Search found 1088 matches

by mrc
Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping My Snowblower for Off-Season
Replies: 11
Views: 985

Re: Prepping My Snowblower for Off-Season

Here is something I read years ago for storing lawn mowers. It seems that it would apply to any small gasoline engine. 1. Run out all the gasoline. 2. Remove the spark plug. 3. Pour about a tablespoon of oil into the cylinder. 4. Pull the starter cord a few times to coat everything with the oil. 5....
by mrc
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got hit with a $2800 Medical bill. Can I negotiate?
Replies: 187
Views: 9392

Re: Got hit with a $2800 Medical bill. Can I negotiate?

The restaurant butcher chart is wonderfully entertaining, and really underscores how broken the health care delivery system in the U.S. is. A major problem is that billing for every encounter + coding + insurance carrier + individual plan choice + position in the annual cycle (have you met the deduc...
by mrc
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Trinity Study updated to 2018
Replies: 113
Views: 9971

Re: Trinity Study updated to 2018

I'd love to read it, but can't open anything at Forbes. This has happened before. Anyone else having this problem? I'm using Safari 11.0.3 I am using the current version of Safari, which is 11.1, and it works for me. Consider upgrading. It is free. Thanks. I'll give it a look. Edited to add : Well,...
by mrc
Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I being unreasonable? [Send daughter to private kindergarten]
Replies: 70
Views: 3969

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Elementary-age private school never made any sense to us, unless your public school options are unacceptable. Even for middle and high school age, it makes sense only if the public option is intolerable (and there are other reasons for remaining in that district).
by mrc
Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Former employer plan - IRA or roll over to current employer plan
Replies: 4
Views: 251

Re: Former employer plan - IRA or roll over to current employer plan

I believe under some circumstances, 401k/403b plans have more protection from judgements/creditors/divorce settlements than do IRAs.
by mrc
Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:26 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard vs TIAA
Replies: 58
Views: 1694

Re: Vanguard vs TIAA

I was ready to move to Vanguard until I discovered my former employer (a large university) offered Vanguard TSM/TBM institutional class funds within the plan. Instead of moving from a higher cost house to Vanguard, I moved everything to TIAA. But I only hold Vanguard funds within. We are among the l...
by mrc
Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to photograph the sunrise at DC's Tidal Basin
Replies: 5
Views: 193

Re: Best place to photograph the sunrise at DC's Tidal Basin

Find the most crowded spot and that will be the place. :wink: There will be lots of people, so take that into consideration. Personally, I like shots that include the Jefferson memorial. And blossom closeups where there are more trees in the background. Makes for a beautiful bokeh. PS It may be rain...
by mrc
Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience selling car to Carmax?
Replies: 103
Views: 118222

Re: Experience selling car to Carmax?

jehovasfitness wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:18 pm
sold a truck to them once, smooth process.

I was under the impression they would only buy cars that were a certain age, as in no older than 6 yrs if I recall.

is that no longer accurate or was it ever that way?
A year ago, we sold a low mileage 2002 to Carmax.
by mrc
Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Portable Inverter Generator vs Standby Generator
Replies: 78
Views: 2870

Re: Portable Inverter Generator vs Standby Generator

Capital cost of larger portables, and the fuel use goes up with output. I sized my portable to max load plus some wiggle room. I typically throw the breakers on the fridge/freezer, the microwave, and the well pump to be sure none come on at once. Makes a huge difference. The pressure tank on the wel...
by mrc
Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?
Replies: 247
Views: 12707

Re: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?

Calling on mods to lock this immediately. People are throwing around junk pseudoscience, and frankly, it's dangerous. Get your nutrition information from an actual expert, a Registered Dietitian. Literally anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, and everyone online thinks they're an expert. Unli...
by mrc
Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mystery: Gas bill says therms increased 33% year over year but temperature stayed the same. Why?
Replies: 26
Views: 1747

Re: Mystery: Gas bill says therms increased 33% year over year but temperature stayed the same. Why?

Around these parts, March has been colder than Jan or Feb. The 28-day averages are notoriously noisy. Were the meter readings actual or estimated? After I installed solar, I found electric meter was read only every other month. In the early days, the estimated readings were wildly off. Can you go ba...
by mrc
Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?
Replies: 247
Views: 12707

Re: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?

Not at all. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/ https://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-diabetes/ https://nutritionfacts.org/video/egg-industry-response-to-choline-and-tmao/ http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/latest-on-eggs.html and many others. Michael Greger? Pu...
by mrc
Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Computer Security
Replies: 55
Views: 3490

Re: Computer Security

JBTX wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:25 pm
We do have an ad blocker.

Sometimes my kids get on PC also. Trust me I’m not doing anything unusual. A couple of times the windows reinstall may be due to windows becoming corrupt.
+1 for Mac or Chromebook. For reasons beyond security. Life it too short to fight with Windoze. :beer
by mrc
Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: eBay seller mails hard drive in paper envelope
Replies: 32
Views: 2397

Re: eBay seller mails hard drive in paper envelope

eBay Money Back Guarantee policy.

Use it. No one should ship a hard drive without proper packing.
by mrc
Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Breaking a car lease - can they charge for miles?
Replies: 10
Views: 1055

Re: Breaking a car lease - can they charge for miles?

And she cannot or does not want to take the car with her?
by mrc
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best year round shrub/plant in Northeast for privacy
Replies: 18
Views: 1447

Re: Best year round shrub/plant in Northeast for privacy

Is the 6 to 7 feet a useful height, and the plants can grow larger? Or is that a max height (because of wires or other consideration)? Leyland cypress are not expensive, and grow to 6-7' quickly. But they don't stop there. They are also fairly upright (fastigiate) and won't spread out very far. If ...
by mrc
Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best year round shrub/plant in Northeast for privacy
Replies: 18
Views: 1447

Re: Best year round shrub/plant in Northeast for privacy

Is the 6 to 7 feet a useful height, and the plants can grow larger? Or is that a max height (because of wires or other consideration)? Leyland cypress are not expensive, and grow to 6-7' quickly. But they don't stop there. They are also fairly upright (fastigiate) and won't spread out very far. If y...
by mrc
Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank reports address change for all joint account holders
Replies: 4
Views: 713

Re: Bank reports address change for all joint account holders

Thanks for the feedback. I will write letters to the bureaus and the bank to correct erroneous reported information. There really ought to be a law :annoyed
by mrc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My 2017 CRV is a victim of the dreaded oil gas-dilution issue
Replies: 200
Views: 23041

Re: My 2017 CRV is a victim of the dreaded oil gas-dilution issue

You could send a used oil sample away for analysis to see if there is any gasoline in the engine oil. It doesn't cost much and it doesn't take long. That's what I would do. Then you would have proof that there is or is not a problem. I have used Blackstone labs for oil analysis for years. They'll s...
by mrc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Federal court tosses out fiduciary rule
Replies: 60
Views: 6327

Re: Federal court tosses out fiduciary rule

This was a 2-1 decision by a three judge panel in one federal circuit. So, as they say, it's probably not over.

Here is the full opinion from the 5th Circuit website.
by mrc
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank reports address change for all joint account holders
Replies: 4
Views: 713

Bank reports address change for all joint account holders

My elderly mother has a checking and savings account with a regional bank. I am a joint account holder on these accounts. To total account balances are well under $10K. Our home addresses are in different cities, within the same state. For a while, the mailing address on the accounts was my home add...
by mrc
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: re-siding house - vinyl or hardiplank?
Replies: 54
Views: 5104

Re: re-siding house - vinyl or hardiplank?

We re-sided our vinyl 2 story colonial with Hardy. Much nicer living now. Quieter in the wind. Looks brand new. Hail proof. Doesn't come loose in high winds. We also added OSB sheathing and house wrap. Original build omitted the wrap and had sheathing only on the corners. You could have broken into...
by mrc
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery
Replies: 45
Views: 4001

Re: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery

Good point. I just did some experimenting, and once I am in the house for a little bit I do not smell anything (either in the air, or on my clothes in the closet). So it is definitely something I get accustomed to. Of course, I think that it probably not good news since that just means (I think) th...
by mrc
Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Software - for spending
Replies: 5
Views: 456

Re: Personal Finance Software - for spending

JohnFiscal wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:54 am
I'm a big fan of Kotlikoff so the MaxiFi has sounded intriguing to me.

Another excellent choice used by a lot of bogleheads is the free iORP software (iorp.com). It can take some work to understand if you want to dig into the details but it is an excellent piece of work.
The website is i-orp.com
by mrc
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chain Saw pruner or Pole Saw?
Replies: 24
Views: 1915

Re: Chain Saw pruner or Pole Saw?

I'm 58—with the massive upper body build of a long-distance runner. I have ~200 hardwood trees on the lot. I started out nearly 20 years ago with a big box pole pruner. That worked OK primarily because the trees were smaller. As the trees grew, I picked up a Stihl HT 131 so I could get things done q...
by mrc
Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery
Replies: 45
Views: 4001

Re: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery

If you can elicit the smell by rubbing the shelving surfaces, repainting with a stain blocker primer like Zinsser/Bullseye could help. If not, I wonder if limited air circulation enables something to grow. We had a "stale" closet for years after moving into our house. It's much less noticeable now o...
by mrc
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: re-siding house - vinyl or hardiplank?
Replies: 54
Views: 5104

Re: re-siding house - vinyl or hardiplank?

We re-sided our vinyl 2 story colonial with Hardy. Much nicer living now. Quieter in the wind. Looks brand new. Hail proof. Doesn't come loose in high winds. We also added OSB sheathing and house wrap. Original build omitted the wrap and had sheathing only on the corners. You could have broken into ...
by mrc
Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 109
Views: 7506

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

I'm getting a sense that some people may think federal employees are somehow able to rip off honest taxpayers by using sick leave for nefarious purposes. First, remember, federal workers are also themselves honest taxpayers. Second, my spouse is a fed and I know very few people who work harder than ...
by mrc
Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just received 1099B
Replies: 11
Views: 782

Re: Just received 1099B

Gort wrote:
Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:33 pm
If the IRS owed you $3.00 would you want it?
I wouldn't. $3 is rounding error.
by mrc
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 109
Views: 7506

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

If you save half your sick leave for forty years, that's equivalent to another year of work in either system. If you save it all, that's equivalent to two more years. When I was a pup, people kept talking about Old Mr Harris, the comptroller. I never saw him, so I eventually asked. They said, "Oh, ...
by mrc
Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sous Vide?
Replies: 75
Views: 11884

Re: Sous Vide?

I also do a lot of BBQ and smoking. It's not possible to exactly duplicate slow smoking or BBQ. But in many ways, I think food cooked sous vide and finished in the smoker is even better than "the real thing". Temps for brisket flats are all over the place. Some say 135 others say 155. Do you have a...
by mrc
Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusion about prepaying property taxes
Replies: 139
Views: 14352

Re: Confusion about prepaying property taxes

I noticed my check for property tax pre-payment hasn't cleared the bank yet. Interesting. I'd probably call your tax authority about that. Good idea. Took a while to connect with the tax office. Unit is still processing these payments. Instructed to give them until Friday after next, and check bank...
by mrc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 109
Views: 7506

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

I'll be retiring on March 31, 2018 as a FERS annuitant with over 35 years of service, over age 62, with well over a year of unused sick leave. I accelerated my TSP contributions so that I'll contribute $24,500 to my Roth TSP in the eight pay periods my agency has between January 2nd and March 31st....
by mrc
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?
Replies: 24
Views: 1590

Re: Third floor too hot with central A/C: options?

Our second floor gets hot in the summer. House has the feed plenum for 2nd story in the attic, and flexible duct to ceiling vents in the rooms. he central return in the hallway. So no closing doors. This has to be the worst idea ever. HVAC tech says there is no way to push cold heavy air from the ba...
by mrc
Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confusion about prepaying property taxes
Replies: 139
Views: 14352

Re: Confusion about prepaying property taxes

I think the “hard line” comes from the feeling that in years past the IRS allowed, or at least didn’t challenge, people making an estimated payment. Montgomery County in Maryland just told their residents to do exactly that. I noticed my check for property tax pre-payment hasn't cleared the bank ye...
by mrc
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best plants to grow to save money for food costs
Replies: 93
Views: 5276

Re: Best plants to grow to save money for food costs

I have grown crops to obtain particular varieties of produce and herbs/spices that are difficult to impossible to find locally. I've grown for better quality (think grocery store cannon ball tomatoes). But never to save money. I found tending a garden doesn't save all that much money, especially giv...
by mrc
Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Retiree Health Care with/Medicare
Replies: 206
Views: 16004

Re: Federal Retiree Health Care with/Medicare

In modest defense of mrc, I tried the link this morning with Chrome on both Mac and PC and the expand/collapse twistie didn't work. Not an adblock, blocked cookie or script, or other usual issue. I looked around on the Medicare site for a webmaster contact link or email address to notify, didn't fi...
by mrc
Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Retiree Health Care with/Medicare
Replies: 206
Views: 16004

Re: Federal Retiree Health Care with/Medicare

... After reading all these posts, I am concerned whether my spouse will have to pay a penalty if we decide to take B within the 8 month period. He is nearly 69, I am close to 68 (March). I had assumed the 8 month period also pertained to him as dependent on my policy but now not so sure. If spouse...
by mrc
Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: C-Suite etiquette advise needed
Replies: 27
Views: 3823

Re: C-Suite etiquette advise needed

Ask for the faux gras, it's a dried textured vegetable protein bean dip. :D My DW is a vegan non-drinker. From what I have observed over the years, things work best when you politely and quietly request club soda (so you have something in your hand), and decline the animal products with grace. "No t...
by mrc
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard 1099s available - Other companies just as good for sending 1099s???
Replies: 67
Views: 8195

Re: Vanguard 1099s available - Other companies just as good for sending 1099s???

oldzey wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:03 pm
My "Consolidated Form 1099" just showed up!

Time to file taxes! :sharebeer
Just received the email. Alas:

Tax information is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later or contact us.

I must not alone :?
by mrc
Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial Hole
Replies: 163
Views: 13853

Re: Financial Hole

You'd have to take the kid and smokes up with the wife,I've been down that road and she isn't budging. So I can only work on me right now... I think that Consumer Cellular is what old people use,and I'm sure that doesn't include data. Wow. :annoyed Consumer Cellular offers cheaper plans than your c...
by mrc
Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No such thing as true own occupation in group LTD insurance?
Replies: 6
Views: 283

Re: No such thing as true own occupation in group LTD insurance?

Way back when I shopped for external LTD for spouse and me. One big difference, other than portability, was own-occupation vs any. Group policies through employers may not be what you really want. You might try pricing LTD on your own. ETA: You may want to ask your HR dept about the terms. Read the...
by mrc
Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No such thing as true own occupation in group LTD insurance?
Replies: 6
Views: 283

Re: No such thing as true own occupation in group LTD insurance?

Way back when I shopped for external LTD for spouse and me. One big difference, other than portability, was own-occupation vs any. Group policies through employers may not be what you really want. You might try pricing LTD on your own. ETA: You may want to ask your HR dept about the terms. Read the ...
by mrc
Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest funeral options
Replies: 40
Views: 3166

Re: Cheapest funeral options

So we made a mistake and called a funeral home to do the cremation, which resulted in the bill being double what a direct cremation would have cost. I don't understand why it is implied that cremation done by a funeral home and direct cremation are mutually exclusive. Funeral homes can do direct cr...
by mrc
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest funeral options
Replies: 40
Views: 3166

Re: Cheapest funeral options

Whole body anatomical donation is one way, but some institutions impost a fairly high fee if they work with a funeral home. Others cover the entire cost. And it's possible that the body cannot be accepted for anatomical use (e.g., if it's too heavy, communicable disease, isn't discovered timely). Lo...
by mrc
Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to ship two big tubs of butter internationally?
Replies: 43
Views: 3549

Re: How to ship two big tubs of butter internationally?

Mango butter (AKA mango oil, mango kernel fat) is an extracted nut oil. Doesn't need refrigeration, but has a low melting point. https://www.amazon.com/Mango-Butter-Better-Shea-Moisturizer/dp/B01I5I9UYA?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-ffab-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953...
by mrc
Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any Difference Between Retiring and Resigning?
Replies: 3
Views: 694

Re: Any Difference Between Retiring and Resigning?

If the company offers perks for retirees (insurance coverage, other discounts), perhaps. My megacorp assumed you were 65+ so what they offered wasn't much benefit to me. I simply resigned and moved my 401k and company ESPP stock shares elsewhere.
by mrc
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What hourly consulting rate outside my day job?
Replies: 28
Views: 1552

Re: What hourly consulting rate outside my day job?

You want to make sure your employer doesn't have a policy that prohibits or restricts moonlighting. There are things you can do to check without telling the employer. Thanks, I will check into that. I can't imagine they would have any such policy. It's a typical megacorp with 100k employees worldwi...
by mrc
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces
Replies: 47
Views: 3142

Re: Using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces

This is about hand sanitizer, but wipes are supposed to perform a similar function .... The labels say “Kills 99.99% of germs.” What does that really mean? Experts such as Theodor Rosebury estimate that there are 10 million individual bacteria living on the average cm2 of human skin. Adults possess ...
by mrc
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question to Taylor and others regarding bucket approach in retirement
Replies: 54
Views: 3788

Re: Question to Taylor and others regarding bucket approach in retirement

This thought from livesoft in another thread is exactly what I needed to be OK without the $150K savings account. The other thing I come back to....The money you absolutely cannot afford to lose has to be in truly safe investments. I think differently about that. Since bond funds don't ever drop mor...