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Re: Engineered wood floors?

Or I can just transition to a new color under the doors. There would only be 3 seams where the two different floors connect and all 3 are at doorways so I could do a transition molding. I'm just not sure how it would look to have two different floor colors. I'm uncertain about how much work it woul...
by magellan
Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engineered wood floors?
Replies: 20
Views: 2018

Re: Online safety and security tips

One simple but very effective security measure is to activate click-to-play for browser plugins. This prevents plugins like java, flash, adobe reader, and others from launching automatically, unless you've pre-approved the site. A very large number of malware attacks involve exploiting a bug in a br...
by magellan
Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Online safety and security tips
Replies: 12
Views: 1219

Re: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?

Get a beast of a snow *thrower*. There is something very rewarding about removing hundreds of TONS of snow from one snowfall with such a device. Well said. I just got in from a first pass at clearing today's blizzard. Aiming the snow chute downwind and sending 24 plus inches of snow flying 50-75 fe...
by magellan
Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?
Replies: 64
Views: 4699

Re: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?

Some mornings (particularly single digit or below zero), clearing the driveway can be a bloodsport. Forget gloves. If your hands get cold when you're using the snow blower, get a good pair of well insulated mittens. For any level of insulation, mittens keep your hands much warmer than gloves. The d...
by magellan
Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?
Replies: 64
Views: 4699

Re: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?

For clearing less than 2-3 inches, I use this 48" wide shovel from Ace Hardware. It works great for quickly clearing very large areas of light snow cover. My driveway can be treacherous if it gets any ice on it. With this shovel, it takes only 10-15 minutes to clear out those annoying small sto...
by magellan
Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?
Replies: 64
Views: 4699

Re: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?

Oddly enough, that's about the length of my driveway. To make matters worse, mine is up hill from the road and has a switchback mid-way up. For the first few years we had the driveway plowed for about $100-150 per storm or ~$1k per year. The driveway was always icy and in some years, the plow person...
by magellan
Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 400ft Driveway - How do I plow the snow?
Replies: 64
Views: 4699

Re: Heat pump - drop temperature at night or keep constant?

It's too bad that the control logic for these things isn't better designed to match the capabilities and economics of the system. It would be relatively easy to build a control system that allows the user specify two temperatures, say a minimum temperature and a desired temperature. The system would...
by magellan
Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heat pump - drop temperature at night or keep constant?
Replies: 17
Views: 1231

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

SMLLC should use the SSN of the member for the 1099 reporting. Once again, I don't believe this is correct. The owner can apply for an EIN that's mapped to the owner's name and SSN and not the LLC's name. They can then use that EIN on W9s instead of an SSN to to help protect against identity theft.
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

Is that true? Single member LLC uses SS# over TIN? What's true is that you can't use an LLC's EIN/TIN on a W9 if the LLC doesn't file a tax return as its own entity. I don't see why you can't complete the SS-4 without checking the 'This EIN is for an LLC'. Basically, as far as the IRS is concerned,...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

Personally, I'd suggest doing the DBA yourself. It's generally pretty simple and involving a 3rd party could make things MORE complicated. Depending on how picky your state is with naming rules, you may have to do a few rounds with them to get a name you both agree on. Some states won't let you use ...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

A sole proprietor can get an EIN, but they must still fill out the W-9 with their SSN. I don't think that's correct. My reading of the instructions is that the IRS prefers sole proprietors use their SSN on a W9, but doesn't require it. Is there another reg that says sole proprietors MUST use their ...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

Question is whether I need to have a dBA/LLC already in place before I apply for EIN. IMO, if you're going to list a dba on the SS-4, then you should apply for that first. The state might not let you use the name you'd like (in some states, this happens often, btw). I'm not sure if you can list an ...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: 401k to Roth conversion for a retiree

This analysis has many moving parts, but for many retirees, the best approach is to do the conversion gradually over several years. If you get health insurance through ACA exchanges, eligibility for premium subsidies adds another wrinkle that complicates the analysis. But if ACA premium subsidies ar...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:15 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k to Roth conversion for a retiree
Replies: 15
Views: 1217

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

...3 once I obtain TIN. do I still have to fill out my SS# on the box provided on W9? 3 Yes, The main reasons for obtaining an EIN even though you have no statutory employees is that you need it for the Solo 401k from most providers and to open business bank accounts I would have guessed that the a...
by magellan
Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Question: Will Candles Heat up a Cold Room?

Interesting question. Some quick googling led to this reddit thread , which seems to have some good analysis. One candle can raise the temperature of the room ~1 degree F Heat required to maintain 71 F is ~ 40 W higher than that to maintain 70 F. Total load to heat the room is ~ 11,000 BTUH = 3250 W...
by magellan
Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question: Will Candles Heat up a Cold Room?
Replies: 21
Views: 1703

Re: HSA Question

An insurance plan called a HDHP is often assumed to be qualified for use with an HSA. In fact, many HDHPs are not HSA qualified and can't be used in conjunction with an HSA. Plans have to meet guidelines other than just the size of the deductible to be HSA qualified. It's been my experience that if ...
by magellan
Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Question
Replies: 3
Views: 338

Re: Need help with HSA

So my question is, should I drop the FSA and go with the HSA. I don't get the benefit of contributing pre-tax dollar to the HSA, since it's not through work but I can obviously hold the money there long term, vs the FSA which I have to spend, minus 500 that I can roll to the next year. If I underst...
by magellan
Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help with HSA
Replies: 3
Views: 422

Re: Malware problem on new PC

In addition to using antivirus tools, it's also a good habit to visit Control Panel->Installed Programs every once and a while. Sort the list of programs by install date and look for anything recently installed that looks suspicious. If something new shows up on the list, use google to see what it i...
by magellan
Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malware problem on new PC
Replies: 42
Views: 2622

Re: HSA Decision/Confusion

There is no reason HSA contributions have to come through payroll deduction... Apparently, employers can save you fica taxes on employee contributions by seting the plan up as a cafeteria plan. This thread has more detail: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=151121 So IMO, the ...
by magellan
Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Decision/Confusion
Replies: 5
Views: 605

Re: Switching from Vonage to Ooma Phone Service

One sticking point for me in giving up Vonage is that I'm hooked on their automatic speech-to-text transcription feature for voicemail that gets forwarded to email. I like being able to read voicemails instead of listening to them, especially when I'm on the go and need to quickly determine if I nee...
by magellan
Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switching from Vonage to Ooma Phone Service
Replies: 16
Views: 1024

Re: HSA Decision/Confusion

One thing that people sometimes misunderstand is that an HSA can only be owned by one person. It can't be jointly owned. The funds in your HSA are yours and they can never be comingled with funds belonging to another HSA owner. It would be like two spouses trying to merge their IRAs. OTOH, as Spirit...
by magellan
Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Decision/Confusion
Replies: 5
Views: 605

Re: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course

stan1 wrote:Unfortunately Vanguard Charitable has much higher minimums than Fidelity Charitable:
Vanguard: $25K minimum initial contribution, minimum $500 grant
Fidelity: $5K minimum initial contribution, $50 minimum grant

Thanks for the correction. As you might have guessed, we have Fidelity also.
by magellan
Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course?
Replies: 19
Views: 1886

Re: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course

If you can benefit from a large one-time charitable deduction and you plan to give to charities in future years, setting up a Donor Advised Charitable Gift Fund might be a good option for some of the funds, especially those with the highest unrealized gains. You can fund the charitable account with ...
by magellan
Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fire Wife's Advisor and Incur Tax Hit or Stay The Course?
Replies: 19
Views: 1886

Re: Milevsky's got me thinking immediate annuity????

IMO, a key step in this process is to separate out two distinct decisions. One decision is whether you want to lock-down a guaranteed income stream for part of your retirement spending and the other decision is how to best achieve that goal. You can decide to lock down some future guaranteed income ...
by magellan
Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Milevsky's got me thinking immediate annuity????
Replies: 28
Views: 2452

Re: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient

I don't recommend other go to the extremes i do as 7 yrs ago i waited til after appendix burst before going in. That was waiting too long. On the chemo treatments, I've elected to not have those if i were to have cancer. This makes sense and I certainly don't mean to judge anyone's "eyes wide ...
by magellan
Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient
Replies: 29
Views: 2164

Re: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient

...but I can add to the discussion since I think we have the same policy (from earlier discussions). This policy is true catastrophic coverage, and it is amazing how affordable catastrophic coverage can be- especially if it is not being used to subsidize the ACA- not a political statement, just a f...
by magellan
Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:02 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient
Replies: 29
Views: 2164

Re: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient

In my case, after my $10k deductible, they pay 80% of what they want to for the next $15k and then 100% for a time. Premium is $224 a month for family plan... I'm in Arkansas... A premium of $224 per month for a 58 year old and their family seems crazy low. Maybe things are different in Arkansas, b...
by magellan
Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10k deductible on health ins. should i file outpatient
Replies: 29
Views: 2164

Re: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs othe

One of the reasons I want to create a sole proprietor LLC is so I can get an EIN/TIN and avoid giving out my SS on W9 forms. I don't think you need to create an LLC to be able to do this. A sole proprietor can get an EIN/TIN and as you mention, this saves you from having to give out your SS. In fac...
by magellan
Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physician Independent contractor - LLC vs S corp vs other
Replies: 77
Views: 4214

Re: Is this an unreasonable quote for interior home painting

Besides, unless your painter is either really really good, painting trim that's already fastened and not on the bench will never look as good as shop finished trim. I don't understand this. With trim painting, the thing that separates the pros from the hacks is usually the quality of the prep work....
by magellan
Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this an unreasonable quote for interior home painting?
Replies: 55
Views: 4345

Re: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC

IMO, the days of thieves and hackers not knowing their victims in intimate detail are very limited if not over. Imagine that the person who just got your data or hacked your computer has considerable skill, time, and other resources and is determined to learn as much as they can about who you are, w...
by magellan
Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you encrypt financial/investment documents on your PC?
Replies: 37
Views: 1982

Re: Sellers Won't Fix Leaking Roof; Fear of Additional Damag

IMO there's a difference between a few smallish water stains on a few ceilings versus tens or dozens of mold stained sheetrock areas and rotten rafters and ceiling joists in the attic. You should get more information on the likely extent of damage before deciding anything else. I'd want to focus on ...
by magellan
Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sellers Won't Fix Leaking Roof; Fear of Additional Damage
Replies: 50
Views: 4590

Re: retirement coming, health insurance?

For one thing, all of the plans on the federal exchange have Narrow/Skinny networks - meaning that the number of providers is limited. Buying directly from BC/BS allowed me to purchase a "Broad" network plan which has a larger provider network. Again, this is very state specific. In my st...
by magellan
Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement coming, health insurance?
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: Is my HVAC (heat pump) really dead?

I'm afraid space heaters are not a good option for this situation. ..But mostly, this is an open floor plan with 2 stories and a vaulted ceiling... If you already have propane or ng in the house, a gas fireplace or a wall heater like this one might be worth considering. The units are inexpensive to...
by magellan
Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is my HVAC (heat pump) really dead?
Replies: 54
Views: 3054

Re: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Ro

Does anyone have ethical concerns about adjusting income to qualify for ACA subsidies? Would you have ethical concerns about adjusting income to qualify for food stamps or do you consider that somehow different? ACA subsidies are nothing like food stamps. They don't even level the playing field in ...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Roth
Replies: 11
Views: 999

Re: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Ro

Wow, that subsidy is much more generous than I thought it would be given how close to 400% FPL you'll be. I can't imagine doing a Roth would make sense versus taking the subsidy. The $9k subsidy you'll lose if you do the $60k Roth conversion will make the effective tax rate on the conversion around ...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Roth
Replies: 11
Views: 999

Re: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Ro

Finally, Since Cobra allows for a 60 day grace period before making the first payment, can I wait 60 days and then apply for ACA? I would have the Cobra to fall back on for catastrophic coverage but I would be beyond the Feb 15 open enrollment period. (saves >$2K in premiums). IMO, there are two is...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Roth
Replies: 11
Views: 999

Re: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Ro

I've seen conflicting info: re: subsidies - Can they be taken as tax credits at the end of the year? As I understand it, the answer to this is yes as long as you purchase coverage through healthcare.gov. If you buy your policy off-exchange, you can't get a subsidy even if it works out that you woul...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Roth
Replies: 11
Views: 999

Re: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Ro

Do you have an estimate of how much subsidy you'll qualify for? You'll need this to evaluate whether qualifying for the subsidy or doing the roth conversion makes more sense. There are some online calculators including one at ehealthinsurance.com that can give you a rough idea of how much subsidy yo...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing Job (& insurance) Need Advice - ACA Subsidy or Roth
Replies: 11
Views: 999

Re: Home Energy Audit - worth it?

I got a free energy audit from a contractor trying to sell services. The contractor seemed to have a very good reputation and all things considered, this worked out great. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. The audit part of the visit took about 2 hours and included a blower door test and using an infr...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Energy Audit - worth it?
Replies: 22
Views: 2294

Re: retirement coming, health insurance?

Here's an example from New York about how convoluted BCBS made things by creating three different names for one identical network: http://www.insurancesuffolk.com/blog/empire-blue-cross-pathway-enhanced-x-network-differences-between-obamacare Here's another case of the same thing in CA: http://napav...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement coming, health insurance?
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: retirement coming, health insurance?

For those of us who will not qualify for the subsidies and who are willing and able to pay a bit more for a wider choice of doctors and hospitals, a policy outside of the exchanges may be the perfect option. Policies outside of the exchange may offer a wider choice of doctors, but sometimes not. In...
by magellan
Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: retirement coming, health insurance?
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced

If you are eligible for the Flagship/AM price, then the cheapest way to get H&B is to (1) buy Premier at $9.99; (2) upgrade from inside TT, which will cost you an additional $10, since that's the list price difference. I can confirm that this works. I just upgraded my TT Premium desktop to H&am...
by magellan
Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced
Replies: 88
Views: 14215

Re: WEP Wifi when travelling

Is there a reason this is better than typing in the website address? (Big assumption here, obviously, is that one wouldn't erroneously type ".net" or such instead of ".com" and get the [evil] wrong website. But assuming this doesn't happen, such as when something has been typed ...
by magellan
Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WEP Wifi when travelling
Replies: 21
Views: 1984

Re: SlingTV

For those that have dumped cable TV, how do you deal with the loss of the DVR? When I subscribed to Aereo, the service included built-in DVR functionality. Aereo worked great until the Supreme Court killed it. I'd expect this offering to have similar features as long as they can work out the conten...
by magellan
Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SlingTV
Replies: 47
Views: 3986

Re: SlingTV

Something people really need to keep in mind with SlingTV is bandwidth caps with their internet service provider. All internet service providers have some sort of cap whether it is a hard cap per month common is 150 GB or a soft "excessive use" cap. This may be true for a while, but once ...
by magellan
Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SlingTV
Replies: 47
Views: 3986

Re: SlingTV

Neil Irwin has a good piece in the NY Times comparing the unbundling of cable to the current situation in the airline industry. His final analysis isn't a positive one for the consumer. The premise of the article is that unbundling will reduce cable customer satisfaction much like deregulation redu...
by magellan
Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SlingTV
Replies: 47
Views: 3986

Re: Sending 1099s for small business

Magellan, can you point me to the publication/section where you found that info? I thought I read the 1099-MISC information thoroughly and didn't see any such clause. About halfway down the left column of the second page of the IRS 1099-MISC instructions you'll find this gem: Payments made with a c...
by magellan
Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sending 1099s for small business
Replies: 8
Views: 616

Re: Sending 1099s for small business

Ask the engineer to fill out and return a W-9 form to you. Whether you need to submit a 1099 depends on the tax classification of the vendor (e.g. C Corporation = no 1099, individual/sole proprietor = yes 1099). Also, try to pay using a credit card or Paypal next time, if that's an option. As I und...
by magellan
Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sending 1099s for small business
Replies: 8
Views: 616

Re: Client Not Letting Independent Contractor Use LLC?

If I enter into a contract with a sole proprietor, the sole proprietor has personal liability, whereas if I enter into a contract with an LLC, the LLC members don't have personal liability. IMO, it's not so simple. When someone's negligence results in harm to someone else, the individual responsibl...
by magellan
Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Client Not Letting Independent Contractor Use LLC?
Replies: 32
Views: 2911

Re: Chromebook dedicated to finances?

Has anyone actually ever had their brokerage account(s) compromised? We hear a lot about internet fraud but I don't think I've ever read a report concerning a hacker actually getting into the account, making trades or sales, and then actually transferring the money out of the account. Reliable data...
by magellan
Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chromebook dedicated to finances?
Replies: 62
Views: 3758
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