Search found 476 matches

by rpike
Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Tithing" money to your parents?
Replies: 12
Views: 2505

Re: "Tithing" money to your parents?

Refer to https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/frequently-asked-questions-on-gift-taxes The short answer is the donor pays the gift tax but there is an annual exclusion; currently you can gift any person $14,000 per year and not owe gift taxes on it ($28,000 if you gift to ea...
by rpike
Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Goliath, Inc (Vanguard) revenue
Replies: 14
Views: 3003

Re: Goliath, Inc (Vanguard) revenue

And my first thought was the evil Goliath Corporation from Jasper Fforde's hilarious Thursday Next books!
by rpike
Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job Offer in Hand, Delaying Notice
Replies: 42
Views: 4825

Re: Job Offer in Hand, Delaying Notice

I had a colleague who thought he was being helpful by giving our manager 30+ days notice that he was leaving to take a job for which he would be relocating to another state. When our manager put in the paperwork with HR, he was told at that level people only get 2 weeks and they gave him a terminati...
by rpike
Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High-Fee 403(b) Plan vs. Taxable Account
Replies: 5
Views: 1135

Re: High-Fee 403(b) Plan vs. Taxable Account

Most school districts have several approved companies from which you can choose for your 403b although most tend toward the high fee variety and these are the ones whose reps make the rounds to sign people up. If there are any lower fee options among the various providers and funds, you are going to...
by rpike
Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need an accountant this year?
Replies: 5
Views: 768

Re: Do I need an accountant this year?

IMO the real value of an accountant is getting good advice beforehand and not the filling out the resulting paperwork afterwards
by rpike
Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Audiobooks performed by the author
Replies: 12
Views: 1358

Re: Audiobooks performed by the author

+1 on Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath".
Another I read recently was Tina Fey's "Bossypants".
by rpike
Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: small car accident - when is it ok to not file a police report?
Replies: 27
Views: 3451

Re: small car accident - when is it ok to not file a police report?

And take pictures of everything including license plate, condition of both cars, documents, and if possible any people involved or witnessing so you have a record.
by rpike
Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA vs PPO
Replies: 9
Views: 1543

Re: HSA vs PPO

I ended up using a spreadsheet to compare our HSA and PPO options after making some assumptions that our usage would be primarily office visits at $100-150 each. On our PPO option the OOPmax was not really a max because the $30 co-pays do not count towards it. With our particular plans any number of...
by rpike
Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Phone plan for 2 - Recommendations?
Replies: 27
Views: 3493

Re: Cell Phone plan for 2 - Recommendations?

Most MVNO plans are individual plans and not shared plans. One exception I am aware of, but my family does not use, is Ting which charges $6 per device per month and then tallies up your combined usage in each category: voice, texts, and data. Whatever buckets your usage falls into for each category...
by rpike
Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Three devices = redundancy
Replies: 45
Views: 9052

Re: Three devices = redundancy

Cannot speak for Watty, but the other members of my family have used or hand-me-down smartphones on pay you go plans thru Kitty Wireless (a Verizon MVNO). They turn off cellular data on their phones so data access is only via WiFi and avoid costly cellular data. My son's plan is $80 per year at 4 ce...
by rpike
Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Car - Compact SUV or Sedan
Replies: 36
Views: 4422

Re: New Car - Compact SUV or Sedan

I have driven in MA for dozens of winters with FWD cars on all season tires. The few occasions I have had issues were generally getting in or out of the driveway. I don't face any steep grades and am not generally driving unplowed roads. If I did I would look to snow tires. [Helpful hint: the standa...
by rpike
Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about Vanguard funds
Replies: 12
Views: 1264

Re: Question about Vanguard funds

It is the same -0.33%. I don't get your first statement. If i had $10K i could buy more shares of the admiral fund since it lower in price. Wouldn't that be better than buying less shares of the ETF? Have you ever heard the joke about the guy who wanted his pizza cut into 6 slices rather than 8 bec...
by rpike
Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refi mortgage
Replies: 3
Views: 648

Re: Refi mortgage

I usually run the number through the calculator at mtgprofessor.com. For me the rule has been that a new loan has to either lower my monthly payment IF amortized over the remaining term of the existing loan, or lower the existing term if I keep making the same payments as on the current loan. This i...
by rpike
Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Fox is Paying a Visit to the Henhouse [401(k) plan provider changing]
Replies: 6
Views: 1660

Re: The Fox is Paying a Visit to the Henhouse - 401k mtg with the new Administrator

Am I allowed to roll the existing Vanguard/Ascensus into my own IRA before starting up with the Nationwide plan? Also àny thoughts anyone on whether my company could have afforded the match with a plan more akin to the Ascensus plan? Generally not. It does not sound like they are terminating the 40...
by rpike
Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP or PPO.. need advice
Replies: 9
Views: 810

Re: HDHP or PPO.. need advice

In theory as long as you stay in network and incur only covered charges, then the max cost of the HDHP should be the cost of the premiums + the OOP max. We also had a PPO option, but it included a phrase that said something like "copays may not count towards the OOPmax" which would make the OOPmax n...
by rpike
Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport Renewal
Replies: 29
Views: 5867

Re: Passport Renewal

Just noticed mine has already expired. Can I still renew or have to apply for a new one? Not expecting to need it anytime soon
by rpike
Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What is my 403b rate of return?
Replies: 2
Views: 466

Re: What is my 403b rate of return?

With an annuity a guarantee may not mean what you think - and will most likely require parsing page after page of the dense annuity contract. For example, with some annuities the "guarantee" is the growth of the annuity base. This base is not the value of the account (lump sum) which may be far less...
by rpike
Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Comparing health insurance plans...
Replies: 6
Views: 1061

Re: Comparing health insurance plans...

The devil is in the details! Make sure you understand which expenses accrue towards the deductible and OOPmax. In the info for our recent open enrollment, there was a comment on one at least one of the PPO options that copays "may" not count towards the OOP. With a lot of office visits whose copays ...
by rpike
Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to learn a second language
Replies: 103
Views: 13011

Re: How to learn a second language

My experience with DuoLingo smartphone app is that it is good for refreshing vocabulary, but I do not think it is a good way to learn a new language.
by rpike
Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP - Family Deductible / OOP clarification needed
Replies: 25
Views: 3720

Re: HDHP - Family Deductible / OOP clarification needed

Another wrinkle I noticed in my employer plan options during recent open enrollment - in the PPO option a footnote says that the copays "may" not count towards the OOPmax! With frequent doctor visits or therapies, the total costs could end up being higher than the HDHP option with no copay or coinsu...
by rpike
Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Water Heater Recommendations
Replies: 10
Views: 1027

Re: Gas Water Heater Recommendations

I recall that some models allow for 2 anodes but only include 1 in the lower cost models. Was thinking it might be worthwhile to start with 1, add the 2nd yourself in 2.5 years or so, and then alternate replacing them every 2.5 years or so.
by rpike
Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New job - What to do with old 401(k)
Replies: 5
Views: 642

Re: New job - What to do with old 401(k)

Sometimes if the balance is below a certain amount they will force you out. They may also let you stay but start charging your account an extra admin fee as a non-employee to stay in the plan. I have one former plan run by fidelity that worked this way. I think it was $25 but not sure if that was an...
by rpike
Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 30-Year vs. 10-Year ARM
Replies: 4
Views: 777

Re: 30-Year vs. 10-Year ARM

Be clear about your terminology. Do you mean a 30 year fixed rate loan vs a 30 year annually adjustable rate loan with the introductory rate fixed for the first 10 years? I suggest you consider what happens to the payment in worst case scenarios where all ARM adjustments hit their caps. Also conside...
by rpike
Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: High Deductible Health Plan Question
Replies: 12
Views: 1800

Re: High Deductible Health Plan Question

There can be more complications with the deductible. There can be separate deductibles for in-network, out-of-network, and pharmacy. On a multi-person plan, there can be both individual and shared deductibles.
by rpike
Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart phone data usage
Replies: 57
Views: 8943

Re: Smart phone data usage

I read this above "...there are some apps where you download maps for areas you want and then they use the GPS built into the phone to provide maps or directions w/o needing cellular data." What are the names of these apps that provide this feature? All GPS apps include maps and should be able to u...
by rpike
Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart phone data usage
Replies: 57
Views: 8943

Re: Smart phone data usage

A big question is whether you really need anywhere data access. The other members of my family use hand-me-down smartphones on the PagePlus Standard Plan with the cellular data turned off on the phone. They can send/receive email, browse the web, download OpenDrive audiobooks, upload photos, etc., b...
by rpike
Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: small church printer ideas
Replies: 10
Views: 3239

Re: small church printer ideas

At one point my congregation was leasing a standalone copier (no printing) and using personal laser printers for one-offs (or privacy) and a commercial print center for bulk jobs. When they shopped for a replacement, they found a new lease could be had for significantly less while also performing th...
by rpike
Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 401k + retirement + bene + family
Replies: 4
Views: 729

Re: 401k + retirement + bene + family

401k or IRA? They are both tax-advantaged retirement accounts but are different. A 401k is a retirement account tied to an employer (or former employer if you leave the account when leaving that company) that have largely replaced pension benefits. You can only contribute, and earn a contribution fr...
by rpike
Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?
Replies: 55
Views: 11310

Re: How should I name my home Wi-Fi network?

BottleInFrontOfMe
FrontalLobotomy
by rpike
Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Calculator to determine tax owed on selling mutual fund?
Replies: 7
Views: 1410

Re: Calculator to determine tax owed on selling mutual fund?

The calculation would be very specific to your circumstances. I would just use whatever software you use for your taxes and run alternate scenarios.
by rpike
Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NYTimes on benefits of passive investing
Replies: 16
Views: 3425

Re: NYTimes on benefits of passive investing

If there was a study showing that monkeys throwing darts were better stock pickers, then financial "advisers" would be hyping their ability to identify the better monkeys.
by rpike
Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question about medical insurance pre-approval
Replies: 3
Views: 563

Re: Question about medical insurance pre-approval

We went through this with my son's surgery which we were trying to schedule for his winter break from college, but they initially rejected covering it. They did eventually approve after getting more info from the surgeon, but we had already missed our window and are now trying to "align the planets"...
by rpike
Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to fire a client? [software ownership issues]
Replies: 69
Views: 6858

Re: How to fire a client? [software ownership issues]

So, again, common sense would dictate that I would not pay someone to produce something that I wouldn't have use and control over the final product. Simply doesn't make sense. What you are missing is that the source code is not the final product, but an intermediate step in its production. A good a...
by rpike
Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Poll] Company & Job Longevity
Replies: 24
Views: 2641

Re: [Poll] Company & Job Longevity

Since graduating college, I have been hired by 6 companies - both large and small.
One of them ceased operations (4 months after I started) and the other 5 were all eventually sold - either whole or the division for which I worked.
by rpike
Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to fire a client? [software ownership issues]
Replies: 69
Views: 6858

Re: How to fire a client?

1. Enhance and maintain a custom application that another firm wrote. They turned over the source code to me almost four years ago and have not done any work for him since. 2. Enhance and maintain completely new applications that I created that he is currently using . . . To transition, he will nee...
by rpike
Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need a new vacuum
Replies: 22
Views: 2705

Re: Need a new vacuum

Depends on the model and the problem. A lot of vacuum cleaners have traditionally had a rubber belt that wears out and is usually an inexpensive part to replace. When our current vacuum stopped turning on, I opened it up to check the belt. I did not find a belt, but when I put it back together it wo...
by rpike
Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any Tricks for finding cost basis?
Replies: 14
Views: 1344

Re: Any Tricks for finding cost basis?

If you cannot get enough info from your parents brokerage statements and tax returns or info your parents request from their broker, you will either have to state a basis based on the info you do have or try to estimate it. If you knew that x dollars were invested in one fund at some date in the pas...
by rpike
Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance Dilemma
Replies: 28
Views: 3124

Re: Term Life Insurance Dilemma

I think first you need to understand the way term insurance works. My "20 year term" policy is actually annually renewable term (up to age 80?) with a guaranteed level premium for the first 20 years. After the first 20 years, the premium guarantee expires and it automatically renews annually at incr...
by rpike
Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: POLL: Do you personally own a cell phone?
Replies: 92
Views: 9327

Re: POLL: Do you personally own a cell phone?

You really should distinguish people with a phone provided by employer vs. those not having a mobile phone. I have a pocket computer (i.e. smartphone) provided by employer (job has rotating weekly oncall shifts). Other than work calls, it is mostly used for email and apps (audiobooks, directions, ex...
by rpike
Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mice in the house
Replies: 86
Views: 8393

Re: Mice in the house

I have been told that transporting and releasing wild animals is illegal around here; I believe the intent is to discourage the geographical spread of diseases in animal populations. I usually put out some peanut butter in the basement a few times a year and see if it disappears to see if mice are a...
by rpike
Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Equal weight ETF (Guggenheim's RSP) vs Vanguard VTI???
Replies: 20
Views: 6075

Re: Equal weight ETF (Guggenheim's RSP) vs Vanguard VTI???

My 401k plan offers no midcap or smallcap funds (or at least none with acceptable expense ratios). They do offer a reasonably priced equal weight S&P 500 index fund which I find pretty much tracks the midcap index, so I use it as a midcap fund.
by rpike
Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have you ever been let go?
Replies: 74
Views: 7995

Re: Have you ever been let go?

4 times in my 40s: The 1st time I was at a job paying ~6% more at a startup in 1 month. It lasted for 1 year before the company went into a death spiral with job cuts every quarter until the company was eventually sold for the technology. Some people were kept around for 1 year to transition the wor...
by rpike
Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling your old cell phone for cash
Replies: 19
Views: 2460

Re: Selling your old cell phone for cash

I cannot speak to selling, but my wife has "upgraded" phones for family members (or replaced non-functional ones) at least 3 times by buying 2 year old Motorola smartphones through Craig's List from private sellers who had upgraded phones on their service contracts. She pays up to $50.
by rpike
Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to leave Laptop in hotel room
Replies: 65
Views: 17796

Re: Is it safe to leave Laptop in hotel room

I have used the cable lock in the room to lock it to the furniture and have also used it in a rental car to lock the computer to the frame of the trunk. Neither will stop a determined or prepared thief, but will stop a casual thief from walking off with it. A security presentation at my son's colleg...
by rpike
Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a AT&T Uverse compatible modem / router
Replies: 9
Views: 42920

Re: Buying a AT&T Uverse compatible modem / router

One caution about buying a used modem. It is not uncommon for people to cancel their service, but not return their rental equipment. Even if they were charged for not returning it, the provider still maintains it in their database as their property and may refuse to activate it as customer owned. An...
by rpike
Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road Tolls, and Rental Cars
Replies: 43
Views: 7896

Re: Road Tolls, and Rental Cars

We tried to use my wife's NH EZ-Pass transponder in FL earlier this year, but found they will not honor it there. We have used it driving south as far as Maryland and every state along the way accepted it without issue. I think you can probably buy a FL transponder for less than the rental car agenc...
by rpike
Sun Sep 28, 2014 4:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Trustee of 6M estate trusts... Lots of Q's
Replies: 15
Views: 3049

Re: New Trustee of 6M estate trusts... Lots of Q's

Whenever I hear the words annuity and guaranteed rate together, I think of the following line from Inego Montoya, the Spanish swordsman character from "The Princess Bride": "I don't think it means what you think it means." Variable annuities have various "guarantees" offered via riders on the contra...
by rpike
Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: S&P 500 Equal Weight Index
Replies: 10
Views: 1310

Re: S&P 500 Equal Weight Index

The equal weight SP500 basically tracks the midcap index. Since my 401k only offers these 2 index funds as the inexpensive choices, I use both treating the equal weight as my midcap allocation.

Another Rick
by rpike
Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Unlimited cell plans dropping in price?
Replies: 40
Views: 4728

Re: Unlimited cell plans dropping in price?

I pay $50 for verizon for unlimited talk, text and 1gig data. Plus I get a big subsidy on my phone I don't get why so many people are anti contract. It's not like I'm not going to use a cell phone within the next 2 years so I'll gladly take $450 off of next iphone when it comes out Many people on t...
by rpike
Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Opening a Roth & Traditional IRA
Replies: 18
Views: 1944

Re: Opening a Roth & Traditional IRA

So you are saying this Fidelity fund (FFNOX) is just as good or at least comparable to Vanguard's LifeStrategy & TargetRetirement funds? If it is just as good, or about the same, does it compliment my three-fund-portfolio I have listed at the beginning of this thread? Does this even matter? FFNOX i...