Search found 229 matches

by robphoto
Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering porcelain flooring that looks like wood
Replies: 12
Views: 689

Re: Considering porcelain flooring that looks like wood

If you think there's a strong chance of flooding, remember that if you get a big flood you may have to pull the subfloor and walls up to above the floodline, irrespective of whether the floor surfacing is ruined or not.

Also be sure you're ok with the rock-hardness of tile for walking and living on.
by robphoto
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?
Replies: 90
Views: 3299

Re: Should I buy a SLR camera without a built in flash?

Do you have a real good phone? I'm a professional photographer, and for the kind of photos you list, I can't get better photos with my big cameras (without lighting and setup) than with my Samsung Galaxy S10 phone. (has ultra wild, wide, and "portrait" lenses) I think with modern DSLR, or ...
by robphoto
Mon Mar 29, 2021 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I reconsider Solar? Did I miss the boat?
Replies: 31
Views: 2264

Re: Should I reconsider Solar? Did I miss the boat?

We did solar a couple of years ago and it's working well for us. I suggest you get three quotes now, you'll get your answer on the costs, and can make your decision. In our state there were options for the structure of the billing, and the related rates and rebates (net metering vs. buying and selli...
by robphoto
Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Transferring entire 500k taxable account to Bitcoin?
Replies: 169
Views: 9825

Re: Transferring entire 500k taxable account to Bitcoin?

My favorite aspect of this, is that, " I invested $20. and lost the whole investment; I think I should put half a million dollars into this!"

Hard to believe it's not at some level a troll.
by robphoto
Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Desperately asking for help - Thank you!
Replies: 39
Views: 5407

Re: Desperately asking for help - Thank you!

If you still have money to invest, consider an all-in-one fund like Vanguard Lifestrategy Moderate Growth which is 60% bonds. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/portfolio/vsmgx Life Strategy Moderate Growth is 60% Stocks I can see in the original post, that when the account goes dow...
by robphoto
Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too
Replies: 211
Views: 12410

Re: National Reputation of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)? other input welcome too

Interesting topic--don't know if any of this is relevant-- -- one of my cousins is a WPI graduate, he's doing well as an aeronautical engineer in California -- I spent two years at MIT in engineering, and left for art school (still ended up with plenty of money). That's one thing about a tech school...
by robphoto
Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health insurance in retirement - suggestions ?
Replies: 20
Views: 1484

Re: health insurance in retirement - suggestions ?

We only had to cover ages 62-65, but it cost us about 900. a month each for two, so about 22,000. per year. The 1700. per month for one person cited above seems high, and I'm in a mid-high cost state (RI). I'd talk to the local Blue Cross people about plans, and unless your income goes way down you ...
by robphoto
Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need new tires?
Replies: 106
Views: 4683

Re: Do I need new tires?

Rule #1 about purchasing new tires: Never, ever purchase them from a car dealer. Go to a local tire shop instead.
I agree it's time for new tires, but I'd say get an all-in quote from the dealer and your local discount tire source; in our case the Toyota dealer was cheaper.
by robphoto
Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Nate Silver sums up trying to beat the market very well
Replies: 105
Views: 14330

Re: Nate Silver sums up trying to beat the market very well

My "strategy" is to buy the stocks of companies whose products I enjoy using. Then, never sell. Had I bought AAPL when I bought my first Mac, I'd be on Easy Street today. However, it also would have tested my patience by significantly underperforming the market for a few periods in time. ...
by robphoto
Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amica offer discount for low annual mileage vehicles?
Replies: 6
Views: 704

Re: Amica offer discount for low annual mileage vehicles?

Their phone people are usually very helpful and knowledgeable; I think if you call with a specific scenario they can quote you for two different mileage ranges if you want that.
by robphoto
Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ikea Hack Desktop - What Top to Use?
Replies: 9
Views: 1112

Re: Ikea Hack Desktop - What Top to Use?

Depending on how heavy your monitor, etc. is, you might want to get one of the Ikea work table arrangements that has a metal frame across underneath. I used the Linmon top for a desk with an iMac on it, it developed a swayback which I fixed by fastening a 2x4 underneath across its length. Bekant is ...
by robphoto
Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 6 years Retired now 56 please review looking for suggestions.
Replies: 41
Views: 8576

Re: 6 years Retired now 56 please review looking for suggestions.

It seems tight to me to have a family with 4 kids and an 800,000 house, health insurance, taxes, etc. and run the whole thing on 96,000. a year. If you can really do that with no hiccups, unforeseen circumstances, etc. then the 2.5 M could cover that at a 4% return. Too close for my taste. In my vie...
by robphoto
Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traditional IRA rebalance
Replies: 2
Views: 136

Re: Traditional IRA rebalance

If you sell the fund within the Traditional IRA, it's not a taxable event if the money stays within the IRA (typically in a money market "settlement account." The advantage of the Target date fund is that you aren't tempted to mess with it when one asset class or another looks good or bad....
by robphoto
Mon Feb 08, 2021 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard LifeStrategy vs. Paying for Tax Loss Harvesting
Replies: 16
Views: 1636

Re: Vanguard LifeStrategy vs. Paying for Tax Loss Harvesting

You say that you have no other accounts beyond your Roth IRA available because you're an independent contractor, but you should be able to do a Traditional and/or Roth Solo 401K, if you're a sole proprietor.
by robphoto
Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using an unlicensed painting contractor? (California)
Replies: 49
Views: 2118

Re: Using an unlicensed painting contractor? (California)

I would hire the licensed contractor for the Worker's Compensation Insurance alone.

You don't want to deal with on unlicensed contractor's casual laborer falling and coming after you for damages.
by robphoto
Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Your mental "tricks" to avoid doing dumb things?
Replies: 73
Views: 5288

Re: Your mental "tricks" to avoid doing dumb things?

When stocks are going down, I'm following my stock/bond balance closely, eager for the chance buy at a "bargain" when it hits the 5% band.

A mental trick, but feels a lot better than sweating over the decline.
by robphoto
Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Would you rebalance? Time to update IPS?
Replies: 12
Views: 1081

Re: Would you rebalance? Time to update IPS?

You could look at it as your target allocation is 39% domestic stock, 26% international stock, 40% bonds. You are now 45% domestic stock, 23% international stock, 32% bonds. That way it's clear what you need to buy and sell. If you really don't like to buy and sell to balance, I'd consider the recom...
by robphoto
Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All In One Computer?
Replies: 56
Views: 3211

Re: All In One Computer?

I think an all-in-one would be great for your dad. You don't have to deal with a camera, speakers, etc., takes up less space, should be fine for what he wants to do. With wireless keyboard, mouse, and internet you've just got one cord into the wall. I use a 27" iMac, but I wouldn't move someone...
by robphoto
Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar as an investment like bonds
Replies: 57
Views: 3200

Re: Solar as an investment like bonds

In your original calculation, remember that you will get the federal and state credits back in the first year, so if they total 30%, your total cost is roughly 8-10K, and your payback each year is then 10 - 12% We put solar on our house with net metering, and we're using less than the system generat...
by robphoto
Thu Jan 28, 2021 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 1999 – 2009 “The Lost Decade” experience
Replies: 52
Views: 3080

Re: 1999 – 2009 “The Lost Decade” experience

We were raising teenagers, and our savings to 401K and IRA were automatic, so we didn't really think about it. 2008-2009 was kind of scary, but we just kept the automatic purchases in place, and we paid off our mortgage balance because the vast number of foreclosures was making us nervous.
by robphoto
Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Town A vs Town B
Replies: 75
Views: 5258

Re: Town A vs Town B

We lived in a "Town A" and sent the kids to a good Catholic high school, both went to the public elementary schools. For us it was good. They had good neighborhood friends, and I think it helped to not have their friends driving Range Rovers around town. They could see that not everyone ef...
by robphoto
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Investment in Mobile Home Park
Replies: 93
Views: 6741

Re: Investment in Mobile Home Park

This is not for beginners. If you owned 10 mobile home parks, and could look at this and understand what the ramifications of its condition and potential were, perhaps you'd consider it. Or perhaps you'd know to buy something else, or buy this for much less. This is not for beginners, you're going t...
by robphoto
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who or what has helped the most in your financial journey?
Replies: 121
Views: 7389

Re: Who or what has helped the most in your financial journey?

For me, the greatest advantage has been continuity--

-- a great wife
-- both employed without interruption
-- started saving when married
-- no drastic interruptions of illness, war, etc.
by robphoto
Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: UHNW Investors using Vanguard PAS?
Replies: 34
Views: 2608

Re: UHNW Investors using Vanguard PAS?

My understanding of Vanguard PAS is that it's mainly just investment management. Do you have someone who considers your entire financial picture, meaning real estate, insurance, tax optimization, estate issues, etc. Is that something that was provided by your MFO?
by robphoto
Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Above Range Microwave Install-Need Expert Advice
Replies: 16
Views: 891

Re: Above Range Microwave Install-Need Expert Advice

The other alternative if you've got kids using the microwave is maybe it should just be on the counter somewhere so they don't have to reach over the stove, and just have a range hood there.
by robphoto
Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Above Range Microwave Install-Need Expert Advice
Replies: 16
Views: 891

Re: Above Range Microwave Install-Need Expert Advice

Usually the way the mounting works, is that there's a bracket on the wall that the back of the microwave hooks into, and then there are screws coming down from the top cabinet bottom into the top of the microwave, and an outlet in the above cabinet to plug the microwave in to. This usually gives you...
by robphoto
Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Off Auto Loan Early
Replies: 18
Views: 1148

Re: Paying Off Auto Loan Early

Funny to hear the Dave Ramsey references in this thread, as just about every conversation Dave has with a young man comes down to the big truck he's paying on . :oops:
by robphoto
Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is anyone else pretty lax with their AA?
Replies: 53
Views: 4273

Re: Is anyone else pretty lax with their AA?

For marital harmony, we're at 60/40, though I'd like to be 70/30. Early last year, I had to rebalance into bonds (when stocks hit 65% of the portfolio). The "reward," was the fun of rebalancing into stocks in April, or whenever it was that my stocks went down to 55% of total. Anyway, so ga...
by robphoto
Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I paydown 1% interest family loan?
Replies: 39
Views: 2064

Re: Should I paydown 1% interest family loan?

having the $$$ = more flexibility for expensive retired vacations etc / peace of mind. They would be overjoyed if I repaid everything tomorrow. But are not pressuring me to do either... So these people made it possible for you to complete college and advanced degree, they're now aging and retired a...
by robphoto
Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any freelancers in here? Advice on incorporating?
Replies: 24
Views: 1068

Re: Any freelancers in here? Advice on incorporating?

To some extent you can insure against these hazards: -- General liability insurance: in case you break something or hurt somebody -- Professional liability insurance: in case problems with your work cause physical or financial damage to something or someone or some company Setting up as a sole propr...
by robphoto
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any multimillionaire's (more than 2mm) out there still mow their own lawn?
Replies: 341
Views: 25984

Re: Any multimillionaire's (more than 2mm) out there still mow their own lawn?

I think if I had been making a real high salary, I might have started to use those services, but accumulating so gradually, that frugal thing is too ingrained.
by robphoto
Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stimulus Income Lower in 2020 than 2019
Replies: 4
Views: 754

Re: Stimulus Income Lower in 2020 than 2019

Here is an AARP article that I think covers what you're looking for:

https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-2 ... eturn.html
by robphoto
Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice to Avoid/Minimize MA Estate Tax
Replies: 60
Views: 3345

Re: Advice to Avoid/Minimize MA Estate Tax

Here are my two suggestions; you can look up the details. 1. Credit shelter trust: "A credit shelter trust (CST) is a trust created after the death of the first spouse in a married couple. Assets placed in the trust are generally held apart from the estate of the surviving spouse, so they may p...
by robphoto
Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How do you maintain discipline during Volatility?
Replies: 52
Views: 2740

Re: How do you maintain discipline during Volatility?

Having a 60/40 portfolio I rebalance when the stock percentage goes down to 55. So, when things were falling apart in March, it was a kind of a game to look for my portfolio percentage to get there. Thinking that way, when the stock percentage got down to 55, my thought was "Yay, now I can buy!...
by robphoto
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any real world Tiny House experience here?
Replies: 29
Views: 2150

Re: Any real world Tiny House experience here?

Look at things on AirBNB and VRBO.

There are tiny homes you can rent for a night or two, that will give you a real feel for the experience. I think it's one of those things you have to experience to know, and you'll either fall in love or say, "no way!"
by robphoto
Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting My Own Salary
Replies: 14
Views: 1530

Re: Setting My Own Salary

I strongly advise talking to a good accountant with expertise in tax planning, both to optimize the current setup and to consider changes to the arrangement. This has a big effect on your net income.
by robphoto
Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Regrets postponing retirement too long?
Replies: 171
Views: 15778

Re: Regrets postponing retirement too long?

One of my concerns is health insurance. Not the costs of the ACA which would obviously be much higher. The concern is the quality of the insurance. I have truly awesome insurance now at work which is PPO, has an excellent network, and approves everything without issues. Multiple specialist appointm...
by robphoto
Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing an overpriced vintage item
Replies: 26
Views: 2199

Re: Purchasing an overpriced vintage item

It seems from your post that this item is not available to you anywhere else at any price. Once you own an antique, it's very hard to net the retail value on resale, unless it happens to go up in value. It could go up or down, depending on trends (gone up: mid century, danish modern. gone down: vict...
by robphoto
Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teenager: Any way to NOT put them on car insurance?
Replies: 56
Views: 4948

Re: Teenager: Any way to NOT put them on car insurance?

We never urged our kids to get their licenses, mainly because of the high insurance cost, and they took driving courses but never got around to scheduling and taking the test. Each ended up taking driver's training after college (one in Japan, one in New York City) and dealt with their own insurance...
by robphoto
Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Holding both VTSAX and VFIAX
Replies: 17
Views: 1139

Re: Holding both VTSAX and VFIAX

The difference between the performance of the two is so slight, I think one could hold either, and end with a very similar result. I hold VTSAX for the "completeness" aspect. The S&P 500 is kind of a curated group, not strictly on market cap. This generates curiosities like the recent ...
by robphoto
Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Invest in a family friend's hedge fund?
Replies: 44
Views: 2306

Re: Invest in a family friend's hedge fund?

If you can picture yourself hearing that the fund has gone to zero, without good documentation for what happened, and you say, "Ah well, easy come, easy go! How's Aunt Sue?" Then this might be an acceptable investment.
by robphoto
Tue Dec 08, 2020 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a cheap road bike really exist?
Replies: 171
Views: 12158

Re: Does a cheap road bike really exist?

I guess any bike topic is going to have the " you can ride anything" and "below 2500. is just junk" answers. He's talking about now going more than 20 miles, nothing epic. I might recommend he go to the local bike shop and talk to them; they may have something used, or sell him a...
by robphoto
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Happily retired but seriously considering going back to work
Replies: 78
Views: 6665

Re: Happily retired but seriously considering going back to work

I wouldn't do this just because it was offered. You're trading some pretty precious years for this job. If it were me, I would look for an opportunity that was less than full time, without a long term commitment-- or if this job is appealing, counteroffer that: "I can't commit to full time for ...
by robphoto
Sat Oct 31, 2020 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: MVNO on Verizon network...moving away from Ting
Replies: 54
Views: 4761

Re: MVNO on Verizon network...moving away from Ting

Red Pocket Mobile has Verizon based options; use the options called CDMA (not CDMAS, which is on Sprint).

The plans they offer on eBay include a $240. per year plan which includes unlimited talk/txt and 7GB/month data.

I've used their ATT version for a couple of years with no problems.
by robphoto
Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite Science Fiction Movies
Replies: 179
Views: 9106

Re: Favorite Science Fiction Movies

If you're patient, you might enjoy Solaris (the 1972 version) based on the novel. One of my favorites.
by robphoto
Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Community Solar - Worth It?
Replies: 6
Views: 617

Re: Community Solar - Worth It?

It sounds like a very long payback to me. Perhaps because your base electricity rate is fairly low? We put in solar a couple of years ago (rooftop, we own it) and after various rebates, the payback (figuring simply, cost of system divided by annual savings) was less than 8 years. One advantage, depe...
by robphoto
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to combine finances with your spouse? Recently married/early30s
Replies: 55
Views: 4377

Re: How to combine finances with your spouse? Recently married/early30s

I'm with the old married people here saying just combine the accounts and accept it. You don't want to be trying to keep track of whose money is whose for the rest of your life. If want to gradually even it out, make the taxable money joint now, and work on boosting her retirement accounts till they...
by robphoto
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DSLR camera improvement suggestions
Replies: 81
Views: 3891

Re: DSLR camera improvement suggestions

My 2 cents: It's not surprising that the phone pictures look better. When I do scouting photos with my current phone, it can be a challenge to get the same results with my DSLR and very good lenses, as for as holding highlights and shadows, rich color, etc. I'm not sure how much of your camera's con...
by robphoto
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Computer Setup for Photoshop
Replies: 47
Views: 2886

Re: New Computer Setup for Photoshop

I am a photographer and use Photoshop constantly. The suggestions you've gotten are good. You'll love running the operating system on the SSD (you could also use part of it for the Photoshop scratch disk). It's nice to store your working image files on an SSD also, but if money is tight you could ge...
by robphoto
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finding balance in life: When do you let up off the gas?
Replies: 105
Views: 9974

Re: Finding balance in life: When do you let up off the gas?

You're doing great on earning, saving, accumulating. The cars are a very small part of this picture. "Start with the end in mind" is a cliche, but also a great way to organize your thinking on money. What would be your ideal life in 5 years, 10 years, 20, 50 years? If you start to fill in ...