Search found 664 matches

by mfen
Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: paying taxes w/ credit card - pros & cons?
Replies: 7
Views: 734

Re: paying taxes w/ credit card - pros & cons?

For a short while our county accepted credit card payments with no fee. It was a credit not a cash advance. It was great while it lasted

But now you are charged a percentage fee in excess of the percentage given in reward.

It does not make sense to pay 3% to earn 1%
by mfen
Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Advice for Grandmother
Replies: 15
Views: 1139

Re: Portfolio Advice for Grandmother

Whenever I have advised family members on their investment strategy I take them through a light educational experience. They should participate in the decision to protect themselves and yourself. First I send them to Vanguard's risk assessment quiz which is very simple but it does focus them on what...
by mfen
Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Roof?
Replies: 25
Views: 3350

Re: New Roof?

I live in hail country. A roof can endure a number of moderate hail storms before it needs to be replaced. Size of the hail, velocity of impact and direction of impact all play a big role. Check your drip line around the house for asphalt and gravel to see just how much roof was destroyed. However i...
by mfen
Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any protection in wiring money?
Replies: 8
Views: 829

Re: Any protection in wiring money?

100% protected, go pick up the car and while you are at it go to the local courthouse and do the title transfer and money exchange there.
less than 100% - I think Paypal has a fraud protection program available.
by mfen
Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Find full credit card number of cancelled card
Replies: 5
Views: 603

Re: Find full credit card number of cancelled card

A couple of ideas:

Call Chase to reactivate the card
Try to resurrect your statements by logging into your old account
Use one of your free annual credit reports
Check your old emails for a copy of your statements
by mfen
Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ebay versus Negotiating Behind the Scenes
Replies: 18
Views: 2082

I sell collectibles on eBay. My largest premiums come from buyers who live in remote locations who are willing to pay the convenience cost. Also I get a premium from buyers who live in high cost locations and my prices are a great value for them. That is I ship many items to Montana and NYC. Sellers...
by mfen
Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Would you move to get into a good credit union?
Replies: 33
Views: 2838

Moving to get a cd rate? This is a new high in yield chasing. I thought the late 80s caused some idiotic behavior but this is a new high. Oh btw my friends who in the 80s chased yield all over town then spent the following year filling out FDIC forms so they could get there money back from failed in...
by mfen
Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Decking material
Replies: 26
Views: 5493

My dad used Trex decking for his barrier island camp many years ago. It holds up to the coastal environment very well.
by mfen
Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling Mom's House -- "As Is" or Modernize?
Replies: 29
Views: 4683

I faced this decision this past year. I posted the query on Trulia for the zipcode. I got lots of good advice for do's and don'ts from a variety of realtors familiar with the specific neighborhood.
by mfen
Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with spouse and finances (read: lots of debt)
Replies: 110
Views: 18884

You guys are definitely candidates for a 13 week Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course. Separating finances is just a bandaid and not a very good one. Since you have been financially abused before (by your mother) I don't think you see the financial world clearly. You are like an abused chil...
by mfen
Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Boglehead thoughts on putting in a pool
Replies: 45
Views: 6256

My parents assumed that the pool saved them recreation money. They had built in camp and staycation activity. And we stayed outside all summer. But they had a very large family and a large extended family who did assist with maintenance. I have friends who have bought inexpensive vacation property w...
by mfen
Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Boglehead thoughts on putting in a pool
Replies: 45
Views: 6256

We are going to fill in our pool. Chemicals, maintenance and electricity usage are high for our level of use. But we don't swim much. My parents had a big family and they definitely enjoyed their pool for many years. As far as home values it has always been considered a wash. Some people won't buy a...
by mfen
Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: ...
Replies: 21
Views: 3085

I think the op's assumptions are shortsighted. First spend an afternoon playing around with the moneychimp calculator, not only is compounding great for your savings but it is equally great for the utility companies, insurance companies, food companies etc... I just threw in your $24K with a 2% infl...
by mfen
Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ebay bidding strategies
Replies: 32
Views: 4385

I sell collectibles on eBay occasionally. When I list buy it now I always include the best offer option. My recommendation is to let the item run for at least ten days before making a best offer. The collectibles market is different than the normal retail market in that there only a limited number o...
by mfen
Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage vs 1st position home equity loan?
Replies: 16
Views: 7039

THe banks are trying to convert people from non-recourse loans (mortgages) to recourse loans (HELOC). If you are good with that go for it.
by mfen
Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you rather see the stock market drop or rise for 2011?
Replies: 39
Views: 3474

[quote"If you’re a twenty-something just beginning to save, then get down on your knees and pray for a market crash."[/quote] That is all fine and good as long as you have a job to generate investable income, the world order is not marked with violence and war and your neighbors are eating. This is ...
by mfen
Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you rather see the stock market drop or rise for 2011?
Replies: 39
Views: 3474

I would rather see the markets rise, oil prices hold stable, gold prices drop, unemployment drop all signaling confidence in the economy. What we are going to get - I have no clue. I would only cheer for a stable economy, all of the rest is noise.
by mfen
Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do the riots in London have any impact on the markets?
Replies: 60
Views: 6298

1960's were riotous years in the US - Watts 1965, Democrat National Convention 1968, how about the never to be forgotten killings at Kent State in Ohio.
by mfen
Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:27 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help with broker error
Replies: 11
Views: 2033

Putting in a sell order is not going to help. Is the stock thinly traded? If you don't know, give a name of the stock. Thinly traded stocks will show a zero value as their have been no trades recently to reflect a market value. If you put a sell order in on a thinly traded stock you may just get not...
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Have you ever contested your assessment?
Replies: 19
Views: 1935

Succeeded everytime. I do my research, graph and map my results, give a concise organized presentation of no more than five minutes. Polite and personable.
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Want to Switch Energy Suppliers - Prices Are Too High
Replies: 6
Views: 766

One more thing. When utilities were deregulated here the monopoly's rates continue to be regulated for a number of years to encourage competition. Sounds like PECO has the same restraint
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Want to Switch Energy Suppliers - Prices Are Too High
Replies: 6
Views: 766

I am in Texas and switch seasonally and have done so since deregulation. You need to read the terms for those pesky monthly charges besides the usage. You also need to look at the rate for your most likely usage. Here the rates are tiered appr 500 kw, 1000kw and 1500kw. The rate shown on those consu...
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying back part of the family farm?
Replies: 10
Views: 1645

Cash is worth a few percentage points especially if you are willing to close quickly. We did a deal a while back with a reduced price for 10 day closing and a higher price for extending the closing date (10k). But when we are buyers with cash we have insisted on the seller assuming every closing cos...
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying back part of the family farm?
Replies: 10
Views: 1645

If you plan to buy properties that are not currently on the market you are definitely throwing the ball into the seller's court, they think they won the lottery. It is human nature for people to react strongly to an unsolicited offer. We had a fellow trying to buy up property in our neighborhood a f...
by mfen
Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best financial advice from your parent(s)
Replies: 39
Views: 3586

Work for yourself
by mfen
Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I apply for a business?
Replies: 3
Views: 960

You need to also understand that business credit cards do not enjoy the same consumer protections as personal credit cards. Clark Howard recently discussed this and you can find more info at his website
by mfen
Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cleaning concrete fllor in garage - help?
Replies: 14
Views: 2093

Buy or rent a powerwasher. I bought a small unit this spring and was very pleased with the results on a variety of surfaces for a variety Of stains


The unit was less than $100. It saved me that much in pool chemicals as it completely removed all the algae and grime from my 25 year old deck.
by mfen
Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I keep a 3rd car??
Replies: 44
Views: 4626

We have three cars/trucks and it drives me crazy. Hate paying insurance and registration on the husband's toy truck which rarely gets used. It takes up space and needs maintenance and repairs. But it is so out of character for him to want any toys I just generally ignore it that is until you brought...
by mfen
Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:23 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 60 Minutes story on US companies with "foreign" he
Replies: 18
Views: 3404

Pfizer's corporate headquarters are in New York. Transocean, if memory serves me well, is or was a subsidiary of Schlumberger which is a European company. Sure there are shenanigans in corporate taxes, but get your facts straight.
by mfen
Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to deal with bank wanting to "help" me with my
Replies: 42
Views: 6890

If it is a smallish community bank you may want to state the interest rate that you will be receiving online and see if they will match the rate. I have had some success with this strategy but truly the only advantage is reducing paperwork. I like reducing paperwork.
by mfen
Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best exchange rate for foreign currency - heading to Peru
Replies: 4
Views: 1506

The last time I was in Peru I used US$ for just about everything. So don't load up on too many soles before you go.
by mfen
Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Problem
Replies: 31
Views: 4165

Go to a private mortgage broker with a stable of investors. You may have to pay a slightly higher rate. The banks are not stringent now, they just have reverted to reasonable loan criteria. The past 10 years were bizarre, not the current environment. Maybe the bankers have learned from this experien...
by mfen
Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone changed their electricity supplier?
Replies: 61
Views: 7640

I am in Texas and regularly change provider. I usually lock in a low fixed rate to carry me through the summer. I recently changed again to a promotional very low 9 month rate that was only offered through powertochoose. . If you are willing to go through the paces you can save quite a bit of money....
by mfen
Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring in a "no state income tax state"?
Replies: 101
Views: 14231

I am not sure what state services are lacking in Texas, I find the services here sufficient. Our property tax rate can be considered high but our real estate values are low. My 4000 sqft urban (in the city) home on .75 acres with duck pond cost only 400K. I am 2 miles from a Tier one university and ...
by mfen
Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever filed a complaint with the Postmaster General?
Replies: 8
Views: 2348

Anytime I have issues I file a complaint and have been very surprised with the courteous customer service. I can't say that the resolution is any good. However it does put the postal carrier on notice that they are being watched. After filing a complaint I usually have at least 6 months of good serv...
by mfen
Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safe Disposal of Personal Documents
Replies: 10
Views: 1673

I agree with radionightster. I wait for a cool evening and sit out by the chimneria burning papers. After years of shredding I finally found a way to enjoy disposing of paper. A good bottle of wine certainly makes it a treat instead of a chore.
by mfen
Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card....
Replies: 30
Views: 5514

I have two credit cards. One I rotate out for deals, the other Discover. I have had Discover for many years and they have never charged an annual fee. They have altered their cash back program but it is still fairly generous. Since the 80's all of my other cards (AMEX, VISA, Mastercard) have at one ...
by mfen
Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Live your dreams now or wait?
Replies: 38
Views: 4727

We have always had a budget item for recreation. It is also in my proposed retirement budget. You should not have to be a slave to saving. Careful budgeting should afford annual recreation. The mistake is in overspending for recreation.
by mfen
Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RIP Jack Lalanne
Replies: 15
Views: 1891

I started exercising with Jack as a wee child and continue to this day.

RIP Mr. Lalanne, you were an inspiration to a generation.
by mfen
Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Non frugal vice
Replies: 107
Views: 15044

Frugal - not confusing quality with branding. Most things I buy are high quality I am just not a sucker for brands and excesses (such as no trim upgrades in a car). Buy quality on sale.

Vice - new cars, don't want a used car.
my Club - pay way too much for those luncheons.
by mfen
Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House renovations - do they make financial sense?
Replies: 22
Views: 3188

After you get a comparable market analysis try posting a question for your zip code at Trulia. Local realtors can give you an idea of what condition is expected in your immediate neighborhood. They can also indicate what quality of materials that are expected as well as current fashions in your neig...
by mfen
Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is a Treasury Default Possible?
Replies: 36
Views: 3812

I repeat myself. The term default includes any change, modification, misstep in the repayment of a loan. It does not necessarily mean a termination of the loan. A missed payment, a reduction in interest rate, etc... are a default. Default The failure to make timely payment of interest or principal o...
by mfen
Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: home equity question
Replies: 16
Views: 1731

I consider my paid for house as a back up plan therefore I do not use it in allocation modeling. If all goes poorly it will be long term care insurance, if all goes well it will be a charitable contribution.
by mfen
Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Billionaire Renter
Replies: 59
Views: 8831

Just because his primary residence is rented doesn't mean he does not own an island somewhere. I recall Warren Buffet talking about other houses he owns. It came up in a discussion of Prop 13 tax rates in California. He said something to the affect that he felt he paid far too little taxes on his Ca...
by mfen
Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:42 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will muni defaults make munis more like corporate bonds??
Replies: 12
Views: 2155

Also remember that "default" does not mean the end. Default could be a single missed payment or not following any exact terms of the contract. Bond terms modification would be considered default.

Bankruptcy is a different issue. GM was bankrupt, it did not merely default.
by mfen
Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking advice on personal matter
Replies: 59
Views: 6330

I have sold cars by newspaper and craigslist. You should be prompt or call if you are going to miss. As far as the actual sale I meet them at the courthouse where we complete the transaction with the clerk. (In our community we have convenient neighborhood courthouses). I have never met a weirdo in ...
by mfen
Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Why move from eTrade to Vanguard
Replies: 21
Views: 20262

Our great old brokerage, Brown and CO. was bought by etrade and we landed there for a year or so. We had quite a bit of money with them. We left because of some very odd nuisance fees. They had a three to five day settlement period on dividends! If we moved our dividends into savings prior to their ...
by mfen
Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Yahoo Mail becomes unusable
Replies: 37
Views: 5202

Try removing the yahoo cookies from your browsers. Then make sure your browser preferences are set to accept cookies. CLose the browser. Then try again. It may be that somewhere sometime you may have accidentally told the service you were working from a public computer. Not that I have had that prob...
by mfen
Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Yahoo Mail becomes unusable
Replies: 37
Views: 5202

Go to "options", "mail options", then "account information", then "change sign in settings" and set it up for signing in every 2 weeks.