Search found 639 matches

by plnelson
Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric utility being switched on me . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 1208

Re: Electric utility being switched on me . . .

OldOne wrote:If you don't want it, opt out. It is clearly explained here:
http://www.townofchelmsford.us/chelmsfordchoice


Yes, I know, that's the letter I was referring to. But it doesn't answer any of the three questions in my OP.
by plnelson
Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric utility being switched on me . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 1208

Re: Electric utility being switched on me . . .

I would start by contacting the town on Monday to verify if this is legitimate (and not a scam). If so, ask them your questions directly. I don't think it's a scam, per se, because Googling for this makes it clear that Constellation has entered into agreements like this with municipalities all over...
by plnelson
Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric utility being switched on me . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 1208

Electric utility being switched on me . . .

I'm a resident of Chelmsford Massachusetts and I'm a National Grid electricity customer. I recently received a letter in the mail with the Town of Chelmsford's logo on it, but mailed from Constellation energy in Houston Texas, saying that . . . (caps are theirs). . . "All eligible residential a...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

(Finding experts: I live in a suburb of Boston but I prefer to be treated by doctors at major teaching hospitals like Mass General, Dana Farber, or Brigham and Women's, instead of suburban doctors. Criteria that I use in selecting doctors are their published research and that they teach their speci...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

I would look up NAFPA fee-only planners convenient to you and interview some about your specific issues. You'd probably be able to tell pretty quickly who would be a good fit for you, if any. We used one for some similar issues as yours - burn rate, withdrawal strategies. I feel we got a decent amo...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

I just don't think clients with your profile are in the "sweet spot" for advisors. You require time and effort, you don't fit into a cookie cutter model, and you will ask lots of difficult and unique questions that require time to research. With a fee-based expert why should the time and ...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

Therefore the counter-analagous strategy to medicine is to learn enough about investing from this forum and the books in the reading library here (the books preferred to the forum) to manage your own affairs. This is necessary because unless you are prepared with understanding you have no hope of a...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

You didn't tell us about the outcomes of all the other physician's who do that ablation thing. Unfortunately that information is not available. But outcomes are generally better at major teaching hospitals and are directly correlated with the experience of the team doing it. One of my criteria was ...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

The same way you know a MD is good at his/her job, word of mouth. One difference with an MD is that you know pretty soon whether he got it right. You might not know if a retirement plan is bad for years or decades after you put it together, when you find out that you failed to take into account som...
by plnelson
Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

It is like everything else. You go by referrals and you go by reputation. The same way you would find a good car mechanic. I think there's too much riding on getting it right to be that casual. Going back to my medical analogy, the doctor who is doing my pulmonary vein catheter ablation specializes...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

The best thing about this forum is that you CAN post personal info - it is anonymous! It's not anonymous if you post enough personal detail about yourself to develop a retirement plan. That's the catch-22. A proper retirement plan would require laying out on the table a tremendous amount of fine de...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

Nedsaid above mentioned single premium immediate annuities. For someone who has a potentially life shortening medical condition this is probably not optimum. A close cousin to an immediate annuity is called a deferred annuity and that's a useful tool for someone like me. Because one risk I have is ...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

nedsaid said First of all, I would take advantage of whatever free advice you could get. The largest mutual fund companies like Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and American Century offer varying degrees of free advice to their customers. If this is available to you, I would sit down with their re...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Re: Role for a professional in retirement planning?

The best financial advice I got has been from this site. If you have not done it already, post your numbers and goals on this site and see what you feel about the thoughts. There are experts from all walks of life here with diverse experiences. Personally, I've always done all my financial planning...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?
Replies: 34
Views: 2915

Re: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?

At a constant tax rate, assuming you have other funds with which to pay the tax on the conversion, the conversion is beneficial from day one. No it isn't because those "other funds" have to be accounted for. If I convert a bunch of tIRA to Roth and have a $5K tax liability, that $5K has t...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?
Replies: 34
Views: 2915

Re: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?

If you can move assets from the tIRA to the Roth at essentially a ZERO tax rate, why wouldn't you do it? As I said, the AMOUNT that you can take out at ZERO is trivial, because the conversion itself imposes a tax liability. So with $14K deductions I can convert $14K to Roth at zero. But $14K is pro...
by plnelson
Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Role for a professional in retirement planning?
Replies: 52
Views: 3633

Role for a professional in retirement planning?

I'm approaching retirement and I have substantial and diverse retirement assets, along with some unique considerations (e.g., some health problems that may shorten my life). I've been good and successful at managing my investment assets over the years and think I have above-average knowledge of inve...
by plnelson
Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?
Replies: 34
Views: 2915

Re: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?

Other techniques to lessen the tax burden: Bunching of deductions so that one can itemize instead of taking the standard deduction. My deductions are pretty un-bunchable. I have $10k of property taxes every year and $3300 of HSA contributions. That's pretty much it - everything else is nickel-and-d...
by plnelson
Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?
Replies: 34
Views: 2915

Re: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?

If you're in 0% tax bracket, look to see how much Roth conversion you can do and still have zero tax liability. If you have adequate assets outside of IRA and do not need to withdraw from IRA, a roth conversion at zero tax cost is a no-brainer. If you're single, with 10K itemized deductions, 1 exem...
by plnelson
Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?
Replies: 34
Views: 2915

Strategies for minimizing tax hit from IRA withdrawals?

I'll be turning 63 right after the end of the year and I'm thinking that might be a good time to retire. I have enough regular savings (i.e., money NOT in an IRA) to live 'til to 68 or 69 so I'll hold off SS until then. I can start collecting a tiny pension (~$550/mo) from a former employer at 65, a...
by plnelson
Fri May 29, 2015 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I'm an LLC registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Secretary of State, and with my local town; I have my own EIN from the IRS and my own business banking account, HSA, 401(k) plan, etc. So even though I'm just me and have no employees I meet the requisite criteria for being a business. So...
by plnelson
Thu May 28, 2015 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I'm sympathetic and, like you, wish there were a single site with a complete listing of options. But apparently there's not. So if I were you, I'd just resign myself to the fact that it's going to take awhile. Two or three days doesn't actually sound that bad. How long did it take you to research a...
by plnelson
Thu May 28, 2015 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Resolved it , thanks to a tip from a fellow engineering contractor . . . There's an organization in Massachusetts called the Small Business Service Bureau that allows small businesses and self-employed people who meet certain criteria to buy health insurance at group rates and they offer many compa...
by plnelson
Tue May 05, 2015 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

If you make too much to be eligible for the premium subsidy, there's no reason to shop through the public exchange as their premiums will actually tend to be higher. In 2015, the private exchanges are a better bet, and anecdotally, I personally was able to move from a Bronze HSA to a Silver HSA for...
by plnelson
Mon May 04, 2015 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

FWIW, I've also been checking for available PPO plans in MA. IIRC, the MA Connector listed exactly one, a plan intended for HSAs. http://www.ehealthinsurance.com also shows only the same one. In startling contrast, however, http://www.healthpocket.com yields 49 PPO options in response to the same q...
by plnelson
Mon May 04, 2015 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

http://health.usnews.com/health-insurance/massachusetts Jan 15, 2015 - Find the best health insurance plan for you in Massachusetts Tried that. All it asked for was my age (62), zip, gender and whether I'm a smoker (no) and it said: "Sorry, no plans have been rated that fit your search." ...
by plnelson
Mon May 04, 2015 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I was surprised, too. The PDF file from the Division of Insurance shows that only about half the plans available in Massachusetts are available through the exchange. I spoke to a manager at Mass Heath Connector who confirmed it and said it was up to the carriers, not them. Given your later posts, i...
by plnelson
Fri May 01, 2015 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

As for how to find a broker - all insurance products (including health insurance products) must be approved by your state's Department of Insurance. The MA Division of Insurance hosts a portal for consumers to find insurance professionals - http://agentfinder.doi.state.ma.us/ You can enter the type...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

The OP has not explained their health situation, so it's hard to say if a spreadsheet type comparison would make sense for him/her or not. In my last post I did, but I think we posted at about the same time. Like the HIV meds that you mentioned, I have a fairly predictable base rate of burn. I have...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Yes, comparisons can take time. I didn't realize you were currently working - you said you were on COBRA . So I guess you went from W-2 employee to contract work. In that case, you may not qualify for tax credits, so going directly to the carriers or through an agent rather than through the exchang...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Are you looking for sites like https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/ ? Those sites are WAY too limited. When I put my zipcode in there it found just 9 plans by two carriers (Harvard Pilgrim and Fallon) . And they were all HMO's. Granted, they were cheap - the most expensive one was about $300/month. Bu...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Can your employer cover you in a group plan? Are you an alumni of any U? Do you belong to any professional org? Sometimes you can getva better group rate thru one of those avenues. I'm not looking for a "deal". There's no problem getting insurance. My question is simple: Faced with such a...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Do you know someone who owns a small business and uses a broker? A friend of mine uses the same broker she used when she dropped group insurance and went to an individual plan. Some of the insurance agents I called today sell business insurance, and group health insurance, but have no familiarity w...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

The MA state exchange is at https://www.mahealthconnector.org/ OP had a qualifying event and can apply there. And as the OP has mentioned several times, the only plans that are available at that site are low-end HMO plans, mainly for people seeking sudsidized health coverage. The Massachusetts Divi...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

Do you know someone who owns a small business and uses a broker? A friend of mine uses the same broker she used when she dropped group insurance and went to an individual plan. Some of the insurance agents I called today sell business insurance, and group health insurance, but have no familiarity w...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I went on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield website and scrolled through the many plans and picked one for us. We are not eligible for any subsidies with the ACA but I did get on their site and the plans offered were identical to the Blue Cross site. Who did you mean by "their" site? (emphas...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

I don't know about Massachusetts specifically, but under the ACA, the expiration of COBRA qualifies you for a special enrollment period, so you could purchase an ACA plan through your state exchange. I believe if you are eligible for a tax credit an want to claim it, you must buy through the exchan...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

Re: How do you buy health insurance these days?

contact an insurance broker. at least here in AZ, Brokers can sell any insurance plan and the insurance company pays the broker the commission. It does not change your premium for using a broker. The broker will be able to assist you with your questions regarding deductibles, premiums, coverages et...
by plnelson
Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you buy health insurance these days?
Replies: 46
Views: 5477

How do you buy health insurance these days?

I live in Massachusetts. My wife passed away almost 3 years ago so I've been on her COBRA ever since but that runs out on the last day of June. So I need to buy new health insurance. I've never bought health insurance directly before and I'm wondering what the process is, and how to do it systematic...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

I have NEVER heard of a place in private where they did not offer standard of care treatment options. If it is in NCCN I am surprised if it wasn't offered everywhere outside of small community hospitals. Good luck. Phlebotomies, aspirin, and hydroxyurea ARE the standard of care and have been for 20...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

If you have other reasons to move I would say go for it, because of the OTHER reasons NOT because of your condition. The treatment needed can be had anywhere and don't think it makes much difference where it is had especially with your diagnosis. That hasn't been true in my experience. All the subu...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

Before I make any changes I would sincerely ask your hematologist if ANY of these changes are even warranted (sorry did not see if you mentioned this previously). My hem/onc estimates that if I keep my counts well controlled my risk of a thrombotic event is about 2X an age-matched control. This is ...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

Back Bay besides the costs also has very uneven sidewalks and is probably not such a good area for someone anticipating mobility issues. Back Bay has another interesting issue. Boston is at much higher risk of earthquakes than most people think. We get 3's around here every few years but a 6 or mor...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: Move slowly

Paul, 1. Take your time. 2. Do lots of research and expect much of it to be useless. 3. Consider another city/state. ,dave 1. My tentative decision date in Spring 2016 2. Right now I'm trying to identify good tools and resources for the research. 3. All my friends live in the Boston area. Research ...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

Moving itself is all about planning and logistics. Thanks! I totally agree that I won't find perfection - everything is a tradeoff. I want to do my planning as systematically and methodically as possible because there's no rush and I'm good at projects (I'm an engineer with years of experience runn...
by plnelson
Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

You said "Almost all my friends live in the city." This seems the logical place to start. Talk to them about their neighborhoods and what they'd recommend. My overriding question since my original post is what kinds of resources exist to help me do this efficiently and systematically? The...
by plnelson
Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

I live in one of the communities you mention, just north of the Charles and on the red line. Single family stock in Somerville and Cambridge, especially within 3/4 mile of a T stop, is quite expensive - often about 1.5x or more per square foot even compared two families - because supply is so limit...
by plnelson
Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

[quote="WhyNotUs"] [url]If you can narrow to a couple neighborhoods of Boston, minimum bd/ba, Max. price, proximity priorities, accessibility needs, and any special interests you have (large modern kitchen, higher ceilings for artwork, etc.) , then just type up a list and take it to a meet...
by plnelson
Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

We made the move to downtown from the far out suburbs several years ago. PLEASE rent first, before buying. Once you are in the city, you'll learn what is most important to you. It is a big lifestyle change, something we love. Condos have all the issues you've heard about, and then some. We rented f...
by plnelson
Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?
Replies: 47
Views: 4160

Re: How to wrap my head around downsizing my home?

Since your current house is paid for, maybe you could consider renting for a while. This would literally allow you to "try before you buy". You might not even need to put your house on the market until you find a place where you'd like to settle down. Assuming you have the funds to afford...

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