Search found 561 matches

by rjbraun
Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Airllne carry on luggage size: recommendations?
Replies: 24
Views: 1840

Re: Airllne carry on luggage size: recommendations?

+1 for traveling light While our carry-on baggage didn't get weighed on departure from the States (at least, not that I recall), our bags absolutely got weighed carefully on the return leg, both times in Italy. Once, flying from Milan, on Emirates, and more recently from Rome, on Alitalia. At 8 kg -...
by rjbraun
Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Foreign language study: languages-direct.com / Tutto Italiano
Replies: 1
Views: 188

Foreign language study: languages-direct.com / Tutto Italiano

I don't recall any reference to the website below in past posts on learning a foreign language. I thought I would pass it along, to solicit possible feedback as well as a potential resource to others. http://www.languages-direct.com/ In particular, I have heard very positive reviews by two people I ...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 576

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I have to disagree. While the elderly couple may have sufficient income to cover their ordinary and routine living expenses there still exists the possibility of high personal care expenses should a nursing home care scenario arise for either (or both). I personally don't think anyone has the right...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 576

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I would avoid aggressive portfolios. Also, keep in mind that when one dies it can change the equation in many ways: 1. Social Security - e.g. if they both collect than only the higher income will continue. 2. Pensions - usually in the past the pension was cut in half for the surviving spouse 3. Tax...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 576

Re: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I think there may be many answers to this question. To a certain extent, it depends on how the elderly person feels about it. While it is financially OK to invest what you know you will leave to heirs more aggressively than normal, if the elderly person is going to worry about it then it would be a...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Shipping Issues since move from UPS to USPS
Replies: 74
Views: 5273

Re: Amazon Prime Shipping Issues since move from UPS to USPS

Not sure if I follow this thread completely, but I will say that one of my more recent Amazon Prime deliveries did not reflect the careful packing, generally speaking, that I have experienced with Amazon. Rather, it was like some other mail-order places where they seem to just throw everything into ...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: UC pension
Replies: 11
Views: 1078

Re: UC pension

LadyGeek wrote:Welcome! Could you please explain what "UC" is?

University of California? :confused
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered
Replies: 12
Views: 576

Portfolio allocation for elderly individual with daily and all foreseeable expenses covered

I assume that this issue is common enough, but I guess I'm not clever enough at the moment to figure out the answer on my own. So, for an elderly couple in their 90s in relatively good health, with good health insurance and all of their routine living expenses more than adequately covered by a pensi...
by rjbraun
Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best 2% Back VISA/MASTER Card
Replies: 51
Views: 4671

Re: Best 2% Back VISA/MASTER Card

We like the CapitolOne Spark business Visa. It does have a $59 annual fee but gives flat 2% cash (redeemable any time by check or statement credit) with no cap. It also gives extended warranty and no foreign transaction fee. I tried to get this card but had to field too many questions about my &quo...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A week in Lake Como, Italy
Replies: 10
Views: 1139

Re: A week in Lake Como, Italy

We were in Varenna (on Lake Como) this year, in July. Splendid stay and would definitely recommend (obviously, subject to one's particular interests). We stayed five nights, capping off a couple of weeks touring the Emilia-Romagna region (Bologna, Modena, Parma, Ravenna - loved it, Ferrara - disappo...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Thank you -- good to know, but I'm not sure it makes sense for me now. I probably mis-titled this thread. What I'm really trying to determine is how to get the best value for my Chase UR points. Based on other threads, hotel rooms seem to offer the best (or very good) value, so I figured I would fo...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

The Hyatt strategy dovetails with the Hyatt chase credit card.it comes with free nights that more than mitigate the annual fee ($79). You get an elite status that often gets an upgraded room (suite, better view), free late checkout etc. There is also a separate booking line that is very helpful in ...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

What am I missing? Am I doing something wrong in the process of converting UR points to hotel stays? Are the 2.5 cents or even higher on redemptions that people have cited one-offs or simply upper-bound examples? I would recommend using the Hyatt website to see what properties are available and at ...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

We plan to stay at the Andaz Tokyo (Hyatt family) next year. For the dates we planned to visit, the Andaz is going for around $650+ per night after taxes. It may go down in price but probably not by much. We booked with points for 25k per night. So that is around 2.5 cents, a little bit more. Every...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

dsmil wrote:I redeem almost all of my Ultimate Rewards with Hyatt and it's worked out very well. I got 3 cents per point for a stay in Paris and 2 cents per point in Charleston, SC.

Thank you. Those are both destinations I would be happy to visit! :D

Did you book through the UR travel group or with Hyatt?
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Not sure if I'm just unlucky with my destinations or travel dates, but I'm just not finding anything even close to 2.5 cents yields or better. I'm getting at most maybe slightly over 2.0 cents and sometimes only 0.8 cents. Most stuff seems to be in the mid-1 cent range. When I called Chase UR for he...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

You have to transfer them to Hyatt. Then you book the free nights using Hyatt points NOT through the UR portal. Ah, thank you for that clarification! In that case, do I basically have to carefully tee things up beforehand? If Hyatt ends up not having the availability and terms I want (despite my be...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays
Replies: 21
Views: 1416

Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming for Hyatt Hotel stays

Several posts have indicated that redeeming Chase UR points for hotel rooms, and in particular Hyatt stays, offers attractive yields on the order of 2.5 cents or higher. I'm not finding that at all when I've looked at various dates for Miami and Chicago. While I didn't do an exhaustive search, all t...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 776

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

I believe you can only register one credit card at a time with a given airline (but you can register multiple cards with the same carrier). So, you would register a Visa card, say Citi Visa, for AA and a MasterCard for United (or if you have a second Visa card you could register that one with Unite...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 776

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

To keep them from expiring just join AAdvantage dining and get a soda at one of the take out places...it'll defer expiration for another 18 months. I wouldn't cut it too close though. +1. I also employ this approach (though usually end up spending more than the cost of a soda). It's very convenient...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?
Replies: 14
Views: 776

Re: Use Citi® / AAdvantage Points For Something Besides Travel?

To keep them from expiring just join AAdvantage dining and get a soda at one of the take out places...it'll defer expiration for another 18 months. I wouldn't cut it too close though. +1. I also employ this approach (though usually end up spending more than the cost of a soda). It's very convenient...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best (Available)Red Wine for under $15 preferrably under $10
Replies: 106
Views: 14572

Re: Best (Available)Red Wine for under $15 preferrably under $10

Colosi Terre Siciliane Rosso - consistent, reliable and enjoyable Several years ago we could maybe find the wine for under $10 on sale, but I think it's been slightly above that price more recently. I also find a good number of nice Cotes du Rhones sell for between $10 to $15. http://buyingguide.win...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

Backpacks with removable daypacks don't carry very well and the daypacks themselves are often ill-sized. It's better just to get a backpack that is sized for what you need and then get a small, light, compressible daypack that you can put inside the backpack (most of the time) or carry on the front...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

For regular travel by air, train or bus, I use MEI Voyager which can be carried as a duffle bag or as a backpack. Depending on the duration of my travel and other things I am bringing with me, I may put my regular daypack inside MEI Voyager. Victoria Thanks, Victoria. I keep looking at the website ...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I love this company: http://www.tombihn.com/ Thanks. I think I first heard about the company on this forum, and everyone seems to have positive reviews. I do like that they seem to offer a hip-belt option. Ugh, on closer inspection it seems that the belt is, well, just a belt; there's no padding. D...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

For regular travel by air, train or bus, I use MEI Voyager which can be carried as a duffle bag or as a backpack. Depending on the duration of my travel and other things I am bringing with me, I may put my regular daypack inside MEI Voyager. Victoria Thanks, Victoria. I keep looking at the website ...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

The problem with "convertible" backpacks is the sacrifice that is necessitated by combining what would be two separate bags. Instead of a comfortable and light-weight pack for day-use, you have a bigger pack. Instead of a simple large pack for gear hauling, you have a smaller pack meant t...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

newuser123 wrote:How about this at Ikea ?
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40241130/

I came across this when I was shopping at Ikea last time. I am not sure about the reviews of it though.

Cute bag. It doesn't seem big enough or substantial enough for a longish trip, though.
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

Backpacks with removable daypacks don't carry very well and the daypacks themselves are often ill-sized. It's better just to get a backpack that is sized for what you need and then get a small, light, compressible daypack that you can put inside the backpack (most of the time) or carry on the front...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I am entering month four of an extended out of USA trip and have been comfortable with my Osprey Porter 46 plus a collapsible Marmot Kompacter, after taking out the Kompacter's foam. I use the latter as my daypack, even on the trek (horses carried the bulky stuff). In the beginning of the trip I wa...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I have an older version of the Eagle Creek as well, I'm happy with it. Mine is a 45 Liter set (35+10). Perhaps you could go to an REI, if you have one near you, and try some of these? http://www.rei.com/c/travel-packs?r=category%3Atravel-and-luggage%7Cluggage%7Ctravel-packs%3Bfeatures%3ARemovable%2...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Eagle Creek

http://shop.eaglecreek.com/deviate-travel-pack-60l/d/1415_cl_712 I have an older version of something similar to this. Wonderful. Interesting bag, thanks. I like the add-on bag feature and the hip belt looks nice and substantial. But the dimensions appear to exceed the current carry-on standards (4...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are looking for, but if you're considering the Porter 30, you might want to check out the Tortuga Air. I purchased the Tortuga Air a few months ago after considering the Porter 30, a few Tom Bihn models, and a few others. So far, I have been happy with it....
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Made Simple (Free on Kindle for 2 Days)
Replies: 46
Views: 4273

Re: Social Security Made Simple (Free on Kindle for 2 Days)

Thanks very much, Mike! Appreciate the free copy and fast update :beer
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

We are HUGE fans of the eBags Motherlode backpacks. They check all your boxes and are inexpensive. http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/mother-lode-tls-weekender-convertible/143101 Thank you. I will need to revisit that ebags website. They have a lot of products. I bought their packing cubes during a...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I have both the Osprey Porter and Daylite and it's my go to luggage for traveling. The porter can hold enough basic clothing for a 2 week trip with a mid-trip laundry. I've never had an issue yet with bringing it on as a carry-on and it compresses well into the overhead bins. Which size Porter do y...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I have both the Osprey Porter and Daylite and it's my go to luggage for traveling. The porter can hold enough basic clothing for a 2 week trip with a mid-trip laundry. I've never had an issue yet with bringing it on as a carry-on and it compresses well into the overhead bins. Which size Porter do y...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Re: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

I've used PacSafe products for years and highly recommend them. Not sure if they have exactly what you're describing, but here is their website: http://www.pacsafe.com/backpacks-and-travel-bags.html Thank you. If possible, would you say that your strong recommendation stems from the anti-theft feat...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel backpacks with removable backpack option
Replies: 42
Views: 2715

Travel backpacks with removable backpack option

After a recent thread about travel bags, I'm reevaluating the convertible backpack I have. The Patagonia MLC 45L lacks the better support and padding of my Dana Designs backpack, but that's not a carry-on nor is it "convertible", so the two bags really aren't directly comparable. But, I've...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Push child to avoid expensive college?
Replies: 207
Views: 13568

Re: Push child to avoid expensive college?

You determine what you're willing to pay based on a good reasonably priced school. If she wants to go to something more expensive she pays the difference. This. She can decide to go wherever she wants, as long as she can find a way to pay for it. My parents said that I would be expected to pay 25% ...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NYC in early December
Replies: 29
Views: 2906

Re: NYC in early December

This is a solid recommendation - I've lived near the hostel in the past and can vouch for safety and the neighborhood in general. I was wondering if I could come with the bag to MOMA and leave it there while I was in the museum, but decided not to risk it. Perhaps, I should have. Victoria The excer...
by rjbraun
Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $1,000 in cash lost or stolen
Replies: 54
Views: 5599

Re: $1,000 in cash lost or stolen

I'm sorry to hear you lost the money. I can kind of relate in that I got pick pocketed several years ago. The area was very crowded and, in hindsight, I know exactly when it happened. Someone bumped me, but I was walking with a colleague on a rainy evening, and I was juggling my work bag, purse, and...
by rjbraun
Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

OP - Reading your response - a very reasonable one - I guess my "significant premium" comment was rhetorical. Because of my own personal standards for quality control (i.e. I know my own documents and the experience, research and analysis that has gone into developing their components) an...
by rjbraun
Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

So you need to ask yourself, if you were me, why would I bother getting myself into this client relationship at all? Why would I act as an insurance policy for a DIY Will without a significant premium over my normal hourly rate? OP here - yes, I hear you. What would you consider to be "a signi...
by rjbraun
Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

Deleted and reposted below
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

... Just for future reference, in the event the legal job was more costly, is the practice to make the retainer payments in installments based on certain agreed-upon milestones? This would seem to help the client from paying a lot at the beginning only to potentially come up with nothing at the end...
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

afan wrote:Who are the clients? Your parents or you and your family member?

My parents.
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

In my opinion, the most important things are: 1. It is absolutely clear to both parties (you and the attorney) the exact nature and amounts of charges for the task (whether fixed or hourly); and 2. If hourly, except for very complex matters that come to light late in the process, make sure you are ...
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Re: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

Many attorneys will ask for a retainer upfront that covers most of what they expect to charge you, but you're actually paying by the hour. For example, you might cut a check for $1000, and the lawyer puts that in his trust account. It's still your money. Then he works on your project at $300/hr. If...
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 19, 2015 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis
Replies: 37
Views: 2505

Retaining a lawyer: hourly vs. retainer basis

We plan to hire a lawyer to review a trust document we drafted and related paperwork (e.g., power of attorney document). The estate in question is straightforward and not complicated. We've spoken briefly with a couple of lawyers. One mentioned having a retainer, while the other quoted an hourly bas...

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