Search found 452 matches

by BeneIRA
Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing affordability - what is your take?
Replies: 65
Views: 5334

Re: Housing affordability - what is your take?

I am in a High Cost of Living Area as well, and unless house prices drop a fair amount, which seems to be inevitable at some point, I know I won't be able to buy a house. I read a rule on here to target a house that is three times your pre-tax income and that sounds about right. So if you make $120,...
by BeneIRA
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aqua Shoes for Beach
Replies: 16
Views: 1389

Re: Aqua Shoes for Beach

Looking for suggestions on a decent pair of water shoes to wear while at the beach. We have went through plenty of the cheap, under $10 versions, but they aren't very comfortable and don't last long. Would mostly wear them to protect the feet while in the ocean, but would prefer them to be comfy en...
by BeneIRA
Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: SPG rewards....sucks?
Replies: 24
Views: 2601

Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

The love affair with SPG points always baffled me, too. The actual redemptions at SPG hotels never seemed worth it and I always ended up transferring them to airline programs. I still have some that have been sitting around for a while and I will probably end up using them at a Marriott at some poin...
by BeneIRA
Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay off last student loan?
Replies: 8
Views: 676

Re: Should I pay off last student loan?

Dear Bogleheads, I have almost paid down more than $400k of student loans. I have $29k left at 2.96 percent. I have just enough extra cash for the first time where I can pay off the rest of the balance. I am already maxing our tax deferred but not much in taxable. The loans have been a HUGE burden ...
by BeneIRA
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do Airlines measure checked baggages?
Replies: 33
Views: 2034

Re: Do Airlines measure checked baggages?

Long term, probably swap it out for a smaller bag, but you should be fine. I have seen quite a few airlines weigh bags, but not measure checked ones. Carry ons get put into the sizer.
by BeneIRA
Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A week in Budapest?
Replies: 22
Views: 1408

Re: A week in Budapest?

GAAP wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:37 am
The Hospital in the Rock is fascinating -- English speaking tour guides readily available.
Can’t believe I forgot Hospital in the Rock. I highly recommend it, too.
by BeneIRA
Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A week in Budapest?
Replies: 22
Views: 1408

Re: A week in Budapest?

Budapest is a great place to visit. Cheaper than it probably should be. Definitely head to at least two of the baths, Széchenyi and Gellert, at least. The former is better and the latter is more touristy luxurious. Take a Danube River cruise and see Margaret Island. Definitely check out the Shoes on...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k matching
Replies: 33
Views: 2243

Re: 401k matching

401k matching is pretty straight forward. Usually it is something such as: 100% match up to a percentage. For instance. 100% match on the first 5% the employee contributes. You contribute 5%, they will contribute 5%. 50% match up to a percentage. For instance, 50% match on the first 6% the employee ...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare supplemental, etc.
Replies: 24
Views: 1421

Re: Medicare supplemental, etc.

I am surprised no one has asked, maybe I missed it, but are either you or your spouse actively working and have medical insurance through an employer (retiree coverage doesn't count)? If so, you can push off the decision for a bit since that coverage remains primary.
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Start CC Churning
Replies: 33
Views: 3733

Re: How to Start CC Churning

Jags is spot-on. If you don't know what you want, it is hard to know what cards you should get. If you are getting next to nothing in the way of rewards now, I wouldn't be opposed to opening a Chase Sapphire Preferred as long as you can easily meet the minimum spend and just start racking up Ultimat...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Pay Down Question
Replies: 37
Views: 1972

Re: Credit Card Pay Down Question

OP, you are spot on that he should just pay it off and not take it from the Roth. I will take the contrarian view and agree with Jags that a 0% interest credit card wouldn't be bad at all. If it can save the OP's friend $600-$800, well, that is more than most churners get with opening one credit car...
by BeneIRA
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Toughest Purchase of my Life. Engagement Ring time
Replies: 207
Views: 9234

Re: Toughest Purchase of my Life. Engagement Ring time

Get the ring. Check James Allen, which is better than Blue Nile. Search. The Truth About Diamonds who will show you what you don’t need to spend any money on and what you should focus on.
by BeneIRA
Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turned down for credit card
Replies: 35
Views: 2735

Re: Turned down for credit card

American Express or Discover are your best bets. Amex, in particular, gives cards out like candy.
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option
Replies: 20
Views: 3876

Re: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option

Not being able to designate a beneficiary online, but requiring mailing or faxing a notarized form would have been impressive in the 90's, but in 2018, it is pretty ridiculous.
by BeneIRA
Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card - Keep Getting Denied
Replies: 27
Views: 2090

Re: Credit Card - Keep Getting Denied

I have a friend who has been using an Amex charge card for a year not knowing his history isn’t reported to the credit bureaus. He pays this off every month. His credit score is ~640 and he has no debt outside of mortgage and vehicle. Called Amex to convert his charge card to a credit card and was ...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I ran out of credit card signups bonus...
Replies: 106
Views: 15791

Re: I ran out of credit card signups bonus...

JBTX wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:54 am
For those of you who do this a lot, do you typically go back for round 2 of the same cards?
For sure. And sometimes round 3, 4, etc. I would keep going with the Citi AA but they stopped sending me mailers, which makes me very sad.
by BeneIRA
Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are Credit Cards Actually Convenient?
Replies: 91
Views: 6750

Re: Are Credit Cards Actually Convenient?

I am paranoid, so I always like to buy gas gift cards and use those at the pump so a thief who is skimming might steal $10-$15 from me or I go inside to pay. In any case, is this by chance a Citi card? They are legendary for their awful IT and quick trigger on fraud alerts. The solution there would ...
by BeneIRA
Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Accepted new job, immediately laid off at old one?
Replies: 37
Views: 6108

Re: Accepted new job, immediately laid off at old one?

hi guys - so i recently accepted another job a week and a half back that's a much better opportunity for myself. however, I just got laid off from my current job on friday (they cited a company wide restructuring as the reason, but I feel like they might have found out that I was leaving for anothe...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 26 years old. Roth ira with edward jones last 3.5 years.
Replies: 44
Views: 2648

Re: 26 years old. Roth ira with edward jones last 3.5 years.

Not to derail, but getting approved for a Sapphire Reserve on a $30,000 income I wouldn't count on. There was just a post on Churning about someone trying this and it failing. Since the starting limit is $10,000, that would be giving you 33% on one card. And with you double dipping, well, I don't kn...
by BeneIRA
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amex in Europe
Replies: 18
Views: 1075

Re: Amex in Europe

You need to be more specific on the countries you will be visiting. Austria, for instance, is very cash heavy. Italy is all Visa and Mastercard and they typically want something to cost at least 10 Euros before using a card and their terminals are “down” sometimes. United Kingdom? Accepts Amex and a...
by BeneIRA
Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepaid cell phone plan vs Regular Contract Plan
Replies: 26
Views: 2198

Re: Prepaid cell phone plan vs Regular Contract Plan

$55 for one line with those stats on AT&T is like burglary. Verizon, a better network in my experience, has a prepaid plan for $40 with 3gb of data and unlimited talk and text along with rollover data each month. Have not had issues with Verizon prepaid. AT&T post paid makes me question how far we h...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Options after COBRA ends? Cal-COBRA or Guaranteed Issue or ?
Replies: 6
Views: 716

Re: Options after COBRA ends? Cal-COBRA or Guaranteed Issue or ?

Reach out to the carrier directly to determine if Cal-COBRA is even available. Typically it is only offered my fully insured plans such as Kaiser.
by BeneIRA
Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Italy Trip Questions
Replies: 33
Views: 2014

Re: Italy Trip Questions

Regarding the OP's $2000 RT airfare, whenever you buy an airline ticket far in advance (i.e. for next year) you often pay top dollar. Wait until a couple months before the trip, unless you plan to travel during a peak holiday. Even last minute tickets are often lower price than tickets for the dist...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Italy Trip Questions
Replies: 33
Views: 2014

Re: Italy Trip Questions

It depends what you’re into. For me, that’s enough time. I found four days in Rome more than enough. It is very busy and I preferred Florence much more. Definitely go to Siena in Tuscany. I did a Google Flights search on just LHR, which is Heathrow, and you can find one ways around $100 next year to...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Your Walgreens doesn't have gift cards? Some 7-11 stores also code as gas stations, so you can grab gift cards from there, that's what I did during last year's gas station quarter. I don't churn to the point of buying gift cards unless I have a specific, targeted purchase in mind. Just one level mo...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Your Walgreens doesn't have gift cards? Some 7-11 stores also code as gas stations, so you can grab gift cards from there, that's what I did during last year's gas station quarter. I don't churn to the point of buying gift cards unless I have a specific, targeted purchase in mind. Just one level mo...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Got a targeted offer for the Chase United Explorer card - 60K miles when spending $3,000 in first three months (plus 5K additional for each authorized user added - after the AU places a charge on their card). This is better than the standard offer I see (40K miles) or even the typical upgraded offe...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Job in MA, live in MA, RI, or CT?
Replies: 67
Views: 3022

Re: Job in MA, live in MA, RI, or CT?

Everyone is focusing so much on the taxes that we aren't focusing on the second part of the question. The housing cost differences will almost certainly make up the tax differences. Rhode Island has to be cheaper than both MA and CT and it probably isn't close. If you just care about minimizing expe...
by BeneIRA
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Renting vs Buying a Home
Replies: 24
Views: 1767

Re: Renting vs Buying a Home

Hi everyone, I know this is a very complicated question that has a ton of facets...but I want to try and broach the topic of whether I should look into buying a home vs. continuing to rent (because of the 'why not pay towards equity rather than paying someone else's mortgage' thought). My situation...
by BeneIRA
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA Experts Needed: Newborn Coverage
Replies: 11
Views: 1001

Re: COBRA Experts Needed: Newborn Coverage

I will be leaving my current job at the end of the month. Health insurance at my new employer begins on the 31st day of employment. We’re expecting a baby in mid-July. Spouse and children are and will be covered under my health insurance policy. What I think I know: Coverage under COBRA can be elec...
by BeneIRA
Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I am about to embark on a 4 month trip at my own expense. The area I will be traveling in is mostly populated by the large hotel chains, not many independent options. I have the Marriott, IHG, Hilton, Choice and Hyatt cards. I am wondering if there is any way to hack this - i.e. which program is mo...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Another thing to consider is the money value of simplicity. Thinking, planning, etc costs time and time is money. Thank you, protagonist. You have expressed it exactly right. There are many life priorities that are far greater than optimizing CC rewards, and focusing on low hanging fruits is probab...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

It looks like Chase has put new restrictions on UR point transfers between cards. I was not able to transfer between Freedom and Sapphire Reserve today - something I have done numerous times in the past. The blogs carried a rumor to this effect a couple of months ago - just took Chase a while to im...
by BeneIRA
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Explanation of free credit scores
Replies: 16
Views: 1801

Re: Explanation of free credit scores

As many others, I have been using some of the credit score reporting tools offered by credit cards, banks, Credit Karma, etc. While I appreciate using the tools I don't understand the fluctuations I see in the reports. I am retired with frozen credit and consistent spending habits but the scores se...
by BeneIRA
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I want to get CSR . - I have CSP for which I have received a bonus more than 2 years ago. - I am under 5/24. - I have other Chase cards that can keep my URs. Question-1 : After I cancel CSP, how soon will I be able to get CSR with bonuses? - One of the bloggers had a recent discussion on this topic...
by BeneIRA
Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Want to see what you guys think: Currently have the following cards: CSP, CFU, USAA (2.5%), Amex BCP. I want to simplify down to two cards. Would you stick with CSP/CFU or go with USAA/Amex? We typically buy flights on Southwest as we fly on AA for free (family member is corporate exec). Really jus...
by BeneIRA
Mon May 28, 2018 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Air Miles and Paying Fees and Taxes
Replies: 29
Views: 1908

Re: Using Air Miles and Paying Fees and Taxes

BA tries to seduce you with direct routes, but they are almost always a very poor use of miles. Route through PHL or JFK to stick on just AA metal and the surcharges will plummet. To me, the savings are worth it. I have an upcoming trip using AA miles and if I had gone with BA on any segment, my tax...
by BeneIRA
Tue May 22, 2018 1:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Difficulty with Parents-In-Law
Replies: 25
Views: 1569

Re: Difficulty with Parents-In-Law

Definitely agree it is best to not get involved. Speaking from experience, the only topic that is of relevance to you is what happens when they pass and what the plan is since that will almost definitely involve you and your spouse. Their investments could be next to nothing and they may have no lif...
by BeneIRA
Mon May 21, 2018 6:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I want to get CSR . - I have CSP for which I have received a bonus more than 2 years ago. - I am under 5/24. - I have other Chase cards that can keep my URs. Question-1 : After I cancel CSP, how soon will I be able to get CSR with bonuses? - One of the bloggers had a recent discussion on this topic...
by BeneIRA
Mon May 21, 2018 6:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

An FYI for those responding in comments on the IHG card changes.... My research appears to show that those of us with the existing IHG card will be grandfathered in with the annual fee at $49 and it won't go up. The only change we have is that going forward, the free night is limited to hotels at 4...
by BeneIRA
Sun May 20, 2018 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

An FYI for those responding in comments on the IHG card changes.... My research appears to show that those of us with the existing IHG card will be grandfathered in with the annual fee at $49 and it won't go up. The only change we have is that going forward, the free night is limited to hotels at 4...
by BeneIRA
Sat May 19, 2018 7:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

So if I get 120,000 points (100k with bonus and 20k through spending) it will be only worth 2 x (20,000 + 5,000) = 50,000 miles ? Doesn't sound very good. Chase Ink still offers 80k just with the bonus and its transferable 1:1 to lots of airlines. I think I'm going to pass on the Marriott card just...
by BeneIRA
Sat May 19, 2018 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Priceline hotels?
Replies: 16
Views: 2250

Re: Priceline hotels?

I use Express Deals somewhat regularly. Make sure you stick with 8+ guest rating, for sure. Some great deals to be had, especially in expensive cities.
by BeneIRA
Fri May 18, 2018 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I want to get CSR . - I have CSP for which I have received a bonus more than 2 years ago. - I am under 5/24. - I have other Chase cards that can keep my URs. Question-1 : After I cancel CSP, how soon will I be able to get CSR with bonuses? - One of the bloggers had a recent discussion on this topic...
by BeneIRA
Fri May 18, 2018 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2721
Views: 540204

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Any thoughts on IHG devaluing the free night to just those under 30,000 points and I think the annual fee is going up to $89 from $49? Also, thoughts on changes with SPG starting 8/1? should you convert your spg miles before then? I'm okay with the IHG devaluation. 30k points is still a good deal i...
by BeneIRA
Tue May 15, 2018 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card with no credit history
Replies: 15
Views: 1017

Re: Credit card with no credit history

Discover IT is a good place to start since the rewards are competitive and Discover is not too strict about approving people with little credit history. American Express is also very loose with their standards for approving someone, so you also may want to start there. Capital One is another one tha...
by BeneIRA
Thu May 10, 2018 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Part B sticker shock - should I appeal
Replies: 7
Views: 1444

Re: Medicare Part B sticker shock - should I appeal

Have you looked into dropping your and spouse's coverage with the former employer, since your portion will be effectively useless and you are only keeping the coverage for her, then using a qualified life event, since your spouse is losing group health coverage under that scenario, to hop onto ACA f...
by BeneIRA
Thu May 10, 2018 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?
Replies: 48
Views: 5172

Re: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?

I would probably take London since it has quite a few low cost carriers which would make plane travel easy, but you would probably want more than a day wherever you go from there. Rome would be great as far as things to do and some day trips are possible from there. In Italy, I would take Florence ...
by BeneIRA
Tue May 08, 2018 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?
Replies: 48
Views: 5172

Re: Which City to spend 4-6 weeks?

I would probably take London since it has quite a few low cost carriers which would make plane travel easy, but you would probably want more than a day wherever you go from there. Rome would be great as far as things to do and some day trips are possible from there. In Italy, I would take Florence o...
by BeneIRA
Mon May 07, 2018 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA: Anyone know if you qualify if you resign?
Replies: 13
Views: 1319

Re: COBRA: Anyone know if you qualify if you resign?

If your company offers COBRA, yes, you will be eligible if you resign. The only exception is “gross misconduct.” In all my years, I have seen that used one time. Let’s just say that person earned the designation through more than one illegal action. If that is not you, you will be offered COBRA as l...