies: 35
Views: 2536

Re: Do I have to choose between buying home in HCOL and FIRE or can I have both?

Would the 900k home be similar to what you are renting for $2600k? If so, renting for the foreseeable future may be a better option. Also, even though you work in a HCOL area, you don't necessarily have to retire in it. My family and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and although we own a home he...
by mervinj7
Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 14193

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

The math only works out if you really want to be here. I encourage anyone who doesn’t think the Bay Area is worth the expense to move somewhere else. You will save yourself some money and make it cheaper for the locals. One future trend that I would imagine will eventually lead to a big housing unl...
by mervinj7
Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Becoming a Landlord: My Experiences
Replies: 108
Views: 16509

Re: Becoming a Landlord: My Experiences

itstoomuch wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:19 am
Anybody placed their rentals into a LLC?
We do have Umbrella Ins.
We have just 1 rental.
+1 I'm also wondering what the benefits of using an LLC for rental property is. As I understand it, it's very cumbersome to do so in CA.
by mervinj7
Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?
Replies: 130
Views: 8584

Re: Is $9000 too much for a sectional sofa ?

Just as a datapoint, we got a nice custom sectional (microfiber) 4 years ago (from a local furniture store, the sofa was put together in San Jose, CA), and I think we paid something like $3K. It has held up very well over the past 4 years, under constant use. Something around $3000 is my upper boun...
by mervinj7
Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 14193

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

In terms of net worth, do you think your friends would have been ahead had they bought that $400k house in Campbell, vs investing in a total stock market index along the way and renting? I have no idea how much she and her husband has, this was 2001-2002 time frame. Not 2000, that was the peak for ...
by mervinj7
Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial advice pay off mortgage now or keep cash for closing
Replies: 13
Views: 1271

Re: Financial advice pay off mortgage now or keep cash for closing

Hi, The building is under construction and they cannot do closings until the building has a CO or is substantially completed. Since there are potentially 300+ people moving in the developers want to spread closings/moving in out over 4 months. Very interesting. Good to know to know that in all-cash...
by mervinj7
Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial advice pay off mortgage now or keep cash for closing
Replies: 13
Views: 1271

Re: Financial advice pay off mortgage now or keep cash for closing

colddeadfish wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:49 pm
The closing for the condo is approx. 15 months away.
Just curious. Why is the closing so far away? I feel like I had to push to get my lender to allow a 60 day closing without paying extra for a rate lock extension.
by mervinj7
Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rolling over previous 401k to a solo 401k
Replies: 8
Views: 568

Re: Rolling over previous 401k to a solo 401k

My two cents: 1. I wouldn't keep the money in a 401k with both high expense ratios and an admin fee 2. For the new 401k, confirm that there is a admin fee on funds rolled into it. If so, then skip this option. 3. A Fidelity Solo 401k looks like a great option with its low fees. They also allow rollo...
by mervinj7
Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Bogleheads you would most like to meet and why?
Replies: 134
Views: 8976

Re: Bogleheads you would most like to meet and why?

Tanelorn wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:52 am
Experts no longer with us:

Old Meph - insurance
sscritic - social security
LH2004 - taxes
Sad. I didn't know sscritic had passed. In addition to SS, lots of good info on HSAs and AMT as well.
by mervinj7
Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Freedom® 2045 Fund FSNZX vs FXIAX?
Replies: 3
Views: 303

Re: Fidelity Freedom® 2045 Fund FSNZX vs FXIAX?

You have some great low-cost index fund options. I would switch immediately to them. For now you can try to match the allocation (stock/bond ratio, US/intl ratio) of the 2045 fund and revisit another day. Also, check to see if you have a low-cost bond fund (e.g. Vanguard Total Bond).
by mervinj7
Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Luxury" Vinyl vs Laminate flooring?
Replies: 35
Views: 2864

Re: "Luxury" Vinyl vs Laminate flooring?

Any advice for rental properties? What flooring options are resilient and relatively maintenance free? On Bigger Pockets luxury vinyl plank and tile are well regarded. Especially products that are water proof and feature a thick wear layer. Really any solid surface is well regarded in rentals. If y...
by mervinj7
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Luxury" Vinyl vs Laminate flooring?
Replies: 35
Views: 2864

Re: "Luxury" Vinyl vs Laminate flooring?

Any advice for rental properties? What flooring options are resilient and relatively maintenance free?
by mervinj7
Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When calculating net worth, how do you value your house?
Replies: 167
Views: 8705

Re: When calculating net worth, how do you value your house?

Do you use purchase price, appraisal value, property assessment, Zillow's Zestimate, or something else? Not in favor of including primary home's equity in net worth calculation - can't sell part of the house to pay for an emergency. Gotta live somewhere. A cash out refinance or reverse mortgage doe...
by mervinj7
Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Couple in early 30s, any changes?
Replies: 28
Views: 3825

Re: Couple in early 30s, any changes?

You can edit your post to follow the below format. It makes it easier for people to give you advice (with less clarification questions).

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Asking_ ... _questions
by mervinj7
Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have rental application, which service to use to run background check
Replies: 16
Views: 1393

Re: Have rental application, which service to use to run background check

For those that have used TransUnion's SmartMove, does it report the tenant's income?
by mervinj7
Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Married, owning two homes, file as HOH?
Replies: 43
Views: 2227

Re: Married, owning two homes, file as HOH?

If you wanted to get a quick sense of your tax situation, you can use the below calculator. http://calc.taxpolicycenter.org/marriagepenaltycalculator For us, it's about $6500/year in so-called "marriage penalty". We decided to stay married anyway. Less complicated for us. One of our other friends di...
by mervinj7
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone Switched to CaptialOne MM from CapitolOne Checking?
Replies: 3
Views: 461

Re: Anyone Switched to CaptialOne MM from CapitolOne Checking?

Trying to decide if I should move to Capital One Money Market (1.2%API) from Ceching 0.9% API. I have about 120K with capital one. I use this checking account for large bill pays withdrwals and use the aTM for regula cash. I am thinking keep 10/15 K in checking and rest (100+) K in MM. Is there a d...
by mervinj7
Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?
Replies: 64
Views: 4838

Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

It took us 9.5 hours to drive from Salem, OR to Seattle, WA. It was not a pleasant drive but the experience was still worth it.
by mervinj7
Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Savings Account
Replies: 37
Views: 3835

Re: Health Savings Account

I keep one year's worth of deductible as cash in the HSA and invest the rest according to my AA.
by mervinj7
Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First home purchase - required information - any suggestions
Replies: 10
Views: 992

Re: First home purchase - required information - any suggestions

We just applied for a mortgage loan on a new house last month. Here's a list of the documents that were required from us: 2016 and 2015 W-2s from all sources Last two paystubs from primary jobs 2016 and 2015 final paystubs to capture bonus income Last two months statements for every account being us...
by mervinj7
Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's, and other wholesaler clubs]
Replies: 274
Views: 15367

Re: Costco with a "gentle" bump for memebership

Do you buy gas at Costco? In our area, Costco gasoline is around 60-70 cents/gallon cheaper than gas stations. I find that hard to believe. Not saying you're wrong, but Costco can only do so much. Check out gasbuddy.com and compare prices. At least where I leave it's always 20-50 cents/gallon less ...
by mervinj7
Mon May 08, 2017 3:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: fund selection for fidelity 401k
Replies: 4
Views: 578

Re: fund selection for fidelity 401k

Check out the wiki to see the recommended Fido funds: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Fidelity
I think you already have a good list for the 3 fund portfolio. Or you could start with one of the Fidelity Freedom Index Funds like the 2050 fund (FIPFX).
https://fundresearch.fidelity.com/mutua ... /315793869
by mervinj7
Mon May 01, 2017 4:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Assistance changing out expensive Fidelity funds in my wife's rollover IRA
Replies: 6
Views: 657

Re: Assistance changing out expensive Fidelity funds in my wife's rollover IRA

If you already have a Rollover IRA at Fidelity, then it's pretty easy to keep it in Fidelity and just switch to the low-cost index funds listed above. If you want to see the list of Vanguard equivalents, check the wiki link: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Fidelity
by mervinj7
Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Solo 401k - go with Vanguard or someone else
Replies: 44
Views: 4604

Re: Solo 401k - go with Vanguard or someone else

You can move Rollover IRA funds into a Fidelity Solo 401K, it that is relevant to your situation. this was the deciding factor in my case... rest of our retirement accounts are Vanguard... but being able to rollover into the fidelity solo401k enabled me to capitalize on the backdoor Roth which is d...
by mervinj7
Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Mapping V-guard indexes to Fidelity - International
Replies: 7
Views: 542

Re: Mapping V-guard indexes to Fidelity - International

Here's the previous thread on this topic.
viewtopic.php?t=194213

The consensus was that FTIPX was preferred since it covers 99% of the world ex-US's equitable markets.
by mervinj7
Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recreating VTIVX using Fidelity funds [2045 Target Retirement fund]
Replies: 12
Views: 947

Re: Recreating VTIVX using Fidelity funds [2045 Target Retirement fund]

Ok, here's a relatively simple portfolio based on following the Vanguard 2045. I split international into 80/20 for Developed/Emerging and rounded to whole percentages. Keep the allocation the same for 5 years and revisit it then. No need to overthink it. 54% FSTVX: Total U.S. Market Fund ER = 0.05%...
by mervinj7
Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recreating VTIVX using Fidelity funds [2045 Target Retirement fund]
Replies: 12
Views: 947

Re: Recreating VTIVX using Fidelity funds [2045 Target Retirement fund]

Can you post what funds you actually have in your 401k? Include ticker, name, expense ratio, and index tracked (if known).
by mervinj7
Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block tax software - Deluxe
Replies: 17
Views: 2161

Re: H&R Block tax software - Deluxe

In my experience, for many of my employers, electronically linked W-2 access is not available till mid-Feb even though we got the paper W-2 in mid-Jan.
by mervinj7
Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is CreditKarma legit?
Replies: 16
Views: 2936

Re: Is CreditKarma legit?

Second the H&R Block deal at Amazon. Overpay by $1000. Get a $1100 Amazon gift card. Easily pays for the software and then some.
by mervinj7
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's the easiest/cheapest way to get a second phone number?
Replies: 34
Views: 2938

Re: What's the easiest/cheapest way to get a second phone number?

Google voice with Obihai. Best free option there is.