Search found 1363 matches

by mrc
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low water pressure/flow in house
Replies: 52
Views: 2714

Re: Low water pressure/flow in house

Given some of these posts, I wonder if the mains is all the way open. This sounds like a classic part-open gate valve. You'd have high pressure with no flow, and pressure would plummet with faucet(s) open.
by mrc
Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Friend's car caught in flood ?
Replies: 97
Views: 7521

Re: Friend's car caught in flood ?

I would not spend another dime on a flooded out vehicle. But that's just me I guess.
by mrc
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inappropriate touching in a workplace- What is the best act?
Replies: 28
Views: 2247

Re: Inappropriate touching in a workplace- What is the best act?

Please remember, HR is there for the company/organization. Not your wife.
by mrc
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on a concrete driveway
Replies: 15
Views: 1612

Re: Question on a concrete driveway

Forget the concrete. Go to home depot and get some 4" pavers and place them where you want them. Easy fix. Seems like you are only doing this because your car has to roll over a little bit more of your existing driveway. I cannot imagine any contractor will be interested In 1 x 9 job. As someone me...
by mrc
Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in
Replies: 92
Views: 14235

Re: Jonathan Clements: About half your retirement accumulation is just the dollars you put in

Spouse's TIAA is an exception to that rule. She contributed in the 1980s through about 1991.

Employee contribution: $3377
Employer contribution: $6442

Value in Feb 2017 was $296,415.

Clearly, the time horizon matters!
by mrc
Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panel advice & experiences
Replies: 64
Views: 2901

Re: Solar panel advice & experiences

It is about 2500 sf, with finished basement giving approx 4500sf livable space. We have a very steep roof with multiple peaks, so each panel is not in an optimal south facing direction. Also very high ceilings which require lots of A/C in summer to cool room. Their estimates put our offset at aroun...
by mrc
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best of Bogleheads - your #1 takeaway
Replies: 151
Views: 15291

Re: Best of Bogleheads - your #1 takeaway

This graph on the Investment Philosophy Wiki page, in the Keep costs low section made the biggest impression on me. Especially the grey to the right of the dotted line.
by mrc
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping elderly parents manage finances - pros and cons
Replies: 62
Views: 5176

Re: Helping elderly parents manage finances - pros and cons

I did the same with my mother. Took over the investing well over 20 years ago, she handled the day to day. A few years back, when after taking over my in-law's day to day, I eventually convinced my mother to let me do that for her , i.e. setting up utilities on autopay, charging them to the credit ...
by mrc
Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 62096

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Yep, in most cases reluctantly I'm still of the opinion it is best bet to move out of TSP to an IRA at retirement unless you live in a state that taxes TSP withdrawals favorably or need extra protection from lawsuits for some reason. G Fund alone does not outweigh the TSP negatives. That is what my...
by mrc
Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash & Checkbook Register Reconciliation
Replies: 61
Views: 3929

Re: Cash & Checkbook Register Reconciliation

No I haven't balanced a checkbook for about 7 years, for three reasons: First, everything is available online at the bank's website. Second, I write very few checks. I do check credit card statements, and watch EFTs to pay utilities, CC balances. Finally, the checking account balance is sufficient, ...
by mrc
Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learning Accounting (question)
Replies: 14
Views: 1121

Re: Learning Accounting (question)

I sometimes wonder how others cannot appreciate software engineering in particular, system administration, and computers in general. Then I read about cash accounting vs accrual accounting, balance sheet vs owners equity ... and I get it. Thankful we can choose our vocations.
by mrc
Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirement Expenses Rule of Thumb
Replies: 51
Views: 4306

Re: Retirement Expenses Rule of Thumb

I'm not retired, but I'm starting to get a plan, this was my simple model: - Take the income that I spend every year (not going into taxes or pre/post tax retirement savings) - Remove the expenses that will go away (like paid off house) - Add new expenses I plan to have (like medicare gap insurance...
by mrc
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding stuff
Replies: 19
Views: 1946

Re: Wedding stuff

Please buy/rent as little plastic as possible. There are environmentally sound alternatives to plastic dishes and flatware. I had to look up what a table topper is, why do you need those? It is a large banquet hall, we will have 8 or 10 tables. I need something to break up the expanse tables and ch...
by mrc
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Splitting fence cost with neighbor
Replies: 53
Views: 4898

Re: Splitting fence cost with neighbor

Looking at his property, I am pretty sure he will not be interested in that. He doesn't do a lot outside his house (painting, landscaping, staining fences) and honestly I have seen little maintenance activity around his place. That's enough to alert the HOA "architecture committee" or whatever your...
by mrc
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Healthy fast food
Replies: 152
Views: 10867

Re: Healthy fast food

I eat very low carb, and once or twice a day. In a pinch like that, being out on the road, I would order several ground beef patties only (no bun, fixens, fries, drinks) from any of the major burger chains. All will sell them à la carte if you ask.
by mrc
Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 62096

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

The FRTIB posted minutes for the June 2019 meeting . Section 4 Enterprise Risk Management Update (pp3-4) ticks off a disturbingly long list of "high" level risks: Information Security Disaster Recovery Business Continuity Insider Threat Management TSP Fraud are all rated "high risk. Oh, and the Addi...
by mrc
Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should FEHB members buy Medicare Part B?
Replies: 174
Views: 23813

Re: Why should FEHB members buy Medicare Part B?

Maybe take a look at MHBP Consumer option as well, it appears to offer $1,200/year each person, waives medicare copays, coinsurance and deductibles, and has a smaller premium than Aetna Direct? You have to join the Mail Handlers Union though. The reviews here for that plan are abysmal, which unders...
by mrc
Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Offer Evaluation - FANG
Replies: 114
Views: 14232

Re: Job Offer Evaluation - FANG

Broadway2018 wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:42 am
Update: I am a month into the job and am loving it. This was the best decision of my life! Seattle is great and the job is better than expected.
Congratulations. It's nice when things work out. The help offered on this board is stellar.
by mrc
Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The exact month to begin receiving Social Security benefits for the maximum.
Replies: 44
Views: 3612

Re: The exact month to begin receiving Social Security benefits for the maximum.

It makes the most sense that if you were born on 11/02-11/30 you are deemed to have turned 70 on 11/01, November benefits accrue, and the first payment will arrive in December. It makes less sense to turn 70, say, on 11/09, wait until the end of November to begin accruing benefits in December and re...
by mrc
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Being a hands off homeowner
Replies: 51
Views: 3921

Re: Being a hands off homeowner

Childhood friend's dad always said the only thing he needed in his toolbox was the Yellow Pages. It can work for you, but finding reliable, affordable service is non-trivial.
by mrc
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pickup truck issue!!
Replies: 39
Views: 3199

Re: Pickup truck issue!!

A new truck like my 2004 6.0 diesel/auto is ~$65K. Yours is barely broken in at 130K miles. I would fix it.
by mrc
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a Smoker
Replies: 118
Views: 7739

Re: Buying a Smoker

I have a cookshack electric smoker and it's great. http://www.cookshack.com I too have a Cookshack, Smokette (the smallest model). About the size of a mini-fridge. It has a large wood box, electric heat means you set it and walk away. The temp control is excellent,no pellets to fuss with. I can use...
by mrc
Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long term care insurance excessive price increase -upset!
Replies: 171
Views: 12555

Re: Long term care insurance excessive price increase -upset!

I live in a state that limits rate increases to 15%/year. We purchased a couple's policy in 2003 when I was 43 and DW was 52. Until 2015, the premium remained flat. Since then it's increased by 15% 2015 and 2016, and have remained flat since. It is a great policy, the likes of which is unavailable t...
by mrc
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Big Hospital Bill - Any way to negotiate ?
Replies: 130
Views: 8675

Re: Big Hospital Bill - Anyway to negociate ?

A family member had a procedure performed at a preferred facility by a preferred surgeon. However, they used an out of network pathologist without his knowledge. He was on BCBS Basic and the insurance paid nothing. So, he called BCBS and asked for help because he had no say in selecting the OON pat...
by mrc
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Big Hospital Bill - Any way to negotiate ?
Replies: 130
Views: 8675

Re: Big Hospital Bill - Anyway to negociate ?

mrc, If the provider is not in your EPO network, how will you know how much the plan allowance is? Will the EOB tell you that for a out of network provider? I'm spitballing here. I could call and ask. The point is there are always two prices: The higher (often a LOT higher) pay out of pocket uninsu...
by mrc
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Big Hospital Bill - Any way to negotiate ?
Replies: 130
Views: 8675

Re: Big Hospital Bill - Anyway to negociate ?

Before this thread is locked, I have a serious question. I have BCBS Basic, which pays ZERO if I go out of network. I would never intentionally go out of the network. If by chance, an out of network provider did participate in my care, the EOB would look something like this: Provider Charges $2500 P...
by mrc
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:10 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pick one: $135,000 rental property or $110,000 in REITs
Replies: 89
Views: 11399

Re: Pick one: $135,000 rental property or $110,000 in REITs

willthrill81 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:33 pm
So the effective yield on the property is 4.84%, whereas the yield on VNQ is 3.96%.
All that work being a landlord, for 0.88%? I would move to VNQ. Another way to consider, if you had an extra $180K to invest, would you rather buy another property, or VNQ?
by mrc
Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 62096

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

Spousal rights are written into law: If you are married, the law grants your spouse certain rights regarding your TSP account as described in the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986. https://www.tsp.gov/PlanParticipation/LoansAndWithdrawals/withdrawals/specialConsiderations.html#spouse...
by mrc
Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cancelling 24 Year Old Credit Card
Replies: 31
Views: 2873

Re: Cancelling 24 Year Old Credit Card

OK. I am the OP and here's a follow up question: If I keep the card, how infrequently can I use it yet prevent it from getting cancelled for being inactive? Once a year? Twice a year? And if I just do a small charge every 6 or 12 months, is the fact that the charge is merely small a factor? Activit...
by mrc
Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cancelling 24 Year Old Credit Card
Replies: 31
Views: 2873

Re: Cancelling 24 Year Old Credit Card

I put my old cards in the safe, and charge something online once a year. With a couple other cards that spouse and I have, I put recurring charges like the newspaper on them. Everything else goes on the high rewards cards. I'm not sure how much of a hit closing and older card, or lowering your credi...
by mrc
Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB Blue Cross Basic vs. Blue Focus
Replies: 21
Views: 1968

Re: FEHB Blue Cross Basic vs. Blue Focus

Under Basic, we might have paid 1 or 2 thousand, but it is hard to figure exactly. It would have been fine if I had gotten sick since I have Medicare, but DW does not. Probably closer to $1K. Our share of a liver surgery with 2 nights in hospital ran ~$750. The hospital submitted chargers were $36K...
by mrc
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?
Replies: 54
Views: 3952

Re: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?

What kind of deciduous did you plant? Personally I have taken pics just like you described, via Google Earth too. I think the neighbors thought I was crazy....got asked "what are all the blue poles in your yard".....(the tree tubes). I knew it would be an upfront $$ investment, but you only have to...
by mrc
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?
Replies: 54
Views: 3952

Re: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?

Take pictures! We have pictures of our two-plus acres of mostly grass with a few trees here when we moved in. We planted ~600 trees (mostly from Muesser, half conifer, half deciduous), nearly 20 years ago. The periodic photos reveal astounding differences. I can remember mowing between the baby tree...
by mrc
Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Triage in ER - charged $790
Replies: 60
Views: 4833

Re: Triage in ER - charged $790

DW was sick for several days with a knot in her stomach. When she couldn't keep any food down, we had to act. Of course it was a Sunday morning. We waited for the neighborhood urgent care clinic to open. Avoiding the ER was a 100% financial decision and not a medical one. After a couple days, an app...
by mrc
Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?
Replies: 50
Views: 4050

Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Yes most modern houses have two 20 amp circuits for the kitchen. BUT one of those circuits is for the refrigerator (which also draws big power on start up) and maybe one extra plug. Then the other circuit is for the rest of the kitchen via 2-4 sockets. So adding a toaster oven to the same circuit a...
by mrc
Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?
Replies: 50
Views: 4050

Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

I said the 10-12 amps draw for a toaster oven stresses the wiring. Well it does because most modern kitchens have a coffee pot or two and a microwave oven and now a toaster over and a refrigerator and several other gadgets. In most kitchens most of these appliances are hooked up to one 20 amp circu...
by mrc
Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Improving the TSP [for current participants]
Replies: 418
Views: 62096

Re: Improving the TSP [for current participants]

DW and I have both stopped working, and spouse transferred all but a few thousand dollars from her (sizable) TSP into her TIAA 403b. I moved my employee 401k (from a financial services company no less) into my TIAA account as well. Both moves required some Notary efforts, and a couple weeks to compl...
by mrc
Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Burial Plot in advance
Replies: 53
Views: 3196

Re: Buying Burial Plot in advance

The only time I recollect hearing about burial plots is extended family discussing what they're going to do with a plot purchased decades ago that no one now wants. Grown-up's Hot Potato game. I'm in this situation now. Grandfather purchased 6 plots for himself and wife, his uncle (who raised him) ...
by mrc
Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular dropping calls
Replies: 12
Views: 1179

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

UPDATE: Sure enough, the phones were shipped (in error according to CC chat rep) with T-Mobile SIM cards. CC is sending us AT&T SIM cards which should improve reception greatly.

Thanks again for the tips here, I always like calling customer service with a solution already in my mind.
by mrc
Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular dropping calls
Replies: 12
Views: 1179

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

Thanks for the suggestions. I didn't know where to start, and now I have a plan.
by mrc
Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?
Replies: 54
Views: 3952

Re: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?

Thanks. I think planting smaller ones is easier, but it takes a very long time for them to get to a good size to provide privacy. Those links don't open up for me. Those links are dead to me too, but the information is widely available elsewhere. There is certainly a trade off on cost and ease of p...
by mrc
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular dropping calls
Replies: 12
Views: 1179

Re: Consumer Cellular dropping calls

iPhone 8 64GB
by mrc
Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Cellular dropping calls
Replies: 12
Views: 1179

Consumer Cellular dropping calls

We finally left the dark ages and retired our Consumer Cellular flip phones for a pair of iPhone 8s. We've had a CC plan for ages and there is one spot on my wife's drive home where we loose voice contact for about 30 seconds. The calls never dropped with the flip phones. Yesterday, DW called me and...
by mrc
Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?
Replies: 54
Views: 3952

Re: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?

Do folks generally plant larger trees themselves, or get professionals to do it? I have considered myself getting some ever greens for privacy. I almost bit the bullet on buying 6 ever greens for ~$3-400 a pop last fall. But I am fairly inexperienced in this area, and have killed smaller, easier to...
by mrc
Mon May 27, 2019 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House not selling
Replies: 138
Views: 11967

Re: House not selling

From the perspective of the buyer, a key question is, "What else can I get for your price?" If the answer is not much, you will sell. If the answer is a bigger house with a newer kitchen, better schools, and or where the foyer doesn't smell of dog, it won't.
by mrc
Thu May 23, 2019 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ongoing eBay buying problems
Replies: 32
Views: 2541

Re: ongoing eBay buying problems

I've been helping with some parental downsizing. I sold a set of four heavy heirloom small glass tumblers to a buyer. Buyer claimed one arrived broken, but couldn't send me a picture b/c she was going to a wedding. I said I'd wait. I know how to pack glassware, and wasn't making much on the sale—jus...
by mrc
Tue May 21, 2019 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?
Replies: 54
Views: 5288

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Some things to consider: 1. Wearing a blazer 2. Dark colors 3. Slicked back hair 4. Speak without voice fry, raised-question intonations or the use of ums 5. Wear pants 6. Don't smile as much; be serious as default. 7. Don't engage in small friendly chit-chat much with higher ups anymore than they ...
by mrc
Mon May 06, 2019 5:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?
Replies: 54
Views: 3952

Re: bare root trees - best place or website to purchase from?

I’d take a look at: http://musserforests.com/ I agree. Thanks. Have you ordered from there as well? What was your experience? I have. Several times. I planted upwards of 500 trees from them on my lot. A mix of conifer and deciduous. Great price for the product. Especially the precision grown more m...
by mrc
Mon May 06, 2019 4:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ants - aargh
Replies: 69
Views: 4630

Re: ants - aargh

You'll likely never be able to block the ant's access. Best to concentrate on removing the food source they seek. Once a scout finds it, s/he tells the colony about it. 1) Move the dishes elsewhere (for a while anyway). 2) Clean the surrounding area well, removing all the trace fats/sugars. 3) Keep ...
by mrc
Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare B only vs FEHB only
Replies: 47
Views: 1978

Re: Medicare B only vs FEHB only

I currently have Federal Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which is considered to be one of the better plans. I have a $5,000 deductable on my plan (if I included my husband on my plan, it would be double that). When you are older and have major health issues, it is quite easy to blow through that $5,000 ded...