Search found 591 matches

by tractorguy
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safe to file taxes now?
Replies: 36
Views: 2986

Re: Safe to file taxes now?

I filed with H&R Block Deluxe last week the day after the brokerage forms were available on Vanguard's website. I was in a rush because I have a significant refund, because I'm traveling for the next few weeks and wanted this out of the way, and because my information was in the Equifax leak. HR Blo...
by tractorguy
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How many of you use the "4% rule" during retirement?
Replies: 68
Views: 7971

Re: How many of you use the "4% rule" during retirement?

I used it as a planning tool prior to retirement and as a way to get comfortable with retiring early. I've checked my withdrawal rate the first few years and found it to be in the 2.5% range even before taking social security. I've not run out to buy a Ferrari to up my spending rate but we've schedu...
by tractorguy
Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Going Paperless Issues
Replies: 68
Views: 3908

Re: Going Paperless Issues

I also have been paperless for years and it has been working flawlessly. Over the last 3 years, I've moved from a mode of logging on to each web site to pay bills to having everything set up to pay balance due automatically. It's a mix of pulls from my bank, pushes from my bank, and pulls from my cr...
by tractorguy
Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No 1099-MISC yet
Replies: 9
Views: 656

Re: No 1099-MISC yet

I vaguely remember that turbotax wouldn't let me efile without an employer EIN when I had a similar issue 3 years ago. This year I used H&R Blocks software to do my taxes and it had no complaints about a $400 income without a 1099 or an employer EIN. I'm not sure if the difference is the lower incom...
by tractorguy
Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reasons to underweight foreign stocks?
Replies: 42
Views: 2020

Re: Reasons to underweight foreign stocks?

Some of these have been articulated by but my reasons to underweight international to 20% are: 1) I've lived and worked in industry in the UK & Japan for 5 years each and have seen first hand the regulatory burden in the EU and Japan. It is much more restrictive to innovation than anything I've seen...
by tractorguy
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What backup service to use?
Replies: 57
Views: 4744

Re: What backup service to use?

I too am attempting to find a replacement for Crashplan. This is a summary of a work in progress. I'm putting it here and will add to it as I find out stuff. My situation: I have 2 Windows 10 machines. Each one has a 1Tbyte drive in it but they are greatly under used. I have about 700 Gbyte between ...
by tractorguy
Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Total Bond Market Index Fund vs. CDs?
Replies: 27
Views: 3106

Re: Total Bond Market Index Fund vs. CDs?

For me the answer (and the answer that I use for any allocation decision whenever it's close to a wash) is to put some money in both. I've got about 3 years of expenses in CD's and the rest of my non-stock allocation in bonds. I was setting up a CD ladder but IMOP, the higher interest rates for long...
by tractorguy
Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Compensation for vehicle travel
Replies: 8
Views: 723

Re: Compensation for vehicle travel

As others have said, it depends. You should get whatever you want to be paid for agreed to BEFORE you agree to the job. Coming back to your customer afterwards and submitting a bill that includes unexpected charges is a good way to shrink a business. Typically, as a hiring manager, I'd expect to pay...
by tractorguy
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Germany (Bavaria) in April/May - Itinerary Help Needed
Replies: 41
Views: 2050

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

I can’t comment on the itinerary but do have a suggestion re cell phones. I was in Germany last fall and was planning to buy a local SIM card for my unlocked GSM phone so I could call local friends, hotels, and use Google maps while driving. Until recently, you could buy a pay as you go SIM card alm...
by tractorguy
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Longtime AT&T customer looking for MVNO cell provider
Replies: 30
Views: 3399

Re: Longtime AT&T customer looking for MVNO cell provider

I’ve been using consumer cellular for a couple of years and will be switching as soon as I go home. It’s been fine at my home but is typically terrible if I’m traveling anywhere except on a highway or in a major city. Ive found that I frequently have nothing or voice with no data. I’ll be looking at...
by tractorguy
Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photos dark because of sunlight..what free software to enhance
Replies: 27
Views: 1690

Re: Photos dark because of sunlight..what free software to enhane

Google Picasa will also let you lighten dark parts of your picture if you want to edit them on a Windows PC. It's no longer supported but you can still download and install it for free. I've not yet found another PC tool that is as easy to use. One feature is that it doesn't really modify the origin...
by tractorguy
Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ~100k sole proprietor income. Better to take business deductions or contribute more to solo 401k?
Replies: 18
Views: 1199

Re: ~100k sole proprietor income. Better to take business deductions or contribute more to solo 401k?

I've found that carrying a smart phone makes it easy to create a travel log at any time. I volunteer at a museum about 30 miles from my house and could not discipline myself to keep a log on the days I drove out there. I go on Wednesdays and Saturdays but not every week because of other comittments....
by tractorguy
Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transferring $$ from Ally
Replies: 19
Views: 1395

Re: Transferring $$ from Ally

I initiate all transfers at Ally. When you initiate, it will ask you when you want the money to appear at your bank. You can probably schedule it tonight to be done sometime in December. As others have suggested, I would do it a couple of days early so you can verify that its there and available for...
by tractorguy
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spam calls to cell phone...
Replies: 93
Views: 8073

Re: Spam calls to cell phone...

I use a free iOS app called 'Hiya' for blocking these. It works pretty well, though nothing is 100% perfect. Hiya is also available for android. I've been using it for 3 months and have noticed a significant drop in spam calls from 1-2/day to 1 every other week. If the number is on their blacklist,...
by tractorguy
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Request for Promotion letter to Senior Management
Replies: 155
Views: 13706

Re: Request for Promotion letter to Senior Management

I'm going to join the chorus that is saying that a letter is at best a waste of time and at worst, a written label that you are a high maintenance employee. (This is a label you don't ever want to get). My understanding is that you are a technical contributor in a staff organization (the project man...
by tractorguy
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for organizing bookmarks
Replies: 9
Views: 675

Re: Suggestions for organizing bookmarks

I use the Chrome browser on all my devices and it reliably synchronizes my ~4000 bookmarks everywhere pretty much instantly. They are available on my Pc, Chromebook, tablet or phone. I can even log on to a walk up PC at the public library and my bookmarks are there. I used to use Firefox but migrate...
by tractorguy
Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in construction equipment rental business
Replies: 15
Views: 1058

Re: Investing in construction equipment rental business

Construction Equipment rental is a competitive business with many players. Before jumping in, you should look at the competition. A quick Google search turned up national companies such as Home Depot, Sunbelt rental, United rental, etc. What are you and your friend going to offer that they don't? Wh...
by tractorguy
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Restricted Stock Units...Profit?
Replies: 23
Views: 2146

Re: Restricted Stock Units...Profit?

As others have said, Restricted Stock Units and Options are totally different animals and you need to figure out which you have. It is most likely Restricted Stock Units because most of the tax advantages for companies to give their employees stock options have gone away. RSU's are cheap for them to...
by tractorguy
Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Accidentally held onto RSU's
Replies: 10
Views: 1911

Re: Accidentally held onto RSU's

A horror story to motivate you to sell. A friend of mine was given significant stock options by his employer around 2000. In early 2008, the stock peaked and he exercised them. He could have exercised and sold (as he was advised to by several friends), but he thought the company would continue to do...
by tractorguy
Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LibreOffice
Replies: 24
Views: 3083

Re: LibreOffice

I've used LibreOffice on MSWindows for about 6 years since I retired and lost my access to a reduced price license for Office through my work. Its OK but it reminds me of the way office software was 20 years ago. The basic features all work but any time I try something a little new it isn't intuitiv...
by tractorguy
Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I bought a different car and my old bike rack no longer works. How should I transport my bike moving forward?
Replies: 67
Views: 3750

Re: I bought a different car and my old bike rack no longer works. How should I transport my bike moving forward?

I am using a Saris freedom 2 hitch mount tray type bike rack. I have used Thule roof racks and a Yakima trunk mounted rack. The hitch mount is by far the easiest to put on the car and put bikes on.
by tractorguy
Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Excel 2010 and Windows 7 -- Where to go from here?
Replies: 39
Views: 3363

Re: Excel 2010 and Windows 7 -- Where to go from here?

Have you considered moving away from Excel altogether and going to something more maintainable? I'm not a software geek but I did manage some for a period. We found that Excel is wonderful for non-programmers who want to put together a quick analysis. However, maintaining anything that is the least ...
by tractorguy
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Turbochargers
Replies: 60
Views: 5399

Re: Turbochargers

I had a Chrysler product with a turbocharger in the 80's. It was great while it lasted, gave me more power without a hit on fuel mileage. I sold it when the head gasket showed signs of leaking the second time (I had replaced it once). I've avoided turbocharged engines since then. Its not just to tur...
by tractorguy
Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trailer Towing Tidbits? [and epilogue]
Replies: 52
Views: 3917

Re: Trailer Towing Tidbits?

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that toll roads will be an unpleasant surprise (if you have any on your route). You pay by the axle and I think a car + trailer can be double a car alone. A 2 axle trailer costs more on a toll road than a one axle. I pulled a loaded 5x8 with a 2015 ML350 and di...
by tractorguy
Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trailer Towing Tidbits? [and epilogue]
Replies: 52
Views: 3917

Re: Trailer Towing Tidbits?

I pulled this trailer with this car from NJ to New Hampshire (about 700 miles) and a 2 axle from NJ to Chicago when we cleaned out my Mother in laws house. I think I got about 15 mpg on the highway, traveling with traffic at 70. You should not have any problems. +1 on spending some time backing up i...
by tractorguy
Mon May 29, 2017 3:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Managing My Elderly Moms Portfolio
Replies: 13
Views: 2326

Re: Managing My Elderly Moms Portfolio

Does her facility have smaller apartments that cost less? My 91 year old MIL just moved into a facility in northern NJ that I consider very upscale and it only costs her a little over $3500/month. This is after the initial buy in (which her heirs are supposed to to get mostly back). This fee include...
by tractorguy
Wed May 24, 2017 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity customer protection guarantee-void if you use Mint?
Replies: 39
Views: 4757

Re: Fidelity customer protection guarantee-void if you use Mint?

As nisiprius said earlier, this is probably a really grey area. However, I use Quicken to download transactions from my banks, Fidelity, and Vanguard and don't lose any sleep over the practice. My reasons are : 1 I think an aggregation gives me added security because I check all transactions on all ...
by tractorguy
Wed May 17, 2017 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sony a6500
Replies: 24
Views: 2297

Re: Sony a6500

I've been religious about putting a clear filter on all my lenses ever since I took a chip out of the front element of my Nikon when I was climbing a temple in Cambodia. It's cheap insurance.
by tractorguy
Tue May 16, 2017 8:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take a reduction in pension?
Replies: 23
Views: 1941

Re: Take a reduction in pension?

Without specific numbers, this question is impossible to answer. Even with specific numbers, it's very hard to answer because the answer requires a lot of guesswork and the answers are going to be highly affected by your personal goals.
by tractorguy
Wed May 10, 2017 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Renting correct size car
Replies: 33
Views: 3441

Re: Renting correct size car

+1 on Hotwire or equivalent vs a corporate rate. I've compared several times and almost never have found my corporate rate to be the cheapest. I generally check Hotwire, the airline I'm flying with (usually Southwest), and Expedia. The best price among these varies (which is why I check all three). ...
by tractorguy
Thu May 04, 2017 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)
Replies: 216
Views: 23326

Re: Buying a luxury car (how dumb would it be to do this?)

Have you sat down and thought about why you like the X5? Very few luxury cars are bought because of their features. According to a couple of people I know in the business (Cadillac regional sales manager & Jaguar regional sales manager) they're promoted and bought as jewelry. I've driven an X5 and i...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Finance Software Quicken 2017 Online Version or PC based] , Personal Capital, Mint, or QuickBooks?
Replies: 13
Views: 1968

Re: Personal Finance Software Quicken 2017 Online Version or PC based] , Personal Capital, Mint, or QuickBooks?

I'm a long time Quicken user (started in the 80's) and just upgraded to 2017 Premier. Despite this, I wouldn't recommend it for a new user. Quicken in Canada is piloting a subscription based purchasing model that would essentially triple its cost. There are many rumors that it will start doing this ...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving my mother's obscure funds to Vanguard
Replies: 14
Views: 1761

Re: Moving my mother's obscure funds to Vanguard

Voyager status is based on the total account. So if she transfers both, she should get it as soon as all of the money is there. When your mother gets Voyager status, Vanguard will charge you $7.00 to per transaction to sell this mess of junk if you do it through the web site. There will be no charge...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How inefficient is it to hold Total Bond Index in a taxable account?
Replies: 40
Views: 6323

Re: How inefficient is it to hold Total Bond Index in a taxable account?

Just to make it more complicated, because municipal bonds generally have lower returns than their taxable equivalents, its not always a given that you should buy them in your taxable account. It depends on your marginal tax rate. If you are in a 35% tax rate, then almost certainly yes, you should fo...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I tilt to Country of Birth in asset allocation?
Replies: 11
Views: 1370

Re: Should I tilt to Country of Birth in asset allocation?

I'm going to be one of the few people who will tell you to not tilt to a particular country even though you've got an expected stay and expenses there 10-15 years from now. It was my experience, living in two different countries for 5 years each, that exchange rate fluctuations can swamp any investm...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]
Replies: 138
Views: 15190

Re: Why never speak badly about boss? [Need Bogleheads' wisdom]

In my 32 years at two megacorps, I had good and mediocre bosses. I managed to avoid the bad ones, thank goodness. I've also had a couple of overseas assignments which meant that I had ample opportunities to meat a constant parade of vice presidents and executive VP's who were checking up on their fa...
by tractorguy
Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My Story so far. Totally confused! Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge. Managing own portfolio... or NOT?
Replies: 86
Views: 8442

Re: My Story so far. Totally confused! Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge. Managing own portfolio... or NOT?

There was just a story on the New York Times with the headline: " Vanguard is Growing Faster Than Everybody Else Combined" https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/business/mutfund/vanguard-mutual-index-funds-growth.html This explains why you have a 16 day waiting period to talk to somebody at Vanguard. T...
by tractorguy
Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Restoration of old slides
Replies: 10
Views: 1022

Re: Restoration of old slides

I've not done nuch of this myself but recently read a blog posting showing some before & after pictures of 60+ year old slides that had been adjusted. They are very impressive. There was also some discussion in the blog and comments about the process that might interest you. The blog is here: https:...
by tractorguy
Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Management in preparation for retirement
Replies: 29
Views: 2312

Re: Tax Management in preparation for retirement

Thanks to the OP for starting this thread and to all respondents. I thought after reading bogleheads for 6 years that I pretty much knew everything I needed to for my personal financial planning. Thanks to this thread I realized that I have looming step change in my tax situation when I start taking...
by tractorguy
Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spending beyond my means, I think..is my budget out of whack?
Replies: 81
Views: 10281

Re: Spending beyond my means, I think..is my budget out of whack?

How long have you been spending at these levels? If you've been doing it for a while (6 months or so) and if your expenditures are really greater than your income, then your emergency fund should be shrinking. If it's staying the same or growing, that means you're in the black. This of course assume...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fraud or BoA mistake?
Replies: 14
Views: 1866

Re: fraud or BoA mistake?

IMOP, it doesn't really matter if its a hacker or a mistake, except that BoA needs to find out what is wrong so that it doesn't happen again. If you have any other checks being sent by BoA in the same time period, I'd verify that they got sent to the correct address. Other than this, you've done all...
by tractorguy
Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Conflict of Interest at work - could I get fired?
Replies: 21
Views: 4291

Re: Conflict of Interest at work - could I get fired?

This depends on your company culture. I know of two brothers who both went to work for big agricultural/construction equipment manufacturers in the midwest that are direct competitors. (The green one and the yellow one). Both worked in their respective jobs for 30 years and both ended their careers ...
by tractorguy
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estimated tax payment question
Replies: 4
Views: 639

Re: Estimated tax payment question

+1 on This: Simpler to do equal payments. Normally I look at prior year tax liability and estimate current year. If roughly same or more in current year I do safe harbor in 4 quarterly installments. If later in the year it looks like I have overshot, I adjust the fourth quarter payment. If I'm low, ...
by tractorguy
Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Our technology is old...advice on upgrading...
Replies: 62
Views: 5387

Re: Our technology is old...advice on upgrading...

Are you my cousin? Seriously, your house must look like ours. Your wife has an iPhone 5, My wife upgraded her 2006 Motorola Razr (the original flip phone) about 12 months ago because our network was turning off 2G support. We got a MotoG 2nd gen for her. At least once a week she complains that she w...
by tractorguy
Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?
Replies: 32
Views: 2823

Re: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?

+1 on getting a licensed electrician to do this. Old buildings and overloaded circuits are a bad combination
by tractorguy
Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refund from IRS was $500 more than it should have been.
Replies: 9
Views: 1783

Re: Refund from IRS was $500 more than it should have been.

This: Sometimes the IRS discovers a mistake on your tax return that you made and if it is in your favor, you get a bigger refund. They will generally tell you in a letter to your mailbox though. Wait a few days. If you don't get a snail mail letter in a couple of weeks, then I'd call them. I just ha...
by tractorguy
Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Transfer from Edward Jones
Replies: 13
Views: 2530

Re: Transfer from Edward Jones

As others have said, transferring the IRA from Edward Jones to any of the major investment houses (Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab) is falling off a log easy. They all want your business and will pull out all stops to get it. I'm a fan of both Fidelity and Vanguard but have heard good things of Schwab as...
by tractorguy
Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap, User Friendly Printer
Replies: 34
Views: 4089

Re: Cheap, User Friendly Printer

Second the recommendation to get a Brother black and white laser printer. When my last inkjet all in one died after 6 years of use, I replaced it with a Brother DCP-L2540. (Here at Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Brother-DCPL2540DW-Wireless-Compact-Replenishment/dp/B00MFG57ZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electroni...
by tractorguy
Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to check a person's records for convictions & DWI?
Replies: 5
Views: 955

Best way to check a person's records for convictions & DWI?

My Brother in Law, who lives about 1000 miles from us, is apparently having mental issues. I say apparently because we are getting most of our information from his spouse and she has not been giving us a coherent story (This has been typical of her communication style since she married him but has b...
by tractorguy
Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric Space Heaters - Does expensive one heat better than cheap one?
Replies: 20
Views: 1403

Re: Electric Space Heaters - Does expensive one heat better than cheap one?

I worked for a company that made electric space heaters about 35 years ago. As others have said, 1500 watts is 1500 watts and that's the most heat you're going to get out of one that is plugged in to a normal 110 volt, 15 amp circuit. The more expensive ones may have better temperature control and m...