Search found 119 matches

by sophie1
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warning about Uber Pool billing
Replies: 21
Views: 2140

Re: Warning about Uber Pool billing

OP here.... Amazingly, Uber gave me a partial refund of the overcharge - good enough! Fundamentally they agreed that I shouldn't be charged extra for detours to pick up other passengers, which was the main point. Definitely something to watch for, since it's supposedly an automated system and it sho...
by sophie1
Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Warning about Uber Pool billing
Replies: 21
Views: 2140

Warning about Uber Pool billing

I'm generally a fan of Uber, but I plan to avoid Uber pool like the plague...at least for long trips during busy times. I took Uber pool for a trip yesterday that should have been around a 30 minute drive, maybe 40 minutes due to rush hour traffic. More fool me, but the full UberX fare was quoted as...
by sophie1
Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Butcher Box
Replies: 14
Views: 2351

Re: Butcher Box

Just got my second Butcher box. I loaded it up with some very good special deals, which I think is the key to using this service. The meats have all been much better than anything I could find locally. Happy so far! Definitely a great alternative for those of us who can't drive to a farm and pick up...
by sophie1
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Butcher Box
Replies: 14
Views: 2351

Re: Butcher Box

Thanks for catching that. I did a bit more digging on the website. Their meats are sourced from the US, Canada, and Australia. Realize though, that there's a short list of countries approved to sell beef to the US (China is not among them), and your grocery is not required to label meats to indicate...
by sophie1
Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Butcher Box
Replies: 14
Views: 2351

Butcher Box

Anyone tried this service? It's a subscription for home delivery of grass fed/grass finished beef, heritage pork etc. Basically stuff you would normally get at farmer's markets. The price for a Custom Box is $149/month including delivery. They give a range of 9-14 lbs per box; my sample first order ...
by sophie1
Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reasonable and Rational Information on Precious Metals
Replies: 30
Views: 1623

Re: Reasonable and Rational Information on Precious Metals

I own physical gold as part of my portfolio, but will not consider buying silver. Silver is an industrial metal, not a monetary one. Gold is a long-range investment and you need a target percentage along with fixed rebalance bands. When gold is wallowing (e.g. 2013 until recently, also see during mo...
by sophie1
Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Asset allocation for 80 year old with high income
Replies: 6
Views: 1119

Re: Asset allocation for 80 year old with high income

Thanks all, useful tips! @Stinky: Yeah, that was my quandary, whether a 90/10 stock/cash allocation is at all appropriate when I wouldn't even think of using that for myself. I think it's ok given her income, plus it's a you take what you can get situation. $50K would see her through about 2 years o...
by sophie1
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Asset allocation for 80 year old with high income
Replies: 6
Views: 1119

Asset allocation for 80 year old with high income

My 83 year old mother is getting to the point where she recognizes she needs help managing finances, so I reviewed everything with her. Glad I did! She doesn't keep much in the bank, and holds about $450K spread among three brokerages: Morgan Stanley (her mainstay), Nations, and Fidelity. It's 100% ...
by sophie1
Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London / UK Summer Trip
Replies: 57
Views: 3577

Re: London / UK Summer Trip

You're definitely made of sterner stuff than I am, if you're planning to do an overnight jet trip and then immediately set out on a 4 hour drive in what will be very unfamiliar conditions. Sounds frankly unsafe to me. The vacation-til-you-drop plan in general also doesn't sound fun. Why not spend Da...
by sophie1
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: W-2 earner looking to lower effective tax rate
Replies: 33
Views: 4184

Re: W-2 earner looking to lower effective tax rate

Completely agree that the top two priorities are maxing out the HSA (that's like free money) and looking more carefully at filing jointly. Also, you probably want to consider rolling over your company HSA funds (keeping a few dollars in there to prevent closing it) to Fidelity or similar investment-...
by sophie1
Sun May 26, 2019 9:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: London / UK Summer Trip
Replies: 57
Views: 3577

Re: London / UK Summer Trip

With 2 young kids plus the inevitable jet lag, I think your best bet in London is to get tickets to those red "hop on/hop off" buses instead of trying to negotiate the tube & taxis. I took my niece there when she was 15, and her favorites were the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey & Big Ben, and wa...
by sophie1
Sun May 26, 2019 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity
Replies: 8
Views: 752

Re: Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity

Dang, jhfenton, I wish I'd spotted that thread before starting. Although, I in fact did go through those steps you listed after getting help from Fidelity, and still ended up with a hot mess. It appears that the accounting between Lively and TDA was somehow screwed up, so that some funds were counte...
by sophie1
Tue May 21, 2019 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity
Replies: 8
Views: 752

Re: Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity

Well, before I can roll anything over I still have to get my cash out of the TDA account. I discovered my account was locked so I called them, and was told that the account was closed due to a transfer request, so maybe that's progress. Wonder where the money will turn up (and when). Will definitely...
by sophie1
Tue May 21, 2019 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity
Replies: 8
Views: 752

Moving HSA from Lively/TDA to Fidelity

I am amazed at the sheer number of roadblocks I've encountered, since I started working on the Great HSA Transfer project a month ago. First, Lively blocked the trustee-to-trustee transfer because it turns out you have to make separate requests to both Lively and TDA - a piece of info requiring seve...
by sophie1
Fri May 17, 2019 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity as a one stop shop
Replies: 1210
Views: 150244

Re: Fidelity as a one stop shop

I had that idea too, to use the CMA as the shield for everything else since you can turn off the overdraft if needed. However, it's probably not worth the hassle of having to deal with cascade events from Fidelity's software failures. I like Fidelity and the consolidation of accounts has been magica...
by sophie1
Fri May 17, 2019 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity as a one stop shop
Replies: 1210
Views: 150244

Re: Fidelity as a one stop shop

... Over the Easter holiday weekend, when banks were open Good Friday but the stock market was closed, Fidelity suffered a glitch and the auto sweep feature didn't work. ... I suffered that problem. The rep I spoke to had no explanation and I didn't know it was a generalized problem. I manually tra...
by sophie1
Wed May 01, 2019 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unable to create account on ssa.gov
Replies: 15
Views: 1368

Re: Unable to create account on ssa.gov

Keep in mind that if you don't create your account, it is conceivable someone else could. +1. It's a big reason why I wanted to do it. Extra info I got from calling one more time (to ask about an appointment at an SS field office...unfortunately you can't do that.) The address they use is from the ...
by sophie1
Wed May 01, 2019 7:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unable to create account on ssa.gov
Replies: 15
Views: 1368

Unable to create account on ssa.gov

I know there have been previous threads on this, but this about a different issue... I froze my credit with all three agencies after getting my third separate notification about a university data breach involving my social security number. Unfortunately I didn't try to set up the ssa account first. ...
by sophie1
Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off mortgage better or worse than investing in bonds?
Replies: 24
Views: 3233

Re: Pay off mortgage better or worse than investing in bonds?

Here's another alternative: Buy I bonds! Current interest rate is 2.83%, inflation protected with a fixed rate of 0.5% that is highly unlikely to increase when rates reset in May (and might even decrease), tax deferred for up to 30 years. Plus if you buy on the last day of the month, you get interes...
by sophie1
Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Having a Baby - Stay Home Cost analysis
Replies: 33
Views: 2555

Re: Help! Having a Baby - Stay Home Cost analysis

We can't answer this one for you, as it requires some hard #s which you don't include here. You'll have to price out the local child care options first (call this X). Then, calculate how much money is currently spent on wife's work-associated expenses (commuting, lunches out, clothes etc). Call this...
by sophie1
Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to use Apple Pay Cash
Replies: 19
Views: 1842

Re: Best way to use Apple Pay Cash

Thanks for the pointer! The terms & condition page didn't mention bank transfer at all, so I thought it had to go through the debit card.
by sophie1
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to use Apple Pay Cash
Replies: 19
Views: 1842

Best way to use Apple Pay Cash

I'm a latecomer to the party - it took me several months to figure out that Apple was denying my debit card because I forgot to update my address with them, but I finally set it it up and tried it out. Nice, except I noticed a bit of fine print on the agreement page: they charge a 1% fee to return f...
by sophie1
Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is a million really the benchmark for retirement
Replies: 153
Views: 24690

Re: Is a million really the benchmark for retirement

Thanks again! There are so many good answers here. Since it's been brought up, I am pretty happy with my lifestyle. I am just looking to live about the same. I expect my cost of living to go down in retirement as my plan is to move from this very high cost of living area to a low cost of living are...
by sophie1
Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does 10% Gold increase or decrease risk?
Replies: 83
Views: 5021

Re: Does 10% Gold increase or decrease risk?

Gold can increase risk if you hold it for its own sake, but if you hold it as part of a fixed allocation, its job is to decrease volatility and reduce the likelihood of drawdowns. In the Permanent Portfolio, Golden Butterfly, and other variants, it does just that over time, and it does it very well....
by sophie1
Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New carry-on policy at United Airlines?
Replies: 47
Views: 4002

Re: New carry-on policy at United Airlines?

It appears United has a new carry-on luggage practice. On my most recent business trip, after groups 1 and 2 boarded and just as they started to board group 3, they announced that no further carry-on bags that didn't fit under the seat would be allowed on the plane. I fly frequently on business (ar...
by sophie1
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New carry-on policy at United Airlines?
Replies: 47
Views: 4002

Re: New carry-on policy at United Airlines?

Nope I know all about basic economy, and my ticket was regular economy - NOT basic. As I said, this limitation applied to everyone in Groups 3-5 regardless of ticket type. Not only that, but a person with Priority Boarding who arrived about 60 seconds too late to board with Group 2 also got stuck ga...
by sophie1
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New carry-on policy at United Airlines?
Replies: 47
Views: 4002

New carry-on policy at United Airlines?

It appears United has a new carry-on luggage practice. On my most recent business trip, after groups 1 and 2 boarded and just as they started to board group 3, they announced that no further carry-on bags that didn't fit under the seat would be allowed on the plane. I fly frequently on business (aro...
by sophie1
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Optimal age to purchase SPIA
Replies: 34
Views: 3329

Re: Optimal age to purchase SPIA

Some good thoughts in this thread. For me, the timing & reasoning behind SPIAs has a lot to do with tax considerations. If you follow the path of Roth-converting as much of retirement savings as possible before claiming SS, that will be the time to put all or part of the un-converted balance into a ...
by sophie1
Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Spouse wants to buy individual stocks
Replies: 78
Views: 6333

Re: Spouse wants to buy individual stocks

It depends what you mean by "trading stocks", but I don't think this situation by itself rises to marriage counselor level. Which of the below strategies is your husband using? If he likes to trade frequently & bet on individual stocks: Agree on a small amount of money to be set aside for speculativ...
by sophie1
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wow, my paycheck is now at 2015 levels after the "tax cut"
Replies: 19
Views: 3247

Re: Wow, my paycheck is now at 2015 levels after the "tax cut"

If you live in a high tax locale and have an upper-middle income, you probably did see a tax increase. That's been well understood since the law was first passed, and there's not much point in debating it here. New York State attempted to set up a charitable donation dodge for some municipalities to...
by sophie1
Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Priority boarding - Why?
Replies: 147
Views: 9145

Re: Priority boarding - Why?

I have never paid for Priority boarding, but I've also never had to gate-check a carryon. I definitely am in the camp of "avoid gate-checking like the plague" because I value not having to spend that extra 45-60 minutes getting to the carousel and waiting for the bag to show up. Add another hour if ...
by sophie1
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I switch my daily banking business to Ally?
Replies: 51
Views: 4396

Re: Should I switch my daily banking business to Ally?

I use Ally for daily banking needs. Just to provide a contrary view to the positives about them that have already been described - be aware of the limits of online banking. Basically, you still need a brick and mortar bank account. The Ally mobile app rejects about 5-10% of checks in my experience, ...
by sophie1
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:15 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Solo-401k referred to as Keogh?
Replies: 10
Views: 1931

Re: Fidelity Solo-401k referred to as Keogh?

Call Fidelity and ask them how to set up payments to the Keogh via electronic billpay. They walked me through that a few years back and it's worked perfectly all this time.
by sophie1
Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Long Term Care Insurance worth it?
Replies: 318
Views: 13972

Re: Is Long Term Care Insurance worth it?

Could someone please tell me where the numbers you're quoting for LTC insurance premiums are coming from, e.g. $200 for mid-fifties age group for a $300K total benefit? I posted about about how I was quoted a monthly premium of over $600 (age 55 & healthy) for a maximum daily benefit of $400, which ...
by sophie1
Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for home gym (limited space)
Replies: 78
Views: 6734

Re: Recommendation for home gym (limited space)

Small space here too. Yoga mat, doorway pull-up bar, a kettlebell, and a couple of resistance bands. Way more convenient and time-efficient, plus as an older women I am happy not to have to deal with the "you-don't-belong-here" stares and general gym yuckiness. I do yoga for flexibility and a varian...
by sophie1
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AA cancelled flight - results.
Replies: 31
Views: 2937

Re: AA cancelled flight - results.

Gates are subject to change, but checking gate/terminal locations to gauge transit time is a good idea. I probably would have a) avoided checking luggage, and b) paid for an upgrade to an economy plus aisle seat in the front of the plane. In the worst case, you get a free hotel room for a night in M...
by sophie1
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is Long Term Care Insurance worth it?
Replies: 318
Views: 13972

Re: Is Long Term Care Insurance worth it?

This is an important question and I hope people will post more serious responses... If I could buy LTC insurance at $3,000/year I'd have gotten it. The policies I was looking at cost over $600/month (I'm in mid 50s). When I looked at the fine print, I saw that there was a total maximum benefit that ...
by sophie1
Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Need help moving to do it myself at Fidelity
Replies: 13
Views: 1344

Re: Need help moving to do it myself at Fidelity

Assuming your pension/SS income is no more than $50K/year, you can unwind that stock position over 4 years without paying tax, by keeping total income below $105,550 (12% bracket + standard deduction + senior deduction). That's doable but also removes most of your opportunity to Roth-convert your ta...
by sophie1
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ally Bank's nightmarish online reviews -- should I be worried?
Replies: 97
Views: 10894

Re: Ally Bank's nightmarish online reviews -- should I be worried?

I've used Ally Bank since 2010, as my primary checking & savings. I've had a few bleeps with them over the years but nothing noteworthy and the sorts of things that will happen with any bank. Here's a couple of my niggling complaints, to give you an idea: dates of recurring ACH transfers can be unpr...
by sophie1
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?
Replies: 67
Views: 13259

Consensus on I Bonds for 2019?

I had planned to hold off on buying I Bonds, but now I'm rethinking that. Between the Fed's decision to pause interest rate hikes and the inflation rate falling to near zero for the past few months, it seems unlikely the fixed rate will rise in May, and it might even drop. It's currently 0.5%, the b...
by sophie1
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How will you spend your retirement money?
Replies: 86
Views: 10483

Re: How will you spend your retirement money?

I plan to be pretty much a lazy bum. Sleep in, then surf the Internet for awhile before taking a long shower, and then eating breakfast somewhere around the vicinity of noon. Then, in the early afternoon, run any errands that need to be handled, and then come home to do a combination of the followi...
by sophie1
Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity HSA Fee Reimbursement
Replies: 12
Views: 950

Re: Fidelity HSA Fee Reimbursement

If there's a fee to close the account but not one to do a partial rollover or cash withdrawal, then what about just withdrawing $1 less than the full amount in the account? If it's an employer account with no annual fee, just let it sit. Otherwise, what would happen if you then close the account, wo...
by sophie1
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:11 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA employer->personal account strategy
Replies: 11
Views: 752

Re: HSA employer->personal account strategy

My employer only allows HSA contributions split evenly over the 24 pay periods. The Optum plan allows investing for fees that they apparently will only mail to you and won't specify on the website or over the phone. (Dealing with Optum over the phone is a nightmare, I've found.) I don't think there'...
by sophie1
Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA employer->personal account strategy
Replies: 11
Views: 752

HSA employer->personal account strategy

I have a Lively HSA that I'm using for long-term investment, not short term savings. (It will get switched to Fidelity in April.) My employer has a payroll deduction plan through Optum HSA, which pays next to nothing in interest on cash savings. No interest in investing through that account. No, my ...
by sophie1
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roast my portfolio. VEMAX instead of VTIAX?
Replies: 20
Views: 2639

Re: Roast my portfolio. VEMAX instead of VTIAX?

This might be like spitting in the wind, but...what about buying US savings bonds? State/local tax-exempt, all taxes deferred up to 30 years, and inflation protection. Like a cash-only nondeductible IRA. If OP is married and is willing to buy both Series I and EE bonds, that's $40K/year worth of tax...
by sophie1
Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Short term investment (9-18 months)
Replies: 2
Views: 317

Re: Short term investment (9-18 months)

Depends on how simple you want to make this, vs. whether you want to squeeze out as much interest as possible. Also the answer depends on your federal, state & local tax brackets. Some options: - Municipal Money Market - if you have high state/local taxes & >32% federal tax bracket. - Straight up mo...
by sophie1
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Diagnosing Knee Problems over the Phone - Medicare
Replies: 119
Views: 5550

Re: Diagnosing Knee Problems over the Phone - Medicare

It depends on where you are exactly. Here in NYC, PCPs are rare and next to useless - they won't even fill prescriptions or order simple imaging studies. I'm an MD myself and I don't even have a PCP. It's because the population here is dead set on seeing specialists for everything, and of course the...
by sophie1
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage vs. Cash
Replies: 28
Views: 2559

Re: Mortgage vs. Cash

I just have one observation to add to the above excellent posts: Assuming that New York's efforts to circumvent the new tax law will fail, you will not be able to deduct as much of the mortgage interest above posts above are assuming. (And unfortunately, you will probably lose a lot more than 25% of...
by sophie1
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash Out Retirement Account vs Rollover to IRA
Replies: 35
Views: 2571

Re: Cash Out Retirement Account vs Rollover to IRA

Why are you holding yourself responsible for your siblings' college costs? That should be between them and your parents. The fact is that at this moment in time, you're broke and in no position to provide handouts. The fact that your siblings are expecting you to drain your retirement accounts to pr...
by sophie1
Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Newby to this forum: do i have enough?
Replies: 44
Views: 9554

Re: Newby to this forum: do i have enough?

ysl1888, hope you're still reading... My guess as to the answer to your question "can I retire now" is that it will be a resounding YES with a bit of judicious financial reorganizing. However, it would be way helpful if you could post some hard numbers for your expenses. Could you categorize them an...