Search found 1223 matches

by gd
Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Prices
Replies: 18
Views: 2510

Re: TurboTax Prices

I was searching for cheapest sources, then slowly started realizing I was spending time and delaying valuable cg harvesting decisions to save.... maybe $10 on a once/year, extremely important purchase. Better way to save $10/year: skip one fast food meal when you'll be home in an hour anyway.
by gd
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9376

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation. I got a laugh out of this. I went to two very well-known universities, both well funded. Received no aid I d...
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The annoying insistence on frivolous credit checks/pulls
Replies: 35
Views: 3214

Re: The annoying insistence on frivolous credit checks/pulls

I had to mail in paper ID when my state's ACA program tried to confirm my identity with a credit check one web screen sooner than I expected when setting up an account. It's not just about credit cards, it's about people setting up accounts of any type, possibly to use as leverage for other activity...
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Didn't buy Bitcoin at $4600
Replies: 138
Views: 10726

Re: Didn't buy Bitcoin at $4600

If this is the only investment or speculation you've ever considered but not executed that has doubled in price, you haven't been doing this much.
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets
Replies: 336
Views: 17426

Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Vacation is not a synonym for experiences. Hard asset is not a synonym for things.
by gd
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chromebook/Similar for Elderly Dad
Replies: 30
Views: 1944

Re: Chromebook/Similar for Elderly Dad

Been there, done that with great success, worked much better than a windows laptop. I suggest the largest screen he can fit on his work surface and, in this case, travel with. I went with the biggest I could find, 15.6" (probably Acer but it didn't matter to me) and a wireless mouse. Don't think I w...
by gd
Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fuel treatments for small engines
Replies: 32
Views: 2167

Re: Fuel treatments for small engines

Find a hobbyist pilot who can get 100LL (100 octane low lead) aviation gas. I don't think vendors are allowed to sell it to the public for non-aviation use.
by gd
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sunscreen: use it all the time? (And what's a good one w/o sting?)
Replies: 58
Views: 3576

Re: Sunscreen: use it all the time? (And what's a good one w/o sting?)

Anything with zinc oxide (for localized condition). Goes on a little white and greasy when very thick as I need to use it, but that fades after a minute or two. Some brands are very expensive, I've never noticed a difference.
by gd
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emotional impact of spending down assets?
Replies: 100
Views: 10181

Re: Emotional impact of spending down assets?

Mom is a young 85. Quick witted/intelligent, friendly, good shape, cooks every day, still drives, got the dog, etc. Lives in a nice place, new car, always smiling. Mom, why are you trying to live like a pauper? You don't understand. I don't either. Nice place, new car doesn't sound like living like...
by gd
Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip in May: Starting in Munich, Ending in Interlaken - Where to go in between?
Replies: 27
Views: 1579

Re: Trip in May: Starting in Munich, Ending in Interlaken - Where to go in between?

I'd agree Salzburg is off course, unless there's something specific you want to do or see there. You don't have that much time to travel. Neuschwanstein is almost obligatory if heading south from Munich. If you want German alps, hiking, cable cars to mountaintops and nature you'd presumably get that...
by gd
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Planner Recommendations
Replies: 5
Views: 665

Re: Tax Planner Recommendations

As my investment situation got stable and boring, I redirected my attentions to tax strategies and tactics. Think of it as an expansion of your hobby. I use last year's TurboTax to run various scenarios. I'd guess these experts you're considering basically do the same, simply with the background kno...
by gd
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2018 for Mac [and PC Released]
Replies: 41
Views: 4898

Re: Quicken 2018 for Mac and PC Released

It does include this somewhat comforting bullet poing: "Data Access Guarantee: Whether you renew your membership or not, you will always have access to and ownership of your data." This does not say you will continue to be able to use your program in any useful sense, just that you can "access" the...
by gd
Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HELP! Possible Mold in House
Replies: 14
Views: 1612

Re: HELP! Possible Mold in House

Bathroom vents aren't supposed to go into the attic. The negatives depend on use, house and location, which you do not disclose. In my area it'll promote ice dams, causing water seepage like you describe, but is unlikely to be the sole factor. Your landlord might be unaware of the problems, you shou...
by gd
Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat mail forwarding mechanics
Replies: 7
Views: 1002

Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

I lived overseas for a few years pre-public-internet, and used a Mailboxes Etc store selected to be near a helpful relative to receive mail, which relative would collect, filter, and forward to me every week or two. It was also a useful way to preserve a US address; I officially lived in a "suite" t...
by gd
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Multi-currency accounts for US citizen
Replies: 37
Views: 1823

Re: Multi-currency accounts for US citizen

Just a thought, he's probably got access to better information from fellow travellers and the future worldly employer than this forum. After a certain point in life, asking the parent isn't the best solution :D .
by gd
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looming Retirement & Market Jitters
Replies: 48
Views: 4493

Re: Looming Retirement & Market Jitters

"news reports describing" impact of ill-undefined future tax policy? I think you mean "speculation", motives included.
I have equivalent concerns if it does happen. Call it a draw?

(edited mildly political statement)
by gd
Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken
Replies: 112
Views: 11305

Re: WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken

As far as I can tell, you must fix your devices also. So, for example, anyone with an iPad 3 (I have 2 I use daily with no plans to replace) or using WiFi with Windows XP is permanently exposed. I suspect my older Republic WIreless phones, with custom firmware from RW, will also be permanently expos...
by gd
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)
Replies: 60
Views: 6499

Re: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)

What is the point of your HOA if they don't/won't deal with giant piles of trash on the curb for weeks? Seriously, I've never been subject to one. Otherwise, if I knew a sale was actually in progress and a new owner was due, I'd wait it out. In any case, I would not presume authority to remove mater...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone else not liking the new cars?
Replies: 135
Views: 11097

Re: anyone else not liking the new cars?

The last car I've owned (and still do) that I liked the looks of was a utilitarian 1999 VW Polo station wagon, although I eventually grew to accept the Escort candy-bar-in-hot-sun look when I discovered that it gave me maybe 10% better gas mileage than a more modern-styled Focus with the same drivet...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: About Vanguard advisors: opinions, thoughts?
Replies: 78
Views: 8540

Re: About Vanguard advisors: opinions, thoughts?

Seems like the controversy comes down to semantics and implications about what "advice" means-- suggestion or mandatory. Perhaps they should have named it "Vanguard Personal Management Services". I have the thought that the 16 page brochure posted is pretty dense, and the people likely using PAS are...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELP! 2016 taxes down to the wire: form 1116 help
Replies: 25
Views: 1116

Re: HELP! 2016 taxes down to the wire: form 1116 help

FWIW for next year, better handling of 1116 is why I switched from TaxACT to TurboTax years ago. Can't say if it's still true, but wouldn't surprise me. It pains me to promote Intuit, but that's life. It did, for the record, still require finding the secret checkbox in the TT personal information wo...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Antivirus Software Recommendations
Replies: 44
Views: 3712

Re: Antivirus Software Recommendations

I used Norton because it was free with my Comcast internet. It destroyed my Windows 10 system during a Norton-initiated update 6-9 months ago, demanding more and more reboots and updates and a complete Norton reinstall until I finally got a Windows failure screen I've never seen before. It required ...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A year of currency risk [Euro investers]
Replies: 4
Views: 500

Re: A year of currecny risk [Euro investers]

Just my opinion after having had money in Euros for a long time for personal reasons, but planning financial activity around the exchange rate is speculation, not investing. Investing is when you have some sort of story about the underlying variations in value. If you can describe why the exchange r...
by gd
Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Bracket in Retirement
Replies: 46
Views: 5537

Re: Tax Bracket in Retirement

I'm not smart enough to foresee my personal and detailed financial future years or decades away, and political/taxation/medical insurance future next year. Looking back at my past expectations substantiates this. I diversify my future tax liabilities.
by gd
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using recent Quicken versions standalone
Replies: 5
Views: 731

Re: Using recent Quicken versions standalone

OP here. Thanks for the two suggestions. I agree this is stretching and usually don't dig in my heels about this stuff, but the new owners have tried unsuccessfully to do this with newer versions already in Canada (ref: previous threads in BH). It's a good time to step off the slippery slope. Reinst...
by gd
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using recent Quicken versions standalone
Replies: 5
Views: 731

Using recent Quicken versions standalone

I've got Quicken 2015 for Windows. I don't use any downloading features, and there will be no more bug fixes for it. I just want to use it as a static, standalone PC program. I've unfortunately let it get updated recently, and now receive nags to set up a new account and receive "critical upgrades" ...
by gd
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What specific changes have you made post-Equifax?
Replies: 52
Views: 4350

Re: What specific changes have you made post-Equifax?

You're doing all this stuff in direct response to the security breach, yet not doing the one thing most recommended (credit freeze) in the hope that eventually someone will pass a law that will allow you to do it free, thus saving you maybe $10? My answer to your question: initiated credit freeze fo...
by gd
Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: That blank stare... ?
Replies: 49
Views: 3150

Re: That blank stare... ?

That was one reason I bought a variable annuity for my spouse decades ago as one piece of our overall financial planning, with written instructions about deploying it for a trouble-free lifetime pension. I don't care that it is a suboptimal investment for a financial hobbyist.
by gd
Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Contractor paid by hour charging for crew's breaks?
Replies: 6
Views: 971

Contractor paid by hour charging for crew's breaks?

I'm in the middle of house repair hell, with a general contractor's workers doing an assortment of large and small tasks. Most is fixed price quote, but some changes in the work in progress and some repairs of initially unclear extent are by time and materials. His workers use a smartphone app, star...
by gd
Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are quality exterior doors worth it?
Replies: 17
Views: 2220

Re: Are quality exterior doors worth it?

So what are more reasonably-priced doors made of? What is the difference? If insulation, by how much, and how much will that impact your heating/cooling expenses? (my guess-- not $2000) Do you keep warranty redemption info for every warrantied item you own, and know which items those are? How much d...
by gd
Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If the US dollar fails, are stocks safe?
Replies: 44
Views: 5957

Re: If the US dollar fails, are stocks safe?

I have heard second hand of someone in British Columbia in the 70s who, concerned about nuclear war, plotted likely fallout patterns and moved to the safest and most remote place with a stable government he could find -- the Falkland Islands ;-). Or the Malvinas as they were briefly known under Arg...
by gd
Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USPS lost very important certified mail - What next?
Replies: 46
Views: 5390

Re: USPS lost very important certified mail - What next?

My bank once advised me of the time limit on stop-payment checks, and said that the only way to be absolutely certain it would not eventually be cashed was to close the account it was drawn on.
by gd
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 19768

Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

In my long-ago professional life, I felt there was a loose correlation between people who went out to eat every single day and people who turned white after the surprise appearance of the corporate overlord representative and subsequent "all hands meeting" that ended most of my high-tech jobs. I sus...
by gd
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mother-In-Law dying, Wife wants to buy a Porsche
Replies: 51
Views: 5374

Re: Mother-In-Law dying, Wife wants to buy a Porsche

This isn't a financial logic question, it's an emotion question. It's hard, she's stressed out, and thinking about a reward is a way of getting through the stress. You are not saying this explicitly, but strongly implying that there is an understanding that the car is advance compensation for the st...
by gd
Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else freeze their credit score?
Replies: 126
Views: 12089

Re: Anyone else freeze their credit score?

A bit bemused that people are complaining about the difficulty of freezing their credit ratings, which they want to do because the credit rating companies are too lax, but be that as it may-- I get a new credit card maybe once every 5 years. If I go online to the typical quickie credit card applicat...
by gd
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Health Care Fund in my portfolio?
Replies: 42
Views: 4281

Re: Vanguard Health Care Fund in my portfolio?

I had lots of VGHAX for 2 decades, and it did quite well for me through many cycles of criticism. It put out a *lot* of cg distributions at times, complicating my increasingly-detailed tax bracket planning at end of year. I now hold less of the index fund, agonizing about the differences before the ...
by gd
Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Prevent mail theft; sign for USPS Informed Delivery]
Replies: 213
Views: 15826

Re: Postal Service -- "informed delivery"

Signed up for this 2-3 weeks ago when the thread started, it says I'm registered with correct email, and have never received anything. YMMV. Don't get your hopes up.
by gd
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7874

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

If gaming your taxes is important enough to structure your life around, go for it. I live next to a no-income-tax-no-sales-tax state, it's pretty common. Personally, it's squarely in the "cutting of my nose to spite my face" category, . And to answer your question as best I can, I moved in-state to ...
by gd
Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I've fallen and I can't get up -- recommendations?
Replies: 43
Views: 6487

Re: I've fallen and I can't get up -- recommendations?

Short answer, kids just pay for it to bypass the resistance. I don't recall the brand, but a relative has one with a base station plugging into land line, and choice between pendant and wrist device. There is a short-distance radio connection between the two, GPS is not needed. Think you press a but...
by gd
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable Annuities for 62 Y/O
Replies: 14
Views: 1203

Re: Variable Annuities for 62 Y/O

$100,000 annuitized at age 62 will get you less than $6500 per year, probably closer to $6000 per year, just for planning purposes... So, ignoring inflation, over 6% for the rest of your life regardless of how long you live, with no management of funds required. There are many people for whom this ...
by gd
Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Survey ate some of my property....
Replies: 25
Views: 2389

Re: Survey ate some of my property....

You haven't made totally clear what the rigor of the survey was, and what "other corners" were marked by. I had an ambiguity with a neighbor resolved with a survey we shared the cost of, and it resulted in discovering the official lot lines-- both deeds filed with county, maps and assessor's records...
by gd
Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road bike tour to Europe
Replies: 10
Views: 1011

Re: Road bike tour to Europe

I eventually preferred solo self-contained trips, but I had 2 good experiences (Ireland and Greece) with Classic Bicycle Tours & Treks 25+ years ago, now Classic Adventures. The owner, a college prof who did greek tours as a side line, was just expanding and bringing in his sons as summer jobs in co...
by gd
Mon May 22, 2017 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computing device for elderly relative
Replies: 34
Views: 2169

Re: Computing device for elderly relative

I seem to have posed some questions in that thread you referenced, so a followup-- Same situation, had great success with a 15" chromebook, far better than either Windows or iPad. Think it was an Acer, not sure now. I consider them commodity items, and just went with the biggest screen I could find....
by gd
Mon May 08, 2017 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Replacement Question
Replies: 20
Views: 2397

Re: Window Replacement Question

I'm intimately familiar with old window construction, maintenance and performance on two continents. The only carpenter I've ever talked to who knew or appreciated them as much as me (on either continent) was uninterested in making a difficult sill repair on mine, as the house was only 80 years old ...
by gd
Fri May 05, 2017 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Replacement Question
Replies: 20
Views: 2397

Re: Window Replacement Question

Again, if you dont want to retain your historic windows, PLEASE make them available to others who will make use of them. I live in an historic district in a town outside Boston, and don't believe anyone wants generic <100 year old double-hung windows or the hardware. Names if you've got them! Like ...
by gd
Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?
Replies: 52
Views: 4444

Re: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?

The fourth local mechanic we tried was trustworthy, and we use him for older cars. An advantage of car repairs over, say, major house repairs is that you do it so often that you can get a useful survey of the local options, hopefully there aren't too many disasters before you find one that suits you...
by gd
Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying weekend home: suburbs or rural? (yard privacy important)
Replies: 24
Views: 2479

Re: Buying weekend home: suburbs or rural? (yard privacy important)

You really want to experience the community you buy in, any times of year you'll be there. I have no clue of the areas you're looking at, but it's going to be very different from a city. Examples from my exurb outside another NE city-- space is nice, until your rural neighbors bring out the dirt bik...
by gd
Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying to Asia and electronics ban
Replies: 9
Views: 1721

Re: Flying to Asia and electronics ban

asterix0 wrote: The odds of damage or theft seem very high.
You seem to be prepared to spend time and money on this. Curious, odds how high and based on what information? Seems like it would not include detached lenses and memory cards containing your digital pictures.
by gd
Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why are pensions revered, but annuities reviled?
Replies: 113
Views: 12103

Re: Why are pensions revered, but annuities reviled?

This is a DIY crowd. It sometimes undeweights issues such as the value or requirement of having an advisor or financial instrument that will remove actions or decision-making burdens from people unable or unwilling to deal with them. That choice does not occur with a pension, but is very much presen...
by gd
Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bill received after Estate is closed
Replies: 57
Views: 6749

Re: Bill received after Estate is closed

I don't want to go back to the beneficiaries and ask them to help with the bill. One had the money deposited to a Special needs trust and one is retired and barely surviving. If you tell the lawyer to get it back from the other beneficiaries themselves and walk away, the other beneficiaries are goi...