Search found 339 matches

by THY4373
Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Federal Employment
Replies: 82
Views: 8606

Re: Thoughts on Federal Employment

I've got over ten years working with the government and it's truly been hit or miss. It's a much different environment in the DC area where there is no shortage of federal employees and contractors. The lack of accountability is a big problem. It's nearly impossible to fire a federal employee so co...
by THY4373
Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows Media Center discontinued
Replies: 18
Views: 1632

Re: Windows Media Center discontinued

VLC is an excellent media playaback and recording tool but it really isn't a substitute for Media Center (e.g., it doesn't really have the DVR functions that Media Center has). Because I have some software I need on my home theater PC that only works through Windows 7 my plan is just to ride out Win...
by THY4373
Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your opinion on realistic income to live in a $1 million home?
Replies: 144
Views: 12314

Re: Your opinion on realistic income to live in a $1 million home?

I am reminded of what my father said to me a number of years ago, "I always dreamed I'd live in a million dollar home I just didn't think it would be this one". My parents live in a pretty high cost of living area and bought the house about for about $100k 40 years ago. They own it outrigh...
by THY4373
Sat May 30, 2015 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for Selling an Antique Bicycle?
Replies: 6
Views: 672

Re: Suggestions for Selling an Antique Bicycle?

You might want to check out these forums on Bike Forums. There are lots of information on selling vintage and classic bikes and an area for appraisals but remember the folks posting are likely NOT disinterested parties. Good luck.... http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage-bicycles-what-s-worth-ap...
by THY4373
Wed May 27, 2015 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window replacement -- Renewal by Andersen?
Replies: 31
Views: 2966

Re: Window replacement -- Renewal by Andersen?

I can only speak to the local RBA company and then not to their windows per se. A couple of years back I need to replace an outside door and wanted to go with ProVia doors which are widely considered one of the best. I got two bids from the two local companies who did installs. One of these was the ...
by THY4373
Wed May 27, 2015 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed
Replies: 23
Views: 3371

Re: Breaking up with USAA--banking alternatives welcomed

One of the amenities that you have to give USAA kudos for is the fact you can mobile deposit a $2,400 check and it is available immediately. I have yet to find a bank that honors that. To me thats a big amenity. Not a bank technically but PenFed makes my funds available immediately just like USAA a...
by THY4373
Mon May 25, 2015 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $4500 reasonable for wills for blended family and some trusts?
Replies: 38
Views: 2397

Re: $4500 reasonable for wills for blended family and some trusts?

If you are thinking of signing up for an employer plan for wills I suggest you read what it covers very carefully. My employer's plan appeared to include wills until you read the fine details (which were somewhat hidden on the providers web page). Basically for wills you were on the hook for doing y...
by THY4373
Fri May 08, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 326881

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

The velocity limit on the kiosks at Walmart is more like 10 minutes (from last load) in my experience. Also pro-tip. Make your first load 499.99 (not your last). I'd forget and lock up the kiosk when I forgot to make my last load $499.99. Much easier for me at least to remember doing the first load ...
by THY4373
Fri May 08, 2015 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 326881

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

Walmart will not accept OneVanilla Visa Gift Cards so you have to buy "regular" Visa Gift Cards. Point of clarification no "Vanilla"/Bancorp (same entity) cards will work at WM except transactions below $49.xx something. One Vanilla is just a subset of the Vanilla gift cards ava...
by THY4373
Fri May 08, 2015 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 326881

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

protagonist wrote:
ps....Do you know if you can also load the Serve up to $1000/month with the Amex card in person at Walmart?


You cannot load Serve with CC at Walmart.
by THY4373
Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 12312

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 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 12312

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
Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 12312

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 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 12312

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 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manufactured Spending - Good Idea / Bad Idea?
Replies: 109
Views: 12312

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
Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearse as daily driver?
Replies: 58
Views: 4907

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 Feb 27, 2015 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Rewards (Travel)
Replies: 87
Views: 6435

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
Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to make more money?
Replies: 53
Views: 5887

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
Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Cyclists With a Brooks Saddle?
Replies: 23
Views: 2170

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
Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Private college counselor
Replies: 78
Views: 5782

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
Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sun Country Rewards
Replies: 3
Views: 745

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 7:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trapped deciding between 2 Jobs: Can I renege on my offer?
Replies: 36
Views: 5833

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
Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chip and Signature (not PIN) in Europe
Replies: 15
Views: 1579

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
Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash In CC Points?
Replies: 22
Views: 2919

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
Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VPN for personal use overseas?
Replies: 6
Views: 866

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
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: 3089

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 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do so many HCEs contribute the max to 401k
Replies: 30
Views: 3089

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
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: 6013

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
Fri May 30, 2014 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TrueCrypt possibly compromised/unsafe to use.
Replies: 65
Views: 9441

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: 9441

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
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: 13649

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
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: 722

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 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine
Replies: 11
Views: 722

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 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adding AC freon to a Chevrolet Beretta with 2.2 engine
Replies: 11
Views: 722

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
Fri May 23, 2014 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masonite Siding
Replies: 26
Views: 2923

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 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masonite Siding
Replies: 26
Views: 2923

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 7:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?
Replies: 15
Views: 1663

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 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest option for sending gift cards?
Replies: 15
Views: 1663

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 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: declining job due to travel
Replies: 92
Views: 33299

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
Mon May 19, 2014 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon.com Rewards Visa card from Chase
Replies: 35
Views: 107091

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
Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Round The World!
Replies: 43
Views: 9769

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 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: 5238

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: 5238

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
Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can Employer Limit 401K Contribution?
Replies: 17
Views: 1877

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
Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA insurance vs Geico
Replies: 9
Views: 1488

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
Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 5644

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
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AMEX rewards on Kroger error
Replies: 15
Views: 1522

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
Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 5644

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
Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to backup TrueCrypt
Replies: 11
Views: 1321

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
Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cloud security
Replies: 5
Views: 360

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 ;-)

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