Search found 967 matches

by michaeljc70
Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much are independent contractors really taxed?
Replies: 43
Views: 2210

Re: How much are independent contractors really taxed?

It depends on how much you make and what you can deduct. The main hit is paying both parts of the SS/Medicare taxes. How is it worth it? You bake that into your rate or what you charge for the product or service. You can also deduct way more (typically) than if you are an employee. I cannot even ded...
by michaeljc70
Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to find FICA taxes paid in a year?
Replies: 7
Views: 368

Re: How to find FICA taxes paid in a year?

If you go to the SS website you can view what you paid in every year and what your FICA taxable wages were. It shows mine going back to the 80s when I started working as a teenager.
by michaeljc70
Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy this house?
Replies: 37
Views: 2363

Re: Should I buy this house?

Unless I missed it, are you planning to sell your current home and how much it is worth? Is it expensive because it is a new custom build? In my view, 1800 sq ft is sufficient for a family of 4. How much are used homes at 3000 sq ft? That's what I thought....1850 sq ft cramped for a child and 2 adu...
by michaeljc70
Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why does Vanguard endorse TurboTax?
Replies: 6
Views: 926

Re: Why does Vanguard endorse TurboTax?

In the past, Vanguard offered TurboTax for free or at a discounted price. As to their arrangement now, I'm not sure.
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I seem to have gotten my Inuit history a little confused! If they have Mint, TurboTax and Quickbooks left, it seems like Quicken fits in with that. It would have been nice to see Quicken morph into something along the lines of Mint or vice versa. Mint doesn't have a lot of features like Quicken, bu...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I think it had more to do with Quicken Loans becoming so big and Quicken the software became a small insignificant part of the company and they got rid of it for strategic reasons. If Intuit needed to triple the price to make a profit, something was wrong... As I understand it, there hasn't been an...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles
Replies: 45
Views: 3184

Re: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles

We like having our USAA Limitless card with 2.5% cash back! We also like having our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (CSP) that gives us free UR points that can be used for nearly any airline and most hotels as well. Our D likes to use the UR points to book flights at the list minute at very good rate...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles
Replies: 45
Views: 3184

Re: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles

For me, I use the miles. Like others said, it depends. If you are going to use the miles to go from Chicago to Florida or something like that, you are probably wasting them. I recently bought 2 tickets from Chicago to Barcelona for 120k miles with 2 days notice. It would have cost me thousands of d...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

No one is asking Quicken to give away the product for free. It is not an open-source product nor is Quicken a non-profit company. They have a business to run and choices to make. I completely get that. But, there has to be a balance for Quicken and the end-user. As the end user, it is non-negotiabl...
by michaeljc70
Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I just realized (I guess I'm slow this week) exactly what the OP meant when he first highlighted this as a "substantial" price increase. Without the presence of discounters like Amazon, which apparently go away with this subscription model, effective price does REALLY jump for those of us...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

Quicken is a consumer product . To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of any other consumer software product that has adopted the subscription model. YNAB Off the top of my head ... ⋅ Microsoft Office 365 ⋅ Many of the cloud storage services (e.g. free unless you want more s...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

Quicken is a consumer product . To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of any other consumer software product that has adopted the subscription model. YNAB Off the top of my head ... ⋅ Microsoft Office 365 ⋅ Many of the cloud storage services (e.g. free unless you want more s...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 220
Views: 34602

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

Has anyone tried to get the $1000 bonus recently? I was walking by a B of A branch today and there was a $600 bonus advertised in the window for Merrill Edge.
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Sometimes you just have to cool it on the new inquiries on a while and then you can pick up some more cards again. There is also Citi, Capital One, US Bank, etc. US Bank won't approve you with a lot of recent inquiries though. Yep. I concentrate on the high value bonuses. I try not to go after anyt...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Keep in mind that is just American Express's rule. In that same vein, they are cracking down on bonus matches. If you applied a month ago for the Starwood Preferred Guest card for 25,000 bonus points and now see the 35,000 bonus point offer, they won't match it. Yes and no. There are still some chu...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 220
Views: 34602

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

2 questions: 1) It sounds like ATM card is linked to a checking account rather than the brokerage account itself? At Etrade I had an ATM card with fee reimbursement and checks but it was not a separate account (taxable margin account). 2) Are international ATM fees reimbursed? I can move a taxable a...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles
Replies: 45
Views: 3184

Re: Credit card: Cash versus Flight Miles

For me, I use the miles. Like others said, it depends. If you are going to use the miles to go from Chicago to Florida or something like that, you are probably wasting them. I recently bought 2 tickets from Chicago to Barcelona for 120k miles with 2 days notice. It would have cost me thousands of do...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

They don't care about 5/24 or other rules because once you exhaust all of your bonus opportunities, you're done. This is the game changer...once you've run through all the major bank cards, you are done churning for bonuses - left with only waiting for new cards w/bonuses or watching for special pr...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I recently (2 weeks ago) downloaded the 60 day trial of MoneyDance. When I imported from Quicken all my balances were messed up. I didn't go much further than that, but it seemed like to pay bills you needed to use a menu option. I can't comment on the bill pay piece because I use my bank for this ...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

Just because you come across horror stories on the news or internet about "bureaucratic monopoly with horrible customer service" doesn't mean that every interaction with them is such a disaster. You just never hear about the positive experiences because they are generally boring stories :...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Re:

The biggest fear I still have is that this new model will push an otherwise declining user base so low that they won't have critical mass anymore. That is a concern. It happened with Microsoft Money. At least with Money, Microsoft offered a final release for free so that people who had all their da...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I have any bill that can go on a credit card without a fee do so. I don't like the idea of a bureaucratic monopoly with horrible customer service (gas, electric company, etc.) being able to take money out of my checking account without authorization. I don't particularly like the idea either, but i...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 14810

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

A few people have touched on how cooking at home is healthier (or at least you know what is going into it). I think a lot people would be shocked at how much fat and salt goes into a lot of restaurant meals. Putting a stick of butter in a dish does make it taste better!
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I agree. To those saying there are all these great alternatives, there really isn't unless you don't use a lot of Quickens features. General FYI- MoneyDance gets 2.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Not great. I have used Quicken for the past 20 years. When we switched over to Mac, I tried all the alterna...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

They have little reason to really crack down on people churning their cards, because they account for such an insignificant portion of their entire customer base. They're making money hand over foot via transaction charges, interest fees, marketing, etc. If that was true, there wouldn't be a 5/24 r...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

Even when I used Quicken, I never used it for bill paying. Virtually all of my recurring charges (utilities, subscriptions) get automatically charged to credit cards. One utility doesn't accept credit cards without fee, and so I have set up direct debit from a checking account with them. No manual ...
by michaeljc70
Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I'm a programmer, but making a spreadsheet download from 20 different accounts and upload my bill payments would be a huge task. The "triple play" is how companies make it difficult to leave. I only use Quicken for record keeping. I use USAA for bill paying, they will send checks to pay a...
by michaeljc70
Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I'm fed up with them, but having tried the alternatives, I'm not sure what to do. I own Office 2016 the last forever Office; I'm learning excel. I have to be more professional and Quicken is not professional. Spreadsheet downloads will be available for a long time. People who know the software can ...
by michaeljc70
Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?
Replies: 93
Views: 5139

Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

I would never bother calling someone to replace an outlet or switch in the same location. It would take more time to get someone out and let them in, etc. than to just do it yourself.
by michaeljc70
Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 14810

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

I can't understand for the life of me how someone could come home after a full day of work and spend 2 hours preparing an elaborate dinner. I would love to have whatever job you have that leaves you with so much energy at the end of the day. I usually feel so spent I barely have energy to microwave...
by michaeljc70
Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 165
Views: 12427

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I'm at the point with Quicken where I don't care what they do. I cannot trust a company that plays fast and loose with my money. One click of a mouse and a lifetime of saving/investing could be in a Russian Western Union account. Time for more secure record keeping. I'm fed up with them, but having...
by michaeljc70
Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malta
Replies: 13
Views: 1463

Re: Malta

I was there last week on a cruise so I only spent one day. M'Dina and Valleta are both beautiful. Beautiful old buildings. I saw a lot of hotels with pools. Not a lot of beaches. There were a lot of restaurants and bars. I didn't visit Goza so I don't know about there. I would just make sure you kno...
by michaeljc70
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 20% bonds: why bother at 48?
Replies: 131
Views: 6351

Re: 20% bonds: why bother at 48?

retiredjg wrote:There are times, even decades, when bond pay more than stocks. If that should happen, wouldn't you want something to be making some money?


This.

You are assuming in those 10 years stocks will outperform bonds.
by michaeljc70
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?
Replies: 37
Views: 2648

Re: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?

Also in Midwest. 2000 Sq ft townhouse. My electric is similar to you. My gas bills average around $80. In the summer when gas isn't used for heat my bills are around $35, but are much higher in the winter. Trash/water is very city dependent.
by michaeljc70
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 14810

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Thirty or forty years ago eating out was a special occasion event for my family. Now, eating seems much more commonplace and an everyday thing for some people. It is an everyday thing for a lot of people. According to recent research, Americans now spend more eating out than they do on groceries an...
by michaeljc70
Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Maybe this is a dumb question (and maybe my though process is just influenced by the credit vs. cash thread) but how much of this points/miles chasing leads to money spent on trips and vacations that wouldn't have otherwise be spent, thus leading to a net loss despite the credit card rewards? For m...
by michaeljc70
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why do you go to restaurants?
Replies: 229
Views: 14810

Re: Why do you go to restaurants?

Something to remember for those who think it's cheaper to eat at home. This is only true in theory. In practice, the two often come out to similar costs. Consider that I could spend $8 to get a quality cheeseburger at my local pub. Plus tax and tip, let's say I'm out $12. Alternatively, I could go ...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise suggestions.
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Re: Cruise suggestions.

Viking Ocean Cruises -- I can offer some specific input here. My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Viking Sea last spring (the last ship departing Istanbul before the problems there!). Cannot say enough about the quality of the cruise! The free excursions were wonderful, although the s...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise suggestions.
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Re: Cruise suggestions.

Just for an example, through Cruise compete in Nov I got a very cheap rate (10 night, outside, ncl, S America, $399pp) and they threw in an Ultimate Drink Pkg ($2000 value) and prepaid gratuities ($260 value). Not all the offers were so generous. Some offered a $100 room credit and the same price fo...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise suggestions.
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Re: Cruise suggestions.

In Athens, I think I gave a cabby a $20 bill and it magically became a $10, so don't absent-mindedly hand them a bill, make sure they know you are playing attention. The Hop on hop off buses in Athens were great and inexpensive for seeing the sights, and they were not listed in the guide books we h...
by michaeljc70
Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise suggestions.
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Re: Cruise suggestions.

OP here. We are looking at a Viking Ocean Cruises trip to Israel and Greece with a departure from Rome plus stops in Naples and Cyprus. Viking has a good reputation with river cruises but ocean stuff is new for them so I am wondering about lots of stuff. There are no comments about this particular ...
by michaeljc70
Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My spouse is not citizen but legal resident. They have had 1 Chase Freedom Visa (on their own) for around a year and have no other credit history. Does anyone know if they would be eligible for any kind of card with a bonus (the Chase had a bonus of $100 or $150)? They don't want to apply and have ...
by michaeljc70
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise suggestions.
Replies: 27
Views: 2192

Re: Cruise suggestions.

I just came back from a Med cruise this week. I've been on about 5. Without knowing the cruise line, my suggestions based on your question are: -The ship's excursions are very expensive. For example, the all day Rome on my cruise (NCL) was $400 per person. Unless you are going on a high end cruise t...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I may be a workaholic?
Replies: 24
Views: 2068

Re: I may be a workaholic?

Most alcoholics enjoy drinking. I'm only a layman, but I've been around alcoholics and, in my opinion, they aren't enjoying drinking or anything else for that matter. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but comparing this OPs humblebrag to addiction is ridiculous. I think I clearly said "Obviou...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My spouse is not citizen but legal resident. They have had 1 Chase Freedom Visa (on their own) for around a year and have no other credit history. Does anyone know if they would be eligible for any kind of card with a bonus (the Chase had a bonus of $100 or $150)? They don't want to apply and have i...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I got an offer for the Citi AA for 60k bonus miles. I just checked my credit report and I only have 3 new accounts in the last 24 mo. However, I had a Citi AA until May 2015. Does that affect my approval if everything else is good? Verify that the following language does not appear on the offer or ...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I got an offer for the Citi AA for 60k bonus miles. I just checked my credit report and I only have 3 new accounts in the last 24 mo. However, I had a Citi AA until May 2015. Does that affect my approval if everything else is good? I think you are okay but I would go for the Chase Ink business rece...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cable and Internet
Replies: 48
Views: 5295

Re: Cable and Internet

I agree with your frustration with Comcast. After they added $7/month to my bill for local broadcasting I decided to cut as many ties with them as possible. How can they charge me for broadcasting free local channels? Because the local stations charge them for rebroadcasting their feeds. And it pro...
by michaeljc70
Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1206
Views: 149374

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I got an offer for the Citi AA for 60k bonus miles. I just checked my credit report and I only have 3 new accounts in the last 24 mo. However, I had a Citi AA until May 2015. Does that affect my approval if everything else is good?

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