Search found 283 matches

by badger42
Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Creating a Bridge to Social Security
Replies: 11
Views: 849

Re: Creating a Bridge to Social Security

It depends on your time horizon.

If you're talking about the next 5 years, the CD ladder is great.

If you're talking about 5 years but 20 years out, I would seriously consider TIPS for the inflation protection.
by badger42
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?
Replies: 72
Views: 2637

Re: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?

I kept mine for about 10yr then gave it to my dad as a backup for his 11C. I just use a RPN calculator app or, for larger data sets, a spreadsheet.
by badger42
Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt Consolidation Loan
Replies: 11
Views: 682

Re: Debt Consolidation Loan

I'm confused. Why consolidate $10k vs just paying it off as soon as your bonus lands? For that matter, are your expenses such that you can't pay it off in a couple months via living cheap and paying off via salary (e.g. something like the snowball method, assuming multiple debts) instead of consolid...
by badger42
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Point and shoot camera
Replies: 107
Views: 4022

Re: Point and shoot camera

It's one thing to say a phone camera is "good enough" for your purposes (which it very well may be), it's quite another to say that it takes pictures "as good as" a dedicated APS-C mirrorless camera. It's up to the OP how important image quality & features vs. price & convenience are to him/her. Fo...
by badger42
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Point and shoot camera
Replies: 107
Views: 4022

Re: Point and shoot camera

Seriously, if you were happy with the results from a 15 year old coolpix, you will be happy with the results from any higher end smartphone. My OG Pixel takes way better pictures than a 15 year old P&S, as does any reasonably recent iPhone, Galaxy S, etc. P&S are still useful for special application...
by badger42
Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Treadmill - Proposition 65 Warning Label
Replies: 22
Views: 2020

Re: New Treadmill - Proposition 65 Warning Label

Starbucks has a Prop 65 warning. The jetway at the local airports has a Prop 65 warning. The beer aisle at the grocery store has a Prop 65 warning. I completely totally 100% ignore Prop 65 warnings, because they are meaningless due to the lack of a lower threshold.
by badger42
Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new 401k plan, want to make it mega back door roth friendly
Replies: 6
Views: 493

Re: new 401k plan, want it to make mega back door roth friendly

2) The two plans I've had with Mega-Backdoor have been with Vanguard and Fidelity as custodians, respectively. 3) The after-tax contributions count towards your highly compensated employee / top-heavy tests. Unless everybody is highly paid, it's unlikely you will pass those tests without a safe har...
by badger42
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new 401k plan, want to make it mega back door roth friendly
Replies: 6
Views: 493

Re: new 401k plan, want it to make mega back door roth friendly

2) The two plans I've had with Mega-Backdoor have been with Vanguard and Fidelity as custodians, respectively. 3) The after-tax contributions count towards your highly compensated employee / top-heavy tests. Unless everybody is highly paid, it's unlikely you will pass those tests without a safe harb...
by badger42
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paper or Paperless? How and what financial records do you keep?
Replies: 50
Views: 3531

Re: Paper or Paperless? How and what financial records do you keep?

I use my scansnap to save everything, and shred the paper.

Anything truly critical has four copies:
- Local laptop SSD
- Cloud backup (Backblaze)
- Google Drive
- Local laptop backup (external drive)
by badger42
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Never thought of living in Bay Area but just got a call from Tesla
Replies: 72
Views: 7392

Re: Never thought of living in Bay Area but just got a call from Tesla

Move the the Bay Area? Sure, just be prepared for the tradeoffs (housing), make sure you're making enough $$ to cover housing + risk premium + actually make it worth the trouble, and take advantage of what the area offers. But don't do it for Tesla. Tesla isn't just a dumpster fire, it's a train of ...
by badger42
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car rentals, what is the catch?
Replies: 46
Views: 5336

Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

The catch with the no-names is that you run the risk of geting beater cars and/or they'll try to scam you over nonexistant or pre-existing damages. Renting with anybody other than the big national chains (which are bad enough) is truly not worth the hassle. I would suggest plugging all of your membe...
by badger42
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mid-career change dilemma - STEM
Replies: 8
Views: 934

Re: Mid-career change dilemma - STEM

If you can't find the hiring manager, at least try to find the recruiter (or a colleague of theirs) e.g. via LinkedIn. It's rare that people actually get jobs via blind "application"; it's much more likely above the new-grad level that they're recruited. Actually, the recruiter is likely better than...
by badger42
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oakland Airport to Santa Rosa/Healdsburg - best route?
Replies: 8
Views: 438

Re: Oakland Airport to Santa Rosa/Healdsburg - best route?

If you're at all concerned about speed / traffic, use Waze / Google Maps *in realtime*. Bay Area traffic is highly variable, and the optimal route at 3PM might be an extra hour at 4PM. Do not rely no pre-printed or pre-planned directions unless you're looking for a scenic ride through a traffic jam!...
by badger42
Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Florida transportation between coasts
Replies: 17
Views: 1182

Re: Florida transportation between coasts

For Uber, get a fare estimate to make sure you know what you're getting into. https://www.uber.com/fare-estimate/ shows $183 for UberX from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale (I just put in the cities, not a specific address) I've done many open-jaw flights. Depending on the airline, the extra cost rang...
by badger42
Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Florida transportation between coasts
Replies: 17
Views: 1182

Re: Florida transportation between coasts

For Uber, get a fare estimate to make sure you know what you're getting into. https://www.uber.com/fare-estimate/ shows $183 for UberX from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale (I just put in the cities, not a specific address) I've done many open-jaw flights. Depending on the airline, the extra cost range...
by badger42
Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on the New Macbook Air?
Replies: 70
Views: 3986

Re: Thoughts on the New Macbook Air?

Contrarian opinion: the best apple notebook for most people right now is the old macbook air. $999. And more than powerful enough for most people. Apple likes to hype the superiority of the new screens and touts the new specs as being meaninful for everyone but in reality it's only power users that...
by badger42
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it more advantageous to live in HCOL or LCOL area in terms of financial independence?
Replies: 180
Views: 10967

Re: Is it more advantageous to live in HCOL or LCOL area in terms of financial independence?

We're in Silicon Valley because the salary difference in tech actually is worth it, particularly at the more senior level.

But we're treating it as a tour of duty. Go in for 10 years, save enough for a very comfortable FI, get out.
by badger42
Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is an MBA worth it these days?
Replies: 53
Views: 6290

Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

I have a state school MBA from a solid part-time "working professional" program. While I had fewer billable hours (was doing independent consulting at the time) I didn't have to quit my job. Actual tuition was on the order of $30k total. The thing the straight-up ROI calculations miss is that the MB...
by badger42
Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT Career Advancement-What path?
Replies: 37
Views: 2710

Re: IT Career Advancement-What path?

Also, Silicon Valley pays well for specific roles, but Windows Server admin / 2nd level support isn't one of those roles. It's much more likely to be outsourced to contractors at most SV companies.

If you're coming to SV, up-skill into something in demand (e.g. Cloud) first!
by badger42
Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT Career Advancement-What path?
Replies: 37
Views: 2710

Re: IT Career Advancement-What path?

If you're looking for new skills and sales isn't your thing, try to get into consulting. Consulting shops are always looking for "do they have 70% of the skills for the engagement, and can learn the other 30% on the job?" because nobody is a perfect fit. If you can think on your feet and fake it 'ti...
by badger42
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vesting RSUs — does this contribute to a wash sale?
Replies: 12
Views: 859

Re: Vesting RSUs — does this contribute to a wash sale?

Here's what happens with basis, and how to capture the loss. First sell the shares with a loss -> disallowed loss, which is added to the basis of your new shares. Then sell the new shares -> since you have no replacement shares (and quarterly vesting, based on "shares from 3 months ago") to actually...
by badger42
Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5 vs 3.6
Replies: 41
Views: 4381

Re: 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5 vs 3.6

I'm on my second Subaru with the 2.5 non-turbo. It may not be the fastest at accelerating up a mountain, but I have yet to meet any driving conditions where the 2.5 was a "no-go" item, even with a fully loaded vehicle. Between the flat torque curve and generally well matched transmissions (caveat: m...
by badger42
Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employee costs for a bay area start up
Replies: 5
Views: 394

Re: Employee costs for a bay area start up

I would look at something like https://pacificworkplaces.com/ - that would let you have some 'base' office space, rent conference rooms as needed (e.g. for client meetings), and scale up and down quickly. I would be very careful of entering into any sort of long term lease when you don't know what t...
by badger42
Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Running Tires Smaller than OEM size?
Replies: 15
Views: 807

Re: Running Tires Smaller than OEM size?

Also check the age of the tires given to you. Tires degrade over time, and if they are 5+ years old, they are literally not worth mounting to the rim - even if everything else checks out. If the tires were stored in a reasonable environment and not mounted they have a very long life - certainly wel...
by badger42
Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Speeding ticket and insurance
Replies: 29
Views: 2251

Re: Speeding ticket and insurance

Find a ticket lawyer in the jurisdiction. See if they can plead it down to a non-moving violation. You still pay the $$, but it shouldn't be a hit on your insurance. Well worth the $$ even if you were in the wrong IMO.
by badger42
Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Running Tires Smaller than OEM size?
Replies: 15
Views: 807

Re: Running Tires Smaller than OEM size?

Also check the age of the tires given to you. Tires degrade over time, and if they are 5+ years old, they are literally not worth mounting to the rim - even if everything else checks out.
by badger42
Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard website "unavailable during weekend of Nov 3"
Replies: 203
Views: 18249

Re: Vanguard website "unavailable during weekend of Nov 3"

What is this, the 1990s? Proper distributed systems have been a widely deployed thing for at least 15 years. Seriously, if you can't do 100% of the work on your web site with zero downtime, you are doing it wrong. Exceptions can be made for very small startups, but not companies with trillions of as...
by badger42
Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Loss Harvest OR Buy More?
Replies: 19
Views: 1481

Re: Tax Loss Harvest OR Buy More?

TLH and buy more of something similar but not the same (e.g. if TLHing a S&P 500 index fund, maybe buy a broad market US index fund)

This is one of those cases where the answer really is "both!"
by badger42
Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TLH for Facebook, ideas?
Replies: 5
Views: 317

Re: TLH for Facebook, ideas?

If you're really that keen on social media exposure, SOCL is pretty close to the only ETF out there. Over 10% FB, 0.65% ER though. Or you could just distribute it among the portfolio you want long term (4-fund or similar) and consider it a lesson learned in stock picking / market timing (I've learne...
by badger42
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer Speed upgrade devices
Replies: 10
Views: 602

Re: Computer Speed upgrade devices

Spend the $35 on more RAM. It will actually make your machine run better. Those gadgets are mostly snake oil. If you have enough RAM, double it to $70 and upgrade that spinning disk (if you still have one) to a SSD. Adding RAM won't do much if you aren't filling up the RAM you have. A SSN (or a fas...
by badger42
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer Speed upgrade devices
Replies: 10
Views: 602

Re: Computer Speed upgrade devices

Spend the $35 on more RAM. It will actually make your machine run better. Those gadgets are mostly snake oil.

If you have enough RAM, double it to $70 and upgrade that spinning disk (if you still have one) to a SSD.
by badger42
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee grinder
Replies: 56
Views: 4003

Re: Coffee grinder

For drip / pour-over / french press / moka pot, a basic Capresso or Barazza burr grinder (our Capresso Infinity was about a hundred bucks, about 10 years ago) will work fine. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one - it just works. For Espresso, the grinder makes at least as much of a difference to q...
by badger42
Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Schwab Intelligent Portfolio is crashing...
Replies: 36
Views: 3928

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolio is crashing...

A 6% loss is normal market volatility.
by badger42
Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: So...what’s Plan B [for your retirement security]?
Replies: 32
Views: 3513

Re: So...what’s Plan B [for your retirement security]?

Plan B for us is pretty fluid, but in general: We'll have a paid off house (part of plan A is paying cash for a house in a lower cost area) Social security at 70 for longevity / inflation / other flavors of tail risk Reduce lifestyle to match (we're talking "Road trip to national park" instead of "F...
by badger42
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often does Costco have the deals on 4 Michelin tires?
Replies: 36
Views: 2841

Re: How often does Costco have the deals on 4 Michelin tires?

One small gotcha with Costco - they will not install tires with a lower speed rating than the OEM tires. In most cases this isn't an issue (if your car shipped with H or T rated tires, you have tons of options), but sometimes fairly sedate cars come with tires with high performance (V, W) speed rati...
by badger42
Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quitting w/o notice
Replies: 132
Views: 8638

Re: Quitting w/o notice

Everybody talks. Let me repeat, EVERYBODY talks. Industry communities are a lot like a small town. At the same time, don't make this harder on yourself than you have to. I've been on both sides of this, as well as downstream of picking up the slack when somebody else leaves. - Give your two weeks no...
by badger42
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Purchase an Automobile using Premium Gasoline?
Replies: 68
Views: 3066

Re: Why Purchase an Automobile using Premium Gasoline?

Gasoline is a pretty small portion of the TCO. In our case, ballpark, it's maybe 20% of our fully loaded car costs. At least here, the cost difference between regular and premium is about 10%. For a 2% difference in TCO, premium vs regular is pretty far down the list of things I care about. I care f...
by badger42
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: unlicensed repair guy possibly spent our material deposit
Replies: 25
Views: 2950

Re: unlicensed repair guy possibly spent our material deposit

Small claims court might be your best bet here.
by badger42
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 5% ESPP
Replies: 16
Views: 1203

Re: 5% ESPP

5% off average (not lowest) is pretty bad, that could easily be higher than the current market price at the time of purchase. Between that and the 14-day minimum hold, I would probably skip and just invest normally. If you had a better ESPP (10% or 15% off, or even 5% off lowest) would probably sug...
by badger42
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 5% ESPP
Replies: 16
Views: 1203

Re: 5% ESPP

5% off average (not lowest) is pretty bad, that could easily be higher than the current market price at the time of purchase. Between that and the 14-day minimum hold, I would probably skip and just invest normally. If you had a better ESPP (10% or 15% off, or even 5% off lowest) would probably sugg...
by badger42
Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle
Replies: 90
Views: 6413

Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

Long trip breakdowns are not restricted to older vehicles. This can happen with even a new vehicle. In my (admittedly small sample size) experience, long trip breakdowns are also quite rare. It makes sense though - stop/go traffic is much harder on the vehicle than highway cruise. Doubly so if you ...
by badger42
Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle
Replies: 90
Views: 6413

Re: When to stop putting money into an older vehicle

For us, it's about dispatch reliability, not time, miles or dollars. If we can reasonably count on the car to reliably do what we ask of it, we will keep it. If we have too many reliability / maintenance headaches outside of normal wear items (tires and batteries and brake pads and the like don't co...
by badger42
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?
Replies: 49
Views: 3236

Re: Should we rent a car or take our low mileage 2006 Volvo on a family trip?

My car is a couple of years newer that yours, but given the choice, I would much rather take it than a random rental. I know my car has had all of its maintenance done to a high standard. I know my car has a recent set of tires with good tread. I know my car's driving characteristics inside and out....
by badger42
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which one: Lyft or Uber?
Replies: 57
Views: 4250

Re: Which one: Lyft or Uber?

For NYC don't forget the trains! Depending where you're going, Subway / LIRR / PATH can often be much faster than anything on the roads.

Edit: If you're bike inclined, Uber also has Jump bikes (e-bikes) in NYC.
by badger42
Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufacture income, claim electric vehicle credit
Replies: 3
Views: 340

Re: Manufacture income, claim electric vehicle credit

Easy answer - see if her 401k allows in plan Roth conversions. Many do.
by badger42
Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: “$1000/month job is worth $300k in retirement funds” // What are some retirement jobs you would actually enjoy doing?
Replies: 103
Views: 9868

Re: “$1000/month job is worth $300k in retirement funds” // What are some retirement jobs you would actually enjoy doing

Instead of teaching, I might consider tutoring.

Limited hours (offer what you want to offer), 1:1 instruction / student time, decent hourly rates (with whatever sliding scale you want, since it's probably more about keeping out of trouble than $$)
by badger42
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you use your own cards for work travel?
Replies: 16
Views: 1170

Re: Do you use your own cards for work travel?

IMO it isn't worth the hassle. I'd rather have the ease of reporting. Our travel department also strongly discourages this - things like much lower thresholds for "receipt needed" if things are on your own card. It also makes it much easier to make sure I capture all the expenses. Work expense => wo...
by badger42
Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hiking NH White Mountains. Taking one lens.
Replies: 25
Views: 1092

Re: Hiking NH White Mountains. Taking one lens.

Assuming you're primarily talking scenery, and daylight:

I used to bring all sorts of camera gear.

Now I bring a phone. It works shockingly well as long as I'm not trying to get long distance wildlife shots.

Bring your recent Pixel / iPhone / Galaxy S and save the weight / hassle.