Search found 576 matches

by Swansea
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to value retiree healthcare benefit
Replies: 20
Views: 1065

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: 92
Views: 4710

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: 3175

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: 4830

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: 1778

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: 3361

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: 3361

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: 993

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: 5980

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: 293

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...
by Swansea
Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Account for RMD?
Replies: 5
Views: 570

Re: Which Account for RMD?

Katietsu wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:53 pm
I think you are suggesting using your RMD to rebalance. That makes sense.
I agree
by Swansea
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 117
Views: 10139

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Texgal17 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:55 pm
Check out Retirement Planning by Tammy Flanagan on GovExec.com. Lots of good info from her postings on all things
related to Federal retirement. I learned so much!
Texgal
+1
Tammy Flanagan is an excellent resource.
by Swansea
Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car battery?
Replies: 75
Views: 6992

Re: Car battery?

Swansea wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:14 am
Good with an AGM battery. They are better for the newer vehicles with all the electronics.
+1 And check the date of manufacture, fresh is always better.
by Swansea
Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Insurance company recommendation
Replies: 23
Views: 2059

Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

We have a German Shepherd and went with Embrace with a high deductible for around $30/month. At the time, they were one of the only companies to not exclude the opposite cranial cruciate ligament if there was and injury/surgery on the other. I don't remember which other company we were looking at, ...
by Swansea
Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Insurance company recommendation
Replies: 23
Views: 2059

Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

This is an interesting conversation. I decided to look into pet insurance. Some of the complaints about Healthy Paws is that the rates go up as the pet ages. Has anyone here found that to be true? The Washington Consumer Checkbook says that Health Paws does not raise rates due to age. However, rate...
by Swansea
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Blue Cross Basic or Standard for Knee Surgery
Replies: 8
Views: 1041

Re: Federal Blue Cross Basic or Standard for Knee Surgery

I would also look and see what each plans limits are for PT appointments. YOu're going to want multiple physical therapy appoints a week for several weeks at least and then many many more after that. And since physical therapy can have the biggest impact on well you recover I would not want to be l...
by Swansea
Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Insurance company recommendation
Replies: 23
Views: 2059

Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

990 forms give a good idea where the non-profits spend their monies, some spend heavily on programs, some do not.

https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/fil ... _990_o.pdf
by Swansea
Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Insurance company recommendation
Replies: 23
Views: 2059

Re: Pet Insurance company recommendation

I am sorry for your loss. It always hurts to lose a beloved pet. Thank you very much for your information. I have done Yelp reviews on both companies, and visited a rating site or two. It may come down to the deductible options offered. With german shepherd dogs, genetic issues such as elbow and hip...
by Swansea
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet Insurance company recommendation
Replies: 23
Views: 2059

Pet Insurance company recommendation

I am considering getting insurance for my puppy at either Healthy Paws or Trupanion. I would appreciate any feedback on either insurance company, particularly with them covering genetic issues, such as hip dysplasia, etc.
by Swansea
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trying to get a Federal Job
Replies: 22
Views: 3027

Re: Trying to get a Federal Job

The introduction of the FERS pension in 1984 led to a software program designed to compare it to the CSRS pension, so employees could determine which system was better. The calculations showed the two systems to be identical, however, the programming assumed an 8% annual gain in the TSP. Only a smal...
by Swansea
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dehumidifier and humidity meter recommendations
Replies: 25
Views: 1906

Re: Dehumidifier and humidity meter recommendations

I bought a 50 pt Frigidaire unit in June. It's performance was totally inadequate. The best it could do was lower the % by 8 or 10 %, and that's if it ran continuously.
On the positive side, the manufacturer gave me a full refund when I complained.
by Swansea
Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ordered a vehicle through a dealership?
Replies: 40
Views: 3178

Re: Anyone ordered a vehicle through a dealership?

I ordered a BMW built to my specs. I negotiated the price with the dealer, and the car was made and delivered from Germany (some BMWs are made in the US).
by Swansea
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pet insurance
Replies: 31
Views: 2839

Re: Pet insurance

Mr.BB wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:39 pm
$800 - $1200 seems really high. The first thing I would do is check out a couple other vets in your area for a comparison price.
Yes, I find that quite high even considering the pre-cleaning blood work and the sedation.
by Swansea
Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Evaluate Vanguard's Proposed Plan for my portfolio
Replies: 22
Views: 2259

Re: Evaluate Vanguard's Proposed Plan for my portfolio

I recently sold Limited Term Tax Exempt Admiral and put the money in a taxable money market. The fund's total returns are less than the current MM.
by Swansea
Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TSP Max Paycheck % contribution
Replies: 8
Views: 792

Re: TSP Max Paycheck % contribution

I assume that you are getting the matching TSP monies. When I last worked for the feds a while back, if you hit the max contribution too early you would lose out on matching monies as there was a limit on how much would be given each paycheck. I don't know if that restriction is still in place.
by Swansea
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping lawn service and trash pickup
Replies: 27
Views: 2246

Re: Tipping lawn service and trash pickup

I tip the trash collectors around Christmas time. It's tough work.
by Swansea
Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: charitable giving
Replies: 4
Views: 363

Re: charitable giving

I read the IRS 990 forms to see where the money goes.
Most of my giving goes to a 501 c 3 where I volunteer. Volunteering really gives you insight into the organization.
by Swansea
Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: garden hose
Replies: 46
Views: 5007

Re: garden hose

I need to replace my garden hose after 30 years plus. It is a black hose that I got at Sears.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.
by Swansea
Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rodents ate my car!
Replies: 61
Views: 5968

Re: Rodents ate my car!

Mice ate vacuum lines in my BMW, causing the icon with a engine block with a red line through it to come on. It caused a loss of power.
The dealership figured it out on the second visit.
Now I put traps in my garage.
by Swansea
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:35 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Your Feedback on 100% VTSAX
Replies: 39
Views: 4221

Re: Need Your Feedback on 100% VTSAX

At your age and also with a staple job and a future pension, I was 100% stock. When I hit 50, I started moving to a mix of stock and bond funds, ending up at 60 stock an 40 bond at age 60. As to investing the 55K, my recommendation would be to do it over a year in equal amounts or 5K a month for 11 ...
by Swansea
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to evaluate charities to donate to?
Replies: 36
Views: 1558

Re: How to evaluate charities to donate to?

+1 to Charity Navigator and Guidestar. I read 990s. It's more of a smell test than anything else, and it's hard to put hard and fast rules on them. I generally scrutinize any Schedule L I see (which describes financial transactions the charity has with related persons) but there are times when it c...
by Swansea
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 1st Car Mechanic service experience
Replies: 41
Views: 2622

Re: 1st Car Mechanic service experience

While I have used both dealer and independents, both can have issues. The service advisor at the dealership did not under stand my car's condition based service, so told me spark plugs needed to be changed. The car had 22K miles at the time. A tech pulled a plug at my request, and it was fine. The i...
by Swansea
Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Enhanced Uninsured Motorist Coverage offered by SF in MD
Replies: 2
Views: 309

Enhanced Uninsured Motorist Coverage offered by SF in MD

I just received my auto premium, and an insert was included offering enhanced uninsured motorist coverage. After reading the 3.5 pages on legalese on uninsured motorist coverage, I am completely unenlightened as to the benefit and/or downside which will probably be a higher premium. Any input would ...
by Swansea
Wed May 16, 2018 5:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rollover beneficiary TSP to IRA?
Replies: 9
Views: 727

Re: Rollover beneficiary TSP to IRA?

Yes, you have found a good reason to move the monies from the TSP. The G fund is as stable as a money market, but with much betters returns. However, if you look at the 10 year performance vis-a-vis, the F fund (bonds), the F fund has a much better return over 10 years. The decision hinges upon when...
by Swansea
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maple syrup
Replies: 59
Views: 5788

Re: Maple syrup

I get mine from LL Bean.
by Swansea
Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to purchase a new iphone
Replies: 5
Views: 683

Where to purchase a new iphone

I am ready to upgrade from my iphone 5 to an 8plus. I will pay for the phone directly without any contract carrier arrangement. I could do it at a local Verizon store or an Apple store (I live in Montgomery County MD). I would like the data from my old phone transferred and the old phone wiped clean...
by Swansea
Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Factor in evaluating Physicians
Replies: 86
Views: 5972

Re: Factor in evaluating Physicians

A friend, whose wife is a PA, used to get invited with her by drug reps to very upscale restaurants. The the rules changed, and only the medical professionals were invited. I can spot a drug rep at a medical center in a heartbeat. It is a combination of demographics, stylish dress, and the inevitabl...
by Swansea
Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Master Bath remodel price?
Replies: 29
Views: 3841

Re: Master Bath remodel price?

I made a mistake on my master bath remodel by withholding only a small amount of the payment due at completion. That and the fact that the business was going Chapter 11, caused the remodel to stretch out almost 4 months. I had no inkling that the company was in financial trouble, until the very end....
by Swansea
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare Questions
Replies: 49
Views: 4104

Re: Medicare Questions

Just send your Medicare and Care First info to the anesthesia billing office. Let them know you will pay your portion, after Medicare and Care First have adjudicated and paid. You will not pay anything until that happens. Medicare is primary and Care First secondary. The provider should bill Medica...
by Swansea
Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP Allocation
Replies: 14
Views: 1781

Re: TSP Allocation

I was 100% stock in the TSP until I left the Feds at age 57. At age 35, even if you were not to receive a pension, I would stay in 100% stock. Actively managed funds hold some cash, which is one reason they often under perform the market. Also, my one time record of trying to time the stock market d...
by Swansea
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it necessary to replace brake fluid on a car every 3 years?
Replies: 56
Views: 4942

Re: Is it necessary to replace brake fluid on a car every 3 years?

Every two years is what the manufacturer recommends for my vehicles. I follow the recommendation. One car is 20 years old, the other is 11, and no issues with the brake calipers on either.
by Swansea
Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ordering a Weber grill this week
Replies: 164
Views: 18088

Re: Ordering a Weber grill this week

I bought a Genesis e-310 in 2008. I've replaced the igniter twice, other than than no issues.
I can see now the the flavorer bars will need replacement.
I've read that the Genesis grills without the doors are now made in China.
I have not used a cover in years. The weber cover did not last long.
by Swansea
Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual smoke detectors with voice location
Replies: 5
Views: 496

Re: Dual smoke detectors with voice location

The county where I live has a program where they install smoke detectors for seniors. They replaced mine, added some in areas where I had none, and the batteries are good for ten years. However, they still should be tested periodically. I think the replacement of detectors now in my state now mandat...
by Swansea
Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: If you want an actively managed fund, which one would you use?
Replies: 70
Views: 6521

Re: If you want an actively managed fund, which one would you use?

I have held Harbor Capital Appreciation for many years and am happy with it.
by Swansea
Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor recently burglarized- Suggestions for home security
Replies: 101
Views: 10428

Re: Neighbor recently burglarized- Suggestions for home security

Our 95# pit mix looks like a killer, until you see her wagging tail and affectionate posture. I wonder, though, if she could sense the evil intentions of an intruder. I would not want a dog like her angry or feeling that the family she loves was in danger. Her bark is impressive :D I've handled man...
by Swansea
Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxable Investing vs Donor Advisor Fund vs ???
Replies: 9
Views: 522

Re: Taxable Investing vs Donor Advisor Fund vs ???

Among other things I like about a DAF, is that I no longer need an acknowledgement from the charity (for gifts $250 or over). My charities are small, all volunteer groups who, are sometimes not prompt about providing paperwork which would be needed if the contributions were not made through the DAF....
by Swansea
Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Document Retention Question
Replies: 4
Views: 643

Re: Document Retention Question

I asked my CPA a question on cost basis for a similar situation in Maryland. His response is below: "From my research, the basis of the Olney property is what you paid for it (including closing costs) and any improvements. The basis is then reduced by the deferred gain on the sale of SS property. So...
by Swansea
Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beneficiary Advice
Replies: 25
Views: 1478

Re: Beneficiary Advice

I have my Donor Advised Fund designated for the bulk of my estate. I currently contribute to a few small 501 c 3 groups where I either volunteer and am familiar with their work. These groups are usually 100% volunteer and are efficient in the use of the monies. Since small charities can lose their w...
by Swansea
Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Replacing Total Bond Market with TSP G Fund
Replies: 6
Views: 1003

Re: Replacing Total Bond Market with TSP G Fund

Currently, the only low ER bond funds I have access too are the TSP F and TSP G funds and I hold both of them. After reading some good posts on this forum about the two funds (G and F), I've decided that I want to reduce my overall bond holdings and only hold the G fund due to the overlapping but i...
by Swansea
Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why (or why not) use an advisor
Replies: 42
Views: 2631

Re: Why (or why not) use an advisor

I have a friend who uses an advisor because he does not want to have to deal with financial issues. His portfolio asset allocation and mine are both 60/40...stock bond...we compared performance over the last year, strangely it matched to the same % down to a tenth of 1%. However, I am ahead, as I es...