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Re: Roth conversion

Before you do ANY conversions, make sure you understand how it affects your taxes. Take a look at the wiki here (search for social security and taxes) in order to understand how a conversion can affect your marginal tax rate. If you have a 2013 tax software program, it can also be enlightening to pl...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth conversion
Replies: 5
Views: 272

Re: Tax Stupid Investment

First of all, this is not a stupid question at all. Many people don't take taxes into consideration when they're younger and planning for retirement, and many learn about this only when they start withdrawing. This is a shame because tax planning could've helped but even some accountants are more co...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Stupid Investment
Replies: 10
Views: 855

Re: Bond Fund Duration ?

Awferg, Duration is a very misunderstood term. Duration is an attempt to show you, the investor, how sensitive your investment is to an increase/decrease in interest rates. There are no guarantees, and there is no promise of a "breakeven point." Although there are several formulas, it is a...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond Fund Duration ?
Replies: 13
Views: 650

Re: Roth conversion

There is definitely an advantage to doing this. If you are delaying starting your social security until you are 70, this is relatively straightforward. If you are already taking your social security, make sure you understand the tax ramifications regarding increasing income tax on your social securi...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth conversion
Replies: 5
Views: 272

Re: You may want to rethink the odds of ever needing LTCi

I'm actually very surprised that Alicia Munnell would write an article like this. She is seasoned and well-respected. Her article is technically correct, but she really misses a much bigger picture. As previous posters noted, there is a lot more to long-term care than nursing home care. Most long-te...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: You may want to rethink the odds of ever needing LTCi
Replies: 53
Views: 4456

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

We generally provide for children in trust rather than outright, to keep the children's inheritances out of their estates, and to protect against their creditors and spouses. So control adult children from beyond the grave? No. An estate lawyer looks at contingencies and allows for unpredictable si...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Anyone have a house with a pool?

A pool is a luxury, never a necessity. We live in Southern California and the entire house looks out into the yard where the pool is. It's gorgeous. And it's a money pit. Here, it can go either way. In the Midwest, seems like it would be an expensive pain in the butt. Factor in water, electricity, p...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have a house with a pool?
Replies: 32
Views: 2254

Re: Cost Basis Methods

You can really do anything want regarding monthly investments and reinvesting dividends. It just depends on how much time and energy you have keeping up with bookkeeping. To some, it's a hobby so a lot of time doesn't really matter. I personally find those reinvested dividends of $50 over a decade a...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cost Basis Methods
Replies: 19
Views: 770

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

I think we could probably discuss pros and cons related to trusts for a while. The confusing issue will always be what state the person lives in because state law alone could play a major role in the decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to trusts. They're a bit of a hassle to set up and ...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: spend or save HSA when changing to lower-paid career?

You might want to look at your entire investment portfolio. Do you want to use the HSA as an investment account? Or are you going to ultimately spend it in the next couple of years for medical expenses. If you want liquidity and think you'll need the money soon, pick somewhere that has extremely low...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: spend or save HSA when changing to lower-paid career?
Replies: 4
Views: 323

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

Even if you think your estate is easy, please have some contingencies. For the majority of all of us, one spouse will die, the other will inherit the estate, and when the remaining spouse dies, the estate can be split between two siblings. By definition, some of us will not have that smooth transiti...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Rather macabre but necessary question

https://www.lls.org/content/nationalcontent/resourcecenter/freeeducationmaterials/mpd/pdf/polycythemiavera.pdf Please make sure that you've met with a well-qualified hematologist. If you live in an area where there is a major, well-respected cancer center, ask to be referred there for a second opini...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rather macabre but necessary question
Replies: 72
Views: 5290

Re: Life insurance with a smoking spouse

One thing to keep in mind is that term life does not keep up with inflation. That's neither good nor bad, but just remember that $1M in 2014 will be "worth" a lot less in 2044. If he's the sole breadwinner and you haven't even started your family I wouldn't be stingy with the policy.
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance with a smoking spouse
Replies: 38
Views: 1280

Re: Vanguard Interview with Jonathan Clements

Very interesting. I have always enjoyed Jonathan Clements and I got a chuckle out of his market timing episode. Good for him that he went from 70% equities to 95% equities in 2009! It is amusing that one paragraph later he underscores the virtues and importance of rebalancing . . . I'm actually very...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Interview with Jonathan Clements
Replies: 1
Views: 448

Re: Cost Basis Methods

^ You could also just turn your regular Vanguard account into a brokerage account. It's nothing more than another form, and you get a "sweep account" which is a money market account. There's no minimum at all. The brokerage account will allow you to trade ETFs, stocks, individual bonds, CD...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cost Basis Methods
Replies: 19
Views: 770

Re: Cost Basis Methods

The two things that you mentioned--tax loss harvesting and gifting appreciated shares--are benefits that only apply to taxable accounts. In order to maximize these benefits, I use the specific lot ID method for my cost basis. Vanguard should allow you to do this but it is your responsibility to keep...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cost Basis Methods
Replies: 19
Views: 770

Re: Florida to California

^ Yes, I'm afraid so.
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Florida to California
Replies: 15
Views: 786

Re: How often do you really change your email passwords?

Definitely Google two-step verification.
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How often do you really change your email passwords?
Replies: 17
Views: 691

Re: Florida to California

Lipper, Welcome to the forum and, potentially, to California. While CA has many, many benefits, its tax law is not one of them. If you have lived in FL for many years and contributed to your tax-deferred account, you benefitted from federal tax savings but not state tax savings since there is no per...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Florida to California
Replies: 15
Views: 786

Re: Roth conversion/recharacterization strategies?

Make sure you do your tax calculations, both federal and state, before considering a conversion. Trying to wait for a correction may be problematic. I'm sure there are people who were sure a correction was in the making in the middle of 2013, and they're still waiting. If you like, you can convert a...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth conversion/recharacterization strategies?
Replies: 4
Views: 240

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

"Yet people leave their investments to the advice they receive on a website (bogleheads)." True. The difference is that the Bogleheads will not be here for your family when you say away. An estate attorney will be. If someone's estate is extremely simple, no problem. If the estate is sizab...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Where can I go to get a signature guarantee or Medallion

Gold medallion signature guarantees are a real pain, and are being phased out across the board. While I've had no problem finding someone at Wells Fargo to do it, I usually have to make an appointment and be prepared for them re-arranging appointment times. Vanguard's voice recognition program has r...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where can I go to get a signature guarantee or Medallion sig
Replies: 21
Views: 1221

Re: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?

Some people assume reinvesting dividends in an IRA has no tax implications whatsoever. But if you have the same fund in a taxable account and you've sold some of the fund within the past 60 days for the purpose of claiming a capital loss on your tax return, then reinvesting dividends in the same fu...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?
Replies: 44
Views: 3756

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

I think there is a disparity regarding how people view estate planning here. Everyone needs some sort of planning in place for when he/she passes. I know there's a desire by some to write out his/her last check for the funeral, but that's not the way it works. Unless you really plan on burdening som...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?

Sometimes it's helpful to step back and view your financial plan from a bird's eye view. There's your earnings potential (human capital), there are insurance products to maximize income, there's debt (mortgage), there's cash/emergency money, there's pensions/social security, and there's your investm...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?
Replies: 44
Views: 3756

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

One thing I'd to throw out there: it's not just the will (and the trust and the powers of attorney) that you're getting when you hire an estate lawyer. You're also getting a name and firm that will be there when you have to exercise options that are sometimes unforeseen. Remember that Step One is dr...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ articl

This was one of the first "aha" moments I had in my financial life, many years ago. When you are managing your finances as well as planning for your future, it's not how much to MAKE, it's how much you SPEND. This particular woman, who you have to admit is courageous by being profiled in p...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Six-Figure Incomes—and Facing Financial Ruin [WSJ article]
Replies: 59
Views: 9188

Re: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?

As noted above, the purchase price of your house is only part of the equation. Every single penny you put into the house for improvement purposes adds to the cost basis of your house. At this point, our improvements have surpassed the original cost of the house. There's a lot of room for growth ther...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Once your house appreciates +$250k, sell it?
Replies: 42
Views: 3645

Re: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?

There's really no right answer here. Money is money, and I take any dividends and put them where they're needed: to equities, to bonds, to cash. I don't use average cost methods because it is counter-intuitive to me. If I tax loss harvest, I want the maximum loss. If I sell at a gain, I want the lea...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reinvest dividends and capital gains?
Replies: 44
Views: 3756

Re: Do my in-laws need a will?

Please, please, please do yourself and your in-laws a favor. Make sure that an estate attorney draws up wills for both of them, powers of attorney (both medical and financial), and a trust. It will be very, very hard to see him go, and the last thing you need is legal and financial uncertainty. Alth...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do my in-laws need a will?
Replies: 26
Views: 1842

Re: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?

I've just gone through all of this with my parents, since my dad recently passed away. The thing that became very apparent to me was how valuable it was to actually sit down with the estate attorney to go over things, and to plan for an immediate change in the trust. Everyone has a different level o...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone use Legal Zoom for LivingTrust?
Replies: 75
Views: 4750

Re: Malpractice lawsuit from residency?

The residency program's malpractice insurance will cover this. Your friend will really have very little alternative. The tail policies usually come into play later in career, but medical schools and residency programs will cover anything that occurred while enrolled in the program.
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Malpractice lawsuit from residency?
Replies: 16
Views: 2569

Re: passing an IRA to a parent

You won't be able to give your IRA to your mom but you can definitely transfer appreciated mutual fund (ETF or stock) shares to her. A lot of retirees are in a relatively low tax bracket and pay 0% capital gains. Depending on the amount, you can both benefit from the transfer (you give appreciated s...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: passing an IRA to a parent
Replies: 5
Views: 533

Re: Ideas for thanking a doctor

You really don't need to send a gift of any sort. I will get cards and emails from patients expressing gratitude and that is more than enough. Kind words go a long way, and nothing more is necessary. If there has been something extraordinary (a prolonged illness of a loved one where you feel your do...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ideas for thanking a doctor
Replies: 74
Views: 4562

Re: Burton Malkiel Opinion in WSJ -- "Are Stock Prices ..."

I thought it was a good article, and quite free from sensationalism or prediction. In fact it was a good exercise in explaining why predictions may not be actionable even if they are correct. Agreed. Although I'd argue that some of the well thought out "predictions" on this forum and else...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Burton Malkiel Opinion in WSJ -- "Are Stock Prices ..."
Replies: 26
Views: 3009

Re: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?

Yes. Our deductible is 10% of the cost to rebuild (not the estimated worth of the house). The premium is about the same as our homeowner's premium. Each annual premium is about 0.1% of the worth of the house. I didn't get it to fix cracks in the driveway after the earthquake, I pay premiums in case ...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: California residents - do you have earthquake insurance?
Replies: 54
Views: 3152

Re: What documents should you never throw away?

Death certificates. You'd be surprised at how many institutions want originals. Having recently gone through this during my dad's funeral, we were offered five certificates for a small fee and another for free because of military service. I couldn't figure out why this was important until several fi...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What documents should you never throw away?
Replies: 17
Views: 1656

Re: Frequent Flyer Miles:Transfer, Gift or what...

Every airline has its own rules so you'll have to check with a representative. I can tell you that I've been able to use my points on Delta to purchase tickets for others simply by logging into my Sky Miles account and using their names to get them tickets. I was a little skeptical about how easy th...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frequent Flyer Miles:Transfer, Gift or what...
Replies: 12
Views: 737

Re: Pay cash for flight on sale, or use FF mileage quandry

Good responses above. For family reasons, I have had to travel A LOT over the past year. This has included emergencies and cancellations. The best advice I can give you is to look at ALL of your frequently flyer accounts that you've amassed over the years. If all you have is United, your job will be...
by Artsdoctor
Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pay cash for flight on sale, or use FF mileage quandry
Replies: 29
Views: 1987

Re: Will you have to pay your parent's long term care costs?

Thanks for sending this over. This is clearly disturbing and as someone who is dealing with both in-laws in PA at the end of their lives (requiring nursing home care), this is timely.
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will you have to pay your parent's long term care costs?
Replies: 57
Views: 4011

Re: Roth questions from an MD

Iceman, First, your MARGINAL tax rates are different than our tax brackets described. The only way for you to understand how much tax you'd pay on converting to a Roth is to calculate your marginal rates. Second, I would recommend that you not try a guess what federal and state rates might be in 25 ...
by Artsdoctor
Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth questions from an MD
Replies: 32
Views: 3041

Re: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD

Arthur, If you're a belts and suspenders guy and want maximal protection, you can buy prerefunded munis. The funds are secured in US treasuries (or the like) so you really don't have credit risk. The yield is less, of course, but you might come out ahead. You lose the liquidity of a treasury but you...
by Artsdoctor
Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 9979

Re: Muni bond fund - MUB or ?

Zizi, I'm not a big fan of bond ETFs because of bid-ask spreads, the delayed reinvestment of dividends at impossible-to-comprehend prices, and the potential illiquidity issues should there be a run on the ETF. I believe there are no fees associated with the ETF at Fidelity but that's another conside...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Muni bond fund - MUB or ?
Replies: 10
Views: 734

Re: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD

^ Nauseating = "such as to cause contempt, disgust, loathing." It is true that it is non-analytical. But I would resent paying taxes on an investment that has given me no money in my pocket. Being taxed on phantom income is something that I personally would avoid but others may feel differ...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 9979

Re: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD

Arthur, From what I gather, you're now 40 and you'll be using the interest for spending. Therefore, I suspect this is not money that will be placed in a tax-deferred account. Therefore, TIPS are really not an option, as some posters have suggested. If you're really to build a true ladder, you're no...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:13 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 9979

Re: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD

^ Lang, Unless you're in a very low federal and state income bracket, most people would find paying tax without any tangible return unpalatable. If I'm holding a 2032 TIPS bond and don't anticipate selling it until maturity, the idea of paying annual taxes for the next 18 years on the accrued princi...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3.3% Vanguard 10 year CD
Replies: 99
Views: 9979

Re: Liability Matching Portfoloio

^ I suspected that you had a hand in that. And I'm grateful to the others as well. Extremely well-written. The references were also great. I've used Paula Hogan's site for information as well. I agree that the way it's been presented here is user-friendly and practical. Only later did I realize that...
by Artsdoctor
Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:06 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liability Matching Portfoloio
Replies: 36
Views: 3280

Re: Liability Matching Portfoloio

^ Very, very helpful to discuss. If assets are even moderately large, discretionary spending is extremely flexible. After all, you do that intuitively: will you vacation locally or internationally, will you travel for one week or four weeks, will you buy a BMW or a Honda. Even the "necessities&...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liability Matching Portfoloio
Replies: 36
Views: 3280

Re: Liability Matching Portfoloio

Very very helpful, and pretty much the way I've evolved to think about it. Everyone's situation is different. I'm 55 and would anticipate working another 10 years but I could be wrong. That's Plan A, anyway. I've already placed as much into TIPS ladders as I can: the 2043, 2042, 2041, 2040 bonds hav...
by Artsdoctor
Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liability Matching Portfoloio
Replies: 36
Views: 3280

Re: Liability Matching Portfoloio

dbr, It can be confusing. It's only started sinking in with me during the past year with Bill Bernstein's e-books and then following up with some of his references (in particular, Zwecher's book). Life-cycle investing is a relatively new way of looking at financial management. To me, I like the conc...
by Artsdoctor
Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Liability Matching Portfoloio
Replies: 36
Views: 3280
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