Search found 1249 matches

by gd
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: House water detection and alert system?
Replies: 41
Views: 2515

Re: House water detection and alert system?

I put these things all over my house and yard to investigate everything from crawlspace humidity to beehive temperatures. You'll need the base station set and the additional water monitor. email alerts are subscription. Their web-based long term graphical displays are weak, they have rebuilt the sys...
by gd
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate planning for non-citizen
Replies: 15
Views: 700

Re: Estate planning for non-citizen

In my state (MA) the marital exemption for a non-citizen spouse is $1M. This is not a job for the internet.
by gd
Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wild bird feed
Replies: 43
Views: 1851

Re: wild bird feed

Every time I watch my neighborhood squirrels it occurs to me that my childhood fantasy of stuffed animals coming to life actually happened. Every time I consider a wildlife viewing trip to Africa, I realize I've got a bunch of profoundly wild charismatic mammals running around in my back yard. I've ...
by gd
Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are land line phones still being supported?
Replies: 60
Views: 3678

Re: Are land line phones still being supported?

The twisted pair copper wires (a.k.a. POTS, plain old telephone service) might start to fade in densely populated areas in a few decades, but more because everyone will already have better service through cable or fiber-to-the-home. There used to be lots of regulatory service mandates on the bell sy...
by gd
Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Germany (Bavaria) in April/May - Itinerary Help Needed
Replies: 41
Views: 1956

Re: Traveling to Germany (Bavaria) in April/May - Itinerary Help Needed

My one concern is traveling on 5/1 (May Day) since it's a public holiday, any confirmation that this might be a problem or hassle or other advice re: the same? Yes, absolutely. It's not much of a holiday- worker's rights day, no less- if lots of people still have to work, is it? Train schedules wil...
by gd
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff
Replies: 59
Views: 5708

Re: Trying to downsize but still too much stuff

, two boxes are family heirlooms, containing things like two musical instruments with a great deal of family history that someone younger in the family might want some day. Perhaps it's time for someone else in the family to safeguard them. If no one will, you should consider revising your expectat...
by gd
Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Germany (Bavaria) in April/May - Itinerary Help Needed
Replies: 41
Views: 1956

Re: Traveling to Germany (Bavaria) in April/May - Itinerary Help Needed

FYI I think the Deutsches Museum (Munich main facility) is undergoing rolling renovations, a few sections will be closed. They have other facilities, a car & train museum downtown and an aviation annex in Oberschleißheim (S-Bahn & walk). Both those will have cars & airplanes you'll never have seen b...
by gd
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: protecting future inheritance
Replies: 31
Views: 2876

Re: protecting future inheritance

It's your business in so far as you may feel morally obligated to rescue him after the inevitable disaster, but his wife should be the main force at this point. And absolutely seek a lawyer expert in elder affairs. One possible piece of the solution-- this is a good example of what annuities can be ...
by gd
Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: checking accounts for Trusts
Replies: 2
Views: 188

checking accounts for Trusts

I am assuming primary responsibility for an existing special needs trust. Beneficiary has no say in funds. There are several other trustees, all of us legally equal and, well, trustworthy. My activities will involve routine cash management, and require a full-featured checking account. Are there any...
by gd
Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Savings Bond Wizard to be eliminated 5/18
Replies: 42
Views: 4180

Re: Savings Bond Wizard to be eliminated 5/18

I'd be more irritated if I'd ever been able to enter a single $10k I-Bond, rather than having to break it into two 5ks. This might actually be an improvement, even when the method for saving your bond info in the alternative seems to be saving and recalling your HTML page-- as long as you don't use ...
by gd
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Checked bag to HI, worth cost and trouble?
Replies: 36
Views: 2377

Re: Checked bag to HI, worth cost and trouble?

What's going in that suitcase, and how much does it cost at home? What percentage of the total trip costs is $75? Do you like to travel light, or like to have stuff with you? If moving around, how are you going to carry it there? What is your time there worth to you? Do you like to shop? Are you pic...
by gd
Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate planning for green card parents who are citizens of India
Replies: 29
Views: 2084

Re: Estate planning for green card parents who are citizens of India

I'll pile on the estate lawyer recommendation. Make sure state issues are addressed; in my state non-citizen spousal exemptions are much lower than federal. Yearly limits on gift taxes also might apply to simply re-titling assets such as house or bank accounts to a non-citizen spouse. I'd suspect on...
by gd
Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Form 1116: Allocating State Taxes (TurboTax)
Replies: 27
Views: 1049

Re: Form 1116: Allocating State Taxes (TurboTax)

The state tax thing is beyond what I do with this form, so I can't help other than to note as I do in every thread on 1116 I see-- I do not assume that any of the tax prep software deals with this form correctly. I figure out what needs to be done by working through the IRS instructions sentence by ...
by gd
Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Growing Peril of Index Funds: Too Much Tech
Replies: 67
Views: 5729

Re: The Growing Peril of Index Funds: Too Much Tech

Can't read the original article, but I'd be more concerned if my index fund was heavily weighted to steel manufacturers.
by gd
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Deduction Question
Replies: 21
Views: 1756

Re: Charitable Deduction Question

Curious, we've never known about or been offered the Certificate of Mailing despite numerous discussions about such things at my local post office. We sometimes buy the postage on a specific letter, which (at least in our PO) produces a receipt mentioning the zip code it goes to. I believe that'd be...
by gd
Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone here purchased a home for cash (no mortgages)?
Replies: 39
Views: 3863

Re: Has anyone here purchased a home for cash (no mortgages)?

It was psychologically nice to not make a rent or mortgage payment. I have a preference for no debt, and the luxury of being able to indulge that if I choose to arrange my life so. It allowed me to structure my finances to minimize my regular cash flow, and in my state placed my housing out of reach...
by gd
Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are Roth IRAs overrated?
Replies: 77
Views: 7291

Re: Are Roth IRAs overrated?

I use them for tax diversity first. I am not going into retirement with a high income being chopped to nothing, but even considering that, I'm not sure how anyone could follow current events and believe they know what their tax circumstances will be in the mid to far future.
by gd
Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you donate less to Charity?
Replies: 109
Views: 7581

Re: Will you donate less to Charity?

Yes. Charitable deductions only benefited me in a few years, where I set up unusually large donations and then bunched other factors such as property taxes. But that will not happen now.
by gd
Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: unstoppable TransUnion spam
Replies: 6
Views: 615

unstoppable TransUnion spam

When setting up the usual credit freezes so popular recently, I ended up with a "TrueIdentity" account with TransUnion; don't recall if it was even avoidable, possibly they told me it was necessary to manage the freeze. They now send me a low volume of unstoppable spam, including such gems as ads fo...
by gd
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window Selection and Shopping
Replies: 18
Views: 1289

Re: Window Selection and Shopping

I recently fired a contractor that was the highest-rated Angie's List contractor in our area with the job half finished, to avoid him screwing up my house any further. FWIW. I do not plan to use it any more. I've put in a few full-frame Andersen and Harvey, a regional alternative I was told was as g...
by gd
Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo tax and overseas bank accounts
Replies: 9
Views: 718

Re: Turbo tax and overseas bank accounts

This is a hairy situation for me. My Vanguard 1099-DIV tends to have about $200+ in foreign taxes paid, for which I want to take a credit. I also have an overseas bank account (no 1099-INT) for which I usually report a tiny amount of interest (like $20) with no foreign taxes paid. Form 1116 implies...
by gd
Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric Energy Usage
Replies: 86
Views: 5382

Re: Electric Energy Usage

For non-financial reasons, I replaced a conventional natural gas hot water heater with a hybrid electric. As best as I can determine, electricity in my house is about 3-4 times gas per energy unit. It may be more expensive in the winter operating in a cold basement, but last summer the heat pump wat...
by gd
Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chromebooks- What is the lure?
Replies: 157
Views: 18012

Re: Chromebooks- What is the lure?

They are cheap for a reason — you are the product. Google mines your data in the form of ads and other stuff. That is 90% of their revenue. Apparently Windows licensing only runs $10-15/unit, so the OS is not where the cost of a PC comes from. Chromebooks do less so require less hardware, and- gues...
by gd
Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo tax and overseas bank accounts
Replies: 9
Views: 718

Re: Turbo tax and overseas bank accounts

To enter foreign interest income for Schedule B in TurboTax, pretend you have a 1099. You don't, but there is no other way to do it in the interview. It does not allow entering interest without a 1099 (edited this line after first post). As the posts above say, TurboTax handles the Form 8938 include...
by gd
Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax gain harvesting
Replies: 29
Views: 3192

Re: Tax gain harvesting

I view cg gain harvesting compared with likely future activity, not with this year's taxes if I don't. I expect I'll be paying that state cg tax regardless, but harvesting now up to the top of the 15% bracket at least gives me the 0 federal rate. I prefer to reduce future liability as much as reason...
by gd
Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Prices
Replies: 156
Views: 18029

Re: TurboTax Prices

I was searching for cheapest sources, then slowly started realizing I was spending time and delaying valuable cg harvesting decisions to save.... maybe $10 on a once/year, extremely important purchase. Better way to save $10/year: skip one fast food meal when you'll be home in an hour anyway.
by gd
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9743

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation. I got a laugh out of this. I went to two very well-known universities, both well funded. Received no aid I d...
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The annoying insistence on frivolous credit checks/pulls
Replies: 35
Views: 3318

Re: The annoying insistence on frivolous credit checks/pulls

I had to mail in paper ID when my state's ACA program tried to confirm my identity with a credit check one web screen sooner than I expected when setting up an account. It's not just about credit cards, it's about people setting up accounts of any type, possibly to use as leverage for other activity...
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Didn't buy Bitcoin at $4600
Replies: 138
Views: 11212

Re: Didn't buy Bitcoin at $4600

If this is the only investment or speculation you've ever considered but not executed that has doubled in price, you haven't been doing this much.
by gd
Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets
Replies: 336
Views: 18415

Re: The fallacy of spending money on "experiences" vs hard assets

Vacation is not a synonym for experiences. Hard asset is not a synonym for things.
by gd
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chromebook/Similar for Elderly Dad
Replies: 30
Views: 2068

Re: Chromebook/Similar for Elderly Dad

Been there, done that with great success, worked much better than a windows laptop. I suggest the largest screen he can fit on his work surface and, in this case, travel with. I went with the biggest I could find, 15.6" (probably Acer but it didn't matter to me) and a wireless mouse. Don't think I w...
by gd
Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fuel treatments for small engines
Replies: 32
Views: 2331

Re: Fuel treatments for small engines

Find a hobbyist pilot who can get 100LL (100 octane low lead) aviation gas. I don't think vendors are allowed to sell it to the public for non-aviation use.
by gd
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sunscreen: use it all the time? (And what's a good one w/o sting?)
Replies: 58
Views: 3861

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

Anything with zinc oxide (for localized condition). Goes on a little white and greasy when very thick as I need to use it, but that fades after a minute or two. Some brands are very expensive, I've never noticed a difference.
by gd
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emotional impact of spending down assets?
Replies: 100
Views: 10740

Re: Emotional impact of spending down assets?

Mom is a young 85. Quick witted/intelligent, friendly, good shape, cooks every day, still drives, got the dog, etc. Lives in a nice place, new car, always smiling. Mom, why are you trying to live like a pauper? You don't understand. I don't either. Nice place, new car doesn't sound like living like...
by gd
Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip in May: Starting in Munich, Ending in Interlaken - Where to go in between?
Replies: 27
Views: 1704

Re: Trip in May: Starting in Munich, Ending in Interlaken - Where to go in between?

I'd agree Salzburg is off course, unless there's something specific you want to do or see there. You don't have that much time to travel. Neuschwanstein is almost obligatory if heading south from Munich. If you want German alps, hiking, cable cars to mountaintops and nature you'd presumably get that...
by gd
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Planner Recommendations
Replies: 5
Views: 686

Re: Tax Planner Recommendations

As my investment situation got stable and boring, I redirected my attentions to tax strategies and tactics. Think of it as an expansion of your hobby. I use last year's TurboTax to run various scenarios. I'd guess these experts you're considering basically do the same, simply with the background kno...
by gd
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2018 for Mac [and PC Released]
Replies: 41
Views: 5464

Re: Quicken 2018 for Mac and PC Released

It does include this somewhat comforting bullet poing: "Data Access Guarantee: Whether you renew your membership or not, you will always have access to and ownership of your data." This does not say you will continue to be able to use your program in any useful sense, just that you can "access" the...
by gd
Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HELP! Possible Mold in House
Replies: 14
Views: 1655

Re: HELP! Possible Mold in House

Bathroom vents aren't supposed to go into the attic. The negatives depend on use, house and location, which you do not disclose. In my area it'll promote ice dams, causing water seepage like you describe, but is unlikely to be the sole factor. Your landlord might be unaware of the problems, you shou...
by gd
Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Expat mail forwarding mechanics
Replies: 7
Views: 1052

Re: Expat mail forwarding mechanics

I lived overseas for a few years pre-public-internet, and used a Mailboxes Etc store selected to be near a helpful relative to receive mail, which relative would collect, filter, and forward to me every week or two. It was also a useful way to preserve a US address; I officially lived in a "suite" t...
by gd
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Multi-currency accounts for US citizen
Replies: 37
Views: 1913

Re: Multi-currency accounts for US citizen

Just a thought, he's probably got access to better information from fellow travellers and the future worldly employer than this forum. After a certain point in life, asking the parent isn't the best solution :D .
by gd
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looming Retirement & Market Jitters
Replies: 48
Views: 4634

Re: Looming Retirement & Market Jitters

"news reports describing" impact of ill-undefined future tax policy? I think you mean "speculation", motives included.
I have equivalent concerns if it does happen. Call it a draw?

(edited mildly political statement)
by gd
Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken
Replies: 112
Views: 11739

Re: WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken

As far as I can tell, you must fix your devices also. So, for example, anyone with an iPad 3 (I have 2 I use daily with no plans to replace) or using WiFi with Windows XP is permanently exposed. I suspect my older Republic WIreless phones, with custom firmware from RW, will also be permanently expos...
by gd
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)
Replies: 60
Views: 6672

Re: Trash dumped on curb (need advice)

What is the point of your HOA if they don't/won't deal with giant piles of trash on the curb for weeks? Seriously, I've never been subject to one. Otherwise, if I knew a sale was actually in progress and a new owner was due, I'd wait it out. In any case, I would not presume authority to remove mater...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone else not liking the new cars?
Replies: 135
Views: 11504

Re: anyone else not liking the new cars?

The last car I've owned (and still do) that I liked the looks of was a utilitarian 1999 VW Polo station wagon, although I eventually grew to accept the Escort candy-bar-in-hot-sun look when I discovered that it gave me maybe 10% better gas mileage than a more modern-styled Focus with the same drivet...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: About Vanguard advisors: opinions, thoughts?
Replies: 78
Views: 8780

Re: About Vanguard advisors: opinions, thoughts?

Seems like the controversy comes down to semantics and implications about what "advice" means-- suggestion or mandatory. Perhaps they should have named it "Vanguard Personal Management Services". I have the thought that the 16 page brochure posted is pretty dense, and the people likely using PAS are...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELP! 2016 taxes down to the wire: form 1116 help
Replies: 25
Views: 1180

Re: HELP! 2016 taxes down to the wire: form 1116 help

FWIW for next year, better handling of 1116 is why I switched from TaxACT to TurboTax years ago. Can't say if it's still true, but wouldn't surprise me. It pains me to promote Intuit, but that's life. It did, for the record, still require finding the secret checkbox in the TT personal information wo...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Antivirus Software Recommendations
Replies: 47
Views: 4118

Re: Antivirus Software Recommendations

I used Norton because it was free with my Comcast internet. It destroyed my Windows 10 system during a Norton-initiated update 6-9 months ago, demanding more and more reboots and updates and a complete Norton reinstall until I finally got a Windows failure screen I've never seen before. It required ...
by gd
Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A year of currency risk [Euro investers]
Replies: 4
Views: 534

Re: A year of currecny risk [Euro investers]

Just my opinion after having had money in Euros for a long time for personal reasons, but planning financial activity around the exchange rate is speculation, not investing. Investing is when you have some sort of story about the underlying variations in value. If you can describe why the exchange r...
by gd
Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Bracket in Retirement
Replies: 46
Views: 5667

Re: Tax Bracket in Retirement

I'm not smart enough to foresee my personal and detailed financial future years or decades away, and political/taxation/medical insurance future next year. Looking back at my past expectations substantiates this. I diversify my future tax liabilities.