Search found 46 matches

by Cactuscoug
Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retired recently and buying your own insurance? How bad is it?
Replies: 54
Views: 5121

Re: Retired recently and buying your own insurance? How bad is it?

We are early retirees that have been on the ACA plans from their inception. The key, for us, is to keep reportable income DOWN. The lower your income, the higher the tax credit, the lower your net cost. I am finally on Medicare. Spouse is in her final year of ACA. Her premium for 2020 is going up fr...
by Cactuscoug
Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Michelin vs Toyota tires for Corolla?
Replies: 30
Views: 2518

Re: Michelin vs Toyota tires for Corolla?

C.R. recently did a write-up on tires. It's top rated "All Season" tire is the General Tire Altimax RT43. It rates three points higher than the Defender, and costs $28 less!
by Cactuscoug
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Question for my Wife
Replies: 8
Views: 676

Re: Social Security Question for my Wife

I just went through this with my brother . . . It starts with $$$ earned after you retire.
by Cactuscoug
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Insurance Company Reviews
Replies: 15
Views: 1301

Re: Health Insurance Company Reviews

A lot might depend upon "where" in AZ you are considering. You mentioned Mayo, so perhaps you are thinking Phoenix. We live outside of Tucson, in rural Pinal County. My wife has an ACA account through BCBS - - it's an HSA, which is good. However, her premiums are going up in 2020 from $60, to $250 /...
by Cactuscoug
Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruises, where to book?
Replies: 17
Views: 1739

Re: Cruises, where to book?

We have used Cruise Vacation Outlet ((800) 797-4635) for years. They regularly beat Costco, as well as the cruise line. We usually cruise Princess, but recently decided to try Oceania. We booked direct, then had CVO check pricing. They knocked the price down $600, PLUS were able to include gratuitie...
by Cactuscoug
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Company For Medicare Supplement Plan G [in Missouri]
Replies: 21
Views: 1318

Re: Best Company For Medicare Supplement Plan G [in Missouri]

I am 67 years old, and living in AZ. I just switched my "G" plan from AARP United Healthcare, to Physicians Mutual. The premium dropped from $142 to $108. The Company's rating increased from "C" to "A." Physicians Mutual was not on my radar until I talked with a Medicare specialist.
by Cactuscoug
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Security Benefit Annuity
Replies: 5
Views: 451

Re: Security Benefit Annuity

It's not clear what type of annuity this is -- a variable? Equity Indexed? But it probably does not matter. My understanding is that she is entitled to annuitize the $460,000. At 6%, she would be looking at around $27,000 / year, for life. She needs to call the insurance company for real answers.
by Cactuscoug
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Negotiating buying leased solar panel system Calif
Replies: 16
Views: 907

Re: Negotiating buying leased solar panel system Calif

We are in Arizona. Installed a 5.2 kW system two years ago. Our net cost, after tax credits, was $8762.90. I think your buy-out number should be somewhere in that vicinity.
by Cactuscoug
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bid on airline upgrade? (Icelandair)
Replies: 11
Views: 1076

Re: Bid on airline upgrade? (Icelandair)

We bid on and won an upgrade on Iceland Air three years ago. The nice thing is there is a visible "gauge" online when you are selecting your price point. "Red" and you are too low. "Green" and you are probably a sure thing. We bid in the middle and got the upgrade.
by Cactuscoug
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?
Replies: 76
Views: 10345

Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

"May I ask: 1) How much were you spending back in the late 90s when you just retired that allowed your nest egg to grow past $3.4 million? 1 million in 1994 is equivalent to $1.7 million today which means your wealth has doubled since you retired while at the same time living through 2 big recessio...
by Cactuscoug
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?
Replies: 76
Views: 10345

Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

". . . at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure?" We "retired" 25-years ago at 42 / 39 with about $1mm. The portfolio now measures $3.4mm. The anxiety was always there, until about two years ago . . .when she began taking Socia...
by Cactuscoug
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?
Replies: 76
Views: 10345

Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

"May I ask: 1) How much were you spending back in the late 90s when you just retired that allowed your nest egg to grow past $3.4 million? 1 million in 1994 is equivalent to $1.7 million today which means your wealth has doubled since you retired while at the same time living through 2 big recession...
by Cactuscoug
Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?
Replies: 76
Views: 10345

Re: For those who are FI: At what point did you begin to relax?

". . . at what point did you begin to feel like you can relax about money and not constantly worried and under pressure?" We "retired" 25-years ago at 42 / 39 with about $1mm. The portfolio now measures $3.4mm. The anxiety was always there, until about two years ago . . .when she began taking Social...
by Cactuscoug
Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on cellular annually?
Replies: 59
Views: 4249

Re: How much do you spend on cellular annually?

Anywhere from $10 to $100 PER YEAR.

We are grandfathered in a T-Mobile "pay as you go" plan. $100 buys 1000 minutes. Unused minutes roll over if you buy a $10 minimum the next year.

We typically use around 300-minutes per year.

No data. We need to find wifi.

It works for us.
by Cactuscoug
Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar panel advice & experiences
Replies: 64
Views: 3029

Re: Solar panel advice & experiences

We live in AZ. and have a 2400 sf home. We installed a 5 kW system, costing less than $14,000 ($9000, net of Fed and State credits). We save about $80-90 / month . . .or about a 12% tax free yield on our money. But, this is Arizona . . . . $34,000 sounds like it is grossly overpriced . . .or is for ...
by Cactuscoug
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Having to consider replacing my car
Replies: 40
Views: 2366

Re: Having to consider replacing my car

I would be inclined to hang on to the Honda. The miles are relatively low. Routine maintenance should be a lot less money than buying a new/used vehicle.
by Cactuscoug
Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who “owns” the side of my garage?
Replies: 15
Views: 2556

Re: Who “owns” the side of my garage?

I would paint it. And, I would not wait a year or two. How about next weekend?
by Cactuscoug
Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Schwab as a one stop shop
Replies: 62
Views: 7445

Re: Schwab as a one stop shop

Another disadvantage of Schwab . . . The cutoff time for selling Vanguard funds, is one-hour BEFORE the market close. A lot can happen in an hour. If I am doing any selling, I try to do it in the final 15-minutes of the market day.
by Cactuscoug
Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why won’t anyone hire me?
Replies: 156
Views: 16003

Re: Why won’t anyone hire me?

To make yourself standout over other applicants, followup every interview with a note/letter/email. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity; review what you bring to the table; and stress how you can help the company. I did this many years ago, and moved from "one in a pack" to the job offer I was...
by Cactuscoug
Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Older used car with low miles or newer used car with higher miles
Replies: 37
Views: 2526

Re: Older used car with low miles or newer used car with higher miles

A newer car will have newer technology . . .meaning safety.

I would check C.R. for it's reliability ratings for any given-year's model.

We recently bought a 2015 Prius with only 6500 miles. Love it!
by Cactuscoug
Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited ira
Replies: 21
Views: 1973

Re: Inherited ira

In 2001 my father died. I rolled over my portion of his IRA into Option #1. I have taken RMDs every year . . .ranging from $800 to $1200. It's nice -- a dividend from my Dad. Today, the account has grown to $22,000. Yes, Option #1.
by Cactuscoug
Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pricing Question [for car value - Manheim or KBB?]
Replies: 8
Views: 594

Re: Pricing Question [for car value - Manheim or KBB?]

My go-to is Edmunds.com

My understanding is that KBB is more of a tool for car dealers -- their prices show higher, so that dealers have room to negotiate down.
by Cactuscoug
Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental & Vision Coverage
Replies: 16
Views: 1502

Re: Dental & Vision Coverage

Costco offers a dental plan that is better than most that I have seen. The problem is the limited network of dentists - - and, many of them have reputations of upselling unnecessary procedures.
by Cactuscoug
Fri May 31, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Care Insurance
Replies: 36
Views: 2843

Re: Long Term Care Insurance

Now 67 / 64, we have been looking at LTC insurance for 20-years, and have done nothing. We can self-insure for a couple of years in a nursing home, but are concerned about an extended need. What we would like to see is a catastrophic LTC policy. One that pays on a surviving spouse, and after a 2-3 y...
by Cactuscoug
Sun May 26, 2019 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I replace my AC?
Replies: 27
Views: 2481

Re: Should I replace my AC?

"is an annual a/c inspection of any value if the unit is working as expected? What would need servicing?" We live in an AZ retirement community. A semi-retired HVAC guy lives here. He is of the opinion to not spend the money on twice a year 'tune-ups.' "If your unit is making noise or having perform...
by Cactuscoug
Sat May 25, 2019 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Am I a sucker to pay for a new roof?
Replies: 24
Views: 2536

Re: Am I a sucker to pay for a new roof?

There are two issues here: 1.) Insurance fraud. 2.) Door-to-door roofers. If you are going to reroof your home, please research local roofing companies. I doubt if the legitimate ones are going door-to-door. And, no . . .you are not a sucker. Every 20-30 years the roof needs to be replaced. It is a ...
by Cactuscoug
Fri May 17, 2019 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Probate costs?--I am the sole heir and the executor
Replies: 65
Views: 6136

Re: Probate costs?--I am the sole heir and the executor

I was executor of my father's estate several years ago. The attorney that drafted the will also acted as the probate attorney. She agreed to work by the hour. Total cost: Around $1200.
by Cactuscoug
Wed May 15, 2019 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental discount for senior recommendations
Replies: 21
Views: 1816

Re: Dental discount for senior recommendations

Costco has a dental insurance program without all the rules and restrictions of other plans that we have seen. Limited choice of dentists.
by Cactuscoug
Wed May 08, 2019 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Goodman HVAC System
Replies: 21
Views: 2176

Re: Goodman HVAC System

I believe that Trane and Carrier are considered the best brands. Costco has an ongoing deal with Lennox. Consumer Reports has a feature coming out. CR teased this yesterday: "To calculate predicted reliability, we use our extensive survey data to estimate how likely a system is to break or cease to ...
by Cactuscoug
Mon May 06, 2019 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe with teens - hotel options
Replies: 42
Views: 3051

Re: Europe with teens - hotel options

If it were us, we would leave the teans at home, and travel as two adults.

Much cheaper. And less stressful.

And, the kids have years and years to explore Europe on their own nickel.
by Cactuscoug
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Considering purchasing a new point-and-shoot camera
Replies: 25
Views: 1719

Re: Considering purchasing a new point-and-shoot camera

Be careful of the Panasonic Lumix. I have one. Great camera! But . . . It is prone to a dirty sensor. I just took it in to the local camera repair store for cleaning -- It has to go back to the factory for full disassembly. Price $225. The shop owner says that he sees it all the time with Panasonic ...
by Cactuscoug
Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any affordable place for Dental Implants in the Northwest USA ?
Replies: 23
Views: 2168

Re: Any affordable place for Dental Implants in the Northwest USA ?

Ditto on Dental Tourism.

We used to live in Portland. Now in Tucson.

I am in the final stages of getting an implant similar to yours.

Total "out the door" price: $1800.00

Laser Dental in Nogales. Very impressed with their dentists and equipment.
by Cactuscoug
Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest place to get a replacement Subaru key
Replies: 7
Views: 957

Re: Cheapest place to get a replacement Subaru key

We recently had a similar problem when buying a used Prius -- only one key fob. The local Toyota dealer wanted more than $300 for the fob, key and programming. The Prius' seller had an "in" at the local "Batteries Plus Bulbs" store. They retail the fob for $200. The seller got it done for $125. And,...
by Cactuscoug
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smoke detectors
Replies: 36
Views: 2016

Re: Smoke detectors

. . . and, when the batteries fail, why is is always at 3:00 in the morning??

Every community is different, but here, the fire department will come over and change batteries. Cost? A plate of cookies.
by Cactuscoug
Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Women, How Much Do You Pay for Haircut
Replies: 94
Views: 6469

Re: Women, How Much Do You Pay for Haircut

My wife goes to the local Beauty School. Wednesday's are "Senior Days," 20% off. The regular price for a cut is $12.00. On Wednesdays it is less than $10.00.
by Cactuscoug
Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Young And Senior Community
Replies: 10
Views: 1268

Re: Young And Senior Community

We moved to a 55+ community in Arizona at ages 48 /45. It was a good move for us. We got some strange looks for a period . . .and once were admonished "you are too young to live here!" It has been 18-years and the looks and comments have ceased. Our community allows 20% of residents to be as young a...
by Cactuscoug
Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: fire buyer's real estate agent
Replies: 34
Views: 2699

Re: fire buyer's real estate agent

If you did not sign a Buyer's Contract, then the agent is not your agent, he/she is the seller's agent. You own them nothing.
by Cactuscoug
Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Investing in a dental implant & Vetting and questions to ask?
Replies: 50
Views: 4877

Re: Investing in a dental implant or ?

I use Laser Dental in Nogales, Mexico. (866) 861-7056‬; An easy 1-1/2 block walk from the border. Usually a 30-45 minute wait to get back into the U.S.
Extraction, Implant and crown for around $1800 total.
by Cactuscoug
Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Social Security Benefits Question
Replies: 18
Views: 2071

Re: Social Security Benefits Question

We did this last year when my wife turned 62 and I turned 66. No problems. Question: Why have you waited so long? Check out the possibility of Retroactive Benefits. You should be able to go back six months and get lump-sum payments.
by Cactuscoug
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Negotiating for CPO Toyota or Honda
Replies: 24
Views: 2871

Re: Negotiating for CPO Toyota or Honda

We used the Costco program a couple of years ago when buying a Subaru. It was an easy, no hassle experience. The price was okay. I used the Costco pricing as a baseline, and emailed every Subaru dealer within 200 miles to get their pricing. I saved a TON versus Costco. I also learned that Costco pri...
by Cactuscoug
Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Property in Northwest USA - Advice?
Replies: 18
Views: 2188

Re: Buying Property in Northwest USA - Advice?

I have no particular insight. However, if you want to stay close to family, check out other Montana towns: Missoula, Great Falls, Billings. Spokane, Washington is a great town. Lot's to do there. Prices have moved up, but not ridiculously. Ellensburg, WA, and Medford, Oregon are other areas worth ch...
by Cactuscoug
Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hawaii vacation, any recommendations?
Replies: 39
Views: 4249

Re: Hawaii vacation, any recommendations?

Three days in Honolulu. Four days on Kauai. It is the oldest of the islands, and the most beautiful. It is called "The Garden Island." Many movies filmed there, from "South Pacific," to "Jurassic Park." One road circles the island, excepting the Napali Coast -- which only accessible by boat or hikin...
by Cactuscoug
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to buy business class tickets?
Replies: 35
Views: 4422

Re: How to buy business class tickets?

Has anyone had experience with these guys?

https://www.skyluxtravel.com

Fly Business & First Class For Less
by Cactuscoug
Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the minimum amount of money that you have to spend for following item deductions to kick in?
Replies: 3
Views: 542

Re: What is the minimum amount of money that you have to spend for following item deductions to kick in?

I am not a CPA, but I don't believe that any of those expenses are now deductible. They used to be deductible as a "miscellaneous" expense, but only to the extent that they exceeded 6% of your adjusted gross income. Under tax reform, with a higher standard deduction, I believe that "miscellaneous" w...
by Cactuscoug
Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Intro. & Monthly Food Expenses
Replies: 32
Views: 1987

Re: Intro. & Monthly Food Expenses

We are early-retirees, now 66 / 63. Been retired for 24-years. In 2018, we spent the following on food: Dining out: $1033.99 (Will only dine out with a coupon or "deal." Usually have leftovers to bring home We budget $100 / month) Groceries for two: $2427.70 (We shop the ads and make a list.) Fast F...
by Cactuscoug
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: planning to buy REIT, bad idea ?
Replies: 36
Views: 5435

Re: planning to buy REIT, bad idea ?

REITs have done well over time. But, bear in mind, there are many different types of REITs: Mortgage REITs. Equity REITs. Retail REITs. Residential REITs. Medical REITs. Storage REITs. On and on . . . Most REITs are interest rate sensitive, so be aware in a rising rate environment. I own a few, but ...