Search found 3380 matches

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: 8
Views: 706

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: 8
Views: 706

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: 713

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: 25
Views: 1712

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: 1362

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: 25
Views: 1712

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: 1496

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: 164
Views: 10518

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: 11
Views: 1131

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: 11
Views: 1131

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 Consumer Issues
Topic: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72
Replies: 8
Views: 895

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 Consumer Issues
Topic: Good news for CA healthcare consumers - AB 72
Replies: 8
Views: 895

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: 697

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....
by magellan
Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Licensing Trademarked Material
Replies: 10
Views: 697

Re: Licensing Trademarked Material

Any reason why you said trademarked rather than copyrighted? IANAL, but as I understand it, trademark law deals with restrictions on using the mark of a commercial brand in a way that causes confusion in the marketplace. For example, it's illegal to put gucci markings on a knock off handbag and try ...
by magellan
Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?
Replies: 37
Views: 2198

Re: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?

This is no different from jjface's suggestion and has the same problems I've already outlined with his. The main problem you mentioned is that the remaining part of the retiree's portfolio may be depleted early. The same risk is present in the deferred annuity case, but in that case there's no opti...
by magellan
Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?
Replies: 37
Views: 2198

Re: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?

A 60 year old can get a deferred annuity starting in 25 years time paying $27,629 a month for $500,000 today. That $27,629 assuming 2.5% annual inflation is worth $14,903 today. The killer problem with deferred annuities on the market today is that we have NO idea how much standard of living their ...
by magellan
Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?
Replies: 37
Views: 2198

Re: "Roll Your Own" Longevity Insurance (i.e. Deferred Annuity)?

It can be helpful to separate out the investment component of a deferred annuity from the insurance component. Deferred annuities are sort of like whole life insurance, while an SPIA is more like term insurance. Deferred annuities have a lot of investment product and very little insurance product. S...
by magellan
Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unexpected Comparison - High Deductible Plan F to Regular Plan F in New York
Replies: 6
Views: 542

Re: Unexpected Comparison - High Deductible Plan F to Regular Plan F in New York

I'm not positive that this is true with medigap plans, but another factor that may be helping the high deductible plan is that insurers usually price in overhead and profit as a percent of premium dollars paid. The lower you pay in premiums, the lower your charge for insurer overhead and profit. Usu...
by magellan
Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?
Replies: 139
Views: 14855

Re: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?

Do you use a normal or lognormal distribution? Another thing on my list of things to do that does not get done is do a comparison of the two to see if it makes enough difference to matter. Other distributions with fatter tails than these are also on my list. Maybe when I retire... :) I use a normal...
by magellan
Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?
Replies: 139
Views: 14855

Re: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?

I presume return is real? Yes, it is. As someone else said, the image came from the Flexible Retirement Planner. (Full disclosure - I'm the developer of the planner/website owner). The graph was produced by starting with the planner's default inputs and changing the following: - Current Age -> 65 -...
by magellan
Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?
Replies: 139
Views: 14855

Re: What rate of return do you use when planning for retirement?

Below is a graph that shows the impact of sequence of returns risk on a withdrawal strategy, assuming various rates of returns. This is to hopefully show that considering only rate of return without adjusting for volatility can lead to surprises. The graph shows the likelihood of success of a 4% wit...
by magellan
Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?
Replies: 58
Views: 3149

Re: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?

boglerocks wrote:...because they have a "special agreement with HMO".

I wonder if that's code for "contractually obligated." Perhaps their agreement with the HMO plan doesn't let them turn people away but the one with the PPO does?
by magellan
Sat Jul 30, 2016 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYS Law: Should Umbrella Insurance Policy Cover Value of Retirement Accounts?
Replies: 7
Views: 904

Re: NYS Law: Should Umbrella Insurance Policy Cover Value of Retirement Accounts?

kenner wrote:There is something to be said for protecting your family's future in a litigious society.

I agree. I didn't mean to suggest there's anything wrong with a belt and suspenders approach, where you buy a reasonable amount of insurance coverage and also take appropriate steps to protect assets.
by magellan
Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYS Law: Should Umbrella Insurance Policy Cover Value of Retirement Accounts?
Replies: 7
Views: 904

Re: NYS Law: Should Umbrella Insurance Policy Cover Value of Retirement Accounts?

If you cause a loss, either you or your insurance company should pay for those damages, regardless of your net worth or the your asset-protection strategy. Very well said. This is a values thing of course, but it seems to me that unless you're living on the edge of survival, it's not right to plan ...
by magellan
Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?
Replies: 58
Views: 3149

Re: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?

One other caveat with PPOs is that they usually maintain separate deductibles and out of pocket maximums for in-network vs out of network care. So if you need medical care that spans both in and out of network providers, your deductible and out of pocket maximums are effectively doubled. As an examp...
by magellan
Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?
Replies: 58
Views: 3149

Re: Doctor takes HMO but not PPO insurance?

One clarification on HMOs is that many HMOs no longer require a referral from a primary care doctor to see a specialist. This was the original design of HMOs and consumers hated this feature so many insurers responded by eliminating the referral requirement.
by magellan
Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Does Vanguard "Remember" My Computer?
Replies: 41
Views: 3162

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: 3162

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: 1319

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: 3013

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: 5591

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: 3046

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: 1388

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: 2061

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: 2423

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: 2423

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: 15
Views: 2553

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: 15
Views: 2553

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: 9330

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: 3229

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: 1872

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: 11964

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: 3124

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: 1946

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: 1946

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: 1946

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: 996

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: 1932

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: 2886

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: 2886

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...

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