Search found 475 matches

by dsmil
Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:35 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taxable Accounts vs IRA vs Roth IRA
Replies: 8
Views: 917

Re: Taxable Accounts vs IRA vs Roth IRA

In my mind the lower capital gains rate (15%) would give taxable accounts the edge over a traditional IRA (25%) I think you're forgetting the fact that the money going into your taxable account has already been taxed. So you have your money hit with both an income tax of 25% and a capital gains/div...
by dsmil
Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Monthly Expenses in line or too much
Replies: 81
Views: 7334

Re: Monthly Expenses in line or too much

We are just a family of 3 (with a toddler) in a medium-high cost of living area but we spend about $3k per month on average other than our mortgage payment. No way should anyone have a budget item of Misc in the multiple hundreds every month. No way. I'm in the same boat here, $500 per month in &quo...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: After contributing Trad 401K to company match, then on to Roth 401k or Roth IRA?
Replies: 7
Views: 397

Re: Does it make sense to contribute to Roth 401K instead of Roth IRA?

Many will argue that everything should go to the traditional 401k while in the 25% bracket. If you've already decided that you want some money to go into a Roth, the difference is pretty marginal so I think you'll be fine either way. The Roth IRA gives you more flexibility but the Roth 401k gives yo...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?
Replies: 138
Views: 13322

Re: I'll never save a 20% down payment. Rent for life?

If the costs of living in the home (PITI, some for repairs) make sense in your budget compared to renting, I don't see anything wrong with putting less than 20% down.
by dsmil
Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sling TV
Replies: 28
Views: 2898

Re: Sling TV

A related question -- am I getting a good deal on my current cable / internet service? I pay $140 a month all-in... that includes cable TV, internet, cable box rental, modem / router rental, surcharges, etc. etc. No phone service, no premium movie channels. What do y'all think? That seems reasonabl...
by dsmil
Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: housing options-- stretch for schools?
Replies: 37
Views: 2352

Re: housing options-- stretch for schools?

I like option B. I'm in a very similar situation as you where we have a young child and in a HCOL area. For our next house, we're choosing to look at areas with schools only in the 9's and 10's where the houses are 4x income. Similar houses are 3x income in areas with worse schools and we feel bette...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 27 - Planning Ahead For 2017
Replies: 6
Views: 511

Re: 27 - Planning Ahead For 2017

I think you're fine either way. I would probably recommend your low-fee 401k in the 25% bracket, but you'll have 16% of your income (you plus employer contribution) going to the 401k, so putting some in the Roth for some tax diversification isn't a bad idea either. If you do decide to direct everyth...
by dsmil
Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Closing Credit Cards (Affect on Credit Score)
Replies: 4
Views: 396

Re: Closing Credit Cards (Affect on Credit Score)

I've read mixed things on whether closed accounts are taken into consideration for the average age of credit calculation. I usually read that closed accounts do still count in the calculation until they are dropped from your credit report completely after 10 years.
by dsmil
Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to make Roth IRA contribution
Replies: 9
Views: 823

Re: When to make Roth IRA contribution

Since you won't have any cash flow problems, I think getting the money in earlier is better than spreading it out from a return standpoint. I guess you could still call this dollar cost averaging, but you're just not doing it as often.
by dsmil
Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued
Replies: 154
Views: 17646

Re: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued

I received the letter yesterday and was disappointed, since we use this for gas, groceries, and amazon. It was always nice to redeem the points for cash back, in combination with our regular travel points cards.
by dsmil
Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why should one invest in 401k to mathcing, then Roth IRA, then back to 401k?
Replies: 29
Views: 2924

Re: Why should one invest in 401k to mathcing, then Roth IRA, then back to 401k?

In general, 401k's have higher fees, less investment options, and less flexibility than a Roth. So tax considerations aside, the Roth is normally a better place to put your money, after getting the 401k match. A Roth could also give you some tax diversification at retirement when combined with your ...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What % of your net income do you save (not including 401k/IRA)
Replies: 59
Views: 5092

Re: What % of your net income do you save (not including 401k/IRA)

We're at 0% if not counting 401k or IRA, but 10% of gross is going there. All extra money after expenses and retirement savings is going towards making additional payments on student loans. Once student loans are gone in 12 months, we plan on saving 25% of gross towards 401k/HSA/Taxable.
by dsmil
Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA deduction question
Replies: 5
Views: 290

Re: IRA deduction question

Your AGI does not determine your tax bracket, your taxable income does. You still need to deduct your itemized or standard deduction, and then your exemptions, to determine your taxable income, which would put you into the 15% bracket.
by dsmil
Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning an instrument as an adult? Three Month Update
Replies: 135
Views: 12297

Re: Learning an instrument as an adult?

In college, I started messing around with my roommate's acoustic guitar and I later bought myself one a couple of years later. I picked it up pretty quickly, and having a background in piano and trumpet helped. I'm not great (stick to chords primarily) but I have fun playing and singing in the basem...
by dsmil
Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA - is keeping 40 years of medical records practical?
Replies: 128
Views: 9961

Re: HSA - is keeping 40 years of medical records practical?

I would just like to point out that keeping keeping funds in the HSA when you otherwise could remove them for eligible healthcare spending is only really a good idea if you have no remaining tax advantaged space. I think this point gets lost at times. NS I don't understand. Normal tax advantaged sp...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why not have an Emergency Fund in your Roth...(for those who can't max out anyways)
Replies: 22
Views: 2311

Re: Why not have an Emergency Fund in your Roth...(for those who can't max out anyways)

I like the idea because there might be a time in the future where you'll not only be able to max the Roth, but can also shift your Roth emergency funds into Roth retirement funds, and shift your emergency money to taxable. If it's between putting some emergency money into a Roth vs. putting nothing ...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Invest in HSA outside that offered by company
Replies: 7
Views: 476

Re: Invest in HSA outside that offered by company

When you contribute outside of the HSA, yes it's technically after-tax money, but you deduct this on your tax return. I'm about to be in the same boat as you and what I plan on doing is adding another exemption to decrease my paycheck witholding, which will have a similar effect as running the contr...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 15-20% To Retire, or Setting an Exact Number
Replies: 47
Views: 6021

Re: 15-20% To Retire, or Setting an Exact Number

I like using a percentage of income and seeing everything in today's dollars. So when figuring your annual return, you could back out your 3% inflation estimate and see what you'll need to come up with $500k at retirement. You'll then be able to figure out the percentage of income needed to invest f...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car
Replies: 316
Views: 32203

Re: Flaunt Your High-Mileage Car

1997 Acura Integra with 165k on it. Bought it used with 40k on it in high school in 2004, and used my summer job money to put speakers in it. I think it's in decent shape (my wife would disagree) but I'm attached to this car and never want to give it up! My wife has a 2000 Toyota Rav 4 with 180k on ...
by dsmil
Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency Fund Placement
Replies: 10
Views: 774

Re: Emergency Fund Placement

I don't mind a plan like this at all. I have some emergency money in a short term bond fund. The chances that you have an emergency that you couldn't handle because your lifestrategy income fund dropped is pretty slim. Plus, all assets are at your disposal if there is a true emergency that you can't...
by dsmil
Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child
Replies: 114
Views: 7556

Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

My wife and I just flew from the U.S. to Italy and back with an 18 month old. We only booked two seats but the plane was empty enough so we carried on a carseat and were able to have a 3rd seat for our child in the carseat. We also gate checked our stroller. On the way back, United put us in a spot ...
by dsmil
Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Trying to fund retirement in late 20s.
Replies: 23
Views: 2570

Re: Trying to fund retirement in late 20s.

There are a couple of options here. If you are fine delaying those other goals, than throwing everything at retirement is a great idea because the more you save when you are young, the less you have to save in total. Maybe this means saving 30% of your income for a few years and then saving 12% afte...
by dsmil
Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is American Funds 20xx Target Date Retirement a good fund?
Replies: 10
Views: 719

Re: Is American Funds 20xx Target Date Retirement a good fund?

It looks like the underlying funds are actively managed, not indexes. Are there other target date funds available? Your recommendations would be pretty easy for a lazy approach to work as well, and the fees are probably lower. She could just re-balance once in awhile.
by dsmil
Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card cancellation
Replies: 3
Views: 578

Re: Credit Card cancellation

According to Million Mile Secrets, you shouldn't cancel too early because the bank might not like it. Basically they advise closing closer to the date that the fee is about to hit, rather than right after you use the points. http://millionmilesecrets.com/new-to-miles-points-start-here/#step7 "I...
by dsmil
Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Housing Payment Can a Boglehead Afford?
Replies: 90
Views: 5012

Re: How Much Housing Payment Can a Boglehead Afford?

Again, I like budgets rather than ratios, but 30% of gross income seems to be at the top of what usually works for us when looking for a new home.
by dsmil
Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Housing Payment Can a Boglehead Afford?
Replies: 90
Views: 5012

Re: How Much Housing Payment Can a Boglehead Afford?

I think the best thing to do is just put the payment into a budget and see what happens. Generally, higher income people can afford a higher percentage of income going to housing because after paying for housing, they are left with more money.
by dsmil
Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Income Tax Help - Millennial
Replies: 12
Views: 973

Re: Income Tax Help - Millennial

Getting to the top of the 15% bracket probably doesn't do much for you. You have to realize that if you are $1 into the 25% bracket, only that last dollar is taxed at 25%, not all of your income. The majority of your income would be taxed at 15%, with some also taxed at 10%. Your Roth contributions ...
by dsmil
Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you track your net worth? How long have you done so?
Replies: 110
Views: 8926

Re: Do you track your net worth? How long have you done so?

I have a spreadsheet which I update at the end of every month, and have been doing so for 2 years. I like being able to see how we've progressed over the years and it also lets me see how our emergency fund savings are doing, when I add up all cash savings and subtract credit card balances.
by dsmil
Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Critique our 2017 financial plan - mid-20’s couple
Replies: 5
Views: 840

Re: Critique our 2017 financial plan - mid-20’s couple

Everything looks good to me. 6 months of emergency money, no debt, and fully funding 2 Roths looks great. I also like your strategy of moving emergency money to the Roth in case your job situation gets shaky, so you can still max out your Roth.
by dsmil
Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: In total how much have you earned in credit card rewards?
Replies: 32
Views: 2758

Re: In total how much have you earned in credit card rewards?

About $5k worth of sign up bonuses in the 2 years that I've been chasing points and my credit score has never been higher.
by dsmil
Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with mortgage options - low rate or more credit back
Replies: 9
Views: 655

Re: Help with mortgage options - low rate or more credit back

Unless you're going to be in the house for a short period of time, the 3.25% option seems like the way to go. Your payment would be $87 less which would pay itself back in a handful of years (numbers change slightly if itemizing mortgage interest).
by dsmil
Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I keep paying extra on my house?
Replies: 9
Views: 1847

Re: Should I keep paying extra on my house?

If you know that you are going to move, I think saving the money towards the down payment is the way to go. It has the same net effect as putting it towards the mortgage, except it gives you flexibility when buying. we should make enough (yearly income) that we could easily qualify for a 2nd loan. 3...
by dsmil
Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sanity check for plan to move taxable to Roth
Replies: 5
Views: 343

Re: Sanity check for plan to move taxable to Roth

This looks like a good plan to shift everything to tax advantaged accounts.
by dsmil
Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: College Savings Plans
Replies: 11
Views: 660

Re: College Savings Plans

I also live in MD. We recently opened a Maryland 529 to use for gifts from family only. Our contributions ($350 per month per child estimate) will go into our Roth. If all goes to plan, once college rolls around, our Roth college fund will equal college costs. Of this fund, approximately 50% will be...
by dsmil
Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: reit allocation
Replies: 30
Views: 3366

Re: reit allocation

I have REIT's as 10% of my portfolio and consider it as part of my domestic stock allocation.
by dsmil
Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth it to pay extra principal towards mortgage?
Replies: 44
Views: 7180

Re: Is it worth it to pay extra principal towards mortgage?

I would not put extra money towards your mortgage since you are planning on moving in 5 years. That $300 extra per month, or the $13k lump sum that you are proposing could do some serious damage in the stock market from now until retirement. Putting that money towards your mortgage only helps you fr...
by dsmil
Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review-30 years old
Replies: 1
Views: 364

Re: Portfolio Review-30 years old

Everything looks very reasonable to me. Very low fees on those 401k funds which is great. I'm assuming that you meant to say Blackrock Equity "Index" Fund, and not "Income" Fund. FYI, I believe that 80% S&P and 20% Extended Market roughly equals Total U.S. Index funds, in cas...
by dsmil
Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?
Replies: 250
Views: 16955

Re: Does it matter what type of college one goes to?

First of all, I think that the major and grades are more important than one's school. A student with a valuable major from a state school will probably have a better time getting a job than a useless major from a top notch school. Also, even if a bigger school is less selective than a smaller and mo...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fundamental Difference in Roth and Traditional 401k
Replies: 49
Views: 3588

Re: Fundamental Difference in Roth and Traditional 401k

I always thought I understood the advantages of a Roth. Investments grow tax-free...that should be an automatic win, right? If I invest $1,000 today, and it grows to $10,000 by the time I retire, I'd rather pay taxes on the $1,000 than the $10,000, right? That is, until I read the following scenari...
by dsmil
Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 29 years old, just beginning to invest, 38k salary.
Replies: 20
Views: 3003

Re: 29 years old, just beginning to invest, 38k salary.

First off, tax brackets are mentioned a lot here and it's important to know that tax brackets have to do with taxable income, not gross income. When mentioning your tax bracket and making decisions based off of this, you will fall into the 15% bracket, not the 25% bracket. Your gross income is $38k,...
by dsmil
Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I go for 0% down, no PMI, on a mortgage in SF?
Replies: 22
Views: 1200

Re: Do I go for 0% down, no PMI, on a mortgage in SF?

I wouldn't start thinking about buying a house again just because the bank is willing to give you a loan. The banks haven't learned much from the housing crisis and are still giving loans out that they shouldn't. The bank is the one with little skin in the game because they first get the origination...
by dsmil
Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I make Roth or Traditional 401k contributions?
Replies: 5
Views: 415

Re: Should I make Roth or Traditional 401k contributions?

From your other post, it seems like you're in the 25% tax bracket (remember this is taxable income from tax return, not gross income). In the 25% bracket, most people would recommend traditional 401k contributions. But as a young person, it's nice to also fill your Roth space with emergency money, o...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest
Replies: 33
Views: 2403

Re: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest

Your mortgage payment won't be recalculated though, so you're still paying the same interest. You just might have the house paid off a few months earlier, 30 years down the line.
by dsmil
Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest
Replies: 33
Views: 2403

Re: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest

Making normal payments the PMI is going to be around for about 5 years. Our budget is fairly tight but I could probably get that down to 3yrs or less with the extra money I could put towards it. We do like the home and plan to stay - no plans short or long to move right now. Both our cars are now p...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest
Replies: 33
Views: 2403

Re: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest

Making normal payments the PMI is going to be around for about 5 years. Our budget is fairly tight but I could probably get that down to 3yrs or less with the extra money I could put towards it. We do like the home and plan to stay - no plans short or long to move right now. Both our cars are now p...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest
Replies: 33
Views: 2403

Re: Pay mortgage down (PMI) or invest

What kind of extra money per year are we talking about here? How long do you think you'll be in the house for? I'm guessing that you'll get the extra $25-30k of equity into your house in about 5 years based on normal payments. Maybe you'll find that you'd rather have some more accessible funds at yo...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Baby deals
Replies: 43
Views: 3161

Re: Baby deals

Craigslist and yard sales. You can basically buy things used, use them for a couple of years, and sell them again for a similar price. We also bought used cloth diapers (in great condition). We paid probably $300 and should be able to use them for multiple children.
by dsmil
Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What shape is your net worth curve?
Replies: 45
Views: 6416

Re: What shape is your net worth curve?

Ours has been exponentially increasing for a few years after college (good thing because we started at $-90k) and then has been and should be fairly linear in the positive direction going forward.
by dsmil
Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Bogleheads Budget?
Replies: 113
Views: 14709

Re: Do Bogleheads Budget?

We've written down everything and kept a pretty strict budget since getting married. It's helped us meet our goals as we've gone through the period of building an emergency fund and are nearing paying off student loans. I'm hoping that one day we'll only have to "budget" for our savings go...
by dsmil
Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When is a variable interest rate preferred over a fixed?
Replies: 17
Views: 1550

Re: When is a variable interest rate preferred over a fixed?

The shorter the payback time and loan amount, the less risk there is with the variable rate. I recently went with variable to refinance student loans but was getting more like a 1.5% discount, and was dealing with 1/4 of the money that you are.

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