Search found 3837 matches

by madbrain
Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 491
Views: 44603

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I'm really struggling with the manufactured spending... As far as utilities, PG&E does not take credit cards, so can't use them. I'm in the Bay Area as well and recently prepaid on PG&E to fulfill the $4k requirement on the CSP. It's kind of hard to see where to click so here are the steps ...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 491
Views: 44603

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Is it possible to get the card number before actually get the card, like some store cards? I just found out I have an international business trip coming up in two weeks. It would be nice that I can use it to buy tickets. I don't believe so. Even if you had it, you would need to activate it first in...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 491
Views: 44603

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Also, anyone know which bureau chase will pull from if I apply CSR? Chase pulled from Equifax for the CSR but YMMV. The hard inquiry dropped my score by 4 points. I'm not a churner, so I only have 2 inquiries in the last 24 months. My mind is blown by how good the CSR offer is (100k UR sign-up bonu...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:35 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me with pros/cons for buying a 1M investment property in LA
Replies: 42
Views: 2084

Re: Help me with pros/cons for buying a 1M investment property in LA

Oh yeah forgot to add I would only buy a property with a low HOA fee [less than $200 per month]. Those things are killers. And yes I forgot insurance, the biggest one in CA is probably earthquake insurance? So maybe tack on another $200? per month to my costs. Still, shouldn't I clear about 3k per ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

A Hologram for the King, with Tom Hanks starring. Had some funny parts and Tom Hanks is always good. We saw it in the theater - Tom Hanks was good indeed, but I think the plot was weak, really, just a pretext to see those faraway places on the screen. I'll disagree here. This film was a breath of f...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirement: Where $200K Will Last 30 Years
Replies: 52
Views: 7212

Re: Retirement: Where $200K Will Last 30 Years

This is just click bait. Completely void of details. Useless. 200k wouldn't last us more than 3 years most likely in the US and that is really a best case scenario. This is primarily due to healthcare issues. The medical expenses over 30 years before insurance add up to $1.8 million in prescriptions...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 491
Views: 44603

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Reading about this at Flyertalk: (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase-ultimate-rewards/1780623-application-link-live-8-22-2016-new-chase-sapphire-reserve-card.html) The thread is 101 pages (!) long, but it seems that going into your local Chase branch increases your odds of being approved, even if...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

No Escape. It's an accurate reminder of the realities of foreign travel. It confirmed that our decision to not renew our passports was the correct one. Good grief. I apologize if I am missing an intended irony, but really? It's really sad that an American, thinks that the rest of the world is an un...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Ricola wrote:A Hologram for the King, with Tom Hanks starring. Had some funny parts and Tom Hanks is always good.


We saw it in the theater - Tom Hanks was good indeed, but I think the plot was weak, really, just a pretext to see those faraway places on the screen.
by madbrain
Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Marguerite, a luminously great French film now on disk. IMO it makes the most intensely moving use of Mozart's Figaro since the original. It's also quite funny. Is this the same movie as Marguerite et Julien? No. This is the movie based on the story that "Florence Foster Jenkins" is also ...
by madbrain
Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

In theory sure. In reality the problem is you need to know what a good price is. These days it is easy to figure out what a good sale price is (things like true car and the boards have tons of info). Yes, it's easier to figure out what's a good purchase price, but not necessarily easy - there are o...
by madbrain
Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SolarCity SolarBonds 6.5%
Replies: 28
Views: 3389

Re: SolarCity SolarBonds 6.5%

If you want these, they should be placed in a tax advantaged account, IMO. Otherwise, the interest paid will be ordinary income and taxed at a potentially high rate. It's not clear whether SolarCity's platform allows purchasing the bond inside a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. I would argue the opposi...
by madbrain
Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

The scam is the lease is caclulated on a price of say 30k and a residual of 15k. when it should be on a price of 28k and a residual of 15k. They big key with leasing is making sure to negotiate on price not monthly payments It depends - if you know for sure you don't want to buy the car at the end ...
by madbrain
Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SolarCity SolarBonds 6.5%
Replies: 28
Views: 3389

Re: SolarCity SolarBonds 6.5%

If you want these, they should be placed in a tax advantaged account, IMO. Otherwise, the interest paid will be ordinary income and taxed at a potentially high rate. It's not clear whether SolarCity's platform allows purchasing the bond inside a traditional IRA or Roth IRA.
by madbrain
Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]
Replies: 283
Views: 34437

Re: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]

The fact that the 31st is omitted as a choice means that somebody responsible for the site implementation realized that not all months have a 31st day. But that person must have missed the memo about not every month having a 29th or 30th day either. Not necessarily. It could also mean Elan decided ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]
Replies: 283
Views: 34437

Re: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]

So, my first Elan statement is due on 9/1 . I went to the web site to setup autopay. It wants me to pick up a date between the 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 30 or 1st of each month. I chose the 30th. What I want to know is what Elan is going to do come next February when there is no 30th. I am adventur...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Barrier to credit card warranty protection claim
Replies: 10
Views: 829

Re: Barrier to credit card warranty protection claim

...... consumer item...one year mfg warranty......purchased in 2014 literally burned out a few months ago - loud popping noise and smoke started coming out of it during use. ..... ...... original purchase was under $30... Okay, just have to ask since no one else has. What was it? A toaster? Electri...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Plastiq?
Replies: 25
Views: 3260

Re: Using Plastiq?

3 payment attempts through Plastiq with the so-called fee dollars have been a miserable failure. The first attempt was charged and automatically cancelled 2 days later - only the statement closed in between those dates. The second time, Plastiq claims to have mailed a check on 7/14. By 8/1, after th...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

The four seat max, really wasn't an issue for us, I'm not sure if the 2016 will be much better with the half seat in the center. The engine revving up at a stop was sorta strange, my understanding is the 2016 has a quieter engine. Are you charging via 110, or 220? If you ever want to use your Volt ...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

We test drove the Volt multiple times (2015), I couldn't get used to the funky dash and tiny buttons. I'm sure I'd like the 2016, but with gas/oil being cheap, it doesn't seem financially sound at this point, esp since we carpool. Agree the tiny buttons on the dash are a pain, and there are just to...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: Lease

Lease. The technology is moving so rapidly that owning a hybrid or electric car for 10+ years makes no sense. I see this suggested repeatedly, I just don't see it in reality. The Prius, Volt, Leaf, and Tesla have not evolved particularly rapidly. The biggest change I can think of is that after abou...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

You'll probably just see an increase in distance travel on battery alone. Battery technology doesn't change too fast as it's limited to the number of Earth elements vs size of transistors in electronics. In addition, GM targets the Volt for local travel on battery alone, so I doubt even if there wa...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease
Replies: 22
Views: 1639

Re: 2017 Chevy Volt - Buy vs Lease

While the EV and PHEV technology is indeed evolving, that does not mean the car would become obsolete. It will still run on the same type of gasoline, same electricity, and same roads, as long as you maintain it. A car is not at all like a smartphone or a computer that can't run the latest OS or app...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

I just came back from seeing Indignation, an adaptation of a Philip Roth novel, an author I have never read. This is by far the best movie I have seen all year. I really loved those irreverent scenes with the dean. Again, a movie that hits close to home for me, being a secular Jew. If I hadn't manag...
by madbrain
Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 1843
Views: 421944

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Florence Foster Jenkins: Part comedy and part drama, so succeeds in neither. You might like this if you are really, really infatuated with Meryl Streep. Otherwise, probably not. I went to see it on Friday. I disagree with you. This was a great movie. Try and sing the Queen of the night badly, and t...
by madbrain
Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 62
Views: 4140

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
madbrain wrote:Fidelity posts their bonus as a contribution.

I also believe that this is incorrect. What is your source?

Earl


My source is what Fidelity's web site stated the last time I looked at the IRA bonus offer description. It looks like that may have changed.
by madbrain
Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 62
Views: 4140

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

But what underlying investment would be earning the interest? If I xfer $250k, but all $250k is an in-kind already in <insert index fund here> then what are they claiming generated the interest? Good question. They are rewarding you for holding your securities there, so I guess in theory they could...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 62
Views: 4140

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

I don't recall seeing any IRS publication that addresses the question one way or the other. I would assume that large brokerages like TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, etc. would have smart tax lawyers on staff that have reviewed the question and decided that they don't need to report the bonus as a contrib...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

Re: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?

I, too, find it odd that you would be excluded from disability income insurance for going on PreP. That is almost certainly unconstitutional, unless straight folks who are on PreP are similarly excluded. They probably are excluded, too. But that still doesn't make it right. Denying someone for LTCI...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will banks let you pay only the interest part of your mortgage?
Replies: 17
Views: 2049

Re: Will banks let you pay only the interest part of your mortgage?

No. But if you have made many principal prepayments, the lender might be open to a mortgage recast. A recast is a loan reamortization, essentially, where your monthly payment is recalculated based on the balance you currently owe. The term still can't extend past the original term of your mortgage. ...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not paying mortgage, what???
Replies: 21
Views: 3191

Re: Not paying mortgage, what???

I believe tax liens are inferior to mortgage liens. So even if the county auctions off the house via the tax lien, the mortgage still takes priority, and the tax lien holder cannot foreclose on the house. A foreclosure by the bank, on the other hand, will wipe out the tax lien. Whoever bought the t...
by madbrain
Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Not paying mortgage, what???
Replies: 21
Views: 3191

Re: Not paying mortgage, what???

selters wrote:Does "not paying mortgage" mean that he only pays interest or does it mean that he does not pay anything?


Mortgage lenders don't accept partial payments.
by madbrain
Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
Replies: 62
Views: 4140

Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

3. Can I transfer any assets? Not always. A problem can be Vanguard Admiral index funds. Some places won't accept them, others will, but not allow you to buy more. ETFs work great for this, as you get the best ERs and can move them around freely. You also frequently get some free transactions you c...
by madbrain
Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

Re: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?

I currently don't know anything the insurers don't know. The only genetic testing I've done was a karyotype test to determine if I had XXY syndrome or anything, which I don't. I don't have any symptoms of that disease and that one would of shown up as a damaged chromosome. I have considered doing s...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

Re: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?

I agree that the chance is almost 0% right now, but in the future I never know if I have to stop taking it for any reason (seems unlikely since I tolerated it for 2 years so far). You never know if it's just time until HIV becomes more resistant to truvada. I was just listing any risk factors I cou...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel insurance - worth it?
Replies: 75
Views: 7886

Re: Travel insurance - worth it?

Our travel insurance policies would cover us for the "fee" to put the points "back", just as it would cover us for the cancellation or change fee for airline tickets paid in cash. This is assuming it's even possible to buy points for cash. While you can usually buy airline miles...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

Re: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?

I'm also taking PrEP and have been so for two years so that greatly minimizes my risk of HIV. I'm glad to hear that mentioned here. :) My insurance covers it 100% with no copay. Sadly, at least for the disability income insurance the carriers have placed an exclusion on me for HIV/AIDs due to takin...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel insurance - worth it?
Replies: 75
Views: 7886

Re: Travel insurance - worth it?

We went with Allianz too for our pending month long trip to EU. I wasn't worried about trip interruption/cancellation since it's fully funded with points, miles, cashback cards, and checking account bonuses. I would be just as concerned - actually, more concerned, for a trip funded with points/mile...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?
Replies: 28
Views: 2764

Re: 29 years old too young to buy Long Term Care Insurance?

So, I'll take the contrarian view, as a gay man who contracted HIV at the age of 30, almost 10 years ago. Indeed, unfortunately, the incidence of HIV among gay men in the US is still far too high, and the risk should not be neglected. Of course, your best bet is to protect against HIV, but preventio...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on buying a used Prius
Replies: 58
Views: 3296

Re: Advice on buying a used Prius

Non-Prius owners tend to be obsessed with imaginary battery failures. I kept my first Prius 9 years, and no battery problems. This 2001 Prius owner had a hybrid battery failure at 8 years, 3 months and 94,000 miles. Back when the warranty was 8 years/100,000 miles whichever came first. Ie., it was ...
by madbrain
Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel insurance - worth it?
Replies: 75
Views: 7886

Re: Travel insurance - worth it?

I almost always purchase travel insurance. I have used Allianz with good success. I get sick very frequently. I have had to use the trip cancellation coverage about 2/3 of the time. They have always reimbursed what the airlines/hotels didn't refund, once the doctor signed off. There was never any di...
by madbrain
Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Plastiq?
Replies: 25
Views: 3260

Re: Using Plastiq?

Just following up on this - my $20 payment from 7/12 posted about 1 week later . The $200 payment which they claim was mailed by check on 7/13 still has not posted. This is quite a long time. I hope it will post next week.
by madbrain
Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do chipped ATM only cards offer more protection vs unchipped?
Replies: 21
Views: 1496

Re: Do chipped ATM only cards offer more protection vs unchipped?

Are there many ATM-only cards? My Chase and Citi ATM cards double as debit cards. My local Citi ATM reads the chip (I have to dip so it can read the magstrip, then reinsert for it to read the chip). I don't know. You have to request one from your financial institutions, and not all will offer it. A...
by madbrain
Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do chipped ATM only cards offer more protection vs unchipped?
Replies: 21
Views: 1496

Re: Do chipped ATM only cards offer more protection vs unchipped?

No way a chipped card provides more security. My chipped credit card was stolen (not physically, so I am not sure how they got my numbers) and used at walgreens, a fast food restaurant and a grocery store. These must have been physical swipes since the fast food restaurant and grocery store showed ...
by madbrain
Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix increasing prices. Will you keep it?
Replies: 73
Views: 9698

Re: Netflix increasing prices. Will you keep it?

It looks like a lot of people thought the price increase was too much, and cancelled. Netflix stock is down 13% today because of it.
by madbrain
Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: discount cards for prescriptions?
Replies: 27
Views: 1557

Re: discount cards for prescriptions?

[ The pharmacy isn't ripping you off, your insurance company has inaccurate/outdated pricing data. Who does the copay go to in the end if the copay is higher than the pharmacy's cash cost for the medication ? If it is a chronic med that you get every month I would suggest using your insurance even ...
by madbrain
Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Savings Gap Between Women and Men: What Is Your Plan?
Replies: 46
Views: 4040

Re: The Savings Gap Between Women and Men: What Is Your Plan?

JPH wrote:1. Invest more
2. Start investing earlier
3. Earn more
4. Work longer
5. Cut expenses
6. Win the lottery


They forgot to mention :
7. female-to-male gender reassignment.

I'm not sure if this would close the earnings gap, though ;).
by madbrain
Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: discount cards for prescriptions?
Replies: 27
Views: 1557

Re: discount cards for prescriptions?

Yes, it works. In some cases, it is cheaper to pay out of pocket via goodrx versus paying via your health insurance. So, you should check all your prescription price via goodrx if it is greater than $20. With my HMO, if the prescription cost is less than the co-pay, I get charged the actual price, ...
by madbrain
Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: discount cards for prescriptions?
Replies: 27
Views: 1557

Re: discount cards for prescriptions?

Yes, it works. In some cases, it is cheaper to pay out of pocket via goodrx versus paying via your health insurance. So, you should check all your prescription price via goodrx if it is greater than $20. With my HMO, if the prescription cost is less than the co-pay, I get charged the actual price, ...
by madbrain
Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filed Flexible Spending Account Late - Being Denied $5K spent
Replies: 20
Views: 2062

Re: Filed Flexible Spending Account Late - Being Denied $5K spent

so now double whammy of losing the $5K we spent on child care and paying taxes on this.. Could you clarify what the "double whammy" is? I'm not familiar with the ins and out of an FSA. If you're losing the $5K that sucks. I don't think you're paying any more in taxes as a result, are you?...

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