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Re: Hamilton watches, worth the money?

Keep in mind that any automatic watch will require periodic service from a qualified "Swiss Service Center" (which may or may not be affiliated with your brand of choice). This is something nobody tells you when you buy the watch. In my experience, this service has been required every 7-10...
by TO
Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hamilton watches, worth the money?
Replies: 262
Views: 14044

Re: Anyone have a Nest learning thermostat?

Consider an ecobee thermostat as an alternative to Nest. We have one, and I recommend it unconditionally. Wifi connectivity and data analytics capability without the A.I. issues some have reported with Nest units. A simple Amazon search will allow you to compare and contrast.
by TO
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have a Nest learning thermostat?
Replies: 19
Views: 1658

Re: Flood proofing a basement

Sump pump into a rain barrel. Use the rain barrel to water your garden.
by TO
Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flood proofing a basement
Replies: 24
Views: 1911

Re: How To Encourage A Young (Sensitive) Child In Sports

In addition to all the other great advice here, I suggest spending time on the Positive Coaching Alliance website (http://www.positivecoach.org). Check out the "tools for parents" and "tools for coaches" links. As a father of two boys active in youth sports, I can say from experi...
by TO
Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How To Encourage A Young (Sensitive) Child In Sports
Replies: 115
Views: 5759

Re: Recommendations on Carpet Cleaning

I like ChemDry. This is not likely to be your least expensive option, but I am willing to pay a premium for: 1) quick drying times (a fraction of the drying time for traditional steam cleaning), 2) efficacy - I have always been satisfied with the results, and 3) mild cleaning solutions that don't le...
by TO
Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations on Carpet Cleaning
Replies: 10
Views: 1115

Re: New water heater needed - local plumber or Home Depot, L

I believe that a direct word of mouth referral to a local plumber is probably your best bet - it may be worthwhile to ask some friends whose opinions you value. It would be great to have researched your options (time permitting) prior to your first conversation so you can compare notes and ask the p...
by TO
Tue May 27, 2014 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New water heater needed - local plumber or Home Depot, Lowes
Replies: 43
Views: 4727

Re: 529 plans and UMTAs: do you include in net worth?

The simple answer is yes. The complicated answer is that net worth is only a portion of your overall financial picture. I run a projection model including an annual balance sheet (net worth), income statement (earnings and spending), and statement of cash flows (essentially a net worth roll forward)...
by TO
Mon May 26, 2014 9:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 plans and UMTAs: do you include in net worth?
Replies: 8
Views: 595

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 10:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 87
Views: 27106

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 1:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Beach in Marco Island in late May and early June
Replies: 3
Views: 524

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 10:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best tips for passwords?
Replies: 141
Views: 11490

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 10:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replacing MacBook Pro Battery
Replies: 9
Views: 414

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 4:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonos sound system ?
Replies: 18
Views: 1869

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 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Acura RDX vs Volvo XC 60
Replies: 13
Views: 1901

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 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hedging Gasoline Price
Replies: 38
Views: 1726

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 7:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Press
Replies: 6
Views: 455

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 8:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 2023

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 8:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 2023

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 8:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Lawn Care
Replies: 32
Views: 2023

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 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ready to buy a house....
Replies: 58
Views: 5690

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 10:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card Skimming Incident
Replies: 22
Views: 2925

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 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card Skimming Incident
Replies: 22
Views: 2925

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 9:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed mortgage holders - refi question
Replies: 4
Views: 675

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 9:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please explain differences between Wills/Trust
Replies: 18
Views: 1656

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 6:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question
Replies: 38
Views: 2537

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 12:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interest Rates - Not a Trick Question
Replies: 38
Views: 2537

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 10:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Post your asset allocation here:
Replies: 136
Views: 11537

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 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lifelock-type protection: Worthwhile?
Replies: 10
Views: 1319

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 1:13 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 2:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1124

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 8:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1124

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 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retitling Inherited IRA - Dispute with FA
Replies: 8
Views: 1124

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 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friend needs a huge van for family of 6 kids.
Replies: 16
Views: 1010

Re: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor

Thanks to all for the valuable suggestions.

Best,
TO
by TO
Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor
Replies: 5
Views: 685

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 3:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seeking Recommendation - Financial Advisor
Replies: 5
Views: 685

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 9:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CPA Exam Cost (What would you do?)
Replies: 34
Views: 1976

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 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which mortgage lender is best?
Replies: 45
Views: 12715

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 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pen Fed Has Lost a Step
Replies: 9
Views: 1760

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 10:25 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 7:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your Total Tax
Replies: 71
Views: 5895

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 9:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering cash in refinance
Replies: 29
Views: 3576

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 8:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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 2:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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 1:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting Advice - Suspicious Telemarketing Assault
Replies: 20
Views: 1908

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 3:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: digestive probiotic
Replies: 31
Views: 3247

Banker.
by TO
Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads by occupation
Replies: 113
Views: 12973

Late 30's: 70%. Up from 55% 7 years ago (as far back as I have reliable data).
by TO
Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What percentage of your networth is investable capital?
Replies: 39
Views: 3921

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 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement, Home Equity and Savings % of Net Worth
Replies: 89
Views: 10057

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 7:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realistic rate of return the next 20 years
Replies: 48
Views: 6564

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 9:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: How do you keep your house clean?
Replies: 101
Views: 14387

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 4:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Metrics
Replies: 31
Views: 4163
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