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by gd
Tue May 12, 2015 5:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should we purchase home without permits?
Replies: 70
Views: 4161

Re: Should we purchase home without permits?

In my town your property tax assessment would change. They send people around occasionally to look for such things, there doesn't seem to be an automatic mechanism. Permits for doing construction work aren't necessarily the same as being allowed to, say, have an in-law apartment. I doubt someone wil...
by gd
Sun May 10, 2015 6:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Variable Annuity
Replies: 24
Views: 1996

Re: Vanguard Variable Annuity

I bought my financially-illiterate and disinterested spouse one years ago, and neither know nor care how it compares with everything else as an investment. The point was to tax-shelter some cash years ago and mostly to diversify late-life financial assets. The plan has always been that if I disappea...
by gd
Sat May 09, 2015 5:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does My Kindle Case Work?
Replies: 11
Views: 818

Re: How Does My Kindle Case Work?

Yes, but.
...magnets, how do they work?


Guessing lots of old people here, if I'm the first one on that line.
by gd
Fri May 08, 2015 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with mink coat
Replies: 30
Views: 2293

Re: What to do with mink coat

It's an interesting and educational exercise in adjusting expectations of value to reality. I gave one to a local wildlife rehabilitator for bedding, another didn't want them for the animals she used due to the dangerously long hair in them for the tiny babies she rehabbed, but referred me to coatsf...
by gd
Wed May 06, 2015 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor wants to excavate shallow water hole common to both properties
Replies: 31
Views: 2578

Re: Neighbor wants to excavate shallow water hole common to both properties

My limited experience with guys who operate heavy equipment is that they often like controlling stuff, and sometimes consider it a point of honor to thumb their nose at treehuggers. Tread carefully, particularly if you are thinking about using his driveway. Half my lot is a state-certified wetlands;...
by gd
Sat May 02, 2015 6:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?
Replies: 75
Views: 4181

Re: Annuities: Bad in principle or practice?

Are variable and indexed annuities inherently unfavorable to individual investors, or is it the standard industry practices that make them bad? The latter suggests that changes in implementation could make them good choices for individual investors. For some perspective, I think the same thing abou...
by gd
Fri May 01, 2015 6:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Gain Harvesting While in 15% Bracket?
Replies: 21
Views: 1684

Re: Tax Gain Harvesting While in 15% Bracket?

As noted above, you'd better research the repurchase restrictions. If nowhere else, when you move to sell it they'll give you a warning about repurchases. When you churn your account, all of us subsidize the administrative costs. You may need to repurchase it beforehand, as suggested above, or by mo...
by gd
Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 33
Views: 2905

Re: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?

... Tylex is your friend, too. So I have some grubby tiles too and googled this: "Tylex is an international brand name for the combination of acetaminophen and codeine, and is used to relieve moderate to severe pain" Well, I guess it makes sense in a way... but I think tilex would work be...
by gd
Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How far away from a freight railroad track should you live?
Replies: 51
Views: 3326

Re: How far away from a freight railroad track should you li

Everyone's reaction will be different, and your tolerance over time will also vary, depending on your attitude. Do not assume you will grow to never notice it, you may find it gets under your skin over time. Use your past experience with things like noisy neighbors or officemates, and other night no...
by gd
Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes are killing me
Replies: 21
Views: 2924

Re: Taxes are killing me

We even claim 0 deductions and we still owe in Federal taxes. This suggests you might want to adjust your cash flow to make it less stressful. When your circumstances make W2 withholding inadequate, you are required to make estimated payments up to what you think your tax liability will be. That al...
by gd
Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Approach to Second Act Career Switch
Replies: 22
Views: 2288

Re: Approach to Second Act Career Switch

Burning out on my second, have retired for a while, considering my options for a possible third. We'd need more information about your occupational options and interests. If you have interests and skills leading to an obvious alternative that's one thing, no applicable outside interests is another m...
by gd
Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Living in New Hampshire?
Replies: 35
Views: 2575

Re: Living in New Hampshire?

Haven't read the thread carefully, but after the last OP post, glance at Peterborough. Last time I was there an old friend took us to watch Tibetian monks do a sand mandala. Her neighbor used to take his goat for a walk on a leash. Don't commute to Boston unless you like spending time in your car. R...
by gd
Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Adequate alternatives to TurboTax?
Replies: 28
Views: 1909

Re: Adequate alternatives to TurboTax?

The product everyone loves to hate. I find TurboTax has improved in the last few years for unusual foreign income situations, particularly after I found the obscure undocumented checkbox that forces F1116. Also, their slightly superior interview saved me a *lot* of money on a really dumb mistake I w...
by gd
Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 10977

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

they have socialized garbage collection :D :D :D :D :D That's a new one on me. Trying to figure this out. Is my town water socialized? What about the fire department? :D :D :D :D :D Don't know what R. means, but one of my favorite local tax stories. Water, no, you pay per use. Fire department? youb...
by gd
Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roof shingle selection
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

Re: Roof shingle selection

Thanks for the replies, for several reasons we're doing a side extension first, and most likely the main roof in a year or two when we catch our breath. They don't match now in exact shade and condition, so not too worried about a year or two mismatch. No unusual wind/hail conditions. We're having a...
by gd
Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roof shingle selection
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

Roof shingle selection

Curious if anyone can offer opinions-- I'm having some house renovation done, and am having the builder completely reroof the section they'll be working on a piece of. He proposes a roof shingle brand (IKO) with a class action lawsuit about a specific product we are NOT using (organic felt base). Br...
by gd
Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Still having a hard time on retiring
Replies: 43
Views: 6470

Re: Still having a hard time on retiring

Jobs can provide structure and sense of worth or community, as well as money. That matters to some and not to others, depending on your personality and life outside the job. Hobbies might be solitary refuges not sufficient by themselves, or the sense of being needed or an expert at your job might be...
by gd
Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Temporal autocorrelation of stock/fund prices and movement
Replies: 30
Views: 1561

Re: Temporal autocorrelation of stock/fund prices and moveme

If it worked, whoever was using it would essentially be re-randomizing the market by using it, extracting out the signal by their market transactions until it was back to random noise-- the statistical version of "already priced in". There's a few billion PCs in the world easily capable of...
by gd
Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to invest with Euros?
Replies: 5
Views: 432

Re: How to invest with Euros?

1) I'd start with what *can* he invest in, based on his residency and citizenship circumstances. 2) I suspect you'll find that in the end, the currency rates make all other factors secondary. I have trouble worrying about 1% when month-to-month random variation is 10%, YMMV. http://www.xe.com/curren...
by gd
Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor hired a surveyor. Should I be nervous?
Replies: 72
Views: 8361

Re: Neighbor hired a surveyor. Should I be nervous?

Having just paid thousands of dollars in surveyor and lawyer fees to have a mis-surveyed property line amicably resolved with a neighbor whose family screwed up both properties 80 years ago, I don't think you have anything to worry about. The fence was properly positioned slightly on your neighbor's...
by gd
Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account
Replies: 74
Views: 7564

Re: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account

To the OP-- If I was you I'd be feeling somewhat bruised at this point, possibly including from my response. I believe you do have a real problem; I have it myself an order of magnitude less. It's just a first-world, .1%er problem, so you'll get some flak. You've got to work to reprogram your emotio...
by gd
Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2159

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

My usual contribution to generator threads: My neighbor put in a standard Home Depot-issue Generac, natural gas. It is astonishingly loud, like a commercial lawn mower or large snow thrower. I hear it immediately anywhere in my house when it comes on automatically once a week. I doubt I have ever NO...
by gd
Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account
Replies: 74
Views: 7564

Re: Hypothetical End Game Scenario w/ 5M retirement account

If you can find some psychiatric help that will help you dealing with your money without solving the problem by simply taking it all, that would be one approach. Another would be to ease into the concept of loosening up the purse strings and lifestyle gradually and on your own. Perhaps come up with ...
by gd
Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?
Replies: 56
Views: 4169

Re: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?

Walk-behind lawnmower, maybe self propelled, for you and your kids. You save on the lawn service, you save on the exercise equipment/gym membership, you save on the eventual medical bills resulting from inactivity, you save on whatever occurs in your later years from your kids being more capable bec...
by gd
Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gearing up for big replacement windows project
Replies: 35
Views: 2737

Re: Gearing up for big replacement windows project

Can any construction members here comment on this: We have 40 yr old original windows. True divided light 9 over 9 we've done all the weatherstripping we could but bc of all the individual panes, there is still air leakage, frost on the inside of the storm windows, ect. I've also heard installing h...
by gd
Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter from Lawyer to enter my property to construct road
Replies: 39
Views: 6443

Re: Letter from Lawyer to enter my property to construct roa

My state (MA), at least my county, has all deeds searchable on line. As far as I know, I can pull up all the legally-filed deeds and associated paperwork for my and my neighbor's properties back about 50 years in a few minutes. That said, I just had a deed issue resolved and the lawyer charged a tho...
by gd
Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did you learn anything from 2008?
Replies: 105
Views: 9026

Re: Did you learn anything from 2008?

I learned to trust my common sense and pay attention to specific financial/economist public figures who most accurately analyzed circumstances before, during, and since.
by gd
Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2015 fails to update euro rate
Replies: 0
Views: 133

Quicken 2015 fails to update euro rate

I have Quicken 2015 accounts in dollars and euros. When I first started using it, I believe Quicken 2015 was updating the euro-dollar exchange rate, but it does not now. Other currencies are updated. So for example I can manually edit both euro:dollar and any other currency:dollar to 1:1, update, an...
by gd
Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 713
Views: 103553

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

E.O. Wilson's Life On Earth intro biology textbook done as an iPad app, thanks to whoever mentioned it on the "reading textbooks" thread. It's a masterpiece, and the first textbook I've seen in decades that didn't infuriate me with overproduced bloviating. And free. Anyone who considers th...
by gd
Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard HealthCare Fund
Replies: 68
Views: 6611

Re: Vanguard HealthCare Fund

What's not to like? LTCG. Bought it taxable decades ago before I cared much, and it blows out my low-cash-flow-low-tax-bracket planning every year. It's a good problem to have, but a problem. To me, "sector" means mostly an investment area that ebbs and flows with economic conditions. The...
by gd
Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house that had a Dog
Replies: 18
Views: 2690

Re: Buying a house that had a Dog

I've lived in >20 places in my life, mostly rentals, and I will say flatly I have *never* lived somewhere there was not visible damage from pets, other than newish rentals that banned pets since new. Scratched and chewed doors and windowsills, floors, stained floors, rugs, smells, whatever. This is ...
by gd
Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Software
Replies: 23
Views: 1271

Re: Tax Software

Some states have very well-done online filing once you've finished the Federal return, MA for one. These are complex products and cannot meet everyone's needs. Pick the product, including none or paying someone, that fits your needs. To answer your question, TurboTax's tedious but more exhaustive qu...
by gd
Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New washing machine won't fit down basement steps.
Replies: 32
Views: 3161

Re: New washing machine won't fit down basement steps.

You might reconsider the concrete removal. A rentable electric jackhammer or demolition hammer will trim back a small volume. Otherwise, there are companies that install bulkhead doors who have saws that can easily cut through a foundation. If it's just a non-structural wing of concrete that "e...
by gd
Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 33
Views: 3341

Re: Tankless Hot Water Heaters

I've also been considering them to relocate the hot water source closer to the use points, for reasons other than economics. Can anyone state how long it takes for fully heated water to start flowing out of one of these, measured at the outlet?
by gd
Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2299

Re: Gaming amazon product reviews

Modified the OP to make clear this is an inquiry. Thanks, this is actually getting even more interesting. I went back and reread the email I got from the seller that I believe I responded to, and it clearly states it is a product review request (with link supplied). Perhaps they're even more devious...
by gd
Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2299

Gaming amazon product reviews

I need a low-flow showerhead. After finding nothing locally, I went to amazon.com and found two candidates advertised as low-flow-- one with a handful of reasonable-sounding complaints about quality, the other goofy-looking but with almost no negative reviews. After purchasing and receiving the bett...
by gd
Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax- forcing Form 1116
Replies: 1
Views: 297

TurboTax- forcing Form 1116

Somewhere in the bowels of TurboTax I believe I once found a checkbox, probably in a worksheet, that will force a Form 1116 to be produced when TurboTax would otherwise not do so. I cannot find it again. Can anyone tell me where it is? Not a question about IRS rules, just TurboTax behavior.
by gd
Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I use both Turbotax and TaxACT?
Replies: 8
Views: 1079

Re: Should I use both Turbotax and TaxACT?

5 years ago I found TurboTax was better at drawing my attention to and handling not-quite-typical tax issues I had been neglecting than TaxACT. If you fully understand your tax situation, and the tax preparer has done well and their work can be followed, I'd guess TaxACT can be used. If you're enter...
by gd
Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What if you already have a couple million?
Replies: 42
Views: 6835

Re: What if you already have a couple million?

You do what you want, whatever will leave you with no regrets at the end of the game. It's pretty much all arbitrary anyway, following intricate calculations and precise numbers based on... vague historical trends and an unknowable future. Example, I am baffled why someone who has barely enough reti...
by gd
Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I e-file? Form 8938 and 3 foreign accounts?
Replies: 5
Views: 538

Re: Can I e-file? Form 8938 and 3 foreign accounts?

I use TurboTax Premier this year, Deluxe last year, and have more foreign accounts than you (my spouse and the banks conspire to aggravate me, never closing unneeded savings accounts). I dimly recall it is sometimes slightly confusing exactly how they prompt you; this year I was able to just import ...
by gd
Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Foreign Tax Credit and foreign estimated tax payments
Replies: 0
Views: 149

Foreign Tax Credit and foreign estimated tax payments

A question for people who claim Foreign Tax Credit, and make estimated tax payments to the foreign government during the tax year: I make quarterly estimated payments in foreign currency for passive income. After the tax year ends, the foreign tax is reckoned, and I pay additional or receive a refun...
by gd
Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Vanguard understaffed?
Replies: 37
Views: 3791

Re: Is Vanguard understaffed?

scifilover wrote:Never an issue with EFT's. It is just another trade when you buy or sell.

Then the 1099 comes a month later than the equivalent MF. That's an issue for me.
by gd
Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Vanguard understaffed?
Replies: 37
Views: 3791

Re: Is Vanguard understaffed?

Maybe this is what they mean by "Vanguarding". Marketing first, then clean up the mess.
by gd
Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is a generator worth it?
Replies: 105
Views: 6395

Re: Is a generator worth it?

Rule of Thumb: If something expensive is positioned at the entrance of Home Depot, it's probably a fad.
by gd
Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Safe Withdrawal Rate as it relates to Size of Portfolio
Replies: 25
Views: 3045

Re: Safe Withdrawal Rate as it relates to Size of Portfolio

$1M: work Firecalc nervously for SWR. $10M: don't worry about it. $100M: lounge on the yacht trying to decide which house to use next week.
by gd
Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Air Quality Testing for home inspection?
Replies: 21
Views: 1172

Re: Air Quality Testing for home inspection?

If I was selling my 75 yr. old house and a prospective buyer demanded a discount because they found mold spores, I'd politely suggest perhaps they aren't cut out for an older house and go across town to the McMansion development. And don't forget to test for various air-tight-new-house carcinogens w...
by gd
Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggest an infrared temperture gun
Replies: 21
Views: 1805

Re: Suggest an infrared temperture gun

Like lots of low-end Amazon products, that product seems to be marketed under at least 3 names-- Nubee, Sain Sonic and Etekcity.
by gd
Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does it really make sense to use historic data before PCs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1279

Re: Does it really make sense to use historic data before PC

Perhaps what you're looking for is the tolerance and capacity for economic and societal deviation before something dramatic happens to fix it. That capacity is both psychological and physical in terms of markets and trade means and financial tools. Whether it's due to revolutions, electrification, w...
by gd
Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does it really make sense to use historic data before PCs?
Replies: 13
Views: 1279

Re: Does it really make sense to use historic data before PC

Business news channels blaring gossip, trivia and random events all day long. 70%+ of all trades being algorithmic HFT. What makes you think markets are more efficient now? Perhaps they just flail around more efficiently.

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