Search found 337 matches

by gtd98765
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Uber Driving
Replies: 28
Views: 1550

Re: Uber Driving

I read one article where the drivers said that the tips they get are what makes it (semi) profitable; else it's breakeven on car expenses. Would poor college kids tip well?
by gtd98765
Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best method for handling work task list and note taking?
Replies: 17
Views: 900

Re: Best method for handling work task list and note taking?

I was a diplomat for 30+ years so notetaking was a key job responsibility, even in senior management. I tried everything, but always came back to a steno pad, plus a lot of experience remembering things based on summarized notes. In conferences with a lot of people where I could use an ipad with a k...
by gtd98765
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Equifax is a joke
Replies: 14
Views: 2108

Re: Equifax is a joke

Equifax is indeed a joke. But it does not see keeping your information secure as part of its job; it's job is to sell your information to as many people as possible. Keeping your info secure makes their job harder, as does implementing a security freeze. Therefore, we should not be surprised that th...
by gtd98765
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you "lock" computers in your home?
Replies: 74
Views: 4704

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure. How many burglars know how to do that? If they are really good computer people, they ca...
by gtd98765
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you "lock" computers in your home?
Replies: 74
Views: 4704

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

I don't think you need sophisticated tools to bypass password protection --- all you need is the ability to boot off a USB drive or set boot order. That can be disabled in most PCs if you want to be more secure. How many burglars know how to do that? If they are really good computer people, they ca...
by gtd98765
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you "lock" computers in your home?
Replies: 74
Views: 4704

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

I don't know about chrome but it is useless in windows if one gets physical access to the HDD. Unless you encrypt the whole thing. Encrypting a Windows hard disk, unless you spring an extra $100 for Win 10 Pro, is non-trivial. I would not want to discourage people from taking important basic securi...
by gtd98765
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you "lock" computers in your home?
Replies: 74
Views: 4704

Re: Do you "lock" computers in your home?

Absolutely, my laptops need a password to turn on from off, and if unused for 15 minutes or so. That password is the only thing standing in front of my email (although I do have a password manager with a separate password for all financial sites). Of course it is unlikely that anyone will break in a...
by gtd98765
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is "My Social Security" online worth signing up for
Replies: 31
Views: 2703

Re: Is "My Social Security" online worth signing up for

Krebs on Security recommends everyone create a My Social Security account to make sure no one else does it for you to steal benefits. KrebsOnSecurity has long warned readers to plant your own flag at the my Social Security online portal of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) — even if you ...
by gtd98765
Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mentoring in the office - what to expect?
Replies: 25
Views: 2721

Re: Mentoring in the office - what to expect?

If you have any challenges, even minor ones, with your direct reports, that is a good thing to discuss with your mentor. E.g., one of my team members does not prioritize tasks the way I want. Have you had this problem? How did you solve it and help the employee grow?
by gtd98765
Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: "Unlimited" mobile phone data. Don't need it. But I may need up to 10G a month. Dunno... options with Mint?
Replies: 13
Views: 1031

Re: "Unlimited" mobile phone data. Don't need it. But I may need up to 10G a month. Dunno... options with Mint?

Mint is running a 'buy 3 months, get 3 months free' promo on their 8GB/mo. plan so the first 6 months would be $60 + taxes. I have Mint with a 6s and like it. It works with wi-fi calling and apple voicemail. It's worth considering if T-Mobile coverage is good in your area. We tried to port to Mint ...
by gtd98765
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?
Replies: 21
Views: 1159

Re: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?

I'm not that familiar with it ever being used on hot air ducts but its possible early systems had the seams sealed with asbestos tape? Our 1950's-era house did in fact have asbestos paper between the galvanized forced-air ducts and the joists. Since the ducts never get above 120 degrees F I have no...
by gtd98765
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?
Replies: 21
Views: 1159

Re: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?

I think in most states asbestos has to be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor. I would be surprised if a typical HVAC company would really want to be in that business, much less maintain the training and expensive equipment to deal with it. If you are concerned about asbestos (assum...
by gtd98765
Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do we move or add-on? Need some grounding...
Replies: 37
Views: 1795

Re: Do we move or add-on? Need some grounding...

We faced the same dilemma, and ended up adding on to our house (an MBR & a den), and fifteen years later we still like it. Think of the three cardinal rules of real estate: location, location, and location. If you have a location that you love, you should try to find a way to stay there. Have no ill...
by gtd98765
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are all models of Toyota generally considered reliable?
Replies: 52
Views: 4868

Re: Are all models of Toyota generally considered reliable?

The April issue of Consumer Reports, or the online version ($) has all the statistics you could want.
by gtd98765
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Frustrations - No Free Trades/Matching Offers
Replies: 75
Views: 3767

Re: Vanguard Frustrations - No Free Trades/Matching Offers

"Free" is so often used to mean "included," which is unfortunate, because so many of us now expect things to be "free," when of course they are not (except perhaps the love of your children). Remember, TANSTAAFL! Nothing in the business world is really free, because businesses need to make money to ...
by gtd98765
Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting money from a 529
Replies: 45
Views: 3080

Re: Getting money from a 529

Not exactly sure what you mean regarding room and board? I would just make sure the number you claim is less than the number in the official reported cost of attendance (as required). Are you sure you have to claim less from the 529 than the QHEE ? I thought you just had to include as taxable incom...
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifts to Bring when Traveling Overseas
Replies: 72
Views: 3042

Re: Gifts to Bring when Traveling Overseas

I agree with the T-shirts and baseball caps suggestions, with the names of California colleges or sports teams on them.

Also tea towels with CA themes - e.g., the missions, Yosemite, surfing, etc. Whatever says home to you.

Fabric things will not get broken line wine bottles might.
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Piano Lessons for young kids
Replies: 29
Views: 1578

Re: Piano Lessons for young kids

I was one of those six year olds learning piano and practicing sporadically. 50+ years later I play most every day. No one would accuse me of being a good pianist, but I enjoy it immensely. Agree on the importance of a real piano, or at least an electronic one with weighted keys. Also for parents to...
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: financial to-do checklist for federal employees?
Replies: 36
Views: 1458

Re: financial to-do checklist for federal employees?

FEGLI: I don't think this life insurance includes a free portion any more. I certainly had the minimum and still paid something for it. Google to find a reference on the OPM web site; I'm sure it's explained. TSP: Only other thing I would check is which TSP funds you are investing in. Since you are ...
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renter Forever?
Replies: 68
Views: 6174

Re: Renter Forever?

Another advantage of owning is there is no one else who can throw you out of your house. My parents downsized and sold their home, planning to rent a place for the rest of their lives. They ended up having to move three times as the property owners decided to sell.
by gtd98765
Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Storing documents--- trust, will, etc.
Replies: 22
Views: 1911

Re: Storing documents--- trust, will, etc.

the wirecutter reviewed fire chests: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-fireproof-document-safe/ It looks like they actually set them on fire to see how things held up. I ended up buying the First Alert chest they recommended. So far it has been fine, although, fortunately, I have not had to see...
by gtd98765
Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Know Any Good Forums for Android Smartphone Users?
Replies: 10
Views: 1133

Re: Know Any Good Forums for Android Smartphone Users?

I can tell you how to change the notification sounds in Hangouts and GMail apps, via the Settings menu in either app. I have Android 9 on a Moto X4. Let me know if either of these would be helpful.
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RESOLVED: Smart Home = Dumb Idea due to potential security breaches and exploits?
Replies: 42
Views: 3940

Re: Smart Home = Dumb Idea due to potential security breaches and exploits?

I will not answer any of your three Qs, but I will recommend the krebsonsecurity.com website as a good source of well-written information on computer security issues. You can subscribe to alerts when he puts up a new article, typically once or twice a week.
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive source--online or via Warehouse Clubs--for small batch business cards
Replies: 18
Views: 740

Re: Inexpensive source--online or via Warehouse Clubs--for small batch business cards

stan1 wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:47 am
I've used Vista Print. Very happy with results.
A headhunter also recommended Vista Print to me, although I have not actually used them myself yet. So far I have been happy with buying Avery high-end business-card paper and sending it through my printer.
by gtd98765
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RESOLVED: Smart Home = Dumb Idea due to potential security breaches and exploits?
Replies: 42
Views: 3940

Re: Smart Home = Dumb Idea due to potential security breaches and exploits?

Unfortunately, very little attention is being paid by the public to the lack of security of Internet of Things (IoT) smart devices used in the home. I think it is a big risk, both to the owner and others; all of these things are made in China at low cost; many are susceptible to being logged on to b...
by gtd98765
Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Huge Bubble in Stocks?
Replies: 1
Views: 523

Re: Huge Bubble in Stocks?

I don't think there is any way to positively identify a bubble until it has popped; it is only visible in hindsight. Remember the market continued to go up for four years after Greenspan called it irrationally exhuberant.
by gtd98765
Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepaid eSIM for Europe travel
Replies: 18
Views: 820

Re: Prepaid eSIM for Europe travel

there was a thread on this just a week or two ago in which someone bought a SIM (not an eSIM, sorry) on Amazon and used it for travel in several European countries. A search should turn it up.
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Update with Part 2: What would it take for you, the non-landlord, passive-investor, to become a landlord?
Replies: 57
Views: 4229

Re: Update with Part 2: What would it take for you, the non-landlord, passive-investor, to become a landlord?

Interview at least three successful real estate agents familiar with the area and who would be interested in listing the house. Ask them for advice on these issues; see where they differ, where they agree; then decide which suggestions to take. I am betting that anyone in the market for a house in t...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Be aware of Verizon!
Replies: 34
Views: 4351

Re: Be aware of Verizon!

Agree entirely with the sentiment. Over decades of moving in and out of Verizon's service area, I found that every time I would sign up for new Verizon service, there would be a "small error" that would add $5 - $10 / month to the bill. They would always correct the problem when I called to complain...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice Please: Sell or Rent my Single Family Home
Replies: 11
Views: 577

Re: Advice Please: Sell or Rent my Single Family Home

Do you see yourself moving back to the house someday, either on orders or after retirement? For me that would be a key question; if yes, maybe keep; if no, maybe sell. I have been a very long-distance landlord many times due to transfers, but have always kept my house since I planned to come back to...
by gtd98765
Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Equifax settlement: how to file claim?
Replies: 130
Views: 10990

Re: Equifax settlement: how to file claim?

Krebs has a good article on the proposed settlement: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2019/07/wha ... ettlement/
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: C8 Corvette - who is buying?
Replies: 125
Views: 8710

Re: C8 Corvette - who is buying?

If one wants to go fast quickly, I doubt it's a match for a Tesla, which one can get for the bargain price of around $40K.
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tablet/cell phone combo
Replies: 13
Views: 847

Re: Tablet/cell phone combo

Some useful background: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-ipad-is-the-best-tablet/ https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-android-tablet/ I have used android phones for years, but agree with the wirecutter's evaluation that the iPad is a superior tablet compared with any android tablet options. ...
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Soliciting 529 money in lieu of birthday/Christmas gifts
Replies: 12
Views: 1360

Re: Soliciting 529 money in lieu of birthday/Christmas gifts

This is really a cultural issue. In my family I would never ask for cash for a present for me or the kids. But probably in some other US cultures that would be acceptable. And I think there is a big difference between reaching out to people and saying "no gifts please, just 529 contribs," and respon...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any experience with carbargains.org?
Replies: 7
Views: 670

Re: Any experience with carbargains.org?

I have been eyeing carbargains.org too for my next car. They are associated with checkbook.org, whose consumer magazine I have subscribed to for years. I have great experience with checkbook, but none with carbargains, yet.
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk me out of buying a Tesla Model 3
Replies: 551
Views: 42534

Re: Talk me out of buying a Tesla Model 3

For those that have a 3, which do you have and why that version? Would you repeat? LR AWD V Performance seems a toss up to me. We have a mid-range 3, no longer available. It is a wonderful car. The acceleration is incredible. If the non-performance model's acceleration is this fast, I can't imagine...
by gtd98765
Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag
Replies: 29
Views: 1362

Re: Lightweight, durable, laptop bag

Here are some reviews that I considered when I was shopping: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/our-favorite-laptop-backpacks/ However, I ended up getting this from Amazon, which is not covered in the review: eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack for Travel, School & Business, which I like; I carry...
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Phone options when traveling out of country?
Replies: 25
Views: 1901

Re: Phone options when traveling out of country?

There are many threads on this in last year. search in the box above and you will find them.
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Got robbed in London...Phone stolen...what else do I need to do?
Replies: 56
Views: 7599

Re: Got robbed in London...Phone stolen...what else do I need to do?

Some information for other that I hope you would never need.
Thanks for the great follow-up and lessons learned.
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Got robbed in London...Phone stolen...what else do I need to do?
Replies: 56
Views: 7599

Re: Got mugged in London...Phone stolen...what else do I need to do?

That looks like a good list. Did you have a PIN or password set on your iPhone? Was it unlocked when it was stolen?
by gtd98765
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?
Replies: 32
Views: 3272

Re: Google fi users - happy with it and recs?

When I called her back, she said that she just tried to call me 3 times, but somebody answered on the other end of the line speaking some asian language that she couldn't understand. She called back two more times and got the same person. It is probably a glitch as you say, but just in the context ...
by gtd98765
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon iPhone international trip
Replies: 37
Views: 2231

Re: Verizon iPhone international trip

there are many threads on this topic that you can find by typing something like "cell service abroad" or "international cell" in the search box above.
by gtd98765
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a suit
Replies: 35
Views: 2086

Re: Buying a suit

Agree with several others that Jos. A Banks is a fine place to buy a suit. I just retired out of a profession where suits were the daily uniform. Earlier I had shopped at Brooks Brothers, but they became a lot more expensive 20 years ago, at which point I shifted to Banks, which was fine. I never wa...
by gtd98765
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employers asking salaries
Replies: 47
Views: 6008

Re: Employers asking salaries

"Ask the Headhunter" blog is useful and frequently entertaining: While not all HR departments will back off if you politely but firmly decline to disclose (“My salary information is private and confidential.”), readers report that HR usually lets it go and proceeds with the job interview. You must j...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reservations about purchasing a 16 year old house
Replies: 65
Views: 5030

Re: Reservations about purchasing a 16 year old house

I have never lived in a 128 or 130 old house. That must be something!...ie. the craftmanship and lumber?! The craftsmanship is incredible, as are the materials. heart pine floors and timbers, slate roofs, Queen Anne external wood decorations, numerous hand-carved decorative elements around the door...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insurance Agent vs DIY
Replies: 7
Views: 561

Re: Insurance Agent vs DIY

consumer reports has done ratings of insurance companies. I have always used companies like Amica or usAA that do not have independent agents. I think the thing to keep in mind is that recommendations are useful, but not a panacea; they increase your odds of getting decent service, but are not a gua...
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: American in Denmark, just sold NY house... how should I invest?
Replies: 11
Views: 979

Re: American in Denmark, just sold NY house... how should I invest?

Assume you know if you have more than $10k in a foreign financial institution you will have to file an FBAR form with US Treasury: https://www.fincen.gov/purpose-fbar, which usually involves hiring a US accountant versed in these rules.

Else no useful advice other than enjoy the architecture.
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reservations about purchasing a 16 year old house
Replies: 65
Views: 5030

Re: Reservations about purchasing a 16 year old house

I would gladly unload my 130-year-old house for a 16-year-old version! For a 16-year-old house there are still craftsmen who understand how to work with installed systems.
by gtd98765
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY Home Security like Ring and SimpliSafe vs paid services like ADT and Rampart. What do you advise for and/or against?
Replies: 29
Views: 2652

Re: DIY Home Security like Ring and SimpliSafe vs paid services like ADT and Rampart. What do you advise for and/or agai

If you have never had a burglar alarm before I would definitely recommend going cheaper, DIY, end to see how you live with it, rather than starting with ADT or Brinks. I have lived abroad in countries with very high burglary risks, with professionally monitored alarms in my houses, and still forgot ...