Search found 976 matches

by deanbrew
Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2nd cell phone in different area code
Replies: 13
Views: 1186

Re: 2nd cell phone in different area code

absolutely get a Google Voice. I would not want to keep track of a second device. Having two phone numbers is easy. I do some business in a neighboring state, and I got a Google Voice number in that state/area code. It rings into my cell phone whether I am there or here or anywhere else. People cal...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearing aids: best brands and where to get them?
Replies: 35
Views: 2639

Re: Hearing aids: best brands and where to get them?

I'll add another vote for Costco. When I first decided to get hearing aids I got Oticon Delta from my ENT/audiologist. Cost over $6K. Then when those reached the end of their useful life two years ago, based on recommendations here and elsewhere, I bought a Costco membership even though the nearest...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anything new about how to buy a new car I should know?
Replies: 14
Views: 693

Re: Anything new about how to buy a new car I should know?

While I agree this fee is absurd, once I had negotiated the agreed-upon OTD price, the winning dealership essentially backed-in to the selling price of the car (which included this stupid processing fee). In other words, the final OTD price quoted in my email was exactly what I actually paid in the...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearing aids: best brands and where to get them?
Replies: 35
Views: 2639

Re: Hearing aids: best brands and where to get them?

I did much the same research earlier this year, and figured out that Costco is probably the way to go. Unfortunately, I don't have a Costco near me. Sam's Club sells hearing aids, but the product and service seems to be a step or two down from Costco. Bummer.
by deanbrew
Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lot Financing Options
Replies: 2
Views: 371

Re: Lot Financing Options

In general, banks don't like to lend on vacant land. If they do, a 50% LTV is about the most you will get. Many people in your spot will buy with no loan, use seller financing or a home equity loan on a current residence. None of these will lock in today's interest rates, except perhaps seller finan...
by deanbrew
Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What do do with 9 year old Metlife Flexible Premium Multifunded Life (VUL) policy?
Replies: 7
Views: 556

Re: What do do with 9 year old Metlife Flexible Premium Multifunded Life (VUL) policy?

If you look at your last two annual statements, how much has your cash value, or accumulated value, increased from year to year? While this policy might not have been the smartest idea when it was purchased, it is old enough that it is probably a good idea to keep it. If your cash value is increasin...
by deanbrew
Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 2009
Views: 518103

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Rereading Orwell's 1984... I just re-read it last year. There were passages that gave me chills. Both of my kids read 1984, at my urging, and fairly often bring up quotes or thoughts from the book. It apparently is no longer required reading in high school, but it should be. the version I borrowed ...
by deanbrew
Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 2009
Views: 518103

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

letsgobobby wrote:Rereading Orwell's 1984...


I just re-read it last year. There were passages that gave me chills. Both of my kids read 1984, at my urging, and fairly often bring up quotes or thoughts from the book. It apparently is no longer required reading in high school, but it should be.
by deanbrew
Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which state to move for milder weather
Replies: 104
Views: 9885

Re: Which state to move for milder weather

We did research on weather in the US before retiring from the DC area two years ago. One meteorologist said that if you eliminate CA from the equation (which clearly has the best weather in the US) then the Asheville NC area has the most temperate weather in the country. We live about thirty minute...
by deanbrew
Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spreadsheet or worksheet for comparing health insurance plans?
Replies: 1
Views: 213

Re: Spreadsheet or worksheet for comparing health insurance plans?

Never mind. I don't have enough plans to choose from to make it necessary to compare. Two companies dropped out of my county, and the remaining two don't have that many plans. I bet I have one-fourth of the total plans available to me than I did last year. Now I need to look at the in-network tiers ...
by deanbrew
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spreadsheet or worksheet for comparing health insurance plans?
Replies: 1
Views: 213

Spreadsheet or worksheet for comparing health insurance plans?

I did a search, but didn't see anything. Before I delve into looking at health insurance plans - both on-exchange and off-exchange directly from insurance companies - has anyone found a spreadsheet or worksheet to compare several plans? I'd like a spreadsheet that uses premium amounts, copays, deduc...
by deanbrew
Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 2009
Views: 518103

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Finders Keepers by Stephen King. It follows some of the same characters of Mr. Mercedes. I'm a third of the way through it. So far at least its a straight murder/detective/mystery book. None of the paranormal themes sometimes found in King. I've enjoyed so much of his ouvre; but not all. I look bac...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry
Replies: 35
Views: 2605

Re: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry

I have a used Subaru Outback :annoyed with 115k on it I'd love to sell you. It leaks oil and will cost $700 to fix the radio but other than that it is fine. It has a new front end and a new air conditioner on it. What year? From Subaru forums I visit, it seems that they have largely fixed the oil c...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry
Replies: 35
Views: 2605

Re: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry

I own a 2011 Subaru Legacy, and have had only one minor problem with it in almost six years of ownership. My wife and I have owned a variety of Honda, Toyota and Ford vehicles, in addition to my Legacy, which is our first Subaru. Purely anecdotally, I would rank Subaru as reliable as Honda and Toyot...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 2009
Views: 518103

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Finders Keepers by Stephen King. It follows some of the same characters of Mr. Mercedes. I'm a third of the way through it. So far at least its a straight murder/detective/mystery book. None of the paranormal themes sometimes found in King. I've enjoyed so much of his ouvre; but not all. I look bac...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Finishing a Basement
Replies: 13
Views: 1438

Re: Finishing a Basement

I'm going to throw out an in-between option. If the basement is just for the kids and a workout room, you could go somewhere in the "unfinished but more pleasant" to "semi-finished" range. We have a basement under part of our house, and we wanted somewhere for the kids and their ...
by deanbrew
Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Odd question regarding vehicle negotiations
Replies: 17
Views: 1640

Re: Odd question regarding vehicle negotiations

As a matter of contract law, once the offeree makes a counteroffer the original offer cannot be accepted. Gill That's weird. What law dictates the the protocol for people haggling over the purchase of a used car? I mean if A says your counter offer is not accepted, my original offer is still on the...
by deanbrew
Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe bus tours
Replies: 36
Views: 2099

Re: Europe bus tours

I'm curious what knowledgeable posters have to say about this. My wife and I want to visit and explore England, Ireland and Scotland. Ideally, I would like a middle ground between the 8AM-10PM every day bus tour grind (which we did in China, and it was exhausting) and figuring things out on our own....
by deanbrew
Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is a garbage disposal unit a good idea for a rental property?
Replies: 34
Views: 2105

Re: Is a garbage disposal unit a good idea for a rental property?

We had one in our rental unit. I'd specifically call out in the lease agreement that if it breaks, landlord will not repair. Yeah, you can probably structure the lease with a work-around to avoid having to pay a plumber for a 5-minute fix. I know apartment owners that are taking garbage disposals a...
by deanbrew
Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types
Replies: 41
Views: 2918

Re: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types

I wouldn't assume the percentage, as it varies from product to product. If it doesn't say, I wouldn't count on it being 5+%. If it doesn't say on the package, is there a number to call? I couldn't find the answer in a quick web search for that brand. Here are a couple of threads on troublefreepool t...
by deanbrew
Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types
Replies: 41
Views: 2918

Re: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types

My last piece of advise - if your pool is clear and the chlorine or salt levels and pH levels are fine. DO NOTHING. If you bring a sample to pool store for testing, I found out about 75% of the time they tell you need to add something. I only bring a sample in after the initial opening to confirm w...
by deanbrew
Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which city to start early retirement?
Replies: 128
Views: 12289

Re: Which city to start early retirement?

Had never thought about PA overall but we just did the numbers here and everything looks good except the crime. Areavibes gives it an F overall, it looks like there is a lot of simply random crime. Beautiful old 1800s homes there though, very interesting looking place. "F overall" for cri...
by deanbrew
Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which city to start early retirement?
Replies: 128
Views: 12289

Re: Which city to start early retirement?

Had never thought about PA overall but we just did the numbers here and everything looks good except the crime. Areavibes gives it an F overall, it looks like there is a lot of simply random crime. Beautiful old 1800s homes there though, very interesting looking place. "F overall" for cri...
by deanbrew
Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types
Replies: 41
Views: 2918

Re: Basic pool equipment - best brands/types

I have to admit I'm a little surprised at all of the posts about robotic cleaners, as this website is famously frugal on most matters. I've been taking care of my pool for 15 years, and have never had a robotic cleaner. I would like to have one, but have never been able to justify and rationalize th...
by deanbrew
Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru - New 2016 or Used 2014 (25k miles)
Replies: 39
Views: 3574

Re: Subaru - New 2016 or Used 2014 (25k miles)

Just get a chrome chain link license plate frame and a confederate flag (or "redneck flag", as it's called around here) decorative license plate, and you can use the holes. :twisted:
by deanbrew
Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

Well, mine holds a charge just fine now that I had the power port replaced. I'm not a heavy user, and the charge usually lasts me all day. If not, I have an extra battery that I keep charged that I can substitute.

What don't you like about the Nexus 5X? What is missing, or doesn't work properly?
by deanbrew
Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

Thanks, everyone. There is a lot of good information in this thread. For the time being, I think I'll just keep using my S4 until it dies. I stopped at Best Buy and AT&T and Verizon (I am on AT&T and can't use Verizon phones, but thought they might have some models to look at) stores yesterd...
by deanbrew
Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

Yes, I have unlimited calling. What I lack is decent cell reception in my home. Google Voice has been unreliable. Sometimes it's crystal clear, other times people say my voice sounds "robotic" or "metallic". Gotcha. I suspect this is a common problem. People even have the same i...
by deanbrew
Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Importance of AMI certification in Montessori
Replies: 4
Views: 490

Re: Importance of AMI certification in Montessori

I had kids who went to two different Montessori schools. One was AMS certified, but the one that was more rigid in Montessori tools and methods was actually not certified. While the certifications probably have merits, I think you can find out more by visiting the schools and talking with the direct...
by deanbrew
Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

You could sign up for google project fi - pay $199 for the phone. (though if you did not want service from them you'd have to pay 1 month of service for $20 for that price - you can cancel after that - so $220 in total). Some sellers on ebay sell new ones for about $240. Hence the range $200-250. I...
by deanbrew
Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

I would consider the Apple iPhone. This is by far the best phone we have ever used. I have a good friend with Samsung and I believe he is really considering the move to Apple as well. A huge benefit is the sync with the laptop, iPad, etc. It actually took longer to get to this post than I expected....
by deanbrew
Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Should I replace my Samsung Galaxy S4?

No, this isn't about wanting a cool, new phone. The opposite, in fact; I would like to keep my three year old Galaxy S4. About two weeks ago, I found that my phone was not accepting a charge. I would plug the charger in, and... nada. OK, I thought, perhaps my charging cable went bad. I tried a diffe...
by deanbrew
Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru - New 2016 or Used 2014 (25k miles)
Replies: 39
Views: 3574

Re: Subaru - New 2016 or Used 2014 (25k miles)

So this used car is about 17% used up. The best 17%. I would want maybe a 25% drop in price. Agree completely. You are not only giving up the best 17%, but you are giving up two years of full warranty coverage and two years of tire and battery life. The simple fact is it seldom makes sense to buy a...
by deanbrew
Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AT&T Mobile Users: Check your plans
Replies: 75
Views: 11986

Re: AT&T Mobile Users: Check your plans

It looks like I won't save money compared to my current plan. I have the 15GB plan with 5 smartphones and 1 tablet. They are lowering the price of the data by going up from 15 to 16 GB, but raising the per-phone charge from $15 to $20. So, if I'm analyzing it properly, my bill would go up by $15. It...
by deanbrew
Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quit Claim Deed vs Title of property
Replies: 3
Views: 505

Re: Quit Claim Deed vs Title of property

Real property does not generally have a "title". Ownership is transferred by deeds, usually recorded at the county land records office. So, unless I am mistaken, there is nowhere you can go to get a title to your property. A quit claim deed is used to transfer ownership, similar to any dee...
by deanbrew
Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?
Replies: 42
Views: 2587

Re: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?

One other thing that might not apply to the OP, but could come into play with others: When you appeal your assessment, you open the door for the county, school district and other taxing authorities to increase your assessed value. I have heard of it happening, especially when the assessment office f...
by deanbrew
Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?
Replies: 42
Views: 2587

Re: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?

Your Assessor's office should be able to tell you which properties were used as comps to make the adjustment to assessed value of your property. Not exactly. Mass assessment doesn't use "comps" in the same way a traditional appraisal does. The assessment office plugs all recent sales into...
by deanbrew
Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?
Replies: 42
Views: 2587

Re: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?

I did have a recent appraisal done (within the last 6 months) for a HELOC. The appraised value was higher than my purchase price a couple years ago by 4.5%. So it seems that since both the appraised value and the assessed value of the property are higher, the tax increase is probably reasonable. Wo...
by deanbrew
Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?
Replies: 42
Views: 2587

Re: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?

I checked the assessed values for 10 neighboring homes. All of them (including my house) went up exactly 6.5% from last year. So I guess I am out of luck, correct? No. The only important thing regarding assessments is current market value. The best evidence is a recent appraisal prepared by a quali...
by deanbrew
Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you screen income for potential renters?
Replies: 6
Views: 1244

Re: How do you screen income for potential renters?

Why lose $$ to a rental manager if you're the one screening applicants and showing the apt? That's most of our work. That's what I was thinking. I usually did the advertising and screening myself, but I did use an agent one time when I lived in another state. But I never used a manager. Once it's l...
by deanbrew
Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?
Replies: 40
Views: 3203

Re: Depending on stability of ACA marketplace for next 8 years?

This is one of my concerns; a "race to the bottom" to having Medicaid equivalent networks and service levels for any affordable ACA plan. There are two major insurance companies active in my area. Both offer a bewildering array of plans that severely limit one's choice of doctors and hosp...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aetna Home Medical Assessment
Replies: 9
Views: 834

Re: Aetna Home Medical Assessment

Just say no. Why would you volunteer so much information for so little compensation? I once agreed to such an assessment (online) and had to answer lots of invasive questions. In addition, I had to deal with all the subsequent emails asking more invasive questions. This is pretty much my train of t...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should my father continue his awful whole life plan at age 65?
Replies: 16
Views: 2004

Re: Should my father continue his awful whole life plan at age 65?

At age 65 and with several health problems, I almost can't imagine not paying the premium. It would very likely be a gift to the insurance company to let the policy lapse. I am confused about the death benefit, however. At the start, you mention that it is a $100,000 policy, but later mention that i...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aetna Home Medical Assessment
Replies: 9
Views: 834

Re: Aetna Home Medical Assessment

I don't think they will discontinue coverage, since pre-existing conditions and medical condition in general is not part of health insurance anymore - just age, gender, smoking and location. We signed up with Aetna this year and had the same invitation. I'm not exactly sure what it is, or what purpo...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Southwest Airlines - Rebooking
Replies: 11
Views: 924

Re: Southwest Airlines - Rebooking

Yep, that's one reason I really like Southwest - the two included bags is the other reason. My wife and I had tickets to San Francisco and back in February. She decided to go to a trade show in Las Vegas for a couple of days before our vacation in SF. I called Southwest and changed our reservation f...
by deanbrew
Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: building a house- realtor recommends selling and renting?
Replies: 22
Views: 2389

Re: building a house- realtor recommends selling and renting?

If you can afford it, I would just move the once into your new house and then after fixing up the old one (i.e. painting, etc.) put it on the market. You will be paying two mortgages but it certainly is a lot less hassle. Agree. Moving twice and renting will likely cost more than owning the two pro...
by deanbrew
Mon May 09, 2016 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips for Selling Bedroom Set
Replies: 27
Views: 2287

Re: Tips for Selling Bedroom Set

You might also want to look into auctions. We have three auctioneers near us, and we had one come out and empty my BIL's house when he got divorced. The auctioneer came and hauled away all sorts of furniture and household goods, and then auctioned it off over the next few weeks at his weekly auction...
by deanbrew
Mon May 09, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: *IF* VW buys back my TDI
Replies: 37
Views: 3683

Re: *IF* VW buys back my TDI

What exactly is the issue here? VW made diesel vehicles with special software to fool US emissions testing, so now they are potentially going to have to buy back the vehicles with this software installed on them? Why are the owners of these cars upset? Because their car is polluting more than they ...
by deanbrew
Thu May 05, 2016 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax situation on rental properties
Replies: 4
Views: 833

Re: Tax situation on rental properties

You say your mother gifted the properties to you last year. Does that mean there is a deed showing change of ownership? If so, you can quite clearly show when your ownership started. You did not collect any income and are not liable for any taxes before that date. It is typical for any change of own...
by deanbrew
Thu May 05, 2016 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Leasing and renting vs buying cash
Replies: 14
Views: 1502

Re: Leasing and renting vs buying cash

Leasing a car is more expensive than owning except in exceptional circumstances. I found I could lease a BMW for $100/month more than owning my seven year old Honda Fit. That's it, I should lease up @ BMW, right? What a deal! If you read the small print $4400 is due at signing! Rinse/repeat every t...

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