Search found 165 matches

by pfrank
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer
Replies: 287
Views: 20576

Re: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer

Any difference between Windows and Mac version? Are they nearly identical or is one version superior or more advanced? Download forces you to choose one (looks like you get both on CD). Can you download the other version without paying another fee? I couldn't find the answers on their website or se...
by pfrank
Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer
Replies: 287
Views: 20576

Re: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer

I just received a link for H&R Block 2019 Deluxe Federal + State Download for $29.95: https://store.hrblock.com/checkout/2019/WDDA/E88982FE?pid=9204&otpPartnerId=9204&campaignid=em_mcm_9204_0096&et_cid=33152&et_rid=12754940&mi_u=12754940&mi_ecmp=sw_productready Make sue you uncheck the Extended Down...
by pfrank
Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: *UPDATE* A/C and furnace - flooding
Replies: 52
Views: 4816

Re: *UPDATE* A/C and furnace - flooding

2K to clean a coil is very high. Most can be cleaned in place. Call a few other places and get estimates. If it's freezing up it needs to be cleaned. Thanks. Good idea to call around and check with other providers regarding cleaning the coil. His explanation for the $2,000 was he would have to take...
by pfrank
Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: *UPDATE* A/C and furnace - flooding
Replies: 52
Views: 4816

Re: A/C and furnace – probable replacement (soon)

You can always use a Shop Vac to suck it out your condensate line on the outside of your house to clean it out. You should clean out your condensate line (and condensate pump) with bleach at least once a year. There are a bunch of YouTube videos on it.
by pfrank
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I don't understand the benefit of title insurance in this case.
Replies: 57
Views: 4142

Re: I don't understand the benefit of title insurance in this case.

Say you buy a empty lot for $100K, then you build a $500K house on it. If there is a future title issue, seems like you're only covered for the $100K you paid for the property. What about the $500K you spend on the house? Most policies will have an inflation or future use endorsement. The coverage ...
by pfrank
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC Unit Feedback - Another One
Replies: 15
Views: 1171

Re: AC Unit Feedback - Another One

Make sure the HVAC companies do a Manual J calculation on your house so they can properly size the unit. The calculation takes into consideration the thermal characteristics of yours walls, floors, doors and windows. It also uses your geographic location, house’s orientation to the sun, tightness, d...
by pfrank
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)
Replies: 30
Views: 2466

Re: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)

I had MassSave here in 2016. They did much of what you describe (bulbs, surge protectors, attic sealing ...), but they didn't do a blower test or do anything relating to the windows. The inspector that came here after the work was done told me I could repeat this every year, but when I tried to do ...
by pfrank
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)
Replies: 30
Views: 2466

Re: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)

Since you live in Massachusetts, contact MassSave for a no-cost home energy assessment. It is sponsored by your local electric and gas utilities. They will come in and go over your entire house. They will do a blower test. They will change out your light bulbs to LEDS. They will give you energy savi...
by pfrank
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?
Replies: 12
Views: 859

Re: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?

The prepaid plan in Massachusetts is backed by Massachusetts municipal bonds. You can dive deep into the program description: “The opinion to the effect that payments made by the Commonwealth on the 2019 Bonds and associated Tuition Certificates are excluded from gross income for federal income tax ...
by pfrank
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?
Replies: 12
Views: 859

Re: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?

Depends upon what state you are in. For the Massachusetts Pre-Paid Plan, if your kid doesn’t use the money you get your principal and interest back tax-free. Not free of federal taxes for both principal and interest. You do get your money back with interest tax free. The only real down side of the ...
by pfrank
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?
Replies: 12
Views: 859

Re: Prepaid 529 - refund taxable?

Depends upon what state you are in. For the Massachusetts Pre-Paid Plan, if your kid doesn’t use the money you get your principal and interest back tax-free.
by pfrank
Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cape Cod to Colonial
Replies: 6
Views: 933

Re: Cape Cod to Colonial

Is the home on a septic? If so, check with the health department to see how many bedrooms the septic system was approved for.
by pfrank
Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?
Replies: 55
Views: 3351

Re: Utility bill hits new highs! What can I do?

I had a similar issue at my house. My electrical bill increased significantly with no change in our family’s routine. The culprit? My refrigerator has a ice maker in its freezer section. It is not hooked up to water, but somehow got turned on. Took me a awhile to find it. Now my electric bill is bac...
by pfrank
Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foresight question: did YOU make a killing on NECCO Sweethearts candy?
Replies: 30
Views: 3842

Re: Foresight question: did YOU make a killing on NECCO Sweethearts candy?

Don’t worry. Spangler Candy bought the NECCO and their Sweetheart line. They will be back next year. Spangler is moving production from the NECCO Revere facility. I have to admit I am a Masshole who loves to eat the colored chalk they marketed as candy. (No I didn’t eat glue as a child.) I followed ...
by pfrank
Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Early Braces: Financial Strategy
Replies: 17
Views: 1433

Re: Early Braces: Financial Strategy

My kid had early braces. Talk with the orthodontist about price/payment options. I was given a substantial discount for paying out of pocket and not using insurance. Since it was the end of October, the orthodontist allowed me to split my payment between October and January so I could maximize our F...
by pfrank
Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Error in TSP processing (no TSP contribution made in 2018 pay period 25)?
Replies: 6
Views: 445

Re: Error in TSP processing (no TSP contribution made in 2018 pay period 25)?

My wife is a fed and her agency uses employee express. According to her agency, in order for TSP changes to take effect the first pay period of 2019, changes had to be made between 12/9-12/22. To max it out, the allotment was $731. You may have to change your allotment depending upon when your time ...
by pfrank
Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Must sees in Kauai.
Replies: 39
Views: 2676

Re: Must sees in Kauai.

The tropical botanical garden, Ke’e beach (watch out for the chickens).....great for snorkeling...you also pick up the Kalalau trail here, definitely a helicopter tour, and you have to get a Bubba’s burgers too. We rented snorkel gear from a local dive place for the entire week. It was fairly inexpe...
by pfrank
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which accounts to put under Trust?
Replies: 5
Views: 721

Re: Which accounts to put under Trust?

We had a revocable trust set up. Our estate attorney filled out all of the account transfer and beneficiary forms for us. That is what you pay an estate attorney for. Here is what he did for us: 1. 401k Trust listed as last beneficiary 2. Roth IRAs Trust listed as last beneficiary 3. Checking/Savin...
by pfrank
Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have a Simple checking account?
Replies: 9
Views: 1075

Re: Anyone have a Simple checking account?

Hanscom FCU here in MA has the Kasasa Cash Checking Account:
https://tinyurl.com/y7zs8nrc
2.50% up to $15,000
Have to use their debit card and have direct deposit.
They also have a 19 month CD at 3%.
I have used Hanscom for years and they are a great CU.
by pfrank
Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your property taxes?
Replies: 375
Views: 24128

Re: What are others paying for property taxes around the US?

Cape Cod: $4,100 on a 3,900 square ft home.
by pfrank
Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: water drips from bathroom vent
Replies: 10
Views: 1189

Re: water drips from bathroom vent

Sounds like condensation. First, insulate the duct or replace it with insulated flex duct. If you use insulated flex duct, make sure you don’t have any sags in it. Tom Silva did this on an episode on this on Ask This Old House. The flex duct will also cut down on vibration noise. Also put insulation...
by pfrank
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fuel for snowblower
Replies: 97
Views: 6175

Re: fuel for snowblower

Use 87 and add a stabilizer like Pri-G. The cheapest way to get ethanol free gasoline is actually from a marina. Most marine gasoline at the pumps is ethanol free. Way cheaper than buying it in the small metal cans at the power equipment store.
by pfrank
Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gurgling noise from sink
Replies: 28
Views: 2600

Re: Gurgling noise from sink

It could be the fixture is just too far away from the vent stack. You could add an air admittance valve after the trap. Simple to install if you are handy. Good luck.
by pfrank
Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal employee long-term disability benefits
Replies: 3
Views: 676

Re: Federal employee long-term disability benefits

I speak from personal experience. I was a federal employee and a member of the Army National Guard. During my deployment to Iraq, I was wounded by an IED. Upon my eventual return home, I tried to continue my federal employment. I tried for a couple of years. It was difficult between the operations, ...
by pfrank
Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mapfre Insurance - Boston Area
Replies: 16
Views: 818

Re: Mapfre Insurance - Boston Area

MAPFRE bought Commerce Insurance. My auto and umbrella are through them. I went through my credit union to get the insurance. No one else can come close to their quotes. I have no issues with them whatsoever. I was an AMICA customer for over 12 years. I had everything through them. They wouldn’t giv...
by pfrank
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drop in MPG (09 Civic)
Replies: 24
Views: 1494

Re: Drop in MPG (09 Civic)

I would start with the easy stuff first. First clean the air intake with SeaFoam Top Engine Cleaner. Then add SeaFoam Motor Treatment to the gas. That is simple DIY stuff. Plenty of YouTube videos on it. See what happens. If that doesn’t work, check to see if the brakes are okay (dragging emergency ...
by pfrank
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Treasurydirect wanting form 5444
Replies: 4
Views: 874

Re: Treasurydirect wanting form 5444

I don’t understand the problems the banks are having.

I walked into my credit union, THEY filled out the blank form for me and stamped it with the medallion stamp. No issues.
by pfrank
Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bosch dishwasher odor
Replies: 56
Views: 16246

Re: Bosch dishwasher odor

Have had a Bosch 500 for about 4 years with no odor issues - it's super quiet and cleans well, but doesn't dry the dishes at all, they're soaking wet after running the machine. We have a Bosch 500 series. While the Bosch is not as quiet as an Asko we used to have, the Bosch does dry the dishes. But...
by pfrank
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bosch dishwasher odor
Replies: 56
Views: 16246

Re: Bosch dishwasher odor

I have been using vinegar for 5 years in my current dishwasher with no issues. That would be about 30 times (every 2 months or so).

If you are concerned, you can always buy the Bosch Dishwasher Cleaner direct from Bosch. Vinegar is much cheaper.
by pfrank
Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bosch dishwasher odor
Replies: 56
Views: 16246

Re: Bosch dishwasher odor

I have a Bosch too and this is what the salesman told me. You need to clean out the internal filter in the bottom of the machine every couple of months. It is located under the metal mesh screen under the bottom arm. Scrub it with an old toothbrush. You also should run white vinegar through the dish...
by pfrank
Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Switch to Brokerage Accounts
Replies: 60
Views: 11117

Re: Vanguard Switch to Brokerage Accounts

cowdogman, re "2. Then I learned we can have checkwriting on only one fund, Prime Money Market." You should check that. As far as I know, in a brokerage account, checkwriting uses the settlement fund only, which is Federal MM fund. You can have a Prime MM fund but not as the settlement fund. If you...
by pfrank
Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: light bulb bases
Replies: 4
Views: 610

Re: light bulb bases

For the US:
E26 medium is the standard size bulb BASE.
A19 is the standard bulb SHAPE.
by pfrank
Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]
Replies: 76
Views: 5667

Re: Air Conditioning? [How to finance?]

Here in Massachusetts, we have a utility sponsored program called Mass Save which does energy audits and recommends home upgrades (air sealing, insulation, windows, heating, etc.). Once you have the energy audit (you can have one per year), you can apply for a HEAT loan - 0% - 7 year loan for the up...
by pfrank
Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I get a warranty for my new glasses?
Replies: 24
Views: 1593

Re: Should I get a warranty for my new glasses?

Most places cover lens scratches for at least one time for one year after purchase. Just use a credit card with an extended warranty. When my kids were younger they destroyed my glasses during a game of hop on pop. The credit card company refunded my money no problem.
by pfrank
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Adding a trust to your homeowner's policy
Replies: 56
Views: 5640

Re: Adding a trust to your homeowner's policy

I called my insurance agent about this question. I have my home in a revocable trust. He spoke with the underwriter and the trust has to be listed as an additional insured.
by pfrank
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House that was in trust is actually in estate
Replies: 22
Views: 2670

Re: House that was in trust is actually in estate

O I think I know why your Mom moved it out of the trust for financing. As I talk about in another thread, I'm in the process of applying for a loan rather than take money out of my IRAs, and the credit union has its knickers in a twist because my house is in a trust. They apparently aren't familiar ...
by pfrank
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chipmunk Repellent?
Replies: 36
Views: 3309

Re: Chipmunk Repellent?

The 5-gal bucket and sunflower seed trap works great. It’s simple and effective!

It is illegal in many states (including mine) to relocate wildlife from your property.
by pfrank
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to legally avoid a bank levy?
Replies: 16
Views: 3132

Re: How to legally avoid a bank levy?

You could use an irrevocable trust. That could protect you against FUTURE creditors. Again, it could be subject to a claw back period, current creditors can recover their money, etc. Future Creditors could also go after the irrevocable trust if you retain defacto control of it. There are drawbacks t...
by pfrank
Mon May 28, 2018 5:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remote temperature monitoring
Replies: 24
Views: 2329

Re: Remote temperature monitoring

For years I have been using FreezeAlarm Homestitter. It uses an old school phone land line. It calls three telephone numbers and has an audible alarm for: - low/high temperature - power outage - water leak.....has a water sensor on it. You don't have to use it. I put a phone jack near my water heate...
by pfrank
Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to buy a TV
Replies: 33
Views: 4250

Re: Best place to buy a TV

Crutchfield. They price match. They have very knowledgeable staff and free tech support for life. Free shipping. No tax outside of Virginia. I live in MA and I get my items from them within two days. When I was buying my new TV, I was surprised that all of the places I looked at (Amazon, Walmart, Be...
by pfrank
Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery
Replies: 49
Views: 7393

Re: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery

Don’t forget to look at the drywall itself. When was the house built/renovated? There was a huge problem with Chinese drywall in the mid-2000s. The cheap drywall was toxic and off gassing. In addition to the smell, the emissions were damaging electrical and plumbing systems in the walls.
by pfrank
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amica Increase
Replies: 59
Views: 8141

Re: Amica Increase

I was an AMICA customer In MA for over 10 years (home, auto and umbrella) and they started to increase my rates too. About 5 years ago I started shopping around directly with the companies (USAA, etc.) and local agents. The cheapest rates were actually through my credit union. They work through Insu...
by pfrank
Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Owning house in a trust?
Replies: 34
Views: 5270

Re: Owning house in a trust?

My wife and I have a revocable trust and our house is in it. It is there to avoid probate. Once we had kids we saw an estate attorney to draft up our wills, health care proxies, etc. He was the one who recommended and created the revocable trust. A house in our trust is just one piece of the pie. Ou...
by pfrank
Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Withholding Tables
Replies: 88
Views: 14185

Re: IRS announces new withholding tables for 2018

At the time of this post, the IRS has taken down the withholding tables from their site. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1036.pdf Not sure what you mean--they're still on the IRS site as of when I'm typing this post, as is the press release announcing them: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/news-releas...
by pfrank
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Livesoft at 58,000 posts!
Replies: 36
Views: 4564

Re: Livesoft at 58,000 posts!

Congrats! I learn a lot from your posts.

58,000...... Is that Flagship level? Do you get free TurboTax now?
by pfrank
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Understanding new 529 rules
Replies: 3
Views: 674

Re: Understanding new 529 rules

You can find the final language of the new law here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1/text For 529s: SEC. 11032. 529 ACCOUNT FUNDING FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. (a) In General.— (1) IN GENERAL.—Section 529(c) is amended by adding at the end the following new para...
by pfrank
Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using 529 for grade school- help with strategy
Replies: 45
Views: 5137

Re: Using 529 for grade school- help with strategy

It seems to be that Coverdell ESAs have mainly become irrelevant. There’s nothing an ESA can do that a 529 can’t post TCJA, and the 529s have higher limits. ESA gives me more flexibility for shorter investment times. In a 529, I am very limited in what funds I can hold especially cash equivalents. ...
by pfrank
Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using 529 for grade school- help with strategy
Replies: 45
Views: 5137

Re: Using 529 for grade school- help with strategy

I have 529s for each of my kids. I also started Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts at Schwab for each kid too. The ESA can be used college and private grade school. However, the ESA has a limit of $2,000 per year per kid. I have been funding their grade school tuition out of these ESA accounts. ...