Search found 54 matches

by ncbill
Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase
Replies: 120
Views: 5610

Re: Struggling with Justifying an Expensive Car Purchase

The expectation of autopilot capability and other technology advances being widely available in the next 5 years would give me pause when considering a 10-year commitment to a $70K car. If autopilot is really going to happen then you can bet that you will want that feature ASAP. Enjoy the less cost...
by ncbill
Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities
Replies: 71
Views: 3871

Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

After being quoted $1000 to replace the leaking power steering rack on our minivan, I added a bottle of Lucas Power Steering "Stop-leak" instead. No problems in the 10+ years since. If you do the DIY headlight polish make sure to finish with a UV-blocking sealant, otherwise they'll just fog up again.
by ncbill
Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Group Universal Life
Replies: 23
Views: 1440

Re: Group Universal Life

After a few years, you should have a handle on where the policy is going and make reasonable estimates of what premium to pay to keep it in force for whatever period you desire. Circumstances change. It is not a matter of "having a handle" on where the policy is going, that you develop after holdin...
by ncbill
Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another "replace car or not" decision
Replies: 21
Views: 2002

Re: Another "replace car or not" decision

Which trim level?

I've seen Sentra SR ($0 down) leases as low as $125/month, Sentra S (base model) $99/month. (36 months/10,000 annual miles)

The Sentra seems to be about the cheapest lease going.
by ncbill
Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Depreciation As Reason to Get A New Car
Replies: 34
Views: 3349

Re: Car Depreciation As Reason to Get A New Car

By fleasing, I mean leasing, you are paying the depreciation anyways but during the highest depreciating years, when the car is new. By always buying/leasing new cars you are perpetually having a car in its highest depreciating time. +1 Well, a lot of rich people like to have good new stuff. What's...
by ncbill
Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?
Replies: 124
Views: 11468

Re: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?

So for hot climates like mine, buy the battery with the longest full-replacement warranty? (Interstate?) And replace it once it's out of warranty? Battery lifetime is highly dependent on climate. Hot weather kills auto batteries. The hotter it gets, and the longer it stays hot, the shorter the lifet...
by ncbill
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Physician & Real Estate investor seeks advice
Replies: 49
Views: 4196

Re: Physician & Real Estate investor seeks advice

Interesting stuff. What is special about the G-fund. It's like a 0.9% return? I bet something similar can be achieved with a Vanguard or other MMF. http://noroboinvestor.com/why-the-g-fund-is-special/ http://gubmints.com/2015/01/12/4-reasons-tsp-g-fund-is-the-unicorn-of-investing/ That is a far bet...
by ncbill
Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back
Replies: 72
Views: 7892

Re: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back

Many 65+ US expats choose to keep paying for Medicare, then return to the U.S. for expensive procedures (i.e. transplant)
by ncbill
Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying parents home and estate planing
Replies: 17
Views: 1225

Re: Buying parents home and estate planing

what about a life estate?

OP could still gift the mortgage amount.
by ncbill
Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED light bulbs
Replies: 96
Views: 7862

Re: LED light bulbs

Thanks for your reply! Shunted means the two sides of the "tombstone" (the bi-pin socket) are connected, used for "instant-start" ballasts, though it reduces the life of the fluorescent tube. I'm still planning to bypass the ballast in my two, twin-tube fixtures when the ballasts (already replaced o...
by ncbill
Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED light bulbs
Replies: 96
Views: 7862

Re: LED light bulbs

You found LED tubes that state on the box that they work with T12 ballasts? The inexpensive (around $10) 4' LED tubes that I've seen with decent reviews online have all specified direct-wire (preferred) or T8 ballasts. I found disturbing reports of overheating when the above were used with (I suspec...
by ncbill
Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else have trouble spending?
Replies: 91
Views: 5586

Re: Anyone else have trouble spending?

1. Buy a reliable commuter vehicle (Lexus SUV?) 2. Lease the fun vehicle so it's always under warranty, no worries about reliability. You make $400k a year! Buy a commuter car and a towing vehicle. The towing vehicle should last about forever if you pick a good one and don't use it much. Replace the...
by ncbill
Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back
Replies: 72
Views: 7892

Re: Retire early, live abroad until 65 and come back

South of the border works very well for many USA expats, retired or not. I was surprised at the number of expats in Mexico living on SS disability/SSI. Annual residence visa requires showing regular income from pension/SS, but there are plenty of fixers available to handle the process for you. Buy i...
by ncbill
Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cabins - "investments" or "consumptive purchases"
Replies: 38
Views: 2920

Re: Cabins - "investments" or "consumptive purchases"

I'll vote consumption. Inherited mom's share of her parents' mountain cabin. Since multiple owners is often a nightmare down the line, I've already bought out one other relative & would like to buy out the remaining. Unfortunately, they insist on getting paid based on an appraisal done back near...
by ncbill
Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options
Replies: 68
Views: 3840

Re: 2018 Subaru Outback with 3 car seats vs. other car/suv options

Both the Subaru and Lexus you're considering seem to have decent lease deals going, especially since you're in a megapolis (much better lease deals than here in flyover country)

Since your kids are young and growing you might well want a different vehicle in a few years.

See http://www.leasehackr.com [sic] for threads.
by ncbill
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much Umbrella Insurance coverage needed?
Replies: 53
Views: 7056

Re: How much Umbrella Insurance coverage needed?

From what I've read nearly all umbrellas also exclude own household liability, So if your child is injured in an auto accident while it's driven by a parent/sibling there's no coverage under the umbrella. For that reason I've seen buying the maximum Combined Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists limi...
by ncbill
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT Medicaid Article
Replies: 16
Views: 2549

Re: NYT Medicaid Article

Here it is difficult to get into the best unless you're already a resident in the respective CCRC, since their skilled nursing beds are normally filled by existing residents feeding in from lower levels of care, e.g. assisted living. A stand-alone skilled nursing facility...again, most residents of ...
by ncbill
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT Medicaid Article
Replies: 16
Views: 2549

Re: NYT Medicaid Article

Here in flyover country most skilled nursing home residents not there for Medicare rehab are on Medicaid. So even if your loved one is private pay they're getting the same level of care. The only exceptions ("better" care) here are those skilled nursing beds that are a part of a CCRC. But ...
by ncbill
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MVNO's versus the Big 4
Replies: 52
Views: 4407

Re: MVNO's versus the Big 4

OP seems clear that AT&T offers better coverage in their area than whatever they're currently using (Sprint or T-Mobile) So, among the AT&T MVNOs: Cricket is the simplest option for multi-line plans, and cheapest for 4-5 lines. 4GB/month LTE data per line. Currently it also offers cheaper di...
by ncbill
Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Am I getting good advice - replace the AC, not the 21 year old furnace
Replies: 33
Views: 2721

Re: Am I getting good advice - replace the AC, not the 21 year old furnace

The furnace put in 20+ years ago is probably 80% (or less) efficient. When replaced my system (gas furnace/central air) with a dual-fuel heat pump/gas furnace almost a decade ago I went with the cheaper 80% non-condensing gas furnace. I live in a mild climate where nearly all heating is handled by t...
by ncbill
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?
Replies: 21
Views: 1552

Re: Time replace washer and dryer [back of dryer so hot it burnt me]?

For future reference, hot spots like that also occur when the heating element is enclosed in a sheet metal box (with an opening up top where it connects to the drum) and the sheet metal cracks. Had a hot spot on the inside of a dryer because of this, so when the heating element needed replacement I ...
by ncbill
Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Virgin Mobile unlimited talk, text, data for $1?
Replies: 15
Views: 1855

Re: Virgin Mobile unlimited talk, text, data for $1?

If you have multiple lines, Cricket currently offers $10 discount per add'l line. I just ported in another line via their iPhone SE 64GB ($229) which with discount will be $20/month for unlimited talk/text & 4GB high-speed data. And Cricket will unlock their smartphones after 6 months of service.
by ncbill
Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads: Please help me pick a new car
Replies: 81
Views: 6973

Re: Bogleheads: Please help me pick a new car

I'm sure you'll love it! Audi: lease, because, well...it's German-engineered. Subaru: can't recommend the automatic, since the 3rd-party CVT transmission they chose hasn't held up in US-style (higher annual mileage) driving. I don't know where you get your information that the Subaru CVT hasn't hel...
by ncbill
Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads: Please help me pick a new car
Replies: 81
Views: 6973

Re: Bogleheads: Please help me pick a new car

I'm sure you'll love it!

Audi: lease, because, well...it's German-engineered. :)

Subaru: can't recommend the automatic, since the 3rd-party CVT transmission they chose hasn't held up in US-style (higher annual mileage) driving.
by ncbill
Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did I just get seriously ripped off?? (Car lease)
Replies: 54
Views: 4998

Re: Did I just get seriously ripped off?? (Car lease)

iirc, one should shoot for a monthly payment of 1% or less (before tax) of the negotiated selling price, according to leasehackr.com. EDIT: 1% including taxes. This lease is almost 1.5%, so no deal. Get out of it if possible and re-negotiate, or find another dealer. and never, ever, pay any capitali...
by ncbill
Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unable to Access POA in Revocable Trust
Replies: 30
Views: 2020

Re: Unable to Access POA in Revocable Trust

So you didn't understand that any POA was void upon death, and then the bank dragged its feet about paying the medical bills, even though the bank (only the bank?) was named as successor trustee? Yet another reason never to name a bank or other institution as successor trustee... This is the part th...
by ncbill
Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Turbochargers
Replies: 60
Views: 4101

Re: Turbochargers

Sure, in theory with design improvements (better cooling, synthetic oil) the newer turbos should last longer. In practice, well as another poster mentions the turbos on the EcoBoost engines...haven't. Given inexpensive gasoline I'll stick with larger, naturally-aspirated engines for the foreseeable ...
by ncbill
Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best Financial Advice from Dad (in honor of father's day)
Replies: 78
Views: 5393

Re: Best Financial Advice from Dad (in honor of father's day)

Another cautionary tale here. Dad made a lot of money from his main business over the years, but kept very little of it. Liked to live large (made him a target of every scammer or hustler out there) plus wasn't wise enough to "stick to his knitting" and lost perhaps as much as half of what...
by ncbill
Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unable to Access POA in Revocable Trust
Replies: 30
Views: 2020

Re: Unable to Access POA in Revocable Trust

This is the part that confuses me. Why did you need anything more than the consular "Report of Death of a U.S. Citizen Abroad" for the lawyer or anyone else involved in settling the estate? Realizing our loved one's lawyer was mandating an American death certificate prior to taking any act...
by ncbill
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used 2013 Audi A5 or New Honda Accord Sport
Replies: 71
Views: 5758

Re: Used 2013 Audi A5 or New Honda Accord Sport

for any German OEM the correct answer is: lease.

then buy a used Honda/Toyota or Acura/Lexus...for when the above is in the shop.
by ncbill
Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does a mere mortal navigate healthcare/insurance issues
Replies: 50
Views: 4902

Re: How does a mere mortal navigate healthcare/insurance issues

when mom was sick (in her 50s at the time) given the nature of her illness & the way she appeared because of it, hospitals often assumed she was on Medicare and submitted bills to them even though I told the billing departments time after time that she was private pay. so some bills showed up a ...
by ncbill
Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Insurance options
Replies: 33
Views: 3501

Re: Umbrella Insurance options

travelers required me to increase auto/home coverage to $500K/$500K before they'd sell me an umbrella policy (currently $2 million)

& they just upped it to $500 (1 teenage driver)
by ncbill
Fri May 19, 2017 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long do I really need to keep tax returns?
Replies: 18
Views: 1729

Re: How long do I really need to keep tax returns?

PDF files on an encrypted virtual drive. The files are small enough that it's still practical to backup that (few hundred MB) virtual drive to the cloud. I still have all my paper returns, but toss the annual documents (W2,1099, etc. - not anything related to basis) every 5 years or so. Obviously th...
by ncbill
Mon May 15, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)
Replies: 216
Views: 20081

Re: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)

No moral argument here, but, lease rather than use most all of your projected (not until later this summer?) liquid funds. Especially to buy a vehicle with multiple problem areas, according to actual owner reports. It is more expensive than buying outright, but your income easily covers the cost. If...
by ncbill
Sat May 13, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who really needs an umbrella insurance?
Replies: 40
Views: 5873

Re: Who really needs an umbrella insurance?

In my view, liability insurance, including umbrella policies, has two functions... 2) It protects anybody who might be seriously harmed beyond the extent I can pay costs and compensation as a result of my actions . Absolutely. Had a buddy in grad school whose relative decided to break into his flat...
by ncbill
Wed May 10, 2017 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Switching Auto Insurance, need advice on Roadside assistant
Replies: 35
Views: 2456

Re: Switching Auto Insurance, need advice on Roadside assistant

AAA. Read on a forum not too long ago a post from a tow truck driver who pointed out the insurance company roadside assistance plan I was considering paid him the least, so those calls got answered last. AAA is cheaper if you let it lapse then re-up when they mail promo offers. I re-uped for 14 mont...
by ncbill
Tue May 09, 2017 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying New Car With Trade In Options
Replies: 15
Views: 1023

Re: Buying New Car With Trade In Options

add an extended warranty if possible (from VW, not a 3rd party) the Jetta is fun to drive but not very reliable according to owner reports summarized in consumer reports' latest auto issue. It does not fit my line of work or I'd keep it, it also needs about 2k of work to make it reliable for the mil...
by ncbill
Tue May 09, 2017 6:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing residential HVAC system, Mesa Arizona
Replies: 19
Views: 1586

Re: Replacing residential HVAC system, Mesa Arizona

Whether SEER over the minimum required is worth it depends solely on your cost per kWh. Here we pay slightly under the national average (around 9 cents/kWh) so it doesn't make sense to buy anything but the minimum required SEER. Also, I would NOT replace a working unit until it literally cannot be f...
by ncbill
Tue May 09, 2017 5:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat Retirement Location with Health Care Eligibility
Replies: 30
Views: 3167

Re: Expat Retirement Location with Health Care Eligibility

Yes, many expats in Mexico buy into their national health plan (IMSS, iirc) which serves essentially as catastrophic coverage. And either buy private insurance or pay out of pocket for routine medical care. (those 65+ usually keep paying their Medicare Part B premium so they can return to the U.S. f...
by ncbill
Tue May 09, 2017 5:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Used Car Leasing (Conceptually and in Reality)
Replies: 13
Views: 1238

Re: Used Car Leasing (Conceptually and in Reality)

you can lease some CPO models, but I suspect incentives might make a new vehicle more attractive.

as another poster suggested, spend some time on leasehackr.com, and ask your question on their forums.
by ncbill
Fri May 05, 2017 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)
Replies: 216
Views: 20081

Re: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)

Lease it. LEASE LEASE LEASE LEASE LEASE. As others have said you get a 3 year test drive, which allows you to learn its quirks/problems while it's still under warranty . You preserve your liquid savings. Your cash flow is more than adequate to pay the monthly cost (lease payment + taxes + increase ...
by ncbill
Thu May 04, 2017 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Most Common Financial Mistakes
Replies: 108
Views: 14710

Re: Most Common Financial Mistakes

getting involved with a high-maintenance SO.
by ncbill
Thu May 04, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)
Replies: 216
Views: 20081

Re: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)

Wow, I didn't expect all these responses! Thanks, folks. A lot of people are pointing out that we need to save more for college. As someone who teaches kids at an expensive, private university, I'm acutely aware of this issue. We've run the numbers extensively. Our oldest is 10 years away from coll...
by ncbill
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College Tuition Waivers and the National Guard
Replies: 2
Views: 491

Re: College Tuition Waivers and the National Guard

It can be even better for those choosing ROTC, if that ROTC will accept them into the simultaneous membership program (SMP) A motivated student could do basic summer after high school. Once accepted into SMP they'd collect drill pay as an E-5, and are not deployable, IIRC, after the first semester i...
by ncbill
Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?
Replies: 75
Views: 6751

Re: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?

No heights, not anymore. Had uncles on both sides of the family who fell off ladders - one shattered both ankles, the other both wrists. Worked construction through college (paid the most for unskilled labor) and I can't believe the risks I took back then. E.g. on top of a 3-story roof, no harness, ...
by ncbill
Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I cancel my whole life policy?
Replies: 80
Views: 8903

Re: Should I cancel my whole life policy?

Could you define significantly? I have a relative whose parent took out a $500,000 whole life policy on them in 1984, and their death benefit has grown, but currently is only around $650,000 (dividends were not used to offset the annual premium) the death benefit, which has grown and will continue t...
by ncbill
Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I afford private school for my kids?
Replies: 67
Views: 5677

Re: Can I afford private school for my kids?

We did it because it was a high priority for my wife. She had gone to the same (private church) school, but back then it ended at 6th grade. She had...well...let's just say "poor" opinions of her subsequent public school experience. My parents sent me to a snobby, secular private school th...
by ncbill
Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10 withdrawal by the IRS?
Replies: 17
Views: 2119

Re: $10 withdrawal by the IRS?

Another reason I pay any taxes owed (income, property, etc.) by mail...
by ncbill
Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me decide pension benefits, single life, 50%, 75% and/or 100% survival benefits
Replies: 41
Views: 3095

Re: Help me decide pension benefits, single life, 50%, 75% and/or 100% survival benefits

But have you considered health issues? My maternal grandparents were always active, never obese, didn't smoke or drink heavily. After retirement, they (she 75, he 85) eventually ended up in a 2BR/2BA cottage at one of the best continuing care communities here. For the first few years things continue...
by ncbill
Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where to move to for lowest health care costs (for nomad types)
Replies: 34
Views: 3421

Re: Where to move to for lowest health care costs (for nomad types)

If you want truly low-cost medical care it's available, just south of Texas. Many expats there choose to buy into the national health care system (IMSS) for catastrophic (e.g. heart attack or hit-by-a-bus) care. It's priced by what decade you've reached. Given my age, I'd pay less than $200/year. Of...