Search found 3417 matches

by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 3414

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

White Coat Investor wrote:You split your money so you wouldn't have to deal with 12 minute periods where you couldn't look at your balance?

Today's downtime was well over an hour, probably closer to two.
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 3414

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

I'm in now too. I had planned to do my taxes this morning and needed to pull the Vanguard tax forms down from their site. Not the end of the world of course, but it did manage to mess up my schedule for the day and unless Vanguard can explain why it happened, what they've done to prevent it from hap...
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 3414

Re: Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

To me the inexcusable part is that their phone lines aren't working and their twitter feed is completely silent. Downtime can happen to anyone, especially if they're the target of a DOS attack or something. However, a competently run operation wouldn't have gone incommunicado for over an hour during...
by magellan
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Web Site Down?
Replies: 98
Views: 3414

Vanguard seems to have gone off the grid

In case anyone else is experiencing problems, it seems that for the last hour or so Vanguard's login portal has been down and their main phone number just rings and rings, or it abruptly disconnects. Their twitter feed is silent on the issue, but a twitter search yields lots of complaints from unhap...
by magellan
Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anybody else out there still pay for an email address?
Replies: 61
Views: 4698

Re: Does anybody else out there still pay for an email address?

It's relatively easy and cheap to get your own domain and set it up to give you personal email addresses that you own and control. Namecheap offers $10-15/yr domains that include free email forwarding. This works great if you want to create several email addresses tied to services you use and have t...
by magellan
Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are my parents in good hands with this adviser?
Replies: 88
Views: 6921

Re: Are my parents in good hands with this adviser?

My suggestion is to freely share what you've learned in a direct and forthright way. However, be sure to leave plenty of room for them to ignore you and stay where they are. It can be helpful to frame things in terms of what you've done and what you believe to be a good approach, rather than what th...
by magellan
Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax 2016 purchase source
Replies: 87
Views: 11386

Re: Turbo Tax 2016 purchase source

Digging around on TT website and seeing how much fraud has been involved with their softwear over the past couple years, I'm now wondering whether there could be something embedded in this copy of TT that could "hijack" my SS# for a fradulent return. Generally, when you download software ...
by magellan
Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does Hospice Work?
Replies: 38
Views: 3697

Re: How Does Hospice Work?

Here are some data points on home hospice care from a Massachusetts perspective using a non-profit hospice care provider paid under the medicare hospice benefit. I believe the hospice provider gets a per diem reimbursement from medicare of around $155 a day. This may be different from patient to pat...
by magellan
Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who will run my Ethernet Cables for me?
Replies: 25
Views: 2818

Re: Who will run my Ethernet Cables for me?

Edit: I misread the OP's post and thought they were building or renovating instead of looking to just add a couple of ethernet drops. Most of my post doesn't apply to the OP's situation. When we built our house in 1998, I ran two cat 5 cables to each room in the house for phone and network. In some...
by magellan
Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Musk Says Tesla’s Solar Shingles Will Cost Less Than a Dumb Roof"
Replies: 78
Views: 9020

Re: "Musk Says Tesla’s Solar Shingles Will Cost Less Than a Dumb Roof"

...I also don't believe very many more people are going to buy his electric cars; there will probably come a point where sales growth will trickle. IMO, it's all but certain that within a couple decades, most new cars will be electric. The trajectory is baked in and the transformation will be drive...
by magellan
Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ethernet Question
Replies: 12
Views: 1518

Re: Ethernet Question

A big question is whether the cable will be exposed to sunlight. If the cable won't be in the sun, I'd probably go with a flat cable like this one . These flat cables will be much easier to run through a window and bend around corners compared to an outdoor cable. The downside is that an indoor rate...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

OK, so why don't the insurance companies raise rates and let the consumer pay a larger share instead of just leaving the exchange? It hasn't gotten much press, but I think most of the companies running away from the exchanges are relatively new entrants to the non-group market. Humana, Aetna, and U...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

It seems ACA is designed to increase costs over time; the govt guarantees "paying" customers to private insurers, who are free to price plans as high as they want? This gets to the heart of why the law is so complex. The law counts on competition between insurers to prevent gaming and spi...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

No way people earning less than 100% of poverty level are going to be paying for individual coverage without subsidies. I think the expansion population earns between 100% and 138% of poverty, but your point still applies. I've read that this population often works at least partly off the books and...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

OK, I can buy that, but the amount insurance companies are losing on ObamaCare is significant. If losing money is laughable, losing billions is hilarious. I never said losing money is laughable. It's all about context. IMO, there are two major reasons for the chaos in some individual marketplaces t...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

Nice to know I'm in the 0.6% who actually buys insurance on the open market without a subsidy. No wonder no one ever talks about my situation. I'm right there with you. Although to be fair, news reporting this year seems to be better. In the past, they constantly quoted the "85% of people get ...
by magellan
Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

The insurance companies have made out like bandits in the last few years. I don't think this is true. Many insurance companies have had steep losses from ObamaCare and have exited the exchange(s). I think you're both right. The acasignups.net website built this great pie chart that puts the relativ...
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

It seems that this requirement would cause an increase in the number of insured folks in their early to mid 20's. It does. The downside is that it takes a lot of healthy young people out of the individual insurance market and that causes rates to be higher than they would be without that provision....
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

I doubt many truly rich people are taking subsidies. Early retirees with maybe $1M to $3M in assets (no pensions) are often eligible for subsidies, but I would not consider someone in that category "rich." I'm using vague terminology on purpose because this isn't black and white. I was tr...
by magellan
Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

All that wil happen is rich people will take just enough out to stay under and get all the subsidy they can. If the market completely bifurcates as many expect, these rich people would have to accept low-quality medicaid-like insurance in exchange for the subsidy, since that will be the only choice...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling
Replies: 19
Views: 1492

Re: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling

The insurance company is charged $805 for every 30 day refill. I pay $45. On Healthcare.gov it lets you put in prescriptions to see which plans cover that drug. I mt says none available cover it. Not sure what that means for me. Wow, that's an expensive drug. The lack of inclusion in any ACA plan f...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling
Replies: 19
Views: 1492

Re: Getting healthcare prices before enrolling

On the Rx side, you have to figure out whether it makes sense to use the insurance or buy the medicine without insurance using a discount card or from an online canadian pharmacy. So the first step is to price your prescriptions using GoodRx.com and canadadrugs.com to see what kind of prices you'll ...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

We just got our annual increase letter. It's going to be $101. A 29% increase. Way more than has happened in previous years. This varies by state, but in our state, premiums for grandfathered plans are tiered based on 5 yr age brackets. This is just how it worked before Obamacare. So people ages 40...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Penalty Exemption and Short-Term Coverage = Reduced Costs
Replies: 1
Views: 310

Re: ACA Penalty Exemption and Short-Term Coverage = Reduced Costs

Does the short term plan have the possibility of an HSA deduction? Assuming no, and assuming they could make a $7,750 HSA contribution with an ACA plan and get a 30-40% tax break, their total savings with the short term plan would drop from $7,700 down to under $5k. Further, if they're self employed...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

I have no idea how often this happens - but here, for us, twice. Our result for 2017 from this resulted in a 38% increase in net premium, when the gross premium was only up around 21%. Since I haven't heard others with this exception, perhaps its rare everywhere else. I think what's happening is th...
by magellan
Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

The question is, what if there is only one silver plan? There's probably some rule about how that's handled, but I don't think that's likely to ever happen. Each insurer usually offers several plans at each metal level. In fact, in more competitive markets, there's a thing called 'silver spamming' ...
by magellan
Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance rates went up
Replies: 155
Views: 14081

Re: Health Insurance rates went up

...you have to have a silver plan to get the premium, and as you pointed out... As I understand it, the amount of premium subsidy you get is based on the cost of the second lowest priced silver plan in your area. However, you can choose a plan with a different metal level and apply your subsidy to ...
by magellan
Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2017 ACA plan previews
Replies: 172
Views: 11882

Re: 2017 ACA plan previews

2. ACA is awful. But, as someone who had an individual policy pre-ACA, I can assure you the individual market back then was worse. Coverage was routinely "non-renewed" if the insured had large expenses; yearly or lifetime maximums were enforced. This point is key in ACA discussions. I've ...
by magellan
Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mirai malware botnet
Replies: 12
Views: 1572

Re: Mirai malware botnet

With a good router/firewall There are a lot of routers available with high name recognition. How does one judge "goodness" when it comes security? Are there any ratings? My feeling is that getting a device from a major brand that's super popular is probably the safest bet. With this appro...
by magellan
Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mirai malware botnet
Replies: 12
Views: 1572

Re: Mirai malware botnet

The key takeaway from this incident is that you must have a robust router/firewall between your home network and your ISP. Don't rely on ISP provided equipment, especially if it's locked down and doesn't let you verify settings. If your ISP requires their router to be used and it's locked down, put ...
by magellan
Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?
Replies: 58
Views: 5938

Re: Car dealer "Internet Sales Department" - Useless?

If the dealer's website lists their inventory with VINs, don't request a quote based on options or colors. Just tell them that their online inventory shows a VIN that meets your needs, you'd like to buy it, and want an out-the-door price for that specific VIN. It's fine to reiterate the options/colo...
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 6689

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Not so fast. You can't just move to the next zip code over . . . Thanks for looking this up. I hadn't heard about the change requiring insurance coverage to be in force prior to the move. As long as they beef up verification to prevent outright lying, that really should shut down most of the gaming.
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 6689

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Yes, I looked it up. Healthcare.gov says moving to a different zip code or county is an example of a qualifying event. This adds a new dimension to my retirement planning. Thanks for enlightening me. Heck, all the good hospitals and doctors are in different counties. But that leaves you exposed to ...
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 6689

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

Amazing. Moving one county over is a qualifying event. I didn't know this. So the minute I get diagnosed I sell the house and move closer to where the hospital is and file for insurance. I think you at least have to move to a different county, but don't quote me on that. It all depends on how your ...
by magellan
Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare costs and self funding
Replies: 96
Views: 6689

Re: Healthcare costs and self funding

To buy outside of that time, you need a qualifying event (lost employee insurance etc). However, in practice, almost anyone can buy insurance at any time due to the "etc". I don't think that's quite accurate. The list of qualifying events is very bounded. The problem insurers are complain...
by magellan
Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?
Replies: 40
Views: 2579

Re: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?

200 feet? I'd get a truck and plow. That's huge. I'm thinking about a 28 incher for my 25 foot driveway. I agree that wider is better, but for me, driveway length wasn't as big of a factor as I thought it would be. Of course, I do have a 32" Ariens pro model. My driveway is almost 400' long an...
by magellan
Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?
Replies: 17
Views: 2090

Re: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?

Immediate annuities are insured by the states with varying limits. Based on my understanding, that's not quite accurate. Many states have created guaranty associations, but these are actually industry funded and not state funded or state guaranteed. They should work as intended in cases where an is...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 3 month health insurance gap between jobs several questions
Replies: 11
Views: 1260

Re: 3 month health insurance gap between jobs several questions

2) How can I find providers that offer insurance plans that are NOT listed on my state's insurance exchange? Usually, the cheapest plans are the ones on the exchange. You can go to the company website of each provider listed on the exchange to see if there are any off-exchange only options. Off-exc...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 3 month health insurance gap between jobs several questions
Replies: 11
Views: 1260

Re: 3 month health insurance gap between jobs several questions

What's the cost of the cheapest individual policy on the exchange? At age 30, it may be just a couple hundred a month. You have to do the math on the various Cobra/penalty/ACA policy combinations. If doing the Cobra delayed-election leaves you owing a penalty, the best bet may be to start coverage w...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Out of Pocket Costs for Employer Self Insured Medical Plans
Replies: 17
Views: 950

Re: Out of Pocket Costs for Employer Self Insured Medical Plans

I don't think the self-insured aspect is important. The issue is that the plan has a provider network that doesn't meet the OP's needs and they're getting a lot of services from out of network providers. When you get services from an out of network provider, you are fully responsible for the amount ...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Currency risk for 5.5 percent? Missing something?
Replies: 30
Views: 2459

Re: Currency risk for 5.5 percent? Missing something?

Keep funds in US (1.1% inflation expectation): 1% interest - .3% tax cost - 1.1% inflation loss = .4% net loss The inflation rate in the US doesn't matter for someone who doesn't live in the US. You should be using the South African inflation rate in this calculation. IMO, this isn't quite right. A...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay a 1099 contractor or incorporate?
Replies: 18
Views: 1633

Re: Stay a 1099 contractor or incorporate?

I carry professional liability insurance, so I feel pretty comfortable in terms of my liability... This is key. Just so others know, about how much does your professional liability policy cost and what are the limits? Many small business owners get bamboozled into incorporating on the premise that ...
by magellan
Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Currency risk for 5.5 percent? Missing something?
Replies: 30
Views: 2459

Re: Currency risk for 5.5 percent? Missing something?

I know the interest is taxable on my U.S. return but the favorable exchange seems too good to pass up. IMO, the biggest problem with this plan is taxes. The inflation rate in South Africa has been running at around 6-7% per year. So the entire 5.5% in interest is likely to be eaten up by inflation,...
by magellan
Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refrigerator issues - Temperature & Other
Replies: 22
Views: 1733

Re: Refrigerator issues - Temperature & Other

Since you've had so many freezing issues, I wouldn't be surprised if the evaporator coil in the freezer has ice build up that's reducing airflow. Most side-by-sides have one circulation fan that pushes air across the evaporator coil in the back of the freezer and into both the freezer and the refrig...
by magellan
Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 258
Views: 22766

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

Carrier: Airvoice Wireless (AT&T MVNO) Monthly fee: $1 Talk/text: 10 cents per minute/text Data: 6.6 cents per MB, No LTE (21Mbps max speed w/HSPA+) Average cost per month: $4 I use google voice for all talk and text and use just under 50MB of data a month on average. I make a point not to do vi...
by magellan
Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?
Replies: 17
Views: 2090

Re: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?

Is there a real possibility that annuity payments could be lower not just because of the low rate environment, but because other parts of the insurance company are suffering? As more people purchase annuities, might their investments subsidize other portions of the insurance companies' poorly-perfo...
by magellan
Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?
Replies: 17
Views: 2090

Re: Lifecycle investing: it depends on the insurance market being very efficient, right?

So if your plan is to buy a SPIA when you're 75, you're going to be at the mercy of interest rates in effect at that time. This is true for sure, but the interest rate risk does get lower the longer you wait. I did some some quick calculations based on the rough annuity payout formula posted by Bob...
by magellan
Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72
Replies: 11
Views: 1838

Re: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72

As an aside, I was recently at an in network hospital for a test and before I would let them do it, I asked if they could confirm that the radiologist would be in network. After giving me the info, the receptionist said that SHE herself had just been burned by this. Apparently, the insurance plan th...
by magellan
Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72
Replies: 11
Views: 1838

Re: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72

Emergency services are excluded from the above requirement unfortunately. I think the ACA may have already mandated something similar to this for emergency services, at least on the insurance side of things. As I understand it, insurers aren't allowed to charge you more than the in-network deductib...
by magellan
Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Licensing Trademarked Material
Replies: 10
Views: 790

Re: Licensing Trademarked Material

A question: did Andy Warhol have permission from Campbell's soup?? Based on some quick googling, the answer is No. However, Campbell Soup Company got the Warhol Foundation's permission when they produced soup cans with special 50th anniversary celebration labels featuring Warhol's work. http://www....

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