Search found 805 matches

by obgraham
Fri May 19, 2017 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chandler, AZ
Replies: 35
Views: 2649

Re: Chandler, AZ

"High end real estate" is always relative. We spend 6 months in the East Valley, and have no desire to have an "upscale" home. Just a normal place in Mesa. Chandler/Gilbert has a lot of areas which would be upscale by any normal standards, but the communities themselves are prett...
by obgraham
Thu May 11, 2017 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with older laptop?
Replies: 32
Views: 3224

Re: What to do with older laptop?

I try to simplify my life. I was using a similar old HP laptop with Vista for just reading my morning paper and email, etc. I also used it to try out new software before loading onto my "good" computer. But this month it just got too slow and cantankerous. Usual cleaning methods didn't hel...
by obgraham
Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ordering a Weber grill this week
Replies: 149
Views: 11190

Re: Ordering a Weber grill this week

Have had my Weber Genesis Silver since 2000, and while it doesn't look as pretty as it was new, it's still a phenomenal grill. Every so often I would see a rusted out grill on the curb for pick up in front of one of the houses in our neighborhood back home, and never was it a Weber. Char-Broil seem...
by obgraham
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: About lawn sprinkler sytem
Replies: 16
Views: 1388

Re: About lawn sprinkler sytem

Been living in areas where everyone uses UG sprinklers for 40 years. I don't think the brand of components is as important as the design and the installer. Where I live, every landscaper is a sprinkler installer, and can work with all sorts of system, mix/match or not. However, I have relatives in t...
by obgraham
Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What To Do With My Car While in NYC
Replies: 32
Views: 2879

Re: What To Do With My Car While in NYC

Who's going to make payments on a car they don't own?

And if you still own it but they drive it, what are you going to do when they drive it into a busload of orphans?
by obgraham
Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insurance, doctors and writing off owed money
Replies: 21
Views: 1851

Re: Insurance, doctors and writing off owed money

I know several Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals who make periodic trips overseas to remote areas of tremendous health/medical need. These wonderful folks generally pay their own way. Because it is done through a tax exempt US entity, they are able to receive acknowledgement of...
by obgraham
Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Budget multitool knife
Replies: 24
Views: 2166

Re: Budget multitool knife

I concur about Leatherman multitools. The cheap substitutes don't work. However, for a little toolset in a car, a trip to Harbor Freight will kit you out very nicely and cheaply. Most of their tools will work for the few times you ever need them--hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench, and multidriver. F...
by obgraham
Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insurance, doctors and writing off owed money
Replies: 21
Views: 1851

Re: Insurance, doctors and writing off owed money

Common misconception. The only "write-off" for the doc is that he doesn't get the cash, so he "writes it off" his books. There is no tax deduction for him as he would have to take the deduction against income, which he never got. Donated professional services are not deductible f...
by obgraham
Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do with your coins?
Replies: 76
Views: 4397

Re: What do you do with your coins?

I'm with the others here. My coins go in a spiffy wooden box. When it is full I go the grocery or Walmart and drop them in for an Amazon card. That I use for Kindle reading.
by obgraham
Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Combatting mosquitoes traveling in S. America
Replies: 37
Views: 1947

Re: Combatting mosquitoes traveling in S. America

So the OP asks about Honduras, and gets a bunch of suggestions about Indonesia, Africa, and god knows where else. I've gone to a bunch of these places for medical trips. They are NOT all the same. The endemic diseases, carriers, bugs, etc, differ. Figure out what your intended specific location and ...
by obgraham
Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restoration of old slides
Replies: 10
Views: 764

Re: Restoration of old slides

I scanned several thousand slides and prints and negatives. The scanner software (Epson for me) will make a lot of the corrections for color and contrast, often very dramatically. To a point. Some slide films are restorable, but some are beyond repair. I found that if a Kodachrome is faded, that's i...
by obgraham
Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical Device/Pharma Sales Reps?
Replies: 10
Views: 1160

Re: Medical Device/Pharma Sales Reps?

I've chatted up a lot of drug reps over the years. It's a very competitive and tough job. Very few of them felt really secure in their position. In my experience the major qualification seemed to be "looks". Maybe that's changed these days as the doctor demographic has shifted, but I suspe...
by obgraham
Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of Booze on a Cruise
Replies: 68
Views: 6718

Re: Cost of Booze on a Cruise

Consider the whole budget of the cruise. Right now I'm on Seabourn, which is "all inclusive". Wine, beer, most booze, soft drinks all included in the tab. Gratuities, too. Yes, the tab is higher than the big-market lines. But it's not as much higher as it seems when you factor in what is i...
by obgraham
Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: World Cruises
Replies: 7
Views: 952

Re: World Cruises

I'm writing this from the middle of the Atlantic, on a trans-Atlantic Seabourn cruise.

There's nothing to dislike on a cruise! The sea days are our preference, who cares about the ports!
by obgraham
Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap, User Friendly Printer
Replies: 34
Views: 3006

Re: Cheap, User Friendly Printer

Minority view here: I've nothing against laser printers, but I generally use the cheapest Canon inkjet that WalMart will sell. Current one under $30. No setup needed, prints everything I need, usually buy one cartridge a year. Nothing to dislike. My only gripe about lasers is that sometimes when I p...
by obgraham
Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clearing customs in Seattle
Replies: 20
Views: 1647

Re: Clearing customs in Seattle

What problem with trains? They run regularly and at frequent intervals.

Problem is to get from South Satellite to North Satellite you need three trains.
And there is no alternative, as you can't walk.
by obgraham
Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Versatile economical RV recommendations for a frugal retiree?
Replies: 59
Views: 4221

Re: Versatile economical RV recommendations for a frugal retiree?

Trailering is too fussy for me. I like to have all my stuff along all the time.

Roadtrek Class B fits the bill.

Entirely non-economic and non-Boglehead. What the heck.
by obgraham
Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clearing customs in Seattle
Replies: 20
Views: 1647

Re: Clearing customs in Seattle

One problem at SEA is those darn trains, and no consistency as to whether your connecting flight will leave from a satellite or the main terminal. I think you'll be fine with 3 1/2 hours. But SEA is hit-or-miss. International arrival lines can be horrendous, with no explanations given. Not long back...
by obgraham
Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Our technology is old...advice on upgrading...
Replies: 62
Views: 4345

Re: Our technology is old...advice on upgrading...

My plan is not to buy more tech than I need: my PC's are in the $400-$600 range, and work fine for me for a few years. Easier to toss one of these than a $1700 high end one.

Phones? Bought a Note 4 when it came out, still not much behind the latest and greatest.
by obgraham
Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 2668

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

It's likely best to apply for a HELOC while employed. Makes things simpler. However, it's never been a problem for me. They want to see an income stream. I have one: IRA withdrawals. And I can produce a 1040 or two to show it. If one bank doesn't want to lend to a secure retired guy, I suspect there...
by obgraham
Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 2668

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

Whenever you want to refinance the 1st mortgage, the HELOC always gets in the way. The new bank wants it closed.. but after you get a new mortgage you can set it up again. This is correct. A HELOC is a 2nd mortgage, if there is a 1st in place. And CSM asked you mention having these at 2 different b...
by obgraham
Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 2668

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

I've had a HELOC for a number of years, at 2 different banks. Since I don't keep a lot of ready cash on hand, I use the HELOC for things like vehicle purchases, when I want the cash immediately, then work out how I'll repay it a quickly as possible. It works for me. However, for buying another house...
by obgraham
Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Dealer Forgot to Charge Sales Tax - Ouch
Replies: 39
Views: 3949

Re: Car Dealer Forgot to Charge Sales Tax - Ouch

Realizing that states do this differently, in my state of Washington, OP's scenario would result in no tax due. He said he traded 2 cars for the new one, no net amount due. Sales tax is paid on the difference, as others point out. There was no difference. Therefore no tax due. I think they made an a...
by obgraham
Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 18839

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

No appreciation for the absolutely joy of sitting and having a cup of morning coffee (or a beer after work) while enjoying a beautiful view? Personally, I wish I spent more time doing nothing but staring at a beautiful view. Nope. The "view" is pretty much the same day after day. I like t...
by obgraham
Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need title insurance?
Replies: 37
Views: 2519

Re: Do I need title insurance?

To the OP: yes you need it, but it is a major scam of our system.

Can anyone cite a case they know of where title insurance actually paid out some cash?
by obgraham
Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 18839

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

there's a lightbulb up on the vaulted ceilings Wow, I forgot that one. I bought a "Parade" home once, into which the builder had stuck all sorts of glitzy but useless fru-frah. Weird bathroom faucets and a rough slate kitchen floor which was impossible to clean. The worst was that vaulted...
by obgraham
Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 18839

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

To me, "the view" is an over-rated item. We had a great view when we built halfway up a hillside, looked out over the whole town. Big deal. I didn't spend a lot of time telling myself "what a great view". Now when we downsized into a tract home, much easier to take care of, my &q...
by obgraham
Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Want to buy a used Mini Cooper-> Talk me into it?
Replies: 45
Views: 5499

Re: Want to buy a used Mini Cooper-> Talk me into it?

Daughter has the "Countryman" model of Mini. Black. Looks like a small hearse. She likes it, but I've borrowed it a couple of times on 150 mile trips. It's a real pain in my back. Feel every nick in the road surface. I recommend a buyer sit in one for a while, and drive it on the roads you...
by obgraham
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest dress shirt to wear under a sweater
Replies: 34
Views: 2364

Re: Cheapest dress shirt to wear under a sweater

Another vote for Kohl's.

Also for WalMart. Over the years there have been comparisons between Wally's clothing items and name brand items, with little perceptible difference. All these apparel items now come from third world countries, regardless of whose label is stuck on them.
by obgraham
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rhoad Scholar Travel Tours/Etc.
Replies: 11
Views: 1110

Re: Rhoad Scholar Travel Tours/Etc.

Went with RS a few times, then swore off. Their programs are very well put together, aimed at the age of the people they serve, and usually intellectually stimulating. I refer mostly to international programs. They have some difficult habits: they will readily cancel a trip if fewer than their goal ...
by obgraham
Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Turbo Tax for quarterly tax estimates for 2017
Replies: 21
Views: 1286

Re: Using Turbo Tax for quarterly tax estimates for 2017

We just filed our 2016 via TurboTax. The return generated four "vouchers" to be included with quarterly estimated tax payments in 2017. It appears that this method requires the funds to mailed as a check. This may be because my income is virtually all IRA distribution and we usually never ...
by obgraham
Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Can I Throw This Financial Paperwork Out?: What to shred, what to save, and where to save it"
Replies: 22
Views: 1696

Re: "Can I Throw This Financial Paperwork Out?: What to shred, what to save, and where to save it"

To change over to keeping electronic copies only, the main thing is to get started. Pick a date and start. Deal with the previous stuff later. Just don't keep adding more because you can't get around to it. I started in 2005. Over a year or two cleaned out all my old papers. Scanned all my old tax r...
by obgraham
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:06 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Total Stock Market vs S&P 500 and Small-Cap Funds?
Replies: 12
Views: 1650

Re: Total Stock Market vs S&P 500 and Small-Cap Funds?

It's now 23 years since I closed all my pension plans and individual stock holdings and went to a single IRA, eventually all Vanguard index funds. Just because I could not decide, I initially divided my US index funds equally between Vanguard 500 and Vanguard Total Stock. I'm a "buy and hold&qu...
by obgraham
Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FX Cash Aboard: What to do with extra?
Replies: 9
Views: 834

Re: FX Cash Aboard: What to do with extra?

I've seen charitable collection bins in a lot of airports. I often toss the extra currency in there -- we're talking $20 or less.

I've no idea if that cash goes where it is supposed to, but that's not my responsibility so I don't worry about it.
by obgraham
Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you keep spouse informed of family finances?
Replies: 36
Views: 4685

Re: How do you keep spouse informed of family finances?

I have a file labeled "If I get hit by a truck" in my desk I do similar, but different. A notebook, printed out, with sections for everything -- accounts, passwords, insurance, and a guide to my computer, since everything is stored there. Updated and reprinted every 6 months. If I croak t...
by obgraham
Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laminate flooring that looks like hardwood
Replies: 25
Views: 1682

Re: Laminate flooring that looks like hardwood

We had a very nice hardwood in one home, but went to laminate in our downsized place. Maintenance is easier (there is none), and cost is certainly less. At 10 years, the laminate shows zero wear and tear. I'm glad we used the product. However, I would not mistake one for the other. The unique and va...
by obgraham
Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2017 Honda CRV: anyone shopping or buying?
Replies: 26
Views: 3162

Re: 2017 Honda CRV: anyone shopping or buying?

We recently shopped a replacement for our 2006 CRV. It came down to a new CRV or a Subaru Forester. In both cases we were looking at base models, as we are Luddites when it comes to automotive high-tech. However the deciding factor was visibility. The shape of the rear quarter and the visibility loo...
by obgraham
Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which eReader to purchase?
Replies: 38
Views: 2091

Re: Which eReader to purchase?

The cheapest Kindle, now listed at $50, can be found for $35 or so at times on Amazon.

As a reader it is as good as anything else. I ignore all the other junk on it, and run it in "airplane mode" at all times except when downloading new books.
by obgraham
Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank of America vs Chase
Replies: 26
Views: 2573

Re: Bank of America vs Chase

The reason for this strange divergence of "I love BOA" versus "I hate BOA", is that they really aren't a nationwide bank. The name is the same, but they have several regional sections, and they don't all work the same way. When my local state bank got ground up into the BOA, they...
by obgraham
Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you order checks from?
Replies: 57
Views: 3694

Re: Where do you order checks from?

My bank already has my acct #,

Everybody you write a check to has your account number too.
by obgraham
Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank of America vs Chase
Replies: 26
Views: 2573

Re: Bank of America vs Chase

BOA is an appalling organization. Their customer service is zippo unless you are in one of their "preferred" (i.e. lots of money) groups. Chase has always managed to get the job done with minimal fuss. I vote to switch. That said, I prefer an online bank, with a small local for the occasio...
by obgraham
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Actual physical ATM access internationally, and then changing notes
Replies: 26
Views: 1370

Re: Actual physical ATM access internationally, and then changing notes

I've never quite understood this obsession with avoiding ATM fees. On a typical trip it might amount to $10. Big deal. Outside North America lots of ATM's won't take the cards I have, or I can be sure when I'm really out of cash, there won't be a machine in sight. So I try to stop at the first place...
by obgraham
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Baltic Cruise Suggestions
Replies: 14
Views: 785

Re: Baltic Cruise Suggestions

It's a few years since we did our Baltics trip, but now more countries are using the Euro, making your cash issues a bit simpler. Every place has ATM's, and if you have some leftover currency of a minor nature, say Krona or Rubles, there are exchange places to move it back to Euros or even dollars. ...
by obgraham
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malta
Replies: 14
Views: 1896

Re: Malta

Malta is right near the top of our Euro destinations. Had a superb trip there in 2013, with a tour focused on Medieval history, of which Malta has boatloads. Plenty of great food -- Italian/Greek/Mediterranean fusion, and more historic sites in a small area than any place we've ever been, some going...
by obgraham
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any reason to delay using Turbotax to file taxes?
Replies: 13
Views: 1731

Re: Any reason to delay using Turbotax to file taxes?

Mrs O does ours, being a retired CPA. She used to despise TTax, but now uses it as the cheapest way to file electronically. She's insistent on filing as soon as everything has been gathered, as mentioned, to prevent someone from fraudulently filing in your name/SSN. First one in under a given SSN is...
by obgraham
Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Forester - Harsh ride
Replies: 21
Views: 2686

Re: Subaru Forester - Harsh ride

Like several others have posted here, I too have a 2017 Forester (actually the cheapest Forester model they make), and to us it is the quietest SUV we have owned. Certainly compared to our previous 06 CRV.
by obgraham
Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long do you keep your kitchen sponge?
Replies: 44
Views: 3894

Re: How long do you keep your kitchen sponge?

I would use mine forever, secure in the knowledge that Mrs O obsesses about these things, and the sponge will likely not survive 3 days.

I have a load of used ones in the shed for use in the yard, shop, etc.
by obgraham
Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saved too much? What do you splurge on?
Replies: 90
Views: 9458

Re: Saved too much? What do you splurge on?

After retiring 15 years ago I spent the years doing medical mission trips in various third world countries. Now I'm done with that phase of life. I learned then that there are any number of worthwhile organizations doing such work, mostly on shoestring budgets. Though not at the level OP describes, ...
by obgraham
Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: One more can I afford $1.5M house
Replies: 56
Views: 3643

Re: One more can I afford $1.5M house

Unsaid here, is "what is this house like?" Is it a pretty average place, in a neighborhood of similar valued houses? Or is it a gold plated castle with a bunch of froo-frah and overbuilt for the area? In the former, I'd say go for it now. You're at the early stage of your career, in a spen...
by obgraham
Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share your net worth progression
Replies: 495
Views: 122352

Re: Share your net worth progression

Can you add a bit more color to your situation? What was your annual expenses at retirement? Did you follow any specific withdraw strategy? Did you have any guaranteed sources of income? When did you claim social security? I don't actually have any withdrawal "strategy", other than take w...

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