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Everything posted by emkay

  1. What are you watching right now?

      A lovely Netflix documentary. VIP penguins!  
  2. Things to ponder

  3. Help managing 1st property

    My friend recently changed his UK long term let into an Airbnb property. He’s finding it difficult to manage himself even as an experienced landlord. Have a look at this link ‘Airbnb Responsible hosting in Germany’. Click on the appropriate location towards the end of the page for specific area regulations. The Facebook groups could also be useful.   https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1391   Also just Google other German Airbnb hosting management companies. Various Google results show average fees for management.    All the best. 
  4. child to travel with Oma

    Good advice so far. How lovely of your mother to take your daughter on such a holiday. I had issues leaving Germany with my daughter when she was young to return to our UK home. She is half Asian and questioning once led us to missing a flight. Since then, I travelled with copies of both of our birth certificates and my UK child benefit certificate. This helped a lot. Maybe relevant for other people in such a situation.   Maybe, as an additional measure, your daughter could travel with a copy of your birth certificate and hers that helps identify your mother as your daughter’s Oma? Just add as much info as possible…proof of home address, parent contact info etc.   All the best. 
  5. @GaryC, thanks again for your advice. Sorry, if I’m repeating any of this…,When I started paying voluntary contributions in 2017, my previous pension forecast stated I already had 29 qualifying years. Was it correct that I was given the choice of either paying the missing years in arrears (2011-2016), or pay for another x number of years to fulfil the required number of qualifying years? Maybe I should just pay the arrears and be done?   If qualifying years were stated in a previous pension forecast, does this actually mean that those are full? If so, I shouldn’t worry about any gaps. Probably stupid question though just out of interest…..does full mean 12 months of contributions or an overall annual minimum?    I’m just going through the middle bit of your reply yesterday, re transition, nSP, qualifying years etc. I’ll try to phone again…probably send the form off too. I just asked for a record or statement of my NI contributions to check for pension purposes.    Many thanks again.
  6. For the NI record, I was definitely told up to the year ending 2021. The pension forecast, year ending 2022. I’ve just tried to fill in the CA3916 form. It’s not very clear. I’ve found an old version of the form to complete by hand. This might be easier.   
  7. Just in case this helps anyone else, I  just phoned to request a NI statement, tel 0044 1912037010. The statements go up to tax year ending 2021. I was transferred to the CNR team and told that any missing contributions can’t be paid for years prior to 2006.  As I live abroad, they can’t post me a statement. I have to fill in a form CA3916 that requested a statement and post it to them. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-statement-of-national-insurance-contributions-ca3916.  I was in hold for over an hour to learn of this so this should save anyone else’s time.    I tried to register for online services that seemed quite simple until identity verification. It can either be done using an app though my iPhone is too old. Alternatively, it can be done by verification of other documents. However, 2 from 3 options needed to be selected. UK passport, UK driving licence or UK credit reference info ie date credit card issued, telephone contract taken out etc.  I have none of these. I was then promoted to call them for help. The advisor believes the service isn’t available from abroad although the application accepted a DE mobile number and I was sent access codes.  Maybe it would work with a newer mobile phone.    Requesting and state pension forecast was easy. The new forecasts should show some level of detail regarding incomplete years.    Thanks again @GaryC. I’ll check through the rest of your much appreciated advice.   
  8. Thanks for that tip.  As I no longer have online access, I usually phone every year to ask for a pension forecast. Can the same department also send a copy of my NI record? 
  9. @GaryC, thanks so much for your reply.  I really hoped you would as our TT expert.  Your reply is a lot to unpack too 😉. I’ll have to try to comprehend fully later. I guessed my simple calculations wouldn’t suffice. Since I paid additionally since August 2017 to reach 35 years of contributions (I’ll stop calling it AVCs), the pension forecasts haven’t stated the number of fully qualifying years as they did before. I’ll request a new pension forecast tomorrow. Many thanks again Gary. 
  10. What are you cooking today?

    Crumpets surely are a “wenn schon, denn schon”! Not often though for me, toasted with butter and jam 😊
  11. What are you cooking today?

    I sometimes bought Warbutons crumpets if I ordered any British food from a website. Short shelf life and freeze ok. As we all love them and always have limited freezer space I tried this recipe with great success. Just had to buy some metal rings.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/crumpets_61013
  12. What are you cooking today?

    Nothing more comfort food than Cottage pie. Vegan/vegetarian version too…   My husband never even tried it until he took it out of the freezer by mistake…now he absolutely loves it.   The basic recipe…..   https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cottage-pie   I usually add more garlic, 1 chopped parsnip and 2 handfuls of peas. Kids always loved this. Freezes really well with or without potato topping.    For a vegetarian/vegan version, I use 200g of mixed red and berg lentils per 500g of recipe mince meat. No need to soak, just rinse well. After many experiments, this ratio works for any mince meat recipe…bolognaise, chilli con/sin carni. The 50/50 mix of both types of lentils gives a good texture. More water needs to be added to the lentil version to get the right consistency. Shouldn’t be runny, just moist enough.   I love OXO meat free cubes. Taste exactly like the classic OXO cubes. Easy to make gravy. For meat cottage pie, nothing like good old Bisto Best!  I personally like to add a bit of mint sauce to mine. 
  13. A question about how AVCs are calculated.  Any advice would be much appreciated. In November 2016, my state pension forecast stated that I had 29 full years of NI contributions. From August 2017, I started paying AVCs to reach 35 full years of contributions (formerly 30 years maximum). No arrears for April-July 2017 were deducted by DD. So for 2017/2018, only 8 months were paid for that tax year.    Since then, until now, I have paid 5 full tax years in AVC. 2018/19 to 2022/23.  As only full years qualify, do I have to pay the arrears for 2017 (April to July), or do a further 4 months of payments from April 2023 qualify to fill the missing 2017 months? That would take me up to a total of 35 qualifying years.  I just wouldn’t want the 2017 part paid year to not qualify.    In a previous conversation with the pensions department, it was mentioned that I may need to pay more than 35 years. Pension forecasts also refer to maybe needing to pay more in order to quality for other UK state benefits. I doubt I’d even qualify for any other benefits?     If further contributions are made, in my case, more than 6 years, would the state pension increase or is this capped to 35 years? Or, is deferring pension claim from the age of 67, the only way to increase state pension?   Many thanks in advance for any advice.
  14. What are you watching right now?

    I started watching this…definitely good though got a bit too disturbing for me. Must be my age and getting more sensitive!   Maybe I’ve watched too much a Netflix over winter though there seems to be little of interest recently. The MH370 documentary was interesting though quite a few significant facts were omitted. Ancient Apocalypse is fascinating as it challenges scientific and archaeological long held theories. I quit the Harry and Meghan pity party after one episode. 
  15. Very sad news. My heartfelt condolences to her family. I very fondly remember Katheliz. She once offered to cyber adopt me when I was having terrible issues with my mum. A very nice lady. RIP dear Katheliz.
  16. Our cat has been a little unwell recently….generally unsettled, slightly distressed. Our vet couldn’t find any obvious reason. My UK vet friend said that he had heard of similar cases with cats and dogs and there’s a suspicion that Alexa devices or similar may be affecting pets due to their frequency. Has anyone else experienced this with their pets? Or, could it be a very unlikely cause of pet distress? I’ve unplugged our Alexa and, our cat seems calmer….coincidence maybe?
  17. Do Alexa devices affect cats and dogs?

    I hardly ever use my mobile. People seem to think this strange. Even if I go out, I take it with me though only switch it on if I need it. 
  18. Damages found in a bought apartment

    In which way is this not working? After you complained to the house owner/apartment seller, was action promised?
  19. Damages found in a bought apartment

    When we bought our house, at the Notar meeting to go through the contract with the seller and ourselves, the seller was clearly asked if there are any hidden faults. Unhidden faults fell into the category of ‘sold as seen’.   Do you have photos of the mould area before you moved in after it had been painted?   I would suggest you contact the Notar that handled the sale.    Here’s some info…..   https://www.immoverkauf24.de/immobilienverkauf/immobilienverkauf-a-z/versteckter-mangel/
  20. Worst jokes ever

    What do you call a man with no shins?   Tony
  21. Why are you unhappy today?

    I’m so sorry John. You and Nicole have given her a wonderful life. Every day is special. 
  22. Do Alexa devices affect cats and dogs?

    I think so too. Glad our cat found a good reason for Alexa to go! My husband has another Alexa in his roof top snoring/man room…any AI is welcome to listen to that so long as I don’t have to!
  23. Do Alexa devices affect cats and dogs?

    My husband just came home and although he’s not all too aware of our cat’s change in behaviour, he noticed a change and asked what has made her better….playing, no longer nervous, eating well.  Alexa is now aus….forever! Of course he thinks this is just mad.  
  24. Do Alexa devices affect cats and dogs?

    My daughter once got the notion that Wi-Fi might be affecting her so I really switched it off. The lack of Wi-Fi affected her far more . I generally switch off wifi etc at night. Can’t placebo a cat though!