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Re: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?

Update: Citi called me before I could call them - talk about timing! While it is YMMV I found Citi to be more sensitive to large purchases than some other banks. They do get trained eventually though. I suggest you set up where they text you fraud alerts as that may allow you to clear it quickly an...
by THY4373
Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 9414

Re: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?

And then there is a Psychological/Behavior-Economical phenomenon. People want to brag about their new MS schemes but don't want to get followers. They want to post in an open forum for the entire Internet to read them, and at the same time, they use codes so that 90% of their readers would not unde...
by THY4373
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 9414

Re: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?

THY4373, I agree with everything you wrote. FF rewards are getting less attractive in terms of both point accumulation and their use. Nevertheless, for those who fly using the rewards is equivalent to not using cash. It is still an attractive opportunity, albeit not as attractive as it used to be. ...
by THY4373
Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 9414

Re: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?

Those who've been doing this a long time may have better insight: as greater effort yields less reward, do many drop out the game? is it cyclical at all? BFG Most of these sort of things play out one of two ways. Back in the early 2000s there was a lot of money to be made for signing up for online ...
by THY4373
Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 9414

Re: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?

Honestly the biggest risk these days is devaluation. BA had a major devaluation this year of up to 50%, yes some economy awards got a bit cheaper but fuel and taxes on BA metal kill the value there. For long haul international flights in premium cabins it was a major devaluation. Club Carlson arguab...
by THY4373
Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 9414

Re: Hearse as daily driver?

I have thought about it pretty seriously and would still consider it. Pros cheap and good for hauling, basically a glorified station wagon. The cons are you will be known at "the guy/gal that drives a hearse" and if you are married/have family they may not think it is cool. Personally the ...
by THY4373
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearse as daily driver?
Replies: 58
Views: 3879

Re: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)

Once the miles hit your frequent flyer account, they cannot be clawed back. Wrong! While it is indeed unlikely it does happen. I personally know somebody who had more than a million miles clawed back by a bank after they were deposited in an airline program. I have also seen reports of others, howe...
by THY4373
Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)
Replies: 65
Views: 4479

Re: How to make more money?

I agree, people tend to exaggerate the difference in cost of living besides housing, though that can be important in itself. Also some places have much lower taxes than others but NY state isn't one of them. And in cold 'low cost' areas winter heating can be a significant cost burden to non-well of...
by THY4373
Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to make more money?
Replies: 53
Views: 5671

Re: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?

I have two Brooks (a Team Pro bought new and a Swallow that came on a lightly used bike I bought). They are both very comfortable to me the Team Pro took a few hundred miles to break in but wasn't bad even before break-in. My two Brooks are the best saddles I have ridden on. I also have two Selle An...
by THY4373
Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?
Replies: 23
Views: 2030

Re: Private college counselor

My parents hired one for me and this would have been back in '87 or so. They did this after seeing what the high school counselor was recommending for colleges I apply to. The recommendations of the public high school counselor were all significantly below where I ended up going. The private counsel...
by THY4373
Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Private college counselor
Replies: 78
Views: 5590

Re: Sun Country Rewards

Definitely DYODD here... Agreed 1% on all purchases other than those with the airline doesn't seem terribly exciting unless they give very good value on their awards. The 40,000 points signup bonus is ok (again the value comes down to what you get for it). But this year I have gotten 100,000 AA mil...
by THY4373
Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sun Country Rewards
Replies: 3
Views: 714

Re: Trapped deciding between 2 Jobs: Can I renege on my offe

One other thing to consider in your calculations is taxes. I work for a NY based company though not in the NY/NJ area but most of my co-workers do and the taxes are quite high in NY/NJ, including I believe commuter taxes if you live in NJ/CT and commute into the city. Commutes as you have pointed ou...
by THY4373
Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trapped deciding between 2 Jobs: Can I renege on my offer?
Replies: 36
Views: 5546

Re: Chip and Signature (not PIN) in Europe

The only true chip and pin cards that I think are available in the US are the recently reopened (though applications are currently suspended again) consumer Dinner's Club cards (they are really Mastercards) issued by BMO Harris in Canada but they come with annual fees. I got in while applications we...
by THY4373
Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chip and Signature (not PIN) in Europe
Replies: 15
Views: 1436

Re: Cash In CC Points?

Transfer the points to an airline (southwest gives the best value, imho) and sell flights on Craigslist. Turning the points in for cash is such a bad value compared to the travel options. First off selling miles/tickets is always risky. OP would be best selling the UR points (not sure if that is st...
by THY4373
Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash In CC Points?
Replies: 22
Views: 2828

Re: VPN for personal use overseas?

For the technically inclined it is fairly easy to roll your own VPN solution using OpenVPN. I run OpenVPN at my house so when traveling I can connect back to my home network to see my cameras, access my files, etc. I have it setup so all my traffic is routed to my house and then out to the Internet ...
by THY4373
Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VPN for personal use overseas?
Replies: 6
Views: 772

Re: How do so many HCEs contribute the max to 401k

Just curious - approximately how many HCEs/ non-HCEs do you have? It seems it would be difficult for you to pass nondiscrimination test if you are maxing out after-tax contributions because they should be included in the ACP Test with matching contributions. Do you have NHCEs that also make signifi...
by THY4373
Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do so many HCEs contribute the max to 401k
Replies: 30
Views: 2903

Re: How do so many HCEs contribute the max to 401k

I would fall under HCE guidelines based on salary but I will do the 17.5k max this year (for those us under 50), and on top of that I also do the after-tax non-Roth contributions and roll over to Roth IRA (the so called "mega backdoor Roth"). The latter is not protected by safe harbor prov...
by THY4373
Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do so many HCEs contribute the max to 401k
Replies: 30
Views: 2903

Re: Got my first cold call - does this mean I've 'made it?'

I have a neighbor who is an investment adviser and his company does this. I helped his wife with a computer problem and she mentioned her husband was an investor adviser and gave me the soft sell that I should work with him. I declined nicely but out of idle curiosity I Googled him (and his phone nu...
by THY4373
Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got my first cold call - does this mean I've 'made it?'
Replies: 30
Views: 5811

Re: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.

As open source software, older versions have been scrubbed, and there is no back door. This is not entirely true. There has been no independent completed systemic review of Truecrypt's code though there is an ongoing audit here: http://istruecryptauditedyet.com/ . The initial audit so far has found...
by THY4373
Fri May 30, 2014 12:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.
Replies: 65
Views: 8948

Re: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.

As open source software, older versions have been scrubbed, and there is no back door. This is not entirely true. There has been no independent completed systemic review of Truecrypt's code though there is an ongoing audit here: http://istruecryptauditedyet.com/ . The initial audit so far has found...
by THY4373
Thu May 29, 2014 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.
Replies: 65
Views: 8948

Re: Pre-nup at only $1M networth, do I need it?

The failure rate for marriages is 50% - If you knew there was a 50% chance your house would burn down at some point, would you buy homeowner's insurance? The numbers (as always) are a little more nuanced than that figure would suggest. That includes all marriages including folks who get remarried a...
by THY4373
Mon May 26, 2014 9:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-nup at only $1M networth, do I need it?
Replies: 199
Views: 13278

Re: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine

I guess 48 degrees on a car this old is not bad. I believe (it has been a while since I looked it up) that you are supposed to get at least a 15 degree delta from ambient so yes it doesn't sound bad. That said understand you are taking a risk that the system is overfilled (possibly eventually leadi...
by THY4373
Sat May 24, 2014 10:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine
Replies: 11
Views: 628

Re: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine

Also I am curious as to how you fixed the leak normally that would take discharging the system first to correct. I found out it had a value that was sticking sometimes. The system uses 134a I assume the schrader valve service port on the low or high side? It is probably still leaking somewhat if it...
by THY4373
Sat May 24, 2014 10:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine
Replies: 11
Views: 628

Re: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine

NOT an expert but done some of my own AC work including rebuilding an entire system in my old Crown Vic which worked perfect for 5+ years until I sold it. Honestly it sounds like my may have messed things up. If it was empty you would need to evacuate it first (pull vacuum) if you haven't done that ...
by THY4373
Sat May 24, 2014 9:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine
Replies: 11
Views: 628

Re: Masonite Siding

My house is mostly brick but I had some Masonite or a derivative not sure. Live in the Mid-Atlantic region where it is very humid and very wet. House is circa 1986 and I replaced most of the hardiplank on the house except the attached shed in 2012 (I did some smaller replacements earlier around 07 a...
by THY4373
Fri May 23, 2014 7:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masonite Siding
Replies: 26
Views: 2495

Re: Masonite Siding

I bet if you examine the Masonite on that house closely, you will find puffy spots and warping due to moisture. It's certainly true on our house, even though we had a partial replacement. We did not replace every board with minor damage. Agreed the initial stages of failure are pretty subtle until ...
by THY4373
Fri May 23, 2014 7:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masonite Siding
Replies: 26
Views: 2495

Re: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?

BorisTheSpider wrote:Visa/MC/Amex gift cards all have an activation fee.


True 99% of the time but the current and reoccurring AAA deal has $0.00 activation deal as noted in my post. Of course there is a fee to join AAA but if OP is already a member then a great deal.
by THY4373
Fri May 23, 2014 7:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?
Replies: 15
Views: 1450

Re: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?

If you are an AAA member and your local AAA is participating in the current promotion through 6/30/14 you can get up to $500 Visa CGs at AAA (they can be any amount up to $500) fee free. They are fee free for the recipient for I think at least 12 or 13 months (normal for most cards). The normal fee ...
by THY4373
Fri May 23, 2014 7:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?
Replies: 15
Views: 1450

Re: declining job due to travel

Personally I think international travel helps you grow as a person. And this amount of travel is the amount that would be my personal max but I'd probably do it. Business class makes a huge difference but still a 17 hour flight is a haul (I traveled extensively internationally when I was younger). I...
by THY4373
Fri May 23, 2014 6:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: declining job due to travel
Replies: 92
Views: 27438

Re: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase

If your Amazon spending is $750 or less/month the Sallie Mae card gives you 5% Cashback on bookstores which includes Amazon (including non-book purchases). Cashback is a credit to your statement when you hit $25.00 or more in cashback. It also gives you 5% CB on groceries (up to $250) and gas (also ...
by THY4373
Mon May 19, 2014 11:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase
Replies: 35
Views: 105936

Re: Round The World!

I am a longtime poster on FlyerTalk. I suggest you go over there and read about RTW tickets. FT is the travel equivalent of BH. Thanks to what I learned over there I was able to stockpile 5 MM miles and hotel points before I retired. Is it significant that you collected miles and points before you ...
by THY4373
Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Round The World!
Replies: 43
Views: 9636

Re: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?

As a mostly used car buyer for a couple of decades (one exception for my wife who got a new one a couple of years ago) it has been my observation that used few year old (say less than five years) Japanese cars at least from the big names frequently don't make any sense to buy used because they hold...
by THY4373
Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?
Replies: 62
Views: 5086

Re: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?

As a mostly used car buyer for a couple of decades (one exception for my wife who got a new one a couple of years ago) it has been my observation that used few year old (say less than five years) Japanese cars at least from the big names frequently don't make any sense to buy used because they hold ...
by THY4373
Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy a used car or pay $5,000 more to get a new one?
Replies: 62
Views: 5086

Re: Can Employer Limit 401K Contribution?

Yep welcome to the world of being a "HCE". Wife got hit this year and is limited to 10% of salary (had been doing the max for years before that). The irony is the folks who actually run the company and make the decisions about the 401k all make well north of 175k so the 10% limit has absol...
by THY4373
Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can Employer Limit 401K Contribution?
Replies: 17
Views: 1826

Re: USAA insurance vs Geico

Totally anecdotal so take with grain of salt but I have two friends insured by Geico over the years and they were certainly treated less well than I was with USAA. Nickel and dimeing on repairs and one of them was dropped to the high risk pool after a couple of 15 MPH over the list tickets (on the I...
by THY4373
Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA insurance vs Geico
Replies: 9
Views: 1375

Re: Water heater - gas or electric?

My hot water heater is next to my furnace. I have no fireplace so no chimney. Why is that relevant? My furnace exhausts to the outside of my house. In my house it is relevant because the hot water heater is in the *middle* of the house on the first floor (of a two + story house). So it gets very co...
by THY4373
Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 5425

Re: AMEX rewards on Kroger error

There seems an ongoing issue with Amex and grocery stores. I have seen discussions on other forums where folks have had issues with purchases at grocery stores not getting the bonus cash back/rewareds. Safeway appears to have been a particular problem.
by THY4373
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AMEX rewards on Kroger error
Replies: 15
Views: 1472

Re: Water heater - gas or electric?

I faced the same decision point as you. My house has gas furnace but everything else was electric including hot water. I looked at gas tankless and eliminated it because of cost (payback was north of 15 years) and there were reliability issues. I never considered electric tankless because they don't...
by THY4373
Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 5425

Re: How to backup TrueCrypt

Assuming you have a file encrypted as a TrueCrypt container vs. a partition. You should be able to just copy the entire file over to do a backup. The problem with automated backups (at least rsync on Linux which is what I use) is that Truecrypt does not appear to do anything to the external file whe...
by THY4373
Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to backup TrueCrypt
Replies: 11
Views: 1248

Re: Cloud security

stratton wrote:
Whomever has the keys controls access.



Or has had a hand in weakening the algorithm and knows how to exploit it ;-)
by THY4373
Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud security
Replies: 5
Views: 327

Re: Cloud security

I won't store anything sensitive in the cloud (unless as others mentioned I encrypted it myself first). In addition to, or perhaps an extension of security, it is clear from several lawyers I have spoken to in my day job (IT security) that there are less legal protections for your data in the cloud ...
by THY4373
Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud security
Replies: 5
Views: 327

Re: Living with Windows 8

I'm confused. What effort does it take to avoid the metro interface? Boot to desktop... use Classic Shell... why would you ever need to see the metro interface if you don't choose to? I agree with you to a point but the problem is some features and applications in Windows take you back to Metro. I ...
by THY4373
Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living with Windows 8
Replies: 43
Views: 3337

Re: USAA Auto Insurance?

I didn't realize there was a distinction between types of membership at USAA. If that's true, then one could very likely obtain lower cost auto and home insurance via GEICO or others; as my own example showed. Another poster suggested he was not being treated any differently than "full members...
by THY4373
Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA Auto Insurance?
Replies: 70
Views: 10215

Re: HTTPS port 443 is Open

Edit: autonomy beat me to it. From your home PC go to http://www.whatismyip.com/ . This will give you, your external IP assigned by your ISP. Then type https://x.x.x.x into your web browser where the x's are replaced by your external IP as shown by the previous website. This should show you what is ...
by THY4373
Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HTTPS port 443 is Open
Replies: 18
Views: 1989

Re: Should I become sole provider for fiance?

I lived in a similar situation with my future spouse. What does your fiance expect and want to do? +1 Also I intend to pay for my child's undergrad and graduate tuition like my parents did for me (with the expectation I'd pay it forward). So I wouldn't want or expect assistance from either my son o...
by THY4373
Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I become sole provider for fiance?
Replies: 97
Views: 6405

Re: People Search - paying for data?

KyleAAA wrote:Usually just typing names into Google will lead to a way to contact somebody (either via Facebook, Linkedin, etc).


I'd guess this is a generational thing. Probably works great for say the 40 or so and under crowd and less so as you advance beyond that.
by THY4373
Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: People Search - paying for data?
Replies: 21
Views: 1811

Re: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?

But if you were to make a move, I would search for a house that will suit you well through the kids. Good schools. Kid friendly neighborhood. Room for a couple kids. You may need to move again someday, but go into it thinking you will be in the next house 10+ years. I agree this would have been a g...
by THY4373
Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?
Replies: 33
Views: 2382

Re: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?

It seems to me it makes no sense to downsize your house until you have sorted out whether you are having kids or not. So you sell this house, buy a smaller one, and then have to buy a new bigger one again in a few years if you have kids or move for a better job, etc. If it were me I'd stay in this h...
by THY4373
Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?
Replies: 33
Views: 2382

Re: Reasons why you're choosing your tax software this year

H&R Block Tax Cut because I got it real cheap. I don't find any difference between it and TurboTax and as the latter got less price competitive I moved to the former.
by THY4373
Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reasons why you're choosing your tax software this year
Replies: 39
Views: 2060

Re: USAA Auto Insurance?

I'm enlisted (reserve) and get full membership benefits including SA distributions, etc. No restrictions. I've heard, however, that family members who qualify must keep their insurance portion active in order to access other services. Is this true? Good question on family members with insurance I h...
by THY4373
Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA Auto Insurance?
Replies: 70
Views: 10215
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