Search found 497 matches

by dsmil
Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup
Replies: 9
Views: 1086

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

We just had a sewer line replacement and it cost $2,500. I'm now left with a pile of dirt that is slowly settling into place. The original break was due to a large piece of cement that was underground for some reason (probably left by the old builder). The cement put pressure on the line and finally...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have any of you overextended on housing? What were your experiences?
Replies: 42
Views: 4893

Re: Have any of you overextended on housing? What were your experiences?

Our PITI is 25% of gross income and our home price is 3x of our gross income, and we do not feel overextended at all. The home price to income ratio doesn't take into account the size of the down payment, or the fact that the low interest rate environment makes more expensive homes more affordable. ...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why have a formal budget?
Replies: 106
Views: 11192

Re: Why have a formal budget?

We have a budget, and I hate it, but it's a necessary evil. It gives us a way to stay on course with our financial goals and I do think that we'd spend more without it.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead Beer
Replies: 729
Views: 131751

Re: Boglehead Beer

Speaking of Founders, I am so happy that Founders is finally coming to Maryland! Now that Bell's and Founders are here, my occasional drives from MD to DC for beer are over.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I do a Roth conversion or keep funds in a rollover IRA?
Replies: 5
Views: 593

Re: Should I do a Roth conversion or keep funds in a rollover IRA?

First off, your tax bracket is actually determined by taxable income on your tax return, not gross income. If your gross income is $95k, and you receive the standard MFJ deduction and 2 exemptions, you are already on the border of the 15% bracket, which was $74,900 for 2015 taxes. Aside from that, l...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many "subscriptions" do you have?
Replies: 50
Views: 6667

Re: How many "subscriptions" do you have?

Cable (w/sports package) and Internet - $140/mo. (and this sports fan isn't cutting the cord anytime soon) Cell Phones - $90/mo. for our 2 cell phones AAA - $180/yr. (I seem to use this every few months with our old cars) Credit Card - $95/yr. (I've been churning cards lately but only keep one long ...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.
Replies: 23
Views: 2403

Re: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.

Even if PMI adds up to 14k [I believe it will be more on a 400k house] . . . that is a guaranteed 40k we've 'earned'. Right now you are in a paid-off house, so raiding your Roth will not "earn" you $40k, but you are only comparing it against moving into a new house and paying PMI. What ab...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term life insurance for 33 year old
Replies: 14
Views: 1835

Re: Term life insurance for 33 year old

Term4Sale.com was very easy for me. I put my information in, got some quotes, and an insurance agent from a local company called me soon after. I went with Banner Life Insurance, which had a good rate and financial rating.
by dsmil
Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.
Replies: 23
Views: 2403

Re: Using Roth IRA for Home Down Payment.

I know that you want to purchase your new home before selling your old one, but is that what would cause you to raid your Roth? If so, I would definitely try to sell your home while you are still living there and not touch your valuable Roth contributions. It seems like you think that raiding the Ro...
by dsmil
Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any stay at home parents regret the decision?
Replies: 100
Views: 12680

Re: Any stay at home parents regret the decision?

My wife is 1 year into staying at home and we both are happy with the decision. She has always wanted to stay home but we never thought that it was possible until recently, after my career has gone better than planned. Our final decision came between staying at home or continuing teaching part-time,...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Don't Include 529s in Portfolio, Correct?
Replies: 14
Views: 1724

Re: Don't Include 529s in Portfolio, Correct?

I wouldn't include 529 assets in my retirement portfolio total. But, for the people who overfund retirement accounts while saving, and then stop saving for retirement during the college years to pay the tuition bills, I would include everything in my retirement portfolio total.
by dsmil
Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Target Day Fund & Asset Allocation
Replies: 9
Views: 972

Re: Target Day Fund & Asset Allocation

Thanks! I didn't even realize that they now have index based target date funds. But based on the feedback, it seems I should invest in index funds and re-balance myself instead of using target date funds. Yes, if you buy Admiral shares ($10k minimum) of the various index funds held in the Vanguard ...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Target Day Fund & Asset Allocation
Replies: 9
Views: 972

Re: Target Day Fund & Asset Allocation

Target date funds are fine, but it takes some research to pick the one that suits your needs best. I don't use target date funds but I plan on changing my stocks vs. bonds allocation with age in a similar way (curved rather than straight line). This is an old chart from 2007 but it shows the point t...
by dsmil
Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How To Find My (retirement) Number?
Replies: 64
Views: 6010

Re: How To Find My (retirement) Number?

I've been using 25x projected expenses, minus projected social security. I'm planning on social security not being as strong in 40 years, so I haven't been including any social security for my spouse, who would get 50% of my earning per the current rules. I'm calculating that I'd need $750k of after...
by dsmil
Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay down low interest debt or carry it?
Replies: 6
Views: 644

Re: Pay down low interest debt or carry it?

If you keep the debt and the second child comes, are you still able to find retirement and have a good emergency fund? If so, I'd personally side with filling up your Roth space instead of paying down those loans. I wouldn't want to waste that space, especially if you are in the 15% bracket. I'm not...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF vs. index fund
Replies: 5
Views: 757

Re: ETF vs. index fund

The biggest reason that I chose mutual funds is that you can automatically buy a certain dollar amount every month automatically. ETF's require you to calculate how many shares to buy, so you can't set everything on auto-pilot.
by dsmil
Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IRS question re: Roth IRA e-fund
Replies: 7
Views: 873

Re: IRS question re: Roth IRA e-fund

Go with the Roth, you can withdraw contributions at any-time, penalty and tax free.
by dsmil
Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?
Replies: 94
Views: 13263

Re: When was the most stressful financial time in your life?

Probably moving to DC after graduation with my fiancee in 2009, meanwhile my future employer was having layoffs and pushed my start date back a few months. I went around looking for a job that I could hold for a few months before starting at my CPA firm, and was scolded by the manager at CVS for sho...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Refinancing Student Loans
Replies: 6
Views: 762

Re: Refinancing Student Loans

I went with a Sofi variable rate option but refinanced $40k of loans, not $400k. If you reach your goal and payoff everything in 5 years, the variable could work better, but it's riskier in the case that you don't reach your goal. I'd just make sure that you are pretty confident in your future job b...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing emergency fund in bond ETF
Replies: 7
Views: 1125

Re: Investing emergency fund in bond ETF

You understand that the disadvantage is the added risk of loss and are comfortable with that so it sounds like a fine plan.
by dsmil
Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time home buyer - Can I afford this home?
Replies: 38
Views: 4310

Re: First time home buyer - Can I afford this home?

Mostly negativity here but if your spending habits are in check, I see this being affordable. My wife stays at home with our child, our numbers are similar, and our monthly savings will be approaching $2k shortly. You are talking about monthly savings of $700-$1000 per month, after retirement contri...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transferring part of emergency fund into Roth IRA
Replies: 11
Views: 1326

Re: Transferring part of emergency fund into Roth IRA

I like the idea and have been doing it personally, as I haven't been able to max out our Roths with retirement contributions. Here is an example: You're able to contribute 9k of retirement funds towards the 11k limit for your Roth accounts on an annual basis, so you also move $2k of emergency money ...
by dsmil
Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: new credit card and credit score
Replies: 9
Views: 1182

Re: new credit card and credit score

The help that your improved utilization will give you could cancel out the effect of the credit inquiry. Would your average age of credit go down signifantly? This would count other debt like student loans, car loans, and your other cards.
by dsmil
Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card being closed for inactivity...Should I care?
Replies: 7
Views: 1136

Re: Credit card being closed for inactivity...Should I care?

Closing affects utilization and average age of credit, but the actual hit on your score would depend on your situation. If you only have one other card, and your credit limit is the same on both, than utilization would theoretically double if you close this card. If you have 10 cards, than utilizati...
by dsmil
Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First time home buyer - Can I afford this home?
Replies: 38
Views: 4310

Re: First time home buyer - Can I afford this home?

Even on one salary, I think that you could afford this home. As long as it fits in your budget and you are still saving for retirement, it looks like it will work for you.
by dsmil
Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: starter home vs. final home
Replies: 37
Views: 4618

Re: starter home vs. final home

I don't personally like the idea of moving into a starter home that you could NEVER see yourself living in for a long time. Once you add up interest, taxes, insurance, and maintenance, there are a good amount of wasted costs with home ownership as well. Plus, buying and selling a starter home means ...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus
Replies: 85
Views: 12249

Re: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus

Does it make sense to book short haul flights with chase UR i.e. local within the US? I guess I wouldn't have to pay cash, but not sure if this is using the points in the smartest way Southwest has the same redemption rate no matter where you go, so it makes perfect sense to even use it for short f...
by dsmil
Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus
Replies: 85
Views: 12249

Re: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus

Jags4186 wrote:
dsmil wrote:I believe that the rule is now in effect for any Chase co-branded cards as well (Southwest, Hyatt, etc.). It just makes the decision of what bonuses to go after a little harder, if you're into that.


Not yet. I was approved last week for Hyatt. Way over 5/24.


I think that it started April 1st.
by dsmil
Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus
Replies: 85
Views: 12249

Re: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus

Is there a best bang for the buck re UR points? Wife and I have a bunch i.e. Over 100k+ and we were wondering whether it makes sense to use them for short haul flights or save for an extravagant trip? Also, if I buy a plane ticket through Chase without using the points, do I get more points than go...
by dsmil
Sat Apr 02, 2016 5:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus
Replies: 85
Views: 12249

Re: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus

I believe that the rule is now in effect for any Chase co-branded cards as well (Southwest, Hyatt, etc.). It just makes the decision of what bonuses to go after a little harder, if you're into that.
by dsmil
Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus
Replies: 85
Views: 12249

Re: Chase Freedom Unlimited card 1.5% back + bonus

This looks like a nice everyday card for me for almost everything other than gas and groceries, where I'll stick with the 5% back from the Sallie Mae card. Im hoping to downgrade my wife's Sapphire Preferred to this, and still have my own Sapphire Preferred to transfer the points to. For credit card...
by dsmil
Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice with Roth IRA/emergency fund, Age 29/married
Replies: 7
Views: 1373

Re: Advice with Roth IRA/emergency fund, Age 29/married

For our portion of emergency funds in the Roth, we use Vanguard Short-Term Federal Fund (VSGBX). It seems pretty safe and is at least keeping up with inflation.
by dsmil
Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 1403
Views: 251183

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

Up 3.97% as of 3/31, mostly due to making my annual Roth contributions literally on the exact right day of February 11th.

44% Total US
17% Developed Int'l
10% Emerging Markets
9% Small Cap Value
10% REIT
10% Bonds
by dsmil
Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for Passing the CPA Exam 2016-17 edition
Replies: 23
Views: 3590

Re: Advice for Passing the CPA Exam 2016-17 edition

My best advice is to come up with a plan that works for you and allows you to study consistently. Some people study hardcore for a couple of weeks and are able to pass the test. Others need a few months with a review course. I originally bought the Yaeger review program, which comes with video instr...
by dsmil
Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: new accounts for new goals
Replies: 12
Views: 1265

Re: new accounts for new goals

I think it could be a good idea to put your first $5,500 into a Roth and then max out the Traditional 401k. Although your tax bracket is on the high side, at least this gives you some tax diversification and flexibility, in the case that you need to take out contributions in an emergency.
by dsmil
Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay Off Student Loans or Mortgage?
Replies: 5
Views: 720

Re: Pay Off Student Loans or Mortgage?

I'd throw the money at the student loans. You'll be able to pay them off earlier which will give you some extra monthly cash flow, which could then go towards other goals. Even after saving enough for retirement and paying off student loans, I'd personally rather save for the next down payment than ...
by dsmil
Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Long-term investments vs. mid-term needs
Replies: 6
Views: 837

Re: Long-term investments vs. mid-term needs

I like to separate my shorter term and longer term investments as much as possible. Here is what I try to do with the items that you've listed: 1) Unexpected Life Surprises - Use from emergency fund (checking,savings, Roth if necessary, etc.) 2) Kids - Hopefully you and your spouse's income will sup...
by dsmil
Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Variable vs. Fixed Interest [Student loan]
Replies: 5
Views: 564

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: 564

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: 13450

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: 4661

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: 865

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: 10709

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: 4201

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: 1954

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: 2250

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: 5764

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: 3386

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: 1213

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: 4624

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...