Search found 671 matches

by strafe
Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LendKey student loan refinance nightmare! help!
Replies: 6
Views: 715

Re: LendKey student loan refinance nightmare! help!

All, thanks for your advice. Too often the resolution to posts like these goes unmentioned. I thought I should post a final update. The funds were indeed sent to the wrong place. After making no progress working with LendKey customer service, I contacted the director of student loans at my alma mat...
by strafe
Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review – Bad Experience
Replies: 0
Views: 134

LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review – Bad Experience

Having gone through the student loan refinance process, I discovered that many refi company “reviews” are nothing more than thinly veiled advertisements by paid affiliates. I thought I would share my personal experience refinancing my private educational loan with LendKey. LendKey (also known as CU ...
by strafe
Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with car buying decision
Replies: 5
Views: 411

Re: Help with car buying decision

It's almost always a better deal to keep driving (and repairing) and older car than getting a new one. Factoring in the tax deduction, my guess is that you'd come out ahead keeping your old Toyota (an inexpensive, fully depreciated vehicle) and deducting the standard mileage rate. You'd have to run ...
by strafe
Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

Your assumption that the pediatric group accepted a $150 contract rate is almost certainly incorrect. You have an insurance plan that doesn't cover many common physician services. The allowable charge your insurer shows on the EOB has no meaning. It's made up by the insurer. (And I would bet in- vs...
by strafe
Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

My insurance sent me an explanation of benefits that the contract reprice amount is $150. Difference of $400 or basically 1/4 of the billed price. This $150 is what the contracted out price is that is the maximum that this group would have received for the maximum 15 minutes in the room in the thre...
by strafe
Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

This isn't a way for the insurance co to pressure docs to join. It's a way for hospitals and doctors to collude and avoid negotiated rates for care. These are the same drive-by docs who you never see but are always used in operating rooms, and are never in network. More on this here: http://www.npr...
by strafe
Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

Strafe, the smalls claims action would be against the provider, not the insurance company. It would only require a filing fee to initiate. Provider would probable use attorney . It would be a nuisance for them to defend. I agree with you that it would probably be unsuccessful. Sorry, I guess I misu...
by strafe
Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

This isn't a way for the insurance co to pressure docs to join. It's a way for hospitals and doctors to collude and avoid negotiated rates for care. These are the same drive-by docs who you never see but are always used in operating rooms, and are never in network. More on this here: http://www.npr...
by strafe
Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 2949

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

You sound stirred up and I don't blame you. Given the scenario you outlined you could pay the $550 and file a small claims court action for $400. You would most likely lose, but it is a way for David to poke the Goliath. My guess is that the insurance benefit summary spells out that this service is...
by strafe
Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quarterly taxes with W2 and K1 income
Replies: 12
Views: 388

Re: Quarterly taxes with W2 and K1 income

it might be beneficial for you to do just the opposite -- withhold as much as possible from your W2 income, and eliminate or minimize your quarterly estimated tax payments. Your total annual W2 withholding is treated by the IRS as if it were paid evenly throughout the year, which can eliminate penal...
by strafe
Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Ways to Buy Time
Replies: 68
Views: 7123

Re: Best Ways to Buy Time

-Lawn service -house cleaning service -Mobile car wash/auto detailer -Weekly premade "family dinner" take out from local deli/restaurant -grocery store online order +/- delivery -autopay for all bills -Trunk Club (or similar) for clothes -TSA Precheck -electric car (less maintenance, no ti...
by strafe
Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?
Replies: 34
Views: 2159

Re: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?

Look into Lightstream. After approval, they transfer the proceeds to your bank account. They don't make you pick out the car before you get the loan or hassle you about other details. so they give you a loan on a non-existent vehicle with absolutely no collateral, a vehicle that may or may not have...
by strafe
Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Joint accounts and monthly budgeting
Replies: 6
Views: 840

Re: Joint accounts and monthly budgeting

I had some difficulty identifying your specific question. You stated at the beginning this was about the mechanics of combining finances with a spendthrift individual who is not your spouse. However, the bulk of your post concerns where to.park medium-term savings and how to earmark for various purp...
by strafe
Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Policy - do we still need it?
Replies: 36
Views: 3968

Re: Umbrella Policy - do we still need it?

- I remarried last year, and we use different agents with We're currently evaluating combining our auto policies, but it would require a higher coverage level on my husband's cars to meet the umbrella policy requirements . So both our auto and umbrella policy premiums would go up. I don't have the ...
by strafe
Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?
Replies: 34
Views: 2159

Re: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?

Look into Lightstream. After approval, they transfer the proceeds to your bank account. They don't make you pick out the car before you get the loan or hassle you about other details. Wait, can I also pay cash for the car in full and then deposit the auto loan check into my bank account? Or will th...
by strafe
Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?
Replies: 34
Views: 2159

Re: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?

New car buyer and first time getting an auto loan. I was approved for an auto loan but they told me I have to put the exact VIN number on the loan application before they will mail me a check . Do I just tell the dealership I will send them a check a couple days later after I buy the car at the dea...
by strafe
Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?
Replies: 34
Views: 2159

Re: Auto loan through PenFed. They require a VIN number?

Look into Lightstream. After approval, they transfer the proceeds to your bank account. They don't make you pick out the car before you get the loan or hassle you about other details.
by strafe
Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grocery cart rolls into side of car, dent, scratched
Replies: 92
Views: 6543

Re: Grccery cart rolls into side of car, dent, scratched

I'm so sorry to hear that. What a terrible thing to happen, especially right around Christmas. I doubt that the grocery store would be much help, and it's unlikely you'll track down the scumbag that did this. I would take the car to a reputable body shop for an estimate (call high end auto dealers i...
by strafe
Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Good News For Bonds!
Replies: 98
Views: 11491

Re: Good News For Bonds!

As I understand it, if you hold your bond fund longer than the fund's duration, you should actually start to see a benefit from the higher rates . I have seen this statement many times, what does it actually mean? Does it mean, after the holding period = the duration, (1) your total loss is offset ...
by strafe
Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:02 am
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: What happens when you speak in TICKER language.
Replies: 44
Views: 6874

Re: What happens when you speak in TICKER language.

Poster mas solved this problem years ago. Readers who don't want to memorize tickers can install the Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey extension in their browser and then install the userscript that mas wrote. Mouse over the ticker symbol in a post to see a tool-tip with the fund name. If the admins wer...
by strafe
Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taking on a 5/5 ARM in this environment?
Replies: 27
Views: 2117

Re: Taking on a 5/5 ARM in this environment?

Fixed rate mortgages are an anomaly. In most locales outside the U.S., mortgage rates are adjustable. You should think of a fixed rate mortgage as an insurance policy that hedges against rising rates. As with any insurance product or warranty, the "expected value" favors the bank, not you....
by strafe
Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Tires for Saab 9.3 Sedan
Replies: 16
Views: 1087

Re: New Tires for Saab 9.3 Sedan

I recommend the Michelin. Make sure you get the Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (not the A/S 3 without the '+'). It is a fabulous tire.

You need all seasons if you are going to drive in cold weather (below 40), not just snow. You can't safely drive summer tires year round in St. Louis.
by strafe
Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Choosing a bond fund based on personal income, salary.
Replies: 5
Views: 804

Re: Choosing a bond fund based on personal income, salary.

in general, no matter what your income, you should try to put all your bond funds in tax deferred vehicles -- for example, in your 401k, 403b, or IRA. if you need to hold additional bonds in a taxable account, then the choice between a tax-exempt and taxable bonds boils down to the equivalent rate. ...
by strafe
Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone Have Experience With Filing Complaint With FDA?
Replies: 22
Views: 2742

Re: Anyone Have Experience With Filing Complaint With FDA?

For what it's worth, levothyroxine (LT4) is one of the few drugs where at least some evidence exists for differences in bioequivalence / therapeutic equivalence between manufacturers. To be clear, one manufacturer's product is not inherently better or worse than another, but the dosage may need to b...
by strafe
Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda Cars
Replies: 96
Views: 9010

Re: Honda Cars

The Accord is a perennial favorite in the Car and Driver 10Best list. This year the Accord received favorable reviews compared to the Mercedes E-class, which costs twice as much. Go for it.

* 2017 10Best list
* Accord review
by strafe
Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering a 10% down vs. doctor's mortgage
Replies: 24
Views: 2447

Re: Considering a 10% down vs. doctor's mortgage

"Doctor's mortgage" does 2 things for you: 1. It generally provides more favorable treatment of student loan payments in calculating debt to income ratios. 2. It waives PMI for loan to value ratios above 80%. My experience from a few years ago was that rates and fees were comparable to tra...
by strafe
Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dress shoes
Replies: 33
Views: 3622

Re: Dress shoes

Ecco Windsor slip on might fit your needs If this will be your only pair of business casual shoes, you should consider dark brown instead of black. Hard to find a durable shoe under $200. Most are glued on rubber soles. Allen Edmonds makes great quality dress shoes that are usually on sale for just ...
by strafe
Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing run-flat tires on BMW
Replies: 34
Views: 2887

Re: Replacing run-flat tires on BMW

That's an option.

You should also look into the Bridgestone Driveguard tire line, which a next-gen run flat that addresses the shortcomings of the older run flat tire designs.
by strafe
Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry
Replies: 35
Views: 2712

Re: Just released ratings steering me from Legacy to Camry

Absent a bona fide need for all wheel drive (Subaru generally) or cargo space (Outback specifically), I would buy the Camry. Don't overthink this.
by strafe
Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I focusing too much on retirement investing?
Replies: 10
Views: 2069

Re: Am I focusing too much on retirement investing?

The time from age 50-60 could be covered by the Roth, which allows penalty-free withdrawals of contributions (not earnings) before age 59.5. Google "Roth IRA pipeline" for details. The risk of this approach is that the ability to withdraw contributions could be restricted in the future. In...
by strafe
Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Camera recommendations- Not SLR
Replies: 52
Views: 3912

Re: Camera recommendations- Not SLR

Take a look at "mirrorless" cameras. You get the image quality and interchangeable lens options like an SLR but eliminate the bulk. SLRs are big because of the optical hardware for the viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras use either a digital screen or viewfinder that saves space. My wife has t...
by strafe
Sat Oct 08, 2016 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Budget car advice; so so tired of the noise levels
Replies: 75
Views: 7118

Re: Budget car advice; so so tired of the noise levels

I don't doubt that the old Mazda 3 is loud. What is the source of the noise? Is it tread noise? Maybe you just need a new set of tires? Most any new mid size sedan will be acceptably quiet. Think Camry/Sonata/Accord/Fusion/Malibu/Optima. SUVs in general will be noisier than sedans. But if you want u...
by strafe
Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Camera recommendations- Not SLR
Replies: 52
Views: 3912

Re: Camera recommendations- Not SLR

Take a look at "mirrorless" cameras. You get the image quality and interchangeable lens options like an SLR but eliminate the bulk. SLRs are big because of the optical hardware for the viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras use either a digital screen or viewfinder that saves space. My wife has th...
by strafe
Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: advice needed- restricted application for spousal benefits gone awry!
Replies: 1
Views: 255

advice needed- restricted application for spousal benefits gone awry!

Social Security messed up my father's application for spousal benefits. Despite clear instructions to the contrary, they processed the application based on his own earnings record rather than the spousal record. I told him to make an appointment with the social security office to straighten this ou...
by strafe
Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [T32 NIH Post-doc, eligible for SEP IRA?]
Replies: 10
Views: 571

Re: [T32 NIH Post-doc, eligible for SEP IRA?]

No. If she is paid the stipend as misc income on a 1099, it is not considered earned income. The income is treated like a scholarship and is not payment for service or self-employment. It would also not bbe subject to self employment tax or FICA. If on the other hand she is paid as a W2 employee whi...
by strafe
Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth it to pay extra principal towards mortgage?
Replies: 44
Views: 6817

Re: Is it worth it to pay extra principal towards mortgage?

I would get rid of the PMI.

As for paying extra on the mortgage-- don't. Save it instead. When it comes time to buy a new place in 5 years, it's better to have the extra money in the bank rather than locked up in the house you're selling.
by strafe
Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Volatility of 60/40 Portfolio for retirement modeling
Replies: 8
Views: 1282

Re: Volatility of 60/40 Portfolio for retirement modeling

Just FYI - LifeStrategy Mod. Growth did not have a fixed 60/40 allocation until recently. Prior to a few years ago, it included an actively managed "asset allocation" fund that alternated between stocks and bonds.
by strafe
Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A Re-Financing No-Brainer, right???
Replies: 12
Views: 1570

Re: A Re-Financing No-Brainer, right???

If you are accelerating your payoff, you should avoid upfront fees. But instead of rolling the closing costs into the principal balance of the new loan, you should refinance with a no cost loan (where the closing costs are paid with "negative" points in exchange for a slightly higher inter...
by strafe
Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2016 Honda Odyssey - which model?
Replies: 37
Views: 2787

Re: 2016 Honda Odyssey - which model?

We're planning to buy Honda Odyssey some time year - I know it is a popular choice with BHs here. I wanted to ask the owners here how did they decide on the model. There are 6 models for Odyssey ranging from 30k to 45k. Is the navigation package really worth the extra $2500? The rear entertainment ...
by strafe
Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard's Total International Fund dilemma ?!
Replies: 16
Views: 1990

Re: Vanguard's Total International Fund dilemma ?!

The allocation is market cap-weighted and varies over time.
by strafe
Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estimating true costs of first-time home ownership: huge range?
Replies: 9
Views: 1071

Re: Estimating true costs of first-time home ownership: huge range?

There are two reasons why the maintenance and repair estimates are all over the map. First, your costs are not necessarily proportional to the home value. Second, big repair expenses are sporadic. The rental cost of a similar home could give you a rough estimate of your all-in expenses, though even ...
by strafe
Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?
Replies: 43
Views: 4249

Re: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?

We have a 2012 Chrysler Town and Country and (still) love it. Before you make a decision, make sure you see the way the middle row Chrysler seats fold into the floorboard, and make sure you see how all the other types remove their middle row. Then think about where you want the kids to be sitting. ...
by strafe
Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?
Replies: 43
Views: 4249

Re: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?

One thing to keep in mind is the model lifecycle. The Chrysler Pacifica (which replaced the 2008-2015 Town and Country) is the newest design. Sedona is 2nd freshest design (2015+). Sienna just had a mid-cycle refresh (2015), but the platform has been in use since 2010. The Odyssey is due to be repla...
by strafe
Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting out of upside down car
Replies: 60
Views: 3984

Re: Getting out of upside down car

As others have said, buy a set of winter wheels & tires from Tire Rack. It will cost you well under $1k (your minimum loss selling the current car) and your car will outperform 4WD w/ standard tires. If you have never driven in the snow and you want to be safe, I suggest taking a winter driving ...
by strafe
Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay off my mortgage?
Replies: 45
Views: 4602

Re: Should I pay off my mortgage?

Just to be clear, paying your credit cards in full every cycle does not have any adverse effect on your credit score and is functionally no different than carrying a balance. Credit card companies typically report your statement balance, which is non-zero even if you pay your account off in full. Yo...
by strafe
Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?
Replies: 43
Views: 4249

Re: Toyota, Honda, Nissan or Chrysler Minivan?

The only one in that list you shouldn't buy is the Nissan. It's archaic and does horribly in crash tests . Take the Nissan out of our list and put the Kia Sedona in the comparison. The new Chrysler Pacifica is the best of the bunch in terms price/features, but will depreciate faster than the Toyota ...
by strafe
Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LendKey student loan refinance nightmare! help!
Replies: 6
Views: 715

LendKey student loan refinance nightmare! help!

I could use some advice from the board on how to handle a student loan refinance problem that is causing me a great deal of angst. Last month, I applied to refinance a private school loan with LendKey, based on the endorsement from the White Coat Investor site and the promise of a $300 rebate. The i...
by strafe
Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical Billing Question - Hospital Discharge Instructions led to acetaminophen OD
Replies: 69
Views: 5473

Re: Medical Billing Question - Hospital Discharge Instructions led to acetaminophen OD

One other consideration: are you certain the overdose was actually sufficient to warrant admission? I am consulted a few times a year by ER docs that grossly overestimate the severity of the exposure. (For example, the treatment guidelines and the lab sometimes describe results using different units...
by strafe
Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US Gov vs federal contractor - medical benefits in retirement?
Replies: 35
Views: 3214

Re: US Gov vs federal contractor - medical benefits in retirement?

Not worth it for such a huge pay cut. No federal employees are earning in the mid six-figures ($400-600k) other than in demand medical specialists and the President. Heads of federal agencies are still low six figures (around $200k). The benefits just aren't worth the much compared to your current m...
by strafe
Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Interest Deduction, Is it worth it?
Replies: 14
Views: 1137

Re: Student Loan Interest Deduction, Is it worth it?

Few people seem to understand what a "write off" really means. Glad you are now in the know! I suggest refinancing it immediately and then paying it off as quickly as you can. Many refinance lenders will give you a $300 rebate that you can apply to principal. Every little bit helps, even i...

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