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by jeffyscott
Sun May 24, 2015 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit card
Replies: 60
Views: 8802

Re: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit car

The Barclays Arrival Plus is a PIN chip card available in the USA, and it has good rewards. 2.2% cash back on all points redeemed for travel. Also, there are no foreign transaction fees. However, this card has a $89 annual fee. Waved for the first year!! LOL I sound like a salesman. Also 40,000 &qu...
by jeffyscott
Sun May 24, 2015 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit card
Replies: 60
Views: 8802

Re: Don't come to Europe with a new chip and sign credit car

Does anyone know which issuer in the US that offers Chip and PIN? Barclay Arrival+ Mastercard. My Barclay Arrival+ Mastercard was DOA in Paris and Berlin last November. I used the swipe and sign Capital One Mastercard instead - looks like this thread has come a full circle now! :oops: It wasn't bec...
by jeffyscott
Mon May 11, 2015 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International rental car insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1076

Re: International rental car insurance

Visa has the fewest exclusions and cards issued by Chase apparently now have none.

http://thepointsguy.com/2015/04/chase-i ... xclusions/
by jeffyscott
Sun May 10, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Less than 2 years from retirement, finalizing plan and hoping for input
Replies: 16
Views: 2762

Re: Less than 2 years from retirement, finalizing plan and hoping for input

At a minimum for SS, I would assume current law remains as is and this would mean about a 25% across the board cut in SS benefits in 2033. If that took effect, it would apply whether they started collecting at 62 or 66 or 70. Yes, but the point is the potential cut is something to consider in budge...
by jeffyscott
Sun May 10, 2015 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco carpeting
Replies: 5
Views: 1299

Re: Costco carpeting

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Kuckie and snackypants.
by jeffyscott
Sun May 10, 2015 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?
Replies: 30
Views: 3326

Re: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?

Beginning January 27, 2013, merchants in the United States and U.S. Territories will be permitted to impose a surcharge on consumers when they use a credit card. http://usa.visa.com/personal/get-help/checkout-fees.jsp So it seems the fee issue is now completely under the control of the merchants in...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 11:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It
Replies: 43
Views: 5271

Re: Swedroe: Credit Risk Not Worth It

Common stocks get paid last from the assets of a bankrupt company. Since corporate bonds have claim to company assets, the company may default but bondholders will likely get some of their money back. Since I don't trust the corporate managers, I really prefer being a lender to being an owner (thou...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International rental car insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1076

Re: International rental car insurance

Visa and MC, like Amex, coverage is also world wide excluding the exceptions that each company lists. I don't believe any exclude Sweden. Your personal auto policy probably does not cover you for liability or anything else in Sweden. If you have an umbrella, that probably is world wide liability cov...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wisconsin vacation ideas
Replies: 34
Views: 2339

Re: Wisconsin vacation ideas

Most people vacation in northern Wisconsin (for good reason), but don't forget to visit southwest Wisconsin (The Driftless Area) as well. Yes, the standard Wisconsin vacation is to go "up north". Personally, I much prefer the SW part of the state for more interesting terrain and fewer bug...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Less than 2 years from retirement, finalizing plan and hoping for input
Replies: 16
Views: 2762

Re: Less than 2 years from retirement, finalizing plan and hoping for input

While I don't think 2% inflation and 4% nominal returns are unreasonable assumptions, I use 3% inflation and 1% real (so 4% nominal) for my own "worst case" analysis. In addition, I assume SS will be 75% of current law, because of the looming shortfall in funding. In addition, I assume the...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?
Replies: 30
Views: 3326

Re: NYT: 2% rebate credit cards; will they last?

I've not had a 2% card since Schwab ended theirs. Subsequent to that, we began concentrating on getting things like 50,000 mile sign-up bonuses. I think we will keep on that path as long as those type of offers keep coming. I had been thinking of going for the Fidelity 2% card to use when not workin...
by jeffyscott
Sat May 09, 2015 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you get non-zero peak values on your CO detector?
Replies: 11
Views: 886

Re: Do you get non-zero peak values on your CO detector?

The UL spec actually prohibits a CO detector from alarming unless there's a current substantial threat. The thresholds are much higher than I'm comfortable with. I'm with you on this one, detectors with readouts are the way to go. Except the UL spec also limits those, so I have a Pro-tech 7035 that...
by jeffyscott
Wed May 06, 2015 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco carpeting
Replies: 5
Views: 1299

Costco carpeting

Has anyone used Costco for carpeting? Were they significantly cheaper than other contractors for similar quality?

We don't like having sales people come to our home for things like this, we need to decide if it's worth making an exception.
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 28
Views: 5201

Re: Costco and AMEX

My theory is they'll offer blue cash everyday, with 3% on groceries and 2% gas, if you don't buy them at Costco.
by jeffyscott
Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 37
Views: 4013

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

For those of us that like to open windows, a/c may run very little in some years in the northern states. Many years ours has been on for only 10-20 days. Others have windows closed and air running even on days with highs in the 70s. Normal annual is just 400-600 cooling degree days in WI, compared t...
by jeffyscott
Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car advice needed
Replies: 18
Views: 2536

Re: Car advice needed

All cars have ESC now, that is more useful than AWD. Snow tires would also probably do more for you than AWD, not that I ever have bothered with those either. You are completely wrong and not all AWDs are equal. Hmm, I think you are mistaken as it is a fact that all new cars are required to have ES...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Credit Card w/ 5% Cash Back Rotating Category is Best?
Replies: 37
Views: 4163

Re: Which Credit Card w/ 5% Cash Back Rotating Category is B

I voted Chase Freedom for the same reason. I take advantage of the extra 10% on all purchases since I have a Chase Checking as well. Can you describe this feature in more detail? Thank you. If you have a Chase checking account they give you a 10% of what you have earned in rebates for the year. For...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car advice needed
Replies: 18
Views: 2536

Re: Car advice needed

I don't think AWD is worth having. All cars have ESC now, that is more useful than AWD. Snow tires would also probably do more for you than AWD, not that I ever have bothered with those either. Personally, I don't associate leather with comfort. I think cloth seats are more comfortable and would nev...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Canceling oldest credit card
Replies: 6
Views: 1290

Re: Canceling oldest credit card

BP was my oldest card too. I had not used it at all, since they changed the rebate structure some time ago. They sent me a letter a while ago saying they were closing the account, unless I did something to keep it open. I let them close it, didn't notice any significant change with that despite also...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Credit Card w/ 5% Cash Back Rotating Category is Best?
Replies: 37
Views: 4163

Re: Which Credit Card w/ 5% Cash Back Rotating Category is B

Discover can be cashed in for many different gift cards for an 11-25% bonus ($20 for a $25 card or $45 for $50). Discover has better bonus rebates for shopping through their website, can get 5% cash back from quite a few stores. I have both, but don't use either card much. Discover sometimes offers ...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mini-contribution Roth from study earnings?
Replies: 4
Views: 384

Re: Mini-contribution Roth from study earnings?

I wouldn't bother for such a small amount, even if it's possible to start an IRA in this situation, but Ally bank has no minimum and no fees for IRA accounts.
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower
Replies: 33
Views: 2271

Re: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower

The GreenWorks mower just dropped $63 down to $287, so I just jumped on it. Also got the B&D string trimmer and blower. Great deal! I paid $400 and my thinking was even if it lasted just 4 years it'd be worth it. I figured it'd save about $100 in gas, oil, spark plugs, and air filters in that t...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower
Replies: 33
Views: 2271

Re: Battery or Gas Lawn Mower

I'm considering either getting a cheap gas powered mower for about $170 or getting a battery powered one like - http://www.amazon.com/GreenWorks-25302-20-Inch-Cordless-Batteries/dp/B00GX9WNP2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428413242&sr=8-1&keywords=battery+powered+lawn+mower My lawn will take ...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Opticians [Purchasing eyeglasses]
Replies: 13
Views: 1382

Re: Opticians

No, I have been examined by the optician for my prescription and now want to buy lens and frames elsewhere more cheaply. Optometrist (or Opthamologist) writes the prescription for your lenses, not the Optician. Opticians work at places that sell eyeglasses and only measure the PD and (if progressiv...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Schwab Bank Investor Checking down to 0.06% APY
Replies: 9
Views: 1269

Re: Schwab Bank Investor Checking down to 0.06% APY

I plan to keep it for the free ATM everywhere feature and also starting to use their bill pay. Also have a credit union checking account, but their bill pay charges a monthly fee if you don't use it at least 2 times per month...I don't want to have to track my usage to avoid that. Credit union also ...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 28
Views: 5201

Re: Costco and AMEX

If you get a Costco branded AMEX card, I think they will shift those accounts to the new provider (Citibank VISA?) subject to approval. I do not think you can keep using your costco amex card anywhere after Costco's agreement with Amex is terminated. I expect that both Amex and Citibank will want m...
by jeffyscott
Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy more expensive house to improve financial situation?
Replies: 37
Views: 4959

Re: Buy more expensive house to improve financial situation?

85253 I found Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2004: $352,910 (not sure why data there is so old) Read more: http://www.city-data.com/zips/85253.html#ixzz3WfZ7Hq7J Also shows Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2004: $352,910 Estimated median house/condo value in 2011: $1,000,001 But then,...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Planning for career change and big drop in income
Replies: 14
Views: 2283

Re: Planning for career change and big drop in income

Does anybody have any experience with this kind of career change? Any thoughts on how to re-structure my lifestyle now so that we have the money issues in check before the change actually happens? Any other advice? Well, yes in that my spouse quit her job about a year ago, at age 50, and is not pla...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Traditional IRA or Roth IRA
Replies: 9
Views: 1020

Re: Traditional IRA or Roth IRA

Is your income of $77K your total income, i.e. AGI from line 37 of form 1040, or is it taxable income, i.e. line 43? Because if it is really total income, you would be in the 15% bracket for MFJ and I don't see how you could save $2500 by making Traditional contributions of $11K. If $77K is your ta...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay Off Mortgage to Save for Bigger House
Replies: 10
Views: 1611

Re: Pay Off Mortgage to Save for Bigger House

Seems to me the desire to make a contingent offer would be to avoid the risk of owning two homes for extended period of time. I don't see that it matters much which property has how much of the debt? Say I have a $100,000 condo and buy a $300,000 house. If the condo is paid off, I can take out a $60...
by jeffyscott
Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy more expensive house to improve financial situation?
Replies: 37
Views: 4959

Re: Buy more expensive house to improve financial situation?

Since you could use the non-retirement assets to pay off your current mortgage, instead of using it to buy a more expensive home, you are borrowing $300,000 in order to speculate in real estate (or maybe more like $350,000?, considered the costs of selling and moving). At 4%, that would cost you $12...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Firm High Loft Pillow
Replies: 4
Views: 694

Re: Firm High Loft Pillow

We don't sleep on them as they are too thick and firm to be comfortable for us, but have some "Kohl's Home Classics extra firm support" pillows that we use for sitting up in bed and for a sort of backrest on a daybed. We have had them for quite a while and they still are very thick and fir...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy riding mower or hire service to cut grass?
Replies: 56
Views: 4193

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

As an alternative to the riding mower, how about a wide deck push mower? They're about 30" - 33" wide compared to the the typical 21" - 22" mower. One of these would cut the time down significantly without going the ride-on route. Yes, I've never understood why these are not mor...
by jeffyscott
Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: early retiree, ACA "obamacare" MAGI ? but which numbers ??
Replies: 26
Views: 3588

Re: early retiree, ACA "obamacare" MAGI ? but which numbers

Unfortunately few people have the intelligence, foresight, and resources that tbradnc has. A man I helped this week with taxes had income below 138% of the federal poverty line and was turned away as ineligible to buy insurance at the healthcare marketplace, but he lives in Virginia where he could ...
by jeffyscott
Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proactively replace water heater?
Replies: 53
Views: 5568

Re: Proactively replace water heater?

He also said that the rules have changed. It looks like all the water heaters are going to be minimum .95 EF in a few weeks. http://www.rheem.com/products/water_heating/NAECA/ The changes are small for normal sizes of water heaters (55 gallons or less). The 50 gallon electric does have the biggest ...
by jeffyscott
Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?
Replies: 21
Views: 2415

Re: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?

Stagnant/disappointing GDP after 8 years of zero interest rate policty (ZIRP)!!?? I disagree. Monetary policy has been tight-- very tight. Because inflation has been so low, and zero wage rigidity is a big factor. The dog barked in the night. The Taylor Rule would tell you that interest rates shoul...
by jeffyscott
Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 37
Views: 4013

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

One thing not mentioned is that most older heating systems were oversized, sometimes 100%, by installers that would never want to get called back by cold customers. This reduces efficiency and causes some comfort issues. If you know how much gas (therms) you used in the last winter, and how many he...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Furnace & A/C Unit
Replies: 37
Views: 4013

Re: New Furnace & A/C Unit

1. Heat efficiency will not improve! Why do you say that? It would depend on what the efficiency of the new unit vs. the old is. I have an 18 year old 80% efficiency unit, were I to replace with a 95% efficient unit we would use about 16% less natural gas for heating and save about $150 per year at...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car buying services - recommendations?
Replies: 14
Views: 2240

Re: Car buying services - recommendations?

We opted for Truecar, which the nearest dealer accepted. I'm not positive, but I expect the Truecar price was higher than Costco's, but I was happy with it and didn't have to drive 100 miles each way to the participating Costco dealer. About a 18 months ago used Costco to help my son get a car. The...
by jeffyscott
Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Account Protection
Replies: 6
Views: 787

Re: Vanguard Account Protection

You can sign up for 2 factor authentication, if you have not done so already.

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... ity-122014
by jeffyscott
Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Opening a new credit card AND improving credit score
Replies: 5
Views: 827

Re: Opening a new credit card AND improving credit score

My daughter has somewhat similar credit history, some problems with credit cards 5-6 years ago but very responsible more recently. I think she got rid of all cards at the time she was having problems managing her credit use. Within the last year or so, she decided to try taking advantage of credit c...
by jeffyscott
Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Proactively replace water heater?
Replies: 53
Views: 5568

Re: Proactively replace water heater?

New front load washer using less water saves on water heating costs and on drying cost as the front loaders spin much faster there is much less water for the dryer to remove by evaporation. Our utility rates are pretty average, we have gas dryer and conventional gas water heater (and range). Gas gen...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?
Replies: 21
Views: 2415

Re: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?

My own view? If you are a US dollar investor, this is a great time to plan that trip to Europe (ex Switzerland). This USian is hoping low euro lasts until at least next spring or gets even lower, as many seem to expect. I think the all-time low was shortly after the introduction of the euro and it ...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:13 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?
Replies: 21
Views: 2415

Re: Bonds — The U.S. As a High-Yielding Country?

Wouldn't currency values be a factor too? The price of dollars is high, so investors have to buy expensive dollars to get those "high" US rates. For example a year ago a dollar cost about 0.70 euro, now it's about 0.95 euro.
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement Issues: Life Expectancy
Replies: 24
Views: 2373

Re: Retirement Issues: Life Expectancy

Even if you can determine that your life expectancy is, say, 85 instead of 80 that still tells you very little. There is still going to be a huge range, from dying in an accident tomorrow to living 10 or 15 years beyond the expected age. I don't see that it would help me any to know that at, say, ag...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Providing hotel options for wedding guests
Replies: 9
Views: 1104

Re: Providing hotel options for wedding guests

For a small wedding (expecting about 80 guests) we arranged group rates at two hotels. It's completely no-obligation. There is no penalty for unreserved rooms, rooms are available to guests at a discounted rate by phone, they can cancel up to 1 or 3 days before. Rooms are released 3-4 weeks before. ...
by jeffyscott
Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Portland transportation
Replies: 20
Views: 2008

Re: Portland transportation

No Uber or Lyft. Rental cars much cheaper downtown than airport. Yes, even if you want to have a car, reserve for pick up downtown. You can take Max downtown and get a car there. We did not have a car in Portland but got one for the rest of trip to visit other places in Oregon. We took Max from air...
by jeffyscott
Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Defined-Benefit Retirement Plan
Replies: 11
Views: 1230

Re: Defined-Benefit Retirement Plan

Nearing 30 years and a DB pension. At retirement my pension will have a PV that is equal to about 1/3 of my total lifetime income from that job. To equal the present value of my pension at the time of retirement, based on employer's annuity factors, would have required 11% per year in contributions ...
by jeffyscott
Sat Mar 14, 2015 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: tIRA rollover to HSA
Replies: 3
Views: 303

Re: tIRA rollover to HSA

Being new to HSA this year, I had read about that too and thought it might be worth doing this after retirement, since prior to retirement I would rather fund the HSA by payroll deduction to avoid payroll tax. After some thought, I did not see the point as I could simply withdraw money from tIRA, pu...
by jeffyscott
Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP and HSA
Replies: 5
Views: 610

Re: HDHP and HSA

When I look on healthcare.gov for my area, plans are clearly identified as HSA eligible, such as by having names ending with things like: "...HSA Bronze 4500/90 Low Premium", "...for HSA", "...HSA 6250X", etc. Similar high deductible plans have things like $30 or $75 co...

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