Search found 478 matches

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: 1016

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: 4214

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: 1311

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: 1156

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: 1118

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: 4214

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: 4396

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: 11644

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: 11644

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: 11644

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: 11644

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: 11644

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: 1346

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: 1332
Views: 224894

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: 3008

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: 1253

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: 715

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: 811

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: 494

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: 494

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: 13044

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: 4485

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: 832

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: 10352

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: 4047

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: 1857

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: 2176

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: 5594

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: 3348

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: 1208

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: 4494

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: 4494

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: 4494

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: 6549

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: 5423

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: 5410

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: 2267

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: 32032

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: 32032

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: 2964

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: 10265

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: 3086

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: 584

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: 2058

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: 2058

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: 7794

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: 397

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: 3106

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: 2167

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: 2167

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.

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