Search found 179 matches

by ianferrel
Tue May 29, 2018 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help with grocery budget
Replies: 51
Views: 4230

Re: Please help with grocery budget

How about pouring the 2-liter bottles into four 0.5 liter bottles? Use empty 0.5 liter plastic water bottles. The screw caps should be able to hold the pressure. It's more work, but might be worth a try. In my experience, this doesn't work. Maybe if you have an iron grip. The carbonation isn't lost...
by ianferrel
Fri May 25, 2018 12:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alexa Echo sent family's audio file to a contact
Replies: 64
Views: 5729

Re: Alexa Echo sent family's audio file to a contact

Another fluff piece used to instill fear in those with no idea what steps had to occur for this to happen, not to mention that the couple absolutely ignored what their echo was asking them. Here were those steps: Blaming the victim. Is there any reason to believe that they even heard what the echo ...
by ianferrel
Thu May 24, 2018 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Decision points on new Iphone
Replies: 19
Views: 1129

Re: Decision points on new Iphone

Yah, I know that once you're over ios 7.1 that the factory supported speed slow down comes in, but if you want many of the newer apps, you'll just have to put up with it. ... I've yet to have anyone give me a specific, concrete example of what any newer iPhone buys me beyond what my 4S gives me. "R...
by ianferrel
Mon May 21, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Disability Insurance
Replies: 6
Views: 410

Re: Long Term Disability Insurance

You need an individual policy that is portable, i.e., that you can take with you if you leave your present employment. Otherwise you're SOL if you lose your current job after developing some sort of medical condition that makes you un-insurable. Hmm. Good point. Are there policies that provide supp...
by ianferrel
Mon May 21, 2018 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Disability Insurance
Replies: 6
Views: 410

Long Term Disability Insurance

My employer provides group LTD insurance that provides 60% of my pre-disability income in the event of long-term disability. I'm trying to determine if I should purchase additional insurance, and how best to think about the risks. A few data points that might be helpful. 1. Our current expenses are ...
by ianferrel
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2018 Honda Fit EX
Replies: 33
Views: 2622

Re: 2018 Honda Fit EX

We have a 2015 Fit, and it's great in the ways that people have said. We can pack more stuff in it than in several larger cars, and get ~38mpg. I agree that road noise is bad. With a rear-facing child seat in the backseat, the front seat in front of it is cramped. I'm 5'10", and I just fit comfortab...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: power tool that replaces both allen wrench and screwdriver
Replies: 9
Views: 727

Re: power tool that replaces both allen wrench and screwdriver

If you want it to fit into small-ish spaces, you can get an electric screwdriver that's not much bigger than a large-handled screwdriver. Something like this (note, I don't vouch for this particular model, just demonstrating the sort of device). These don't have enough power to do things like screw ...
by ianferrel
Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fender bender in parking lot, he said she said. What's the effect on my going to be?
Replies: 17
Views: 1503

Re: Fender bender in parking lot, he said she said. What's the effect on my going to be?

I always thought parking lots were kind of at your own risk places. Not sure what you mean by that, but signs that say "park at your own risk" generally mean that the owner of the parking lot is disclaiming liability for anything that happens. It doesn't mean that you can crash into someone else's ...
by ianferrel
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Do You Value Your Home for Net Worth Purposes?
Replies: 150
Views: 9842

Re: How Do You Value Your Home for Net Worth Purposes?

I also average Zillow and Redfin. Both fluctuate, but the average is substantially more stable.

I do it because I like to occasionally look at a chart that's labeled "net worth" and has a line that goes up and to the right.
by ianferrel
Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does the value of my home matter?
Replies: 21
Views: 2832

Re: Does the value of my home matter?

Even if you have no current plans to sell your house, the value of your home has option value. Plans and circumstances change. You might want or need to sell it in the future, and a high value house means you have more future flexibility.
by ianferrel
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another reason to steer clear of Bitcoin. As if we need another reason...
Replies: 47
Views: 6498

Re: Another reason to steer clear of Bitcoin. As if we need another reason...

But I can pass some information regarding. My guess is you largely don't understand 'crypto-currencies', so I will work off that assumption. I understand cryptocurrencies pretty well, and I disagree with your post (apart from the basic description of cryptocurrencies, which is fine and useful). I a...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to stop mail for former occupants?
Replies: 103
Views: 6524

Re: How to stop mail for former occupants?

I would be careful with that. What if he opens and "distributes" all the mail before any adults see it? Or he starts using it as scratch paper or for other "projects"? He's not tall enough to reach the mailbox yet, so we don't have to worry about that for a while. And almost all of our mail is junk...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to stop mail for former occupants?
Replies: 103
Views: 6524

Re: How to stop mail for former occupants?

This doesn't work for everyone, but I give it to my 2-year-old. He loves opening mail!
by ianferrel
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash
Replies: 14
Views: 1115

Re: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash

If car manufacturers would stop pushing their proprietary infotainment systems and just use Android Auto and Carplay, then the fragmentation issue is gone. That helps, but unless you think that Android Auto and Carplay aren't going to add any new features in the next decade, that doesn't solve the ...
by ianferrel
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keeping sensitive documents in the cloud -- bad idea?
Replies: 46
Views: 3127

Re: Keeping sensitive documents in the cloud -- bad idea?

Make sure, if you are encrypting things, that you are correctly weighing the chance of different risks and carefully saving your encryption key. 1. The risk that someone else gets access to your data. Encryption makes sense here. 2. The risk that you lose your data. Encryption increases this risk, s...
by ianferrel
Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash
Replies: 14
Views: 1115

Re: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash

That is a horrible idea. Recently, I was driving my kids home from dinner out and we got behind a car at a red light that was literally broadcasting pornography to the world via a large screen attached to his dashboard. You don't want this to become standard in cars. The OP specified that this shou...
by ianferrel
Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash
Replies: 14
Views: 1115

Re: Youtube/Netflix/Browser in Car Dash

There are engineering issues: Your tablet probably has to update the Netflix/Amazon app a dozen times a year. So, you either need to be able to update your touchscreen software easily over the air, or Netflix/Amazon is going to have to support dozens (hundreds?) of old versions for a decade+. Which ...
by ianferrel
Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Collection agency calls intended for another person:
Replies: 36
Views: 3390

Re: Collection agency calls intended for another person:

Nine years ago, we moved to a new home and obtained a different number for our land line. Soon thereafter, we began to receive calls from collection agencies attempting to locate a woman owing money. These calls have continued periodically over the years. <snip> Today, I saw this woman's name, it i...
by ianferrel
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bitcoin: Significance of 12 transactions per second?
Replies: 28
Views: 3894

Re: Bitcoin: Significance of 12 transactions per second?

To cite an actual parallel in the past, if you lost money in the once-regarded-as-"reputable" Mt. Gox exchange, it is not very comforting to have someone say "you just need to be careful to use only a reputable exchange." In general, your post is excellent and I agree with all of it except the quot...
by ianferrel
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?
Replies: 119
Views: 12308

Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

It's not just that styles have changed. It's that stuff has become cheap and space has become expensive. I really like this essay about the subject . Combine the trends of urbanization, increasing efficiency in manufacturing, and vastly increased housing prices in most places, and what you get is a ...
by ianferrel
Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to utilize monthly vehicle allowance from employer?
Replies: 10
Views: 850

Re: Best way to utilize monthly vehicle allowance from employer?

Rationally, you should be more willing to spend on a vehicle if you're paying with tax-free money. So, imagine what you'd buy if you just had the extra income (with no strings), and (probably) buy something nicer. Exactly how much you're willing to spend is still going to be a personal decision. OR ...
by ianferrel
Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy for smartphones.
Replies: 31
Views: 3567

Re: Strategy for smartphones.

So I asked him what happened if this was 12 months and 1 week for an $800 phone and he said I'd be out of work. How do people handle this eventuality, as I am not a fan of insurance or extended warranties. You self-insure, and hope that you don't have to eat the cost. Stuff does break sometimes. Ar...
by ianferrel
Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Iphone X is $1000
Replies: 385
Views: 31166

Re: Iphone X is $1000

Yeah, $1,000 every two years for a phone is way too much, but I'm sure consumers will prove me wrong. When you upgrade, are you throwing your old phone in the garbage? A 2-year old iPhone is generally worth about $200-300 less than it was when new. No reason to expect that this one won't be pretty ...
by ianferrel
Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why do we consider cash flow from rentals but not our own homes?
Replies: 89
Views: 7108

Re: Why do we consider cash flow from rentals but not our own homes?

One way to think about this (in an even broader sense) is that humans are naturally short on all the things necessary for our survival. We are born with a need for food and shelter (at a minimum), and generally we also have societal needs for things like transportation and medicine. If you buy an as...
by ianferrel
Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you plan to ditch your laptop in travel soon?
Replies: 52
Views: 4952

Re: Do you plan to ditch your laptop in travel soon?

I've taken a few trips without my laptop recently, although I still generally take it. When I don't have it, one thing that's a necessity for me is a hardware keyboard that I can use with my phone/tablet. I like to write travelogs and longer emails when traveling, and the touchscreen keyboards are t...
by ianferrel
Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 250k in savings. need some advice and a kick in the butt
Replies: 31
Views: 4192

Re: 250k in savings. need some advice and a kick in the butt

Thanks. My company gives me a car allowance which i use to pay both car notes. So they are paying the interest really. I should have mentioned that also. I would assume that you would still get the car allowance if the cars were paid off. If so that makes no difference and paying them off still mak...
by ianferrel
Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How far off are Zillow's estimates?
Replies: 82
Views: 9409

Re: How far off are Zillow's estimates?

Note that if you're looking at zillow's estimate "chart", what they show you is their current estimation of past values, not a record of their past estimates. I bought in Dec. 2015. At the time, Zillow estimated the value of my house at around 4-5% over what we paid for it (their valuation was very ...
by ianferrel
Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living on a boat in HI to save money
Replies: 17
Views: 3446

Re: Living on a boat in HI to save money

You can save money by living on a boat, but you're mostly saving money by living in a smaller space. It might not be possible to find a 200 sq. foot apartment (which is about comparable to a 35-40 ft boat in living space), but if he could, it's probably similar savings. You can't take it out fishing...
by ianferrel
Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus, in bitcoin
Replies: 21
Views: 2803

Re: Bonus, in bitcoin

Overstock has paid bitcoin bonuses to their employees. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/bitcoin-friendly-overstock-introduce-digital-currency-bonus-scheme-employees-1459424 Have they? I can find a number of news stories from a few years ago that they were planning to do so. Zero stories that they actually ...
by ianferrel
Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus, in bitcoin
Replies: 21
Views: 2803

Re: Bonus, in bitcoin

mayday23 wrote:Unless she's in an industry that deals with cyrpocurrency,this is crazy shady.
Agreed. What is going on here? Be very suspicious.
by ianferrel
Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What if current year's IRA maxed on Jan 2nd but lose job next day & unemployed rest of year?
Replies: 14
Views: 1709

Re: What if current year's IRA maxed on Jan 2nd but lose job next day & unemployed rest of year?

Two options:

1. Withdraw the excess (and any earnings on it) before filing taxes. You then pay taxes on whatever the earnings were (probably at short term cap gains rate).
2. Pay 6% a year penalties forever on the excess.

(you should probably choose #1)
by ianferrel
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying cost vs renting (specifically for me)... can anyone fact check this?
Replies: 36
Views: 2979

Re: Buying cost vs renting (specifically for me)... can anyone fact check this?

Your numbers are pretty close to my numbers (our rent was a bit less, our house was a bit more, our interest rate was a bit less) when my wife and I were looking at buying a house 2 years ago (we bought one), and while I didn't follow the full analysis you wrote, it's not too far off what I consider...
by ianferrel
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work
Replies: 37
Views: 4052

Re: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work

Once money goes into a Roth IRA, it can't come out for quite some time. You can withdraw contributions from a Roth IRA at any time with no tax or penalty. You just can't withdraw earnings without issue. I agree with the general consensus that I don't think the OP's dad can pay him for work done for...
by ianferrel
Tue May 02, 2017 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bitcoin Purchase
Replies: 99
Views: 14187

Re: Bitcoin Purchase

I bought a few bitcoins when they were under $4, sold several of them within a few percent of the historical high (I had forgotten about them until bitcoin was in the news for going up to $1000 each), and the rest got stolen when an exchange I had them on (got hacked/was a fraud/who knows). Can't sa...
by ianferrel
Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Is there a minimum rental period they specify? In many places, you can do month-to-month furnished rentals at a significant premium. 30 days. We might end up doing that. It would give us more flexibility to use it as a personal guest-house sometimes, though it would also require more work. A good t...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Most tenants and landlords desire the same level of interaction: near zero. My impression is that many people worry more about having someone living on the same property than I do. I live in a (relatively) dense semi-urban area. There's always somebody living nearby. I've had someone living in my b...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

That's $400 a square foot. You should be able to get it built for $250- $300 a square foot depending on material selections. That will put the cost between $125-150k. Like I said, I have estimates for that whole range. I will obviously do my research when it comes to hiring a contractor, but at thi...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Why not a) buy a separate condo or cottage house that you rent out, without going through the trouble of construction and permitting and having a stranger live in your back yard A separate condo or cottage house in this area would cost at least twice as much as our highest estimate. I definitely co...
by ianferrel
Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

I agree that $200k seems absurd for a ~500sq ft above-garage apartment. Yet, I have an actual estimate for that amount. I also have much lower estimates. I don't have any quotes. No one will give me an actual quote until I have plans and a permit, and the plan/permit process is several thousand doll...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

Yes, we'd have to take out a loan, and we do currently have a mortgage. I haven't yet talked to bankers, but that sounds like the next step. (Mortgage lenders are not in the business to speculate on rental income. So they typically will not consider potential income in your qualifying for the additi...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Re: Real estate rate of return?

What is your tax rate? Will this be taxed as ordinary income for federal and state purposes? How would you be taxed if you put the money into tax advantaged accounts, or even an after tax account? How will the apartment affect the resale value of the property? Is this something people are willing t...
by ianferrel
Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate rate of return?
Replies: 34
Views: 4005

Real estate rate of return?

We're considering adding a small 1-bedroom apartment above our detached garage, initially for use as a rental. Estimates we've gotten for construction are between $120k and $200k (we're in pretty early planning stages), and based on the local rental market, I expect we could rent it for $1700-1800 a...
by ianferrel
Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Index Funds Drive Apple Up?
Replies: 27
Views: 3104

Re: Do Index Funds Drive Apple Up?

I've noticed Apple is increasing in value without many new products. The number of new products is probably the wrong thing to measure here. Apple is the iPhone and a bunch of little things. They could add one little thing a year, or three little things, and their expected revenue doesn't change mu...
by ianferrel
Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 9292

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

Kind of in the same way a refrigerator is an asset. You could sell it if you had to, then do without or replace with a cheaper model. But if replace with a cheaper model is a viable option, then you bought too expensive a refrigerator. Sure, but it's easier to sell cars, and they are generally wort...
by ianferrel
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth
Replies: 102
Views: 9292

Re: Vehicles as a percentage of net worth

I think people are misusing the word "asset" when they claim personal vehicles aren't assets. They're clearly assets. They have value, you can sell them, and they (hopefully) generate value in the form of getting you places you want to go for less money or more conveniently than other alternatives. ...
by ianferrel
Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time Saving Tactics: Kids Edition
Replies: 57
Views: 4744

Re: Time Saving Tactics: Kids Edition

1) Wash the lunch container as soon as you are done eating at work. That way, we are not left with a large pile of dishes at the end of the week. 2) Cut veggies and fridge them during the weekend, so that food preparation is much easier during the week. It's interesting that one of your tips involv...
by ianferrel
Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 11255

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Most of it is physiological. They start by showing you how great the property is (which it may be a really nice place). Then they make the opening offer. Maybe $30k, they start to convince you that it is a really nice place, then keep lowering the price. Pretty soon you can get this same timeshare ...
by ianferrel
Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 11255

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Could someone go more into detail about what it is that the salesguys do that convinces people? Everyone is saying that they somehow manage to convince people who think they have high sales resistance. I will admit, I think I have a pretty high resistance to sales. But maybe I'm just waiting to be a...
by ianferrel
Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Expense Ratio reported via 401k and Morningstar differ
Replies: 1
Views: 216

Expense Ratio reported via 401k and Morningstar differ

I was looking at the investment options in my 401k, and I noticed that the Expense Ratio listed for a fund by the 401k provider (Merrill Lynch) is not the same as that listed by Morningstar. The fund in question is MDIIX. Morningstar shows an ER or 0.37%. Merrill Lynch shows an ER of 0.40%. I'm thin...
by ianferrel
Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: BH thoughts on Time shares
Replies: 123
Views: 11255

Re: BH thoughts on Time shares

Beware, the sales people are really really good at what they do. My wife and I sat through one of these two years ago and, honestly, it was phenomenally easy to say no. Maybe our guy was just not very good, or was too nice? Or maybe we just projected a "we're not suckers" vibe? Magic words #1: "Thi...