Search found 228 matches

by sk.dolcevita
Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with negotiating neighbor/yard drainage costs
Replies: 24
Views: 2198

Re: Help with negotiating neighbor/yard drainage costs

I had a similar problem when my neighbor built a swimming pool in her backyard and wreaked an havoc with water flow and drainage. A polite mention to her in anticipation of working together a solution brought me an abrupt retort - "Go sue me." Oh well, I have resigned mentally to not having a neighb...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon May 22, 2017 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Shocking car insurance quote
Replies: 39
Views: 6369

Re: Shocking car insurance quote

I pay ~$1050 per year for auto with Geico. Amica quoted $2200. Have 800+ FICO, clean driving record, etc. I cannot figure out pricing in the insurance and airlines industries. As an Amica customer, I find that inexplicable. Is your house full of teenage drivers or something? Six cars? Live in an ar...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun May 21, 2017 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Shocking car insurance quote
Replies: 39
Views: 6369

Re: Shocking car insurance quote

I pay ~$1050 per year for auto with Geico. Amica quoted $2200. Have 800+ FICO, clean driving record, etc. I cannot figure out pricing in the insurance and airlines industries.
by sk.dolcevita
Sun May 21, 2017 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance for visiting the US
Replies: 10
Views: 1504

Re: Medical Insurance for visiting the US

https://www.globalunderwriters.com/

I haven't used them but online reviews, to the extent they can be trusted, are good.
by sk.dolcevita
Sun May 21, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ebates experiences - what downsides?
Replies: 13
Views: 1782

Re: ebates experiences - what downsides?

I have been using ebates for several years. There are no gotchas and the site is very reliable in sending you you cash back every quarter. According to the site I have earned $532 to date.

Another good site for this purpose is www.mrrebates.com.
by sk.dolcevita
Mon May 15, 2017 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter
Replies: 126
Views: 21496

Re: Tipping for restaurants where you order at the counter

1. No. 2. No. 3. May be. Counter pick up and take out (especially phone or online orders) - No. I hate US tipping system passionately - it is feudal, exploitative and shaming all combined. But I hate it even more when Americans travel to no-tipping locales and insist on tipping. Once a local friend ...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun May 14, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Check engine light comes on, need advice
Replies: 27
Views: 1983

Re: Check engine light comes on, need advice

Get the codes from Autozone and then google away. Alternatively, buy something like this https://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Products-34t5-Bluetooth-Android/dp/B005NLQAHS and download the Torque Lite app on an Android device (there may be an Apple version as well). Once you have the codes, you can get a ton...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?
Replies: 52
Views: 5022

Re: Car maintenance for older cars - where do you go ?

For those who do their own maintenance: what do you do to raise your car sufficiently and safely? Any particular product you can recommend?
by sk.dolcevita
Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: co-worker had a baby, chipping in on gift- how much?
Replies: 57
Views: 8281

Re: co-worker had a baby chipping in on gift- how much?

Or you could pull a George Constanza. Give a card with "A gift of $X has been made in the name of the baby to the Happy Babies Foundation."
by sk.dolcevita
Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does Insurance Have to Pay an Out-of-Network Ambulance Bill in Full?
Replies: 47
Views: 7062

Re: Does Insurance Have to Pay an Out-of-Network Ambulance Bill in Full?

In one word - Kaiser.

My healthcare aspect of our life has been transformed and has become worry-free ever since we moved to Kaiser. I wish they had presence in more locations.
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Collection Agency - Are you kidding?
Replies: 33
Views: 5807

Re: Collection Agency - Are you kidding?

In addition to disputing the debt and asking for validation in writing, you should also take few minutes to file a complaint on FCC's website. Those complaints get routed to Comcast's executive office and you will receive a call from a VP rank minion within a day or two vowing to resolve the issue a...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State Farm
Replies: 34
Views: 3862

Re: State Farm

I have my auto and property insured by Geico (Geico serves as broker for HO insurance and mine is through Homesite). I also have a rental property with landlord's policy issued by Safeco. I haven't filed any claims so I really don't know how they will fare in time of adversity. No one can beat Geico...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a home at 56?
Replies: 23
Views: 2374

Re: Buying a home at 56?

How much would the town house cost (just an estimate)? What is your tax bracket? Do you take itemized deductions? What kind of mortgage rate do you expect to get? 15 years or 30 years? All these will go into the math of the problem. And then there is the psychological part of being a homeowner. Town...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Go back to school?
Replies: 8
Views: 930

Re: Go back to school?

You already "wasted" one degree... The philosophical in me has a hard time with this. I don't think any education, if undertaken sincerely, is ever completely wasted. OP is only 26. People change, priorities change, plans change... especially in 20s. No big deal! OP, I think you are fine as long as...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: US citizen in Japan - Advice for my painful tax situation
Replies: 15
Views: 2364

Re: US citizen in Japan - Advice for my painful tax situation

Interesting that Japan taxes worldwide income. I though that distinction belonged only to the US and Eritrea.
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for unemployed 64-year old broke friend
Replies: 87
Views: 13604

Re: Advice for unemployed 64-year old broke friend

I think while meaning well, people here are being a bit too harsh on judging OP's friends. The truth of the matter is we just don't have enough information about the friend. Heck, it seems even OP doesn't have enough information about the friend. He hasn't seen him for two years. I think a face-to-f...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much??? [did you save when you retired?]
Replies: 16
Views: 3263

Re: How much???

Of course, just curious when people decided that they had enough $$$ on this forum. For me, there are two variables... Age and retirement expenses. I'm hoping to retire around 55, and our retirement expenses at that time should be around $70,000 a year. I use the rule of thumb of 25x expenses, so w...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vacationing in Spain - how to pay for things?
Replies: 42
Views: 4397

Re: Vacationing in Spain - how to pay for things?

If you plan to travel internationally a fair bit, another gem of a card is Charles Schwab debit Visa card linked to a their checking account. It reimburses any charges levied by the ATM operator. It also does not have any foreign transaction fee. Couple the above with a no-foreign transaction fee cr...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why is actual raw sugar hard to find?
Replies: 34
Views: 4204

Re: Why is actual raw sugar hard to find?

Nisi, If you go to an Indian store and they look a bit befuddled when you ask for jagri, ask instead for gur (u being pronounced as in put). You may have better luck with it. If you are lucky, you may get the "first-press organic, no chemical" version. Indian folklore believes gur is better than ref...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Over the last 40 years, 71% of the stock market's return came from dividends, not capital appreciation,"
Replies: 91
Views: 10093

Re: Over the last 40 years, 71% of the stock market's return came from dividends, not capital appreciation,"

....Doesn't a healthy dividend policy impose a capital allocation discipline on managers? I see some posts saying dividends signal lack of growth opportunities. Fine. However, healthy dividend can also take cash out of managers' hands so they don't go on negative ROI reinvestment sprees, e.g. merge...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Over the last 40 years, 71% of the stock market's return came from dividends, not capital appreciation,"
Replies: 91
Views: 10093

Re: Over the last 40 years, 71% of the stock market's return came from dividends, not capital appreciation,"

Doesn't a healthy dividend policy impose a capital allocation discipline on managers? I see some posts saying dividends signal lack of growth opportunities. Fine. However, healthy dividend can also take cash out of managers' hands so they don't go on negative ROI reinvestment sprees, e.g. mergers an...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Benefits/longevity of more expensive ($300+) mens dress shoes?
Replies: 75
Views: 8494

Re: Benefits/longevity of more expensive ($300+) mens dress shoes?

Another vote for Allen Edmonds. I have three pairs (black, burgundy and brown) that I bought 6 years ago and I would not be surprised if I am good for my remaining professional life (~15 years) with perhaps one resoling down the road. They need minimal care and do wonders if you want to project a pr...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What happens to those who don't invest?
Replies: 70
Views: 5663

Re: What happens to those who don't invest?

Remember that median household income is about $58,000. That is smack in the middle of the band we call middle class. A typical family having two children, daycare/education expenses, healthcare expenses, etc. just doesn't have enough money left to save. Such is the perfidious nature of retirement p...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Shiller CAPE levitating
Replies: 17
Views: 2060

Re: Shiller CAPE levitating

And tax holiday (or lower tax rate) of repatriating cash held overseas could lead to major share buybacks, i.e. higher E. I have seen numbers from 10s of billions to, I think, a trillion or two that may be deployed towards buybacks.
by sk.dolcevita
Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account
Replies: 30
Views: 3071

Re: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account

I have "fond" memories of German health insurance from my stay there in early 1990s. The ability to walk into any medical facility anywhere in the country (and perhaps in other EU countries through reciprocity) and get a top notch treatment was priceless. I had an unexplained headache and the syste...
by sk.dolcevita
Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account
Replies: 30
Views: 3071

Re: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account

Have you considered giving up your US citizenship? If your net worth at the time of renouncing is less than $2 million, you may be able to escape this insanity with only few bruises. Not only you will escape this insanity, you may escape another basket case of a situation that is U.S. healthcare if...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account
Replies: 30
Views: 3071

Re: Ex-pat opening a Global Vanguard account

Have you considered giving up your US citizenship? If your net worth at the time of renouncing is less than $2 million, you may be able to escape this insanity with only few bruises. Not only you will escape this insanity, you may escape another basket case of a situation that is U.S. healthcare if ...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Emergency surgery with out-of-network provider
Replies: 55
Views: 5492

Re: Emergency surgery with out-of-network provider

Your money or your life... where else have we heard this?
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Homeowners insurance rebuild cost
Replies: 9
Views: 1997

Re: Homeowners insurance rebuild cost

Ha, this thread opened up another source of worry for me. Our 2700 sf 22-year old house in a decent neighborhood in Atlanta would sell for about $400,000. I just checked my HO insurance - the house is insured for a replacement cost of $266,000 + 25% overage, i.e. $332,500. The replacement cost estim...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Emergency surgery with out-of-network provider
Replies: 55
Views: 5492

Re: Emergency surgery with out-of-network provider

Balance billing and ambushes by out-of-network physicians and facilities despite my best efforts to navigate around them is the reason I signed up with Kaiser this year. It was getting too complicated and stressful to deal with this nonsense at most inopportune times. I will be paying about 2X my pr...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A/c service cost?
Replies: 9
Views: 1435

Re: A/c service cost?

OP, You got a very good deal (or didn't get charged for the trip/labor). I just got some AC work done in Atlanta (ITP) and here is what I was charged: Trip cost (includes 1/2 hour labor) $88 Clean coil and redo condensate drain line $84 2 lbs Freon + 1 can of EasySeal sealant $240 Total $412 I think...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Expat Teacher considering pulling the plug
Replies: 15
Views: 2560

Re: Expat Teacher considering pulling the plug

Seriously, no very seriously, do everything possible to retire in NZ. Even with Medicare, healthcare costs here are out of control with healthcare industry operating on the premise "Your money or your life!" Moreover, US is a great country for young ones trying to make a good career and make lots of...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips and surcharges
Replies: 52
Views: 4617

Re: Do you factor mandatory surcharges into gratuity?

Wouldn't the mandatory 20% service surcharge replace the need for tipping? Else we are looking for the following math on a $100 bill: Meal cost $100 Service charge $20 Tip $20 or $24 (depends on if you tip on service charge) Pre-tax-total $140 or $144 Plus tax. If this plays out, people will start g...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Elder care expenses
Replies: 15
Views: 2184

Re: Elder care expenses

OP, this is commendable thing you are doing for your family (yes, parents are family). No doubt your finances would be stretched but as time goes by your salaries will hopefully increase and the stretch would become more bearable. I second the suggestion above - buy a house with an in-laws suite. Th...
by sk.dolcevita
Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking advice on what to do about recent property survey/neighbor's driveway
Replies: 34
Views: 4015

Re: Seeking advice on what to do about recent property survey/neighbor's driveway

The title insurance policy likely has a survey exception. The adjoiner might have a case for a prescriptive easement but they don't just "get one". That would have to be accomplished through legal proceedings. $$$ Adverse possession is highly unlikely since neither of you were aware of the encroach...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

During my morning walk I am absolutely amazed at the army of service vehicles parked on the street. This is a 1970's era neighborhood with homes in the $400,000 - $600,000 range in a medium cost of living area (south east Texas). -plumbers -painters -foundation repair -landscape -window replacement...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

In all, I don't think any of the above are much of a deviation from the norm. Yes, one may not have had a driveway issue, but then you could have something else and all said and done, I think it is not unreasonable to expect about $50K in major repair/maintenance expense for a 2800 sq ft two story ...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

I disagree that it is more efficient to move, especially if using a realtor and if moving within the same tax/COL jurisdiction. 6% realtor fee moving/packing expenses decorating expenses (unlikely that previous tenants have same taste or that all your furniture fits) etc It just doesn't add up AFAI...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

What about any upgrades you have done to the house that you would prefer to have in another house that you bought? For me, I have done the following to my house and would feel like I was downgrading if I did not have these items: 1. Hardwood floors throughout house including staircases 2. Woodburni...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Re: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

OP here. I don't think my builder did a bad job. Perhaps average but certainly not bad. 90 years roofs and HVAC systems from 80s? Yes, I would like to have that too :-) But from all the information I have gathered these numbers are 3 sigma or higher outliers. Roofs - Here (Southeast US) roofs are as...
by sk.dolcevita
Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Professor having to buy his own computer for work
Replies: 93
Views: 8340

Re: Professor having to buy his own computer for work

Dear Pharmacist, What you have is and are advocating for is vocational training, not education. This from a person (and, by no means an original thought) who has a Ph.D. in Physics and an MBA, and a career spanning academic research to corporate research to corporate management to finance. Best wish...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?
Replies: 42
Views: 3464

Re: Property tax increase: Worth appealing? DYI or use attorney?

There is one advantage in my jurisdiction to formally appealing the assessment even if you are going lose - your property taxes are than frozen for three years. In time of rapidly appreciating property prices and new sales in the neighborhood, this could be advantageous.
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?
Replies: 50
Views: 7835

Better to sell house ~ every 15 years?

I ask this question because of me ongoing/recent experience. We bought our two story 2800 sq ft house in 1999 for $266,000 in an MCOL city. The house was then 5 year old. From 1999 through 2015, the house didn't ask for much - for the most part routine maintenance. I think the only significant expen...
by sk.dolcevita
Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?
Replies: 140
Views: 13844

Re: Any retirees here who have been life-long renters?

Homeowner here for 17 years. The house is 22 years old.In past two years I have spent $12K for a new roof and $11K for two new HVACs. Over the years all appliances have been replaced at least once for about $6K total. We did a bare minimal kitchen remodel (replaced really dated vinyl floors and lino...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC replacement
Replies: 43
Views: 4177

Re: HVAC replacement,is that too risky to wait until this fall

Thanks a ton for the above advice!!! I really appreciate it. And yes, it's R410A and I was charged around $110 per lb. I am really surprised by the bill each time because the recharge does not include the service call fee. I know you should consider about the labor cost and driving time but that's ...
by sk.dolcevita
Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC replacement
Replies: 43
Views: 4177

Re: HVAC replacement,is that too risky to wait until this fall

I have to chuckle when I read comments regarding cost of R410a Last time I went to a lawyer, all he used was about 100 sheets of paper and some ink, stuff I could have bought for $5. Last time I had surgery, I expect all the supplies I used could have been bought for a couple hundred dollars maximu...
by sk.dolcevita
Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC replacement
Replies: 43
Views: 4177

Re: HVAC replacement,is that too risky to wait until this fall

OP, Something is not right - the supply of R-22 refrigerant (Freon) used in older units is rapidly diminishing due to EPA mandate and it's price is skyrocketing. It is currently about $100/lb (you can buy it for about $27/lb on eBay if you had an EPA license). A 3 lb R-22 recharge should cost around...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver
Replies: 4
Views: 653

Re: Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver

I visited an acupuncturist yesterday and had to sign a similar agreement. No choice. Thee was a great article in NYT couple of months again that you can probably search for using relevant keywords. The message was that a major rout of consumer rights was in progress and had been somewhat blessed by ...
by sk.dolcevita
Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Renovate or replace 12yr old SUV?
Replies: 45
Views: 3451

Re: Renovate or replace 12yr old SUV?

OP, I faced the same decision with my 2000 VW Passat.with 97,000 miles on it. The car drives very well, has nice clean interior, lots of scrathes/dings on outside and a cracked windshield. The KBB value is around $2000. The car was due for a timing belt change. It had not had a power steering fluid ...
by sk.dolcevita
Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Rates
Replies: 20
Views: 2688

Re: Refinance Rates

In Atlanta: Primary residence refinanced 2 months ago 193K @ 2.875%, 15 years, zero closing costs. Previously @ 3.5%, 30 years. Investment property refinanced 3 months ago $144K @ 3.125%, 15 years, $2400 closing costs. Previously @ 4.0%, 30 years. I would guess my independent broker could probably d...