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Re: Tell me about FitBit - is it worth having?

DW got a Garmin vivofit several months ago and is very happy with it. She uses it all the time. We just finished a vacation in Europe and it was great to be able to track how far we walked each day as we were touring. DW went with the vivofit over the fitbit because vivofit has an LCD Display that s...
by magellan
Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tell me about FitBit - is it worth having?
Replies: 26
Views: 2260

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

4) The problem is that if your smartphone accidentally uses mobile data and you do not have a data plan, it could be very expensive. Smartphones are designed to automatically use data for all kinds of things and it's not always easy or possible to completely disable the mobile data functionality if...
by magellan
Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 29
Views: 1960

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

Keep your dumb phone or get a dumb phone from another carrier. No data plan. Buy an Android tablet. There are $100 7 inch tablets with 1280x800 screens. Nearly all tablets are Wi-Fi only. Yup, you'll have to carry two things around with you. Compensation: It's much easier to do web surfing/mail rea...
by magellan
Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 29
Views: 1960

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

I do actually want to use data occasionally, when I use my phone as a satnav. If you don't have a data plan, a $5 app called MapsWithMe Pro is great for offline maps, including turn-by-turn navigation. I've used this app across the US and in several other countries. Even if your phone comes with a ...
by magellan
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 29
Views: 1960

Re: smartphone over wifi - still possible?

My latest AT&T contract ends this month, and I'd like to switch from a dumb phone with no data to a smartphone, but I don't want to pay for data. I have heard that it was once possible to use a smartphone with wifi, to surf the net and check email, but then thought I saw that the carriers were ...
by magellan
Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: smartphone over wifi - still possible?
Replies: 29
Views: 1960

Re: Sole proprietor or other forms?

You might want to check out http://www.score.org to see if there's a local SCORE chapter near you that offers free face-to-face small business advice. There are lots of factors to consider in terms of choosing the most appropriate business organization, however if your main concern is liability prot...
by magellan
Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sole proprietor or other forms?
Replies: 7
Views: 747

Re: ACA 2015 Policies Available

I'm thinking that the other bills were pretty substantial, when you consider they included bills from the doctors, but who knows. You may be right. It just doesn't detail them enough for us to know. IMO, this case serves more as a warning to young invincibles that going uninsured is a recipe for fi...
by magellan
Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 2015 Policies Available
Replies: 12
Views: 1253

Re: ACA 2015 Policies Available

[url]"Woman taken to 'wrong' hospital faces bankruptcy" Wrong as in out of network, when she was unconscious and without anyone along who knew her insurance. Balance billing is a real problem and getting a plan with a broad network is a much safer bet if you can afford it. Folks with empl...
by magellan
Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 2015 Policies Available
Replies: 12
Views: 1253

Re: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration

The location of each dealership determines the total tax, which is usually comprised of the state tax + county tax + local/city tax. I'm sure this is dependent on geography, but in our area vehicle taxes are handled at registration time. For example, NH doesn't have a sales tax but Mass and Maine d...
by magellan
Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration fee"
Replies: 28
Views: 2558

Re: ACA 2015 Policies Available

Transferred to ICU for 4 days, told billing about being out of network and they assured me not to worry. A few weeks later received a large bill from the provider. If you don't mind sharing, approximately how much was the bill? Did it ever get resolved or is it still in dispute? Most people don't r...
by magellan
Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 2015 Policies Available
Replies: 12
Views: 1253

Re: ACA 2015 Policies Available

The UHC plan does not cover out of network except for emergency care and network is limited to my state. So if I am traveling out of state and go to the ER where I am admitted is it all covered (hospital, surgery, anesthesiologiest, etc)? Think something like appendicitis or heart attack or somethi...
by magellan
Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 2015 Policies Available
Replies: 12
Views: 1253

Re: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration

That said, my friend wants a base model with no options. In that case, would there be any point in asking for the VIN? I never ask a dealer for the VIN directly. I check each local dealer's new car inventory as listed on their website to see if they have a car I want. If they do, I copy that car's ...
by magellan
Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration fee"
Replies: 28
Views: 2558

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

I am mostly interested in comparisons between on and off exchange, and any specific experiences in VA. Thanks, Magellan. For a list of off-exchange policies, visit the link below and enter your zip code and information. You'll need to say you had a qualifying event to see 2014 prices. I just clicke...
by magellan
Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration

As others have said, use the exact phrase "out-the-door price" in your communications. Don't say price with "no extra fees" or when you pick up the vehicle they'll say "This $300 charge isn't a fee, it's for the trunk mats that were already on the vehicle." I've found &...
by magellan
Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car purchase- "documentation fee" and "registration fee"
Replies: 28
Views: 2558

Re: Why do HY Savings and CD rates dominate short-term bonds

The price of (most) CD's or HY savings accounts are very stable and while they might produce more return than similar duration bonds they don't have the same negative correlation with equities. My sense is that any 'negative correlation' benefit that might show up with the bond approach would be an...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do HY Savings and CD rates dominate short-term bonds?
Replies: 26
Views: 3023

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

...makes it hard to get responses that are pertinent to the original question. On that front, how are you doing with the on-topic responses so far? Have you been able to look at the 2014 plans on healthcare.gov to see the plans and prices? Did the calculator I posted about make sense? Do you have a...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

I am skeptical that one that costs an extra $50-100/month could be the difference between poor narrow networks and good large networks. Am I wrong? Anthem took a lot of heat last year for their limited network plans, which were all they offered to individuals in many states, both on and off the exc...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

I don't know about VA specifically, but this Forbes article discusses a study that says typically the different levels of ACA plans all use the same network whether you buy Bronze, Gold, or whatnot. It seems top quality networks just aren't for sale at any price on the exchanges . That's a great ar...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

Yes, people who receive benefits (welfare) and make $100k can (sometimes) pay their premiums. Exact data isn't available yet, but most estimates are that at least 80-90% of ACA policyholders have stayed current on their premium payments. So sometimes is a stretch. I believe my non-aca individual po...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

Some plans pay at or below Medicaid plus Medicaid doesn't have a large deductible that has to be paid by a patient that can barely pay their monthly premiums. I don't know of any stats that say ACA patients are more likely than others to be in a category of can 'barely pay their monthly premiums'. ...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

Does the ACA impose any additional requirement for a plan to be included on the exchange that it does not apply to a (non-grandfathered) plan that is not listed on the exchange? I believe the main difference is a technicality in the rules for canceling coverage when someone doesn't pay their premiu...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

I am getting ready, this month, to make a decision about AHA for 2015 I am retired, so I will not have earned income. Unearned income will be 30,000 or less based on my best estimates. Does anyone have advice, experience, or a link that will have me make the best decision ... AHA or private insuran...
by magellan
Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:26 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

Deleted - On second thought my comment was probably too political and didn't serve a practical purpose.
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 3:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: Supreme Court Blues

One side note is that ACA premiums include a built-in fee to cover the cost of running the exchange website. As I understand it, if a state has their own exchange website, they get the fee, if they use the federal website, the fee goes back to the feds. So a decision by a state to switch from a fede...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supreme Court Blues
Replies: 34
Views: 2193

Re: Supreme Court Blues

If you live in Massachusetts, which had a well-functioning universal access system in place even before ACA, I am not sure I'd worry too much. I am 61 and very happy with my unsubsidized ACA plan in NY, but my late husband and I had budgeted for healthcare even before ACA dramatically lowered my co...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supreme Court Blues
Replies: 34
Views: 2193

Re: Supreme Court Blues

You don't say which state you live in. If your state has a state run exchange, this won't impact you at all. Even if your state currently uses the federal exchange, it could convert to a state run exchange. There are also some states with 'partnership exchanges' that are technically state regulated,...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Supreme Court Blues
Replies: 34
Views: 2193

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

Aside from relatively benign coverage requirements and some limitations on insurer profit margins, ACA plan construction is fundamentally market driven. Reimbursements and premiums are not set by the government. Insurers seem to have decided that the best way to maximize profits is to offer the lowe...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??

We didn't have an option for private individual plans due to pre-existing conditions (we are healthy and active at age 55, but prior health experiences knocked us out of the individual non-ACA market). In the US, it is illegal for an insurance company to offer new health insurance coverage that's c...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ObamaCare vs. Private Insurance??
Replies: 105
Views: 9263

Re: Intel 7260 wireless AC card in laptop ?

Thanks. That's a noteworthy suggestion, especially when considering my aversion to Window 8 and it's presence on all the new laptops. I was very slow to move to Windows 8 and agree that initially it was a disaster. Frankly, the decisions MS made with the UI defied logic and it makes total sense tha...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I avoid laptops w/ Intel 7260 wireless AC card ?
Replies: 15
Views: 1509

Re: Electricity costs going up

Re: Choosing a power supplier With some help from google, you can find handy websites that list local suppliers and rates. This is like shopping for airfare or a hotel. Use google and be a smart shopper. Here's one website I just found on google: https://www.chooseenergy.com/ Be sure to stay on top ...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electricity costs going up
Replies: 46
Views: 3214

Re: Electricity costs going up

I agree the main reason for skyrocketing electricity prices in New England is limited ng pipeline capacity. IMO, it's really of a perfect storm with several factors: 1) Limited natural gas pipeline capacity 2) New ng demand for home heating from conversion of oil systems to ng is exacerbating pipeli...
by magellan
Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electricity costs going up
Replies: 46
Views: 3214

Re: What do you set your thermostat to (in F)?

At night we set the upstairs thermostat to 62 degrees or so. A little colder is ok, but not much warmer now that we have the winter down on the bed. DW and I both sleep best when the room is cooler, so this low setting saves some money and optimizes comfort. For downstairs, we adjust the daytime the...
by magellan
Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you set your thermostat to (in F)?
Replies: 81
Views: 4457

Re: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield

A fund that bought those bonds at par in the past would have a distribution yield of the average coupon divided by average price, so roughly 4/110 = 3.6% (ignoring expenses). But a fund that bought today would have a distribution yield of about (4 - 2) / 110 = 1.8%. Does that sound about right? Kev...
by magellan
Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:37 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield
Replies: 63
Views: 6303

Re: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield

The problem is that the amortization/accretion effects have tax consequences even if there is no cash flow. I believe that funds have to distribute the taxable amount without regard to cash flow. I can't exactly tell where you're agreeing with Kevin and where you're disagreeing. You both mention th...
by magellan
Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield
Replies: 63
Views: 6303

Re: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield

A fund that bought those bonds at par in the past would have a distribution yield of the average coupon divided by average price, so roughly 4/110 = 3.6% (ignoring expenses). But a fund that bought today would have a distribution yield of about (4 - 2) / 110 = 1.8%. Does that sound about right? It ...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield
Replies: 63
Views: 6303

Re: How to make withdrawals during retirement

If you plan to purchase ACA health insurance to cover you in the years between retirement and medicare eligibility, you'll probably want to optimize your taxable income around the ACA tax credit rules, which could have a big impact on your withdrawal plan. For example, you may want make withdrawals ...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to make withdrawals during retirement
Replies: 28
Views: 2249

Re: Does HSA make sense for me?

For people that have done both HMO style and HDHP with HSA, did you guys find it a hassle going through the HSA to pay for services? Many HSAs work like checking accounts. Some come with debit cards and checks and even online billpay services. You don't send in paperwork for reimbursements, you rei...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Does HSA make sense for me?
Replies: 13
Views: 1224

Re: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield

The way Vanguard calculates distribution yield results in a number that is very close to the current yield calculation for a bond. If we divide the most recent distribution amount on 9/30/2014 by the price on 9/30/2014, and annualize it we get: 0.02890 / 11.76 / 30 x 365 = 2.99% My understanding is...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SEC Yield, YTM, Distribution Yield, Current Yield
Replies: 63
Views: 6303

Re: HMO, PPO, or HDHP+HSA

My federal marginal tax rate is 28% and I live in CA. I have been reading about the tax benefits of the HSA, and also about how CA is one of the few states that doesn't all tax deductions for HSA contributions. I'm not really a fan of Kaiser but that seems to be the cheapest option. Depending on ho...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HMO, PPO, or HDHP+HSA
Replies: 3
Views: 538

Re: Need help with what should be simple... a landline phone

AFAIK all broadband internet services are 'shared' one way or the other, meaning that there will always be a bottleneck somewhere and, when everybody is trying to use it at the same time, performance may suffer. The 'broadband is a shared link' meme is meaningless marketing babble. Whether an ISP u...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:40 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need help with what should be simple... a landline phone!
Replies: 18
Views: 1335

Re: Need help with what should be simple... a landline phone

VoIP needs less than 1Mbps each way (closer to 100Kbps each way), Wow, shockingly low. Actually, it's even lower. POTS systems evolved to allocate 64kbps in each direction for a 'hear a pin drop' phone call. With LAN packet overhead, the max data rate required to carry a POTS quality phone call ove...
by magellan
Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need help with what should be simple... a landline phone!
Replies: 18
Views: 1335

Re: Smartphone questions

iPhone user here. Works well with my Mac and Apple doesn't sell ads based off my email, usage, or other data mining that Google does. I'm not sure there's a clear winner between Apple and Google in terms of respecting users' privacy. Both offer a way to opt out of tracking, but both have made misst...
by magellan
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 106
Views: 8865

Re: Best health insurance plan for a bad year (cancer)?

IMO, the first consideration should be the adequacy of the provider network and drug formulary that each plan uses. Are they the same or are they different between the two plans? Many name-brand insurers offer lower priced plans that look great on paper (eg low deductibles, out of pocket max, etc), ...
by magellan
Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best health insurance plan for a bad year (cancer)?
Replies: 30
Views: 2351

Re: Smartphone questions

You're spending a lot on the data plan, so don't be cheap about the phone you buy. Saving a hundred or two on a two year expense of over $1000 is penny wise pound foolish. The total cost of the transaction isn't really relevant. $100-$200 is real money and requiring any product to 'earn' its premiu...
by magellan
Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 106
Views: 8865

Re: Anyone cancelling travel plans?

Nothing is certain, but it's reassuring that none of the family members of that first Ebola patient in Texas contracted the disease, despite living in close quarters with the patient for days after his symptoms began. That indicates that the disease isn't highly contagious until an infected person i...
by magellan
Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone cancelling travel plans?
Replies: 117
Views: 6417

Re: Smartphone questions

Non-replaceable batteries are actually often replaceable if your computer-fu is strong. I have a Nexus 4 which has a supposedly non-replaceable battery which is actually not particularly hard to replace compared to say replacing a fan on a laptop. Good point. Compared to the Moto X, the Nexus 4 see...
by magellan
Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 106
Views: 8865

Re: Smartphone questions

One consideration if you plan to keep the phone for longer than 2-3 years is whether the battery is replaceable. For users looking for a longer replacement cycle, a nonreplaceable battery will likely be the weak link. I have a MyTouch 4G and the battery died after 2 years. The replacement cost $15 a...
by magellan
Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 106
Views: 8865

Re: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now

IMO, making purchases with a debit card that's tied to your checking account is not a smart thing to do, given the current state of things. The financial exposure is limited of course, but the hassle and embarrassment factor of a breach can be significant if your balance drops to zero and checks bou...
by magellan
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now on?
Replies: 56
Views: 3903

Re: Snow Blower

I strongly recommend heated handles, seemed like a luxury to me, so I did not get it. Once my hands get cold (which happens no matter what kind of gloves/ mittens/ hand warmers I wear) it turns into a miserable experience... Having serveral pairs of gloves is a good idea. Insulated ski gloves work ...
by magellan
Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snow Blower
Replies: 49
Views: 2813

Re: Please help me solve my wireless router issues

If you open a web browser and click on the address bar and type 192.168.1.1 then hit enter, what happens?

If nothing happens, see if any of the addresses from this link give any response:
http://www.techspot.com/guides/287-defa ... addresses/
by magellan
Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help me solve my wireless router issues
Replies: 29
Views: 1324
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