Search found 1025 matches

by downshiftme
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best first time computer / path for children
Replies: 15
Views: 988

Re: Best first time computer / path for children

I lean towards a desktop for kids. It makes it less easy to break. It is easier to monitor what the kid is doing as there is no hiding under the sheets with it or anywhere else and if windows start getting closed when you open the door you know something is up (not that a kid that age is good at ev...
by downshiftme
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Modern Science Fiction
Replies: 321
Views: 45237

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Becky Chambers has an excellent series (Wayfarers) which starts with "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" It's unusual in that the three books are not sequels but are very different books that happen to be set in the same (very fascinating) future. I was highly disappointed in books #2 and #3 bec...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suit for Teenager
Replies: 18
Views: 1188

Re: Suit for Teenager

J C Penny's selections are much less than they used to be. Suits are less of a staple around here at least. But they still had a decent number to choose from and good prices. They were always the best choice for us. Men's Wearhouse has good prices on a few select items, but you will have to be caref...
by downshiftme
Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Neighbor discussing finances with me
Replies: 64
Views: 5929

Re: Neighbor discussing finances with me

So often people claim that advisers add value more than the fees they charge because they will be cooler heads during downturns and help clients avoid selling at a loss. and his adviser recommended he move instead to a bond fund with zero risk versus the money market since the yield is much higher o...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Child is HS senior: Should college fund have any equities?
Replies: 28
Views: 2276

Re: Child is HS senior: Should college fund have any equities?

Conventional advice here is that the 4 years a HS Senior will have to draw college funds is too short to take much (or even any) equity risk. My personal experience is leaving it all in equity funds was a lifesaver when college tuition rose very significantly between freshman and senior year. Had I ...
by downshiftme
Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Neighbors tree branch growing too close to my house
Replies: 48
Views: 3817

Re: Neighbors tree branch growing too close to my house

Easiest solution is to talk to the neighbor. When I had some tree work done, neighbor asked me to also trim a branch encroaching on his property and offered to pay the additional cost. Since it was my tree guy, there was no chance I'd blame neighbor for any problems. Easy conversation. Easy solution.
by downshiftme
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering Quitting Job - Seeking Advice. Would you do it?
Replies: 154
Views: 12151

Re: Considering Quitting Job - Seeking Advice. Would you do it?

I generally work 16 to 17 hours/day during the week (12 at the office, and 4 or 5 more when I get home, sometimes more…maybe a little less on Fridays), and typically about 15 hours on the weekend You are a stranger to your kids and spouse. They practically never see you. There is no financial compe...
by downshiftme
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: a low grade in a 9th-grade test
Replies: 44
Views: 3473

Re: a low grade in a 9th-grade test

There are lots of reasons this could happen. The most likely is that some assignment was missed or misunderstood, such as studying chapter one and getting tested on chapter two, or general lack of studying. Many "good" students have terrible study habits as they are never challenged by material or t...
by downshiftme
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to help teenager fix silly mistakes in math?
Replies: 50
Views: 3306

Re: How to help teenager fix silly mistakes in math?

Agree w/ the advice to get a 3rd party in the school involved. Maybe you will get lucky and run into the rare caring and competent school who can diagnose and help fix student math issues. We tried numerous times and we never did. We got lots of blame and defensiveness, but ultimately we were on ou...
by downshiftme
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lab test prices - exasperating!
Replies: 101
Views: 6000

Re: Lab test prices - exasperating!

If you only go to in network labs, then they typically cannot bill you extra if the test is denied. I admit that sometimes it's hard to do when doctors send samples to out of network labs. I found this was not the case. An in-network lab doing an in-network test can still be handled by an non-netwo...
by downshiftme
Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone Calls from Windows saying computer has Malware
Replies: 40
Views: 2171

Re: Phone Calls from Windows saying computer has Malware

This is a scam and has been going on in various forms for years. The newer versions of the scam will ask you to look at some utilities on your computer and show hundreds (thousands!) of error messages, without mentioning that these are a normal part of Windows operation. If they are advanced, they w...
by downshiftme
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wills and children
Replies: 25
Views: 2905

Re: Wills and children

When my kids were younger, my will put the entire inheritance into a trust with my sister as trustee. The will had a brief description of my intent and granted the trustee broad powers to use the fund with complete discretion. This was only possible because I trust my sister completely to do the rig...
by downshiftme
Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Best Mood Boosting Books (not self-help)
Replies: 29
Views: 2424

Re: Mood Boosting Books (not self-help)

Factfulness - Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think It's full of facts, statistics, and well reasoned arguments why much of the doom and gloom news is not just incorrect, but the world is actually improving and likely to continue to do so. Encouraging and ...
by downshiftme
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Retirement: how to get a lease without income
Replies: 9
Views: 1448

Re: Early Retirement: how to get a lease without income

We have always had success by explaining the situation and showing bank statements with sufficient balance to pay several months rent, sometimes as much as 6 months were requested. Once we had to "co-sign" the lease. Never has a landlord wanted the entire term rent in advance, and for my own rentals...
by downshiftme
Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?
Replies: 89
Views: 5759

Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Many people mean well to suggest IT or programming to young people with math/physics backgrounds, but these are very different disciplines and while some math people do enjoy IT or programming or software engineering or data science or project/program management or any of the dozens of other related...
by downshiftme
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco penny install sale & road hazard terms
Replies: 31
Views: 2858

Re: Costco penny install sale & road hazard terms

A few months after putting 4 new Costco tires on my car, I hit a road hazard and damaged the sidewall of one. The road hazard warranty is prorated by miles, but a few months were not enough to bother with that, so they replaced the tire for free. The exact model was no longer sold, so they substitut...
by downshiftme
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do in Seattle around Christmas?
Replies: 29
Views: 1528

Re: What to do in Seattle around Christmas?

Depending on when you are in Seattle: The 32nd Annual Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition Friday, December 7, 2018 Downtown Seattle/Westlake Center 6:00pm – 8:30pm A holiday music event at Pine and 4th (Westlake Center) attracts nearly 10,000 people every year to enjoy free holiday music. The W...
by downshiftme
Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First time taking kids to airport..
Replies: 28
Views: 2402

Re: First time taking kids to airport..

Sitting in one place for hours with little to do and no good way to wiggle can be very hard on kids at this age. I usually did well with lots of kid friends snacks and a few small surprises and activities that they would like. It worked best to only reveal one at a time and not to let on that there ...
by downshiftme
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Dollar Tree Store" favorites
Replies: 84
Views: 6800

Re: "Dollar Store" favorites

Party supplies, especially for kids parties. Reading glasses. Sunglasses. Never bothered if they get lost. Small kitchen utensils.
by downshiftme
Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical records breach
Replies: 21
Views: 2045

Re: Medical records breach

> Lately however,I have been getting a recorded call that says "they" have received a notice that I have chronic back pain and may be eligible for a brace that insurance will pay for. In the last few weeks I have been receiving similar calls about my chronic back pain, but I have NEVER consulted a d...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Stock Options - Company Being Acquired
Replies: 7
Views: 757

Re: Stock Options - Company Being Acquired

Have you exercised at least some options? We went through an acquisition by a larger public company, and shareholders in the acquired company got much better communication and a chance to approve (or at least comment on) the planned payout - a schedule stretching out some years. Option holders were ...
by downshiftme
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding Restricted Stock Units (RSU)
Replies: 12
Views: 1151

Re: Understanding Restricted Stock Units (RSU)

What happens with RSU in an not-yet-public company. There doesn't seem to be any way to sell shares to cover taxes. How does that work?
by downshiftme
Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I getting the run around?
Replies: 24
Views: 4396

Re: Am I getting the run around?

It probably depends a lot on the specific terms of your 401k plan. We have a "brokerage window" in ours that effectively allow you to invest in almost any kind of security if you do not like the options in the 401k plan. There is a quarterly charge to use this option, plus the account must be set up...
by downshiftme
Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Timing exit from megacorp
Replies: 54
Views: 6210

Re: Timing exit from megacorp

After this date, the manager can't screw with you. Some places this may be so, but I have seen several counterexamples. Once where the direct manager still wanted to give the approved and budgeted bonus which was given in recognition of meeting a huge project deadline, but the bonus was rescinded a...
by downshiftme
Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how often does high ACT score == scholarship?
Replies: 102
Views: 10510

Re: how often does high ACT score == scholarship?

With some "need" the high ACT score may result in some scholarship to some schools. Most highly desirable private schools will only award scholarship based on need and not on merit. Without "need" a purely merit scholarship will highly depend on the school. A friend's child with 36 ACT and nearly 4....
by downshiftme
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard is really pushing their Personal Adviser Service
Replies: 65
Views: 6623

Re: Vanguard is really pushing their Personal Adviser Service

yeah i just got an email from Vanguard on this . Yes, I've got this email. And postal mail. And a lot more email. And a lot more postal mail. They are really pushing to keep this idea in front of me. Maybe because of my age or the age of my account, they suspect I'll want help soon? It's annoying, ...
by downshiftme
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sister-in-Law - trouble adulting - Pay medical bill?
Replies: 41
Views: 3803

Re: Sister-in-Law - trouble adulting - Pay medical bill?

Quitting without a new job lined up might be appropriate if the boss was truly terrible. It certainly isn't appropriate if she was just bored at this job. It also indicates that she has no concept of needing to be self reliant. She doesn't have enough savings to cover a $300 bill and has dawdled abo...
by downshiftme
Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water leak when it rains - older Camry
Replies: 25
Views: 1598

Re: Water leak when it rains - older Camry

I had a truck that leaked when it rained - usually a day or two later. The leak appeared where the windshield seal met the roofline, but this turned out to be deceptive. The actual leak was water entering a space in the roof from the rear window seal, then percolating up there for a day or two until...
by downshiftme
Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career Burn Out: Should I quit high paying job and take a sabbatical?
Replies: 55
Views: 6995

Re: Career Burn Out: Should I quit high paying job and take a sabbatical?

Does your employer have an employee assistance program, where you can discuss your issues in a anonymous way? In my experience, these supposedly anonymous programs can leak information back to the employer HR dept. Mine did. I would NOT trust any employer sponsored program that claims to be anonymo...
by downshiftme
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bogleheads' College Philosophy question
Replies: 68
Views: 4069

Re: Bogleheads' College Philosophy question

I'm leery of the false dichotomy. In most cases, you don't have to choose exclusively between retirement or college, you just have to make relative choices that work for you. Working a little longer or accepting a slightly less flush retirement might enable you to do more for kids' college. You have...
by downshiftme
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Severance Package Question
Replies: 60
Views: 6281

Re: Severance Package Question

wait a minute....you can negotiate your severance pay? That's news to me.
I'm not sure there is much leverage available when negotiating severance. What can you do, continue to come to work and refuse to be laid off?
by downshiftme
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Severance Package Question
Replies: 60
Views: 6281

Re: Severance Package Question

I think severance packages vary depending on circumstances of the layoff, level of the job, and norms in the field. In my field (tech) a common formula used to be 2 weeks salary for every year of service, up to some maximum like 26 weeks. Recently, this has migrated down to 1 week per year of servic...
by downshiftme
Wed May 16, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why this problem never gets fixed [Inflated medical product prices]
Replies: 33
Views: 2538

Re: Why this problem never gets fixed

You've hit upon the reason for HSAs and their being coupled with high deductible insurance policies...so consumers of healthcare will be motivated to be more aware of and sensitive to prices charged for their medical care. Maybe this is sort of a first step, but I can tell you that it isn't working...
by downshiftme
Sat May 12, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teen drivers and divorce
Replies: 15
Views: 2321

Re: Teen drivers and divorce

leaving daughter #2 on mom's policy with dad's car. I would want to double and triple check that the kid drivers are actually insured. For my kids, the policy owner had to also own the car. The kids can own the car and have their own policy. I've never heard of a policy covering a driver where neit...
by downshiftme
Wed May 09, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bad(?) advice from employer retirement advisor [on per-year contribution limits]
Replies: 29
Views: 2302

Re: Bad(?) advice from employer retirement advisor [on per-year contribution limits]

He give lots of advice to shirk tax-advantaged accounts in favor of taxable accounts through his agency-- that raised some concerns for me from the get-go. I've had an "adviser" who was employed by the insurance company that provides our 401k advise people NOT to contribute to the 401k, but to inve...
by downshiftme
Wed May 09, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lost Beneficiaries - T. Rowe Price
Replies: 26
Views: 2274

Re: Lost Beneficiaries - T. Rowe Price

Note to self: add copies of relevant beneficiary forms for all accounts to my "going away" file to make life easier for heirs. It's a shame your dad was so careful to set up beneficiaries but an error in account transfer between custodians is undoing his careful preparations. For what it's worth, ev...
by downshiftme
Fri May 04, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How old is too old for a vehicle, even for a well running one ?
Replies: 83
Views: 5766

Re: How old is too old for a vehicle, even for a well running one ?

I kept my old car for 18 years, and paid for many repairs as needed, including some costly engine repairs and dealt with some unreliable years. I figured these were all worth it as I got additional years of service from the vehicle. On the other hand, at the very first sign of some possible frame is...
by downshiftme
Wed May 02, 2018 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Not Wasting Food
Replies: 60
Views: 4137

Re: Not Wasting Food

I have to pick and choose my battles. I'd rather waste 20% of the fresh groceries that I buy than rely on frozen prepared foods or eating out to avoid wastage. If having a little more waste is part of the price for eating a healthy diet with more fresh fruits and vegetables, then that is a price I a...
by downshiftme
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medical alert "button"
Replies: 34
Views: 2362

Re: Medical alert "button"

Some of these devices work with a base station that needs to be in range to activate and to respond to the assistance operator. Others have speakers/microphone on the pendant itself. Some can work with cell phones (coverage in the yard or away from home) and others only work in the immediate vicinit...
by downshiftme
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle
Replies: 79
Views: 10640

Re: Inheritance Changing Lifestyle

If you have a lifestyle you like and can comfortably afford, be careful and slow about how you consider ratcheting up spending. Especially with kids still becoming independent you want to do as much as you can to reinforce good self-reliant habits as they transition to independent adults. Also, stea...
by downshiftme
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?
Replies: 66
Views: 6310

Re: Settlement Offer -- Accept or Wait?

I took a brief ambulance ride to the local ER Ambulance costs vary a lot by locality, but here a routine short trip to the ER can cost $3500-$4000. It's higher if they administer anything on the way or if they have to travel far. Ambulances can be very slow to bill and you may not see a statement f...
by downshiftme
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Good Dad, Bad Dad [pay for son's driving expenses (or not)]
Replies: 49
Views: 4030

Re: Good Dad, Bad Dad

Less car and more study time is probably a better approach for a possibly under-motivated student away for a first year of college. It's a big adjustment and academics and dorm life are both going to be big changes. Even a year of college credit from high school or community college classes is NOT t...
by downshiftme
Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: “The Smell of Retiree Mon$y...”
Replies: 57
Views: 9033

Re: “The Smell of Retiree Mon$y...”

Many years ago, I started a personal rule to only donate anonymously. It doesn't stop the organizations I donate to from soliciting again, since in most cases they do know the money came from me, but keeping my name off of donor lists and thank you acknowledgements has considerably reduced the numbe...
by downshiftme
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Angel investor breakfast
Replies: 19
Views: 2585

Re: Angel investor breakfast

I also have a friend who was an active angel investor. Luckily he had plenty of money, so didn't need his angel investments to pay off. And they didn't. As a small time player in the angel investment space, deals that were offered to him had already been rejected by the bigger fish. That made them r...
by downshiftme
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gifts to grandkids of different ages
Replies: 13
Views: 1500

Re: Gifts to grandkids of different ages

While I sympathize with concerns about giving 30k outright to a college junior (probably 19 or 20 years old), you should also expect at least some reasonable level of maturity. If that is not the case, then maybe your concerns are warranted. But if the young adult in question is not irresponsible, y...
by downshiftme
Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Appropriate to ask co-worker when retiring?
Replies: 35
Views: 2787

Re: Appropriate to ask co-worker when retiring?

Being 55 also doesn't mean that random co-workers should be approaching to say "Gee, you're old. When do you plan to retire so my wife can take this job?"
by downshiftme
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mid-40s in tech - how to pass off as acceptably young
Replies: 111
Views: 11845

Re: Mid-40s in tech - how to pass off as acceptably young

Role: I have a business role in the tech sector. I do a little scripting with a statistics tool when Excel is too cumbersome. But I am not a practicing coder. I do as much powerpoint as excel. This is really not a tech role at all. At best this is an analyst role of some sort. Your best angle is pr...
by downshiftme
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Appropriate to ask co-worker when retiring?
Replies: 35
Views: 2787

Re: Appropriate to ask co-worker when retiring?

It allows us to plan Not likely. It allows you to plan if you get an honest and correct answer. Most people like to keep their retirement plans private and if there is any risk you might pass on the info, you are very likely to get a politically correct answer, such as I intend to work here for man...
by downshiftme
Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unaffordable prescription drug
Replies: 42
Views: 4185

Re: Unaffordable prescription drug

I found goodrx.com was able to point me to alternative sources for lower cost prescriptions. Depends on the specific drug how successful they are.
by downshiftme
Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Employee IPO windfall - mid 7 figures
Replies: 30
Views: 3923

Re: Employee IPO windfall - mid 7 figures

Wealth management companies and Financial "advisers" read IPO news. Brace for a flurry of incoming sales calls.