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by TheGreyingDuke
Wed May 27, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Money and cell phones when traveling to Canada
Replies: 24
Views: 830

Re: Money and cell phones when traveling to Canada

Exchanging for C$ in the US is a very bad idea, in my experience. We live less that an hour from the border, make frequent trips to Montreal fr dinner/movies/theater and I either use a no foreign transaction credit card or withdraw money from the ubiquitous ATMs, my credit union will refund any char...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri May 22, 2015 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice For Selling A Used Car
Replies: 12
Views: 1306

Re: Advice For Selling A Used Car

In Vermont there is no requirement that you trade the car to get the credit for its value. I buy a car on May 1 from a dealer for $25,000. On May 15 I sell my used car for $5000 and I deduct that amount from the purchase price of the new car. If I have already registered and paid the sales tax, ther...
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed May 20, 2015 12:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just got off phone with my Chase Advisor
Replies: 16
Views: 2312

Re: Just got off phone with my Chase Advisor

When you do the transfer to Vanguard have them "pull" it from Chase, rather than have Chase "push" it to them. You will never even need to speak with the nice person at Chase, more's the pity :D
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon May 18, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: passport card faster than passport?
Replies: 32
Views: 2011

Re: passport card faster than passport?

As long as you are just getting new passports, it makes sense to also get Global Entry/Trusted Traveler. No need to do so until you actually get the passports back, but it saves a lot of time and hassle going through an airport, especially from a foreign country. Ralph Best way to do this is to app...
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon May 18, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3157

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

One caveat about the idea of "shopping around" for the best price... I would guess that the highest cost/most likely combination you would face would be some sort of trauma. You are not likely to stop the EMTs that pull you out of a burning car and tell them to call around for the least ex...
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue May 12, 2015 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ideas for a Week in Hong Kong?
Replies: 3
Views: 351

Re: Ideas for a Week in Hong Kong?

But unless you like it hot and humid, avoid summer (april-October.) Best time to visit would be October 15-November 20 for the weather.

Lantau is great, not just the giant Buddha, we spent three days there one holiday weekend, great hiking and not what you think of when you think of Hong Kong.
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue May 12, 2015 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soon to Have No Permanent Residence
Replies: 3
Views: 577

Re: Soon to Have No Permanent Residence

We were in a similar position, we sold the house, spent 3-6 months each year in China, the rest of the time here and there. We were interested in keeping our Vermont residency and the rule here is that even if you do not have a permanent Vermont address, your last legal address qualifies you to vote...
by TheGreyingDuke
Thu May 07, 2015 6:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transferring securities from one taxable brokerage to another
Replies: 5
Views: 366

Re: Transferring securities from one taxable brokerage to another

stlutz wrote:Brokerages are required to transfer the cost basis info for covered securities. You'll be fine.


Right, I transferred some funds from Fidelity to Vanguard, cost basis cam along.
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue May 05, 2015 7:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: French press recommendation?
Replies: 32
Views: 2122

Re: French press recommendation?

Having broken many glass carafes, I bought a stainless steel one, Highwin, from amazon. $35, comes with an extra screen and is made in the People's Republic, the place where they put people into space, have the world's largest high-speed train network, and among the best airline safety in the world ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue May 05, 2015 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3537

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

FYI Toyota, Lexus, etc are not oil blenders/refiners, i.e. they do not make their own oil. Toyota has it produced to their specs and it is quite good stuff; so is Mazda's, Subaru's etc. Buy whatever is cheapest and meets your specs in the owners manual. Right, the key is to be sure that the specs a...
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue May 05, 2015 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota
Replies: 49
Views: 3537

Re: Frugal car maintenance - Lexus serviced by Toyota

I have a memory from around 1960. My great uncle always drove Cadillacs, at this time he had a 1959 white convertible, black leather interior. His windshield cracked and he went to the Caddy dealer for a replacement and was given a price of X (maybe it was $159?) Then he took it across the street to...
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun May 03, 2015 6:58 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Polls Disabled
Replies: 60
Views: 3613

Re: Polls Disabled

I always thought they were rather silly, for one will not miss them.
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun May 03, 2015 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to use to clean car
Replies: 45
Views: 3475

Re: What to use to clean car

If you rib your hand across the surface of your vehicle and can feel little rough spots (and you probably can) then best to use a clay bar before waxing. All the brands seem to work equally well,.e
by TheGreyingDuke
Sat May 02, 2015 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Chromebook 2015
Replies: 52
Views: 4053

Re: Best Chromebook 2015

I have had Windows, Macs, and Linux in the past decade or so, have had the C720 Chromebook for the past year plus. The only thing that keeps me from full adoption is the screen quality, my ThinkPad x230's IPS screen, not really top garde, is far superior. Give me a Chromebook with a high grade scree...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri May 01, 2015 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Car - Required Maintenance Question?
Replies: 13
Views: 1346

Re: New Car - Required Maintenance Question?

Change oil regularly. Rotate tires regularly. Check brakes regularly. Change transmission fluid regularly. To me regularly means every 4K-5K miles for oil and tires, 50K for transmission fluid. Some will say I don't need to do it that often, but I'd rather pay a few extra bucks to be safe rather th...
by TheGreyingDuke
Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital Gains Tax Question
Replies: 8
Views: 394

Re: Capital Gains Tax Question

You will offset the gains against the losses, and then carry forward to future years the remaining loss. It can be used to offset future gains AND $3000 of earned income each year, you are golden.

No tax due
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use phone?
Replies: 54
Views: 3601

Re: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use ph

Typing is slower on a tablet vs keyboard, but for light use, the trade off is worth it for me. Sounds like you're a heavy keyboard user, so there's no good alternative to a real keyboard. But if you just want smaller onscreen keys, there are alternatives, like this for thumb typing on a tablet. Swy...
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Marginal benefit of spending more on car
Replies: 83
Views: 6845

Re: Marginal benefit of spending more on car

As someone who has purchased over 50 cars (mostly $300 beaters back in the 1970's) I am reminded of an old saying among gearheads:

"There are two "best" days of car ownership, the day you buy it and the day you sell it." :happy
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use phone?
Replies: 54
Views: 3601

Re: Traveling light up to 2 weeks - ditch the laptop, use ph

The answers so far remind us that the correct answer is "it depends."

I travel with a Chromebook, figure if I lose it or it gets damaged, no big deal. I usually have some lengthy emails to do, even on holiday, and I find typing on anything smaller than a Chromebook to be a real pain.
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Accident - Honda Civic for Replacement?
Replies: 13
Views: 1274

Re: Car Accident - Honda Civic for Replacement?

If you want boring, the Civi may win the crown. Most "experts" will rank the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and the VW Gof as better cars, but every car has its attributes. I test drove a Civic last week with a friend who is shopping and it is not a bad car and it is the size of my 1997 Accord.
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?
Replies: 40
Views: 3250

Re: Drive a local car, rent for trips ?

I share one vehicle with my wife, I am retired and she is semi-retired. She has two day trips, often over the weekend, of around 450 miles. Enterprise puts her in a car for around $50, it keeps the miles off our owned vehicle, and allows me to have a weekend with a car. In the fal I contemplated ren...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Dealership Credit Report
Replies: 34
Views: 2489

Re: Car Dealership Credit Report

If you are driving a car from the dealer to try, I think they are likely to need your drivers license information before letting you drive off with it, no? So I thought... Yesterday I was car shopping with a friend, drove to two dealers (Mazda and Honda). In each case they did not even ask her name...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My PC is driving me nuts.
Replies: 28
Views: 2128

Re: My PC is driving me nuts.

Been there and done that. If all you want is to browse the internet and do simple MS office tasks, etc., perhaps consider switching to Mac. I made the switch and do not regret it, though took some time to adapt. My wife still uses PC laptop for work, but find her using the iPad and my Mac more and ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Is The Worst Car You Have Ever Owned?
Replies: 39
Views: 1913

Re: What Is The Worst Car You Have Ever Owned?

2002 Volkswagen Passat. I loved that car, but the engine burnt out when it was only two years old. It had a design defect (low oil volume plus turbo) that lead to oil sludge buildup that would eventually cook the engine. Volkswagen refused to honor the warranty because I did most of the oil changes...
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Input wanted from BMW owners
Replies: 44
Views: 4502

Re: Input wanted from BMW owners

AH, the love-hate with German branded vehicles. I have been through my share of BMWs, Audis, VWs and near the need of each period of ownership I take a solemn oath "never again buy a German car" and a few months/years later I am back, like a crack addict, putting my $$ down on a German car...
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incorrect W2 and electronic tax filing
Replies: 5
Views: 502

Incorrect W2 and electronic tax filing

My wife received a check for work that she did not do (this was the only income from this source in 2014.) We returned the check and requested a corrected W2, which has not been forthcoming. If I were to file on paper I would include and explanatory note with the return. Is there anyway to address t...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks
Replies: 36
Views: 1998

Re: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks

The septic was emptied shortly after we moved in, cost $500 including digging up the lids to the tank (under 3ft of dirt.) After this procedure I installed fiberglass "manhole covers" with 3ft risers that would eliminate the need to dig, that would save $100-200 per cleaning. I don't know...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting up a Trust...
Replies: 13
Views: 1517

Re: Setting up a Trust...

This hits the nail on the head. Trusts can have real value, but also real expense. The tax rate within the trust will skyrocket to the top marginal rate after $10,000. Revocable trusts are taxed at the same rate as the individual who established it. http://finance.zacks.com/tax-consequences-revocab...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks
Replies: 36
Views: 1998

Re: Propane Heating and Septic Tanks

I have lived with septic systems for over 40 years. There are several steps to take before making an offer on a house. 1) When was the system built? Most systems have an estimated life on the order of 25 years, widely varying based on how well the system was used and serviced. If there is a garbage ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help
Replies: 52
Views: 4515

Re: Kitchen upgrade - granite selection help

Would you consider using the same granite for the backsplash, eliminating oe potential for a mismatch? When we did our counters we went to a local fabricator (I live in a granite producing area, mostly headstones :( ) where they have "small" pieces of granite from all over the world. The m...
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car maintenance/time to change car?
Replies: 27
Views: 2500

Re: Car maintenance/time to change car?

What does anyone imagine a 14 year old car, with 133k miles and likely in need of major engine work and tranny replacement, is worth?

I say drive as it is until it stops, sign up for Uber for when it finally has the radish, and keep your mobile charged. :happy
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiring Before Age 66
Replies: 21
Views: 4107

Re: Retiring Before Age 66

We are doing the same calculation. DH will retire at 64, I am already retired and 60. When to take SSI? Well, the conclusion I came to is that this is a calculation you need to do in two steps. 1) find a Social Security calculator on which you can run a variety of ages to start SSI. I use bedrock: ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA - Baby Onboard/Can I Switch?
Replies: 7
Views: 1013

Re: HSA - Baby Onboard/Can I Switch?

At the beginning of the year my family (Myself, Wife and kids) joined a High Deductible plan and contributed the max to an HSA ($6650). We did so with the idea that we weren't EXPECTING any high medical bills this year. Well - that didn't work out as planned! We found out in Feb. that we are now ex...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Microsoft's Surface 3- anyone considering?
Replies: 35
Views: 3895

Re: Surface 3- anyone considering?

Interesting - thanks for posting. I have to keep a Windows 7 machine to remote desktop into my computer at work. I had a malware on my Windows 7 machine. Now I have Mcafee and malware bytes that do scans and then there are the eternal Microsoft updates. It needs upgrading as it is so slow but I'll ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Microsoft's Surface 3- anyone considering?
Replies: 35
Views: 3895

Re: Surface 3- anyone considering?

I have considered (kind of, sort of) and I also own an iPad air, but I decided it would not be so good because of the constant security problems/malware, and other problems that affect Windows. Also, 12'' will not be a suitable replacement for my 15'' MBP. I'm also happy with my iPad and my MBP, bu...
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Credit Card Game
Replies: 32
Views: 3125

Re: The Credit Card Game

I'm not sure whether it's possible to get to the next level, whatever that level is. I've heard of people who purposely take flights, often with an obscure set of layovers, on the premise that the value of mileage awarded for the trips exceeds the cost of the flight(s) taken. I think its called mil...
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tablet recommendations?
Replies: 17
Views: 1716

Re: Tablet recommendations?

The reviews of the Dell Chromebook complain about "washed out screen" and "poor viewing angles".

http://www.engadget.com/products/dell/chromebook/11/
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tablet recommendations?
Replies: 17
Views: 1716

Re: Tablet recommendations?

I have a Chromebook and a Nexus 9, they are both very useful (along with my Thinkpad x230) but the Chromebook's screen is not the highest quality, if that is important. Both my Thinkpad's and the Nexus' screen are far superior, especially in viewing angles which is important if two of you are huddli...
by TheGreyingDuke
Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA: "combined" spousal account
Replies: 11
Views: 852

HSA: "combined" spousal account

In 2010 my wife and I went to an HSA eligible health policy. Made the maximum deposit each year for both of us into an account that had only my name on it. In 2013 I aged into Medicare and continued to put the maximum deposit (for my wife only) into the same account. I share the blame with the credi...
by TheGreyingDuke
Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone has OnePlus One phone purchase invite to share?
Replies: 7
Views: 683

Re: Anyone has OnePlus One phone purchase invite to share?

Not sure if this is still true but as of a few weeks ago they were issuing invites to anyone each Tuesday.
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 158156

Re: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards

Victoria: Thanks for instigating this fascinating thread, I have learned much about the intricacies of the task. BTW, as you mentioned in the thread, 1 hour transfer at Narita can definitely be a problem, when I fly in there from the US and connect to a flight to China, you exit the secure area and ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Neighbor violating HOA rules by using] VBRO and Airbnb
Replies: 38
Views: 4198

Re: VBRO and Airbnb versus property values

btenny wrote:
If I help my HOA in documenting these activities am I libel for some sort of legal action from this new neighbor?

Is there some way this guy can sue me for helping my HOA? Comments?


Libel or Liable??
by TheGreyingDuke
Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TradingPlaces' advice on travel awards
Replies: 260
Views: 158156

Serve and credit card loads

As of Apr il 16, you can no longer use credit cards to load Serve, except that Amex is still permitted to be used. :(
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Card and Medicare Advantage
Replies: 11
Views: 832

Re: Medicare Card and Medicare Advantage

The advice from social security is to never carry your SS card with you, but put it in a safe place. I have never been asked to show my card in any circumstance, sometimes the number is requested.
by TheGreyingDuke
Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 849
Views: 119169

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Leviathan

Depicts corruption in Putin's Russia and the connivance of the church in the process. Lots of vodka drinking and cigarette smoking, I could feel my liver hardening!
by TheGreyingDuke
Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CAUTION: Vanguard Brokerage Service Foreign Tax Error?
Replies: 37
Views: 6147

Re: CAUTION: Vanguard Brokerage Service Foreign Tax Error?

This thread was from 2010 and it's 2015 now. Have Vanguard Brokerage 1099s changed to make filling out form 1116 easier since this old thread? Does anyone have a quick summary of the easiest correct way to enter things into TurboTax these days? Or a pointer to a more recent thread where this was di...
by TheGreyingDuke
Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tourists in Manhattan
Replies: 53
Views: 5003

Re: Tourists in Manhattan

check here for free admission times at the various museums, with a week you might be able to make this work.
http://freemuseumday.org/nyc.html
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New phone considerations for Consumer Cellular
Replies: 15
Views: 1439

Re: New phone considerations for Consumer Cellular

Lots of phones, lots of choices. I got the 2014 Moto-X and it's been a good phone. I like the size, but the newer one has gotten bigger and not for me. Also, Google sold Motorola to Lenovo and I can't say if the phone is as good as the previous X. I'd check it out though. Do you know whether the 20...
by TheGreyingDuke
Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to retire in New England?
Replies: 101
Views: 8321

Re: Where to retire in New England?

I moved to Vermont in 1972, part of the trek northward from NYC. Did not know from shinola when I first got here and within a few weeks, by 1965 Volvo needed a valve job. I was broke and within any ideas; I mentioned my problem to my neighbor (who had been to Boston once for some medical procedure, ...
by TheGreyingDuke
Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oil & Vinegar
Replies: 52
Views: 4522

Re: Oil & Vinegar

I'm surprised by all the recommendations to make your own, which sounds complicated to me (I note that most of the recipes posted in this thread contain several ingredients I don't currently have on hand). I often don't feel that I have time in the evenings to pull vegetables out of my refrigerator...

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