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Re: Earthquake insurance in California

Do we have it? No. Would I recommend it? Depends. As noted by several, the insurance is expensive, the deductible is huge and it doesn't cover possessions, among other things. We're on solid ground a reasonable distance from any (known) faults. My take is that it would take "the big one" t...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Earthquake insurance in California
Replies: 27
Views: 1384

Re: Do you have hardwood or tile in your kitchen?

We have hardwood (#1 red oak) in the kitchen. It's about 15 years old and has held up well. We had it re screened about 5 years ago (basically a reapplication of stain and urethane sealer short of a full, down to the bare wood refinishing) and it looks great... Getting the floor re-screened before ...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have hardwood or tile in your kitchen?
Replies: 57
Views: 3065

Re: Kitchen Renovation: Go big....or not?

2 does. For starters, it will be much quicker to plan - which sounds good since it sounds like the current one is in poor repair It will be quicker to do so your family will be without a kitchen for less time How much it costs is not just less, but also more certain. You start major remodels and yo...
by Bengineer
Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Renovation: Go big....or not?
Replies: 25
Views: 1843

Re: Attic Insulation Retrofit: Spray Foam Insulation

OP, a couple thoughts. I am in the conventional seal the envelope and ducts, then add duct & ceiling insulation camp. You mentioned low pitch - If you do go with foam, it will be difficult for the foam contractor to get to the outside walls, seal up your vents, etc. Foaming also involves some sk...
by Bengineer
Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attic Retrofit: Spray Foam Insulation [Updated w Images]
Replies: 40
Views: 2939

Re: Remodeling Options

I believe you'd be well served by getting a couple more serious bids from contractors that come recommended. We had a 30% range for a substantial remodel. We asked for and got bids with line items for the major materials and labor for the construction phases from a full set of construction plans. I ...
by Bengineer
Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remodeling Options
Replies: 8
Views: 739

Re: If it's not broke - don't fix it?

I'm with Grt2bOutdoors. If you're not the figure-it-out-yourself type, you'll need to find trustworthy contractors, which is no small feat. If the house has asphalt shingles, figuring out the remaining life of the roof should be fairly easy. The AC & Furnace can run for many years if well mainta...
by Bengineer
Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If it's not broke - don't fix it?
Replies: 4
Views: 633

Re: 100% Equities until age 55-58

I too spent much of my investing life with a nearly 100% equity allocation. My tolerance for a 100% equity portfolio being cut in half, as in '00 and '08, was affected by the size of the loss relative tomy annual income. It's one thing to see a year or so's income evaporate and another to see a deca...
by Bengineer
Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: (UPDATE: Scratch This Plan) 100% Equities until age 55-ish
Replies: 106
Views: 6836

Re: How do you buy a weekend car?

I'm voting for "1967 - 1969 Camaros". I'm thinking you're all about the fun, smoking the tires, the beautiful cadence of a V8 exiting through headers and glasspacks, the wrenching on it, vs the absolute performance numbers, safety features, etc. A Z/28 ragtop with a hi-perf motor and 4 spe...
by Bengineer
Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you buy a weekend car?
Replies: 18
Views: 1641

Re: Impending Bond Crash - What NOT to do!

The discussion reminds me of an article in The Economist last month: ... http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21591875-inflation-falling-bonds-are-unloved-bond-bears Thanks for the link. I'm thinking There is scope for a nasty surprise in 2014 as well. The US equities market is all t...
by Bengineer
Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Impending Bond Crash - What NOT to do!
Replies: 50
Views: 6357

Re: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?

Pulled tobacco a few summers. After scraping the gum off my hands and clothes with a putty knife, I've never consumed any tobacco product as a result. Shagged / washed /gassed rental cars. My hands are a bit gnarlier than they shoud be. Mixed & wheelbarrowed mortar to 3 masons building a home af...
by Bengineer
Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did you have a Lousy Job as a teen / young adult?
Replies: 127
Views: 4820

Re: Biggest regrets in your life in financial investment?

I'm surprised no one went for this soft pitch: "Not finding this forum sooner!" :) I think mine is not becoming aware of investing principles - allocation, diversification, taxable vs deferred until midlife. I got a fairly good education in evaluating individual stocks and bonds growing up...
by Bengineer
Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Biggest regrets in your life in financial investment?
Replies: 101
Views: 7180

Re: Does it really make sense to max out tax-deferred?

I think of having assets in taxable / deferred / free as tax diversification and increased options. JV, you might reach financial independence and want to retire (or do less / something else ...) before 58. Flexibility in funding the 5x-6x period would be nice. Tax law will change. Her 403b might of...
by Bengineer
Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does it really make sense to max out tax-deferred?
Replies: 40
Views: 4071

Re: AA in Retirement: Jane Bryant Quinn

Buckets, shmuckets! :D A simple allocation path makes more sense to me. I'm in agreement with billyt here. I think my need and ability to take risk will be at a minimum when I retire. I'll have used up my human capital and I won't yet have a good feel for post-retirement spending / costs. Moving, tr...
by Bengineer
Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: AA in Retirement: Jane Bryant Quinn
Replies: 46
Views: 3454

Re: High Earners - What's Your Profession?

fishnskiguy wrote:Retired nuclear powered submarine captain.


Our mundane careers pale in comparison!

Software engineer, mostly.

Follow what it is you love to do. Just make sure you love to do something that people find valuable. :)
by Bengineer
Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High Earners - What's Your Profession?
Replies: 334
Views: 22753

Re: Midlife rent vs. first-time purchase: please help!

One option might be to rent a detached SFH for a while and see how you like it as a bridge between apt/condo & owning. Being handy and doing yardwork kinda come with owning a house. You can contract repairs & maintenance, of course.
by Bengineer
Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Midlife rent vs. first-time purchase: please help!
Replies: 38
Views: 2099

Re: when you reach"your number"

I went with "work less". I view reaching my number as Financial Independence. I can now choose what work I take on, how much, where and with who I work. I'm warming up to the Retire Early part. :)
by Bengineer
Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: when you reach"your number"
Replies: 84
Views: 8905

Re: Upgrade baseboard heaters?

I too suggest improving your air sealing and then your insulation before adding heating capacity. Thoughts & advice: Your utility might offer a free or discounted energy audit. The key is to be present and ask questions about where the air leaks are and whether / how much insulation there is in ...
by Bengineer
Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Upgrade baseboard heaters?
Replies: 35
Views: 1550

Re: Surprises in 2014

North Korea tossing a nuke. Israel attacking Iran. China shooting down an airliner. A huge electrical outage that might have been a hack. The next US terrorist / state sponsored attack - network, neuro, chem, bio, nuke? Science indicating that global warming is going non-linear. Sorry. That's more t...
by Bengineer
Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Surprises in 2014
Replies: 51
Views: 3551

Re: Ozone generators for odor removal?

Dunno about pets, but ozone generators are a go-to for dealing with cigarette smoke odors.
by Bengineer
Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ozone generators for odor removal?
Replies: 20
Views: 1190

Re: What is your winter thermostat setting (while you are up

68 during the morning and evening, 64 overnight, 67 during the day.
by Bengineer
Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your winter thermostat setting (while you are up)?
Replies: 116
Views: 8004

Re: Best Human Capital investment

PJW beat me to it, I second. Congratulations are in order. She may not make more than her peers with master's, but I'm going to predict a more interesting career. I think it's more about the opportunities and types of positions than the money. A Phd narrows one's options in some ways in that you're ...
by Bengineer
Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Human Capital investment
Replies: 9
Views: 788

Re: Buying snow tires

OP, let's see if I can put it all together. You're considering a set of snow tires, wheels and pressure sensors for your wife's 2013 Altima with P215/60R16 tires and steel 16" rims (from "Steel...............16x7.0J..........50(1.97)" ). So: Steel wheels, as you're currently running t...
by Bengineer
Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying snow tires
Replies: 55
Views: 2872

Re: Moving into new home checklist

If the carpet is pristine now, some carpet protection film over the traffic areas until the work is done might pay off. Get after whatever you can now - much easier to run around with a ladder and clean up after than with furniture in and art on the walls. Stuff to consider: ⋅ Any electric...
by Bengineer
Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving into new home checklist
Replies: 6
Views: 518

Re: Is it dumb of me to not have any money in taxable?

TL, I'm in the diversification camp, both in terms of assets and taxes. As noted, you have a large taxable portfolio, but it's all in real estate. If it were me, I wouldn't want that much of my net worth in one asset and particularly in real estate, which is illiquid and yours is largely located in ...
by Bengineer
Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it dumb of me to not have any money in taxable?
Replies: 77
Views: 7004

Re: New email service provider needed

... and if you're not so much into being a google or yahoo product, pobox or fastmail might suit.
by Bengineer
Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New email service provider needed
Replies: 58
Views: 3921

Re: Comfort food

I'm sorry. I can't narrow it down to just one... Breakfast: Homemade buttermilk biscuits, scrambled eggs with a little cheddar, thick-cut bacon and good coffee. Lunch: A perfect cheesburger, fries and a cold beer. Dinner: Pulled smoked pork shoulder, mashed sweet potatoes, collards and cornbread. :D
by Bengineer
Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comfort food
Replies: 68
Views: 3655

Re: Heat Pump Replacement Advice Please

VT, it's fairly common to put a gas furnace/ac air handler in the attic here in the US (my last two houses, HP in the one before). OP, There have been good notes on sealing the envelope & ducts, sizing and so forth. A couple more O-pinions: An energy audit (possibly offered in connection with yo...
by Bengineer
Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heat Pump Replacement Advice Please
Replies: 20
Views: 1495

Re: Frameless Sliding Glass Doors for Tub/Shower

We didn't care much for the glass enclosure. Ok when showering, but squeegeeing it down every use gets old. Cleaning the nooks & crannies gets old. We felt hemmed in by the glass wall when taking a bath. Have you considered a bowed bar for more room & washable curtain / one with a clear/tran...
by Bengineer
Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frameless Sliding Glass Doors for Tub/Shower
Replies: 8
Views: 839

Re: Best way to withdraw large sum

Op, possibly I'm missing the point, but I'm reading "I've got to take required minimum distributions, what should I do?" Editing your post with what's in the accounts will get you better advice.
by Bengineer
Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best way to withdraw large sum
Replies: 13
Views: 1660

Re: Average cost to refinish hardwood floors?

$2-2.50 for finishing/refinishing has been my experience. First, black pet pee & nail stains where the floor has gotten wet & mildewed aren't coming out. Check under the carpet before you commit ... The job goes kinda like this: ⋅ Rip out the carpet, pull all the staples and tack s...
by Bengineer
Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Average cost to refinish hardwood floors?
Replies: 16
Views: 1465

Re: should my nephew apply to a top-tier university?

I think he should apply to the schools that most interest him, regardless of cost. He can then balance cost, scholarship opportunities & debt considerations among the ones that accept him. I got high scores for the time and chose a good, but not spectacular engineering school my parents could af...
by Bengineer
Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should my nephew apply to a top-tier university?
Replies: 274
Views: 11250

Re: Venting a roof

OP, You need a path for the air to come in and go out. You mention box vents, near the ridge, I presume. You need soffit vents with similar total area in order for air to flow through the attic, in at the soffits, warmed in the attic, out the box vents. You're getting a re-roof, so the box vents cou...
by Bengineer
Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Venting a roof
Replies: 60
Views: 3299

Re: Seeking help on HVAC/insulation investment choices

Those temps are a little more comfy than I run - 68 in winter and 79 in summer. Some thoughts: I wonder if you'd still need a 3-ton if you upped your house envelope sealing / insulation / solar window gain. Did you get the manual J for current or planned insulation / sealing levels? Ductboard isn't ...
by Bengineer
Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking help on HVAC/insulation investment choices
Replies: 6
Views: 530

Re: windfall incoming.clarify the 101 plz (noob bashing wooo

OP, some thoughts: Really, you're facing the same situation as those nearing retirement that have "reached their number". It's just that for most of us, that's been building slowly for decades. Part of what makes us get up in the morning is feeling like we're good at doing something that o...
by Bengineer
Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: windfall incoming.clarify the 101 plz (noob bashing wooo!)
Replies: 35
Views: 3724

Re: Tractor for my 12 Acre Horse Farm

My mom & dad faced a similar choice back when. We had a little under 20 acres with about 5 or so in hay. As you've possibly found, getting someone with equipment to come do your hay is difficult for a small acreage. When the time comes, they're all off cutting, raking, baling and getting up thei...
by Bengineer
Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tractor for my 12 Acre Horse Farm
Replies: 28
Views: 2154

Re: Food Dehydrators

Depending on the season, your climate and sunniness, the back window of your car in the sun works well as a dehydrator. Mine gets to a measured 135. Dried a boatload of tomatoes this summer.
by Bengineer
Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food Dehydrators
Replies: 15
Views: 1310

Re: Roofing materials

Yes on the tube skylights. Greatly improves natural lighting; saves energy, etc. On replacement of a 12 year old roof I would definitely get a 2nd and maybe 3rd opinion. In 1995 I was told the roof on a house I own was shot... I absolutely agree on getting multiple opionions, particularly if it isn...
by Bengineer
Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roofing materials
Replies: 21
Views: 1549

Re: Weber Grill and Consumer Reports

Count me as another huge Weber fan. I have both gas (3-burner Genesis) and charcoal kettle and love them both. They are well-made, long-lasting, great cooking tools. Common parts are available everywhere and Weber customer service is actual people working in the USofA that know what they are talking...
by Bengineer
Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Weber Grill and Consumer Reports
Replies: 44
Views: 5424

Re: Would a new router help?

Have you tried other devices? Maybe the problem is with the laptop wifi card, not with the wifi router.,. To the OP's problem - I get about 20-22Mb/s or so over a good G connection with WPA on a linksys WRT54GL running tomato, repeatable on multiple different devices. Wired gets me 30-40+. I'm not ...
by Bengineer
Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would a new router help?
Replies: 23
Views: 1681

Re: Shade for Large Patio Dining Set

A mesh tarp might be an option for your situation. They cut the sun while leaving you with the "outdoors" rather than feeling like you're under an umbrella or solid awning. I've built two area covers using mesh tarps & parts similar to those one sees in flea markets or outdoor fair-typ...
by Bengineer
Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shade for Large Patio Dining Set
Replies: 11
Views: 1000

Re: Thermopen

I have to think the "cleaning with a wipe" is for the case. The probe tip is stainless. I clean my instant reads with a wrap and twist of the blue plastic-safe scrubby sponge along with the rest of the dishes. The $10 thermistor spike thermometers will read fine, but take ~10 seconds to st...
by Bengineer
Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thermapen [Cooking thermometer]
Replies: 28
Views: 2649

Re: Pet Adoption

IMO: Breed traits run strong in dogs. Decide on what breeds fit the family, temperament & home. Take some walks and observe the dogs out and behind fences around. Go to a dog park and observe. Rescue is good - we adopted a standard poodle, best dog ever! Look for one that is interested in you. ...
by Bengineer
Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Adoption
Replies: 22
Views: 1066

Re: POLL: Miss The 4-5 Years?

I hated 2008-2009. I was scared . I was worried . ... The pucker factor was pretty high for us as well. It was unclear what was going to happen to the US/World financial system during the winter of 08. It seemed that politics was taking precedence over common sense. We sold everything and transferr...
by Bengineer
Sat May 04, 2013 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: POLL: Miss The 4-5 Years?
Replies: 62
Views: 4277

Re: When you reach your number and keep working

My parents were both highly educated professionals. When I observed them and their friends aging, I was struck by how many deteriorated as soon as they gave up their jobs. In that generation, many were forced to do this at 70. They embraced retirement with enthusiastic plans to write books, take co...
by Bengineer
Sat May 04, 2013 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When you reach your number and keep working
Replies: 71
Views: 6967

Re: When you reach your number and keep working

I'm pretty certain I've reached & now exceeded my number. Wasn't so sure in '08-'09. I'm naturally frugal in that I seek to spend the least amount I can to get the value I want. That said, there are always more & better tools. :) I'm still working as a consultant. I love what I do and will p...
by Bengineer
Fri May 03, 2013 12:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When you reach your number and keep working
Replies: 71
Views: 6967

Re: Interstate Moving Company - Experiences

We recently had an in-state corporate "assisted" (meaning a fixed $ allowance) move of the contents of a 3br house + tool-guy garage 400 miles. I considered full-service, pods-like & DIY U-haul with "guys" on both ends. Some thoughts: ⋅ Quotes varied widely, ranging...
by Bengineer
Fri May 03, 2013 12:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Interstate Moving Company - Experiences
Replies: 29
Views: 1451

Laundry Detergent Issues : Hard Water

Ok, the MM Laundry Detergent Issues topic covered detergents, amounts, etc. How do BogleHeads deal with hard water when washing clothes? I've had great success with adding citric acid to the detergent for our dishwasher. The dishes now come out clean with less detergent and no hard water deposits. I...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laundry Detergent Issues : Hard Water
Replies: 3
Views: 389

Re: If you had a chance to remodel bath......

Falling in love with specific tile / fixtures can cost you a fortune. In my experience, the cost of most remodeling decisions can vary at least an order of magnitude - do you want the $10/ft^2 tile or the $1/ft^2 tile? Add listello border @ $25/ft? Stone tile @ $30/ft^2? $50 fixture or $500? ... My...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you had a chance to remodel bath......
Replies: 27
Views: 2184

Re: If you had a chance to remodel bath......

What you can do depends to an extent on the size & existing doors/windows of course, though these could be moved for $$$. We did a gut & remodel Things we liked: ⋅ Walk-in shower with bench, skylight/fan/light, shower head + handheld on a pole, no door / glass / grody enclosure cor...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you had a chance to remodel bath......
Replies: 27
Views: 2184
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