Hybrid Math

Kyle McIntosh

Kyle McIntosh, CPA, MBA, is a fulltime lecturer at the California Lutheran University School of Management. He turned his career focus to teaching after 23 years working in accounting and finance roles for large corporations. Kyle lives in Southern California with his wife, two children and their overly friendly goldendoodle.

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Hybrid Math

Kyle McIntosh  |  Nov 17, 2021

MY FAMILY WILL SOON be in the market for a new vehicle. With gas prices approaching $5 a gallon in California, my gut tells me that we should set our sights on a hybrid. Upon doing some math, however, I get a different answer.
I priced out a few different vehicles, including the Toyota Camry and the Honda CR-V. In both cases, you pay an all-in premium—including taxes—of about $4,500 to own a hybrid over a similarly equipped model with a conventional engine.

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Buckeye Burglar

Kyle McIntosh  |  Nov 8, 2021

“DEAR OHIOAN: According to our records, you have applied for and/or received pandemic unemployment benefits.” As I haven’t been to Ohio in more than 20 years, I knew something was amiss. It was highly likely I was the victim of identify fraud. After some investigation, I found out someone had been receiving unemployment benefits in my name since March 2021.
I’m hardly the only person victimized by this fraud. In a recent report, Ohio Auditor Keith Faber estimated that $3.8 billion in fraudulent unemployment payments and overpayments had been made since March 2020.

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Numbers Game

Kyle McIntosh  |  Oct 19, 2021

IT HAPPENED AGAIN. For the third time in two years, our credit card number was stolen. I learned this yesterday when I received the now-too-frequent question from Chase: “Do you recognize this gas station purchase for $1?” We live nowhere near the station in question, so I knew something was amiss.
I appreciate Chase’s diligence in identifying such transactions, and the fact that we won’t be held liable for any fraudulent charges. Still, I’ve grown weary of the whole process of cancelling credit cards,

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Value Machine

Kyle McIntosh  |  Oct 8, 2021

SEPTEMBER WAS A BIG anniversary month for us. In addition to celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, we celebrated our third Pelo-versary. In the words of my mother-in-law, we are Peloton addicts. Ask us about our favorite instructors at your own risk.
The general perception of Peloton—for which the entry price is now $1,495—is that it’s priced too high for most people. While I don’t believe that Peloton is “democratizing fitness,” as its CEO suggests,

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Target Dating

Kyle McIntosh  |  Oct 1, 2021

IN JULY 2020, I rolled over my old 401(k) to an IRA. Between maxing out my 401(k) contributions for many years and strong investment performance, the balance was significant.
I initially invested half the money in a combination of stock market index funds and a bond market ETF. For the remaining balance, I set up an automatic investment plan that invested a modest amount in stock index funds every two weeks. While long-run market returns argued for investing all the money in stocks right away,

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What’s the Price?

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 29, 2021

DRIVE TO HOSPITAL. Cut the umbilical cord. Figure out names. Open a 529.
While the primary focus upon our two babies’ births was bonding, I had another item to check off: I opened a 529 college savings account for each one within a month of their births.
It’s paid off handsomely. Through automatic monthly contributions—plus stellar market performance over the past decade—they’ve amassed sizable balances for higher education. One child now is in high school,

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Voting Our Dollars

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 20, 2021

THE BUREAU OF LABOR Statistics reported last week that consumer prices in August were up 5.3% from a year earlier. This means that, on average, we’re paying $105 for a basket of goods and services that cost us $100 a year ago. Investors and analysts are worried that higher inflation may be here to stay.
My contention: Inflation will prove to be temporary and the Federal Reserve won’t have to increase interest rates to slow consumer prices.

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Altered State

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 10, 2021

IN A RECENT POST, I suggested three questions that folks should consider before moving out of California. As a California native who has lived many other places, I appreciate the weather and convenience of living here, and I urged others to think carefully before moving away.
The post generated some great discussion when I shared it on my Facebook page. Based on the comments left by my friends, here are some added considerations and tips for those thinking of leaving California:

Take a test drive.

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Protecting Poppy

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 9, 2021

OUR DOG LIKES SOCKS. A few months after Poppy joined our family, she consumed her first sock. Since then, she’s eaten two more. After the first sock was removed, our veterinarian offered some valuable advice: Get pet insurance because Poppy is likely to do this again. Within a few days, we purchased a policy from Healthy Paws for $38 a month. The policy has proven valuable: We’ve had four other unplanned trips to the vet over the past 21 months.

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Look Before You Leap

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 3, 2021

A FEW WEEKS AGO, fellow contributor Dennis Friedman discussed how he’ll remain in California for retirement, despite the lower cost of living elsewhere. Dennis’s post got me thinking about the conversations I hear at my local dog park in Newbury Park, California.
A local realtor regularly talks about the many longtime homeowners who are moving out of state. Within days of listing their home, sellers receive multiple offers above asking price. The sellers then move to places like Arizona,

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Hotels Over Coffee

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 30, 2021

WHEN I MATCHED UP our monthly spending with the terms of the Starbucks Rewards Visa card, I calculated that I could potentially get a free drip coffee every day of the year. Given the proliferation of Starbucks in our Los Angeles suburb—including one within 400 yards of my office—it’s tempting to cover my caffeination by swiping my credit card.
After some deliberation, however, I’m going to focus instead on amassing travel rewards points. For the past five years,

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Did It Myself—Almost

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 25, 2021

OVER THE PAST decade, my wife and I have hired others to handle most home improvement projects. It all came down to a lack of time: We had two young children and demanding jobs in the corporate world. But thanks to my recent switch to teaching, I have more free time, so I decided to tackle a few projects this summer. Here are three things I learned:

Painting is possible. For more than a year,

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Mixed Bag

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 21, 2021

WHEN DESIGNING a portfolio, a critical decision is how to allocate your money across stocks, bonds and other investments. Within stocks, you’ll need to make an additional choice: How to split money between U.S. and international. A quick survey of finance-related websites turns up recommendations of 25% to 40% for an investor’s foreign stock allocation.
While I agree that investors should have a meaningful percentage of their portfolio in overseas stocks, I don’t think investors should lose sleep over whether they’re at the high or low end of this range.

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The Next $1,000

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 14, 2021

AS I MENTIONED in an article back in June, my wife and I funded a custodial account for our son three years ago. He used the $1,000 we gave him to buy shares of Nike and Exxon.
We figured what’s good for our oldest child would also be good for No. 2. Our daughter recently completed fifth grade and is now age 11. Earlier this summer, we set up an account for her and added $1,000.

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Missing Takeoff

Kyle McIntosh  |  Aug 10, 2021

LIKE MOST READERS of this site, I’m committed to index fund investing. Still, even though I know I’d have little chance of beating the market as a stock-picker, I’m periodically tempted to buy individual stocks. When a former mentor who’s a brilliant strategist joined Moderna in May 2020, I strongly considered buying shares. Given where the economy was at the time, I passed on buying the company’s shares (symbol: MRNA) and stuck to my standard S&P 500-index fund investing.

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