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Re: Debating whether to keep current vehicle or purchase ano

If you can afford a new car, peace of mind is a major part of the equation for how you allocate your money. You obviously are concerned about it, because it caused you to make your first post after a long time reading.
by gd
Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating whether to keep current vehicle or purchase another
Replies: 36
Views: 1502

Re: using the 15% tax bracket

I just think if I can harvest LTCGs with 0% tax, and there's some consensus that the 0% treatment for folks in the lower brackets is going to disappear, it'd probably argue for doing that now. I think you'll get consensus only that the LTCGT for lower brackets won't go down. I'd hope unanimous, but...
by gd
Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: using the 15% tax bracket
Replies: 42
Views: 4275

Re: Tipping the virtual waiter/waitress?

One place I ate at, located on the the receipt below the signature line, had a printout of what a 10%, 20% 30% and so on would mathmatically be. Even better there was verbage like: 10% tip would be $x.xx (a fair tip) 20% tip would be $x.xx (standard) 30% tip would be $x.xx (is good tip) And so on.....
by gd
Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tipping the virtual waiter/waitress?
Replies: 18
Views: 1987

Re: No room on your Windows hard drive? Cleanup Update files

If you haven't done this yet, be advised the restart (which it did not prompt for) on my computer took perhaps 1/2 hour, with 2 of the "configuring, do not shut your computer off" messages lasting maybe 15 minutes each. Very unusual and unnerving, and would have been a minor disaster if I'...
by gd
Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No room on your Windows hard drive? Cleanup Update files
Replies: 47
Views: 3184

Re: Brad Delong commenting on Shiller's NYTimes piece

Long ago I dabbled in pattern recognition and signal analysis, and have a healthy appreciation for the ability of humans to see patterns in randomness. That said, the 10-year plot had some interesting form to it beyond the short-term plots. If someone cared about these stock-price measures more than...
by gd
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:31 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Brad Delong commenting on Shiller's NYTimes piece
Replies: 4
Views: 990

Re: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?

I used Lenscrafters for a while, and while I probably had ok glasses once or twice, was amazed at how repeatably bad they were, several different locations-- misgrinding lenses, bad advice on lens material in response to very clearly stated needs and preferences. One guy at my expensive optician joi...
by gd
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?
Replies: 32
Views: 1724

Re: need advice on soon to retire parents

"If I had it my way I hope they leave me nothing and enjoy all of their money." Interest rates aside, the easy way to do that is an annuity or two. Will you maximize investment gain? No. Will they have an easy, straightforward and pretty-darn-safe situation? Yes.
by gd
Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: need advice on soon to retire parents
Replies: 8
Views: 1212

Re: need advice on soon to retire parents

"move and buy in a much lower cost of living area, with no state tax. Preferably paying cash for the home." If this is all there is to it, no. Move to where they want to live for the rest of their lives, or at least the next 10 years, not because it has no state income tax. I know someone ...
by gd
Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:26 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: need advice on soon to retire parents
Replies: 8
Views: 1212

Re: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worceste

Car commutes from Natick, Acton, Concord, etc. into Boston are brutal. Unless that's tolerable, use commuter rail, and make sure you can get parking if you need it. Both Natick and Acton have commuter rail; Acton is north station. No clue about driving to Worcester. Natick would probably work pretty...
by gd
Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to live? She works in Boston, he works in Worcester
Replies: 27
Views: 2150

Re: Telephone Calls! Help! [Telemarketing phone calls]

Hint- when you research nomorobo.com, disable adblocker plus, because ABP apparently blocks the site. To get more information, you need to give your email address. Call me a cynic, but I'll be giving my email I use for junk mail... Edit- and yup, hotmail filtered their reply as junk mail. Maybe I'll...
by gd
Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone Calls! Help! [Stopping telemarketing calls]
Replies: 100
Views: 6266

Re: Why would a passive investor use ETFs?

A fringe case, but I moved money from a MF to a similar ETF for capital gains harvesting, after convincing myself it wasn't a wash sale. I'm hoping no one will now convince me it was.
by gd
Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:17 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why would a passive investor use ETFs?
Replies: 60
Views: 3705

Re: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products

Apparently corn syrup helps preservation a lot too which is why US sliced bread is so sweet. The HFCS industry claims it has a preservative effect-- *concentrated* sugar does in general, I recall from my home canning days-- but I'd quibble with the phrasing "which is why". I think the pri...
by gd
Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products
Replies: 49
Views: 4466

Re: Where do you buy clothes?

Just had a major expedition to the local small family-owned mens clothing store in the small town next to us, in business for a century, half work clothes, the rest style-resistant casual and the odd tie, suit and dress shoes. More expensive than Target, with 1/10 the quantity and twice the useful s...
by gd
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy clothes?
Replies: 105
Views: 9102

Re: Vanguard Balanced Index vs. Vanguard Lifestrategy Modera

Keep in mind that "balanced index" and "lifestrategy moderate" are marketing products. They may not exist in their current form in 10-20 years, much less 50. If you want to kill some time, try playing around with the .07% difference vs. possible variations in performance for what...
by gd
Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Balanced Index vs. Vanguard Lifestrategy Moderate
Replies: 8
Views: 945

Re: Attitudes toward inheritances.

To the original question, I think inheritances hit a sweet spot-- free money, dangled far in advance to let thoughts about it fester and grow, and enough sense of social acceptance and entitlement to the money to make one feel allowed to think those thoughts. It's too much stimulation for people who...
by gd
Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attitudes toward inheritances.
Replies: 110
Views: 9437

Re: Attitudes toward inheritances.

mojave wrote: perhaps I just have a thin skin.

You say this like it's a bad thing. Perhaps it's one of the things that make you an honorable and decent person, and you should nuture it.
by gd
Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attitudes toward inheritances.
Replies: 110
Views: 9437

Re: Buying land and building house

No experience with your task, but some tangential thoughts. You are considering an unusual property that may be of no interest to others. It will be a large effort, and won't be a liquid asset. Make sure you are familiar with either the area, or the type of area. I moved to a blue-collar town becaus...
by gd
Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying land and building house
Replies: 22
Views: 2505

Re: Should I worry about being audited?

I have a harsher take on this than nisiprius, seeing a long-running pattern of behavior (she's made most of her money under the table-- e.g., illegally evading taxes). So far as bank safety is concerned, the money is no safer in your bank account than in hers, con men notwithstanding, and I imagine ...
by gd
Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I worry about being audited?
Replies: 34
Views: 3006

Re: Removing a beehive from mailbox newspaper holder

I had a similar situation happen to me before. I got on craig's list. Lots and lots of bee keepers will come and pick your hive for free. Someone came right at the time when the bees become dormant which is sunset, put a nylon sheets under the hive, sprayed some type of smoke on it, bees began fall...
by gd
Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing a beehive from mailbox newspaper holder
Replies: 43
Views: 4562

Re: Wall Street Journal Subscription Increase

When paying for a subscription or enrollment, I use my BofA credit card with ShopSafe, a service that provides a unique, one-vendor CC number with a limit and expiration of your choosing. Most companies rig enrollments with an autorenewal default. They run a charge a year later and the number is lon...
by gd
Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wall Street Journal Subscription Increase
Replies: 29
Views: 2326

Re: Help me save my parents from Merrill Lynch

I've seen the same situation with relatives. I tell them I-Bonds and index funds, their neighbor gushes about his Morgan Stanley account executive who buys them lunch/dinner with a sales pitch. Their common sense tells them that this guy is a pro, with a building full of experts feeding him inside i...
by gd
Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me save my parents from Merrill Lynch
Replies: 54
Views: 6033

Re: Removing a beehive from mailbox newspaper holder

I just had a wasp nest establish under my front porch steps. We got along fine for several weeks, ignoring each other (my experience with all wasp nests, including bald-faced hornets, which seem to be a bit more aggressive). I needed to refinish the steps and had some mild disagreement with them, fi...
by gd
Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Removing a beehive from mailbox newspaper holder
Replies: 43
Views: 4562

Re: Helping My Grandmother

Your grandmother is in an undesirable spot, but still better off than countless millions. She'll survive. The uncle sounds more like a hapless jackass than a thief. Make sure you think about the psychological fallout, and the tradeoffs in costs and likely benefits of possibly making the defining eve...
by gd
Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Helping My Grandmother
Replies: 54
Views: 3298

Re: Helping My Grandmother

She can probably reduce her expenses somewhat with social programs. Check with her local social and senior services. I don't know how NJ works, but most MA towns have a Council on Aging, a volunteer committee running local senior services, usually with some paid professional staff. She may have acce...
by gd
Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Helping My Grandmother
Replies: 54
Views: 3298

Re: Honda Fit, Civic

Hijacking the thread slightly-- it sounds like the OP (and many replies, including mine) are looking for something like the old Subaru station wagons. I'd take a replacement for the Escort wagon in a pinch. I don't follow the auto fashions-- is there any sign anyone will come out with something like...
by gd
Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda Fit, Civic
Replies: 32
Views: 3161

Re: POLL: Walmart vs Amazon

I will often willingly pay a premium to shop at locally-owned stores located in a town center. I use my money to improve my quality of life, and shopping locally is an investment in that, although admittedly very inefficient. I spend time in a foreign country with very clustered populations, and the...
by gd
Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: POLL: Walmart vs Amazon
Replies: 137
Views: 8542

Re: Repair or Replace PressureWasher?

If you choose to buy a new one, consider trying to give the previous device away on a freecycle site. There may be someone more willing to repair it than you. Or perhaps try to give it away first and if you succeed, buy a new one with less guilt. As an aside, if a recipient can resell something I gi...
by gd
Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Repair or Replace PressureWasher?
Replies: 3
Views: 289

Re: Worst "Large purchase" ever?

No one here bought a house at the top of the market (like in 2006 or so)? Yup, within a few months, knowing we were in a bubble. I mentally reduced my net worth by the value of the house the day we purchased it, never expect to see my purchase price again, and don't care. It was a lifestyle choice ...
by gd
Mon May 26, 2014 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worst "Large purchase" ever?
Replies: 110
Views: 11737

Re: Hiring someone versus painting yourself

lululu wrote:I never let anyone work on my house or yard without my being there. I started this policy when I came home to find the gutter installers had sawn off all the decorative exposed rafter tails on my Craftsman house.

That's evil.
by gd
Mon May 26, 2014 6:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hiring someone versus painting yourself
Replies: 51
Views: 4288

Re: Hiring someone versus painting yourself

I would be able to paint every so often for a couple hours a day. Hire. You do not have the time to do it better than a commercial painter, so just pay someone. I did my own. Figured it was a month, took two years. It was a tough job with unusual materials, and inconceivable that a commercial paint...
by gd
Mon May 26, 2014 6:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hiring someone versus painting yourself
Replies: 51
Views: 4288

Q about exposed mass emailing addresses

In the last year or two I've received more and more wide-distribution emails from known-to-me organizations that have had a large TO: list exposed to all recipients. This bothers me a lot; I assume at least some of the hundreds of recipients have malware that will harvest my name and target me with ...
by gd
Thu May 22, 2014 6:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Q about exposed mass emailing addresses
Replies: 3
Views: 419

Re: New Google Moto-E smartphone for $129

I don't use smart phones, so a basic question. I know several people who have need of only a basic voice cell phone. One might text if it was easy, the other no. Both find feature phones frustrating-- difficult or confusing menus traversing tiny screens with limited buttons to navigate voice mail an...
by gd
Fri May 16, 2014 7:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Google Moto-E smartphone for $129
Replies: 42
Views: 3803

Re: Telephone sales illegal?

I was very content with minimal phone service until forced to upscale to get broadband internet. One of the side effects was call blocking-- the ability to reject anonymous callers, and set specific caller numbers that will be rejected. I block any number calling more than twice. It often works well...
by gd
Tue May 13, 2014 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Telephone sales illegal?
Replies: 20
Views: 1413

Re: Borrowing Kindle Books from the Public Library

I have an unsubstantiated theory that few titles are available on my Overdrive system partly because there is no penalty or disadvantage in 1) requesting lots of titles even if you don't really want it, and 2) holding them until they expire after the full period. Real books must be physically picked...
by gd
Mon May 12, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Borrowing Kindle Books from the Public Library
Replies: 20
Views: 2032

Re: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food

We approached one food bank that was looking for food but they rejected it saying "our clients prefer ONLY FRESH vegetables." I'd bet either a misunderstanding (e.g. they already had enough canned goods), or that the food pantry organizers have the snobby attitude problem, not the clients.
by gd
Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food
Replies: 18
Views: 2792

Re: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food

The psychology of this is a labyrinth. Many-- not all-- of the people who need these services are there because they consistently make bad decisions and choices; that doesn't make it any less important or correct, just harder. I perceived a difference in attitude between short and long-term clients,...
by gd
Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food
Replies: 18
Views: 2792

Re: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food

I volunteered for several years in a local food pantry. There are recommended (USDA?) standards for using expired, past-sell-by or past-best-by dates. Any such organization can easily find them. We distributed expired food within these limits (e.g. 2 years most cans, 1 year acidic canned food, dry p...
by gd
Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expiration of Best By dates on canned or packaged food
Replies: 18
Views: 2792

Re: TV show recommendations?

I found it sad to read comments scornful of the special effects on a site streaming The Outer Limits reruns; it was magnificent zeitgeist. But if you all get bored, feel free to redo Wikipedia during commercials next weekend:
http://boingboing.net/2008/04/27/death- ... itcom.html
by gd
Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV show recommendations?
Replies: 304
Views: 120309

Re: Annuity type changed: honest accident or malicious?

It is not clear to me what the original "audit" letter stated about the account type. Receiving a survey doesn't quite make sense to me-- they're *asking* him what kind of account he has with them? And alarm bells don't go off? If it was the wrong type, he should have corrected them ASAP. ...
by gd
Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Annuity type changed: honest accident or malicious?
Replies: 15
Views: 2455

Re: Typical fees for an account with Morgan Stanley ?

I never understood who gets suckered into these accounts peddled by middlemen. Maybe the former clients can tell us why. Here's one explanation: Two households in my family have MS accounts, in both cases it is because they like having a specific person to talk to and who knows their account. They ...
by gd
Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Typical fees for an account with Morgan Stanley ?
Replies: 20
Views: 2153

Re: Typical fees for an account with Morgan Stanley ?

I closed my last MS account several years ago, and haven't regretted it. I was spending a *lot* of time studying my statements trying to figure out confusing entries until I knew exactly what they were doing, for no discernible benefit. Two households in my family have MS accounts, in both cases it ...
by gd
Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Typical fees for an account with Morgan Stanley ?
Replies: 20
Views: 2153

Re: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas

That was not a puff piece, it was an explicit advertisement for a product.
by gd
Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why Americans are Retiring Overseas
Replies: 109
Views: 11864

Re: Tax Managed International

So what I'm seeing is that either 1) the "tax managed" bit was empty marketing and removed with no impact to customers, or 2) they're sweeping under the rug the point that holders of the fund should plan on future increases in the tax liabilities associated with the fund. Am I missing some...
by gd
Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Managed International
Replies: 27
Views: 1954

Re: Always understand taxes do not trust software

Although the amounts might be small, this will obviously affect your behavior for years, if not a lifetime. Why not print out the returns for the two tax prep programs, compare everything side by side, dig down into the differences, and resolve the issue? And post the results, since you've already o...
by gd
Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Always understand taxes do not trust software
Replies: 34
Views: 3614

Re: Firecalc says I will be 100% successful but ...

Figure out what "but ..." means and tighten that parameter. Seriously, I'm not being facetious. What is it you aren't comfortable with and don't trust history with? Inflation? Market returns? Spending rates? If you think things might be more volatile than in the past, then you're leaving t...
by gd
Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Firecalc says I will be 100% successful but ...
Replies: 13
Views: 2424

Re: What to do with Win computers?

I am not a Linux-for-all advocate, but I did install Ubuntu recently on a very old laptop who's XP went nuts and would have been junked otherwise. It is much better, much more turnkey than years past. I use it for occasional web browsing and simple documents using the Libreoffice it was bundled with...
by gd
Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with Win computers?
Replies: 51
Views: 3192

Re: Buying for someone who "has everything"

Laughably overpriced mail order consumables companies make lots and lots of money off this. I've been trying for years to talk various relatives out of compulsory, unneeded gift-giving, but recreational shoppers and consumers take it as a personal attack on their value system. It finally occurred to...
by gd
Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying for someone who "has everything"
Replies: 43
Views: 2804

Re: Investing Strategy for Future Expats

I'd say renouncing USA citizenship is the key point on which all else pivots. You will pay tax in the USA until you do this. And have paperwork; lots of paperwork. If you decide to renounce in 20 years, you may find your net worth more than you're expecting today, and you have no way of knowing whet...
by gd
Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:34 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing Strategy for Future Expats
Replies: 14
Views: 780

Re: Please help identify quote: I'm richer than he because..

Apropos of only the general topic, almost all internet quotes of Albert Einstein are false, and I'd make a wild guess of half of Abraham Lincoln's and Samuel Clemens'. I find a good rule of thumb is that if I can't identify the specific source work of a famous person's supposed quote within a 2-minu...
by gd
Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:02 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Please help identify quote: I'm richer than he because...
Replies: 28
Views: 3234

Re: Question about e-filing

Consider what you are concerned about, exactly. That TurboTax takes a value and incorrectly reformats it from what you see to what is in the electronic format? I don't know the formats used, but that's probably a very straightforward programming task to do and test. It is vastly more likely that the...
by gd
Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about e-filing
Replies: 3
Views: 354
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