Search found 9869 matches

by stan1
Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: general contractor vs specialist
Replies: 12
Views: 491

Re: general contractor vs specialist

Licensed Flooring contractor doing outstanding work Painting contractor doing outstanding work I know you know this, but a license is a minimal requirement and in no way ensures outstanding work. Just like with a driver's license: there are millions of very bad drivers who keep their license becaus...
by stan1
Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: It looks like expenses for face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes can now be reimbursed from HSAs
Replies: 5
Views: 881

Re: It looks like expenses for face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes can now be reimbursed from HSAs

The federal FSAFeds program appears to be requiring that mask purchases be substantiated by a letter of medical need signed by a physician.

Hopefully its just a temporary situation while they sort through IRS Announcement 2021-7
by stan1
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2017 tax records.. Destroy?
Replies: 20
Views: 2027

Re: 2017 tax records.. Destroy?

I'm generally of the camp that its better to truthfully say "I don't remember " for things that happened decades ago than it is to say "let me pull that from my files". I do realize some people would never be able to do that.
by stan1
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of adding a new 1/2 bathroom (ground floor)
Replies: 7
Views: 797

Re: Cost of adding a new 1/2 bathroom

Adding a 1/2 bath? Could be a huge range. Is it in an existing space (such as a closet above a basement or part of a garage) or will it be a bump out on the side of the house? Are you sure you don't want a shower too if you don't already have one downstairs? As you think about it a bathroom needs ho...
by stan1
Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling house in 2 yrs: what should I spruce up?
Replies: 14
Views: 1583

Re: Selling house in 2 yrs: what should I spruce up?

Invite a realtor to your house and ask for feedback on what, if anything, needs sprucing up. If you go this route I'd invite more than one. Some realtors come into the business with a lot of experience in design, marketing, or sales and like to sell a property that is gussied up. Other realtors hav...
by stan1
Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling house in 2 yrs: what should I spruce up?
Replies: 14
Views: 1583

Re: Selling house in 2 yrs: what should I spruce up?

It depends, but if the house is desirable due to location you might not need to do anything. Fresh paint to make the house light and bright is always nice. We remove dated window coverings as well (don't replace). Take out carpet if it is old, won't clean, or if there have been pets in the house. Re...
by stan1
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Power of a personal real estate offer letter
Replies: 77
Views: 4768

Re: Power of a personal real estate offer letter

If sellers have put their heart and soul into renovations, raised their kids in a house, etc. they will choose a buyer who assures them that the house is perfect and that they love it- over a buyer who will gut it and possibly flip it. But only for a competitive offer. We have family members who ar...
by stan1
Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a Home in SoCal
Replies: 90
Views: 5995

Re: Buying a Home in SoCal

There are little pockets where you might find something in the price range (but will not be available often and will be in high demand). If wife is in Solana Beach and you are in La Jolla/4S Ranch I'd focus on: Carmel Valley and Del Mar Highlands RPQ 4S Ranch/Del Sur Sorrento Valley Carlsbad/Encinit...
by stan1
Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a Home in SoCal
Replies: 90
Views: 5995

Re: Buying a Home in SoCal

There are homes in areas with good school districts such as Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Poway, and maybe even Carlsbad or Encinitas within a reasonable price range for you, but they may be built in the 70s, 80s or 90s and might be around 2000-2500 square feet. University C...
by stan1
Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Proof of Funds when House Hunting
Replies: 28
Views: 2700

Re: Proof of Funds when House Hunting

In many markets it is still an extreme seller's market. If seller demands proof of funds before a showing there's not much you can do except provide proof of funds or move on to the next house. From seller's perspective it means there are other buyers who want the house more than you do and are will...
by stan1
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: EEM vs SPEM
Replies: 4
Views: 382

Re: EEM vs SPEM

EEM is a horrible choice due to its expense ratio.

Your four reasonable choices for emerging markets are VWO, SCHE, IEMG, and SPEM. I'd be comfortable buying any of the four.
by stan1
Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:56 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: american funds cost basis accounting
Replies: 9
Views: 638

Re: american funds cost basis accounting

Another factor, do the American Funds pay annual capital gains distributions and do they have much higher expense ratios than your Vanguard funds? If so (and likely they do both) I'd use the need to generate $20K as a good rationale for drawing down the American Funds account.
by stan1
Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Looking for tool to manage multiple accounts, rebalance, help with taxes and planning
Replies: 5
Views: 619

Re: Looking for tool to manage multiple accounts, rebalance, help with taxes and planning

I have never found an alternative to a spreadsheet that I have built myself for my unique needs and preferences for rebalancing across accounts, however I don't track at the transaction level in the spreadsheet. I have that in Quicken (and have had it there for 25 years so I'm very familiar with the...
by stan1
Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ed Slott's new book NEW RETIREMENT SAVINGS TIME BOMB
Replies: 154
Views: 11164

Re: Ed Slott's new book NEW RETIREMENT SAVINGS TIME BOMB

It's neither easy nor cheap to make yourself 'paper poor' in order to get on Medicaid. Moving a tax-deferred balance into a trust requires realizing the income first and paying taxes accordingly. Which is the whole point of this thread...tax-deferred balances are a pain to deal with in retirement. ...
by stan1
Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If a broker manages individual savings account for Goldman Sachs employees does it mean that it is likely to be safe?
Replies: 8
Views: 880

Re: If a broker manages individual savings account for Goldman Sachs employees does it mean that it is likely to be safe

No, it just means they have an agreement with Goldman Sachs to offer a compliant product.

"Safe" is a very relative term. What feels safe or unsafe to you might be different for a government regulator. Maybe using more than one is your best guide.
by stan1
Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: VT and home country bias
Replies: 15
Views: 1577

Re: VT and home country bias

Because reasons (I'm sure you can guess which ones and be mostly right) I am 67% US equity and 33% ex US equity since 2008. Total World is academic, but doesn't take some valid reasons into account (such as you mention plus ongoing massive US government investment through spending and tax policy in ...
by stan1
Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question on International Funds...
Replies: 7
Views: 440

Re: Question on International Funds...

I try to say something like "2/3 US equity and 1/3 ex US equity". That also makes is helpful to our non US based forum members who would think of the US as being international but know that there is a US tilt to the forum.
by stan1
Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 3 Fund Portfolio at Schwab
Replies: 3
Views: 804

Re: 3 Fund Portfolio at Schwab

I use VTI and SCHB at tax loss harvest partners, and also use VXUS and IXUS as tax loss harvest partners for total international. You can't go wrong with any of those four ETFs. I find it a lot easier to use a total international ETF than trying to build up and maintain split between developed marke...
by stan1
Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Theory: The Only Four Situations Justifying Debt
Replies: 103
Views: 7031

Re: Theory: The Only Four Situations Justifying Debt

Seems like over analysis. Could summarize as don't take out loans unless there is a good business case for doing so. Rent/buy calculators help cover that for home mortgage.
by stan1
Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VTI and Fidelity
Replies: 3
Views: 684

Re: VTI and Fidelity

At Fidelity you can buy fractional shares of an ETF so you can buy $500 worth -- but you have to do the trade manually and can't set it up to automatically buy with a transfer in every month. M1 Finance has the capability to do what you want.
by stan1
Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: In-Laws' HOA demanding $8000 lumpsum payment
Replies: 91
Views: 10535

Re: In-Laws' HOA demanding $8000 lumpsum payment

Of course an $8000 unpaid pending lien against the home from an association would affect the title. It's definitely not clear with the the information provided so far that there was an actual lien on the property at time of sale or even now. People are assuming there was one, but HOA may have voted...
by stan1
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Simplicity over Small Cap Value
Replies: 85
Views: 5953

Re: Simplicity over Small Cap Value

I think the simplicity mantra is mostly a mental trick people use to keep themselves from tinkering (along with appeal to authority). I won't argue that a simple portfolio should help out a spouse who is not inclined to tinker. Just saw OP is 18 years old. To be honest I'd go with Total World and le...
by stan1
Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I early retire from my corporate job?
Replies: 49
Views: 8120

Re: Can I early retire from my corporate job?

why not take up a low-paying 100k job and chill. This is an option, but the job must be inspiring and exciting to take a steep cut from $600K while putting similar hours. With any job, we would not have the same freedom and flexibility we would get without a job. If we must expend our energy at a j...
by stan1
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I go about selling a lot of land? Put on my realtor hat?
Replies: 6
Views: 735

Re: How do I go about selling a lot of land? Put on my realtor hat?

There's is no cookie cutter answer to a question like this.

First question I'd honestly ask myself: will someone want to buy this land?

It's not a given that someone will want it. Starting with that you might head in different directions.
by stan1
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CPA Saying I Have Excess HSA Contribution
Replies: 32
Views: 2096

Re: CPA Saying I Have Excess HSA Contribution

This is why I do my own taxes. I do not expect to be able to pay someone $300-500/year and have them be a tax expert. At that rate I'm paying someone to buy expensive software and enter data not do analysis. As for tax preparers the guy needs to do hundreds of returns per year to make a living this ...
by stan1
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Just spoke w FA at VG [Financial Advisor at Vanguard]
Replies: 14
Views: 1312

Re: Just spoke w FA at VG

As of 28 Feb Vanguard Total World is 57% US and 43% ex US so maybe it is a little high. I'd expect PAS to come in about 28% US, 22% ex US with a 50% bond portfolio but maybe there's been enough market change since end of Feb to shift further. Did you tell them about your other accounts or just have ...
by stan1
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HOA rules - limit number of rentals?
Replies: 39
Views: 3144

Re: HOA rules - limit number of rentals?

Our HOA began implementing a host of punitive fees on landlords until they were challenged by a new landlord/owner. The attorney for the association confirmed that fees can only be imposed for actual costs incurred by the association, and cannot be justified if they are clearly intended to discoura...
by stan1
Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HOA rules - limit number of rentals?
Replies: 39
Views: 3144

Re: HOA rules - limit number of rentals?

State laws may apply. In my state HOA restrictions on >30 day rentals only apply after the property is sold (e.g. cannot be applied to current property owners).
by stan1
Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the expected percentage (raise) for a manager position?
Replies: 24
Views: 2270

Re: What is the expected percentage (raise) for a manager position?

Zero to 20%.

That probably gives you a bit of a bell curve.

If they don't think you will leave the company probably on the lower side.
by stan1
Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on HOA Board Membership?
Replies: 31
Views: 2698

Re: Thoughts on HOA Board Membership?

Thankless job, but someone has to do it and best if people who are rational and not pushing personal agendas take on the duties. Boards can get involved in politics or personal agendas such as dislike of children in non-age restricted communities. I would not be involved with a combative board, but ...
by stan1
Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Jobhunting after Covid-19 quit
Replies: 35
Views: 4464

Re: Jobhunting after Covid-19 quit

I would not over think this. She resigned. She was planning to enter internship. Internship was cancelled. Maybe she hoped to get another chance at an internship but it didn't come through? Has she volunteered or helped family since last summer? This is only if asked, not written up in cover letter....
by stan1
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Impact on taxable account when China eventually moves from EM to DM indices.
Replies: 17
Views: 1293

Re: Impact on taxable account when China eventually moves from EM to DM indices.

These definitions are arbitrary. The people who make the rules can change them. My hypothesis is that eventually there will be a China and sphere of influence index (I won't speculate on the politics of what gets included, it will be political to some). In practice today China and Taiwan are 60% of ...
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House affordability when I expect to earn less in the future?
Replies: 2
Views: 428

Re: House affordability when I expect to earn less in the future?

Don't even look at the calculators if you don't fit the box they are trying to put you in! Don't assume rules of thumb apply to you. Lenders, realtors, and marketers assume you will want to buy the most expensive home possible. They make more money that way, but also many of their customers want to ...
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Outdoor living space/patio recommendations?
Replies: 22
Views: 2818

Re: Outdoor living space/patio recommendations?

All other things equal, we'd prefer a covered patio for outdoor dining to comfortably seat the number of guests we expect plus an open air seating area with gas fire pit for use in evenings. If we had a walkout basement the deck becomes a more likely design element. Can get a covered patio for less ...
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What are some good low or medium-risk options for a taxable account?
Replies: 3
Views: 400

Re: What are some good low or medium-risk options for a taxable account?

One approach would be to just buy Total Stock Market in the taxable account to start, and then rebalance your retirement accounts as the taxable account grows. If you do decide to sell some Total Stock Market you pay some capital gains taxes (if there are gains) and you rebalance the retirement acco...
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to resolve tax disagreement with my CPA?
Replies: 28
Views: 4368

Re: How to resolve tax disagreement with my CPA?

Accountants are generally risk averse. Mostly that's for a reason: most see an audit or going to tax court as a expense not as a thrill. Find another accountant, or do it yourself since you know how to read the tax code. As for the IRS, the customer service reps are just that. They are not tax attor...
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: International Small Cap Value?
Replies: 28
Views: 1996

Re: International Small Cap Value?

ishares now has a new etf as well: https://www.ishares.com/us/products/317548/ishares-international-developed-small-cap-value-factor-etf/ I missed this announcement, but I wonder why the explicit ex South Korea omission in the chosen index? FTSE usually includes South Korea as developed not emerging?
by stan1
Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you give money to close friends to live in same neighborhood?
Replies: 45
Views: 2946

Re: Would you give money to close friends to live in same neighborhood?

Sounds like they have been living in your house for several months without paying rent? This is already beyond a typical friendship so I don't think most advice will apply to your situation. Do what you think is right but first I'd talk to them, have good communication, and really understand the sit...
by stan1
Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best nonstick pans?
Replies: 65
Views: 5170

Re: Best nonstick pans?

I've been using Scanpan for my nonstick pans for the last twelve years. No other nonstick pan comes close. I also own cast iron and stainless steel pans for those occasions when I want a good sear. Each pan works well for its intended purpose. Quite happy with our Scanpan as well. We use a silicone...
by stan1
Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is housing market hot but REITS not?
Replies: 27
Views: 3568

Re: Why is housing market hot but REITS not?

Why are REITs doing well? Go look at VNQ top 10 corporate holdings. It's mostly not malls and apartments. American Tower - Wireless Infrastructure Prologis - Logistics warehouses Crown Castle - Wireless Infrastructure Equinix - data centers Digital Realty Trust - data centers Simon Property Group - ...
by stan1
Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Sellers Dilemma re Agent
Replies: 24
Views: 2164

Re: Home Sellers Dilemma re Agent

In a strong sellers market I would get it in the MLS (making sure not to over price it to start) and then let the market set the final sales price and terms of sale (e.g. cash, contingencies) based on what someone is willing to offer. I would not assume 6% commissions are the norm any more. Maybe th...
by stan1
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: vacation home in Phoenix area
Replies: 18
Views: 1702

Re: vacation home in Phoenix area

I'd do vacation rentals if you are coming 1-2 weeks per year. Phoenix is very large, would use the vacation rentals to try out different areas or subdivisions or golf courses if applicable to see which ones you like best before buying a property.
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yahoo's pick for best VG Mutual Funds - what do you think?
Replies: 11
Views: 1446

Re: Yahoo's pick for best VG Mutual Funds - what do you think?

I'm curious whether this article was written by a human or an AI engine?
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retire vs resign - Is there a difference?
Replies: 81
Views: 8147

Re: Retire vs resign - Is there a difference?

At some it may be the difference between giving a few months notice (retire) vs. being walked out by security immediately (resign).
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I quit/retire? Not a financial matter
Replies: 35
Views: 3497

Re: Should I quit/retire? Not a financial matter

I don't think you have an ethical or moral reason to stay, unless you made personal commitments that you would stay until certain milestones were met that you feel are still binding. To me pandemic and telework are two very big changes that would fall into "unforeseen circumstances beyond anyon...
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Preparing For First Homebuying Experience
Replies: 11
Views: 917

Re: Preparing For First Homebuying Experience

How much you put into your 401K and HSA is your business, not the lenders. They will make a loan assuming you will stop doing those, so if you want to keep doing them you probably want to borrow less than the maximum the lender would loan to you. Your pay stub should reflect what your gross is, how ...
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I Roth convert before tax rate increases? (young accumulator)
Replies: 37
Views: 2262

Re: Should I Roth convert before tax rate increases? (young accumulator)

It is impossible to optimize these types of situations. People change. Life changes. Laws change. And so forth. Making the assumption that nothing will change over decades is .... a bad assumption. Assuming nothing will change is a bad assumption. Personally in my 30s I would focus on earning income...
by stan1
Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying an off market property - price analysis
Replies: 14
Views: 957

Re: Buying an off market property - price analysis

One approach is to have the seller hire an appraiser, you the buyer hire a different appraiser, and you determine whether the average of the two appraisals is acceptable to both parties. Either party has the chance to agree or disagree. I suppose it could also be a starting point for further negotia...
by stan1
Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Valuing web business for net worth purposes
Replies: 28
Views: 1471

Re: Valuing web business for net worth purposes

Net worth is just a number, are you proposing to take an action such as changing your investment asset allocation or retire sooner (give up earning income) because you own this business?