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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: 47
Views: 2126

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: 60
Views: 3082

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: 2276

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: 3548

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: 3189

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: 2223

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: 889

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: 48
Views: 4165

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: 698

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: 3226

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: 1679

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: 8702

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: 1614

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: 1799

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: 1799

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: 1359

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: 1359

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: 1799

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: 963

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: 2071

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: 803

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: 1172

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: 2499

Re: Attitudes toward inheritances.

I have had 2 experiences on inheritances. My mother passed away 2 years ago and I was the executor. She had a modest estate and I was able to distribute it fairly quickly to my 2 siblings and I with minimal problems. I took the high road on a couple of issues to avoid any problems. My son in law's f...
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attitudes toward inheritances.
Replies: 110
Views: 9276

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Beliavsky wrote:Lots of Bogleheads seem to simultaneously hold the following contradictory views:
(1) You can't time the market.
(2) When stocks fall, it's a great time to buy.


+1
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 802
Views: 134915

Re: High School Reunions--Have you attended?

I only attended my 15th and DW and I attended her 25th. I have not lived in my hometown since I graduated from HS more than 50 years ago. I have changed so much (thank goodness) from those days that I do not really see the point in these reunions. I really do not feel we have much in common and that...
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High School Reunions--Have you attended?
Replies: 79
Views: 5052

Re: Help Parents w/ Mutual Funds in Taxable. Sell?

Although the ER is 1.29%, this fund has done pretty well the last 10 years, slightly beating the SP500. It is listed as a mid cap growth fund which is not ideal as your only equity fund. Switching to VG index funds is a good idea, but I recommend you fully understand the tax consequences before doin...
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help Parents w/ Mutual Funds in Taxable. Sell?
Replies: 13
Views: 803

Re: Eating while travelling [Food Budget]

My DW and I have traveled cross country several times. Breakfast at hotels are usually free. Otherwise, may just get a muffin and coffee. Sometimes we will just have fruit and snacks for lunch, ie PB crackers or chips. Other days we will do fast food for lunch although we do not frequent many fast f...
by johnep
Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Eating while travelling [Food Budget]
Replies: 26
Views: 2055

Re: Advice: Remodel of kitchen, bath, and basement?

Anyone with advice re: remodel of kitchen, bath, and basement? We have never done this before and so are total beginners. We believe we have an excellent contractor and have already visited some showrooms for flooring. But we have everything to learn and sense this is a long learning curve with all...
by johnep
Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice: Remodel of kitchen, bath, and basement?
Replies: 30
Views: 1407

Re: Margin for error in early retirement

You certainly have a wide margin of error if you're happy living on $1,200 per month. I'm not sure how many enjoyable retirement things (like travel) you're going to be able to do on that budget though. And does that budget include large one time expenses, like a new vehicle, and home repairs? +1. ...
by johnep
Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Margin for error in early retirement
Replies: 12
Views: 997

Re: Sensible planning for MediGap choices given price disper

1) How did you choose your MediGap policy? Research plan options and determine F was best. Chose BCBS because of its rating (#stars) 2) How much have the premiums changed over the years since you started? Premium has increased about 35% in 6 years but has been relatively flat last few years. I am t...
by johnep
Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sensible planning for MediGap choices given price dispersion
Replies: 18
Views: 617

Re: What is your most memorable 1 week vacation?

Wife and I flew to Denver a few years ago, rented car and toured several sites: Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park (our favorite) and drove back through Montana to see Mt Rushmore before returning to Denver. It took us 10 days but a really great trip.
by johnep
Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your most memorable 1 week vacation?
Replies: 85
Views: 6536

Re: Career advice for retiring doc

I have a couple of ideas for you. One, volunteer your services as a doctor for the needy, either in US or overseas, as there are many needy people in both places. In US, you could serve either in inner cities or some other impoverished area. Second, apply your medical knowledge and experience with s...
by johnep
Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Career advice for retiring doc
Replies: 16
Views: 2161

Re: Is Medigap insurance really needed?

You don't need it - until you do. You feeling lucky? :twisted: - Ron Agree; firstly like our investments, we do not know where our health will be tomorrow. Suddenly needing tests and specialists will push costs to unbelievable levels. The wife and I found out how fortunate we, two healthy people, w...
by johnep
Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Medigap insurance really needed?
Replies: 83
Views: 4132

Re: Some public pension funds making bets on hedge funds

I receive a pension from the NC state pension fund, which is one of the largest and best funded systems in the country. However, they currently have 21% of funds in alternative investments (hedge funds, private equity, etc.). They consistently beat their benchmarks for equity and bond portfolios but...
by johnep
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Some public pension funds making bets on hedge funds
Replies: 2
Views: 379

Re: How to stop collection for an invalid debt

Have you tried speaking to someone with authority at the library now and advising them you're being harassed by a collection agency for a book you do not have? I'd be ticked at the library and start hounding them to call off the collection agency. Then put it in writing to both sides. Can't believe...
by johnep
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to stop collection for an invalid debt
Replies: 31
Views: 1961

Re: Undisclosed car damage?

Have you done enough research about how much you should have to pay for a new 2014? This is the end of the model year and dealers are getting huge discounts from the manufacturer or distributor on the leftover models, and that doesn't sould like a very good price from what I've seen. Just today I r...
by johnep
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Undisclosed car damage?
Replies: 9
Views: 1276

Re: Do I need umbrella insurance?

3 thoughts: 1 - when bad stuff happens, victims and lawyers tend to look for deep pockets to go after. 2 - people need to protect their assets, even for low probability events that high a high impact (loss of assets). 3 - we live in a litigious society. Since you have accumulated a sizable savings, ...
by johnep
Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need umbrella insurance?
Replies: 24
Views: 2669

Re: Purchasing public pension benefits

Before making any decision, I would recommend reading the following article: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2020459442_pensiongapxml.html . If Wash State pension fund is as underfunded as the article suggests, this could be an effort to improve the funding level, but the OP's fathe...
by johnep
Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Purchasing public pension benefits
Replies: 17
Views: 1314

Re: state pension

That's always confused me a little on the healthcare impact to pensions. I'm sure they are not all the same but I have a local government pension, which includes access to healthcare, but my former employer would only be paying a fixed dollar amount contribution. The monthly premium is mostly paid ...
by johnep
Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: state pension
Replies: 43
Views: 2703

Re: Buying property - frank responses requested

I encourage you to explore your other options before making a decision. $600k buys a pretty nice home in very nice areas of Charleston, SC and other costs, including taxes are a lot less than California. I am not familiar with Portland but hear great things about it. The key is to evaluate all 3 bef...
by johnep
Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying property - frank responses requested
Replies: 30
Views: 3496

Re: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?

Zillow shows current value as $186k which apparently is based upon flawed county revaluation done 2 years ago that is being redone currently. It does not reflect the extensive remodeling we have done in past 5 years at cost of around $50k, nor does it includes our decks and storage building. In 2005...
by johnep
Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: My home is worth less/more in 2014 than in 2007?
Replies: 94
Views: 5691

Re: state pension

Is the $1300/month current dollars or 2041 dollars? If it's 2014 dollars, $1300 state pension ~$2000 to $2500 Social Security + pension from your new job ? + RMD from investments You should do fine. I assume the $1300 per month is based upon your highest average salary for X years. Does your pensio...
by johnep
Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: state pension
Replies: 43
Views: 2703

Re: Anyone been to Charleston, SC?

My daughter lives in Charleston area so we are there often. Some favorites of ours are Boathouse Restaurant on Isle of Palms adjacent to Sullivans Island Bridge. It rivals any of the downtown restaurants for quality of food. It gives you a chance to check out the Isle of Palms beach too which is ver...
by johnep
Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone been to Charleston, SC?
Replies: 27
Views: 1504

Re: FRS (Fl Ret Srv) Pension Option - Worth it?

I have not run the numbers, but it sounds very good to me. I bought back 5.4 years into NC Local Govt pension system and it cost me $63,000 which I thought was well worth it in my situation. Our multiplier and my avg salary was higher but it still sounds like a good deal. I especially like the COLA....
by johnep
Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:06 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: FRS (Fl Ret Srv) Pension Option - Worth it?
Replies: 10
Views: 717

Re: Patio door recommendations

I replaced 2 sets of French doors with Anderson sliding glass doors, one a standard 6' ft and the other 5' ft. The 6' ft we bought from Lowe's at a very good price. It is often cheaper to buy non standard products from other suppliers rather than Lowe's or HD because their special order pricing is m...
by johnep
Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Patio door recommendations
Replies: 15
Views: 1027

Re: Here's another "where should I retire" thread

We relocated in retirement a few miles south of Charlotte NC in Union County. My wife and I grew up in NYC and lived in the DC Metro area for 35 years (Alexandria, Fairfax, F'burg and Arlington). So we had similar concerns about not living in another big metropolitan area but we wanted some cultura...
by johnep
Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Here's another "where should I retire" thread
Replies: 104
Views: 6386

Re: Buying First Home - Inspection Follow Up Advice

My wife and I are under contract to purchase our first home. We had our inspection today and I am looking for some advice from those of you who are more experienced and wiser in this arena than I am. Here is some background info: Owner purchased home in 2009 for $115,000 Owner put on a $8,000 roof ...
by johnep
Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying First Home - Inspection Follow Up Advice
Replies: 22
Views: 1870

Re: Options/guidance for a lazy person to be fit

sorry ogd, I disagree. Jogging will do it. I've jogged over 30 years now. Started originally to lose weight, which came off rapidly, then got hooked on the buzz I got from it. I've been able to keep the weight off all these years by doing so. At your age, 10 years less than mine, get a stress test,...
by johnep
Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Options/guidance for a lazy person to be fit
Replies: 79
Views: 5852

Re: If you own a car, do you have a car payment?

I answered no but did use my HELOC to pay for it. 6 months later I have paid it down to about $3k (from original $24k). I have either paid cash or used HELOC to buy all my cars in last 30 years except for an interest free loan for a Sonata. When I used HELOC, I aggressively pay loan off, usually in ...
by johnep
Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you own a car, do you have a car payment?
Replies: 112
Views: 7377
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