Search found 308 matches

by penumbra
Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How have your homes as investments done?
Replies: 211
Views: 24661

Re: How have your homes as investments done?

I'll play... Bought our house 1979 for $252,500. 37 years later, worth approx $3,000,000. We're in (very) coastal Southern California. So fairly good appreciation but probably not as good as the stock market over that time. That being said, we love our home and hope they carry us out a long time fro...
by penumbra
Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Income tax preparation cost?
Replies: 32
Views: 3792

Re: Income tax preparation cost?

Just checked my return from last year. Federal was 42 pages, 16 Forms or Schedules. State was somewhat smaller. Also involved filing for an Extension, and some associated tax planning for first RMD. Total fee: $1275. High cost of living Southern California.

Yours seems way, way out of line.
by penumbra
Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct Plus vs TurboTax vs H&R Block for 2015
Replies: 117
Views: 16230

Re: TaxAct Plus vs TurboTax vs H&R Block for 2015

I switched from TT to TaxACt a couple of years ago. Although TaxAct is cheaper, I've found that it is very weak on handling the sale of ESPP shares and RSU's. For ESPPs, if forces you to do some of your own calculation in order to take into account how much has already been included in your W2 by y...
by penumbra
Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citibank wants tax returns for a credit card???
Replies: 50
Views: 15121

Re: Citibank wants tax returns for a credit card???

I've had 40 or so cards in the last 5 years. Never been asked for a tax return. I would not provide it unless I was down to my last card (figure of speech, only). It's by no means standard.
by penumbra
Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone bought a new bed recently? [Mattress]
Replies: 59
Views: 13643

Re: Anyone bought a new bed recently?

We are shopping as well. Are the beds that tilt worth the expense? We have never used one but I think they would be nice. They can run as high as $10k, though. The adjustable frames are FANTASTIC!!! Among the several shops i went to (SoCal area), they said 30 - 40% of beds they sell now include the...
by penumbra
Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone bought a new bed recently? [Mattress]
Replies: 59
Views: 13643

Re: Anyone bought a new bed recently?

We are also getting close to replacing our mattress. One piece of advice I can give is to steer clear of an olympic queen size. That was the largest size that would fit in our room. Finding sheets for it was expensive to the point we used king sized sheets folded over. We plan to replace it with st...
by penumbra
Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone bought a new bed recently? [Mattress]
Replies: 59
Views: 13643

Re: Anyone bought a new bed recently?

Was in the same boat. Notable back issues, older bed. Looked long and hard. Ended up with latex mattress, and adjustable frames. One of the best decisions we ever made. Instead of tossing and turning, I can go from 4hrs , up to all night and never turn. It's amazingly comfortable! Didn't like the qu...
by penumbra
Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I think MacBook Air has a "bug"
Replies: 32
Views: 3938

Re: I think MacBook Air has a "bug"

It's almost certainly the browser (or another application), not the operating system, that is having an issue*. In over a decade of using macs I can't recall the last time a reboot was actually necessary. A reboot was suggested because this is the most straightforward way to shut down the offending...
by penumbra
Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for exercise?
Replies: 222
Views: 22514

Re: Do you pay for exercise?

^^ . best response yet!! We belong to a gym, large chain, but one of the nicest I've ever seen. 160,000 square feet, with everything you can think of. My wife likes the glassed in pool, with outdoor views. I use the machines, exercycles, etc. All classes included. Have an old, grandfathered rate of ...
by penumbra
Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Overwhelmed!
Replies: 24
Views: 6818

Re: Vanguard Overwhelmed!

Needed to call Vanguard today, about opening another account. Got that busy voice message, but in about a minute got to a person who handled it beautifully, going over the application documents page by page to make sure I understood what was required (it was a complex account registration). Gave me ...
by penumbra
Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mint...working less, and less, and less
Replies: 42
Views: 9939

Re: Mint...working less, and less, and less

Just checked to be sure:
19 investment accounts at 6 different brokerages
5 credit cards

All downloading perfectly again. No problems at all. Not everyone having problems, i guess.

Personal Capital also working without a hitch.
by penumbra
Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bank of America disses older clients
Replies: 24
Views: 3207

Re: Bank of America disses older clients

I must say, I'm of the older persuasion, and have had nothing but outstanding service from b of a, especially in the last year when I ran into several large problems they helped me deal with. I think they are terrific.
by penumbra
Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Part D
Replies: 5
Views: 732

Re: Medicare Part D

If your premium is low enough, it's probably worth going with a plan D. But be aware that anything other than cheap generics can be still very expensive. And if you are in a high tax bracket, the IRMAA the government charges you can be up to $72/month in addition to the premium. You need a lot of dr...
by penumbra
Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Premier 2015 Free @ Fidelity (premium customers)
Replies: 36
Views: 15144

Re: Turbo Tax Premier 2015 Free @ Fidelity (premium customers)

I'm a long term Private Client. My page gives me the "save $20" offer. May call to complain. We'll see.
by penumbra
Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Portfolio tracking software for Mac
Replies: 14
Views: 2074

Re: Portfolio tracking software for Mac

Had the same problem. This weekend, I put all my passwords into Mint, and Personal Capital. Had previously put outside account passwords into Full View on Fidelity. Net worth within a few dollars on all three. Complete and comprehensive. Not sure I will continue with all three, but wanted to validat...
by penumbra
Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your house worth?
Replies: 71
Views: 9010

Re: How much is your house worth?

$2,500,000. But Zillow, trulia @ $1,500,000. But Redfin still about 10-15% low, I'd say. Hmmnnn....
by penumbra
Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Ameritrade, Fidelity, Vanguard
Replies: 16
Views: 2776

Re: Ameritrade, Fidelity, Vanguard

I have used each of these, as well as Wells Trade. Fidelity is by far the best broker in my experience. I have local offices for Fidelity and TDA, as well as Schwab. Customer service, website and range of support is without peer for Fidelity. I am slowly consolidating away from Schwab, TDA and Wells...
by penumbra
Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cash for Gift Cards: What is the best method?
Replies: 13
Views: 1656

Re: Cash for Gift Cards: What is the best method?

I use them to buy gift cards for myself at Amazon, then deposit them in my Amazon account. I always need stuff at Amazon. Use the cash you'd otherwise spend elsewhere for the same things, to put in your kids accounts.
by penumbra
Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Next credit card for a bonus?
Replies: 109
Views: 20002

Re: Next credit card for a bonus?

Consider the British air visa. Currently offering up to 100,000 points depending on how much you charge. Can be used on American, along with great benefits on Br Air.
by penumbra
Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:07 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Supporting the Operating Costs of the Forum
Replies: 42
Views: 9069

Re: Supporting the Operating Costs of the Forum

Gladly contributed!!! Bogleheads has made an enormous difference in our lives. Money well spent!
by penumbra
Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much money should I leave my kids?
Replies: 96
Views: 11840

Re: How much money should I leave my kids?

This is a problem my wife and I have spent lots of time processing. First, the Condon and Condon book is terrific. It will really help you think this through. Second, a high six figure amount will not throw any kid to where it would demotivate him or her. It's a good amount, but not life changing. W...
by penumbra
Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Serta iComfort / Tempurpedic - Buying a Mattress
Replies: 40
Views: 9180

Re: Serta iComfort / Tempurpedic - Buying a Mattress

We purchased split king pure latex mattresses with adjustable frames. Expensive, but we have never slept so well, and I have been a poor sleeper all my life. Notable differences when compared to tempurpedic: not as hot, and you don't get that quicksand effect of sinking in and having turning more di...
by penumbra
Mon Dec 07, 2015 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reading BH Posts on an iPhone 6S Plus
Replies: 5
Views: 800

Re: Reading BH Posts on an iPhone 6S Plus

They all appear for me, both in landscape and portrait mode. Seeing them now.

Correction:
Apologize. I see current poster and OP, but not avatar and prior number of posts. Agree it must be formatting differently for phone.
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: buy more QUAL or go to value?
Replies: 27
Views: 3319

Re: buy more QUAL or go to value?

For what it's worth, I have been thinking of doing exactly this, for the very same reasons. It might not be this best idea n the long run, but I watch my assets pretty carefully. I would not try to discourage this, with the growth/value tilt you have stated.
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Invest with one firm or more than one?
Replies: 15
Views: 2143

Re: Invest with one firm or more than one?

Vanguard s ultimate safety may be all but assured, but I agree with Livesoft. Things get messed up for unexpected reasons, and while the firm may not be in jeopardy, your access might be. Someday I may consolidat more, but not for the foreseeable future.
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USAA - online bill payment issues - anyone else?
Replies: 8
Views: 1979

Re: USAA - online bill payment issues - anyone else?

Have had difficulties myself in changing autopay options. Said it did, but then it hadn't. Went online again, and the next changes I made weren't reflected even 2 days later. Finally had to call, and rep straightened it out easily. Not what I expected, but my overall satisfaction with USAA is still ...
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: No Admiral Shares in a Vanguard Individual 401(k)
Replies: 46
Views: 13636

Re: No Admiral Shares in a Vanguard Individual 401(k)

Spirit Rider wrote:I just wish Fidelity offer a Roth option already.
I have multiple Roth's at Fidelity. What option are you referring to?
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: No Admiral Shares in a Vanguard Individual 401(k)
Replies: 46
Views: 13636

Re: No Admiral Shares in a Vanguard Individual 401(k)

Just a note to correct something which has been mistakenly mentioned a few times in this and other threads: Admiral shares are available at Wells Trade. I have them in both Non prototype 401k and taxable accounts. This factor, plus free trades make it an outstanding account.
by penumbra
Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is my stock ask "missed"?
Replies: 25
Views: 4658

Re: Why is my stock ask "missed"?

I trade often, using only limit orders, at Fidelity, TDA, Merrill Edge, Wellstrade. I have never seen this happen. Exactly never. Something is wrong at Scottrade.
by penumbra
Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Need help for transfer from Vanguard to BOA/ME
Replies: 7
Views: 998

Re: Need help for transfer from Vanguard to BOA/ME

I opened this account last year at this time. It was a bit of a hassle opening it in the name of our trust, but stuck with it... Did have to pay taxes, but the account w Merrill Edge has been a very pleasant surprise. It links beautifully with my checking account, and their Travl rewards card. Plan ...
by penumbra
Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Brokerage Transfer Inducements
Replies: 3
Views: 509

Re: Brokerage Transfer Inducements

Sure, most years I do it once or twice. You need more than two brokerages, since you can't be transferring from A to B at the same time you're going from B to A. Cash rewards are good, but they will generally give you a 1099 if more than $600 incentive, and sometimes for much less than that. General...
by penumbra
Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much capacity for a new iPhone?
Replies: 32
Views: 3760

Re: How much capacity for a new iPhone?

Have the 6s plus. I do love it overall, and agree with above comment. Remember also that when you sell it or trade it in, you'll get most of the $100 back for the 64 gb. The new owner won't want a 16 gb. By then, the needs for 64 gb will be even more obvious. Besides, it's only money. And you're get...
by penumbra
Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap Plans:Any experience with Aetna, USAA or Blue Cross Blue Shield
Replies: 29
Views: 5051

Re: Medigap Plans:Any experience with Aetna, USAA or Blue Cross Blue Shield

We have used USAA plan F for 5 years now. Quite a few claims, I'm sorry to say. Flawless, and less expensive than most others when I have checked it out. But I believe most plans work well: if Medicare covers it, they will too. Any differences relate to service, timeliness, and of course, cost. As m...
by penumbra
Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to backup DVD collection
Replies: 29
Views: 2802

Re: How to backup DVD collection

It's doable. I use Handbrake, free on the Internet, although there are commercial programs for this as well. It takes me about 15 minute per movie on my newer MacBook Pro. Results are playable thru iTunes, or most any player that comes with your computer. But I appreciate other comments above. Up to...
by penumbra
Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking of switching from phone to phablet
Replies: 49
Views: 7015

Re: Thinking of switching from phone to phablet

I got the 6SPlus the day it came out. I was a bit unsure about it's size. It fits ok in my pocket. It's notably larger to handle, and I find myself more worried about mishandling/dropping it, but perhaps that will pass. We just returned from 8 days in nyc. I brought my iPad and phone, and found I ne...
by penumbra
Tue May 26, 2015 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Patient-Ordered Medical (Genetic) Tests
Replies: 20
Views: 2664

Re: Patient-Ordered Medical (Genetic) Tests

I think he would want to know, and should know. "Might" or "may" is not an answer. Sorry, you may ben talking about you, but that's by no means universal. Having spent many years dealing with breast cancer patients, I can tell you that many women with cancer don't want to know i...
by penumbra
Mon May 11, 2015 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Admiral funds in a BoA/ML IRA?
Replies: 12
Views: 1408

Re: Admiral funds in a BoA/ML IRA?

As far as I know, admiral shares are only available at Vanguard and Wells Fargo. I have them at both locations..
by penumbra
Mon May 11, 2015 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity asset levels question
Replies: 7
Views: 3173

Re: Fidelity asset levels question

I am a Private Client at Fidelity. The list above gives a good idea of what you get. Trades are $5.95, for everyone in your household, including my kids own accounts. Have a local contact who has been unbelievably helpful in reviewing accounts, arranging meetings with Fidelity attorneys to give sugg...
by penumbra
Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Physicians: What's your vacation policy?
Replies: 28
Views: 12889

Re: Physicians: What's your vacation policy?

Small incorporated group, largely physicians, although we have had many employees in the past. Most recently 12 weeks vacation, no need to accrue. Cannot hold over to the following year. We try to get each person to take 3 weeks per quarter, so that everyone doesn't want everything in the summer.
by penumbra
Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?
Replies: 188
Views: 23993

Re: How much do you pay in Property Taxes?

I'll play.
So California region, 38 yr old house, value about $2.5 million. Taxes $5000.
Prop 13 beneficiary. It's not a level playing field.
by penumbra
Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Costco and AMEX
Replies: 69
Views: 29340

Re: Costco and AMEX

We did it, a few months back. Sounds like it would still pay for you too. the extra Executive benefit more than pays for the cost of the card. Plan to cancel at renewal (in January, for us).
by penumbra
Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you buy a house without AC?
Replies: 60
Views: 7050

Re: Would you buy 1.5 M house without AC?

We lived in the South Bay (Hermosa Beach, then Palos Verdes) without air some years back. You can get by without it, but depends how close to the coast you are talking about. More than 1/2 mile inland, it gets notably hotter, and as you say, for a few weeks you'll wish you had it. We live now on a h...
by penumbra
Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car buying services - recommendations?
Replies: 14
Views: 3053

Re: Car buying services - recommendations?

We bought a Prius new last year. Went thru Trucar and Costco.. Costco was notably cheaper, and threw in $200 worth of accessories as well. On top of that the dealer allowed us to put the whole thing on a credit card, which we promptly paid off, but the miles we earned got us 2 business class tickets...
by penumbra
Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deleted
Replies: 18
Views: 3517

Re: Fidelity Premium

I have Private Client status, but had premium in the past. Customer service is outstanding, and my local rep has bent over backwards to accommodate specific needs when I've asked. I have the fob device, but haven't as yet implemented it. Sounds good. I have used Vanguard as well, along with Wells Fa...
by penumbra
Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Alternate funds for OSTIX USHYX
Replies: 4
Views: 1020

Re: Alternate funds for OSTIX USHYX

Hi Ken, Welcome to Bogleheads. I wanted to let you know why you are not getting any help. 1) You are using fund symbols that we don't know. Please type up the fund names so hundreds of us don't have to google all those tickers. 2) You are talking about "... currently have 40% of my portfolio.....
by penumbra
Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A Returns Spreadsheet for Bogleheads
Replies: 324
Views: 81175

Re: A Returns Spreadsheet for Bogleheads

I have used your spreadsheet on a Mac with Excel. It is fantastic, exactly what I was looking for! Can't thank you enough for all the effort. What I was unable to do is paste a set of values into the sheet; I have to enter the dollar amount manually, but it does work. If I use the Dropbox version, c...
by penumbra
Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchasing a car with credit cards for cash back rewards?
Replies: 36
Views: 5515

Re: Purchasing a car with credit cards for cash back rewards

I did this last year for the full purchase price of a loaded Prius. Had previously negotiated the price via a Costco deal, which beat the price of Trucar and other sites. I didn't expect them to allow it, but they smiled and actually volunteered it. For what it's worth it was an AutoNation dealershi...
by penumbra
Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Plan D [Tale of Woe]
Replies: 21
Views: 2775

Re: Medicare Plan D Tail Of Whoa!

This is one of those areas where there is no one-fits-all answer. I have had SilverScript this year as well. The main thing is to be lucky enough to have problems for which generic drugs are the answer. Many providers tend to use brand names when simpler generics are just fine, but it's hard for a l...
by penumbra
Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do so many think their home is a foolproof investment?
Replies: 125
Views: 9873

Re: Why do so many think their home is a foolproof investmen

It's not foolproof, but not a bad bet. Does have something to do with your location, as has been mentioned.
I paid $252,500 for mine in 1977. Now worth about $2,500,000. I'm in coastal California. I'm more than pleased.
Taxes $5200 yearly.
by penumbra
Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Month to start Medicare and Max Social Security
Replies: 3
Views: 577

Re: Month to start Medicare and Max Social Security

Answer to Q3: When I have gone thru these issues, I did it by telephone each time. If there's a large call volume, they will call you back at a time you select. Representatives have been extremely helpful and thorough. I even handled the planning of my wife's benefits on the same call ( she had to b...