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Non-qualified pension plan taxation

We have a non-qualified pension from a former employer. They state that the IRS requires that the previously untaxed present value of the benefit be declared as wages for FICA & Medicare in the year employment terminated and so will report an additional XXXXX as wages on this year's W-2. I have ...
by Bengineer
Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Non-qualified pension plan taxation
Replies: 4
Views: 262

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

I came to the conclusion that it wasn't a good value for us. We're a few miles from the nearest fault and on solid ground. The likelihood, cost, exclusions and deductible, coupled with the possiblility of a percentage of claim payout if there is a "big one" just didn't seem to pencil out t...
by Bengineer
Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 49
Views: 2546

Re: Carrara Marble - Large Orange Stain

If you think it is rust, have you tried Whink Rust Stain Remover?
by Bengineer
Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Carrara Marble - Large Orange Stain
Replies: 13
Views: 1324

Re: Motorcycle for short commute?

... Have you considered an ice pack? A pint of ice cubes in the leg of old pantyhose down the back of a (tight) cycling jersey is traditional, but there are probably more sophisticated solutions. This might just be the think outside the box idea of the day! There are all sorts of wearable cooling p...
by Bengineer
Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Motorcycle for short commute?
Replies: 63
Views: 3699

Re: Advice on setting up home gym

We also used horse mats as well over a hardwood floor. ~3/4" thick, firm. I think ~4x6 as Rooster1. No worries about dropping a dumbbell, kept the elliptical & stairclimber feet from abrading the floor and in place. At the time we got them, they were both cheaper and more substantial than t...
by Bengineer
Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flooring for home gym
Replies: 19
Views: 1270

Re: Insulation Question

Blow in more cellulose. Install baffles first so the soffit vents won't be blocked by the additional insulation. If you contract it, check the corners & nooks for the proper depth afterwards. As noted check the EPA website for recommneded R-value for your locale. Blown-in cellulose is more dense...
by Bengineer
Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insulation Question
Replies: 25
Views: 2012

Re: How often do you replace bath towels?

I'm in the "enter the house" camp. We get new ones every couple years when "she who decides these things" desires a new look, feel or drying quality. The perfectly good, but now out of favor ones drop a rung to dog washing, spill cleanup, packing/padding, hardwood-floor-drying-af...
by Bengineer
Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often do you replace bath towels?
Replies: 50
Views: 3745

Re: Kitchen Remodel... Or Not?

... A couple notes: we're not knocking down walls--I think you'd characterize this as a (significant) facelift. New flooring/counters/sinks also a new island and some new cabinetry. I don't expect any return out of this which is the main reason I have a hard time justifying the expense. The informa...
by Bengineer
Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Remodel... Or Not?
Replies: 53
Views: 2904

Re: Hints on Tri-Tip

A tri-tip is a beautiful thing. Not so many years ago, it was hard for us to find on the east coast. I like most of the visible fat trimmed, dry rub - as simple as salt & pepper, indirect over charcoal with a chunk of pecan in a kettle grill @ something like 350 or so for about 45 mins till 120i...
by Bengineer
Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hints on Tri-Tip [Cooking]
Replies: 29
Views: 2312

Re: Car did not start: To dispose? How?

You could also get a "battery tender" if you are going to be leaving it for a while that will keep a trickle charge on the battery that will greatly extend it's life. My brother uses one on his 1970 Chevelle between crankings. The AAA guy said that if the car would be sitting for several ...
by Bengineer
Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car did not start: To dispose? How?
Replies: 70
Views: 5614

Re: Replacing the front door to house

OP, you are looking to replace just the "slab door". Measure the width and height. if it is, say 36" wide x 80" high (or another common width & height) or within an inch or so, you are likely to be able to order a standard size slab you like the looks of from a box store or a...
by Bengineer
Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing the front door to house
Replies: 20
Views: 3118

Re: Staking Tomatoes

I didn't like the cages, which limit access for suckering / pruning / harvest, or single stakes which didn't support more than one "cane" so well. I rip an 8' 2x4 in half and then another in 4ths to make two posts + 4 8' crossbars for a 6'+ trellis for 3-4 tomato plants, which I tie up to ...
by Bengineer
Thu May 22, 2014 4:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Staking Tomatoes
Replies: 20
Views: 1058

Re: Help with Patio! -- Pavers v. Concrete

I concur with the others on not skipping the base prep. That is what gives you a stable paver (or concrete) surface. I'm sure there is a standard prep for your location & soil. Likely a large paver source like a major stoneyard will have guidance on this. With your rainfall, make absolutely sure...
by Bengineer
Wed May 14, 2014 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with Patio! -- Pavers v. Concrete
Replies: 25
Views: 2426

Re: Do Honda Mowers Leave an Un-cut Grass Strip?

Thanks Bengineer. What strikes me most about your mower deck is how clean it is! You definitely have different grass that I do. You're not in New England, I take it? After 20 minutes my mower was caked with mulch, with a big wad packed against the clip director. The picture in the following post wa...
by Bengineer
Mon May 05, 2014 1:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Honda Mowers Leave Un-cut Grass Strips? [YES, but...]
Replies: 51
Views: 9141

Re: Do Honda Mowers Leave an Un-cut Grass Strip?

... This is a picture of the underside of the HRR216PKA, taken from the owner's manual: http://i57.tinypic.com/w9fsid.jpg ... Only on BH can you get detailed pix of the underside of the deck of a mower! Here are a couple pics of the underside of my HRR216PDA, without the mulching plug: http://i58.t...
by Bengineer
Thu May 01, 2014 1:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Honda Mowers Leave Un-cut Grass Strips? [YES, but...]
Replies: 51
Views: 9141

Re: Converting a screened in porch to 3 season glass porch

A different approach would be a clear vinyl enclosure (think boat cockpit & restaurant seating enclosures) that roll down & maybe zip at the corners. That would make it more useable in cooler weather and likely could be removed during the summer. I don't know how much it would help with poll...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting a screened in porch to 3 season glass porch
Replies: 8
Views: 827

Re: Do Honda Mowers Leave an Un-cut Grass Strip?

...However, in reading other comments it seems that moisture is a factor, and that the problem could be caused by clippings clogging the underside of the deck to the point where it flattens the uncut grass. Was the lawn dry or damp? Was the test run long enough to accumulate a wad of mulch? Thanks ...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Honda Mowers Leave Un-cut Grass Strips? [YES, but...]
Replies: 51
Views: 9141

Re: Oyster Knife/Shucker

I have a Messermeister SS shellfish opener & knife. It's perfect for oysters - short & stout with a good point to get into the hinge and enough blade to cut the muscle free from the shell.

A dozen Hama Hama oysters, a wedge or two of lemon and a glass of Schramsberg Brut ... :D
by Bengineer
Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oyster Knife/Shucker
Replies: 9
Views: 1768

Re: Do Honda Mowers Leave an Un-cut Grass Strip?

No uncut grass on my 15 year old Honda mower. Twin blades mulch well. Now getting the engine to start, that's a different matter. Veering off topic ... I own the HRR216PDA. The twin blades do cut the clippings into finer pieces == more in the bag. If you're having trouble starting it (assumig fresh...
by Bengineer
Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Honda Mowers Leave Un-cut Grass Strips? [YES, but...]
Replies: 51
Views: 9141

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: 1763

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: 3478

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: 1979

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: 3951

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: 1263

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: 650

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: 6986

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: 1746

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: 6539

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: 5460

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: 8044

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: 4180

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: 3787

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: 357
Views: 28457

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: 2239

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: 9104

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: 1649

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: 4825

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: 1532

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: 8621

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: 806

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: 3591

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: 558

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: 7120

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: 4337

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: 3991

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: 1728

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: 927

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: 1678

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: 1591
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