Fatwallet.com Finance Our Mission - Serve consumers with knowledge, value and guidance. http://www.fatwallet.comhttp://www.fatwallet.com/rss_tv.php?c=52FatWallet.comhttp://www.fatwallet.com <![CDATA[looking to get into real estate investing in the Southwest]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386821/ Rating: 0 Posted By: nwill002
Views: 139 Replies: 1

I am interested in doing a <100K real estate investment and am beginning to research the rental markets of SoCal, Vegas, and Phoenix areas. I know this is ground zero of where cash investors ran in after the crash which inflated the market and put more rental inventory up but its where I live. I prefer SoCal as thats whats closest to me and where I feel is a more stable market. However inventory in my price range is scarce which is why I'm considering Vegas and Phoenix.
So I would like to get other people's opinions of the rental market in this region. I am not looking for a quick flip but more looking for a stable rental market.
Thanks


Real Estate Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386821/ Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:06:31 -0500
<![CDATA[Discover more to it conversion ]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386806/ Rating: 1 Posted By: deeder
Views: 275 Replies: 2

Just had my discover more converted to it as I called in. Spoke to a really cute sounding young female rep from Delaware who was nice and converted the card over for me and I retain my promotional rate with it.

Additional perks and 0% promo and 1% and no forex and benefits and customer service make this a winner. JD Power tied Amex and Discover for customer satisfaction. I had to call in otherwise my More wouldn't have been converted over. Obviously business decision to retain customers who know about it or for new customers actively shopping for new cards.

Looks like acceptance is also increasing but I maintain other cards as well and will take advantage of Discover where accepted.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386806/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:15:26 -0500
<![CDATA[Individual health insurance plans in California non ACA]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386804/ Rating: 0 Posted By: bighitter
Views: 255 Replies: 4

Does anyone have a recommendation for obtaining individual health insurance policy quotes in California outside of the ACA plans? A neighbor needs to obtain insurance coverage. I recommended she look at plans on the California Care website (Obamacare ). She said she phoned several local doctors who were listed in the ACA plans on California's website but none were willing to accept a new patient with ACA insurance. She isnt in poor health now but did have some sort of health issue about ten years ago. Should see call the major insurers Blue Cross, etc., or would she be better off going through a broker?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386804/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:58:05 -0500
<![CDATA[Anyone use Teledoc? Could save money on doctor visits.]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386772/ Rating: 2 Posted By: CPAESQ
Views: 552 Replies: 4

I got an e-mail from the NRA and they are offering Teledoc for $15 a month.

Seems like what I need -- you get poison ivy, need an antibiotic, etc you can call a doctor and they can call in the prescription for you.

Has anyone used this? I am posting this here because I have a high deductible health insurance program and a HSA so this may help me save some cash, and time off of work if I do need a quick prescription. It covers up to 6 family members.

http://www.teladoc.com/what-is-teladoc/

Figured I would see if anyone here can vouch for this program / share it with other FW'ers


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386772/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:33:35 -0500
<![CDATA[Discover Bank Checking $50 bonus]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386766/ Rating: 3 Posted By: tjguitar85
Views: 645 Replies: 6

Did not see any current threads, only archived,

https://www.discover.com/online-banking/checking-lp-lng-01/?src=...

As far as I can tell, you only need to deposit $25 to get it. No hoops to jump through.....


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386766/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:52:16 -0500
<![CDATA[New 2% (effectively) Cashback card]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386753/ Rating: 20 Posted By: chaster86
Views: 2147 Replies: 40

Very interesting new card from Citi out today. Called Double Cash. It's essentially a 2% CashBack card. You earn 1% on every purchase, and another 1% when you pay off the card. So if you pay off the card in full every month (as you should be doing anyways), it's 2% total! No annual fee too. Am I missing anything, sounds like a great offer?

LINK


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386753/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:35:03 -0500
<![CDATA[What Other Credit Card Benefits Do You Make Sure to Use?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386750/ Rating: 0 Posted By: justignoredem
Views: 563 Replies: 1

Odd Question, but I was scrolling through my Citi card and seeing the different benefits they offer:

Price Rewind - Register a product purchased on the card and they will monitor the price for 60 days and give you a refund of any difference in price.
Rental Car Warranty - some others do this I hear
etc... others do extended warranty for products.

All I usually ever give a crap about is the standard reward... CashBack! (Or miles for some people). When I am at a rental car agency my first thought process is "Which one of my cards will give the most CashBack on Travel related services?" and if I can't find one I just give any random one. I'm not thinking "Which one will give me free rental car insurance?"

So I'm curious, which one's are the most crucial to you guys? Because I really want to start taking advantage of them more often, but I'm usually too lazy. I'm always thinking they aren't worth the time or money to call up and register or whatever.

Now what I CAN say is worthy as far as card benefits outside of standard CashBack is this: Whenever I am skeptical of ANY charge or any merchant. I always just tell myself: "Put it on the AMEX". Because I always know if there is a problem with the charge there hasn't been a single time that AMEX hasn't sided with me. I had a cab driver rip me off with a $10 added tip... guess he enjoyed having no-tip more


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386750/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:42:35 -0500
<![CDATA[Suggestions for steps in securing online access to credit cards?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386669/ Rating: 0 Posted By: violentkoala
Views: 588 Replies: 2

Twice this week, my credit card acct has had its address and email address updated. And during one of the incidents, an AU was added. I went over tocreditboards and will be followingWC's directions there to secure my credit report/ personal data. Not sure if this is relevant in the pursuit of credit monitoring, but theCC wasattached to my Sony PSN acct during thegreat hack of 2011.Should I report this to my local law enforcement?

Outside of following CB, what monthly triple scoremonitoring servicesare suggested? I recently received a 100k point amex offer, and I hear they offer triple score monitoring, any feedback on their service?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386669/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:22:13 -0500
<![CDATA[Chase Freedom: No more 10% bonus after 2015 for Chase Checking Customers]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386651/ Rating: 3 Posted By: bargainhunter3
Views: 1047 Replies: 14

Received an email about my Chase Freedom today. Sigh.

For Chase Checking CustomersAfter the closing date on your December 2015 billing statement, you will no longer earn the extra 10% annual bonus that you get on the Cash Back youve already received for new purchases. If you have an open Chase checking account on that date, you will receive your final 10% annual bonus award in early 2016.

LINK


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386651/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:28:22 -0500
<![CDATA[JPMorgan Chase and at least 4 other banks hacked]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386644/ Rating: 4 Posted By: BenH
Views: 1799 Replies: 6

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/technology/hackers-target-bank...

Not really a lot of data at this point. Was hoping to consolidate what others have read here. We probably won't get any details or any action for a couple weeks at least. The banks may decide there were no risks they can't mitigate internally and may never disclose details.
For now, I'd be interested in what the other banks were as well.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386644/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:17:15 -0500
<![CDATA[prepaying mortgage]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386571/ Rating: 0 Posted By: RagingBull
Views: 940 Replies: 16

I was thinking every month for my mortage I apply more payments towards the principal. If I do so would that reduce the interest portion of the mortgage the following month or is that amount preset for life of loan? I have mortgage with wells fargo


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386571/ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:17:52 -0500
<![CDATA[Mint.com giving free credit scores from Equifax]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386546/ Rating: 2 Posted By: krk77
Views: 1420 Replies: 20

Log into your account and you should have option to get credit scores. looks like score will be refreshed once every 3 months.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386546/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:13:51 -0500
<![CDATA[Financial Handbook for Spouse]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386536/ Rating: 23 Posted By: Rewdog
Views: 1806 Replies: 27

After recently updating my will, I realized how difficult it would be for my wife to figure out our finances. My wife lets me handle all the finances because I love it and she hates it. She likes to be informed about the big picture, but spaces out once I get into the details.

So, I've been in the process of creating a Financial Handbook that explains each account we have, why we have it, when we should and should not use it, incoming and outgoing cash flow, and access information. She was very receptive with my first draft, and we tested it out by having her handle the finances for a month. I also have a strategy section that explains things like our retirement strategy, what to do in case of a disability, untimely death, major home repair, etc.

Has anyone else created something similar? What were your strategies of encryption and storage? What type of things did you include that I didn't? An outline similar to what I created is posted in the quick summary so it can be elaborated. If there is enough interest, I'll create a generic word template / wizard for creating something similar.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386536/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:07:22 -0500
<![CDATA[Financial implications of running a dashcam in your car]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386521/ Rating: 17 Posted By: nasheedb
Views: 4354 Replies: 71

Dashcams seem to be very popular overseas, especially in Russia. In fact, there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to videos recorded using these dashcams (link,link). In the US though, its use is not very widespread outside of law enforcement. Is there a particular reason for this? In case of an incident, are they considered an asset or more of a liability?

There are plenty of videos where dashcams were used to foil insurance scams (link,link). However, I'm worried that a dashcam could hurt you. What happens if you get into an accident where it is clearly someone else's fault, yet your dashcam shows driving slightly faster than the average speed of traffic? Is the recorded footage your property that the police will need a warrant to obtain, or is it automatically confiscated as evidence once the police see that you have one? In case you get into an at-fault accident do you even have to tell them you have the video, or can you just hide your dashcam? Is that against the law?

What is the general consensus on dashcams? Do you run one in your car? If not, would you?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386521/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:09:07 -0500
<![CDATA[Strategy to invest extra cash after essentials are done?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386519/ Rating: 0 Posted By: sailwind
Views: 760 Replies: 8

Thanks to the board suggestions, I've got most of my financial planning done: 1 year of rainy day fund, 401k maxed yearly, some iBonds, no loans except for mortgage. Now I have some extra funds sitting in a savings account earning a paltry 0.70%.

What's a good strategy for investing these extra liquid funds? Retirement choices is easy in comparison, since the long horizon make vanguard index funds a straightforward selection. For these shorter term investments, other than laddering CDs what else do you guys do?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386519/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:53:43 -0500
<![CDATA[Tax Court: Citi Thank You points for account opening are taxable]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386515/ Rating: 6 Posted By: tuphat
Views: 2134 Replies: 15

Update to add link to Forbes item, which does much better job than I did of describing the case.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/08/28/tax-cour...


See link below to recent decision by Tax Court.

IMPORTANT: Strictly speaking, this case involves only the points earned upon opening an account, which were reported by Citi on a Form 1099-MISC. It does NOT involve points earned through spending, the non-taxability of which the court defers to a previous IRS ruling holding same.

Basic facts: Taxpayer received 1099-MISC for $668, for redemption of 50k Thank You Points for an airline ticket. Taxpayer omitted income from his return.
Court held that (i) Citi's issuance of the 1099 outweighed, from an evidentiary perspective, taxpayer's argument that nothing of value was received, and (ii) that the item should betreated as noncash award for opening a bank account and therefore be treated as gross income.

https://www.ustaxcourt.gov/InOpHistoric/ShankarDiv.Halpern.TC.WPD.pdf

Edit to add: Receipt of the Citi 1099s is discussed in various archived threads, including:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/arcmessageview.php?catid=52&thre...
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/arcmessageview.php?catid=52&thre...
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/arcmessageview.php?catid=52&thre...


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386515/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:58:11 -0500
<![CDATA[Need help negotiating car purchase for Saturday!]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386512/ Rating: 0 Posted By: mpennyranger
Views: 1625 Replies: 27

Hi,
I have read a number of threads here and elsewhere re: trying to send out letters to negotiate the purchase of a new car, and I am just about ready to do so--I am in the market for a new Volvo XC60--I have done my test drives, compiled a list of dealerships that I would be willing to drive to (as well as a few others that are very far, but perhaps would be willing to make a good deal), gotten contact info for the internet or fleet salespeople, gotten preapproved through a credit union, know my FICO score, etc..... I am just hitting a hurdle in terms of setting up my letter, and could use some advice.

All of the sample letters suggest saying SPECIFICALLY what you want, so you can compare apples to apples. BUT, in my case, there are two things that I would accept: a 2015 XC60 with the BLIS package OR a 2014 XC60 with the BLIS package. I would definitely prefer the 2015 because it has a substantially higher MPG, but if the 2014 was substantially lower than the best 2015 price I could get, I would consider it. (The available 2014s are also more likely to be "upgraded" from the base model 2015 that I am shooting for, but none of the upgrades from the base model thrill me, so I'm not willing to pay extra for them.)

I DEFINITELY want to make a deal on Saturday because its end of the month and a number of Volvo manufacturer deals that would be awesome ($1000 Cash Back, extra 2 years of warranty & all maintenance, etc.) are expiring, and I want to close a deal as long as something hits my price Target, but I am not exactly sure how to frame the letter. Price also matters a lot, so I do want to see exactly how low I can go. I don't want my letter to say "I'll take the 2014 if it is substantially lower than your 2015 offer," b/c I know they want to get rid of the 2014s and they will just not reduce the 2015 offer. I am thinking perhaps the best strategy would be to send out an only-2015 offer on Thursday, see what comes back with my required specs, and Friday follow up with those same dealerships and say, "I would also consider a 2014, what is your best offer" and then just compare. Thoughts???

(Apologies for being so long-winded)


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386512/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:09:41 -0500
<![CDATA[Sallie Mae MasterCard & Amazon Warehouse Deals]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386394/ Rating: 0 Posted By: rbuenin
Views: 1083 Replies: 5

So I am under the impression that the Sallie Mae MasterCard has 5% Cash Back on the first $750 spent on items shipped and sold by Amazon. Does anyone know if the 5% Cash Back works for Amazon Warehouse deals as well with items fulfilled by Amazon?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386394/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:21:19 -0500
<![CDATA[Secured Loan. Why? When? How?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386391/ Rating: 0 Posted By: DavidSpes
Views: 779 Replies: 4

Can I get a secured loan if I have bad credit? Do secured loans have early repayment charges? Are Secured loans used for debt consolidation?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386391/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:18:24 -0500
<![CDATA[I'm on track to be mortgage-free by 31 - but I had to live in my basement]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386332/ Rating: 0 Posted By: calwatch
Views: 3149 Replies: 60

Two years ago, when I was 27, I took all my savings and bought a $425,000 house in Toronto with the goal of being mortgage-free in four years. With two years to go, the goal is in sight.Im going to own my own three-bedroom bungalow in Scarborough by my 31st birthday.But the cost has been high financially and personally. I lived in the basement and rent out the rest. To save further, I dont own a cellphone or have cable TV or a car. On top of a full-time job, I work part-time evenings and weekends. And Ive been committed to this frugal lifestyle for some time; while at Ryerson University studying business management, I lived with my parents. While my friends were out driving cars, buying fast food, drinking and partying, I worked three part-time jobs, purchased used textbooks, brown-bagged my lunch, and cycled to school.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/m...

Well, that and trolling your story to every media outlet in Canada, and much of the States as well.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386332/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 22:54:27 -0500
<![CDATA[Changing Careers and Decreasing Salary - Opinions?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386304/ Rating: 4 Posted By: elrp
Views: 1926 Replies: 25

This was me a few months ago. Now back to work at my data-analyst job of 25 years after a huge health scare.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1356141/?start=0

I hate my current job. Was not happy when I went out on leave but now that I am back, I dread every hour of the work day. I am bored writing SQL queries and being tied to a desk 8 hours of the day.

I am considering taking a new job doing something I am well-qualified for and that I would enjoy doing. It's not a desk job. I would do local travel and meet people. The kicker is that it's a huge pay cut -- the average salary is $48,000. I don't have an offer for this job, at least not yet (it's not even an official opening yet) but it could be if I inquire (again, huge match for my skills). There is the logical part of me that says life is short, you got a second chance, do what you makes you happy and then there is the FWF side of me that thinks we need the larger salary and that it might kill me to take that pay cut.

Any advice from the FWF crowd?








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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386304/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:36:19 -0500
<![CDATA[Best credit card for purchase, protection, ext. warranty, rental car, etc?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386295/ Rating: 1 Posted By: m2go
Views: 1350 Replies: 18

After 2 turns of getting VISA claims denied on technicalities / "we don't cover this" (like, for example, accidental damage), I am now interested in figuring out what card to use for what, while also maximizing Cash Back.

It's my understanding that everybody's darling CashBack 2% FIA/BofA Fidelity Investment Rewards AMEX does not have AMEX coverage, but 3rd party coverage which is very picky. (I tried to add my FIA Fidelity Amex to the AMEX claims center - no dice. This card cannot be "activated".)

I've personally seen that VISA coverage is very picky on extended warranty and purchase security. (Pay some, don't pay others.) This affects 1.5% Visa CashBack Capital One Quicksilver.

Supposedly, MasterCard is super-picky on rental car insurance (i.e, they demand more documentation than rental car companies will usually provide to cover "lost use" and possibly other costs they charge.)

Most credit cards are secondary coverage in US only, i.e., you must file with your primary insurer which hurts your insurance rate.MC, Visa, AMEX offer primary insurance outside the United States. Some card issuers exclude specific countries.I have heard that AMEX made a colleague get in writing that he was not covered from his car insurer. They then paid, but it affected his policy premium...

Supposedly, Diner's provides primary rental car insurance as a card benefit. Does anybody have experience with them?

Does anybody have any experiences with Discover card benefits?


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386295/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 19:17:45 -0500
<![CDATA[Use Southwest points for Amazon GC's...?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386294/ Rating: 0 Posted By: jess888
Views: 1242 Replies: 13

I have about 100,000 SW points. No travel plans in sight, and of course the value will continue to sink. I am confused as to how to value them for non-travel purposes.

Should I use them to buy Amazon cards? 5,000 points = $50
If I don't use the Amazon cards, I can basically sell them for the full amount or just about, it seems.

Thanks! in advance....


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386294/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:57:35 -0500
<![CDATA[Is there a benefit to a Living Trust in my situation?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386281/ Rating: 0 Posted By: kriskos4
Views: 1181 Replies: 21

My father is 91 years old, lives with me and is worth roughly 4M...half cash and half stocks, no property. My brother and I will be his heirs, nobody else. The cash is in CDs payable to my father or either me or my brother 'upon death'. As far as I know, this money will not be subject to probate since it's automatically ours upon presenting a death certificate. The stocks are different though, the will states half to myself and my brother but not sure how exactly that would play out. Would the stocks be subject to probate court even if covered in a will? How much would they be taxed in probate? (stocks worth approx 1.5M)

I am getting a new will done, power of attorney and a health document stating his wishes. Just wondering if a Living Trust is beneficial given the amount is under the 5M that's taxable.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386281/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:36:06 -0500
<![CDATA[Honda Civic 2012 end of lease option? Finance?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386270/ Rating: 0 Posted By: penelope31
Views: 1012 Replies: 3

Hi,
I have a Honda civic 2012 LX model with 29000 miles on it. My lease is ending by Oct 1st. I am considering to buy my car at the end of lease (residual value $13600.00) as my civic is in excellent condition with no accident. Initially I was considering leasing another brand new car, but after much discussions I have come to the conclusion that by buyingmy Civic out I will pay the minimum amount every month. I am really looking to reduce my monthly spending on the car. I do not want to look for another certified preowned car as I would not be sure about the cars actual condition.
So is my decision regarding buying my car a good one?
Also if I need to finance , what places I should look for ? Any tips?
Will look forward for your responses.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386270/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:07:40 -0500
<![CDATA[Erroneous property lien recorded by City for delinquent utilities ($56.53) when the account had a Credit.balance]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386214/ Rating: 0 Posted By: heartharlez
Views: 1306 Replies: 13

The City of Sacramento filed a utility lien against my property in the amount of $56.53 for delinquent utility charges owed when my account wasn't delinquent. My payment for the entire balance owed posted to the account two business days priortheir filing the lien. (In fact I had overpaid and had a credit balance showing.). I received two letters dated the same date as the recorded lien. One notifying me of the lien
placed and the other notifying me that the lien will be removed due to payment received. It then states that a notarized letter releasing the lien is available upon request
and that a recording fee will be required in order to process it. It states that unless a notarized letter from the City is submitted to the County Clerk, the lien remains active.
What is the best way to handle this situation as I not only want the lien released immediately, but I want it expunged from the property record? Their mistake could also be
damaging to my credit worthiness and lower my FICO scores etc. Should I send a letter? What do I say? I want them to cooperate by correcting this error at their
expense without me having to hire a Lawyer. Thank you for your time reading my post,and I appreciate any help offered.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386214/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:18:35 -0500
<![CDATA[Advice for Student Loan Overage Check]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386208/ Rating: 0 Posted By: dwchief
Views: 1071 Replies: 6

Hi all -
Pretty sure I know the answer to this one but wanted to run it by some others. Just got my loan overage money, which is about 6K. This is 4x my normal overage amount I have been getting. My first thought is to just return the check and get the loan reduced. I'm at 6%, deferred right now. This is what I am leaning towards.

Wanted to get your opinion on other options:

  • Use this to pay off $130/month loan. This is a 0% interest, equal monthly payment, furniture loan. About3K left on the loan. Could payoff and return/pay down the balance of the check guys.
  • Use this, and sell Employee Stock Purchase Plan stock to payoff car. Finally convinced wife we needed to reduce car payments. Couldn't get her to go the Crown Vic route but reduced our monthly by about $200 + small insurance reduction. Should have enough money between the two to fully pay off car, net $215 back, could also "return" the warranty on the car (or just the GAP portion) + reduced insurance. Oregon requires full coverage for cars you have a loan on.

    • Edit for stock note. My $2500 investment got me an extra 16% due to the plan. Stock currently worth $3,260, haven't held for a year yet so paying full tax bracket %, currently at 1 year high and hovering there.

  • H&B.

Let me know what you think everyone, thanks for any input.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386208/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:54:03 -0500
<![CDATA[Plastic surgery, the FWF way.]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386203/ Rating: 9 Posted By: CowbellMaster
Views: 4688 Replies: 93

My wife is a warrior - after multiple children she has some war wounds and although she's incredibly fit, thin and healthy there are some things that diet and exercise can't fix so she has decided to pursue a fix. We're planning on a traditional 'mommy makeover' which will include a tummy tuck, hernia repair, and BA. I'm curious what other FWFers have done or would advise.

She has a relatively severe diastasis (separation of abdominal muscles) as well as a small hernia. From what I've read, insurance won't cover the diastasis repair (which is BS but I won't try to change the world today) but WILL cover the hernia repair. That said, I'm wondering if I can have a portion of the procedure(s) covered as the surgeon will be repairing the hernia in the same procedure as the tummy tuck. From some cursory research it looks like our insurance co will accept an invoice that includes "repaired hernia" and send us a check for the amount of the repair benefit, which will include the negotiated anesthesia benefit. While this may only be a small portion of the entire amount, I'm looking for any way to mitigate this potential large expense.

Other things to think about: cash offer. Knowing a surgeon's marginal tax rate is probably close to 50% I wonder if this is an option? As they are not an insurance-funded industry for the most part I don't know if there is more flexibility here.

I want to keep my expenses as low as possible but obviously I want the very best for my wife. This is less financial in nature but I wonder if anyone has ever researched plastic surgeons before and can offer advice? I'm in the Rochester area and am struggling to find "the best" in New York State or within around 8 driving hours of us. I've read countless "Realself" posts but the more you read the more you start seeing that many of those reviews seem to be very suspiciously biased. I was looking at a Toronto surgeon but I recently found out an acquaintance had a cauterizing tool dropped on her stomach during a standard BA procedure with him and lawyers in the area are shrugging it off, the surgeon is offering free scar cream, end of story. Are there any high-end PSs in the Western New York area or should I bite the bullet and go someplace closer to NYC?

Thanks for any insight.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386203/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:45:46 -0500
<![CDATA[Optionshouse: Earn 10,000 MileagePlus Award Miles]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386198/ Rating: 6 Posted By: ab13263627
Views: 2102 Replies: 12

Took me three months and a few emails, but it worked.

http://landing.optionshouse.com/united10k


Credit Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386198/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:39:43 -0500
<![CDATA[reviews of mutual fund broker managed]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386191/ Rating: 0 Posted By: mephrules
Views: 959 Replies: 9

just looking for investing opinions...
currently have approx 15k in a brokerage my parents set up for me when i was born.
it has amecx & cwgix - split 50/50
from googling both funds are rated highly but have high load fees of 5.75%
and the brokerage charges me $100 on top.
performance has been greet and nice 500$ dividends a year but i was thinking about taking the money and managing myself in no load mutual funds
thoughts?


Investing Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386191/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:11:04 -0500
<![CDATA[M&T Credit Card - 0% offer warning!]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386177/ Rating: 4 Posted By: Seity
Views: 1314 Replies: 1

If you get an offer for 0% for 12 billing cycles from M&T be warned that what they actually mean is exactly 12 months to the day of opening and they will charge you interest on that 12th billing cycle for every day after the day you applied for the card, even if you pay it in full before the due date for that billing cycle.
I actually tried to pay it a month early, but because their payment system is so messed up, the card that I was trying to have the balance transferred to couldn't figure out how to make the payment to M&T until I called their customer service and gave them the mailing address. This meant it took an extra 3 weeks longer than I would have liked, but still would have kept me within M&T's 12 billing cycles.
I have no idea if they are still offering this deal and if not, they may offer it again in the future, so I just want other fat wallet users to be forewarned.
By all means, if they offer a 0% with no balance transfer fee, feel free to go ahead and take advantage, just be careful to pay it off after only 11 months.


Credit Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386177/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:56:49 -0500
<![CDATA[Car dealership financial mistake]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386023/ Rating: -33 Posted By: vtmnd
Views: 3709 Replies: 138

I purchased a new car and chose to submit a substantial down payment along with trading in my 2010 Audi A6 Quattro. The final price to be financed was $28161. My bank previously approved me up to a certain amount and provided me a blank check. At the dealership, I signed the contracts and the check and gave it to the dealer to complete the rest. 5 days later, I was called by the dealer stating that there was a $3500 mistake and because the amount placed on the check was 24600 vice $28161 so my bank only honored what they asked for $24161. They asked me how would I like to pay the remaining $3500. The "honorable" thing would be to pay the difference, but this is clearly their error. Legally the contract does state $28161 so I'm not sure if their mistake on the check removes my liability for the remaining funds. I contacted an attorney and I am waiting for their response but just wanted to hear what your thought...


New User Question Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386023/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:03:36 -0500
<![CDATA[investment property]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386019/ Rating: 0 Posted By: fireman343
Views: 1590 Replies: 13

Hello,

I'm a 24 year old male and bought a condo through a a condo through a county purchase program. I paid $93,500 for it 2 years ago, and Put around 32,000 down on it. I did a 15 year loan with a 3.5% rate and my mortgage is currently around 600 a month. I have a roommate that pays $700 a month. I currently owe $55K on it. I am starting to look into buying another property, the only problem is I don't have the downpayment (I've read that most places like to see at least 20% put down. I'm thinking about doing a home equity loan to borrow enough to get to the down payment on a place (I'd probably buy in the low $200K range, maybe 250 tops). My salary is only $44,000 a year but I make about 56 with my over time (some garunteed, but not actually garunteed on paper for a loan). Any input onto the process and what I should be looking at doing exactly?


thanks.


New User Question Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1386019/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:17:25 -0500
<![CDATA[Fidelity AMEX changing from FIA Card Services to Bank of America (BoA) Oct 1, 2014]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385989/ Rating: 2 Posted By: robstrash
Views: 3650 Replies: 42

I just got a letter in the mail stating:
letter said: Currently, your credit card is issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. and governed by Delaware and federal law. As of October 1, 2014, your credit card account will be issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. and governed by North Carolina and federal law....


Discussion Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385989/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:26:28 -0500
<![CDATA[How do you guys track finances?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385963/ Rating: 4 Posted By: SimpleIX
Views: 2966 Replies: 51

Hello - I've been really wanting to crack down on tracking finances and building my savings/knowing where I spend and what I spend on. I've been thinking of just creating a simple excel sheet, however I just wanted to get your opinions on what you use to track and manage finances?

Thanks!


General Economics Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385963/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:25:58 -0500
<![CDATA[Recommend a CC for rewards for upcoming purchase]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385953/ Rating: 0 Posted By: evercl92
Views: 1524 Replies: 9

I'll be making a purchase of >$5,000 shortly, and was looking for a recommendation of a credit card to earn a quick spend and a truck load of reward points. I'm looking to trade the points out for cash - I'm not much of a traveler, so strictly flight points don't interest me.

Thanks in advance


Credit Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385953/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:40:27 -0500
<![CDATA[Help me cut my Utility/internet/mobile bills]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385949/ Rating: 0 Posted By: puddonhead
Views: 1997 Replies: 23

What I have:
Cable & Internet:$100/mo.
I keep switching between providers every year to ensure I don't ever pay the inflated "regular rate" for cable companies.
I am personally not convinced that we need cable at all. Internet only would allow us to go down to about $50/$60 per month, but that's a battle I am yet to win with DW and is in process.

Cellphone Plan:
Me
4G LTE wireless hotspot hooked to a Verizon unlimited data plan. ($29.99 for the data plan piece)
iPhone hooked to a 2GB/mo plan. ($29.99 for the data plan piece)
DW
iPhone hooked to another unlimited plan ($29.99 for the data plan piece).
Other
Dumb-phone hooked to another line. no data plan. This line was acquired when we did the upgrade trick for DW. Not really used right now.

We are on the $70/month base plan. Our total costs are $70 (base) + $9X3 (extra lines) + $29.99 X 3 (data plans) + taxes and fees. It comes to around $160-$170.

Carrying an iPhone around is not negotiable for me or DW, to the point that it will affect my (and pretty soon, her) career. I was a late adopter to this whole smartphone thing. My first smartphone was purchased only in 2010. I got onboard when I saw that I was getting labeled technologically challenged due to my inability to respond to emails quickly from my phone etc.

The hotspot hooked to unlimited data is also a requirement. That allows my phone usage to stay below 2G and also allows me to be online when I am on the road (and I am on the road a lot).

Any suggestions or recommendations?


Personal Finance Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385949/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:20:50 -0500
<![CDATA[Career Coach]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385931/ Rating: 0 Posted By: GermanBoy
Views: 1363 Replies: 14

I was talking to one of my friends recently about some time that he spent with a professional career Coach. This was a one-time consultation paid for by his company. He described it as helpful, but not something that they would pay for with his own money. I know that there are a number of people with high-earning careers and am trying to decide if this is something I should look into further.

If you have worked with a professional career Coach, what has been your experience? Specifically...

  • How did you find your career Coach?
  • How much did/does career Coach charge?
  • What did his/her services include?
  • Was your relationship with your career Coach transactional or ongoing?
  • What do you estimate has been the impact on your career, both in terms of salary and fulfillment?
  • Would you work with your career Coach again/are you continuing to work with your career Coach?

For a bit of context, my current cash-equivalent compensation is about $170k/year, so I'd be interested in people around the same salary level who have had experiences with career coaches.


General Economics Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385931/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:20:20 -0500
<![CDATA[Blacklisted by car dealership?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385929/ Rating: 10 Posted By: DVDAPEX
Views: 7184 Replies: 86

Short Story (read below this for the full details): I want to buy a car from Dealer A which is $1100 cheaper than Dealer B. Dealer B says that their offer is the lowest possible bid and Dealer A is out to scam me and will not send me the car for that amount. Dealer A needs to do a dealer trade to get the car and when they contact dealers with stock, they happen to contact Dealer B. Dealer B asks if the car is for "DVD Apex" and when Dealer A says "yes", Dealer B refuses to do the dealer trade.


Long Story:
I'm going through the process of buying a new car (using the "FW Style" thread) for the first time in my 20+ years of car ownership.

I used truecar to get a starting point and then I sent to all of the dealerships with the lowest cost (as well as a couple that don't seem to be involved with truecar but are still within a 50 mile radius) the "lowest out-the-door price" email that was noted in the "Buying a new car FW Style" thread.
The best offer was $1100 cheaper than Dealer B (which is local to me). (I've since had a late reply from a different dealership that's $1150 cheaper.)
There were other offers $400 - $600 cheaper than Dealer B.
Dealer A indicated that they would have to do a dealer trade to get the car.
Dealer B had the car I wanted in-stock.

I sent a follow-up to Dealer B saying they were $1100 off from the lowest bid (at that point, I didn't tell about the others who were $400 - $600 less).
Dealer B lowered their offer by $200, but said that there's no way Dealer A was going to give me the car for that price.

I figured since I was close by, I'd stop in and do a test drive (I'd previously driven the car as a rental.).
While I was at the dealership, I told the salesperson who I was and he recalled our emails. When I was done with the test drive I was told that there's no way the lowest dealership was going to be able to sell me the car for that amount. At that point, I told him that I'd had offers $400 - $600 lower than Local Dealership, so I don't think that's as "low as anyone can go."
He offered to have me talk to his manager. I told him I'll say "hi", but that we're so far apart of price that it's probably not going to result in a sale.

The minute I walked into the manager's office and he hears my name, he starts in on me telling me that Dealer A is pulling a scam as he knows what the cost is and even at the offer he gave me he's making 0 profit and that he's not going to lose money on a deal and not be able to feed his family and I look like the type of guy who wouldn't want to lose money on a deal...
When he took a breath, I mentioned that I'd had other offers for $400 - $600 less than what Dealer B was offering, but maybe they had lower overhead or some other way that they could beat Dealer B's offer.
I thanked the salesman and the manager, shook their hands and walked out the door.
As I walked out, the manager said that when Dealer A reneged on the deal, I could come back.
I said "have a nice day."

I told Dealer A that I was going to work with them and that they could source the car.
Dealer A contacted 3 dealerships showing stock and when they'd called to update me they hadn't heard from two dealers, they did mention that one of the dealerships they contacted was Dealer B and Dealer B specifically asked if the car was for DVD Apex. When Dealer A said it was, Dealer B refused to do the dealer trade.

Clearly Dealer B is trying to scupper the deal. Anyone experience this before?

Do dealers benefit in any way by giving up a car in trade?

UPDATE:
I ended up getting the car from Dealer A who did a dealer trade with another dealership in the state.
I paid exatly what was agreed via email prior to my driving the hour to Dealer A: ~ $17,000 out-the-door for a manual transmission Hyundai Elantra GT.


Discussion Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385929/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:07:42 -0500
<![CDATA[Dual HDHP Coverage - Questions]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385925/ Rating: 0 Posted By: trekwars2000
Views: 1164 Replies: 11

So my wife started a new job last week and as such can pick new insurance coverage, etc. She has two options through her job a plan called a HSA and one called a HRA. In actuality the names don't matter as I think both are qualifying HDHP plans under IRS rules. The difference is the company puts money into a HRA for the HRA plan and into a HSA for that plan. Since I have a family HDHP with HSA and am already contributing the max I think we are going to do with the HRA plan. For this plan the company puts in $250/year into the HRA, there is a ~$1300 deductible, then 15% coinsurance until the OOP max of ~$4k.

1) Is it fine for my wife to have a funded HRA if I am putting in the family max to the HSA?
2) Is the HRA plan actually a HDHP qualifying plan for HSA funding purposes?
3) How is insurance going to work since my wife will be covered under both plans? Under my plan she has a $3500 deductible with a $5500 OOP max. Does the deductible go up under both until it reaches her ~$1300 deductible?

Thanks


Personal Finance Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385925/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 08:44:19 -0500
<![CDATA[American Express Membership Rewards Up To 30% Discount On GCs YMMV]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385902/ Rating: 1 Posted By: doctorofcredit
Views: 2458 Replies: 4

Just received an e-mail from amex offering a 30% discount on some gift cards when redeeming MR points. Apparently some people only received an e-mail for 10 or 20% discount, so check your e-mails.

Not that much use for myself as I don't redeem MRs for gift cards, but some of you may find it helpful.


Discussion Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385902/ Mon, 25 Aug 2014 04:50:17 -0500
<![CDATA[Merchant account and POS for a small convenience store]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385843/ Rating: 0 Posted By: npetunina
Views: 1604 Replies: 15

My wife is about to start a convenience store
The majority of transactions are expected to be cash (area specifics).
Some will be credit. Most transaction size will be small (estimating <$10-15 average). Monthly transaction volume is expected to not reach a $1000 in CC.
I like what the paypals and squares and even ems+ have to offer, but this is a retail place, and we are not going to swipe customer's credit cards on a phone or make customers sign an iPad.
So ideally
- no transaction fees
- no monthly fees
- higher percentage OK as tradeoff..
- works over internet (not another phone line).. we have wireless
- ability to call in transaction if internet is down.. we are in the boonies (i liked that about EMS+)

pluses
- integrates with POS systems.

Speaking of POS systems.. we have a regular sharp register, but would like to keep track of inventory.
Anyone used opensource like Unicenta or OpenBravo? I am relatively computer savvy and not afraid of opensource.

Edit1: Looks like Square has an offline mode, but shows up as Square on customer's bills.. still no fan of Square other than pricing.

edit2: What Unicenta supports:Right now uniCenta oPOS comes withAuthorize.netFirst DataLa CaixaPayPointPaymentsGatewayPlanetauthorize

edit3: looks like merchant warehouse (highly regarded on FW) uses authorize.net.. sent them a msg.
edit4: costco evalon, has mixed feedback on this site, but even their relatively low fees (not sure about additional fees they may have beyond) make only transactions north of 17$ better suited for retail plan than "mobile" plan they offer:http://www.costco.com/merchant-account.html


Discussion Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385843/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:45:39 -0500
<![CDATA[Granite Fabricator -- Should I sue?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385841/ Rating: 2 Posted By: DoanB
Views: 2823 Replies: 46

Hi Everyone,

I've hired a granite fabricator to install granite in my kitchen as well as my bathrooms.

The contract stated to install 3cm(about1in1/8)granite for a price of $50 per sqf. But then I found out that the installed granite is only 1in which looks much thinner than the 3cm should be. I have contacted him and he said he was only a fabricator and told me to contact the whole sale place where I went to pick out the type of granite that I'd like to install. I called the wholesaler and they asked for the fabricator's info and I provided all that. Then they asked for my info as well and said they would call me back. It has been a couple of weeks without any calls from them.

Should I sue them for the breach of the contract of not installing the correct 3cm granite? Does anybody have any experience with this kind of issue? Please advise!

Thanks!


Question Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385841/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 23:43:32 -0500
<![CDATA[Question about Cost Basis Method for Mutual Funds at Charles Schwab]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385827/ Rating: 0 Posted By: FutureDilemma
Views: 1124 Replies: 17

In my Charles Schwab brokerage account online, on the Cost Basis Method tab under Account Settings, I see the following words under the Mutual Funds column: "Uses Account Default". What does this mean? One CSR thought that it meant the Average Cost Basis method would be used for mutual funds since that is the default for mutual funds. Another interpreted it to mean that the Tax Lot Optimizer method would be used for mutual funds since that is what is listed under the previous column that has the heading Account Default. To make things more confusing, when I try to sell a mutual fund, it takes me to the confirmation page without mentioning which cost basis method would be used.

Anyone here know what the correct interpretation is and which method will actually be used for those settings?


Investing Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385827/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 20:15:45 -0500
<![CDATA[Where do you keep your will?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385825/ Rating: 2 Posted By: Kinasharma01
Views: 2360 Replies: 45

I have been struggling with this topic. Keeping it in a safety deposit box at the bank kinda defeats the purpose because it's your safety deposit box and the executor will not have access to your box. Keeping at home exposes it to fire, theft etc. I am curious to know where FWF crowd keep their wills.


Question Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385825/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:56:45 -0500
<![CDATA[Can you combine Worldpoints between BofA and Fidelity?]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385824/ Rating: 0 Posted By: elhteng
Views: 915 Replies: 1

As titled. This business card caught my interest. Seeing that it earns Worldpoints I wonder if it is possible to combine them to points earned on Fidelity AMEX?

https://business.bankofamerica.com/creditcard/CardProductPage?sc=UABPHT&category=400


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385824/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:46:54 -0500
<![CDATA[Rollover (correction Transfer) of Qualified Account to Roth]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385810/ Rating: 0 Posted By: agawam
Views: 880 Replies: 0

Correction -- Instead of using the term Rollover, I should have referred to this as a Transfer since the funds from my VC account will be transferred directly to the Roth and the TSP accounts. No distribution will be paid directly to me.

As Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) government employee, I am able to contribute up to 10% of my lifetime government earnings to date into a qualified Voluntary Contributions (VC) account (this is not an option for FERS government employees). The after-tax contributions that I place in this account will earn interest until I initiate a one-time Transfer of my contributions to a Roth account and the earnings to my Thrift account. The latest I can complete this Transfer is when I retire (before age 59 1/2). How do I reflect this on my 1040? on the 'pensions and annuities' line or the 'IRA distributions' line? Also, I'm assuming I wouldn't need to fill out form 8606. Thanks!


Investing Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385810/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 17:27:33 -0500
<![CDATA[Chase Freedom Limit Increase]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385769/ Rating: 0 Posted By: ultratwdavis
Views: 1325 Replies: 6

So I've had my Freedom card for 2.5 years and have a limit of $500, I got it when I was 18, and have kept a max balance for almost all of the time of me having it, which boiled down to my low income and bad spending habits, but my I just got a new job and my income is around $2200/month.
I've had 2 late payments.


I am going to pay down my balance to around $200 tomorrow and ask for a CLI on Thursday. What do you think my chances are and what amount do you think?

I am planning to use this card for business from
now on and the balance will be paid in full immediately and frequently, so a nice sized increase would be great, probably to around $3k-$4k.


Anyone able to gimme some input?


Thanks!


Question Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385769/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 11:15:54 -0500
<![CDATA[To file or not to file? Homeowner's insurance claim..]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385714/ Rating: 2 Posted By: featherz
Views: 3421 Replies: 25

Just had our well pump go out - so no water (fun fun). We called out a bunch of guys to look at it and clueless (sorry honey!) hubby picked a really pricey guy when I was off at work. The price to fix the pump NOW was most likely jacked up as he told my DH that it was a lightning strike and that it would be covered by homeowner's insurance. DH thought 'woohoo, free!'. Pump was replaced, cost about 1K too much, but that's water under the bridge. Background - this is possibly a 40 year old well pump, almost 300 foot deep, galvanized pipe that was also replaced during the fix.

When examining the pump, it looks like the contractor may have been correct - there are small burned holes on either side of the pump. We have had lots of lightning lately and even a storm the day of the pump going out. I don't see any obvious strike, but not sure that matters.

Hubby wants to file a HO claim to pay the bill - after deductible, this would be a $2600 claim. We pay about $900/year in insurance and have a $243 'claims free' discount.

What think the FW community? We've already paid for it - and I'm not sure the insurance will allow this charge since it's already been repaired and they had no chance to come out first (we had no water so it was a rush job). They may disallow all or part of the claim for the age of the pump and/or replacing the galvanized pipe (not technically necessary to restore water).

I say it's not worth the claim and we just have to suck it up.. but if I am wrong, we could get part of this pricey fix back so I figured it was worth a check.


Real Estate Deals

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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385714/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 04:06:02 -0500
<![CDATA[Please evaluate my Business Idea]]> http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385712/ Rating: 0 Posted By: jdvb
Views: 1768 Replies: 17

Hello all, I plan to buy a digital billboard and rent out ad space on said billboard.
I will be choosing a build location that is highly trafficked by both vehicles and pedestrians.
This location will be surrounded by businesses, and their owners, on all sides.
I expect my Target market (the people I sell ad space too, not foot traffic) will be a mix of business owners within viewing distance of the digital billboard. Also some larger businesses that are within a 30 minute drive of my digital billboard will be included in my list of targeted customers.

The going rate for an ad slot on a digital billboard in my area is between 2000-4000$ per 4 week period (Slightly less than 1 month).
I plan to have the digital billboard hold a maximum of 7 ad slots.
Each ad slot will present the advertisement for 8 seconds, then switch to the next ad slot in an infinite loop. Similar to any other digital billboard.
In my current area I have seen 2-3 digital billboards. Each billboard seems to have a minimum of 5 ad slots filled. Some have had 6-7 ad slots filled at one time. Most advertisements come from big businesses like local casinos and car dealerships.

The cost to buy, setup, and implement a digital billboard is less than 130,000$ - This is at a pixel density of 19mm. This estimate includes permits, construction, and supporting structure fees.
The cost of the digital billboard alone is about 76,000$, again at a pixel density of 19mm. - I have this from a price inquiry I made in the early months of 2014.
The costs to setup and implement a digital billboard are roughly 55,000$.This estimate includes permits, construction, and supporting structure fees.

The above financial information does NOT contain the cost of land that the billboard will be placed on. Please assume this cost to be waived. - I can't entirely say why this cost is waived without giving away details that are pertinent to the plan's overall success.

The monthly operating cost of a single digital billboard is about 1,200$ for electricity and internet connectivity.

I expect to expand to as many digital billboards as possible, after about 3 digital billboards I plan to hire employees to manage the implementation of advertisements in ad slots. Employee pay will be roughly 60,000$ a year, a single employee will be tasked to manage and implement ads on 4 digital billboards at any given time. So a digital billboard may have an additional yearly management cost of 15,000$/board.

UPDATES:
1. As to the question of vandalism, the billboard will be placed on top of a uni-pole with a height of 10-14 feet. So unless a perpetrator has access to a 10-14 foot ladder, directly next to a main road, vandalism of the board itself is unlikely. However the base of the pole could be graffiti-d, again though the billboard will be in close proximity to a highly trafficked road. - As to BB guns and rocks, I'll see what's possible. - The billboard is in an area where open carry is unlikely, for rocks though I have nothing.

2. General liability Insurance will cost around 1,080$ per year. This does not include insurance for the billboard. Annually the cost to insure a digital billboard by itself is at max 4,000$/board. Total insurance = 1,080$ + 4,000$*B. Where B = number of billboards.

3. To the question of digital billboard pricing vs the pricing of static billboards: Oddly enough both digital and static billboards cost about the same price for a single ad slot.
Also even more oddly, it has been shown that drivers respond to digital billboards 107% more than static billboards (In terms of say buying the product advertised) - Even though the advertisement is only given 8 seconds then rotated to the next ad.

Specifically to dshibb's questions:
1. The other billboards in my area belong to bigger networks, so yes they can get bigger buys.
2. In terms of labor required to get clients I expect my marketing to primarily come from the billboard itself (I'd broadcast an advertisement on it for my services). If needed though I'd expect to go around to local business and offer my services, at discounted rates for extended buys. For example say I charge 3,000$/4 weeks on average, if I went to the business I'd offer them 3 months for 8,000$ instead of the average of 9,000$. If I were to have trouble finding clients early on I'd offer shorter buy periods, for example I may offer an ad slot for 1 week at 750$ to let the businesses "test" out how well my services worked for them. With the billboard being digital I could go as far as free-one-day demo advertisements. (Who knows I could even just post an advertisement for a business, then AFTER it was already up for a day or two let them know I put it up, and if their sells increase I'd have an easy way to point out the usefulness of my services) - I would only do this as a last resort option, in the event I have a hard time finding clients early on; also I'd make sure to wisely choose a business that wouldn't be offended by me positively advertising them without them knowing at first. In no way do I believe or intend to treat this business as a cakewalk, I fully accept that it may take a considerably large amount of effort to get things rolling.
3. For the cost of land, in this particular case consider it waived. However it can cost quite a bit of money to buy a small piece of land in a good metro area (Anywhere from 10,000$-100,000$) If you cannot get the land's cost waived I highly recommend renting, instead of out-right buying to save on start up costs.
4. For your last two questions I'm not sure what you mean, however this may help: You can rent someone's already placed billboard as your own, or you can offer to manage it and pay them a monthly fee. In my case I plan to buy, setup, and operate my own digital billboard.


Am I missing something? Are there any glaring holes in this plan? - Minus my omission of land costs. | Does anyone here own a digital billboard or plain billboard? Thank you for your time.

Edit: To everyone posting questions, I thank you sincerely, they are helping to keep this in the realm of reality.


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http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1385712/ Sun, 24 Aug 2014 03:48:47 -0500