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Re: cold air from electric socket

You can get a foam sealing pad to put under the outlet cover. This may help. Or you may need to caulk between the edges of the outlet box and the wall.
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cold air from electric socket
Replies: 15
Views: 1237

Re: Tax Quiz

Given the clues in the story, I got them all. While I think of it as just click-bait given the obscure nature of some of the questions, the real challenge is that the tax code is so complex that there are many thousands of those types of questions out there, some one of which is likely to trip me up...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Quiz
Replies: 22
Views: 1270

Re: Health Care in Retirement

I weigh three different scenarios in considering health care in early retirement: 1) ACA continues in approximately its' current form. I expect this would require large additional taxpayer subsidies to remain functional, but I don't rule that out. In this case we manage our income to some sweet spot...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care in Retirement
Replies: 4
Views: 672

Re: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/ren

About 15% mortgage, 6% property tax, <1% insurance. It has been much higher at earlier stages of our life. I've been holding on to the mortgage (low rate 15-year fixed) for leverage, but I debate about just paying it off (vs adding bonds to AA).
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What % of your gross income do you spend on mortgage/rent?
Replies: 151
Views: 8146

Re: Advice for how to help a grieving FIL with daily finance

Some things depend on whether you are nearby or further away. One thing I found to be helpful was to get a medium-sized calendar book, with plenty of space for writing entries. This can serve as a central place for tracking medical appointments *and* financial due dates. You can help set up the entr...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for how to help a grieving FIL with daily finances
Replies: 13
Views: 1334

Re: What age do you guys plan to retire?

Somewhere between 55 and 60. If I can restructure my work to include more of what I enjoy and less of the headaches (there is some reasonable likelihood), I may carry on until 60. If it stays in the current mode, probably age 56.
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What age do you guys plan to retire?
Replies: 143
Views: 8439

Re: Old car insurance

I liked to keep collision and comprehensive on at least one car all the time. This is because that coverage carries over to some other situations such as rental cars (in the US). Beyond that, I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I really should probably drop C&C on a couple of my cars, as I can ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Old car insurance
Replies: 15
Views: 1063

Re: help me speed up my computer

If you are running antivirus software, try uninstalling it and then re-installing. Many of the AV programs accumulate layers of updates which become very inefficient over time. Doing a re-install gets a new simpler set of rules which can be much less intrusive. Doing a reinstall of Windows is a lot ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help me speed up my computer
Replies: 67
Views: 3440

Re: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL

If there was a police report on the latest accident, you might consider trying to contact the officer who wrote up the report and quietly asking him/her to instigate the driving checkup. A busy officer might not have had the full picture when doing the report originally, but if nudged might look a l...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL
Replies: 89
Views: 5739

Re: Ironic Downside to Retirement Planning

Yes, it's become a challenge. I don't actually have a specific date in mind; it's more like "sometime in the next four years" for me. I find myself less tolerant of the commute and the megacorp annoyances. It's not so much that I view retirement as a prize to be grasped, or that I would vi...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ironic Downside to Retirement Planning
Replies: 17
Views: 2852

Re: How often and how much should I raise the rent?

I have a good tenant in my rental. I've been reviewing the rent every two years. Local rents have been on a upward trajectory the last few years. At the two year marks, I've been raising the rent; not necessarily all the way to current market rate, but at least closer (I value the current tenant, an...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How often and how much should I raise the rent?
Replies: 25
Views: 1597

Re: Buying As Is Home

There are lots of variations of what "as is" can mean depending on state and local customs, as well as the specifics of the sale contract. In California, I can think of two specific meanings that might be implied: 1) The seller is making it clear that they do not intend to make any repairs...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying As Is Home
Replies: 27
Views: 2006

Re: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.

Very interesting thread. The opinions reflect view points that can be freely and confidently made. Has anyone successfully discussed this approach with a spouse whose position is close to 180 degrees in the other direction. Are there ways to reach a consensus without always reaching a conversationa...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.
Replies: 72
Views: 9452

Re: Social Security as a bond?

. Why is it that so many people on this board defend Mr. Bogle's recommendation for 20% or less of international stock, but very few support his recommendation to treat Social Security as a bond? There are a lot of people on this board who are very religious about their asset allocation. I don't fi...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security as a bond?
Replies: 47
Views: 3173

Re: Using listing agent as my buyer's agent

I've bought and sold houses in both manners (dual-agent and not), and I didn't really feel there was much of a difference in what I got as a buyer. You might think that a dedicated buyers agent would be more "on your side" in price negotiations, but in reality, what they really want is for...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using listing agent as my buyer's agent
Replies: 21
Views: 1367

Re: Food of the Fifties

Haven't read all the thread, but did we get to the awful casseroles made with canned soup as a base? L. There were a lot of bad canned soup casseroles, but I really liked (and still do) the chicken with rice one that my mom made. Chicken pieces laid out in a flat baking dish with uncooked rice spre...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11140

Re: Food of the Fifties

Haven't read all the thread, but did we get to the awful casseroles made with canned soup as a base? L. There were a lot of bad canned soup casseroles, but I really liked (and still do) the chicken with rice one that my mom made. Chicken pieces laid out in a flat baking dish with uncooked rice spre...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11140

Re: What age did you become financially independent of paren

I paid for books, tuition, fees, and personal expenses through college, but lived at home much of the time. Graduated at age 20, and started my first corporate job shortly after. Borrowed some money from parents at age 22 for down payment on our first house, but paid that off within a couple of year...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What age did you become financially independent of parents?
Replies: 68
Views: 4635

Re: Food of the Fifties

Who goes into a store these days and buys Ball and/or Mason jars for canning? I suspect canning is becoming a lost art. I remember watching my Mom can (mostly home-grown green beans), but I was but a lad, never quite grasped the art, went off to college, and there you have it. Actually, by the time...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11140

Re: Food of the Fifties

I always loved the home-canned pears when I was a kid. My mom and grandma would do a few dozen quarts each year. They were always better than the commercial ones because we would sort the fruit much more finely and only can the ones each day that were at best ripeness. On the other hand, I didn't li...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Food of the Fifties
Replies: 216
Views: 11140

Re: LED Shop light

I think those are the ones that are on sale this month for $32 each (as opposed to the 2-pack in the link) in Costco stores. I've meant to pick up a couple of them to try out. I get tired of the flakiness of my flourescent fixtures (and cold sensitivity of the cheap ones). Unfortunately they are alw...
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED Shop light
Replies: 10
Views: 712

Re: Multiple old 401k accounts to single IRA?

I did this a number of years ago. Much more investment flexibility (something to use with caution). One downside if your income is higher is that this can interfere with doing the "backdoor Roth". If you early retire (voluntarily or not), it may be worth keeping your *last* 401K in place, ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Multiple old 401k accounts to single IRA?
Replies: 8
Views: 619

Re: Military Deployment, where to invest

Do some calculations as to what your marginal tax rate is likely to be for this year. It may well be a good year to maximize any Roth options available to you, in preference to traditional TSP. Between combat zone exclusion and housing allowance not taxable (if this applies to you), you may be at th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military Deployment, where to invest
Replies: 22
Views: 1606

Re: Backpack with Activflex frame?

I've been pretty happy with a couple of Deuter packs my wife and I have gotten over the years. Neither are the exact model you list, but are similar. They had a fair bit of fit flexibility. Also seem to have a bit more airflow to help me not sweat so much on my back. Ours have been used more for 2-3...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choosing a Backpack and other Gear for el Camino
Replies: 71
Views: 4718

Re: Home purchase before or after retirement

In the OP scenario, I doubt that it matters much about when the purchase is done. The pension plus SS should be quite sufficient for getting a mortgage. If the mortgage on the current place has been paid off for a number of years, it might be worth having several credit cards now (even if they norma...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase before or after retirement
Replies: 11
Views: 669

Re: Best laptop under $1000

Depends a lot on your usage mode. Do you need good battery life? Want to watch movies on it? Actually put it in your lap? Run tons of spreadsheets or apps at the same time? etc. I generally use my laptop in my actual lap, while sitting in a recliner. If I'm doing heavy compute stuff, it is in a remo...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best laptop under $1000
Replies: 26
Views: 2245

Re: Pull permits for a minor remodel?

Depends on where you live I suppose. If you want to do something yourself that requires a permit, be prepared to lie on a disclosure form when asked if any non-permitted work had been performed when you put your home up for sale For every home that I've owned (six in total), if that line came up on...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pull permits for a minor remodel?
Replies: 35
Views: 3020

Re: Advantages of working past your number

I think of hitting a "number" as having acquired an option in lifestyle choices, but there's nothing that says I need to exercise that option immediately. For some people, the decision to retire is made for them, and the "number" ends up being whatever it is that they have when t...
by curmudgeon
Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advantages of working past your number
Replies: 53
Views: 4028

Re: Recently widowed sister-in-law's investment confusion

I would agree with DM200 and others that reorganizing or moving investments is something that is more of a long term process which might be wise to put off for a year. While it is quite possible your BIL got sold a bunch of high expense funds, this isn't something that demands immediate action. Lots...
by curmudgeon
Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Recently widowed sister-in-law's investment confusion
Replies: 8
Views: 793

Re: Pull permits for a minor remodel?

Real estate and inspection/code issues can vary a lot by locality. With a 1984-built house, especially if it was part of a tract, I wouldn't expect a lot of hassles from getting a permit unless there has been major odd stuff going on (garage conversion, floorspace addition, or something like that). ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pull permits for a minor remodel?
Replies: 35
Views: 3020

Re: What Are My Retirement Savings Options?

Check whether your employer would be willing to offer a "Simple IRA". It's pretty low overhead for them, much easier than doing a 401K. You can set up your own account at Schwab or Fidelity, and they send the payroll deductions monthly. There are a couple of disadvantages to a Simple IRA; ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What Are My Retirement Savings Options?
Replies: 5
Views: 627

Re: Costco Vacation Packages

I suspect the deals from Costco travel would primarily be for standard packages where they are getting a volume discount from a resort or cruise, and passing some of it on to you. For something more customized, I expect they are just acting as a travel agent, with more typical TA rates (usually some...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Vacation Packages
Replies: 30
Views: 4827

Re: hut to hut in the Alps

This is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. Our only time in Austria has been a few days in the countryside around Salzburg, which we enjoyed very much. We may be able to spend some more time in Austria this year, but we will likely stick to day hikes (and time for Vienna); m...
by curmudgeon
Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: hut to hut in the Alps
Replies: 10
Views: 1187

Re: [Poll] Company & Job Longevity

Interestingly, while the first company I joined full time is still around (after going through some significant gyrations) and would still have similar work, the second, third, and fifth are long gone from the scene.
by curmudgeon
Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Poll] Company & Job Longevity
Replies: 24
Views: 1885

Re: 3 must have car safety/'Convenience safety' features

I'm with Frank on this. I don't consider any of those as "must have".
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 3 must have car safety/'Convenience safety' features
Replies: 36
Views: 2539

Re: Approaching 50...What to expect?

I am seeking to tap into a little of the collective wisdom out there. I am approaching 50 years of age and wondering what the next 10 years will bring. So, a couple of questions. What should I expect physically and mentally over the next 10 years? What about financially? Anything you would have don...
by curmudgeon
Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Approaching 50...What to expect?
Replies: 102
Views: 8825

Re: tipping by iPad

I find the attempt to establish tipping at counter service places with this model annoying, and I've tended to default back to paying with cash as a result. I'm not thrilled with the "email a receipt" bit either. Along with the annoyance factor, I'm not as confident of the credit card secu...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: tipping by iPad
Replies: 40
Views: 2916

Re: Need advice on financing RV

Personally, I would not cash out a large lump sum from pre-tax; that will push you into highest tax brackets for the year. If you are selling the house, then either just finance the RV until it sells, or possibly take out a Home Equity loan (but HELs may have extra fees associated if you turn around...
by curmudgeon
Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need advice on financing RV
Replies: 7
Views: 761

Re: Do you respond to recruiters contacting you?

I have linkedin set to bundle all their stuff to me in no more than one email per week. I have a very minimalist profile set up, but still get a fair bit of semi-relevant contacts. If I'm in the mood, and the job is somewhat relevant, I may politely respond with some form of "not interested, bu...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you respond to recruiters contacting you?
Replies: 27
Views: 2046

Re: cvt transmissions

I'm pretty content with CVT transmissions. The one in our Nissan Sentra has been trouble-free for 95000 miles. We bought another Nissan recently also with CVT. I find the cvt pretty responsive, but it does have a slightly different driving feel when compared to the older 4/5 speed automatics. I stil...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cvt transmissions
Replies: 45
Views: 2709

Re: Term Life - Return of Premium

Sounds like a new coat of paint (deception) on some variant of whole life.
by curmudgeon
Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life - Return of Premium
Replies: 13
Views: 823

Re: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL

This is definitely a difficult subject for many. If there is a partner who is still driving OK, it's not so bad, but giving up driving usually means a severe loss of independence. It's definitely not a "one size fits all" type of scenario. One thing I've noticed is that often an older driv...
by curmudgeon
Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to stop driving for 85 yo MIL
Replies: 89
Views: 5739

Re: Expected Increases Year after Year on Home Insurance Pre

It is very worthwhile to re-shop your home insurance every few years. It is my view that insurance companies take advantage of loyal customers because they don't have to compete for your business. Auto insurance can be a similar situation.
by curmudgeon
Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expected Increases Year after Year on Home Insurance Premium
Replies: 7
Views: 753

Re: When to take a HSA distribution for past medical costs

I've been thinking on this topic myself, without coming to a clear conclusion. A few thoughts: 1) it's pretty common to have some significant dental bills as you age, so it might be worth planning ahead for that potential. 2) I would probably withdraw all that you can easily and conveniently documen...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to take a HSA distribution for past medical costs
Replies: 25
Views: 1871

Re: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.

It's an interesting topic. I'm looking at a similar potential situation and thinking about options. I take an active interest in managing and trying to prevent buildup of "stuff". We try to have a general concept that if one new thing comes into the house, two old ones need to leave it. Th...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downsize, Reduce, Simplify.
Replies: 72
Views: 9452

Re: Tax Preparation--Anyone try this as second income

Have a friend who started doing this for extra income a number of years ago (with HRB). There are definitely limitations in doing it with the big companies. They offer training, but it is very tied to their systems. My friend stuck with it, and eventually got IRS Enrolled Agent cert, but only after ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tax Preparation--Anyone try this as second income
Replies: 13
Views: 2151

Re: TV sound options for hearing impaired

My thanks to all for the useful feedback. It seems like there are a number of options to consider, some of which are dependent on the specifics of the particular hearing aids. Having the references here gives me some good starting points for research.
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV sound options for hearing impaired
Replies: 14
Views: 1463

Re: negotiating vacation days

A couple of times in silicon valley I've tried to negotiate extra vacation days in the offer; never got anywhere with it. The companies had pretty structured policies that they didn't want to tweak. What some *would* do is negotiate a bit more pay or sign on bonus and agree to unpaid time off. If yo...
by curmudgeon
Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: negotiating vacation days
Replies: 37
Views: 2718

TV sound options for hearing impaired

I have some relatives who have a bit of a challenge with their TV usage. They have a fairly small house, without a separate TV viewing area (den/FR). One of the couple watches lots of TV, and has hearing issues. The other finds having TV sound being on all the time somewhat stressful. Presumably the...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV sound options for hearing impaired
Replies: 14
Views: 1463

Re: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)

Quite a few years ago, my employer offered "Guaranteed Investment Contracts" in their 401K. These had a very nice fixed return at the time, and I jumped on it with about 40% of my 401K. After all, it was an insurance company who was guaranteeing these things, right? In hindsight, this turn...
by curmudgeon
Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)
Replies: 21
Views: 1858
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