Search found 91 matches

by Gryphon
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: T12 Florescent tubes
Replies: 11
Views: 775

Re: T12 Florescent tubes

My local Home Depot still sells 4 foot T12 bulbs. If you can't find a fluorescent bulb, I'd suggest converting the fixture to use an equivalent LED bulb. I did that with one of my 4 foot fluorescents a few years ago. Had to do a small bit of rewiring to remove the ballast, but it was a straightforwa...
by Gryphon
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.
Replies: 66
Views: 3906

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

7% of square footage per month is more than I spend. My home is 2100 sq ft, and my average monthly electric bill last year was $94, well below the $147 that rule would suggest. In fact, my highest bill was just $1 shy of that mark. On the other hand, I was gone two months last year so my usage was b...
by Gryphon
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple - Old Product Boxes - Keep or Dispose?
Replies: 20
Views: 2459

Re: Apple - Old Product Boxes - Keep or Dispose?

I think the boxes would only add value if you had some rare item that a collector might want - say, a 20th anniversary Mac or a Lisa or something. Personally, I'd keep the box for a Mac just because I would want to sell it someday, and for the iMacs in particular finding an appropriate box & packing...
by Gryphon
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lowest Cost GPS-Capable Device for Senior Citizen
Replies: 18
Views: 1051

Re: Lowest Cost GPS-Capable Device for Senior Citizen

+1 on the Garmin. You should be able to pick up a basic model for $100 - $150 that will come with lifetime map updates, so there's no additional costs later on, and no cell phone data plan required either.
by Gryphon
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions
Replies: 10
Views: 938

Re: Retirement withdrawal plan Fall 2019, ACA vs Roth conversions

If you're planning to travel, make sure to check what sort of health care coverage you would have outside your home area when deciding between ACA or COBRA. In my case, I could have saved money going with an ACA plan for 2019, but none of them would provide any coverage outside the St Louis area. Si...
by Gryphon
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite "free stuff"?
Replies: 137
Views: 10900

Re: Favorite "free stuff"?

Not to be picky but are “food samples” at Costco free if you’re paying a yearly membership fee? I’m sure the samples are factored into that $60 you pay yearly. I was under the impression that Costco was getting paid by the suppliers to allow the people giving away the samples into the stores. They ...
by Gryphon
Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard closure last week
Replies: 21
Views: 4737

Re: Vanguard closure last week

When I logged in Sunday night to get my account statement for October, something came up touting some web site improvements. I didn't pay much attention - I rarely do anything there other than download my monthly statements, and I can't say I noticed anything particularly different about that.
by Gryphon
Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: if then statements (nesting?) in exel?
Replies: 12
Views: 1199

Re: if then statements (nesting?) in exel?

Or use =MEDIAN(20000, A1, 100000)

More concise, but possibly a more expensive function than MAX and MIN.
by Gryphon
Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security WEP Question when filing at age 70
Replies: 2
Views: 483

Re: Social Security WEP Question when filing at age 70

If I understand correctly, the WEP reduction is applied to your full retirement age benefit before any adjustments are made for delayed retirement or COLA, so the difference at age 70 would be larger than half your pension amount. But I give up the $51,853 of pension earnings that I would receive fr...
by Gryphon
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2019 ACA plans available for review
Replies: 30
Views: 2965

Re: 2019 ACA plans available for review

tj wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:00 pm
Also, the individual mandate is a federal rule.
I believe they got rid of the federal mandate?
If I understand correctly, there is still technically an individual mandate at the federal level, but the penalty for failing to obtain insurance was reduced to $0.
by Gryphon
Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many miles (total) on car before buying another car ?
Replies: 114
Views: 7227

Re: How many miles (total) on car before buying another car ?

As to your first point about lower safety protections, the relevant factor here is how old your car is, not how many miles it has on it. I currently have a 15 year old vehicle with just under 120k; I sometimes think about replacing it, but not because of a lack of safety features. I've also never go...
by Gryphon
Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA
Replies: 11
Views: 2142

Re: Health Equity HSA

If I'm not mistaken, the fee is 0.24% + $36 year. Still sucks, but not 0.4%. H It depends on what you're investing in (and perhaps on whether you have an employer sponsoring your HSA). When I was still with my former employer (who used HE for their HSA) I did not pay any fixed administration fee fo...
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Replies: 30
Views: 2543

Re: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

One thing I will say is that we should have been told that below a certain temperature (from our experience 35 degrees or so) the car tends to run off gas almost all the time. This is an undisclosed quirk and if we didn't live in central Virginia it could be quite annoying. Imagine buying an electr...
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recently made a separate account used for spending on fun, entertainment, and things I wouldn’t normally buy
Replies: 12
Views: 1002

Re: Recently made a separate account used for spending on fun, entertainment, and things I wouldn’t normally buy

Fun for just you, or you & a partner? Any kids? And what sort of money are we talking about here - hundreds? Thousands? More?
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding excess HSA contributions.
Replies: 21
Views: 2145

Re: Avoiding excess HSA contributions.

Gryphon, doing that in combination with pro-rating the employer contribution would seemingly prevent tax issues, but that doesn’t seem to be an option for me. I wasn't able to spread my employer's contribution out over 12 months either - they made a lump sum payment in January like yours. When I le...
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Avoiding excess HSA contributions.
Replies: 21
Views: 2145

Re: Avoiding excess HSA contributions.

3) Since I'm paid once every two weeks there will be two months where I receive 3 paychecks. If I evenly spread my contributions out across all 26 paychecks then the months where I'm paid 3 times will create a similar problem that will lead to excess contributions if my employment is terminated bef...
by Gryphon
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay $3/mo. Or keep $5k in HSA
Replies: 5
Views: 472

Re: Pay $3/mo. Or keep $5k in HSA

$36 a year is 0.72% of $5000, so you could think of it as your $5k investment having a 0.72% expense ratio (or 0.76% if you add the VTSAX expense ratio of 0.04%). Not ideal, but if you're investing for the long term and the alternative is keeping it in cash that gets a tiny amount of interest every ...
by Gryphon
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did you retire because you hit your number?
Replies: 71
Views: 6639

Re: Did you retire because you hit your number?

It was a combination of things, but part of it was realizing that I'd hit my number & could afford to retire. Other contributing factors: I wasn't enjoying my job anymore. My employer had stopped making contributions to the defined contribution pension plan (replaced with contributions to 401K inste...
by Gryphon
Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: "MegaMillions and Powerball jackpots combined are now $1B" - Good investment?
Replies: 55
Views: 2990

Re: "MegaMillions and Powerball jackpots combined are now $1B" - Good investment?

I guess the main reason I don't buy these tickets is because I DO NOT WANT TO WIN! I think it would make life stressful and miserable, at least for me. If I did win, I'd have to give almost all of it away ASAP. I doubt I have a lot of company in that feeling. :D I feel the same way. After the first...
by Gryphon
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?
Replies: 78
Views: 4155

Re: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?

So far, the average sewer bill (for the posters who specified a sewer amount) has been about 51.50 per month. So TheDDC's bill seems to be a bit below average.
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?
Replies: 78
Views: 4155

Re: How Much Is Your Sewer Bill?

$21.75 per month for sewer. Average water bill is about the same amount give or take, but the sewer bill is not based on water usage. Trash is just over $24 per month; that includes curbside recycling, yard waste pickup, and quarterly large item pickups (appliances, furniture, etc). So most months i...
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Newer Steelcase Task Chairs
Replies: 11
Views: 983

Re: Newer Steelcase Task Chairs

I bought a Leap 3 months ago, direct from Steelcase. Came fully assembled in a very large box, with an option to return within 30 days for a refund. So far, I like it better than any chair I've bought from the local big box office supply stores over the years. Much better lumbar support. Time will t...
by Gryphon
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension terminated .. have options
Replies: 28
Views: 3656

Re: Lump sump vs Pension at 5% compound

What's this "guarantee"? Does it include any costs/fees? I suggest you read the fine print very closely. The defined contribution pension at my former employer had a similar provision. Each year, the value of the accumulated contributions from previous years was guaranteed to go up by a minimum int...
by Gryphon
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pension terminated .. have options
Replies: 28
Views: 3656

Re: Pension terminated .. have options

For option 2, do you know which insurance company will be managing the pension? If so, what's the company's reputation & overall health? Do you think they'll still be around in 18 years? A 5% guaranteed return might seem safe, but it's only as safe as the company making the guarantee.
by Gryphon
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Between Jobs: Obamacare vs COBRA?
Replies: 30
Views: 1618

Re: Between Jobs: Obamacare vs COBRA?

- How do I find out the COBRA plan costs? My employer health insurance costs $120+/mth, so I'm guessing it's $500/mth unsubsidized? ACA is $250-350/mth. Your employer is the only one who can tell you what your COBRA premiums will be - it varies widely from one firm to the next. As for the timing: W...
by Gryphon
Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your annual cost for health insurance?
Replies: 137
Views: 10112

Re: What is your annual cost for health insurance?

Up until a month ago, I was still on previous employer's insurance through COBRA. $400 per month with $1500 deductible. Sadly, I hit the 18 month limit at the end of August & lost that. For the rest of this year, I opted to sign up for one of their retiree health insurance plans - $1442 per month wi...
by Gryphon
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple - macOS Mojave
Replies: 35
Views: 2997

Re: Apple - macOS Mojave

I clicked "About This Mac" on my 2011 MBA 13 with Hi Sierra 10.13.6, but I cannot update to Mojave. Any divine inspiration? TIA. The oldest MacBook Air that can run Mojave is the mid-2012 model (see Apple's system compatibility list for Mojave). You'll continue to get security updates for Hi Sierra...
by Gryphon
Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken - Do you use it?
Replies: 59
Views: 4282

Re: Quicken - Do you use it?

Curious if the QuickBooks Online Self-Employed edition $5/mo. would be a replacement for QuickBooks? You mean a replacement for Quicken? Ive heard of folks doing that, but $60/year is more than the Quicken subscriptions currently cost ($45/year for one year or $35/year for two years). I think using...
by Gryphon
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken - Do you use it?
Replies: 59
Views: 4282

Re: Quicken - Do you use it?

IDoes anyone know how the latest versions/upgrades behave if you don't subscribe? From https://www.quicken.com/support/quicken-subscription-membership-faqs : The Quicken Data Access Guarantee means that whether you renew your subscription or not, you'll always have full access to and ownership of y...
by Gryphon
Sun May 27, 2018 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped
Replies: 23
Views: 1721

Re: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped

go_mets wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 6:04 pm
But there was a major rain storm last night.
Maybe that is what tripped the GFCI.
It's possible. The GFCI on my outside outlets tripped the last time I had the house power washed. I replaced the covers over the two outlets - they were original to the house & over 2 decades old.
by Gryphon
Sun May 27, 2018 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped
Replies: 23
Views: 1721

Re: electrical outlet dead; fuse not tripped

If all the outlets on that circuit are dead, and those outlets are the only thing on that circuit, and none of the outlets are GFCI, then I would suspect the breaker has failed in some way. If you have a volt meter or voltage tester, you could check where the wiring connects to the breaker to verify...
by Gryphon
Fri May 11, 2018 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aftertax 401K rollover to Roth IRA
Replies: 10
Views: 1409

Re: Aftertax 401K rollover to Roth IRA

Will the aftertax 1099-R segregate aftertax contribution and earnings values? When I did this I received two 1099-R forms - one for the money that went to the traditional IRA (which included the after-tax earnings), and one for the money that went to the Roth IRA (the after-tax contributions). The ...
by Gryphon
Fri May 11, 2018 12:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you lose COBRA when offered new insurance?
Replies: 8
Views: 880

Re: Do you lose COBRA when offered new insurance?

I suppose you could (at least the way I read it), but you need to think about the future. For most folks, COBRA coverage only lasts 18 months. What are you going to do when it ends? Will your new employer let you join their health insurance at that point, so you don't have a gap in coverage? Or will...
by Gryphon
Fri May 11, 2018 12:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you lose COBRA when offered new insurance?
Replies: 8
Views: 880

Re: Do you lose COBRA when offered new insurance?

From the DOL's COBRA FAQ : Q12: Can continuation coverage be terminated early for any reason? A group health plan may terminate coverage earlier than the end of the maximum period for any of the following reasons:  Premiums are not paid in full on a timely basis;  The employer ceases to maintain a...
by Gryphon
Thu May 03, 2018 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Computer Speakers
Replies: 12
Views: 722

Re: Recommendations for Computer Speakers

For my office, I opted for a pair of bookshelf speakers driven by a small amp. The amp has two audio inputs so I have both of my computers connected to it, and it also has a headphone output for the occasions where I need that. All are from Audioengine - the amp is the N22, and the speakers are the ...
by Gryphon
Thu May 03, 2018 1:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone else have problems with appliances from Home Depot?
Replies: 36
Views: 9295

Re: Anyone else have problems with appliances from Home Depot?

Most of my appliances have been purchased from stores that used 3rd party installers. They've done a good job for the most part. The one exception was the dishwasher I bought last fall. After they left I discovered the drain connection to the garbage disposal leaked, so I had to redo that - they had...
by Gryphon
Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First credit card
Replies: 21
Views: 1523

Re: First credit card

If you're looking for something that will encourage responsible CC use, perhaps an Amex Green Card would be a good start. You have to pay the balance off every month. When I got tired of carrying large credit card balances, I carried one of these for several years while paying off the other cards. I...
by Gryphon
Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Paperless Life
Replies: 45
Views: 4703

Re: The Paperless Life

Don't rely on institutions to hold onto your statements forever - they won't. If you want to go paperless, make a point of downloading copies of your statements every month (or every quarter, or some other regular period, though I wouldn't go longer than quarterly myself) and filing them away somewh...
by Gryphon
Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aftertax 401K rollover to Roth IRA
Replies: 10
Views: 1409

Re: Aftertax 401K rollover to Roth IRA

After-tax contributions to a 401K don't necessarily mean a Roth 401K. For many years I set my 401K contribution percentage so that I would hit the annual maximum near the end of the year. The excess was categorized as an after-tax contribution (and this was long before that company started offering ...
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Difference in Difficulty Driving Moving Trucks By Size
Replies: 18
Views: 1964

Re: Difference in Difficulty Driving Moving Trucks By Size

I don't have experience driving moving vans, but I do have a small motorhome (21 feet long, 9.5 feet tall), and driving it isn't much more difficult than driving my minivan. Poorer visibility out the back is the main challenge, but you'd have that with either moving truck.
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k lawsuit settlement - Can I rollover to avoid penalty for early distribution
Replies: 2
Views: 543

Re: 401k lawsuit settlement - Can I rollover to avoid penalty for early distribution

It's hard to say without knowing why the distribution occurred. If the court is correcting a mistake (for instance, you were allowed to contribute more than the annual maximum), the IRS isn't likely to let you repeat that mistake by putting the money back in. On the other hand, in that case the 10% ...
by Gryphon
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco gas
Replies: 67
Views: 7078

Re: Costco gas

I find when I'm at home I always wind up getting gas at Costco, but the Costco is at a convenient location for me, so I take advantage of that - I'm near to it on a regular basis, so it's easy to get gas there even if weeks go by without any Costco shopping trips. I sometimes top off the tank sooner...
by Gryphon
Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Separate accounts for same IRA ?
Replies: 12
Views: 671

Re: Separate accounts for same IRA ?

So if someone had an IRA or 401k with 600k cash in it, they could divide it between 3 different FDIC insured banks to get deposit protection in the case of an extreme event. Is that correct? Or is an IRA/401k considered outside of protection? It would depend on where the IRA money was placed. If th...
by Gryphon
Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare
Replies: 97
Views: 9287

Re: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare

The market is efficient. If CloudFlare is the best thing in town, ISPs like Comcast will use CloudFlare services to keep their customers happy. "Best thing in town" - best for who? What's best for the cable company is not necessarily what's best for you, which you don't seem to realize. And around ...
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High-yield Savings
Replies: 31
Views: 4597

Re: High-yield Savings

I can't think of any significant negative impact to having multiple saving accounts. There's just the overhead of having to track more accounts & download monthly statements, but that's pretty minimal for a savings account that isn't seeing many transactions. As for penalties for closing so soon, th...
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: High-yield Savings
Replies: 31
Views: 4597

Re: High-yield Savings

You can drive yourself crazy chasing after the highest possible interest rate - whoever has the highest rate this week, it'll be some other bank pretty soon, and then somebody else after that, and so on and so on... I'd let that money sit in the account you have for a while, and see if they raise th...
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare
Replies: 97
Views: 9287

Re: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare

\ DNS query data is extremely sensitive. CloudFlare will "share query data, but only with these really trustworthy researchers ". "Ironically for a project predicated on privacy, Cloudflare is sharing DNS query data with APNIC Labs , a part of Asian registry APNIC, in exchange for the use of its 1....
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare
Replies: 97
Views: 9287

Re: New faster DNS - 1.1.1.1 by CloudFlare

Even if you're using 1.1.1.1, once your session ends, if you have that page in your history (or still open in another tab), you can go straight to it and sign in again without changing your DNS back. This was at a different hotel than the one I had stayed at previously, so there was nothing in the ...
by Gryphon
Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to apply for social security if I want to start it at age 70?
Replies: 3
Views: 661

Re: When to apply for social security if I want to start it at age 70?

If you're filling out the application in advance, make sure when they ask for the date that benefits should start that you change the date. You don't want them to start on the date you file the application (or worse, 6 months prior).