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Re: Auto repair - "Threads getting thin in oil pan drain plu

This is just one of many reasons why I change the oil in our cars myself. At this point in time, I think the best solution for you is Fumoto valve, as suggested by other posters. Although, if you don't perform oil change yourself, quick lube places have been known to screw up Fumoto valve as well! I...
by snowman
Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Auto repair - "Threads getting thin in oil pan drain plug"
Replies: 40
Views: 1758

Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

The right answer to expected expenses is what a CPA often says - it depends. There are just too many variables; it’s like an economist trying to predict unemployment rate 5 years down the road. Most people will say that point comes when every year you put into car more money than what the car is wor...
by snowman
Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule
Replies: 49
Views: 2999

Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

OP, I am a car guy, meaning I maintain our vehicles and only go to a dealer either during warranty period for free problem fixes (if any), or for a free recall fix. I say that so you understand where my advice is coming from. So far, you got some really good suggestions from other posters, but you k...
by snowman
Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule
Replies: 49
Views: 2999

Re: non-compete [Employer NDA and Non-Compete agreements]

I am not an attorney, but I am self-employed consultant who signed these in the past. I also require any subcontractor that works with me on my projects to sign them, for my protection. In certain industries, these are very common, and as other posters noted, they are designed to protect the company...
by snowman
Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: non-compete [Employer NDA and Non-Compete agreements]
Replies: 35
Views: 1559

Re: What to say to Non-Savers

There is nothing you can do about it. With the exception of your mom, it's really none of your business. As other posters smartly suggested, politely change the subject if the issue ever comes up. Don't ever bring it up yourself. You will do well in life when you go your own way and find your own ha...
by snowman
Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to say to Non-Savers
Replies: 71
Views: 5173

Re: Use of tax software for planning

I think it's the best planning tool available - I use TT every year to do just that. I am self employed and my income varies widely. I have CPA doing my business taxes, but I do our personal taxes myself. Here is what I do, but you can certainly alter this approach to fit your specific needs. As soo...
by snowman
Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Use of tax software for planning
Replies: 17
Views: 1123

Re: FOUR years till oldest child begins college -

This is a book you should read http://www.amazon.com/Paying-College-Without-Edition-Admissions/dp/0804124361/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393613489&sr=8-1&keywords=paying+for+college+without+going+broke+2014. You can borrow it from your local library, and it does not need to be the latest edi...
by snowman
Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FOUR years till oldest child begins college -
Replies: 31
Views: 2028

Re: HELP! Medical costs

OP, I am very sorry about what happened to you. Here are my thoughts. There isn’t much you can do at this point, as far as your medical bills are concerned. Your insurance company will process the claim, and you will be on the hook for the remainder of the bill, according to your policy agreement. Y...
by snowman
Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HELP! Medical costs
Replies: 57
Views: 2827

Re: Turbo Tax Bug: Self employed insurace deduction

It's in Turbo Tax, there is no need to enter amounts manually. However, it's not where you would logically expect it (under Deductions & Credits). You can only get there by going through K-1 income section in Income & Wages. The amount will be shown in Business Deductions and Credits, under ...
by snowman
Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Bug: Self employed insurace deduction
Replies: 7
Views: 470

Re: S Corp Closure - Account Consolidations

OP, you've got great advise already from DSInvestor. I would only add that, depending on your state of residence, ERISA may offer you greater protection from creditors in 401k accounts. If that's at all important to you, than you will want to roll all accounts into your new Fidelity 401k. If that's ...
by snowman
Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: S Corp Closure - Account Consolidations
Replies: 5
Views: 307

Re: Sell/Buy ETF, T+3?

It's actually very easy and straightforward process, Jay. Assuming you have no additional cash in your account, you have to sell first. Upon execution of your sell trade, those funds immediately become available to trade. You don't need to worry about settlement date. You can immediately place buy o...
by snowman
Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Sell/Buy ETF, T+3?
Replies: 7
Views: 389

Re: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle

Letsgobobby, You summed it up pretty well, especially the last sentence. For me, it’s a no-go precisely for those 2 reasons. If RAV4 served you well, Highlander will handle the same terrain with ease. So I would not nix it off just yet, though it’s going to have cramped 3rd row seat. I think that’s ...
by snowman
Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle
Replies: 52
Views: 3112

Re: It it a good investment to repair a leaking faucet?

If it's Moen, it will more than likely have a lifetime warranty. You call them, they send you the part with instructions, you fix it yourself. It's really easy to do.
by snowman
Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: It it a good investment to repair a leaking faucet?
Replies: 9
Views: 807

Re: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle

Thanks for all the replies. We're looking at a Dodge Durango V8 AWD and planning on the Limited rather than Citadel line because it's $5000 cheaper. I'm a bit confused about 18 vs 20 inch wheels. From what I read smaller wheels have better on road ride comfort and are cheaper to replace, but larger...
by snowman
Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle
Replies: 52
Views: 3112

Re: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle

Thanks for all the replies. We're looking at a Dodge Durango V8 AWD and planning on the Limited rather than Citadel line because it's $5000 cheaper. I'm a bit confused about 18 vs 20 inch wheels. From what I read smaller wheels have better on road ride comfort and are cheaper to replace, but larger...
by snowman
Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a 'loaded' vs stripped down vehicle
Replies: 52
Views: 3112

Re: First Roth IRA

1. Yes, I would do that.

2. While I have ETFs at TDA, and am OK with it, I would advise you to go with MFs at Vanguard just so you don't get tempted into trading individual stocks.
by snowman
Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: First Roth IRA
Replies: 18
Views: 1214

Re: Voluntary Separation Package Advice

Simple answer - take the package ASAP! Years ago, I decided to go on my own with 2 little kids, non-working wife, and very little in savings. I just could not take the corporate politics etc. anymore (I wrote a post about it some time ago, btw – the best decision of my life). You are in much greater...
by snowman
Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Voluntary Separation Package Advice
Replies: 47
Views: 2849

Re: SEP-IRA maxed out- can I open 401k?

Once you hit your annual limit from all earned income, you cannot defer more. Opening solo 401k now will not help you. First, you cannot defer business profits for 2013 because in order to do that, the account needs to be open by the end of 2013. Second, it will allow you to defer employee contribut...
by snowman
Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SEP-IRA maxed out- can I open 401k?
Replies: 13
Views: 749

Re: Buying shoes at COSTCO

Bought a Bolle ski helmet in Costco for $50. No doubt in my mind that this is almost identical to helmets that retail full price well in excess of $100 elsewhere. But I got lucky, this was the last one, and I actually got it when it was in the process of being restocked. I think this is the Costco ...
by snowman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying shoes at COSTCO
Replies: 13
Views: 1887

Re: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs

For those that have raised kids. If you were to consider relocating for the kids benefit what would be the child's latest age that you would consider doing this? I imagine this would be relevant for the OP but it will likely be very relevant for us as well. It depends on many factors. If the curren...
by snowman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs
Replies: 89
Views: 4827

Re: college related advice for 11th grader

Very interesting and informative thread, especially since we are on the same boat. I will describe how we are dealing with the process, travellight, since our kids seem to be very similar. Our son is a junior as well, and is very strong and well-rounded academically, loves math and physics, but is a...
by snowman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: college related advice for 11th grader
Replies: 105
Views: 5454

Re: Wow! Jim Cramer HATES passive index investing

He was on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," the NPR "news quiz," and Peter Sagal, who really does excellent interviews, interviewed him and he more or less said so. I loved the segment. Good one. John Stewart also made a pretty good interview of him a few years ago. http://www.thedai...
by snowman
Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wow! Jim Cramer hates passive index investing
Replies: 52
Views: 5626

Re: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs

I grew up in a foreign country, but we went through this as kids. My mom wanted to "escape" the small town to "give us better opportunities in life". We moved and we went to better schools and than college. We left extended family behind - all my aunts, uncles, cousins. I missed ...
by snowman
Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Raising kids in a small town vs. big city/suburbs
Replies: 89
Views: 4827

Re: The Gecko cost me a lot of $. How often to switch car in

We used to be with Gecko for many years, than about 10 years ago we switched to Amica (home and cars) because they were top rated and also cheaper. Their rates were creeping up every year, but we remained loyal customers. Than one year we had a large claim on our house, and the service we received w...
by snowman
Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Gecko cost me a lot of $. How often to switch car ins?
Replies: 78
Views: 7675

Re: Would you overweight to get into Admiral shares?

I would not sweat it, Shredder. As another poster noted, it's just a few dollars a year. I am sure you waste more money than that every day without even realizing it... I would stay the course, that's the key, one fund or 10, makes no difference.
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Would you overweight to get into Admiral shares?
Replies: 28
Views: 2066

Re: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentio

I hope that works for you, but it would not have for me. I got a confirmation number for being rejected, and after I answered yes on the state exchange, I had to enter the code, and the system took a minute to verify it. Only after it verified the rejection code was I able to proceed. But that was w...
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentioned
Replies: 14
Views: 1025

Re: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentio

You are correct, floydtime, in your assumption. I remember all 4 of us had to be rejected before being able to enroll. However, I really do not know how VA handles it.
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentioned
Replies: 14
Views: 1025

Re: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentio

floydtime, I purchased our policy through our state exchange, so I apologize for not giving you precise advise. However, I would expect federal site to work in similar manner. When you get to section that asks you about your income, and you put in the dollar amount OVER 400% FPL, it will not give yo...
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signed up for healthcare on exchange - no subsidy mentioned
Replies: 14
Views: 1025

Re: Buying a new car vs leasing

I enjoyed reading this thread, and would like to thank the poster with link to Scotty Kilmer's video. Very funny and confirms my experience with MB as well. In our 50s, I am on my second car, my wife on her third. If you purchase reliable brand/model, odds are in your favor the car will last a long ...
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a new car vs leasing
Replies: 61
Views: 5824

Re: When is it time to replace a car - is there a formula?

As mentioned, there is no formula. 100K miles on a well-built car these days is really nothing - it's just slightly used, in my opinion. I do my own maintenance and repair; if you could post your model, I could potentially give you better answer. There are some problematic cars and trucks out there,...
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is it time to replace a car - is there a formula?
Replies: 15
Views: 1545

Re: self employed solo 401k

Yet another option for those of us that don't have taxable account at Fidelity is to walk to a local branch and give them your check. They don't need the form, you just tell them what type of contribution it is, and they give you receipt on the spot. I find that much more convenient than filling out...
by snowman
Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:22 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: self employed solo 401k
Replies: 19
Views: 1003

Re: POLL: May leave VBS. Which brokerage(s) do you invest wi

We have multiple accounts at TDA and a solo 401k at Fidelity. I would recommend them both, although I do prefer TDA because it offers commission free Vanguard ETFs.
by snowman
Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: POLL: May leave VBS. Which brokerage(s) do you invest with?
Replies: 35
Views: 2541

Re: self employed solo 401k

I opened mine at Fidelity and am very satisfied with their service. You can buy Spartan funds or commission-free ETFs with Vanguard-like ERs. The only downside is that you cannot deposit new funds electronically - you either go to the branch, or mail the check. I don't think you pay $20 at Vanguard ...
by snowman
Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: self employed solo 401k
Replies: 19
Views: 1003

Re: Closets etc for new home

DIY here also. But it was a MASSIVE job. I built over 25 drawers and drawer fronts custom sized to fit different spaces, put in full slides everywhere, and had to drive 100 miles to Dallas to find the correct gauge melamine for building drawers. I also bought a router, router table, biscuit joiner,...
by snowman
Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Closets etc for new home
Replies: 17
Views: 1653

Re: Buy different car or fix current one?

Fix it. 2002 Accord with 200K miles and rebuilt transmission should last another 100K miles, assuming there are no serious issues present and you maintain it properly. Even if you decide to sell it, the bumper needs to get fixed - you will get more money for the car than the cost to fix it. Potentia...
by snowman
Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy different car or fix current one?
Replies: 7
Views: 547

Re: Quick Solo 401k question

If you have an S-Corp, your employee contributions are due by December 31st, but you can do it through mid-January - basically pay yourself December salary minus the contribution. It needs to be done before W-2 is completed - that deadline is January 31st. Employer contributions are due when busines...
by snowman
Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Quick Solo 401k question
Replies: 7
Views: 343

Re: My 30-year Forecast

Thanks, Rick. I look forward to your forecast every year. Apart from bonds, where I expect 0% real return, I tend to agree with your rough estimates. Thanks again.
by snowman
Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My 30-year Forecast
Replies: 63
Views: 6612

Re: Is it time for me to find a new job?

Before you decide where to go, you need to properly assess your personality type and your goals in life. Otherwise, you are just bouncing around without a purpose. Some people value steady paycheck above all and get used to any environment. Some will find satisfaction in trying to affect organizatio...
by snowman
Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it time for me to find a new job?
Replies: 33
Views: 3857

Re: Is it time for me to find a new job?

Yes, it is time to move on. You will do well no matter where you go. Eventually, you will find your place, and you will know when you do. I never worked for the government, but your statements about "dead wood" ring true for private companies too. At my last one, I was on the finance/negot...
by snowman
Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it time for me to find a new job?
Replies: 33
Views: 3857

Re: How to determine consulting fee?

Several thoughts, based on limited amount of information provided. Speaking from 15 years of my own ongoing consulting experience. 1. Seems like IP is your biggest concern. You need to speak with an attorney experienced in this area. 2. More than likely, the "main" contract is going to be ...
by snowman
Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to determine consulting fee?
Replies: 23
Views: 1302

Re: Safety schools for a Physics/Math kid

Little bit of nervousness is good - it means he is taking it seriously. My wife has been interviewing kids this time of year for many years. She is their biggest fan, and the usual nervousness goes out the window in the first 5 minutes. From that point on, it's a chance for them to talk about their ...
by snowman
Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safety schools for a Physics/Math kid
Replies: 263
Views: 15820

Re: Safety schools for a Physics/Math kid

Congratulations to you and especially your son, Tomato! I am very happy for both of you. Make sure you don't turn down alumni interview once you apply to other schools on your list.
by snowman
Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safety schools for a Physics/Math kid
Replies: 263
Views: 15820

Re: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction

Thanks, sscritic. I appreciate your reply.
by snowman
Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction
Replies: 24
Views: 1503

Re: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction

sscritic and MathWizard, Thanks for very helpful replies! Yes, I do pay state income taxes, and I was wondering myself if property taxes work in a similar way. As you both said, if I underpay, the county will just bill me for the difference, which will be dealt with in early 2015 for 2014 tax year. ...
by snowman
Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction
Replies: 24
Views: 1503

Re: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction

Thank you guys for helpful replies. I have almost 3 weeks to make the decision. The difference, if any, is going to be small, according to county office. Apparently no more than about $50-$100 on a $5K bill. My main concern is if the actual amount is lower, in which case the claimed deduction is lar...
by snowman
Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction
Replies: 24
Views: 1503

Re: Best HSA custodian

Best 2 options I see at this point in time:

1. LMCU - no fees, no minimums, interest rate between 1-2%, depending on deposited amount, no investment options;

2. ELFCU - no fees, no minimums, 1% interest rate on cash, investment option through TDA at no cost.
by snowman
Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best HSA custodian
Replies: 42
Views: 8228

Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction

I searched relevant threads but could not find an answer. I am hoping to hear from those of you that have done it over the years. My business has done really well in 2013, which will push me into higher personal tax bracket. I expect 2014 to be more normal - I will not take on as much of consulting ...
by snowman
Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of "bunching up" property tax deduction
Replies: 24
Views: 1503

Re: S-Corp and ACA

Thanks, Jack. I agree with your logic, that's how it should work. But I must confess that it's not how I read the current tax code. Below is the link to IRS publication "S Corporation Compensation and Medical Insurance Issues" updated just a month ago. It's a short 1 page document, with th...
by snowman
Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:54 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: S-Corp and ACA
Replies: 17
Views: 963

Re: S-Corp and ACA

Jack, I was thinking along the same lines, in that that's how it's supposed to work. What I wasn't sure about is whether one can deduct higher cost than what the S-Corp actually paid. In your scenario, an S-Corp owner pays $7K annually in health insurance premiums out of his personal funds, taking $...
by snowman
Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: S-Corp and ACA
Replies: 17
Views: 963
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