Search found 135 matches

by discman017
Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When is buying a home generator worth it?
Replies: 63
Views: 5676

Re: When is buying a home generator worth it?

We did the whole project for about $800 a few years ago. Looking at current prices, under $1000 is still quite doable. 1. DuroMax generator. I like the hybrid models that run off propane or gas. These go on sale periodically on eBay for $300 to $350. Here's one that's currently $499 at Lowe's: https...
by discman017
Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backpacking gear recommendations - backpack, shoes, sleeping bag
Replies: 100
Views: 5431

Re: Backpacking gear recommendations - backpack, shoes, sleeping bag

I'll probably go to REI to try some out. Something like the Osprey Rook 65 is only $165 so that seems reasonable. I love REI. I bought a lot of my gear there 20+ years ago, including my beloved Deuter ACT Lite backpack (still a good one, now sold as AirContact Lite). But if it were me, I'd buy a co...
by discman017
Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Let's play chess
Replies: 151
Views: 11994

Re: Let's play chess

Thanks for this post! Great links to resources! I have the gold subscription at Chess.com. I feel like I improve by solving chess puzzles, and the gold membership gives you 25 per day, which is about what I have the patience for. So the $29 per year is totally worth it to me. Chess is a great hobby,...
by discman017
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password manager
Replies: 94
Views: 8175

Re: Password manager

I use Bitwarden and love it. But users of many other password managers are very satisfied, too. That's probably because any password manager is sooooo much better than the alternatives (same password for every site, passwords written on a piece of paper or captured in a spreadsheet, different passwo...
by discman017
Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car battery question
Replies: 43
Views: 2919

Re: Car battery question

My 2006 Acura had battery issues. I had to jump it a few times, and the last time, I drove 40 miles and stopped, figuring it was charged. When I tried to start the car again, it was dead. It hadn't even charged after a 40-mile drive! I bought the Schumacher 15A charger at Lowes: https://www.lowes.co...
by discman017
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What cellphone plan do you recommend?
Replies: 60
Views: 4587

Re: What cellphone plan do you recommend?

I just extended my plan with Tracfone for another year. I used a promo code to take $50 off the $125 smartphone plan. Including taxes, I ended up paying $80.77 for 1500 minutes + 1500 texts + 1.5 GB. That works out to $6.73 / month. This will take me to June 12, 2021. I think we have a winner (exce...
by discman017
Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: can I shorten a pdf file?
Replies: 35
Views: 2181

Re: can I shorten a pdf file?

john_nh wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:11 pm PDFSam Basic (Free Version) does this well and is easy to use:

https://pdfsam.org/
+1

I use PDFsam ("PDF Split and Merge") all the time for this and other purposes.
by discman017
Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First Model Year Acura
Replies: 18
Views: 1239

Re: First Model Year Acura

I hear it all the time - "Acura is just a Honda with an Acura badge". I don't think this is true. Check our CR's most reliable brands ranking for 2019. Honda comes in at 12 - not bad. Acura is 28 out of 30. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/who-makes-the-m...
by discman017
Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 341
Views: 41794

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

Hmm...I get $19 per month for 3 GB... https://www.redpocket.com/ Did the price just go up? :shock: No, you're just overpaying by a little by going month-to-month directly through Red Pocket. If you buy a year at a time through eBay when they have a sale, you get better pricing. Here's the listing f...
by discman017
Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 341
Views: 41794

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

If you want to stick with Verizon, check out Visible, which runs on Verizon (it's actually owned by Verizon IIRC). $40/mo for unlimited, but you can easily drop that to $25 by doing "party pay" - just need to add one person. This can be a stranger on the internet, only that person is resp...
by discman017
Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 341
Views: 41794

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

We pay a total of $7.50 a month for our two phones:

FreedomPop (AT&T) $40 a year ($3.33 per month) for unlimited VOIP talk+text, 1GB LTE data monthly

Red Pocket (Verizon) $50 a year ($4.17 per month) for 100 minutes, 100 texts, 500MB data monthly
by discman017
Sun May 17, 2020 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheap Chromebook vs Laptop PC quality/options for child
Replies: 40
Views: 2548

Re: Cheap Chromebook vs Laptop PC quality/options for child

I'll be a bit contrarian and will suggest getting a robust business-oriented laptop for your kids. Lenovo Thinkpad and Dell Lattitude are two solid product lines here. I'm with you. My kids are both in elementary school, and they both have older Thinkpad laptops. One's a T530, and the other is an L...
by discman017
Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 account closed, never used for education - penalty question
Replies: 7
Views: 1265

Re: 529 account closed, never used for education - penalty question

You didn't say what state Grandma is from, but if she got a state tax deduction for contributions to the 529, she may be subject to recapture of that deduction. This page summarizes the provisions by state: https://www.savingforcollege.com/compare_529_plans/?plan_question_ids[]=96&page=compare_p...
by discman017
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retirement - Living in Colorado
Replies: 57
Views: 10730

Re: Retirement - Living in Colorado

Just wanted to bump this up to see what people think now about CS and more importantly, what other areas of the state would you recommend? I love Colorado but don't care for Denver (too flat). Would prefer to be "out the back door" in the mounts so Estes Park? Steamboat Springs? Other are...
by discman017
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: CD Rates_Terms advice
Replies: 20
Views: 2453

Re: CD Rates_Terms advice

That 3.2% 3-year jumbo IRA at Hughes sounds like a great deal. Will they lock the rate for you when you open the account (and before you transfer funds)? You don't want to be invested at a lower rate because rates dropped during the week or more that it takes to transfer the IRA. The phone reps rare...
by discman017
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Kindle do I need?
Replies: 37
Views: 2219

Re: Which Kindle do I need?

If you want to save a few bucks, Woot has some great deals on "refurbished" Kindles. They come in brown-box Amazon packaging, and in my experience, they're in like-new condition. Your mileage may vary, but you can always return it if you're not happy with it. I'm seeing the Voyage for $80 ...
by discman017
Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frontier or Spirit Airlines
Replies: 63
Views: 13634

Re: Frontier or Spirit Airlines

We fly out of Denver and fly Frontier all the time. Their "kids fly free" program is fantastic. They have nonstop flights from Denver to places that no one else flies. Best selection of nonstop flights, best prices, and kids are free. What's not to like? We never pay for seat assignments. ...
by discman017
Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

saver007 wrote: Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:04 am May be it's too late for you,there is a promotion running where if you open IB accounts via stockbrokers.com you get 50 basis point discount on margin interest.
Thanks for this suggestion! I was able to get the stockbrokers.com offer. Probably saved me $50 or so of interest!
by discman017
Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

OP, please come back and update this thread in 9 months, to let us know how the math worked out and if the time and interest costs were worth it! Thanks again everyone for all the help. My CDs matured, and I paid off my margin loan from Interactive Brokers. Total interest on the CDs was over $100,0...
by discman017
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Deleted]
Replies: 116
Views: 7726

Re: Emerging market bonds as part of your equity allocation

You have vastly over-simplified a very complex subject. Thank you for your detailed reply! That's certainly a possibility. It's also possible that you've vastly overcomplicated what's really a very simplistic analysis of a complex subject. Sure, correlations matter. But over the very specific time ...
by discman017
Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Deleted]
Replies: 116
Views: 7726

Re: Emerging market bonds as part of your equity allocation

I hold some EM bonds. This allocation comes 1/3 from equity and 2/3 from fixed income. They have been pretty bondlike in the equity sell off since late September (down a bit over 1%). I also have an EM equity overweight. I like the different country weights in the EM bond market and equity market. ...
by discman017
Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Individual 401K now offering Admiral funds
Replies: 68
Views: 8731

Re: Vanguard Individual 401K now offering Admiral funds

No TIPS fund admiral shares yet. Yes, Inflation-Protected Securities is unavailable in Admiral shares. But Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities (VTAPX) is an index fund, therefore available in Admiral shares with the $3K minimum, therefore available in the individual 401k. Just thought I'd thr...
by discman017
Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 4% APY credit unions
Replies: 22
Views: 3569

Re: 4% APY credit unions

Here is one example: https://orionfcu.com/checking/ (FWIW, 4% on the first $30,000 and you can still be qualified even not living in these areas mentioned in the website, if you donate, or asked the bank to donate to specific organization) That Orion account sounds pretty interesting. Usually when ...
by discman017
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Individual 401K now offering Admiral funds
Replies: 68
Views: 8731

Admiral shares now allowed in Individual / Solo 401k

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek] With the reduction in the minimum balance for Admiral shares, I was curious how this would affect my individual 401k. Previously, you couldn't invest in Admiral shares in Vanguard's individual 401k. So I logged in and tried to transfer funds to...
by discman017
Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows to Android file transfer over Wifi?
Replies: 7
Views: 536

Re: Windows to Android file transfer over Wifi?

I don't know of any way built into Android. I use the Android app ES File Explorer to connect to a Windows file share on my local network. Then I can transfer files back and forth. Pretty good instructions here: http://www.tomsguide.com/faq/id-2334193/access-windows-shared-folder-android-smartphone....
by discman017
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?
Replies: 8
Views: 671

Re: What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?

If she doesn't have long term care insurance, there may be a way to do a 1035 exchange into some type of LTC product. Others here may have more info on that possibility. Whoa, this is potentially a huge win for her. No, she doesn't have LTC insurance, but has been investigating getting it. I did so...
by discman017
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?
Replies: 8
Views: 671

Re: What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?

I wasn't clear if it is currently at Vanguard, but I'd suggest if it isn't there already, call either Vanguard or Fidelity & move it to a (likely) lower cost VA Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, years ago we moved the money to a variable annuity at Vanguard. It's in the Vanguard Balanced Portfolio, w...
by discman017
Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?
Replies: 8
Views: 671

What to do with variable annuity at retirement age?

Years back, I was helping a friend with her investments. She had been sold all sorts of expensive investments by some guy who went door to door: load mutual funds and a variable annuity, in particular. We essentially fired her advisor and moved her assets to Vanguard. At the time, we considered liqu...
by discman017
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why buy thicker hardwood?
Replies: 16
Views: 2441

Re: Why buy thicker hardwood?

One more consideration: Plywood is more dimensionally stable than solid wood. So you'll see less seasonal expansion and contraction (gapping between boards) with engineered. So I really don't understand the use for the 3/8" solid product. Seems like if you prioritize cost savings over longevity...
by discman017
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why buy thicker hardwood?
Replies: 16
Views: 2441

Re: Why buy thicker hardwood?

Only thing I've been able to find is that thicker wood will stand up to more sanding/refinish cycles... But how many times are you really going to refinish the floors in your house? 3/8" solid seems like an unusual product. As others have pointed out, you're not going to be able to refinish it...
by discman017
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:44 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When Both Stocks and Bonds Fall, Where Does the Money Go?
Replies: 12
Views: 2001

Re: When Both Stocks and Bonds Fall, Where Does the Money Go?

Understanding that this is a fairly theoretical question, let me give a theoretical answer... In theory, the value of a company is the sum of its expected future cash flows, discounted to present-day dollars. If the sentiment of the "market" (institutions, computers, etc.) changes, such th...
by discman017
Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

Thanks for the note. So often the OP just slips out of the thread and we never know what actions they took. I hope it meets your needs. Yes, margin approval is typically very fast and hassle free compared to a HELOC. It might take a couple days more to be approved for portfolio margin. I apply for ...
by discman017
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

The ACATS to IB has never taken more than 2-3 days for me. (I've done ACATS to them maybe 8-10 times.) I think it depends on who you are transferring from more than anything else; I've never transferred shares from Vanguard. Getting approved for portfolio margin is instantaneous from what I could t...
by discman017
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

It's more like the OP is borrowing money to avoid breaking a CD or paying avoidable taxes. The decision to invest is independent of this conversation. Yes, exactly. No change to asset allocation here. Asset location , yes. I try to get assets into tax-preferred accounts at every opportunity. It's w...
by discman017
Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

Yes, margin approval is typically very fast and hassle free compared to a HELOC. It might take a couple days more to be approved for portfolio margin. I apply for margin every time I open a brokerage account. No problems at all so far. Applied this morning. Account is already active and approved fo...
by discman017
Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

If you have paid off cars another option is to get low interest rate car loans. Thanks for that suggestion. We do have paid-off cars, but they're old and don't have enough value to collateralize the amount we need to borrow. What I've gotten out of this discussion is that there are lots of differen...
by discman017
Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

Please explain to me how this is not an emergency fund if he pays it off every month because he won’t pay interest? You can call an emergency fund "springy debt" all you want because you make it more complicated than it needs to be, but it still is an emergency fund, just laundered throug...
by discman017
Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

Transfer a couple hundred grand in taxable securities to Interactive Brokers, and apply for portfolio margin. Withdraw cash as needed from the margin account. IB gives you one free wire transfer out per month so it would be better to budget what you need. Thanks again for this suggestion. I'm sold ...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

But a better idea is probably not to spend the money that you were going to spend using the $50K. You don't HAVE TO fund your retirement accounts and HSA every year. Consider that the amount you would be investing in them is then taken out the following day. It's a wash. You can't afford them at th...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

I happened upon a couple of Mr. Money Mustache articles regarding ensuring short-term liquidity. He argues that it's wasteful to keep six months worth of expenses in a rainy day fund, earning low interest for years just in case you need it. Instead, he argues for "springy debt" -- a line o...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

post_id=4075295 time=1534616258 user_id=131361] I really don’t understand borrowing $50K to fund IRAs and HSAs. Just not worth the risk. Thanks. Taking advantage of tax sheltering opportunities seems like one of the lowest risk opportunities out there. (I didn't say I was investing in penny stocks....
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

You need money now to fund IRAs and HSAs before May? Why? Are you doing this year's instead of next years? ... Lots of 0% credit cards come with 2% rewards and even $150 cash back after spending $500 in first 90 days. Just got one through BofA. Thanks for your reply! Yes, I'm talking about delaying...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

Open a no closing cost, low/no-fee HELOC as a backstop in case you need liquidity. However, don't use it unless you can get a fantastic promo rate. Transfer a couple hundred grand in taxable securities to Interactive Brokers, and apply for portfolio margin. Withdraw cash as needed from the margin a...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

dm200 wrote: Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:39 am If this is a credit union with the CD, ask about a "share secured" loan against the CD value.
Thanks for that suggestion. A share secured line of credit is something I hadn't considered. It looks like my bank doesn't offer this, though.
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

If your mutual funds in a taxable account are held at a brokerage, can you get a margin loan against your investments? Thanks for that suggestion. The mutual funds are at Vanguard. Looks like Vanguard's margin rates are much higher than the HELOC intro rate that I'm looking at: https://investor.van...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

What is the early withdrawal penalty on the CD? The penalty won't apply to the whole account, but just the part withdrawn. With CD rates so low, that will likely be your least "cost". If you withdraw the whole $50K, you could then put some of it in a 6 month and a 3 month CD, thus still g...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

Re: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

I don't understand wanting to pay HELOC interest, instead of forgoing 2% rewards.... Thanks for your reply. $500 HELOC interest is less than $1000 in credit card rewards. Cost of breaking the CD is much, much more than $500. The $50,000 needed is after considering all other income. So $500 financin...
by discman017
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?
Replies: 49
Views: 3856

How to raise cash to pay living expenses in near term (nine months)?

I have a large CD maturing next May, but until then I'm short on cash. What's the best way to raise cash for a nine-month period? In round numbers, I'm talking about $50,000 or so. I have investments in taxable accounts that I'd rather not sell (mutual funds with large capital gains, I bonds where I...
by discman017
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FedEx / UPS Vacation Hold?
Replies: 12
Views: 5078

Re: FedEx / UPS Vacation Hold?

Do you have a reference for the two week duration you mention? In June, I set vacation holds for both FedEx and UPS. Both limited me to 14 days. My vacation was a bit longer than two weeks, so I started the hold a couple days into my vacation. Both held my packages for 14 days and delivered when I ...
by discman017
Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prefinished White Oak Floors with Matching Stair Treads
Replies: 14
Views: 1468

Re: Prefinished White Oak Floors with Matching Stair Treads

Finishing a hardwood floor doesn't have to stink you out of the house. Some finishes are zero-VOC, don't stink, and are more maintainable over the long term than polyurethane. After looking at somewhere around 100 samples of prefinished flooring, we finally decided that we didn't want the bevels/gap...