Search found 3341 matches

by magellan
Sun May 29, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Depot pricing policy?
Replies: 22
Views: 2391

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: 1692

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: 11215

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: 2928

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: 1712

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: 1712

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: 1712

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: 882

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: 1091

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: 2687

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: 2687

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: 1989

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: 1553

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: 1553

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: 59683

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: 34
Views: 3500

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: 1308

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: 1308

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: 34
Views: 3500

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: 4903

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: 8300

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: 4903

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: 3179

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: 7715

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: 2263

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: 3178

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: 3178

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: 2097

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: 7715

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: 7715

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: 9284

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: 9284

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: 2811

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: 1745

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: 1745

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: 2811

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: 826

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...
by magellan
Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

Something is strange about this scenario. The key here is that the purchase was made using a gift card. It seems that HD treats receipted returns of items purchased with gift cards the same as no-receipt returns. I think this is an HD specific twist in how they implemented their TRE verification sy...
by magellan
Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

I am retired now, but my previous company developed a refund management product (not the one used by Home Depot). Returns are a huge deal for retailers. About 10% of them are fraudulent. Here is how our system worked, which answers/confirms some of the comments in this thread: I understand the valu...
by magellan
Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

"We require a valid ID for non-receipted returns and returns generated from purchases made with store credits. The Home Depot uses a refund verification system. All returns are subject to system approval" This brings up a good point that I missed before. It appears that being blacklisted ...
by magellan
Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

HD, Target, and others subscribe to a service that collects and aggregates returns data from participating retailers. It is your returns history from all the retailers combined that matters. According to the FAQ on The Retail Equation's website , that's not quite accurate. 2) Does the Verify Return...
by magellan
Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

Yes a certain amount of this is normal for an American business, but if they can prevent some serial over-buy/returners from racking up large amounts of returns then they can save a bit on the bottom line and prevent this from becoming a huge problem. The blogger in the linked article posted their ...
by magellan
Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 100
Views: 17542

Re: Banned from Home Depot Returns

I went to return about $50 worth of electrical products and my return wasn't allowed. I had my receipt, but my drivers license was apparently blocked. IMO, refusing to issue a store credit on a return with a valid receipt is unreasonable. As I understand it, the fraud scheme involves returning item...
by magellan
Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?
Replies: 327
Views: 39614

Re: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?

It looks like Intuit has fumbled once again with this year's Turbo Tax release. The problem is that their update process seems to use unsigned or incorrectly signed installation packages. When I try to install updates, I get a privilege escalation prompt with the publisher listed as unknown. This us...
by magellan
Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of puchasing TIPS ladder at auction for a retirement income floor
Replies: 32
Views: 2472

Re: Logistics of puchasing TIPS ladder at auction for a retirement income floor

Therefore, I would think the maturity amount of the TIPS and the purchase price of the SPIA 20 years later will be somewhat close (at least not too far off). If the TIPS matures exactly when you want to purchase the annuity, it'll mature at par (adjusted for inflation) and won't include any adjustm...
by magellan
Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Logistics of puchasing TIPS ladder at auction for a retirement income floor
Replies: 32
Views: 2472

Re: Logistics of puchasing TIPS ladder at auction for a retirement income floor

The only troublesome part I see is the SPIA purchase in 2049. You know the "real" income desired, but not the cost of the SPIA. The income generated will depend on interest rates in 2049, which are hard to predict. You might look into buying the SPIA now, with CPI-based inflation adjustme...
by magellan
Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Modems and Routers
Replies: 29
Views: 2849

Re: Modems and Routers

What are the exact model numbers of the modem and router you currently have?

Also, if you run the test at speedtest.net, what download speed, upload speed, and ping latency do you get? Are the numbers different if you use a hardwired computer vs. a wireless device?
by magellan
Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Geothermal Heat Pumps
Replies: 18
Views: 1845

Re: Geothermal Heat Pumps

BTU's is BTU's , so any unit, geothermal or air source, can be sized so as to perform well for temperature/humidity control in the warm months. While I agree that a well designed ground source geothermal system can effectively control humidity, I don't agree with your BTUs is BTUs statement. Dehumi...
by magellan
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help selecting a new air-conditioning system
Replies: 8
Views: 856

Re: Help selecting a new air-conditioning system

But I would think that they're bad in proportion to the cost (in electricity usage) of generating cool air. i.e. You're losing a certain volume of cool air, which must be made up for by the A/C running more. But if a given A/C is twice as efficient, then the cost (in electrical usage) of that air i...
by magellan
Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Setting retirement income floors as a way to increasing early SWR
Replies: 20
Views: 1748

Re: Setting retirement income floors as a way to increasing early SWR

However, if I am investing on TIPS at age 60 to purchase SPIA in 80 or 85, it is even more critical to period match than if I were to buy at 75 (Assuming it's more difficult to predict interest rates farther out they are). Yes and no. You'd already be period matching most of the way by purchasing a...

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