Search found 384 matches

by Startled Cat
Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: ST Cash Instrument - ICHS?
Replies: 9
Views: 311

Re: ST Cash Instrument - ICHS?

I've been using BIL for this purpose, but I'm thinking of switching to SHV because I can't find "federal source income" information anywhere for BIL, so I'm not confident I'll be able to exclude the income from my state taxes.
by Startled Cat
Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario
Replies: 14
Views: 1725

Re: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario

My rule of thumb is to assume that bonds of the same risk will have the same after-tax yield in a moderate tax bracket; therefore, I don't recommend munis in a 22% bracket unless you get a state tax exemption as well, and they are marginal in a 24% bracket. I worry that this is putting too much tru...
by Startled Cat
Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:00 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario
Replies: 14
Views: 1725

Re: Bonds in taxable or not, my scenario

Thus: 37% tax bracket: As much in CA munis as you can tolerate, national munis in taxable for the rest 24-35% tax bracket: As much in CA munis in taxable as you can tolerate, taxable bonds in tax-deferred, national munis in taxable only if tax-deferred is all bonds and you still need more munis 22%...
by Startled Cat
Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: SHV and tax treatment
Replies: 3
Views: 600

Re: SHV and tax treatment

Replying to an old thread - I have the same question about the similar BIL ETF from State Street. I wasn't able to find a statement of tax information from State Street like those readily available from iShares and Vanguard. Does anyone know where I can find the fraction of income derived from gover...
by Startled Cat
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wasting Electricity for Fun and Profit
Replies: 58
Views: 5376

Re: Consuming Electricity for Fun and Profit

From a Californian's perspective, that rate plan is completely bizarre. Texas might as well be another planet. My electric rate is $0.21/kWh up to the 260 kWh per month "baseline" (239 kWh per month in summer). Between the baseline and 400% of baseline, the marginal rate is $0.28/kWh. Above 400% of...
by Startled Cat
Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wasting Electricity for Fun and Profit
Replies: 58
Views: 5376

Re: Consuming Electricity for Fun and Profit

California does not have humid summers? If you have to run your AC at night you would spend that kind of money. Also how about the desert? 110 in the shade? In addition a lot of Texas probably use heat pump for winter heat. That's common in the South. I (London England) burn 250 kwhr pcm in electri...
by Startled Cat
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wasting Electricity for Fun and Profit
Replies: 58
Views: 5376

Re: Consuming Electricity for Fun and Profit

From a Californian's perspective, that rate plan is completely bizarre. Texas might as well be another planet. My electric rate is $0.21/kWh up to the 260 kWh per month "baseline" (239 kWh per month in summer). Between the baseline and 400% of baseline, the marginal rate is $0.28/kWh. Above 400% of ...
by Startled Cat
Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Excessive mortgage payoff fee
Replies: 15
Views: 2048

Re: Excessive mortgage payoff fee

The lender finally agreed to reduce the fee to $30. They were openly unhappy about the situation, as I am refinancing with another lender very soon after I completed refinancing with them, and mentioned they were losing money on my loan. The bogus fee was apparently an attempt to recoup the loss. It...
by Startled Cat
Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Excessive mortgage payoff fee
Replies: 15
Views: 2048

Re: Excessive mortgage payoff fee

Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to get a breakdown of the fee as a next step. The lender hasn't been very responsive and it's taking awhile to get this information. I'll report back once I figure out the details.
by Startled Cat
Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Excessive mortgage payoff fee
Replies: 15
Views: 2048

Excessive mortgage payoff fee

I'm in the process of refinancing a mortgage, and noticed that the old mortgage servicer wants to charge a "administrative & legal fees" of $990 to receive the mortgage payoff. This came as a surprise to me, since the mortgage claims to have no prepayment penalty. I can't see how a fee to pay off th...
by Startled Cat
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Took on too much mortgage, seeking advice on where to put money going forward
Replies: 46
Views: 5339

Re: Took on too much mortgage, seeking advice on where to put money going forward

Getting to 20% equity and then possibly refinancing to a lower rate should be a priority. At current rates, you should be able to do better than 5%. My situation may not be directly comprable, but I'm working on a 4.125% no-cost refi (30 year fixed) right now. When the time comes, you should conside...
by Startled Cat
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 1554
Views: 247920

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Does anyone have experience with You Invest yet? Online reviews seem to suggest it has very limited functionality. I'm curious if it supports margin accounts and selling specific tax lots. I don't want margin to use for leverage, but I find margin accounts more convenient because they avoid confusi...
by Startled Cat
Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 1554
Views: 247920

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

I'm finally about to jump on some of these offers. I'm thinking of using the $1000 Merrill Edge promo twice (IRA, and taxable), and also opening a You Invest account to hold funds for the 60,000 UR Sapphire Banking promo. Does anyone have experience with You Invest yet? Online reviews seem to sugges...
by Startled Cat
Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Down an Interest-Only ARM
Replies: 9
Views: 788

Re: Paying Down an Interest-Only ARM

I would be tempted not to pay any extra principal. 2.75% is a pretty good rate, even at the margin where you can't deduct interest. The option value in keeping liquidity is pretty big. If rates go up from here, you're not far from beating the mortgage rate with relatively low risk FI investments. If...
by Startled Cat
Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual Disability Insurance Quote Evaluation Needed
Replies: 16
Views: 980

Re: Individual Disability Insurance Quote Evaluation Needed

At first I was going to suggest that the quotes seem expensive. I'm paying $155 per month for a similar individual disability policy with a $7200/month maximum monthly benefit, and my age is about the same. My rate is a unisex rate, so gender shouldn't be a big factor (I've heard that normally women...
by Startled Cat
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is an ARM always a bad idea?
Replies: 43
Views: 4064

Re: Is an ARM always a bad idea?

Due to a reduction in income I'm seriously considering a 10 year ARM, even though it is at the same 4.125% interest rate as our 30 year. Am I missing any Pros or Cons? We plan to move within 10 years. Pro: monthly expenses are reduced by at least $600....reduced income requirements. More flexibilit...
by Startled Cat
Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?
Replies: 144
Views: 7930

Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

I think you're broadly correct. These airlines have very similar service levels and there won't be much difference in the product. Frequent flyers will strongly prefer their airline of choice because of the elite benefits they receive - for example, my girlfriend goes through great lengths to always...
by Startled Cat
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maximizing mortgage interest deduction for unmarried couple
Replies: 5
Views: 520

Maximizing mortgage interest deduction for unmarried couple

I recently purchased a home with my unmarried partner. Since we are not married, my understanding is that according to a Ninth Circuit court decision , we are each able to deduct mortgage interest on a balance up to $750k, rather than having a combined limit of $750k as a married couple would. The 2...
by Startled Cat
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:08 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My 401k has no bond index fund options
Replies: 15
Views: 1149

Re: My 401k has no bond index fund options

I think you are lucky to have bond fund options even if they are not index funds. My 401k has no bond funds; only TR funds and a few equity funds.
by Startled Cat
Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Uber Cash Discount
Replies: 4
Views: 1194

Re: Uber Cash Discount

There are often opportunities to stock up on discounted Uber gift cards at around 20% off. Blogs like Doctor Of Credit highlight these deals. So far I've been able to get enough gift cards at significant discounts that I'm not interested in buying more at only 5% off.
by Startled Cat
Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who is buying SCV, EM, Intl SC
Replies: 41
Views: 2813

Re: Who is buying SCV, EM, Intl SC

I'm buying international developed and EM, slowly. I have past experiences buying too aggressively at the beginning of a downturns, and conscious of that, I'm trying to pace myself. I'm making small purchases every few weeks.
by Startled Cat
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window condensation
Replies: 15
Views: 2140

Re: Window condensation

Unfortunately, ventilating the home daily and running a dehumidifier hasn't been enough to fully solve the problem. I can bring the humidity down to 47% or so in the bedroom in the late evening, and then turn off the dehumidifier to sleep. By morning, the humdity will be back up to 60% or even highe...
by Startled Cat
Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Purchase Price vs. Gross Income
Replies: 59
Views: 4431

Re: Home Purchase Price vs. Gross Income

Reading threads with conversations about setting yourself/family up for financial success even through hard times, I’m curious what other Boglegeads ratio of home purchase price is vs. gross income and whether you live in a LCOL, MCOL or HCOL. For my family, it was about 1.93% at time of purchase a...
by Startled Cat
Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window condensation
Replies: 15
Views: 2140

Re: Window condensation

Thanks for all the tips! A quick update: There was a lot of condensation last night (not surprising since it was a relatively cold night). This was despite running the heat more than I normally would and avoiding closing any pleated blinds completely. The master bedroom was the worst affected, as al...
by Startled Cat
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window condensation
Replies: 15
Views: 2140

Re: Window condensation

We have the same problem, and solved it. We have double paned windows too. We have pleated blinds on the windows. If we lower the blinds all the way down to touch the sill, there is no circulation over the glass and condensate forms. However, if we leave the blinds up about an inch, or so, from the...
by Startled Cat
Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window condensation
Replies: 15
Views: 2140

Window condensation

I recently bought a condo and moved in, and I'm very excited to finally have my dream home. So far there has only been one major issue, and I could use some advice for dealing with it. Often when I wake up in the morning, I find large amounts of condensation on the bedroom windows and metal window f...
by Startled Cat
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Affordable Furniture for first adult apartment
Replies: 29
Views: 2599

Re: Affordable Furniture for first adult apartment

I just recently purchased my first home and had to deal with furnishing it over the past two weeks. It was a challenge since we moved from a dramatically smaller apartment and needed lots of new and different pieces of furniture. Craigslist was a godsend. My girlfriend invested lots of time poring o...
by Startled Cat
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help with down payment versus co-buying
Replies: 5
Views: 485

Re: Help with down payment versus co-buying

I very recently bought a home, and my parents surprised me by raising the possiblity that they participate in the purchase as co-tenants as a way of helping out. This idea had some good qualities - it could potentially avoid gift tax, my parents would be able to participate in any appreciation that ...
by Startled Cat
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally Banking 1% extra back up to $1,000 on new money deposited
Replies: 629
Views: 67326

Re: Ally Banking 1% extra back up to $1,000 on new money deposited

The No Penalty CD seems to be up to 2.20% now. Time to break those CDs and reinvest?
by Startled Cat
Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap
Replies: 128
Views: 7889

Re: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap

As I stated above, I think it is perfectly reasonable to temporarily reduce your savings rate for this period to a still-healthy rate. Since you framed it as a cash flow problem, people are treating it as an exercise in cutting expenses. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's particularly n...
by Startled Cat
Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates
Replies: 32
Views: 2723

Re: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates

I know it's akin to saying "let them eat cake", but since you mentioned 20 more years of savings, is it possible that over that time you'll increase your earnings enough to run out of tax-advantaged space and be forced to direct some of your savings to taxable accounts anyway? If that's a realistic ...
by Startled Cat
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap
Replies: 128
Views: 7889

Re: 2019 Expenses > 2019 Income – Help us close the gap

marcopolo wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:55 pm
To be honest, in your situation, I would not hesitate to simply pull the $10k out of your taxable savings for the next 2 years. It will be an unnoticeable blip in the long run.
So many judgemental and condescending posts in this thread even though this is clearly the right answer.
by Startled Cat
Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates
Replies: 32
Views: 2723

Re: Hedging tomorrow's tax rates

So I was doing online calculators figuring what our future marginal tax bracket would have to be for us to break even on using tax-deferred vehicles such as a tIRA or 401k vs. sticking it in a brokerage account and ponying up on taxes today. This premise doesn't seem right. The taxable scenario als...
by Startled Cat
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Doubling down on EM [Emerging Market]
Replies: 55
Views: 6418

Re: Doubling down on EM [Emerging Market]

I have a similar portfolio to yours, around 60% EM, mostly EM value, which I've had since 2016. I respect your openness and, for the most part, agree with your reasoning. I'm not too cute with my overweight, I simply picked an allocation I can live with and looked for the cheapest and simplest way ...
by Startled Cat
Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Doubling down on EM [Emerging Market]
Replies: 55
Views: 6418

Re: Doubling down on EM

Well, I suppose you've asked — and answered — the key question here: "What if I'm wrong?" The risk of a less comfortable retirement is not one I'd be comfortable taking, but it might be appropriate for you, depending on your circumstances. This might be a bit hyperbolic. I think I'll manage either ...
by Startled Cat
Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Doubling down on EM [Emerging Market]
Replies: 55
Views: 6418

Doubling down on EM [Emerging Market]

I’ve always had an EM-heavy portfolio, but during the recent decline in EM stock markets I’ve been adding to my holdings considersably. Particularly now with VWO under $40, it’s hard to resist buying EM for the long haul. The long run of underperformance in EM has definitely been frustrating, but I ...
by Startled Cat
Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: JP Morgan Structured Investments - What am I missing?
Replies: 20
Views: 1631

Re: JP Morgan Structured Investments - What am I missing?

- I'll be taking on credit risk of JP Morgan for 5yrs. (High quality 5yr corporate bond yield is about 3.5%) I think you're overcounting the credit risk because you should really only count the spread from a risk-free return, not the entire bond yield. But as pointed out elsewhere, there are other ...
by Startled Cat
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay-off or keep mortgage with 2018 interest deduction changes?
Replies: 17
Views: 1763

Re: Pay-off or keep mortgage with 2018 interest deduction changes?

If you do not pay it off then you will have more sequence of returns risk. For example in rough numbers if you just kept a $100K mortgage and also put $100K into a separate investing account which you also pay a $500 a month mortgage out of then; a) If you get unlucky and get a modest 10% decline i...
by Startled Cat
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:56 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?
Replies: 4
Views: 744

Re: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?

tl;dr version: no, it's not correct. In particular, if the YTM is identical for the two bonds bought on the same date and held to maturity then both will have no associated capital gain, and in each case the discount will get counted as interest income on top of coupon income picked up along the wa...
by Startled Cat
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Did I buy the wrong Treasury?
Replies: 4
Views: 744

Did I buy the wrong Treasury?

I recently bought a treasury bond with maturity date 9/15/2019 (CUSIP 9128282G4). One of the reasons I bought a treasury was to take advantage of the state tax exemption on interest income. This makes the tax-equivalent yield better than other options like munis for me. It just occurred to me that t...
by Startled Cat
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-Year Treasury Note Auction
Replies: 102
Views: 9894

Re: 2-Year Treasury Note Auction

Is there a yield advantage to buying directly at auction rather than buying treasuries on the secondary market? If so, it would be interesting to see that quantified. In general, there is opportunity cost to holding funds in a liquid account until the next auction, so I imagine secondary market purc...
by Startled Cat
Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking a job at a startup without a 401k
Replies: 23
Views: 1845

Re: Taking a job at a startup without a 401k

I've joined a few startups that didn't have 401ks (at the time I joined). At one of them, they planned to have a 401k in place by the end of the year, but didn't make the target. They ended up giving every employee a bonus in the amount of the elective deferral limit, grossed up, but prorated by num...
by Startled Cat
Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:15 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?
Replies: 32
Views: 4065

Re: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?

Has anyone noticed how short-term muni funds are pretty uncompetitive with treasuries right now? For example SUB (iShares Short-Term National Muni) has a SEC yield of 1.66%, and duration of 2.05 years. TEY in the 38.8% / 10.3% tax brackets is 2.92%. VGSH (Vanguard Short-Term Treasury) has a SEC yiel...
by Startled Cat
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Some skeptical thoughts on real estate crowdfunding
Replies: 1
Views: 702

Some skeptical thoughts on real estate crowdfunding

I've recently been interested in real estate crowdfunding sites such as RealtyShares and EquityMultiple, and have been spending a fair amount of time looking at the deals that come through these sites. I'm generally bullish on privately-held real estate, and I've had much better results than I deser...
by Startled Cat
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job vs term life insurance
Replies: 35
Views: 3132

Re: Job vs term life insurance

This thread prompted me to look at how much the life insurance I get "free" through my job actually costs me in taxes. It appears the tax cost is higher than the cost of a similar amount of 10-year level term insurance. Next time I elect benefits, maybe I will opt out of the employer-provided life i...
by Startled Cat
Thu May 31, 2018 12:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to HCOL, worried, need help.
Replies: 14
Views: 2317

Re: Moving to HCOL, worried, need help.

I know it's not a useful contribution to this thread, but I did a double take when I saw $261/sqft described as HCOL. Makes me realize how messed up my local market is (I'm seeing prices about 5 times that high in my search).
by Startled Cat
Mon May 28, 2018 1:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW-adv) for Advanced Users
Replies: 44
Views: 6168

Re: Variable Percentage Withdrawal (VPW) for Advanced Users

As for the need to take a reverse mortgage, it would be clear indication that I can't afford my home anymore. I would sell, invest the proceeds, and rent a place I can afford with the increased portfolio withdrawals. Living below one's means is fundamental to the Bogleheads philosophy and I'm aller...
by Startled Cat
Wed May 16, 2018 12:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NRIA.NET - Real Estate Private Placement - 16% return
Replies: 21
Views: 4330

Re: NRIA.NET - Real Estate Private Placement - 16% return

So, if I'm reading this right... 1. Investor gives them a minimum of $50k in cash. 2. They use cash from investors to build/flip/rent real estate in expensive areas of the east coast. 3. They return an increasing % back to you based on how much money you sink in. That's essentially correct. Seems l...
by Startled Cat
Sun May 13, 2018 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni bondholders vs. pensions
Replies: 50
Views: 3739

Re: Muni bondholders vs. pensions

Might this be a problem that's "too big to not ignore" (in other words, must be ignored)? Meaning that if many municipalities start to default on their muni bonds so they can continue to pay pensions, isn't the entire system in trouble? And will it matter if you don't have muni bonds but have other...