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Re: Dry-Rot Repairs

The first thing to do is to determine the cause of the dry rot. How is water getting on the wood? That needs to be fixed first. The extent of replacement of the dry rot depends upon several factors. Is the dry rot on support framing structure? If so, you need to be sure it is properly fixed. A small...
by johnep
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dry-Rot Repairs
Replies: 4
Views: 629

Re: Sump Pumps

I have a decent amount of experience with this, and I would advise not to take the cheap way out. First, you have to decide if there is any chance water can get into your basement. I live in an area that gets a decent amount of rain, so water is an issue. If you live in a dry climate, and you just ...
by johnep
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sump Pumps
Replies: 11
Views: 835

Re: roll pension over to Trad. IRA in this situation?

Assuming you will have an average expected longevity, it appears to me that #3 is clearly the best choice, especially if your other investments and income can cover you for the next 15 years and you can get your insurance through alternative means. I did quick calculations of total payout: retire at...
by johnep
Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: roll pension over to Trad. IRA in this situation?
Replies: 8
Views: 489

Re: Technologist to IT Sales Transition

I did a similar thing. I was very technical in most of my IT career and then went to work for a consulting company. I was soon promoted to manager a few months later and was expected to sell services and projects to prospects. It was a new experience for me and it took me a little while to make the ...
by johnep
Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Technologist to IT Sales Transition
Replies: 14
Views: 848

Re: Home Depot Breach - zip codes revealed

Thanks. My zip code was included. I will have to see if I did any cc transactions in that timeframe.
by johnep
Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Depot Breach - zip codes revealed
Replies: 36
Views: 4646

Re: Determining who makes it past age 90?

I saw this program too. The 60 minutes report was based upon a study of 14,000 seniors. The initial research was done 30 or more years ago. A doctor at UC Irvine has done follow up research on those who died and those who were still living to come up with their findings. Apparently it is quite unusu...
by johnep
Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Determining who makes it past age 90?
Replies: 32
Views: 1905

Re: Suggestions for a Western States road trip?

Glacier National Park is a fantastic place to visit. It is a little farther north (close to Canadian border), but definitely worth it. Beautiful scenery, wildlife (lots of grizzlies), hiking trails and the drive across the mountains is awesome.
by johnep
Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for a Western States road trip?
Replies: 20
Views: 1598

Re: Financial Planners, DFA, and your opinions please!

I'm looking for a plan initially so that I can bring all the pieces together. That's why my initial search (and I forgot to include this, I'm sorry) was for the following: 1) Fee-only 2) CFP (and more certifications the better showing they are serious) 3) Experience 4) Ability to give me access to ...
by johnep
Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Financial Planners, DFA, and your opinions please!
Replies: 28
Views: 1647

Re: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?

My wife and I have been Costco members for years. We rarely buy food or grocery store items there. Most of our purchases are prescriptions and OTC medicines, gas, electronics like GPS or computer, tires, occasionally clothing items and eyeglasses. I think they have a great business model and have al...
by johnep
Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 135
Views: 10060

Re: [Sell off individual stocks?] How many own zero/few stoc

I own no stocks although have owned numerous ones over the years. I finally sold BRKB, the last one, a couple of years ago. Individual stocks require a lot of attention to manage and I frankly do not want to spend that much time with my investments. I primarily have index or other low cost funds but...
by johnep
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Sell off individual stocks?] How many own zero/few stocks?
Replies: 68
Views: 2740

Re: Sports Motivation Waning

I have always been super competitive in sports. I always tried to display good sportsmanship but internally would get very frustrated when I lost or did not play well. I have played golf for 50 years and I believe in golf this competitiveness prevented me from playing my best and definitely prevente...
by johnep
Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sports Motivation Waning
Replies: 18
Views: 1659

Re: Protecting one's bank account from PayPal

I sometimes sell NFL tickets on Stubhub which requires sellers to have a Paypal account even though I always ask for payment by check. Last year someone in UK charged my credit card for $999 for a bogus transaction. Paypal did send me an email notifying me of the transaction but by the time I saw it...
by johnep
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Protecting one's bank account from PayPal
Replies: 26
Views: 2331

Re: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon

I bought a 2007 Avalon (non hybrid) in 2010. We have been very happy with it. If you are looking for a smooth, quite and comfortable ride, the Avalon trumps Accord and Camry by a good measure. There is really no comparison. I bought a used Avalon because I discovered that, despite its excellent qual...
by johnep
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014/2015 Honda Accord vs. 2014 Toyota Avalon
Replies: 52
Views: 4110

Re: Can someone make a living as a Boglehead financial advis

The scope of a good financial adviser should be much broader than just merely determining the appropriate investment strategy and funds. There are lots of other things to consider: when to take SS, proper RMD strategy, tax strategies, long term care or self insure, saving for kids' college, and many...
by johnep
Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:58 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can someone make a living as a Boglehead financial advisor?
Replies: 25
Views: 3798

Re: vacation destinations similar to Savannah or Charleston

Charleston and Savannah are unique cities. I do not think you will anything similar on East Coast, especially in October. Why not make a return visit to one of these?
by johnep
Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: vacation destinations similar to Savannah or Charleston SC
Replies: 24
Views: 1558

Re: Death of family member - what to do financially

You or your wife may need to go to Virginia for a week or two to look for financial information in the house, on her computer (hopefully the email and files are accessible), and set up a system to handle incoming financial postal mail and email. Also to look through back email. He needs to phone So...
by johnep
Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Death of family member - what to do financially
Replies: 26
Views: 3234

Re: Catastrophe Brewing - Longevity

Thanks Alan. Excellent article. It is surprising that pension funds are using outdated actuarial data to determine their pension liability. Once new actuarial data is used, this will increase pension liabilities, possibly including SS trust fund which means these pension funds are more underfunded t...
by johnep
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Catastrophe Brewing - Longevity
Replies: 12
Views: 2502

Re: first of three part series on hedge funds

Thanks Larry. This is of great interest to me as a public pension recipient. The NC pension system was authorized by the legislature to increase its alternative investments in the quest for greater return. Ironically, the system has beat its equity and bond benchmarks in recent years but so far, has...
by johnep
Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: first of three part series on hedge funds
Replies: 2
Views: 335

Re: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?

I became very concerned after reading this thread and then Googling the topic on the Internet. There are lots of opinions, mostly bad, about aluminum and to a lesser extent copper clad aluminum. I have copper clad aluminum wiring in my house (built in 1973 when this product was prevalent in home wir...
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a home with aluminum wiring?
Replies: 73
Views: 4705

Re: Do you tip on the tax?

I usually tip 20% rounded up to the next dollar (leave tip in whole dollars, not change). It can be higher for really great service, almost never less than 20%. I do draw the line on over the counter items like Starbucks. I do not see the merit in tipping for that type of service.
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you tip on the tax? [Restaurants]
Replies: 124
Views: 5060

Re: Giving back, charity, and similar

I am actively involved in my church, participating in several ministries, and as a Christian, I contribute to a number of Christian ministries as well as several other charities. It is a great feeling to contribute to these charities and I am thankful that I have the ability to do so although I am c...
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving back, charity, and similar
Replies: 22
Views: 1513

Re: Retiree Poll: Do you do any volunteer work?

I stated "a lot" although not sure of the threshold between little and a lot. I am involved in 6 different activities right now. 3 are Christian ministries, also a retiree organization, and 2 professional organizations. I spend about 50 hours per month on these although recently it has bee...
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retiree Poll: Do you do any volunteer work?
Replies: 32
Views: 2335

Re: Brad Delong commenting on Shiller's NYTimes piece

Good article! Thanks for posting.
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Brad Delong commenting on Shiller's NYTimes piece
Replies: 4
Views: 1000

Re: Signing up for medicare Oct 1

You are such a young pup.......I turned 65 this month and have not signed up yet. I currently have my first private insurance in 6 years (since my RN wife quit working for the Salem Hospital with all it's nice benefits) and I am not ready to give it up just yet. I plan on enrolling in Part A in Oct...
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signing up for medicare Oct 1
Replies: 31
Views: 2586

Re: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?

Another vote for Costco. I have progressive glasses as well and pricing was around the range others mentioned for Costco (190$). Also used their by a 2nd par of glasses discount to get new (prescription) sunglasses. +1. I have used both Walmart and Costco and much prefer Costco. I do not fully unde...
by johnep
Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good place to buy eyeglasses without insurance?
Replies: 39
Views: 2504

Re: How to finance major home improvements

I have used home equity a lot for short/mid term financing of home improvements and cars. I am much more aggressive in paying off the loan this way rather than if I saved in first place. I have also used cash for a number of home improvements. If I had a really large home improvement ($100k+), I mig...
by johnep
Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to finance major home improvements
Replies: 24
Views: 1683

Re: Questions about fertilizing and seeding lawn

Thanks for all of the responses -- especially Sheepdog for all the detailed information. I'll look into renting the an aerator and slit seeder although I'm hoping to not spend a lot. I have a landscaper cut my grass and I could get a quote from him too -- I think it'll be about $75 to aerate, proba...
by johnep
Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions about fertilizing and seeding lawn
Replies: 21
Views: 1544

Re: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction

Make sure there is good drainage around your house is big factor. It is much better to get this right the first time rather than try to remediate later. Make sure framing is square and according to plan. My son has done a lot of punch work for tract builders and you would be amazed at the things he ...
by johnep
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tract Home - Things to Watch During Construction
Replies: 56
Views: 3232

Re: POLL: Age for Collecting Social Security Benefits

I took SS at age 66 upon retirement. SS person actually encouraged it. I still vacillate on whether this was right decision for me, but I did not fully understand the benefit of delaying at that time. Oldest male on both sides of my family was 73 at death, so even if I survived to 83 it was essentia...
by johnep
Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Age for Collecting Social Security Benefits
Replies: 103
Views: 7480

Re: Girls gymnastics: what to expect

6 is quite young to dedicating oneself to only one sport. IMO, it is better to expose young children to multiple sports and other activities. It could be that they gravitate to one sport after 2 or 3 years or they may simply like the variety of several sports. I often wonder how these children feel ...
by johnep
Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Girls gymnastics: what to expect
Replies: 28
Views: 2380

Re: Moving after retirement.

We seriously considered moving to another area upon retirement but abandoned those plans for several reasons. One, the real estate market was too unstable, at least for us, when I retired in 2010. We started remodeling our house and several years and about $60k later, our house is much better than i...
by johnep
Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving after retirement.
Replies: 43
Views: 4372

Re: Where do you store your important documents?

State laws differ, but here in New Jersey whenever any of the owners of a safe deposit box die, it is sealed. Getting access requires signing a statement that all owners are still living. I do not believe that is current NJ law. From Martin A. Spigner, a NJ estate planning attorney: http://www.avvo...
by johnep
Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where do you store your important documents?
Replies: 38
Views: 3278

Re: Who sells fresh coffee that is not as strong as Starbuck

I am surprised no one has mentioned the acid level in coffees which can vary a lot. The Arabica types have lower acid levels and Starbucks brands using those beans, like Pike Place, have a lower acid level which is good for the stomach. Some other brands and coffee types have much higher acid levels...
by johnep
Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who sells fresh coffee that is not as strong as Starbucks?
Replies: 50
Views: 2407

Re: Medical Alert System

My elderly mother lived alone and used a device around her neck that would call a number if she ever fell or pushed the button. When activated the system would call phone and that of each of the 2 neighbors on the list to determine if there was a problem before dispatching an ambulance. If a problem...
by johnep
Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical Alert System
Replies: 19
Views: 908

Re: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products

I love Starbucks coffee but never get their pastries because they are never fresh. I often go to Starbucks in local grocery store. I get coffee from them and get fresh baked goods from grocery store which is also cheaper than Starbucks. I have never understood why Starbucks doesn't contract with loc...
by johnep
Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The (un)freshness of Starbucks bakery products
Replies: 49
Views: 4517

Re: Golf School Recommendations, East Coast?

I have played golf for nearly 50 years and have taken lessons multiple times, always from local pros. I have considered golf schools but never took one due to high cost and my belief that local instruction was better, at least for me. If you take multiple lessons from a local pro, they are generally...
by johnep
Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Golf School Recommendations, East Coast?
Replies: 11
Views: 702

Re: When did you downsize?

We considered buying a newer home but eventually decided to stay put. Our house is 2,000 sqft so is not that large. Also it is a ranch home which is much better to age in than a 2 story with stairs. We did do a lot of remodeling to modernize our 40 year old house.
by johnep
Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When did you downsize?
Replies: 35
Views: 3281

Re: Best Place to Do Research on Orthopedic Surgeons

perhaps the more important question is... are you certain you need surgery ? It should be the last resort, if conservative, nonoperative treatments fail.... ... not knowing your age, or the type of tear (acute injury vs. degenerative), or your goals/needs (athlete ??? laborer???), or if, in fact , ...
by johnep
Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Place to Do Research on Orthopedic Surgeons
Replies: 28
Views: 1726

Re: Where do you buy clothes?

Belk (regional dept store chain) but only on sale and usually with coupon or Steinmart. Belk's prices are very aggressive with discounters and you can still get help from store clerks who really know what they are talking about. I find their help especially useful when buying shoes.
by johnep
Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy clothes?
Replies: 105
Views: 9223

Re: More on Computer Security

Yes, I have. Apparently Paypal got hacked somehow a few years ago. An unrelated friend and myself both had our accounts tampered with. In my case, they transferred $500 from my checking account, which only had about $32 in it at the time. Triggered all kinds of overdraft fees and whatnot. Although ...
by johnep
Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: More on Computer Security
Replies: 17
Views: 1626

Re: MAGI for Medicare Rates

See form SSA-44. I received payout of accrued sick leave and vacation upon retirement which was about 6 months of pay. I retired at the end of 2010 so this really pushed me over the MAGI limit. Since this was clearly a 1-time event they agreed to reset my Medicare B rate for the next year. I think ...
by johnep
Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MAGI for Medicare Rates
Replies: 36
Views: 1841

Re: MAGI for Medicare Rates

I exceeded the MAGI threshold when I retired. When I received notice from SS that my Medicare B premium was being increased, I contacted them. When they discovered this was a 1 year occurrence and that I would not exceed MAGI the following year, they reset my premium to the standard rate. This shou...
by johnep
Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MAGI for Medicare Rates
Replies: 36
Views: 1841

Re: What's an acceptable stable value fund rate?

My SV rate is currently 1.76 after expenses. It has trended downward for years but seems to be leveling off. I took half my SV funds out last year and put in Penfed CDs at 3%. I will probably do something similar with rest as I see little reason to keep it in SV. I do not want to put it in bonds at...
by johnep
Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:30 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's an acceptable stable value fund rate?
Replies: 18
Views: 1376

Re: What's an acceptable stable value fund rate?

My SV rate is currently 1.76 after expenses. It has trended downward for years but seems to be leveling off. I took half my SV funds out last year and put in Penfed CDs at 3%. I will probably do something similar with rest as I see little reason to keep it in SV. I do not want to put it in bonds at ...
by johnep
Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's an acceptable stable value fund rate?
Replies: 18
Views: 1376

Re: MAGI for Medicare Rates

I exceeded the MAGI threshold when I retired. When I received notice from SS that my Medicare B premium was being increased, I contacted them. When they discovered this was a 1 year occurrence and that I would not exceed MAGI the following year, they reset my premium to the standard rate. This shoul...
by johnep
Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MAGI for Medicare Rates
Replies: 36
Views: 1841

Re: Can you actually buy VG funds through Fidelty?? (odd err

I did some test trades on Fidelity, trying to buy some VWIUX and then some VTIAX. I was even willing to pay the $75. I got the following both times... The mutual fund you requested to trade is an Advisor Fund and is not available for retail trading. For more information, contact a Fidelity Represen...
by johnep
Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you actually buy VG funds through Fidelty?? (odd error)
Replies: 15
Views: 968

Re: [If over 50] Do you prepare for long term care

I chose that we could self insure although it really depends upon how long. Our assets could withstand what I understand to be average nursing home stays by both of us, but would not handle extended stays (8 to 10 years). Regardless, I did not see LTC as a good buy when we could have bought it. Of c...
by johnep
Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [If over 50] Do you prepare for long term care
Replies: 43
Views: 2128

Re: How to find a business manager and/or FT accountant?

This is pretty basic financial stuff that a competent business manager should be able to handle. Total revenues of $1M seems small for an engineering company in NYC. It might be challenging to hire someone who can setup and properly oversee these finances at a reasonable salary. One approach would b...
by johnep
Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to find a business manager and/or FT accountant?
Replies: 14
Views: 829

Re: Summer indoor humidity levels

I am not an HVAC expert, but understand that air returns are a factor to consider as well. Are they properly located and is there any blockage, i.e. rooms without access that have closed doors? If you measure humidity in a room blocked from air flow, it probably has a different reading than rest of ...
by johnep
Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Summer indoor humidity levels
Replies: 18
Views: 1195

Re: How many Accounts do you log into and how do you manage?

I have 4 levels of passwords: 1 - most secure accounts like bank, mutual funds, etc. I have a unique password for each. Level 2 - this is accounts like medical records and others that need security, but not as much as level 1. I only have one password but it is a strong password. Level 3 - is for Fa...
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many Accounts do you log into and how do you manage?
Replies: 52
Views: 2601
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