Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Third Avenue just changed the log-in procedure, and now they have a support group (a contractor) running things. The person I talked to told me a new, secret requirement for a valid password that is not included in their printed description of the requirements of a password. I logged in twice after I changed my password, and it seems to be OK now.
One of the problems that banks, brokerage firms, and mutual funds have is that they have written disclosures of their rules, and you often find out that the rules they impose on you are different from the rules they wrote (if you assume that they meant what they said in print). I ran into that at Sun Trust Bank this year, where they say they allow six withdrawals a quarter, but fine you if you make more than two in one month. The branch manager told me about a couple of other places where it says six per quarter but they fine on three per month.
The brokerage where our money market was held when we bought the last trailer had a rule that you couldn't write checks on the account if the balance fell below $5,000. It did not say you couldn't bring the balance below $5,000. When I wrote a check that brought the balance to $3500, the dealer called them, and then I called. The woman said they wouldn't allow the balance to be brought below $5,000 with a check, which is a different rule. I shortly moved that money to Vanguard's money market fund, and soon closed the brokerage account.
The unfortunate answer is you don't know what secret rules they have, and I wouldn't have found out today if I didn't ask the woman for the third time, and finally get the secret.
Other than that, the safe driving class went OK, my treadmill showed up today and I put it together and worked up a sweat checking it out, and it's nearly seven and I'm ready for a little supper and really, really tired.
I hope everyone had a good day and better evening. Thanks for the tips.
PS - when I failed to get in, I was told to click on the password help button, but there wasn't any. They're just not set up all that well, but it's only a little money.
Monday, November 08, 2010
I have been doing most of my money management on line for the past couple of years. When we were full-timers, it was a pay phone and mail, then a cell phone and mail. When we first settled in one place it was mail and personal interfaces with the bank, which wasnít very good because Seafirst, where we first opened an account, had been bought by Bank of America, which was bought in turn by Nationís Bank. Nationís kept the Bank America name, but had a different software system which was supposed to be merged within a year. While we were full timing it was OK, because now there were free ATMís all over the country (itís hard to cash a check when youíre two or three thousand miles from ďhomeĒ.
The only trouble with that was that we settled in Florida, Nationís territory, and I was treated like a leper for years, and eventually told that Washington, and parts of Oregon and Idaho would never be converted. When I had really hard time depositing money with a pre-printed deposit slip, I finally cracked, and now we do business with Patriot Bank of Trinity, FL. They have a branch I can walk to easily, and originally paid four per cent interest on deposits up to $50,000 and 1.01 per cent above that. Since the Vanguard MMF was paying 0.05 per cent and E Trade bank was paying 0.1 per cent, it sounded like a good idea. Of course, the rate eventually dropped to 3.01 per cent on the first 50K, and recently 3.01 per cent on the first $25K, with 1.01 per cent above that. I still canít beat that anywhere else, with full insurance.
I also got in the habit of checking on our IRAís and mutual funds on line and getting all of our tax documents on line. Recently I wanted to branch out and liked Third Avenue Funds because they started offering individual investor accounts, so I opened an account there. It went OK for a while, but suddenly I could not log on to my account, even though I had both the user ID and password correct. I called them, and eventually managed to reset the password to the same value it had been before and log on. The next time I tried to log on, I was locked out again. And tonight again. This is starting to worry me a little because I elected ďE-DeliveryĒ and I like to have access to all of the documents I need for the IRS, and I like even more to feel that my money is still there and (relatively) safe. I think my error was to expand from the single fund I had in one of my IRAís and do business with a business who expects investors to buy in chunks of $50K or so. They donít expect you to look at things very often, I guess. Or else they donít have very good software.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Yesterday it was 46 degrees when I went outside in the morning, and today it was 46. I tried, but I couldn't see my breath. The high today was predicted at 69, but tomorrow it goes to 74, then 79, and the it's 60/80 or 81 every day for the rest of the week, so the current cold front is gone. For the five weeks we spent in Mazatlan in January and February, that was the weather, and it's practically perfect, as far as I can tell. You sleep well because it's cool at night, and it's warm but not hot in the daytime. Here it's like that some of the time, but we get the cold fronts coming through every so often and they mess things up.
I cut the grass today and made another big pot of pea soup, which is cooling right now in a dish pan with ice cubes and water in the sink. I'll put it in plastic containers and keep out at least half to eat right away and freeze the rest. The first batch I made was 16 3/4 cups, and measured 112 calories per cup. We ate it all in four or five days without trying. We each had a cup with lunch today to finish it, and the BW asked me to do another pot. Bill was interested, so I mailed him a "recipe" which will probably get close to the same results.
Bill has been following the Rice diet and is down 10 3/4 pounds in three weeks. He is getting about 1200 calories per day, which is what the Duke University charge a fortune to feed people, and the bariatric patients get 600 calories per day, at least in the beginning, so I don't think it's too dangerous, but some people (including SparkPeople) don't like that approach. In his case, it's a treatment for kidney failure, which is what the diet was designed to treat. If he eats the right foods he will get enough potassium to keep him going, I hope.
We will watch another Sherlock Holmes movie in two hours.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
We had a good trip overall, and made it home last Sunday. Then we had to get the mail and catch up. The BW still has one hole in her left eardrum, and pneumonia to keep it interesting. I have been driving her everywhere she needs to go because she doesn't feel capable.
The most interesting part of the trip was driving straight west in the middle of the strongest storm since a freighter was sunk on the great lakes in 1978. I had been filling up every day, and the mileage varied from 37+ to 32+ (through the mountains) except for that day. We drove at 70 almost all the way, except for a couple of really heavy squalls when we were poking along with the hazard warning flashers on. When I filled up that night we only got 25 miles/gallon. If you add 70 to 50, you wind up with a 120 MPH headwind. Since the drag is a function of the wind velocity squared, you can see why a low drag coefficient is good, and why driving slower gets you better gas mileage. I try to keep it down to 70 on the interstates, but sometimes it's hard.
The good news is that the BW seems better today, and I have cleaned most of the house for the guests we expect for the holidays.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I spent the entire day taking the BW to the ear doctor, doing errands and running around and packing stuff up. I donít know if weíll ever be ready, but we are leaving tomorrow sometime. It is much easier when you just hitch up, disconnect, and drive off.
We are headed for Macon tomorrow
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