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Re: Auto repair - "Threads getting thin in oil pan drain plu

This is not uncommon, especially on older car. Threads do wear out. However, if you have a trusted local mechanic, getting it replaced there would likely be less expensive than having it done at the dealership. This is not a major / complicated job so any competent mechanic should be able to do it.
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Auto repair - "Threads getting thin in oil pan drain plug"
Replies: 40
Views: 1758

Re: Out the door price for new car

State tax, DMV inspection plates, etc vary across states and even counties, and they often depend on the price of the car (at least the sales tax does). So what you really need to compare is the price of the car + any dealer fee (doc fees, etc) to see whether or not you get a good price. These are t...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Out the door price for new car
Replies: 30
Views: 2443

Re: Maximizing bonus on new credit card offers

If I am currently a primary card holder for a credit card (amex blue cash preferred, for example) and my wife has a card with her name but is under my account, does anyone know if she can apply for her own account as a primary cardholder and qualify as a "new" applicant? This would take a...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maximizing bonus on new credit card offers
Replies: 25
Views: 1439

Re: Joint or Separate Accounts? - Married Couples

We basically pool our income and have "joint" everything that can be joint account, and allocate a fixed amount per month (i.e. $100) for each of us to spend "with no question asked" in two separate account. I put the same amount to our Roth IRAs per year. I happen to make consid...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Joint or Separate Accounts? - Married Couples
Replies: 82
Views: 3358

Re: Tuition vs Retirement Accounts

Whichever approach you take you will be depending a lot on her future earnings so you should make sure that she has ample life insurance in just in case something happens to her. Once she starts working then you should also get ample disability insurance for her too. This is a fair point. She will ...
by armeliusc
Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tuition vs Retirement Accounts
Replies: 30
Views: 2161

Re: What percentage of your income are you saving?

We are 33, and we save about 45% of our gross to retirement accounts (401k, 457 + 2 IRAs) in the last two years. My employer contribute about 10% of salary at this point, which I can convert to pension after 5 yrs of employment. We rent, so no mortgate at this point. I was fortunate enough to get a ...
by armeliusc
Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What percentage of your income are you saving?
Replies: 208
Views: 11655

Term LifeRequest Too Much Info Through Agent ? (Midland Nat

I am in the process of getting a term-life insurance for myself and my wife through an agent from term4sale. The insurance company is Midland National. I've filled in all the application forms for myself and my wife. Now the agent came back to me requesting copies of Visa because we're not U.S. citi...
by armeliusc
Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term LifeRequest Too Much Info Through Agent ? (Midland Nat
Replies: 3
Views: 352

Re: Switch Entirely To Ally Bank?

They wanted an overseas wire transfer. From my bank, easy. From Ally? Ally does not provide international wire transfer, so if you ever need to do that, you'd have to have another bank. I ended up opening an online saving account at Citibank just for that, and their online service is really not the...
by armeliusc
Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switch Entirely To Ally Bank?
Replies: 39
Views: 3744

Re: Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?

Maybe you're hearing the tires because the rest of the new car is so quiet. You're going to feel bad if you buy new tires and the noise is the same or worse. Yes, you're right, as I said in my original post I can easily hear the tire becaue the car is quiet. Maybe I am just too sensitive, but when ...
by armeliusc
Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?
Replies: 19
Views: 953

Re: Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?

Thanks for the replies. I'll start calling some tire shops and see if any would trade with reasonable prices. I live in an apartment and has no garage, so unfortunately keeping the tires or selling them on Craigslist is not really an option for me; I have no way to haul those tires nor store them wh...
by armeliusc
Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?
Replies: 19
Views: 953

Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?

We recently acquired a new Civic for DW. We like the vehicle, except that I feel the road noise from the tires is rather obvious. Maybe I am just too picky, but I am comparing it to my 10 years old Civic that I still own and that has Michelin tires, and although the old Civic has more wind noise (pr...
by armeliusc
Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exchange / Sell for newly used tires ?
Replies: 19
Views: 953

Re: Scared of early withdrawal penalties

One way to look at this is to put everything in the tax-advantage account (401K, (Roth) IRA, etc) until you see in the horizon that you are going to need the money, then you reduce the tax-advantage contribution until you hit your saving goal to reach your more immediate need. For example, at some p...
by armeliusc
Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:51 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Scared of early withdrawal penalties
Replies: 14
Views: 992

Re: Are BG Car Products useful ?

To those that say that what is recommended in the manual is not really needed, doesn't not doing them have an impact on the warranty ? Some dealers are less honest than others. They'd "recommend" all kind of thing. Those services don't impact warranty. Stick with whatever the manual says....
by armeliusc
Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are BG Car Products useful ?
Replies: 27
Views: 2119

Re: Lawsuit Proceeds, Now What......

I would do the following in this order: 1. Pay off all debts 2. Establish an emergency fund, let's say 12 month of living expense. The easiest for now is just to put this in saving account. (You can do CD ladder, or I-bond later if you wish for the EF, but let's keep it simple for now). 3. Max out I...
by armeliusc
Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lawsuit Proceeds, Now What......
Replies: 45
Views: 4165

Re: CD Ladder Confusion...

The last time I checked in here someone suggested to me that I might want to start a CD ladder for the "second" 6 month emergency fund. Since I'm relatively young (32) I feel like I can accept a little bit more risk here so I have been looking into it. Now I'm finally at the point where I...
by armeliusc
Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD Ladder Confusion...
Replies: 15
Views: 1732

Re: Car Wax

I use Meguiars products. Twice a year I use Meguiars carnuba liquid wax, once in the spring for summer heat protection, once in the fall for harsh winter / road salt protection. Waxing doesn't "get the salt of", you need to just wash the car to do that, although if there's wax on the paint...
by armeliusc
Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Wax
Replies: 42
Views: 2754

Re: Life Insurance Question (Young, Poor)

Hello If it were me, since you don't have any dependent right now, I'd probably not worry about life insurance and save the money instead. When you have a family that depends on your income, then you can re-asses the need (and probably should have some life insurance). Just for a comparison, look at...
by armeliusc
Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Insurance Question (Young, Poor)
Replies: 10
Views: 708

Re: When To Buy I Bonds and EE Bonds - Now or Wait?

Okay, so I've actually just bought $5K more I-Bond yesterday for my EF. Reading this, it looks like I should have waited a little while to see if the fixed interest rate is anything other than 0% in November. :oops: Since yesterday was a Saturday, it looks like my purchase won't actually happen unt...
by armeliusc
Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When To Buy I Bonds and EE Bonds - Now or Wait?
Replies: 11
Views: 2420

Re: When To Buy I Bonds and EE Bonds - Now or Wait?

Okay, so I've actually just bought $5K more I-Bond yesterday for my EF. Reading this, it looks like I should have waited a little while to see if the fixed interest rate is anything other than 0% in November. :oops: Since yesterday was a Saturday, it looks like my purchase won't actually happen unti...
by armeliusc
Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When To Buy I Bonds and EE Bonds - Now or Wait?
Replies: 11
Views: 2420

Re: Considering Term Life Insurance

Thanks for the replies. Following some of the suggestion here, I've decided to go with 2 policies, 1 "primary" one for 20 year term from TIAA-CREF and 1 "extra" one with smaller coverage from another company with A+ rating for 30 year term. This seems to make sense since hopefull...
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering Term Life Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 1048

Re: Considering Term Life Insurance

Thanks for the replies so far. For the advice of getting 2 overlapping policies, do you then divide the total coverage by two, or just simply double them ? I am asking because as we know the cost of the policy is not proportionally linear to the amount of coverage. So it seems that after all it migh...
by armeliusc
Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering Term Life Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 1048

Considering Term Life Insurance

Hello, I am currently considering to purchase a new term life insurance, and would like some suggestions / opinions from the board. I am 33 and married, and planning to have kids in the near future. I am the primary breadwinner currently and probably in the forseable future. My plan is to get 20 yea...
by armeliusc
Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering Term Life Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 1048

Re: Credit Card Compromised -- How Does This Happen?

Some possibilities include: - The card was used to shop online. The online store was compromised. - Someone with a temporary access to the card (retailer clerk, waitress, etc) copy the card infor This is another reason I exclusively use credit card instead of debit. I'd rather dispute charges before...
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Compromised -- How Does This Happen?
Replies: 34
Views: 3224

Re: How much auto/umbrella insurance do I need?

I found that increasing liability coverage from the minimum to 100K/300K/100K or even to 250K/500K/100J with Geico doesn't cost that much at all if you have clean driving record. Geico offered me umbrella insurance with my 100K/300K/100K coverage.
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much auto/umbrella insurance do I need?
Replies: 16
Views: 2210

Re: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

We really love our CSA farms. We receive what we think worth a lot more that what we can get at grocery stores for the similar price. Our CSA is not "Certified organics" (because it costs a lot more to get certification) but it's by all account organics, and fresh! We know the couple that ...
by armeliusc
Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Replies: 14
Views: 676

Re: "Beggar" at gas station - how would you handle it?

To not help is the easy part. If you don't want to help, you can make up any excuses you want and avoid them. The hard part is if you want to help the real thing, real person who happens to be in trouble, while avoiding being scammed. My number one rule is to never give them any cash. But I try to h...
by armeliusc
Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Beggar" at gas station - how would you handle it?
Replies: 73
Views: 4452

Re: Vehicle Maintenance Costs

I also have a "maitenance" budget for my car that is accumulated until it's used. You can guesstimate the amount somewhat by either looking at history, or look at the regular maintenance schedule in the car manual for when to do certain things that are more costly then just the regular oil...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicle Maintenance Costs
Replies: 11
Views: 1167

Re: How do you buy a new car online

I'd recommend you use Fighting Chance material and their methods. It's not necessarily "online"; it involves making several phone calls to get a bid for the lowest price.
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you buy a new car online
Replies: 3
Views: 455

Re: Lets get rid of car dealerships

Very recently I bought a new car for my wife using " Fighting Chance " technique. It works; I recommend it to anyone buying a new car. I didn't have to negotiate with any salesperson at all, and the whole process took less than two days. When we made the decision to buy the car from the sp...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lets get rid of car dealerships
Replies: 58
Views: 4483

Re: Ally turned us down! (How to build credit for immigrant?

My wife was in similar situation: she had "thin file" or no credit history while I have good credit score. What I did was to add her as Joint Account holder to my oldest credit cards. Within less than 6 month her credit rating was in the range of 750 according to Credit Karma. Previously s...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally turned us down! (How to build credit for immigrant?)
Replies: 9
Views: 1078

Re: His and Hers 401k: Which one to prioritize?

With your description, and if you file jointly, it doesn't seem to matter which one to max out. All else being equal, why not just split the extra contributions equally to His and Hers ? Even if you leave the employers it can be rolled to IRA (if the employer doesn't let you leave the 401K there) so...
by armeliusc
Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: His and Hers 401k: Which one to prioritize?
Replies: 10
Views: 499

Re: Emergency Fund - Lifestyle fund or living expense fund?

I voted for lifestyle fund and calculated the amount of EF based on that. But, of course under emergency such as lost of primary income we would drastically cut everything to the bare minimum, including moving to a much cheaper apartment, etc. We've done it before when we're in grad.school and so we...
by armeliusc
Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Emergency Fund - Lifestyle fund or living expense fund?
Replies: 16
Views: 1760

Re: Tracking credit card spending

I use mint.com, but as other have noted, it of course cannot differentiate what you buy if you buy everything at a superstore such as Walmart, Costco, etc. But it has a "Split" feature when one charge to credit card can be split in mint.com and assigned to different categories, so for exam...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking credit card spending
Replies: 32
Views: 1433

Re: Roth IRA/Emergency Fund

In your situation, yes I would use ROTH IRA as the "next tier" EF and just use the target retirement fund since you already have the "first 6 month" of EF covered in cash. But before doing that I would probably put all efforts towards eliminating the debt first. However, this is ...
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:28 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA/Emergency Fund
Replies: 8
Views: 516

Re: How much do you spend in a week? (Mon-Sun)

$420 per week (from total a year / 52) for my wife and I for 2012. This includes all living expenses (groceries, gas, car maintenance, utilities, charity contribution, eating out, furnishing, etc) except taxes, rent, and one out-of-ordinary vacation we took at the end of the year.
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you spend in a week? (Mon-Sun)
Replies: 50
Views: 3199

Re: Free TaxACT, what's the catch ? Have anyone used it?

Thanks for the responses. My return should be fairly straightforward so I think I'll try the free version this year. The IRS even maintains a list of all the free options: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File%3A-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free Yes, I've seen that. What makes me wonder is the TaxACT versi...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Free TaxACT, what's the catch ? Have anyone used it?
Replies: 18
Views: 1490

Free TaxACT, what's the catch ? Have anyone used it?

Hello, I looked at TaxACT because of some mentions of it in this forum and I see that they have a free version (online) or for download (with registration). I am wondering, have anyone used this? What's the catch for the free version ? any limitation, etc ? I wonder what's their business model is to...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Free TaxACT, what's the catch ? Have anyone used it?
Replies: 18
Views: 1490

Re: What % of your income are you saving for retirement?

About 40% of gross income, or 47% of (what I call) "take home" at age 32. I guess the challenge is to not let this rate go down as life "happens".
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What % of your income are you saving for retirement?
Replies: 228
Views: 20328

Re: I Wrecked The Rental Car

What I'd be interested to hear is some anecdottal stories of someone who has their own full-coverage car insurace and also uses insurace from credit card (e.g. VISA) to rent a car and then had accident / damage to the car. How do they fare ? Have this situation ever been "tested" ? I've al...
by armeliusc
Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Wrecked The Rental Car
Replies: 28
Views: 5058

Re: Will I be too cash poor?

I don't think that will be a problem at all, especially since you have enough emergency fund. In my case, my "cushion" (take home - budgeted expenses) is nearly zero after 401K and ROTH IRA since I like to contribute as much as possible to the retirement saving, and it's been fine that wa...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will I be too cash poor?
Replies: 17
Views: 2330

Re: Will I be too cash poor?

I don't think that will be a problem at all, especially since you have enough emergency fund. In my case, my "cushion" (take home - budgeted expenses) is nearly zero after 401K and ROTH IRA since I like to contribute as much as possible to the retirement saving, and it's been fine that way...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will I be too cash poor?
Replies: 17
Views: 2330

Re: Will an Amazon Rewards Visa Card help get a credit ratin

I do a reasonable amount of Amazon shopping, so their card was one the stood out to me - will buying things with this card and paying it off help me develop a good US credit record? Amazon Visa Card is just like any other credit card, so in that sense the answer to your question is Yes, having it w...
by armeliusc
Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will an Amazon Rewards Visa Card help get a credit rating?
Replies: 3
Views: 425

Re: Which debt to pay first?

But Ramsey always tells people to knock out the smallest first and use that cash flow to "snowball" into bigger debts. I don't understand this philosophy at all.. $13.4k in debt is $13.4k in debt. It's not as if knocking out the loan at 2.6% will somehow magically allow you to pay more on...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which debt to pay first?
Replies: 30
Views: 1617

Re: Google Voice quality?

Sorry, I disagree. That kind of network speed should have no effect on voice quality. It's speech voice we're talking about; not video, not even music. Speech voice can be compressed to only require minimal bandwidth. For comparison, when modem uses POTS, the bandwidth is around 44 kbps. If anythin...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice quality?
Replies: 35
Views: 3261

Re: Google Voice quality?

I checked, the network, according to speedtest, has a 2.5 Mbs upload and .6 Mbs download. This is your problem. Peasants in rural India and China have faster download speeds than this. The average internet download speed in the US today is 7Mbs. Speeds of 20Mbps and 30Mbps are common in most places...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice quality?
Replies: 35
Views: 3261

Re: Covered by Multiple Health Insurance Issues ?

I haven't experienced it personally, but my guess is that the coordination of benefits issue could be more hassle to you going forward than just providing evidence of your employer coverage to the university every 6 months in order to decline the university coverage. That actually seems pretty stra...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Covered by Multiple Health Insurance Issues ?
Replies: 2
Views: 272

Re: Google Voice quality?

I've been using Google Voice since it was first available via invite only to make both domestic and international call and the quality has always been good. In fact, it's pretty much my primary number as all my calls are 'routed' through it. On Talkatone, I've never used it but I used something simi...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Voice quality?
Replies: 35
Views: 3261

Covered by Multiple Health Insurance Issues ?

Hello, My wife is currently covered as dependent from the group insurance at my work place. The premium to cover her is about the same as mine, and we get health insurance, and some kind of pre-paid dental and vision coverage. She's enrolling as a grad student though and will also be covered by the ...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Covered by Multiple Health Insurance Issues ?
Replies: 2
Views: 272

Re: Engineers: Free Libraries of Technical Papers?

University usually has access / subscription to the electronic version of many scientific journals from which you can download the PDFs of these papers. Usually this is accessible either from university network or from a "proxy" provided by the university library. In my case, for example, ...
by armeliusc
Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineers: Free Libraries of Technical Papers?
Replies: 26
Views: 1504

Re: Get a Scanner!

I've been doing this for a while, although I have been using the scanner at work (it's a big industrial scanner/printer/copy machine). I may be thinking to get one at home and open to recommendation. What scanner (brand / type) do you have ?
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Get a Scanner!
Replies: 69
Views: 6706
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