Search found 133 matches

by spooky105
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Internet security and vpn
Replies: 35
Views: 3055

Re: Internet security and vpn

For home-based access of your financial accounts, you're being too paranoid. A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server. This is useful on unsecured WiFi such as at coffee shops, hotels, or airports where the integrity of the network is questionable. The successfu...
by spooky105
Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone have a dishwasher they recommend?
Replies: 97
Views: 5763

Re: Does anyone have a dishwasher they recommend?

Regardless of model you go with, below is some recommended reading. Wouldn't be surprised if some of the negative reviews related to cleaning on <insert model> reflect the changes described in this article that folks aren't tracking / haven't adapted to. https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-di...
by spooky105
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Florida Panhandle recommendations
Replies: 17
Views: 2041

Re: Florida Panhandle recommendations

Live in Fort Walton Beach and periodically range from Pensacola / Navarre to Destin / Miramar / Grayton / Seaside... Key to understanding this area is the role hwy 98 plays in transportation -- it's the major east/west road along the coast and can become a chokepoint between communities during touri...
by spooky105
Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Owners of RECENT Speed Queen washers ONLY
Replies: 13
Views: 2297

Re: Owners of RECENT Speed Queen washers ONLY

Parents purchased a matching set within the past year on my recommendation. Was either 5 or 3 series, just don't have it in front of me. They're very happy with the purchase -- clothes come out clean & dryer works well. No issues and as far as they're concerned. The products perform under real world...
by spooky105
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buy a refrigerator at Sears?
Replies: 37
Views: 3141

Re: Buy a refrigerator at Sears?

For what it's worth, a Kenmore refrigerator is made by Whirlpool, Frigidaire, or LG depending on the exact model. The differences between the Kenmore badged unit and the same unit made by the parent brand boil down to cosmetics (trim, color, shelf arrangement, handle style, etc.) and bells / whistle...
by spooky105
Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: first time home buying
Replies: 9
Views: 1055

Re: first time home buying

A couple of thoughts for your: MORTGAGE LENDER -- Ask a local real estate agent or similar for references in the community. These may be originators (will initially loan you the money and then sell the mortgage on to a big bank like Wells) or folks at actual banks. In either case, it functionally ma...
by spooky105
Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Volvo dealership for warranty service in Orlando area? Parallel parking malfunction, etc.
Replies: 13
Views: 945

Re: Good Volvo dealership for warranty service in Orlando area? Parallel parking malfunction, etc.

I believe you'll be happy with the purchase in the long term. Mom drove a 240 sedan for 18 years, then an S80 when they updated the lineup in 2000 and now an XC60. I've driven a C30, '12 XC60, and now in a '18 XC90. Electrical-wise, the old 240 boxes (80s / early 90s) would occasionally have issues ...
by spooky105
Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403b, 457, backdoor Roth, 529’s, then what?
Replies: 7
Views: 449

Re: 403b, 457, backdoor Roth, 529’s, then what?

Duckie wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:42 pm
Are there other things we should consider?
You could put some of that $30K into paying down the mortgage.
I would also look at this. If student loans are gone in 3.5 years and you are mortgage free then you have an incredible amount of room to maneuver with how you choose to live life.
by spooky105
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Volvo S90 T5 Momentum - Thoughts and Suggestions???
Replies: 41
Views: 3722

Re: Volvo S90 T5 Momentum - Thoughts and Suggestions???

Congrats. Best wishes on many safe miles.
by spooky105
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refrigerator Advice
Replies: 46
Views: 3634

Re: Refrigerator Advice

We bought a Samsung french door, bottom drawer freezer about 5 years ago. Next time, we will go with LG bc salespeople told us that they receive far more calls about Samsung repair than LG repair. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: The repair guy who came to diagnose my pain in the $##* Kenmore Elite (a...
by spooky105
Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:18 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pre-Military Seeking Investment Planning
Replies: 49
Views: 2686

Re: Pre-Military Seeking Investment Planning

Is it possible to take the govt matching and convert it to Roth afterwards or is it always traditional until I take the money out? The contributions by the govt are always traditional. TSP does not allow you to convert from Traditional to Roth or vice versa. However, once you separate from service ...
by spooky105
Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pre-Military Seeking Investment Planning
Replies: 49
Views: 2686

Re: Pre-Military Seeking Investment Planning

I'll try to cover quite a bit of ground here for you. Tried to minimize the re-attacks from other posters, but some are inevitable... BLENDED RETIREMENT SYSTEM Since you're entering the service after 1 Jan, 2018 you will be under the blended retirement system. What this means to you at this stage: 1...
by spooky105
Mon May 27, 2019 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FIRE in 6-7 years vs 20+ years
Replies: 44
Views: 5250

Re: FIRE in 6-7 years vs 20+ years

Recommend you work your way through the back catalogue of the https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com podcast -- quite a few episodes talk to ways to structure you work/life balance via different employment arrangements. As others have mentioned, best to take the time to study your options and see how att...
by spooky105
Sat May 25, 2019 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Value of Airlines Miles for Magazine Subscriptions
Replies: 8
Views: 830

Re: Value of Airlines Miles for Magazine Subscriptions

The Points Guy publishes monthly valuations for points from all the major programs. Use these numbers to see how the value you are getting from using points compares to the dollar cost of subscribing directly. My guess is you are getting a bad deal, and your points could be better used elsewhere. Un...
by spooky105
Tue May 14, 2019 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Volvo S90 T5 Momentum - Thoughts and Suggestions???
Replies: 41
Views: 3722

Re: Volvo S90 T5 Momentum - Thoughts and Suggestions???

My take on the Volvo reliability discussion after having researched an SPA XC90 over the course of several months and settled on buying a CPO 2018: Volvo moved to a new architecture in MY2016 with the XC90 leading the charge. The 90-series vehicles are built on this architecture, with a similar re-d...
by spooky105
Wed May 08, 2019 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good town to stop on I-81
Replies: 42
Views: 3614

Re: Good town to stop on I-81

If you have a hankering for a good German meal along the drive then Hagerstown, Maryland has the best German Restaurant this side of the pond -- Schmankerle Stube. Otherwise, previous recommendations check with places that jump out in my mind along 81. Just make sure you stop at Sheetz any time you ...
by spooky105
Wed May 08, 2019 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going solar
Replies: 29
Views: 2521

Re: Going solar

Any thoughts on looking at an energy efficient metal roof (raw galvalume or white/light color) instead of shingle? Depending on your situation, going with metal may yield significant savings in the heat of the summer. Your utility may even incentivize the change (mine offers up to $400). Metal roof ...
by spooky105
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Metal roof- anyone switch from asphalt to metal?
Replies: 12
Views: 1566

Re: Metal roof- anyone switch from asphalt to metal?

Just put a metal galvalume roof on our house -- NW FL mid century, 1900 sq ft with 1.5:12 pitch. We were limited to rolled asphalt or metal based on shallow pitch & building code. Metal was 2x the price of rolled asphalt, but with a lifespan of 3-5x vs the ~10 years rolled asphalt is good for in the...
by spooky105
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network
Replies: 54
Views: 4458

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

The "Who this is for" section in the below link has a good primer on when a mesh network is appropriate as well as product recommendations. We've had great success in a long rectangular house with Eero. The previous single router would drop off at the ends of the house. https://thewirecutter.com/rev...
by spooky105
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Military Advice
Replies: 9
Views: 1379

Re: Military Advice

You can set up an IRA for yourself and your spouse. With a 2019 contribution limit of $6,000, that means a total combined savings potential of $12,000. Those dollars can be split however you wish between Roth or Traditional IRAs, but the total contributions cannot exceed $6,000. This limit is separa...
by spooky105
Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Military Family- AA HELP!! Restructure HELP to GOALs
Replies: 9
Views: 682

Re: Military Family- AA HELP!! Restructure HELP to GOALs

529 You've got a solid foundation set with each kid receiving your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit. I would still contribute to 529s. Here's why: 1) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill will effectively cover college at a state school, but it will come up short if you/your kids opt for private school. 2) Can be used for ...
by spooky105
Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 30 years old - Evaluate my finances, review request
Replies: 8
Views: 1206

Re: 30 years old - Evaluate my finances, review request

Active duty military, age 33. Here's what jumps out at me: CASH You could put your cash into a money market account at Vanguard. It will pay similar interest to a high yield savings account. But a money market account can lose value (this happened in 2008, with significant implications). Instead, op...
by spooky105
Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to spend a few hours in Halifax and Saint John?
Replies: 11
Views: 659

Re: How to spend a few hours in Halifax and Saint John?

Second Signal Hill in Saint Johns -- nice walk from the town up the hill and back, with a great view of the harbor. Found a nice coffee shop or two along the way, though the names escape me now.
by spooky105
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: More Bad News for USAA Bank
Replies: 61
Views: 11468

Re: More Bad News for USAA Bank

OCC Consent Order: https://www.occ.gov/static/enforcement-actions/ea2019-001.pdf Would be interesting to peak behind the curtain to know what the actual problems are. The above is pretty generic. Giving it a quick read and skimming the cited statues (not a lawyer) I can picture a few [somewhat humor...
by spooky105
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403 B Question
Replies: 10
Views: 922

Re: 403 B Question

Security Benefit has the previously mentioned DirectInvest account you can set up. It offers all of the building blocks for an excellent portfolio. Only overhead above and beyond Vanguard's exceptionally low fees is $35 / year for portfolios less than $50k. This is what I set up for my wife -- enrol...
by spooky105
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403 B Question
Replies: 10
Views: 922

Re: 403 B Question

Rob, The benefits of investing pre-tax dollars in a 403b outweigh the high expense ratio, provided the account has access to reasonable investment options (not annuities, etc.). That said, I recommend doing a deep dive on every provider you can use in your district, looking at every possible account...
by spooky105
Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Post-9/11 GI Bill for college questions
Replies: 29
Views: 1641

Re: Post-9/11 GI Bill for college questions

Below is how I value the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefit. I assume a private school education, with the benefit only covering part of the total tuition expense. DURATION OF BENEFIT 36 Months. This is time actually in school, excluding summer/winter breaks. Better to think of it as covering 4 academic sc...
by spooky105
Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:15 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor
Replies: 20
Views: 1863

Re: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor

This is not about cost verse sgli, but being able to keep a decent price renewing term policy or similar, past separation. I became disabled which forced me to retire from the Army at age 36. I lost sgli leaving service. Civilian companies would quote me huge rates due to my illness. I was left wit...
by spooky105
Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor
Replies: 20
Views: 1863

Re: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor

Some more thoughts: LIFE INSURANCE First off, good on you for looking at term life insurance and skipping whole life. My life insurance setup: ME $400,000 SGLI ($29) -- applies while on active duty $400,000 AAFMAA ($18.15) -- applies until age 50, then tapers to $0 at age 60 $250,000 USAA ($23.53) -...
by spooky105
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor
Replies: 20
Views: 1863

Re: Requesting Guidance - 29 y/o military investor

A few years ahead of you, having recently crossed the 9 year mark. A few thoughts: When looking at money market vs high yield savings for your emergency money I think it's worth considering that during the financial crisis there was dislocation in the money markets causing at least one fund to "brea...
by spooky105
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Savings accounts
Replies: 21
Views: 3744

Re: Savings accounts

I use two online savings accounts: 1) Cash reserve for home expenses (insurance deductible, water heater fails, etc.) 2) Surplus cash above and beyond what I need in the checking account to cover regular bills Wouldn't open another account to chase rates as long as your current savings account is co...
by spooky105
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: washer dryer rec
Replies: 22
Views: 1648

Re: washer dryer rec

Speed Queen -- purchased a dryer when ours died and love it. We'll do the same with the washer. Latest model of the washer has some bad press online due to a re-design, but depends on how you want to interpret the situation. Some argue the re-design has resulted in an inferior product, others that t...
by spooky105
Tue Dec 25, 2018 10:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military: No match on December LES TSP contributions?
Replies: 7
Views: 860

Re: Military: No match on December LES TSP contributions?

25% of base pay didn't result in you reaching the $18,500 cap in November, did it? If your Dec contributions couldn't be withheld because you had already reached the cap then no matching contributions would be made for December either. I've come across a few stories of folks getting burned by this, ...
by spooky105
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?
Replies: 59
Views: 6791

Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

We've had great success with Total Wireless (Verizon MVNO). Coverage & speeds are great as expected with Verizon (previous 5 MB speed cap is no more). Four lines w/25 GB data, unlimited talk/text runs us $102.50 per month. Only downsides are I can't turn my iPhone into a hotspot (never used that fea...
by spooky105
Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military-Advice Needed
Replies: 13
Views: 1605

Re: Military-Advice Needed

1. Based on my intent to possibly retire in five years would you prioritize saving 25x expenses or begin paying off the mortgage? At 3.25%, your mortgage interest rate is rock bottom from a historical perspective. I wouldn't rush to pay it off -- you can expect a higher long-term return by keeping ...
by spooky105
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen Remodel
Replies: 27
Views: 3233

Re: Kitchen Remodel

Researched appliances for several months prior to upgrading about a year ago. Talking to all of the local dealers selling Wolf, Viking, Miele, Sub Zero, etc. as well as researching multiple online forums I found the below: If you care more about cooking than checking the standard boxes for luxury ki...
by spooky105
Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $20,000 book - what to do with it
Replies: 34
Views: 6939

Re: $20,000 book - what to do with it

Digitize it. Make yourself a hard-copy if so inclined. Then sell it and invest the proceeds in an index fund. Auction houses to consider: Christie's, Sotheby's, and Bonham's Swann's, Skinner, and Heritage Auctions PBA Galleries All of the above have specialist book departments and hold several aucti...
by spooky105
Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: My marginal tax rate has dropped from 30% to 22%. Time to switch to Roth?
Replies: 8
Views: 1420

Re: My marginal tax rate has dropped from 30% to 22%. Time to switch to Roth?

My rule of thumb: anything crossing into the 22% tax bracket (old 25% bracket) or above goes into traditional. Reasoning: you can "make" (earnings, pension, traditional withdrawals, etc.) about $100k in retirement (married, filing jointly) and still be taxed in the 12% bracket (old 15%). ($100k - 24...
by spooky105
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Need help selecting 403b funds
Replies: 8
Views: 467

Re: Need help selecting 403b funds

Contribute to an IRA before the 403b (since there is no employer match). It gives you the greatest control of the money and you can set it up at Vanguard for the lowest fund fees possible. Depending on your current tax situation and future guesstimate of income/career, a Roth IRA may make sense. Any...
by spooky105
Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]
Replies: 71
Views: 10531

Re: $12,000 Refrigerator?

Have a 10-month old Kitchenaid Fridge (KRFC604FSS) and was looking at SubZero, etc. when we were in the market. Here's what I found through my research: Back in the day, Sub Zero (and others) offered superior build quality and "food preservation" compared to regular brands. Getting into the later......
by spooky105
Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good VPN?
Replies: 35
Views: 5045

Re: Good VPN?

I've had good results with NordVPN -- use it on the road/while deployed for internet access and streaming. Also use it stateside to stream live NFL games via the official NFL Gamepass subscription (you have to be outside of the U.S. to watch games live...stateside you can just watch them after the f...
by spooky105
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Now, here it is: My 40 Year Investment Plan. I would appreciate any advice!
Replies: 29
Views: 3467

Re: Now, here it is: My 40 Year Investment Plan. I would appreciate any advice!

8. Can someone explain in simple terms the two components of why stocks are tax efficient. If I recall correctly, stocks are tax efficient because 1.) most of its dividends (a portion of the profits that the company agrees to pay its stock holders) are less than some threshold which qualifies it to...
by spooky105
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is our Early Retirement Plan sound?
Replies: 9
Views: 1946

Re: Is our Early Retirement Plan sound?

Not sure if you're tracking these options, but the Mad Fientist blog may be worth exploring further: https://www.madfientist.com/how-to-access-retirement-funds-early/ Another tool to help analyze/visualize your situation is available through Personal Capital. (NOTE: After you set up an account with ...
by spooky105
Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have a personal chef?
Replies: 48
Views: 6210

Re: Anyone have a personal chef?

There are businesses local to us that prep, cook, package up, and freeze a week of dinners that customers can pickup on Sundays. Very convenient. Perhaps there is a similar business near you. Same here, though I believe ours deals only in refrigerated meals. Popular among the single folks who are l...
by spooky105
Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: USAA opinions. Worth it?
Replies: 53
Views: 8754

Re: USAA opinions. Worth it?

I had USAA auto insurance for 18 years and before recently switching to GEICO since the insurance premium was about 50% cheaper. Personally the higher rates were not worth the purported superior customer service. Below is a response from an USAA rep about the different tiers of membership: Since we...
by spooky105
Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Metropcs iPhone SE $200
Replies: 42
Views: 7093

Re: Metropcs iPhone SE $200

Just completed moving the family (4 lines) over to Total Wireless from AT&T. We're using a mix of iPhone SE's and iPhone 6's. No tethering and we have to deal with the old Verizon issue of not being able to talk and access data (except on WiFi) at the same time. Otherwise, LTE data coverage and cell...
by spooky105
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rewards Credit Cards for Large Purchases
Replies: 19
Views: 2765

Re: Rewards Credit Cards for Large Purchases

I regularly take advantage of sign-up bonuses with airline credit cards, Chase, Amex when I have large one-off purchases. Most of these cards I cancel within the first year, effectively paying a small annual fee to get significantly more value in points/cash from the sign-up bonus. The Points Guy is...
by spooky105
Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lagavulin 16 yo vs Distiller's edition
Replies: 12
Views: 3788

Re: Lagavulin 16 yo vs Distiller's edition

I've had bottles of the Lagavulin 16, 1996 Distiller's Edition, and 1997 Distiller's Edition. Doing a direct tasting between the 16 and both DEs, I found the '96 to be similar to the 16 but better...like way better (best tasting leather shoe I've ever drank, is how I described it to a friend at the ...
by spooky105
Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Washer/dryer suggestions?
Replies: 46
Views: 7643

Re: Washer/dryer suggestions?

Have a Speed Queen dryer and will purchase a top loader here when our washer gives up the ghost / after we tackle a few other capital expenses around the house. Space doesn't support a front load model, otherwise we'd go that direction. SQ makes top-load and front load washer models. Down range they...
by spooky105
Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: replace or keep car with 60k miles?
Replies: 39
Views: 4109

Re: replace or keep car with 60k miles?

I've started tracking the KBB value of our 12 Volvo XC60 and 15 BMW 328i... with a previous BMW I noticed a "notch" in the cost to maintain vs KKB value at around 80,000 miles. Once I crossed that, maintenance costs started to ramp up and KBB value started to drop pretty quickly until it bottomed ou...