Search found 259 matches

by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What commuter car provides the best long term financial value?
Replies: 84
Views: 6489

Re: What commuter car provides the best long term financial value?

You wanted empirical answer, I can only give you 1 data point. My commute is currently similar to yours, maybe a little less. There was ~5 year period when it was slightly longer, averaging ~33K a year. Prior to that, I had much shorter commute. Through it all, I've been (and is still) driving a 200...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road Hazard Warranties
Replies: 7
Views: 541

Re: Road Hazard Warranties

I have never bought road hazard warranties. This is to be in line with my personal rule: if I can afford to fix / replace it and it won't be catastrophic, I don't buy 'warranties' of any sort. If memory serves me right, within the last 3 set of tires (avg 50K miles), I've only fixed the tires due to...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Down Payment Help
Replies: 16
Views: 1515

Re: Mortgage Down Payment Help

Hello, If I were you, I would do the following: - Only pay enough downpayment to avoid PMI (i.e. 20% down). Don't buy point, especially if you don't know for sure how long you'd be in the house. Rate is just what it is, no one really knows what it's going to do. We bought some point when we closed l...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?
Replies: 29
Views: 1704

Re: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?

In my opinion, you don't need more than 50Mbps or maybe 100Mbps Likely the main issue is just the router signal is too weak in certain rooms, or the router is not doing a good job (for various reasons). 50Mbps should be enough for most users. DW and I have a 6Mbps convection, and it is sufficient f...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?
Replies: 29
Views: 1704

Re: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?

In my opinion, you don't need more than 50Mbps or maybe 100Mbps Likely the main issue is just the router signal is too weak in certain rooms, or the router is not doing a good job (for various reasons). 50Mbps should be enough for most users. I'd first explore upgrading the router / access point inf...
by armeliusc
Thu May 31, 2018 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help Responding to $16K proposed tax in CP2000 letter
Replies: 2
Views: 381

Help Responding to $16K proposed tax in CP2000 letter

Hello, Recently I received a CP2000 letter from IRS for 2016 Tax Year which proposes that I owe about $16K taxes on top of about ~$4K taxes I already paid. The amount is shocking, but I think I understand where my mistakes were and how to respond to it. However, I wanted to run this by the folks her...
by armeliusc
Thu May 31, 2018 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 1733

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

Hello, OP here, and I have finally a good resolution: I finally got to call them (the time difference made it a bit hard to find a good time), and they were being very apologetic about it and said it was a mistake on their part / their system since I mentioned that I had specified my departure time ...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 1733

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

This is verbatim copy from their reservation confirmation email: "CANCELLATION MUST BE MADE BEFORE 4PM DAY OF ARRIVAL. IF UNSUCCESFUL, YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR ONE NIGHT." So, really technically I am not canceling reservation, just modifying it. Technically, since you did not cancel before 4PM on th...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 1733

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

To add even more info: Not sure if this is part of a chain, but this is out of the country and a 5-star hotel / chain I've never heard of before, so I don't have any membership / status with this particular hotel / chain. This is actually a hotel where a conference was being held so we booked with t...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 1733

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

This is verbatim copy from their reservation confirmation email: "CANCELLATION MUST BE MADE BEFORE 4PM DAY OF ARRIVAL. IF UNSUCCESFUL, YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR ONE NIGHT." So, really technically I am not canceling reservation, just modifying it. They replied to my email and just basically give me cop...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 1733

Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

Hello, On my recent trip I had a hotel reservation for 6 nights. Near last minute we decided to modify the trip and instead decided to stay elsewhere on the last night. When we checked in at the hotel we notified them that we will be checking out after 5 nights. We have done something similar before...
by armeliusc
Wed May 23, 2018 4:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing SIM card WITH phone?
Replies: 10
Views: 828

Re: Purchasing SIM card WITH phone?

Basically what you need is a GSM unlocked phone. They typically come without SIM card, and then you just buy SIM card separately. Now you said you're not interested in Android or 'smart' phones, but practically if you need something quickly those are probably the most available nowadays. You can jus...
by armeliusc
Mon May 21, 2018 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Check Letter / Notice from IRS Online
Replies: 9
Views: 1368

Re: Check Letter / Notice from IRS Online

OK, thanks everyone for the assurances. I am going to try to forget about this for now and just deal with it when we get home. I did try to sign up to IRS account online to see if I could get some glimpses on the issue, but it requires non-prepaid mobile phone, which we do not have. I signed up for ...
by armeliusc
Mon May 21, 2018 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Check Letter / Notice from IRS Online
Replies: 9
Views: 1368

Check Letter / Notice from IRS Online

Hello, I am currently traveling for work with the rest of my family tagging along doing sight-seeing. We put our mail on vacation hold from USPS but this morning from USPS Informed delivery email, I see that we got a letter / notice from IRS, which is making me very anxious. We won't be back for ano...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 651

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

The argument for moving the funds out of the 457b are sound. Not sure if you're planning the right way to do it. You want to do a custodian to custodian transfer from the 457b to the IRA. You probably can transfer it directly into a Roth IRA and rather than having to first roll it into a traditiona...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 651

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

- currently (and in the next few years) in the 12% tax bracket If you expect (based at least on some back of the envelope calculations, not merely a vague idea) to be in 20+% brackets for the rest of your life after the next few years, then converting the 457b to Roth makes sense. Well, anything ab...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 651

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

Are you looking to convert pre-tax to Roth? Or take a distribution then make a Roth IRA contribution with the proceeds? I'm not sure I totally follow. Also, if you are only looking at a partial conversion, then that doesn't really address having fewer accounts (at least not immediately). My plan wa...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 651

Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

Greetings, I have a governmental 457b from an old employer with about 70K balance. I have been debating whether I should 'convert' some of these, if not all, to Roth IRA. The 457b has administrative plan of 25 basis point of the balance a year. It also have great funds, including Vanguard Institutio...
by armeliusc
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?
Replies: 74
Views: 5978

Re: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?

Michelin currently has $70 rebate promotion. I just got a set of 4 tires yesterday and uploaded my receipt for the rebate last night. I got my tires from a local tire store; they seem honest, don't try to sell me stuff, and have fair price, so I stick with them. The Defender I had on our 04 Civic la...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?
Replies: 32
Views: 2447

Re: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?

Who cares? Drive whatever car you feel like driving. You didn’t buy them to park them in the driveway. Good luck, JT +3. This. Cars age both by time and mileage. I believe it's more likely that a car becomes 'too old' time wise than mileage wise, unless you drive a lot of miles. And there is nothin...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furniture Protection Plan worth it?
Replies: 18
Views: 1016

Re: Furniture Protection Plan worth it?

Not worth it in my opinion Edited: I don't know if it's worth it, but I personally would not get it. They were trying to sell us similar thing when we got our furniture (slightly less expensive than yours). But I go by the rule of thumb that I don't buy 'insurance', 'warranties', etc if I can affor...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: One day car repair is on day 16 - what to do?
Replies: 15
Views: 1619

Re: One day car repair is on day 16 - what to do?

I would probably have told them to stop and give me back the car after day 3, 1 week at the most. What you described are signs of incompetence and that they didn't know what they're doing. Both suggestions of showing up unannounced (during or after) hours are good. One time, a tire place broke my wh...
by armeliusc
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Practices for Saving Tax Returns and Supporting Documents
Replies: 2
Views: 399

Re: Best Practices for Saving Tax Returns and Supporting Documents

I just stored them electronically. For any paper supporting document, I scan it as PDF and save the PDF in a file directory for that year, together with the eventual tax return. I put the original hardcopy in a folder in a file drawer, but I don't even print out the tax return that I do electronical...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job transition and pregnant - when to inform employer?
Replies: 30
Views: 2616

Re: New job transition and pregnant - when to inform employer?

I seconded the suggestion to wait at least 3 months before notifying anyone, except maybe the closest of family. One thing to consider is how long she plans to take off after delivery. Please be aware that she may not be eligible for FMLA if she has less than ~1 year full time (please check). So the...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Modest stereo system
Replies: 57
Views: 3684

Re: Modest stereo system

Consider Amazon Echo with Amazon music subscription. You can get most radio station from TuneIn (comes with it by default). It's relatively inexpensive and it's simple to set up. I consider myself a tech geek and picky about sound quality. My music collection is all digitized, have my own streaming ...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA family max contribution lowered to $6850 for 2018 [and changed to $6900 again]
Replies: 128
Views: 14015

Re: HSA family max contribution lowered to $6850 for 2018

Thanks for the heads up. Checked my provide (Optum Bank), it says limit is $6850. But my elections / contribution is managed by ADP. Called ADP (their website sucks), they insisted the limit is (still) $6900 for family. After a bit back and forth, I just ask them to adjust my monthly contribution so...
by armeliusc
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $500 gift card, what to do?
Replies: 42
Views: 3294

Re: $500 gift card, what to do?

You're essentially asking two questions: how to use it and what to spend it on. For the latter, I don't think anyone can give you meaningful answer. That's like giving a gift to random stranger on the internet without knowing what the person likes / enjoys, hobbies, etc. What do you want to have / d...
by armeliusc
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Max 401k or Save More Cash?
Replies: 7
Views: 1032

Re: Max 401k or Save More Cash?

For a $300K house, you'll probably need closer to $70K, just to be safe, for a 20% down-payment and closing costs. So I'd probably bring the house saving to that level by the time you want to buy. I would contribute enough to 401K to drop your tax bracket to 12%, then contribute to Roth IRA. Roth IR...
by armeliusc
Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5331

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

Our local Honda dealer generally has coupons available for $19.99 dollar oil change. When that comes around I take advantage of it. You just have to be ready to turn down about $600 worth of stuff they found wrong :D Check their website for deals. You got that right. Honda will bring a list of thin...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5331

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

It's always worth to find a reliable, trustworthy local mechanics where you live to do regular maintenance, non-warranty work such as oil change. If you can, find one that specialize in your car make. Although in general many things are similar across different brands, different brands do have diffe...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods
Replies: 30
Views: 2920

Re: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods

I can already get at least 3% cash back at Meijer, Kroger, or Costco and their prices are good! OK, could you share how to get this 3% ? Amex Blue Cash Everyday is 3% at all grocery stores. Citi Visa is 2% at Costco, plus 2% executive reward for 4%. I'm not in Whole Foods target demographic, I don'...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods
Replies: 30
Views: 2920

Re: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods

Yes, we just dropped AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. Since we joined Costco last year, our groceries shopping has been mostly at Costco, some at Whole Food (for some stuff), other thing at Kroger. Costco doesn't take AMEX. With BCP $95 fee, one has to spend $3167 to break even, which we won't anymore. So ...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Strategies for getting out of a car dealership quickly?
Replies: 78
Views: 7268

Re: Strategies for getting out of a car dealership quickly?

Just be polite but be very firm. You may need to repeat what you want to do multiple times, and reject every offer they try to make for anything. Say something like "Thank you, but no, I just need to cancel the extended warranty". You do not need to give them any reasoning, etc. It will open up an o...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Custom shades from Home Depot
Replies: 13
Views: 1779

Re: Custom shades from Home Depot

Another vote for selectblinds.com. We also looked at Home Depots and Lowe's initially but got the SelectBlinds recommendation from this forum and after browsing around decided to give it a try. It was a simple process: measure ourselves, put in the order, and install them myself.
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite socks?
Replies: 83
Views: 5679

Re: Favorite socks?

I have been wearing Carhartt Crew Work Socks. I bought a bunch of them, same color (black) at one time. Here's for example: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051U18L4/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 When most of them wears out, I'll get another set. I hate missing socks or trying to fin...
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4226

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

The "tax hit" that OP refers to is not that much anyway. Regardless how it's reported, it has to be reported somehow so the 15% of $1200 tax is fixed. - If reported as Misc Income: no extra SE tax - If OP had been an employee with W2: add the FICA employee portion (which should have been withheld): ...
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help! Buying my first sofa/couch
Replies: 27
Views: 1662

Re: Help! Buying my first sofa/couch

Our first sofa (for an apartment) probably cost about $400 or so (can't remember) from a local furniture / warehouse-style store with delivery. It's twelve years later and we still watch TV on it and I sometime take naps in it on Saturday afternoon. When we moved to a house we got another sofa for l...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4226

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

Related questions that I am never clear: is the payer always required to issue 1099 when for the payee to file Sched C? Why? The payer is required to issue 1099 if amount is over $600. Payer has no idea if payee filled out Schedule C. The reason payer is supposed to issue 1099 is not only to give p...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scratch-removal products for cars
Replies: 3
Views: 583

Re: Scratch-removal products for cars

Start with Meguiars Scratch-X and just do it by hand. In my experience, it will remove most scratches. If your clear coat / paint is hard, you can try using Meguiars Ultimate Compound by hand. Both of those are really safe to use, i.e. you cannot really damage your paint. A buffing pad with a Dual-A...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Staying Motivated: How do you ward off hopelessness?
Replies: 59
Views: 7534

Re: Staying Motivated: How do you ward off hopelessness?

One thing you can do is break down the big challenge into small, achievable tasks. This is what we do in science/engineering. One task at a time, and celebrate the small victories.

Another thing is be realistic, and accept the fact that something is just beyond our control.
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4226

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

1. A schedule C incrementally increases your chance of audit. Misc income requires no schedule C 2. The risk of you being audited and this coming up is very small 3. Schedule c is a bit of a PITA 4. On the really small chance you get audited you be honest and say you weren’t clear how to handle it,...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4226

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

I tried the schedule C as freelancer... But holy cow, it took $500 off my refund!?!? A $500 tax hit for $1200 of misc income?!? does that seem right? 42%. That could be right. It will often be 15.3% self-employment tax plus your marginal tax rate. If your earned income (wages plus the $1200 self em...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?
Replies: 30
Views: 3731

Re: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?

I think I will look in to the Google Voice thing as others have suggested. How do I do that? Do I just go to Google Voice and set up an account? I'm not real tech savvy. Thanks again. Yes, pretty much. If people already have your cellphone number, then just start replying them from your GV number, ...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?
Replies: 30
Views: 3731

Re: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?

You can use Google Voice (GV). Create a new phone number from GV. Link your cellphone number as forwarding number in GV. Only give out the Google Voice number. Text send to GV number will get forwarded to your 'real' cellphone (and email, if you so desire). If you reply from your cellphone, it will ...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scrapping old computer parts
Replies: 25
Views: 1929

Re: Scrapping old computer parts

I have used GreenDisk recycling to 'throw away' computer parts / cables / floppy disks, etc. Most of the e-recycle / computer recycling even in town only take a 'whole computer' unfortunately, not random motherboard / graphic / sound card / cables and whatnot. Unfortunately I have to pay greendisk f...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Policy - Is it worth it.
Replies: 43
Views: 3880

Re: Umbrella Policy - Is it worth it.

rholt wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:20 pm
I guess I am convincing myself I should keep it - its just a little painful to pay for something you will likely never use.
Insurance (umbrella, life, even health) is perhaps the only product you buy you wish you never have to use.
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keep maxing 401k, or pay off debt?
Replies: 9
Views: 689

Re: Keep maxing 401k, or pay off debt?

Do you have any asset you can use as collateral for lower interest debt? For example, can you get a 'car loan' with your existing car as collateral from a local credit union? Regarding your question, I would definitely stop contributing to 401K (except for any employer match) to pay off CC debt. But...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Oops! Miscalculated International AA, should I just stick with it?
Replies: 19
Views: 1070

Re: Oops! Miscalculated International AA, should I just stick with it?

If it makes you feel any better, Vanguard TR funds seems to have 40% of equities in international stock, for .e.g. TR 2045 And, this Vanguard research paper (PDF) seems to suggest 30-40% of international equities to be optimal. There are a lot of other opinions of course, but seems that you're not f...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lock mortgage rate now(for a cost) or let it ride 9 days
Replies: 5
Views: 472

Re: Lock mortgage rate now(for a cost) or let it ride 9 days

I would let it ride. Locking it now guarantees the cost of ~$700. But no one knows anything about the future, so it's a cost with no guarantees of benefit. My philosophy for these kind of things has always been to defer cost until you can't anymore. Now if you know for sure that paying for something...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever found an error on your amazon bill?
Replies: 20
Views: 1797

Re: Have you ever found an error on your amazon bill?

I check / reconciled amazon orders monthly. It is somewhat tedious, but doable. Have not found any error so far for many years.