Search found 350 matches

by RJC
Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

BTW, my agency had its benefits fair today. I asked the rep from Kaiser why they didn't offer an HDHP. He said hardly any feds use an HDHP (~3%). I was stunned. It's probably because there are "safe" plans like BCBS Basic and GEHA standard that are available to Feds. Before learning about HDHPs, I ...
by RJC
Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

@OP & MillenialFinance: After a long time with BCBS basic and in between the birth of my two kids, I switched to GEHA HDHP. We've been happy ever since, including in the birth year. We live in DC. Regret not doing it earlier. OP, I think you have it right --- ignore the deductible since it's "gift"...
by RJC
Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

burnsh wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:55 am
With all the recent changes of online brokers dropping their fees, does it make sense to still set up an account with Fidelity instead of using TDAmeritrade? With the elimination of fees I don't think it matters anymore. Am I missing something?
This is a good question. I am curious as well.
by RJC
Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

BTW, my agency had its benefits fair today. I asked the rep from Kaiser why they didn't offer an HDHP. He said hardly any feds use an HDHP (~3%). I was stunned. It's probably because there are "safe" plans like BCBS Basic and GEHA standard that are available to Feds. Before learning about HDHPs, I ...
by RJC
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Thank you everyone for your comments. I will look into GEHA HDHP and compare line-by-line with my current BCBS Basic plan.
by RJC
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Are there any situations where BCBS Basic is better than GEHA HDHP? Car accident? Chronic medications?
by RJC
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

OP, I will tell you a lot of folks on this forum love HSAs, and that is understandable, but I disagree with the posts or recommendations that you should blindly assume that an HDHP with and HSA will be better. I have put a lot of time and effort into these considerations and for BCBS Basic last yea...
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Got GEHA HDHP and two littles. Works great! Not switching. One has severe food allergies and we hit the deductible every year between that and the usual ear infections. We’ve also used Limited Expense (LEX) FSA in FSAFEDS for when we’ve been able to anticipate major dental work (crowns, etc.) FSAFE...
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Of course the first day of open season would be on a federal holiday... I have a family of 5 (including me) and we will stick with BCBS Basic. With kids, it’s amazing the stuff that can just come up (like my youngest needing minor surgery last year). However, if you’re comfortable with a HDHP, go f...
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Yes, HDHP will benefit you, especially if you maximize contributions to the HSA. The favorite HDHP seems to be GEHA. Checkbook's analysis for 2020 plan indicates that GEHA is a better buy than the other FEHB HDHPs regardless of high or low spend years. OP lives in DC. CareFirst has an HDHP which is...
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Got GEHA HDHP and two littles. Works great! Not switching. One has severe food allergies and we hit the deductible every year between that and the usual ear infections. We’ve also used Limited Expense (LEX) FSA in FSAFEDS for when we’ve been able to anticipate major dental work (crowns, etc.) FSAFE...
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

Re: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Tdubs wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:59 pm
Yes, HDHP will benefit you, especially if you maximize contributions to the HSA.

The favorite HDHP seems to be GEHA. Checkbook's analysis for 2020 plan indicates that GEHA is a better buy than the other FEHB HDHPs regardless of high or low spend years.
Thank you. I will look into GEHA.
by RJC
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?
Replies: 48
Views: 2185

HDHP over BCBS Basic for Feds?

Dear friends,

Open Season is here. Is it worth switching from BCBS Basic to a HDHP if you are a Fed w/ a family (2 toddlers)? We are fairly healthy with no chronic illnesses.

If so, are there specific HDHP plans that you would recommend? We live in the Wash DC area.

Thanks!
by RJC
Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart Garage Door Openers
Replies: 34
Views: 2193

Re: Smart Garage Door Openers

We just installed the LiftMaster 8550WL a few months ago (about $600 for system + installation) and so far so good. It's much quieter than our previous chain system and has a soft close mechanism. The Wi-Fi control is a game-changer.
by RJC
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?
Replies: 178
Views: 10592

Re: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?

Apple Pay seemed mostly like a silly gimmick to me, but I use it whenever possible to get 4,5% back with US Bank's Altitude Reserve Visa. Along the way, I discovered Apple Pay (or contactless) is much better than swipe or chip cards outside the United States. It's almost universally accepted and av...
by RJC
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?
Replies: 178
Views: 10592

Re: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?

I don't use the phone-based contactless payments because NFC is a drain on device battery. Fumbling around at the register to turn it on, or alternatively keeping my phone plugged in more often isn't ideal. What's the point of wireless technology if you're tethered to a charging cable all the time?...
by RJC
Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?
Replies: 178
Views: 10592

Re: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?

After reading this post, I set up Apple Pay on my watch. This morning I tried using it at a gas station but it doesn't appear to take it. Shouldn't gas stations be the first to take NFC payments because of all the card skimming?
by RJC
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?
Replies: 53
Views: 4567

Re: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?

As an aside, how does part-time employment work as a Fed? Does that affect healthcare and pension in any way? It makes health insurance while you are working more expensive (proportionally to the hours reduction) and makes your pension smaller. If two people have the same length of service (and age...
by RJC
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?
Replies: 53
Views: 4567

Re: Are federal health benefits worth postponing early retirement?

As an aside, how does part-time employment work as a Fed? Does that affect healthcare and pension in any way?
by RJC
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why so many iPhones??? Why did you pick it? Why do you upgrade it?
Replies: 156
Views: 9988

Re: Why so many iPhones??? Why did you pick it? Why do you upgrade it?

Privacy. I simply trust apple more than google. Apple is far from perfect but they are using my data to a lesser degree than google. iMessage. Most of the people I know with 2-3 exceptions use iPhones. Since imessage and FaceTime video and audio is encrypted end to end, it’s more secure. I do not u...
by RJC
Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Want to buy a new Tesla 3. Best auto loan rates??
Replies: 16
Views: 1553

Re: Want to buy a new Tesla 3. Best auto loan rates??

Can't wait until the Model Y. Hopefully the quality and service will improve by then.
by RJC
Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why so many iPhones??? Why did you pick it? Why do you upgrade it?
Replies: 156
Views: 9988

Re: Why so many iPhones??? Why did you pick it? Why do you upgrade it?

I believe it's the best phone if you want privacy (e.g. encryption).
by RJC
Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why did the stock market start a “hockey stick” run up since about post 1973 or so? You can see this in SP500 and DJIA
Replies: 28
Views: 2269

Re: Why did the stick market start a “hockey stick” run up since about post 1973 or so? You can see this in SP500 and

I like Prof. Jeremy Siegel's inflation adjusted real-return graph from his lectures and book "Stocks For The Long Run" https://i.postimg.cc/bJkYCn5y/download.png The way Prof. Siegel talks about the consistency of the U.S. markets roughly 7% inflation adjusted return, it was mockingly dubbed "The S...
by RJC
Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?
Replies: 53
Views: 5023

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Early 40s when I found this forum and wiki page. It's made all the difference.
by RJC
Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NY Times $1 per week digital
Replies: 41
Views: 6029

Re: NY Times $1 per week digital

I'm currently at $2/week. Are there promotions for $1/week anywhere?

Thanks.
by RJC
Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Asset Allocation Approaching Age 40s
Replies: 22
Views: 2666

Re: Asset Allocation Approaching Age 40s

I'm in my early 40s/spouse is late 30s. We are 100% stock because a) our jobs are relatively stable, b) we have a large emergency fund and c) it feels worse to have a constant drag than a slightly bigger drop in down markets. As we get closer to potential retirement (~10 years out) we will get on a ...
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I sell my BMW
Replies: 48
Views: 3530

Re: Should I sell my BMW

Keep the BMW. My 1998 328i has 95K miles and is running quite well. I did have the rear wheel bearings replaced, and the radiator, but other than that all is just routine maintenance. My 2008 535Xi with 33k, has never had a repair issue, save for the HPFP and 5 injectors, all of which were covered ...
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?
Replies: 72
Views: 5149

Re: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?

If you are employed in the Defense Department, you are eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union. There are also other Federal Credit Unions you may be eligible to joint as well. Thanks. Are all or nearly all credit unions open to federal employees? Go to the websites of the credit unions that int...
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: VTIAX International fund - should I give up on it?
Replies: 297
Views: 27255

Re: VTIAX International fund - should I give up on it?

I am unable to think of a scenario where international will greatly outperforming the US when today's US companies are so global. Novice investors should focus on their savings rate. An AA of 0-50% ex-US is fine IMO.
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple iPhone iOS 13 Discussion
Replies: 77
Views: 8652

Re: Apple iPhone iOS 13 Discussion

Is it still buggy after 13.1.1?
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?
Replies: 72
Views: 5149

Re: What Benefits to Expect for new Fed employee?

are there any banks/credit unions or credit cards available to federal employees which offer great rates? If you are employed in the Defense Department, you are eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union. There are also other Federal Credit Unions you may be eligible to joint as well. Thanks. Are a...
by RJC
Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I sell my BMW
Replies: 48
Views: 3530

Re: Should I sell my BMW

I have a 2015 428 xdrive with 27k miles and I plan on keeping it until the problems start happening on a regular basis. Once you drive a BMW, you will not be happy with anything less. Hold on for a few more years. Find a good indie shop.
by RJC
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Email Compromised On The Dark Web
Replies: 20
Views: 3605

Re: Email Compromised On The Dark Web

RootSki wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:45 am
RJC wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:01 pm
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am going to try Apple Keychain and see if that helps.
Keychain is awesome. I never worry about passwords anymore.
Just trying it out for the first time. So far so good! :beer
by RJC
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Apple iPhone iOS 13 Discussion
Replies: 77
Views: 8652

Re: Apple iPhone iOS 13 Discussion

Some lesser features that are worth getting set up: 1. Silence unknown caller is my favorite new feature. If you don't have a contact for the number, it goes straight to voicemail. 2. I think the link preview in Safari and other applications is a nice usability feature. 3, Improved day/night mode i...
by RJC
Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Email Compromised On The Dark Web
Replies: 20
Views: 3605

Re: Email Compromised On The Dark Web

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am going to try Apple Keychain and see if that helps.
by RJC
Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Email Compromised On The Dark Web
Replies: 20
Views: 3605

Email Compromised On The Dark Web

Hi friends, I just received this notice from a credit monitoring service (CreditWise on Capital One): "CreditWise found your email compromised on the dark web. CreditWise scans the dark web daily for your email address and SSN. If we find your information, we send you this alert so you can take acti...
by RJC
Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

Hello! I used to tip zero when I pick up the meal and do not expect table service. However, I read a piece by a food critic that has caused me to rethink what I do. His point was that these types of restaurants have low margins and can easily go out of business. He suggested tipping up to 10% at su...
by RJC
Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

oops I posted in reverse so I am editing the post to put original post uptop Yes, usually. I don't like doing it....I wish restaurant owners and other owners of establishments were forced to pay a minimum wage. I would rather them pay their employees more and charge me more for food and drinks, as ...
by RJC
Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

Abou 80% of the forum can be compressed in several topics: 1. Can I afford this house? 2. Can I retire? 3. Corrola vs Camry. 4. Backdoor Roth. 5. Do we spend to much? 6. Tip or no tip? 7. Lexus SUV? 8. Where should I go for vacation? 9. Costa Rica. .... I think TESLA needs to be on the list! and US...
by RJC
Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

Tip, No Tip, Tip. How many threads are needed for the same topic? https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=283977 https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=116944 https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=134490 https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44880 https://ww...
by RJC
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

Yes, usually. I don't like doing it....I wish restaurant owners and other owners of establishments were forced to pay a minimum wage. I would rather them pay their employees more and charge me more for food and drinks, as the system should work and as it works in other countries. With a $15 minimum...
by RJC
Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

I'm not going to feel bad about it anymore. Thanks all for your responses.
by RJC
Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Re: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

Shouldn't businesses pay their workers more to minimize this sort of tipping? How do they pull this off in Europe and Asia?

Tipping should be reserved for exceptional service only.
by RJC
Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?
Replies: 145
Views: 9367

Do You Tip At Counter Service Restaurants?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/15/trav ... tuity.html

"Those customer-facing, touch-screen payment systems in restaurants are confounding customers in the U.S. and beyond."

I feel like it's getting out of control. What is the consensus here?
by RJC
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone with any experience with Warby Parker eyeglasses?
Replies: 37
Views: 3633

Re: Anyone with any experience with Warby Parker eyeglasses?

I've had a pair of glasses and sunglasses from WP for about 3+ years and they have stood the test of time. Good quality and still looks great!
by RJC
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding/Engagement Ring Insurance
Replies: 64
Views: 4000

Re: Wedding/Engagement Ring Insurance

I recently took a diamond ring to a jeweler on behalf of my mom to understand resale value. The jeweler said the stones in it are so plentiful, she didn’t even want to buy it. Basically told us it is worthless in the marketplace. But that $18,500 appraisal sure looks nice, lol. We do have jewelry i...
by RJC
Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Warren Buffett's Investing Plan for His Family: Why It's a Good Plan for Your Family, Too"
Replies: 78
Views: 8351

Re: "Warren Buffett's Investing Plan for His Family: Why It's a Good Plan for Your Family, Too"

Warren Buffett has made it clear his advise is buying and holding forever a low cost market cap weighted index fund, tuning out the noise and holding enough short term treasuries so you are comfortable for your needs. The 10% he has made very clear on multiple occasions, is merely a starting point ...
by RJC
Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wedding/Engagement Ring Insurance
Replies: 64
Views: 4000

Re: Wedding/Engagement Ring Insurance

Dear Friends, What is the consensus here about wedding/engagement ring insurance? Is it worth having? Is there a point where you can stop paying it? Our insurance is about $300 a year and covers a ring that was purchased for around $15,000 (8 years ago). Thanks in advance. Never got it. True story ...
by RJC
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best of Bogleheads - your #1 takeaway
Replies: 151
Views: 15339

Re: Best of Bogleheads - your #1 takeaway

Just knowing where to invest. I've always heard folks saying you should invest your money but to understand where things should be (order of investments, etc.) outside of a traditional 401k.

Thank you Bogleheads!
by RJC
Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Physician Jobs
Replies: 8
Views: 922

Re: Federal Physician Jobs

I'm a bit unclear on physician jobs with the federal government. The job listing would say something like salary is $130,000-240,000. Even at the maximum, it seems below market for this specialty. Is it possible for physicians to get higher salaries than the listed maximum, or is that a hard limit?...