Search found 1286 matches

by deanbrew
Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Camry vs RAV4
Replies: 33
Views: 2831

Re: 2019 Camry vs RAV4

The Subaru Outback is essentially a raised tarted up Legacy wagon. They raise it and add some plastic cladding, but it is based on the Legacy. Worth a look, IMO, Compared to the Rav4 and CRV.
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Audio book options
Replies: 28
Views: 1046

Re: Audio book options

Yeah, your public library is a good choice. I download books using Overdrive. They seem to be switching to Hoopla.

If my library doesn't have something I'm looking for, I also buy used audiobooks on CD from ebay and Amazon. After I listen to them, I donate them to my local library.
by deanbrew
Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would like some advice on a family minivan
Replies: 17
Views: 1080

Re: Would like some advice on a family minivan

Hondas and Toyotas tend to depreciate more slowly, so sometimes a new purchase can be as cost effective if you are going to keep it for a long time. We have a 2014 Odyssey that we purchased new which has been great. I haven’t priced vans lately, but there were some pretty good discounts on ours whe...
by deanbrew
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2019 Camry vs RAV4
Replies: 33
Views: 2831

Re: 2019 Camry vs RAV4

This thread has me baffled... I simply don't understand the thought process. It seems to me the primary question should be do you want to drive a sedan in the Camry class or a CUV in the RAV4 class, or even how much you prefer the materials, driving experience and MPG in one vs. the other... not how...
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc
Replies: 290
Views: 27342

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Update: I just rolled out functionality for child benefits and child-in-care spousal benefits. That's about 9 months of nearly full-time work on this project (~30 hours spent on it per week since April), and the calculator now does all of the major things that I had hoped for it to do. So I think I...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basement minimum height requirement -- can I ignore until house sale?
Replies: 34
Views: 2643

Re: Basement minimum height requirement -- can I ignore until house sale?

I wouldn't be ignoring anything. An inspector for town appraisals could come in, see the code violation and you get an order to rip it out. (I know for sure that in my town, that would happen) Are you talking about assessors? I've owned houses in two states for 40 years and have never had a governm...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you Report Home Improvements to County Tax Office?
Replies: 14
Views: 1153

Re: Do you Report Home Improvements to County Tax Office?

I wouldn't. If you didn't pull building permits, and all work was interior, why report it and have your taxes go up? Do you think other residents in your county do this? As for building permits, it varies by location and exact work done, so someone telling you that you should have pulled a permit mi...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job, sales at Subaru
Replies: 62
Views: 7690

Re: New job, sales at Subaru

I will add to this thought. I found our Forrester online, emailed the dealer to see if it was still for sale and went in two days later to buy it. When we went into the finance office, the guy asked how we wanted to finance it (I know, but our old car was suddenly near death (350,000 miles will do ...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: objective data on quietest cars?
Replies: 26
Views: 4134

Re: objective data on quietest cars?

perl wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:00 am
If you want quiet, you want an electric car.
Probably not on the highway, where road and wind noise are the culprits, not engine noise. And as I posted above, if MPG is the goal, loud tires and little sound dampening are part of the equation.
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: objective data on quietest cars?
Replies: 26
Views: 4134

Re: objective data on quietest cars?

I remain in the seemingly endless hunt for an affordable, reliable, fuel efficient, safe, and QUIET highway commuting vehicle. I’m hoping the new Honda Insight will fit the bill; early professional reviews have been excellent though the Bogleheads have been more restrained: https://www.bogleheads.o...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job, sales at Subaru
Replies: 62
Views: 7690

Re: New job, sales at Subaru

Few pieces of advice: Listen, truly listen to what the customer needs. I'm in sales (not car sales) and I listen way more than I speak. Yep. I hate when a salesman starts pushing me toward something before we've established what I'm looking for. Please do not assume that if a couple comes in to buy...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to sell a nice professional office desk?
Replies: 12
Views: 1102

How to sell a nice professional office desk?

My wife used to work at home, and we have a very nice HON office desk system. She has two HON Series 10500 desks - one "L" shaped and one "U" shaped, with two filing cabinets and a storage hutch. The furniture is in excellent condition, like new. Looking on Amazon, the pieces add up to about $5,000....
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: any recommendations for vacation stay in Punta Cana
Replies: 15
Views: 1371

Re: any recommendations for vacation stay in Punta Cana

The food there for the most part is terrible. Very bland tasting. The chicken/beef/pork all tastes the same no matter what dish it is used in. It was like they didn't bother to season or prepare it any differently between chicken enchiladas or chicken parmesan. I am not a DR expert, but my wife and...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: UPDATE Considering new Honda Pilot, other suggestions?
Replies: 35
Views: 2105

Re: Considering new Honda Pilot, other suggestions?

The Toyota Sienna is the only minivan with an AWD option. My wife and I have a 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD and 2015 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD in the household. While both vehicles have three rows of seating, the Sienna is significantly better at child and cargo hauling. Sliding doors help at school drop-...
by deanbrew
Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4445

Re: Ventilated car seats?

I do, but only as a form of art. Generally, they are all unsafe in a crash, noisy, underpowered, don't handle well, uncomfortable seats, manual windows. No thanks. I'll take 400hp with heated steering wheel and a heads up display for a daily driver. I "only" have 300 HP in my car. I do have a heate...
by deanbrew
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4445

Re: Ventilated car seats?

2pedals wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:03 pm
I would try a wood beaded seat cushion first. Shouldn't cost more than $20 bucks.
I'm thinking that would make a twisty road a lot less fun.

Has anyone here actually tried the beaded seat cover? I haven't. In addition to the aforesaid secure seating issue, it sure looks mighty uncomfortable.
by deanbrew
Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car predicament
Replies: 14
Views: 2476

Re: Car predicament

Kia and Hyundai cars have a 10 year / 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, I believe. It sounds like this car is 6-7 years old with 70k miles. Are you certain the warranty doesn't cover the "blown" engine? Even if not for some reason, lazydavid brings up a good point that repairing might cost significa...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ventilated car seats?
Replies: 61
Views: 4445

Re: Ventilated car seats?

And better yet: if you've never experienced ventilated seats yourself, how can you claim they are a "marketing ploy"? :oops: Exactly. I suppose you could argue that every single option and trim level upgrade is a "marketing ploy", but we each choose which ones are worth paying for. I have long suff...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit
Replies: 41
Views: 5781

Re: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit

How about working for the DMV? I recently renewed my registration and had to go in since it was too close to the deadline to do it online. Seemed like a pretty easy desk job for the person doing it. Don't need talk too much, but not isolated in a cubicle by yourself. It is a customer service job th...
by deanbrew
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit
Replies: 41
Views: 5781

Re: Low pay and low stress jobs with health benefit

"stress" differs by individuals. A young man of my acquaintance is a store manager for a fast food place. He tells me it is a very easy job - low stress for him. For me, though, a job like that would be high stress - dealing with customers who raise hell over the french fries and a revolving door o...
by deanbrew
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cashing a check
Replies: 28
Views: 2565

Re: Cashing a check

I really dislike mailing paper checks. Opportunities for fraud and honest mistakes are plentiful. Send the honest young lady a Zelle transfer or Venmo or Paypal or whatever you like, or use the Bill Pay function from your broker or your bank in the future. It completely avoids this problem. [boldin...
by deanbrew
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What’s your Value Colombian coffee?
Replies: 53
Views: 3763

Re: What’s your Value Colombian coffee?

I enjoy coffee, but it hasn't become a hobby or obsession with me. I buy 8 O'Clock 100% Columbian coffee as my regular, go-to. It's the best mass-produced coffee I've found, and is an excellent value.
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $8712/year for insurance (auto, home, rental) How to reduce?
Replies: 40
Views: 3155

Re: $8712/year for insurance (auto, home, rental) How to reduce?

Any ideas? This move is turning out to be a bit of a disaster. I'm assuming your idea of "a disaster" involves more than insurance? In any event, write up a list of insurance needs and email to a bunch of insurance agents near you. In addition to the captive companies (Geico, Allstate, State Farm, ...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Needed appraisal of farm land?
Replies: 18
Views: 1231

Re: Needed appraisal of farm land?

it all depends on the jurisdiction. Some track quite closely -- while others do not. I might check this out and see how reliable this is for farmland in that jurisdiction. Also, don't forget that a lot of states have programs that reduce assessed values (and taxes) for farmland. Here in PA, the pro...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Needed appraisal of farm land?
Replies: 18
Views: 1231

Re: Needed appraisal of farm land?

I inherited some farm land a couple years ago. Everything was smooth. A while ago I found out that my brother-in-law and sister had the adjoining parcel they inherited appraised at the time they acquired it. I had never thought about having it appraised at that time. Now that I think about it I won...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2951

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

If you're buying 99 cent/sf Lumber Liquidators laminate, chances are it's not going to be great. The OP mentions laminate with an AC4 rating. If you look up AC ratings, AC4 is supposed to hold up quite well. As someone who has had trouble with supposedly high-quality home materials (Corian counter ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase
Replies: 12
Views: 1909

Re: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase

The no closing costs loan will cost more only if the borrower keeps the loan for more than 11 years, or longer if you consider the opportunity cost of forking over $3,800 up front. I am not a fan of buying down interest rates with upfront money, which is effectively what is happening. That is a pret...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2951

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

This. Not comparable. Engineered hardwood or bamboo is also a solid alternative. I would consider porcelain tile. Far more durable. Scratch resistant. Vinyl or Luxury vinyl plank has its uses, basements, river or mountain condos with usage and water, etc. But for my house, I would not put anything ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase
Replies: 12
Views: 1909

Re: Mortgage on Upcoming Home Purchase

P&I on a $380k mortgage at 4.5% is $1,925 per month. P&I on a $380k mortgage at 4.625% is $1,954 per month. So, the break-even point is 131 months, or 10.9 years, without considering that you have to cough up $3,800 up front and lose the chance to earn interest/returns on that money. I would choose ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?
Replies: 36
Views: 2951

Re: Are laminate floors better-wearing than real hardwood?

Everyone I know who chose laminate has been unhappy due to damage or wear and has ended up replacing it. Real hardwood is superior to laminate. If you can't afford real hardwood or you want to save money, check out vinyl hardwood. My friends have put it in their rental units. It is far cheaper than...
by deanbrew
Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Commercial Real Estate Broker - Contact Direct or Via Agent?
Replies: 1
Views: 176

Re: Commercial Real Estate Broker - Contact Direct or Via Agent?

There is a chance you can save a little money by calling the listing agent directly, as he might be willing to accept a lower overall commission if he gets both ends of the deal. But that is usually done to save the seller some money, not the buyer. I also think there is a larger chance that you wil...
by deanbrew
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?
Replies: 162
Views: 21456

Re: Replace car battery after X years or wait till it dies?

I agree that the alternator story sounds fishy... And suspiciously expensive. I have never replaced a battery before it failed. My Subaru dealer recommended that I replace the battery in my 2011 Legacy almost three years ago, and it's still working at 7.5 years old. If it doesn't start one morning, ...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Do you subscribe to Consumer Reports?]
Replies: 31
Views: 3080

Re: [Do you subscribe to Consumer Reports?]

I currently subscribe, and have for many years. But I'm not going to renew. There are fewer and fewer actual product tests, with decreasing content in every issue. Rather than test products, the magazine is now full of editorials and opinions regarding services and concepts. I read the magazine in j...
by deanbrew
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DNA ancestry testing
Replies: 88
Views: 9395

Re: DNA ancestry testing

Although probably infrequent - one risk of these DNA sites (I am in 23and me as well as ancestrydna) is finding (or being found by) someone who may cause you a big problem - stalking, embarrassing you, and so on. Maybe a close relative is a serial killer. Then, probably less frequent - although pos...
by deanbrew
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I take possession of a certified mail?
Replies: 151
Views: 17870

Re: Should I take possession of a certified mail?

I had no idea about this. How broad do these laws go? If I get a hip replacement and the hospital decides not to pay the company that made the artificial hip, can that company come after me? As best as I can recall from my college days, this is one of the laws instituted in the early 1900s for real...
by deanbrew
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I take possession of a certified mail?
Replies: 151
Views: 17870

Re: Should I take possession of a certified mail?

In my area (Los Angeles), the concrete companies send them to every property owner, just in case the contractor does not pay. The letter contains a threat to put a lien on the house. The point of the certified letter is to show proof that the property owner was contacted, so if the letter isn't sig...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I take possession of a certified mail?
Replies: 151
Views: 17870

Re: Should I take possession of a certified mail?

In some jurisdictions, the contractor would need to send such a letter before being able to place a contractor's lien on your property. This is why I never sign for these letters. Did I miss someone mentioning this previously in this thread? Do you regularly and repeatedly not pay contractors? Aldo...
by deanbrew
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru EyeSight windshield insurance
Replies: 14
Views: 2049

Re: Subaru EyeSight windshield insurance

Do you have comprehensive coverage with your auto insurance? If so, it should cover windshield replacement, probably with little or no deductible. If the insurance is written for this car, it should pay to replace the windshield with one that works. I see no reason to buy extra or custom insurance, ...
by deanbrew
Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A Simple new car lease formula?
Replies: 14
Views: 1772

Re: A Simple new car lease formula?

Yes, you are correct. If you can get a car for 1% of the MSRP, it usually is a steal. Tough to find but they are out there. Everyone in my immediate family usually ends up paying less than 1% of the MSRP when they lease because I was in the business. Wife paying .8% Father .65% Mother .95% Sister 1...
by deanbrew
Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A Simple new car lease formula?
Replies: 14
Views: 1772

Re: A Simple new car lease formula?

Now, When researching leasing, many sources give you formulas with gross cap cost,money factor, cap cost reduction, residual value etc. etc. which can get very complicated; (and almost impossible to calculate with the first numbers the dealers float you. ) However I've come to the conclusion that t...
by deanbrew
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When should you consider removing the collision coverage on a car?
Replies: 70
Views: 6453

Re: When should you consider removing the collision coverage on a car?

when the value on my cars drop below $10k. I drop collision and self insure. I understand the theory of self insuring, but when I checked with two different insurance companies two years in a row on one of my older cars, the savings for dropping collision was less than $200 per year. I don't consid...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New SS claiming calculator ["Open Social Security" - ObliviousInvestor]
Replies: 65
Views: 6388

Re: New SS claiming calculator

Well, if most of your retirment income already comes from a typical 60/40 portfolio, it doesn't make sense to compare it with TIPS or something secure. I'd compare it to the expected return of my portfolio. That's why 5% makes more sense That was my initial thought, as well. But, a 5% real return e...
by deanbrew
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New SS claiming calculator ["Open Social Security" - ObliviousInvestor]
Replies: 65
Views: 6388

Re: New SS claiming calculator

I thought discount rate of 5% was standard. Why is the calculator using 1% as default? I think everything done with the calculator is in real dollars. I do all my analysis in real dollars. Also, SS should be discounted with a risk-free rate, not a general rate. Yes, this exactly. I explained the id...
by deanbrew
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When should you consider removing the collision coverage on a car?
Replies: 70
Views: 6453

Re: When should you consider removing the collision coverage on a car?

I own a 2015 Subaru Forester and 2015 Honda Accord. Liability insurance only, both vehicles. Wow. I would think this kind of sets the extreme for not having collision or comprehensive coverage. Personally, I don't drop collision coverage until my vehicle's value gets down to under $3,000. The annua...
by deanbrew
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help Assessing Risk of an Inherited Business & Property
Replies: 3
Views: 396

Re: Help Assessing Risk of an Inherited Business & Property

Is the RV Park rented to overnight/short term guests, or are all of the spaces leased on a seasonal or yearly basis? I ask, because these two types of campgrounds, though similar in some respects, are usually operated differently. I am a commercial real estate appraiser with the MAI designation, and...
by deanbrew
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fitting three young kids in the car...
Replies: 76
Views: 5693

Re: Fitting three young kids in the car...

Haven’t read all the responses, but I am so annoyed at 4-year-ago me for buying a (perfectly fine) Subaru Forester instead of a minivan for our now 2 kids. Just get the Honda Odyssey. You need to transport you, your spouse, and three kids at a minimum. Plus any stuff you want. Plus you might want t...
by deanbrew
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 14214

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

It pleases me even more to tip 35 percent. No, make that 40 percent. Wait, make that 50 percent, and It will please me even MORE . :wink: Tips can only be shared with front of the house staff that customarily receive tips. A requirement or any expectation of sharing tips with the kitchen staff would...
by deanbrew
Wed May 30, 2018 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fitting three young kids in the car...
Replies: 76
Views: 5693

Re: Fitting three young kids in the car...

We are on our second Odyssey. I've been in quite a few 3-row SUVs, and all are significantly inferior in terms of third row access, comfort and roominess. As you look around, get in and out of the third row in the vans and SUVs, and you'll quickly see how much better the vans are. With three kids, a...
by deanbrew
Tue May 29, 2018 6:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant
Replies: 209
Views: 14214

Re: how do you tip on wine at a restaurant

Regarding the corkage fee: does none of it go to the server? I find it astounding that a diner should pay a sizable corkage fee plus a tip. It seems to me that if a corkage fee is charged, a healthy portion should go to the server. I go to a BYOB restaurant, and bring our own wine, but they don't ch...
by deanbrew
Fri May 25, 2018 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Winter Home - issues/costs?
Replies: 33
Views: 2586

Re: Winter Home - issues/costs?

We have always rented it our nightly when we are not there, about 100 nights/year. We don't profit as much, we use it nearly every high season week and holidays. But it does cover about 75% of all costs, and is great to make a dent in providing a nice place to retire. We've tossed around for a few ...