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by madbrain
Fri May 29, 2015 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Intuit Quicken Question
Replies: 5
Views: 401

Re: Intuit Quicken Question

Where were you during tax season ? Best deals are usually for both Quicken and Turbotax. I bought Turbotax 2014 Premier + Quicken 2015 download from Amazon for $84 + tax earlier this year. If you can hold off until next tax season, there will likely be a similar deal. The prices you quote are only $...
by madbrain
Fri May 29, 2015 7:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: World's worst market timer. Buy high, sell... never?
Replies: 7
Views: 1169

Re: World's worst market timer. Buy high, sell... never?

What was his annualized rate of return ?
by madbrain
Thu May 28, 2015 10:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 3336

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I'm an LLC registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Secretary of State, and with my local town; I have my own EIN from the IRS and my own business banking account, HSA, 401(k) plan, etc. So even though I'm just me and have no employees I meet the requisite criteria for being a business. So...
by madbrain
Wed May 27, 2015 3:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 849
Views: 119255

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who didn't care for Mad Max !

Yesterday we saw "Saint Laurent" . Very nice movie, if a bit long. The actors make for good eye candy.
The dog is a pretty good actor, too, and I'm a cat person.
by madbrain
Mon May 25, 2015 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Displeased with Fidelity Cash / BNY Mellon- debit card theft
Replies: 18
Views: 1832

Re: Displeased with Fidelity Cash / BNY Mellon- debit card theft

Then, I received the same letter stating that they didn't believe my claim. That seems like a different letter than the one I received. Mine stated they closed the claim because they couldn't get ahold of me. This after they left a grand total of one message on my voice mail, and I left many on the...
by madbrain
Sun May 24, 2015 2:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend Anti-Virus/Internet Security Suite Please
Replies: 14
Views: 986

Re: Recommend Anti-Virus/Internet Security Suite Please

You can get AVG Ultimate . It's good for 2 years and unlimited devices including computers and phones.
Currently -$0.01 after rebate at Fry's.

http://www.frys.com/product/8231306?sit ... IN_RSLT_PG

I don't know of any good package that you get free updates forever for.
by madbrain
Thu May 21, 2015 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

How does this work when you go to make a purchase online though? Don't you still need to type a cc number in? Yes, unfortunately, there is no easy way to use the chip directly online. I think given all the various devices used to access the Internet, there will never be a universal way to interface...
by madbrain
Thu May 21, 2015 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

Isn't this all for the protection of the banks, not consumers ? I have had fraudulent claims but always resolved by Amex. So why do I care about this ? When the banks decide to this is how it must work, we have to use it. And all these years they did not, they decided those losses were acceptable a...
by madbrain
Thu May 21, 2015 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

a) Moving from magstripe cards to pure "Chip & Signature" cards only has a security benefit (defeating the skimming & cloning issue), without any additional customer hassle. b) Moving from magstripe cards to pure "Chip & PIN" cards has extra security benefits, BUT al...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

Skimming devices wouldn't work against pure "Chip and Signature" cards, since the EMV chip is generating a new number each time. With Chip and signature, there is no PIN at all. The chip is unlocked by default. All a thief needs to do to use it is steal the card physically and sign transa...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 9:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The BIG problem with the S&P 500 index?
Replies: 37
Views: 6049

Re: The BIG problem with the S&P 500 index?

jwillis77373 wrote:A. Its Cheap
B. Its Broadly available
C. Its Domestic
D. Its Tax efficient
E. Its Value keeps up with inflation
F. Its Re-balanced automatically
G. Its Insurance against blowing money on toys
H. Its easy to understand

I. don't see the problem


I see one - actually 8 missing apostrophes.
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

By "at a later time, in a batch" are you saying at the end of the day, after the customer had left the restaurant? Yes. If so, there would be no way for the offline terminal to check if the card was cancelled, stolen, over-the-limit, etc, and stop the customer from leaving the restaurant ...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 8:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

In offline cards the chip is stored on the card. You mean the PIN is stored on the card. In online it is stored in the credit card servers. Either is valid under the EMV standard. Those online and offline PINs are really serving different purposes, though. The offline PIN actually unlocks the chip....
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 8:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

So you're saying that the restaurant waiter brings their non-wireless chip & pin terminal to the customer's table, the customer inserts card & enters PIN number, then the waiter brings the non-wireless terminal to the restaurant's centralized wired docking station to process the actual card...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ATM fraud minimization steps
Replies: 15
Views: 875

Re: ATM fraud minimization steps

Other suggestions? Be sure to never insert your card and type your ATM card PIN into a fake ATM that swallows your ATM card. Bank card thieves have been known to operate such machines. They will just prompt for your PIN multiple times and keep the card. If the thieves are successful, they now have ...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ATM fraud minimization steps
Replies: 15
Views: 875

Re: ATM fraud minimization steps

Since I use credit cards for practically every purchase I make, I rarely go to an ATM. A few merchants do not take credit cards, though not many. And I never make cash or check deposits. Check deposits don't require an ATM card. You can deposit them online with a smartphone or scanner. Cash deposit...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

Finally. I just wish we had the proper chip + PIN implementation. Off the top of my head, there seems to be an advantage with "Chip & Signature", versus "Chip & Pin". With "Chip & Signature", restaurant owners just need one wired credit card terminal. With ...
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

The Wizard wrote:
mptfan wrote:https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=163654

This link has nothing to do with using a chip card in the U.S....


The OP said nothing about the subject of the thread being limited to US use of a chip card.
by madbrain
Wed May 20, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!
Replies: 44
Views: 3066

Re: Just used my chip credit card for the first time!

If you were anywhere outside the United States I could post a good ole' "Welcome to 2005!" More like "Welcome to 1992", at least speaking for France. All "Carte bleue" have been chip and pin since that year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carte_Bleue When I turned 18 a f...
by madbrain
Tue May 19, 2015 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Not really. Fed deduction of 25% at marginal tax bracket, I'll take it :) Maybe it doesn't in your situation, but the California tax aspect is certainly is a deterrent in my case since I actually have high medical costs every year. Even if the HDHP premium + OOP costs were less than traditional pla...
by madbrain
Tue May 19, 2015 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Obviously that's a huge difference and it's pretty obvious in my mind where the savings come from: Liberty doesn't allow pre-existing conditions, no smoking/drinking, have to be healthy, etc. I like to think of this plan as kind of like a group HSA since it incentivizes everyone to shop around for ...
by madbrain
Tue May 19, 2015 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

No connection between these. Many, but not all, Christians object to some forms of birth control. However, the only branches of Christianity I'm aware of that oppose birth control wholesale are very traditional Catholics and some exceptionally conservative Evangelicals. Sorry, I'm not well versed i...
by madbrain
Tue May 19, 2015 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

I just wanted to jump in here and say that we recently cancelled our ACA plan and signed up for Medishare. Although we haven't had anything major happen, when we go to the doctor we tell them we don't have insurance and pay in cash. We get a substantial discount for paying upfront. Our sharing amou...
by madbrain
Tue May 19, 2015 2:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Theoretical wrote:Well, then at least the Federal deduction is still an advantage.


Yes, but I think this fact reduces the appeal of HDHP HSA plans in California vs traditional plans.
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Let alone how they negotiate with Big Pharma, should the OP require expensive prescriptions. Found the answer to this at http://samaritanministriesreview.com/pros-and-cons-positives-vs-negatives/ Maintenance drugs are not shared So, basically, anyone who is chronically ill and requiring expensive p...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Unfortunately, if you are not an insurance company, you actually end up getting charged these very high rates. I am trying to understand whether these sharing programs do the same thing, or whether they are in fact paying (and sharing) the high rates. Looks like they are indeed paying the high rate...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

My wife also gets monthly birth control at $25 a pop (on health care sharing ministry, this would cost me $19 a month since it would be paid out of pocket but still from my old HSA so true cost = $25 x 75%). What would the health care ministry think of your wife taking birth control ? Don't you hav...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Let alone how they negotiate with Big Pharma, should the OP require expensive prescriptions. Found the answer to this at http://samaritanministriesreview.com/pros-and-cons-positives-vs-negatives/ Maintenance drugs are not shared So, basically, anyone who is chronically ill and requiring expensive p...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?
Replies: 49
Views: 3167

Re: Healthcare Sharing Ministry A No Brainer?

Theoretical wrote: Especially living in California, the advantage of being able to continue contributing to a tax-deferred or tax-free HSA is a big one.


It actually isn't. HSA contributions are not tax deductible for purposes of California state income tax.
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 9:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets: Yes or No?
Replies: 56
Views: 4247

Re: Emerging Markets: Yes or No?

The Planner wrote:I don't have the total international index fund. As a non- American expat, I have no choice but to build my portfolio with low cost ETFs.


Is this ETF not available to you ?
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/ ... IntExt=INT
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best cell plan for 'data hog'?
Replies: 13
Views: 1265

Re: Best cell plan for 'data hog'?

T-Mobile $30.00 plan is VERY good. They are rolling out a new low freq. ( 700MHz block 12 ) which will greatly improve their coverage and building penetration.. the only downside is that you must get a phone that has the ability to use this new band, none of the iphones will work and limited androi...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 849
Views: 119255

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Pitch perfect 2 : very funny comedy. Now I will have to rent the first one. Max Max : fury road. I thought it was terribly boring. I must be in the minority obviously since this movie gets 98% on rotten tomatoes. But my husband felt the same way I did. I had never seen any other Mad Max movie before...
by madbrain
Mon May 18, 2015 8:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Net Worth: How do you 'stack up'
Replies: 6
Views: 2110

Re: Net Worth: How do you 'stack up'

This seems like data mining to me. If my computer "knows" that (for example) I looked at a particular dress in an ad, and continues to show it to me every time I check Facebook, why would this site not collect this information about my finances and use it somehow (maybe to show me financi...
by madbrain
Sun May 17, 2015 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does anyone limit available credit on Credit card?
Replies: 34
Views: 2426

Re: Does anyone limit available credit on Credit card?

Credit card fraud isn't something I worry about. The bank is liable for it. I'd worry about carrying a lot of cash when traveling anywhere, in the U.S. or abroad. That seems to open up a different kind of risk. +1 I don't even carry debit cards any longer. Good luck managing abroad without a debit ...
by madbrain
Fri May 15, 2015 3:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing Solar Panels
Replies: 11
Views: 1185

Re: Installing Solar Panels

IMO, solar has decent returns, but its not 8%, and its not risk-free. That completely depends on the individual situation : your consumption, electricity rates, cost of array, how much sun you get, etc. I have a PV array that has cost me $32,239.80 net of incentives. Last year, it reduced my electr...
by madbrain
Thu May 14, 2015 5:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6
Replies: 49
Views: 3150

Re: Home Internet - Cat 5e or Cat 6

Use Cat6 or Cat6a for the cable. Cat6 should be only 30% more than Cat5e, not 300%. It seems like most of the extra cost is not coming from the cable, but the requirement for a new patch panel, vs keeping an old patch panel if using Cat 5e. If so, maybe just upgrade the cable now, and upgrade the pa...
by madbrain
Tue May 12, 2015 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?
Replies: 15
Views: 440

Re: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?

They were thinking about dropping it but recently renewed. It has a 20% deductible and I believe they have ten million in coverage for 120 unit complex. Are you sure it's a 20% deductible and not 15% ? I believe the CEA only offers 15% or 10% deductibles. And for condos it is 15% only . See : http:...
by madbrain
Tue May 12, 2015 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?
Replies: 15
Views: 440

Re: Should I get condo earthquake insurance (California)?

I live in a modest one bedroom condo and the homeowners association does have earthquake insurance for the property, but I do not believe it covers my dwelling per se. If HOA covers the building, that is very good news. Your HOA dues must be quite high to be able to pay for this, however. You shoul...
by madbrain
Tue May 12, 2015 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?
Replies: 105
Views: 5358

Re: Which Company Do You Have Auto Insurance With?

Safeco. Same as my home, which they insure for about half the cost of the nearest competitor.
by madbrain
Tue May 12, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are potential drawback of pay-per-mile insurance?
Replies: 10
Views: 909

Re: What are potential drawback of pay-per-mile insurance?

I did a quote with Metromile with 2 drivers, one (myself) driving 9600 miles a year on one car and 12000 miles on the other car. It came out to $1666/year, about $100 less per year than my auto policy with Safeco which was $1775 . This is for full coverage with highest deductible ($1000), and no med...
by madbrain
Tue May 12, 2015 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best alternate phone?
Replies: 15
Views: 1335

Re: best alternate phone?

Or buy an indestructible waterproof case e.g. OtterBox and a lanyard. There are other ways cell phones can disappear - mine was stolen about a month ago. I have Ooma at home as backup phone, which I still need for faxing and use for making international calls too. My husband also has another cell p...
by madbrain
Thu May 07, 2015 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nutribullet or Ninja extractor?
Replies: 20
Views: 1551

Re: Nutribullet or Ninja extractor?

I bought a Ninja ultra for $119 at Costco last year. Could not be happier.
I don't know if it will last, but if it doesn't, Costco will take it back.
by madbrain
Wed May 06, 2015 11:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Case FOR the Roth 401k
Replies: 46
Views: 4261

Re: The Case FOR the Roth 401k

2. The Roth 401K results in a greater amount invested (in practice). Investing $18,000 post-tax is worth more than investing $18,000 pre-tax (and then owing the taxes.) This is not meaningful, since it also costs you more to invest $18,000 post-tax than pre-tax. In one case you have to pay the taxe...
by madbrain
Tue May 05, 2015 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 28
Views: 5245

Re: Costco and AMEX

i haven't gotten any info or offers re the costco amex card situation. i'm sure i'll accept the card deal they offer - turn down the credit card then you have to carry a standalone membership card anyway. Personally, I'm not really sure. I recently had my wallet stolen with 5 credit cards in it. Th...
by madbrain
Tue May 05, 2015 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 3336

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

ACA did little to fix the individual marketplace for those making above the subsidy limits. I don't think that's true. ACA did away with pre-existing conditions exclusions. I believe the OP would not have been able to obtain any insurance on the individual market due to those. Pre-ACA the only opti...
by madbrain
Tue May 05, 2015 2:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Replace Fidelity AMEX with Citibank Double Cash
Replies: 14
Views: 1769

Re: Replace Fidelity AMEX with Citibank Double Cash

Has anyone replaced their Fidelity AMEX with Citibank Double Cash Visa? I'm thinking about doing so but wonder if there is any benefit other than the citibank being a visa (and thus having one less card in the wallet). Is the Citibank a world mastercard with better extended warranty? Is Citibank an...
by madbrain
Mon May 04, 2015 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400lbs, delivery or pick up?
Replies: 63
Views: 3113

Re: 400lbs, delivery or pick up?

packet, madbrain: Wait, what!??! What brand, flavor, style, etc? This, I will look into! Tho... the nearest Costco is about an hour and 45 minutes away... so I'll have to post another "is it worth it?" post ... :/ 1h45 drive away is a pretty bad deterrent. The brand is Litter Purfect, 35 l...
by madbrain
Mon May 04, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400lbs, delivery or pick up?
Replies: 63
Views: 3113

Re: 400lbs, delivery or pick up?

I just want to point out that you can buy 400 lbs of cat litter at Costco for about $100 .
I have never bought more than 180 lbs at a time, though.
by madbrain
Sun May 03, 2015 12:23 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Forum software upgrade bug reports and change requests
Replies: 206
Views: 9807

Re: Forum software upgrade bug reports and change requests

Another issue, which is more annoying, and a regression : When maximizing/widening a browser window containing a bogleheads.org thread, such as this one, There are now wide blank margins on the left and right, which didn't use to be there. I can make these margins disappear by enlarging the font, bu...
by madbrain
Sun May 03, 2015 12:13 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Forum software upgrade bug reports and change requests
Replies: 206
Views: 9807

Re: Forum software upgrade bug reports and change requests

Change request : On my desktop Firefox 37 browser, I now get the tiny buttons where it used to say "report" and "quote". The new buttons are not intuitive to me. I suppose they might make sense on a mobile browser with limited screen real estate. But they don't make sense on my t...

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