Search found 420 matches

by gtd98765
Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2019 on Amazon
Replies: 122
Views: 9205

Re: Turbotax 2019 on Amazon

So is it a wise move to buy the desktop version of TurboTax instead of web version? Also is it better to buy it now vs later this year or next year? In past years the desktop version has had key features that the web version lacked . Don't know about 2019 versions. Such as what? TT Deluxe online di...
by gtd98765
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2019 on Amazon
Replies: 122
Views: 9205

Re: Turbotax 2019 on Amazon

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:11 pm
So is it a wise move to buy the desktop version of TurboTax instead of web version? Also is it better to buy it now vs later this year or next year?
In past years the desktop version has had key features that the web version lacked. Don't know about 2019 versions.
by gtd98765
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is LastPass still top in security, any reason to switch?
Replies: 35
Views: 3481

Re: Is LastPass still top in security, any reason to switch?

https://latesthackingnews.com/2019/09/17/lastpass-vulnerability-leaked-login-credentials-update-now/ I think this is the most important part of the article: After discovering the bug, Ormandy privately reported it to Google. Hence, there seems no active exploitation of the vulnerability. Following ...
by gtd98765
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hi Def Audio listening
Replies: 22
Views: 1231

Re: Hi Def Audio listening

Last time we moved I gave away my stereo system and speakers and got a couple of Sonos speakers, saving me hours in wiring and setup time. The CDs we wanted we ripped to my laptop using iTunes; we can play them from the laptop easily via the Sonos app. We subscribe to Pandora and have Amazon Prime m...
by gtd98765
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is LastPass still top in security, any reason to switch?
Replies: 35
Views: 3481

Re: Is LastPass still top in security, any reason to switch?

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... -managers/

Looks like LastPass is still the #2 choice on Wirecutter. As long as you know how to use it and are satisfied, I see no reason to change.
by gtd98765
Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?
Replies: 27
Views: 1615

Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-thermostat/ A smart thermostat does the thinking you don’t want to do. It can learn your schedule, turn itself down when nobody is home, and balance temperatures around your home to make you comfier while using less energy (talk about win-win). Our extensiv...
by gtd98765
Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mother gave out social security number to fraudulent caller
Replies: 12
Views: 1598

Re: Mother gave out social security number to fraudulent caller

make sure she establishes a My Social Security online account if she has not already done so: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/01/registered-at-ssa-gov-good-for-you-but-keep-your-guard-up/ KrebsOnSecurity has long warned readers to plant your own flag at the my Social Security online portal of the U...
by gtd98765
Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can you ever find decent flight deals during peak seasons (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)?
Replies: 10
Views: 910

Re: Can you ever find decent flight deals during peak seasons (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)?

Unfortunately, if you want to travel the same time as thousands of other people, the price will be higher. It does not help that the concentration in the airline industry over the last two decades has decreased the need for them to compete with each other very much.
by gtd98765
Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Man’s life savings stolen from hijacked cellphone number
Replies: 241
Views: 28635

Re: You get hacked, lost a lot of money. What can you do?

The Vanguard fall back to SMS multi-factor authentication is a definite weakness. However, you can enable voice verification on your Vanguard account to make a social engineering attack harder. It only takes a few minutes on the phone. https://investor.vanguard.com/account-conveniences/voice-verific...
by gtd98765
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Freezing Credit? Questions 2019
Replies: 19
Views: 1617

Re: Freezing Credit? Questions 2019

Here is a good article from a security journalist about credit freezes: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/09/credit-freezes-are-free-let-the-ice-age-begin/ We froze our credit after the Equifax debacle. It was a pain then since we had to do some of them by mail. It looks like it's much easier now and...
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for Feds re: liability insurance...
Replies: 20
Views: 1219

Re: Question for Feds re: liability insurance...

Here is an article from 2016 by the professional organization of Foreign Service Officers: https://www.afsa.org/do-i-need-professional-liability-insurance While some of the points are specific to FSOs, others seem to be relevant to any USG employee. One of the most common questions we hear is “Shoul...
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:43 am
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: TSP account for U.S. citizen living outside U.S.
Replies: 2
Views: 268

Re: TSP account for U.S. citizen living outside U.S.

I don't have a link for you but as a retired federal employee with many years of assignment outside the US, I certainly maintained and contributed to my TSP account while abroad. There are many thousands of USG employees assigned abroad at any given time, among State, DoD, Justice, etc. If you want ...
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?
Replies: 53
Views: 4560

Re: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?

Have you examined alternative sources of health insurance, how much they cost, and what type of coverage they provide? I think that's essential for even considering such a step; else you are just looking at the pro's without the con's.
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Email Compromised On The Dark Web
Replies: 20
Views: 3598

Re: Email Compromised On The Dark Web

toofache32 wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:58 pm
Where is this "dark web?" Anyone have a URL so I can check it out myself?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_web
by gtd98765
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Picking a VPN -- 2019
Replies: 16
Views: 3403

Re: Picking a VPN -- 2019

Bringing this thread back to life -- looks like NordVPN got hacked. This illustrates the difficulty an outsider has in assessing the security of VPN services, when compared with competitors or just using your ISPs network. https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/21/nordvpn-confirms-it-was-hacked/ https://kr...
by gtd98765
Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)
Replies: 33
Views: 2007

Re: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)

Maybe this is a bit off topic but what do people do with all the digital photos? I put them on a digital picture frame, about 2500 of them, and they appear randomly, reminding of things I did years ago. It was a fair amount of effort (since I had to scan many to digital format first) but I don't re...
by gtd98765
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Google Wifi Mesh 2 Pack vs. TP Link Deco 3 Pack
Replies: 18
Views: 1391

Re: Google Wifi Mesh 2 Pack vs. TP Link Deco 3 Pack

Can I expect the 3 pack system (non Google) to provide proportionately better performance, or is this simply a "you get what you pay for" situation? The main determinant of network performance is going to be your internet connection. Unless you have incredible speed (200 MBpS+) any modern router wi...
by gtd98765
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)
Replies: 33
Views: 2007

Re: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)

If you still have negatives for most of these photos you might also consider a negative scanner; I found this slightly less tedious than scanning photos since I could do 5 or 6 one after the other with less effort in between. I spent an hour a weekend for a year scanning 30 years of photos with a c...
by gtd98765
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)
Replies: 33
Views: 2007

Re: Photo Scanner (Recommendations Please)

If you still have negatives for most of these photos you might also consider a negative scanner; I found this slightly less tedious than scanning photos since I could do 5 or 6 one after the other with less effort in between. I spent an hour a weekend for a year scanning 30 years of photos with a ch...
by gtd98765
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: vacation home
Replies: 19
Views: 3178

Re: vacation home

It is very tough to share an inherited house with a sibling. Differently people who have different income levels and different views about how to maintain the property ("it was already painted 10 years ago; why does it need to be painted again?") may be caught in endless negotiations about what to d...
by gtd98765
Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A fire next door caused water damage in my unit - Insurance question
Replies: 13
Views: 1574

Re: A fire next door damaged my unit - Insurance question

Be careful with soft items (clothes, pillows, soft furniture) that may have received smoke damage. It may require specialized cleaning, and still may no longer be usable, depending on the amount of smoke. I have friends in California whose house suffered smoke damage from nearby wildfires; while the...
by gtd98765
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to buy Fed. Long Term Care Ins. (FLTCIP)?
Replies: 13
Views: 980

Re: When to buy Fed. Long Term Care Ins. (FLTCIP)?

1. Many people recommend getting LTC in your 50s to best balance price and risk. 2. LTC industry is in flux right now due to bad actuarial decisions years ago that make it unprofitable; prices are going up, sometimes dramatically; not clear what will happen in the future. Do these points contradict...
by gtd98765
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to buy Fed. Long Term Care Ins. (FLTCIP)?
Replies: 13
Views: 980

Re: When to buy Fed. Long Term Care Ins. (FLTCIP)?

1. Many people recommend getting LTC in your 50s to best balance price and risk. 2. LTC industry is in flux right now due to bad actuarial decisions years ago that make it unprofitable; prices are going up, sometimes dramatically; not clear what will happen in the future. 3. Fed plan does not includ...
by gtd98765
Thu Oct 17, 2019 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving my home landline phone number to MagicJack - good idea?
Replies: 52
Views: 3863

Re: Moving my home landline phone number to MagicJack - good idea?

I can't recommend MJ. Half the time when I called people they could not hear me, though I could hear them. Very frustrating.
by gtd98765
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB Open Season 2019
Replies: 76
Views: 5361

Re: FEHB Open Season 2019

This is a case where paying for the Consumer Checkbook report on 2020 FEHB coverage is a good idea.

Hopefully, it will explain the pros and cons of the new GEHA plans.
Agree. The Checkbook report is a bargain at $15. https://www.checkbook.org/newhig2/hig.cfm?
by gtd98765
Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Reports
Replies: 36
Views: 3405

Re: Consumer Reports

I subscribe to CR both paper and digital for the same reason I support the Red Cross: I think their mission is important and life would be tougher if no one did it. Except for infrequent cars and appliances, I don't actually use the product reviews very much. But I do page through the mag every mont...
by gtd98765
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fee-only planner for federal employees?
Replies: 30
Views: 2052

Re: Fee-only planner for federal employees?

Thanks for explaining more fully. Did he offer any suggestions for what funds to shift your investments to in order to reduce risk and suggest allocations for each fund? We're looking to get help with a full retirement plan, including a monte carlo assessment, suggestions for improving our current ...
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fee-only planner for federal employees?
Replies: 30
Views: 2052

Re: Fee-only planner for federal employees?

Thanks for the recommendation. I looked on their website and got the impression that they sell financial instruments and insurance, but they refer to themselves as "fee-based." So it sounds like they may not be fee-only planners. Do you happen to remember how they charged you for their services? Di...
by gtd98765
Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fee-only planner for federal employees?
Replies: 30
Views: 2052

Re: Fee-only planner for federal employees?

I used this company in 2012. I thought it was good then. Don't even know if it's still in business, but here's their info: Schaeffer Financial LLC One Church Street, Suite 901 Rockville, MD 20850 301.933.5550 301.949.7034 Fax www.SchaefferFinancial.com We (two feds, one retiring at that time) saw Ri...
by gtd98765
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Router for Small Apartment
Replies: 18
Views: 1338

Re: Router for Small Apartment

Agree you should use the 2.4 GHz band and see if it's any better. 2.4 supports faster speed (144 Mbps) than your internet speed of 100 Mbps. But if that does not work, I would say that once a router goes flaky, it's not worth the time and frustration to troubleshoot, and I recommend replacing it. He...
by gtd98765
Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 Factor Authorization failures
Replies: 22
Views: 2013

Re: 2 Factor Authorization failures

You don't say which US cell network you are using. You might consider switching to T-mobile, which works in most countries. A T-Mobile phone with a US number can receive text messages sent as 2FA in most places in the world. Theoretically they only serve customers who live mostly in the US, but if y...
by gtd98765
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Picking a VPN -- 2019
Replies: 16
Views: 3403

Re: Picking a VPN -- 2019

Our apartment complex of 600 units has a public WI FI that is unsecured we connect to. I do all our banking online. I assumed since all my banking and financial sites start with https: it is secure. But is it? I believe a sophisticated snoop could tell that someone was accessing a particular bank, ...
by gtd98765
Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Resources for dealing with very! difficult employees
Replies: 13
Views: 1596

Re: Resources for dealing with very! difficult employees

Agree that "Difficult Conversations" is a very useful book. I have referred to it for decades as a manager when I had to have one of those conversations.
by gtd98765
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Creditable service for federal employment
Replies: 5
Views: 548

Re: Creditable service for federal employment

Is your service computation date used by your agency any earlier than your actual start date as a full-time fed? Did you get SF-50s for your time as a SGE, or were you just handled by a contracting, rather than HR, office? If you did not contribute to FERS as an SGE it's hard to see how you could ge...
by gtd98765
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any expereince with the FSBP FEHB ?
Replies: 7
Views: 692

Re: Any expereince with the FSBP FEHB ?

I have had FSBP for decades and we had been very satisfied until the last couple of years when they switched back office providers from Coventry to Aetna. All hell broke loose, phones and emails went unanswered, and I had to write a paper letter to the head of the plan just to get insurance cards fo...
by gtd98765
Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CamScanner alternative?
Replies: 10
Views: 1246

Re: CamScanner alternative?

some reviews here: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best- ... ning-apps/

I have successfully used MS Office Lens, but I can't tell you whether it meets all of your criteria.
by gtd98765
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)
Replies: 52
Views: 5408

Re: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)

I'm curious, why would a Google Fi number be harder to hijack? Since your Fi phone is tied to your google/gmail account, a thief would have to hack your google account to port out the phone. Google account security includes options for strong 2-factor authentication; you can limit it to a security ...
by gtd98765
Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)
Replies: 52
Views: 5408

Re: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)

how does this work when it's tied to the phone and not the number? Some sites, such as Google, allow you to use a time-based one-time password app like Google Authenticator (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Authenticator) -- there are several others as well -- that generate a code that you type...
by gtd98765
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)
Replies: 52
Views: 5408

Re: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)

While concerning, the password is still needed for 2FA. So how is this worse than 1FA? Unless the password reset process involves a text to the cell phone number to verify identity. :oops: Unfortunately some sites will allow you to reset your password with just the cell phone number. The other thin...
by gtd98765
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)
Replies: 52
Views: 5408

Re: Someone stole my wife's phone number (ie. ported to another carrier)

This is called a "SIM-swap" attack. It enables the thieves to take over someone else's cell phone number so they can use it to access that person's financial accounts. If your wife's cell phone is tied to a Vanguard or bank account as a "second factor" logon method, you need to be in touch with thos...
by gtd98765
Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dental Insurance for Retirees
Replies: 62
Views: 4907

Re: Dental Insurance for Retirees

Unfortunately independent dental plans I have seen suffer from an "adverse selection" problem - most people that sign up have bad teeth and will need a lot of work, which means the insurance is very expensive. People who just need cleanings/checkups and want to insure against a rare additional proce...
by gtd98765
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Beneficiary passes, leaves hospital bills, can hospitals get money from her trust fund until paid in full?
Replies: 24
Views: 4862

Re: Beneficiary passes, leaves hospital bills, can hospitals get money from her trust fund until paid in full?

Sorting out bills from the deceased is usually done by the executor; is that you? the husband? Is there a will? The trust documents probably spell out what happens when a beneficiary dies; the executor will have to understand the trust. Legal advice will probably be necessary.
by gtd98765
Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need to buy new over the range microwave; which brand/model is reliable?
Replies: 16
Views: 956

Re: Need to buy new over the range microwave; which brand/model is reliable?

A quick look at Consumer Reports rating of individual models indicates Frigidaire, Whirlpool and Kenmore are the most reliable, GE, KitchenAid, Maytag, Sharp and LG not as much, and Samsung is awful. The ratings across models are surprisingly consistent. Whirlpools are the two highest rated overall...
by gtd98765
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: T-mobile vs Google Fi for Internatioanal?
Replies: 31
Views: 2090

Re: T-mobile vs Google Fi for Internatioanal?

The main takeaway I see is: Google Fi is cheaper Google Fi does high speed international data (T-mobile only does 2G international by default) Fi is cheaper if you get most of your data via wifi rather than the cell network. For example, if you have wifi at home and at work, and don't generally wat...
by gtd98765
Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 529: Should account be under parent name or student's?
Replies: 12
Views: 1071

Re: 529: Should account be under parent name or student's?

you are the "owner". your child is the "beneficiary". You own the account and control the money until you spend it.
by gtd98765
Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Furnace Question
Replies: 5
Views: 605

Re: Gas Furnace Question

Companies that perform duct cleaning would love you to believe you need their services. Some might even advertise health benefits, or suggest that duct cleaning will lower your power bills by improving your system’s efficiency. Some ads even use language like, “Studies have shown...” But no data ba...