Search found 676 matches

by A440
Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: shiplap for bathroom accent wall (what type of board?)
Replies: 0
Views: 50

shiplap for bathroom accent wall (what type of board?)

We would like to install shiplap as an accent wall in our bathroom as part of an upcoming remodel. Is there one type of board we should consider over another for a high moisture room (pine, cedar, PVC, MDF, AZEK)? We are leaning towards wood boards for the look, but would consider an alternative if ...
by A440
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family car
Replies: 86
Views: 6634

Re: Family car

Thoughts on what should I do? When buying a car safety is one of my highest priorities. Here is a list of the top safety picks with lots of choices to choose from. I would need a really good reason to buy a new car that is not on that list. https://www.iihs.org/ratings/top-safety-picks +1 Purchase ...
by A440
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Portfolio Watch has a new look
Replies: 86
Views: 6758

Re: Vanguard Portfolio Watch has a new look

I'm not a fan of the new look. I miss the bar graphs.
by A440
Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:59 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Post your Financial Milestone Announcements Here
Replies: 2277
Views: 270599

Re: Post your Financial Milestone Announcements Here

We crossed the 2 million mark today in our investments. It took not quite 7 years from when we reached the 1 million mark. FWIW, we are a one-earner family of 4 and my main profession is a public school teacher.
Many thanks to the great advice from the forum!
by A440
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VFIAX vs S&P 500 return for 2020
Replies: 4
Views: 500

Re: VFIAX vs S&P 500 return for 2020

I suggest you look at your links again as it appears you have misread the results. VFIAX 56.33% S&P500 56.35% are the one year results. The market bottomed mid March last year so these are the returns from that point in time. Thus the large percentage. Note that the results are as of 3/31/2021....
by A440
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the BEST thing you spent money on?
Replies: 242
Views: 23361

Re: What is the BEST thing you spent money on?

A Kawai KG-2E 5' 10" Grand piano. I've used it almost every day since purchasing it back in 1988. Still sounds great and actually sells for more than I paid for it.
by A440
Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VFIAX vs S&P 500 return for 2020
Replies: 4
Views: 500

VFIAX vs S&P 500 return for 2020

I noticed that Vanguard shows a 1 year return of their S&P 500 Index Fund as ~56% vs ~16% for the actual S&P 500. Here is the link: https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/performance/vfiax Their VTSAX shows a 1 year return of almost 63%: https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds...
by A440
Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1
Replies: 33
Views: 1698

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

There seemed to be enough positive responses to give it a try. I included the offers from the two competing schools. Even a couple thousand more a year would be great. I'm not too optimistic, but that didn't stop me from letting the college know I was an alumni of their school for both my B.A and M....
by A440
Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Asking for more Merit aid? College decision day 5/1
Replies: 33
Views: 1698

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 intere...
by A440
Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with 26 year old central AC unit?
Replies: 40
Views: 2665

Re: What to do with 26 year old central AC unit?

We have 2 complete central AC systems: one for the upstairs and one for the downstairs. They are 28 years old. We do not do annual maintenance and never have. We only have them fixed when they break which is simple stuff like a relay or a capacitor except for the time when lightning "blew up&q...
by A440
Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Priorities on investments
Replies: 19
Views: 1792

Re: Priorities on investments

Since I don't know what tax bracket I will be in, or even if Uncle Sam will keep Roths tax-free in the future, I keep a mix of tax-free, tax-deferred, and taxable. I may need to pay more taxes in the future. If it looks that way when I am approaching the RMD date, I will try to do some Roth conversi...
by A440
Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teacher denied a 403b Roth because doesn’t participate in AXA
Replies: 5
Views: 591

Re: Teacher denied a 403b Roth because doesn’t participate in AXA

I teach in NJ and have the PDP plan with Lincoln (non-Roth). I would reach out to Lincoln and see if they offer a Roth 403b with your district. If they are an approved school 403b vendor and offer a Roth, it shouldn't be an issue. If you get push back, attend a board meeting and ask "why" ...
by A440
Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Mortgage Payoff
Replies: 22
Views: 1853

Re: Early Mortgage Payoff

I'm with you on the aversion to debt. "The borrower is slave to the lender". I paid off our mortgage early (age 38) with some profits from the sale of an investment property, not because it made financial sense (which it didn't), but because it gave me peace of mind. I was responsible for ...
by A440
Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best decision(s) in your financial life
Replies: 167
Views: 13361

Re: Best decision(s) in your financial life

Live on one earner's salary and invest the other earner's. Bonus, if one earner decides to stop work or must stop work for one reason or another you will not be dependent on the other income.
by A440
Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New or used car?
Replies: 17
Views: 1388

Re: New or used car?

Buy the safest vehicle you can afford that will meet your current and projected needs for the next decade.
by A440
Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?
Replies: 1034
Views: 47086

Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Bald eagle(s) down by the lake on our daily walk. Not sure if he/she is passing through or taking up residence.
by A440
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retiring to Vermont/New Hampshire area
Replies: 91
Views: 7051

Re: Retiring to Vermont/New Hampshire area

I'm following this post interest, as NH is on the "list" for retirement states. We have many of the same interests, with the addition of downhill skiing.
Coming from NJ, we are used to high property taxes. But NH has some great taxes on retirement income.
by A440
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warranty Dishwasher Repair
Replies: 14
Views: 1012

Re: Warranty Dishwasher Repair

maybe find the part yourself and install it if your handy...at least that's what i would do....kinda defeats the purpose of the warranty but better than a non working dishwasher. Had a similar issue recently. The dishwasher was under extended warranty with Citi card. I needed a part and found I cou...
by A440
Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pianists - Digital Piano or Keyboard recommendation
Replies: 26
Views: 2005

Re: Pianists - Digital Piano or Keyboard recommendation

I have a baby grand piano at home that I prefer because of my professions, but when it came time to purchase a new piano for our church and my classroom at school, I opted for a Kawai CA-79 (https://kawaius.com/product/ca79/). To be clear, nothing beats a real quality piano, but digital pianos with ...
by A440
Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Busted water pipe, now what? Help a Texan out.
Replies: 187
Views: 14197

Re: Busted water pipe, now what? Help a Texan out.

Assuming there is NO water shutoff valve for your hose bib... If you're able to go to the hardware store, a length of PEX , a copper pipe cutter , and some sharkbite fittings ( one valve , one coupler ) will run you about $40. Turn your main water off and drain it, cut out a section of copper in yo...
by A440
Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hot Tub
Replies: 40
Views: 6793

Re: Hot Tub

I purchased a softub (https://softub.com/) back in my bachelor days :happy I used it on the deck and even rolled it through sliding patio doors into a room one winter. I had it for many years (even after the bachelor days were over) and it was easy to maintain, repair when needed, and move/roll out ...
by A440
Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house in NJ...Huge mistake?
Replies: 55
Views: 7664

Re: Buying a house in NJ...Huge mistake?

NJ teacher here (with MA+30) and only earner for our family. I remember feeling similarly back in the 90's when I was earning $25,000/year from my teaching job and purchased a home for $120,000. It seemed crazy to do and the bank owned most of it, (I remember spending only $8K at the time, most of w...
by A440
Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Are 529’s pulling a fast one on us?
Replies: 48
Views: 6276

Re: Are 529’s pulling a fast one on us?

Should it be of any help, SavingforCollege.com did a 10 year fee study for all direct-sold 529 plans. You can find it here: https://www.savingforcollege.com/529_fee_study/
FWIW, we use Iowa's plan which partner's with Vanguard. The fee for all their choices are .19%.
by A440
Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering Physics as a major
Replies: 92
Views: 4596

Re: Engineering Physics as a major

DS has begun receiving merit scholarship offers for his freshman year in the fall. He is interested in engineering (possibly civil) but has a strong aptitude for physics and seems to enjoy it more than calculus. One liberal arts school has offered full tuition but the only engineering major is engi...
by A440
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering Physics as a major
Replies: 92
Views: 4596

Re: Engineering Physics as a major

It is common for a freshman in undergrad engineering to change the engineering branch of studies. Personally I would recommend going to a school that has accredited engineering undergrad programs for multiple disciplines. In case your son changes his heart, he would have the option to switch from o...
by A440
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering Physics as a major
Replies: 92
Views: 4596

Re: Engineering Physics as a major

I noticed that you said that this school does NOT have any other engineering majors. Red flag. If your son potentially wants to go into some specific engineering discipline, I would stay away from this school. At least If he went to a school that had, say, a Civil Engineering degree AND an Engineer...
by A440
Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering Physics as a major
Replies: 92
Views: 4596

Re: Engineering Physics as a major

Good to learn about ABET.
Thanks for all the great advice and feedback. Much appreciated.
by A440
Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Engineering Physics as a major
Replies: 92
Views: 4596

Engineering Physics as a major

DS has begun receiving merit scholarship offers for his freshman year in the fall. He is interested in engineering (possibly civil) but has a strong aptitude for physics and seems to enjoy it more than calculus. One liberal arts school has offered full tuition but the only engineering major is engin...
by A440
Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting Rid of Ice Dams
Replies: 48
Views: 4666

Re: Getting Rid of Ice Dams

Not a quick fix, but deicing cables tend to be popular. That and metal roofs. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/ice-dams/ We use 160' of frost King heated cables. We plug them in before a snow storm, unplug them when the temps get above freezing or once the snow is off the roof. They seem to work we...
by A440
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest tax program for dependent with 1099-DIV?
Replies: 7
Views: 513

Re: Cheapest tax program for dependent with 1099-DIV?

Thanks for this. The Turbo Tax program through IRS Free File worked perfectly. Both returns were free.
by A440
Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest tax program for dependent with 1099-DIV?
Replies: 7
Views: 513

Cheapest tax program for dependent with 1099-DIV?

My son has both earned ($2,500 on W2) and unearned income 1099-DIV ($530 from ordinary dividends and $1,400 total capital gains). If I am reading the rules correctly he needs to file as a dependent. If I am not reading them correctly, kindly let me know. Is there a free or cheap program he can use t...
by A440
Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529's and merit scholarships
Replies: 10
Views: 693

Re: 529's and merit scholarships

I am in a similar situation with my son. He received a full academic based scholarship that covers everything: tuition, room, board, books, fees, computer and even parking and maid service. When I went searching for the same answer you have asked, I had conflicting answers and nothing definitive, s...
by A440
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529's and merit scholarships
Replies: 10
Views: 693

529's and merit scholarships

I am aware that money can be withdrawn from 529 penalty free to match the amount from merit scholarships. What I don't know is does the money need to be withdrawn in each year the scholarship is received or can the total scholarship amount be withdrawn after the student graduates? In other words, if...
by A440
Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heated Roof Cables
Replies: 6
Views: 773

Heated Roof Cables

Do you use heated roof/gutter cables? What brand? Do they work as expected? Several years ago, I purchased Frost King 100 ft for the second story of my home, a small portion of the first story and the downspouts. I haven't had to use them in years because is doesn't seem to snow here in NJ anymore, ...
by A440
Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparing pension options
Replies: 36
Views: 2477

Re: Comparing pension options

I'm retiring in 1 to 3 years so I will be in the same situation soon. Taking the full pension with nothing to my spouse would leave her with no health insurance (or my children) or pension income in the event of my passing. Getting a 15 year term policy of $600,000 would allow her to purchase a SPIA...
by A440
Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing old Washer & Dryer
Replies: 23
Views: 1631

Re: Replacing Washer & Dryer (Gas)

Old machines are built better than the new ones. If you really want something new, look into Speed Queen. Keep it simple and you might have less repairs.
by A440
Sun Jan 31, 2021 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Canceling Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Replies: 2
Views: 222

Canceling Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

With the recent run-up of the value of real estate in many parts of the country, wouldn't this be a good time for folks who have private mortgage insurance to consider getting a new appraisal to get rid of the PMI? Back in the dark ages when I made forced improvements to my home, I was able to get r...
by A440
Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Re: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

DW and I visited one of the larger flooring and tile stores yesterday and saw large format tiles (48"x48"). She liked one of them because it matched the vanity top. I'm not sure how to cut these, other than to purchase or rent a very large tile cutter. Also not sure how to go about cutting...
by A440
Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Books for Complete Beginners
Replies: 30
Views: 2582

Re: Best Books for Complete Beginners

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:36 pm The Little Book of Common Sense Investing - 2nd Edition by John C. Bogle. Don’t be fooled by its reference to Little, it’s chock full of everything you need to become a successful investor.
+1 After reading it you will know just as much, if not more than more financial "pros".
by A440
Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your DIY Home and Hobby Projects to Save $$$ and/or Have Fun?
Replies: 105
Views: 8476

Re: What are your DIY Home and Hobby Projects to Save $$$ and/or Have Fun?

I just replaced the upper rack adjuster on our dishwasher. It is just over 1 year old, so out of warranty with Whirlpool, but still under Citi's extended warranty (which is no longer offered). The part was $35 at my local appliance parts store and 40 minutes of my time with help from YouTube. It wou...
by A440
Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:37 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [GameStop GME trading mega-thread]
Replies: 4545
Views: 227807

Re: GameStop GME: anyone joining?

No, but the price of dutch tulip bulbs are really trading low right now. :happy
by A440
Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Re: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

Any experiences/satisfaction with zero entry showers with glass doors/walls?
by A440
Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Re: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

Kerdi guy here. Did hardi + kerdi even though drywall is acceptable. If I did it today, I’d buy that kerdi board that takes the place of drywall/hardi. Shower glass is the way to go. Gotta squeege it after showering and I have a shower towel that I wipe the walls down with and dry the base. Takes 1...
by A440
Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Re: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

One thing to potentially consider: In the far off future, if you need to access the pipes behind the chosen surface/wall, how will that be done and can that access hole be fixed. Always worth it to buy/keep extra tiles (if going with tiles) so that the area can be repaired. Almost just had such an ...
by A440
Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Re: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

Just to anticipate, once you get your tile shower installed (surely the best way to go) the secret to keeping everything clean is to squeegee down all the surfaces every time you use the shower. I also suggest using a frameless glass door. Although it isn't a huge thing, I've moved more towards a s...
by A440
Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system
Replies: 36
Views: 3059

Long-term satisfaction with your shower wall/system

We are looking to replace a fiberglass walls/base shower as part of an upcoming bath remodel. I'm not concerned with ROI or so much the cost of the shower remodel as I am with ease of cleaning, peace of mind with being leak-free, and longevity. I'm fairly handy and can do DIY up to a point, but will...
by A440
Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Kind of Generator Do you Use for your Home Backup?
Replies: 139
Views: 8757

Re: What Kind of Generator Do you Use for your Home Backup?

We use a small inverter generator from Harbor Freight along with a manual transfer switch. It powers what we need it to power. The longest we found a need to use it was 2 days. For ~$1,000 for both, it was an affordable insurance option for the once or twice a year we lose power.
by A440
Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you choose a location to retire?
Replies: 113
Views: 10326

Re: How did you choose a location to retire?

I have grandiose plans of moving somewhere with wide open space and views of the mountains or a large lake. Living in NJ, the most densely populated state in the country, I don't get to observe too many places with open space. However, my lovely bride keeps telling me I can make all the plans I want...