Search found 154 matches

by pfrank
Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cape Cod to Colonial
Replies: 6
Views: 858

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: 2897

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: 3529

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: 1353

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: 429

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: 2521

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: 696

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: 954

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: 22841

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: 1137

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: 5792

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: 2539

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: 611

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: 781

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: 1438

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: 802

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: 11927

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: 11927

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: 11927

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: 9570

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: 578

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: 5502

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: 1474

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: 4756

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: 2551

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: 3107

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: 2798

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: 2290

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: 3821

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: 46
Views: 5558

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: 7643

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: 4991

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: 13727

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: 4194

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: 630

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: 4938

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: 4938

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. ...
by pfrank
Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Revocable family trust & Federal tax
Replies: 8
Views: 931

Re: Revocable family trust & Federal tax

Before Trust: 1099s mailed to me listed my name PFrank and my SS# 012-34-5678. I reported this income on my federal 1040 and state forms. Now for the Trust: 1099s mailed to me now list PFrank Family Trust, Date of Trust and my SS# 012-34-5678. You report these the same way as before on your federal ...
by pfrank
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Revocable family trust & Federal tax
Replies: 8
Views: 931

Re: Revocable family trust & Federal tax

I have everything in my revocable trust except my two vehicles. You file the trust income on your own return. There are no special forms or extra returns. The trust account should be under your (or your wife's) Social Security Number.
by pfrank
Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do people still use AAA?
Replies: 293
Views: 26778

Re: Do people still use AAA?

My auto insurance offers a discount for AAA members. The discount was more than the cost of my AAA membership. So my membership is free.

Here in Massachusetts, AAA offers Registry services. So I don't have to deal with the RMV anymore. That is PRICELESS. :D
by pfrank
Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Price of haircut?
Replies: 194
Views: 15161

Re: Price of haircut?

Free. We have a Oster 76 with various heads and yes, the Flowbee. Buzz cuts for the summer and the Flowbee for the winter. My Dad has his Flowbee for about 20 years. He picked it up really cheap when Lechmere went out of business. Once I had a family, he bought one for us! Haircuts here in Mass run ...
by pfrank
Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Software
Replies: 132
Views: 15719

Re: H&R Block Software

I never had any luck with Amazon refunding an overpayment.Your credit card may have price protection. My Discover card does for I think 60 days. They will cut you a check for the difference. Whenever I make a purchase on Amazon, I set up a price drop alert on CamelCamelCamel. If my price drop is mat...
by pfrank
Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VG wants everyone to transfer to a brokerage account?
Replies: 110
Views: 14410

Re: VG wants everyone to transfer to a brokerage account?

My taxable account is also in the name of my living trust. I considered converting to brokerage but when I saw I'd have to provide all the relevant documents (which had already been provided once for the mutual fund account), I decided to not mess with it for now. Please provide an update on how th...
by pfrank
Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: best cordless drill??
Replies: 71
Views: 6524

Re: best cordless drill??

Get a Ridgid. It comes with a lifetime service agreeement which covers batteries. Just make sure you follow the registration directions EXACTLY. When one of my batteries died after 4 years of heavy use, I walked into Home Depot with the registration confirmation email and came out with a new battery...
by pfrank
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why did Vanguard drop TurboTax?
Replies: 16
Views: 4809

Re: Why did Vanguard drop TurboTax?

Even with the Vanguard discount, I was always able to find TurboTax cheaper on the open market. I would set up a price alert on CamelCamelCamel and keep an eye on Slickdeals. I switched to H&R Block ever since TurboTax tried to force you to upgrade to Premier to file a Schedule D.
by pfrank
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: VG wants everyone to transfer to a brokerage account?
Replies: 110
Views: 14410

Re: VG wants everyone to transfer to a brokerage account?

I just wanted to let people know about my upgrade fiasco. My wife and I went through the process of upgrading our mutual fund accounts to the new brokerage accounts. Our rollover and Roth IRA accounts upgraded seamlessly. It was done overnight. All of the funds and account settings (i.e., bank info,...
by pfrank
Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else freeze their credit score?
Replies: 126
Views: 14269

Re: Anyone else freeze their credit score?

- Verified two-factor authentication was in place for financial accounts & verified email alerts for all non-credit card transactions. - Setup two-factor authentication for Google accounts..... Not sure 2 factor is all that great (?) A hacker could call Sprint AT&T etc and port your phone # to a ne...
by pfrank
Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drinking water price craziness
Replies: 79
Views: 9965

Re: Drinking water price craziness

Lead in drinking water comes from old lead service lines, old fixtures, or newer cheap Chinese fixtures. It happens when the drinking water is corrosive. That is what happened in Flint. They changed the water source but did not properly adjust the pH of the water. It caused lead to leach from the ol...