Search found 3302 matches

by magellan
Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Banned from Home Depot Returns
Replies: 59
Views: 8272

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: 59
Views: 8272

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: 59
Views: 8272

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: 59
Views: 8272

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: 320
Views: 30945

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: 2137

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: 2137

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: 2646

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: 1675

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: 782

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: 1602

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: 1602

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: 1602

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: 1602

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: 137
Views: 13832

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: 782

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: 659

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: 2038

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: 1105

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 ...
by magellan
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum
Replies: 30
Views: 2038

Re: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum

Fix the oil leak in the 14 YO unit and think about getting the one you want earlier next fall. $3k is a good sum for a snowblower and I don't think you should settle for less than the one you want as long as you can get another winter out of your old unit. That's where I'm leaning now actually, alt...
by magellan
Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum
Replies: 30
Views: 2038

Re: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum

I picked up a hydro last year, I think it was a 28" if I recall. The hydro is worth it, don't go for a non-hydro. Good info. Thanks. My only concern with the hydro is reliability and serviceability. The disc-o-matic drive is very simple and if it breaks I can usually fix it myself. As far as a...
by magellan
Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum
Replies: 30
Views: 2038

Re: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum

How long would it take for them to get the model you want? They can't. Apparently, Ariens isn't producing any more until next season. There's a rumor that they're changing the engine next year to a different supplier and that's why production was limited, but who knows. It doesn't seem like this mo...
by magellan
Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ariens Snowblower Conundrum
Replies: 30
Views: 2038

Ariens Snowblower Conundrum

After the first storm of the '15-'16 season, my 14 year old Ariens 1332 Pro snowblower developed an oil leak and I decided to replace it. I went to a local Ariens dealer and bought a new Ariens 32" Hydro Pro model for around $3k. I finished the purchase, have the sales receipt, and got charged ...
by magellan
Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why buy Corporate Bonds?
Replies: 34
Views: 2235

Re: Why buy Corporate Bonds?

My simple thought would be by optimizing your bond portfolio so it doesn't correlate with equities at exact wrong moment you can have a higher percentage of equities at the same risk. Why is equity risk more desirable to you than credit risk? Do you believe the market is inefficient and will compen...
by magellan
Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why buy Corporate Bonds?
Replies: 34
Views: 2235

Re: Why buy Corporate Bonds?

IMO, it's a mistake to try to optimize a portfolio around asset class correlations during a crisis. Sure, manage the overall risk in your portfolio so you don't panic-sell in a crisis. However, aside from panic selling, markets drops like in 2008, 2001 or 1987, etc are not what kills an investment p...
by magellan
Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Big Short
Replies: 137
Views: 13832

Re: The Big Short

when it came time to collect on their short positions, it wasn't clear to me why they were only able to collect 30 cents on the dollar per the value of the contract. I'm guessing they were referring to getting 30% of the payout value of the credit default swaps they bought. Since the underlying inv...
by magellan
Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric utility being switched on me . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 1208

Re: Electric utility being switched on me . . .

The 9.3 cent rate looks good based on a quick comparison of your other choices: https://www.chooseenergy.com/shop/residential/electricity/MA/01824/national-grid-massachusetts-electric-ma-electricity/ According to that site, if your electricity consumption is near the average of 630 kWh per month, sw...
by magellan
Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)
Replies: 24
Views: 1140

Re: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)

The OP lists "ethics" in the post title, which implies questions beyond the strict legalities as well. If we want to get into ethics then things get messy fast. There's not an economist in the world that would testify that the current US copyright term of life plus 70 years satisfies the ...
by magellan
Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)
Replies: 24
Views: 1140

Re: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)

As an example of how "first-sale" might not apply, you are not entitled to download pdf's from a repository like JSTOR and then re-distribute them widely even if you (or a library to which you have legitimate access) has paid for it. Ok. I see. I thought we were talking about actual books...
by magellan
Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)
Replies: 24
Views: 1140

Re: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)

There was a famous case, now many years ago, in which J.D. Salinger prevented publication of a biography about him, because it was based largely on letters he had written (as a recluse, there was little other information available). He used his copyright protection to prevent public dissemination o...
by magellan
Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)
Replies: 24
Views: 1140

Re: Copyright, Libraries (and Ethics)

Were these books privately published? If so, then the authors may have been deliberately limiting distribution and may have rights reserved on how you can pass the information on to third parties. I'm not a lawyer and I may be mistaken, but this contradicts what I understood as the "first sale...
by magellan
Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Independent Vendors for Umbrella Policy - Need Advice
Replies: 5
Views: 372

Re: Independent Vendors for Umbrella Policy - Need Advice

You might want to check out RLI.
https://www.rlicorp.com/personal-umbrella-policy

I think their umbrella policies may be a bit more expensive than some carriers, but they offer coverage in all 50 states and don't require you to insure property and cars through them.
by magellan
Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

The consumer know that if he / she need to pay full price of the doctor visit, they will never go to see the doctor until they are very sick. I suppose we all do different mental accounting on things like this. Personally, I think of the hsa tax savings as a sort of slush fund. If at the end of the...
by magellan
Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

The other thing that mystifies me, and that is definitely pertinent to the forum here because most of us are such avid savers, is that there are plenty of current plans with high deductibles that don't even qualify for a Health Savings Account. Unfortunately, imo this is another example of somewhat...
by magellan
Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

here in California, those plans are generally the worst possible (extremely narrow networks across the board). This is the one part of how ACA is playing out that I don't understand. ACA tries to use a market based solution with competing private insurers, but because of the caps on admin expenses ...
by magellan
Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

So for example, a typical plan now might have a $6,250 deductible but that somehow becomes $12,500 when in-network and out-of-network providers are used. Also, many fewer doctors are taking the ACA-compliant plans so your likelihood of needing the services of an out-of-network provider has increase...
by magellan
Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

When ACA-compliant plans started working their way through the marketplace, I was shocked at the high deductibles. Patients were shocked as well. Those of us with experience in the individual insurance market weren't shocked at all. High deductibles have been a fact of life with individual policies...
by magellan
Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 102
Views: 6777

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

The researchers also found that once individuals spent enough to reach the deductible, their health care spending patterns reverted to pre-change levels. Strikingly, this was even the case among those with a medical history that made it all but certain they would exceed the out-of-pocket maximum. H...
by magellan
Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?
Replies: 320
Views: 30945

Re: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?

Just bought the TT Home & Business CD version yesterday at Costco for $79. It was $99 at the Intuit/TT website, OfficeMax/Office Depot and most retailers. You can purchase the Online version of TT Home & Business directly from Intuit/TT website for $79. If you want the physical CD, that mig...
by magellan
Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?
Replies: 320
Views: 30945

Re: Vanguard TurboTax - Not Available 2015?

Turbo Tax Premier (which includes Sch. D, edit: I've been told Deluxe includes Sch D but one needs to input stock sales manually, don't know how to confirm this) is available at: http://www.trademylikes.com/turbotax-premier-2015-state-federal-efile-download/ Just a caveat so folks don't make the mi...
by magellan
Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD's vs Vanguard Index Funds at Retirement Age
Replies: 6
Views: 1056

Re: CD's vs Vanguard Index Funds at Retirement Age

It's probably worthwhile to break your first question into two questions. 1) What asset allocation most likely satisfy your investment goals? This decision is mainly about how to divide your portfolio between growth assets (usually stocks) and safe income assets (usually bonds). Growth assets are mo...
by magellan
Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best modem/router(s)/network equipment(?) to buy for small business
Replies: 7
Views: 504

Re: Best modem/router(s)/network equipment(?) to buy for small business

The right approach depends a lot on your company's IT needs. Will you have any special servers or services running on the network? Will people need to access company resources remotely, presumably through a VPN? IMO, more expensive commercial devices aren't necessarily more secure than mass market B...
by magellan
Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just signed up for 2016 CoveredCA ACA
Replies: 2
Views: 413

Re: Just signed up for 2016 CoveredCA ACA

The 759/month for a bronze HSA for a 59yo male with a decent selection of providers seems like a lot though. Massive inflation over previous 2 years. Wow, that's quite a premium for an individual plan. I'm 50ish and paying $420 for a $5k deductible HSA plan with a solid nationwide provider network....
by magellan
Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me decide: HDHP or LDHP
Replies: 4
Views: 469

Re: Help me decide: HDHP or LDHP

We are in the 35% tax bracket. I'll take a stab at some numbers and others will hopefully double check me. I'm assuming premiums are paid pre-tax and I'm ignoring state taxes and social security/medicare taxes. LDHP net after tax cost is $908 (x .65) = $590 (x 12) = $7080 HDHP net after tax cost is...
by magellan
Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me decide: HDHP or LDHP
Replies: 4
Views: 469

Re: Help me decide: HDHP or LDHP

Aside from differences in deductibles, copays, and out of pocket limits, are there other differences in the actual coverage provided by the two policies? In particular, are both policies from the same insurer using the same provider network and drug formulary? Also, you may be able to save a substan...
by magellan
Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Cell Plan
Replies: 21
Views: 2077

Re: New Cell Plan

...not sure how to turn off data for all apps and services except email and hangouts. I have an android phone. It's probably different on each Android version, but I'm on Lollipop and I just went to Settings->Data Usage and did it from there. If you scroll down to the 'App usage' section it should ...
by magellan
Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home network Guru's for 30 devices on router.
Replies: 57
Views: 3563

Re: Home network Guru's for 30 devices on router.

Also, 25 devices is a lot on a home network. Can you give us a rundown of these devices and what they are doing? Are they all connecting wirelessly?
by magellan
Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home network Guru's for 30 devices on router.
Replies: 57
Views: 3563

Re: Home network Guru's for 30 devices on router.

Running wireless network analysis software to see how crowded the wireless channels are might be a good idea. You and a close neighbor could be using the same channel and stepping on each other. There are some android apps that do this, or you could use the free version of inSSIDer from metageek on ...
by magellan
Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Cell Plan
Replies: 21
Views: 2077

Re: New Cell Plan

I use AirVoice Wireless which gives unlimited talk, text, 500MB high speed (not LTE, I think it is HSDPA or HSPA+, not sure), and 500MB low speed @ 128 kbps. I'm on Airvoice's ultracheap pay-as-you-go plan using AT&T's network. It costs 10 cents for texts and each minute of talk and 6.6 cents p...
by magellan
Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home heating issues
Replies: 53
Views: 5959

Re: Home heating issues

The problem may be that when peak demand hits in cold weather, NG plants are the easiest to fire up and prices may be relatively high on the spot market. While startup and spin down flexibility certainly plays a role, imo it mostly has to do with the marginal cost of running each power plant type. ...

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