Search found 944 matches

by downshiftme
Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent
Replies: 34
Views: 3189

Re: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent

I suppose it's possible to have a company where seniority is not correlated with salary, but I have not seen it. In my experience, the longest serving employees were usually senior management, or at least group and department heads. Among non-managers, longevity was correlated with salary step syste...
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Benefits of Flagship
Replies: 38
Views: 6176

Re: Benefits of Flagship

Unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned Free TurboTax software for Flagship clients.

I thought this was discontinued last year. Is there some specific thing I have to do to continue to get this deal?
by downshiftme
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent
Replies: 34
Views: 3189

Re: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent

Rules relating to traditional 401(k) plans require that contributions made under the plan meet specific nondiscrimination requirements. In order to ensure that the plan satisfies these requirements, the employer must perform annual tests, known as the Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP) and Actual Con...
by downshiftme
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent
Replies: 34
Views: 3189

Re: Value of 401k Employer Match vs. Salary Equivalent

My current employer offers a certain percentage match (that increases gradually with respect to years of service Do you mean there is a vesting schedule? A certain percentage vests after 1 year, more after 2 years, etc. Vesting schedules are common in 401k plans. Changing matching percentages based...
by downshiftme
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the difference between retiring and resigning from a job?
Replies: 42
Views: 4373

Re: What is the difference between retiring and resigning from a job?

Some companies have stock options or other incentive programs that immediately terminate if you resign, but in some cases continue to operate if you retire. Your vesting may cease, but the period during which you are allowed to exercise may be different. Some terminate immediately on resignation. Yo...
by downshiftme
Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping college costs of grandchildren
Replies: 37
Views: 2353

Re: Helping college costs of grandchildren

Why should currently childfree kids be punished because they have not chosen to procreate? I have no intention to "punish" childfree kids, but I have every intention to take care of grandkids. Probably generously. Even better, great-grandkids if I should be so lucky. My desire to take care of grand...
by downshiftme
Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter from CC company (Discover) re: current income
Replies: 31
Views: 6038

Re: Letter from CC company (Discover) re: current income

Financial institutions are supposed to "know their customers" so they have been increasing efforts to get info like this. However there is no rule that you have to respond nor that they have to actually have this info on file to continue to do business with you. I routinely ignore such requests. If ...
by downshiftme
Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping college costs of grandchildren
Replies: 37
Views: 2353

Re: Helping college costs of grandchildren

In my family, college costs are NOT part of any expectation of equal financial largess. Grandchildren who need assistance are freely helped. Grandchildren who can pay their own way, or whose parents can, get less or no assistance. The idea is to provide an appropriate education to each grandchild, n...
by downshiftme
Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 2 in Daycare -Sell Taxable to Max 401k?
Replies: 46
Views: 2796

Re: 2 in Daycare -Sell Taxable to Max 401k?

Consider the two alternatives. You are certainly incurring daycare costs, so if you reduce 401k to pay for it, you end up with slightly less in 401k and slightly more in taxable. Alternatively, if you spend some taxable (incurring some selling costs) you end up with slightly more in 401k and slightl...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How does/can Walmart offer such inexpensive prescriptions?
Replies: 107
Views: 7109

Re: How does/can Walmart offer such inexpensive prescriptions?

Without getting into the medical weeds, while there are several "generic" versions, it is important to stay on the same "generic", if possible, and if the generic "version" changes, it is advised to have the Physician retest your levels, etc. I have decided to pay the $20/month I have not used Walm...
by downshiftme
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fender bender -- other driver at fault -- what to do?
Replies: 28
Views: 1736

Re: Fender bender -- other driver at fault -- what to do?

In my experience (sample size of only one) people who hit parked cars causing visible damage, then drive away leaving no contact info are hoping to get away with it. When they are caught and identified as the offending party, they may make up any story in hopes of getting off the hook and can be ver...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?
Replies: 58
Views: 6226

Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

I used to have my older gas furnace cleaned every year, as recommended. Every year, a few weeks after servicing, there would be a problem requiring additional parts and repairs as soon as the heating season started. After the last time this happened, I had a different furnace company do the repair a...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who has needed to use their umbrella insurance?
Replies: 129
Views: 17031

Re: Who has needed to use their umbrella insurance?

I have used mine, but only indirectly. A scammer hit my parked car in a public place, then claimed I hit him and caused a neck (like whiplash) injury. The amount claimed was within my Auto insurance limits, but because I also had umbrella, the insurance company sent a top team of lawyers to defend t...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Payroll shenanigans and their implications
Replies: 48
Views: 3632

Re: Payroll shenanigans and their implications

If you have paychecks that show withholdings, you can reasonably rely on those and assume that FICA and income tax withholdings show have actually been made. If not, the employer will be responsible, although you may be in for a protracted legal dispute before you are held harmless. Keep your record...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9575

Re: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]

Completely terrifying stories of seniors declared incompetent against their will and taken advantage of by "professional" guardians. In many cases it appears the guardians selected their victims based on available assets and used the flimsiest of excuses and complicit physicians, courts and retireme...
by downshiftme
Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping question....Applebees
Replies: 87
Views: 7020

Re: Tipping question....Applebees

My wife and I went to a pizza place for dinner last weekend. We ordered a small pizza to split. They brought out complimentary rolls and olive oil for dipping. We drink water with our meals. We had a nice meal, nice ambiance, and a chance to talk without distraction for an hour. Our bill was $11.99...
by downshiftme
Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online Bill Pay Security: Push or Pull?
Replies: 102
Views: 4834

Re: Online Bill Pay Security: Push or Pull?

I'm 100% 'push' from my bank checking account because I don't want anyone 'pulling' money out of it without me authorizing the specific transaction and amount. I only do PUSH as well. If something goes wrong, a bill may not get credited in time or I may owe an outstanding balance. These are minor i...
by downshiftme
Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is FI if you love your job? [Financial Independence]
Replies: 68
Views: 5854

Re: What is FI if you love your job? [Financial Independence]

You may love your job and your colleagues now, and can't imagine ever being happier doing anything else. I hope that continues for you for as long as you continue to work. But things happen, not all of which are within your control. What may look like an ideal situation now could evolve, through no...
by downshiftme
Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on Parents' Financial Situation
Replies: 11
Views: 1547

Re: Advice on Parents' Financial Situation

For about the first 10 years, it was doing fairly well. They were never going to get rich on it, but enough for a modest middle class living. Things turned during and following 2008. Since then the business has just provided enough income for them to break even at best. In recent years the income f...
by downshiftme
Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Equifax Customer Information Leak – Link Problem
Replies: 5
Views: 1197

Re: Equifax Customer Information Leak – Link Problem

It is generally considered bad security practice to ask customers to log in to a new website instead of the core business website. These kinds of arrangements are too easy to phish and too similar to identity theft scams, so desensitizing users by requiring the bad practice is generally considered a...
by downshiftme
Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Possible change to 401(k) taxation
Replies: 6
Views: 827

Re: Possible change to 401(k) taxation

This has been proposed several times. It's not actionable and since the current versions of the proposals have not been fully described, there is no definitive answer to how existing accounts would be treated, or even if this will become real at all. Nothing to do yet, except try to ignore the anxie...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give resignation notice
Replies: 64
Views: 6775

Re: When to give resignation notice

It's still a problem, but this is not a bad problem to have. While I suggest being very cautious about giving notice before a vesting event or bonus is triggered, in your case I would be even more careful not to lose the 2x salary increase and generous new vacation benefits. Given a choice between r...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to give resignation notice
Replies: 64
Views: 6775

Re: When to give resignation notice

I have seen this play out too many times. Some employers will allow you to work to the end of your notice period and if you become vested during that time you will get the vested benefit. But many (perhaps most) will arrange affairs to prevent a vesting event from happening for someone they know is ...
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What it means to be acquired by a holding company?
Replies: 6
Views: 1001

Re: What it means to be acquired by a holding company?

It's possible the holding company is buying the whole company, in which case they will buy your stock too. More likely, this deal is structured like another round of financing where the holding company injects some capital for partial ownership, your shares stay as they are, and the company is manag...
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signed (before death) change of IRA beneficiary forms?
Replies: 3
Views: 434

Re: Signed (before death) change of IRA beneficiary forms?

Beneficiary forms do not need to be witnessed, but they do need to be submitted, Having forms that were never sent in will have no effect.
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?
Replies: 62
Views: 4304

Re: Desperate to get rid of mosquitoes, what else could we try?

Got a Mosquito Magnet (Patriot Plus) and we are running it all the time, on the border between us and the neighbor. Mosquito Magnets, like attractive bug zappers, attract the bugs they intend to kill. Could yours be attracting bugs from other neighbor's yards to cross your yard to the magnet? Maybe...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience finding gas pump card skimmer?
Replies: 46
Views: 4420

Re: Experience finding gas pump card skimmer?

A few months ago, I noticed the convenience store chain where I buy my gasoline installed tamper-proof seals on their pumps...the type that break if the pump is opened up. My local gas station has similar tamper evident tape covering the door seals that open the inner workings on the credit card te...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?
Replies: 64
Views: 5171

Re: Eclipse Traffic: predictions vs reality?

Driving into the zone of totality the day before, and morning of, the eclipse was no problem and the predicted traffic jams did not materialize. Driving out of the eclipse area after the eclipse was a nightmare and all the traffic problems were as bad or worse than predicted. Using a GPS, there were...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: bitcoin makes you rich
Replies: 49
Views: 4033

Re: bitcoin makes you rich

Keep in mind that there are also notable thefts and problems with exchanges that can wipe out an entire holding. Not to mention the possibility that you lose your data and all of your bitcoins, like the guy who lost his bitcoins in a landfill. 100% loss for these types of events. https://bitcointalk...
by downshiftme
Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to buy glasses for eclipse viewing ?
Replies: 70
Views: 6529

Re: Where to buy glasses for eclipse viewing ?

American Astronomical Society has an extensive list of reputable suppliers, including some who are sold out. https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters For several months it has been common for some suppliers to only sell in packs of 10 or more. If you have friends who bought a supply before th...
by downshiftme
Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wanting to learn how to play Bridge
Replies: 15
Views: 1600

Re: Wanting to learn how to play Bridge

Finding a local bridge club is a good start. They will usually have classes, sometimes lists of private teachers, and regular duplicate games to play in. Many senior centers or community clubs also have a duplicate game a week. Try different venues and sample the level of play to find what's comfort...
by downshiftme
Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: kids think lazy if retire?
Replies: 70
Views: 8453

Re: kids think lazy if retire?

You get to retire (or take a break) because you worked hard and were responsible with money. That's a pretty positive message. Also, teenagers will roll their eyes, but it's your last meaningful chance to spend good blocks of quality time with them. They won't always want you around, but sometimes t...
by downshiftme
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help progressing in life after a massive setback
Replies: 35
Views: 6692

Re: Need help progressing in life after a massive setback

Compound a bunch of those nights, eventually leading to basically no sleep for 3 days in a row with a high paying but very stressful job and something just finally snapped. Once I got back on a regular sleeping/eating/life schedule that 98% of the rest of the world adheres to life came back into fo...
by downshiftme
Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FAFSA: if known result, why complete?
Replies: 44
Views: 2967

Re: FAFSA: if known result, why complete?

I see no reason to fill out FAFSA if you know you will not get any need based aid. Some well meaning school officials strongly suggest that everyone fill out FAFSA on the assumption that some people are not as well off as they think they are and might qualify for some assistance, especially if there...
by downshiftme
Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: State Farm vs Penn National- auto, renters, umbrella?
Replies: 58
Views: 6099

Re: Why does State Farm have poor reviews?

My parents have been happy State Farm customers for over 50 years and through several out of state moves. They highly recommended them. When I tried to get insurance I was unable to find a State Farm agent that seemed interested in my business, so I went with another company and have been happy with...
by downshiftme
Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay yourself first.
Replies: 43
Views: 4221

Re: Pay yourself first.

I live a fairly simple and low-cost lifestyle. It goes like this: 1. I set my contribution rate to the 401(k) to 30% (max allowed by the plan). 2. Contribute to my Roth IRA. 3. Spend what I spend. 4. Anything left goes in taxable investing. I have always understood the adage "Pay yourself first" to...
by downshiftme
Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT Medicaid Article
Replies: 16
Views: 2693

Re: NYT Medicaid Article

The only exceptions ("better" care) here are those skilled nursing beds that are a part of a CCRC. I find it hard to believe that all nursing homes and long term care facilities in your location deliver the same care. That's like suggesting that all restaurants deliver the same services (menu and o...
by downshiftme
Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NYT Medicaid Article
Replies: 16
Views: 2693

Re: NYT Medicaid Article

get into the best facility you can find, spend down your income and assets over, say, ten years, and when you naturally qualify for Medicaid hope that they'll keep you. Usually, it's the exact same care as an insured patient would receive. In my experience, there is a large difference between the b...
by downshiftme
Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family Tents
Replies: 10
Views: 1110

Re: Family Tents

Had very good luck with a large family tent from Costco. They tend to stand behind stuff they sell.
by downshiftme
Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Humid basement
Replies: 39
Views: 2983

Re: Humid basement

A stop gap that worked for a similar situation for me was to run a small fan all the time in the affected area. It's a modest cost in electricity and the slight airflow solved my (similar) problem. It may or may not work for you, but it's easy to try.
by downshiftme
Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Was it unprofessional for the HR manager to ask for my salary history in front of a peer at a job interview?
Replies: 74
Views: 8415

Re: Was it unprofessional for the HR manager to ask for my salary history in front of a peer at a job interview?

You can complain to authorities if you like, but from what I have been told you will be wasting your time. The crime isn't asking the illegal question, the crime is making a hiring decision based on the prohibited information. You would need to prove that you were discriminated against because of yo...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you count vehicle equity in net worth?
Replies: 203
Views: 11363

Re: Do you count vehicle equity in net worth?

I don't bother. I think cars (and furnishing and miscellaneous household goods) are all assets and rightly are part of my networth. If I were to expire and my estate liquidated, they would certainly be part of the proceeds available to my heirs. But it is more effort than it is worth to calculate al...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance Q for those that have gone through Divorce
Replies: 38
Views: 3455

Re: Finance Q for those that have gone through Divorce

OP is willing to give her 1.4 million in assets plus some support. OP keeps roughly $700,000. What exactly is unfair? OP is also retaining the future income of 300K (plus reasonable increases) while the soon-to-be-ex has unknown earning potential but almost certainly much much less than 300k annual...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance Q for those that have gone through Divorce
Replies: 38
Views: 3455

Re: Finance Q for those that have gone through Divorce

In addition to the options of 1) agree on a proposal between yourselves and 2) hire lawyers and fight it out, there is a third option in most states. There are specialized divorce mediators who help couples reach a cooperative agreement that looks like option 1) but is guided by an impartial mediato...
by downshiftme
Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Losing job, seeking advice
Replies: 16
Views: 2587

Re: Losing job, seeking advice

I'd suggest that you NOT put extra in the 401k, in fact you might consider stopping contributions altogether. If you find a new job in the next six months, then you can put your 401k contributions as high as you want to to use up the 2017 limits. If you are still out of work by the end of the year, ...
by downshiftme
Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New cars w/ no CD player -- what can I do with my CDs?
Replies: 47
Views: 7151

Re: New cars w/ no CD player -- what can I do with my CDs?

I had the reverse problem with a car so old it had no CD player. The solution was to buy an aftermaket car CD player and have it installed. I would expect this would work just as well for a car so new that there is no factory CD player.
by downshiftme
Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garage Parking Aid
Replies: 28
Views: 2536

Re: Garage Parking Aid

My parents use the hanging tennis ball and it is a GREAT solution. I see others have suggested using adhesive attachments if you don't want to drill concrete. Another alternative is a plastic kids play sign. We have a freestanding sign (doesn't matter what it says) that is light enough to withstand ...
by downshiftme
Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth moving for a better public high school?
Replies: 32
Views: 2644

Re: Is it worth moving for a better public high school?

I am all for moving to get a better school, but you need to know a lot more about the schools than the rankings. In fact a #700 school might be quite excellent. High schools that are big enough offer a wide variety of programs and understanding how these match (or don't) compared to your children's ...
by downshiftme
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University ??? worth it?
Replies: 120
Views: 9401

Re: Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University ??? worth it?

Hard to believe following a 7 step plan, something your grandmother already told you about is such a scam. Or reading a book and taking the advise you believe in is a scam. I would believe that is a little harsh. The basic material is available in his other publications and it really is basic. I do...
by downshiftme
Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work
Replies: 37
Views: 3421

Re: "Paying" a minor for otherwise uncompensated work

I'm not an expert here, but doesn't he have to be paying you for work that you perform FOR HIM? I cannot just pay my kid for going to summer camp, and then the kid uses that money to fund a Roth IRA. People with family business can pay their kids a reasonable (defensible) wage for working around the...