Search found 1112 matches

by downshiftme
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Employer-subsizided COBRA (but only for a few months) vs an ACA Marketplace policy
Replies: 13
Views: 875

Re: Help! Employer-subsizided COBRA (but only for a few months) vs an ACA Marketplace policy

The health insurance policy on the exchange I am looking at is a BCBS Pathway X HMO policy This sounds like good news. My employer BCBS plan had a very large network, as had several other employer BCBS plans I've had in the past. When I looked at BCBS plans in my state (it is state dependent) the p...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Suggestions for provider who sends bills that were paid by insurance
Replies: 9
Views: 899

Re: Suggestions for provider who sends bills that were paid by insurance

I'm not yet Medicare age, but I see these kinds of billing errors (never in my favor) all the time when I have used any significant medical service. I am fully convinced that the billing departments are creatively incompetent because some percentage of people may just pay the bill. It doesn't seem t...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Employer-subsizided COBRA (but only for a few months) vs an ACA Marketplace policy
Replies: 13
Views: 875

Re: Help! Employer-subsizided COBRA (but only for a few months) vs an ACA Marketplace policy

You will also need to be careful that the ACA policies that you compare are really comparable to the COBRA policy you are being offered. Many COBRA policies, since they are simply continuation of the employer base policy, have relatively strong networks of providers who are eligible for in-network c...
by downshiftme
Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is this Vanguard "transition" e-mail legit?
Replies: 29
Views: 3040

Re: Is this Vanguard "transition" e-mail legit?

Please log on to vanguard.com and complete a 3-step transition to our new investment platform. It only takes a few minutes. I've gotten a lot of these communications over the years and finally decided a few months ago to make the transition. I don't know about the "only takes a few minutes&quo...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unsolicited offer on real estate
Replies: 41
Views: 3759

Re: Unsolicited offer on real estate

Go knock on their door and say something like…
Are people really trying "knock on their door" approaches in the middle of a pandemic lockdown? I can hardly think of anything that would make me less interested in dealing with such people.
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Daughter ready to buy car on her own. Decent fico, not long history, pre-approval rate is high.
Replies: 65
Views: 3415

Re: Daughter ready to buy car on her own. Decent fico, not long history, pre-approval rate is high.

I am an experienced adult, not a fresh college grad shopping for my first car, but the dealers still do many many more new car transactions than I do, and they had lots of tricks to get me to pay more than I should have. Financing is not your only issue to beware of. Also, expect there will be sever...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lost my job - COBRA question
Replies: 42
Views: 3389

Re: Lost my job - COBRA question

i've heard in ny you can extend another 18 months beyond the original 18 months- i.e. get 36 months or 3 years in total. anyone have any experience with that? This is a state by state option, that some states allow and some do not. Often it is called "mini-COBRA" but it effectively allows...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lost my job - COBRA question
Replies: 42
Views: 3389

Re: Lost my job - COBRA question

When I utilized COBRA coverage, I did not experience any change in the way my claims were processed by the insurer. This also matched my experience. However, my ex-employer HR was quite terrible at providing the materials I needed to sign up for COBRA on a timely basis and some claims had to be pro...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CalPers offers MetLife Legal Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 1039

Re: CalPers offers MetLife Legal Plan

I used it through my employers offering. Since I was due to update my will anyway, the approx $240 annual cost was going to pay for itself. I immediately found in my area that only very small one lawyer shops were on the plan. There were plenty to choose from, but my idea to choose a larger shop for...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: WSJ Case Study on Retirement
Replies: 48
Views: 6278

Re: WSJ Case Study on Retirement

About the only useful information to take away from this article is that the Wall Street Journal is so desperate for content that they will publish anything. The text of this article has clearly not been reviewed by anyone. No competent editor (even from my high school student paper) would have allo...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: do doctors/hospitals HATE Medicare Advantage (as payers)
Replies: 126
Views: 10678

Re: do doctors/hospitals HATE Medicare Advantage (as payers)

Sorry, I have no direct experience to add to this discussion, but I do have a concern about Medicare Advantage plans. I'm still on a traditional workplace health insurance and I have recently had to have some significant medical care. In theory everything about the care i received should be covered,...
by downshiftme
Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing using HELOC money
Replies: 22
Views: 1400

Re: Investing using HELOC money

And it may even be illegal because you probably signed something that said you would not use that money for investing. And puts your home at risk. All of my HELOC lines over the years have included specific language in the loan documents explicitly prohibiting using the funds for investing. Your li...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay Reduction - What Happens if Layoff Occurs Afterwards?
Replies: 12
Views: 2226

Re: Pay Reduction - What Happens if Layoff Occurs Afterwards?

My guess (and it's only a guess) is the wording would indicate that a cut of 40% is temporary with an anticipated stated term (duration). And by being temporary it would seem unlikely that the company, if they decided to terminate you due to a reduction in force during the time you were on this tem...
by downshiftme
Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...
Replies: 17
Views: 2177

Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

I am trying to avoid InstaCart shopping because all my experiences with them, and similar services, have been unacceptably bad. There is no way to know if any particular items will be in stock or not. If an item is out of stock (or the shopper just chooses not to pick it) cannot be known in advance ...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mouse for Arthritis
Replies: 13
Views: 953

Re: Mouse for Arthritis

I know someone with limited hand mobility who had good luck with a large trackball mouse. The one he uses was originally marketed for kids, but they have adult versions too:

https://www.amazon.com/BIGtrack-2-0-Tra ... 0006ZM7VY/
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for Dealing with Father-in-Law's Medical Issues
Replies: 39
Views: 3817

Re: Suggestions for Dealing with Father-in-Law's Medical Issues

Each situation is different, and my family had a very good experience with NH that was paid for by Medicaid. It was, in fact, the same private pay NH/rehab facility our family member was in for the first 2 years of their NH residency, and the only difference between private pay and Medicaid-covered...
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable giving in an estate will/trust
Replies: 12
Views: 734

Re: Charitable giving in an estate will/trust

If your estate is going to be large enough to be subject to estate tax, then an integrated estate plan with competent legal advice seems warranted. It may be that actions you can take in your estate plan regarding charitable donations might reduce your estate tax owed more than any value a charitabl...
by downshiftme
Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable giving in an estate will/trust
Replies: 12
Views: 734

Re: Charitable giving in an estate will/trust

You cannot legally require your heirs to donate part of what you leave them to charity. You can leave a non-binding letter of instructions and make your wishes known in it. I've also heard that wills that leave x% to charity can lead to protracted probate as the charity lawyers may want to make sure...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Crazy question - can two couples co-own a primary home?
Replies: 11
Views: 1312

Re: Crazy question - can two couples co-own a primary home?

I don't see a problem with doing that, but each person doesn't own 100% of the house, so if you are thinking of deductions and such you'd have to treat it as each owning a part of a house.

If two couples rented opposite sides of a duplex, each could claim it as their residence.
by downshiftme
Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Laid off!!
Replies: 71
Views: 10688

Re: Laid off!!

Thank you for such an open and honest post about your layoff experience. With something like 22 million unemployment claims in the last 4 weeks, you can be sure that many other people are experiencing similar situations. It hurts to think that management has lied to employees, and even more so that ...
by downshiftme
Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?
Replies: 1764
Views: 147986

Re: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?

Tried grocery delivery from a nearby large chain grocery store and it was a massive failure. It was difficult to order and took several days trying at odd hours to even get a delivery slot. There was supposed to be a feedback system to identify substitutions, but they didn't use it and merely noted ...
by downshiftme
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Retirees: what are you doing with all the home equity?
Replies: 117
Views: 7748

Re: Retirees: what are you doing with all the home equity?

Not retired yet, but I plan to have a fully paid off home when I do. Then I plan to simply live in it as long as I can. I am NOT planning to spend down any part of my house, but if all my other plans fall apart or some completely unexpected expense outside of my plans happens, then I will sell or re...
by downshiftme
Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: JL Collins investment advise
Replies: 10
Views: 1100

Re: JL Collins investment advise

He's an eminently sensible guy who writes in a direct open style that many people find accessible. I don't think he's in this to make money although he does sell his book, but he also gives pretty much all the same advice for free on his website. My young adult children found his writing to be easy ...
by downshiftme
Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Some IRS webpages Still Show RMD Age 70.5
Replies: 13
Views: 638

Re: Some IRS webpages Still Show RMD Age 70.5

The SECURE act went into force Jan 1, 2020. Perhaps you are confusing it with the recent coronavirus legislation.
The SECURE Act became law on Dec. 20, 2019.
by downshiftme
Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are you still going to the grocery store or using a delivery service? Which?
Replies: 329
Views: 25026

Re: Are you still going to the grocery store or using a delivery service? Which?

bleach kills nasty germs and viruses. I mix this with a cleaner I got from Dollar Tree BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS. Mixing cleaning products can be fatal. Never mix ammonia and bleach! One of the most common hazards occurs when chlorine bleach is mixed with ammonia or acids. The combination of ammon...
by downshiftme
Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Preparing family as a single guy
Replies: 5
Views: 1086

Re: Preparing family as a single guy

In past difficult times, big industry slowdown and possible company failure in the future, I have cut back on investing and piled up additional cash. Once I even took a draw from a HELOC and simply parked the proceeds in a CD for possible later use. Despite these precautions, I hustled like crazy, c...
by downshiftme
Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?
Replies: 1764
Views: 147986

Re: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?

Outside of clinical settings, we have been told repeatedly that masks do not help. Even if they did, they are more or less unobtainable and I haven't got any. But I do have a "mask" that I made for home use to practice not touching my face. I've been really surprised by how often I do so w...
by downshiftme
Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?
Replies: 1764
Views: 147986

Re: Coronavirus (Consumer Issues) How you are preparing?

Saw a guy in my local grocery store tonight with an entire cart filled to the top with packages of pasta. I think the panic buying has started here.
by downshiftme
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Calm Post - Stay the course thread.
Replies: 519
Views: 48154

Re: The Calm Post - Stay the course thread.

I have enough to worry about as I contemplate retirement in a few years that I don't need any extra stress of trying to out guess market gyrations. I slightly dialed back my equity percentage about a year ago in anticipation of sleeping better while thinking about when exactly to retire. I'm glad I ...
by downshiftme
Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Merit Scholarships - Advice and Strategies?
Replies: 91
Views: 6804

Re: Merit Scholarships - Advice and Strategies?

Daughter #2 is extremely bright but not competitive in the way that one needs to be to put together an application portfolio for the Ivy League or Stanford. You may have an unrealistic idea of how much effort is required to apply to top schools vs other schools. In my experience the application pro...
by downshiftme
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: creating a will
Replies: 22
Views: 1603

Re: creating a will

One of the big advantages to doing a will with a lawyer is that whatever steps your state requires to make the will legal and in force will be known to the lawyer and they will include the signing and witnessing or whatever is required. If you draft your own will using online forms and then fail to ...
by downshiftme
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hand raising with impending layoffs
Replies: 21
Views: 3853

Re: Hand raising with impending layoffs

So much depends on your manager and corporate culture. When we were conducting layoffs, I always appreciated folks who volunteered because that was one less person I had to involuntarily layoff. I had a good team and didn't want to let anyone go, so there was no pruning deadwood. Every cut was going...
by downshiftme
Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for a cheap and accurate BP monitor.......
Replies: 23
Views: 1671

Re: Looking for a cheap and accurate BP monitor.......

For home use an automated blood pressure measurement taken with an arm cuff device seems more reliable and repeatable than one taken with a wrist cuff device. Any new device you get should be tested and checked against a second source of measurement at least at first.
by downshiftme
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Money Matters for Family
Replies: 1
Views: 510

Re: Money Matters for Family

Children savings accounts at these ages are mostly useful for giving the kids the idea that they can save some or all of gift money they receive and that banks are good safe places to have such accounts. This is more of a teaching situation than a financial one, so a thousand dollars or so is a fine...
by downshiftme
Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: long term care insurance versus self-insuring
Replies: 98
Views: 5563

Re: long term care insurance versus self-insuring

This policy protects you from AT MOST $144k of long term care expenses. If you need longer or more expensive care, the policy provides only very limited help (at most $144k) while the actual costs could be many many times that. At your level of assets, the risk of having to spend an unexpected $144k...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: High fee 401k
Replies: 7
Views: 551

Re: High fee 401k

Paying the high fees for a year or two, or even several, will not have much effect on your portfolio and the tax benefits will still outweigh the performance drag of the fees. If you expect to work for this employer for a limited time, or believe that the employer can be educated or influenced to im...
by downshiftme
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employer not enforcing HCE provision in 401(k) plan
Replies: 28
Views: 2430

Re: Employer not enforcing HCE provision in 401(k) plan

Years ago when I worked for a company that didn't have a Safe Harbor 401k plan, I also was over the HCE limits and was allowed to contribute to the 401k as much as I wanted. Then the following year, after the annual plan internal review, my excess contributions were returned to me as income in the y...
by downshiftme
Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renting without income
Replies: 23
Views: 2616

Re: Renting without income

Offering to pay 6 months to a year rent in advance gives landlords all sorts of problems if they need to evict you, plus it fits the profile of drug house or meth lab. If you offer, you may find it impossible to get the landlords to talk to you. Better to either use recent income from a previous job...
by downshiftme
Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Jumper cables
Replies: 83
Views: 5635

Re: Jumper cables

I really like the newer battery jumper kits. Small, hold their charge well and no need to monkey with positioning the second car close enough for cables to reach. Prices have dropped quite a bit and they seem like the better option now.
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Faith driven investing
Replies: 71
Views: 5037

Re: Faith driven investing

With any faith based investments, I would also caution you to beware of affinity fraud. That is, people who pose as the same faith or other affiliation as you, presumably to more easily gain a position of trust. Due diligence is always needed when evaluating investments and investment advisers, but ...
by downshiftme
Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to Collect SS
Replies: 55
Views: 3217

Re: When to Collect SS

In my mind, it's the total that matters. How it's spread over time is offset by how I withdraw from my portfolio. While there is a small argument that my heirs would prefer the maximum Social Security total, that's not true for me. I have enough saved in retirement and other accounts that I will be...
by downshiftme
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Synchrony Bank (as credit card issuer)?
Replies: 16
Views: 1212

Re: Synchrony Bank (as credit card issuer)?

My Amazon store card is through Synchrony. I cannot get them to participate in the automatic ebill service from my bank, although every other credit card will participate. Other than that it's been fine.
by downshiftme
Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tree roots growing into sewer lines
Replies: 62
Views: 19484

Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Had this same problem in the first year of owning a 100 year old house with 100 year old sewer pipes. Until we realized what the problem was we had several plumbers look at it and each suggested urgent big dollar fixes from digging up the pipes that afternoon to complicated relining of pipes in plac...
by downshiftme
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 50 Next Year - Should I Join AARP?
Replies: 105
Views: 8749

Re: 50 Next Year - Should I Join AARP?

I really wanted to just put a recycle box under my mailbox labeled AARP and ask the postal guy to just dump them there to save me the extra step every day. I was a member more than 10 years ago, but quit when the discounts were no better than I got from AAA or just asking for "senior discount&...
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Equal Inheritance for Children
Replies: 109
Views: 11150

Re: Equal Inheritance for Children

I also think that there's a distinction between "I'm going to pay for John and Jill's education" and "I'm going to give both John and Jill $50,000, and they can use it however they want." Obviously if one drops it all on the ponies, that's a distressing decision. But it's one th...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A sad tale with a good ending ["Preferred" pharmacies vs "non-preferred"]
Replies: 45
Views: 4468

Re: A sad tale with a good ending ["Preferred" pharmacies vs "non-preferred"]

the simplest way for all parties involved is to call the number on your insurance card and ask. “What’s the price if I get this drug and quantity at drug store A vs B?” I understand that ASKING is the first step in shopping when prices are all over the place. But I have done exactly that and have N...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?
Replies: 34
Views: 2856

Re: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?

I received similar advice about not leaving either a percentage or a specific dollar amount to charities, along with the caution that some charities have very aggressive lawyers who tie up the estate to make sure that they get every little bit they could squeeze from it. The pitfall of specific doll...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A sad tale with a good ending ["Preferred" pharmacies vs "non-preferred"]
Replies: 45
Views: 4468

Re: A sad tale with a good ending ["Preferred" pharmacies vs "non-preferred"]

It is very simple. It pays to shop around as soon as your prescription is more than $20. KlangFool I'm not sure how this shopping around is possible, If I call a pharmacy they usually cannot give me a price unless they also have all of my insurance info and enroll me into their tracking system. Som...
by downshiftme
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?
Replies: 34
Views: 2856

Re: No Kids Yet - Beneficaries - Who are yours?

"wasn't enough" - are you talking more or less money than I am talking? Well, a bit less than you mention ($1 million) but it was also many years ago so the situations were somewhat comparable. Do you distrust your spouse so much that you want to make a huge effort to set up trusts and co...