Search found 3597 matches

by texasdiver
Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First child entering college in the fall... need some advice
Replies: 44
Views: 2570

Re: First child entering college in the fall... need some advice

To answer the OP's original question. We are a family with a roughly similar AGI. We went through 4 years of paying for college with our oldest daughter from 2016-2020 and our middle child is starting as a freshman this fall. Bottom line? Now that you have locked into a school there really isn't any...
by texasdiver
Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First child entering college in the fall... need some advice
Replies: 44
Views: 2570

Re: First child entering college in the fall... need some advice

Congratulations to your Daughter for all her hard work to get to this enviable position. And certainly credit goes to her parents as well for helping both emotionally and financially. You did not say what field of study your Daughter wished to pursue or which Universities are involved. I think the ...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

.... Don't overdo the AP's if they could impact GPA, since our experience is that (high GPA + less AP courses) >> (lots of AP courses but lower GPA). FWIW, for myself and both my children AP courses allowed us to graduate early and thus saved the costs of a full year of college. That was nothing to...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

We chose to take a different path. It's always fun to see "history" repeat itself with every new class of parents of future college students, isn't it? Just like the plot of horror movie everybody knows what's going to happen except the cast of characters in the movie. Yeah. At least the ...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much $$ to get kitchen cabinets painted?
Replies: 42
Views: 4111

Re: How much $$ to get kitchen cabinets painted?

I wonder if one has inexpensive 80s plywood cabinets like I do, if it can be better to just get new cabinets from IKEA. If you have high quality wood cabinets then painting makes sense though. I think to do a good job you may need to take them off to paint them depending on the paint that’s used (a...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much $$ to get kitchen cabinets painted?
Replies: 42
Views: 4111

Re: How much $$ to get kitchen cabinets painted?

I did it myself in a previous house. It is a tremendous amount of work to do correctly. I worked my way through college as a commercial painter for a big paint shop in Portland so I knew something of what I was doing. I bought a decent spray gun and compressor. I pulled off all the doors and set the...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

$30,000/yr. of merit is actually not far off for a good student. My daughter just went through this process. She had a 3.96 GPA and 1400 SAT and probably average extracurriculars. Every single school she applied to in this mid-range private liberal arts college category offered her merit aid in the ...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

We chose to take a different path. It's always fun to see "history" repeat itself with every new class of parents of future college students, isn't it? Just like the plot of horror movie everybody knows what's going to happen except the cast of characters in the movie. Same for pretty muc...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

[...] Just for the sake of comparison, my wife has a co-worker (also a physician) who moved into a neighborhood a few blocks from ours about the same time as us. They have a son the same age as our daughter. As freshman and sophomores they played together in the HS marching band until they pulled t...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyways to improve financial aid?
Replies: 70
Views: 3662

Re: Anyways to improve financial aid?

We just went through this process for daughter #2 and I 100% echo the other recommendations here to seek merit aid rather than clever ways to hide your income. Our AGI is double yours yet we still qualified for $7k of need-based aid from one liberal arts college so don't entirely write-off need-base...
by texasdiver
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fire pit recommendations
Replies: 27
Views: 2580

Re: fire pit recommendations

I would have gotten an open firepit for our yard but there are many times during the summer in our location when burn bans are in effect for open fires, making them useless. Instead I picked up a propane fire ring at Lowes that we use frequently. It takes a regular propane cylinder which stores insi...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best nonstick pans?
Replies: 65
Views: 5163

Re: Best nonstick pans?

Can you tell us what problems you are having with the pans you have? Sometimes it's not the non-stick part of the pan that's a problem. (it also sounds like some "swedish death cleaning " is in order - and it's time to send some of your pans to the "scrap metal man", recycle bin...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Tool Suggestions
Replies: 31
Views: 2192

Re: New Tool Suggestions

Table saws are most useful for ripping dimensional lumber into custom sizes which is more something you do for furniture making and other custom woodworking types of activities. Ripping long stock is something you can't really do as well with other types of saws. Compound miter saws are more useful ...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Tool Suggestions
Replies: 31
Views: 2192

Re: New Tool Suggestions

New cordless drill and drill driver. The new high voltage ones are so much better and the range of tools you can use with the same batteries keeps increasing every month. I have Makita but there are other good brands. Note: You can also buy higher capacity batteries for your cordless tools than the ...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1
Replies: 33
Views: 1729

Re: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1

The May 1st deadline for choosing a college is quickly approaching. Our son has received merit scholarship offers at all but one school in which he has applied. Three in-state schools have offered a range of full tuition, $9,000/year, and $4,000/year. The later two have a major in which he is inter...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1
Replies: 33
Views: 1729

Re: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1

Be very careful with the strategy to go 2 years to El Cheapo college, then transfer to Wicked Good College. Several things can bite you: 1: Kiss all merit aid goodbye. If Wicked Good College offered only $1k vs El Cheapo giving you $20k, expect Wicked Good to offer zip on transfer. 2: Courses are a...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best nonstick pans?
Replies: 65
Views: 5163

Best nonstick pans?

I have a kitchen drawer full of various nonstick frying pans from Costco Kirkland signature to various other expensive and inexpensive options. None of them are really very good. Does anyone have recommendations for the very best nonstick pans for eggs, stir fries, and other uses? Cost is not really...
by texasdiver
Fri Apr 02, 2021 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll - How much is enough / what's your number?
Replies: 86
Views: 13683

Re: Poll - How much is enough / what's your number?

$2.5 million with a paid off house and the kids through college. I like the sound of a nice round $100k retirement income at 4%. We would be just fine at $2 million I’m quite sure, but I like the extra margin of safety as we are in our 50s and who knows what emergencies could still come up. At a min...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How can my father see the light?
Replies: 53
Views: 6184

Re: How can my father see the light?

I’m quite sure you already know and have mentioned the following, but just in case... Translate percentages into real Dollars with your Dad. It isn’t just 1.25% AUM fees with 0.75 expense ratios (which sound like small, abstract numbers), it’s $5000.00 a year. Dad is underwriting a very nice vacati...
by texasdiver
Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is auto purchase through Costco a good deal?
Replies: 12
Views: 1703

Re: Is auto purchase through Costco a good deal?

I bought our last two cars through the Costco program. I would judge the pricing to be a fair and perhaps good deal but probably not the best deal you could possibly find if you actually aggressively and ruthlessly comparison shop and go to the mattresses when you bargain with the sales staff. Botto...
by texasdiver
Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family car
Replies: 86
Views: 6675

Re: Family car

Sienna for sure. Especially for road trips. We bought a brand new 2003 Sienna when that new changed model year had just come out and drove it near into the ground. I finally donated it to NPR in 2017 when it had over 300,000 miles on it. In 2014 my wife bought a brand new Toyota Highlander Limited. ...
by texasdiver
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family car
Replies: 86
Views: 6675

Re: Family car

The thing that has me dragging my feet on the minivan is I don't want to go big only to have a hands free on the highway version come out in 2 years, so that's why I'm planning to not spend much on our first minivan, it's just to get us to the self driving on the highway version I would be shocked ...
by texasdiver
Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for college
Replies: 164
Views: 12789

Re: Shopping for college

Interesting conclusion (highlighted) that I don't entirely agree with based on our experience. I do think some get more merit vs others based on something other than GPA/SAT/ACT/niche talent, but not a vast majority. Many get little to no merit b/c the school's admissions office can't justify givin...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla for people that keep cars a long time
Replies: 147
Views: 11218

Re: Tesla for people that keep cars a long time

I think 2030 is way too soon for that to be happening for several reasons. One of which is if you live in an urban environment like I do the streets are filled bumper to bumper with parked cars. They have no where to plug an electric car in. <1% of vehicles sold in the US are all electric and that ...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family car
Replies: 86
Views: 6675

Re: Family car

Toyota Sienna Hybrid (only comes in hybrid). Get 36 mpg highway and city. We had an older generation model and drove it into the ground with 300,000 miles. Great family car. https://www.toyota.com/sienna/ As your kids get older you won't just only have 2 kids in the car. We frequently had a friend o...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Useless Investment Books
Replies: 106
Views: 9121

Re: Useless Investment Books

All of them. I mean I have some classic ones on my shelf that have been recommended here. But none of them have actually affected how I invest in the slightest. I just keep simplifying down to the simplest 3-fund type portfolio at the lowest fees, max out contributions as much as possible, and call ...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major
Replies: 121
Views: 8186

Re: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major

The following is the annual report for the National Merit Foundation. https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/images/gid2/editor_documents/annual_report.pdf?gid=2&pgid=61&sessionid=f87d41cb-f5a7-41e1-8103-1fc4204a164b&cc=1 Page 40 has a list of the schools that enrolled NMF's and the numbe...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major
Replies: 121
Views: 8186

Re: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major

I would much rather take a CS degree from Podunk U instead of a Philosophy degree from UC Berkeley or Harvard for purposes of IT industry career progression. I don't know much about IT careers, but in my area, the relevance of one's major to one's work is more important than the prestige of one's a...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for college
Replies: 164
Views: 12789

Re: Shopping for college

Yes, while there are truly competitive merit-based scholarships out there—Robertson at Duke, Stamps at Oregon, etc.—I think Texasdiver is correct to point to a lot of the institutional “merit” aid at mid tier schools being used to manage ranking, yield, and other institutional priorities. Most of t...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for college
Replies: 164
Views: 12789

Re: Shopping for college

Interesting conclusion (highlighted) that I don't entirely agree with based on our experience. I do think some get more merit vs others based on something other than GPA/SAT/ACT/niche talent, but not a vast majority. Many get little to no merit b/c the school's admissions office can't justify givin...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why are Subarus so popular?
Replies: 114
Views: 6223

Re: Why are Subarus so popular?

They don't make much sense in climates that don't see any snow. We have no snow in Southern California and they are popular here (the lot was empty of Foresters at year-end so there weren’t mark downs (sales)). We got one since they were top rated by Consumer Reports for reliability and safety feat...
by texasdiver
Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why are Subarus so popular?
Replies: 114
Views: 6223

Re: Why are Subarus so popular?

They have the most sophisticated AWD system on the market and are a good value compared to some of the more flashy SUVs. So about the best snow SUV you can buy. Plus have a good reputation for reliability.

They don't make much sense in climates that don't see any snow.
by texasdiver
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major
Replies: 121
Views: 8186

Re: High ranked Univ with liberal arts major or lower ranked school with STEM major

As others have said, at many top schools it is virtually impossible to transfer into capacity-constrained majors like CS. For example, at UW-Seattle they basically take zero internal transfers into CS. If you don't get an auto-admit as a freshman, forget about it. There is one potential back-door ro...
by texasdiver
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Head start on retirement home
Replies: 10
Views: 1471

Re: Head start on retirement home

When we lived in Texas our next door neighbors decided to buy their eventual retirement/vacation home in advance. They carefully shopped condos on the TX Gulf Coast and eventually picked the exact new condo complex that they liked in South Padre that had the exact location and amenities that they wa...
by texasdiver
Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for college
Replies: 164
Views: 12789

Re: Shopping for college

Good news! College applications and future enrollment are down for the 2021-2022 school year. Competition should be less fierce. Yeah, I think we are seeing that in the college application process too. Several of the mid-tier schools to which my daughter applied have moved up admissions notificatio...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford
Replies: 45
Views: 2532

Re: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford

In this day and age (and especially if you have girls) college is basically necessary for entry into middle class life. It depends on how you define 'middle class life'. Most laypeople define it in terms of income. If we adopt that viewpoint, it means that a family of typical size is certainly midd...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford
Replies: 45
Views: 2532

Re: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford

In this day and age (and especially if you have girls) college is basically necessary for entry into middle class life. It depends on how you define 'middle class life'. Most laypeople define it in terms of income. If we adopt that viewpoint, it means that a family of typical size is certainly midd...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford
Replies: 45
Views: 2532

Re: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford

Bottom line, I don't think you will ever find a rule of thumb because every family is going view the priority of a college education differently. If you view college education as a required necessity and family obligation then you are going to figure out how to adapt your life and lifestyle to make ...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WalletHub's 2021 Ranking of states to retire to
Replies: 20
Views: 2325

Re: WalletHub's 2021 Ranking of states to retire to

"Garbage in, Garbage out" Bad data or my preferences are very different than others and such as survey would have no relevance to me. New Mexico quality of life at 47 is suspect to me. Golf courses and shoreline aren't key factors to me. For Virginia cost of living in Arlington or Fairfax...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford
Replies: 45
Views: 2532

Re: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford

1. In this day and age (and especially if you have girls) college is basically necessary for entry into middle class life. I agree. However, there are several ways to skin the cat. For example, in your situation, it may have been equally tax advantageous to fund the retirement accounts, and have th...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford
Replies: 45
Views: 2532

Re: Looking For A "Rule Of Thumb" For How Much College Can I Afford

Parent of three children here, one graduated college last spring, one will enter this fall, and the youngest is in 9th grade. My wife and I have the following philosophy about college: 1. In this day and age (and especially if you have girls) college is basically necessary for entry into middle clas...
by texasdiver
Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Early retirement financial check-up
Replies: 8
Views: 2031

Re: Early retirement financial check-up

DW: 85k - Teacher for ~15 years (had previously worked in private sector and as stay at home Mom for a few years). Subject to WEP and GPO which hurts. Nobody tells you about this when you go back for an M.Ed. at age 45. What would she have done differently if someone had told her? I’m not sure that...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell or rent home when moving abroad to retire?
Replies: 20
Views: 6113

Re: Sell or rent home when moving abroad to retire?

I would sell. My wife and I are in a similar but somewhat different situation. She is Chilean and we are contemplating splitting time in retirement between Chile and the US (opposite seasons) which means maintaining a residence here. So we will not likely sell and just eat the cost of maintaining t...
by texasdiver
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?
Replies: 116
Views: 11945

Re: How to get roadside assistance without AAA?

If you need roadside assistance, such as car breakdown, flat tire, etc., and if you do not have an AAA membership, what will you do? Open up Google Maps, search “Towing” Start with the highest rated option in the list, and call them for service. Most insurance companies and credit cards use a compa...
by texasdiver
Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sell or rent home when moving abroad to retire?
Replies: 20
Views: 6113

Re: Sell or rent home when moving abroad to retire?

I would sell. My wife and I are in a similar but somewhat different situation. She is Chilean and we are contemplating splitting time in retirement between Chile and the US (opposite seasons) which means maintaining a residence here. So we will not likely sell and just eat the cost of maintaining tw...
by texasdiver
Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Your Thoughts On What To Do With $1.5 Million?
Replies: 59
Views: 8023

Re: Your Thoughts On What To Do With $1.5 Million?

Your AA is 60/40 so 40% of your new money will goto bonds, which yield around 2% at the moment before taxes. If you pay off mortgage you earn 3.5%. if you need interest income to help you in taxes, why not refi at low 10y fixed rate? But, I think paying off would be better compared to it. if intere...
by texasdiver
Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA limits
Replies: 4
Views: 505

Re: HSA limits

The $7,200 limit is for a family. If your wife does an HSA the amount she contributes will come out of your $7,200 family limit. You don't get to do $14,400.
by texasdiver
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family
Replies: 119
Views: 14459

Re: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family

My brother texted me yesterday: "My friend Glen wants to know what you think about buying APPLE and the future of the stock and company." My answer: "I have no idea about Apple. I only invest in the Total US Stock market Index fund and Total International Index Stock fund. The danger...
by texasdiver
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family
Replies: 119
Views: 14459

Re: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family

Another problem related to this is that many ( most ?) people don't seem to understand basic arithmetic. 1% sounds like a trivial amount for a professional fee. Exactly right. People don't understand arithmetic and don't understand differences between $1, 1%, and 1% per year . People are also afrai...
by texasdiver
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family
Replies: 119
Views: 14459

Re: I have learned my lesson. No more preaching finances to my friends or family

I never tell people what THEY should do. I have found that no good usually comes from that. What I will do on occasion is explain to folks WHAT I DO AND WHY. I'm always happy to do that and will go into as much detail as anyone wants to hear. Sometimes people have questions, are thankful for the ide...