Search found 1208 matches

by deanbrew
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any downside to having a low property (house) assessment from the town?
Replies: 11
Views: 967

Re: Any downside to having a low property (house) assessment from the town?

When I've been in the market to buy a house, I absolutely look at appraisals. If there are 3 houses with the same asking price and one of those 3 is 20% lower than the rest, I assume that there's a good reason for that and discount it in my mind. Appraisals or assessments? They are two different th...
by deanbrew
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any downside to having a low property (house) assessment from the town?
Replies: 11
Views: 967

Re: Any downside to having a low property (house) assessment from the town?

Assessed value means pretty much nothing in relation to resale. Don't worry about it. All that matters is what the market will pay and what it would appraise for. I agree. Don't worry about the assessed value. Just enjoy the lower taxes. Assessments are conducted using "mass appraisal" techniques t...
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diminished value claim - small claims court
Replies: 23
Views: 1242

Re: Diminished value claim - small claims court

The purpose of my question is that it seems to me that if "diminished value" is something that folks believe an insurance company should pay, then wouldn't it be logical that a responsible individual should pay as well? Absolutely, I don't see any difference. But either way, it's only going to happ...
by deanbrew
Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Diminished value claim - small claims court
Replies: 23
Views: 1242

Re: Diminished value claim - small claims court

OK - what if we turn the situation around and suppose this does not involve insurance. You do damage to my car and it is your fault. Complete repair of the damage costs $1,000 -- BUT I (legitimately) claim my car now has "diminished value" (after the repair) of $2,000. In addition to having paid th...
by deanbrew
Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Think Home might have Asbestos (what to do?)
Replies: 20
Views: 1154

Re: Think Home might have Asbestos (what to do?)

1) The type of Asbestos that is "hazardous" is the type considered "friable" or easily airborne. 2) Floor Tile containing Asbestos is NOT a hazard as long as it is intact and not "powdered" 3) Ceiling tile that is in good condition and has not become "friable" is not a hazard and as long as it is i...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: gift cards - caveats
Replies: 41
Views: 1945

Re: gift cards - caveats

In that case, I assume that the charity needs to spend down the card before the fees start to kick in as well. I suppose a well-run charity will know to do this, but the more I learn about these cards the more furious and outraged I feel. :annoyed :annoyed :annoyed No, I don't donate the card to th...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need to shop insurance: curious what you have?
Replies: 22
Views: 1283

Re: Need to shop insurance: curious what you have?

Every couple of years, I shop around. I have a spreadsheet with vital info that I update when it comes time to shop. It has headings with the following information: Vehicles: I list each vehicle, with year, make, model, VIN and number of miles driven each year. Car coverage: I indicate what I have n...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: gift cards - caveats
Replies: 41
Views: 1945

Re: gift cards - caveats

I almost never get store-specific gift cards, and I agree those can be a pain to manage/carry/use. As for Visa gift cards, I end up with those instead of paper checks when I get rebates on purchases. I hate them because I hate to carry them and remember to use them before the monthly fees kick in. S...
by deanbrew
Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor
Replies: 71
Views: 6727

Re: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor

I agree with the posts that you are over doing it with the wide varieties. I have been to a couple recent weddings with the bride/groom drink, beer, wine, and a couple different hard liquors for mixed drinks. I would do the following... 2-3 different beers Jack Daniels (Maker's Mark) Captain Morgan...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side Hustle Taxes
Replies: 18
Views: 2344

Re: Side Hustle Taxes

What kind of local taxes would a business owe? This one will have the most variance, I suspect. I pay a 1.0% local income tax to my county, which gets split up between the county, township and school district. That's 1.0% of net income (after deducting business expenses, pension contribution, etc.)...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side Hustle Taxes
Replies: 18
Views: 2344

Re: Small business accounting and taxes

3. She should use "real accounting" software for the business. Quicken is not the answer. You need to track income, expenses (by category). Personally, as a Mac user, I use AccountEdge https://www.accountedge.com for my software. Are you aware that Quicken has a version specifically made to track b...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Side Hustle Taxes
Replies: 18
Views: 2344

Re: Side Hustle Taxes

Open a solo 401k. You would be able to defer nearly all of her income so you won't have to worry about paying estimated taxes. This is what we do for my wife's yoga teaching income. Good advice. If the side income isn't needed (or to the extent you want to save it for retirement), then contributing...
by deanbrew
Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor
Replies: 71
Views: 6727

Re: Dad Needs Help Buying Wedding Liquor

I'll pass on commenting on anything but the bourbon. Jack Daniels is technically a bourbon, but is not typically marketed as such. The federal criteria to be considered a bourbon are incorporated into the Tennessee state definition of a Tennessee Whiskey. A Tennessee Whiskey must be produced in Ten...
by deanbrew
Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vegas on a budget
Replies: 49
Views: 3784

Re: Vegas on a budget

Fremont Street Experience is still quite cheap. In every sense of the word. Yeah, but I would consider it a must if you have never been to Vegas. Or even if you have. I go to Fremont Street every time I go to Vegas. It's cool to see the old casinos, with the low ceilings and seedier atmosphere.
by deanbrew
Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Holiday Tipping
Replies: 30
Views: 2375

Re: Holiday Tipping

Luckywon - The pay I refer to is $26K annually. Fully agree they deserve a tip! Another good tip for them would be to get a union job!!! All trash hauling in my county is by private companies, and none are unionized. I doubt most pay more than $10 an hour to the guys hanging off the back of the tru...
by deanbrew
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used Car Buying Help
Replies: 20
Views: 1472

Re: Used Car Buying Help

$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k. For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new. Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a dea...
by deanbrew
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Holiday Tipping
Replies: 30
Views: 2375

Re: Holiday Tipping

Good thought. Thanks for the Idea. Why would I like to tip them? I often put out more volume, or items, than they are contracted to pick up and these guys do it out of the goodness of their heart. Of all the people who perform regular services, I think the newspaper carrier and trash haulers probab...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vegas on a budget
Replies: 49
Views: 3784

Re: Vegas on a budget

3 day trip to Vegas to relax, do we need a rental car? are everything in the walking distance? If you plan to stay in town, you won't need a rental car. The hotels and casinos are LONG distances apart, though, so it takes a lot of walking. There are also monorail and bus options, as well as Uber, L...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Holiday Tipping
Replies: 30
Views: 2375

Re: Holiday Tipping

I don't know how to tip the garbage collectors. I put money in a card, in an envelope with a great big red bow on it, and tape it to the top of my trash bin. It's obvious that it's a Christmas card, not trash. I put an amount in that can be split evenly either two or three ways, because I'm not sur...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Used Car Buying Help
Replies: 20
Views: 1472

Re: Used Car Buying Help

The Avalon is significantly nicer than a Camry, with better materials and more features. We still have a 2002 Avalon that my wife bought new. It has 160k miles and is being used by our son. It's still a reasonably nice car to drive and ride in. If it depreciates more than a Camry, then I'd say it wo...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vegas on a budget
Replies: 49
Views: 3784

Re: Vegas on a budget

In 'n Out Burger: Need I say more? Peppermill: A classic Vegas diner decorated in 70s/pimp chic. Lunch/Dinner are ok, breakfast is outstanding. Omlettes are expensive at $13-15, but are HUGE (5-6 eggs!) and fantastic. These are the two that immediately came to mind. If the OP is a West Coaster, the...
by deanbrew
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Holiday Tipping
Replies: 30
Views: 2375

Re: Holiday Tipping

I would suspect that the masseuse, nail person and beautician are tipped each time service is proffered, so I see no need to provide an extra tip at Christmas. The newspaper delivery person and gardener are a bit different, and I think a holiday tip is a nice gesture, though not required, of course....
by deanbrew
Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?
Replies: 10
Views: 1073

Re: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?

Yes, thanks for pointing that out for others. CSR is only possible with a Silver plan. But PTC (tax credits) are applicable to Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans. In my area, Silver plan premiums went up by more than 50%, and other plans went up much less, resulting in Silver plans not being r...
by deanbrew
Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?
Replies: 10
Views: 1073

Re: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?

That's interesting. For some folks in your area, Silver plans may still be a better deal due to the cost-sharing reductions that are available to folks with incomes under 250% of the poverty line. Yes, thanks for pointing that out for others. CSR is only possible with a Silver plan. But PTC (tax cr...
by deanbrew
Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?
Replies: 10
Views: 1073

Re: Is This How the ACA Can Help Me?

As I understand it, the critical income numbers are $22,411 and $64,960 (for a household of two people). If your MAGI is between the two numbers, then it makes sense to apply on the federal website and choose an ACA plan. Don't worry about taxable income. MAGI is AGI plus tax-free interest and a cou...
by deanbrew
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Limited Pay Life Insurance
Replies: 9
Views: 537

Re: Limited Pay Life Insurance

My questions are as follows: 1. I don't know much about life insurance (other than keeping it and your investments separate), but this doesn't seem quite as scammy as whole life generally does. Does it seem correct that they'd pay $300,000 over 5 years for a policy that will pay them a $800,000 dea...
by deanbrew
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance to 15-Year Fixed or Not?
Replies: 10
Views: 655

Re: Refinance to 15-Year Fixed or Not?

I think I would definitely refinance to a fixed rate loan if I were you. The risk of interest rates going up and your ARM adjustments is too significant. I would also look carefully at 15, 20, 25 and 30 year loans. Yes, the interest rate on a 15 year loan is probably the lowest, but you are locked i...
by deanbrew
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did you want to set up a payment plan for that?
Replies: 19
Views: 2528

Re: Did you want to set up a payment plan for that?

I'm a little surprised at the replies here. Yes, Bogleheads, with their generally high incomes and generally high savings rates can just eat $200 - $1000 expenses in stride. Just write a check or swipe your credit card and pay the bill at the end of the month. A huge chunk of this country does not ...
by deanbrew
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Did you want to set up a payment plan for that?
Replies: 19
Views: 2528

Re: Did you want to set up a payment plan for that?

No, I pay cash for a car, but finance the phone. :D The difference is I get a monthly bill from Verizon anyways so folding in the cost of the phone (at zero interest) makes no difference to me. When I pay cash for car I do it so I won't get a monthly bill. Exactly. Why pay the full price of the pho...
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

I would tip the same dollar amount on Tuesday as you would the regular price the other days. Another reason the percentage standard is flawed.
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

There's a #4 variation which I see at Asian restaurants. - Full service, but PAY at the counter. I give a traditional tip in that situation. I also typically tip 10% at buffets if the waitstaff was good. But for counter service? No. Mexican restaurants are often like that too, it seems. I tip the f...
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

White Coat Investor wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:40 pm


I definitely DO NOT tip in advance. That's bizarre. What are you going to do if the service sucks, ask for your money back?
I agree. I also hate the policy with the automatic 18 percent tip. I nearly always get lousy service with the automatic tip.
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Last, I do think there's a social pressure component in that we tip because we come face-to-face with the server. For example, many of my friends are generous tippers in restaurants and bars, but do not tip the hotel housekeeper, which I think is a substantially more difficult job with less pay. Th...
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping where you order at the counter

Why wouldn't you tip for #3? Someone is serving you food and cleaning up afterwards. Because I expect them to paid a regular wage and not some stupid 1/4 minimum wage + tips. Fair enough, I guess. But I definitely tip for #3. It's hard to know how they are being paid, I grant you. Is there a rule t...
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping where you order at the counter

FraggleRock wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:04 pm
123 = No
Why wouldn't you tip for #3? Someone is serving you food and cleaning up afterwards.
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Your nearby cafe where the owner takes all the tips, for himself. That is an afront to me. That is unethical, unreasonable, and wrong in so many ways. I would not eat there if I knew is for a fact. I would tell them that also. So wrong. I agree that it is unethical. When I eat there I either leave ...
by deanbrew
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 111
Views: 12426

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

Probably #3 - BUT I do not have the situation of take-out at a "regular" type restaurant, but observe this when eating at some. At some places (such as Silver Diner in this area), I observe wait staff place the takeout order, get it after order complete, wrap/bag it and collect the payment. Such fo...
by deanbrew
Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Worrying about the CSRs will only come into play if congress does something to restore the CSRs, right? Aren't these subsidies not being paid/funded as of now? The insurance companies are required to provide CSRs regardless. All this court decision and the Trump Administration agreeing to comply do...
by deanbrew
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

The insurance companies are required to provide CSRs regardless. All this court decision and the Trump Administration agreeing to comply does is change who pays. Now instead of the federal government, it will be the insurances companies who pay. Except, it is really the rate payers who will end up ...
by deanbrew
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

How do you guys get your MAGI so low to qualify for subsidy? Is there a trick? Individual plans suck so much in my area, I want to keep my group plan as long as I can... The biggest thing I did in 2016 was change my retirement plan from a SEP-IRA to a Solo 401k and plow about four times as much int...
by deanbrew
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

You can get your ACA premium tax credit as a refund, but I'm not sure why you would want to give the government a tax free loan. Just be aware that if your MAGI will be < 250%, you can not get the Cost Sharing Reduction retroactively. That's good to keep in mind. We were at 262% in 2015, and expect...
by deanbrew
Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

That's so good to know; Just to clarify, is this correct in that no income information is provided until you do your tax return; even if you file for an extension? We have always bought the policy on the exchange but never qualified for a subsidy before (zero coupon municipal bonds). I haven't file...
by deanbrew
Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Tanelorn..I agree with your last post. The self payers are getting creamed under the ACA. Those with employer paid coverage aren't seeing it and many don't realize how bad it is. And those people getting ACA subsidies also aren't seeing it since their premiums are capped at a percentage of income a...
by deanbrew
Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Doesn't this reduce the size of your subsidy (assuming some of the money you are pulling out of your investments to pay the full premium had some gains)? It seems you are ending up with a higher MAGI (thus reducing subsidy) by not taking the upfront PTC. Would it make more sense to take the subsidy...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

Has anyone applied on exchange but not take the subsidy until they did their taxes? I've done exactly that the past two years. My wife and I are both self employed, and we have rental properties, so we don't know what our gross income, expenses and MAGI will be 13 months in advance. So, we pay the ...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

So if you buy it off the exchange, is it still without regard to preexisting conditions? By contacting the company directly? I will have no subsidy and there is only one company offering plans (65804). For the most part, yes. Most policies are ACA-compliant, even if they are sold off of the ACA exc...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

My insurer isn't offering the same exact plan, but the closest one (slightly higher deductibles and max OOP) costs $2,172 per month, which is 56 percent higher than what I'm paying now. That would be $26,064 in premiums with a maximum out-of-pocket of $14,700. That means my health insurance/care bil...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 ACA rates now live....
Replies: 228
Views: 16153

Re: 2018 ACA rates now live....

I have to admit I'm a little confused. Are people using the terms "subsidies" and "tax credits" interchangeably? I thought subsidies pertained to low-income people and tax credits pertained to mid-level earners, and that they were two different parts of ACA. I was aware of the $96k income cliff last...
by deanbrew
Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: metal roof: standing seam vs interlocking panels
Replies: 15
Views: 1531

Re: metal roof: standing seam vs interlocking panels

Keep this in mind since your in snow country. The standing seem metal roof makes an amazing snow slide! Depending on roof height and pitch, the snow comes off like a rocket. Make sure you talk to a good roofer about putting stop rails up. Either on the whole house or just over doorways so you don’t...
by deanbrew
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help picking apart whole life insurance cash value
Replies: 39
Views: 1967

Re: Help picking apart whole life insurance cash value

+1 I have two permanent life policies. More than a decade on both of them and negative 15% on one and negative 27% on the other. IF you think you can "out-spreadsheet" the insurance actuaries, then go ahead and buy the policies. Post your experience here and we can all learn with you. By those figu...