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Re: New homeowner: lawn care advice

My suggestion is to opt for an organic lawn care program. Not because you want to save the planet or avoid falling victim to the ubiquitous and misleading marketing schemes perpetrated by "lawn care professionals" and manufacturers of chemical fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides (although th...
by TO
Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 54
Views: 3789

Re: Beach in Marco Island in late May and early June

We stayed at the Marriott on Marco Isalnd a couple of years ago. You would be happy with the quality of the sand (fine, white, very few shells) and the size of the beaches (immense). You can Google search for pictures of this resort to get an idea. We were there during spring break, and the beaches ...
by TO
Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Beach in Marco Island in late May and early June
Replies: 3
Views: 474

Re: best tips for passwords?

Curious to know if anyone posting in this thread uses Mint.com or another online account aggregator. The best practices recommended in this thread seem practically incompatible with using such a service. I suspect that most users of these account aggregation services are less sensitive to the risks ...
by TO
Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best tips for passwords?
Replies: 141
Views: 8504

Re: Replacing MacBook Pro Battery

Check for a Batteries Plus retail location in your area. I have had good experiences with this company, and at the very least they will provide a sanity check on price.
by TO
Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replacing MacBook Pro Battery
Replies: 9
Views: 382

Re: Sonos sound system ?

Thank you for all this helpful info. I am not so much interested in the multi room ability as I am in being wireless and small footprint. I now have a traditional A/V receiver connected to a variety of video/audio sources and a smaller LCD TV. DW and I have a 55" LED TV coming and I will need ...
by TO
Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonos sound system ?
Replies: 18
Views: 1212

Re: Acura RDX vs Volvo XC 60

Close. We recently sold a 2004 Volvo XC70 wagon and purchased a 2014 Acura MDX. While I personally love the wagon format, we outgrew the seating capacity due to carpools for the kids. Wife wouldn't consider a minivan, so we looked for a relatively small 7 passenger SUV and landed on the MDX. This is...
by TO
Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Acura RDX vs Volvo XC 60
Replies: 13
Views: 1214

Re: Hedging Gasoline Price

How can one prepay/hedge the price of gasoline? Say buy 2 years worth at today's prices. UGA? Simple. Since this falls into the category of rank speculation, simply make a wager with someone willing to take the other side of your bet. Peg a price per gallon today, and determine the volume of gas yo...
by TO
Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hedging Gasoline Price
Replies: 38
Views: 1609

Re: Personal Finance Press

Check with HR at your employer for clearance if you decide to do this. Your company may not approve the disclosure of its name along with any compensation info you may be asked to share.
by TO
Tue May 28, 2013 8:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Press
Replies: 6
Views: 453

Re: Organic Lawn Care

That way, you can invite your organic/green friends over for a picnic and just have them chow down by grazing your enriched lawn. You do know where milorganite comes from, right? Nice. I used to have a rule of thumb that I didn't spread anything on my lawn that I couldn't spoon up and eat (soybean ...
by TO
Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 1860

Re: Organic Lawn Care

Instead, find a feed store and spread 20 or more pounds per 1,000 square feet of feed grains on the lawn about every six weeks or so. I spread the following in the following sequence: cracked corn, soybean meal, Milorganite (from big box hardware store or florist), cracked corn, soybean meal. This ...
by TO
Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 1860

Re: Organic Lawn Care

Here is a great place to start: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/orglawn/ I have been using an organic program for years with excellent results. Cheaper, easier, just as effective, and no concerns about letting the kids roll around in the grass. Organic programs feed the ecosystem of microorganism...
by TO
Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 1860

Re: Ready to buy a house....

Loan basics: Get pre-approved and find a lender who not only has great rates but is extremely responsive. If you face a bidding war, you don't want a lender who will take days to verify your borrowing ability with your seller. Put at least 20% down; if you can't afford 20%, wait and save. House cha...
by TO
Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ready to buy a house....
Replies: 58
Views: 5495

Re: Debit Card Skimming Incident

Did Chase return the money to your account immediately? Chase indicated that the missing funds would be posted to my account within 24 hours. They asked a series of questions before agreeing to this, but I think the fact pattern was such an obvious case of skimming that they did not seem overly ske...
by TO
Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card Skimming Incident
Replies: 22
Views: 2733

Debit Card Skimming Incident

My wife was a victim of a debit card skimming incident a few days ago. When reviewing my checking account activity online this morning, I noticed 5 consecutive $100 withdrawals from yesterday at the same ATM location in a neighboring suburb that we do not frequently visit. I immediately called Chase...
by TO
Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card Skimming Incident
Replies: 22
Views: 2733

Re: PenFed mortgage holders - refi question

I believe Pen Fed will refinance the loan. My understanding, however, is that they may not pay for the closing costs. If this is the case, it may make sense to shop any of the other mortgage sources recommended on these boards.
by TO
Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed mortgage holders - refi question
Replies: 4
Views: 629

Re: Please explain differences between Wills/Trust

Perhaps a bit off topic, but one thing I learned after the death of my last living parent is that beneficiary designation forms are absolutely crucial for all financial accounts. Several posters have referenced the complexities associated with probate proceedings. It is worth noting that financial a...
by TO
Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please explain differences between Wills/Trust
Replies: 18
Views: 1535

Re: Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question

1) If the forum software allows it, can you add an option: I don't know. If I were forced to predict, I'd say "about the same," because the very best predictions are rarely much better than that. The weather forecasts for tomorrow are better than predicting that tomorrow will be the same ...
by TO
Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question
Replies: 38
Views: 2535

Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question

Where do you believe interest rates will be in 5 years? I'm curious to know how this translates into fixed income allocation strategies.
by TO
Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question
Replies: 38
Views: 2535

Re: Post your asset allocation here:

Age 39 Equities/Fixed Income = 80/20 US Equities/Int'l Equities = 60/40 Domestic Large Cap Equities/Domestic Small Cap Equities = 60/40 Fixed Income: Treasuries/Fixed Income: TIPS = 50/50 All this works out to the following (all Vanguard index funds): Equities: 28.8% large cap us index 19.2% small c...
by TO
Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Post your asset allocation here:
Replies: 136
Views: 11074

Re: Lifelock-type protection: Worthwhile?

mikep wrote:Its not impossible. If the fraudster gets a hold of your PIN, I think you are out of luck.


Don't let "perfect" become the enemy of "very good." Credit freeze is a great way to protect yourself.
by TO
Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lifelock-type protection: Worthwhile?
Replies: 10
Views: 1288

Re: Spread sheet help please

I tax adjust my retirement goal so that I don't have to keep track of every holding. It's not accurate, but you can't be accurate about future tax rates. e.g. If I want $5k/month spendable from my portfolio I use 4% annual withdrawal rate and 25% tax so, $5000*12/0.04/0.75 = $2,000,000 portfolio. S...
by TO
Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spread sheet help please
Replies: 6
Views: 544

Re: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA

I agree, this is not a problem to worry about unless VG would not accept the transfer, and that is very unlikely. The IRS only requires that the name of the decedent AND the beneficiary be shown in the title with identification of both in no particular order. CGM's wording is sufficient, since it s...
by TO
Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Please Help with Dispute with FA

Bob's not my name wrote:The forum has several IRA experts. I suggest you retitle your thread to get their attention (e.g., "Correct titling of Inherited IRA").


Thanks - done.
by TO
Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA

I'm having a dispute with a financial adviser (from a large brokerage firm who wants my business, but will not get it) over the proper way to title an inherited IRA. Obviously, I want to get this exactly right to avoid any confusion with the IRS, since the rules for an inherited IRA are complex. My ...
by TO
Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Friend needs a huge van for family of 6 kids.

hicabob wrote:Sprinter passenger van with a turbo-diesel is a practical, easy to drive and relatively economical people-mover with gobs of space.


+1.

A friend owns one. Very practical, great mileage.
by TO
Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friend needs a huge van for family of 6 kids.
Replies: 16
Views: 1009

Re: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor

Thanks to all for the valuable suggestions.

Best,
TO
by TO
Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor
Replies: 5
Views: 681

Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor

Unfortunately, my brother and I recently lost our last surviving parent. We are the beneficiaries of the estate, and will each receive a sizeable inheritance (mid to high six figures). While I don't plan to make any significant changes to my lifestyle or investing approach (essentially a strict Bogl...
by TO
Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor
Replies: 5
Views: 681

Re: CPA Exam Cost (What would you do?)

When I took the CPA exam many moons ago, I volunteered as a campus rep for Conviser Duffy. This duty consisted of hanging posters around campus and arranging a few informational meetings/happy hours to allow a CD representative to make his pitch in front of a group. As compensation, I was able to at...
by TO
Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CPA Exam Cost (What would you do?)
Replies: 34
Views: 1949

Re: Which mortgage lender is best?

I recently had an excellent refi experience with Amerisave, followed by a disappointing experience securing a HELOC (strictly for backup liquidity purposes) from Pen Fed. The Amerisave loan closed within 30 days of my initial inquiry with no surprises and prompt attention throughout from the loan of...
by TO
Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which mortgage lender is best?
Replies: 45
Views: 12354

Pen Fed Has Lost a Step

I'm in the process of applying for a HELOC with Pen Fed, and have had a very poor experience. The short story is that they ended up forcing me to unfreeze my credit twice for credit inquiries. The title company reportedly requires a credit score less than 30 days old, and Pen Fed processing delays c...
by TO
Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pen Fed Has Lost a Step
Replies: 9
Views: 1756

Option 4

Another option: sell the rental. I don't know when you last lived there, but you may be able to realize a tax free capital gain upon sale, which won't be possible once the property becomes officially classified as an investment property for tax purposes. I also don't know what your other operating e...
by TO
Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ref'ing rental property
Replies: 15
Views: 1371

Tax Rates

Federal - 23.7%
Property - 2.6%
State - 2.5%
SS - 1.3%
Medicare - 1.3%

Total - 31.5%


All amounts are 2010 actual taxes paid expressed as a % of gross 2010 income. Married filing jointly, AMT victim.
by TO
Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your Total Tax
Replies: 71
Views: 5886

Have you considered refinancing the primary property? It appears you have a high rate (4.875%) due to a Jumbo loan (>417k unless you are in one of a very few high cost locations). By putting 10k into this property to get under the 417k threshold, you could refinance at somewhere around 4% which wou...
by TO
Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering cash in refinance
Replies: 29
Views: 3550

For what it's worth, I believe I've traced the source of my telemarketing troubles back to a suspect website called "netquote.com." Somebody appears to have entered my contact information including name, phone number (which is listed and publicly available), and a bogus e-mail address, ind...
by TO
Thu May 05, 2011 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

Langkawi wrote:Have you upset anyone recently? Someone who could "opt-in" for you on various internet sites?


I sure hope not, but this would be a great form of revenge if anyone is shopping for ideas.
by TO
Thu May 05, 2011 3:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault

My wife called to let me know that she has fielded a series of phone calls (~10) from telemarketers today. The calls were directed at me, and came from a variety of sources - online schools, insurance salesmen, tax audit protection schemes. We are on the national do-not-call list, and do not receive...
by TO
Thu May 05, 2011 2:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

try removing grains and/or dairy from diet... sorry i do not understand " removing grains and dairy" you mean do not eat grain like oat, brown rice,corn so on and milk,cheese, yogurt I believe this is exactly what is being suggested, although removing flour and sugar would be the obvious ...
by TO
Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: digestive probiotic
Replies: 31
Views: 3240

Banker.
by TO
Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads by occupation
Replies: 113
Views: 12691

Late 30's: 70%. Up from 55% 7 years ago (as far back as I have reliable data).
by TO
Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What percentage of your networth is investable capital?
Replies: 39
Views: 3838

Net Worth Composition

Net Worth Composition:

Cash - 2%
Taxable Savings - 31%
College Savings - 8%
Tax Advantaged Savings - 31%
Automobiles - 2%
Home Equity - 18%
Other - 8%

More than you asked for, but I had the info handy.
by TO
Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement, Home Equity and Savings % of Net Worth
Replies: 89
Views: 9908

Rate for planning purposes

I assume 3% real for a ~70/30 portfolio over a 20 year horizon. There are a lot of valid and interesting points being raised for discussion, but at the end of the day you need to plant a flag for planning purposes to avoid paralysis by analysis. I love this forum, but some of the threads remind me o...
by TO
Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realistic rate of return the next 20 years
Replies: 48
Views: 6314

Started using a maid service 2x/month at ~$20/hour. I felt good about a "brand name" service and their ability to screen employees, maintain proper insurance, etc. Turns out we became friends with the girl cleaning our home. One day we mutually struck up a conversation about cutting out th...
by TO
Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: How do you keep your house clean?
Replies: 101
Views: 14245

Re: Personal Finance Metrics

I know many posters on this board monitor their personal finances on a periodic basis using excel spreadsheets or similar tools. I'm curious to know what metrics (beyond simple net worth) you monitor to track your financial health. FWIW, I track the following metrics on a quarterly basis: - Investa...
by TO
Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Metrics
Replies: 31
Views: 4071

Excellent responses. I will be modifying my spreadsheet to incorporate many of these ideas.

Thanks to all.
by TO
Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Metrics
Replies: 31
Views: 4071

I don't like any of these. What is the point of comparing debt to changing annual income? That should be zero or as close as you can get it. What will you do with this info? If you don't like any of them, feel free not to use them. I compare debt (which consists exclusively of a mortgage) as a mult...
by TO
Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Metrics
Replies: 31
Views: 4071

Personal Finance Metrics

I know many posters on this board monitor their personal finances on a periodic basis using excel spreadsheets or similar tools. I'm curious to know what metrics (beyond simple net worth) you monitor to track your financial health. FWIW, I track the following metrics on a quarterly basis: - Investab...
by TO
Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Metrics
Replies: 31
Views: 4071

I use the Merrill+ Rewards card - a Visa Signature card. 1 point per dollar, 25,000 points for domestic flights with no blackout dates. No annual fee. On a standalone basis, these rewards are not dissimilar to other offerings. However, if you are a heavy user ($50k+ annually), the card offers a lot ...
by TO
Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which reward type credit cards is everyone using?
Replies: 87
Views: 12503

duplicate post.
by TO
Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which reward type credit cards is everyone using?
Replies: 87
Views: 12503

If I understand correctly, the OP is saying that the best deal he can negotiate on the 4k mileage car is $3k better than the best deal he can negotiate on a similar brand new car. IMO, you should feel safe buying the car after having a trustworthy mechanic inspect the vehicle. The rental car story d...
by TO
Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy a car with 4000 miles on it?
Replies: 27
Views: 4424

Also make sure that the definition of "Competing Business" is appropriately narrow.
by TO
Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to deal with a non-compete clause for new job
Replies: 27
Views: 3780
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