Search found 609 matches

by Gray
Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?
Replies: 32
Views: 2108

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: 3091

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: 2250

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: 2048

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: 604

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: 212
Views: 13546

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: 1532

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: 7474

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: 6917

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: 6917

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: 24061

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: 1069

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: 3531

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: 1169

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: 1169

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: 1252

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: 1252

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: 5018

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: 2059

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: 412

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: 899

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: 14918

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: 1800

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: 1794

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: 3670

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: 3670

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: 8462

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: 2056

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: 2642

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: 2720

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: 995

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: 2392

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: 9688

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: 1159

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: 1885

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: 1072

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: 109
Views: 8323

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: 109
Views: 8323

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...
by Gray
Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What was your % pay raise?
Replies: 179
Views: 19998

Re: What was your % pay raise?

I really question the value of this thread.
by Gray
Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 109
Views: 8323

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

I hope to have around 2,772 hours of sick leave by the time I retire. I stopped using sick leave some time ago. So I’ll retire with 40+ years, but only 38.x from working. My wife and I both have FERS and she can retire a year earlier than me with 40 years. This is far, far off in the future but it ...
by Gray
Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Pre-approval needed 3+ credit card accounts to show credit history
Replies: 17
Views: 1244

Re: Mortgage Pre-approval needed 3+ credit card accounts to show credit history

This is why I’ve kept my first two credit cards that I opened in 92 and 93, and run a few bills through them (e.g., Netflix) and set them to be auto-paid each month. This benefits me in terms of my average age of accounts, a perfect credit history, multiple *different* types of credit (in conjuncti...
by Gray
Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Pre-approval needed 3+ credit card accounts to show credit history
Replies: 17
Views: 1244

Re: Mortgage Pre-approval needed 3+ credit card accounts to show credit history

This is why I’ve kept my first two credit cards that I opened in 92 and 93, and run a few bills through them (e.g., Netflix) and set them to be auto-paid each month. This benefits me in terms of my average age of accounts, a perfect credit history, multiple *different* types of credit (in conjunctio...
by Gray
Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi DoubleCash vs. Paypal (Synchrony)
Replies: 28
Views: 5494

Re: Citi DoubleCash vs. Paypal (Synchrony)

I had a Citi Diamond with the option to convert to Costco or DoubleCash. The only issue is that once converted to Costco, I would be locked into their contract forever. That means I could have a credit card with some other company in a few years. Aside: I had a different Citi card opened in 92 and i...
by Gray
Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Credit Cards?? [Credit card vs. debit card]
Replies: 108
Views: 5475

Re: Thoughts on Credit Cards??

I personally shudder at the idea of using credit cards for every day purchases. I might use a credit card when I go on a trip to consolidate all the expenditures, or to pay for a larger ticket expense (very carefully selected) that I don't want to pay for all at once. We use debit cards in conjunct...
by Gray
Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Automatic Backdoor Roth IRA contributions
Replies: 5
Views: 716

Re: Automatic Backdoor Roth IRA contributions

No ideas?

Just learned about the step transaction doctrine

https://www.kitces.com/blog/how-to-do-a ... -doctrine/
by Gray
Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Automatic Backdoor Roth IRA contributions
Replies: 5
Views: 716

Automatic Backdoor Roth IRA contributions

Couple questions: (1) Does anyone know of an company (e.g., Vanguard, etc) that will allow me to to do automatic monthly contributions to a traditional IRA brokerage account and do automatic Roth conversions at the time of contribution (automatic--no action needed)? I don't have a traditional IRA at...
by Gray
Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thoughts on Credit Cards?? [Credit card vs. debit card]
Replies: 108
Views: 5475

Re: Thoughts on Credit Cards??

I personally shudder at the idea of using credit cards for every day purchases. I might use a credit card when I go on a trip to consolidate all the expenditures, or to pay for a larger ticket expense (very carefully selected) that I don't want to pay for all at once. We use debit cards in conjuncti...
by Gray
Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?
Replies: 109
Views: 8323

Re: Federal Employees, leading up to retirement?

I hope to have around 2,772 hours of sick leave by the time I retire. I stopped using sick leave some time ago. So I’ll retire with 40+ years, but only 38.x from working. My wife and I both have FERS and she can retire a year earlier than me with 40 years. This is far, far off in the future but it h...