Search found 1230 matches

by Kosmo
Sat May 27, 2017 5:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Septic Pumping - Did I get ripped off?
Replies: 39
Views: 2615

Re: Septic Pumping - Did I get ripped off?

I paid $285 for a 1250 gallon tank last month. I'm in a western suburb of Philadelphia.
by Kosmo
Tue May 23, 2017 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bradford White Electric Water heater?
Replies: 30
Views: 1404

Re: Bradford White Electric Water heater?

I had my water heater replaced a few years ago by my buddy who's a plumber. He installs exclusively Bradford White. I've had no issues with it (natural gas, 40 gal).
by Kosmo
Tue May 23, 2017 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: i am my own "guy," but not sure I should advertise that
Replies: 86
Views: 10204

Re: i am my own "guy," but not sure I should advertise that

Just keep away from giving advice. No harm in explaining how/why you do things, but don't tell other people what to do. No "I recommend..." unless it's "I recommend you learn more about this on your own". If they are legitimately interested in learning, then provide some help. As...
by Kosmo
Sat May 20, 2017 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to sell a house?
Replies: 22
Views: 1897

Re: How to sell a house?

It's very important to price the house appropriately for the work that needs to be done. I live I one of the top school districts in PA. There is a house for sale I my neighborhood in the same situation where elderly folks moved out. Their kids over priced it by about 30%. Everything inside the hous...
by Kosmo
Sat May 06, 2017 6:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vexing electrical problem in the house
Replies: 54
Views: 3546

Re: Vexing electrical problem in the house

I had a similar thing happen. This 1 circuit would cut out at random. Turned out that the main bus bar for that circuit was damaged and pitted and not making a solid connection with the breaker. My guess is there was a power surge at some point in the past before I bought the house that caused it. P...
by Kosmo
Fri May 05, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Replacement Question
Replies: 20
Views: 1970

Re: Window Replacement Question

Most people are replying regarding nice 100+ year old windows. And I agree, those are way better than what's out there now. But for a ~40 yr old house, replacement vinyl windows will be sufficient. Unless you live in a high end neighborhood where you'd be the only one without fancy windows. I had my...
by Kosmo
Thu May 04, 2017 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying first home with old hvac
Replies: 92
Views: 3883

Re: Buying first home with old hvac

I stepped away for a few days and it's interesting to come back and read the continuance of the conversation. It seems that I'm in the minority, although it's slim, that believes that something like the age of an HVAC system is not a negotiating point. It is an easily determinable fact to get the ag...
by Kosmo
Tue May 02, 2017 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying first home with old hvac
Replies: 92
Views: 3883

Re: Buying first home with old hvac

That would be an inspection, and the average homeowner most certainly does not know how a given manfacturer has encoded dates in serial numbers or behind what cover something with a date might be, nor even what a typical heating system life expectancy is. Unless you buy sight unseen, you make a vis...
by Kosmo
Tue May 02, 2017 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is 401k loan really a bad idea?
Replies: 57
Views: 3294

Re: Is 401k loan really a bad idea?

I'm very aware of what ERISA is, thanks though. It doesn't change facts however. The fact is, if OP taxes a $50k loan from his $500k 401k, spends it, then pays that loan back with income he earns later, with no growth in that time, his 401k will have $450k of pre-tax money and associated gains and ...
by Kosmo
Tue May 02, 2017 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying first home with old hvac
Replies: 92
Views: 3883

Re: Buying first home with old hvac

I think the seller would be nuts to negotiate on this. You'd be asking them to lower the price due to a functional air conditioner. What's next, is the roof keeping out too much rain? No. They'd be asking for a lower price based on an older than anticipated HVAC system. The same often gets done for...
by Kosmo
Mon May 01, 2017 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying first home with old hvac
Replies: 92
Views: 3883

Re: Buying first home with old hvac

I think the seller would be nuts to negotiate on this. You'd be asking them to lower the price due to a functional air conditioner. What's next, is the roof keeping out too much rain? Unless the unit was in a completely inaccessible location and you could not have possibly seen it prior to an inspec...
by Kosmo
Mon May 01, 2017 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side gig, 1099 strategy
Replies: 15
Views: 1247

Re: Side gig, 1099 strategy

With the caveat that I have 0 experience I this area... unless your spouse is directly involved in earning this money, 1 and 2 sound not legal.
by Kosmo
Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Warranty
Replies: 11
Views: 877

Re: Home Warranty

I had one that was auto renew. So I had to actively call and cancel. Do that just to be on the safe side.
by Kosmo
Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Negative points" on mortgage
Replies: 47
Views: 2640

Re: "Negative points" on mortgage

We'd need to know the closing costs, balance financed, rate and time for each mortgage option to make a guess. jimb Sorry, but I don't see why. The purchase price, down payment, closing costs, balanced financed, and tenor of the mortgage are identical in all three cases. I believe the only trade of...
by Kosmo
Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is spending 15K to furnish home too much?
Replies: 39
Views: 4631

Re: Is spending 15K to furnish home too much?

Starting from nothing and furnishing an entire house for $15k is a steal. Assuming you're buying new and it's not from IKEA.
by Kosmo
Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: paying off bills in 1 shot with HSA or pay with CC
Replies: 6
Views: 607

Re: paying off bills in 1 shot with HSA or pay with CC

guitarguy wrote:Either way, charge the expenses to a rewards credit card. Then decide to reimburse yourself from your HSA account, or not.

This. You get the rewards and another month or so to make that decision.

I reimburse myself from the HSA for most expenses. Certainly I'd do it for $3k.
by Kosmo
Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pennsylvania Local Earned Income Tax - Question
Replies: 8
Views: 636

Re: Pennsylvania Local Earned Income Tax - Question

I guess that's sort of the problem I'm having. If I treat the Philly city wage tax as Philly EIT and follow the prorating instructions: - I end up paying way more to Philly than 0.039 x income earned while living in Philly - I end up getting a refund from my county that's basically double the amoun...
by Kosmo
Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pennsylvania Local Earned Income Tax - Question
Replies: 8
Views: 636

Re: Pennsylvania Local Earned Income Tax - Question

It's prorated for the amount you earned while living in each location.

Side comment: be careful if you work in a location that has a non- resident EIT. You have to pay the higher of the location you live or work.
by Kosmo
Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Top tape measures
Replies: 30
Views: 1887

Re: Top tape measures

Stanley FATMAX is the best ever. It doesn't bend at long distances. It's perfect. I have a 16' and 25'. Most of the time, I typically only need the 16' for inside framing projects. Home Depot and Lowes have them. Another vote here. I bought the 2 sizes together as a set. My advice- make sure you ha...
by Kosmo
Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Packing cubes for travel
Replies: 60
Views: 4286

Re: Packing cubes for travel

How is any better than just packing the clothes into the suitcase? [...] Where's the benefit? Do you have a dresser in your bedroom? Probably one with multiple drawers, and maybe some or all of those drawers have, in turn, divided sections? Pretty handy, isn't it? You wouldn't dream of replacing th...
by Kosmo
Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP's - Does your employer offer them?
Replies: 47
Views: 1755

Re: HDHP's - Does your employer offer them?

My company introduced a HDHP about 5 years ago and pushed it really hard. They had info sessions, pamphlets, mass emails, and the like. It is a large company. I think 100k+ employees in the US. It's worked out well for us, although recently we switched to a slightly better HDHP through my wife's com...
by Kosmo
Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Packing cubes for travel
Replies: 60
Views: 4286

Re: Packing cubes for travel

Never heard of these so I had to look them up. How is any better than just packing the clothes into the suitcase? Seems like it's an extra step to pack the clothes into the little container and the put that into the suitcase. Now to get dressed you have to open up each individual container to get a ...
by Kosmo
Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: W2 income tax withheld is different then pay stub compilation
Replies: 9
Views: 774

Re: W2 income tax withheld is different then pay stub compilation

As far as the pay check dates are concerned, her Dec 2016 paycheck was given her on 1-3-2017. Would I use her 12-2015 check issued on or about 1-3-2016 instead of her actual pay of Dec 2016? Correct. What was paid in 2016 matters, not what was earned in 2016 but paid in 2017. Essentially the date o...
by Kosmo
Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Weird house buying experience
Replies: 123
Views: 6480

Re: Weird house buying experience

You claim you were negotiating a discount off the list price, they claim you were negotiating a total package price. It's possible to look at it two different ways without either of you being wrong or dishonest. How would you feel if they claimed you were cheating them by claiming that you were tal...
by Kosmo
Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Furnishing Apartment for Work - Tax Implications
Replies: 17
Views: 1420

Re: Furnishing Apartment for Work - Tax Implications

If the company bought the furniture (and retained ownership) for this apartment (even though what they bought was what you indicated that you preferred), wouldn't that eliminate any taxable cosniderations on the employee? Yes, if the company retained ownership of the furniture. I have no experience...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?
Replies: 32
Views: 2339

Re: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?

Personally, this is a task I'd do myself. Others have already mentioned the code requirements. Can you do that yourself? If not, then hiring an electrician is the route to go. I have no idea about the cost. If you're willing to try it yourself, all the supplies needed are readily available at any ha...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House buying- How to think about property taxes?
Replies: 39
Views: 3318

Re: House buying- How to think about property taxes?

What's more important to you: paying lower property taxes or living in a better school district with better public services? You answer changes if you have school aged kids, or use the library and parks a lot, or prefer higher funding for police/firefighters/EMTs, or you want more services for senio...
by Kosmo
Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Furnishing Apartment for Work - Tax Implications
Replies: 17
Views: 1420

Re: Furnishing Apartment for Work - Tax Implications

My experience with traveling for work is that this is taxable income. They are giving you money that is intended to be for furnishing the apartment, but isn't required to be. You can just keep the money and not buy furniture. Or take the $3000 and buy $2000 worth of furniture and $1000 worth of beer...
by Kosmo
Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?
Replies: 102
Views: 4417

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

Basically, I prefer to rent cars every time I go out of town. What is your philosophy on this? My philosophy is, I would never do that. Why own a car, if not to drive it? If I fly somewhere and need a car while there, sure.... But, if I'm driving, my own vehicle works fine. This. I have the car to ...
by Kosmo
Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calculating Expected Taxes Per Paycheck
Replies: 23
Views: 1723

Re: Calculating Expected Taxes Per Paycheck

I am setup for married filing jointly with one allowance paid biweekly. In more detail... Gross $6415.77 - $149 meals (not taxable per IRS pub 15 section 5 "Meals & Lodging) - $627 401k - $11.54 FSA - $259.62 HSA - $30.69 Dental - $155.77 (Allowance of $4050/26 paychecks) =$5182.15 If I pu...
by Kosmo
Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Send check for quickly amended return?
Replies: 18
Views: 866

Re: Send check for quickly amended return?

I'd wait to file the amended return. If you're that concerned about being late, have the form prepared but mail it on April 18. That might be enough time for the refund check to arrive. You can also check on the "Where's my refund" page. Unsolicited advice: next time use electronic submiss...
by Kosmo
Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 2674

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

There may be a nominal fee of something like $50 per year to have the line open and available if you don't carry a balance. I understand APR is variable, but that's until I use the line of credit, then I can lock it at that time? My understanding is this is not correct. The interest rate is variable...
by Kosmo
Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Taxes] Can we deduct music lessons cost for child in New York State?
Replies: 13
Views: 1832

Re: [Taxes] Can we deduct music lessons cost for child in New York State?

Gamma Ray wrote:Thanks for the answers, realizing I paid $1000 in piano lessons for my son I thought I could deduct them.

What information did you have that led you to believe this would be deductible for tax purposes?
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do your income taxes?
Replies: 96
Views: 4566

Re: How did you do your income taxes?

"By hand". For federal income taxes I use freefilefillableforms.com. They are essentially fillable pdfs that do most of the math. Electronic submission through their website. For state taxes I use the PA state website online forms. For my wife's local wage taxes I have to print a form and ...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What building year I should seek when shopping for a house?
Replies: 33
Views: 2571

Re: What building year I should seek when shopping for a house?

I view age of the house as irrelevant. There will always be well-built houses and duds. The specific house matters. And it also depends on where in the country you're looking. Within 3 miles of my 1984 model, there are houses from 1695, new builds, and everything in between. Off the top of my head I...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Small appliance electrical safety
Replies: 37
Views: 1624

Re: Small appliance electrical safety

Higher amp breaker would be fine. No! A 30 amp circuit needs to be run with 10 gauge wire. A 20 amp circuit is run with 12 gauge wire. If you have a circuit with 12 gauge wire and a 30 amp breaker you could melt all the insulation on the wire before the breaker trips. That could start a fire in the...
by Kosmo
Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?
Replies: 18
Views: 1138

Re: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?

I did the research about 4 years ago and settled on New York for our grandchildren. If I recall correctly, I believe I liked their investment options better. Both were highly recommended at the time. I did the exact same thing in the same time frame for my kids. Decided on NY. Since then PA has imp...
by Kosmo
Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Winter Travel
Replies: 29
Views: 2159

Re: Winter Travel

My honeymoon was to Quebec City in January. We very much enjoyed it, but it was cold. I think there was only 1 day with above freezing temperatures. Can the group tolerate that? We stayed in the old city and walked everywhere. Lots of history and architecture. The food was delicious. Not very many &...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any downside in buying a brand new house ?
Replies: 71
Views: 5102

Re: Any downside in buying a brand new house ?

Property taxes. I know it's all local, but around here property taxes are significantly higher for new build houses. Assessments are done by the county periodically (last one was almost 20 years ago), except for new builds which are assessed on transfer from the builder. Lot size, house size, etc. a...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchase and Sale of home: pearls of advice
Replies: 29
Views: 2518

Re: Purchase and Sale of home: pearls of advice

Make the drive from the house to work (and the return trip) at your normal commuting hours on a work day. Is this something you can tolerate every day? If possible, drive through the neighborhood after a storm. See how the water flows and if it backs up. Are there any swampy or muddy areas that used...
by Kosmo
Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: help with math--caluclating I Bond Interest Rates!!
Replies: 8
Views: 652

Re: help with math--caluclating I Bond Interest Rates!!

This is fairly basic arithmetic. [0.002500 + 0.0276 + 0.000034500] And would that (following the insane math above) result in an interest rate of approx 2.625? The result of this very regular math is 3.01345%. Plug it into a calculator (or Excel or google) just as you have it written. Are you lookin...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just made my very first ETF Trade - Lessons for Next time?
Replies: 74
Views: 3401

Re: Just made my very first ETF Trade - Lessons for Next time?

My recommendation: 1) Switch from ETFs to the equivalent mutual funds if possible. This issues disappears. 2) If 1 cannot be done, set your limit order for a price you're willing to pay and forget it. Remind me, if it does not execute by the end of the trading day then it gets cancelled, correct? If...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Replies: 64
Views: 4137

Re: How many pairs of jeans do you own?

4 pair of jeans. It used to be 2, but them my wife insisted I get some of a different shade of blue. I don't see pants on your list. Do you have a binary choice between jeans and a suit? Have you limited your list to only clothes you wear to work? My workplace is business casual and I have 6 or so p...
by Kosmo
Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dispute with neighborhood association
Replies: 37
Views: 4472

Re: Dispute with neighborhood association

My HOA lists the delinquent homeowners in it's newsletter. I'm sure they don't like it, but I think it's a great idea. In PA this is considered a form of harassment. In an HOA where I was previously on the board I suggested doing this and we were advised against it by our lawyer. The HOA is effecti...
by Kosmo
Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: checking account debit at the speed of light
Replies: 14
Views: 1629

Re: checking account debit at the speed of light

Considering it's an electronic transmission most likely conducted over fiber optic cable...yeah the speed of light sounds about right. Sorry, I have no real input. I usually notice a delay of a day or 2 in most of my transactions. Coincidently, the only one that hits my bank account exactly on the d...
by Kosmo
Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wife in car accident - next steps?
Replies: 28
Views: 2299

Re: wife in car accident - next steps?

2) When our late model minivan was totalled a bit under 3 years ago, to my recollection the insurance adjuster showed us 2 or 3 comps that were actually for sale to use as a basis for their offer. i.e. You could buy THIS replacement minivan from a lot, with similar age, mileage, etc, for THIS price...
by Kosmo
Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Escrow
Replies: 10
Views: 670

Re: Mortgage Escrow

The happened to me a year or 2 ago. I just deposited the insurance refund check into the escrow account. Had to speak in person to a teller to get this to happen. If you don't deposit the money will you be able to cover property taxes between now and your next escrow analysis? My analysis is done ne...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dispute with neighborhood association
Replies: 37
Views: 4472

Re: Dispute with neighborhood association

You tried to contact them by the specified date and you have proof (email date stamps). Whether or not they checked the email address is their problem. If they send you to collections, restate that they have been non-responsive to your attempts at contact and continue to refuse to pay. If they sell ...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Explain how health insurance deductible works
Replies: 19
Views: 725

Re: Explain how health insurance deductible works

The screen shots are slightly confusing. It doesn't say what happens after you hit the deductible. Unless that's when it switches over from paying the negotiated rate to paying co-pays (I've never seen a plan like that, but that doesn't mean they don't exist). Usually you pay the co-pay when you see...
by Kosmo
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Explain how health insurance deductible works
Replies: 19
Views: 725

Re: Explain how health insurance deductible works

You will pay the negotiated rate (what your insurance plan has agreed to pay for whatever particular billing/procedure code) until you hit the deductible. Once you hit that number, then you'll pay according to the guidelines on page 2. The blood work may be a list price of $500, but the insurance ne...

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