Search found 619 matches

by Gray
Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPad Pro vs Microsoft Surface
Replies: 15
Views: 1516

Re: iPad Pro vs Microsoft Surface

I just bought two new (direct from Apple) 2017 iPad 10.5” Pros 256GB + Cellular as they’re the last generation with a headphone jack, and my family does not like dongles or the charging hassle of Bluetooth. No premium for the latest iPad. These replaced two IPad Airs from several years ago. No keybo...
by Gray
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax: online vs download
Replies: 10
Views: 1406

Re: TurboTax: online vs download

With the online version, you can print as a pdf all the forms and worksheets before you file. In other words,you can scrutinize the forms and worksheets. The only difference is that if you find something on the form you need to change, you have to make that change using TurboTax’s easy to use interf...
by Gray
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax: online vs download
Replies: 10
Views: 1406

Re: TurboTax: online vs download

I’ve used TT from 1995 to present, and online only from about 2007 to present without issues. I upload my return artifacts to the TT vault as a (just in case) backup for my existing archive. TT has different online license tiers for different capabilities based on your needs.
by Gray
Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to deposit cash in online account with no local branch
Replies: 45
Views: 4715

Re: How to deposit cash in online account with no local branch

I just use my bank’s photo cash deposit. Works like a charm.

I keep the hard copies just in case. :greedy
by Gray
Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Black Friday is coming.. what's on your list?
Replies: 82
Views: 8151

Re: Black Friday is coming.. what's on your list?

Christmas presents

I always go to https://www.bfads.net
by Gray
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Don't buy a big house
Replies: 248
Views: 25869

Re: PSA: Don't buy a big house

http://mcmansionhell.com

You’re welcome
by Gray
Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Term Life Insurance Query
Replies: 9
Views: 789

Re: Another Term Life Insurance Query

I got a 30 year level $1M term policy from USAA for about $67/month about 10 years ago.
by Gray
Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real estate dropping like a rock in U.K. - can the U.S. be far behind?
Replies: 68
Views: 12422

Re: Real estate dropping like a rock in U.K. - can the U.S. be far behind?

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:56 am
Gray wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:56 pm
It’s all based on location. The 1951 house next door to mine with 1500 square feet is getting its list at $770k.
Granted there is this "proximity to Gray" factor which lifts housing prices ;-).

But where in the USA (metropolitan area) is this?
Falls Church City, Virginia
by Gray
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real estate dropping like a rock in U.K. - can the U.S. be far behind?
Replies: 68
Views: 12422

Re: Real estate dropping like a rock in U.K. - can the U.S. be far behind?

It’s all based on location. The 1951 house next door to mine with 1500 square feet is getting its list at $770k.
by Gray
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?
Replies: 42
Views: 3924

Re: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?e

I went with Navy Federal, all online.

Ally beat Navy, so Navy matched.

Quicken was woefully uncompetitive.
by Gray
Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trade War: time for Mac Upgrade?
Replies: 34
Views: 3244

Re: Trade War: time for Mac Upgrade?

Backup your data

Do a format of your hard drive and a scratch install of the latest OS from USB. That can sometimes resolve issues.

After you wipe it, reset the pram and smc before reinstalling the OS.

Install the latest version of your apps.

Update everything
by Gray
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed or Navy Federal?
Replies: 30
Views: 2840

Re: PenFed or Navy Federal?

I’ve used them all. USAA is my go-to, but I would switch to Navy if I had to choose an alternative. USAA’s ATM relationship with CVS is advantageous. Ally - 5+ years money market liquid savings USAA - 25+ years - car insurance, life insurance, Property, Umbrella, credit, primary banking, credit card...
by Gray
Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: looking for a new (online) savings account home
Replies: 23
Views: 2304

Re: looking for a new (online) savings account home

I have found Ally to be pretty good. More services than GS.
by Gray
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term life contract
Replies: 6
Views: 647

Re: Term life contract

We got ours as 30 year level term via USAA

Covers through full SS
by Gray
Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your property taxes?
Replies: 321
Views: 17401

Re: What are your property taxes?

Property tax for house $17,974.08
City of Falls Church, VA
High School (George Mason) is ranked #2 in the State
by Gray
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changing DNS service to provide more security
Replies: 14
Views: 1624

Re: Changing DNS service to provide more security

I’ve been using open DS for years. It’s a great layer of security, and a filtering option if you have kids.

Cisco bought the company and is now marketing some additional cheap/free security-related services.

Opendns.com
by Gray
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Boring Job
Replies: 64
Views: 7899

Re: Boring Job

Boring jobs can be a gift. Study on the clock (not overtly) for certification exams. Work on an graduate degree. Get some exercise on the clock (go speed walking or something—do it every day).
by Gray
Mon May 21, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it time for me to change jobs or should I stay put?
Replies: 70
Views: 7259

Re: Is it time for me to change jobs or should I stay put?

Certs get you though HR screening. It’s up to you to make the sale.
by Gray
Thu May 10, 2018 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it time for me to change jobs or should I stay put?
Replies: 70
Views: 7259

Re: Is it time for me to change jobs or should I stay put?

Stay where you are unless you can find a gov't job (in which case, take it without further thought). Private sector IT jobs are a minefield, and being in your 40s makes it much more dangerous. Stay where you are and do your best to become part of the woodwork where you are and keep your head down a...
by Gray
Sun May 06, 2018 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: most compelling TV character ever
Replies: 260
Views: 25828

Re: Most??

GIS Guy wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:12 pm
I immediately thought of Alan Alda, MASH.
Concur
by Gray
Wed May 02, 2018 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US citizen living in Australia - brokerage?
Replies: 8
Views: 1171

Re: US citizen living in Australia - brokerage?

If you get a Keezel, you can establish a virtual private network connection to pretty much any country in the world and access the Internet from there. https://keezel.co I have one and it works. I got it for trips so our multiple devices using WiFi wouldn’t be exposed to shared (and potentially comp...
by Gray
Wed May 02, 2018 12:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career change and going back to school at 40+
Replies: 37
Views: 3723

Re: Career change and going back to school at 40+

All I can say is that if you're looking for job security, and you live in DC, go work for the Federal government (not as a contractor). If anything happens to you, there's disability retirement, they'll keep training you, and if you have a medical condition, they have to accommodate it. Many of the ...
by Gray
Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career question
Replies: 8
Views: 1259

Re: Career question

Professional certifications are also a way to pass the time and refine your understanding and knowledge of specific domains. I have 9 across four different fields. Each is a little different and adds to my perspective.
by Gray
Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Career question
Replies: 8
Views: 1259

Re: Career question

Use this time to be available to your family. If you’re bored, work on a part-time after hours graduate degree program aligned with your field. If your work will pay for it, it is a win-win. It sets you up for upward mobility, rounds out your knowledge base to include management level knowledge *you...
by Gray
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage refinance rate shopping?
Replies: 14
Views: 1366

Re: Mortgage refinance rate shopping?

I found Ally very competitive, but I went with Navy Federal.
by Gray
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage refinance rate shopping?
Replies: 14
Views: 1366

Re: Mortgage refinance rate shopping?

Setup a Microsoft outlook.com email account and pay for a Skype phone number (pennies). Add the Skype app to your phone. Once you narrow down the borrower to the one you want, then provide your contact info.

Works for mortgages, car loans, and anything else that draws flies to honey.
by Gray
Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Handling ageism in tech
Replies: 56
Views: 5392

Re: Handling ageism in tech

This is why I like working for the Federal government.
by Gray
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal survivor benefit decision help needed
Replies: 19
Views: 2258

Re: Federal survivor benefit decision help needed

There are few monetary benefits that increase in payout value over time. People can be swindled out of money, markets can crash, etc.
by Gray
Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guaranteed Level Premium Term Life Insurance v. Graduated Premium Term Life Insurance
Replies: 3
Views: 505

Re: Guaranteed Level Premium Term Life Insurance v. Graduated Premium Term Life Insurance

I picked up a 30 year level term $1M policy from USAA 11 years ago for $60/month. They backdated my age to 35 even though I was 36 to lower my rate.
by Gray
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Learning about investment as a child
Replies: 7
Views: 1134

Re: Learning about investment as a child

Teach deferred gratification. The practice and benefits of savings. Later, teach the concept of compounding and long term savings: college and car. Help them understand the importance of working hard, earning money, paying themselves first, and living below their means.
by Gray
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?
Replies: 247
Views: 16580

Re: Healthy eaters -- is this grocery budget normal to you?

Hi, My wife and I spend ~$1,200 or so each month for groceries, and there's only two of us. It's the only large item on our budget except for rent. Our predicament is we desire to eat extremely healthy (organic, non-GMO, top of the line sourced food) but see nowhere to cut our bill. We shop exclusi...
by Gray
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: At what price difference would you no longer go with USAA for auto insurance?
Replies: 18
Views: 1932

Re: At what price difference would you no longer go with USAA for auto insurance?

I suppose the missing variable is your driving record. My costs are half of yours (2 cars, 2 adults) with USAA. I've found USAA to be better in the area of accident forgiveness, and not to penalize you too hard. We have our policy variables maxed, and added optional auto coverage. I have them for ba...
by Gray
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question on Ally Savings Account vs Capital One 360 MMA?
Replies: 8
Views: 2040

Re: Question on Ally Savings Account vs Capital One 360 MMA?

I have check writing for my Ally MMA. I don’t have an Ally Checking Account.

Ally is very reliable in my experience with very fast transfers.
by Gray
Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SE Washington DC job - where to live?
Replies: 55
Views: 4023

Re: SE Washington DC job - where to live?

There are plenty of nice apartments. The night life scene is nice along W Broad Street. An Uber ride to downtown in the evening is $15 if you don’t want to Metro. Where to put down roots? In an anonymous city apartment, or in a more social community? This one now has a brand new Target downstairs oc...
by Gray
Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SE Washington DC job - where to live?
Replies: 55
Views: 4023

Re: SE Washington DC job - where to live?

From direct experience with the crime in DC, avoid any areas with above average crime. Museums are nice, but no reason to live in DC. Avoid DC schools/taxes and MD taxes. Avoid PG. Falls Church City, speaking as a resident, is low crime, walkable, family friendly, excellent schools, and very civic m...
by Gray
Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Budget? Do you keep one?
Replies: 116
Views: 9273

Re: What Budget? Do you keep one?

401K and employer-related insurance are deducted from our paychecks. We identify and fund our major expenses through transfers to an Ally MMA to cover things like mortgage, property tax, college savings. The mortgage, college funds, and property taxes are debited from that account. We have our net p...
by Gray
Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lost my wallet few days back. Someone trying to hack me today. What to do?
Replies: 10
Views: 2289

Re: Lost my wallet few days back. Someone trying to hack me today. What to do?

Credit freeze everything and Chex. ASAP

Also, get monitoring. Make sure it checks all three bureaus.

I have the Federal 10 year free monitoring courtesy of China and OPM.
by Gray
Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?
Replies: 28
Views: 2996

Re: Paying Points on Purchase Mortgage - Worth It?

I paid a .625% point and 1% origination fee for a 3.5% fixed rate. I deducted the fees in my tax filing. I don’t regret it. I like maximizing cash flow. 20% Down. No escrow.
by Gray
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV and set up recommendations for above fireplace
Replies: 35
Views: 2942

Re: TV and set up recommendations for above fireplace

For a TV that retracts lower in front of the fireplace, where do you mount the center channel sound bar? I like the concept of a lowering TV because we use the fireplace only during the really cold parts of the year. It sounds like I would have to acquire a system that converts digital output to lef...
by Gray
Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Real Estate Issue -- Monthly Payment too High with VA Loan
Replies: 19
Views: 1181

Re: Real Estate Issue -- Monthly Payment too High with VA Loan

If you sold your investment property, could you apply the proceeds of the sale to the principal balance of the VA loan for your current house without refinancing?
by Gray
Thu Mar 15, 2018 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to Thank/Reward Realtor
Replies: 28
Views: 2607

Re: How to Thank/Reward Realtor

Many realtors rely on services like Yelp for reviews. Go online and write a glowing review, explaining what they did well and break it out by different service facets.
by Gray
Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?
Replies: 67
Views: 9992

Re: Tax reform SALT affecting in Bay Area?

Without my mortgage interest deduction, my taxes would be much higher. The point is, under the old system, my taxes would be lower. I too am angry.
by Gray
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Time to open another credit card line?
Replies: 10
Views: 1270

Re: Time to open another credit card line?

It depends on the quality of the card. If it’s one worth keeping, find out how frequently they will entertain credit line increase requests and then set a recurring reminder for yourself. Read up on credit score management. Myfico.com has forums focused on this topic. To some, it’s a game. If you do...
by Gray
Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: USAA Credit Card- new cash back card offer.
Replies: 11
Views: 2031

Re: USAA Credit Card- new cash back card offer.

Higher APR for the cash back USAA card. I like my Citi DoubleCash with a 7.x% APR, $50K CL, and no annual fee. Citi also pays out continuously.

I have a USAA card, 25 yrs, and it has a low APR. USAA won’t convert to the cash back.
by Gray
Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Withholding calculator update for 2018: Actual withholding amount based on W4 entries
Replies: 10
Views: 1159

Re: Withholding calculator update for 2018: Actual withholding amount based on W4 entries

This calculator was helpful. It would be nice if there was a straightforward web-based version where you could do a multiple job calculation and show the as-is and make to-be projections **without trying to do the problematic calculation of withholding to-date and remainder due**. At this point, we'...
by Gray
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 117
Views: 10305

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

Stick a fork in it. This thread is fully cooked.
by Gray
Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 117
Views: 10305

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

I know my husband didn’t get his sick leave credit and he retired in 2016. I think from my research, it has to be in multiple of one month. Maybe 174 hours for one month. If you have less than that you get no credit. Yes, you are correct-- it only counts in whole month increments. If a person has o...