Search found 616 matches

by Swansea
Sun May 26, 2019 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Allocation to individual stocks/bonds
Replies: 7
Views: 308

Re: Allocation to individual stocks/bonds

Until I reached 60, I had 10% of my portfolio in individual stocks. Then I moved to 90% index funds and 10% actively managed (one fund). I enjoyed the research on stocks and learned a lot. Evaluation of my performance was that I pretty much matched the market. Former Washington Post writer James Gla...
by Swansea
Sat May 25, 2019 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Am I a sucker to pay for a new roof?
Replies: 24
Views: 2230

Re: Am I a sucker to pay for a new roof?

While not directly analogous, a number of my neighbors claimed their siding was hail damaged. While I saw no damage on the house next door, her claim was paid. I had no damage, so did not make a claim. My next premium took a jump up, and my agent said it was because of the claims filed in my neighbo...
by Swansea
Thu May 23, 2019 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Termite Control - worthwhile or a scam
Replies: 11
Views: 1134

Re: Termite Control - worthwhile or a scam

I had a termite treatment one time after seeing evidence that they were active. No further issues or treatment over the past 20 years. I do check annually for signs.
by Swansea
Sun May 19, 2019 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Another car question- repair or buy
Replies: 9
Views: 731

Re: Another car question- repair or buy

Be aware that there was a recall which may include the tranny they are proposing to replace.

Recall Number
11V273000
Recall Date
05/06/2011
Component
POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION:GEAR POSITION INDICATION (PRNDL)
by Swansea
Thu May 16, 2019 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reservations about job offer
Replies: 65
Views: 4054

Re: Reservations about job offer

I've offered hundreds of jobs to folks, but never made an offer quite like this. Time you should look for another opportunity.
by Swansea
Wed May 15, 2019 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Do you have working carbon monoxide detectors?
Replies: 44
Views: 2336

Re: PSA: Do you have working carbon monoxide detectors?

All of our smoke detectors are high up on the wall or in the ceiling. For those that are installing combo units (smoke/CO), are they located at a high height? I thought you wanted CO down low to the ground because that's where it starts to accumulate and if it was high up on the wall it's already o...
by Swansea
Tue May 14, 2019 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts on Schwab
Replies: 37
Views: 3485

Re: Thoughts on Schwab

I have both Schwab and Vanguard. Schwab's customer service is superior.
by Swansea
Sun May 12, 2019 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fed Employee/Retirement Issues
Replies: 24
Views: 1777

Re: Fed Employee/Retirement Issues

I am assuming you are FERS so pick your retirement date carefully. In most cases you should pick the last day of the month for FERS. Your estimated retirement check will be in about 30 days. For example, you retire on May 31st, your first estimated check will come on July 1st. You will fill out pap...
by Swansea
Sat May 11, 2019 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fed Employee/Retirement Issues
Replies: 24
Views: 1777

Re: Fed Employee/Retirement Issues

it's been some time since i have processed a retirement, but see if hr will give u a copy of sf 2810
https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/opm2810.pdf
by Swansea
Tue May 07, 2019 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you donate?
Replies: 100
Views: 7173

Re: How much do you donate?

10% of annual income.
by Swansea
Sun May 05, 2019 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Extended Market Index Fund?
Replies: 20
Views: 2285

Re: Extended Market Index Fund?

I had the same concern with the FANG stocks having outsized influence, so I started putting money last year into VEXAX, Vanguard Extended Market Index Admiral.
by Swansea
Sun May 05, 2019 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone give me a ball park estimate on this roof repair?
Replies: 19
Views: 2153

Re: Can anyone give me a ball park estimate on this roof repair (pictures included)?

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:46 pm
In the circumstances, I would negotiate a price reduction, pleading difficulty of getting a contractor. 500 is a good round number.
+1
A friend had a very similar situation, and this is how he resolved it.
by Swansea
Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: update 70s kitchen or nah?
Replies: 49
Views: 3612

Re: update 70s kitchen or nah?

I had a master bath remodel that took over 3 months. I don't think these major remodels are a walk in the park. Sometimes they go well, sometimes not.
by Swansea
Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Luxury car recommendations?
Replies: 107
Views: 9409

Re: Luxury car recommendations?

I’d respectfully disagree. Bought a bmw 3series CPO and it was a total pain. Didn’t matter what the issue was the dealer charged $800+ for the repair. The AC magically quit working the week after the warranty expired on a 100 degree day. BMW's aren't exactly at the top of the reliability list eithe...
by Swansea
Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple MacBook Air - what to do next.
Replies: 45
Views: 2729

Re: Apple MacBook Air - what to do next.

My beloved Apple MacBook Air is starting to struggle to hold a charge. I suppose the next move would be to take it to the Apple Genius bar (not sure if that is the right name or not lol) and they might either service it there or send it out. Where I live, this is something of a huge hassle due to d...
by Swansea
Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare B only vs FEHB only
Replies: 47
Views: 1634

Re: Medicare B only vs FEHB only

As a former federal HR Officer, I often cited the ability to carry FEHB into retirement to folks I was recruiting. It is a major benefit.
by Swansea
Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising
Replies: 50
Views: 4186

Re: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising

However, if you separate from service during or after the year you reach age 55 (or the year you reach age 50 if you are a public safety employee as defined by section 72(t)(10)(B)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code), then the 10% early withdrawal penalty tax does not apply. I was a Fed in my 20's so...
by Swansea
Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising
Replies: 50
Views: 4186

Re: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising

I rolled my TSP into Vanguard after I retired.
by Swansea
Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising
Replies: 50
Views: 4186

Re: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising

One basis point is significant? My feelings exactly! For those eligible, this seems like a great plan - far, far superior to almost anything offered by employers in the private sector. FERS is a good retirement system, but the TSP portion? What is special about its equity funds? The their ERs are n...
by Swansea
Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising
Replies: 50
Views: 4186

Re: Thrift Savings Plan expenses rising

Last time I checked, Schwab's index 500 fund expenses were lower than TSP. Now, unless you have a huge amount in the account, the reduction of .01% or so, makes little difference.
by Swansea
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AGI and withholding estimation for retired federal employees
Replies: 4
Views: 413

Re: AGI and withholding estimation for retired federal employees

I don't know the withholding default, if any. If u wish to make changes, use TSP form 78.
https://www.tsp.gov/forms/withdrawals.html
by Swansea
Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AGI and withholding estimation for retired federal employees
Replies: 4
Views: 413

Re: AGI and withholding estimation for retired federal employees

I will answer some of part one. Money that your wife paid into FERS is not taxable. A portion of the annuity based upon actuarial tables is not subject to tax. I suspect it will vary slightly as does that amount from my CSRS pension.
by Swansea
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should FEHB members buy Medicare Part B?
Replies: 172
Views: 19331

Re: Why should FEHB members buy Medicare Part B?

BCBS standard is also more generous with PT visits, which is a factor for me.
I dropped Medicare B a couple of years ago, ran the numbers, and I've come out ahead. Of course, if one has many issues, Medicare B can make sense.
by Swansea
Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawn care schedule
Replies: 73
Views: 6202

Re: Lawn care schedule

For reference i'm located in Northern IL. I feel like i need a plan in advance for caring for/treating my lawn. I have two active dogs so its a bit rough to weed/treat/grow the lawn well. I tried bluegrass and thought it was going great and then boom crabgrass overtook and now i'm back to a nice ba...
by Swansea
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi
Replies: 29
Views: 2294

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the imp...
by Swansea
Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: attacked by off-leash dog
Replies: 220
Views: 7174

Re: attacked by off-leash dog

I live in Bend Oregon, the off-leash dog capital of the world. The City builds tons of off-leash fenced-off dog areas, but the owners just off-leash them wherever they want under the guise of “I thought Bend was dog-friendly.” I guess it’s like how some people justify certain illegal activities in ...
by Swansea
Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Things to do in Maine
Replies: 48
Views: 3094

Re: Things to do in Maine

Perkins Cove.
by Swansea
Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best quality car - Lexus?
Replies: 56
Views: 6275

Re: Best quality car - Lexus?

Manual transmissions are increasingly more difficult to find. I think in 2019 BMW offers them only in the M models.
I do prefer them, and my 20 year old manual transmission still has the original clutch, pressure plate, etc.
by Swansea
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?
Replies: 40
Views: 3664

Re: Age discrimination in the medical professions as one gets older?

In the ophthalmology practice I go to, I'd say about 5 of the 10 docs are certainly over 70, and 2 or 3 joined when they were late 60s or even 70.
by Swansea
Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Letting Dog out everyday for lunch... the roundtrip drive is killing me.. ideas?
Replies: 155
Views: 10939

Re: Letting Dog out everyday for lunch... the roundtrip drive is killing me.. ideas?

Doggie doors are not a good idea. Rescue groups I help with adoptions will not approve homes with functional doggie doors. Why? (Just curious. I don't own a dog.) people whose dogs have unsupervised access to the yard..meaning when no one is home. Dogs can jump fences, get stolen, bark and become n...
by Swansea
Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Letting Dog out everyday for lunch... the roundtrip drive is killing me.. ideas?
Replies: 155
Views: 10939

Re: Letting Dog out everyday for lunch... the roundtrip drive is killing me.. ideas?

Doggie doors are not a good idea. Rescue groups I help with adoptions will not approve homes with functional doggie doors. Find a reliable dog walker, perhaps a Vet Tech from a practice close to where you are. They often work shifts, so could come by at the middle of the day, and would probably enjo...
by Swansea
Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car maintenance - dealer or independent shop?
Replies: 51
Views: 2756

Re: Car maintenance - dealer or independent shop?

It depends upon the service needed for me. I use the dealer if it's a complex issue, and a good independent if it's like brakes, hoses, oil change, etc...I do ask the independent to use OEM parts or those I specify. You should check a Honda car forum and get recommendations for an independent from a...
by Swansea
Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any fed workers gone through "removal" and legally fought the allegations?
Replies: 12
Views: 2338

Re: Any fed workers gone through "removal" and legally fought the allegations?

coffeehubcap: It is a long story, but for about 15 months the IRS tried to fire me because I insisted on giving "taxpayer assistance" instead of spending 100% of my time on revenue collection. When the Miami office could not find a legal reason to fire me, and also because I hired a lawyer and didn...
by Swansea
Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Too early to start on my taxes?
Replies: 45
Views: 3470

Re: Too early to start on my taxes?

I think that the brokerage statements are the ones most likely to be corrected.
by Swansea
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shingrix [Vaccine availability]
Replies: 153
Views: 13301

Re: Shingrix

Per the manufacturer and our local pharmacies, it is supposedly easier to find the second shot now or will be shortly Just had my 2nd shot :) Are the two shots identical stuff? I asked that very question when my 2nd shot was administered and was told affirmatively. For some reason, however, I had m...
by Swansea
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Brake fluid replacement?
Replies: 69
Views: 4103

Re: Brake fluid replacement?

Brake fluid, just like engine coolant and oil, deteriorates with age. I change mine every two years. My 20 year old vehicle still has original calipers and master cylinder.
by Swansea
Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Shop Around and Negotiate Car Repair?
Replies: 24
Views: 1151

Re: How to Shop Around and Negotiate Car Repair?

I get independent shop recommendations from a car forum specific to my make. Toyota lovers may have a forum where they recommend an independent shop...
https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/
by Swansea
Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scissor recommendation
Replies: 11
Views: 1366

Scissor recommendation

I am looking for a pair of scissors which can do a good job cutting tape and bandages. Something like you would find in a doctor's office. The ones I find locally are too flimsy to cut through anything heavy.
by Swansea
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound
Replies: 19
Views: 1372

Re: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound

My GE top loader machine also screeches once or twice during a cycle...it is 3 years old, but performs ok.
by Swansea
Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Expert's Dilemma - How can I know I'm getting a good physician without being one myself?
Replies: 199
Views: 14286

Re: Physician Credentials: Offshore vs. American Medical Schools

hmw wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:41 pm
I am a subspecialty surgeon.

I would put more weight on the residency/fellowship training program over the name of the medical school.
I agree.
by Swansea
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to value retiree healthcare benefit
Replies: 20
Views: 1149

Re: How to value retiree healthcare benefit

I would value my retirement health benefit to be about $5500 annually.
by Swansea
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fuel for snowblower
Replies: 97
Views: 5759

Re: fuel for snowblower

There are a few convenience stores in our area that sell ethanol-free gas that is 91 octane. It is more expensive, which seems counter-intuitive, since I thought the idea of adding ethanol was to reduce the cost. In any event, that's what I use for my motorcycles and small engines (mower, snow blow...
by Swansea
Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Direct Primary Care-Anyone use it?
Replies: 40
Views: 3458

Re: Direct Primary Care-Anyone use it?

When my primary doc moved to a concierge model, I was offered the opportunity to join him at $1800 per year. A bit steep for my visit or two annually. The goal is to get 600 patients, if you do the math, the doc makes out quite well.
by Swansea
Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing taxes by hand
Replies: 83
Views: 5260

Re: Doing taxes by hand

When I did mine by hand, the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gains Worksheet always caused me lots of pain. Got refunds from IRS twice, gave up and hired a CPA. I had used TT for years before, but never really got comfortable with it.
by Swansea
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to donate to local police and fire department?
Replies: 23
Views: 1889

Re: How much to donate to local police and fire department?

Depends upon the local conditions. First responders in my area are awarded severance packages which can be worth up to $250K if they agree 3 years in advance to retire. And their pay is not bad either. I no longer donate.
by Swansea
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furnace Duct Cleaning-a high profit game?
Replies: 31
Views: 3464

Re: Furnace Duct Cleaning-a high profit game?

Yup, my HVAC tech who just visited made recommendations for 5K worth of work: whole house dehumidifier, duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and an extra return. I won't go for any of it, and am thinking about switching firms due to their pushing unnecessary work. I recently called my HVAC sales per...
by Swansea
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furnace Duct Cleaning-a high profit game?
Replies: 31
Views: 3464

Re: Furnace Duct Cleaning-a high profit game?

Yup, my HVAC tech who just visited made recommendations for 5K worth of work: whole house dehumidifier, duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and an extra return. I won't go for any of it, and am thinking about switching firms due to their pushing unnecessary work.
by Swansea
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fed employees - Quality Step Increase
Replies: 10
Views: 1041

Re: Fed employees - Quality Step Increase

I would opt for the QSI. It is called the "gift which keeps on giving." In the DC area, it's about a 4K post in salary at your GS level. So you come out ahead while still employed, then enjoy the benefit of the high 3 throughout retirement. You could run the numbers for the annuity with or without t...
by Swansea
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to splurge. MB E class, BMW 5 or Audi 6?
Replies: 70
Views: 6243

Re: Time to splurge. MB E class, BMW 5 or Audi 6?

If you go the Beemer route, consider getting the sport suspension if it is still offered. The handling between the 3 series and the 5 series is pretty dramatic. The 5 is not as much fund to drive as the 3 series. I would have gotten the sport suspension on my 535, except for all the speed humps and ...
by Swansea
Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to evaluate moving spouse to medicare, versus staying on private plan
Replies: 4
Views: 316

Re: How to evaluate moving spouse to medicare, versus staying on private plan

I have employer insurance as a retiree. I enrolled in Medicare Part B for about 3 years. I dropped it this January, as the premiums I was paying were more than the benefits I got. Did a simple excell spreadsheet for CY 2018...I am saving $$ as the cost of the premiums would have exceeded the co-pays...