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Welcome and General Discussion / Re: Vacation Inflation
« Last post by Albert on Today at 11:55:00 AM »
I was counting how exactly I spent my vacation this year and here is my list plus/minus a day or two (excluding Saturdays/Sundays, but including state holidays):

Visiting family: 20 days
Vacation in UAE/Oman: 8 days
Visiting friends in London: 1 day
Vacation in Northern Spain: 2 days
Vacation in Barcelona: 5 days
Vacation in Lithuania: 2 days
Traveling in Switzerland: 1 day
Staying at home: 4 days

Anyone else? Item two was fairly expensive, the rest was cheap individually but of course it does add up...
Off Topic / Re: ...and suddenly, a gap year was sprung upon me.
« Last post by BlueHouse on Today at 11:53:28 AM »
I think it's a great opportunity.  It's pretty rare for anyone in the US to be completely free of debt, obligations, worry.  When it happens, take the time to enjoy it.  It sounds like that's what the OP is going to do! 
I did it after the company I worked for went out of business and I decided to sell my house and move.  I took off a year and spent most of that time travelling overseas.  No idea what I wanted to do when I returned.  I figured this would be the first year of my retirement and then the next 29 years would be at some much later date. 
Suggestions to the OP:  throw on a backpack and get moving.  Anywhere with backpackers' hostels -- you'll meet up with others seeking similar things.  Maybe try couchsurfing.  There's another one where you work for room and board but I cant remember the name.  Have a blast.  As long as you're not in debt when you return, you'll be better off than most people your age when you get back.  Enjoy it, but try to do something productive while you're gone so you have something for the resume later. 
keep us posted. 
Just curious why you and non-working spouse choose traditional IRAs instead of Roth. Obviously the tax benefit exists with your current choice, but at your income level you could still get the Roth benefit...?

Roth IRA would require me to pay taxes now, but the traditional requires me to pay taxes later.  If I invest in the Roth instead, the income I would use to fund it will be at taxed 15%.  If I am creative enough during retirement, the taxes that I pay on the traditional IRA withdrawals will only be 10%.  Obviously, much of this is influenced by future tax policy.
Made tomato sauce with the garden tomatoes this weekend.  Used up the older and not so nice tomatoes saving the best ones for eating fresh.  We had trouble with the garden this year (Hail early, then bugs, and now mice) so the harvest was not that great but I still got 4 pints into the freezer and another quart into the fridge for immediate eating.
Off Topic / Re: Walking dead bicycles?
« Last post by MoneyCat on Today at 11:52:16 AM »
They don't use bicycles because they won't have protection when they have to escape from a herd of walkers.  They are constantly having to run over walkers with their cars on that show.
Hello MMMers,

I have a non qualified IRA in a Metlife Variable Annuity. I have just discovered that I'm paying well over 4% annually between fees, GMIB rider, and funds (70% Metlife Asset Allocation 40 Portfolio, 30% Pimco Total Return). There are steep surrender charges. 5% this year, 4% next year, 3% the following, etc. and I cannot surrender without charges until September of 2018 (I think).

Balance is around $93K.

I can't receive distributions for another 16 years, as I'm only 43.

The way I see it, paying 5% to completely surrender this year seems a bit foolish. Almost as foolish as buying the annuity in the first place, lol. I think my best option is to take out the free withdrawl amount, which is approx. $8,200, and use it to open an IRA at Vanguard, and then next year when surrender charges are 4%, I should withdraw and consider it a wash since I would be paying 4% in fees anyway.

Any thoughts on this strategy from the experts out there? Any other solutions I should be considering?  Thanks for your help and support.

Off Topic / Re: Craigslist is making me lose faith in humanity
« Last post by MoneyCat on Today at 11:48:54 AM »
I've never sold anything on Craigslist before but I may in the future.  I bought a used bread machine from someone off CL and it was an easy transaction with no sales tax.  I appreciate that kind of stuff.  I already pay way more than my fair share of taxes.
From everything I've read rental income DOES count as MAGI towards ACA subsidies so you'll probably have to consider that if deciding to leave the work force. Also, as other's have said, if your income is below the 138% FPL (which is around $15,500/year for a single person)  then you can't get premium subsidies and, unless you are in a state that has expanded Medicaid or something similar, you will have to foot the entire cost of your medical insurance yourself.
We can't do a 401k because they don't offer that, but there are 403b.  My concern is we can't get money from a 403b for a long time and I don't know a company I trust.  I have a TDA but I don't know the difference and can't contribute unless I work again.  I will work in the spring so I think we will try to save all of that. I think it will be very hard to work though.
Ask a Mustachian / Re: Where to relocate for younger retirement?
« Last post by Sid Hoffman on Today at 11:47:55 AM »
Anywhere in the Pacific northwest would get my vote.

Yeah I have an aunt that lived in Salem, Oregon for a while.  It's a real city, but smaller and less crazy-busy than Portland, but close enough to Portland that you can hitch a ride or drive up there to the airport if you need to do major travel.  It gets 4 real seasons and is an overall nice place to be.  You can choose between living in the more hip and thriving downtown area, or head out to the outskirts so that you're still near town, but with lower costs for large open spaces and more quiet.

Pretty much everything above that was said about Vancouver, Washington applies to Salem, Oregon albeit with the exception of different taxation and of course distance from ocean & Portland.  Vancouver, WA is way closer to Portland, but I would say Salem, especially west Salem, gets you a good deal closer to the ocean.  With Vancouver, you need to cross the bridge (nightmare traffic!!) and go through Portland before you can even be on the highway to head towards somewhere like Seaside.  Maybe you'll get there in 1.5 hours, but plan on more like 2.  If there's a wreck on the bridge, forget about, just stay home.  From Salem, it's 60 minutes to Lincoln City and you have no major choke points to get to the ocean.

As for taxation, the two states complement each other, but in different ways.  Honestly, I think Washington is better for workers but Oregon is better for retirees.  Washington has no state income tax, but high sales taxes.  Oregon has modest property and income taxes, but no sales tax.  If you're retired or working with low income from that consulting business, you'll be in a very low income tax bracket, so you'll still pay very little in income taxes.  Meanwhile you'll have that investment money that you are still spending at a level equal to or above your ordinary income level.  That's where the "no sales tax" part in Oregon is awesome, hence why I say that Oregon could be more appropriate for retirees, since you generally have very low income, but still spend money locally.
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