Search found 86 matches

by vshun
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS: Great customer service?
Replies: 26
Views: 2566

Re: IRS: Great customer service?

Was in similar situation to OP (2016 return, they want $1000 for backdoor Roth conversion which totally puzzled me), after multiple letters I decided to call them and was waiting for 2 hours. Turns out I did Backdoor for $6500 (turned 50) but form 8086 had $5500 so it was a helpful call, so need ame...
by vshun
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $25K car
Replies: 39
Views: 3539

Re: $25K car

I spent in April 25K after TTL for Honda Accord 2018. Before TTL I think it was 23.5K, with roughly 1.5K being TTL in NoVA area. Very happy with the car and its terrific value with Android Auto, safety features and decent 1.5T engine. I wanted hybrid but they did niot have it when I needed car and m...
by vshun
Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Minivan for family of 4.
Replies: 34
Views: 2861

Re: Minivan for family of 4.

We have minivan (Honda) but I have 3 kids and 2 dogs - Newfoundland and St Bernard mix. Without dogs everyone fits perfectly into our Accord sedan. I can also fit 29 MTB or kayak in Accord so modern sedans have huge space, but no kids in back row. However most people buy bigger vehicle than what the...
by vshun
Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering iPad to replace failing Nexus tablet
Replies: 60
Views: 4628

Re: Considering iPad to replace failing Nexus tablet

In our household we moved from Nexus tablets to Chromebooks and they seem to offer all family needs, including Android apps and touchscreen on some (I prefer 15 inch IPS display to smaller touchscreen display but to each his own).
by vshun
Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable giving strategy
Replies: 43
Views: 2378

Re: Charitable giving strategy

charitynavigator and charitywatch are 2 favorite sites to identify and cross reference charities that are efficient and where your dollar goes a long way.
We mostly donate to dog rescue and environmental protection organizations rated A or A+ on both, with 87% or more going towards the cause.
by vshun
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How come voice command on Garmin GPS is so lousy compared to Google Maps?
Replies: 22
Views: 1723

Re: How come voice command on Garmin GPS is so lousy compared to Google Maps?

I see this only as an issue in areas such as National Parks, in which case I easily preload the map of the entire region into Google Maps. And I find it easier to use as I can type destination or pull it from Google MyTrips application and click on Navigate, then connect the phone to a car and vola....
by vshun
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bogleheads, tell me about your 40's?
Replies: 179
Views: 38618

Re: Bogleheads, tell me about your 40's?

I am 52 and physically can do more pullups/bench presses/handstand pushups then ever in my life, however body needs more and more time to recover between workouts. Previously could do 2-3 workouts a day (gym/kayaking/biking) and now barely one a day and sometimes take a day of break. Mentally I thou...
by vshun
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do we need 529?
Replies: 42
Views: 4331

Re: Why do we need 529?

I would like to offer a reason why not: I saved enough in both Coverdell and 529 combo for my kid to get 4 year public instate tuition but he made his way to Air Force Academy. So if in similar situation, like service academy or scholarship, once can withdraw without penalty but pay regular tax rate...
by vshun
Fri May 04, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget for kid's sport?
Replies: 49
Views: 2631

Re: Budget for kid's sport?

My 2 kids are playing ice hockey and this is as expensive as it can get but what other game could be more fun for them to play and for you to watch? Every moment could result in a goal in one or another net so there is never a boring moment. Just enjoy it till they enjoy it, and once they quit ask t...
by vshun
Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good
Replies: 34
Views: 3418

Re: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good

Interesting how it has Apple Carplay and not Android Auto. My wife has an Apple and I have an Android. So, if I care about that, it may be a concern. Then again, not sure how important Apple Carplay and Android Auto are in cars. I have heard people say they would not buy a car without them. I am cu...
by vshun
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filed 2017 taxes electonically for FREE
Replies: 46
Views: 5365

Re: Filed 2017 taxes electonically for FREE

There is similar but way longer discussion thread on it in slickdeals. Beware - several people reported that free credit karma did NOT account for foreign interest tax credit. So if you have funds like Vanguard International in taxable and they issued tax credits, they will not take effect under cre...
by vshun
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I get rid of tIRA to enable Roth backdoor?
Replies: 9
Views: 973

Re: Should I get rid of tIRA to enable Roth backdoor?

I assume your tax rate is pretty high if are looking at backdoor, and your combined income is over 180K. 1. I would double check the assumption your current 401K does not allow 401K rollovers. 2. If not, I would hold the money with previous employer and skip on backdoor, you might change jobs again ...
by vshun
Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Virginia/Maryland Car Dealers vs. Others
Replies: 13
Views: 1552

Re: Virginia/Maryland Car Dealers vs. Others

I live in Nova and I find constantly MD dealers able to give better deals than any Nova dealer. As far as OTD price, MD mandates $100 doc fee while VA dealers often charge $450 which leads to higher OTD price. Deals got even better the farther away we got from DC, like Annapolis or Baltimore suburbs...
by vshun
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extended warranty on 2018 Outback
Replies: 47
Views: 4352

Re: Extended warranty on 2018 Outback

I'd skip extended warranties in general but specifically to Outback, . as an owner of 2011 Outback, it has been so far the most reliable car in my household (also have Toyota Prius and Honda Odyssey for comparison). These extended warranties pad the dealer and companies issuing it so paying out of p...
by vshun
Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: At what point would you considering Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 37
Views: 4652

Re: At what point would you considering Umbrella Insurance

I went for it to protect my future earnings, however when my son started driving our company instituted surcharge not just on auto policy, but also on umprella policy. This was the last drop and we did not renew the insurance as I resented surcharge, I felt while my son is on active duty he does not...
by vshun
Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experience with High Yielding Money Market Accounts
Replies: 31
Views: 4379

Re: Experience with High Yielding Money Market Accounts

I put some deposits to Discover saving to take the advantage of their promo of put 15K get $150 or something like that, that they run back in June. My experience is positive. The only issue is I had to create and track separate login IDs for myself and for my wife, since to maximize bonus we keep se...
by vshun
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience selling car to Carmax?
Replies: 103
Views: 157832

Re: Experience selling car to Carmax?

A few years ago we got a CarMax quote for Nissan Quest (12 year van) old with normal mileage for $2300 from CarMax and sold it in private via Craigslist for $2700. Not a huge difference as some others here reported several thousands gained n private party sale.
by vshun
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did Charmin UltraSoft TP become "UltraThin"?
Replies: 61
Views: 5421

Re: Did Charmin UltraSoft TP become "UltraThin"?

Charmin has not been rated by CR well in the past few years. Top paper is sold by Walmart (forgot the name but its White-something and its 3-ply) followed by Northern which sometimes goes on sale in Costco.
by vshun
Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2018 Subaru Outback
Replies: 65
Views: 12936

Re: 2018 Subaru Outback

We have 2010 Outback, while its an older model, interior size is about the same. Hauls our Newfoundland and Saint Bernard in the back comfortably. Without dogs I can fit kayak(playboat) or mountain bike with ease. Would love 2018 Outback for Android Auto as well as outstanding EyeSight safety featur...
by vshun
Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Expense Ratios, how high is too high
Replies: 72
Views: 6544

Re: Expense Ratios, how high is too high

Wife's MassMutual lowest expense fund is S&P500 fund at 'meager' 1.5% expense, pretty hard to swallow. The rest of funds is even worse. Pretty pathetic but we put full amount even without any match, as we are a bit into AMT region for taxes, plus you never know when she will change employer and can ...
by vshun
Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are you finding any good values at Amazon anymore?
Replies: 169
Views: 21600

Re: Are you finding any good values at Amazon anymore?

Like others, shopping at Amazon less and less nowadays. Part of it my desire for a vibrant marketplace and no single monopoly in online marketplace exists so they can jack the prices even more (when others stated they pay a bit more but who cares since its a convenience). Having single vendor, and t...
by vshun
Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quick Chromecast question
Replies: 8
Views: 1283

Re: Quick Chromecast question

Same here. Much easier to do search on Netflix on tablet or phone and Cast from there then deal with clunky interface of PS4 or similar and its remote.
by vshun
Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) model available
Replies: 28
Views: 4821

Re: Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) model available

Last year CB2 an excellent device for browsing/viewing Netflix but comes with a couple of portability compromises compared with Acer 720 Chromebook: 1. Heavier weight - one can feel it after holding it for 20 min. 2. Battery life is 2-3 hours worse than Acer Chromebook. I own both and we use CB2 mor...
by vshun
Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Regrets Getting Rid of Land Line?
Replies: 74
Views: 10982

Re: Any Regrets Getting Rid of Land Line?

Be aware that the term "landline" has now been bastardized and can mean several things. If it is a traditional copper line, then you are correct in your assessment that it will survive power outages. If it is a Voice over IP line, such as the type provided by your cable company, or over fiber, or b...
by vshun
Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime is $67 for New Members Friday
Replies: 51
Views: 6150

Re: Amazon Prime is $67 for New Members Friday

Was formerly heavy amazon user, not so anymore. Amazon turn to the dark side started with their mutilation of android system and coming with their Kindle Fires and then Fire phones flop. It is not biggie by itself but they refused to support other android devices and this is when I felt their are fo...
by vshun
Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Consumer Reports Magazine & Website
Replies: 99
Views: 11137

Re: Consumer Reports Magazine & Website

Like others, 20+ years of subscriptions, also disappointed recent years with changes, however: - I cannot find any other unbiased source for reviews (and no/Amazon/Web reviews can be easily manipulated or led by people leaving 1 star review"terrible product does not work" and 5 star reviews "best th...
by vshun
Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My 2013 Subaru Foresting is getting only 15 MPG around city. Is this low?
Replies: 55
Views: 7864

Re: My 2013 Subaru Foresting is getting only 15 MPG around city. Is this low?

Outback 10 here (CVT), I average 25 (winter)/ 27 summer mpg when driving from suburb to DC in traffic. Suburb driving surprisingly is less. Looks like distance travelled has bigger impact than several other factors already mentioned (tire inflation, etc), first 5-10 miles mileage really drops low an...
by vshun
Mon May 18, 2015 3:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Chromebook 2015
Replies: 61
Views: 9182

Re: Best Chromebook 2015

I have 3 at home - original Google free one (does not connect to Wifi anymore), Acer 11 inch last year model and Toshiba CB2 1080P. Acer is much lighter and can be taken to sofa or on trips while Toshiba is much heavier, however for stationary browsing or Netflix this is the one to beat due to super...
by vshun
Thu May 14, 2015 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA
Replies: 424
Views: 159748

Re: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA

Retiredig, thanks for the reply. I went through company 50-page document but it says absolutely nothing about prorating withdrawals, so I have to take word of Fidelity "withdrawal specialist" on it. I need to research what you suggested on going back and forth with tIRA, as I would not want to lose ...
by vshun
Thu May 14, 2015 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA
Replies: 424
Views: 159748

Re: The Mega Backdoor Roth IRA

Without reading all 257 posts, just went through the first few replies, called my plan at Fidelity and fount out that according to Fidelity withdrawal advisor, if you have some money in pretax that can be withdrawn, IRS rules specify any regular withdrawal should be proportional to ratio of pretax a...
by vshun
Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: West Coast Road Trip Advice
Replies: 17
Views: 2770

Re: West Coast Road Trip Advice

As DFRank suggested, do not miss Arches and Capitol Reef with its homebaked pies and orchards when in season. Trip #2 is called Grand Circle, you will find a lot of references in TripAdvisor and sites like us-parks/road trips which should be starting point for your research. When doing grand circle ...
by vshun
Fri May 02, 2014 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Think Android google hangout will be ready by May 14
Replies: 3
Views: 674

Re: Think Android google hangout will be ready by May 14

Paul - Doubt it will be ready. I use sipdroid with Tasker for similar purposes and use it while on Wifi at home. I have no T-Mobile reception in the whole neighborhood including my house and concerned. Apparently Anrdoid native Kitkat dialler has some internet calling built in but I did not test it ...
by vshun
Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: best cash back credit card
Replies: 185
Views: 865080

Re: best cash back credit card

A few months ago, I decided to start taking advantage of some of these cards since I predict more travel in my future. I applied for 4 cards all on the same day and was approved for all. I've now used them for all the bonuses and awards I expect to get. How long should I wait before applying for an...
by vshun
Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Re: Billing for annual physicals
Replies: 73
Views: 9414

Re: Billing for annual physicals

I had the same issue for years with Aetna refusing to deal with it. A few min of doctors time during physical hectically typing on a computer and asking basic questions like "How many glasses of water you drink a day" and then billed for both annual free visit + regular visit. I tried to fight it at...
by vshun
Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV show recommendations?
Replies: 573
Views: 224878

Re: TV show recommendations?

What - no love for Homeland on this forum?
Dexter
Weeds (finale last summer)
Nurse Jackie

We have all premium channels but find Showtime shows best in class. Heard good things of AMC shows.
by vshun
Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When do you make your 2013 backdoor roth contribution?
Replies: 12
Views: 1460

Re: When do you make your 2013 backdoor roth contribution?

I also did it for the first time this year and in one loop. For me the trigger was filing taxes and checking if we fall into or after the phaseout zone in Roth, so did it like 3 weeks ago. As others said, first step open for yourself and wife Traditional IRA in vanguard and put 5.5K. Once it posts, ...
by vshun
Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whart smartphone should I get?
Replies: 110
Views: 26114

Re: Whart smartphone should I get?

in your situation I would go with Razr Max HD if employer is with Verizon for long battery, rugged construction and overall quality build. In our family only Nexus phones but we do not deal with employer provided phones, this is what Bberry for, would not pollute nice phone with employer installed c...
by vshun
Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why would anybody use Turbotax?
Replies: 111
Views: 15851

Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

bpp wrote:Because it runs on my system, whereas TaxAct doesn't.
(Haven't tried TaxCut.)
I used taxactonline for years and as primary system at home is Linux and am very happy with the product and its price.
by vshun
Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do for 2012 Credit Card Rewards?
Replies: 53
Views: 24546

Re: How did you do for 2012 Credit Card Rewards?

Chase Freedom card for wife - $300 signup bonus Penfed card for both - $250 signup bonus Got smarter second half of the year in this game: 2 NFL cards for self and wife - $400*2 signup bonus Chase Saphire Plus card for self - 40K bonus - plan to redeem for United points at 1:2 ccp Southwest personal...
by vshun
Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: what are your 401k's admin expenses?
Replies: 28
Views: 6849

Re: what are your 401k's admin expenses?

My company (7K employees) has Vanguard institutional funds with nominal fees and no admin charges. My wife international company (several US employees) has 1.5% admin fees and crappy funds. The cheapest fund (where we put 100% of her 401K max contributions0 is S&P 500 index at 30bp fees + 1.5% admin...
by vshun
Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?
Replies: 83
Views: 6345

Re: Anybody here go all-Linux for personal computing?

Yes has been with Linux for the last 4 years at home as main computer. All I need works well including Java development tools and kids seem to like LibreOffice programs for typing work for school. There are occasional issues with some software programs required for outside usage by the family (like ...
by vshun
Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best tablet for toddlers?
Replies: 27
Views: 4069

Re: Best tablet for toddlers?

Nexus 7 hands down the best tablet for toddlers or adults. I also have 10 inch tablet but it is collecting dust except when kids want to plane Minecraft against each other in multiplayer mode - it is too big and uncomfortable to carry. Whether they like shooting Angry Birds, play First person shoote...
by vshun
Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPad Mini or Similar?
Replies: 34
Views: 3465

Re: iPad Mini or Similar?

Consider Nexus 7 unless you are tied up heavily with ITunes ecosystem.
by vshun
Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: North Carolina residents: property tax on cars
Replies: 44
Views: 6762

Re: North Carolina residents: property tax on cars

Slightly north from you, in Northern Virginia, I paid $1250 yearly tax for Honda Odyssey 2011 and Subaru Outback 2010 this year, which is about 3$ of their assessed value, consistent with your NC tax.
by vshun
Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529's: Torn Between Utah and Vanguard (Nevada) Plans
Replies: 21
Views: 11408

Re: 529's: Torn Between Utah and Vanguard (Nevada) Plans

Virginia plan does not have MAGI/AGI phaseout so you will be able to contribute irregardless of income as far as I know, unlike Coverdell ESA. I also live in VA and have some Coverdell ESA but now direct 4K per child for 3 kids in VEST which offers good Vanguard options and very reasonable fees. 4K ...
by vshun
Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Linking Fidelity NetBenefits to Vanguard account
Replies: 14
Views: 2350

Re: Linking Fidelity NetBenefits to Vanguard account

Just checked, my links are still up, must be isolated issue that is not widespread.
by vshun
Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please double check my 50% marginal tax rate
Replies: 19
Views: 2357

Re: Please double check my 50% marginal tax rate

Here is my math: 3 children (in my case) * 5% = 15%. It's 5%, not 15%. The phaseout extends. This is different from the education credits. A single parent of three college kids can have a 100% federal marginal rate, not including Medicare tax or state income tax. Hmm, never realized this is the cas...
by vshun
Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please double check my 50% marginal tax rate
Replies: 19
Views: 2357

Re: Please double check my 50% marginal tax rate

The way the child credit works is I have to reduce the credit $50 per $1000 (or fraction of) extra income. So each additional $1000 triggers $300 federal income tax, therefore my marginal federal income tax rate is 30% not 25%. Sure, after the credit phases out to zero then it goes back to 25%. The...
by vshun
Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Replies: 35
Views: 4867

Re: ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.

I can only comment reliability wise on these 2 manufacturers of Android devices. I have 2 Asus tablets - Nexus 7 and Original 1st generation Transformer and I am pretty horrified at their quality control. After checking the boards I see that this is rather typical. 1. 1st Generation Transformer coul...
by vshun
Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 5K or 3K oil change?
Replies: 91
Views: 15587

Re: 5K or 3K oil change?

Agree that this topic has been beaten to death and still comes up on this forum every couple of weeks. Consumer Reports did extensive research back in 90s when they put NYC taxis to test with their very extreme driving conditions and idling for 60K miles using both 3K and 7K intervals. At the end of...