Search found 601 matches

by nordsteve
Mon May 21, 2018 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi + wired device
Replies: 49
Views: 2477

Re: Wifi + wired device

For that distance, I’d try a USB adapter with an external antenna. Start with the most highly rated one on Amazon. Also buy a 6’ USB cable, so that you can experiment with antenna location. The USB port locations on desktops are typically poorly situated to maximize your WiFi signal. Fwiw, my deskto...
by nordsteve
Mon May 21, 2018 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance a $28,000 house for Brother?
Replies: 73
Views: 5142

Re: Finance a $28,000 house for Brother?

Similar prices for 1930s era homes in rural MN towns, where population has declined due to automation of farming. Here’s an example from the town my mom grew up in for $35 that is in decent condition.

https://www.edinarealty.com/homes-for-s ... 65-6030617
by nordsteve
Fri May 11, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Online/cloud backup or file storage?
Replies: 38
Views: 2221

Re: Online/cloud backup or file storage?

For a small quantity of documents, I'd use a free OneDrive account as it has the best online experience for Word and Excel. A USB drive would be good for periodic offline backups.
by nordsteve
Fri May 11, 2018 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Online/cloud backup or file storage?
Replies: 38
Views: 2221

Re: Online/cloud backup or file storage?

How much data do you want to store? What is the nature of the data?
by nordsteve
Wed May 09, 2018 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hawaii vacation suggestions
Replies: 37
Views: 3905

Re: Hawaii vacation suggestions

Lots of good suggestions on the thread. We were in Maui in March, and stayed in a timeshare north of Lahaina, and at the Fairmont. The accommodations at the Fairmont were fabulous, and they have a great set of pools. We were thankful that someone else was picking up the tab, as you could not get a m...
by nordsteve
Wed May 09, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most economical way to move vehicles State->State
Replies: 17
Views: 915

Re: Most economical way to move vehicles State->State

If you decide on the 'caravan 3 vehicles' approach, look at a one way rental for your return. Depending on regional rental car demand, it can be cheaper than depreciation on one of your owned vehicles.
by nordsteve
Tue May 08, 2018 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental Cars:National, Budget, Alamo or Thrifty
Replies: 33
Views: 1471

Re: Rental Cars:National, Budget, Alamo or Thrifty

If you're a Costco member, the travel service offers car rental. I've found it price competitive with the great discount I get through work.
by nordsteve
Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Goof? Prime MM, "retail," "Admiral," $5 million minimum?
Replies: 20
Views: 2774

Re: Goof? Prime MM, "retail," "Admiral," $5 million minimum?

Remember that the minimums are often waived when the fund is offered in a big 401(k). Example: I can purchase shares in VBIPX in my 401(k). Even if I took the coin jar to the bank I couldn't meet the $100,000,000 minimum investment. Employees likely collectively do, as there's north of $15 billion i...
by nordsteve
Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please suggest a file folder type
Replies: 21
Views: 1274

Re: Please suggest a file folder type

1. Buy a Scansnap
2. Scan and OCR documents.
3. Back up to cloud account and to thumb drive.
4. Shred the paper.
5. Don't bother organizing. Put all of the scans in one giant folder.
6. Use full text search to find what you want.
7. Use the time you save to do something fun.
by nordsteve
Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help needed before I go mad :D
Replies: 53
Views: 5392

Re: Help needed before I go mad :D

Oneworld82 -- one thing I noticed about your original post is that you don't discuss in detail your goals for investing. You might want to consider writing an investment policy statement.
by nordsteve
Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Easiest way to add shelves to cabinet and closet
Replies: 6
Views: 496

Re: Easiest way to add shelves to cabinet and closet

You can get white melamine board with a finished edge in the shelving department at your local home center, and cut it to length.

Put blue tape where the sole of the saw rests on the board, to prevent scratching.
by nordsteve
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Exemptions, W-4s, and Tax Liability
Replies: 12
Views: 830

Re: Tax Exemptions, W-4s, and Tax Liability

One other pointer here. Be sure you use additional W-4 withholding vs making estimated tax payments for the marginal amount.
by nordsteve
Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why am I allowed to pick Vanguard Admiral Shares in my new 403(b) when it has $0 instead of $10,000?
Replies: 15
Views: 1871

Re: Why am I allowed to pick Vanguard Admiral Shares in my new 403(b) when it has $0 instead of $10,000?

So I looked, and my 403(b) also offers VINIX, which apparently has a $5 million minimum investment! D: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0094&FundIntExt=INT&funds_disable_redirect=true The rates of return on the VIMAX I chose look pretty much the same, though, so I'm not sure w...
by nordsteve
Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chain Saw pruner or Pole Saw?
Replies: 24
Views: 1977

Re: Chain Saw pruner or Pole Saw?

mrc wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:24 am
There is nothing more fun than a face full of chain saw chaff either.
Not sure if you've seen these forestry hardhat/hearing/vision setups, but they're worth buying.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... ace+shield
by nordsteve
Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minnesota lake resorts summer 2018
Replies: 32
Views: 2454

Re: Minnesota lake resorts summer 2018

If you’re looking at Grand View then also check out Maddens.

MN lifer here and this thread has many great suggestions.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Kirkland Brand Toothpaste
Replies: 22
Views: 2560

Re: Costco Kirkland Brand Toothpaste

It's the spoiled artificial sweetener in toothpaste that we don't like. If you don't mind/notice that taste, then no worries.
by nordsteve
Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Kirkland Brand Toothpaste
Replies: 22
Views: 2560

Re: Costco Kirkland Brand Toothpaste

We stopped buying toothpaste at Costco when we (2 of us) figured out it expired before we could use it all.
by nordsteve
Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Potentiometer for motor speed control- any electrical engineers around?
Replies: 40
Views: 2589

Re: Potentiometer for motor speed control- any electrical engineers around?

I'm guessing he's making the hovercraft. Here's the relevant rule: Electrical components shall be limited to batteries, wires, motors, switches, resistors, potentiometers, capacitors, mechanical relays, fans, and blowers. Brushless motors and integrated circuits are not permitted unless they are an ...
by nordsteve
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Potentiometer for motor speed control- any electrical engineers around?
Replies: 40
Views: 2589

Re: Potentiometer for motor speed control- any electrical engineers around?

Is the prohibition specifically against PWM or against all forms of control other than a pot?

Repeating others, it would be useful to read the specific rule to understand the constraints you are under.
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should having a brand new roof lower home insurance premium?
Replies: 26
Views: 1334

Re: Should having a brand new roof lower home insurance premium?

I currently have the hail resistant shingle discount on my insurance. IIRC the additional cost had a 5 year payback.
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water Leak from shower stall - how to detect
Replies: 16
Views: 1351

Re: Water Leak from shower stall - how to detect

I thought the checklist above was pretty thorough. One other item to consider is the overflow drain on the tub. On our tub, the installer missed the plumber's putty there. Did not notice it until one of the kids decided to fill the tub completely for their bath. Depending on how visible the location...
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick
Replies: 11
Views: 680

Re: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick

Ahh, I missed the important point that the OP is already maxing out the HSA. In that case, I agree with the last poster regarding building the emergency fund.
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick
Replies: 11
Views: 680

Re: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick

The HSA is tax deferred space. I'm a proponent of this strategy during accumulation years, assuming 401K and HSA are the only options in play: 1. Contribute to pretax 401K until match is exhausted 2. Contribute to HSA until it is fully funded, and pay all out of pocket medical expenses from your tax...
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick
Replies: 11
Views: 680

Re: Option bonus from company - not sure which to pick

If the 401k contribution gets you more match, that's the way to go.

Otherwise, are the investment options in the HSA and 401k equivalent? If so, I'd pick the HSA because it is more flexible than the 401k.
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The mechanics of exercising Stock Appreciate Rights
Replies: 5
Views: 475

Re: The mechanics of exercising Stock Appreciate Rights

One major difference is that an option requires cash to exercise and a SAR does not.

http://www.morganstanley.com/spc/knowle ... ights.html
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart TVs and privacy
Replies: 4
Views: 570

Re: Smart TVs and privacy

Our late model smart TV is only connected to the internet to receive software updates. Otherwise it is purely a monitor.
by nordsteve
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My Mac Pro has gotten gigantically slow online: meltdown $ spectre?
Replies: 19
Views: 2316

Re: My Mac Pro has gotten gigantically slow online: meltdown $ spectre?

Any possibility your wifi access point is going bad?
by nordsteve
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best rule of thumb for determining home affordability?
Replies: 54
Views: 2801

Re: NEW & Improved rule of thumb for determining home affordability.

What is the rationale for the .18 factor in max_monthly_rent?
by nordsteve
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is VPN needed on a home desktop PC?
Replies: 18
Views: 1124

Re: Is VPN needed on a home desktop PC?

I am advised that you do have to trust that your VPN service provider has your best interests at heart, because you're relying on them to secure your connection, keep everything encrypted, and to protect your activity from prying eyes. I haven't determined how to do that reliably. +1 to this. I hav...
by nordsteve
Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beating the 55k IRS limit?
Replies: 23
Views: 2370

Re: Beating the 55k IRS limit?

OK thanks for the feedback on the nongovernmental 457 plans. In my particular situation, the company's debt is AAA rated, I have a fair amount of control over the distribution (importantly, it does not distribute at termination of employment), and it represents about 6% of my total retirement savin...
by nordsteve
Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beating the 55k IRS limit?
Replies: 23
Views: 2370

Re: Beating the 55k IRS limit?

OK thanks for the feedback on the nongovernmental 457 plans. In my particular situation, the company's debt is AAA rated, I have a fair amount of control over the distribution (importantly, it does not distribute at termination of employment), and it represents about 6% of my total retirement savings.
by nordsteve
Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beating the 55k IRS limit?
Replies: 23
Views: 2370

Re: Beating the 55k IRS limit?

retiredjg wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:11 pm
I'm also not a fan of non-governmental 457b plans if that is what you have.
Curious about your opposition to deferred comp. Care to share more?
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Vanderbilts
Replies: 26
Views: 4111

Re: The Vanderbilts

If you're curious about how they dissipated their fortune, the book Fortune's Children is an excellent read. Written by one of the heirs.
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?
Replies: 29
Views: 3132

Re: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?

When I was younger, I had a 30 year mortgage and paid it at a 15 year rate. Working in tech, with its booms and busts, I wanted the option to pay at the lower rate. Same outcome can be achieved if you set aside sufficient cash in your emergency fund to cover the difference. Back then all of my savi...
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?
Replies: 29
Views: 3132

Re: Buying a house, 15yr vs 30yr loan?

When I was younger, I had a 30 year mortgage and paid it at a 15 year rate. Working in tech, with its booms and busts, I wanted the option to pay at the lower rate. Same outcome can be achieved if you set aside sufficient cash in your emergency fund to cover the difference. Back then all of my savin...
by nordsteve
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with what to do with drafty fireplace
Replies: 26
Views: 1484

Re: Help with what to do with drafty fireplace

Option 3 is to drop $50 on a Chimney Balloon, and take it out when you're operating the fireplace. If it turns out you use it a lot, do some of the other more expensive fixes. If not, you've solved your leaky flue problem for $50. I have one of these in my indoor grill flue (no damper) and it works ...
by nordsteve
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Splitting Assets in Divorce
Replies: 51
Views: 5436

Re: Splitting Assets in Divorce

Check out 'collaborative divorce'. It's for couples who want a respectful, non-adversarial end to their marriage.
by nordsteve
Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Software consulting considered a services business?
Replies: 13
Views: 1722

Re: Is Software consulting considered a services business?

Here's what I got in an email from an accounting firm: The 20% exemption is capped at the greater of: 50% of the amount of wages paid to employees and reported on a W-2. 25% of those same wages plus 2.5% of the cost of depreciable property owned by the business. This W-2-related threshold would not ...
by nordsteve
Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminology: condo vs apartment
Replies: 26
Views: 2329

Re: Terminology: condo vs apartment

Try searching for "buying an apartment in" and see which cities show up to see how it varies by region.
by nordsteve
Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?
Replies: 236
Views: 22594

Re: bitcoin - is there any real value here or is it a pure Ponzi scam?

Saturday, I was waiting at Costco by the stairs to the mezzanine employee lounge. The employees there were in a deep discussion of Bitcoin trading strategies.

It's a movie I've seen a couple times in my life.
by nordsteve
Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BH philosophy on restricted stock units and employee stock purchase program?
Replies: 27
Views: 1661

Re: BH philosophy on restricted stock units and employee stock purchase program?

I work for a BigTech firm and generally sell each RSU grant as it vests. The majority of the price movement in our stock is captured by an index fund, with much less risk. I did retain some shares when the company's share price was low, which I use now for charitable contributions. I've seen people ...
by nordsteve
Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.
Replies: 4
Views: 636

Re: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.

Is the wife's existing 401k pretax or aftertax? Based on the order of items in the post I came away with pretax but worth clarifying.
by nordsteve
Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.
Replies: 4
Views: 636

Re: A note of thanks, a progress report and follow-up questions.

Regarding #3, you can roll your wife's 401k into an IRA and avoid those fees. Many of us roll our 401k into a rollover IRA when we change employers, rather than rolling into the new employer's plan.
by nordsteve
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash
Replies: 36
Views: 3494

Re: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash

From the articles: ...a terrified woman came up to my friend and me. “Do you know what’s happening?” she asked. When I looked at her, I saw panic—and that’s when it hit me that something was going on. I was so scared that I got $10,000 out of the bank, took it home, and stored it in the rafters. How...
by nordsteve
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash
Replies: 36
Views: 3494

30th Anniversary of October 19, 1987 stock market crash

Those of us who have been investing for a while can't forget the memorable day of October 19, 1987. It's memorable because the S&P 500 lost over 20% of its value that day. Newer investors should think about how you'd feel if your equity allocation declined that much in a day. Two good articles looki...
by nordsteve
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Muni Bond Funds With Regard to Puerto Rico
Replies: 14
Views: 1199

Re: Muni Bond Funds With Regard to Puerto Rico

The risk varies by fund. Here's an example. I own a state-specific muni bond fund with about $530MM in assets. As of 3/31 it held about $2MM in PR bonds. Of that, about $600K is insured and the remainder was carried at 25-50% of principal amount. So the total at-risk amount is about 1.4MM, or 0.28% ...
by nordsteve
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Going to try my hand at Mega Backdoor Roth
Replies: 16
Views: 1949

Re: Going to try my hand at Mega Backdoor Roth

I participate in a plan that allows rollovers of after-tax contributions. Some notes on my setup that might be useful to others. The plan is managed by Fidelity I try to roll contributions and gains monthly The destination Roth IRA is also at Fidelity, which allows the rollover transaction to be don...
by nordsteve
Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: blood pressure monitor recommendations?
Replies: 38
Views: 2920

Re: blood pressure monitor recommendations?

I have the Withings wireless blood pressure monitor and really like it. Can't tell you how it compares to others as it's the first one I've bought.