Search found 140 matches

by Super Hans
Mon May 18, 2020 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dual citizen, USA passport expiring, how to travel internationally
Replies: 72
Views: 3973

Re: Dual citizen, USA passport expiring, how to travel internationally

As others pointed out getting out of the counry isn't the issue, it is getting back in! Incorrect. As I have pointed out already, getting out of the country IS the issue as well. If you are a US citizen, you have leave the country with a valid US passport. This person's passport expires in July, an...
by Super Hans
Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Safest way to get food
Replies: 168
Views: 13432

Re: Safest way to get food

I haven't been able to get delivery from Whole Foods/Fresh/Instacart/Peapod, so I've had to brave the grocery store. My Whole Foods wasn't too crowded near closing. The employees all seem to wear masks now. Some shoppers are really careful about maintaining space, but many are not. A couple of days ...
by Super Hans
Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal govt position - negotiating leave
Replies: 22
Views: 1839

Re: Federal govt position - negotiating leave

It's totally discretionary, so definitely ask. See 5 USC sec. 6303(e). I'm a lawyer, and when I got hired my agency set my service credit date for leave accrual purposes as when I first joined the bar. This put me in the 6-hour accrual zone immediately and well on my way to 8.
by Super Hans
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cancel flights due to coronavirus concerns?
Replies: 76
Views: 7825

Re: Cancel flights due to coronavirus concerns?

I don't really see the connection between travel and coronavirus, unless that travel is to a place where there is a known outbreak. That is, it's not clear to me how heading down to wine country in Argentina or up to Maine for some winter hiking would be any more risky than just continuing to take t...
by Super Hans
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?
Replies: 66
Views: 3541

Re: How big of a car do you need for a kid and his/her stuff?

We're two adults and one kid. Early on, I feel like the rear-facing Clek car seat required a huge car. It fit in a Cadillac XTS and in a Ford Explorer. As we transitioned to forward-facing and eventually a booster, obviously anything can work. I've really enjoyed the X3, Mercedes GLC, and Alfa Stelv...
by Super Hans
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEHA HDHP and Annual Labs
Replies: 13
Views: 477

Re: GEHA HDHP and Annual Labs

I have GEHA, and in my experience they have improperly denied preventive coverage for clearly routine tests (e.g., total cholesterol). It's not a matter of one doctor's coding peculiarities, because my wife and I had the same problem despite different ordering doctors. I went through the appeal proc...
by Super Hans
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spain in July with kids
Replies: 49
Views: 3502

Re: Spain in July with kids

This thread inspired me to do a summer trip to Spain, too (in addition to my spring one). My working plan is to spend two weeks driving from Malaga to Bilbao. Maybe a day or two of beach, but mostly cultural activities. I'm hoping for nice meals in atmospheric Paradores/Pousadas along the way. It's ...
by Super Hans
Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thicker/Flatter Dental Floss or Tape?
Replies: 34
Views: 2509

Re: Thicker/Flatter Dental Floss or Tape?

I like "Dr. Tung's Smart Floss":

https://drtungs.com/individual-products ... -pack.html

Some people don't like this thick floss, though. Maybe try a single package from Whole Foods before stocking up on cheaper bulk pack.
by Super Hans
Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Spain in July with kids
Replies: 49
Views: 3502

Re: Spain in July with kids

Another Washington, D.C. family here that jumped on cheap IAD-MAD tickets for a week this spring. I'm thinking of picking up a car in Madrid and driving Segovia-Avila-Salamanca-El Escorial/Valle de los Caidos-Toledo-Barajas. We're just three, so trains would be cheaper, but I'm supposing we could se...
by Super Hans
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Insurance in Central Europe (Prague to Dubrovnik)
Replies: 19
Views: 724

Re: Rental Car Insurance in Central Europe (Prague to Dubrovnik)

I’ve done this route before and understood that the state-mandated liability insurance throughout the region is quite high such that I didn’t have to buy my own—and that supplemental wasn’t available anyway.

By contrast, I always buy SLI in the US.
by Super Hans
Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEHA HDHP/HSABank Arrangement - Changeable?
Replies: 9
Views: 586

Re: GEHA HDHP/HSABank Arrangement - Changeable?

The premium passthrough will keep going to HSABank, but you can (and probably should) move everything to Fidelity for better investment options.
by Super Hans
Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 16 Weeks Paternity Leave
Replies: 96
Views: 5809

Re: 16 Weeks Paternity Leave

Just as another datapoint, we were happy with the approach we took. My wife took off one year without pay. I took off the first two weeks of that time as paid ("sick") leave. Then, at the end of the year when my wife went back to work, I took off 16 weeks without pay. I got to be the primary parent ...
by Super Hans
Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feds: GEHA HDHP for average to heavy user?
Replies: 3
Views: 500

Re: Feds: GEHA HDHP for average to heavy user?

I plan to keep the GEHA HDHP for a third year. In 2018, we almost got through the year without paying a cent but then had an emergency room visit that cost almost $3000. In 2019, we’ve spent around $2000 so far—one sick visit and three ultrasounds. These aren’t great claims scenarios for an HDHP (i....
by Super Hans
Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Parents Living Well Diminish Children's Motivation in Life?
Replies: 54
Views: 3274

Re: Parents Living Well Diminish Children's Motivation in Life?

Some of the posts have brushed against this point already, but it seems to me a curiosity to conflate travel with luxury spending. I didn't travel much with my parents when I was a kid, but we went on a few big trips. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that they were life-changing and formed some...
by Super Hans
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who here has Chase Private Client? - I have questions for you
Replies: 14
Views: 3002

Re: Who here has Chase Private Client? - I have questions for you

I'm getting $1 USD = 0,7640 GBP with my JPMorgan account, no fee (or $1 = 0,8940 EUR). I never understood how the terms generally compared to the retail accounts.
by Super Hans
Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?
Replies: 7
Views: 1003

Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Does anyone understand how the Carefirst network works in conjunction with the national Blue Cross network? I've never been able to figure this out, whether for CareFirst or the other regional BC/BS companies. It's important for me to have a national plan. Carefirst is Washington, D.C.-based and app...
by Super Hans
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?
Replies: 196
Views: 13865

Re: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?

Apple Pay seemed mostly like a silly gimmick to me, but I use it whenever possible to get 4,5% back with US Bank's Altitude Reserve Visa. Along the way, I discovered Apple Pay (or contactless) is much better than swipe or chip cards outside the United States. It's almost universally accepted and av...
by Super Hans
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?
Replies: 196
Views: 13865

Re: Apple Pay. Does anyone use it?

Apple Pay seemed mostly like a silly gimmick to me, but I use it whenever possible to get 4,5% back with US Bank's Altitude Reserve Visa. Along the way, I discovered Apple Pay (or contactless) is much better than swipe or chip cards outside the United States. It's almost universally accepted and avo...
by Super Hans
Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSBC checking bonus
Replies: 20
Views: 1929

Re: HSBC checking bonus

I wrote a few years ago about my bad experience trying to get the $750 HSBC bonus on a thread about banks fulfilling bonuses; sorry I don’t know how to link correctly: Of the many bank bonuses I've set out for through the years, the only bank that truly behaved irresponsibly was HSBC with the HSBC P...
by Super Hans
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap vs Advantage: Which did you select?
Replies: 199
Views: 11852

Re: Medigap vs Advantage: Which did you select?

I'd prefer not to risk being subjected to medical underwriting if I were to initially opt for an Advantage Plan here and then end up in a state with sub-par Advantage networks AND then want to go back to a supplement policy instead. This deserves an attention. When you try to move from an MA to an ...
by Super Hans
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel
Replies: 47
Views: 9075

Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

I have GE, but I can’t use it when traveling with my daughter. I don’t trust CBP with her biometrics and will let her decide whether to enroll when she’s older. We successfully used the Mobile Passport app at IAD a handful of times but then got the unhappy surprise when arriving in May to find it no...
by Super Hans
Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: One Medical as Primary Care Provider
Replies: 14
Views: 1425

Re: One Medical as Primary Care Provider

My carrier offered me One Medical membership for free, but you get what you pay for. They seem to push para-professionals and the physicians largely trained in family practice rather than internal medicine (which is fine conceptually, but in practice doesn’t attract the top HMS grads). The few with ...
by Super Hans
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which shaving cream / oil?
Replies: 58
Views: 4660

Re: Which shaving cream / oil?

Are you Proraso fans finding the product in the States? I have no problem finding it on Amazon for $8 to $10 a tube. Is it that much cheaper in Europe? JT I’ll concede my ridiculousness. It’s five times more expensive on AMZN than at a grocery store in Rome, but especially for a soap that seems to ...
by Super Hans
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which shaving cream / oil?
Replies: 58
Views: 4660

Re: Which shaving cream / oil?

Are you Proraso fans finding the product in the States? I load up when in Italy, where it’s cheap, but I never see it in the USA. Obviously anything is available online, but for a price. I check out shaving supplies wherever I go. My favorite shave soap so far is Barbus from Slovakia. I don’t know i...
by Super Hans
Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Marcus-13 month no penalty CD
Replies: 6
Views: 1176

Re: Marcus-13 month no penalty CD

And there are savings accounts paying more than Marcus Goldman's 13-month, in any case.
by Super Hans
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Savings account for child?
Replies: 35
Views: 1745

Re: Savings account for child?

Has anyone succeeded in opening an account with a real, physical passbook in recent years? I think this would be the ideal way to introduce kids to the power of investing their tuppence wisely in the bank. It worked for me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxyB29bDbBA
by Super Hans
Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quiet, friendly hotels in Vienna and Krakow
Replies: 4
Views: 398

Re: Quiet, friendly hotels in Vienna and Krakow

Hotel Copernicus (https://copernicus.hotel.com.pl/) in Krakow is fantastic, right at Wawel Castle--Relais & Chateaux but the price was reasonable when I stayed last summer.
by Super Hans
Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with law school decision
Replies: 78
Views: 6303

Re: Help with law school decision

Having gone straight through from college, I'd strongly advise taking some time off and thinking more on this law business. I raced through school, taking no time off and was the youngest in my law school class. I would've gotten much more out of the experience had I spent even a year or two in the ...
by Super Hans
Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to stay in Naples, Italy and along Amalfi coast
Replies: 36
Views: 2357

Re: Where to stay in Naples, Italy and along Amalfi coast

I stayed at the Excelsior Hotel in Napoli, principally because I enjoyed retracing the steps of T, Chrissy, and Paulie from an episode of the Sopranos when they took a trip to old country. I wasn't disappointed, and it was a good base for eating lots of classic pizza around town and for a Pompeii da...
by Super Hans
Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it a Five-Twenty-Nine or a Five-Two-Nine Plan
Replies: 29
Views: 1700

Re: Is it a Five-Twenty-Nine or a Five-Two-Nine Plan

We always cite the complete 26 U.S.C. § 529, unless we're in the company of tax friends only and then say IRC 529.
by Super Hans
Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Italy
Replies: 42
Views: 2938

Re: Trip to Italy

Flight costs are an empirical question for Kayak or the like, but I never tried pairing a mainline transatlantic flight with a low-cost carrier for continuing intra-European flights. From New York and Washington, I've found that the best deals almost always have been a single ticket with one connect...
by Super Hans
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB HDHP's CFBC vs GEHA
Replies: 7
Views: 749

Re: FEHB HDHP's CFBC vs GEHA

Are you sure you'd have to change doctors? At least in metro Washington, everybody I've found seems to be in the UHC/GEHA network.
by Super Hans
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEHA HSA investment thru Fidelity
Replies: 6
Views: 1073

Re: GEHA HSA investment thru Fidelity

You only get $150/month premium "pass through" into the HSA Bank account. I'd just do a trustee-to-trustee transfer to Fidelity each time the HSA Bank balance reaches ~$1000, assuming HSA Bank doesn't try to tack on fees.
by Super Hans
Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacation for single parent and 2 teens: Belize or where?
Replies: 29
Views: 2619

Re: Vacation for single parent and 2 teens: Belize or where?

Panama might be worth considering, too. We found there was a lot to do around Panama City, including some history and the curiosity of the canal. Granted, the beaches weren’t spectacular, but it sounds like that’s not going to be the focus of your trip anyway.
by Super Hans
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Fidelity Health Savings Account Mega-Thread]
Replies: 1065
Views: 118324

Re: Rumor mill - Fidelity starting individual HSA's Nov. 15th

I'm waiting to see how "Fidelity's stellar service" works out. I'm trying to transfer my HSA from a bank and the online application instructed me to print and mail the forms to Fidelity. I took them to an office on Monday so I could double-check they had everything right. So far, the tracking featur...
by Super Hans
Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning a trip to Iceland with kids
Replies: 17
Views: 2332

Re: Planning a trip to Iceland with kids

We did a 4 or 5-day summer trip to Iceland and loved it. It was before kids, but I think it would be a great family trip. Obviously it would disappoint if you're looking for Hong Kong. The geysers and waterfalls and glacial lagoons and geothermal power are pretty unique. We didn't camp but stayed in...
by Super Hans
Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FEHB BCBS Basic vs. GEHA HDHP – Advice Needed!
Replies: 50
Views: 6763

Re: FEHB BCBS Basic vs. GEHA HDHP – Advice Needed!

I think you have it right. Also, note that the GEHA HDHP includes preventive dental; I don't think that BCBS plan does. As far as networks, in the Washington, D.C. area, GEHA contracts through United Healthcare, and it seems like everybody is in-network with UHC except for those few fancy practices ...
by Super Hans
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?
Replies: 72
Views: 3293

Re: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?

Not an 11/12, but my HP-48G scientific calculator is something like 25 years old. Just swapped the batteries again for the first time in at least 5 years.I should find somebody else who has one to see if the infrared data sharing function (kind of like a 90's version of airdrop) still works ;) Come...
by Super Hans
Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?
Replies: 72
Views: 3293

Re: How long have you had, or did you have, your HP-12C calculator?

My 48G is 25 years old and is going strong. All the other kids had the Texas Instruments 85, but my engineer father knew better. Even so, somehow I went astray. None of my fellow lawyers has peer calculators. Watching them trying to figure out RPN is like seeing a millennial confronted with manual t...
by Super Hans
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Are We In A Real Estate Bubble?
Replies: 114
Views: 15657

Re: Are We In A Real Estate Bubble?

* * * * * I was hoping this was true, that prices would drop in my outer-borough neighborhood over the next two years, but it seems Amazon might ruin my plans. My point is that local factors can be hard to predict. I have the same problem. I've been holding out on buying in metro Washington for yea...
by Super Hans
Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: high deductible vs. PPO calculation--high deductible always wins?
Replies: 36
Views: 3706

Re: high deductible vs. PPO calculation--high deductible always wins?

I know I'm coming across as an HDHP evangelist on several threads, but my analysis is that the HDHP always wins--at least with my employer's scheme (US Government FEHB). Here are my 2019 numbers: GEHA HDHP: $146 x 26 = 3796 p.a.; $3000 deductible - $1800 pass-through HSA contribution = $1200 ded. BC...
by Super Hans
Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [2018 Open Season] FEHB HDHP options for Federal Employees
Replies: 39
Views: 4815

Re: FEHB HDHP options for Federal Employees

Sounds to me like you plan to underinsure your little family to save a few bucks. I'm also puzzled by this comment. I don't understand how I'm underinsuring through my choice of the GEHA HDHP over Blue Cross. I pay lower premiums, but I'm not aware of any network advantage with BC/BS. In fact, we h...
by Super Hans
Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Planning first international trip - London/Paris
Replies: 74
Views: 5091

Re: Planning first international trip - London/Paris

Because I've often enjoyed transatlantic long weekend trips, I'm not so hostile to the proposition of a six-day London/Paris adventure. The day in Paris doesn't seem ideal, but it would be hard not to have a fun time spending three days in London and three days in Paris. That should give you enough ...
by Super Hans
Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First Major Medical Expenses under HDHP
Replies: 31
Views: 3350

Re: First Major Medical Expenses under HDHP

I'm not sure I understand the reimbursement process discussion. Can't you simply write yourself a check from the HSA to pay your credit card bill, withdraw cash from the HSA at an ATM, etc.? It's not like an FSA with a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper is a potential IRS audit.
by Super Hans
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grands to London/Paris w/Smithsonian Journeys (Perillo Tours)
Replies: 12
Views: 1351

Re: Grands to London/Paris w/Smithsonian Journeys (Perillo Tours)

A tour sounds kind of terrible to me, but I've never tried it. I wonder if the ones with the Smithsonian marketing are an especially bad deal. Needless to say, no Smithsonian curatorial staff has contributed to the content--it's just a matter of the tour operator paying a licensing charge to use the...
by Super Hans
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pull kids from school for vacations?
Replies: 136
Views: 6953

Re: Pull kids from school for vacations?

When I was in third grade, my parents took me to spend six weeks in the old country over Christmas. In high school, my dad took me on business trips to Europe every year for one or two weeks each time. All these experiences were transformative, and I missed much of nothing back in public school.
by Super Hans
Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NAVY 2 year CD
Replies: 3
Views: 661

Re: NAVY 2 year CD

I saw brokered CDs from JPMC at 3% on a 2-year this morning (sold in $1k increments), so this Navy Federal offer isn't especially hot.
by Super Hans
Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades
Replies: 234
Views: 32526

Re: 20 countries where 200K in retirement savings will last you decades

There are VAST factor differences among those countries: This click bait reeled me in, but I found it to be an useless and arbitrary list. I don't know how they came up with the cost of living numbers. I suppose in the poorer countries on the list, they might be looking at special expat-type accomm...
by Super Hans
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Physical Banking - Any benefits anymore?
Replies: 142
Views: 10465

Re: Physical Banking - Any benefits anymore?

I'm amazed there are so many B&M banks around our neighborhood; and they keep growing. A new bank branch in Harvard Sq. in just the last couple of months. I don't know how they can be justified as there's never anyone in them. I'm sure most of the students at the couple of small, no-name colleges w...
by Super Hans
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your single most expensive mistake?
Replies: 293
Views: 28192

Re: What is your single most expensive mistake?

Being too timid to implement my investment plan and largely sitting out the decade-long bull market.