Search found 1195 matches

by gd
Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Contractor paid by hour charging for crew's breaks?
Replies: 6
Views: 823

Contractor paid by hour charging for crew's breaks?

I'm in the middle of house repair hell, with a general contractor's workers doing an assortment of large and small tasks. Most is fixed price quote, but some changes in the work in progress and some repairs of initially unclear extent are by time and materials. His workers use a smartphone app, star...
by gd
Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are quality exterior doors worth it?
Replies: 16
Views: 1632

Re: Are quality exterior doors worth it?

So what are more reasonably-priced doors made of? What is the difference? If insulation, by how much, and how much will that impact your heating/cooling expenses? (my guess-- not $2000) Do you keep warranty redemption info for every warrantied item you own, and know which items those are? How much d...
by gd
Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If the US dollar fails, are stocks safe?
Replies: 44
Views: 5473

Re: If the US dollar fails, are stocks safe?

I have heard second hand of someone in British Columbia in the 70s who, concerned about nuclear war, plotted likely fallout patterns and moved to the safest and most remote place with a stable government he could find -- the Falkland Islands ;-). Or the Malvinas as they were briefly known under Arg...
by gd
Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USPS lost very important certified mail - What next?
Replies: 46
Views: 4612

Re: USPS lost very important certified mail - What next?

My bank once advised me of the time limit on stop-payment checks, and said that the only way to be absolutely certain it would not eventually be cashed was to close the account it was drawn on.
by gd
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 16683

Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

In my long-ago professional life, I felt there was a loose correlation between people who went out to eat every single day and people who turned white after the surprise appearance of the corporate overlord representative and subsequent "all hands meeting" that ended most of my high-tech jobs. I sus...
by gd
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mother-In-Law dying, Wife wants to buy a Porsche
Replies: 51
Views: 4876

Re: Mother-In-Law dying, Wife wants to buy a Porsche

This isn't a financial logic question, it's an emotion question. It's hard, she's stressed out, and thinking about a reward is a way of getting through the stress. You are not saying this explicitly, but strongly implying that there is an understanding that the car is advance compensation for the st...
by gd
Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else freeze their credit score?
Replies: 126
Views: 10750

Re: Anyone else freeze their credit score?

A bit bemused that people are complaining about the difficulty of freezing their credit ratings, which they want to do because the credit rating companies are too lax, but be that as it may-- I get a new credit card maybe once every 5 years. If I go online to the typical quickie credit card applicat...
by gd
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Health Care Fund in my portfolio?
Replies: 32
Views: 2354

Re: Vanguard Health Care Fund in my portfolio?

I had lots of VGHAX for 2 decades, and it did quite well for me through many cycles of criticism. It put out a *lot* of cg distributions at times, complicating my increasingly-detailed tax bracket planning at end of year. I now hold less of the index fund, agonizing about the differences before the ...
by gd
Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Postal Service -- "informed delivery"
Replies: 115
Views: 7318

Re: Postal Service -- "informed delivery"

Signed up for this 2-3 weeks ago when the thread started, it says I'm registered with correct email, and have never received anything. YMMV. Don't get your hopes up.
by gd
Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7159

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

If gaming your taxes is important enough to structure your life around, go for it. I live next to a no-income-tax-no-sales-tax state, it's pretty common. Personally, it's squarely in the "cutting of my nose to spite my face" category, . And to answer your question as best I can, I moved in-state to ...
by gd
Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I've fallen and I can't get up -- recommendations?
Replies: 42
Views: 5759

Re: I've fallen and I can't get up -- recommendations?

Short answer, kids just pay for it to bypass the resistance. I don't recall the brand, but a relative has one with a base station plugging into land line, and choice between pendant and wrist device. There is a short-distance radio connection between the two, GPS is not needed. Think you press a but...
by gd
Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable Annuities for 62 Y/O
Replies: 14
Views: 1111

Re: Variable Annuities for 62 Y/O

$100,000 annuitized at age 62 will get you less than $6500 per year, probably closer to $6000 per year, just for planning purposes... So, ignoring inflation, over 6% for the rest of your life regardless of how long you live, with no management of funds required. There are many people for whom this ...
by gd
Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Survey ate some of my property....
Replies: 25
Views: 2270

Re: Survey ate some of my property....

You haven't made totally clear what the rigor of the survey was, and what "other corners" were marked by. I had an ambiguity with a neighbor resolved with a survey we shared the cost of, and it resulted in discovering the official lot lines-- both deeds filed with county, maps and assessor's records...
by gd
Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road bike tour to Europe
Replies: 10
Views: 902

Re: Road bike tour to Europe

I eventually preferred solo self-contained trips, but I had 2 good experiences (Ireland and Greece) with Classic Bicycle Tours & Treks 25+ years ago, now Classic Adventures. The owner, a college prof who did greek tours as a side line, was just expanding and bringing in his sons as summer jobs i...
by gd
Mon May 22, 2017 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computing device for elderly relative
Replies: 34
Views: 1909

Re: Computing device for elderly relative

I seem to have posed some questions in that thread you referenced, so a followup-- Same situation, had great success with a 15" chromebook, far better than either Windows or iPad. Think it was an Acer, not sure now. I consider them commodity items, and just went with the biggest screen I could ...
by gd
Mon May 08, 2017 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Replacement Question
Replies: 20
Views: 2253

Re: Window Replacement Question

I'm intimately familiar with old window construction, maintenance and performance on two continents. The only carpenter I've ever talked to who knew or appreciated them as much as me (on either continent) was uninterested in making a difficult sill repair on mine, as the house was only 80 years old ...
by gd
Fri May 05, 2017 4:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Replacement Question
Replies: 20
Views: 2253

Re: Window Replacement Question

Again, if you dont want to retain your historic windows, PLEASE make them available to others who will make use of them. I live in an historic district in a town outside Boston, and don't believe anyone wants generic <100 year old double-hung windows or the hardware. Names if you've got them! Like ...
by gd
Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?
Replies: 52
Views: 4188

Re: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?

The fourth local mechanic we tried was trustworthy, and we use him for older cars. An advantage of car repairs over, say, major house repairs is that you do it so often that you can get a useful survey of the local options, hopefully there aren't too many disasters before you find one that suits you...
by gd
Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying weekend home: suburbs or rural? (yard privacy important)
Replies: 24
Views: 2379

Re: Buying weekend home: suburbs or rural? (yard privacy important)

You really want to experience the community you buy in, any times of year you'll be there. I have no clue of the areas you're looking at, but it's going to be very different from a city. Examples from my exurb outside another NE city-- space is nice, until your rural neighbors bring out the dirt bik...
by gd
Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Flying to Asia and electronics ban
Replies: 9
Views: 1627

Re: Flying to Asia and electronics ban

asterix0 wrote: The odds of damage or theft seem very high.

You seem to be prepared to spend time and money on this. Curious, odds how high and based on what information? Seems like it would not include detached lenses and memory cards containing your digital pictures.
by gd
Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why are pensions revered, but annuities reviled?
Replies: 113
Views: 11316

Re: Why are pensions revered, but annuities reviled?

This is a DIY crowd. It sometimes undeweights issues such as the value or requirement of having an advisor or financial instrument that will remove actions or decision-making burdens from people unable or unwilling to deal with them. That choice does not occur with a pension, but is very much presen...
by gd
Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bill received after Estate is closed
Replies: 57
Views: 6329

Re: Bill received after Estate is closed

I don't want to go back to the beneficiaries and ask them to help with the bill. One had the money deposited to a Special needs trust and one is retired and barely surviving. If you tell the lawyer to get it back from the other beneficiaries themselves and walk away, the other beneficiaries are goi...
by gd
Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do with your coins?
Replies: 76
Views: 5205

Re: What do you do with your coins?

I use them. I use a wallet with a coin pocket, which makes it very easy to use coins and keeps them from accumulating. If you don't have enough for exact change, you will soon, and they'll then be used up promptly.
by gd
Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Different tax preparers give different estimates
Replies: 3
Views: 814

Re: Different tax preparers give different estimates

I'm not following your situation clearly, particularly confused about your references to IRS and state tax in the same sentences, but just wanted to suggest that if you can't work out a good estimate, you simply pay estimated tax (state and federal) equal to whatever last year's was. Every state I'v...
by gd
Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RV Rental
Replies: 25
Views: 2409

Re: RV Rental

Did a week rental late 90s with a large rental chain near outer banks NC, to try it out. We booked smallest they had, they gave us larger at same price when we showed up. Most probably would like that, I didn't because it was unwieldy and we wanted to try out the lifestyle in something like what we'...
by gd
Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance
Replies: 89
Views: 9550

Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

The expensive, careful, experienced optician teamed with my optometrist of 25-30 years in the same office. I tried Lenscrafters a few times during about a 10 year period, and had several bad experiences ranging from mis-grinding the lenses, to egregiously bad advice about lens material in response t...
by gd
Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Am I Addicted [to contribute to my taxable account]
Replies: 57
Views: 7170

Re: Am I Addicted

Rephrase the post using compulsive or neurotic (in the common usage) and see how it feels.
by gd
Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 20821

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

I heard/read that a pool uses less water than grass covering the same surface area. If your pool is using excessive water, is it possible you might have a small leak? Got a good laugh out of this, since I've never watered my lawn in 11 years. Then realized that if you live in FL where a HOA require...
by gd
Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FTC TaxACT error: Form 1116 not required to file
Replies: 26
Views: 5735

Re: FTC TaxACT error: Form 1116 not required to file

Suggest you start with a new post. People are going to waste time reading a bunch of posts that are 7 years old. Whatever TaxACT is doing this year, it likely isn't the same as it was doing 7 years ago.
by gd
Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pipe leak damaged house
Replies: 18
Views: 2000

Re: Pipe leak damaged house

Browse for water detectors; if you want more than noise La Crosse Technology has various internet-capable sensors that will email you alarms, might be other companies as well.
by gd
Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help with my printer problem
Replies: 30
Views: 2408

Re: help with my printer problem

Note that the choices for models with simple controls (i.e., non-fax) and flatbed scanners are pretty sparse for low-end laser devices. I use the scanner as much as the printer (and no space for 2 boxes), and my co-users are baffled by overly-complicated controls.
by gd
Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Possibly Financially Independent and Feeling Miserable
Replies: 153
Views: 18115

Re: Possibly Financially Independent and Feeling Miserable

I haven't read all 152 prior posts, but I agree with at least a few who point out you do have a hobby, it's counting and worrying about your money. Personally, I work on the general problem of loosening the purse strings by mentally partitioning out a big but percentage-wise inconsequential amount o...
by gd
Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace gas water heater with electric?
Replies: 40
Views: 4166

Re: Replace gas water heater with electric?

OP here. Plastic vents are hard to place because of odd stonework extending from chimney on closest wall, porch, windows within the 4' spacing, deck, and large old forced-air heating vents in basement that would result in some options placing basement-crossing vent pipes too low for free movement in...
by gd
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New Investor Portfolio Help...when to ditch the advisor?
Replies: 11
Views: 1266

Re: New Investor Portfolio Help...when to ditch the advisor?

If you use his "special" funds, are you locked into him somehow? That's probably when the rates will rise . If he "has a very similar philosophy as on this forum", he should be receptive to a permanent fixed yearly fee, or at least adjusted down with total amount under management...
by gd
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Alternatives for Lawn and Garden Care
Replies: 35
Views: 2690

Re: Organic Alternatives for Lawn and Garden Care

Mudpuppy wrote:
livesoft wrote:What about a Benz-o-matic blow torch?

While effective, I think that would be a bit extreme :D

Flame weeders are pretty routine for patio gaps, apparently even for crops. Might not be quite precise enough for open lawn care, perhaps a high-power laser.
by gd
Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Boglehead DIY or Pay a Professional?
Replies: 95
Views: 8645

Re: Do Boglehead DIY or Pay a Professional?

I've never found anyone who cares as much about my stuff as I do. They may have more skills and knowledge, and better tools, but if that's not a limitation I always do it better. Painting my house, mowing my lawn, doing my taxes, minor (and sometimes not-so-minor) carpentry, changing my oil, at this...
by gd
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Organic Alternatives for Lawn and Garden Care
Replies: 35
Views: 2690

Re: Organic Alternatives for Lawn and Garden Care

Monoculture show lawns are thoroughly unnatural phenomena. You can no more achieve it "organically" than you can keep someone who needs a hospital's intensive care unit alive by homeopathy and herbal medicine. You can get part of the way there by sheer hard work-- crabgrass is sort of fun ...
by gd
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace gas water heater with electric?
Replies: 40
Views: 4166

Re: Replace gas water heater with electric?

I have a question about the heat pump style electric water heaters that perhaps someone can answer. As I understand, they harvest the heat from within the house and my question is where does this heat come from? In winter, this heat needs to be replaced by the heating system (unless it is in an unh...
by gd
Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace gas water heater with electric?
Replies: 40
Views: 4166

Re: Replace gas water heater with electric?

You're a hardy soul if you don't care whether you have hot water or not for days. For myself, I prefer gas appliances because they work in power outages. Oh, we cared. But with the town-mandatory sewage pump, we had approx 40 gal of sewage capacity for an unknown period, and saved it for toilet flu...
by gd
Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace gas water heater with electric?
Replies: 40
Views: 4166

Re: Replace gas water heater with electric?

OPer here. Nothing like a good plumbing problem... Think I addressed most points, but to clarify or reiterate: 1. Electric service is issue, but one of the more easily estimated and solved. 2. Want to relocate heater away from chimney because flue (shared with furnace) is poorly positioned and would...
by gd
Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace gas water heater with electric?
Replies: 40
Views: 4166

Replace gas water heater with electric?

I'm trying to replace a conventional chimney vent natural gas water heater. For various reasons, I want to switch to just about anything else to get away from the chimney. But plastic venting is difficult to place in my house, and although I had first not even considered electric due to its reputati...
by gd
Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Lousy Customer Service
Replies: 86
Views: 7675

Re: Vanguard: THE WORST BROKERAGE. Stay away

Offhand, I'd attribute it to 3 things: 1. Vanguard's client base is growing substantially, so the absolute number of dissatisfied customers will increase substantially. In other words, a numerical illusion. 2. Use of internet for random complaints grows, so the absolute percentage of problems visibl...
by gd
Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: mom wants smart phone, are there classes on how to use?
Replies: 40
Views: 3367

Re: mom wants smart phone, are there classes on how to use?

It takes skill and experience to teach in this circumstance, few teenagers have it. And as you know, she needs ongoing support, not 15 minutes. I'd second local classes or support groups, not very optimistically. Search out elder services, if they exist she should be tapped into them for other stuff...
by gd
Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The russians are hacking me
Replies: 36
Views: 6385

Re: The russians are hacking me

... Lay people and professionals were surveyed about their cyber hygiene. For the public the top three principles were: ... 2. Do not click on embedded links. ... What the public considers important and sufficient, professionals do routinely and focus on additional layers of defense. ... Bleeping C...
by gd
Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it worth filing an amended tax return?
Replies: 18
Views: 1725

Re: Is it worth filing an amended tax return?

They won't care. I'd also wait a few months until your current return is settled, then fill out the 1040X for $18, peace of mind, and the knowledge & experience of how it works. If you hate this stuff enough to find that idea horrible, write off the $18. I've done a lot of amended returns, a few...
by gd
Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Flagship? [T. Rowe Price retirement funds]
Replies: 20
Views: 2401

Re: Flagship?

m flagship (plural flagships) In a maritime fleet, the ship occupied by the fleet's commander (usually an admiral); it denotes this by flying his flag. The most important one out of a related group. The retail company's store in London is their flagship. Usage notes The word flagship is often used a...
by gd
Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions to ask Parents.
Replies: 5
Views: 803

Re: Questions to ask Parents.

The only thing I ask my mom, somewhat jokingly, is what she wants me to do with her dog. Not a joke at all. I've known two old ladies whose dogs utterly disrupted their lives-- and those of their supporters-- in their old age. Elder housing and assisted living don't take dogs; things can go downhil...
by gd
Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: If you were going to drop down to 15% bracket for one year...
Replies: 7
Views: 1173

Re: If you were going to drop down to 15% bracket for one year...

I harvest capital gains every year in this way-- which means nothing to you, just that it can be done. Get yourself a tax prep program and run the numbers as precisely as you can. I don't know if online versions will work well for that. I use download TurboTax, enter data in the interview, then stud...
by gd
Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax gain harvesting
Replies: 21
Views: 2193

Re: Tax gain harvesting

If something specifically beneficial happens I'll react to it. In 30 years I've never been able to usefully predict such trends, and do not believe anyone else does other than by luck, followed by selective boasting about it. The factors involved are too complex, and individuals have too specific a ...
by gd
Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen cabinets
Replies: 73
Views: 6609

Re: Kitchen cabinets

When I first bought a house I started to think about remodeling tasks in view of resale value. Life got simpler when I decided that if the next person to own my house wants a say in it, they're going to have to cough up some money first.