Search found 1931 matches

by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport expiration time rules for France
Replies: 33
Views: 1944

Re: Passport expiration time rules for France

As stated earlier, airline rules trump country rules with respect to letting you on the airplane. Different airlines may have different rules for the same country. Be safe. Renew early. A trick many routine international travelers use is to visit one of our embassies in a foreign country that you ge...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 35 minute connection for flight, long enough?
Replies: 65
Views: 3169

Re: 35 minute connection for flight, long enough?

Please be aware that a "direct" flight is not the same as a "non-stop" flight. It just means that the flight number does not change. The airplane may change, and even the airline that is flying the flight may change. A single airplane could easily have ten or more flight numbers (although this norma...
by ralph124cf
Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shoe shine, airport?
Replies: 8
Views: 1284

Re: Shoe shine, airport?

A few years ago, several airports had free shoeshines. I talked to one of the workers, and he said that most people tipped well, just a few foreign travelers from countries where tipping was not the custom skipped it. Note: I think that the airports put a stop to it. The standard "rent" for a booth ...
by ralph124cf
Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Swing Shift vs 8-5
Replies: 36
Views: 2967

Re: Swing Shift vs 8-5

In my 44 year working life, I very seldom, and only at random times, worked 9 to 5. And when I did, the starting times could as well be PM as AM. A 5 to 9 shift was actually more common (yes, 16 hours). But a 5 to 9 of 4 hours was also possible. And might be followed by a 7 to 7 the same day. My mos...
by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone take naps at work?
Replies: 93
Views: 5359

Re: Anyone take naps at work?

Air traffic controller here. I love a good thunderstorm nap. At least I'm not a firefighter... sleep 'til they're hungry, eat 'til they're tired. Who is controlling air traffic when you sleep? Victoria The thunderstorm, of course. It keeps all those pesky pilots from wanting to takeoff or land at h...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retired, age 60 - Tax Plan. Please suggest improvements.
Replies: 30
Views: 3012

Re: Retired, age 60 - Tax Plan. Please suggest improvements.

Just one comment about IRMAA: ROTH conversions count as income for IRMAA, and then they are counted again as income when withdrawn from ROTH, for IRMAA accounting. Ralph Ralph, could provide a link to your information source for this statement? "Medicare Premiums:Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiari...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quickbooks Bill Pay Limits
Replies: 6
Views: 340

Re: Quickbooks Bill Pay Limits

I use QB, but I pay the bills thru my own bank account and then enter them in QB. It is an additional step and a little more time consuming (and another place for a typo to creep in), but I have never trusted Intuit.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace water heater at end of warranty or repair?
Replies: 31
Views: 2050

Re: Replace water heater at end of warranty or repair?

There have been several posts here about anode replacement. If you have limited clearance above the water heater, you will need a segmented replacement anode. Max price should be less than $30 from Amazon. It may be necessary to cut the old rod into pieces as you take it out, or you may be able to b...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tool cabinets?
Replies: 32
Views: 2065

Re: Tool cabinets?

It seems that Sears is going out of business, so they may have some good sales now.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard to offer non-Vanguard ETFs commission-free
Replies: 120
Views: 9119

Re: Vanguard to offer non-Vanguard ETFs commission-free

It'll be interesting to see if DFA funds will be in this list, especially since they're not inverse funds.. but DFA wants to only sell their funds through an advisor. That would be a disruptor if allowed! I keep hearing about advisors being necessary to buy DFA funds. I can buy DFA thru the PCRA in...
by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Building a house
Replies: 8
Views: 1299

Re: Building a house

In a rising rate environment, short/intermediate bonds hold their value much better than long bonds.

I would sell the long bonds and move that money to a high rate money market fund such as Schwab's SWVXX, currently paying 1.88%.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How come voice command on Garmin GPS is so lousy compared to Google Maps?
Replies: 22
Views: 1576

Re: How come voice command on Garmin GPS is so lousy compared to Google Maps?

Another explanation may be the quality of the microphone that inputs the voice to the processor. You also probably hold the phone closer to your mouth than the car microphone, wherever it may be located. A car going at 60 mph can be a noisy place.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refinish hardwood floors after vinyl tiles
Replies: 2
Views: 290

Re: Refinish hardwood floors after vinyl tiles

Trying to sand with adhesive still on will just clog up the sandpaper. Strip first.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cannot install hardwood on curved floor?
Replies: 15
Views: 1197

Re: Cannot install hardwood on curved floor?

It can be done by a skilled tradesman. This speaks more to the skill of the people working for Home Depot.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: yield curve inversion
Replies: 48
Views: 4364

Re: yield curve inversion

It is certainly true that there is a correlation. There does not appear to be good, testable theory as to why one would cause the other.

Correlation does not imply causation.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Surface Pro(2017) vs 9.7" iPad 2018 (edited)
Replies: 35
Views: 2411

Re: Surface Pro(2017) vs 10.5" iPad Pro

I am in exactly this market, and looking for opinions.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 59 1/2 and on my 401(k) advisory committee !!!!
Replies: 5
Views: 834

Re: 59 1/2 and on my 401(k) advisory committee !!!!

Is your advocacy on the committee likely to change the options for the better in the near future? If so, please stay on the committee for the sake of your fellow employees. If you can't get ERs down rapidly enough for yourself, perhaps leave enough in your 401(k) ($1K-10K) to stay active on the comm...
by ralph124cf
Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Husband's job finally has a 401k offering with unusual funds
Replies: 29
Views: 2040

Re: Husband's job finally has a 401k offering with unusual funds

As a heads up, the Lord Abbot funds normally have a 2% front load fee, plus a 12(b)1 fee.

I would not be at all surprised if someone responsible for setting this up was either an idiot or on the take from the fund salesman.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Financing a lease buyout
Replies: 3
Views: 398

Re: Financing a lease buyout

My guess is that you will have to be incredibly stubborn to actually walk out with that nice used car for 17K. They want you to come in so that they can lease you a new car, or failing that sell you some additional services for the car that you are keeping. Check your lease documents carefully for a...
by ralph124cf
Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Portfolio Withdrawals
Replies: 21
Views: 2211

Re: Retirement Portfolio Withdrawals

You sound like a good candidate for a SPIA, or even a SPDA.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do you own just 5% of anything?
Replies: 65
Views: 4724

Re: Do you own just 5% of anything?

Gold, small EM, and microcap.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What discount rate should be used when determining the optimum social security claiming strategy?
Replies: 11
Views: 521

Re: What discount rate should be used when determining the optimum social security claiming strategy?

I think most people here shoot for 3-5% real return...and thats over a very long period of time with volatility. Your social security benefit is guaranteed to increase 8% per year delayed up to age 70. I think it's highly unlikely you'll find a better deal than waiting assuming you don't need the m...
by ralph124cf
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to "forfeit" income to avoid IRMAA cliff
Replies: 27
Views: 2452

Re: Any way to "forfeit" income to avoid IRMAA cliff

Just a note: ROTH withdrawals as well as conversions count as IRMAA income. Yes, that is double counting.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax questions for newbie to single member LLC
Replies: 8
Views: 530

Re: Tax questions for newbie to single member LLC

The easiest way to pay taxes on this "extra" income is to have more tax withheld at your W-2 job. Submit a new W-4 to your employer. There are a number of ways to get the withholding increased. The most straightforward is to enter an amount on line 6 with the additional amount you want withheld from...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I getting the run around?
Replies: 24
Views: 4194

Re: Am I getting the run around?

Still have no idea what his comment was about referring to self-directed accounts only being "practical with balances over 750K"...... Thanks I would imagine this means that if there are transaction costs at the brokerage you probably want to move large amounts of money in each transaction and not ...
by ralph124cf
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchasing condo from elderly Mom with carry back loan -- Deed of Trust or just a Promissory Note?
Replies: 14
Views: 1039

Re: Purchasing condo from elderly Mom with carry back loan -- Deed of Trust or just a Promissory Note?

I think it would be best to just sell the condo on the open market, unless you would be considering occupying it yourself.

This avoids all of the problems.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When does purchasing equities lose its marginal utility?
Replies: 48
Views: 2539

Re: When does purchasing equities lose its marginal utility?

If you know when you will die, the answer is easy. Not knowing when I will die, the answer is much harder.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I getting the run around?
Replies: 24
Views: 4194

Re: Am I getting the run around?

My company has a self directed option in our Schwab 401(k). There is an explicit flat $9/quarter record keeping fee, no matter how much money is in the account. There are a small number of investments that are not available in my self directed account (such as investing in my own company's stock), b...
by ralph124cf
Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping HVAC installers?
Replies: 22
Views: 1984

Re: Tipping HVAC installers?

Is the installer the owner of the firm? Is the installer the person that came out to give you a quote? No tip.

Is the installer strictly a worker bee with no say in pricing? Tip.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New SS claiming calculator ["Open Social Security" - ObliviousInvestor]
Replies: 65
Views: 5312

Re: New SS claiming calculator

These calculators seem to be solving for maximum NPV. I think that they do a decent job of that. I do not believe that this is the best approach to determining when to take SS. I believe that delaying SS is more about longevity insurance than NPV. If you die early, you are unlikely to run out of mon...
by ralph124cf
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?
Replies: 30
Views: 1911

Re: Tool board for basement - plywood or pegboard?

You have a choice of 1/8" or 1/4" pegboard. Definitely go for 1/4 ". The size refers to both the thickness and the size of the holes. You have a choice of tempered or non-tempered. Tempered is smoother, harder and stronger. Note that many lumber clerks at big box stores like Home Depot have never he...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 29, 2018 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchase SPIA through Vanguard?
Replies: 18
Views: 1773

Re: Purchase SPIA through Vanguard?

Is your pension covered under PBGC? Is your pension above the coverage limit of PBGC? If you are covered, and below the limit of PBGC, you can safely take your employer's pension if it is more than the lump sum would buy in the market. A 65 year old would be covered for up to $5,420 in monthly incom...
by ralph124cf
Mon May 28, 2018 10:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?
Replies: 12
Views: 1498

Re: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?

The answer depends on when you plan to die. The annuity company has a very good idea of how many people out of 100,000 60 year olds will die in each of the next 40 years. They do not, and have no need to, know WHO will die in each of those years. They also know that people who buy annuities tend to ...
by ralph124cf
Sun May 27, 2018 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Genworth LTC (Again)
Replies: 19
Views: 1822

Re: Genworth LTC (Again)

My wife and I also have LT with Genworth. No increases yet in the ten years that we have had the policies. We do have a one year elimination period, so that has seriously reduced the cost of the policies. You would have no problem paying the first year charges, so I would recommend increasing your e...
by ralph124cf
Sun May 27, 2018 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped
Replies: 23
Views: 1576

Re: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped

There is a device which you can buy at a home store which will tell you what circuit breaker a specific outlet is on. Using this, you can determine if other outlets on the same circuit breaker are working. It probably will not work on the dead outlet, but it should give you an idea of which breaker ...
by ralph124cf
Thu May 24, 2018 12:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Renting vs Owning Your Home
Replies: 166
Views: 13641

Re: Renting vs Owning Your Home

The changes to the tax law for 2018 change the rent vs. buy calculation. The increased standard deduction means that, for many families, property tax and mortgage interest do not exceed the standard deduction. The property tax deduction is severely reduced or eliminated for many higher income owners...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 22, 2018 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy now and wait one more year to move in?
Replies: 17
Views: 2188

Re: Buy now and wait one more year to move in?

I would buy that house right now. I would never rent out a house with a pool. Renters will not care for a pool properly. You may need to hire a weekly pool service. There is also serious liability for you if something happens to a guest of the renter. After previous owners move out, there are always...
by ralph124cf
Mon May 21, 2018 7:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If RMD are large should you still defer into 401k
Replies: 32
Views: 3195

Re: If RMD are large should you still defer into 401k

Tell us when you (and your spouse) plan to die. That makes the calculations much easier.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon May 21, 2018 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food
Replies: 19
Views: 1775

Re: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food

The middle class life style referred to in the article, pretty much by definition, can be afforded by a median income family. Also by definition, half of all family's must be below median income.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat May 19, 2018 11:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buffett says Bonds are a terrible investment now. What should we invest in besides stocks?
Replies: 150
Views: 22558

Re: Buffett says Bonds are a terrible investment now. What should we invest in besides stocks?

Buffet says that bonds are a terrible investment. I can agree with that. He does NOT say don't buy bonds. Berkshire owns a lot of short term high quality "bonds" (debt instruments-many of which retail investors do not have access to). This provides liquidity for future opportunities that Buffet does...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Three sump pumps?
Replies: 10
Views: 1057

Re: Three sump pumps?

After an expensive flood, I installed a second sump pit with a crossover pipe and battery powered backup pump, both pumps powered by separate 20 amp circuits. Both pits have separate discharge pipes. I also have a third pump in the primary pit that is water powered, and will not activate unless both...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 10:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: Risks Of Short Selling
Replies: 8
Views: 1187

Re: Larry Swedroe: Risks Of Short Selling

In theory shorting losers should add to returns but it also can increase risk substantially relative to a long-only portfolio. This risk particularly shows up in MOM where short positions in high beta stocks that have gotten killed during the a long severe bear market suddenly backfire when the mar...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 84 - Need to adjust portfolio
Replies: 4
Views: 518

Re: 84 - Need to adjust portfolio

I haven't checked the 2018 tax law, but up to last year the nursing home counted as a deductible medical expense if it exceeded 7.5% of your income. This would probably wipe out any tax liability.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 1:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How can I clear $40-60,000/yr with $1,000,000 cash... Low Risk?
Replies: 71
Views: 10880

Re: How can I clear $40-60,000/yr with $1,000,000 cash... Low Risk?

I saw a sign in an auto mechanics shop: We work good, fast, and cheap. Pick one.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax calculation with Rental and W2 income over 150k
Replies: 13
Views: 910

Re: Tax calculation with Rental and W2 income over 150k

Comments on depreciation: You can only depreciate your basis in the building, not the land under the building. Your basis in the building is the lower of cost or current market when you start renting out the property. If you are in a low cost of living area, the building is probably worth 5-10 times...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I working with the wrong realtor?
Replies: 22
Views: 2764

Re: Am I working with the wrong realtor?

The last time I bought a house, my agent passed a house on the street that looked perfect. When I asked about it, I was told that there was an offer on it, and that the agent could not ethically present another offer until the owner decided on the first offer. (Listing agent and buying agent also wo...
by ralph124cf
Tue May 15, 2018 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding Federal Capital Gains Tax on Company Sale By Taking a Zero Salary
Replies: 18
Views: 1892

Re: Avoiding Federal Capital Gains Tax on Company Sale By Taking a Zero Salary

A good tax lawyer in your location should have dealt with this situation a few times already.

Find one, and pay for a few hours of consultation.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo Association - who pays for septic repair?
Replies: 19
Views: 1455

Re: Condo Association - who pays for septic repair?

Are you sure that this is a condo? It sounds more like a townhouse, which would likely have different rules than a condo.

Ralph