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Re: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?

So I think I have reached a resolution, which may not be the most ideal one, but the best one at the moment considering the circumstances and, most importantly, the one that will help me sleep well at night. Thank you, all. That is the most important thing: coming up with a compromise that will hel...
by Mudpuppy
Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?
Replies: 65
Views: 4491

Re: AT&T Retiree Mobile Share Value Plan discounts

I'm not familiar with this particular discount, but my employer discount only applies to the phone service fee on the first line. It does not apply to the Mobile Share data fee or to the phone service fees for the additional lines. Make sure that this discount doesn't have similar restrictions, beca...
by Mudpuppy
Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AT&T Retiree Mobile Share Value Plan discounts
Replies: 2
Views: 401

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

I don't know many who wouldn't opt for the statement credit, so while you and I can mentally shorthand this card to a 2% card, Citi, strictly speaking, cannot and must market it as a 1% + 1% card. I haven't seen Citi advertising it as a 2% card anywhere. Their webpage quite clearly has it as 1% on ...
by Mudpuppy
Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 87
Views: 8506

Re: Policy on changing Passwords

By the way I would like to quote an interesting tidbit of information I just came across: it takes only 10 minutes to crack a lowercase password that is 6 characters long. Add two extra letters and a few uppercase letters and that number jumps to 3 years. Add just one more character and some number...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Policy on changing Passwords
Replies: 15
Views: 1148

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

A bit disturbing: Fraud: If your Card Account shows any sign of fraudulent, abusive or suspicious activity, we may close or suspend your Card Account immediately without giving you prior notice. You may also forfeit your accrued cash rewards. When you become a cardmember, you will receive the full ...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 87
Views: 8506

Re: Probability question

The mathematics behind this is the Binomial distribution, which allows one to calculate the probability of getting exactly k specific outcomes from a series of n independent events. The events have to be able to be modeled as binary events, e.g. success and failure, heads and tails, and so on. In th...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Probability question
Replies: 14
Views: 1125

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

My Chase Freedom Mastercard just got converted into a VISA. I was looking for a new Mastercard to get into the mix. I wonder if this is like Freedom used to be and like Quicksilver still is, where it can be either a VISA or Mastercard. In any event, I think like others, I will wait to see if there i...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 87
Views: 8506

Re: Colleague being fleeced by insurance agent / Ponzi Schem

It's not a Ponzi scheme. It's just that your colleague is uninformed about more cost-effective choices for those types of insurance and investments. That "guaranteed" 4% return comes with a hefty price tag, and probably isn't really a guarantee if one looks at the fine print. I've seen thi...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Colleague being fleeced by insurance agent / Ponzi Scheme?
Replies: 14
Views: 1857

Re: When to leave a neighborhood for greener pastures?

I'll chime in with a minority opinion here. I would ignore the issue of renters. Renters come and go. There were the wildest renters across the street from me last year (they liked to throw parties on the roof) and now that house is occupied by people who are spending the weekend tidying up the yard...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to leave a neighborhood for greener pastures?
Replies: 46
Views: 4857

Re: Should I fix a "totaled" car

OP here giving a final report. Thanks for all the advice. I expected more of a split decision on here but it was pretty much a slam dunk: move on. Finding a replacement turned out to be easier than I first thought. I wasn't looking to upgrade. I was completely happy with the car so I found almost a...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I fix a "totaled" car
Replies: 32
Views: 2185

Re: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?

Some of the responses I've read here are very harsh and some of the expectations for these family members appear wildly unrealistic. If you come from a culture that values family, the responses suggesting that the OP give 30 days notice or kick his brother to a homeless shelter (on the assumption t...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?
Replies: 65
Views: 4491

Re: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?

I'll reiterate what I've seen on Suze Orman multiple times. Tell your family that you love them and do not send another check. Hold your ground. Be strong. They sometimes send me on a guilt trip. My brother said I would regret when my parents pass away for not having done more. It's very hard on me...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help out family without compromising my own retirement?
Replies: 65
Views: 4491

Re: Do you mix inheritance and earned money?

I received a very modest sum from my great grandparents, which is probably the only inheritance I'll ever get (fiscal responsibility skipped a couple of generations). I'm single and it was a small amount, so there was no reason to keep it separate. I did use some of it to purchase IBonds, so I suppo...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you mix inheritance and earned money?
Replies: 25
Views: 2157

Re: Which bed should I buy?

I'm a mostly side sleeper, with occasional back sleeping. My personal approach was to avoid pillowtop mattresses. From reading online reviews, it seems like the materials in the pillowtop wear out faster than the coils in the mattress, and it's hard to "refresh" the pillowtop. I decided to...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which bed should I buy?
Replies: 20
Views: 1634

Re: Programming and Database Classes

I'm enrolled in a college class but after the first week, I'm thinking about dropping it because I don't think I'll get enough out of it. Talk to your instructor to see if another class at the college is more suited to you. Just tell your instructor that the course is too basic given your prior exp...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Programming and Database Classes
Replies: 15
Views: 1048

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

As I said in the other thread, I have insurance through CEA, but my area of CA is very cheap compared to the Bay Area or LA. I've experienced stronger quakes here than I did when living elsewhere in CA though. I joke that it's got to be bigger than a 5 to wake me up. But on the serious side, there a...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 49
Views: 2557

Re: Question for Mac Excel 2011 users

From what I've read this should work on Mac Office 2011. However, to test this out I took my spreadsheet, on a USB Drive, to Apple. When I tried to open the file it gave a warning that the file contains a macro. I click the button to say enable the macro. However, all I got was a spinning pinwheel....
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for Mac Excel 2011 users
Replies: 13
Views: 975

Re: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)

It's more likely to be the lighting flicker or an odor. I would not hang my hat on a made-up disease. I'm always the first person in my group to notice when a light is going out. I get occular migraines from flickering light, but most of the time the pain is minimal. Having colors in my peripheral ...
by Mudpuppy
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)
Replies: 17
Views: 1368

Re: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)

I thought I was allergic to something in our new building. Turns out I was allergic to something AROUND our new building, e.g. the new landscaping they put in around all of the entrances. Even the best filtration system in the world is not going to help when there's an allergen producer spewing off ...
by Mudpuppy
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sick Building Syndrome (Electrical Pollution)
Replies: 17
Views: 1368

Re: Policy on changing Passwords

Assuming that you use a unique password for each site and it is NOT based on a discernible pattern, changing passwords only helps if the attacker has already compromised the site to get the password database. The hope in this case is that you change passwords before they can brute force your passwor...
by Mudpuppy
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Policy on changing Passwords
Replies: 15
Views: 1148

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

I live in Washington and have earthquake insurance. It boggles my mind that so many Californians don't have it, but I guess it is much more expensive there? And I guess they know something I don't, as far as who will ultimately foot the bill for damages and repairs. The CA Earthquake Authority (CEA...
by Mudpuppy
Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2002

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

I'm surprised that vineyards seemed unprepared for this, judging by all the broken barrels and bottles. A lot of brick buildings got hammered too. Yes, it's easy to say, You should have done that, but zillions of bottles worth a lot apiece, and no provision for an earthquake - what were they thinki...
by Mudpuppy
Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2002

Re: Earthquake Preparedness

People think of the obvious like straping down bookcases or getting food/water supplies handy after a big quake. I like to think of the less obvious, like not locating my bed underneath a massive picture window in the bedroom, not having pictures hanging above the bed, and not having things on the b...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Earthquake Preparedness
Replies: 39
Views: 2002

Re: Garden 2014 - late summer report

Given the drought this year, I didn't plant a vegetable garden. I did have some salvia (used to attract pollentators to the garden) come back from last year's root stock, so I took water out to that once a week to keep it going. Otherwise, the beds lay fallow this year, and maybe next year as well.
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garden 2014 - late summer report
Replies: 9
Views: 784

Re: Google Chrome vs. Firefox and Internet Explorer

I can't provide you with an answer, but it would seem to be a fairly common problem from Google's search results:

https://www.google.com/search?q=can%27t ... ith+chrome
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Chrome vs. Firefox and Internet Explorer
Replies: 24
Views: 1647

Re: Which apartment to chose? (Bay Area)

Heard there was a quake up there. Are you OK in your area? Was the damage localized? I've always considered moving to Northern CA but have always been a little watchful about the quakes! Most quakes are relatively small (e.g. not the "big one") and localized in damage, but they make splas...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which apartment to chose? (Bay Area)
Replies: 13
Views: 1640

Re: Health Insurance for Military Veteran and Federal Retire

Just as an FYI, if you are eligible for (and plan to) enroll in Tricare for Life as part of your military benefits, you have to be enrolled in Medicare Part B.
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance for Military Veteran and Federal Retiree
Replies: 4
Views: 642

Re: Which apartment to chose? (Bay Area)

Call me cynical, paranoid, etc., but I would really have to wonder what was wrong with the place for it to be that much below market. Maybe the noise from the post office is horrendous. Maybe the roommates are more than just a little odd (consider background checks). Maybe there's some other non-dis...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which apartment to chose? (Bay Area)
Replies: 13
Views: 1640

Re: Bedbugs and Wood Furniture

A heat treatment can be used to kill bedbugs living in the crevices. The furniture would need to be exposed to about 115F and get thoroughly warmed up to that temperature for several hours in order for the treatment to be effective. You would need to hire professionals that specialize in this sort o...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bedbugs and Wood Furniture
Replies: 3
Views: 748

Re: Should I fix a "totaled" car

You're asking the wrong questions of yourself and of us. This is less of a financial decision and more of a safety decision. Cars are built with accidents in mind, and are designed essentially to sacrifice themselves in order to protect the occupants. If that structural integrity was compromised, no...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I fix a "totaled" car
Replies: 32
Views: 2185

Re: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?

As odd as it might sound, eBay is not a good site for selling collections. It has a wide audience, but not a specialized audience. When you have specialized collectibles, you'll have better luck in specialized environments. See if there is a website/forum for airline memorabilia, books, etc. You mig...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it me, or are "collectibles" worthless in 2014?
Replies: 79
Views: 6015

Re: College Counselors

This is kind of unusual for me. When I was in high school and looking to apply for college, I did all of the grunt work and research myself. [snip...] After my junior year of high school, I took Physics and Calculus at a university in the summer. I liked it there, and when the summer was drawing to...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Counselors
Replies: 39
Views: 1959

Re: Help me understand my credit report

The word "reported" usually means a negative action, which can range from a late payment (even one day late can be reported) to a fully delinquent account. Since you had a negative outcome associated with the credit report, you should be able to get a free full report from the agency(ies)...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me understand my credit report
Replies: 14
Views: 1676

Re: Help me understand my credit report

The word "reported" usually means a negative action, which can range from a late payment (even one day late can be reported) to a fully delinquent account. Since you had a negative outcome associated with the credit report, you should be able to get a free full report from the agency(ies) ...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me understand my credit report
Replies: 14
Views: 1676

Re: Weird implications of a credit card trick

People have tried this before, and variations of this (such as a spouse or friend with the merchant account). All involved are quickly detected and dealt with by the credit card companies. Besides violating the terms of merchant agreements, the rewards card companies are very familiar with this &quo...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weird implications of a credit card trick
Replies: 11
Views: 2721

Re: My first required EMV transaction in the US

I believe the legislation requires the chips to be in place by 2015 (don't know what month). Most banks in the US are in the process of rolling out the new cards now. These have been required in Europe for awhile, which is why I just went on the calling spree of inquiring as to whether the new card...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My first required EMV transaction in the US
Replies: 3
Views: 414

Re: How to value house with unwanted tennis court

You could also turn it into a basketball court, but it doesn't sound like that would be a palatable option for you. Or you could turn it into a huge patio with a big fire pit at one end, but that's probably not you either. Hardscaping options would certainly lower the overall costs. One could even ...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to value house with unwanted tennis court
Replies: 24
Views: 2123

My first required EMV transaction in the US

I'm sure many Bogleheads are familiar with EMV, e.g. chip-and-signature or chip-and-pin, card transactions. In the wake of the Target compromise, I've noticed many vendors have rolled out EMV-capable point-of-sale machines. I also received a new AmEx card over a month ago that had an EMV chip. Since...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My first required EMV transaction in the US
Replies: 3
Views: 414

Re: Getting (more) accurate readings from scale

That said, I don't know if there's a home scale that would really be consistent and accurate (to within, say, half a pound rather than 3 pounds). Any suggestions? The problem with many digital scales is they remember the last reading and have a tendency to display the last reading unless your weigh...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting (more) accurate readings from scale
Replies: 11
Views: 1089

Re: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products

Perhaps the expiration date meant don't freeze it for longer than that ... and once unfrozen two days ... Could be wrong but won't jump to conclusions based on the evidence presented here... That is most likely the case. Around my workplace, there is a chain store (not Starbucks) where the cookies ...
by Mudpuppy
Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products
Replies: 49
Views: 4469

Re: College Counselors

This is kind of unusual for me. When I was in high school and looking to apply for college, I did all of the grunt work and research myself. I spoke to no counselors and just read 1-2 magazines. I wrote the college entrance essays all by myself with no one checking them and I ended up in a decent U...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Counselors
Replies: 39
Views: 1959

Re: Receiving Spam Emails Since Joining

I've been receiving similar spam, but not on the email address I have registered with Bogleheads. The timing of my recent spam increase coincides with your observations. I would expect this is just a coincidence, and the two events are not related. As for how they might have obtained the address... ...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:21 pm
 
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Receiving Spam Emails Since Joining
Replies: 14
Views: 1176

Re: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actu

I would chalk this up to an expensive life lesson in how even routine outpatient procedures can have unexpected costs. Go ahead and insist on seeing the full pathology reports if that will reassure you that 4 samples were actually taken and tested. But if they were, then go ahead and pay the bill. ...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actual]
Replies: 98
Views: 6650

Re: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actu

I'm going to continue to apply for their financial assistance program, and see if that helps at all. They want verification of all assets and all income. I have a small balance in an HSA I'm going to want to get rid of first before applying. It has about $2000 in it, and there's already about $1000...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actual]
Replies: 98
Views: 6650

Re: Telephone Calls! Help! [Telemarketing phone calls]

Yesterday our phone # showed up on caller ID along with some initials and our last name. I answered it. It was Citi Bank. They called using our name and #. What next? My skeptical side highly doubts Citibank would have done that. They would risk several fines by spoofing caller ID data while making...
by Mudpuppy
Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 100
Views: 6279

Re: Two factor identification and your password safe

Aside relevant post on weaknesses of password managers from August 1 - https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity14/technical-sessions/presentation/li_zhiwei You missed the other paper in the same session of Usenix Security: https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity14/technical-session...
by Mudpuppy
Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two factor identification and your password safe
Replies: 31
Views: 2034

Re: Amazon Gift Card Fraud

spry, did these purchases show up in your account history before you disputed with Amazon and the CC company? If not, it may be that the credit card information was compromised and used on a different Amazon account than your own. All it would take is some restaurant employee (or any person who phys...
by Mudpuppy
Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Gift Card Fraud
Replies: 30
Views: 2639

Re: More on Computer Security

I heard today VG end of 2014, will offer 2 step auth login , with SMS , my lowly local bank online does it ..... And SMS 2 factor authentication is cheaping out on the process, given that during a targeted attack, text messages can be intercepted. May not be a concern for the average Joe, but any h...
by Mudpuppy
Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: More on Computer Security
Replies: 17
Views: 1622

Re: More on Computer Security

If you want to scare yourself into never using a computer to log into a financial site again, look up the Zeus family of malware: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_%28Trojan_horse%29 Among its many abilities currently is the ability to hijack sessions. This means when you log into your account, the ...
by Mudpuppy
Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: More on Computer Security
Replies: 17
Views: 1622

Re: Are hospitals allowed to do this?

This might seem a little out there, but have you tried calling your insurance company to see how the providers billed the insurance company? When I got a $500 lab bill for blood work associated with a physical, I called the insurance first to see if it had been billed as a routine physical (most sho...
by Mudpuppy
Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are hospitals allowed to do this? [Costs quoted vs. actual]
Replies: 98
Views: 6650
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