Search found 67 matches

by jmw
Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pen Fed Nightmare Customer Service
Replies: 34
Views: 3448

Re: Pen Fed Nightmare Customer Service

Proposed solution: pay the $55 again and move on with your life. All these phone calls and time are not worth it. Paying the $55 again is what I would do as well. I don't like wasting $5 or $55 but life is too short to waste hours on the phone. If it was $550 then yeah I'd keep up the good fight.
by jmw
Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Preparing for retirement in mid 30s
Replies: 311
Views: 21074

Re: Preparing for retirement in mid 30s

When I was a teenager, I did not get everything my classmates got. My household made 1/3 of what my friends' households made. I got through my teenage years fine but I was not a happy camper. Here is what I didn't get: 1) $2k junker car (that's ok since I felt I should get a job to save up for wheel...
by jmw
Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth to relocate for retirement?
Replies: 140
Views: 13498

Re: Is it worth to relocate for retirement?

We moved from CA to SC last year, and invariable when locals we have met say that we must be happy to be out of such a highly taxed State I usually just smile and don't disabuse them of that fantasy. I've been criticized on this forum for saying most total taxes are comparable in most areas, but fr...
by jmw
Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Caretaker for parents?
Replies: 46
Views: 3127

Re: Caretaker for parents?

I'll just mention that it's very hard to prevent your career from taking a severe backslide when you're skipping out from work during the middle of the day. Your absence will be very noticeable even if you make up the time in the evening.
by jmw
Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase closed my accounts and banned me and I don’t know why
Replies: 48
Views: 7797

Re: Chase closed my accounts and banned me and I don’t know why

Very surprised nobody has mentioned EWS (Early Warning Services). I bet dollars to donuts that there is significant derogatory data in the report that makes the OP look like a money launderer or bonus chaser. Order the comprehensive report. It lists ALL of your ACH activities at some financial insti...
by jmw
Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A few things that points blogs don't tell you about credit card points
Replies: 67
Views: 9253

Re: A few things that points blogs don't tell you about credit card points

Credit card bonuses and points are a nice perk. I've used them. I even tried to game the system a few years back. Long story short - it introduced serious lifestyle creep via vacations and big ticket items. Yes, the vacations were great as I've used the points. Got some free airline trips. I've bee...
by jmw
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A few things that points blogs don't tell you about credit card points
Replies: 67
Views: 9253

Re: A few things that points blogs don't tell you about credit card points

Credit card bonuses and points are a nice perk. I've used them. I even tried to game the system a few years back. Long story short - it introduced serious lifestyle creep via vacations and big ticket items. Yes, the vacations were great as I've used the points. Got some free airline trips. I've bee...
by jmw
Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are emergency funds for suckers?
Replies: 202
Views: 16002

Re: Are emergency funds for suckers?

Solid job LOL. Many workers think they're irreplaceable unicorns but don't realize they are actually easily replaced. Sometimes by foreign workers to save the employer money. Many doctors thought they had the immunity idol and then the pandemic hit. You'd think doctors would be making money hand ove...
by jmw
Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are emergency funds for suckers?
Replies: 202
Views: 16002

Re: Are emergency funds for suckers?

My whole portfolio except my in-service 401k and pension is the emergency fund. Although in-service loans can be taken out of the 401k, that results in a cashflow issue with loan payments so I don't count it. I don't count HELOC and credit cards as a reliable source of funds. Both can be cut at any ...
by jmw
Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Using Margin as Emergency Fund?
Replies: 23
Views: 1105

Re: Using Margin as Emergency Fund?

HELOC is not a reliable source of emergency funds. The banks will close your line before you realize you should have taken the dollar bills out of the walls of your home. Same thing with credit cards.
by jmw
Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can anything beneficial be done with this mortgage situation?
Replies: 19
Views: 1066

Re: Can anything beneficial be done with this mortgage situation?

I'm going to ignore the potential title issue. When credit challenged, FHA or VA loan is the option to consider. You can refi into FHA loans with low-ish credit scores. But most lenders have overlays that exceed FHA minimum requirements. In addition, FHA loans have appraisals that are nitpicky and w...
by jmw
Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career advice
Replies: 88
Views: 8085

Re: Career advice

Bringing in HR is a huge mistake. You want to help the employer load an extra bullet into the gun being pointed at you? Then go right ahead....
by jmw
Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is "Cost of Living" a Fallacy?
Replies: 18
Views: 1641

Re: Is "Cost of Living" a Fallacy?

If I knew a 100% vaccine would not be forthcoming for five years or more, I'd move today and pocket the money with the VHCOL/ M or L COL arbitrage. Honestly I could do my work 100% remote but that doesn't matter at all. Unfortunately, my work talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk with regard to e...
by jmw
Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My kid scratched my neighbor's new car
Replies: 115
Views: 7479

Re: My kid scratched my neighbor's new car

The $2400 price is not crazy. Open your checkbook and write the check. This is an open and shut case. You don't want to claim this on your homeowner's unless you like getting non-renewed and getting your premiums jacked up a lot for years. I would be mad if the scratch was still there afterwards or ...
by jmw
Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career advice
Replies: 88
Views: 8085

Re: Career advice

Is "special review" another phrase for PIP? If you are in a union, I would let them know what happened right away. If you are in California, I would assert Skelly. If it is possible to transfer to a different department in the same government agency, I would do that or move on to another employer. T...
by jmw
Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: deferred payroll tax implications?
Replies: 77
Views: 5583

Re: deferred payroll tax implications?

Couldn't an employer guarantee it will cover the employee's share of the SS taxes if it is not forgiven since chances are pretty good that the deferral will be forgiven? It's like a free raise that employers probably won't have to pay for. Certain employers like government couldn't do that because i...
by jmw
Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career advice
Replies: 88
Views: 8085

Re: Career advice

I've seen non-unionized management employees pushed out the door just like a regular private sector job despite this being a government job. Another tactic is they could make your life difficult and trick you into leaving voluntarily when civil service rules make it difficult for them to fire you or...
by jmw
Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: List of One Stop Shops
Replies: 19
Views: 1658

Re: List of One Stop Shops

I currently use Schwab as my one stop shop and am considering Fidelity due to my work retirement account being in netbenefits. So far, I think both products are very good but I don't see any reason to switch. Here are my minor complaints about Schwab: 1) Can't transfer funds immediately between Schw...
by jmw
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth vs. Traditional - Marginal or Effective
Replies: 35
Views: 2101

Re: Roth vs. Traditional - Marginal or Effective

Do you belong in a labor union with a collective bargaining agreement that favors you in a layoff situation? Or are you totally at-will? Without a labor union with favorable layoff protection in your current position, I would only assume what the pension is worth today as a monthly payment if you re...
by jmw
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Health Care plan: Kaiser HMO vs PPO+HSA (in CA)
Replies: 17
Views: 1331

Re: Help with Health Care plan: Kaiser HMO vs PPO+HSA (in CA)

Once you start getting sick where you need more than the very occasional surgery and multiple specialists, Kaiser HMO is not so great. But yeah I would stick with Kaiser while young and healthy because you can switch every year during open enrollment when things go south. That Kaiser plan looks much...
by jmw
Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing a job in your 50's...
Replies: 577
Views: 89535

Re: Losing a job in your 50's...

When I was in my 20s in IT, I thought nearly all of the folks in their 50s were dinosaurs that needed to be eliminated. They could not or would not learn anything new. They wanted to do things the old way. Now that I'm nearing the 50s, I can freely admit I'm a dinosaur too that is not motivated to ...
by jmw
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing a job in your 50's...
Replies: 577
Views: 89535

Re: Losing a job in your 50's...

When I was in my 20s in IT, I thought nearly all of the folks in their 50s were dinosaurs that needed to be eliminated. They could not or would not learn anything new. They wanted to do things the old way. Now that I'm nearing the 50s, I can freely admit I'm a dinosaur too that is not motivated to l...
by jmw
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Mother's House
Replies: 17
Views: 1458

Re: Buying Mother's House

You made the *right* decision already but just wanted to add my data point: My parent's creditors via the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee were nearly able to pierce the purchase of my parent's property from me four years after the transaction.
by jmw
Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I agree that Investing is better than paying off mortage but.....
Replies: 75
Views: 6980

Re: I agree that Investing is better than paying off mortage but.....

In classic lending where the bank keeps the loan on its own books, a mortgage is a bet on your income being able to service the loan for 30 years. If you have no job or income coming in, you are not getting the loan. If you have enough assets to pay off the loan with no income, the bank still won't ...
by jmw
Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I was looking at getting the 1% cash back discover card. How many of you use debit cards all the time?
Replies: 79
Views: 4002

Re: I was looking at getting the 1% cash back discover card. How many of you use debit cards all the time?

You can use your credit card for consumption items and just immediately pay for it if it makes you feel better - you don't have to wait for a monthly bill - login and immediately pay the amount you have just used for consumption. Paying in full immediately doesn't help at all with overspending and ...
by jmw
Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I was looking at getting the 1% cash back discover card. How many of you use debit cards all the time?
Replies: 79
Views: 4002

Re: I was looking at getting the 1% cash back discover card. How many of you use debit cards all the time?

Debit card for most purchases in an account with no overdraft possible. If money wasn't budgeted for the shopping, the charge gets declined. I move just enough money to get the weekly shopping done and no more. The risk of overspending far outweighs the loss of rewards. All it takes is a single comp...
by jmw
Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Uber vs Ambulance - HUGE cost difference
Replies: 85
Views: 12805

Re: Uber vs Ambulance - HUGE cost difference

This is a really odd topic. So let's limit this to the emergency conditions where you can't drive yourself to the ER due to danger of passing out or something similar and a family member/friend can't drive you there immediately. Uber is just a substitute for driving yourself to the ER. Also very imp...
by jmw
Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your health insurance stats?
Replies: 89
Views: 9081

Re: What are your health insurance stats?

You're lucky. We have had problems getting HMO referrals to specialists outside the group when they say they have an in-house specialist. But our experience shows that some of the in-house doctors were doctors we did not want to see for various reasons. Behavioral health is one field that is especi...
by jmw
Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you buy a house with little or no income?
Replies: 24
Views: 3382

Re: Can you buy a house with little or no income?

A mortgage or pretty much any other debt is a bet on your income repaying the loan. It's not a bet on the price appreciation or price stability of the underlying house. Stop thinking like it's 2008 with the NINJA loans. The security interest in the house is only used if you don't pay the mortgage pa...
by jmw
Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your health insurance stats?
Replies: 89
Views: 9081

Re: What are your health insurance stats?

US Employer Corporate POS Plan: Premium: $182 for a family of any size ($2800/month if paying 100%) Deductible: $200 per individual/$600 family maximum for OON, 0 deductible for in-network and HMO Co-insurance after deductible: $15/10%/30% (HMO/PPO/OON) OOP Max: $1500/$2000/$3000 Geography: Northern...
by jmw
Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?
Replies: 80
Views: 9901

Re: Should I move abroad to minimize health care costs?

First, I agree with those of you who thought $10k doesn't buy much in US healthcare and there are plenty of ways to blow right through $10k every year indefinitely. If you continue to live in the US, I would strongly encourage you to move from the individual health insurance market (no more ACA or e...
by jmw
Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Supplement Policies?
Replies: 56
Views: 7852

Re: Medicare Supplement Policies?

What's the advantage of taking Kaiser or one of the other inferior Medicare Advantage plans? Sorry, but they are a horrible choice unless you get sick with common illnesses that are easy to diagnose and treat. Some common illnesses are expensive, and Kaiser will cover those fine. You save a few buck...
by jmw
Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance Cover a Fractured Zygoma?
Replies: 15
Views: 3117

Re: Medical Insurance Cover a Fractured Zygoma?

Is the doctor working for Kaiser or otherwise considered in-network for your policy? If you're out-of-town for the 4th of July holiday and these are not in-network docs, you will get stuck with the bill if you could have waited until you returned home. If a Kaiser doc says you need it, case closed. ...
by jmw
Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worthwhile TV programming?
Replies: 55
Views: 6480

Re: Worthwhile TV programming?

I think the definition of "worthwhile TV programming" is different from person to person based on their interests. For example, I think all of the news programming nowadays (CNN, Bloomberg, Fox, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, etc.) is terrible so I'm real hesitant to suggest my specific list of TV shows. But as g...
by jmw
Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Handling "drive-by" doctoring bills following surgery?
Replies: 107
Views: 14445

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

There is no such thing as a free lunch. You guys instinctively know this to be true and that includes Kaiser. Some of you are trying to "educate" your friends by switching to Kaiser for easy billing and getting rid of drive-by bills. I think that's fine advice for mostly healthy folks who are still ...
by jmw
Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have experience with Kaiser in Colorado
Replies: 36
Views: 4168

Re: Anyone have experience with Kaiser in Colorado

With ACA, you are stuck with your decision for one year and then you can change course. I don't have much objection for someone in good health to use it pre-Medicare. Kaiser works pretty well for folks in good health. My answer would be "hell no" for traditional Medicare fee-for-service vs. Kaiser. ...
by jmw
Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA Annual "Free" Physical
Replies: 6
Views: 1801

Re: ACA Annual "Free" Physical

It's far worse than the non-payment for labs. When you get older (and sicker), the labs won't be free anymore since they include way more tests than the free lab. Another problem is that if you bring up any other issue with your health like pre-existing conditions, the doctor's office might code the...
by jmw
Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health options for 68 year old
Replies: 8
Views: 2572

Re: Health options for 68 year old

If OP involuntarily lost drug coverage that's as good as Medicare, OP should be able to get a special enrollment period to join any Medicare Advantage plan that has a drug plan. Then start looking through the formulary and overall benefits of every single MA plan to see which one is best. I would no...
by jmw
Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurace
Replies: 12
Views: 3164

Re: Health Insurace

It's a lot more than Medicare Advantage having narrow networks. At 85 years young, I'm willing to bet that your multiple copays going forward under Medicare Advantage won't allow you to realize any savings. Some of the copays are shockingly high. You'll start rationing your healthcare because of hig...
by jmw
Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare
Replies: 48
Views: 14435

Re: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare

I will start Medicare in a couple of months and currently have Kaiser.I have been going back and forth between original Medicare and Kaiser solely to be able to go to Stanford or UCSF if a major surgery became necessary at some future time. I started checking the Kaiser surgeons throughout the Bay ...
by jmw
Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare
Replies: 48
Views: 14435

Re: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare

with all due respect, there is no free lunch imho Maybe not, but some lunches (just as good) may cost less or the same cost may give a better lunch. Get real. You're still getting a McDonald's lunch. It will satisfy hunger and that's all. Like I said, you have no idea what it is like to be really s...
by jmw
Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare
Replies: 48
Views: 14435

Re: Anyone use Kaiser Senior Advantage for Medicare

Kaiser's psych is a huge joke in northern California. If you have mental health issues, stay far away even if you have no other medical problems. You will get triaged into ineffective group therapy and it will take a long time to see a psychiatrist initially and ongoing. If you miss an appointment, ...
by jmw
Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where to purchase Medicare Advantage Plan
Replies: 13
Views: 1804

Re: Where to purchase Medicare Advantage Plan

Customer support is really the least of your worries about this decision. It's an important decision and I think you're making a mistake choosing an Advantage plan. My family used to be Kaiser members and we were fine as long as we stayed relatively healthy with fewer than one doctor visit every 2 m...
by jmw
Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Advantage 2017 Rates, premiums, etc.
Replies: 16
Views: 2685

Re: Medicare Advantage 2017 Rates, premiums, etc.

Several years ago, there were many posts and strong opinions here that Medicare Advantage Plans (and the similar Medicare Cost) would increase premiums significantly and/or reduce benfits significantly due to changes in Medicare. In my case, Kaiser in Washington DC area, increases in premiums (with...
by jmw
Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: T-Mobile New 'One' Plan
Replies: 27
Views: 5267

Re: T-Mobile New 'One' Plan

Depending on your area, you might need a phone that works with a large myriad of cellular frequencies including band 12 to get the best coverage. Tmobile coverage is not the best, so it's best to get a phone that covers as many frequencies as possible. The Nexus 6p would be a great choice for a T-mo...
by jmw
Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WSJ $99 for 6 months -- worth it?
Replies: 62
Views: 11283

Re: WSJ $99 for 6 months -- worth it?

Long time ago, the WSJ was a lot less slanted and more "just the facts and explanation." Op-ed should stay in the op-ed section, but that train left the station long ago at all major publications. So no, it's not worth having to wade through the garbage articles in a single publications to read the ...
by jmw
Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Surgery Center Billing Question
Replies: 5
Views: 1239

Re: Surgery Center Billing Question

Does this happen with the astigmatic keratotomy add-on that cataract surgeons offer? We know the AK is not covered by Medicare, but we would hate to get a surprise bill from the surgery center. Wouldn't the surgery center have to have the patient sign a Medicare ABN form? The senior in our family is...
by jmw
Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Much Will Medical Costs Fall Under Medicare
Replies: 42
Views: 4449

Re: How Much Will Medical Costs Fall Under Medicare

If you choose to go with the cheaper Medicare Advantage plan, you will not be able to get a Medigap policy ever again except in very limited circumstances after your first year on Medicare. Most people who are age 66 or older and want to switch to Medigap are actually too sick to pass medical underw...
by jmw
Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 103
Views: 11235

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

More often than not, however, it is my experience (as a layperson, not a medical professional) that Physicians seem to order and push for more tests, scans, etc. than seems "necessary". I will say, though, that this seems to be less frequent (with Kaiser, Medicare) than with my previous primary car...
by jmw
Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The psychology of high deductible health plans
Replies: 103
Views: 11235

Re: The psychology of high deductible health plans

Your health is more important than the balance in your HSA or your wallet. Those asking for transparent pricing are missing the point. HDHP are bad news due to the strong tendency to self-ration healthcare because the high estimate for a mystery condition could be a four figure hit to the HSA or the...