Search found 3403 matches

by madbrain
Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance
Replies: 15
Views: 3051

Re: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance

I guess I was "lucky" - the CDW paid off for me in the past when I was in a hit and run accident. You were definitely. Mine excludes hit and run drivers also.. the driver must be identified. I guess this is to prevent your own fender bender and saying it was another driver to get covered ...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming
Replies: 39
Views: 2181

Re: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming

there is no way it will happen in 10 years. Functioning prototypes already exist today. If people want the technology, the change will happen quickly. The first iPhone was released in the middle of 2007. How many people today use smartphones? People can afford to replace their smartphones easily - ...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming
Replies: 39
Views: 2181

Re: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming

The robotic cars are coming! In 10 years I predict: 10 years ? I'll take the other side of that bet. 1. There will be no more taxi drivers, truck drivers, DMV, or traffic lights/regulations. Even if all new cars and trucks in 10 years are driverless - which I highly doubt - there will still be plen...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming
Replies: 39
Views: 2181

Re: Mandatory vehicle collision avoidance systems are coming

] Sorry, I don't buy it ( no pun intended) Agree with you 100 percent that auto makers artificially inflate the actual cost of many of the perks on the various "trim" lines. That is why savvy buyers bargain so diligently and don't mind going head to head with the greedy new car dealership...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keep paying the mortgage??
Replies: 41
Views: 3018

Re: Keep paying the mortgage??

Hi.. Thanks for all the replies. Per the attorney, the trick is proving that the seller himself knew about the mold. He will likely claim as an investor he did not do the work or ever see any mold. Though, the neighbors all report interacting with him numerous times while he was personally doing wo...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wife got in wreck with Honda CRV - no collison coverage
Replies: 113
Views: 5848

Re: wife got in wreck with Honda CRV - no collison coverage

I keep the higher limit(1500) but kept collision and added her as primary driver on the old car. As per policy, she will use my sports car in exceptional reasons. This kept insurance down. So all those dings, etc., I am not repairing. If there is a serious accident, then well.. 1500 is my out of po...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance
Replies: 15
Views: 3051

Re: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance

In CA, this coverage is worthless since if the person has SOME insurance you might NOT be covered... read your policy. In my case I was only covered if they are UN-insured. This happened to me last fall. I was rear-ended, 3 cars involved and the person at fault has something like $5 or $10K and is ...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance
Replies: 15
Views: 3051

Re: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance

She said we would have to prove the other party didn't have insurance, so it would not cover a hit and run. If you have the other car's license plate, you may still be able to prove the other driver was uninsured. I was the victim of a hit and run years ago and there were multiple witnesses who all...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance
Replies: 15
Views: 3051

Re: Neat way to save a little $ on your car insurance

I suppose a compromise could be to get $25k coverage, and never rent anything larger than a full-sized car. There are still many full size or smaller cars that cost more than $25k new, without being luxury vehicles. And rental car fleets at major companies are usually not old beaters so they could ...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

Guess the newer Solar models are okay . A few years ago our power company offered the deep well(s) energy system and it works well both heating and A.C. 20 years earlier this energy Co. offered us "Thermo Electric storage heaters at big discounts and they worked well too,...Then they suddenly ...
by madbrain
Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

This is likely a deal-breaker for me. Without the discount on the tree and panel work, the payback will be too far out on a property we don't plan to be living in 10 years from now. You will definitely get the discount on the panel work. It's the tree removal I'm less confident about, as I didn't h...
by madbrain
Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard question. What to do with 80,000k in cash
Replies: 11
Views: 1413

Re: Vanguard question. What to do with 80,000k in cash

With $80 million dollars (80,000k), I would just put it in some muni bond funds and retire.
by madbrain
Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

You should ask the installer to quote the 260W panels with Enphase M250 microinverters. That will probably be a better system per $. No need to pay the premium for 320W panels as it does not sound like you are space constrained. Agree, but even better to skip Sunpower altogether due to their premiu...
by madbrain
Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

No. I do not know how many panels my roof can support, but the installer capped it at 20 panels because I would hit the cap on the NC state incentive if the system cost much more. What is the incentive cap ? Is it a fixed $ cap ? Sounds to me like this installer is more concerned about pocketing th...
by madbrain
Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

Another thing, consider a tilt mount if possible. It will increase the total system cost, but should reduce your payback period quite a bit, as long as it adds less than 10% to the cost of your system. It doesn't look pretty, though.
by madbrain
Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?
Replies: 29
Views: 2406

Re: Does a 6.5 kW Solar install make sense?

$29k pre-incentive price for a 6400 W system is $4.5 per watt. This is a premium price in 2015. What kind of inverters are you getting for that price ? Monolithic inverters, or micro-inverters ? And what's the warranty on those inverters ? Monolithic string inverters usually don't last 25 years. The...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: honda civic or Prius?
Replies: 86
Views: 7208

Re: honda civic or Prius?

Based upon EPA estimates, the idea that they get better MPG on the street is pretty much the consensus. All three of the Prius' are rated higher on the street. On the street they can use the electric batteries exclusively when moving slow, while the gas motor always has to be working when traveling...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to get a job as a software developer?
Replies: 39
Views: 3531

Re: How to get a job as a software developer?

I think it's definitely possible. Software developers are in high demand right now. Your best bet is to apply at a small company that will be willing to take a chance on you. Expect to be paid well below market your first year or two. Large companies likely won't even interview you. I dropped out of...
by madbrain
Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Merchant credit card surcharge - California
Replies: 19
Views: 1692

Re: Merchant credit card surcharge - California

As the link posted by navyitaly points out, it's pretty easy to bypass the CA law by offering a "cash discount" instead of a "credit surcharge". Gas stations do it all over the state. That would be complying, not bypassing. Also, the gas stations advertise both the cash price an...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are you going to shop on Prime Day?
Replies: 89
Views: 7518

Re: Are you going to shop on Prime Day?

None of the 30 classical CDs in my Amazon wish list went on sale on Prime day. Some actually went up. I did not buy anything. I did not check whatever deals might have been available.
by madbrain
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?
Replies: 34
Views: 1874

Re: Do Bogleheads carry thin wallets? What's in your wallet?

Mine currently has : driver license auto insurance card health insurance card Costco membership card Chase ATM/VISA debit card FIA Amex credit card FIA VISA credit card Fidelity ATM/VISA debit card That's 8. I usually don't carry the Chase debit card, but had to make a cash deposit recently and that...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 466
Views: 65872

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

For comparison, VG website shows VWO as +0.08% and VEMAX as + 0.65% YTD through 7/15. Is that Vanguard data updated daily ? I remember many performance figures being updated either monthly or quarterly. My figures are from Quicken. I looked at the transactions, share value and dividend amounts, and...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:27 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]
Replies: 466
Views: 65872

Re: What are you up YTD? [Year To Date]

Now at 2.14% YTD. This is total return on entire 7 figure portfolio. I have significant holding in EMs and Total international. But also a big chunk in Stable value to smooth things up. As of today, VWO is my only holding with negative total return YTD -0.42%. But my VEMAX stands at +1.04% YTD. I di...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Merchant credit card surcharge - California
Replies: 19
Views: 1692

Re: Merchant credit card surcharge - California

I'm not a lawyer but because it was a federal court ruling state laws on the matter are null and void. I am not a lawyer either, but I don't believe this is necessarily true. Maybe a lawyer will care to comment. Said California law has been widely ignored anyway by small merchants - who always comm...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Drop collision and/or comprehensive insurance?
Replies: 32
Views: 2719

Re: Drop collision and/or comprehensive insurance?

So if my regular car is 10 years old, my only option for rentals is to go to Renta-Wreck and rent a comparable car? Don't think so. State Insurance Commissioners would have a field day with that one. All I am saying is, you should check your policy terms before renting to make sure that it applies....
by madbrain
Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Drop collision and/or comprehensive insurance?
Replies: 32
Views: 2719

Re: Drop collision and/or comprehensive insurance?

I keep full coverage on my only vehicle. If you drop comprehensive/collision on your primary vehicle, you will have no coverage when you rent a vehicle and will have to pay the ultra-expensive insurance sold by rental companies. Also, on an older car, comprehensive and collision is pretty inexpensi...
by madbrain
Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do we care about price movements? Aren't earnings all that matter?
Replies: 44
Views: 3488

Re: Why do we care about price movements? Aren't earnings all that matter?

The price change will embed retained earnings, and my strategy is to live off earnings, so I could access the component of the price change that was solely attributed to earnings. How would you propose to figure out what that portion is ? I don't think you could do that, anyway. A company that does...
by madbrain
Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?
Replies: 39
Views: 4798

Re: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?

I may be the minority here, but I think anything above 5% ROI is great, assuming you're sticking around to capitalize on it. In general I see a reductions in savings as equivalent to increases in earnings. A solar electric system seems more like buying an annuity since the equipment is much less va...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?
Replies: 39
Views: 4798

Re: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?

Avoided gas costs per month 50 (600 yr) Energy sold (including electricity avoided) per moth 115 (1380 yr) my cost 18k 1980/18k = 0.11% That's actually 11.1%, as someone else already pointed out. That means your payback period is actually 9 years, which is more reasonable, but still a bit on the hi...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?
Replies: 39
Views: 4798

Re: Solar panel investment - financially worth it?

If your monthly payment is $120/month and you are only deriving a $115/month benefit from the system, that means you will be paying $5/month more than you currently are. Technically, that means you will be paying 15 x 12 x 5 = $900 for your system over the 15 years. The $900 represents 7.8 months of...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare cost - Office Visit - negotiated insurance rate higher than cash rate?
Replies: 53
Views: 4401

Re: Healthcare cost - Office Visit - negotiated insurance rate higher than cash rate?

My husband was layed off from work. Insurance was up in the air for us during this time. I took my child to the doctor where I had to pay out of pocket. They did give me a discounted rate. We decided to purchase COBRA coverage through his previous employer. I want the doctor to file the claim I pai...
by madbrain
Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flame Retardants
Replies: 6
Views: 567

Re: Flame Retardants

Perhaps. It depends on the chemicals. I'm guessing that, as long as you don't eat the chair, you'll probably be fine. Your pets that scratch the furniture might not be, though. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4508310 One of my cats has just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and h...
by madbrain
Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark
Replies: 66
Views: 8159

Re: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark

Madbrain, is that right about the california $2,500 rebate incentive? Yes, please see https://energycenter.org/clean-vehicle-rebate-project for CVRP and a list of eligible vehicles and rebate amount. You need to either buy, or lease for at least 36 months to be eligible. 24 months lease do not qual...
by madbrain
Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leased Car Totaled - What Do I Owe?
Replies: 16
Views: 3400

Re: Leased Car Totaled - What Do I Owe?

In case anyone else ever had a similar issue - I wanted to post how it was resolved. I spoke with Hyundai directly, and after about 30 minutes of frustration, the representative said that I would be getting a check from them after my insurance company sends them the full fmv. It seems like it was j...
by madbrain
Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

I disputed the extra tip amount with Amex. The merchant ended up not being able to provide the signed slip with the tip amount, and the entire amount of the charge was refunded to me instead - ie. we got a free dinner. This was a $100+ meal. I hope the restaurant learned from this. And no, we were ...
by madbrain
Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

The above stories are yet another good reason that the US should move to a modern pin based credit card system like everywhere else does. The waiter brings the terminal over to your table, you type in the tip amount and that's it. Much less chance of server fraud. I think the main problem is that c...
by madbrain
Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

I also point out if something is left off the bill in a restaurant by accident. That has only happened a few times and I have never ended up paying for it. This has happened to me many times, especially for refills on glasses of wine. It actually happened again just last friday. I pointed out to th...
by madbrain
Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

This is especially frustrating given that a lot of people leave cash tips as a favor to servers, most of whom would prefer to have the cash payout than the card tip . . . so they can cheat on their taxes. Not something I want to assist with. Not to mention the inconvenience of having to carry cash ...
by madbrain
Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

I am surprised at the number of posters whose first response was to dispute the charge with the credit card company. In the very few cases where I have had reason to dispute a charge, the credit card company made it clear that I should first dispute the charge with the vendor, and then if that fail...
by madbrain
Tue Jun 23, 2015 3:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

1. For the first one, the waiter changed a 3 into an 8. In this case, it happened that the last digit of the total line could also be changed from a 3 to an 8. This one happened at a large event/gathering. Seems to me there are a lot of digits that could easily be changed without being noticed. A 0...
by madbrain
Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED bulb prices
Replies: 124
Views: 17561

Re: LED bulb prices

https://slickdeals.net/f/7888995-cree-93-cri-dimmable-led-a19-bulb-40-60-watt-2-97-3-97-each-used-to-be-15-97-ymmv-mostly-good-in-ca-free-store-pickup-home-depot Costco has Article 906191 which is a 3pack of 40W equivalent LED bulbs for $8.79 at Costco warehouse in PG&E territory in CA. This is...
by madbrain
Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage interest tax deduction in California
Replies: 4
Views: 736

Re: Mortgage interest tax deduction in California

tomtoms wrote:Hello! I know you can deduct mortgage interest rate and property tax from your federal taxable income. Can you also deduct them from your California taxable income? A link would be helpful! Your help is greatly appreciated.


Yes you can, at least according to Turbotax.
by madbrain
Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark
Replies: 66
Views: 8159

Re: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark

Are you sure the government subsidy only applies to the lease and not an outright purchase? No. The incentives apply once per new vehicle. However, if you lease repeatedly, you can receive these incentives multiple times, whereas if you buy, you can receive them only once. At $7500 - $12500 per veh...
by madbrain
Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]
Replies: 106
Views: 14225

Re: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]

Yes, insurance is intended to be a pooled risk. However, in its perfect design it is about shared risk or probabilities. In a given risk pool we pay for the probability we will need to make a claim, not the risk of high risk entrants. When the government forces the corruption of the risk pool by fo...
by madbrain
Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark
Replies: 66
Views: 8159

Re: $139 lease for EV, $0 down, 39 month lease Chevy Spark

As with renting tools, there may be outstanding deals to be found in Whole Life policies, reverse mortgages, annuities, car leases, active mutual funds with front end loads. One might even find hens teeth. But, even if they do exist, I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to expend the time a...
by madbrain
Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

This happens more often than you think. Always take the customer copy. That discourages it right there. Think about how easy it would be to tack on a few bucks to a bill where some drinks were ordered with dinner and the customer copy was left. Very easy and it happens. I think I've turned into my ...
by madbrain
Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]
Replies: 106
Views: 14225

Re: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]

My issue - in having to delve into all these damn different companies - why isn't there any more uniformity among the companies re risk factors? For ex, me trying to get a H.O. quote, --- some ask if you are a smoker, some don't. The last one who didn't ask - I spoke up - WTF ? Don't you regard peo...
by madbrain
Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]
Replies: 106
Views: 14225

Re: Longtime Insurance Customers Get Ripped [overcharged]

The states that prohibited consideration of credit scores harmed most rate payers. Those with higher credit scores are harmed by paying higher premiums than the actuarial basis would require. Which is not "most rate payers". Most rate payers who don't have higher credit scores might actua...
by madbrain
Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

FreeAtLast wrote:I will leave only cash tips there in the future......


IMO, cash tips is a poor option. Why even use a credit card at all at the restaurant, if you still have to carry cash for the tip ?
One of the major reasons to carry a credit card is convenience, to avoid having to carry cash.
by madbrain
Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Phantom" Tipping
Replies: 68
Views: 11160

Re: "Phantom" Tipping

If you like math puzzles, you can also use a checksum: Adjust the tip such that if you sum all the numbers in the total (before the last), the last digit of the sum equals the last digit of the total. While this is a great idea, I think when inebriated, it would be easy to get this wrong :) Persona...

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