Search found 3354 matches

by magellan
Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does Vanguard "Remember" My Computer?
Replies: 41
Views: 2971

Re: How Does Vanguard "Remember" My Computer?

This isn't right. It probably uses cookies and IP. Since Vanguard seems to recognize a device even if cookies are cleared or when incognito mode is used, but doesn't recognize the same device when using a different browser, it might be using IP plus some type of browser fingerprinting (eg OS, brows...
by magellan
Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does Vanguard "Remember" My Computer?
Replies: 41
Views: 2971

Re: How Does Vanguard "Remember" My Computer?

As for folks saying that Vanguard cannot see your MAC address directly, so what? Turn off javascript and see how far you get at vanguard.com I could be wrong, but I don't think javascript is of much use for extracting a client mac address... http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3385/mac-addresses-in-...
by magellan
Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why keep HSA funds uninvested to avoid fees?
Replies: 11
Views: 1261

Re: Why keep HSA funds uninvested to avoid fees?

And 1.5% completely risk-free isn't a bad return; Total Bond Market, which has some interest-rate risk, is yielding 1.94%. When I learned that a local credit union has no fees plus pays 2% on HSAs with balances above $10k, I took this a step further and went all-in with a cash only HSA account. I c...
by magellan
Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you want to know if your doctor doesn't take your insurance?
Replies: 59
Views: 2871

Re: Would you want to know if your doctor doesn't take your insurance?

Sorry I guess I didn't make it clear that I am talking about procedures done when a patient is admitted to the hospital unexpectedly and needs surgery quickly, often in a few hours. There is no time or mechanism for anyone other than me to do those things. The patient is stuck and so am I. As I und...
by magellan
Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Very tough career choice (ego, startup, San Francisco Bay Area)
Replies: 52
Views: 5440

Re: Very tough career choice (ego, startup, San Francisco Bay Area)

It's impossible to know the true situation you're in, but one thing that may be getting missed is that managing an engineering organization is only partly about technical capability and managing engineers. A huge part of leading an engineering organization involves interfacing with others on the exe...
by magellan
Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Blue Shield of California - HMO vs. PPO
Replies: 26
Views: 2805

Re: Blue Shield of California - HMO vs. PPO

If we go with the HSA PPO, my wife's employer will make their own contributions to the HSA. Those contributions bring the up-front cost of the PPO down to the level of the HMO. In other words, our PPO premiums minus employer contributions to HSA = our HMO premiums. Of course the PPO will still cost...
by magellan
Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace timing belt and water pump - dealer or indepedent?
Replies: 20
Views: 1331

Re: Replace timing belt and water pump - dealer or indepedent?

We had a timing belt/water pump replaced on a Rav4 about 5 years ago. The quote I got from my normal independent shop seemed high so for the heck of it I got a quote from the Toyota dealer. Much to my surprise, the Toyota dealer quote was about 20% lower than the independent shop, so I gave the job ...
by magellan
Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calculating Imputed Rental Income from Owned Home
Replies: 26
Views: 1900

Re: Calculating Imputed Rental Income from Owned Home

Assuming a 2% real return on housing might be a bit optimistic. Robert Shiller seems to think the long term historical real return is closer to 0% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case%E2%80%93Shiller_index Also, I think you'd probably want to add in a factor for the depreciation or 'consumption' of th...
by magellan
Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Utility Stocks - Why doing so well?
Replies: 21
Views: 2337

Re: Utility Stocks - Why doing so well?

Which entity would be considered the electric utility in the future? The owner of a power generation plant, the broker who manages the real-time energy exchange platform, the owner of the distribution facilities, the entity that manages a customer's account, etc.? Or would they all, collectively, b...
by magellan
Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Utility Stocks - Why doing so well?
Replies: 21
Views: 2337

Re: Utility Stocks - Why doing so well?

An interesting thing to me, at least w.r.t. electric utilities, is that the next decade or so is likely to be one of the most tumultuous periods in 50 or more years. The age-old model of a handful of huge generating stations providing power to millions of consumers is about to get turned on its head...
by magellan
Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC Unit - Low, Medium or high end
Replies: 14
Views: 2073

Re: New HVAC Unit - Low, Medium or high end

ThankYouJack wrote:An account is needed to view the link.

Sorry about that. Try this link and click the result with an article titled Ductless mini splits may not be as efficient as we thought
https://www.google.com/#q=ductless+mini ... ingadvisor
by magellan
Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC Unit - Low, Medium or high end
Replies: 14
Views: 2073

Re: New HVAC Unit - Low, Medium or high end

So I wonder how much each SEER (or especially HSPF) is likely to save annually. It's probably not that drastic of a difference but worth considering With cooling, most of the savings of a high SEER unit is from improved cycling efficiency and higher efficiency when the unit isn't running 'all out'....
by magellan
Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Uber Car and the real cost of driving
Replies: 71
Views: 9057

Re: Uber Car and the real cost of driving

Here is an interesting story about how Uber just starts operating even without a city permit. They are big enough that they can just ignore the law in some cases. http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/11/06/uber-starts-car-service-in-little-rock-without-city-board-approval The key dist...
by magellan
Sun May 29, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Depot pricing policy?
Replies: 26
Views: 3131

Re: Home Depot pricing policy?

Something similar happened to me with a large HP printer that I bought from samsclub online. About 3 weeks after I bought it, the price dropped by $80. Since the return policy was 30 days for any reason, I thought for sure I'd get a credit with a quick call to online customer support. Apparently, th...
by magellan
Sun May 29, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA better than PPO in all scenarios
Replies: 14
Views: 1811

Re: HSA better than PPO in all scenarios

I cannot analyze the data but I wonder about your terminology. I had a PPO with the Health Savings Account. There's no conflict. I question this. There are very specific requirements a plan must have in order for you to be able to contribute to (note, not use!) an HSA. These are typically called HD...
by magellan
Sat May 14, 2016 7:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NY Times article on the "tip of the iceberg" that is Puerto Rico
Replies: 76
Views: 11603

Re: NY Times article on the "tip of the iceberg" that is Puerto Rico

As others have mentioned, sometimes taxable bonds can be a better bet than risky munis, even in taxable. One twist on this idea is to use asset location to minimize taxes. This is accomplished by holding only the lowest yielding part of your bond portfolio in taxable. So say you want your bond portf...
by magellan
Sat May 14, 2016 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car purchasing tax reciprocity with Massachusetts
Replies: 28
Views: 3058

Re: Car purchasing tax reciprocity with Massachusetts

Does PA offer a temporary plate that could be used to get the vehicle to MA? Usually, you don't need to pay sales tax or turn in the title to get a temporary tag that's valid for a week or two. The challenge is that only some states offer them. Also, you probably need to check that all the states yo...
by magellan
Fri May 13, 2016 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon Mitigation System
Replies: 24
Views: 1839

Re: Radon Mitigation System

It's basically just drilling into the floor of the basement, putting a PVC pipe with a fan on the inside, and then venting the air from under the slab to the outside. I'm not an expert, but I believe best-practices now say the fan should be in the attic or be outside. Never in the basement. The pro...
by magellan
Fri May 13, 2016 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon Mitigation System
Replies: 24
Views: 1839

Re: Radon Mitigation System

The risk to non-smokers at 4 is negligible...you're done. I can't argue too strongly against this, especially since the risk data is pretty fuzzy and the OP's levels are already pretty low. OTOH, here's another perspective. Many health expenditure decisions are based on a cost per quality adjusted ...
by magellan
Fri May 13, 2016 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon Mitigation System
Replies: 24
Views: 1839

Re: Radon Mitigation System

It might be worth considering whether anyone in the house is/was a smoker when evaluating radon risk and how much mitigation to do. The risk posed by radon seems to be greatly increased for smokers. For example, the EPA estimates that exposure to a radon level of 4 pCi/L over a lifetime could result...
by magellan
Tue May 03, 2016 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transitioning Family Members from HSA to ACA
Replies: 7
Views: 938

Re: Transitioning Family Members from HSA to ACA

If you aren't eligible for subsidies, start with the ACA marketplace to browse plans and learn about insurers offering plans in your area, but then cut out the middleman and purchase the insurance directly through the insurer's website. Also, some insurers offer plans on their website that aren't av...
by magellan
Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2014 just starting asking for "Intuit ID Password"
Replies: 16
Views: 1203

Re: Quicken 2014 just starting asking for "Intuit ID Password"

I guess we all use and experience Quicken differently. I went through the mandatory IntuitID grief several years ago. I thought this was required of anyone wanting to use any of Quicken's online features for at least the last 3-5 years. I forget if it was when I updated to Q2012 or Q2014, but it was...
by magellan
Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of stone patio
Replies: 17
Views: 2785

Re: Cost of stone patio

For the ignorant, why is concrete less preferable to sand? I would have thought concrete would offer better longevity and perhaps less maintenance (occasional pressure wash)? I think it'd be nearly impossible to prevent the concrete from cracking over time. The pavers in any large patio will move a...
by magellan
Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of stone patio
Replies: 17
Views: 2785

Re: Cost of stone patio

...just don't like the maintenance it requires. i read that you can have landscape mesh laid down to prevent weeds. that and roundup would do it i think. We had a 20x20 paver patio installed in sand/crushed stone about 16 years ago and we're very happy with it. It's aging amazingly well. For mainte...
by magellan
Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it possible to repair rotted wood on a structure?
Replies: 16
Views: 2051

Re: Is it possible to repair rotted wood on a structure?

It's tough to tell the extent of the damage from the photos. Repairing rot with filler can be very time consuming. Obviously, the more problems areas you have, the more time it'll take. The time adds up. There's time for the initial clean out plus time for at least 2 or 3 applications of filler with...
by magellan
Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi Booster
Replies: 22
Views: 1679

Re: Wifi Booster

Even if the connections seem to be on different channels, on the 2.4 Ghz band, the channels overlap. If both computers are connecting to the same router, they'll both be sharing the same channel or channels. The router sets the channel or channels that get used. Bandwidth sharing among all the comp...
by magellan
Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi Booster
Replies: 22
Views: 1679

Re: Wifi Booster

Here are some things to try: - Move the router to a different spot in the same room. Get a long ethernet cable and explore other locations and also higher vs lower. This can make a huge difference if there's an obstruction like a chimney or appliance between the router and your laptop. - If you're u...
by magellan
Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Windows 10 Upgrade, Yes or No?
Replies: 528
Views: 62499

Re: Free Windows 10 Upgrade, Yes or No?

I was pleasantly surprised that the upgrade of my 3 year old laptop to windows 10 added support for wireless screen mirroring (to my tv through my Roku). Windows 8 has built-in screen mirroring support, but for windows 7 users the upgrade to 10 adds this feature as long as your wireless card support...
by magellan
Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar City Sales-pitch
Replies: 43
Views: 4903

Re: Solar City Sales-pitch

That's the pitch by the solar companies, but in the real world, solar (and wind) can have production cut sharply across an area when the weather changes (clouds appear or wind stops/gets too strong to use safely). The linked article was about Hawaii. Their grid, or really grids since each Island ha...
by magellan
Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Easy way to estimate grade (steepness) of a drive?
Replies: 16
Views: 1382

Re: Easy way to estimate grade (steepness) of a drive?

Another quick measurement tip - If it looks anything like this driveway, the slope is likely more than 6%... http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/data/504/medium/19Homes-2.jpg http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=25606 (Apparently, despite some initial disbelief, the photo is apparently real. ...
by magellan
Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Easy way to estimate grade (steepness) of a drive?
Replies: 16
Views: 1382

Re: Easy way to estimate grade (steepness) of a drive?

Maybe you could go old school. I think this works... 1) find a clear rectangular container that's 12 or so inches long and 4 or more inches deep. 2) on the outside of the container, draw two vertical lines exactly 12 inches apart. 3) fill the container half full of water 4) place the container on th...
by magellan
Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar City Sales-pitch
Replies: 43
Views: 4903

Re: Solar City Sales-pitch

...as solar generation depends on the grid to sell excess but does not pay its share to maintain the grid. This is a misleading talking point that utilities and other special interests have been pushing lately. Don't take the bait. It's not an accurate assessment of how the economics work for two r...
by magellan
Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jack Bogle [may have said] TIPS give you "income risk"
Replies: 58
Views: 5076

Re: Jack Bogle says TIPS give you "income risk"

It's tough to dissect the quote without context, but it wouldn't surprise me if he used 'income' to mean 'portfolio withdrawals.' Many retirees think of the two terms as one in the same. Also, in the past, Mr. Bogle has favored TBM, including corporates, over a Treasuries only bond portfolio. With a...
by magellan
Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another medical billing surprise-Colonosocopy
Replies: 61
Views: 8417

Re: Another medical billing surprise-Colonosocopy

The insurance companies, while recording record breaking profits, continue to suggest the problem is the doctors and the hospitals, yet healthcare reimbursement is shrinking at alarming rates. I don't like to defend insurance companies, but the idea that replacing insurers with a cash-for-service m...
by magellan
Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:28 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jack Bogle [may have said] TIPS give you "income risk"
Replies: 58
Views: 5076

Re: Jack Bogle says TIPS give you "income risk"

TIPS to me sound a bit like Insurance.. or a hedge.. like a commodity.. somewhat like investing in "Gold". Usually when people think of a hedge or insurance, they think of something that doesn't just protect itself, but rather defeases a specific risk across the whole portfolio. If unexpe...
by magellan
Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dishwasher recommendation.
Replies: 44
Views: 3396

Re: Dishwasher recommendation.

The replacement panel put in under warranty+deductible still works today, but one of the LEDs* is out. IIRC, retail replacement cost of PCB is around $300. I have not been impressed with many white-goods electronics and embedded firmware designs against temperature, humidity, and vibration operatin...
by magellan
Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?
Replies: 67
Views: 8003

Re: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?

25-YR TIPS LADDER + INFLATION-INDEXED SPIA Total Cost = $375,000 to $400,000 I based my cost estimate on a very rough annuity quote, which is why I put in so much padding. I don't have access to the Vanguard quote site right now, but if you have access it might be worth getting a real quote for an ...
by magellan
Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting up an LLC for a small business
Replies: 29
Views: 2376

Re: Setting up an LLC for a small business

I suggest she contact her local SCORE office to set up a free mentoring session: https://www.score.org/ SCORE is a US government funded non-profit that operates in partnership with the US Small Business Administration to help small businesses get started and grow. They have a nationwide network of v...
by magellan
Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Value TV purchase
Replies: 38
Views: 3345

Re: Best Value TV purchase

I am intrigued by the idea of streaming my laptop screen onto a larger television screen, however - ease of use is still key. If you have a newish Roku and a computer running Windows 8 or higher, you can probably already do this using something called screen mirroring (over wifi). Newer Android dev...
by magellan
Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Value TV purchase
Replies: 38
Views: 3345

Re: Best Value TV purchase

If go the smart tv route, pay attention to the speed of the user interface, especially with Netflix and roku functionality. Some smart tvs cut corners on cpu horsepower and the result is a painfully slow UI. The TV will stream the content just fine once it gets going, but dealing with multi-second d...
by magellan
Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Forbes serving Malware
Replies: 15
Views: 2170

Re: Forbes serving Malware

There's been another case of malware getting served up by popular websites due to a compromised ad network. This time the victims were The New York Times, BBC, and others.

http://www.csoonline.com/article/304458 ... thers.html
by magellan
Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?
Replies: 67
Views: 8003

Re: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?

Another option is to use a TIPS ladder for the first 25 years, then buy an annuity at age 85 to cover years 85 until death. The 25 year TIPS ladder would cost ~$277k. An inflation indexed annuity for an 85 year old should pay out at least 12% of the lump sum (figuring a 6-7 year life expectancy for ...
by magellan
Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?
Replies: 67
Views: 8003

Re: Cost of $1000 per Month Inflation-Adjusted Income?

The hypothetical cost for a 40 year TIPS ladder is around $405k at today's rates. Since the max maturity on TIPS is 30 years, you'd be exposed to some reinvestment risk for years 31-40. To deal with that, you could get a 30 year ladder for the first 30 years plus a single 30 year TIPS for the last 1...
by magellan
Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bread - The Cost and Convenience
Replies: 94
Views: 9671

Re: Bread - The Cost and Convenience

I slice and freeze loaves, taking out only what I need at a time. We've been doing this for years. We even freeze the occasional store bought loaf. For homemade white bread at least, it really helps to separate the slices before you freeze them. I put 4 pairs of slices in each ziplock freezer bag. ...
by magellan
Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bread - The Cost and Convenience
Replies: 94
Views: 9671

Re: Bread - The Cost and Convenience

To avoid this, after washing the pan, put a few drops of vegetable oil on the side of each shaft and let it penetrate into the bushings. Then turn the bushings by hand to ensure the oil lubricates the whole bushing. That's a great idea. Thanks for the tip. Our pan has one shaft that's getting prett...
by magellan
Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home weatherization--worth it?
Replies: 28
Views: 2973

Re: home weatherization--worth it?

Is this the type of product you are referring to? http://www.lowes.com/pd_599032-59179-DLS15-06F27D1E-WH-F2_1z0vgcuZ1z10d2u__?productId=999919852&pl=1 That looks similar to what I got, but it was a while ago and I don't remember what brand mine are. The price seems a lot lower than I paid, but ...
by magellan
Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS versus Corporate Bonds
Replies: 23
Views: 1863

Re: TIPS versus Corporate Bonds

I think the place people are running on the rocks a little might be in thinking there is a path to getting more return but not paying for it in more risk, such as opting for high yield bonds or substituting dividend paying stocks. Doing that is what takes a lot of proving. I agree 100% . 'Take your...
by magellan
Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS versus Corporate Bonds
Replies: 23
Views: 1863

Re: TIPS versus Corporate Bonds

It's also worth noting that corporate bonds, especially the "high-yield" (aka "junk") bonds, have higher correlation with the stock market than do Treasuries, and so provide less diversification benefit, especially during market downturns when diversification protection is neede...
by magellan
Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home weatherization--worth it?
Replies: 28
Views: 2973

Re: home weatherization--worth it?

The old approach to sealing leaky recessed cans was to install a rigid foam insulation box or fixture cover in the attic that air seals the can while assuring proper clearance to prevent overheating and fire. IMO, a better option for air sealing recessed lights is to use an LED retrofit fixture. An ...
by magellan
Wed Feb 17, 2016 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prescription costs on HDHP?
Replies: 10
Views: 882

Re: Prescription costs on HDHP?

Unfortunately we had the opposite experience. The prescription cost under the high deductible plan is INSANE. In the end, the plan still makes sense for us but drug cost is absolutely scary. Knock wood we can afford it but for someone taking many expensive drugs, the savings from the high deductibl...

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