Search found 299 matches

by armeliusc
Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing Your Own Taxes
Replies: 36
Views: 2870

Re: Doing Your Own Taxes

A good way to learn is just by going through IRS forms by hand, and read the line-by-line instruction and fill in the forms. Try to reproduce your last year tax return manually. not by using some other software package that hides these details. Start by downloading form 1040 and its instruction. You...
by armeliusc
Wed May 15, 2019 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealer or Local Mechanic?
Replies: 41
Views: 1964

Re: Dealer or Local Mechanic?

I would never use the dealer outside of warranty work, and since my truck is 15 years old, it’s been a long, long time since I have had them do any work for me. Learn how to do the work yourself. The majority of it is not difficult. It’s astonishing that a place like this that so heavily promotes t...
by armeliusc
Wed May 15, 2019 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealer or Local Mechanic?
Replies: 41
Views: 1964

Re: Dealer or Local Mechanic?

I am fortunate that we have local independent mechanics that are very trustworthy and competent, specializing only in our car make (Honda and Acura). So I never bring our car to the dealership, except for warranty item (the last one was the airbag replacement), even when we got it brand new. I just ...
by armeliusc
Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where To Get New Bikes
Replies: 67
Views: 4659

Re: Where To Get New Bikes

Well I am happy to report that we have acquired to new Trek bikes from an LBS this week, a Trek FX 2 for myself and Verve 2 for the DW. Both bikes are at similar price point but with just slightly different geometry. Both DW and myself had a chance to test them out at the LBS before we decided what ...
by armeliusc
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where To Get New Bikes
Replies: 67
Views: 4659

Re: Where To Get New Bikes

Hello, Our kid has graduated of balance bike and is becoming more comfortable riding a bike. The weather is certainly more conducive for outside activity, and we are thinking of starting biking as a new family activity.... If your kid has graduated from a balance bike my advice would be to go witho...
by armeliusc
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where To Get New Bikes
Replies: 67
Views: 4659

Re: Where To Get New Bikes

Thank you very much for all the replies. It seems that the consensus is to avoid dept. stores bikes. I had similar feeling before but I am glad to know the reasons. I will check out the REI / bikesdirect / sporting good stores with bike department / repair service as options also. Last week we visit...
by armeliusc
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where To Get New Bikes
Replies: 67
Views: 4659

Where To Get New Bikes

Hello, Our kid has graduated of balance bike and is becoming more comfortable riding a bike. The weather is certainly more conducive for outside activity, and we are thinking of starting biking as a new family activity. DW and I are comfortable with riding bikes, although we are certainly not seriou...
by armeliusc
Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead Approach to Home Tech? Looking for Home Security Cameras
Replies: 19
Views: 1516

Re: Boglehead Approach to Home Tech? Looking for Home Security Cameras

You want minimalist solution, with full feature like Nest Aware, but refuse to pay for subscription? A possible analogy is trying to find a full feature electric car like the Tesla that costs like a used Corolla. If you want full feature without subscription then provide your own hardware: that mean...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel Insurance for Visiting the U.S.
Replies: 7
Views: 434

Re: Travel Insurance for Visiting the U.S.

Thank you all. Very good information here that will get me started. I appreciate it.
by armeliusc
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel Insurance for Visiting the U.S.
Replies: 7
Views: 434

Travel Insurance for Visiting the U.S.

Greetings, I have a close relative abroad who will be visiting us in the U.S. soon for some time. I would like to get them a travel insurance of sort, primarily for medical coverage, for the "just in case" there is any type of medical-related incident while they are here at the U.S. Does anyone have...
by armeliusc
Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages
Replies: 34
Views: 3030

Re: Mortgages

Last time I was faced with something like this, I took the 20-year to split the difference. - Rates were pretty close to the 15 - It gave me some of the forced payoff of the 15, without being quite as demanding on the monthly budget - It gave me a little flexibility from the 30, but guaranteed I wo...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Reporting on Rollover (Roth) 401K to (Roth) IRA
Replies: 2
Views: 210

Re: Tax Reporting on Rollover (Roth) 401K to (Roth) IRA

With respect to A and B, it is not clear why they did not deduct the 25 fee directly from the balance so that Box 1 and the amount deposited in the IRAs were equal. To report, simply show the Box 1 totals on 4a and taxable amounts (0) on 4b with "rollover" entered next to 4b. C is not clear. The 10...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Reporting on Rollover (Roth) 401K to (Roth) IRA
Replies: 2
Views: 210

Tax Reporting on Rollover (Roth) 401K to (Roth) IRA

Hello, I would very much appreciate some help from tax experts in this forum. Last year I decided to rollover old employer's 401K (traditional and Roth) to my IRA and Roth IRA at Vanguard. The instruction I gave was was pretty straightforward: - Roth 401K goes to Roth IRA at Vanguard - Trad 401K goe...
by armeliusc
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with HSA to HSA trustee transfer?
Replies: 41
Views: 2298

Re: Experience with HSA to HSA trustee transfer?

Forgive me for the sideline ... but I don't quite understand 1. What so bad about your current employer HSA (that you want to do this)? Fees? 2. FWIW, my employer uses Optum HSA. Other folks here also mention Optum and wanted to do transfer. What's bad about Optum? To me it just seems like an okay p...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need An Online Phone Number
Replies: 19
Views: 971

Re: Need An Online Phone Number

Google voice I have never been able to get my Google Voice number to receive 2FA texts from Vanguard and Chase.... maybe it's just me?? Did you actually check from the Google Voice website (https://voice.google.com) and didn't see it there? Or is it just that you don't get it on your phone as text?...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need An Online Phone Number
Replies: 19
Views: 971

Re: Need An Online Phone Number

Start using Google Voice First, you'll need: A Google Account U.S. phone number that can forward calls after ringing I do not have a USA phone number. One possibility is to ask help from a friend with U.S. phone number to use it to setup Google Voice. Once you have it set up, you can actually just ...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need An Online Phone Number
Replies: 19
Views: 971

Re: Need An Online Phone Number

My understanding is, google voice will stop working as soon as you replace your sim card with a non-US sim card! Am I correct? Anyone with a data point? That is incorrect. Google Voice forwards phone call and text messages to a 'real phone number' (for lack of better term). But Google Voice exist i...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need An Online Phone Number
Replies: 19
Views: 971

Re: Need An Online Phone Number

Google voice I have never been able to get my Google Voice number to receive 2FA texts from Vanguard and Chase.... maybe it's just me?? Did you actually check from the Google Voice website (https://voice.google.com) and didn't see it there? Or is it just that you don't get it on your phone as text?...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mint date filters
Replies: 2
Views: 194

Re: Mint date filters

Yes, another similar trick to do a date filter is to go 'Budget', select the month(s) you want, then click on any of the budget category. It will bring you back to the 'Transaction' page but filtered by the 'Date', 'Category' and 'Excluding hidden tags' (or something like that). You can then just re...
by armeliusc
Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Claims - Auto Dealer Claims No $$ To Pay Judgement
Replies: 40
Views: 3092

Re: Small Claims - Auto Dealer Claims No $$ To Pay Judgement

If it were I, I would just strictly follow the court decision and not make things more complicated (for yourself). If the court judgment is for them to pay you some dollar amount and nothing else, then just hold them to that. How they want to get that money is not your problem. Then sell the car els...
by armeliusc
Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most economical high-quality car wash
Replies: 13
Views: 1532

Re: Most economical high-quality car wash

What you want does not exist. Unfortunately. To be 'Economical high-quality' you have to DIY. To be 'high-quality' you'll have to look at detailing places and they are not 'economical'. For e.g., dried out bugs, bird's droppings, and tree saplings, etc cannot be easily remove by just regular car was...
by armeliusc
Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car servicing
Replies: 48
Views: 3616

Re: Car servicing

Own a 2010 Honda Civic and the dealer seems to keep finding new problems and each service runs me 500 or so. Thinking of switching dealers. Any suggestions on where to take my car? Currently I use a Honda dealer. Can you list the problems you've had (describe them) and the ones the dealer found? Ho...
by armeliusc
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car servicing
Replies: 48
Views: 3616

Re: Car servicing

Find a good, local independent mechanic. Do the maintenance per recommendation by the manual. Unless something is broken, you do not need to do more than that. I am lucky enough to find a local trusted shop that I started to bring our Civic to then when it was brand new. The manual specifically says...
by armeliusc
Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY Home Security: SimpliSafe vs Ooma vs Nest vs Ring vs Other?
Replies: 66
Views: 9137

Re: DIY Home Security: SimpliSafe vs Ooma vs Nest vs Ring vs Other?

We use SimpliSafe with basics monitoring. We have their entry sensors, glass break, and motion sensors. We had to disable the motion sensors because it keeps tripping due to the way our windows get sun light in the afternoon. We like SimpliSafe because it's no commitment, and basically DIY for the s...
by armeliusc
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery
Replies: 59
Views: 5376

Re: Failed hard drive(?) data recovery

I am sorry, but all of the advices given so far in my opinion miss the most important thing of data recovery: Do Not Do Anything That Alter Your Drive / Data . How you somehow lost your your boot sector is a tell-tale of something had gone wrong. It could be a simple corruption, it could be the hard...
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First-time victim of credit card fraud
Replies: 48
Views: 4083

Re: First-time victim of credit card fraud

The card number used was DW's spousal card (with a different number) on my account. I didn't know that this is possible. I always thought that it has either to be: 1- different independent account with different number 2- authorized user sharing the same account, but sharing the same number as well...
by armeliusc
Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone else not save for cars?
Replies: 113
Views: 10650

Re: Anyone else not save for cars?

I don't, because I just do not have anything left after trying to max HSA, 401K, and saving what's left to increase EF to our goal. I honestly don't know how it seems that (almost) everyone here can afford to max out 401K, IRAs, HSA, have 2 years EF, taxable, separate savings for cars, vacation, pay...
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Treasury Direct has awesome phone support! Thanks!
Replies: 21
Views: 1948

Re: Treasury Direct has awesome phone support! Thanks!

This has been my experience too when I once got locked out of my account with a new computer and failing to answer the security question.
by armeliusc
Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nest vs Arlo (or other) security camera & system
Replies: 16
Views: 1483

Re: Nest vs Arlo (or other) security camera & system

We have multiple Nest cameras: outdoor, indoor, and doorbell. They work great. We picked Nest because it's hardwired to power, so we just simply set it and forget it. I really don't want to bother with recharging batteries. Also it's continuously record so we can go always back and look at the histo...
by armeliusc
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Check in - more details this time.
Replies: 12
Views: 1074

Re: Check in - more details this time.

Hi, Congrats on the big news. It seems that 'ideally' you want to be able to contribute 20% on to 401K, put the 2nd child on the same daycare as the 1st, and put more toward HELOC. But life is not ideal, so we'll have to compromise :) I would probably do the following order: - Don't put more toward ...
by armeliusc
Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?
Replies: 42
Views: 4521

Re: Has anyone taken out an online mortgage?

I refinanced with Sebonic / Cardinal Financial, getting their rates through bankrate.com. Once I started, the whole thing was done within about 10 days. I was actually a bit surprised at how easy it was; everything was online and I just needed to upload documents. On the day of closing, someone come...
by armeliusc
Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: About authorized user on spouse's credit card
Replies: 6
Views: 522

Re: About authorized user on spouse's credit card

I don't know specifically with Costco Citi Card (don't have one), but very likely it will be something like this: 1. You get one statement with your spouse as the account holder. The separate number only is only to let you (and the bank) differentiate which card is being used for the transaction, bu...
by armeliusc
Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you like technical conferences?
Replies: 32
Views: 2301

Re: Do you like technical conferences?

I always have 'something to do' in every conference I go to: presenting a technical paper, organizing panel, workshops, etc. Also, networking for collaborations are borne out of these conferences, which follow on after the conference ends. It's also important to increase individual and employer's / ...
by armeliusc
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?
Replies: 23
Views: 1396

Re: Gift cards: which is "better / safer"? physical or electronic?

We continually having this issue with trying to give someone out of appreciation, but just cannot (especially my spouse) get over the 'unseemly' factor of giving a check, let alone actual cash. Giving a 'thing' is out of the question (I hate it when someone give me a 'thing', most likely it just clu...
by armeliusc
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil
Replies: 22
Views: 2213

Re: Tick Tubes and boxes. Permethrin Fipronil

Last summer we had a bunch of clothing treated with a permethrin treatment called Insect Shield. A web search will turn them up. Look at the tab on "IS your clothes." The biggy, I'm sorry to say, is that I just can't say from our own experience whether or not it was effective. Our trips since we go...
by armeliusc
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee Grinder recommendations
Replies: 56
Views: 3702

Re: Coffee Grinder recommendations

Great topic, I've been looking to replace my coffee grinder myself. Does anyone other than me use French Press with fine grind? Every chart or guide I see always recommend coarse. That just doesn't do it for me. Not enough strength / thickness in the coffee (I like really strong coffee). It's the s...
by armeliusc
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee Grinder recommendations
Replies: 56
Views: 3702

Re: Coffee Grinder recommendations

Great topic, I've been looking to replace my coffee grinder myself. Does anyone other than me use French Press with fine grind? Every chart or guide I see always recommend coarse. That just doesn't do it for me. Not enough strength / thickness in the coffee (I like really strong coffee). It's the sa...
by armeliusc
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Repair car, new or rent for cross country trip
Replies: 13
Views: 828

Re: Repair car, new or rent for cross country trip

I am of a different opinion: I always opt to drive my own if possible for road trip. There are 'time' age and 'mileage' age. In my opinion, it is more likely that a car is expiring due to time long before mileage. 100K is really nothing for a well maintained car, especially for brands like Honda or ...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 6 week minivan or SUV rental
Replies: 8
Views: 1130

Re: 6 week minivan or SUV rental

Check your local Toyota dealers. Some have rental department: https://www.toyota.com/rental/ . We have rented Toyota Sienna for multi-weeks when we had relatives visiting us at a very competitive rates / better than the typical rental (like National, Enterprise). They just asked us to use our own in...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What commuter car provides the best long term financial value?
Replies: 84
Views: 8330

Re: What commuter car provides the best long term financial value?

You wanted empirical answer, I can only give you 1 data point. My commute is currently similar to yours, maybe a little less. There was ~5 year period when it was slightly longer, averaging ~33K a year. Prior to that, I had much shorter commute. Through it all, I've been (and is still) driving a 200...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road Hazard Warranties
Replies: 7
Views: 678

Re: Road Hazard Warranties

I have never bought road hazard warranties. This is to be in line with my personal rule: if I can afford to fix / replace it and it won't be catastrophic, I don't buy 'warranties' of any sort. If memory serves me right, within the last 3 set of tires (avg 50K miles), I've only fixed the tires due to...
by armeliusc
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Down Payment Help
Replies: 16
Views: 1722

Re: Mortgage Down Payment Help

Hello, If I were you, I would do the following: - Only pay enough downpayment to avoid PMI (i.e. 20% down). Don't buy point, especially if you don't know for sure how long you'd be in the house. Rate is just what it is, no one really knows what it's going to do. We bought some point when we closed l...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?
Replies: 29
Views: 5545

Re: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?

In my opinion, you don't need more than 50Mbps or maybe 100Mbps Likely the main issue is just the router signal is too weak in certain rooms, or the router is not doing a good job (for various reasons). 50Mbps should be enough for most users. DW and I have a 6Mbps convection, and it is sufficient f...
by armeliusc
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?
Replies: 29
Views: 5545

Re: Do you think I need FIOS Quantum Gateway router with 940Mbps speed?

In my opinion, you don't need more than 50Mbps or maybe 100Mbps Likely the main issue is just the router signal is too weak in certain rooms, or the router is not doing a good job (for various reasons). 50Mbps should be enough for most users. I'd first explore upgrading the router / access point inf...
by armeliusc
Thu May 31, 2018 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help Responding to $16K proposed tax in CP2000 letter
Replies: 2
Views: 531

Help Responding to $16K proposed tax in CP2000 letter

Hello, Recently I received a CP2000 letter from IRS for 2016 Tax Year which proposes that I owe about $16K taxes on top of about ~$4K taxes I already paid. The amount is shocking, but I think I understand where my mistakes were and how to respond to it. However, I wanted to run this by the folks her...
by armeliusc
Thu May 31, 2018 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2012

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

Hello, OP here, and I have finally a good resolution: I finally got to call them (the time difference made it a bit hard to find a good time), and they were being very apologetic about it and said it was a mistake on their part / their system since I mentioned that I had specified my departure time ...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2012

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

This is verbatim copy from their reservation confirmation email: "CANCELLATION MUST BE MADE BEFORE 4PM DAY OF ARRIVAL. IF UNSUCCESFUL, YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR ONE NIGHT." So, really technically I am not canceling reservation, just modifying it. Technically, since you did not cancel before 4PM on th...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2012

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

To add even more info: Not sure if this is part of a chain, but this is out of the country and a 5-star hotel / chain I've never heard of before, so I don't have any membership / status with this particular hotel / chain. This is actually a hotel where a conference was being held so we booked with t...
by armeliusc
Wed May 30, 2018 3:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?
Replies: 31
Views: 2012

Re: Hotel Charged on Reservation vs Actual Night Stayed?

This is verbatim copy from their reservation confirmation email: "CANCELLATION MUST BE MADE BEFORE 4PM DAY OF ARRIVAL. IF UNSUCCESFUL, YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR ONE NIGHT." So, really technically I am not canceling reservation, just modifying it. They replied to my email and just basically give me cop...