SpartanHiker

27 Contributions 83 People Helped Top Contributor

Member Since: October 2014

About Me: Retired Army Officer (~28 years) who also finished a Spartan TRIFECTA in 2016.
Huuah!

Most Helpful Contribution

Credit Karma score compared to FICO score. If my CK score is 730 what would my FICO score be?

Oct 06, 2017
Aloha, VANTAGE Scores are a good PROXY
Helpful to 38 out of 43 people

Aloha Folks,

VANTAGE Scores are helpful tools, but you have to 'take them with a grain of salt'. YES, it's not the same score as your FICO score, but it's close enough to be helpful for the majority of folks out there looking to keep score with their credit score. I see some folks here complain, and other folks here praise this helpful tool. The bottom-line truth is, if your VANTAGE score is going down over time, your FICO score will be hurting too, but if your VANTAGE score is going up over time, you can believe that your FICO score is too. That's what the Vantage score is good for, as a PROXY to your real scores to help you keep tabs on how you're doing. If you're that concerned about accuracy, then it might be worth it to sign up for EXPERIAN's credit monitoring services to see what your actual FICO scores look like.

As for me, I find that my VANTAGE score and my FICO score are very close most times, and not that far apart. So for me at least, getting a FREE VANTAGE score is a good deal.

Take care and stay awesome folks.

Activity (27 Total Contributions)

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best savings account

Sep 15, 2017
Aloha Friends, I second that thought.
Helpful to 12 out of 12 people

Aloha Friends, I second that thought. A credit union is often a much better and competitive place. I've been a CU member for almost 20 years and for a little while I was even a member of their committee, and it surprised me how much better their car loan, savings, checking, etc. etc. was compared to my local commercial banks. The credit unions are concerned with taking care of their members, as opposed to a commercial bank which is concerned with making a profit. Last tip I'll leave here is that a credit union staff or manager is more accessible than a banks, if you have unique issues, you can sit down with your credit union staff or manager and talk one on one to get their advice or even help. I've never chatted with my regular commercial banks managers, but I chat with my credit union manager all the time and we're on a first name basis.

So this is just my humble 2 cents, and of course your mileage may vary. 

Take care and good luck!

Retirement Planning Software

Dec 07, 2017
Aloha Friend, I strongly recommend this
Helpful to 10 out of 10 people

Aloha Friend, I strongly recommend this tool that sfbrown suggested. The retirement calculator on market watch .com is AWESOME. If you are a visual person, it takes your normally boring spreadsheet and puts every thing into easy to see graphs. What I like about their method is that it becomes child's play to tease out and see what the relationships are between the various factors that come into play in retirement, such as investments, pensions, Social Security and so on. You can see what happens if you decide to draw SS as soon as you're eligible, or if you wait to 65, or if you wait till 67 for full benefits for example. I even wanted to see what happened if I drew my SS when I hit 62 and if my wife waited till 67 for her full benefits. You can very easily play around these scenarios to see exactly what happens to your bottom line. An amazing tool considering it's 100% free. Please take it from me, free is a heaven sent gift in this case.

As always, take care, and stay awesome folks!

:)

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Credit Karma score compared to FICO score. If my CK score is 730 what would my FICO score be?

Oct 06, 2017
Aloha, VANTAGE Scores are a good PROXY
Helpful to 38 out of 43 people

Aloha Folks,

VANTAGE Scores are helpful tools, but you have to 'take them with a grain of salt'. YES, it's not the same score as your FICO score, but it's close enough to be helpful for the majority of folks out there looking to keep score with their credit score. I see some folks here complain, and other folks here praise this helpful tool. The bottom-line truth is, if your VANTAGE score is going down over time, your FICO score will be hurting too, but if your VANTAGE score is going up over time, you can believe that your FICO score is too. That's what the Vantage score is good for, as a PROXY to your real scores to help you keep tabs on how you're doing. If you're that concerned about accuracy, then it might be worth it to sign up for EXPERIAN's credit monitoring services to see what your actual FICO scores look like.

As for me, I find that my VANTAGE score and my FICO score are very close most times, and not that far apart. So for me at least, getting a FREE VANTAGE score is a good deal.

Take care and stay awesome folks.

Should we buy an annuity

Dec 07, 2017
Aloha Montana1980, call Dave Ramsey
Helpful to 8 out of 10 people

Aloha Montana1980, call Dave Ramsey for vindication on this one. If you're looking for a tie-breaker between you, your spouse, and your old and new financial planners, go and call Dave Ramsey's free hotline and ask on the air. He'll give you a good solid and sound financial answer which I suspect will have nothing to do with annuities and CD's. Think index mutual funds and money market mutual funds. If not, you can also give his book a read, I borrowed my copy from my local library before upgrading to a used copy that I bought for next to nothing off of Amazon books. Take care and God bless.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Retirement Planning Software

Dec 07, 2017
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

Aloha sfbrown,

     Good morning. Holy smokes, that was an awesome tip! I went online and plugged in some numbers. I then took it for a drive around the block and to kick the tires in a bit. What an awesome tool, and 100% free to boot. I will definitely be using their retirement calculator as one of my weekly planning tools, that's how impressed I am by it. I have you to thank for it, so THANK YOU good sir. Your awesomeness is greatly appreciated.

:)

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Does anyone know a small bank or lender that i can go to to ask for a small loan, of 3000 or less?

Jan 17, 2018
Aloha Dester30, I'll second that thought
Helpful to 1 out of 1 people

Aloha Dester30, I'll second that thought. A credit union is often a much better and more competitive place to shop for small loans. I've been a CU member for about 20 years, and for a little while I was even a member of their supervisory committee. It surprised me how much better their car loan, savings, checking, etc. etc. was compared to my local commercial banks. They almost always beat them in each and every category that I checked on. The credit unions are concerned with taking care of their members, as opposed to a commercial bank which is concerned with making a profit off of you. In there lies the magic. Last tip I'll leave here is that a credit union staff or manager is more accessible than a banks, if you have unique issues, you can sit down with your credit union staff or manager and talk one on one to get their advice or even help. I've never chatted with my regular commercial banks managers, but I chat with my credit union manager all the time and we're on a first name basis.

So this is just my humble 2 cents, and of course your mileage may vary. 

Take care and God Bless Dester30.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

should I close seldom used credit cards?

Dec 01, 2017
There is -1- exception to this rule
Helpful to 12 out of 19 people

Aloha Friends,

There is only -1- exception to this rule! As in many things in life, there are always pros and cons to everything. I agree 100% that I would also keep the credit card(s) and lock them up under normal circumstances for reasons that are already very well explained here in other posts. The only exception being if that card has an enormous annual fee attached to it. I regret it now, but once upon a time I had an AMEX Gold and Plat card that I had zero balances on. Their annual fees are ridiculous and because of that I opted to cancel them so I didn't have to pay $600 per year just to maintain my good credit. I took a hit for a while, but eventually I worked my way back up from there. Last tip I'll leave here is always go for credit cards with no or very low annual fees, preferably with no. That will keep your hard earned money where it needs to be, in your -POCKET- and out of the bank's pockets.

So this is just my humble 2 cents, and of course your mileage may vary.

Take care and good luck!

v/r,

Spartan Hiker

solo 401k providers

Jan 16, 2019
Aloha Jai9951, yours is a great question

Aloha Jai9951, yours is a great question.

I would recommend you browse your local Costco for said services. They have many products that are geared and priced to the small business solo owner to include 401k's with Costco's immense pricing power and world famous customer service to match.

Good luck and best wishes Jai9951.

Very Respectfully,

Spartan Hiker

do i need to put more away in my 401k? i already put 4% in . not sure if i want to put more in cuz o...

Jan 16, 2019
Aloha cinbonz, that is a great question

Aloha cinbonz, yours is a great question.

I would like to expand a little on jwsister's answer. Are you getting any kind of EMPLOYER MATCH in your 401k? If you are, for example let's say your employer matches your first 5% of contributions dollar for dollar, then bump up your own contributions to 5% to make sure you capture the FULL employer match. That is -FREE- money on the table and you can never get a better deal than free. Always get the match! After you accomplish that, you need to take a more wholistic approach to your retirement that takes into account your own financial situation. Do you have debt? Student Loans? Car Loans? etc etc. you may want to redirect your available dollars to put down your debt for good.

I highly recommend something called the debt snowball method of paying down your bills. Look up Dave Ramsey in your local library and bsorrow some of his books. I highly recommend them.

Good luck and best wishes cinbonz!

Very Respectfully,

Spartan Hiker

is it smart to get loans from 401k to invest in other areas

Jan 15, 2019
Aloha 1977M****erson, that is playing

Aloha 1977M****erson, that is playing with FIRE. I would warn you against it. The most often overlooked detail on this is that if you leave your employer, you will have to pay the total amount in FULL or it will be counted as INCOME and TAXED as such. Bad bad juju in my opinion. There are better ways to get ahead in life. This is not one of them.

Good luck and best wishes.

Very Respectfully,

Spartan Hiker

should I stop 401K deposit and payoff credit cards

Jan 15, 2019
Aloha lmkjn, that is a great question

Aloha lmkjn, that is a great question by the way! I want to expand a little on jakewill05's answer. If you have a lot of credit card debt (and I mean a LOT), and you are not comfortable with the amount of debt that you carry from month to month, then it comes down to what the interest rates you are paying on said credit cards actually are.

If your interest rates are great as in single digits to low teens, than continue to put away in your 401k and continue to pay down your cc bills. You can go to the library and borrow a copy of Dave Ramsey's books which will give you some great debt killing strategies called a DEBT SNOWBALL. Use it to pay down your cc bills.

If your interest rates are terrible, as above 15%, than you should look into cutting down your 401k payments to add more money to your debt snowball to pay off your debts even faster.

Once you get your debts going down and your highly motivated , your path forward and way ahead will become clear.

Good luck and best wishes lmkjn!

Very Respectfully,

Spartan Hiker

I receive VA disability compensation. Is it reportable or taxable?

Apr 10, 2018

Aloha jwsister,

     Thanks jwsister for your answer to Arglen1's question. Good to know since I'm in the military to. :)

Very Respectfully,

SpartanHiker

at 47 years old how much money should i have saved

Mar 30, 2018
Aloha bornbless0831, a great question.

Aloha bornbless0831, that is a great question. I will take a slightly different angle that Jwsister by saying that you should have at least a $1,000 Emergency Fund and preferably a 5-6 month Emergency Fund which could sustain you in case of emergency. Think of it as a kind of self-insurance. If you're in debt, especially credit card  or student loan debt, you should be doing everything in your power to pay off your debts minus the mortgage. If you're past that way point, then you should be saving 10-15% of what you make each year in a retirement fund like a Roth 401k or a ROTH IRA. There are many great FREE books you can borrow at your local library or cheap used books you can buy off Amazon that cover this in depth.

Take care and good luck bornbless0831.

Very Respectfully,

SpartanHiker

Finding a list pension?

Mar 27, 2018
Aloha Beneficial2, ???

Aloha Beneficial2, that question is a bit vague and cryptic. Please repost here if you can articulate it with a little more info to go on. Take care and good luck.

Very Respectfully,

SpartanHiker

im self employed .what can i do for retirement.iam 51 years old .

Feb 26, 2018
Aloha me3ur1, I agree with faidros

Aloha me3ur1, I agree with faidros 100%. I'll second his good opinion here. You should have Social Security, and you you can go to the Social Security website to order an estimate of your retirement income from them. It's a very helpful piece of information that you should be tracking carefully. On top of that, you should be putting away as much as you can into a ROTH or traditional IRA. At your age, you can also put away a little more called a CATCH UP CONTRIBUTION. Look that up for this year and that's what you can put away starting right now. Great question me3ur1.

Good luck and God Bless.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

How to get started at 20?

Feb 22, 2018
Aloha DeniseDY, that is a great question

Aloha DeniseDY,

That is a great question you asked. I'm going to take on a different tack from EddyTX, but to be clear I liked his response and it's some good advice too. Do you have any other debt that your carrying? You should consider building a $1,000 emergency fund first, then once your self-insured against life's little emergencies, and who doesn't have unexpected emergencies? You can move on to step two which is to pay off any outstanding debt you have. Once your done with that you can save a more robust emergency fund, and save for a home and retirement. Debt is one of the most harmful things people can have in life, and as some people like to say, the borrower is slave to the lender. I can speak from experience, without debt, the air around you is fresher, the grass looks greener, and you stand a little taller. I'm just saying it's a huge pyschological boost to not owe any money to anyone. There are always many great books you can read up on the subject. I'm a huge fan of the public library system. Please check with them and ask them some recommendations for a good personal finance book.

Take care and God Bless DeniseDY.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

What does the credit report have for my employers?

Feb 07, 2018
Aloha debbie62thebest, GREAT question

Aloha debbie62thebest, GREAT question! I've routinely checked all 3 of my reports, but I've only ever seen it recorded in just one. For my case, it was my Experian report. This is information that I never supplied to them, so I've always wondered how they determine that info. It is very possible and quite likely that if your employer pulls a copy of your credit report as a condition of your employment, the credit bureaus may somehow grab that requestor's info and put that down in your file. I do believe that was the case for me. My other 2 reports have no info in that block. I hope that was helpful debbie62thebest.

Take care and God Bless.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

We need a new roof and I would like to pay off a credit card and a loan is this a good idea.

Jan 19, 2018
Aloha Vincyn45, this is why insurance is

Aloha Vincyn45, this is why homeowner insurance is so important. Like mindjazz said, if you have a policy that cover's the roof, that may be your salvation. They can fix the roof, and you can save your hard earned money for paying down your debts or for an emergency fund. An obvious question I didn't hear asked or seen answered was if you own this home or are renting it from someone else. If you own it, it's probably your biggest asset, and a leaky roof will bring financial ruin to your biggest asset in this case. If you rent, then get your land lord on the case asap. Mold can be toxic, and your health is priceless my friend.

Good luck and God Bless Vincyn45.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

How do I pay off det

Jan 18, 2018
Aloha Bethany8960, google Dave Ramsey...

Aloha Bethany8960, google Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball. You'll find tons of information on his website and in his official Youtube videos on his channel that cover this topic. You can also head on over to your local library to borrow a free copy of any of his NYT Bestseller Get-out-of-Debt books. They are all great and cover this topic in depth and then some. If you're really on fire, then go take his Financial Peace seminar at your local church. By that time, I'm sure you'll have made a plan and destroyed your debt(s). Take care and God Bless Bethany8960.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Where can I get a job today?

Jan 17, 2018
Aloha Skipper 88, about your question

Aloha Skipper 88, about your question. It may have been a typo or maybe you didn't have the chance to put down a few more words, so I'll go by your first question. I'm a HUGE fan of free things and FREE help. If you're in school, that may be the ticket to getting started down the road to something. If you're in High School or College, go immediately seek out your Administration office and go see a counselor, any counselor. It's normal to have someone there who can help you. That's what they get paid for, and they want to help you. I'd start there and they can help you take stock of what you're good at, and perhaps point you in the direction of some resources that can help you. My high school counselor helped me get my workers permit at age 16 here in Hawaii. It allowed me to go work part time after school and on the weekends to help me get a foothold in the adult world. A very big step for someone like me. If you're in college or community college, you have even more options. Schools routinely hire students to use around the campus to assist and support the campus, the faculty, and the students. As soon as I could, I traded up to a student computer programmer part time job which paid much better than working outside making minimum wage. That helped me on my current track and I'm still working in that field over 25 years later now. If that's not an option, try your local library. The resources are free for the taking, and librarians are some of the most resourceful and helpful people there are.

Good luck and God Bless Skipper 88.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Anybody have any luck with Reverse Mortgages?

Jan 10, 2018
Aloha YaYaGrammie, I would get a 2nd...

Aloha YaYaGrammie, I would get a 2nd and a 3rd opinion from a reliable Financial Advisors or Gurus. I myself have never done one, but from everything I've ever read FINANCIAL LITERACY-wise, it's always been explained as a borderline shady area of Personal Finance. You never see or hear wealthy people talk about how they used a reverse mortgage to help themselves out, so there may be more than a little truth to that line of thinking. There are always other options too, like selling your home and downsizing to a smaller more manageable place like an apartment or such. Or you could become a landlord and rent your home out, and use the rental income as a stream of income to supplement your Social Security and other retirement funds you have access to. That would allow you to keep your home indefintely, and also pass your home on to your heirs, like children or grandchildren perhaps to give them a boost. Just my 2 cents though, so please, please run your situation by some FEE FOR SERVICE experts and get their inputs as well.

Good luck, take care, and God Bless!

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Is a Life Paid at 90 plan a good way to havev mooney at retirement

Jan 09, 2018
Aloha OMGEEE, that sounds a lot like....

Aloha OMGEEE, that sounds a lot like some kind of Life Insurance plan. There wasn't a lot of info to go on, but something in my gut is tickling me and wispering to me that it's something to do with a LIFE INSURANCE plan of some sort. If it is, generally speaking, it's not a great investment when you compare it to some other options you may have on the table. I have to agree with what I learned from reading Dave Ramsey's great financial books free at my local library. Dave hates Life Insurance plans that pass them selves off as investments or retirements. It's almost kinda shady to be honest, and most brokers who sell plans like those do so with a heavy heart becuase they know they're scamming a lot of innocent people out there. Please do your homework and due diligence my friend. Get some second opinions from some reputable people that are FEE FOR SERVICE when you hire them. Good luck, take care, and God Bless my friend!

v/r,

SpartanHiker

What should my retirement accounts amount to at 50 yrs of age?

Jan 07, 2018
Aloha 68 Tiger, that's a GREAT question!

Aloha 68 Tiger, that's a GREAT question! Almost everyone struggles with discovering what their number is, but that number is as unique as you are. It really depends on a lot of factors, and that's a tough nut to crack in such a short format as this one. If you're looking for a good solid place to start, I would highly recommend you go down to your local library and borrow a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial books. It has a great track record behind it and I've read almost all of them. They have the depth and breadth to help you run through all your financial considerations to find YOUR NUMBER that works for you. Just so you know, I'm not on their payroll or anything like that. I'm just a happy reader who has increased his financial muscles considerably after reading his books. Once you got a good grip on that, you can go the paid Advisor route like jwsister mentioned. Go FEE FOR SERVICE, that way it will be in their best interest to work in your best interest my friend. Take care and God bless!

v/r,

SpartanHiker

How much should I contribute to my 401(k) in my early 20s while still paying off small student loan?...

Dec 29, 2017
Aloha I 2nd jwsister's advice!

Aloha I second jwsister's good advice. Awesome job on getting a great start on your financial life and future. I started on my 401k when I was 24. You're doing awesome! Contribute as much as you comfortably can and try to capture all your matching funds from your employer. That is free money on the table, and trust me, not everyone offers a match. That said, have at least a $1000 emergency fund that you can dip into, and then use the rest to pay off as much debt as you can. Once you retire the debt, you can focus on building an emergency fund that can carry you at least 3-6 months. Take care and Good Luck.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

Received a bill that isn't mine.

Dec 18, 2017
Aloha VMscam, try paying a store a visit

Aloha VMscam, try paying a store a visit. The good old fashioned brick and motar kind and preferably one that is not too busy. They should be able to help you clear things up. Sometimes emails can't get a typo too, the inputter makes a mistake at dataentry and perhaps it was a simple mistake. If not, getting some human eyes and ears will help a lot to resolve the issue. Take care and stay vigillant.

v/r,

SpartanHiker

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