Search found 308 matches

by penumbra
Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: strategy to get brokerage bonuses
Replies: 56
Views: 6798

Re: strategy to get brokerage bonuses

Wow, there are some really strong opinions about this, especially considering some people haven't even tried it. I've done this several times per year for maybe 5 years, in various combinations using Fidelity, TDA, Schwab and etrade. Works simply and flawlessly. I've repeated Fidelity in just over 1...
by penumbra
Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you take all of your allowed paid vacation time?
Replies: 88
Views: 9993

Re: Do you take all of your allowed paid vacation time?

Are you kidding? Although I recently retired, I took between 14 and 18 weeks off virtually every year. Never let a vacation day go by. Lots and lots of travel, fishing, bicycling, lots of time with the kids, but sometimes just stuff I liked around the neighborhood. I always kept connected (once conn...
by penumbra
Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wait for better tenant application or approve the one I have
Replies: 27
Views: 2519

Re: Wait for better tenant application or approve the one I

Reminds me a little of the negotiations when I met my wife, just sort of in reverse. I wanted a one year lease, she wanted something like 50 years or so. She won.

Lucky me, really.
by penumbra
Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need help with time share offer
Replies: 21
Views: 2805

Re: Need help with time share offer

Short answer: don't do it. Very expensive. Even if they rent it, they generally keep 1/3 for management fees. Rarely can rent all the unused time anyway... I speak as a happy timeshare owner in Aspen, but we bought an aftermarket unit for peanuts ($500 per week total purchase cost.). After that, onl...
by penumbra
Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying
Replies: 30
Views: 30697

Re: PenFed v. Truecar v. BJs v. Costco auto buying

Recently bought a Prius. Used Trucar first, then Costco. Got notably better price thru Costco, even from the same dealer. It was also simpler to use. Dealer honored the Costco price without any funny business, extras, etc. Had checked prices on Priuschat, a website for Prius owners, who told their p...
by penumbra
Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Personal Defined Benefits Plan
Replies: 15
Views: 2101

Re: Personal Defined Benefits Plan

We used this in my former medical group. As mentioned, it works best the older you are, since you have fewer years to fund. We established the plan and the older guys (50's and later) got to fund as much as $260k/year. When fully funded for the older participants, , the plan was terminated and rolle...
by penumbra
Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help, slab leak in San Diego. Ever have one?
Replies: 21
Views: 3749

Re: Help, slab leak in San Diego. Ever have one?

Am in So Cal as well. Just finishing with our second slab leak, although 20 years apart. $70,000 damage, 4 months to complete repairs. First leak: ripped up wood floors, jack hammered slab, repaired leak, put it all back together eventually. Piles of dirt in the living room. Not pretty. Second leak,...
by penumbra
Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please Help Me Find A Doctor
Replies: 23
Views: 2530

Re: Please Help Me Find A Doctor

As a physician who gets asked this a lot, I have strong feelings. I would NOT go to any website and pick one off a list. I live in an upscale area with lots of available docs. I know most of them: some are great, but there are many I honestly would not take my dog to. Some of the latter are very cha...
by penumbra
Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Transitioning when one hits "the number"
Replies: 72
Views: 6949

Re: Transitioning when one hits "the number"

There is no such thing as the "number" you need for retirement. My own rule of thumb is that your should have 2x the amount you think you will need in retirement. Huh what? :confused +1 Of course, it's just a neighborhood of a number, but that neighborhood certainly exists. How did you co...
by penumbra
Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Renew Barron's Subcription
Replies: 22
Views: 3435

Re: Renew Barron's Subcription

Use airline miles. Recently used about 2000 miles or so for a year. That's about $20-30. For that it's worth it.
by penumbra
Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: road noise in your car
Replies: 27
Views: 6663

Re: road noise in your car

My best suggestion is to leave your wife at home. I suppose there is some type of spray that might work on a wife, but I haven't fully explored this. :wink:
by penumbra
Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Picking an insurance co for Medigap policies
Replies: 34
Views: 6320

Re: Picking an insurance co for Medigap policies

Here's my best advice: if your friend has been in the military, call USAA ASAP . They do a great job, and are the least expensive option in my area. Flawless service. Not sure if they are available if no military history.
by penumbra
Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Advisers Are Dead Even On Market Timing
Replies: 12
Views: 1686

Re: Advisers Are Dead Even On Market Timing

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:I believe you must have intended to use more punctuation in commenting on the state of the industry, making full use of hyperbole of course:

Advisers Are Dead. Even On Market Timing.

PJW
:D :D
by penumbra
Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best deals on gyms
Replies: 40
Views: 4390

Re: Best deals on gyms

Quite a spectrum of answers. I have belonged to LA Fitness for many years. Two new centers have been built near me, one 110,000 sq feet, and one 160,000 sq feet, in prior department stores. The range of facilities is fantastic. Never a wait for anything. Basketball, racketball, pools, saunas, jacuzz...
by penumbra
Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: After retirement...Sphone? Tablet? Laptop? All?
Replies: 27
Views: 2313

Re: After retirement...Sphone? Tablet? Laptop? All?

Well, as a retiree of a year or so, I need a laptop for excel, word, more complex functions like managing movies and photos, itunes. Couldn't manage with it. Got an ipad, and wondered if I would use it. Turns out, I use it the most, first thing in the morning, last thing at night and frequently in b...
by penumbra
Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014 trip to Europe
Replies: 44
Views: 5452

Re: 2014 trip to Europe

If your spending habits allow, probably the best credit card deal is the British Air Visa. If you spend $30,000 per year on it, you get a voucher for 2 business class tickets to Europe. The card has been an award winner for best value a few times. It also doesn't have any extra fees for charging th...
by penumbra
Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AARP Medigap Plan F. - Your experience w. rate increases?
Replies: 29
Views: 21688

Re: AARP Medigap Plan F -- your experience w. rate increases

Just got my renewal from USAA, plan F. Age going to 69, rate from $160 to $167, a 4.3% increase. Lesser increase last year.
by penumbra
Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2014 trip to Europe
Replies: 44
Views: 5452

Re: 2014 trip to Europe

If your spending habits allow, probably the best credit card deal is the British Air Visa. If you spend $30,000 per year on it, you get a voucher for 2 business class tickets to Europe. The card has been an award winner for best value a few times. It also doesn't have any extra fees for charging thi...
by penumbra
Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Do I need] Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 41
Views: 4871

Re: [Do I need] Umbrella Insurance

I look at insurance not as for the unlikely or unexpected event, but for the type of event you can't easily self-insure for. Life insurance is for a very likely event. You can be sure you'll die. But you may not be able to cover for all your needs without it (I'm not talking about shorter term, term...
by penumbra
Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:47 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for parents changing from merill to vg
Replies: 11
Views: 1682

Re: Advice for parents changing from merill to vg

That's not necessarily what fee only means at all. Fee only can mean they charge an hourly fee independent of assets. Some charge a flat fee.
by penumbra
Tue May 28, 2013 6:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 84
Views: 7056

Re: Poll: Umbrella Insurance

This poll prompted me to check my coverage ($2million), and after a little thought, raise it to $5 million. I'm in coastal SoCal, with assets in excess of that. Costs $780/year. I'm already paying for earthquake coverage. Risks to me of a lawsuit are potentially much greater than the cost of losing ...
by penumbra
Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?
Replies: 107
Views: 34385

Re: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?

Plan F is more generally available, and offered by more companies, compared to F hi-D. I use USAA, which doesn't offer the hi-D option. I researched it, but wasn't happy with the few providers for my area. That being said, in my first 4 years on Medicare, USAA paid out $7000, 3000, 7000 and 8000 (so...
by penumbra
Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship
Replies: 115
Views: 22036

Re: harvard med school vs. penn med+full tuition scholarship

I wouldn't want to do his colonoscopy anyway, no matter where I was from. :happy I had a similar choice, coming from an ivy college. I took a full scholarship from UCLA. And that was when school was much cheaper than it is now.I've never regretted it. Economics of medicine are so poor going forward ...
by penumbra
Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:19 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Time to celebrate? One goal met.
Replies: 48
Views: 6358

Re: Time to celebrate? One goal met.

Big Tina accomplishment! Seems impossible at first, but if you just keep on doing the right things, it seems to take care of itself.
What's your next goal?
by penumbra
Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Caremark & CVS - poor service
Replies: 45
Views: 4426

Re: Caremark & CVS - poor service

I use Caremark/CVS for prescriptions, and have had a great experience. They text me when the prescription is ready for pick up, call me every month when refills are available so I don't have to keep track. Better than my experience with express scripts, cost o, Walmart. Seems like it depends on your...
by penumbra
Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: dental digital xrays can't be emailed--advice?
Replies: 24
Views: 6442

Re: dental digital xrays can't be emailed--advice?

Xays cannot be emailed since email is not secure, and it is a HIPPA violation. Period. As a radiologist, I've dealt with this everyday. You can ask for a CD or DVD with your images. There is no image degradation. The office has to have the CD burner and software, and perhaps it does not. It can prin...
by penumbra
Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: physician side income
Replies: 83
Views: 8984

Re: physician side income

Well, I've found the best solution is to work hard, live below your means, save as much as you reasonably can, and learn to invest wisely. Compounding and time are great miracles, and I earn much more from standard stock and bond investments now each year than I ever did in my practice. Eventually, ...
by penumbra
Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [How much do you pay in] Property Taxes
Replies: 61
Views: 7445

Re: [How much do you pay in] Property Taxes

We live in coastal California. We pay 0.3% on a house valued at about $2 million.

On the other hand, it's about 2.3% of what we paid for it, $252,000.

One of the (few) benefits of getting older.
by penumbra
Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting pricing for medical procedures in advance
Replies: 66
Views: 7409

Re: Getting pricing for medical procedures in advance

This topic has been covered multiple times in previous discussions. I understand your frustration, but do you know how many different BlueCross plans there are? The clerical people in a doctor''s office have no easy way, nor any time to get the answer to your question. Of course, they have no idea a...
by penumbra
Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Worried about losing email account
Replies: 34
Views: 5076

Re: Worried about losing email account

I use gmail. I got tired of using my cable company's email, and it was a pain to back up. I have all my mail forwarded automatically to a second gmail address with a different log in, as well as to a yahoo email account.. Certain types of financial email, and large documents which I have scanned suc...
by penumbra
Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why retire in June, of all months?
Replies: 52
Views: 5664

Re: Why retire in June, of all months?

Well, another vote: I retired yesterday as well..
It's mostly the nice warm days, longer summer evenings, early walks on the beach.
And the fact that the practice of medicine is going to hell in a hand basket. Time to move on before I'm too old to enjoy other things in life.
by penumbra
Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [POLL] Net worth to income ratio - how do you compare
Replies: 38
Views: 4919

Re: [POLL] Net worth to income ratio - how do you compare

3x, but like some others, will soon be going up, as income goes down.
by penumbra
Tue May 29, 2012 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Skylights?
Replies: 28
Views: 4601

Re: Skylights?

So here's another vote. We have 8 skylights in a single story house. We love them. If it wouldn't look silly, we'd put in more. They've been in for 30 years, and the roof changed around them once. We've never had a leak. On the other hand, I'd never put one in a bedroom unless you could completely m...
by penumbra
Thu May 17, 2012 3:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Health Supplement question
Replies: 32
Views: 2942

Re: Medicare Health Supplement question

At the expense of sounding naive, aren't insurance companies compelled to provide life saving surgeries, procedures and medications as long as they are the gold standard? For example, if your HMO does not have a surgeon qualified to do a necessary surgery, mustn't they transfer your care outside of...
by penumbra
Thu May 17, 2012 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Health Supplement question
Replies: 32
Views: 2942

Re: Medicare Health Supplement question

At the expense of sounding naive, aren't insurance companies compelled to provide life saving surgeries, procedures and medications as long as they are the gold standard? For example, if your HMO does not have a surgeon qualified to do a necessary surgery, mustn't they transfer your care outside of...
by penumbra
Thu May 17, 2012 12:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Health Supplement question
Replies: 32
Views: 2942

Re: Medicare Health Supplement question

Some of the answers do depend on where you live. But I can tell you that as both a physician and as a patient who has needed a number of complex surgeries, the chance your MA plan will have the specialist expertise in your local area for some high end interventions is VERY questionable. That doesn't...
by penumbra
Thu May 17, 2012 12:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who Do You Use for Home/Auto Insurance?
Replies: 53
Views: 7842

Re: Who Do You Use for Home/Auto Insurance?

I'm in California. I've used USAA for 30 years, except for a short while when I switched to State Farm (mistake). Their service is outstanding, their rates are remarkably low, and you get a rebate on premiums at the end of the year, based upon their underwriting experience. Some of the rebate goes i...
by penumbra
Tue May 15, 2012 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How many retirement vehicles/streams do you have?
Replies: 37
Views: 3570

Re: How many retirement vehicles/streams do you have?

Well, I have a fairly large 401k, having rolled over two fully funded DB plans into it previously. A Roth IRA, two small IRA's that my wife has. The usual dividends, etc from taxable investments. I'm also trying to talk my wife into getting a paper route, although progress is surprisingly slow. But ...
by penumbra
Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you read the Wall Street Journal?
Replies: 37
Views: 3479

Re: Do you read the Wall Street Journal?

Have a subscription, and read parts of it everyday. Their opinion/editorial page is awful, at least for my politics. But they have good financial articles of all types, a wonderful month end survey of the markets, etc., and a Personal Section everyday that my wife and I love. Best deal I've found is...
by penumbra
Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need internet email account
Replies: 49
Views: 3404

Re: Need internet email account

I have tried several options, and I believe gmail to be the best. You can have all your ISP mail forwarded to it, leaving a copy on the server. I haven't accessed my ISP site directly in years. I also established a second gmail account which I use just for vacation travel, when access might not be s...
by penumbra
Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae "2 percent" cash back???? False?
Replies: 29
Views: 2458

Re: Sallie Mae "2 percent" cash back???? False?

I have tried to download my monthly statement, but even when you click on the Quicken format, you get the MS Money format, and it won't work. At least for me. If I can't figure this out, I'm passing on this card.

Anyone have any success with this?
by penumbra
Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your thoughts: USAA Medigap?
Replies: 10
Views: 4815

Re: Your thoughts: USAA Medigap?

USAA does not broker. When I first shopped for medigap policies, I had many calls from brokers offering to lower my premiums. I remember one such call particularly, when I told him I doubted he could offer it for less, and he said sure he could, who did I have coverage with? I told him USAA, there w...
by penumbra
Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Your thoughts: USAA Medigap?
Replies: 10
Views: 4815

Re: Your thoughts: USAA Medigap?

I have used them for two years. Have had them for auto, homeowners, umbrella forever. Outstanding service on all counts, as you might expect. Have had multiple claims for its Medigap. I don't think you can do better, either on service or pricewise.
by penumbra
Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you miss the 90's
Replies: 49
Views: 3792

Re: Do you miss the 90's

Another vote for missing the 60's. But I must admit, it's a bit like they say about Woodstock: If you claim to remember it, you couldn't have been there. At least, not for most of it.
by penumbra
Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Received final 2% rewards from Schwab Visa
Replies: 100
Views: 11121

Re: Received final 2% rewards from Schwab Visa

Got my replacement card 2 days ago, and promptly cancelled. Following up on earlier threads, I was turned on to the Sallie Mae card (2% on everything), and received it the same day. Check it out, seems fairly straightforward, but you do have to spend $12500 to get the full 2%. They do give you 10000...