Search found 294 matches

by Bammerman
Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart thermostat issue - do I redo the wiring or add a transformer?
Replies: 14
Views: 1061

Re: Smart thermostat issue - do I redo the wiring or add a transformer?

My preference for a smart thermostat was to be able to check everything remotely and make changes as necessary. If that is the main reason, perhaps you should consider a device like the Leeo (https://www.leeo.com/product). I have had one of these for a year or so and have found it useful. Using the...
by Bammerman
Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart thermostat issue - do I redo the wiring or add a transformer?
Replies: 14
Views: 1061

Re: Smart thermostat issue - do I redo the wiring or add a transformer?

Similar situation, except that I had only one old round Honeywell thermostat (i.e., one "zone"). I solved the situation by buying a $20 programmable thermostat (uses AA batteries that last at least a year). It is only smart enough to change the set temperature several times a day 7 days a week, but ...
by Bammerman
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Discarding dead cell phone without purging my data
Replies: 33
Views: 2944

Re: Discarding dead cell phone without purging my data

I can't believe that no one here has mentioned that absolutely guaranteed method, EMP (electromagnetic pulse). But, more seriously, how about subjecting the phone to a powerful magnetic force? I remember, as a boy, constructing an electromagnet by wrapping many turns of insulated copper wire around ...
by Bammerman
Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SS benefit increase from one additional year past FRA delayed until 2019 -- Why?
Replies: 4
Views: 704

Re: SS benefit increase from one additional year past FRA delayed until 2019 -- Why?

Actually, I think the agent misspoke, or I misunderstood, because the amount I'm to receive matches what I had calculated that I would receive plus almost exactly 8%. It's a little complicated because I am subject to WEP. But I still have no idea what the agent was referring to when she talked about...
by Bammerman
Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SS benefit increase from one additional year past FRA delayed until 2019 -- Why?
Replies: 4
Views: 704

SS benefit increase from one additional year past FRA delayed until 2019 -- Why?

I delayed filing for my social security benefits until age 67, one year past my full retirement age (FRA). When the SS agent took my application over the phone she told me what my benefits would be, based on my FRA, and said that they would start in September (one month after I turn 67). She then sa...
by Bammerman
Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone using a Dolby Atmos-capable sound bar?
Replies: 6
Views: 509

Anyone using a Dolby Atmos-capable sound bar?

I've been reading a lot lately about Dolby's "spatial" sound effects from their new Atmos technology, and I'm wondering if I should spend the high premium for a Dolby Atmos-capable sound bar. My new tv is capable of passing Dolby Atmos through to capable sound systems. We've been using a fairly inex...
by Bammerman
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to make opened bottles of wine last longer
Replies: 38
Views: 2997

Re: How to make opened bottles of wine last longer

I like a glass or two of red wine in the evening, but my wife doesn't drink, so making a nice bottle of wine last longer is important to me. I've been using rubber stoppers with a vacuum device for years (like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GA3KCE/ref=dp_cerb_2) and have been satisfied. I would...
by Bammerman
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggest an electric car: Volt? Alternative?
Replies: 49
Views: 4075

Re: Suggest an electric car: Volt? Alternative?

I am very happy with my 2013 Volt, and would recommend that you consider a used Volt for your commuting purpose. With a Generation 1 Volt (such as mine) a 25 mile round trip commute would be no problem. Even in the middle of winter, I get at least 33 miles out of my Volt's battery (batteries don't l...
by Bammerman
Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for recommendations on a cordless electric mower
Replies: 21
Views: 1820

Re: Looking for recommendations on a cordless electric mower

I'd been using a very, very heavy Black and Decker cordless mower that I bought, used, at the nearby Habitat ReStore about five years ago. But recently I decided to buy something lighter, and went with a Kobalt that I picked up from Lowes for $287. It has a 40 volt, 5 amp battery. I've only used it ...
by Bammerman
Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Soon to retire Fed in the TSP
Replies: 20
Views: 1607

Re: Soon to retire Fed in the TSP

Hi Ken, welcome (soon) to retirement. I'm a retired Fed and have wrestled with TSP decisions myself. I would say, first of all, don't make any sudden decisions about what to do with your TSP -- take your time, you have plenty of it. Personally, I'm a big fan of the L Funds, and have used them for qu...
by Bammerman
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?
Replies: 345
Views: 34760

Re: What is/ was your career and would you recommend it now?

I was a U.S. foreign service officer for 26 years. A great career. In my case, I spent about 14 of those years overseas, in a variety of cities/countries/continents. That's the key word, in fact: variety : Job variety, location variety, boss/subordinate variety, cultural variety. Variety can be bad ...
by Bammerman
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ? - Keep emergency credit cards for adult children - Good idea or bad?
Replies: 18
Views: 1742

Re: ? - Keep emergency credit cards for adult children - Good idea or bad?

RudyS wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:07 pm
I read the original post to say that these are "authorized users" on a parent's account.
That's correct: they are authorized users on our (self+wife) account -- or they would be, if they knew about the cards.

Thanks to all for your comments. You've given me a lot to think about.
by Bammerman
Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ? - Keep emergency credit cards for adult children - Good idea or bad?
Replies: 18
Views: 1742

? - Keep emergency credit cards for adult children - Good idea or bad?

Some years ago my wife and I had our credit union issue credit cards on our joint account in the names of our adult children. We did not give our children these cards, or tell them about them, but put the cards in sealed envelopes in our lock-box with instructions to use them only in case my wife an...
by Bammerman
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: hybrid or plug-in electric car
Replies: 70
Views: 4177

Re: hybrid or plug-in electric car

I agree with most responders here that for your purposes, an all-electric car sounds perfect. I would just like to add that a plug-in hybrid gives more flexibility. I have been a very happy owner of a Chevy Volt for 4.5 years. Most of my driving is just around town and that is all-electric. I've als...
by Bammerman
Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP advice needed!
Replies: 21
Views: 5271

Re: TSP advice needed!

The fund should be based on the date you expect to start your withdrawals. As a retired Fed who also wrestled with TSP's L Fund choices, I wanted to reiterate ndchamp's remark above: It's not about when you plan to "retire", but rather, when you expect to start your withdrawals . I made my L Fund c...
by Bammerman
Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:35 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

I am reconsidering this

I'm reconsidering this issue. Partly it's the recent news about the ill health of Social Security, and wanting to get "mine" while there's still something to get. But it's also the question of, why am I putting off taking my FRA (+1 year of waiting beyond my FRA) benefits? Hoping I'll eventually com...
by Bammerman
Thu May 17, 2018 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 13471

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

real men drink beer I drink wine with dinner at home but always order beer with dinner when I dine out. I think that wine prices in restaurants are just too much of a rip-off, and I won't pay it. Also I live in a town bursting with terrific craft brewers so there's never a lack of superb craft beer...
by Bammerman
Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Rating sites for TVs
Replies: 22
Views: 1761

Re: Best Rating sites for TVs

keinodoggy wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:21 am
https://www.rtings.com/tv
+1 (they have good YouTube videos too)
by Bammerman
Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Buy, $3k TV, should I buy warranty?
Replies: 24
Views: 1809

Re: Best Buy, $3k TV, should I buy warranty?

It's possible you might already have a 4-year warranty without knowing it. Some credit cards (like my USAA card) will double the benefits of a 2-year warranty purchased with that credit card. I suggest you read through your credit card's guide-to-benefits booklet and look for something like "extende...
by Bammerman
Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to buy a TV
Replies: 33
Views: 3194

match

I bought my expensive tv from Best Buy. When they reduced the price by $100 within a week, I went in and got that $100 back too. And I also immediately started searching online for the exact brand/model tv I'd just purchased, and found it advertised somewhere for several hundred dollars less. So I f...
by Bammerman
Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LG 75" vs OLED 65" TV or Wait?
Replies: 44
Views: 5802

Re: LG 75" vs OLED 65" TV or Wait?

FYI, I have found the information about tv's at rtings.com to be very helpful. We went from a 11-year-old, 42" 1080p LCD tv to our 55" LG OLED tv. The picture is vastly better -- for a number of reasons. 1. It's a lot bigger than our old tv. We could't go any larger than 55" due to the configuration...
by Bammerman
Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LG 75" vs OLED 65" TV or Wait?
Replies: 44
Views: 5802

Re: LG 75" vs OLED 65" TV or Wait?

I confess, I don't have an opinion about your specific question (sorry) -- but I did buy a 55" LG B7A OLED tv at Thanksgiving (thanks, spouse!) and I LOVE IT. Just in case you missed that, I REALLY LOVE IT A LOT . I originally spent about $1500 for it (worth it at that price) but reduced that cost b...
by Bammerman
Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rome-Florence-Venice-Prague summer vacation
Replies: 54
Views: 3619

Re: Rome-Florence-Venice-Prague summer vacation

I lived 9 months in Florence a long time ago when I was about 21. A magical place. Don't even think of skipping it. One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread so far: in the hills just above Florence there's an ancient town, originally Etruscan, I believe, called Fiesole. You can take a city ...
by Bammerman
Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents
Replies: 16
Views: 1454

Re: Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents

Of course all of this is academic anyway because I plan to live forever.
by Bammerman
Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents
Replies: 16
Views: 1454

Re: Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents

Thanks, retiredjg, I saw this covered on the Wiki, and have summarized the concern for my wife so she is aware of the choice she would have to make. Basically, that there might be tax advantages to her from keeping the money in the TSP (because TSP disbursements to her would presumably be exempt fro...
by Bammerman
Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents
Replies: 16
Views: 1454

Bailey Settlement question -- of interest only to NC residents

I've been researching financial issues that my wife should be aware of in case I predecease her, and one of these is the effect of North Carolina's Supreme Court's Bailey Settlement on survivors of federal annuitants and TSP account-holders. The answer to the first part of the question (i.e., would ...
by Bammerman
Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: used Prius (or Chevy Volt?)
Replies: 51
Views: 4816

Love my Volt

We have two cars, a 2010 Prius and a 2013 Volt, both purchased new. The Prius is a fine car (ho hum yawn). The Volt is a more powerful, more comfortable, better driving and more economical car -- the last point depending, of course, on the type of driving being done. Since I get 35-45 miles out of a...
by Bammerman
Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TSP fails secuity audit
Replies: 19
Views: 3211

Re: TSP fails secuity audit

Not very awe-inspiring, I'll grant. At least there are promises to improve: "...the agency is moving forward with plans to implement Williams Adley’s recommendations, and it will strengthen its contractor oversight policies. She provided a roadmap that projects the agency will reach a Level 3 score—...
by Bammerman
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Knob and Tube rewire cost
Replies: 39
Views: 4650

Re: Knob and Tube rewire cost

My situation is very similar to Pajama's. When we bought our 1925 house with K&T (with upgrades over the years), our insurance company (USAA) had no problems with that at all. We've had no problems with wiring since we bought the house 11 years ago, and as far as I know, the K&T wiring has been fait...
by Bammerman
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pick up a part-time to get to FI faster or use that time to pursue my dream?
Replies: 11
Views: 1254

Getting to Florida

Maybe it's because I hadn't had my second cup of morning coffee yet, but at first I thought this thread was about getting to Florida. I pondered, "I've seen Fla. and FL used as abbreviations, but never Fl ...." then I thought, could that be a capital "I" after the "F" ?? At that, a dim bulb began to...
by Bammerman
Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who has had a pool?
Replies: 79
Views: 5108

Worth it for us

I grew up in Florida in (for a number of my younger years) a house with a pool, and I swam all the time. Now we live in North Carolina. We bought an old house with an in-ground pool. Because of the climate, and the fact that ours is not a heated pool, the swimming season is only (part of) May throug...
by Bammerman
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

What I did

Just to close the loop, I ended up deciding to file a restricted application and (as the higher-paid spouse) am taking spousal benefits only for now. If things work out as planned, I will make my own application at age 70. We will be using money in our remaining tax-deferred funds to cover the incom...
by Bammerman
Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace TVs with Smart Tvs or not?
Replies: 57
Views: 5325

Re: Replace TVs with Smart Tvs or not?

I "cut the cord" five or seven years ago and have been using successive generations of Apple TV's to stream content to my "dumb" lcd tv since then, very happily. Until last week I'd have echoed what nearly everyone here's been saying: never mind smart tv's, just get a (Roku, Apple TV, whatever) stre...
by Bammerman
Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you budget for vacation?
Replies: 94
Views: 7455

Re: How much do you budget for vacation?

My dad was a manufacturer's representative and traveled frequently. Here is his advice on packing for a trip:

"First, lay out on your bed, all the clothes you plan to take with you. Next, lay out all the money you think you will need. Finally, take away half of the clothes, and double the money."
by Bammerman
Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sunscreen: use it all the time? (And what's a good one w/o sting?)
Replies: 58
Views: 4895

Re: Sunscreen: use it all the time? (And what's a good one w/o sting?)

I buy the CVS (cheaper) version of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF100+, then I water it down 50% so it ends up being SPF 50. The pharmacist confirmed that the result is actually the maximum SPF protection that your skin can use (the SPF 100 product is 50% wasted money).
by Bammerman
Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Include whole life policies as "retirement investment"?
Replies: 5
Views: 762

Include whole life policies as "retirement investment"?

Many many years ago my wife and I took out (small) whole life insurance policies from The Equitable (when there was such a thing). We finished paying premiums on them long ago, and they are paid-up, and/or premiums are being paid from dividends. Their cash value is now about equal to their life insu...
by Bammerman
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two Nights in Quebec City - Must See Suggestions, anyone?
Replies: 16
Views: 1660

Re: Two Nights in Quebec City - Must See Suggestions, anyone?

My wife and I spent some days in QC two years ago -- really enjoyed just walking around in the old city and using our rusty French, which the locals actually seemed to appreciate (and to enjoy).
by Bammerman
Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Seeking word-of-mouth on financial advisors in Asheville, NC
Replies: 1
Views: 390

Seeking word-of-mouth on financial advisors in Asheville, NC

I am seeking personal recommendations of fee-only financial advisors in Asheville, North Carolina. If you have comments (pro or con) based on your own experience that you are willing to share with me about any financial advisors in Asheville, I would appreciate your sending them to me in a private m...
by Bammerman
Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

Re: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?

It's amazing how much useful information there is in this forum, or should I say, how many helpful people participate here. That's not to say that I understand everything, but that's par for the course. I am leaning toward making a "restricted filing" just for social security spousal benefits as soo...
by Bammerman
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

RMDs - so what?

What is the fundamental problem with having to take RMDs? Sorry to ask a probably ignorant question.
by Bammerman
Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

Re: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?

"...so your RMDs will be smaller."

And, I guess, there will be less tax to pay.
by Bammerman
Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

??? about " Tapping TSP earlier will reduce RMDs as well" and more info

Regarding MRC 's comment that " Tapping TSP earlier will reduce RMDs as well" : I don't really understand this idea very well at all. I know what RMD's are and that it means I must at least start tapping my tax-deferred funds at 70 1/2. But I don't understand how I can control or mitigate this, such...
by Bammerman
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

Re: how long do we plan to live

We're both "planning" to live to ripe old ages. We both have LTC insurance, btw.
by Bammerman
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?
Replies: 54
Views: 5532

Start TSP disbursements and delay social security -- or the other way around?

Hi and here's what I'm wondering. I'm 66 and considering starting social security (my wife will be 66 in a few months and has not started yet either). Assuming we want to increase our monthly income (mostly my government COLA'd pension) by $3,000 -- Should we (a) both start taking social security be...
by Bammerman
Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A request to authors of investing advice
Replies: 16
Views: 1705

Re: A request to authors of investing advice

I apologize for what apparently was a confusing post. Maybe I erred in not providing more specifics regarding my personal situation. Actually, I began composing this post with a short description of my own situation, but then I decided not to make this post about me , but about what I see as a gener...
by Bammerman
Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A request to authors of investing advice
Replies: 16
Views: 1705

A request to authors of investing advice

Thank goodness for this website and all the people who've been writing on it. I discovered it a dozen or so years ago when I was floundering around trying to figure out how to even begin to educate myself about investing. Thank goodness also for people like William Bernstein, whose Four Pillars book...
by Bammerman
Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Places worth seeing in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Montreal in mid September
Replies: 6
Views: 725

Re: Places worth seeing in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Montreal in mid September

We visited Halifax last year and had a good time there. It's a walkable city. One very interesting place we visited was the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has an art exhibit in the basement that includes the entire (little) house that Nova Scotia "primitive" artist Maud Lewis once lived in with h...
by Bammerman
Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?
Replies: 14
Views: 2336

Re: Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?

Already I have benefited from some very helpful replies! "I would agree that a cash out refinance seems unlikely if you're living on 'a pension and some small side jobs.'" Why is that? I'm unclear on the connection between these two things. We have refinanced before but never a "cash-out" refinance,...
by Bammerman
Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?
Replies: 14
Views: 2336

Re: Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?

No. I thought I'd start here first for suggestions and comments. What do you mean by the "burden" of a cash out refinance? Do you mean the costs/fees of the refinance? The extension of the mortgage payments?
by Bammerman
Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?
Replies: 14
Views: 2336

Should $100K for remodeling come from savings or from refinance?

The subject line pretty much sums up my question. After living in our old (1925) house for 10 years, just doing basic maintenance, we're ready to do some larger repairs, remodeling (bathrooms, kitchen) and painting. We are just beginning the process and do not have a contractor or cost estimates yet...