Soliciting more Ask the Grumpies!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run almost every Friday (sometimes we post less-popular but still fascinating google questions). You ask, we answer, or we punt and ask the grumpy nation to answer. In any case, you get the benefit of not only our wisdom but the collective wisdom of the far wiser grumpy nation.

What questions do you have for us? What can we bring clarity or further confusion to? What can the grumpy nation ponder and discuss on your behalf? Ask in the comments below or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

19 Responses to “Soliciting more Ask the Grumpies!”

  1. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Seeding the pond here…

    Questions can be silly or serious or anywhere in between. They can be random or specific. They can be things we’re good at answering (personal finance! fun Leah questions!) or terrible– they’ll all get answered eventually even if the answer is just to throw the question to the much wiser Grumpy Nation.

    Give us some questions!

  2. Steph Says:

    The serious academia question: how do you decide to take on a research student, especially an undergraduate? What qualities do you look for, especially if you only have 1-2 meetings and a CV to make a decision?

    Fun questions: Are you minimalist, maximalist, or somewhere in between? What are your favorite phone games/fun apps? What are some good pop economics books? (Or pop books, if we’re asking all of Grumpy Nation)

  3. CG Says:

    Ok…since we were recently talking about college. How did you pick a college? Do you think you made a good choice? How have your children picked their colleges (if they are old enough)? How did you advise them?

    I am ALWAYS up for another post with reader book recommendations.

    Cool travel experiences (not just destinations, but specific memorable experiences) for when we can all do that again.

    Suggestions for keeping things interesting and fun in one’s long, happy marriage, especially when one or more partners are not at all romantic. :)

    Big research questions in your field that are controversial or have mixed evidence (thinking about the minimum wage issue, and there are plenty of examples in my field). Maybe we’ll get some good research ideas out of it.

    The Chronicle forum used to have a section Jedi mind tricks for making your teaching easier. We could do something like that for teaching or for academic jobs in general. I came up with a good one this semester because of online teaching.

    How will you decide when it’s time to retire?

    That’s what I came up with off the top of my head.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Any specific book type recommendations? (I’m good at the happy fun stuff, and #2 is good with Spec Fic… but Grumpy Nation is Diverse in its reading preferences)

      • CG Says:

        Well, I mostly read mysteries, so selfishly I’d like that. Or nonfiction.

      • Debbie M Says:

        I’m currently reading books about, and set in, other countries, so I’d like recommendations about those.

        There are actual around-the-world reading challenges where people insist that the books be by writers from that country and their goal is to read one book from every country within a single year. That’s not me, though I do look to them for ideas. Ideally I have one broad nonfiction book, a fun fiction book, and enough other things to give me multiple perspectives. And I started with a random list of countries and keep breaking more down into sublists–like I’d read lots of fabulous things set in England, but nothing in Wales or Scotland. And I just added Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. I mostly like nonfiction, novels, and movies.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Got it. DC1 is reading Herodotus right now. :)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      p.s. These are awesome thought provoking questions! I look forward to us tackling them.

  4. Clueless in the Northeast Says:

    New-ish homeowner here who put a bit less than 20% down and thus have to pay around $40/month in PMI. Does it make any sense to prepay your mortgage given incredibly low interest rates? We’ve got stable jobs and don’t think that we will be trying to buy a more expensive house anytime soon. We’re risk averse and not (yet) great at investing (having money to invest is a new experience), though we could bump our retirement contributions higher than the current 15%.

  5. Link Love | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] Did you notice we need more ask the grumpies questions?!?  Put yours in yesterday’s […]

  6. Leah Says:

    With books, do you tend to read through quickly, or do you like to take breaks and let the story simmer?

    I enjoy teaching but can’t stand grading. I find it demoralizing when students put in very little effort. Are there better ways to grade? Or should I consider a different career option?

    What did you want to do for a job when you were a kid?

    Hard scoop ice cream or soft serve? Best flavors? What about things like cold stone, DQ, etc?

    Enjoyable non- fiction books?

    Is it better to indulge in some luxury on vacation (for example, getting a king sized bed or a fancy rental car), or do you prefer to “rough it” so home feels more luxurious?

    Any good economic info on picking coffee to buy? In the ecology sphere, Latin American shade grown coffee is great, but African depends on the region (some shade grown good for the environment and others not).

    What’s something in (insert comment authors field here) that seems basic or important to you but others outside your field don’t know?

    What are your thoughts on tattoos?

    Which are better: ritz, saltines, wheat thins, or triscuits?

    Favorite breakfast cereal? Or favorite breakfast food in general?

  7. First Gen American Says:

    Have you done the calculation yet of projected RMDs at 70.5? Conventional wisdom used to be to max out pre-tax income in your retirement accounts but now as we get closer to retirement, I am realizing my RMDs in my 70s may put me in the same tax bracket as I am in now. As a high earner, how do you decide your pre-tax vs after tax contributions into savings and has your opinion about it changed. Most early retirees in podcast interviews lately are talking about wishing they put more in roth when they were younger.

    How has searching and applying for colleges changed since we went? I am realizing my experience may not be relevant anymore and I don’t even know what the metrics are. Like this whole new trend of many kids not being accepted into their “safe” schools.

    What are the tools people use to screen colleges in this era? Do people still use the us news and world report ranking? I am so out of date.

    Once you’ve hit all your major savings milestones (paying off the house, no debt, etc), where do you put money then and why?

    Once you’ve hit your magic 4% rule retirement number, should you reallocate to a more conservative asset allocation. Why or why not. And what do you think of the 4% rule.

    Why is it so hard to prioritize my health (specifically portion control) when I am so disciplined in every other aspect of my life?

    Where can I find new ideas for enrichment activities for my family. I have gone to every museum, zoo, etc in my driving radius.

  8. First Gen American Says:

    I have so many questions…and many lately are of the obnoxious privileged variety.

    When giving, is it better to give one large lump sum or more frequent smaller quantities. I have opinions about this if the lump sum covers a big portion of a not for profit’s annual operating expenses.

    How do you prioritize your activism activities? Is it like whack a mole or do you have a more structured approach?

    Back to an earlier question, it seems like the 4% rule doesn’t account for cost of living inflation. Eg…if I need 100,000/year to live on, I need 2.5MM. But it’s unlikely as a 50 year old, that number is going to be the same in 30 years. Why are no PF people talking about this?

    How would you plan for retirement date and/or savings plan if you each had a parent that both died very young and very old.

    As an economist. How likely is it that The current rate of spending by both President Biden and former President Trump will lead to significant inflation and devaluing the dollar. Why or why not.

    Why do you think the world has not cracked down on crypto yet?

    What’s a realistic number as your max for 529 savings per kid? Is it 4 years at a state university or something different and why?

    Your child can open a Roth IRA if they have earned income. I am still unclear if the max contribution for that calendar year is equal to the gross or take home income.

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