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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 11:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 98
Views: 6868

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 8:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best health insurance plan for a bad year (cancer)?
Replies: 30
Views: 2282

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 7:05 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 98
Views: 6868

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 12:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone cancelling travel plans?
Replies: 117
Views: 6323

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 11:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 98
Views: 6868

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 10:23 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smartphone questions
Replies: 98
Views: 6868

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 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debit Card was hacked. Should I just use cash from now on?
Replies: 54
Views: 3375

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 9:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snow Blower
Replies: 49
Views: 2661

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 6:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help me solve my wireless router issues
Replies: 29
Views: 1219

Re: Clothes Dryer drying very slowly

IMO, these dryer vent cleaning kits are great: http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=aps&tag=bogleheads.org-20&field-keywords=linteater%20dryer%20vent%20cleaner Our dryer is in the middle of the house on the second floor and has over 25' of vent and some 90 degree turns. I got one of these a...
by magellan
Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clothes Dryer drying very slowly
Replies: 24
Views: 1950

Kitces: Sequence of returns risk and 10yr real returns

Understanding Sequence Of Return Risk – Safe Withdrawal Rates, Bear Market Crashes, And Bad Decades Instead, the real problem is not a bad year or two at the beginning of retirement, but a bad decade to start off retirement. A bad decade outlasts most cash reserve strategies, many bucket strategies...
by magellan
Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Kitces: Sequence of returns risk and 10yr real returns
Replies: 14
Views: 1259

Re: Worth converting from single member LLC to S-Corp?

xanadu32 wrote:IRS doesn't treat it as a LLC but your clients do. You need to provide them your SSN and name instead of your EIN on W9 etc.

Just as an aside, SMLLC owners wanting to keep their SSN private can get an EIN in their own name and use this personal EIN on W9s.

Jim
by magellan
Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worth converting from single member LLC to S-Corp?
Replies: 12
Views: 1084

Re: Oatmeal suggestions

For breakfast every morning, I have something that I think is called 'refrigerator oats'. 1) Before going to bed, combine slow cook oats, a little brown sugar, some craisins, and milk in a breakfast bowl. 2) Place the mixture in the fridge overnight, covered with a plastic top from an old oats conta...
by magellan
Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oatmeal suggestions
Replies: 130
Views: 7075

Re: Water Faucet Aerators

A water faucet aerator is the screw-on cap at the ejection point of a water faucet. It restricts flow rate and aerates the flow, as well as making it more continuous/uniform. There is a screen in the aerator. Does anyone know the typical size of the holes in the screen? I'd like to find one that ca...
by magellan
Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water Faucet Aerators
Replies: 3
Views: 598

Re: New car and how to handle my father's trade in

Craigslist if you do not mind strangers coming to your house but my wife said NO! It's sad that you can't trust people these days. We live in a fairly well to do neighborhood. There's no need to have strangers visit your house. I just sold a car using craigslist and I met potential buyers at a near...
by magellan
Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New car and how to handle my father's trade in
Replies: 25
Views: 1796

Re: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems

So If I setup a new VM with the old bash which is exploitable and a small hello world cgi called from web you can give me proof of root (add a file to /etc with owner root) access? The answer depends on how apache is configured. If apache is running as user www-data, the damage could be very limite...
by magellan
Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems
Replies: 62
Views: 3106

Re: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems

And if you ARE running internet-facing applications on your device that don't respond to pings (which includes the vast majority), you're technically vulnerable but nobody is going to really know you exist to exploit it. I agree with the general thrust of your post, but I don't think the ping comme...
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems
Replies: 62
Views: 3106

Re: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems

Ged wrote:Quite a few hobbyists use linux general purpose distros or firewall specific distros for homebrew routers. Folks doing that sort of thing need to investigate updates.

Also, anyone playing around with a Raspberry Pi Computer will want to check out this link.
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Shellshock" vulnerability for Linux based systems
Replies: 62
Views: 3106

Re: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment

I looked at the link again and your statement "Several popular ETFs had average spreads of 10 bps or more." does not appear to be true. Fair enough. I edited that right after I posted it to dial back the claim a bit. Don't get me wrong. I've done plenty of TLH over the years. But to me, m...
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment
Replies: 73
Views: 8727

Re: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment

I think worrying about the bid/ask spread is a complete red herring. The ETFs that one would want to own generally have a 1 cent spread. To give specific examples, I made 3 trades this past week. I used market orders for all the trades. There was no commission for any of the trades. The market orde...
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment
Replies: 73
Views: 8727

Re: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment

Perhaps I'm confused, but my gut feel is that after trading costs, this is likely to be much less beneficial than it appears. Every trade has hidden trading costs and they often amount to dozens of basis points on a round trip. Things like bid ask spreads, quote stuffing, information leakage and arb...
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment
Replies: 73
Views: 8727

Re: SSD+nonSSD HD combos seem to work well

So, I returned this second intel 7260 wireless AC card to the store and put back the original Intel wifi 5100 AGN which was dual band wireless N, and pretty decent, except for being N and not AC. You were smart to return the one Intel 7260 AC and lucky the other one works so well. I have this card ...
by magellan
Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SSD+nonSSD HD combos seem to work well
Replies: 17
Views: 1783

Re: money's worth ratio (MWR) of life annuities

New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities link - http://business.illinois.edu/ormir/AER%20December%201999.pdf So what's the difference between 85% and 95%? Most of it seems to be the discounting assumption. That paper is the same one I linked to earlier in this discussion. It shows ...
by magellan
Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Break-even point for HSA account

It's amazing how much variability there can be from employer to employer, with respect to the costs, incentives, etc. when choosing the HDHP plan. There can also be huge variation in the quality of the coverage from plan to plan, even among plans offered by the same insurer. Consumers know to look ...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Break-even point for HSA account
Replies: 8
Views: 848

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

They take the risk of unlucky sequence of events if they continue to invest their small savings. This is a great point. IMO, if you NEED it at 65, the choice shouldn't be between an annuity and a risky portfolio, but rather between an annuity and another safe alternative like a CD or TIPS ladder. T...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

In my view the problem is garbage in equals garbage out. You dont know the actual mortality table the insurance company is using. Thus its hard to have much validity. ...I plan to buy at age 80 IF im in good health and just basic needs... I agree in general and my guess is we've both approached thi...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

Thanks for the link. Interesting that also noticed the extreme sensitivity to interest rates. Yes it is. Although IMO it's more precise to say it's an extreme sensitivity to how the credit risk is priced, as opposed to a sensitivity to the absolute level of interest rates. Specifically the result i...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

How does one calculate the benefit received from mortality credits for buying a SPIA? Is there a graph or table? There is. See Table #2 on page 4 of this great paper from Milevsky from 2006. Here's a snippet of the table: Age 70 -> 138 (bp) Age 75 -> 237 Age 80 -> 414 Age 85 -> 725 So let's assume ...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

Longevity is unknown, and this is what drives the "cost" of either. And, in either case "this cost" is higher if we get hit by the probervial truck at an early age. The opposite is also true. There, I ran the numbers. :) IMO, you've completely missed the point of this thread. As...
by magellan
Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

IMO, the decision to purchase an annuity is in fact worthy of a breakeven analysis. For many, the question isn't whether or not to buy an annuity, but WHEN to buy it. The answer to this question depends on the overhead cost of the annuity and the value of the annuity's mortality credits. The optimal...
by magellan
Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

To me the boundary between thinking of buying an annuity as a break-even investment exercise versus as paying a company to accept our longevity risk is the difference between financial sophistication and the lack of it. I think perhaps you've misunderstood the OP's intent. As framed in the initial ...
by magellan
Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis

I tried to work through this problem a few years back in this thread . Along the way, I came across this 1999 research paper by Mitchell, et al. that took a crack at the problem and here's what they found: This paper presents new evidence on the expected discounted value of payments for annuity poli...
by magellan
Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are SPIA's fairly priced? - A quick and dirty analysis
Replies: 75
Views: 3666

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

It is a significant MISNOMER to call any sort of do it yourself scheme an "annuity". This is because you cannot get any MORTALITY CREDITS which come from pooling risk over a few thousand people of the same age... I prefer the term 'life annuity', which I think I learned from bobcat2. Life...
by magellan
Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

Can you say how you came up with the age of 80 where the balance tips in favor of life annuities? I would have thought that mortality credits might kick in as a major factor before that (e.g., ages early to mid-70s). Especially, when only trying to secure a base level of income, adding enough to so...
by magellan
Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

For everyone else, they are a valid retirement investment consideration in either the SPIA or longevity (deferred) annuity forms. I agree they are a valid consideration for many retirees, especially later in retirement, at which point it's much easier to distill out the great longevity insurance pr...
by magellan
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

Of course they are riskier than TIPS or Treasuries, so is everything else. :oops: Right. However TIPS are not riskier than TIPS, and they're generally the recommended alternative to a life annuity for generating a safe income stream. My feeling is that for most retirees, as long as space is availab...
by magellan
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

While there may have been testimony to that effect, this is simply untrue. The insurance subs were not endangered and were not liable for the parent's debt. It'd be helpful if you could provide some links to back up your contention that AIG's insurance subs were not endangered. Based on everything ...
by magellan
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:17 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: The Annuity Puzzlement

AIG's insurance subsidiaries, which were responsible for paying out on the annuities and life insurance policies, were not endangered. Only the parent company needed to be bailed out. AIG's insurance subsidiaries most certainly would have been in danger had AIG gone under. During the AIG bailout he...
by magellan
Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Annuity Puzzlement
Replies: 95
Views: 6876

Re: Which generator do you have?

... I use batteries at night, and don't run the generators... This comment didn't get much attention, but IMO it's a really important part of a good blackout strategy. We have a pair of auto jump-start power packs that each deliver 50 watts for 4 hours (19Ah batteries), along with a Black & Dec...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

I'm not aware of any NEC requirement that furnaces be hard wired. Perhaps there is, on the theory 'why would you want to unplug a furnace - what if your kids unplug it and your pipes freeze'. I'd guess they are normally hardwired because it's a few bucks cheaper, and most people don't want to unplu...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:31 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

I'd have so much regret not going with an automatic whole house kickover generator, and then have to shell out thousands cause I fried a component, or heaven forbid myself! There's no doubt that an oversized fully automatic whole-house approach is less complicated for the average homeowner. The que...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

I'm curious - how do you "plug-in" the furnace? Most furnaces are wired into your service panel. Assume you have a transfer switch? An $85 single circuit transfer switch is probably the simplest safe way to do it. In an emergency, the simplest way to do it without opening up the breaker p...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

Also, just as another data point. My forced hot water heating system with 5 zone values and one circulator pump draws about 475 watts sustained and less than 2k watts at startup. I've read that a good 2000 watt generator can just about run an oil or gas fired forced hot water heating system. The blo...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

Your breaker panel should tell you; in general, if it's running on a 20A or less 110 breaker, it should run on a 2kW generator (there are a couple of caveats depending on the details - some motors aren't inverter happy, and you could have a higher than normal starting surge). IMO, breaker size is o...
by magellan
Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

I'm mostly concerned about starting surge (plus I'm also a bit skeptical of the ratings). I should also warn you that I'm an electrical engineer, so I'm probably a bit overly conservative of this. But the starting surge can be 4-5X the running power requirement. And your meter probably won't notice...
by magellan
Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: Which generator do you have?

I've got a 5kW DeWalt portable gasoline that is our main backup generator. Got a 30 Amp transfer switch that it plugs into. I can have it up and running in about 5 minutes. I can run the essentials (well pump, refridge, freezer, oil burner), but need to switch those things in and out. I can run one...
by magellan
Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which generator do you have?
Replies: 127
Views: 8917

Re: How to safely sell a big ticket item online

IMO, for big ticket items, there are a few easy to follow guidelines that can help eliminate much of the risk of fraud. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, if the counter-party agrees to abide by these, the chances they're going to commit a blatant fraud, like passing a bad check or selling you some...
by magellan
Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to safely sell a big ticket item online
Replies: 42
Views: 2689

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

I'm not doing anything illegal or questionable, but even normal sites like Netflix and YouTube bog down when I'm running "naked". I'm convinced that my ISP is responsible foe this; hence, I run VPN 100% of the time. I've noticed the same thing. When youtube bogs down when I'm watching a v...
by magellan
Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banking on VPN or off for Man in the Middle issue?
Replies: 12
Views: 1345

Re: Changes to T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan

FYI, you can still see the refill expiration date and gold status on your phone using the tmo app. Within that app on the phone, everything appears to show up correctly, although the app doesn't try to calculate minutes/texts available, it just shows the costs. The 'minutes' and ''messages' shown un...
by magellan
Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changes to T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan
Replies: 8
Views: 2131

Re: Changes to T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan

I have also seen an question answered if you switch between plans your gold rewards now resets and you must fill another $100 to get the year expiration. I saved my expiration dates as I have four accounts. Sounds like a call into T-mobile is in order. I will be curious how long we get to keep rene...
by magellan
Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changes to T-Mobile's pay-as-you-go plan
Replies: 8
Views: 2131
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