Search found 312 matches

by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Will Inflation pay off my home?
Replies: 85
Views: 8217

Re: Will Inflation pay off my home?

If home prices are peaking, that's a good time to either downsize or hold on to the house you've got. Obviously nobody knows exactly when the peak will occur, but there will be one.
by Small Savanna
Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do budgets work?
Replies: 122
Views: 4870

Re: Do budgets work?

It might depend on what you mean by budget - is it a planning and control tool or a self awareness tool? If you try to predict in advance every thing that you will spend money on, and then refuse to deviate from that plan, you're likely to fail because many of the things we spend money on are not pr...
by Small Savanna
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those retired or FI, how much do you spend annually?
Replies: 286
Views: 20898

Re: How much do you spend annually in retirement?

I'm assuming that our living expenses in retirement will be about the same as they are now, plus a little more for travel. Wouldn't that be a reasonable starting point for most people?
by Small Savanna
Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else see drastic increase in Zillow value today?
Replies: 132
Views: 12732

Re: Anyone else see drastic increase in Zillow value today?

I didn't realize checking Zillow like this was a thing. So I don't know what happened today, but it says our house is worth about 25% more than we paid in 2018. Is the Atlanta market that hot?
by Small Savanna
Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a Backdoor Roth IRA worth it?
Replies: 75
Views: 9421

Re: Is a Backdoor Roth IRA worth it?

Yes, it is worth it, in my opinion. We started contributing to Roth accounts when our income was low enough to come through the front door. Once we no longer qualified for the front door, we started using the back door. Because I had a sizable tIRA balance when we started, there is a pro-rata penalt...
by Small Savanna
Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Transferring entire 500k taxable account to Bitcoin?
Replies: 169
Views: 9736

Re: Transferring entire 500k taxable account to Bitcoin?

Alternatively, you could take the $500K to Vegas and put it all on Red.
by Small Savanna
Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: JTWRS Problems - what are my options?
Replies: 136
Views: 10496

Re: JTWRS Nightmare - what are my options?

Based on all the conflicting advice you're getting, I think you should consult a lawyer first, before you do anything else. That doesn't mean that the lawyer automatically contacts your relative. But understanding your rights and obligations before you contact the relative would be wise.
by Small Savanna
Fri Mar 19, 2021 12:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: backdoor roth: when in the calendar year do you do it?
Replies: 9
Views: 1038

Re: backdoor roth: when in the calendar year do you do it?

We did ours the first week in January. Staged the cash in regular brokerage account at Schwab in late December, made the non-deductible contribution on the 4th and rolled it over into Roth a few days later. Why wait?
by Small Savanna
Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone with experience removing pipe plugs
Replies: 61
Views: 4804

Re: Anyone with experience removing pipe plugs

It's recessed, but can you grab it with Vise Grip pliers? The next question is how badly is it rusted, and how much torque will it take to get it loose.
by Small Savanna
Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Daughter taking a Job in DC - where to live?
Replies: 111
Views: 7152

Re: Daughter taking a Job in DC - where to live?

Lots of good choices, both in DC and in NoVa. The Arlington neighborhoods along the Orange Line bounded by Balston on the west and Court House on the east are nice. Rosslyn is busy during the day but feels empty at night. Clarendon has lots of young people. There is also new development between Crys...
by Small Savanna
Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.
Replies: 407
Views: 46815

Re: Has anyone see an inheritance not go as planned? I would like to hear stories from others of what can go wrong.

I think the right frame of mind is to assume you won't get anything. Plan for retirement as if you won't inherit a dime. Then when/if it happens and the estate is settled you can re-assess.
by Small Savanna
Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Private School - financially irresponsible?
Replies: 213
Views: 16741

Re: Private School - financially irresponsible?

I'd encourage you to shop around for both price and quality. Visit the local public school and see if they are interested in your business and if it's a place you would be comfortable having your kids attend. Do the same at a few private and parochial schools too. Even if you're not Catholic, Paroch...
by Small Savanna
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Boglehead Lessons From the Texas Winter Storm?
Replies: 226
Views: 18535

Re: Any Boglehead Lessons From the Texas Winter Storm?

We are in Georgia but we had a long outage this fall, more than 24 hours. In our case, the electricity was out but we still had natural gas. We cooked on the stove top and charcoal grill and used the fireplace for heat. Fortunately the weather wasn't all that cold. We have candles, flashlights, and ...
by Small Savanna
Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help me understand how to view my cost basis
Replies: 8
Views: 826

Re: Help me understand how to view my cost basis

Two near term strategies for taking gains: (1) wait until they are long term instead of short term. A few months can save a lot in taxes. (2) Take half the gain in 2021 and half in 2022. That will spread out the tax pain. One longer term strategy: If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket any time...
by Small Savanna
Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:50 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help me understand how to view my cost basis
Replies: 8
Views: 826

Re: Help me understand how to view my cost basis

Two near term strategies for taking gains: (1) wait until they are long term instead of short term. A few months can save a lot in taxes. (2) Take half the gain in 2021 and half in 2022. That will spread out the tax pain. One longer term strategy: If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket any time ...
by Small Savanna
Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 2 to 3 Million Dollar Windfall - How to enter market
Replies: 61
Views: 6475

Re: 2 to 3 Million Dollar Windfall - How to enter market

Do you have a mortgage? Using some of the money to pay off a mortgage would be a good hedge against future downturns in either the stock market or the job market.
by Small Savanna
Fri Feb 12, 2021 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your favorite non fiction book?
Replies: 142
Views: 8513

Re: What is your favorite non fiction book?

If you like history, read Churchill's book on the lead-up to World War 2, "The Gathering Storm". England and France paid a tremendous price in 1940 for failing to stand up to Germany's provocations in the mid 1930s, even as late as 1938. The lessons still seem relevant today.
by Small Savanna
Sat Feb 06, 2021 3:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Power of Working Longer
Replies: 450
Views: 29238

Re: The Power of Working Longer

As a young person, the most important retirement decision you can make is how much to save for retirement. As you get within a few years of retirement that matters much less. At 60, with kids both out of college, I'm maxing out my contributions. Even so, most of the year to year change in value of ...
by Small Savanna
Sat Feb 06, 2021 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Inheritance, Portfolio Advice, Strategy, Help???
Replies: 9
Views: 1562

Re: Inheritance

Taxes are a consideration - a dollar inherited in an ordinary brokerage account or Roth IRA is worth about $1.45 compared to a dollar inherited in a traditional IRA or 401K. Of course this depends on tax brackets. If you are now in a tax bracket that is lower than the tax bracket you expect your chi...
by Small Savanna
Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Power of Working Longer
Replies: 450
Views: 29238

Re: The Power of Working Longer

As a young person, the most important retirement decision you can make is how much to save for retirement. As you get within a few years of retirement that matters much less. At 60, with kids both out of college, I'm maxing out my contributions. Even so, most of the year to year change in value of m...
by Small Savanna
Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does paying off mortgage really reduce Sequence of Returns Risk?
Replies: 267
Views: 14616

Re: Does paying off mortgage really reduce Sequence of Returns Risk?

This is a great thread - thanks to the OP and those on both sides for posting their opinions. My intuition says paying off the mortgage reduces risk, but math and real numbers are often better than intuition.
by Small Savanna
Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Garbage Disposal Time?
Replies: 26
Views: 1351

Re: New Garbage Disposal Time?

I replaced one once, and it was a fairly easy job. They are heavy - I used a car jack to hold it in position while wrenching.
by Small Savanna
Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much tax burden is too much?
Replies: 64
Views: 4648

Re: How much tax burden is too much?

Currently living in GA - property taxes are reasonable, about 1% of the value of the home. On the other hand, we have a state income tax, so total state and local taxes for us are also >$20K. Looking ahead, GA is very tax friendly for retirees. Over 65, the first $65K per person in retirement income...
by Small Savanna
Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [GameStop GME trading mega-thread]
Replies: 4570
Views: 230193

Re: GameStop GME: anyone joining?

Rule of thumb: By the time I hear about something like this it's too late to make money on it.
by Small Savanna
Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Housing advice - current plan not working
Replies: 47
Views: 2753

Re: Housing advice - current plan not working

Moving isn't a small decision, but there are many places in the United States where you can get a palatial home for $3K per month, either renting or buying. And that's not just in remote or depressed areas - nice suburbs of Atlanta, for example, and probably even Sacramento, Portland, or Seattle. If...
by Small Savanna
Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I walk away from nice pension? Is it worth it?
Replies: 48
Views: 6642

Re: Should I walk away from nice pension? Is it worth it?

I worked as a Fed until I could retire with a FERS pension, and then took a non-Federal job at slightly higher pay. I'm happy with the decision - for now we're saving a lot of money and watching the TSP balance go up, and if work stops being fun, I can quit any time. Beyond the financial pros and co...
by Small Savanna
Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PIP on Auto Ins - Necessary?
Replies: 15
Views: 1096

Re: PIP on Auto Ins - Necessary?

Here is a question - if you don't have PIP but you do have normal health insurance, will your health insurance NOT cover your medical bills related to an auto accident? I chose not to get the "medical payments" coverage on my Geico policy, assuming it is redundant.
by Small Savanna
Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Likelihood of 70s style inflation
Replies: 112
Views: 8946

Re: Likelihood of 70s style inflation

The best hedge against inflation is a big mortgage. My parents bought a house in 1967 and by 1980 inflation had paid for most of it.
by Small Savanna
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 5088
Views: 1324870

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

I just finished Boyd - The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War . I found it fascinating, and with some lessons about how to approach a career. Boyd told his acolytes that they could either be something (get promoted) or do something (be a change agent). He chose to do something - he brought sci...
by Small Savanna
Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: current value of federal FERS pension (esp MRA+10)
Replies: 16
Views: 1186

Re: current value of federal FERS pension (esp MRA+10)

An important thing to know about the FERS supplement is that it goes away if you get another job. But the timing of when it goes away is highly dependent on when you retire and when you start your next job. For example, if you retire late in 2021 and your post-retirement employment income in 2021 is...
by Small Savanna
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Short Term Disability at 60
Replies: 11
Views: 608

Re: Short Term Disability at 60

You're planning to retire in 5 to 7 years, but if you had to retire unexpectedly this year, could you? If you could, then you can probably risk going without disability insurance. I'm 60 and thinking of dropping mine; I haven't set a retirement date, but can retire any day I get tired of working.
by Small Savanna
Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safe car for a teenager recommendation
Replies: 70
Views: 3712

Re: Safe car for a teenager recommendation

Our kids drove hand-me-downs: a 2000 Toyota Solara from my father when he got too old to drive, then my 2005 Accord (also gave me an excuse to buy a new car). I think anything with air bags is fine, but would stay away from big SUVs and tiny cars. A boring four cylinder sedan is a good choice.
by Small Savanna
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If your net worth is over $3 million, how did you do it?
Replies: 543
Views: 141685

Re: If your net worth is over $3 million, how did you do it?

No magic. We kept working and saving during a time when the market was going steadily up. We were lucky in timing the real estate market. And we inherited a few hundred $K. We are 60 and 55, and net worth has tripled in the last 10 years.
by Small Savanna
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Taking More Stock Risk With Tax Loss Harvesting
Replies: 38
Views: 3232

Re: Taking More Stock Risk With Tax Loss Harvesting

Stock picking is hard, and it's unclear that this strategy will work, but the one thing in your favor is that short term losses produce tax savings at a higher marginal rate than the tax rate on long term gains. This is called tax arbitrage, and it's a real thing. In practice it's hard for individua...
by Small Savanna
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can spouse IRA inheritor use 10-year distribution rule?
Replies: 5
Views: 577

Re: Can spouse IRA inheritor use 10-year distribution rule?

This is from IRS Publication 590-B: == Inherited from spouse. If you inherit a traditional IRA from your spouse, you generally have the following three choices. You can: Treat it as your own IRA by designating yourself as the account owner. Treat it as your own by rolling it over into your IRA, or t...
by Small Savanna
Sun Nov 08, 2020 3:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: improving the 4% rule and solving the starting point paradox
Replies: 103
Views: 11946

Re: improving the 4% rule and solving the starting point paradox

In my view the "4% rule" should be renamed the 25x rule. Decide what level of withdrawal you need in retirement to support a comfortable lifestyle. Then once your portfolio reaches 25 times that value, you are in a position to safely retire. Mathematically the 4% and 25x rule are the same,...
by Small Savanna
Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Powerful Battery Leaf Blowers
Replies: 86
Views: 5147

Re: Powerful Battery Leaf Blowers

Our Ryobi leaf blower is the first leaf blower we've owned, so I can't compare it to gas, but it's a major upgrade from a rake! We picked it because we have a Ryobi electric mower. Having two machines with interchangeable batteries is a significant benefit.
by Small Savanna
Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anybody got solar panels/solar roof installed by Tesla?
Replies: 15
Views: 1896

Re: Anybody got solar panels/solar roof installed by Tesla?

Just curious - can anyone point to a calculator to determine ROI for this technology? Also, our roof is fairly new - does this make more sense when you're replacing the roof anyway? Would love to hear more and get links to any useful sites.
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth 401(k) always worse than Traditional 401(k)
Replies: 54
Views: 6286

Re: Roth 401(k) always worse than Traditional 401(k)

The rule of thumb is that if your current marginal rate is higher than your expected marginal rate in retirement, then you should put it all in traditional. If you expect your marginal rate to be higher in retirement than it is now, you should put just enough in Roth to make your future marginal rat...
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 31, NYC, Need Advice
Replies: 62
Views: 5605

Re: 31, NYC, Need Advice

I'd advise you not to worry too much. I didn't have a positive net worth until I was in my 30s. I'm 60 now, still working, but realistically can retire any time the work stops being fun. Our retirement nest egg has quadrupled in the last 12 years; you have 30 years and that is plenty of time to reac...
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fixing cars out of warranty
Replies: 47
Views: 2838

Re: Fixing cars out of warranty

This story makes me want to buy a jalopy with no warranty, no expensive parts, and no complicated features. My first car had to be parked facing downhill so I could roll and pop the clutch to start it. Toward the end, the breaks didn't work all that well and I would rub against the snow bank to slow...
by Small Savanna
Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should We Ever Save for Children's College?
Replies: 467
Views: 30758

Re: Should We Ever Save for Children's College?

Retirement is an important financial goal. Providing for your kids' education is also an important financial goal. Strive to achieve balance in all things.
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Filing Second Home
Replies: 4
Views: 453

Re: Tax Filing Second Home

Treating it as a 2nd family home seems like a better idea. If you treat it as a rental all the possible outcomes are negative: 1. You make enough on the rental to actually earn income, which is taxable. 2. You have losses which are tax deductible, but that opens you up to problems with the IRS becau...
by Small Savanna
Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawn mower recommendation
Replies: 91
Views: 6388

Re: Lawnmower recommendation

I'm a convert to electric. We have a Ryobi with a 5 Amp-hr battery and I can get two mowings on a charge, but if I had a big lawn I'd just get an extra battery. We also have a Ryobi leaf blower and hedge trimmer that use the same form-factor battery. No need to keep highly flammable liquids in the ...
by Small Savanna
Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Whether to lapse term life insurance
Replies: 21
Views: 1467

Re: Whether to lapse term life insurance

At the very least, get a complete physical before dropping it.
by Small Savanna
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:00 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I’ve got 50K to invest in an ultra aggressive portfolio—seeking growth to 1 Million
Replies: 76
Views: 7898

Re: I’ve got 50K to invest in an ultra aggressive portfolio—seeking growth to 1 Million

Go to Vegas. Put it on Black five times in a row.

Or, get a time machine. Go to 2009. Buy Apple.
by Small Savanna
Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone successfully living off dividends & interest?
Replies: 204
Views: 22392

Re: Anyone successfully living off dividends & interest?

I wouldn't necessarily advocate this, but there are plenty of stocks with 4% or higher yield, and many of them are companies with decent balance sheets and stable business prospects. But there isn't any evidence that these companies are better investments than lower-yielding profitable companies tha...
by Small Savanna
Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off sub 4% mortgage interest rate early
Replies: 167
Views: 15132

Re: Paying off sub 4% mortgage interest rate early

Refinanced at 3.5%, 30 year term less than a year ago, and rates are now below that. I'm paying an extra $1K per month now and thinking of paying it off entirely before I retire or the first few years after I retire. Even at 3.5%, it's a better return than buying bonds.
by Small Savanna
Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: AMZN & AAPL - time to bail?
Replies: 167
Views: 14818

Re: AMZN & AAPL - time to bail?

Since it's in an IRA, there is no tax consequence of selling. If any single stock is more than 5% of your total, I'd at least sell to get down to that level.
by Small Savanna
Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Combine inherited spousal IRA or keep separate?
Replies: 26
Views: 1634

Re: Combine inherited spousal IRA or keep separate?

If she chooses to treat it as an inherited IRA, it must be depleted within 10 years, but there is more flexibility about how much to withdraw each year. Roth conversions wouldn't be allowed. Apparently not true. That was my understanding as well, but I was corrected that a spouse can keep the Inher...