Search found 518 matches

by Swansea
Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trade my BMW?
Replies: 17
Views: 726

Re: Trade my BMW?

Go to the bimmerfest forum and ask for recommendations for an independent mechanic in your area. That can greatly keep down costs. I am bringing my 1998 328i to one this am for a new battery (it's been 5.5 years on the old one.) The 98 has 94K and still runs strong. I am glad I have held on to it. M...
by Swansea
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fed UP With Fed Ex
Replies: 26
Views: 3274

Re: Fed UP With Fed Ex

Fed Ex leaves Chewy packages out in the rain without placing the package in a plastic bag. So the food is ruined, Chewy is great on replacing it. But does anyone have experience is getting Fed Ex to properly protect the deliveries?
by Swansea
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB or Tricare into Retirement
Replies: 4
Views: 290

Re: FEHB or Tricare into Retirement

My friend retired with TriCare. As a condition to keeping TriCare in retirement, he is required to also be covered and pay for Medicare B. Since he and his wife have good incomes, those premiums for Medicare B are high. Just something to consider. Feds who retire with FEHB have the option to enroll ...
by Swansea
Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wheel alignment new tires
Replies: 15
Views: 667

Re: Wheel alignment new tires

My 1998 328i has never had an alignment. Tires have never worn unevenly, so I deemed it unnecessary. Check Tire Rack for your next purchase. They have arrangements with local tire stores for installation and balancing. Also, if you are running performance tires (soft rubber), you will not get great ...
by Swansea
Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)
Replies: 25
Views: 1665

Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

While it will still be cool, I've vacationed in Ogunquit several times and really enjoyed it. You can walk down Marginal Way by the ocean to Perkins Cove. Also, it's a short hop to Kennebunkport.

https://www.ogunquit.org
by Swansea
Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental chews for dogs....useful?
Replies: 36
Views: 1897

Re: Dental chews for dogs....useful?

If you brush your dog's teeth, use a toothpaste specifically for dogs....
by Swansea
Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best place to buy pet food online?
Replies: 28
Views: 2011

Re: What is the best place to buy pet food online?

Anyone here use Costco.com? I buy my dog food in person at the local Costco warehouse which is 5 minutes away. Their Kirkland Signature dog foods are about $28 for a 40 lb bag in the warehouse. I see on their web site the same 40 lb bag is $39 shipping included which makes it competitive with amazo...
by Swansea
Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Office Tax Deduction
Replies: 14
Views: 816

Re: Home Office Tax Deduction

You may want to check to see if taking the deduction has an impact upon your home's cost basis.
by Swansea
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best place to buy pet food online?
Replies: 28
Views: 2011

Re: What is the best place to buy pet food online?

+1 on Chewy. They sometimes ask for a review of a product I had bought. I gave a poor review to the product. To my surprise, they had read it, and credited my account. And the product defect was due to the manufacturer, not Chewy.
by Swansea
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: For BHs who actually like cars - [what car do you drive every day?]
Replies: 261
Views: 14398

Re: For BHs who actually like cars - what is your daily driver?

2007 328xi 2015 535i Xdrive Fantastic cars, but being friends with a BMW mechanic is helpful. 1998 328i 2008 535 XI I've had really good luck on the reliability side. My 328i has sport suspension and manual transmission, lots of fun to drive. The five series is more powerful and more comfortable.
by Swansea
Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help - first major career choice (fed. gov.)
Replies: 39
Views: 2326

Re: Need help - first major career choice (fed. gov.)

Once you’ve worked for the Federal govt for 3 years you attain what’s called “status.” With that you can apply for jobs advertised to Feds only, also called Merit Promotion or MP. It’s worth it to become a Fed for the long term stability (knock on wood these days). After those 3 years are up, go an...
by Swansea
Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Independent Consulting Liability
Replies: 15
Views: 734

Re: Independent Consulting Liability

I'd pass on this "opportunity."
by Swansea
Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VGTSX and VEMAX a good pair?
Replies: 13
Views: 983

Re: VGTSX and VEMAX a good pair?

I was 100% stock until age 50, when I gradually moved into bonds. Now at a 60 stock 40 bond allocation at 70. My job was stable and my pension was secure, so I was comfortable with the risk I took early on.
by Swansea
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbor recently burglarized- Suggestions for home security
Replies: 83
Views: 6583

Re: Neighbor recently burgalerized - Suggestions for home security

A good lock or strong door frame doesn't matter if there is glass withing reaching distance of the lock itself. The glass can be broken and the intruder can reach around to unlock it. Cameras won't help catch a thief unless you recognize the person. But a camera in plain view with a sticker on the ...
by Swansea
Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Certified Used BMW, Audi or Mercedes
Replies: 53
Views: 3921

Re: Certified Used BMW, Audi or Mercedes

Definetly do not hold myself out to be a car maintenance guru, but I believe there is more than this. Timing belt? Most german cars don't have timing belts anymore. I think most claim the timing chain they use is good for the life of the engine. You would have to check your particular brand/engine ...
by Swansea
Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?
Replies: 55
Views: 3719

Re: Which of these mechanic-recommended services would you pay for?

My coolant hoses on my 1998 vehicle are original, and when inspected a couple of years ago, still good.
The tech writer for the marque says that the hoses are good up to 150K.
by Swansea
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keeping a new BMW shiny!
Replies: 27
Views: 2322

Re: Keeping a new BMW shiny!

I use Turtle Wax Carnauba paste. For the wheels, Sonax spray. Interior is treated with Lexol:cleaner, protectant, and vinyl.
Always test any new product in a small, out-of-the-way spot.
Consider joining Bimmerfest.com and see what others use. There are lots of opinions.
by Swansea
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BMW All Surface Protection Program
Replies: 11
Views: 715

Re: BMW All Surface Protection Program

I would not purchase the package. Leather seats clean up very well. If you are concerned about protection, buy a seat cover from BMW. I use one in the back seat of my 2008 BMW where my large dog sits. When I remove the cover, the seats are still in perfect condition. Regarding the exterior, my 20 ye...
by Swansea
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Military TSP Question
Replies: 9
Views: 959

Re: Military TSP Question

I left the feds before the Military TSP plan started. My understanding is that some military personnel can get matching monies. If you are eligible for matching monies and assuming that DFAS functions the same as for civilians, hitting your contribution limit too early can cause you to lose matching...
by Swansea
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual stocks in an IRA?
Replies: 9
Views: 533

Re: Individual stocks in an IRA?

I owned a few individual stocks within my IRA when I was younger and willing to take more risks. I enjoyed researching them, and did very little trading. Evaluation of my performance pretty much just matched the appropriate index, but I had fun with it. Moving into my 50s, I sold them, incurring no ...
by Swansea
Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you add someone to a will if you don't know their Social?
Replies: 19
Views: 2303

Re: How do you add someone to a will if you don't know their Social?

My estate attorney just asked for the beneficiaries' names and addresses for the will.
by Swansea
Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Honda CRV - first oil change full synthetic?
Replies: 72
Views: 4839

Re: New Honda CRV - first oil change full synthetic?

The other thing that was a little "off" about this oil change is that the Maintenance Minder codes (and Owner's Manual) indicate that only the oil is to be changed, with no filter change. This dealer automatically did a filter change also. Now, I preferred that anyway but the dealer wasn't followin...
by Swansea
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Honda CRV - first oil change full synthetic?
Replies: 72
Views: 4839

Re: New Honda CRV - first oil change full synthetic?

I recommend full synthetic for turbo charged engines. They run hotter.
by Swansea
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: South Florida visit in early March
Replies: 20
Views: 1443

Re: South Florida visit in early March

+1 on visiting Key Biscayne. Crandon Park is a beautiful beach. Now much has changed there since I lived on the island, but the beach has remained the same.
by Swansea
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First Time Consulting - how to pay self employment taxes
Replies: 4
Views: 578

Re: First Time Consulting - how to pay self employment taxes

I had a small consulting contract after retirement. When I used turbo tax that year, it took care of the social security employer and employee payment.
by Swansea
Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Strategy for using TSP in Retirement
Replies: 6
Views: 909

Re: Strategy for using TSP in Retirement

If expense ratios are a primary driver, depending upon fund selection both Schwab and Vanguard (with admiral account) are so close to the TSP, expenses should not be a primary reason. For example: C fund is .029%, Schwab .03% and Vanguard is .04%. The Schwab and Vanguard rations are for their S&P 50...
by Swansea
Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aprilaire Humidifier
Replies: 29
Views: 2235

Re: Aprilaire Humidifier

My April Air 760 has the humidity level too high...55 to 62%. It kicks out the same amount of moisture whether the dial is set at 15 or at 40. So the issue is probably the humidistat, but I do hear a faint click. But since the entire unit is about 20 years old, I'm thinking for replacing the whole t...
by Swansea
Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Economics of a new Puppy
Replies: 113
Views: 7301

Re: The Economics of a new Puppy

Well I bought a GSD puppy today. I noticed a Facebook post from a breeder that was on my short list that she had a couple females available that were born in early October. I messaged her last night and she called me back awhile later and we chatted for a while. She refused to sell to several peopl...
by Swansea
Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Economics of a new Puppy
Replies: 113
Views: 7301

Re: The Economics of a new Puppy

I might also be getting a puppy this weekend. I had to put my German Shepherd down early this year due to IVDD (spinal disc issues) that resulted in paralysis. I currently do have an 11 year old rescue Aussie. All of my previous dogs have been rescues, but I am looking at the responsible breeder ro...
by Swansea
Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Economics of a new Puppy
Replies: 113
Views: 7301

Re: The Economics of a new Puppy

To the OP's question, we get our dog food at the local privately owned pet store. It's a couple bucks more per 30lb bag than pet smart, but I actually get to meet the person who is making that money off me when I buy it. I understand the stigma of it and frankly it makes sense, but we bought one an...
by Swansea
Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Economics of a new Puppy
Replies: 113
Views: 7301

Re: The Economics of a new Puppy

So many great comments but I'll add mine. I have a tiny 4.5 pound Yorkie Chihuahua that my ex-spouse begged to bring home 2 years ago. The ex-spouse is gone now, but the dog is still here. I like her (the dog, that is). She eats the small dog food from Costco. It's only about $15 for a large bag an...
by Swansea
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Economics of a new Puppy
Replies: 113
Views: 7301

Re: The Economics of a new Puppy

Kirkland food gets good reviews. Check into Dog Food Advisor for up to five star recommendations. Do not give a puppy "puppy" food. It makes them grow too fast and stresses the bone structure before it is fully developed. The rescue groups I work with recommend crate training. The all wire crates ar...
by Swansea
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Deduction Question
Replies: 21
Views: 1795

Re: Charitable Deduction Question

For cash donations of $250 or more, a letter from the charity acknowledging receipt on a date in the same year as the check, would also serve as proof. Now as it gets close to the end of the year, a timely, dated letter becomes problematic.
by Swansea
Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Naval Officer looking ahead to retirement
Replies: 10
Views: 1130

Re: Naval Officer looking ahead to retirement

"My pension will be about $50-55k/year once I retire in 2.5 years and healthcare costs will stay somewhat locked in due to Tricare for Life. For the military retirees out there- what am I missing in looking at hidden costs? When I look at my situation right now, I think having that pension/healthcar...
by Swansea
Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Accountant fees reasonable?
Replies: 39
Views: 3305

Re: Accountant fees reasonable?

I am single, my CPA does my state (MD) and federal taxes. Income is a pension. Schedule A and Schedule B are done as well as form 1116 (foreign tax), and the AMT calculation. 2016 fee was $400.
by Swansea
Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does a State job make it easier to get a FED job?
Replies: 10
Views: 1111

Re: Does a State job make it easier to get a FED job?

As has been mentioned above, the most important criteria are the knowledges, skills and abilities (KSAs) that you bring to the job. It does not matter where you acquired them, unless the federal job has a role dealing with state agencies, and your experience in that area is a match.
by Swansea
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keep money in TSP or take it out and re-invest?
Replies: 11
Views: 1364

Re: Keep money in TSP or take it out and re-invest?

A trustee to trustee rollover would be the way to go. You can withdraw it, then redeposit it within 60 days into another IRA, but why deal with the hassle?
I moved my TSP to Vanguard for greater flexibility and better service.
by Swansea
Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminating Medicare Part B
Replies: 9
Views: 1561

Re: Terminating Medicare Part B

Interesting. I will have to see what Medicare B premium would be. My leaning is to just keep the FEHB plan as my primary, but that annual ten percent penalty for late signing for part B makes me a bit nervsous. In good health, on no meds, but of course the future is unknowable. I will probably sign...
by Swansea
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP 401k Contribution Question
Replies: 17
Views: 1104

Re: TSP 401k Contribution Question

Your Agency must have a benefits specialist who can help with this.
Also, please note the the TSP is NOT a 401K. This is not just a semantic issue, as there are differences between the two.
by Swansea
Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminating Medicare Part B
Replies: 9
Views: 1561

Re: Terminating Medicare Part B

Well, the form that Medicare sent me in late November said the termination date is 12/31/17, so hopefully that will happen. And yes, I can always sign up again in an Open Season, and I will be assessed 10% increase in premium for each year I sit out. But the math still makes sense.
by Swansea
Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminating Medicare Part B
Replies: 9
Views: 1561

Re: Terminating Medicare Part B

It is only anecdotal, but you might want to pm Small Law Survivor. In that case it was Medicare Part A, but I believe it took several months of broken promises. Thanks, the back up plan is just to stop payment from my checking account if they don't process the action properly. Then they will termin...
by Swansea
Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roofing Question Ice Build Up
Replies: 22
Views: 1499

Re: Roofing Question Ice Build Up

Another possibility is that the old roof had a section or sections covered with a membrane type material designed to prevent ice dams, and it was removed and not replaced.
by Swansea
Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminating Medicare Part B
Replies: 9
Views: 1561

Re: Terminating Medicare Part B

Curious as to why you are dropping Medicare part B, as I am having to decide this month whether to enroll in part B and make my FEHB GEHA the secondary instead of primary.I plan to keep FEHB plan, so if I sign up for Medicare B, the FEHB becomes the secondary. One thing I like about the FEHB plan i...
by Swansea
Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Terminating Medicare Part B
Replies: 9
Views: 1561

Terminating Medicare Part B

I filled out the form to drop Medicare Part B about 4 weeks ago and mailed it to them. I also filled out the EZ pay form to cancel the withholding from my checking account. I have yet to receive an acknowledgement that the forms have been received or the actions processed. Medicare was my primary, a...
by Swansea
Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Some General Investing Questions
Replies: 8
Views: 512

Re: Some General Investing Questions

Responding to no. 1- If you made a profit on the sale of the Total Bond fund, they you would owe taxes. The Vanguard site will show you if you have either a current gain or loss.
by Swansea
Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB and Medicare
Replies: 8
Views: 825

Re: FEHB and Medicare

There have been numerous threads on this forum about the FEHB and Medicare decision. You can do a search for those. The Consumers' Checkbook does an annual report on selecting the best FEHB plan, which includes a discussion for retirees of FEHB and Medicare. It is very helpful: https://www.checkboo...
by Swansea
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP rollover to Vanguard IRA?
Replies: 11
Views: 1646

Re: TSP rollover to Vanguard IRA?

Below is an excellent discussion of the case where a spouse inherits a TSP account and needs to decide whether or not to roll it over into an IRA for the benefit of any children. Also, if you crunch the numbers you will find some large mutual funds have very competitive ERs. I found one cheaper than...
by Swansea
Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turning 65, and choosing not to take Medicare Part B
Replies: 37
Views: 3859

Re: Turning 65, and choosing not to take Medicare Part B

Speaking of Medicare Part B, I recently signed up for it, effective New Year's Day. I understand I'll have to pay $100+/month. But I've received absolutely nothing about how to pay the premium. I trust the gov't to take my money eventually :-) , but I'm just curious how this will work. I'm not curr...
by Swansea
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you need to drive a car to keep battery charged and everything else OK?
Replies: 36
Views: 2928

Re: How much do you need to drive a car to keep battery charged and everything else OK?

Do NOT buy a trickle charger. Those are brain dead and will happily overcharge a battery. Buy a maintenance charger. +1 on a batter tender. It will shut off when the battery is charged, then start again as needed. I use a Deltran. It lights up red when battery is low, moves to orange/yellow as it c...
by Swansea
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any websites to help find a great doctor?
Replies: 36
Views: 2669

Re: Any websites to help find a great doctor?

Consumers Checkbook is a subscription service that provides ratings of docs by speciality (among many other occupations they rate). The specialists are rated by other docs. SF is an area that they cover.