Search found 548 matches

by nordsteve
Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 6542

Re: Personal loan to a family member

While I'm generally with the others on this thread that family loans should be considered gifts, I will offer this counterexample: My parents, financially well off and not in need of the money, took a fully documented loan with mortgage on their cabin from my elderly grandmother. It was a much bette...
by nordsteve
Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?
Replies: 117
Views: 6767

Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

I travel four to six days a month, usually to the same city. It puts some stress on my family, but less so now that my children have left home. I wouldn't take a heavy travel job if I had a young family. It would interfere too much with family activities that I enjoy -- for example, difficult to coa...
by nordsteve
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New roof suggestions.
Replies: 29
Views: 2777

Re: New roof suggestions.

Seconding the suggestion on checking with your insurance. On my recent roof replacement, the reduced insurance costs of impact resistant shingles paid off the increased cost in 5 years.
by nordsteve
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo association - Does the budget seem sound?
Replies: 14
Views: 1094

Re: Condo association - Does the budget seem sound?

Is there a reserve study? How do the actual reserves compared to those called for in the study?
by nordsteve
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worker's Comp - Process Questions
Replies: 4
Views: 264

Re: Worker's Comp - Process Questions

Worker's comp is state-specific, so you're going to need to provide that to have a chance of getting relevant advice.
by nordsteve
Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Practices for Managing Paper Receipts
Replies: 28
Views: 2210

Re: Best Practices for Managing Paper Receipts

I'm in the ScanSnap club. It's worth it if you care about your time. Paper documents worth keeping go in two piles -- "Scan then Shred" and "Scan then File" After scanning, filed documents go a couple ways: . Medical receipts that have not yet been reimbursed from HSA go into &qu...
by nordsteve
Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you calculate "enough" for retirement accounts?
Replies: 14
Views: 2089

Re: How do you calculate "enough" for retirement accounts?

Understanding the spending side of the retirement equation is also important. This article from the wiki is a good place to start.
by nordsteve
Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?
Replies: 85
Views: 6089

Re: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?

I take them, and keep them for a couple days. My theory is that errors in tip entry are less likely to occur when you take the receipt.
by nordsteve
Mon May 08, 2017 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to start a scholarship?
Replies: 9
Views: 974

Re: How to start a scholarship?

Many cities have community foundations that do this exact thing. My grandparents used the MN Community Foundation when they endowed a scholarship in the small town they lived in. My city has two local foundations:

http://bloomingtonfoundation-mn.org/
http://efbmn.org/
by nordsteve
Fri May 05, 2017 5:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?
Replies: 5
Views: 330

Re: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?

Just to clarify, it's cheaper than VFINX until you qualify for the Admiral Share level ($10000), after which it's more expensive. But the difference in contribution limits is a big deal regardless.
by nordsteve
Fri May 05, 2017 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?
Replies: 5
Views: 330

Re: Deferred comp/457 vs. self-directed IRA?

Don't be too quick to dismiss it. The 457 plan I contributed to has VIIIX at 0.02% expense ratio, plus a plan fee of 0.10% capped at the first $125,000 of the account. That's cheaper than buying VFINX in an IRA. Your plan might have similar options. The contribution limits on the 457 plan are likely...
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Small Clear Trash Bags for Bathroom
Replies: 9
Views: 1162

Re: Small Clear Trash Bags for Bathroom

Another source is grocery stores that have an area to recycle the bags.
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best surface for garage, epoxy, polished concrete, something else?
Replies: 24
Views: 2919

Re: Best surface for garage, epoxy, polished concrete, something else?

I saw a similar tile floor when visiting my parents in Sun City West. It was very nice.
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to Handle Taxes on One Time Windfall (sale)
Replies: 13
Views: 1106

Re: How to Handle Taxes on One Time Windfall (sale)

Another option: if you have enough w-2 income, you can go the additional withholding path and avoid estimated tax payments entirely.
by nordsteve
Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Require Access to School Records?
Replies: 113
Views: 6218

Re: Require Access to School Records?

My child's college (small liberal arts) asked us not to sign the form. They use the threat of the form as part of their response to bad grades.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?
Replies: 55
Views: 3919

Re: Kids in Apartment Sharing Bedroom - Workable?

My boys shared a bedroom for several years. They loved it. The youngest stayed in our bedroom until he was ready to go join his brother.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BRK Annual Shareholder Meeting- is it worth going?
Replies: 20
Views: 2257

Re: BRK Annual Shareholder Meeting- is it worth going?

I've been twice. Both times we stayed at a hotel along I80, between Des Moines and Omaha, and got a reasonable rate. You could fly to Des Moines and head over -- it's only a 2 hour drive, and weather won't be a factor at that time of year.
by nordsteve
Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack
Replies: 20
Views: 2476

Re: Thule "clamp-on" car roof rack

I moved the location of the clamps on my Yakima roof box when I got my Outback. Closed up the old openings with silicone caulk. Works fine.
by nordsteve
Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 Security on a Tablet
Replies: 17
Views: 1376

Re: Windows 10 Security on a Tablet

cheese_breath wrote:(3) How do I shut down an app so the next time I bring it up it comes up clean instead of restarting from where it left off?


Long swipe from top to bottom will close an app. See http://bgr.com/2015/03/19/windows-10-new-gestures/ for details on the four edge swipe options.
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Storing pictures on long trips
Replies: 24
Views: 1548

Re: Storing pictures on long trips

Looks like Apple also makes a lightning to USB adapter that seems designed for your scenario.
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Storing pictures on long trips
Replies: 24
Views: 1548

Re: Storing pictures on long trips

You could take a more flexible device, like an Android or Windows tablet, that allows you to transfer photos to the device and then into a cloud storage account.
by nordsteve
Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quality Shears/Scissors; General Purpose/Kitchen
Replies: 18
Views: 1183

Re: Quality Shears/Scissors; General Purpose/Kitchen

We have two pairs of Fiskars Cuts More scissors -- one in the kitchen and one in the workshop. They are great for opening boxes and plastic clamshell containers.

We have a separate pair of kitchen scissors for cooking.
by nordsteve
Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reflectors to reflect only tail lights (or battery LED motion strip)
Replies: 26
Views: 1809

Re: Reflectors to reflect only tail lights

The issue with reflective tape is that the light source is often not well aligned with the mirror of the car, which is what's needed to make the tape work. I agree with others that some form of lighting might be the best solution to your problem.
by nordsteve
Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do I attach phone wire to a house?
Replies: 7
Views: 604

Re: how do I attach phone wire to a house?

If you go the cable tie route, be sure to purchase UV stabilized ties.
by nordsteve
Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: S Corp payroll co for single owner/employee?
Replies: 31
Views: 2702

Re: S Corp payroll co for single owner/employee?

When I had a consulting business, I did quarterly payroll using numbers provided by my accountant. The whole process took about 15 minutes each payroll. I couldn't justify paying someone to do it for me.
by nordsteve
Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming an Account Hack
Replies: 5
Views: 1080

Re: Gaming an Account Hack

In my case the hacker would need to invade my house and sit at my land-line telephone. After typing in ID and password and Submit, he would then get a phone call from Vanguard which would tell him a temporary code number to complete the sign-in at V. Don't need to be in your house to intercept that...
by nordsteve
Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commercial real estate basics resource recommendation?
Replies: 9
Views: 1065

Re: Commercial real estate basics resource recommendation?

I'll second the Reed book series.

Owning in a separate entity is a must. Among other factors, you'll want to consider carefully the future relationship between building ownership and ownership of the underlying business.
by nordsteve
Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Study Table for kids
Replies: 16
Views: 1036

Re: Study Table for kids

The IKEA tabletops are fine for desks. My home office has two of the Linnmon tabletops with OLOV adjustable legs on them for my sitting desks, and the (remaining) child bedroom has one as well. The adjustable legs allow for a fairly wide range of heights, and they're very stable. I also have the Sta...
by nordsteve
Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family ski trip without breaking the bank
Replies: 39
Views: 3523

Re: Family ski trip without breaking the bank

We buy the Epic 4 day pass in advance, stay in Breck, and rent a walk in/out 1br condo for about $250/night. As others suggest, you can save a bit by staying down in Frisco/Dillon area. Another housing option is to rent someones timeshare. tug2.net has an owner-to-renter timeshare marketplace that I...
by nordsteve
Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What site do you prefer for online doc storage?
Replies: 18
Views: 1619

Re: What site do you prefer for online doc storage?

FidSafe is something new to me, so I took a look. There's nothing special about the security of that site that is different than what's offered by Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. A useful difference is being able to see whether someone has looked at a document you gave them access to. Interestin...
by nordsteve
Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you buy coffee beans?
Replies: 96
Views: 6311

Re: Where do you buy coffee beans?

Seattle Coffee Gear has a nice selection. I often go there when I'm in Seattle.

Locally, I buy from Spyhouse Coffee.
by nordsteve
Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?
Replies: 38
Views: 2488

Re: CBP (INS) Global Entry program worth it?

Global Entry is an eligible expense for reimbursement at my employer. Might be at yours too.
by nordsteve
Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Logistics of getting a new car when moving across country
Replies: 16
Views: 891

Re: Logistics of getting a new car when moving across country

Have you talked to a dealer to see what they suggest?
by nordsteve
Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cash vs Investments in HSA
Replies: 11
Views: 1128

Re: Cash vs Investments in HSA

I treat my HSA as part of my overall retirement investment allocation, invest it accordingly, and pay out of pocket for health care expenses. If I need cash before I'm 65, I'll reimburse myself out of the account to the extent I have expenses. My emergency fund is outside the HSA.
by nordsteve
Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trailer on an Odyssey? [Is an Odyssey even the right choice?]
Replies: 34
Views: 2437

Re: Trailer on an Odyssey? [Is an Odyssey even the right choice?]

We were faced with a similar situation with two kids and a Honda Civic as our over-the-road car. We ended up buying a rack and a roof box, which delayed our purchase of a minivan by three years. The roof rack/box setup cost about the same as one monthly payment on the van. My recommendation to the O...
by nordsteve
Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most cost-effective way to transport things between Boston and Seattle
Replies: 9
Views: 1263

Re: Most cost-effective way to transport things between Boston and Seattle

If you have a vehicle that can tow a trailer, then renting a UHaul is probably your best bet. If not, you're probably better off selling/donating the larger/heavier items, shipping lighter items via UPS, and filling your car up with the remainder. Another way to look at it: If you put the most expen...
by nordsteve
Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?
Replies: 29
Views: 2332

Re: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?

Other posters correctly point out that it's the knowledge that the certificate provides, not the cert itself that is important. Here's another idea for you, since you're close to Stanford. See if you can enroll in these classes, which look to be the foundational CS classes in the program: CS106B CS1...
by nordsteve
Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?
Replies: 29
Views: 2332

Re: Would a Computer Science certificate benefit my career?

I'm guessing he's looking at this: http://scpd.stanford.edu/public/category/courseCategoryCertificateProfile.do;jsessionid=E5614DF03292394F69BE9FE42CA1737A?method=load&certificateId=1226709 Is there a possible lateral move in your employer to a job that pays at your level, but is more computer s...
by nordsteve
Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo
Replies: 88
Views: 12192

Re: Amazon Echo

Nicolas wrote:
That's what they say, yes. How do you know it's true?


And if you verify it now, how would you know if it changes in the future?
by nordsteve
Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Battery backup for cable modem and router.
Replies: 36
Views: 3768

Re: Battery backup for cable modem and router.

We live in a single family home and are Comcast customers. When there is a power failure, there's no internet as the equipment. In the past with long-term power failures, Comcast has come out with small generators and powered the pole mounted fiber <--> coax hubs to bring their neighborhood network ...
by nordsteve
Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who do you trust when there's no one to trust? (and it involves trusts)
Replies: 47
Views: 4067

Re: Who do you trust when there's no one to trust? (and it involves trusts)

On the subject of someone checking in on you -- doesn't need to be local. Here's how one person checked on Grandma after Hurricane Matthew, when the police were too overwhelmed to help. http://www.wftv.com/news/local/driver-her-face-was-priceless-when-man-has-pizza-delivered-to-check-on-grandma-afte...
by nordsteve
Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Setting up the best 401k possible
Replies: 17
Views: 1212

Re: Setting up the best 401k possible

These are all things I am wrestling with. I also do not know the answers. I really do not wish to ask 60 employees what they want in a retirement plan and sift through 60 different options. I would like it to be as ideal as possible for everyone, knowing that is likely an impossible task. At the sa...
by nordsteve
Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism
Replies: 100
Views: 11985

Re: Mr. Money Mustache donates $100k to charity, writes about effective altruism

We donate small amounts to a variety of local arts organizations, and larger chunks to local social service nonprofits where I am familiar with their track record and efficiency. I also make substantial contributions to the STEM leadership program FIRST , as payback for programs I participated in wh...
by nordsteve
Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how to download a website or a facebook page
Replies: 5
Views: 555

Re: how to download a website or a facebook page

Since it's Facebook, you can get by with just the content with no HTML coding.

If you have OneNote installed, you can use the OneNote print driver and print pages there. Does a good job of preserving formatting.
by nordsteve
Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace Fence Posts vs. Replacing Fence
Replies: 18
Views: 1749

Re: Replace Fence Posts vs. Replacing Fence

Ensure that the replacement posts are properly installed, so that water does not pond around the base of the post. This article shows one technique. The key here is that first image that shows the post going beyond the bottom of the concrete footing. I would insist on visually inspecting them as the...
by nordsteve
Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How closely do you check your credit card statements?
Replies: 58
Views: 3889

Re: How closely do you check your credit card statements?

All credit cards are set to send texts for every transaction. I also scan the statement each month.
by nordsteve
Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seen the light, need advice.
Replies: 18
Views: 1991

Re: Seen the light, need advice.

Your post hints that there might not be a consensus at home about your financial goals. Many of us have found it difficult to make long-term financial decisions without our spouse being onboard. In your situation, I'd be looking to sell my $28000 sports car and use part of the cash out to buy a $100...

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