Search found 4192 matches

by madbrain
Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which High-Yield Online Savings Account Should I Open?
Replies: 15
Views: 874

Re: Which High-Yield Online Savings Account Should I Open?

Does it have to be online ?

My credit union, Star One, offers 1.10% rate on savings/money market accounts and has brick and mortar locations as well.
by madbrain
Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How and where to invest if 401k is not offered on W2
Replies: 4
Views: 267

Re: How and where to invest if 401k is not offered on W2

Obviously, you can open a taxable account. But I'm sure you knew that. Buy tax efficient funds or tax exempt funds there.
by madbrain
Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delayed Mega Backdoor Roth
Replies: 8
Views: 974

Re: Delayed Mega Backdoor Roth

Related to my original question about waiting 2 years, I don't understand madbrain and others' avoidance of gains. Unless you don't have cash to pay the taxes, gains are good. If your tax rate is 25% and you have $1000 of gains, you pay $250 and walk away with $1000 extra in your Roth IRA. You can ...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delayed Mega Backdoor Roth
Replies: 8
Views: 974

Re: Delayed Mega Backdoor Roth

My company recently added the ability to do after-tax (non-Roth) contributions. I haven't yet done a roll over to my Roth IRA, but I plan to do so. To minimize earnings that may be due at rollover time, I'm directing all my new contributions to the Stable value fund. After that, I have the ability t...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?
Replies: 2615
Views: 691256

Re: What Movie Have You Recently Watched?

Fate and the Furious.

One of the stupidest movies I have ever seen. Was dragged there by a friend, who has poor taste in movies.
by madbrain
Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

US Bank is extremely stingy with CC approvals and there's a decent chance that many folks over 5/24 will be denied for this card also. It indeed took 2.5 weeks after application going through underwriting and speaking to them on the phone, but I was ultimately able to get approved for a US Bank Cas...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

Costco had a model called the Aquaterra Chesapeake on sale until monday for $4499. It's no longer for sale at all, unfortunately. It was 7' x 7'7" which would be more ideal for my space, which was the reason it was on my list. One Spa dealer is selling one on Craigslist for the same price and ...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

: I went to a Home & Garden Show last year. They had a number of hot tubs with prices posted on each tub. I took a couple photos and here is what I have for hot spring. Sovereign - Sale Price $12,799 and Show Special Price $10,699 Envoy NXT - Sale Price $17,299 and Show Special Price $14,979 Th...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

rebellovw wrote:Been there done that with the Rat thing - I made sure my new spa had no openings for critters. I also check outdoor BBQs as the grease will attract them - avoid outdoor BBQs that have large openings.


Which model of spa did you go with that has no opening ?
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

My current house had one built into the deck like that when I bought and it had a rat problem too!. Somehow they don't put that in the glossy brochure. Yes. Imagine advertising a spa as rat-proof ! This would tip owners about the possible issues with spas. What next, cat-proof furniture ? I very mu...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

So, the hot tub that came with my house has finally died, and is not repairable. If you have been happy with your current hot tub you might get another opinion on the "not repairable" part. All the major components are replaceable so unless there is a problem with the fiberglass shell the...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

We have a Hot Springs Envoy and love it. Paid about $7k, but it has been 5 or 6 years. I also am aware of the cost to heat/maintain, but don't care. We use it quite often in the winter here in CT. Thanks. Interestingly, one member PM'ed me about a 2014 Envoy he paid $10k for in California, which he...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

I would shop first by brand and then price. There is some real junk out there and this is a fairly major purchase, so it pays to buy quality. There are a number of features that are overrated (number of jets, waterfall features, lighting and stereo) and underrated (pump horsepower and brand, filtra...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

Are you really sure you want a new hot tub? Why? Do you use it a lot? Maybe 2 times a week? You do know that the electric for the tub is at least $50 per month and then the chemicals and maintenance is $35 per month? So $85 per month. You can go to the spa and get a rub down and set in the hot tub ...
by madbrain
Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

So much for EMH !
by madbrain
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Re: Shopping for a new hot tub

Shop around at hot tub stores? Yes, but it takes a lot of time, and even then, I would like to verify the quotes I'm getting make sense - I don't like sales people sizing up clients and charging some customers more or less, which seems to be clearly happening. I'm extremely wary of buying something...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for a new hot tub
Replies: 24
Views: 1714

Shopping for a new hot tub

So, the hot tub that came with my house has finally died, and is not repairable. I am having it removed next week and some work done on my deck as well. I would like to replace it with a new hot tub. I have found it very difficult to shop around for a hot tub, as it seems there is almost zero price ...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is my electric bill high?
Replies: 60
Views: 5230

Re: Is my electric bill high?

I'm in Southern California, in a 2500 sq. ft. house. Just the electricity part of my utility bill averages 1500 kWh/month which is about $300. It's always seemed high to me but I have no basis for comparison. Would love to hear usage and charges/month from other members! Added detail: I have a pool...
by madbrain
Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If a doctor takes your insurance, must they accept the negotiated rate?
Replies: 62
Views: 4667

Re: If a doctor takes your insurance, must they accept the negotiated rate?

toofache32 wrote:Amazing how hard it is to collect after someone has already received their services.


Amazing how one can expect the patient to pay, when the amount is not even known at the time of service.
by madbrain
Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?
Replies: 196
Views: 15658

Re: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

@madbrain, I think we have a lot of the same experiences with the LEAF. I am just seeing the glass as half full. If I have to reroute, my phone nav tells me the new mileage, I juggle that with my knowledge of GOM behavior wrt to topography and speed, and figure out my margin. Most trips I take have...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?
Replies: 196
Views: 15658

Re: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

Are you aware that the Chevy Bolt is smaller than the Nissan Leaf? And the article below says it has not been selling very well - less than 1000 vehicles a month for the last couple of months. http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/03/why-the-chevrolet-bolt-238-mile-all-electric-car-is-off-to-a-sluggis...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?
Replies: 196
Views: 15658

Re: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

I still don't 'get' range anxiety. :? I don't get it either, but I guess some people don't look at their fuel gauges until the lights come on. Indeed. Meaning no insult, I think its a function of 'innumeracy'. Some people are comfortable juggling a couple numbers in their head (like which is greate...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?
Replies: 196
Views: 15658

Re: Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt?

My husband bought a Bolt 2 weeks ago. He did opt for the QC option. We've been using it exclusively on our joint jaunts on the weekend; the 230-mile range is pretty good for that. However, it is not sufficient for a weekend trip to see our families (4-6 hours away). As a result, though I do most of...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

just an fyi.... I like my citi prestige. I will renew it next month. I got back $900 last year due to the 4th night free hotel credit. It is even better than the CSR if used properly imo. (if you are someone who travels frequently with 4 night stays or more) I also have the Prestige also, but I hav...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Same branded components for home theater?
Replies: 35
Views: 1915

Re: Same branded components for home theater?

Multi-channel audio is overrated, expensive, and unnecessary, and usually compromises the all-important audio quality of the main stereo presentation. And the OP didn't express an interest or need for multichannel audio. In fact he was asking if upgrading to these more complex scenarios was worth i...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Same branded components for home theater?
Replies: 35
Views: 1915

Re: Same branded components for home theater?

Please correct me if I'm wrong but analog is only for 2-channel audio. Listening to multi-channel audio will require digital connections. You're wrong. Many DVD, Blu-ray, and SACD players have 6/8 channel audio outputs. And many receivers have corresponding inputs. But there's usually only one such...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?
Replies: 70
Views: 5155

Re: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?

Thanks guys. Went ahead and ordered the Rainforest Eagle to sync up to the smart meter. Fingers crossed I can hunt down the hog... 8-) Great. Make sure your utility supports it. It's not completely real-time, more like 10-30s , so it takes a bit of time turning things off to figure out the load for...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?
Replies: 70
Views: 5155

Re: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?

Some other juicy energy efficiency improvements I made :
Went from a 40W idle network laser printer, to one that's 1W idle.
Went from an 80W DVR to a 40W DVR.
by madbrain
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?
Replies: 70
Views: 5155

Re: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?

I want to add - we had a koi pond in the house when we purchase it. The pump for it was using 100W . That's 876 kWh per year. We removed it, and filled the pond. Pumps drink power. This particular one could be heard from the master bedroom at night too, which was no good. We sleep better and with lo...
by madbrain
Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?
Replies: 70
Views: 5155

Re: Where to start - converting from generator/UPS to more reasonable solar / powerwall?

I'm in a very similar situation with a house bought last year. 5k+ sq/ft single level home built in 1999, propane fired radiant heat, tons of lutron lighting (partially converted to LED), 35kw generator, 16kw solar, and still uses a ton of energy from the grid. I estimate usage at around 100-150 kw...
by madbrain
Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Economics of Charging an Electric Car
Replies: 85
Views: 5901

Re: Economics of Charging an Electric Car

As long as I can resist the urge to floor it all the time:) Plus, I drive in EcoPro+ mode. I get a kick out of the challenge of being as efficient as possible with it. But, I'll admit, sometimes I go for a joy ride and have a little fun with it. Last night on my trip to a couple of stores with my w...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

travellight wrote:The prestige concierge has often gone the extra mile and called the hotel and let them know of the lower rate I found on a third party website and the hotel has usually matched and honored the lowest price.


Unfortunately, this has not been my experience.
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Economics of Charging an Electric Car
Replies: 85
Views: 5901

Re: Economics of Charging an Electric Car

With electricity prices for us at $0.129/kwh (including delivery charges, taxes, etc) and an average of 4.5 miles/kwh, the electric car costs us around $8 to fill up with enough electric to go 300 miles. You are very lucky to be getting 4.5 miles/kWh average. I can get that on some trips, but my av...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Economics of Charging an Electric Car
Replies: 85
Views: 5901

Re: Economics of Charging an Electric Car

In the long run I believe the price of gas will stay low, while electricity costs increase. Your best bet is to buy a house and install solar! Is the $.19 cents the base rate, or a higher tier? If it's a higher tier you might want to see if you can lower overall consumption by switching to LED, or ...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Economics of Charging an Electric Car
Replies: 85
Views: 5901

Re: Economics of Charging an Electric Car

Another problem that seems to be glossed over is that the small allegedly "economical" EVs cannot function as the only car for very many people who drive cars at all. If you ever need to drive more than 50-60 miles in a single hop, you'll need to own a fossil-fuel powered or hybrid car an...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I have done some poking around and there seems to be quite a bit of saver award availability (22.5k miles per person, one way) from home to HNL and from OGG back home for this November. I expect to be able to book this trip almost a year out, so hopefully availability won't be an issue. HOWEVER, af...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

just an fyi.... I like my citi prestige. I will renew it next month. I got back $900 last year due to the 4th night free hotel credit. It is even better than the CSR if used properly imo. (if you are someone who travels frequently with 4 night stays or more) I also have the Prestige also, but I hav...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1474
Views: 219616

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

With the Prestige, that $450 fee is a biggie that needs to be offset. While I do know I could get more than $450 out of the card if I was really proactive about it - double dipping on the airline credit, getting Global Entry, etc - jumping through all these hoops isn't really what I want to get int...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Economics of Charging an Electric Car
Replies: 85
Views: 5901

Re: Economics of Charging an Electric Car

+1 in five years, with 31,000 miles on my Leaf, I had NO filthy oil changes, no tune-ups, no transmissions, not even the 12-volt battery was replaced. I had problems with the brakes in my Leaf just one year into ownership. I had to have brake pads replaced. The car would shake when making a stop wi...
by madbrain
Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"
Replies: 71
Views: 5540

Re: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"

The Citi Double Cash offers 2% cash back on any and all purchases. Any "regular spend" card that offers less than 2% is completely inferior. Think of it as Cap1 charging 50 basis points AUM! While there are easy back door ways to make the venture 2% cash back, it is advertised as 2% back ...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"
Replies: 71
Views: 5540

Re: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"

I can't say I've ever seen that sign. All our Walgreen's have such signs now. The signs says it only applies to the reloadable cards. This used to be the case. But in fact, they switched their policy to apply it to all prepaid debit cards as well. I don't know if they have updated their sign. I hav...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"
Replies: 71
Views: 5540

Re: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"

FWIW I have never ever seen a non-merchant (spend anywhere, possibly convert to cash) gift card that could be purchased with a credit card. I realize this is what people do, so it must be possible, but I've never seen it. Many stores don't allow it, but some do. You have to look around. I have one ...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"
Replies: 71
Views: 5540

Re: Manufactured Spending - is it illegal, or otherwise "bad?"

A store card, you're right. Free. And that's a good way to go. I did buy a $200 subway card at a price chopper (they give gas points for non visa/amex gift cards) to complete my Wells Fargo card spend last month. I eat 4 times a week at subway. Buying store cards, like individual stocks, adds risk,...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

[ Wow, you blow the actuarial tables out of the water. Well if you are that unlucky that you end up having to cancel one out of every 3 trips you plan than conventional approaches to travel are probably not right for you. Yes. I unfortunately catch bugs very easily. Story of my life. It has been th...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Oh please. You pay most rental car balances at the end of the use so you can easily use the card then and not worry about cancelling travel. If you don't shop for the best car rental rates, sure. The best rates are usually on non-refundable bookings. Again, we would be leaving some money on the tab...
by madbrain
Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

With the BoA Travel Rewards card you only need to have 2.625%=1.5%*1.75 of your total spending (i.e. $525 out of $20,000) to be on "travel" to be able to redeem fully, in other words you need to keep "non-travel" spending below 97.375%. It's almost impossible to not accidentally...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Do you never use Taxis? I do, but only when I travel, and in the countries that I do, the taxis typically only take cash, not cards. And it's really a minimal amount. Why do you need travel insurance for nearly everything (do you?)? I only really need it for the expensive things like airline ticket...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Where can I find the full list of what counts as travel ? https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/terms-and-conditions/?campaignid=4016361&productoffercode=AF&locale=en_US A travel credit is applied as a statement credit to your account to offset travel Purchases from qualifying merchant...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

You can look up into what category your expenses may fall into (many CC include such info on their transaction details on the website). Thank you ! I have a lot of CCs and have looked at many statements, but never seen the category numbers anywhere as far as I can recall. The list is certainly inte...
by madbrain
Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 299
Views: 47835

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Do any of the BofA cards have travel insurance / trip cancellation coverage ? It seems the Travel Rewards card does not. And since the 2.625% redemption rate is only if you redeem for travel, then we would have to purchase a separate travel insurance policy for each trip. That would completely defe...

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