Search found 624 matches

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: 68
Views: 4421

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: 32
Views: 2515

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: 1046

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...
by strafe
Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amazon.com Store Card
Replies: 68
Views: 7887

Re: Amazon.com Store Card

Does anyone have concerns that this card is not issued by one of the major card issuers such as Visa MasterCard or American Express? So you don't get the same consumer protections. That's why we don't use it. The extra few % rewards above and beyond a credit card don't compensate for the risk of st...
by strafe
Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Just found out I have a TSP
Replies: 22
Views: 2090

Re: Just found out I have a TSP

When I retired from the Navy in 2008, I lost track of my TSP because it had little money in it ($1,100). Well, I found an old file with my TSP info in it and logged on to find out I had almost tripled my $1,100. Yeah. So, I put it all in the G fund and now I would like to figure out what to do with...
by strafe
Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone fly drones?
Replies: 7
Views: 778

Re: Anyone fly drones?

If you're just getting started, and are flying for fun, get something cheap like the Syma X5C. Around $30. Get extra batteries and multi-battery charger.
by strafe
Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: synthetic oil changes
Replies: 134
Views: 8440

Re: synthetic oil changes

If you are changing your oil every 5,000 miles or following the oil life monitor (that was calibrated for non-synthetic), I wouldn't bother with synthetic. Only exception is if you have frequent starts in a cold climate. Synthetic flows better in the cold. Blackstone Labs, a company that analyzes us...
by strafe
Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Handling "drive-by" doctoring bills following surgery?
Replies: 61
Views: 5814

Re: Handling "drive-by" doctoring bills following surgery?

So is there anything that I can do to avoid this ahead of time? I'd like to go into surgery knowing whom I am hiring and agreeing to pay. Is there something that I will be given to sign that will state all that? I am asking because I am likely to have back surgery (fusing L4-L5) sometime during the...
by strafe
Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto lease - money factor calculation
Replies: 12
Views: 858

Re: Auto lease - money factor calculation

If treated the same as a mortgage loan with a balloon, the monthly payment would be $499.74, only $0.54 more. The difference would be greater at higher interest rates, but not by much. Your point is an important one. The lease calculation is a good enough approximation of a balloon loan, but much e...
by strafe
Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto lease - money factor calculation
Replies: 12
Views: 858

Re: Auto lease - money factor calculation

I should add that that the total monthly lease payment is the depreciation charge + interest charge + tax. The depreciation charge is calculated as: (Original loan amount - residual value) / lease length. So a 36 month lease on a $23,600 car with a residual value of $20,000 would cost $100/mo for de...
by strafe
Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto lease - money factor calculation
Replies: 12
Views: 858

Re: Auto lease - money factor calculation

Still not clear. "...the money factor is multiplied by the whole balance, while loan interest is calculated on the remaining balance." What does the 1/2 in the multiplication represent? 1/2 = the whole balance of ________? The money factor is multiplied by (original balance+residual value...
by strafe
Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto lease - money factor calculation
Replies: 12
Views: 858

Re: Auto lease - money factor calculation

The reason for the factor of 2 is that the money factor is multiplied by the whole balance, while loan interest is calculated on the remaining balance. Suppose you lease a $30,000 car for 36 months, with a residual value of $19,200. The money factor will be multiplied by $10,800 to determine how mu...
by strafe
Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Disability and Life Insurance- Military Resident
Replies: 11
Views: 610

Re: Disability and Life Insurance- Military Resident

It may be difficult for you to get reasonably priced coverage. Will they underwrite you as a physician or as a military officer? The quote you got seems very high (double what I paid as a resident).
by strafe
Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whole House Dehumidifier?
Replies: 17
Views: 1523

Re: Whole House Dehumidifier?

We are moving from a very dry climate to a very humid one. We have no experience with dehumidifier's. We had been to the new house and when we left, I set the air conditioner's thermostat to 85 since we would be gone. A mistake, because when we returned this past weekend, there was mold beginning i...
by strafe
Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car talk: sonata MPG dropped a lot
Replies: 43
Views: 2856

Re: Car talk: sonata MPG dropped a lot

On most modern cars, anything that would affect fuel economy to that degree would trigger the MIL (check engine light). May 1 is when the fuel supply switches over the summer blend. Some states have very strict requirements. Is that when this started? Are you calculating the MPG manually (accurate) ...
by strafe
Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dogs scratched my car on country road
Replies: 27
Views: 2847

Re: Dogs scratched my car on country road

How deep are the scratches? My guess is that you can polish them out. Go to your nearest Walmart/Target/Autozone and pick up a bottle of Meguiar's Ultimate Compound (get this specific product; if not available, get Meguiar's Scratch X) and some microfiber towels (should also be in the automotive sec...
by strafe
Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Updated from 2015: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids
Replies: 45
Views: 4152

Re: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids

Minivan, no question. Also look at a 1-2yr old Chrysler Town & Country, which you can pick up for around 17-19k certified used and maybe even less now that the new Pacifica has been released. The base model (touring) is equivalent to Odyssey EX-L and Sienna XLE -- leather, Rear DVD, backup camer...
by strafe
Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: house affordability question
Replies: 39
Views: 2046

Re: house affordability question

Only people who have never owned a home treat rent and mortgage amounts as equivalent. Owning a home come with all sorts of extra costs and risks that are currently borne by your landlord, which in high cost of living areas may not even be covered entirely by your rent. Looking at the mortgage vs. r...
by strafe
Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dog attacked by another dog
Replies: 91
Views: 4843

Re: Dog attacked by another dog

No one yet has mentioned rabies exposure risk. That's a compelling reason (a) to have your dog evaluated by the vet and (b) to alert animal control.
by strafe
Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Mortgage and Lifetime Asset Allocation
Replies: 18
Views: 1202

Re: Mortgage and Lifetime Asset Allocation

A mortgage is a negative bond. I don't see how. Is a car loan a negative bond as well? How about student loans? Are they negative bonds? What about credit card debt? I honestly don't see the point in trying to torture Social Security benefits into "bonds", mortgages into "negative bo...
by strafe
Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leasing a car at age 23
Replies: 51
Views: 3376

Re: Leasing a car at age 23

But that's the definition of selling something. After you sell something, you no longer own it. If yo bought a 15 year old Corolla, drove it for 3 years, and then sold it, you wouldn't "own anything for your hard earned money" at the end either. A lease is a purchase and future sale wrapp...
by strafe
Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leasing a car at age 23
Replies: 51
Views: 3376

Re: Leasing a car at age 23

Regardless of the favorable terms, leasing a car starts you on a cycle of never ending car payments where you never own anything for your hard earned money. But that's the definition of selling something. After you sell something, you no longer own it. If yo bought a 15 year old Corolla, drove it f...
by strafe
Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dr. Charges Facilities fee of $300 - what should I do?
Replies: 142
Views: 8455

Re: Dr. Charges Facilities fee of $300 - what should I do?

The subject line of this thread is really misleading. Your doctor didn't charge a facilities fee. The hospital did. If you choose to get outpatient care at a hospital, you should consider purchasing an insurance plan that covers those hospital services.
by strafe
Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Leasing a car at age 23
Replies: 51
Views: 3376

Re: Leasing a car at age 23

I disagree with the naysayers and would go as far to say that most anti-leasing people haven't actually run the numbers. (I was one of them until I actually did a lease analysis.). Sure, it's more expensive to drive a 0-3 year old car than an old one. But if you are going to have a newish car, the e...
by strafe
Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k loan for home purchase- downside?
Replies: 19
Views: 1586

Re: 401k loan for home purchase- downside?

You should talk to a mortgage broker instead of going lender to lender yourself. You may find a third solution that avoids the issues with the 401k.
by strafe
Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco - Executive vs. Gold Membership
Replies: 17
Views: 2090

Re: Costco - Executive vs. Gold Membership

It all depends on your spending. If you spend more than $2750 per year at Costco, keep the executive membership. The credit card and executive membership rebates are additive as far as I know.
by strafe
Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Didn't Pay Off the Mortgage Today
Replies: 85
Views: 8416

Re: Didn't Pay Off the Mortgage Today

If I die with a mortgage, I'll still be happy. The problem with retiring with a mortgage (and keeping until you die) is that this increases your required investments for retirement MORE than the loan itself (assuming you're going by the 4% rule). Say you have a $200,000 mortgage, paying $1000 a mon...
by strafe
Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amending personal tax return - high risk of audit?
Replies: 4
Views: 350

Re: Amending personal tax return - high risk of audit?

What was your rationale for classifying it as passive to begin with?

If everything's above board, I would amend.
The $15k refund is a sure thing, whereas the audit is not.
by strafe
Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physician disability insurance as a resident
Replies: 16
Views: 1122

Re: physician disability insurance as a resident

I would encourage you to not wait until after July to purchase your policy. The reason is that the future increase option must be exercised on the anniversary date of the policy. When you finish residency you may be covered by group disability through your new employer or practice as an attending. Y...
by strafe
Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth it for us to purchase an umbrella policy?
Replies: 47
Views: 4207

Re: Is it worth it for us to purchase an umbrella policy?

That's about what Amica charges my wife and me. We have clean driving records, no teenagers, no pets, no pool, etc. We're about a low risk as it gets. The cost depends in part on your location -- we're in a low-to-medium cost of living area.
by strafe
Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off Student Loans vs Maxing 401k
Replies: 35
Views: 2761

Re: Pay off Student Loans vs Maxing 401k

2016 will likely be the only year you are eligible for the student loan interest deduction. Be sure to make a voluntary $2,500 interest payment before the end of the year, even if your payment schedule doesn't start until next January. Only the 401k match beats a guaranteed 5.4% return. I believe y...
by strafe
Sat May 28, 2016 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-Approval Letter ... Am I over-complicating things?
Replies: 5
Views: 645

Re: Pre-Approval Letter ... Am I over-complicating things?

I need to submit an offer for a house we like. Real estate agent (buyers agent) is offering his guy from Coldwell Banker. Do I just get it done there or is it smarter to go through someone like a mortgage broker who makes banks compete? I have no doubt that I'll get pre-approved for amount we're wi...
by strafe
Fri May 27, 2016 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Circular Saw
Replies: 18
Views: 873

Re: Circular Saw

For jigsaw, the Porter Cable PCE345 is a good homeowner grade tool with quick blade change and adjustments. Bosch ROS20VSC is a good random orbital sander. For the Sawzall (reciprocating saw), if you have a Harbor Freight in the area I would give their reciprocating saw (Chicago Electric, item #6237...
by strafe
Fri May 27, 2016 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Circular Saw
Replies: 18
Views: 873

Re: Circular Saw

Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 is a fantastic saw for the money. It's powerful yet lightweight (all magnesium). I believe both Home Depot and Lowes carry it. When I was shopping around I found some reviews mention a weak plate hinge for the depth adjustment. That is absolutely not the case in my experience with...
by strafe
Fri May 27, 2016 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car lease buyout
Replies: 10
Views: 1292

Re: Car lease buyout

I'm not certain I understand the concern. Last time I financed a car, the bank deposited the loan proceeds in my checking account and then I wrote a check to the dealer for the full purchase price.
by strafe
Tue May 24, 2016 3:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I buy a house?
Replies: 43
Views: 2459

Re: Should I buy a house?

You shouldn't pay your student loans ahead. It's a very bad deal because you don't save any interest and you tie up your money unnecessarily. You should apply your extra payments to principal instead.
by strafe
Sat May 21, 2016 8:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Physician Looking for Advice
Replies: 22
Views: 3129

Re: New Physician Looking for Advice

PSLF forgiveness includes principal and interest and is non taxable. Other posters are incorrect in suggesting that PSLF benefits are taxable or that interest is not forgiven. Proposals to cap the benefit to the undergrad borrowing limit (currently $57.5k) affect REPAYE but not necessarily the origi...
by strafe
Wed May 18, 2016 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Planning to purchase Term life policy, do I need to get in shape?
Replies: 16
Views: 1477

Re: Planning to purchase Term life policy, do I need to get in shape?

[...]On the day of the exam, don't drink excessive amounts of liquid in an effort to alter the results. They can detect that too. If your urine is too diluted, that raises a huge red flag. Please PM me offline if this is TMI for the forum, but how can they tell that? [I am not disputing that they c...
by strafe
Fri May 06, 2016 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fingernail Polish on my carpet, call leasing office?
Replies: 11
Views: 1413

Re: Fingernail Polish on my carpet, call leasing office?

My question is should I call the leasing office and ask if their maintenance people can fix it? I'm afraid if I do this they will ask me to replace the whole carpet in the room. Any other suggestions on how to approach this? The leasing office is the absolute last place I'd contact. Your obligation...
by strafe
Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical School preparation Pointers for a Sophomore Student
Replies: 48
Views: 3474

Re: Medical School preparation Pointers for a Sophomore Student

Prerequisite courses may be school specific but will generally include general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and general physics. Some schools have extra math requirements that we won't need to worry about as an engineering grad. Doing a human anatomy course (with cadaver lab) and a ...
by strafe
Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit cards with those little chip thingys...
Replies: 8
Views: 1127

Re: Credit cards with those little chip thingys...

The chip verifies that your genuine card is present, not a copy. It is easy to create a fake magnetic strip containing your credit card number. But a thief can't readily create a fake chip.
by strafe
Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long can I drive my car that needs repairs?
Replies: 22
Views: 1701

Re: How long can I drive my car that needs repairs?

I have a 19 year old Nissan. I would say the strut and bushing are not safety: struts and bushing failures cause discomfort but they have nothing to do with steering and braking. Agree with previous thread that you should replace Oxygen sensor, but if you don't care about mpg or OBD error codes, yo...
by strafe
Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used car buying Qs
Replies: 51
Views: 4214

Re: Used car buying Qs

Your budget can get you a late model (as in 2011, or newer) Hyundai Sonata with under 100k miles. That's a nice, safe, reliable mid-sized car that doesn't come with a price premium. There have been tremendous advances in car safety in the last five years. Statistically speaking, your kid is going to...
by strafe
Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long can I drive my car that needs repairs?
Replies: 22
Views: 1701

Re: How long can I drive my car that needs repairs?

Can't say without knowing how bad they are. Front struts and bushings could be a major safety issue (loss of control in an emergency) if they're completely shot. Wheels won't fall off unless they're talking about the ball joints. O2 sensor could hurt fuel economy and ruin the cat (dumping unburned g...
by strafe
Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Throw away turbo tax disk?
Replies: 16
Views: 1832

Re: Throw away turbo tax disk?

Its unlikely that installation media would contain personal info that someone could dig out of the landfill. But it's at least a theoretical possibility with floppy disks, and it would be reasonable to physically destroy them. (As if anyone has the equipment to read them...) Product CDs/DVDs are rea...
by strafe
Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car tire replacement
Replies: 45
Views: 3752

Re: Car tire replacement

I haven't found Costco prices to be all that competitive in my neck of the woods, but I've also had lots of balance problems when I buy from Discount Tire. Shop around, including Tire Rack. As far as tire selection goes, I would buy the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3. You mentioned your car is all wheel...
by strafe
Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Down to 2 cars: How to decide?
Replies: 15
Views: 2285

Re: Down to 2 cars: How to decide?

Single, no kids, dont expect to have kids. 1) New 2015 Mazda3i Sport hatchback, $18.750 out the door 2) used 2013 Mazda3i Touring sedan, 17k miles, $14.250k out the door . the 3yr/36k factory mile warranty expires 8/2016 so i have 9months left. no additional warranty from this dealer. normalization...
by strafe
Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Looking to refinance a 5/1 ARM from Third Federal
Replies: 7
Views: 865

Re: Looking to refinance a 5/1 ARM from Third Federal

Questions: 1) Which mortgage should I refinance? Why not both? 2) Since I have enough equity in primary should I do cash out refinance and payoff rental. Obviously, not too keen on this since it will increase risk on my primary house. I wouldn't, but too few details given to provide an intelligent ...
by strafe
Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Headlights & car safety
Replies: 48
Views: 4135

Re: Headlights & car safety

Can't tell you what types of headlights they are, but I often wonder why people coming at me on a narrow, curvy 2-land road think they're safer by blinding oncoming traffic with bright aftermarket (not high beams) headlights. Sounds like the lights weren't properly aimed. The projector lenses can b...
by strafe
Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Headlights & car safety
Replies: 48
Views: 4135

Re: Headlights & car safety

yes, headlights have improved.

there are aftermarket projector kits for older cars but the quality is often poor.
if your headlights are oxidized (cloudy), polishing them with a plastic polish or headlight restoration kit might improve the situation, though the effect won't be profound.

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