Search found 317 matches

by deskjockey
Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Documented Turbotax flaw when trying to exclude capital gains on T-bills/bonds from VA taxable income
Replies: 3
Views: 368

Re: Documented Turbotax flaw when trying to exclude capital gains on T-bills/bonds from VA taxable income

Just wanted to let folks know that Turbotax still hasn't fixed this bug in the 2019 version. Clearly, it's not a priority for them.
by deskjockey
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 1573
Views: 143850

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

One more 4) Does it ever make sense to refinance with your current servicer? (Currently is Mr Cooper.) I'm suspicious that I would good a good deal as I figure they look at you as a captive client perhaps, but I honestly don't know. It could make sense, if they give you a better rate and lower fees...
by deskjockey
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mazda CX-5 - seat comfort question?
Replies: 41
Views: 3338

Re: Mazda CX-5 - seat comfort question?

We bought a 2019 CX-5 Signature about six months ago for DW and she has had no issues with the seats. I find them comfortable enough for drives under an hour, but had a bit of discomfort and pain after a three hour drive (not a lot though). They are definitely not as comfortable as the multi-contour...
by deskjockey
Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 1573
Views: 143850

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

We just refinanced last month from a 30 year 3.8% loan (in year 8) to a 20 year loan at 3.375% through LenderFi. I hadn't heard of LenderFi before reading this thread, and I'm glad I did, as they had the lowest rates and costs for our situation. We did a straight refinance, paid zero points, and pai...
by deskjockey
Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Locking in natural gas price--good idea?
Replies: 9
Views: 916

Re: Locking in natural gas price--good idea?

I don't know how it works where you live but here in Atlanta GA natural gas was "de-regulated" many years ago. The major "fly in the ointment" with this arrangement is the Base Charge and Service Charge assessed by a 3rd party. In the summer months our total gas bill is around $42-$45 with only $5 ...
by deskjockey
Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Locking in natural gas price--good idea?
Replies: 9
Views: 916

Re: Locking in natural gas price--good idea?

Do you use a lot of natural gas? Enough to make the switch worthwhile? It only powers our stove/oven, so even at 20% off I don’t think it would be worth the phone call to switch for me. But it sounds like maybe you use it for heating as well? Yes, we have natural gas furnaces for heating and we als...
by deskjockey
Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Locking in natural gas price--good idea?
Replies: 9
Views: 916

Locking in natural gas price--good idea?

I got a letter today offering to lock in the price we pay for natural gas for one to three years at $0.369 per Therm. There's no cancellation fee or minimum. We're paying a variable rate (currently at $0.44) and buying it from our local utility. To lock in we would have to switch suppliers (but the ...
by deskjockey
Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank
Replies: 92
Views: 12527

Re: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank

OP here again. Today I got word from Ally (via a dozen emails--not kidding) that they had reactivated my account and ability to transfer to all of my linked banks... except Marcus. I called once more this afternoon to see what was happening and finally got a customer service rep to give me more inf...
by deskjockey
Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank
Replies: 92
Views: 12527

Re: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank

OP here again. Today I got word from Ally (via a dozen emails--not kidding) that they had reactivated my account and ability to transfer to all of my linked banks... except Marcus. I called once more this afternoon to see what was happening and finally got a customer service rep to give me more info...
by deskjockey
Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank
Replies: 92
Views: 12527

Re: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank

OP here. The money in theory should have shown up in my Ally account today, according to Ally's transfer tool (I made a note of that when I made the transaction) and the transaction initially showed up in the "future transactions" section of the web site. After the account got locked yesterday, the ...
by deskjockey
Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disturbing experience with Ally Bank
Replies: 92
Views: 12527

Disturbing experience with Ally Bank

I'm in the middle of a problem with Ally and had to vent and (hopefully) get advice from other folks who have had this problem before. On Monday I initiated an ACH transfer from Ally (my hub account) to pull $50k from my Marcus account and deposit it in my Ally savings account. Yesterday, I logged i...
by deskjockey
Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which prefab shower to get?
Replies: 3
Views: 684

Re: Which prefab shower to get?

Thanks, guys. That thread was useful.
by deskjockey
Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which prefab shower to get?
Replies: 3
Views: 684

Which prefab shower to get?

As part of our basement remodel, we're putting in a bathroom (using an existing rough-in) and have decided to use a prefab shower wall/pan combo. We've looked at the Kohler Choreograph collection and like the design, but want to make sure we're considering all the options. Does anyone have any speci...
by deskjockey
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Oman - Any Suggestions?
Replies: 1
Views: 354

Re: Visiting Oman - Any Suggestions?

Oman is very pleasant and has a different vibe than other Gulf countries. There are plenty of places to get good food--your hosts will likely guide you well on that front. The Mutrah Souq is pretty quaint and a haggler's delight, although not my cup of tea. If you like museums, the National Museum o...
by deskjockey
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Foreign Service Officer: Who do I talk to about State Domicile
Replies: 15
Views: 1788

Re: New Foreign Service Officer: Who do I talk to about State Domicile

As others have said, have your ducks in a row and, if you choose to move forward, cut all ties with Maryland--change your voter registration, register your cars in a another state, and get a new driver's license. I know Virginia's take on this type of situation pretty well--the state will come after...
by deskjockey
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any experience with carbargains.org?
Replies: 7
Views: 873

Re: Any experience with carbargains.org?

It's always good practice to ask yourself "I'm adding a for profit business between me and the dealer. How is it that I'm going to walk away with a lower price?". We all know how TruCar takes $200 from the dealer who sells the car.....and that dealer is going to get that $200 from you. How much doe...
by deskjockey
Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any experience with carbargains.org?
Replies: 7
Views: 873

Any experience with carbargains.org?

We'll be in the market for a new car in a couple of weeks and I'm not relishing going through the process, as we'll also be dealing with a ton of other stuff, including getting new carpets and painting the house, all at the exact same time (it can't be helped, unfortunately). I've been considering u...
by deskjockey
Wed May 15, 2019 10:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%
Replies: 455
Views: 76215

Re: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%

am wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:37 am

TEY for 35% fed, 5% state is now below prime mm. Thinking of switching, maybe short term muni fund?
If you want to switch without changing your risk profile, go with Prime MM or with Treasury MM. Higher yield and even safer.
by deskjockey
Sun May 12, 2019 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how to make sure money in 529 helps divorced brother and not ex-wife?
Replies: 13
Views: 2438

Re: how to make sure money in 529 helps divorced brother and not ex-wife?

Could I transfer the funds to a new 529 owned by my brother? That way, if she asks, we can say that the money is now zero cause my financial situation changed, and I had to “move some money around”? That’s what I would do. Keep yourself out of it. Ex wife does not need to know where your brothers c...
by deskjockey
Sun May 12, 2019 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 4647
Views: 897297

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I would posit that an even better process for cash back redemptions is never to redeem for a statement credit, but always to a high-yielding savings or money market account. This way, you can at least earn some return on the cash back rather than it just sitting on the statement until your due date...
by deskjockey
Sun May 12, 2019 3:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 4647
Views: 897297

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa (Chase) This is almost a no-brainer if you shop at Amazon regularly, as it's easy to apply the bonus to purchases. But it'd also be a no-brainer to not buy crap from Amazon you don't need. :D If you want to squeeze as much value as possible from your Prime Rewards Visa (or...
by deskjockey
Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash - Throw it all on the table!!!
Replies: 226
Views: 43295

Re: Cash - Throw it all on the table!!!

We've got $100k in VMMXX and $7k in a checking account. Our second tier of less-liquid assets is $53k in T-bills and I bonds, followed by $25k in a 12-month CD and $15k in an 18-month CD. All of these are part of the fixed income portion of our 70/30 AA. Our goal is to keep 3 months of living expens...
by deskjockey
Sat May 11, 2019 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1489

Re: Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer

I'm only seeing a $300 bonus for Savor. Can you point me to $450? EDIT: I found a $500 link and did a screen save and was approved for the card. Will a screen save be enough proof, are are they likely to tell me that it was an old link and the new bonus is less? The $450 appears to be a targeted of...
by deskjockey
Sat May 11, 2019 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best month to visit London?
Replies: 40
Views: 3477

Re: Best month to visit London?

Another vote for May or September. Also agree that April and October are good alternatives, but I would make sure not to go during the Easter school recess--tourist stuff is swamped, too, although not as bad as in August. If you don't mind the chill and short days, November and December are good tim...
by deskjockey
Sat May 11, 2019 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1489

Re: Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer

I got Capital One's offer in my email a couple of days ago ($450 bonus for transferring $50k or more and keeping it there until 8/20) and am looking to take advantage of it, but I'm not sure of whether a pull is necessary to qualify or whether I can push funds to the account. I ask because the mone...
by deskjockey
Sat May 11, 2019 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer
Replies: 12
Views: 1489

Question on Capital One $450 bonus offer

I got Capital One's offer in my email a couple of days ago ($450 bonus for transferring $50k or more and keeping it there until 8/20) and am looking to take advantage of it, but I'm not sure of whether a pull is necessary to qualify or whether I can push funds to the account. I ask because the money...
by deskjockey
Thu May 09, 2019 11:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%
Replies: 455
Views: 76215

Re: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%

Well, the party is over for me--today the ATY on VMSXX is likely to drop below that of VUSXX (calculated using accrued dividends). It was just a hair higher yesterday (and ten basis points lower than the SEC yield), so I've gone ahead and moved everything back to VUSXX.
by deskjockey
Thu May 02, 2019 1:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My silly question: what $20-50 gift should I ask for?
Replies: 20
Views: 1572

Re: My silly question: what $20-50 gift should I ask for?

How about a nice meal out? Doesn't need to be steak and lobster, but I'm sure having someone take you out to lunch or dinner would be a welcome gift. Another option--gift certificates to a restaurant/coffee house. Or a ticket to a museum/amusement park/other venue that interests you. Finally, how ab...
by deskjockey
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%
Replies: 455
Views: 76215

Re: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%

Yes, but my thoughts depend on the amount of money you intend to transfer. :D For me, the tax-free yields are just probably just at or slightly under the taxable yields. I could maybe make a $5-$25/year in extra after-tax income if I switch. But eh, I'm lazy. I'd rather take those few minutes and w...
by deskjockey
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%
Replies: 455
Views: 76215

Re: Vanguard Municipal Money Market VMSXX 1.39%

The TEY of VMSXX just exceed that of VUSXX for me today. I wonder if I should switch the funds I have in VMSXX to ride the crest or not. Last year the crest for me lasted under a month, so it wasn't exactly worth it. Any thoughts?
by deskjockey
Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare B only vs FEHB only
Replies: 47
Views: 2073

Re: Medicare B only vs FEHB only

What is FEHB? It stands for Federal Employee Health Benefits--the health care coverage for Feds. A good number of different plans are available within FEHB, you can keep it once you retire (at the same cost as current employees) at full retirement age (57 for most folks), and it's generally conside...
by deskjockey
Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smoke detectors
Replies: 36
Views: 2072

Re: Smoke detectors

To my knowledge, you can't buy a combination ionization / photoelectric / CO detector. Yes, they exist, although not common. I've been looking at different units to replace our existing ones and came across this one (and a few others): https://www.universalsecuritystore.com/store/products/hardwired...
by deskjockey
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads privacy warning
Replies: 61
Views: 5907

Re: Bogleheads privacy warning

Thanks did you ever visited Spoeko.com? That and one address you can pretty much guess who lived there and who the folks that lived there before. County government role is to record deeds, majority of this is public, very hard to live legally anonymously, this is the social contract agreement in a ...
by deskjockey
Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Making the plunge into 529s
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: Making the plunge into 529s

I would slow things down. You don't know that the benefit for private school is going to continue. Above the tax deduction, you only get a real benefit if you invest and the market goes up, but with a short timeframe, there is a high risk of the market going down. Then you will either have to sell ...
by deskjockey
Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: can i use turbotax without paying a fee?
Replies: 26
Views: 2085

Re: TurboTax making me pay for deluxe?

Are you using the CD/downloadable version, or the online version? If online, yes, you found the gotcha. The CD/download version does not have this problem, so if you haven't paid and don't mid redoing your taxes, I suggest you get the CD or download version. In addition, if you itemized your deducti...
by deskjockey
Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Making the plunge into 529s
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: Making the plunge into 529s

And yes, you can open a 529 account with you as the beneficiary and fund it, then later on switch the beneficiary to one of your kids. You can also open a 529 in your spouse's name (if you have one) so as to have two additional accounts to fund. Thanks for the info. Does changing beneficiaries trig...
by deskjockey
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:41 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Making the plunge into 529s
Replies: 26
Views: 2909

Re: Making the plunge into 529s

Are you married? If so, your spouse has a separate $15K gift tax exclusion amount, so both of you combined can give $30K per year to each of your kids without having to file a gift form every year. For this specific situation, that means the two of you together can deposit $150K per child in a 529. ...
by deskjockey
Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TVs: OLED vs. QLED
Replies: 52
Views: 4900

Re: TVs: OLED vs. QLED

The many typos, grammatical errors, broken links, and incorrect apostrophes littered throughout the site further fuel my suspicions. I don’t know about the company, but I think it’s sometimes dangerous to extrapolate from things like the “grocer’s apostrophe.” Do you apply that standard here? By it...
by deskjockey
Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TVs: OLED vs. QLED
Replies: 52
Views: 4900

Re: TVs: OLED vs. QLED

Thanks! Is $2500 a good price for the LG OLED65C8 model? No. My dad purchased at Costco less than a month ago for $1,950. They have since jacked it to $2.5k. The C9 will be in stores in a month so they’ll have to drop the price on the C8 to clear them out. Good info. Thanks! FYI: If you are comfort...
by deskjockey
Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tattoos and Bogleheads
Replies: 180
Views: 10726

Re: Tattoos and Bogleheads

No tats, no interest in getting them, and not going to let my kids get them while they're minors (unlike a work colleague of mine who paid for her 16-year-old to get a tattoo last week). DW and I are on the same page on this, which is definitely a plus. I've got enough involuntary bod mods already w...
by deskjockey
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 11-year old with iPhone - advice on how best to manage?
Replies: 68
Views: 5447

Re: 11-year old with iPhone - advice on how best to manage?

I'd go ahead and call the parents of all of your kid's friends. Ask them why they gave their kids phones (not in a hostile way, but ti understand the rationale) and how they control/monitor the use of these phones. Ask what their biggest concerns are, whether they have seen any negative impacts, and...
by deskjockey
Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ireland & Scotland Do I Need Cash?
Replies: 24
Views: 2115

Re: Ireland & Scotland Do I Need Cash?

You can circumvent some of the problems of not having a contactless chip and pin card by using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay on your phone. It works quite well for contactless payments and avoids the whole hunt for pens at restaurants. This is maybe not a smart question, but if my phone is ...
by deskjockey
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ireland & Scotland Do I Need Cash?
Replies: 24
Views: 2115

Re: Ireland & Scotland Do I Need Cash?

You can circumvent some of the problems of not having a contactless chip and pin card by using Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay on your phone. It works quite well for contactless payments and avoids the whole hunt for pens at restaurants.
by deskjockey
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: USAA
Replies: 18
Views: 3141

Re: USAA

See this thread for a previous discussion: viewtopic.php?t=263290
by deskjockey
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring or Honda CR-V EXL
Replies: 69
Views: 6730

Re: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring or Honda CR-V EXL

For anyone with a CX-5... did you opt for Mazda Mobile Start, an aftermarket remote start system, or are you just not using remote start at all? Mazda Mobile Start has terrible reviews and hasn't been updated in years. I've read some people (and dealers, optionally) just install an aftermarket syst...
by deskjockey
Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:29 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Any advantages to holding a TSP if I plan to retire overseas?
Replies: 8
Views: 907

Re: Any advantages to holding a TSP if I plan to retire overseas?

I would go with rolling the SEP and TIRA into the TSP--given the TSP's upcoming more flexible withdrawal options, it marries safety (from the ex-pat account liquidation problem) and simplicity. As for the tax treaty angle, it may be worth letting folks know which countries you're considering, as I d...
by deskjockey
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Escrow Question
Replies: 14
Views: 903

Re: Escrow Question

That's one of the reasons I paid a bit to get out of escrow when we refinanced. You're giving the lender a loan they can then make money off of. How much will it cost you to get out of escrow?
by deskjockey
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Any advantages to holding a TSP if I plan to retire overseas?
Replies: 8
Views: 907

Re: Any advantages to holding a TSP if I plan to retire overseas?

Not sure about tax treaties being an issue (positive or negative), but I would point out that a lot of financial firms have been closing the accounts of ex-pats with no U.S. address to their name over the past few years. The TSP will never do that, so that's something to keep in mind. Do a search of...
by deskjockey
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need to ethically reneg on a large eBay purchase
Replies: 39
Views: 5377

Re: I need to ethically reneg on a large eBay purchase

Here's eBay's policy on unpaid items . Technically, your bid is a contract, so failure to pay puts you in breach of that contract and of eBay's polices. That said, the penalties don't seem that onerous. You get an unpaid item strike against your account and, if that get gets to be a pattern, eBay co...
by deskjockey
Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk me in/out of $35k Tesla Model 3
Replies: 286
Views: 23423

Re: Talk me in/out of $35k Tesla Model 3

have you ever tried biking those two miles to the train? i bike to an express bus, it's delightful even when -34F. FYI, trying to convince people that biking in -34F is no big deal defeats your entire message. You will convert LESS people this way, as they will discount the rest of your testimony, ...