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Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

Yes, I wonder what the technical reason for this could possibly be. This is simply planned obsolescence, and Apple wanting to overcharge for RAM. More laptops will go to the landfill because of this eventually, whereas they could be expanded with RAM. IMO, it's a general trend with Apple hardware -...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 59
Views: 3020

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

Must we devolve into a PC versus apple debate? This wasn't really meant to be a PC vs Apple debate - I'm mainly commenting about the hardware features and cost. The computer hardware in Macs used to be widely different than PCs, but nowadays, the current Macs are really just PC hardware with an App...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 59
Views: 3020

Re: New Laptop, need help

I have refurbished Dell laptops that are closer to the 6-8 years range given their previous lives and their lives with me. :-) If you want Windows 7, you will have to order online. Windows 8.1 will be what you see in the stores. That is not true. While most new laptops in stores will come with Wind...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Laptop, need help
Replies: 33
Views: 2156

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

You'd be crazy to spend over $1,000 just for the name brand. I agree wholeheartedly. But since there are more things the OP will get for the extra money than just name brand, I don't really see how that's a relevant point. Like the soldered RAM? Seriously that is a deal killer for me right there. Y...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 59
Views: 3020

Re: Tmobile and Iphone6

T-Mobile will pay early termination fees in many cases. Check out http://www.t-mobile.com/offer/switch-carriers-no-early-termination-fee.html But your CDMA phones from Verizon won't work on T-Mobile, so you will have to get new phones. I think you need to do the math for yourself, but in general I b...
by madbrain
Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tmobile and Iphone6
Replies: 1
Views: 297

Re: Self-insurance option for auto insurance in TX (601.122)

Of course the insurance company would want to underwrite your ability to pay the deductible, since presumably, state financial responsibility laws would require them to technically need on the hook. And how would the insurance company do that ? Even if they can ascertain that you have the assets on...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-insurance option for auto insurance in TX (601.122)
Replies: 12
Views: 837

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

I have a Costco Amex card in my wallet also, but I never swipe it - I only use it as a Costco membership card. I won't cancel it because it's an old account. Don't you buy gas at Costco gas stations with this card? Aside from Costco membership fee this is the only other kind of purchase I use the c...
by madbrain
Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Visa has a tool you can find online to get the merchant code of any store. And you could just test it out yourself by buying some cheap thing at some store and waiting until teh statement comes out. But it sounds like for you personally, its not worth the effort (i'm really saying this for anybody ...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

This thread has motivated me to (finally) open a Fidelity Cash Management Account as well as apply for the 2% American Express. I should have done this years ago, I've been using a 1% cash back card from USAA. You don't have to open the cash management account. You can just redeem your rewards as a...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

The problem is that many stores where people buy groceries are not classified as "groceries" as a credit card merchant. So you don't really get 5% on Wal-Mart, or Costco (for those that have Amex grocery rewards cards - they won't take the Sallie Mae Mastercard), or Target, etc. Depends o...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Since virtually everybody buys gas and groceries, getting 5% on those and on Amazon also it is pretty damn good. The problem is that many stores where people buy groceries are not classified as "groceries" as a credit card merchant. So you don't really get 5% on Wal-Mart, or Costco (for t...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: Vanguard Recommending Quicken Changes

Here is what worked for me in Quicken 2014 for Windows. I did this before I even tried reading any instructions. 1) In each of the Vanguard accounts in Quicken , I right-clicked, Edit / Online services, and clicked "Deactivate" 2) In one Vanguard account in Quicken, I right-clicked, Edit /...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vanguard Recommending Quicken Changes
Replies: 51
Views: 4617

Re: Poll: Which iPhone 6?

Ford Mustang Shelby GT has 662hp, it can seat 4 people, and gets 24mpg on the freeway. Ferrari 458 has only 570hp, it can only seat 2 people, and gets only 17mpg on the freeway. So yeah, Mustang is better than F458. See my previous reply to cheesepep about how I don't think the car analogy is a sui...
by madbrain
Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Which iPhone 6?
Replies: 41
Views: 2997

Re: Poll: Which iPhone 6?

Superior in specs, perhaps (not all specs are known), but superior in use, that is another story? Maybe. Specs are only a perhaps small part in owning/buying/using a phone. I disagree, IMO specs like screen size, resolution, CPU speed, battery life, are a fairly important decision in buying a phone...
by madbrain
Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Which iPhone 6?
Replies: 41
Views: 2997

Re: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?

In Cali i would ask for a reduced price due to property tax assessment.
by madbrain
Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home purchase negotiation: credit or reduced price?
Replies: 17
Views: 1221

Re: Self-insurance option for auto insurance in TX (601.122)

Why would anyone want to do this, unless they are denied coverage by every insurer?
by madbrain
Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-insurance option for auto insurance in TX (601.122)
Replies: 12
Views: 837

Re: Poll: Which iPhone 6?

I bought an LG G3 two weeks ago. Turns out the G3 is superior to the iPhone 6 Plus in just about every way : 5.7 display vs 5.5, 2560x1440 resolution vs 1920x1080, 3GB RAM vs 1GB, 2.5 GHz CPU vs 2 GHz, G3 has a microSD slot vs none for iPhone, shoots 4K video vs HD video, 13 mp rear camera / 2 mp fr...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Poll: Which iPhone 6?
Replies: 41
Views: 2997

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

Eventually we will all have self-driving cars. I am not sure how far eventually is, but there'd be a snowball's chance in Hell I'd give up driving unless it's against the law. I am someone who enjoys driving and considers it to be fun. I wouldn't mind if others weren't driving however. But ya, if y...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 104
Views: 8003

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

Manual transmissions are all about total control. Automatics are lazier and easier to drive...but there is always a compromise. You put up with the factory slushbox settings meant to be OK for a wide variety of situations. Manuals get around all that and let an informed driver decide what he or she...
by madbrain
Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 104
Views: 8003

Re: Do you consider your emergency fund part of your portfol

I don't even have a dedicated emergency fund at this point since the portfolio is large enough and has enough bonds in it not to need one. So I voted yes.
by madbrain
Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:11 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do you consider your emergency fund part of your portfolio?
Replies: 50
Views: 3041

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

The French thing about manual transmission is probably just a test of coordination. If you are not coordinated enough to drive a manual transmission car, then perhaps the authorities feel you have no business at all driving a car anyways. Maybe that is the case, I don't know. But I still don't thin...
by madbrain
Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 104
Views: 8003

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

The car I drove was a manual transmission and that's what made it so fun. I guess I will never be able to understand the appeal of a manual transmission. It is much more difficult to use. They seem to be very popular in France where I grew up, where you have to pass your driving test on a stick shi...
by madbrain
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 104
Views: 8003

Re: Which 4 door with 250+ hp

Still searching for a car. I recently drove a GTI and was shocked at how much fun this car was to drive. Now I understand what refinement really means in a car. The shifting was so smooth. What a difference from all the other clunkers I've been test driving. If you like smooth shifting, you should ...
by madbrain
Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which 4 door with 250+ hp
Replies: 104
Views: 8003

Re: Budget breakers

[ No worries, it Is not something I intended to do. Autocorrect is a process where the program believes you are spelling a word incorrectly and attempts to fix it for you. In theory it sounds great, and can work well for some things. For others, there is no telling what you may end up with... Autoc...
by madbrain
Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Budget breakers
Replies: 37
Views: 2767

Re: Banking on VPN or off for Man in the Middle issue?

the question I should have asked, is booting from a USB drive (setup and updated right) naked vs. VPN Not on a USB drive. as I don't think I'll be using the VPN if I'm using a USB /Linux drive for online banking, since the VPN runs via OVPN software, not on my router(as I learned was not really fas...
by madbrain
Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banking on VPN or off for Man in the Middle issue?
Replies: 12
Views: 1302

Re: Poll: Cash Holdings

I wonder - of the people holding 4% or less - is that because you are all in on purpose or broke (simply don't have any cash to hold)? Depends what you mean by "all in". The cash portion in my portfolio may be 0%, but my bond allocation is still 40%, including 8% in junk and 32% in invest...
by madbrain
Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Cash Holdings
Replies: 65
Views: 3620

Re: Budget breakers

For me the regular budget breakers tend to be electronics - all sorts of computer gadgets, audio recording equipment, still/video camera, lenses. My husband also gets his laptop damaged/stolen regularly every 2.5 years also. Same with expensive cell phones. Quicken says my electronics purchases over...
by madbrain
Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Budget breakers
Replies: 37
Views: 2767

Re: Budget breakers

The prepaid debit cards can be great for using in a budget, you can use one for play money and some people even put their grocery money on one. The grocery budget is the most variable monthly expenses for most families, for a family of 5 ours can range from $250 to $750 if I'm not keeping an eye on...
by madbrain
Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Budget breakers
Replies: 37
Views: 2767

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

However, Wikipedia states that in San Fransisco, one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., the median (not mean) family income is $87,329. Wiki also states there is an emigration of middle-income families. How then do the majority of families, making approximately half of the required $...
by madbrain
Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9282

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

Property taxes in California, including the bay area, are not on the high side compared to the rest of the country, due to Prop 13. At least, not as a proportion of home values. Speak for yourself, Mr. Low Basis :-). Property taxes on adjacent homes can be 10:1. Existing homes assessed value goes u...
by madbrain
Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9282

Re: Poll: Cash Holdings

sdsailing wrote:I don't understand the 0% answer, unless this is "under the mattress only". How does one operate with 0% ?


If the portfolio is large enough, and the cash portion rounds closer to 0% than 1%, one can still operate.
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Cash Holdings
Replies: 65
Views: 3620

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

I cancelled my Citi Dividend card a few years ago even though it was an old account. I just had no use for it and ran into some issue with Citi that upset me. I use the Fidelity Amex for 98% of purchases, and Fidelity VISA for the merchants that don't take Amex. I only spend about $2000/year on the ...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi

Actually, the Visa is a 2% cash back card as well, except for the first 15,000 points. The difference between 2% and 1.5% on the first 15,000 points is equivalent to $75. I use the Visa for everything, and just think of it as being 2% unlimited cash back for all purchases, but with a $75 annual fee...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New 2% cash back Mastercard from Citi
Replies: 195
Views: 20206

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

The article is paywalled for me. Using private browsing and/or google search doesn't help. I always use private browsing and searched using Google and it came up. Let me try again right now. It worked. I didn't even use the hyphen in the middle of the title. It was the first hit. Maybe there's some...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9282

Re: New or Used Prius

We just bought a 2008 Prius (49,000 on odometer) from a good friend I found this MMM article interesting, especially regarding the battery life issue: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/20/toyota-prius-ass-kicker-or-trouble-maker/ I would not take advice from MMM on this. I bought a 2001 Prius ...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New or Used Prius
Replies: 9
Views: 843

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

I live in California, Bay Area. Here is a break down of my expense (I religiously track it on mint.com) on a monthly basis Mortgage, HOA $4,500 Day Care $1,600 Food and Dining $1,500 I pay $12,000 in property tax, an average of $1,000 a month and about an additional $2,600 for other items, i.e. sho...
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9282

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

The article is paywalled for me. Using private browsing and/or google search doesn't help.
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9282

Re: buying a house in france

Wire the money. I have had very good experience with Everbank in terms of fees and exchange rates for wire transfers between US and France, in both directions. Can't comment about HSBC.
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: buying a house in france
Replies: 15
Views: 1607

Re: Poll: Cash Holdings

I have less than 0.5% of my portfolio in FDIC bank accounts, so I voted 0%.

I have a significant chunk of my portfolio in a Stable value fund, about 17%, but I didn't count it as cash.
by madbrain
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Cash Holdings
Replies: 65
Views: 3620

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

Another advantage of Costco that others have not mentioned yet : if you manage to consume the massive quantities of food you will buy there, you will also increase in size, and thus be able to buy your clothes at Costco for a bargain - they don't tend to carry small sizes for many clothes, and for i...
by madbrain
Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

Re: Whole Foods Plays Bargain Grocer in Manhattan

Whole Foods Market Inc., working to shed its “Whole Paycheck” image, has become one of the cheaper chains for grocery shopping in Manhattan, according to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence. A basket of 97 items, including orange juice and frozen pizza, was $391.39 at Whole Foods, compared with $398...
by madbrain
Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

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

I found that I have stopped going to Costco simply because it takes us way too long to get in and out and my time is valuable. Instead, I send my shopping list to my in laws who are able to go during work hours :D Agreed. My wife and I were pondering joining as well, so we went with some neighbors ...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

Re: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?

If you sell and then buy another house, about 6% gets paid to real estate agents for each transaction. Someone has to pay for these commissions, and it's you. Wait a minute why would he be paying the full commission on both transactions? The commissions in each transaction cost you money, whether y...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?
Replies: 42
Views: 3657

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

Note that Google shopping express has started making home deliveries from Costco for non-perishable items. The delivery service has been free and very good. Give it a try if you are in their - currently limited - same-day service area . I'm in their "next day" delivery area, which includes...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

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

We're members and love the products. The store is located way out in the burbs, so we don't go often. I think we'd get more benefit out of Amazon Prime honestly. Amazon prime >>> Costco for me The time savings from avoiding trips to stores for specific household items is unbelievable whereas Costco...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

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

The per-unit price is generally about the same as Target and Walmart, and for groceries more than other private label chains like Trader Joe's and Aldi. That definitely hasn't been my experience whatsoever. I have compared per-unit prices of dozens of items between Costco and Wal-Mart, Costco alway...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco:is it worth it for just two people?
Replies: 143
Views: 11031

Ghostbusters

30th anniversary, remastered in 4K. Just came back from it. We were a grand total of 4 people (!) in a gigantic XD theater. I was redeeming some Cinemark prepaid tickets bought at Costco. The XD is supposed to be extra charge for their premium XD with leather seats, but the clerk didn't know much ex...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 105
Views: 4407

Re: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?

What's the catch (if you're single, no kids)? Transaction costs. If you sell and then buy another house, about 6% gets paid to real estate agents for each transaction. Someone has to pay for these commissions, and it's you. There are other closing costs as well. Then of course, there are moving cos...
by madbrain
Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?
Replies: 42
Views: 3657

Re: Will Bill Gross beat the Total Bond Market Index?

gt4715b wrote:Active bond funds are a horrible idea.


I disagree. Active bond funds have a place. Certainly the Vanguard High yield bond and Vanguard California Intermediate muni bond funds have a place in my portfolio. Both are active funds.
by madbrain
Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will Bill Gross beat the Total Bond Market Index?
Replies: 38
Views: 3769

Re: How much money is too much for the 3 fund port?

Just curious, (and I know this is a pretty subjective question), but at what asset level do you think someone may outgrow the 3 fund portfolio and may need to at least supplement it with the assistance of a pro to create a muni bond ladder, etc. $1m, $3m, $5m, $10m 3-fund would probably work fine a...
by madbrain
Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much money is too much for the 3 fund port?
Replies: 15
Views: 1649
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