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Re: Wire transfer from Europe (fees, exchange rate)

I have a Charles Schwab account and you can send the money into one of their European accounts, e.g. a Euro account and they will give you a very good rate. http://international.schwab.com/public/file/P-2791907/mkt24112_Wire_Transf_Instructions.pdf E.g for Euro they can just transfer to a bank in Fr...
by German Expat
Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wire transfer from Europe (fees, exchange rate)
Replies: 16
Views: 800

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

I assume (your post doesn't tell us much) you are using a subsidized smart phone and this phone is locked to the carrier. It would be helpful you tell us what the phone is (e.g. iphone) and then what your calling patterns are. I also (assume) you probably want to continue using your existing phone. ...
by German Expat
Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 31
Views: 2365

Re: When do you know it is time to switch jobs?

Many many years ago (close to 30) I did similar work you did from building and supporting a network (Novell) to programming. IT is getting way too complex now to do all the things you are doing except if you work for a small company and then you probably scratch the surface only. Now I am higher up ...
by German Expat
Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When do you know it is time to switch jobs?
Replies: 37
Views: 4025

Re: Best place (with warm weather) to raise children

Boulder county Colorado, won't fit the criteria for temperatures in winter. Winters are not too bad, it is sunny almost every day. Excellent schools, great outdoor activities and your children will love to learn skiing. We just moved away and still miss it a lot.
by German Expat
Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place (with warm weather) to raise children
Replies: 73
Views: 5343

Re: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?

I am a bit confused about the house you got gifted and the relative large mortgage payment. Also you show a gardener as expenses and at the same time your husband spends a lot on gardening tools? In any case in your income level I would not worry about the small overspending on your husbands end and...
by German Expat
Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?
Replies: 198
Views: 16519

Re: Why Not Buy Vanguard ETFs Through Schwab?

Why not have both? I have a Schwab account (great for international travel with their ATM card, free checks etc, we use it also as our main checking account) and have a couple Schwab ETF's as well. But most of our assets are with Vanguard. I don't really see a particular reason for either / or, why ...
by German Expat
Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Not Buy Vanguard ETFs Through Schwab?
Replies: 18
Views: 2010

Re: Real Estate Question

Interesting comments about getting rid of things. We just moved to a smaller place and are still unpacking and getting settled in. We moved way too much stuff after already doing some limited things before we moved. Sometimes hard to get rid of things and I will also have to do another round on the ...
by German Expat
Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Question
Replies: 21
Views: 1713

Re: rebalancing spreadsheet

I use google docs because it automatically updates the prices so I only have to worry to update the quantities I own after purchases. Works quite well for me and it has 2 additional tabs, one showing the totals in a cross tab and another tab showing the history. I copy the history manually every 30-...
by German Expat
Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: rebalancing spreadsheet
Replies: 11
Views: 803

Re: buying a house in france

I wire money to Europe and use Charles Schwab, it is 25$ for an international wire and they can send Euro's with a decent exchange rate. I would not send US$ because the receiving bank might give you a less rate. Not sure how much money you need to wire, highest I did was 45k US$ in one wire.
by German Expat
Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: buying a house in france
Replies: 15
Views: 1631

Re: NFCU 1 year certificate (CD) 5% APY $5k max balance

Thanks for the heads up, went in with 5k. I joined in the short window when you could join a different CU that was then merged with NFCU.
by German Expat
Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NFCU 1 year certificate (CD) 5% APY $5k max balance
Replies: 28
Views: 3460

Re: Investment strategy for a foreign worker in US

Do you have a 401k and what match do you get? If you have one and get a match this is free money and you should at least use it up to the match. You should save first for your own retirement and use all vehicles before putting money into a 529.

What do houses cost in your area of the country?
by German Expat
Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:02 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment strategy for a foreign worker in US
Replies: 2
Views: 224

Re: Volvo Overseas Delivery - Any experience?

We did a couple BMW deliveries from Munich. You can save money and most incentives and discounts do apply as well. You can save around 8% off invoice. You can get better bargains though if you e.g. buy at the end of a model year and straight from the dealers lot (obviously depends how desperate they...
by German Expat
Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Volvo Overseas Delivery - Any experience?
Replies: 11
Views: 1282

Re: GMail successfully hacked 92% of the time

This was mainly about android and on android gmail is the default mail app
by German Expat
Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GMail successfully hacked 92% of the time
Replies: 11
Views: 2084

Re: GMail successfully hacked 92% of the time

Your link asks for a Microsoft live account login?

I found a different link with no login required:

http://rt.com/news/182168-gmail-android ... -research/
by German Expat
Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GMail successfully hacked 92% of the time
Replies: 11
Views: 2084

Re: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?

Another vote for Costco. I have progressive glasses as well and pricing was around the range others mentioned for Costco (190$). Also used their by a 2nd par of glasses discount to get new (prescription) sunglasses.
by German Expat
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?
Replies: 39
Views: 2859

Re: Difference between leasing a car and renting a home

The main difference between the 2 is really the deprecation curve. Houses (more or less) don't depreciate over time but cars have a dramatic depreciation. A car would be worth 60% (give or take 10%) after owning it for 3 years. So you can't really compare apples to apples here otherwise your rent on...
by German Expat
Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Difference between leasing a car and renting a home
Replies: 7
Views: 1046

Re: Keep house or sell

You are missing one important data point, how much is the condo worth when you sell it? Plan for some repairs and also for some vacancies. Also do you want to be a remote landlord.
by German Expat
Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keep house or sell
Replies: 14
Views: 965

Re: Paperwhite for Cloudy-Day Reading

I get more then 1 week reading (1-2 hours per day) out of the paperwhite but usually put it into airplane mode. I am using the 'original' paperwhite cover.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R5 ... UTF8&psc=1

Best device to read because it is easy on your eyes.
by German Expat
Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paperwhite for Cloudy-Day Reading
Replies: 21
Views: 1907

Re: Refinance ?

Why don't you look at different products with lower rates? E.g. Penfed has a 5/5 ARM with 3.25% and virtually no closing costs. Worst case after 5 years it would go to 5.25%. https://www.penfed.org/55-Adjustable-Rate-Mortgage/?WT.ac=1021 Or look at a 15 year fixed with a potentially lower rate and p...
by German Expat
Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance ?
Replies: 14
Views: 1014

Re: Luggage recommendation

I like the Costco carry on luggage. I have the 21" Kirkland spinner and it holds up very well. Also you can't beat the warranty :-). I do like the spinner design because it puts less strain on your back. http://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signature%E2%84%A2-21%22-Hybrid-Spinner-Carry-On---Black-.pr...
by German Expat
Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luggage recommendation
Replies: 36
Views: 2865

Re: Noise blocking earphones

I would be careful with the active noise canceling headphones for your application. They work very well for airplanes with constant background noise but can't block variable noise well. For those you just need a tight seal around your ear. For flying I use in ear bose quiet comfort 20 but at home I ...
by German Expat
Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Noise blocking earphones
Replies: 18
Views: 3731

Re: Europe travel

Where is she going to and how much does she get paid? Easiest is to just spend the money (e.g. take a nice trip for the memories). We had a couple Au Pairs from Europe(in the US) and they all managed to spend their money :-). Is the pay higher now then it used to be? Added: forgot to add the actual ...
by German Expat
Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe travel
Replies: 11
Views: 1476

Re: TV - is wifi needed or desirable?

I don't think it is worth it or you should get it. I don't like the user interface much on our wireless TV and the manufacturers tend not to stay up to date with changes. Also consider that the TV will probably last 10 years or more. We use a Roku on one TV, Apple TV on another TV and for the TV wit...
by German Expat
Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV - is wifi needed or desirable?
Replies: 25
Views: 2132

Re: Commute to elementary school [French language spoken]

Our son has Chinese as his second language. My wife also has a bit of a harder time to keep up but what helped us most was to immerse him. He is almost 9 years old and my wife and he went for longer summer breaks to China and he had no choice. He also goes to a Chinese Sunday school (2 hours every S...
by German Expat
Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Commute to elementary school [French language spoken]
Replies: 37
Views: 2923

Re: Amazon prime - how to get the best out of it?

Streaming just got a lot better, they have now older HBO shows on it. If your child is relative small you can lock the kindle tablets down:

http://www.howtogeek.com/178303/how-to- ... -freetime/
by German Expat
Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon prime - how to get the best out of it?
Replies: 48
Views: 5371

Re: Round The World!

I did a couple (always on business though) world around trips and you can book them usually cheaper when you start somewhere else (US prices are relative high). Just came back a couple weeks ago doing it on Cathay, Quatar and BA in business class. For a private trip I am not sure I would really want...
by German Expat
Fri May 30, 2014 8:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Round The World!
Replies: 43
Views: 9263

Asset allocation: Selling house, moving abroad and renting

We are moving to Switzerland in August and are in the process of selling our house. We will rent in Switzerland. We were on the way to pay off the current home in about 7-10 years and have 50% equity in it. Our current asset allocation is 1/3 international, domestic and bonds. We did decide to stay ...
by German Expat
Fri May 30, 2014 4:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Asset allocation: Selling house, moving abroad and renting
Replies: 1
Views: 195

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

Depends on the plan with voip.ms. Just head over to their web site at http://www.voip.ms I got the cheapest plan for 0.99 cent for the phone number per month as the only fixed fee and then pay per call (inbound and outbound). Works best for us because 95% of our calls are international to family and...
by German Expat
Fri May 16, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

You can just add a 2nd provider and then your list will look like this in the obitalk portal: SP1 Google Voice™ Account Connected SP2 Voip ms Registered Then click on SP2 and the 2nd option on the next screen allows you to make this the primary line: Primary Line for Outgoing Calls If you check this...
by German Expat
Fri May 16, 2014 7:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

Mine still works as well. I assume they just didn't get around turning it off yet :-).

I already have a 2nd provider (voip.ms) configured and fully tested and will swap over after it stops working.
by German Expat
Fri May 16, 2014 5:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Solar Panels?

I got a system 2 years ago, works well but had people coming out to our house. I did get 3 quotes at the time. The reason for them taking measurements was that our roof is split into many sections and a bit hard to figure out just via google pictures if they would have fit. We also had to decide on ...
by German Expat
Fri May 16, 2014 7:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [residential] Solar Panels [in CA]?
Replies: 22
Views: 1852

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

Personally I think the privacy concern is overblown even when using hangouts or GV. Google will use the meta data for its own purposes, at the end they are a business. But they are not interested in you as a person, at the end it is around better add targeting and using large data to predict things ...
by German Expat
Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

Just login to GV and then go to settings (the gear box on the right upper side) then go to phones and turn google chat on with your hangout (email) id. It will ring then on your obi and on your laptop (assuming you have hangouts running). Personally I still prefer a phone to a laptop or pc that has ...
by German Expat
Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

We have quite some international calls though and the rates are about the same for GV vs. voip.ms So it will become impossible to make outgoing calls through GV, is that right? So I won't be able to use GV for outgoing international calls, right? I'll have to get a refund of my GV balance. Is there...
by German Expat
Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2

I added voip.ms as a 2nd provider and will ride google voice to its end on my obi. Afterwards will still keep my main number on GV and just forward it to the new number on voip.ms It is not free but cheap enough. We are not using our land line too much so per minute costs don't play a huge role. We ...
by German Expat
Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice Not Supported on OBi Devices After May 15 2014
Replies: 102
Views: 11457

Re: suggestion for awd luxury sedan

Which area of the country do you live in? I have a BMW 535xi in Colorado and it works great and had no break downs. I think reliability is a bit overblown because a lot of the break downs could be smaller issues and not strand you on the side of the road. With so many motors and electronics in moder...
by German Expat
Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: suggestion for awd luxury sedan
Replies: 44
Views: 4482

Re: HD video projector vs. multiple monitors for design?

Just curios about how you build your model and what software you are using? I am using Embarcadero Erstudio for data modeling and the largest model has currently 879 tables with way more then 2226 relationships. I change it quite often while I travel just on the laptop screen. The model would be way...
by German Expat
Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HD video projector vs. multiple monitors for design?
Replies: 28
Views: 2107

Re: Drive to CO Skiing in 2WD Minivan?

I would be more worried about quality tires. Dedicated snow's on a 2WD will beat a 4WD in almost any situation but especially when breaking. If it is one of the real heavy snow days I would just not drive even with a 4WD. 2 years ago I did beach my 4WD BMW in front of the garage with all 4 wheels sp...
by German Expat
Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drive to CO Skiing in 2WD Minivan?
Replies: 29
Views: 2246

Re: Color Laser Printer Recommendations?

Also using a brother and quite happy with it. It does have scanning and copying though. I do use the copy once in a while and the scanner is decent enough for casual use. I doubt it added much to the price of the machine and up to now did not make it break more often. I really like the duplex featur...
by German Expat
Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Color Laser Printer Recommendations?
Replies: 21
Views: 1770

Re: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years

One more thing. It was not clear if you were a US citizen or not. If not then the estate taxes on non-resident aliens are VERY high so if you get hit by a bus over there and still have accounts in the US then they might be subject to that. Sorry, forgot to mention that above, me and my son are Germ...
by German Expat
Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years
Replies: 11
Views: 936

Re: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years

Good point on the mailing address, will look into this and ask a friend to keep one. I already figured out state tax is a problem in Colorado because we would need to file if we keep a drivers license or any other tie. Before transferring out of the country I plan to move back to Tennessee to avoid ...
by German Expat
Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years
Replies: 11
Views: 936

Re: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years

Thanks for the replies. I have also a German passport but for practical purposes this won't make a difference since they will treat me as Facta / American anyway. There is a case on a different (Swiss) forum where a 86 year old was born in the US but never lived there except his first 2 years and no...
by German Expat
Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years
Replies: 11
Views: 936

Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years

We are currently considering moving to Switzerland this summer. We would move for 5-10 years but then plan to come back to the US. With Facta in place it will be quite hard to invest in Switzerland since we will have a hard enough time just to get a checking account. Now to my questions and I apprec...
by German Expat
Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Potentially moving to Europe for 5-10 years
Replies: 11
Views: 936

Re: Partially Invest Emergency Fund?

I would not mingle the funds into 1 account until you are married. You can still run 2 separate accounts but treat them like one larger emergency fund. You state fiance in your post and then later on spouse?
by German Expat
Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Partially Invest Emergency Fund?
Replies: 19
Views: 1191

Re: best way to hide your personal information on work lapto

I travel a lot and like to have (some) personal files with me. I put them on a USB stick rather then storing them on the company laptop.
by German Expat
Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best way to hide your personal information on work laptop
Replies: 44
Views: 4088

Re: Car Dilemma

We have a front wheel drive CRV (2006) and I prefer it to my all wheel drive BMW on really snowy days because of the ground clearance. We are in Colorado so there can be a lot of snow. I have dedicated snow tires for it though. We bought it new in 2005 because 3 year old cars were not that much chea...
by German Expat
Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Dilemma
Replies: 20
Views: 1753

Re: Grilling: Propane, natural gas, and electric?

We had an outside gas line at our last house and bought a Weber grill at Lowes suitable for it. Most Weber grills come in both variants but stores don't carry them usually in the natural gas variety or they might not discount them as much. After we moved our current house had no line, I got it quote...
by German Expat
Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grilling: Propane, natural gas, and electric?
Replies: 65
Views: 15722

Re: Best way to have PMI taken off?

You could also consider a refinance with e.g. a 5/5 Penfed ARM if you plan to sell in 5-7 anyway. Most closing costs are covered, the interest rate is probably lower and they will get a new appraisal which might bring you above the 80%.
by German Expat
Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to have PMI taken off?
Replies: 29
Views: 1537

Re: Best way to have PMI taken off?

Even if the assessment won't help I would pay the 25k down. Saving 1800$ per year is a 7.2% return on this alone and this doesn't even consider the saved interest on your mortgage. You can always spend the 400$ and see how much less then you have to pay but even if it stays the same value I would st...
by German Expat
Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to have PMI taken off?
Replies: 29
Views: 1537
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