Search found 645 matches

by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: France with a 10 month old
Replies: 30
Views: 3478

Re: France with a 10 month old

One thing to consider is that the window of ages in which traveling is _very_ difficult is relatively short, and you might already be in that window. We had a TERRIBLE trip with our son when he was at 8 months. He's now almost three years old. By contrast, we traveled this past Christmas, and he was...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: UPDATE - Home Affordability - Good Income, Luxury Home
Replies: 34
Views: 4419

Re: Home Affordability - Good Income, Luxury Home

I would not feel comfortable blowing up to $600K on a house at your income level. Unexpected bad stuff has a way of happening - been there and done that. The amount you choose to spend on a house now will go a long way toward dictating the level of your financial success in the future. You're talki...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: UPDATE - Home Affordability - Good Income, Luxury Home
Replies: 34
Views: 4419

Re: Home Affordability - Good Income, Luxury Home

OP - sounds like this will be a brand new home? If so, I think it all makes sense in the $600k ballpark. You will still have higher maintenance costs than what you have now, but it won't be as bad as if you bought, say, a home originally built in 1947 (as my wife and I did.... it's a beautiful, uniq...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Equity Loan-Wells Fargo charging $500 to quit!
Replies: 49
Views: 6971

Re: Home Equity Loan-Wells Fargo charging $500 to quit!

Wow! The price of cost-effective banking would now appear to require eternal vigilance. Shawcroft Yes, it seems the price of cost-effective everything these days requires eternal vigilance. This is a hot-button issue for me and my wife. In the past year, (1) we've been double-charged on a co-pay fr...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: college related advice for 11th grader
Replies: 180
Views: 19298

Re: college related advice for 11th grader

that is amazing about Princeton, Leeraer. I am processing my thoughts about that and will write back later. That was then, the last half of the 1970s in Mechanical / Aerospace Engineering. Students were admitted to the graduate school, not for a particular degree. L. Went to Princeton for undergrad...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: School District Not Allowing me To Invest
Replies: 82
Views: 10023

Re: School District Not Allowing me To Invest

Just a comment about switching districts: it's not necessarily a nuclear option. Over the years, my wife has switched from Hawaii to California to Virginia (all public school districts). In Hawaii, she was not vested and still received a small cash payout. In California, she was kind-of vested (long...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me put some sense in a senior relative's head
Replies: 24
Views: 1962

Re: Please help me put some sense in a senior relative's hea

I strongly agree with the responses above. She is 80. It is very understandable if she doesn't want to spend her remaining time in this world dealing with investing / finances. A few percentage points makes less of an impact by then. As long as she has enough to live her life the way she wants to, t...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Should You Count Social Security as a Bond?"
Replies: 75
Views: 5089

Re: "Should You Count Social Security as a Bond?"

I have really enjoyed the contributions of Professor Emeritus in this thread. Professor brings an interesting twist to the two most appropriate meta-criticisms of this entire, stale topic: 1. "SS as bond" is really just semantic. Everyone on this board agrees and understands that SS should be consid...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discoveries with my new Paperwhite
Replies: 21
Views: 2445

Re: Discoveries with my new Paperwhite

Use your local public library. I can't remember the last time I bought a book for my Kindle. Huge +1 for the library. At our public library, once you register, you can check out up to 7 ebooks at a time, and you can put ebooks on hold. One of the formats is kindle, so the library sends you a link d...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child-Care Credit
Replies: 11
Views: 900

Re: Child-Care Credit

The above responses answer your question, but I can't resist a comment. It surprised me when I realized "Child care expenses are deductible" really means, "Child care expenses are deductible up to a relatively small cap." For many parents, this is a significant piece of information in the overall pe...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on having kids?
Replies: 101
Views: 5787

Re: Thoughts on having kids?

My wife and I have young kids. We waited until our 30s to start. It is a lot of work, but we love it. I suspect we would have loved it a bit less had we started earlier. Parenthood involves a ton of sacrifices, but those sacrifices seem smaller when you've already traveled extensively, had work achi...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Finishing a Basement
Replies: 30
Views: 3924

Re: Finishing a Basement

investingdad wrote: - no water or moisture problems
Make absolutely, absolutely sure on this point. Sounds like you've lived in the house for awhile, so maybe your confidence is more warranted than ours was.
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Gift to young adult relatives
Replies: 30
Views: 2695

Re: Gift to young adult relatives

In many families, "forced learning" is not necessarily well-received. My wife and I are currently in the process of selling a sort-of-inherited investment property. We have no need to sell, and it generates slightly positive cash flow, but it is just a pain. The taxes and maintenance are more than o...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stupid Things Finance People Say
Replies: 27
Views: 3384

Re: Stupid Things Finance People Say

"More buyers than sellers." This is the equivalent of saying someone has more mothers than fathers. There's one buyer and one seller for every trade. Every single one Really? If one person is unloading a block of 1 million shares and it's being bought in small chunks by 100 different buyers does th...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grade 4. Writing Reading. Goal. "Exceed the Grade Level".
Replies: 50
Views: 4479

Re: Grade 4. Writing Reading. Goal. "Exceed the Grade Level"

My suggestions for OP, further to the many good comments from others: 1. Go to the local public library at least once a week, if not more. Borrow books for yourself, not just for her, and read them. 2. Continue to model and encourage reading. Don't worry about the subject matter. Even reading "easy"...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pregnant wife's healthcare option selection
Replies: 23
Views: 2394

Re: Pregnant wife's healthcare option selection

Gold seems like by far the best choice. The others all have less than 90/10 coverage, and the difference in premiums is not huge. If you had a more expensive "100/0" option, you would probably pick that. Just to give you one example, our first kid decided to come out five weeks early and quickly dip...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living in Arlington, VA
Replies: 63
Views: 4560

Re: Living in Arlington, VA

There really are no tricks any more (route diversions, day of the week etc.) - traffic is really bad around here (northern VA/DC) all the time, every day, citing Route 66 in particular. I've encountered traffic jams heading *west* on 66 on Sunday mornings. Go figure. Colossal, epic failure of urban...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 250k Student Loan Payment Schedule
Replies: 67
Views: 11012

Re: 250k Student Loan Payment Schedule

OP - Good luck! I was in your shoes, although it was 12 years ago. Can't believe how time flies. My student loan debt was just a tick over $100,000, not nearly as bad as yours, but obviously higher education costs have skyrocketed. Many of my friends (even with the biglaw jobs) opted for NJ or Brook...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Marginal tax rate per turbotax lower than expected?
Replies: 18
Views: 1693

Re: Marginal tax rate per turbotax lower than expected?

In practice, virtually no marginal dollar will get taxed at the "Marginal Tax Rate" listed in the tables. All the various factors (some of which are mentioned by Bob's not my name, above) are just too complicated. Based on the numbers you gave, I am guessing you have a lot of charitable deductions. ...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filing quarterly tax returns when retired
Replies: 18
Views: 1644

Re: Filing quarterly tax returns when retired

The first time I ever filed estimated quarterly taxes, years ago, I spent multiple hours doing the calculations, because I thought I had to submit all the documentation. (I am a self-employed contractor.) Now I have e-accounts for both federal and state. I simply do a quick back-of-the-envelope calc...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Claiming Decision Psychology
Replies: 10
Views: 1558

Re: Social Security Claiming Decision Psychology

PJW - I enjoyed your post, but if you want to really get into the muck, even a simple savings account has exactly the same features you attribute to "modestly-complex financial assets," right? As you imply, each dollar that sits in a savings account represents a store of value. That store of value g...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DB Pension + solo 401k +Backdoor Roth, worried about parents
Replies: 7
Views: 1004

Re: DB Pension + solo 401k +Backdoor Roth, worried about par

You seem well-intentioned, but my two cents is that you should tread lightly and remember it's their money (and their choices), not yours. Focus on your own finances, which is all you can control. Even if they may try to listen to you, what they may perceive is that you are concerned about inheritan...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences
Replies: 95
Views: 8080

Re: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences

You make $180k a year. There will be financial consequences, but you won't be in the poor house. Actually they don't have a house, poor or other. They're renters. And despite having subsidized rent they still have no money saved for even a starter home. Take $70,000 of that $180,000 away and add th...
by NoVa Lurker
Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring
Replies: 20
Views: 2501

Re: How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring

Thanks everyone. We are definitely keeping the radiant heating - we love it, especially compared with the other options for our old house. We did not get the water backup endorsement to our homeowners; I guess that is my mistake, but nothing we can do about that now. Based on the language of the rel...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring
Replies: 20
Views: 2501

Re: How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring

Thanks for the replies so far. Both raise points we hadn't fully thought out.
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring
Replies: 20
Views: 2501

How to Approach Getting New Wood Flooring

For reasons explained below, we suddenly learned that we need to completely replace the wood floors in our entry/living room area ASAP. We currently have engineered hardwood, and we're looking for either real hardwood or very high-quality engineered wood. I'd like to get general views on the best ap...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bucket list - what's done, what's meh and what's left to do?
Replies: 46
Views: 5351

Re: Bucket list - what's done, what's meh and what's left to

I don't subscribe to the "life as tourist consumption" theory. The whole concept of places you "must" see is, when you think about it, a concept that serves those who have blockbuster places to sell. When we visited Oregon, we saw Crater Lake, and duly said "Wow!" and I don't mean to undervalue tha...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Market Linked CD
Replies: 6
Views: 649

Re: Market Linked CD

It is a good rule to not invest in things you don't understand :) You can look on Wikipedia or do a Google search to learn more about market-linked CDs. But you absolutely need to understand the particulars of the product US Bank is offering you. For example: What is FDIC insured? (At best, only the...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car advice needed with baby on the way
Replies: 10
Views: 1206

Re: Car advice needed with baby on the way

For the IS250, I would definitely suggest a center-seat installation using the seat belt, assuming there's no LATCH anchors specifically designed for the center seat. You can use a towel or two to level it underneath. When our first was born, we did a center-seat install for a Graco SnugRide car sea...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:04 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Olen: "The reason home ownership worked"
Replies: 30
Views: 4904

Re: Olen: "The reason home ownership worked"

I think everyone should have the Herengracht index as part of their mental furniture: almost four centuries of real estate prices in Amsterdam. http://i43.tinypic.com/25tkq2p.jpg Someone in who bought in 1775 would have had to wait a century; someone who bought in 1725 would still be waiting. Notic...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off home?
Replies: 63
Views: 5908

Re: Pay off home?

OP - If you are fully funding your retirement, you have an adequate emergency fund, and no other debts, and you don't foresee any other uses for that money, then I agree with Twins Fan that paying off the 4.65% mortgage is probably your best use of these funds. I think you've somewhat understood wha...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What percent of your assets are kept offshore?
Replies: 15
Views: 1553

Re: What percent of your assets are kept offshore?

None.

"Just in case" of what? There are reasons to keep assets offshore, but none of them are worthwhile in my case, or I've addressed the risks in other ways.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I get the bank to allow me to rent out my place?
Replies: 20
Views: 2937

Re: Can I get the bank to allow me to rent out my place?

"... at least one year after the date of occupancy ..." [emphasis added] When did you actually first occupy this property? To be on the safe side, you could ask an attorney how "occupancy" is determined. The wording doesn't specify "from date of financing". RM OP - did you see this very good point?...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 or payoff investment property?
Replies: 15
Views: 1201

Re: 529 or payoff investment property?

OP - it's funny, we are in a very similar position to you (an investment property; debating over whether to max the 529s for the state tax benefits; and an interest rate on a 15-yr fixed for our primary home that makes us very happy). Our plan is to sell the investment property within the next 1-2 y...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LASIK
Replies: 14
Views: 1450

Re: LASIK

I had LASIK from LASIK Plus about five years ago, in my early 30s. My vision was about the same as yours, and the cost was about what you are paying (I actually thought it would be cheaper by now, but I haven't paid attention since I had mine done). I had no complications and was fully recovered wit...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Affordability - Your Rules of Thumb May Help Us
Replies: 34
Views: 4052

Re: Home Affordability - Your Rules of Thumb May Help Us

I would be nervous with those numbers, especially with the uncertainty over selling both the rental and your primary home in order to cover the downpayment (I assume some of your principal home's equity is also going to be used for the downpayment?) At a minimum, I would sell the rental first and co...
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unpaid fee from before we purchased house
Replies: 15
Views: 1775

Re: Unpaid fee from before we purchased house

You noted it was addressed to the sellers. Did you open it accidentally?
by NoVa Lurker
Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving brother out of Mom's house
Replies: 26
Views: 5227

Re: Moving brother out of Mom's house

If OP comes back -- who has been maintaining the house recently? It would surprise me if it's your 89-year-old mother and 57-year-old brother, based on what you have told us, even if "house" means a condo/townhome with an HOA.
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which year does the 401k contribution belong to?
Replies: 16
Views: 7055

Re: Which year does the 401k contribution belong to?

Carefully reviewing the details in the first paycheck of the year, I noticed something interesting: Even though the first paycheck of 2013 is for my work pay period ending in 2012, the 401k YTD contribution went up for 2013. In other words, the first paycheck of 2013 is to pay for my services in la...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you put down all cash on a home purchase?
Replies: 35
Views: 4786

Re: Would you put down all cash on a home purchase?

Thanks for the good info/responses. So, after some calculations, it appears that I have enough cap. losses to cover any gains realized to free up enough cash to complete this. Not a tax expert, but I believe that if your marginal tax rate is higher than the cap gains tax rate, using capital losses ...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRA for teenager's summer job?
Replies: 11
Views: 1218

Re: IRA for teenager's summer job?

He grossed about $1300 and netted a little over $1000 after deductions for FICA and Medicare. [...] It certainly seems like a bit of a buzzkill not to be able to touch your first ever earnings for what must seem like forever to a fifteen year old... To me, it's sufficient for kids to simply draw th...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 75% equity is max?
Replies: 48
Views: 7644

Re: 75% equity is max?

Stonebr wrote:FWIW I think 80% equities is lunacy -- but that's just me. I realize there are other people out there with more job security or family wealth to fall back on.
Or pensions.
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELOC to buy vacation home..thoughts?
Replies: 76
Views: 7263

Re: HELOC to buy vacation home..thoughts?

If you do it, why use a HELOC? Why not just get a much cheaper mortgage on your primary house, and use the loan proceeds buy the second home outright? If your primary home is worth $225k, it should be no problem to borrow $135k against it. For example, do a fixed rate 15-yr loan on your primary home...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do I owe my children?
Replies: 119
Views: 12961

Re: What do I owe my children?

Nowizard wrote:There is also the dynamic of the feelings of my wife to consider should there be a difference of opinion.
Tim
Notwithstanding the advice above -- if your wife feels differently, you can try to persuade her, but ultimately, do what your wife wants!!
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do I owe my children?
Replies: 119
Views: 12961

Re: What do I owe my children?

OP - I wouldn't normally advise this, but you may be the rare case where it makes sense to talk LESS about finances with your kids, at this point. First, you no longer owe either of them anything financially. If you don't need the $32k loan repaid and you want to forgive it, then forgive it. At this...
by NoVa Lurker
Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 21 days in Europe - what would you recommend?
Replies: 44
Views: 4003

Re: 21 days in Europe - what would you recommend?

Have you decided exactly which pass you'll be getting (i.e., global, select, etc.)? Or is that still open, pending finalizing which countries you will want to see? I am not up-to-speed on the Eurail Passes, but I know there are a lot of options, and you don't want to pay for more days or options tha...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spreadsheets [Net Worth]
Replies: 34
Views: 5387

Re: Spreadsheets [Net Worth]

Keep in mind that when you calculate net worth you need to figure the taxes you owe on tax deferred accounts like 401-K, traditional IRA, etc. I considere these liabilities. ~Tom I take a similar approach. And for the home value, it's (1) current market value minus (2) 10% closing costs minus (3) o...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age 24: How should I allocate my excess cash flow?
Replies: 19
Views: 2046

Re: Age 24: How should I allocate my excess cash flow?

OP, I like your approach for the most part. Congrats on the job and relatively modest expenses. A few questions for you to consider: 1. Any chance you will go back to school, or are you planning to work indefinitely? If you might go back to school, there are a number of different considerations (e.g...
by NoVa Lurker
Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost job - can I retire now
Replies: 39
Views: 7196

Re: lost job - can I retire now

Hi, XSAS, Sorry about losing your job. For what it's worth, I agree with folks about filing for unemployment, but I don't think you should decide right now about retiring or not retiring. You have about enough, and that alone should make you comfortable. Based on personal experience, I think you sh...
by NoVa Lurker
Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Yet another home downpayment location Q
Replies: 2
Views: 330

Re: Yet another home downpayment location Q

If I were you, I would keep it where it is. However, you would probably want to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see the difference in interest income over the next 12-18 months, assuming interest rates don't change, before you do anything (or decide not to). Of course, interest rates could ...