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Re: HELOC

I'm also interested in securing a HELOC and have plenty of equity to support it. My old line expired but I'm finding no one offers terms like the terms prime minus 1% that I had on the old line any more. Any idea where to shop for the best (low to zero closing cost) terms for a HELOC. Excellent cred...
by downshiftme
Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELOC
Replies: 11
Views: 829

Re: Laid off today... TODO list?

dgdevil wrote:Batteries, stationery from the stationery cupboard - always useful in your next life. Stealing office supplies would not be on my todo list. As part of a group layoff, a guy in my office stole some supplies on his way out. He was caught and lost his severance. The company also changed...
by downshiftme
Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Laid off today... TODO list?
Replies: 97
Views: 9698

Re: Social Security Statement Now Online?

I have created an online SSA account and was able to view my earnings record there in the past, but since Jan 1 of this year (2014) I have been unable to log in. I always get the message This service is not available at this time. Please try again during our regular service hours (Eastern Time): I ...
by downshiftme
Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security Statement Now Online?
Replies: 32
Views: 3466

Re: non-compete [Employer NDA and Non-Compete agreements]

From what I've seen and read about Non-Compete Agreements is that they are generally very difficult to enforce and really only work if the employee was quite high up the corporate ladder. I've heard of them being thrown out for being too geographically broad and/or too lengthy (time-wise). Unless a...
by downshiftme
Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: non-compete [Employer NDA and Non-Compete agreements]
Replies: 35
Views: 1573

Re: Tipping for take out

No, tipping for take out is not customary. If the place is primarily a sit down restaurant and they are doing me a favor by providing take-out, then I will tip generously. But if they are primarily take-out, or do a substantial take out business, then tipping seems inappropriate. I tip the wait staf...
by downshiftme
Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tipping for take out
Replies: 57
Views: 4579

Re: Any indoor seed starters?

Around here, that is how they have been catching pot growers, the police get notified of a spike in electricty use. Then the police go out with a thermal camera and see if there is a hot spot in the house due to grow lights. That has been enough for the police to get a warrant. I have off and on st...
by downshiftme
Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any indoor seed starters?
Replies: 30
Views: 1444

Re: Where to buy polo shirts?

JC Penney has nice polo shirts, but the price goes up and down so you might want to watch for sales. Lands End makes very nice shirts, but they are rarely available at any discount. Likewise LL Bean. There are online providers such as blankshirts.com which provide basic polo style shirts from severa...
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to buy polo shirts?
Replies: 54
Views: 4339

Re: Social Security Statement Now Online?

Sorry for reviving an old thread, but it seemed most applicable. I have created an online SSA account and was able to view my earnings record there in the past, but since Jan 1 of this year (2014) I have been unable to log in. I always get the message This service is not available at this time. Plea...
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Social Security Statement Now Online?
Replies: 32
Views: 3466

Re: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle

I strongly prefer a simple model with only limited options, such as safety items or a roof rack because I want to haul stuff up there. It was impossible to find a car on a lot with the combination I wanted. They were all either base stripped zero options, or packages with a bunch of expensive (but u...
by downshiftme
Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle
Replies: 52
Views: 3140

Re: BOA credit card breach

Yes, I am also shifting to the idea of multiple cards for multiple purposes. One card just for monthly auto charges. One card for brick and mortar shopping. One card for internet purchases. I used to do everything with a single card, and it was a lot of work to reset everything after a breach. Now a...
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BOA credit card breach
Replies: 29
Views: 1929

Re: The growing case against ETFs ARTICLE

while there is growing consensus that ETFs are the better vehicle, there’s growing evidence that the people using them may not be so skilled behind the wheel.


It's not an article against ETFs. It's an article against misusing them.
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The growing case against ETFs ARTICLE
Replies: 36
Views: 3805

Re: Voluntary Separation Package Advice

This looks like a generous package, you have the finances to take it and do whatever you want, and you will escape a potentially toxic workplace. Unless there is some complication like you would be eligible for a pension or lifetime healthcare if you stick around another year, this seems like the ti...
by downshiftme
Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Voluntary Separation Package Advice
Replies: 47
Views: 2879

Re: How much to get your taxes done?

TaxAct or TurboTax, usually free or under $15 depending on sales and promotions each year. I did spend $400 one year on a CPA for a move between states, 2 state income taxes, rental house in old state until I could sell it, complicated employer reimbursement for move and living expenses, first year ...
by downshiftme
Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much to get your taxes done?
Replies: 31
Views: 3023

Re: Doing a new job at work at not getting paid for it

Take the job! Whatever you are currently doing is not all that well paid for a computer engineering job. This new job sounds like a step up in responsibility and will look good on your resume. Give them some time to come up with the raise and group transfer they promised. Do a great job in your new ...
by downshiftme
Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing a new job at work at not getting paid for it
Replies: 27
Views: 2093

Re: Do Bogleheads see this market dip as a buying point?

Sometime between now and April 15, I need to push some IRA money into accounts. I may or may not hit the dip, but it seems as good a reason as any to do it now that I know my tax situation for the year.
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Bogleheads see this market dip as a buying point?
Replies: 127
Views: 13434

Re: SS numbers and identity theft

Interesting. I do the same thing except I have the first numbers blacked out so that only the last four numbers are shown. I was told that the first few digits are codes for which office issued the particular number. The SSA provides some details of how the number is composed at: http://www.ssa.gov...
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SS numbers and identity theft
Replies: 39
Views: 2870

Re: when you reach"your number"

I didn't answer the poll, because I have several numbers. Ultimately, I plan to retire when my youngest child is safely graduated from college. I was given the gift of a debt-free college education and I intend to give that to my children as well. So that gives me a date to plan retirement around. O...
by downshiftme
Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: when you reach"your number"
Replies: 84
Views: 8906

Re: What to do if denied boarding due to the airlines' fault

The call center agent informed us that it was not our mistake that this reservation got cancelled. After some long conversations with the customer care agent, we were offered an to be placed on an alternate route. However, because the total trip time exceeded 36 hours, we requested that we be place...
by downshiftme
Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do if denied boarding due to the airlines' fault?
Replies: 23
Views: 2132

Re: Leaving an employer on bad terms? Deal breaker for new h

I have almost always left my employer under bad terms. Every time. In most cases, if it weren't for some toxic boss problem or unscrupulous behavior by the company involved, I would still be employed there. I end up with plenty of glowing excellent references from many of the people I worked with an...
by downshiftme
Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leaving an employer on bad terms? Deal breaker for new hire?
Replies: 32
Views: 2431

Re: Understanding hospital bill/insurance

EVERY bill should have the charged amount, and a negotiated adjustment. The resulting number is the amount that provider charges for patients with your insurance. You are responsible for 100% of that, up until the deductible is reached. After that you are responsible for your agreed percentage (in t...
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding hospital bill/insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 523

Re: Life Insurance: A waste of money?

If you need the insurance, for example you have dependents you want to provide for in case you die, then term insurance provides that at the best possible cost. My impression is that whole life and all it's variants are some insurance, plus a contract with an insurance company to invest some money o...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Whole / Permanent] Life Insurance: A waste of money?
Replies: 16
Views: 780

Re: Looking for Actual Experiences with Umbrella Insurance

Yes, I carry earthquake insurance. When I had a loss in an earthquake, there was plenty of FEMA money and the insurance didn't pay anything. But I'm glad I had it, as neighbors suffered much more extensive damage and had my house been as damaged as theirs, insurance would have been a huge relief. I ...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking for Actual Experiences with Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 79
Views: 6291

Re: Had to go back to work

Has anyone who stopped working/retired had to get back into the workforce. Not because you wanted to but had to due to investment mistakes or financial misfortunes. Since I have not retired yet, this isn't me. But I have had my plans for when to retire pushed back significantly by market swings and...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Had to go back to work
Replies: 31
Views: 2465

Re: want to sell car with check engine light

I sold a car with a check engine light that was always on. It wanted an expensive oxygen sensor replaced and maybe some other emissions system repairs. I just told the buyer what I knew so there were no surprises. Had I withheld information, then perhaps the buyer would be able to claim I deceived t...
by downshiftme
Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: want to sell car with check engine light
Replies: 17
Views: 1432

Re: Emergency Fund - Discipline Help

I do some prepayment of bills to smooth out annual expenses to an even monthly amount, for example heating is higher in winter and lower in summer, but if I pay an intermediate amount starting in summer I can keep this bill at a level amount every month. Effectively I pay ahead to get an even monthl...
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency Fund - Discipline Help
Replies: 23
Views: 1988

Re: 401k terminated with no notice

Make the move as quickly as you can. You may have no problems, but I have heard of situations where a bunch of surprise termination fees were charged to the last few accounts remaining after the others had moved to new trustees. No reason to think that is coming here, but also no reason to dawdle an...
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k terminated with no notice
Replies: 20
Views: 2471

Re: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"

Many items are fixable at moderate cost. With an old enough car, it's easy to have repair costs larger than the value of the car, but still less than the cost of replacing it. As long as I can repair for less than it would cost to replace, I think you can keep working on it. Now, there are exception...
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's your definition of "drive it into the ground?"
Replies: 50
Views: 3299

Re: Tool to assess if higher performing fund worth high fees

I'm confused about how such a tool could work. You are basically performance chasing past results, reduced by any fund expenses. This seems like it is most likely to identify funds that have done well and are now poised to regress to the mean, or at least underperform as they just recently ran up in...
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tool to assess if higher performing fund worth high fees?
Replies: 11
Views: 870

Re: Dave says $300 a month can grow to $3M

downshiftme wrote: Well they certainly could wind up with that much. I'd imagine someone who did that starting in 1973 would have that much or more today. That's all fine and good to say in retrospect, but you have to remember that $300 per month was NOT a trivial sum in 1973. The median wage then ...
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave says $300 a month can grow to $3M
Replies: 76
Views: 8036

Re: Dave says $300 a month can grow to $3M

Well they certainly could wind up with that much. I'd imagine someone who did that starting in 1973 would have that much or more today. That's all fine and good to say in retrospect, but you have to remember that $300 per month was NOT a trivial sum in 1973. The median wage then was $8500, so $300 ...
by downshiftme
Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave says $300 a month can grow to $3M
Replies: 76
Views: 8036

Re: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'

Is this discussion about whether to hold a disaster fund in cash, or whether it can be invested, essentially similar to the question of whether to pay off a mortgage or not. If I hold a mortgage, especially one at historic cheap rates, then by investing the cash I would have used to pay it down I wi...
by downshiftme
Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'
Replies: 134
Views: 7042

Re: Make a Bitcoin?

Looks like a blind link. Care to tell us anything about what's behind the click?
by downshiftme
Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Make a Bitcoin?
Replies: 8
Views: 1142

Re: Laptop for High School Student's

Desktops are going the way of the CD-RW. This certainly seems to be true for computer sales. Laptops are outselling desktops by wide margins, 5x or more at many stores. But it also depends on what you are doing. For a lot of computer programming having multiple (big) monitors is much easier to do w...
by downshiftme
Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop for High School Student's
Replies: 32
Views: 931

Re: Pay bills monthly or yearly

Many utilities offer budget payments that give a uniform monthly payment for annual costs. It means relying on them to do a little math, which sadly they often goof up. So, I pay most all of these bills on my own private smoothing system and have never had a problem with any of them. I figured out a...
by downshiftme
Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay bills monthly or yearly
Replies: 24
Views: 1467

Re: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'

You may be right. You may be wrong. If you're right, you make a little bit of taxable money. If you're wrong, you lose your future. I think there's a larger range of options here. If all goes well, the investment pays off. If all almost goes well, you might be about the same as a cash emergency fun...
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'
Replies: 134
Views: 7042

Re: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'

Two thoughts. 1. I don't think you're killing the idea of having a "disaster" fund. Even you said that you'd still keep 2x expenses on hand. To me, it just seems you're saying you're comfortable at 2 months instead of the oft-recommended 3-6 months. It's a risk story to me. 2. Also sounds...
by downshiftme
Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I'd like to challenge the logic behind a 'disaster fund'
Replies: 134
Views: 7042

Re: This Article Made Me Laugh, Re: Rollovers

that in a few months he could probably offer the small company a reduction in fund fees due to the Plan balance getting larger. Oh well, stuff happens. If you took your 300K+ balance with you, it's likely that puts the kibosh on any talk of higher balances from the remaining small office accounts r...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: This Article Made Me Laugh, Re: Rollovers
Replies: 18
Views: 1849

Re: This Article Made Me Laugh, Re: Rollovers

I'd interested to see more articles about those megacorp 401k plans with excellent low fees. No place I've ever worked has come anywhere close to that, so any information about how to get a plan like that, or how to push a current employer into a plan like that would be very welcome. Meanwhile, it's...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: This Article Made Me Laugh, Re: Rollovers
Replies: 18
Views: 1849

Re: Starting over at 40 - advice?

If you have an emergency fund, then little emergencies become logistic complications in your live, but stay well short of real emergencies. Without an emergency fund, then a sudden need for car repair or replacement furnace really does become disruptive to your life. I'd build that first. Or if not ...
by downshiftme
Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Starting over at 40 - advice?
Replies: 22
Views: 2013

Re: ROTH and RMD Questions (never before asked?)

Roth conversions do not require earned income, so there is no restriction.
by downshiftme
Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ROTH and RMD Questions (never before asked?)
Replies: 47
Views: 1431

Re: Choosing Pension or 401k

Most of the companies in my industry do not stay in business 40 years and even if they did, I think it very unlikely that any employees except owners or a very very small group would stay employed at any one of them long enough to collect such a pension. The actual account attached to my name of a 4...
by downshiftme
Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Choosing Pension or 401k
Replies: 9
Views: 735

Re: Need Advice to Prevent Organization from Being Scammed!

That's a lot of red flags. Why would you want to get involved with an "adviser" who gets paid an unknown amount just for talking to you. There have to be lots of better options, including the usual method for holding organization funds that will likely be used in the near term: putting it ...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need Advice to Prevent Organization from Being Scammed!
Replies: 12
Views: 891

Re: HCE Options [Highly Compensated Employee]

Or you can lobby hard for your company plan to adopt the Safe Harbor provisions, which will allow HCE to make contributions up to the legal limits and not be restricted by the percentages contributed by non-HCE.
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HCE Options [Highly Compensated Employee]
Replies: 14
Views: 1111

Re: A math question ...

Perhaps. But if they are two plots of land, adjacent but mirror images of each other, then they certainly do have the same area. No -1 involved at all.
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Re: A math question ...
Replies: 57
Views: 1966

Re: A math question ...

This is more an English Language test than a math test, imo... This is a very common problem with testing. Many questions are trying to see if students remember specific definitions of concepts, but the terms used may not be ubiquitous, in fact may only be made up or applied to that particular unit...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Re: A math question ...
Replies: 57
Views: 1966

Re: How to beat the index

So instead of setting your asset allocation with a tilt based on small cap, value, whatever indexes you need, you simply build the tilt into one big index by choosing some alternate weighting. Sounds like a way to generate marketing buzz. My weighting formula is better than your weighting formula, a...
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to beat the index
Replies: 26
Views: 1971

Re: Investing Priority - Should 401k be 1st in this case.

401K plans are supposed to be employee incentives to stay employed at a company. Your new plan is a powerful disincentive. Not only would I strongly consider getting the money out of there and not using the plan, I would consider seeking employment elsewhere.
by downshiftme
Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investing Priority - Should 401k be 1st in this case.
Replies: 15
Views: 1276

Re: My relatives insulted my family for 40 years and think t

I believe the rumors about leaving token bequests being necessary comes from the following scenario. Generally if you die without a will the local rules for intestate distribution take effect. Commonly this is a portion to any surviving spouse and a portion to any surviving children. If a spouse or ...
by downshiftme
Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My relatives insulted my family for 40 years and think they
Replies: 131
Views: 10429

Re: Large Inheritance -- moving toward income

Seconding the advice about IRA titles. It's worth it to get this right as there is no way to undo a mistake and surprisingly many advisers and financial professionals do not know the rules. Titling the inherited IRA incorrectly results in significant tax cost that could be avoided if you do it right.
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Large Inheritance -- moving toward income
Replies: 15
Views: 2354

Re: Cell Tower revenue

What are the chances that in 40 years, the same tower technology will be in use. There might be an argument for taking the money now, since 10 years from now a new satellite technology might completely supplant cell-phone towers.
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cell Tower revenue
Replies: 5
Views: 1187
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