Search found 3333 matches

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: 972

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: 16
Views: 2221

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: 16
Views: 2221

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: 1805

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: 1450

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: 1450

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: 526
Views: 56987

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: 3235

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: 1181

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: 1181

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: 3235

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: 4608

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: 8109

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: 4608

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: 2950

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: 7506

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: 2114

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: 3011

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: 3011

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: 2068

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: 7506

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: 7506

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: 8731

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: 8731

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: 2607

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: 1666

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: 1666

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: 2607

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: 804

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: 16732

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: 16732

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: 16732

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: 16732

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: 16732

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: 16732

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: 38009

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: 2363

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: 2363

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: 2773

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: 1780

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: 825

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: 1690

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...
by magellan
Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Setting retirement income floors as a way to increasing early SWR
Replies: 20
Views: 1690

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

Do I purchase TIPS that will mature in 23 years (15+8) when I am 60, then sell the TIPS when I am 65 and that will assure me to have the exact cost of the SPIA to be bought at 75. I think you'd sell the TIPS at age 75 and use the proceeds immediately to buy the SPIA. The idea is that you don't need...
by magellan
Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Setting retirement income floors as a way to increasing early SWR
Replies: 20
Views: 1690

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

Also, I wanted to point out, the plans to purchase an SPIA in the future with TIPS the way I explained it is risky as we don't know the interest rates and thus the price of the SPIA when we need to buy it. We have to period match the SPIA to the TIPS (Liability Driven Investment). I would appreciat...
by magellan
Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Setting retirement income floors as a way to increasing early SWR
Replies: 20
Views: 1690

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

First, I'm a big fan of this approach and think it makes a lot of sense. A couple of comments: 1) Hopefully the TIPS can all be held in tax deferred accounts. This strategy doesn't work very well in taxable accounts because high inflation will cause large unexpected tax bills due to imputed income f...
by magellan
Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Big Short
Replies: 153
Views: 16926

Re: The Big Short

"Inside Job", 2011 Oscar winner for best documentary, is a must see film for anyone interested in the financial crises. IMO far better than The Big Short, both in terms of education and entertainment. I thought that The Big Short did a much better job of handling the complexity and nuance...
by magellan
Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help selecting a new air-conditioning system
Replies: 8
Views: 825

Re: Help selecting a new air-conditioning system

I *think* (please verify this formula elsewhere), that the newer system would use 8/16, i.e. half as much electricity as the old system, thus saving you about $600/year. I think that's a best-case number. There are two factors that can knock that number back considerably. 1) Normal losses from duct...
by magellan
Mon Jan 04, 2016 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giant Digital Picture Frame
Replies: 7
Views: 693

Re: Giant Digital Picture Frame

We paid $300 for a 40" LED TV with built in Roku capabilities. We put our pictures and pictures from all of my siblings on a thumb drive and set up the Roku to play a continuous slideshow of the pictures. Because it is an LED TV, the power draw is pretty low. We calculated that it will cost th...
by magellan
Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum
Replies: 30
Views: 2133

Re: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum

Why not as for a couple of free services for your lawn mower and snow blower. That has real value to you, doesn't cost them much and will make you feel like they at least hooked you up for the inconvenience. This makes sense. Although as I think about it with a clearer head, I'm leaning toward not ...
by magellan
Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend prepaid text and talk plans
Replies: 14
Views: 1214

Re: Recommend prepaid text and talk plans

You might consider Airvoice. They use the AT&T network and have a $10 per month plan that buys 250 minutes of talk with extra minutes at $.04. Your 10 minutes a day of talk would cost about $14 per month. Your account balance carries over if you don't use your full balance in a month. Texts are ...

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