Search found 22 matches

by random_walker
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Soundbar for TV vs. bluetooth receiver connected to old stereo?
Replies: 27
Views: 1915

Re: Soundbar for TV vs. bluetooth receiver connected to old stereo?

I have a vintage but quality stereo system, mostly dating back to the 1980s/1990s. PS Audio 4.6 preamp, Chord 400 amp, pair of Vandersteen 2C speakers. Needless to say, no bluetooth, just old audio/RCA cables. I just got a 55" Vizio M8 TV. Question: Would I be better off getting a dedicated soundba...
by random_walker
Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House considered retirement?
Replies: 33
Views: 2652

Re: House considered retirement?

Those in HCOL are spending million+ on homes likely a sacrifice of retirement. Friend told me he sees his house as part of his retirement savings. Has a $2.0M house, only $300K in retirement funds. What does your friend still owe on the house? Only their equity counts towards net worth. This was a ...
by random_walker
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP vs Kaiser HMO
Replies: 28
Views: 2528

Re: HDHP vs Kaiser HMO

My understanding is that once you enroll in HSA (Health Savings Account) based HDHP (High-Deductible Healthcare Plan), you can never leave. That might be a consideration for those who have been with Kaiser Permanente or other HMO and like it already. It seems that Kaiser is now participating in HSA-...
by random_walker
Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help Me Decide on a New Vehicle?
Replies: 63
Views: 4998

Re: Help Me Decide on a New Vehicle?

+1 on the Subaru Outback. If possible, you should rent one for at least a few days to really get a feel for the ride and comfort. Any recommendations on how one can rent a Subaru? I'm heading to Denver in December and would gladly pay extra for one. I've never been offered a rental Subaru. Maryland...
by random_walker
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I sell or hold [house]?
Replies: 31
Views: 2900

Re: Should I sell or hold [house]?

Long-term rental property should outperform the stock and bond markets. Could you please share the data behind this statement? I'd like to learn about the opportunities in rental property. I thought Bogle's book stated that long-term return on real estate is worse than diversified stock market. Tha...
by random_walker
Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:48 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Learnings/Regrets from last two recessions
Replies: 91
Views: 12564

Re: Learnings/Regrets from last two recessions

Lessons learned: (I did these correctly) 1. Stay employed. Your job is your number-1 investment. 2. Stay the course - do not muck around with a diversified portfolio except for rebalancing. Regrets: (hindsight is 20/20) 1. Not buying a nice home in 2011-2012 when prices and interest rates were both ...
by random_walker
Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non stick pan preference?
Replies: 46
Views: 3598

Re: Non stick pan preference?

Is ceramic coating the best type of non-stick that is designed to last? Consensus seems to say 'no'. In fact, in all the tests conducted by Whitford, a major supplier of all types of non-stick coatings, it was found that the best ceramic coating will last only 15% as long as a PTFE (teflon) based co...
by random_walker
Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Sapphire checking 1000$ offer
Replies: 20
Views: 3204

Re: Chase Sapphire checking 1000$ offer

The much more attractive offer is the $600 on $15k. https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-600-checking-savings-bonus/ Treated like a 6 month CD, it earns 8%, but you have to apply in person. This is a good offer indeed but I don't like to mess with my direct deposit (paycheck/pension) frequently: > ...
by random_walker
Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non stick pan preference?
Replies: 46
Views: 3598

Re: Non stick pan preference?

T-Fal Professional non-stick pans are very durable for cooking eggs. This pan usually lasts me a few years for cooking eggs exclusively, using silicone utensils, and hand wash only: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GWK2X2 They can seem pricey, but you can find them on sale from time to time for...
by random_walker
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Camry Questions
Replies: 101
Views: 6596

Re: New Camry Questions

The best option you can go for is to get an accord or Mazda 6 instead. Both of those vehicles have better interior design, better interior quality, better ergonomics, better refinement, better suspensions, better performance, better handling, better exterior styling, less road noise. They’re so clo...
by random_walker
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Piano keyboard suggestion
Replies: 21
Views: 1814

Re: Piano keyboard suggestion

If you are willing to buy a used one, then Craigslist is the best place to look. If you need a new one and are willing to wait for a good deal, then here are some suggestions: Costco has good prices on good quality pianos, especially during the Nov/Dec holiday season. You can look at their web site ...
by random_walker
Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental in Mexico
Replies: 37
Views: 3301

Re: Car Rental in Mexico

I never rent a car in Mexico. We were hit years ago with the police scam and had to pay money. We had 2 very young children and did not want to try to say take us in to police station. We use Cancun with me for tours. $240 for 12 hour day for up to 6 people and will take us wherever we want to go. ...
by random_walker
Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental in Mexico
Replies: 37
Views: 3301

Re: Car Rental in Mexico

I booked through Costco. When we got there the Alamo agency had closed. The Hertz agency next door offered to rent me a car at triple the price. I contacted Alamo and found them to be much less than helpful. I finally called Costco international travel and got the help desk. At the end of the day t...
by random_walker
Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental in Mexico
Replies: 37
Views: 3301

Re: Car Rental in Mexico

When you rent a car in Mexico, you need Third Party Liability (TPL) and Collision Coverage. Usually you have to pay for TPL directly at the car rental company. However I found that by renting with Rentalcars.com, TPL is included in the rate. If you rent directly with an agency, TPL will not be incl...
by random_walker
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally debit card for ATM withdrawals outside the United States
Replies: 28
Views: 11846

Re: Ally debit card for ATM withdrawals outside the United States

According the the Ally Bank FAQ site: https://www.ally.com/help/bank/atms-withdrawals.html Whether you use an Allpoint® ATM or other ATM overseas, we charge a standard foreign transaction fee of up to 1% of the transaction amount for the currency conversion and/or cross border transaction. If you us...
by random_walker
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally debit card for ATM withdrawals outside the United States
Replies: 28
Views: 11846

Re: Ally debit card for ATM withdrawals outside the United States

Goods/services are usually priced lower if you pay directly in the local currency. For example, a snorkeling trip in Cancun is US $25 per person or only MXP 300 if paid in Mexican pesos directly. Given the number of scams in credit/debit card readers overseas, many wise travelers deal only in cash a...
by random_walker
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Rental in Mexico
Replies: 37
Views: 3301

Re: Car Rental in Mexico

I am looking to rent a mini-van in Cancun airport for a week. I've read all the blogs and guides on Mexico car rental and am generally aware of the scene there. Budget Car Rental company sells Supplementary Liability Insurance for $20/day when you reserve on their site. This insurance plan covers yo...
by random_walker
Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car rentals, what is the catch?
Replies: 46
Views: 6124

Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Can someone with experience please comment on the "pay now and cancel before 48 hours" feature on autoslash.com ? Here's my situation: I have a rental car reservation through Costco.com for $700. With Costco, you can cancel anytime. You can even just not show up and not be charged anything. Autosla...
by random_walker
Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car rentals, what is the catch?
Replies: 46
Views: 6124

Re: Car rentals, what is the catch?

Can someone with experience please comment on the "pay now and cancel before 48 hours" feature on autoslash.com ? Here's my situation: I have a rental car reservation through Costco.com for $700. With Costco, you can cancel anytime. You can even just not show up and not be charged anything. Autoslas...
by random_walker
Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)
Replies: 236
Views: 50122

Re: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)

I see that VMMXX today yields 1.07% but the expense ratio for 2016 was 0.16%.
If you deduct the annual expenses, isn't the yield still less than 1% whereas many online banks offer more than 1%?

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/ ... IntExt=INT
by random_walker
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: House down payment: should I sell bonds or stocks first?
Replies: 7
Views: 1351

Re: House down payment: should I sell bonds or stocks first?

Thanks for all the tips. Short term liquidity: Minimizing taxes by selling the least appreciated assets sounds reasonable. Unfortunately, the way the stock market indices have risen in the last 5 years, there's not many losses to harvest except a few lots purchased within the last 1 year. So, sellin...
by random_walker
Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:26 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: House down payment: should I sell bonds or stocks first?
Replies: 7
Views: 1351

House down payment: should I sell bonds or stocks first?

Let's say I'm planning to buy a house soon. The down payment required is $200K. I have $100K in state muni bond funds. I also have $300K in stock market index funds. Which funds should I sell first to make the down payment? I ask this because I'm not sure of the tax consquences of selling bond funds...