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What are your biggest pain points with personal finance? What problems do you have that you wish someone would solve?

Some of mine are:
- Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
- Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
- Setting up a budget and adhering to it

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rated:
Hmmm, good question.
* Projecting my runway (ave recurring spending / cash savings)
* Ave recurring spending by month (rent, ave food, ave utilities) separated from a running yearly tally of my one-off expenses (travel, car maintenance)

Are you looking to take on some personal finance problems?

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wifey credit cards!!!!

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Compulsivity with personal finance and checking online forums

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cglodha said:   What are your biggest pain points with personal finance? What problems do you have that you wish someone would solve?

Some of mine are:
- Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
- Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
- Setting up a budget and adhering to it
 

  
You are probably making it more complex than it should be.

Starting off in your career - e.g. first job - you want to save as much as possible - get a 6month to a 1 year cushion on savings.  After that, maximize your tax savings/employer match etc. That is all free money towards future - don't let it get wasted. But besides the savings, pay attention to where you invest - over the long term, a growth fund will probably do a lot better than a bond fund.

After that, you need to have a general idea on where you are spending / where you want to be spending. And that is about it. You are not going to control which month your car breaks down or which month you need a brake job. But trying to make a budget and then adhering to it all time wasted exercises (in my opinion). I have lived on my own for almost 35 years with no budget and doing very well in savings and having fun. This included sending kid to college and taking 1-2 long vacations every year. 

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#1 and #2 for FWFers

H & B

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Pain = Putting a wallet full of credit cards in my back pocket.

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Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. The state move everything up a month compared to what it has been for decades.

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   Pain = Putting a wallet full of credit cards in my back pocket.That's how pickpockets get you, grasshopper. You should never carry anything valuable in your back pockets -- front pockets only.

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nickiriffic79 said:   Hmmm, good question.
* Projecting my runway (ave recurring spending / cash savings)
* Ave recurring spending by month (rent, ave food, ave utilities) separated from a running yearly tally of my one-off expenses (travel, car maintenance)

Are you looking to take on some personal finance problems?
No, it's not a good question. The problems in the first two posts are so trivial that I think we're being trolled.

Once you figure out your monthly budget, projecting everything into the future is easy -- Just list everything in a spreadsheet, including future paychecks and expenses sorted by date with a running tally. You don't need to split up every little monthly bill, but you do need to add up the expected monthly expenses and record them as outgoing at some point that month. If you have multiple bank accounts you could even add columns for each one to identify where the income will be deposited and where the bills will be paid from.

This projection also can help with JW10's problem -- your property taxes are probably not due immediately. Mine give me a 6-10 week window to pay: 1st installment due Nov 1 and late after Dec 12, 2nd installment due Feb 1 and late after April 10 (approximately).

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Taking the time to provide good personal finance advice to family/friends and then nothing changes. Rinse and repeat a year later.

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not making enough money

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cglodha said:   What are your biggest pain points with personal finance? What problems do you have that you wish someone would solve?

Some of mine are:
- Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
- Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
- Setting up a budget and adhering to it



Setting budgets is fine, I guess....but I find it easier to just back into your savings goals. Figure out how much you want to save/invest. Do that upfront so it never hits your main checking account. Then just spend whatever is left over.

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JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

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scripta said:   NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   Pain = Putting a wallet full of credit cards in my back pocket.That's how pickpockets get you, grasshopper. You should never carry anything valuable in your back pockets -- front pockets only.I move it to a front pocket when I'm in crowds, etc.

I leave it in my back pocket at home, work, with family, etc.
  

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

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jerosen said:   rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

Is that not the same as the yearly vehicle registration fee

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rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

Is that not the same as the yearly vehicle registration fee

Depends on the state. In some states, they are levied as personal property taxes that vary with the vehicle value.

ETA: If they are levied this way (versus a fixed registration fee), they can typically be deducted from federal taxes.

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rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

Is that not the same as the yearly vehicle registration fee

  No, because in those states, only part of the annual fee you pay for the vehicle is a registration fee.  The rest is a kind of property tax, (or sometimes the state will call it an "excise tax"), that is based on the vehicle's value.  This part will reduce over time, as the vehicle ages.

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BostonOne said:   
rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

Is that not the same as the yearly vehicle registration fee

Depends on the state. In some states, they are levied as personal property taxes that vary with the vehicle value.

ETA: If they are levied this way (versus a fixed registration fee), they can typically be deducted from federal taxes.

  then on a net basis, you're not paying any more ?

rated:
Fat Wallet...

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
BostonOne said:   
rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
JW10 said:   Remembering when the property and real estate taxes are due. 
 well it's easier if you remember those are one and the same

  
They aren't necessarily.

Some states have personal property taxes (non real estate) usually applied to cars.

 

Is that not the same as the yearly vehicle registration fee

Depends on the state. In some states, they are levied as personal property taxes that vary with the vehicle value.

ETA: If they are levied this way (versus a fixed registration fee), they can typically be deducted from federal taxes.

  then on a net basis, you're not paying any more ?

  tax deduction is not same as tax credit.

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EDIT: fwuser12 beat me to it, post deleted

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cglodha said:   What are your biggest pain points with personal finance? What problems do you have that you wish someone would solve?

Some of mine are:
- Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
Splitwise already does this.
- Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
Between FWF, Bogleheads and /r/FinancialIndependence I'm all set
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
$18K into 401k, $5.5k into IRA, everything else has recently going to pad my cash savings.
- Setting up a budget and adhering to it
YNAB does this for people who need this. There is also Mint.
 


Sounds like you are trying to ideate a start-up service for things that have already been done pretty well...

rated:
Why the red ruffles?

Explain how a tax deduction of personal property tax nets out to not paying any more than a registration fee, especially since no one mentioned fee amounts or tax rates. fwuser12's post is as basic an explanation as possible why your assumption is incorrect in many circumstances.

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Remembering where those darn mason jars are buried.

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meade18 said:   Why the red ruffles?

 

  should have thought of that before you gave me red

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rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   Why the red ruffles?

 

  should have thought of that before you gave me red

I don't care about you giving me red. I expect it. I'm wondering why you gave red to fwuser12 when his post was a legitimate explanation for why yours made no sense and he wasn't particularly mean about it like I was going to be.

rated:
meade18 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   Why the red ruffles?

 

  should have thought of that before you gave me red

I don't care about you giving me red. I expect it. I'm wondering why you gave red to fwuser12 when his post was a legitimate explanation for why yours made no sense and he wasn't particularly mean about it like I was going to be.

  i'm fully aware tax deduction and tax credit are different.

rated:
Kevo171 said:   cglodha;19927992 said:
What are your biggest pain points with personal finance? What problems do you have that you wish someone would solve?

Some of mine are:
- Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
Splitwise already does this.
- Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
Between FWF, Bogleheads and /r/FinancialIndependence I'm all set
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
$18K into 401k, $5.5k into IRA, everything else has recently going to pad my cash savings.
- Setting up a budget and adhering to it
YNAB does this for people who need this. There is also Mint.

@Kevo171 — thanks for the feedback. I guess I am trying to understand how well these problems have been solved, if there are rooms for more improvements, and if not, then are there other problems in the space yet to still be solved. For example most of my friends do not invest their money despite all of these resources being available. Do you think that there is scope for building some more tools in these areas or are you convinced that the existing tools are good enough as is?
rascott said:   
@rascott — thanks for sharing that. I'm more curious about being strategic with longer term financial goals such as buying a house. How do I weigh the pros/cons of taking a bigger mortgage and getting a house now vs. saving more, investing, and buying a house later? And how should I even figure out what the right amount to save/invest is for now?
  
scripta said:   
 

@scripta — I assure you, no trollage going on here (and apologies that my questions don't seem good to you!). It is re-assuring though that you find these problems trivial! I would love to understand how you recommend solving them because that would really make my life much easier.

Specifically for my roommates, they often forget to pay the bill but I'm still liable for shared rent. In addition, rent and utilities are billed on different monthly cycles and I have had variable roommates so even our shared roommate Google sheet has a variety of tedious fractional calculations that need to be edited each month. I wish there were an automated way to figure out these splits and auto confirm that everyone had paid on time. Do you know of any good ways of making this happen?

For investing, I'm not sure how much to put in 401(k) vs. ROTH IRA, how much to save vs. invest, when to buy a house, which investing platform to use (e.g. Vanguard, Schwab, Wealthfront, etc.), and which funds to invest in. Do you have any useful guidance or benchmarks on this front?

Apologies if these are super obvious questions that have well known answers (I'm new here!).
JW10 said:   
 


@JW10 — how did you end up finding out about this?
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
 

  
@NoMoneyInMyWallet — hahaha! Maybe it is time to consolidate to one card and start using Apple/Android Pay
PrincipalMember said:   
 

  
@PrincipalMember — you're probably right that I'm overcomplicating things
Good to hear that you have been able to live a fun life without budgeting. Do you feel that you have a good grasp of where you are spending your money, or do you have a good enough cash flow that you don't really care that much?
catanpirate said:   
 


@catanpirate — lol
tantuti said:   
 

  
@tantuti — hahah, is the issue that your wife is overspending on credit cards? Is there a way that you could set spending limits on the cards?
nickiriffic79 said:   
 

  
@nickiriffic79 — Good answers! Do you use any tools to help you with these today? And yes, I would love to take on some personal finance problems that folks have.

rated:
missing the bus ... or several buses

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Buying too much crap.

Figuring out/estimating cost basis of stocks and mutual funds I've owned for a long time.

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   scripta said:   NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   Pain = Putting a wallet full of credit cards in my back pocket.That's how pickpockets get you, grasshopper. You should never carry anything valuable in your back pockets -- front pockets only.I move it to a front pocket when I'm in crowds, etc.

I leave it in my back pocket at home, work, with family, etc.
Cool, just seems unnecessary, unless your wallet is fat. Another thing about fat wallets is they destroy pockets, especially if they don't have rounded edges. BigSkinny = best wallet ever.

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scripta said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
scripta said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   Pain = Putting a wallet full of credit cards in my back pocket.
That's how pickpockets get you, grasshopper. You should never carry anything valuable in your back pockets -- front pockets only.

I move it to a front pocket when I'm in crowds, etc.

I leave it in my back pocket at home, work, with family, etc.

Cool, just seems unnecessary, unless your wallet is fat. Another thing about fat wallets is they destroy pockets, especially if they don't have rounded edges. BigSkinny = best wallet ever.

  that's when you need a bigger pocket

rated:
cglodha said:   scripta said:   @scripta — I assure you, no trollage going on here (and apologies that my questions don't seem good to you!). It is re-assuring though that you find these problems trivial! I would love to understand how you recommend solving them because that would really make my life much easier.

Specifically for my roommates, they often forget to pay the bill but I'm still liable for shared rent. In addition, rent and utilities are billed on different monthly cycles and I have had variable roommates so even our shared roommate Google sheet has a variety of tedious fractional calculations that need to be edited each month. I wish there were an automated way to figure out these splits and auto confirm that everyone had paid on time. Do you know of any good ways of making this happen?

For investing, I'm not sure how much to put in 401(k) vs. ROTH IRA, how much to save vs. invest, when to buy a house, which investing platform to use (e.g. Vanguard, Schwab, Wealthfront, etc.), and which funds to invest in. Do you have any useful guidance or benchmarks on this front?

Apologies if these are super obvious questions that have well known answers (I'm new here!).
Alrighty then, here we go.

cglodha said:   - Splitting recurring expenses with roommates (e.g. rent, utilities, internet, etc.)You can't let anyone forget if you're liable. Most bills can be paid automatically with credit card or ACH withdrawal from checking, that way you'll never miss the payment. If different roommates are responsible for paying different bills, then let each one worry about their own -- if they miss it and lose Internet or electricity for a few days and get a ding on their credit report, it'll be a lesson for them. Using a shared google spreadsheet for balancing is a great idea. Set a day once a month where previous month's debts are settled. You can use checks, Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal to settle the balance. I don't know of an easy way to automate this.
cglodha said:   - Setting up a budget and adhering to itThere are tons of books and websites on this subject, including many discussions here. You'll have to search.
cglodha said:   - Figuring out how to invest my money and how much to save
- Figuring out what to put into retirement savings (e.g. 401k)
The most common advice (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4) goes something like this. You start at the top of the list and keep going down if you have any money left over after expenses:
1) Save an emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses. A Roth IRA in step 3 can serve as an emergency fund (read me), but initially it may not have enough money.
2) Make the minimum 401(k) contributions necessary to get the full employer match.
3) Max out Roth IRA contributions (currently $5500/yr).
4.a) Either max out remaining 401(k) contributions (currently $18K/yr), or
4.b) Invest or save the rest for everything else.

#4 is a balancing act between saving for retirement and saving for large future expenses, like downpayment on a home. You have to figure out for yourself when and if you're ready for home ownership, how much it'll cost, and how long it'll take to save for a down payment (you get the best mortgage terms with at least 20% down, but there are other, usually more costly programs that allow smaller down payment).

As far as what to invest in, read Lazy Portfolios. It's a great strategy whether you know absolutely nothing or absolutely everything about investing. For taxable non-retirement accounts you can also look into robo-advisors (1, 2) like Betterment and Wealthfront, because their automated tax-loss harvesting and tax efficient investing is supposed to save you more money than they charge for the service.

If you have specific questions, you should search the forum before asking. There's also a flame-free thread stickied at the top for questions that don't warrant their own thread.

How's that?

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   Why the red ruffles?

 

  should have thought of that before you gave me red

I don't care about you giving me red. I expect it. I'm wondering why you gave red to fwuser12 when his post was a legitimate explanation for why yours made no sense and he wasn't particularly mean about it like I was going to be.

  i'm fully aware tax deduction and tax credit are different.

  
I figured you did. That's why your comment about the net of the two payments being the same made no sense.

rated:
cglodha said:    
@PrincipalMember — you're probably right that I'm overcomplicating things
Good to hear that you have been able to live a fun life without budgeting. Do you feel that you have a good grasp of where you are spending your money, or do you have a good enough cash flow that you don't really care that much?
 


I have a general idea and that is important to have - in case, you are contemplating early retirement, or lose  a job or want to take a year off or in my case, the wife gets concerned, "do we have enough money" (having a general idea helps to explain that she can live for XX years before running out of money even if I am dead).  See below for my numbers. Some are inflated - I don't think we spend anywhere close to 4800 for eating out. Vacations - some of them cost much lower since I will use points/miles from one vacation on a future vacation. Overall, at least now, I make a lot more than the number below (after 401K/catchup/non-deductible ira/taxes etc). So I pay zero attention to budget - things are what they are. That does not mean that I throw away money - I am adding more solar capacity since PGE rates have gone up too much, I bought a bunch of Costco cards from Chase/Discover when they had 5% off on wholesale clubs - so I am always doing things that save money - just habit. 
  
Mortgage 10800   138K outstanding
Property taxes 5500    
Property insurance 1200    
HOA 2160    
Healthcare 3000    
Car insurance+DMV fees 1500   2 Hondas
Gas for 2 cars 1800    
Water/Elec/Solar/Waste 4500    
Cell/Dish/Comcast 2400      2 cell lines
Eating out 4800    
Groceries+Costco 5500    
Kohl/Target/CVS 4000    
Travel 20000    
Total 67160    


rated:
PrincipalMember said:   
So I pay zero attention to budget - things are what they are. 

  green 

rated:
meade18 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
meade18 said:   Why the red ruffles?

 

  should have thought of that before you gave me red

I don't care about you giving me red. I expect it. I'm wondering why you gave red to fwuser12 when his post was a legitimate explanation for why yours made no sense and he wasn't particularly mean about it like I was going to be.

  i'm fully aware tax deduction and tax credit are different.

  
I figured you did. That's why your comment about the net of the two payments being the same made no sense.

  it's because he reds everyone who disagrees with him or gives him red, even if they're right.

Skipping 36 Messages...
rated:
Shandril said:   
libralibra said:   For the people saying that managing 30 or 40 accounts is their pain point, then isn't the easy answer to reduce the number of accounts? 40 sounds like a lot.

CCs: use only 2 or 3 cards, e.g. a rotating 5% card and a good Travel card (bofa or airline card)
Banks: are you hitting FDIC limits or something? If you keep a lot of cash/CDs then learn about adding PODs and beneficiaries. e.g. a joint bank account with 2 children as beneficiaries will have 1 million FDIC coverage on a single account. (added bonus: POD accounts will avoid probate.)
Brokerages: this may be a bit harder if you have the full array of a regular account, Roth, TIRA, 529, company stock account, 401k, and all x2 if you both work. But you can at least roll over old 401ks together and try merging mutual fund accounts at the big brokerages (most have free no-load funds or no-commission ETFs now)


The issue is that simplifying would come at a tangible opportunity cost. Say CCs, that basically means sticking with  the same few cards, not maximizing rewards, and forgoing several $1000s annually in sign up bonuses.  Also for usage ratio, I don't want to close a ton of dormant accounts but I still want to track them to make sure the balances stay at $0. That'd also mean giving up a lot of yield on reward checking accounts.

For retirement accounts, there are also many which we cannot move, like 401k/403b until we change employer, HSAs, college funding accounts for the kids, and some in very well performing closed funds. There are long terms CDs as well. They don't technically need a lot of monitoring but if you're trying to track net worth, they have to be included there as well. Ladder them and use several banks and it's quite a few accounts. Multiply about everything by 2 except a few rare common accounts like mortgage and that's pretty easy to get to 30 or more accounts.

All that said, it's not as huge a pain point as I may have made it sounds. It's just my main one. I just wish I could set all my accounts in one place, import all transactions flawlessly, and spend 2 min checking that daily, rather than use separate apps, some that track spending better (say quicken, mint) and some that track investments better (say personal capital) and fixing imports.

  
You can buy CDs commission-free from Schwab or Fidelity.

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