Search found 460 matches

by dsmil
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable vs. Fixed Interest [Student loan]
Replies: 5
Views: 465

Re: Variable vs. Fixed Interest [Student loan]

I'd bet that you'd probably come out ahead with the variable rate anyway, but it's probably not worth the risk. If you were to do it, I'd just pay the same amount that you're paying now (even thought your required payment would be lower), so you can pay it off earlier and decrease some of the intere...
by dsmil
Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable vs. Fixed Interest [Student loan]
Replies: 5
Views: 465

Re: Variable vs. Fixed Interest

A couple of important factors are whether there is a cap on the variable rate, and the amount of the loan. A $20k loan that hits a cap of 9%, isn't a big deal, but it is a big deal on a $100k loan.
by dsmil
Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?
Replies: 134
Views: 12626

Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Interesting question. I'm personally doing better career-wise than either of my parents, who both work full-time and are close to retirement (hopefully). My wife is a SAHM, as was her mother, and her father makes 10x what I do. I think our standard of living will be similar to what I grew up with, a...
by dsmil
Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is your allowance?
Replies: 40
Views: 4318

Re: How much is your allowance?

We do $125 per month for each of us to spend on ourselves, and $250 per month for joint entertainment like going out for meals or coffee.
by dsmil
Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 - Maryland or Utah
Replies: 11
Views: 789

Re: 529 - Maryland or Utah

The Maryland plan makes more sense early on, but I do think that when the balances are large enough, there is a point where the expense ratio difference does in fact beat out the state tax savings. The difference in expense ratios is about .6%. On the Vanguard website, if my wife and I each setup se...
by dsmil
Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Millionaire Next Door and Budgeting
Replies: 81
Views: 10075

Re: Millionaire Next Door and Budgeting

We do a monthly budget and write everything down. Items that are paid once a year are divided by 12 and included each month. Our average monthly pay is included rather than having some months with 2 and some with 3 paychecks. We have a random category each month of $500 for items that aren't budgete...
by dsmil
Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No idea how much to save in a 529
Replies: 37
Views: 3862

Re: No idea how much to save in a 529

My plan for now is $350 per month to cover an in-state public university...as soon as my own loans are gone!
by dsmil
Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403(b) Options for Teachers
Replies: 18
Views: 1700

Re: 403(b) Options for Teachers

My wife was a teacher and her system had a great 403b, offering the best Vanguard Index Funds at Institutional Share fee rates. If your 403b has some decent offerings, I'd essentially compare it to a 401k, in which you'll probably want to use that vs. taxable.
by dsmil
Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone familiar with Starwood Preferred Amex
Replies: 21
Views: 2089

Re: Anyone familiar with Starwood Preferred Amex

Amex only allows one bonus per lifetime, and this 35k bonus is the highest that it's ever been, so it's time to jump on the opportunity. Luckily (or unluckily), I have a $3k home repair coming up that I should be able to put on this card to earn the bonus. I think that the 5 nights in Clearwater, FL...
by dsmil
Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are you frugal with, what are you not, but still buy?
Replies: 53
Views: 5446

Re: What are you frugal with, what are you not, but still buy?

I drive an old car, pack my lunch everyday, and generally spend very little on myself. When I do spend on things such as electronics, I generally do a lot of research and wait until I can find a quality product, without unnecessary extras, at a good price. I also try to take advantage of credit card...
by dsmil
Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: $100k Milestone Reached! - 29y/o Portfolio Checkup
Replies: 22
Views: 3305

Re: $100k Milestone Reached! - 29y/o Portfolio Checkup

I think you're doing a great job. Considering where you are now, and your future goals being your down payment and more of an emergency fund, I don't think you need to worry about adding anything to taxable investments. If you keep maxing the IRA and receiving the $6k contribution from your employer...
by dsmil
Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard 2040
Replies: 8
Views: 1199

Re: Vanguard 2040

The minimum for the institutional shares is $100M. The minimum for the investor shares is $1k. Thus, the reason for the expense ratio difference.
by dsmil
Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses
Replies: 87
Views: 4320

Re: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses

I'm planning on saving for college in a Roth account, with the assumption that contributions will cover most, but not all, of college for however many children we have. In a perfect world, let's say that I'm on track with retirement savings, college costs $100k, and I've saved $100k in the Roth, of...
by dsmil
Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses
Replies: 87
Views: 4320

Re: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses

I'm planning on saving for college in a Roth account, with the assumption that contributions will cover most, but not all, of college for however many children we have. In a perfect world, let's say that I'm on track with retirement savings, college costs $100k, and I've saved $100k in the Roth, of...
by dsmil
Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses
Replies: 87
Views: 4320

Re: IRA vs Roth IRA vs 529 for college expenses

I'm planning on saving for college in a Roth account, with the assumption that contributions will cover most, but not all, of college for however many children we have. In a perfect world, let's say that I'm on track with retirement savings, college costs $100k, and I've saved $100k in the Roth, of ...
by dsmil
Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Working from Home the New Normal?
Replies: 57
Views: 6365

Re: Is Working from Home the New Normal?

I only personally know 2 people who work from home so I can't say that it's the new normal in my experiences.
by dsmil
Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Working for] Big 4 Accounting Firms & Salary
Replies: 17
Views: 4351

Re: General Discussion: Big 4 Accounting Firms & Salary

Most people leave the Big 4 because they want more work/life balance, so if you're happy with yours, than maybe it's the best place for you. I do think that if you take your time, you could find a job that both gives you a bump in salary and will provide you with work/life balance. Most people can e...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What insurance/warranty products do you consider a waste of money?
Replies: 64
Views: 5285

Re: What insurance/warranty products do you consider a waste of money?

Other than life insurance, I can't think of any insurance that I've voluntarily purchased. I guess I can group AAA in there, and it has been well worth it for our cars which are all over 150k miles and love to get flat tires. I do see the value in insuring certain needs in life for people who can't ...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When does saving rate take back seat to dollars?
Replies: 18
Views: 2164

Re: When does saving rate take back seat to dollars?

Using percentages of income as savings guidelines is just a simple way of doing things. Most people spend more as they make more, so it makes sense. Frugal people with nice paychecks may find that saving 10% of their income is more than enough, while others may need 20%. The closer you are to retire...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't understand nutrition and exercise
Replies: 340
Views: 31075

Re: Don't understand nutrition and exercise

If you find yourself with low energy, maybe you should replace some of the protein/fat that you're eating with some complex carbs. Carbs are needed to fuel your workouts, and will only turn to fat if you aren't using them during your workout. Americans generally eat enough protein, and after 120 gr...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't understand nutrition and exercise
Replies: 340
Views: 31075

Re: Don't understand nutrition and exercise

By looking at your weight, your diet is probably fine, but adding breakfast would be a good idea. Without breakfast, you're basically cramming all of your calories in within a short time frame, and your body will need constant fuel to both give you energy during workouts and to help with recovery. I...
by dsmil
Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 27, ROTH contribution or pay down debt (39% of payments to interest this past year)?
Replies: 32
Views: 2742

Re: 27, ROTH contribution or pay down debt (7%)?

Questions/Comments appreciated: 1. I qualify for a ROTH ira and have access to a 401k at work (no match, some years my employer will contribute to it). I want to contribute towards the ROTH, but I would prefer to continue paying off my high interest loans. What to do? 50/50 retirement contribution/...
by dsmil
Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?
Replies: 103
Views: 10084

Re: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?

I know that people find recruiters annoying when you are not looking for a job, but they make the process easier if you are looking, at least in my case. If you aren't too seriously looking, than it seems like letting them do all the work is a nice option.
by dsmil
Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When do I start taxable account?
Replies: 34
Views: 2916

Re: When do I start taxable account?

I agree with some of the comments above that for retirement money, you should definitely be putting everything into tax-advantaged accounts before touching taxable. If you can save more than what is needed for retirement, and you have shorter-term goals in mind, I think it is perfectly fine to place...
by dsmil
Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refi a $8600 student loan bill?
Replies: 7
Views: 535

Re: Refi a $8600 student loan bill?

Sofi refinances without any fees so I don't see any downside. She'd probably get something a couple percentage points lower for fixed, or even lower for variable.
by dsmil
Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High school curriculum: Is filling out tax forms part of it?
Replies: 49
Views: 1992

Re: High school curriculum: Is filling out tax forms part of it?

renue74 wrote:I think a large % of American's today don't even understand the tax bracket system, much less know how to complete a 1040EZ.


That's for sure! Explaining effective tax rates to people would open a lot of eyes to how little they're actually paying.
by dsmil
Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High school curriculum: Is filling out tax forms part of it?
Replies: 49
Views: 1992

Re: High school curriculum: Is filling out tax forms part of it?

It was not a requirement in NJ, but I did take a career exploration elective and remember filling out a W-4 form. A personal finance class would be more valuable than 99% of the other high school classes that are required.
by dsmil
Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 10% Mortgage Down payment
Replies: 49
Views: 7528

Re: 10% Mortgage Down payment

You shouldn't have any problems getting a mortgage if your experience is anywhere close to mine from a few years ago. We came in with a lot of student loans, could only put 5% down, our credit scores were in the low 700's, and the bank wanted to give us far too much money.
by dsmil
Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Balancing retirement goals with short term savings?
Replies: 3
Views: 393

Re: Balancing retirement goals with short term savings?

It depends on your situation but most people around here put saving for retirement as the #1 priority. If you are behind on saving for retirement, it could be better to put off the house for awhile, and get the retirement account up to speed before thinking about other goals. On the other hand, if y...
by dsmil
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving for down payment
Replies: 43
Views: 3038

Re: Saving for down payment

Many people in real life are first time homeowners with a 3.5% down FHA mortgage after buying the maximum value home the bank would approve them for and little in reserve. Many Bogleheads recommend 20% down, 8 months of expenses in a cash reserve, a portfolio of financial assets at least as big as ...
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you pay per year for daycare?
Replies: 33
Views: 1894

Re: What do you pay per year for daycare?

$0 because we decided that my wife would stay home. But for price comparison, daycares were quoting us at around $1,400 per month for an infant in Maryland. Did your wife leave her job to stay home with the kid(s)? Yes, she left her teaching job to stay home with our child and we see ourselves stic...
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do you pay per year for daycare?
Replies: 33
Views: 1894

Re: What do you pay per year for daycare?

$0 because we decided that my wife would stay home. But for price comparison, daycares were quoting us at around $1,400 per month for an infant in Maryland.
by dsmil
Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Clueless college new grad 22 yo, 200k income looking to start saving
Replies: 143
Views: 14460

Re: Clueless college new grad 22 yo, 200k income looking to start saving

Congrats on the great start to your career! This is one of the steps to creating wealth, but the next step is managing expenses. My wife also had a more privileged upbringing than I did and was used to spending money right out of college, even though I was at an entry-level job and she was a nanny. ...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Quesation
Replies: 3
Views: 641

Re: Student Loan Quesation

This makes me think that fixed could be the better option. Realistically, I will not be able to pay off the loan in the next 4 years. If you can't afford to pay more than the 4.79% fixed rate - Advantage fixed If you could pay off loans early in the case of an interest rate hike - Advantage variable...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)
Replies: 83
Views: 12709

Re: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)

This is a little embarrassing but I'm going to come clean. My Accord is a four cylinder so apparently based on this thread I don't even have a timing belt. I have a chain. :oops: My last Accord had a belt so I just assumed this one was the same. Great news and thanks for the education. Just saw thi...
by dsmil
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)
Replies: 83
Views: 12709

Re: Replacing timing belt on 2009 Accord(Do it or sell?)

The financial answer to this question is to replace the timing belt. The great thing about Hondas and other good brands is that they generally last a very long time, so paying for scheduled maintenance and keeping the car for awhile is worth it. Cars eventually depreciate to nothing anyway, so if yo...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which news source do you use?
Replies: 67
Views: 5755

Re: Which news source do you use?

NPR and The Washington Post. NPR because it's the only radio station that works in my car, and the Washington Post because it's always in the lunchroom at work.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

A special rule applies to certain plans in which it is impossible to determine whether or not an amount (other than earnings) will be allocated to an individual's account for a given plan year. If, with respect to a particular plan year, no amount attributable to forfeitures, employer contributions...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Do you have even one low-ER index fund available? Unless you will be at the same company about 30 years and ERs are 2%, it may make sense to hold your nose and contribute to defer current taxes. Most are around 1%, so I guess it's not terrible in the 401k world. We are moving from the 25% to 15% br...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Thanks for the answers everyone! I think that I'm all set now.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Do you have even one low-ER index fund available? Unless you will be at the same company about 30 years and ERs are 2%, it may make sense to hold your nose and contribute to defer current taxes. Most are around 1%, so I guess it's not terrible in the 401k world. We are moving from the 25% to 15% br...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

It looks to me as though your employer made a mistake. Regardless of whether your employer is willing to issue a corrected W-2, you should operate as though you ARE covered by an employer retirement plan in determining your eligibility for a deductible IRA. Good advice, thanks. I think that this is...
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

Raiddinn wrote:They might not be contributing if you haven't setup an account and contributed at least a little bit to get it started.


The account is setup and my employer did contribute to it in 2015.
by dsmil
Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Taxes - Am I Covered by a Retirement Plan at Work?

My company offers a 401k that I don't contribute to because there is no match and high fees. They do kick in around 2% of my salary regardless of my contributions. My W2 DOES NOT have the retirement plan box checked (box 13). Is this a mistake? Do I need a revised W2? It seems like it should be chec...
by dsmil
Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What 55" TV to Buy
Replies: 51
Views: 4426

Re: What 55" TV to Buy

I like using TheWireCutter.com for my electronics reviews. They recommend the Samsung UN55JU7100 (see link).

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-tv/
by dsmil
Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I leave Ameriprise?
Replies: 52
Views: 4804

Re: Should I leave Ameriprise?

Even I could tell that Ameriprise was slimy when I was in college. They invited me to a seminar and one of their salesmen was going to drive 2 hours to my hometown to sell financial products to my family friends. The whole situation was very weird.
by dsmil
Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: perfectly happy with cable
Replies: 131
Views: 9863

Re: perfectly happy with cable

I will pay whatever it takes to make my sports viewing experience as convenient as possible (but I don't tell Comcast that when I'm haggling with them every year).
by dsmil
Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for exercise?
Replies: 222
Views: 17244

Re: Do you pay for exercise?

With a 1 year old, I'm not getting a gym membership anytime soon, and I like the convenience of working out at home. In the last few years, I've spent a couple hundred on P90x, P90x2, Body Beast (all craigslist and came with equipment), and some dumbells with plates. I can get a pretty good workout ...
by dsmil
Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you use the service of a CPA or you do your tax yourself?
Replies: 88
Views: 7613

Re: Do you use the service of a CPA or you do your tax yourself?

I'm a CPA and if it weren't for reading personal finance books and using sites like this, I'd know nothing about taxes. Your situation doesn't seem too complicated so Turbo Tax should be fine.
by dsmil
Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:53 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Hope everyone is well [Preparing for Eastern US blizzard]
Replies: 102
Views: 7196

Re: Hope everyone is well [Preparing for Eastern US blizzard]

I'm in the DC area and did nothing to prepare, other than replace my broken shovel. Rather than do our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday, we'll probably do it on Monday. We plan on making the mile walk to our favorite breakfast spot on Sunday, and enjoying the snow. :sharebeer

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