Search found 1454 matches

by mervinj7
Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best WebSite to Keep Tabs on Mortgage Rates
Replies: 4
Views: 782

Re: Best WebSite to Keep Tabs on Mortgage Rates

Hi Bogleheads I would like to be able to keep tabs on mortgage rates/points for a variety of mortgage types (30-yr, 20-yr, etc.). I realize these vary by lender/broker and by region, but I’m looking for typical or average as a reference. What websites do you use or recommend for this purpose? Thank...
by mervinj7
Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: So Are Home Renovations Worth It (Financially) Or Not?
Replies: 105
Views: 7484

Re: So Are Home Renovations Worth It (Financially) Or Not?

Not really. Energy costs determine if installing panels makes financial sense but it doesn't change the math on if the panels add value to your house. That is all about what it would cost for me to do that same thing today. The fact that you paid 50k for panels and are saving 5k/year in energy cost...
by mervinj7
Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: So Are Home Renovations Worth It (Financially) Or Not?
Replies: 105
Views: 7484

Re: So Are Home Renovations Worth It (Financially) Or Not?

Just for rough NW calculations, I assume $2 spent on the house will bring $1 increased value. We spent a lot replacing an oil burner and end of life AC with geothermal. It cost a gazillion dollars. When the house is sold, I’m not sure that the prospective buyers will fully factor in the benefits of...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: JPM Chase Reserve Card gets more expensive
Replies: 469
Views: 41776

Re: JPM Chase Reserve Card gets more expensive

This new change has been wonderful for me. I had 94,000 UR points to use (many refunded from a cancelled March trip). I had not been taking advantage of the 5% grocery deal in May (I did not realize it was $1500 max per month) but went crazy with gift cards at Acme (owned by Safeway) where they had...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase reducing credit card limits
Replies: 127
Views: 13528

Re: Chase reducing credit card limits

Ok, so unlike many of you who don't use your card, I use mine often. But the most I've ever had on it has been a few thousand dollars and I generally pay the card before the due date so the statement balance is usually zero. Today I got a letter cutting my credit line from $38,000 to $19,000. Do I ...
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Redeeming Citi Costco rewards without visiting Costco?
Replies: 11
Views: 1770

Re: Redeeming Citi Costco rewards without visiting Costco?

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:52 pm
Here is your answer: https://customerservice.costco.com/app/ ... /related/1
Is this only for the executive 2% rebate check? I don't see a similar address for regular members with a Citi Card.
by mervinj7
Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard vs. Fidelity
Replies: 123
Views: 9475

Re: Vanguard vs. Fidelity

One way that I believe mutual ownership of Vanguard's funds helps is in how product improvements work. Generally, BlackRock and Fidelity have an incentive to create a new fund with a lower expense ratio rather than update an existing fund. An existing fund has a lot of inertia, especially in taxabl...
by mervinj7
Fri Jun 05, 2020 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase reducing credit card limits
Replies: 127
Views: 13528

Re: Chase reducing credit card limits

Just got the letter from Chase. 50% cut in the credit limit on our United card. We were planning on canceling before the next annual fee anyway (no United travel in the foreseeable future!). If that starts happening to multiple cards, I assume that our credit scores will take a hit due to the increa...
by mervinj7
Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me stop losing my mind over California HSA?
Replies: 30
Views: 2174

Re: Help me stop losing my mind over California HSA?

unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:16 pm
Can I do tax loss harvesting in my HSA? :mrgreen:
For the purposes of CA state taxes, yes you can and should.
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got toddler, good time to sell rental Duplex?
Replies: 19
Views: 1462

Re: Got toddler, good time to sell rental Duplex?

Hi, I was a little surprised to see that it appears duplexes in Minneapolis are still selling at decent prices this spring, with covid-19 and the market drop I thought real estate would as well. I now have a toddler, and a 2nd due in August. I've owned the duplex for five years, but we now live in ...
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Does every one here only have 3 funds in their portfolios?
Replies: 131
Views: 8065

Re: Does every one here only have 3 funds in their portfolios?

I just placed sell orders for all the mutual funds & ETFs that are not total stock / bond / international markets index funds. I understand that this is Bogleheads and that this is also deeply personal but is the 3 fund portfolio the norm here? I don't intend to offend anyone. We've been with this ...
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me stop losing my mind over California HSA?
Replies: 30
Views: 2174

Re: Help me stop losing my mind over California HSA?

I've been doing a pretty lazy portfolio of Total Stock (60%), International (30%), and Total Bond (10%) funds. My HSA has the same allocation within it. I'm 28 so I'm pretty focused on growth. Your lazy portfolio looks good. It's very similar to mine. I also have HSA (Fidelity) in CA. I looked at t...
by mervinj7
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

TXGator wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:26 am
I've got a 30 yr jumbo at 4.875% that closed about 16 months ago; all these low 3 / sub 3 rates are making me green with envy! :annoyed
Yikes. Why haven't you refinanced already? In your position, I would have done three no-cost refinances in the last 16 months.
by mervinj7
Sun May 31, 2020 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best watch for around $5,000? [Archived]
Replies: 1479
Views: 324055

Re: A Rolex Watch Story

Bogleheads: In 1945, at the end of the war in Europe, I was sent to Switzerland to represent the 101st Airborne Division in a United States Army swimming meet. I had received back-pay so I had a considerable amount of money to spend (I never thought about saving). I wanted to send something to my M...
by mervinj7
Fri May 29, 2020 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 Savings Promo
Replies: 108
Views: 13157

Re: Capital One 360 Savings Promo

well that was a disappointing phone call. Just got off the phone with capital one customer service and they said since I already had capital one savings accounts opened, I'm ineligible for this SCORE500 promo. didnt realize this was only for new customers. guess I have to learn to read the fine pri...
by mervinj7
Fri May 29, 2020 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Buying Voo - Robinhood or Vanguard?
Replies: 41
Views: 1785

Re: Buying Voo - Robinhood or Vanguard?

I don't understand the need to buy fractional shares of an ETF since you can always put any amount into an index fund at Fidelity/Vanguard/Schwab or similar. It only seems useful if you wanted to buy individual stocks (or narrow-focused ETFs), and that's not the question here (and not advised here ...
by mervinj7
Fri May 29, 2020 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Buying Voo - Robinhood or Vanguard?
Replies: 41
Views: 1785

Re: Buying Voo - Robinhood or Vanguard?

Would someone mind explaining how people are getting hurt by the bid/ask spreads on these ETFs? ETFs like VOO, VTI, SPY are trading so frequently that I’ve never seen this to be an issue, especially using limit orders. Occasionally, one pays a premium to NAV, or could pay a premium. I think the iss...
by mervinj7
Fri May 29, 2020 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I am purchasing a new home and we are set to close mid June. I bought the home for 890 and am putting 10% down. In order to secure the rate, I had to transfer 100k cash to the bank. For this jumbo loan, I received 3%, 0 points, and a .25% credit towards closing costs which are at approximately 14,0...
by mervinj7
Thu May 28, 2020 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: JPM Chase Reserve Card gets more expensive
Replies: 469
Views: 41776

Re: JPM Chase Reserve Card gets more expensive

They have officially kept the renewal fee down at the $450 for remainder of year as of this morning: https://thepointsguy.com/news/sapphire-reserve-annual-fee-credit-coronavirus/ Excellent. I was planning on cancelling the card because of our reduced/non-existent travel plans. However, $300 travel ...
by mervinj7
Wed May 27, 2020 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Target Adds TIPS?
Replies: 67
Views: 4379

Re: Vanguard Target Adds TIPS?

I don't think Vanguard has ever actually explained why they don't include TIPS earlier in their glide path. Although I think their approach to bonds in the Target Retirement funds is "fine", it honestly doesn't make much sense. Their explanation can be found here: https://www.vanguard.com/pdf/s167....
by mervinj7
Wed May 27, 2020 10:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Target Adds TIPS?
Replies: 67
Views: 4379

Re: Vanguard Target Adds TIPS?

Can someone please explain why Vanguard adds TIPS only upon retirement age to their Target Retirement funds? What is it about TIPS and/or Vanguard's view on TIPS that only makes them appropriate in one's deccumulation phase? Are TIPS in Vanguard's TBM as part of its treasurys holdings? You can find...
by mervinj7
Tue May 26, 2020 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity HSA - 2 fund Vanguard or 2 fund fidelity ZERO fee?
Replies: 19
Views: 1093

Re: Fidelity HSA - 2 fund Vanguard or 2 fund fidelity ZERO fee?

I have a Fidelity HSA. I have seen some posts saying that the vanguard funds have performed better then the fidelity ZERO funds, but Fidelity ZERO funds have zero fees. I'm thinking of a 60/40 split between the US total market and international. Which way would be the most beneficial for me? I cont...
by mervinj7
Tue May 26, 2020 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car shopping PHEV / ICE / or all electric?
Replies: 75
Views: 6200

Re: Car shopping PHEV / ICE / or all electric?

As a bonus, I was able (I am a EE) to rig it up so I can connect a small inverter and patch that into the home electrical panel during power outages (kinda like a generator, with the usual caveats about interlock so as not to energize dead power lines and endangering linepersons). It can support so...
by mervinj7
Mon May 25, 2020 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help understanding Credit Utilization (new to credit cards)
Replies: 15
Views: 751

Re: Help understanding Credit Utilization (new to credit cards)

Credit utilization is calculated when they send you the bill. Not necessarily, I have a credit card that reports on the last calendar day of each month (which is not the same as the statement date). Thanks, all! So, is there any reason not to pay off any charges the moment they show on my balance? ...
by mervinj7
Mon May 25, 2020 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Instant Pot users here?
Replies: 165
Views: 20113

Re: Any Instant Pot users here?

I already commented, but I wish that rim on the main unit outside the stainless steel pot was easier to clean. I put the rest (sealing ring, lid, SS pot) in the dishwasher. I wrap a skewer or skinny end of a small utensil in a paper towel and that kind of does the job but it could be easier. Given ...
by mervinj7
Mon May 25, 2020 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Instant Pot users here?
Replies: 165
Views: 20113

Re: Any Instant Pot users here?

One safety note with dried beans: Kidney beans, particularly red kidney beans, cannellini beans, broad beans, and some other bean varieties have a toxin that MUST be cooked to an internal temperature of 100C (boiling) for at least 10 minutes to neutralize the toxin. Tests have showed that 80C (slow...
by mervinj7
Sun May 24, 2020 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Instant Pot users here?
Replies: 165
Views: 20113

Re: Any Instant Pot users here?

ruhigste wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:00 am
bampf wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:50 am
Love it. Do it.
+2
+3 Use it 3-4 times a week.
For cleaning, I stick the steel insert and rubber ring into the dishwasher. I don't remove any small pieces like someone mentioned above. Easy peasy.
This week, we made lentils, beef short ribs, pork ribs, egg curry, and mint chicken soup.
by mervinj7
Sat May 23, 2020 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I just wanted to share an amazing rate I just locked. Apparently UWM has new insane pricing.. I just locked in a 30 year conventional loan for 2.875% . And its better than no cost - covering all costs plus also $1,000 of my escrow payment . This is in AZ. I would suggest finding a broker that works...
by mervinj7
Sat May 23, 2020 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car shopping PHEV / ICE / or all electric?
Replies: 75
Views: 6200

Re: Car shopping PHEV / ICE / or all electric?

As a bonus, I was able (I am a EE) to rig it up so I can connect a small inverter and patch that into the home electrical panel during power outages (kinda like a generator, with the usual caveats about interlock so as not to energize dead power lines and endangering linepersons). It can support so...
by mervinj7
Fri May 22, 2020 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Does fidelity have a total world stock for their HSA?
Replies: 10
Views: 586

Re: Does fidelity have a total world stock for their HSA?

Stop worrying and learn to love ETFs. Then you can buy VT at no cost in your Fidelity HSA. It does show VT as an option. It says I can't sell my current mutual fund and transfer into it. I have to sell all my shares of FFLEX, then after the sale I can use them to buy Vanguard VT through Fidelity. T...
by mervinj7
Fri May 22, 2020 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Does fidelity have a total world stock for their HSA?
Replies: 10
Views: 586

Re: Does fidelity have a total world stock for their HSA?

I have a 100% VTWAX for my Roth IRA. My Fidelity HSA is in FFLEX. I changed my Roth IRA to not have any bonds for more aggressive growth compared to the target date fund. Does Fidelity have something that's low cost and similar to VTWAX? I have 20 years of growth before retirement and am completely...
by mervinj7
Thu May 21, 2020 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 Savings Promo
Replies: 108
Views: 13157

Re: Capital One 360 Savings Promo

I haven’t gone through the registration process yet to open an account. Once I create the account can I deposit a check by taking a picture of it? I can with BoA and Fidelity. They do allow mobile check deposit but at most $5000 day. If you're aiming for the highest bonus (deposit of $50000), you'd...
by mervinj7
Thu May 21, 2020 12:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 Savings Promo
Replies: 108
Views: 13157

Re: Capital One 360 Savings Promo

I haven’t gone through the registration process yet to open an account. Once I create the account can I deposit a check by taking a picture of it? I can with BoA and Fidelity. They do allow mobile check deposit but at most $5000 day. If you're aiming for the highest bonus (deposit of $50000), you'd...
by mervinj7
Wed May 20, 2020 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safely disinfecting frozen food packages from corona virus?
Replies: 51
Views: 3773

Re: Safely disinfecting frozen food packages from corona virus?

Diluted bleach spray on a paper towel. Wipe, air dry 30 seconds, place in fridge.
by mervinj7
Tue May 19, 2020 11:59 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Paying ETF Expense Ratios EXPLAINED
Replies: 6
Views: 555

Re: Paying ETF Expense Ratios EXPLAINED

Please help me understand the mechanics of this. I'm very overwhelmed trying to learn about this. :shock: :shock: :shock: Thanks! Welcome, new investor. If you are overwhelmed, might I suggest a three fund portfolio? It's all the rage here and you don't need to keep buying and selling out of the po...
by mervinj7
Tue May 19, 2020 5:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Where to park cash in Fidelity?
Replies: 94
Views: 9846

Re: Where to park cash in Fidelity?

I also use VZDXX. Requires a high initial deposit but you need not maintain the balance. It used to be quite competitive with online banks, but no longer. So now I keep up to about $10K in VZDXX for expenses (I use Fidelity as my main checking account), and the rest in a high yield online account f...
by mervinj7
Tue May 19, 2020 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Need some tips/guidance here please: I am on a 30 year fixed at 3.5%. Loan dates back to 2012. Was a refinance on the original loan from 2010. So I "lost" 2 years. But it was well worth it! Balance is around $130K. Home value is around $350K. Excellent credit score. AZ based. Goals: I don't want to...
by mervinj7
Mon May 18, 2020 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Holding cash the right choice?
Replies: 17
Views: 2449

Re: Holding cash the right choice?

Actual cash I know folks who keep between $500 to $3k in hard cash at home. Sometimes in a safe, sometimes not. Anything more than that can (and should be) in something safer like a HYS or local bank. If the purpose of the Emergency Fund is to help you sleep better at night, I certainly would NOT f...
by mervinj7
Mon May 18, 2020 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I just closed at 3.25% jumbo on a new home loan at the end of April. It’s a 85% ltv, and came with serious lender credits (paid all closing costs). Required 200k in asset based relationship money. Should I already be looking to refinance? I could bring loan below the conforming 765k or bring ltv to...
by mervinj7
Mon May 18, 2020 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track
Replies: 17
Views: 2197

Re: How to convince amazon.com - Spending is difficult and confusing to track

Would the order history report give you what you want? https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201983330 Very cool feature! Didn't realize they had an export to Excel option. The report does have: Customizable Date Option (e.g. last month, YTD) Items categorized Payment Method L...
by mervinj7
Sat May 16, 2020 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worth refinancing?
Replies: 18
Views: 1071

Re: Worth refinancing?

800 FICO and that rate seems off, unless debt-to-income or something else is going on... i know it might be very location dependent and weird underwriting factors, but I am almost closing on a refi from 30 year 3.875 to 15 year 2.875 with $160 out of pocket when all is said and done... probably cou...
by mervinj7
Fri May 15, 2020 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Well, that was fast. I received an email from Chase offering to lower my rate without a refi, but when I clicked through the link it said the website was temporarily unavailable. So, planning to try again later tonight to see what comes up. I also received a 2nd email from Chase offering to refinan...
by mervinj7
Wed May 13, 2020 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deciding on refinance, confused about closing costs
Replies: 9
Views: 1033

Re: Deciding on refinance, confused about closing costs

I have the below charges under C. Services You can shop for TITLE - Closing Protection Letter - $50 TITLE - Documentation Preparation - $100 TITLE - Lender's Title Policy - $475 TITLE - Settlement / Closing Charges - $675 How can I shop for the last two charges? I am in Metro Atlanta area You can c...
by mervinj7
Tue May 12, 2020 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Buying 2nd home: Mortgage or HELOC?
Replies: 3
Views: 472

Re: Buying 2nd home: Mortgage or HELOC?

My question is do I go the standard 30 year mortgage route, paying a fixed 3.5% and some points and origination, etc. fees. Or do I simply tap into my primary home HELOC and pay 2.9% variable rate, understanding that rate could change but betting it won't be too big a swing -- and if it does, given...
by mervinj7
Sun May 10, 2020 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee-grounds/beans/leftover - uses in garden besides compost
Replies: 10
Views: 1444

Re: Coffee-grounds/beans/leftover - uses in garden besides compost

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/techniques/coffee-grounds-composting I agree with most of the info above. However, I've seen no evidence they repel slugs. I dump half the grounds each week into a compost tumbler along with banana peels, and finely crushed eggshells. The other half I dire...
by mervinj7
Sat May 09, 2020 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $2 million dollar house pre requisites
Replies: 109
Views: 10004

Re: $2 million dollar house pre requisites

My rules of thumb: 1. You should have enough in liquid assets to buy the house in cash 2. The value of your house should not be more than half of your total net worth. The lower this proportion is, the better. So in your case, you should have at least $4 million in liquid net worth to be able to af...
by mervinj7
Sat May 09, 2020 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $2 million dollar house pre requisites
Replies: 109
Views: 10004

Re: $2 million dollar house pre requisites

OP, last time you posted the same question, it was for a $1.5M house. Has your hypothetical situation changed?
If you were not happy with the answers you got before, it's probably better to use your own specific situation.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=297035&p=4880299#p4880299
by mervinj7
Fri May 08, 2020 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 2893
Views: 224980

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

So I'm coming down the home stretch as I'm out of underwriting and awaiting my closing disclosures. I'm still able to switch my options if I so choose. With the numbers in play now that my title stuff is completed, I am looking at the following: Rate Points Breakeven* Closing Costs^ ------ ------ -...
by mervinj7
Thu May 07, 2020 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: keep emergency cash at local bank?
Replies: 26
Views: 1286

Re: keep emergency cash at local bank?

Maybe I'm missing something. When does one ever need $5k in hard cash immediately within minutes outside of normal banking hours? I can't think of a single situation that's within reason. $5k in hard cash? I see your point for having actual cash. If I needed that much cash, I would likely have adva...