Search found 939 matches

by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Don't be so sure. I got the +$300 and the +$100 refund and the -$450 charge all this month even though my first statement won't be issued until mid Jan Pretty sure that the $300 back is by calendar year that the statement cuts, so the first one if you applied now would be January 2017. You get the ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is my Cost Basis on Gifted Real Estate?
Replies: 8
Views: 330

Re: What is my Cost Basis on Gifted Real Estate?

Interesting question, and I am not an expert in this area but want to follow the thread for reference. My understanding of this is that it is sort of the corolary of donating appreciated stock to charity. That is, the gift for estate tax or gift tax purposes is based on current value, but the cost b...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Replies: 17
Views: 1391

Re: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

We recently ran up against this timing issue; closing date for our statement was early Dec, so we needed to get the "travel" charge in before that point. Charges in later December wouldn't count. As others mentioned, a toll pass is one way, but we use only about $25/year on that, so not mu...
by curmudgeon
Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Double Oven Ranges
Replies: 13
Views: 733

Re: Double Oven Ranges

My instinct is that it seems a little gimmicky. You are wise to look for actual experience (which I don't have). In a 30" range, I would be inclined to stick to 4 burners. Need for big capacity burner is mostly a matter of cooking style; if you do wok cooking, or often bring huge pots of water ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is best health ministry for health insurance?
Replies: 24
Views: 1860

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

Another thing I like about Samaritan Ministries -- for the last 2 months, the needs have been less than the monthly share price. My portion was reduced by 5% for both of those months. Now, the flipside has been there have been a few months where needs had to be pro-rated. Say, a person with a need ...
by curmudgeon
Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is best health ministry for health insurance?
Replies: 24
Views: 1860

Re: What is best health ministry for health insurance?

No prescription coverage, $125k cap on benefits, no guarantee of claims-paying ability....what's the plan if you wind up in the hospital with a $500k bill? How do you think these plans are so cheap regardless of age compared to health insurance that the insurance companies are losing millions on ev...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?
Replies: 38
Views: 1807

Re: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?

Also note that it may take a while to get your appointment for an interview... Mine is tomorrow, and it was the first available when I signed up in June! This is SFO, which seemed particularly bad on appointment availability. I might have been able to pick up a cancellation sooner, but didn't bother...
by curmudgeon
Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: European Riverboat Tours
Replies: 14
Views: 1349

Re: European Riverboat Tours

All riverboats will be substantially smaller than the typical ocean cruise ship, so the size may be less of a consideration. Canal widths and bridge heights tend to limit riverboats. If you get too small with the riverboats, you might end up with a clunky, 4th-hand, worn-out boat, so definitely look...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family-HSA & One-Man SCorp: CONTRIBUTION and PREMIUM Questions
Replies: 8
Views: 606

Re: Family-HSA & One-Man SCorp: CONTRIBUTION and PREMIUM Questions

Just a note on why HSA-eligible HDHP plans may have slightly higher premiums than other HDHP... Due to some odd ACA artifacts, the rules for HSA eligibility have a slightly lower OOP max than generic HDHP plans. So plans that track to the highest OOP allowed for HDHP become ineligible for HSA, which...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just Learned about donor advise fund (DAF) and thinking of jumping in before year end.
Replies: 18
Views: 1589

Re: Just Learned about donor advise fund (DAF) and thinking of jumping in before year end.

You can search the site for some other threads on DAFs as well. Do take note of the fees and minimums; manageable, but they do take a bite. I look at the benefits of a DAF as the following: 1) You gain a lot of flexibility in timing your deduction vs the timing of the actual gift to the recipient. V...
by curmudgeon
Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What IS this? Salad tongs for elves?
Replies: 61
Views: 5365

Re: What IS this? Salad tongs for elves?

I might vote for a "mothball holder".
by curmudgeon
Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing Maintenance Cost in HCOL Area
Replies: 9
Views: 920

Re: Housing Maintenance Cost in HCOL Area

I was never a fan of that concept in the first place, but maybe that's because I have mostly lived in HCOL areas. Skilled trades labor tends to be more expensive in most HCOL regions, but more like 50-100% higher, not 400%. Materials might be 20% higher. Some factor of age, weather, and sqft would b...
by curmudgeon
Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vagaries of ACA pricing and subsidies
Replies: 3
Views: 647

Re: Vagaries of ACA pricing and subsidies

Interesting. I need to digest this. For example, for your Metro WA example, what do you mean by $6500 subsidy? Is that @30K or @60K Income? Shouldn't the PPO plan have the same subsidy (of $6500) like the other 2 plans instead of $10500? Thanks for catching this. I was simplifying a bit on the subs...
by curmudgeon
Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vagaries of ACA pricing and subsidies
Replies: 3
Views: 647

Vagaries of ACA pricing and subsidies

As part of some pre-retirement planning, I have been looking at health insurance costs (and net cost after subsidies) for several locations in CA and WA where we are considering living in retirement. These are among the "successful" ACA markets, with at least 3 insurers and a variety of pl...
by curmudgeon
Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I think it's final approach
Replies: 21
Views: 3564

Re: I think it's final approach

Yesterday I officially turned 59-1/2. I checked the 401(k) website, and they picked it up and now offer age-based withdrawal is I want. I'll look at moving some to an IRA for bonus money. It doesn't really matter too much where I hold bond index money and I could look at some other options there. E...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to purchase on Exchange if don't qualify for subsidy
Replies: 13
Views: 1497

Re: Any reason to purchase on Exchange if don't qualify for subsidy

Reportedly, sometimes on-exchange plans have narrower networks of doctors/hospitals available (even from same insurer). I don't know how broadly true (or not) that is, and in any case, these things vary a lot from state to state.
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 65 and 63 year old - retirement question (non-investment)
Replies: 21
Views: 2262

Re: 65 and 63 year old - retirement question (non-investment)

A few thoughts: 1) Drawing $50K out of retirement accounts, if it is traditional IRA/401K, will generate a significant bump in income taxes if withdrawn in one year. It may not be huge, but is worth figuring out. If it were coming from Roth, that would be less of an issue. 2) Another option might be...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: filtering out smoke
Replies: 29
Views: 2390

Re: filtering out smoke

It sounds like you have central AC and baseboard heat. One thing you might try doing is to run your AC in "fan only" mode for a few hours a day to get additional filtration from your central fan and the filter there. It's hard to say whether it would be likely to help or not, but it would ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: filtering out smoke
Replies: 29
Views: 2390

Re: filtering out smoke

The pollution controls you are thinking of for wood stoves are more like catalytic converters on cars. I think they are oriented towards more complete combustion at the source rather than trapping the smoke out of the air. I tend to think of woodsmoke as being fairly large particulates, and I'd be s...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)
Replies: 10
Views: 806

Re: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)

Looking at the numbers, I think Bruce had a good feel for the tax effects. Doing a straight sale with little other income would give about $85K in fed/state taxes. Doing a CRT would avoid that, and if the CRT transfer was done this year, it might save $25K or so in taxes this year (with normal earne...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Health Care Proxy "Invocation" requirement?
Replies: 4
Views: 402

Re: Health Care Proxy "Invocation" requirement?

To be honest, this sounds like another tendril of ACA intrusion, one of those things of taking a good idea and making mandatory regulations around it. But as noted, there are also state-specific details as well. You can denigrate it and call it "death counseling", but I think there is a re...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?
Replies: 58
Views: 5648

Re: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?

It's possible you may have made a negotiation mistake by being so specific on details when you were asking for a price quote. That let the dealers know that you have very few choices. You might do better with a somewhat more generic query (model and trim level, but not color/options), and then narro...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA prioritization and usage
Replies: 2
Views: 448

Re: HSA prioritization and usage

Note that if your wife is on her own health care plan, your total contribution to the HSA (including anything your employer puts in) is limited to $3350 (plus $1000 if age 55+). Yes, you can use money from your HSA to pay your wife's medical or dental expenses/copays even if she is not covered under...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)
Replies: 10
Views: 806

Re: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)

No carry-forwards, and nothing I could tax-loss harvest either. If we just sell and pay the taxes, we might donate $100K of appreciated stock to our DAF that year, which would have a similar charitable effect, but likely pretty different tax results. If it was a matter of pay $60K of tax now, or $40...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)
Replies: 10
Views: 806

Re: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)

Have you calculated what your tax bill would be if you waited until after retirement to sell? I ask because between the carry forward losses we had on a rental house due to income limitations we were pleasantly surprised at how little tax we are going to pay this year. Between State and Fed I think...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)
Replies: 10
Views: 806

Re: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)

Looking at the finance and tax mechanics might be something like this: 1) sell $200K worth of stock investments in taxable (generating $100K LTCG) 2) use the $200K to pay off mortgage on property 3) get appraisal (est 950K) and donate property to CRT (generates tax deduction based on the remainder i...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Remainder Trust (California)
Replies: 10
Views: 806

Charitable Remainder Trust (California)

Looking for insights and thoughts on Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT), and particularly if there are any special considerations to watch out for in CA. There's a bit of info in the wiki, and some good links that I have been starting to study, but if I go this way it is a big step for us and I want ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Methods for Optimum Income from Rental Property
Replies: 10
Views: 1697

Re: Methods for Optimum Income from Rental Property

The general concept is interesting. I think CRUTs had fallen somewhat out of general use due to the combination of real estate doldrums and the large increase in the estate tax exemption. I had generally brushed past this stuff as belonging in a different echelon of wealth, but it is may be relevant...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Methods for Optimum Income from Rental Property
Replies: 10
Views: 1697

Re: Methods for Optimum Income from Rental Property

An interesting analysis. The first thing that jumped out at me was a state sales tax on Real Estate? I wasn't aware of any states that had that type of tax on net value. The other point is that there are a lot of differences in your level of effort for the various modes, in the sense that running a ...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Obtaining Health Insurance as a retiree (esp. Missouri)
Replies: 12
Views: 999

Re: Obtaining Health Insurance as a retiree (esp. Missouri)

Looking at this myself, though not Missouri and no pension. If your employer offers a HDHP, it will generally have lower premiums and is worth considering. Often HDHPs offer lower costs if you have good health, and similar costs if you have really high expenses (due to the OOP max); it's only for in...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HDHP and HSA qualified are complicated
Replies: 1
Views: 234

Re: HDHP and HSA qualified are complicated

Yep, there are a couple of stupid little gotchas that block a lot of plans from being HSA qualified. This is an example, even though a $75 copay is probably equal (or greater) than the actual charge for a lot of basic office visits. The other gotcha is that you can have an OOP max that is too high t...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Free Lunch" - secondary brokered CDs?
Replies: 12
Views: 1668

Re: "Free Lunch" - secondary brokered CDs?

It continues to perplex me. Premium CDs I can see. CDs from different banks I can see. But for a discount CD from the same bank, the only two things I see are the commission/concession fee, usually pretty small, and the lot size. Maybe a lot of new-issue buyers are buying very large lots (close to ...
by curmudgeon
Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nissan Navigation Update
Replies: 16
Views: 1019

Re: Nissan Navigation Update

Folks, I know I could use my phone for navigation. I just trying to find out whether I could update my Nissan navigation once in 2 years. If that is possible, it might be worthwhile for me to update. KlangFool The roads don't change that quickly. I suppose it is more a question of the business list...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health care Early Retirement
Replies: 21
Views: 2997

Re: health care Early Retirement

The costs are substantial - on the other hand, they are for a limited time. For ER at 55, we're only talking about 10 years, so I suppose 'worst case' in my situation is having to save something like an extra $170,000 over usual annual expenses (that's 10 years times the employer's contribution). O...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102696

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Beginner question. For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points? Spend some time with the Google Flights tool to see what would be convenient flight options from your area. Learn which airlines are in which alliances. Alitalia partners w...
by curmudgeon
Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: health care Early Retirement
Replies: 21
Views: 2997

Re: health care Early Retirement

This is a topic that is very much on my mind, as I am looking at ER next year. There are a ton of different factors involved, as well as big state-to-state variations. I'm deeply concerned about the potential disintegration of the individual insurance market given the ACA situation, at least in many...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe bus tours
Replies: 36
Views: 2099

Re: Europe bus tours

Bus tours are definitely the most efficient way to see a bunch of tourist highlights in a region. I used to consider them for that reason, but we got started doing our own travel arrangements on our first trip to Europe, and somehow the bus tours for us have never gone beyond a couple of day trips. ...
by curmudgeon
Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Required to pay with Amazon gift card!
Replies: 11
Views: 834

Re: Required to pay with Amazon gift card!

I found just the binoculars I wanted at Amazon. The best price by far was offered by a new independent vendor. I could not place the order through Amazon. I had to send him my name, address, and phone number. He said Amazon then would get in touch with me. They did not. He said they claimed they ha...
by curmudgeon
Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ? Wisdom of Roth conversion
Replies: 28
Views: 2493

Re: ? Wisdom of Roth conversion

That simple version of i-orp has default retirement age at 65, and taking SS at FRA (~66). In that scenario, I don't think there is all that much point in doing Roth conversions. Contrast to some of us planning early retirement (in our 50's), and delaying SS until age 70; this creates a low-income z...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: maxed 401k - employer match
Replies: 24
Views: 2303

Re: maxed 401k - employer match

Why would they stop after the over 50 zone that makes no sense. Other then discrimination which I would be the first in line to sue them I don't actually have a problem with them not matching on the over 50 zone, except that they then combine this with the "only match per pay period" bit....
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: maxed 401k - employer match
Replies: 24
Views: 2303

Re: maxed 401k - employer match

Lots of variation depending on the specific plan. The most common scenario would be that the company spreads their match (or basic contribution) across the whole year; ie, they treat the match amount as "earned" on a month by month basis rather than letting you front-load it into the begin...
by curmudgeon
Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incapacity: who should determine: Doctor or 2 trustees?
Replies: 20
Views: 2046

Re: Incapacity: who should determine: Doctor or 2 trustees?

And, Trying to be co-trustees with someone who doesn't have the full capabilities to do so is difficult as well. At the point when someone is not capable of managing his/her finances, but in denial about it, it's likely that he/she will still want to retain a check book "just in case". I ...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Incapacity: who should determine: Doctor or 2 trustees?
Replies: 20
Views: 2046

Re: Incapacity: who should determine: Doctor or 2 trustees?

One thing I would consider is making plans now when the "successor trustee" may become a "co-trustee". This can be a way of gradually handing over management of finances without having to necessarily get into specifics of incapacity. As an example, you might specify in your trust...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does your employer use SAT/ACT scores?
Replies: 51
Views: 2753

Re: Does your employer use SAT/ACT scores?

Never heard of it done, EVER. But, it would be a fast way to evaluate candidates. There are tables to convert SAT/ACT to IQ. Then there lies the rub. Is there any data supporting folks with higher IQ are better workers? I'm not doubting just a really wondering? If I was an employer I want someone w...
by curmudgeon
Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Best Air Miles Rewards Program
Replies: 29
Views: 3150

Re: The Best Air Miles Rewards Program

From the bay area, United is a decent option. They link up with Air New Zealand and Lufthansa, which don't have huge surcharges for FF flights the way British Airways does for AA miles. United mileage rates and availability are at least average, though not great. Much more availability at the lowest...
by curmudgeon
Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Loan on $1.3MM Fixer-upper
Replies: 61
Views: 5640

Re: Loan on $1.3MM Fixer-upper

A few thoughts based on 70's CA construction. 1) copper water service and abs drains would normally still be fine. I don't think they had started using the really thin copper at that point. Specific conditions or local scenario might affect this (water chemistry that attacks copper), but I would be ...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Loan on $1.3MM Fixer-upper
Replies: 61
Views: 5640

Re: Loan on $1.3MM Fixer-upper

Be careful about your loan expectations. Just because the loan officer you are dealing with says some basic conditions are all you need to meet doesn't mean that someone further up the line in the loan review won't suddenly get much more picky. Probably a bigger issue with loans that are going to be...
by curmudgeon
Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ER and the ACA [Expenses in Retirement]
Replies: 4
Views: 529

Re: ER and the ACA [Expenses in Retirement]

One reference point would be how many different insurers (not plans) are available in a given location. If there is no competition, that is a sign of problems. The map in this link shows the number by each county for 2017: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/20/upshot/obamacare-options-in-many-parts-of-c...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSABank: How to withdraw money and reflect it in taxes?
Replies: 56
Views: 3360

Re: HSABank: How to withdraw money and reflect it in taxes?

It seems too simple, and I am still wondering if there is a catch. 1. So, I can just withdraw money from HSABank, receive a tax form from them for 2016, and put the same amounts for "distributions" and "qualified medical expenses" on Form 8889 lines 14a and 15, respectively. 2. ...
by curmudgeon
Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rollover IRA to Roth IRA conversion - tax free?
Replies: 8
Views: 669

Re: Rollover IRA to Roth IRA conversion - tax free?

I think others have covered the taxability aspect fairly well; Roth conversions generate taxable income, so you generally want to spread them out over a number of low income years by doing partial conversions each year. Depending on where you plan to draw living expenses from, some other things you ...

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