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Re: Rewards credit card advice

I wonder if any of you have calculated the value of airline miles earned and redeemed versus a cash back reward? I feel like I can rarely use my miles unless I pay more of them or change the days I fly., which affects net cost of leisure travel. If I spend about 50k a year on a two percent cash back...
by Don46
Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rewards credit card advice
Replies: 33
Views: 5791

Re: last min international flights

I use Kayak.com and find it equally efficient at identifying cheap flights. You can use a matrix search that brackets +/- 3 days and shows you the lowest fares for each of nine combinations. It also provides flight alerts so you can be notified of fare drops and you don't have to start over each tim...
by Don46
Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: last min international flights
Replies: 8
Views: 1089

Advice on Tax Sale ETF

I've taken a loss in my international stock ETF, SCHF, about 8k down over the last couple of months. I've been transitioning toward a passive index portfolio and I'm good with the stay the course philosophy ... but: My wife and I are exposed to a lot of taxes in 2014 and already this year I've incur...
by Don46
Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Tax Sale ETF
Replies: 5
Views: 263

Re: How to drop advisor from Schwab acct?

I went through this recently after considerable thought and a lot of reading on this website. I spoke with people at the nearest Schwab office first, told them what I planned to do, then wrote an email to my adviser. He took it well and I moved on. All the accounts stayed where they were but the sta...
by Don46
Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to drop advisor from Schwab acct?
Replies: 11
Views: 1122

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

Allow me to run this option by the group. My Schwab broker sent me flyers on two MUNI fund managed account options, one of which is the PIMCO MUNI Bond Ladder Program with an annual ER of .35 for accounts below $1mil and goes down to .20 for those with $5million. There is some language that says the...
by Don46
Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

Don, I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with "bondspeak" in order to compare bonds. There's a difference between the coupon rate and the yield to maturity. You'll need to also be very familiar with "yield to call" and "sinking bonds" so you don't make mistakes in com...
by Don46
Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

Aloha Don, I like SC and have been every year for the past 35 yrs since my parents retired there...I might end up there too. You never mentioned if your pensions and SS income streams essentially cover your expenses...meet your "floor" as some say. Is your future RMD essential to meeting ...
by Don46
Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

The OP is in SC. SC GO bonds are rated quite high and in order to get a YTM of 4% or more, he'd have to go pretty far out on maturity, I'm estimating 25 years approximately. I don't think it's worth exposing yourself to that kind of risk, and for what it's worth, he would be in his 90s at the matur...
by Don46
Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

I had a good conversation with the bond specialist at Schwab today and feel like I'm moving in the right direction. He persuaded me to park my tax advantaged money in VBISX, the Vanguard Short Term fund, for now and see how things feel in two years or so. For the taxable account, he sent me a long l...
by Don46
Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:04 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Question about International Stock Allocation

I'm transitioning from a managed account that had no international exposure. I am 67, moving (slowly) toward retirement in the next two or three years, and in good shape financially. I am impressed by the case for international diversification, but I'm also not yet comfortable with how to deploy ass...
by Don46
Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about International Stock Allocation
Replies: 2
Views: 379

Re: VBMFX Duration

Here is a chart of the rates of Inflation, Bond Index, and Fed Rates, 1976 to 2012, which is based on the data posted earlier by antiqueman. I didn't run any statistical correlation tests, but the graph lines seem to indicate bonds have a mind of their own from year to year. http://i40.tinypic.com/6...
by Don46
Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VBMFX Duration
Replies: 21
Views: 2055

Re: VBMFX Duration

I was able to put Salty1's data into an excel graph, after some manipulation, but I don't know how to post a graph on this site. Any suggestions?
by Don46
Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VBMFX Duration
Replies: 21
Views: 2055

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

A follow up question: which funds or ETFs are people recommending for taxable and tax deferred fixed income/bond allocations? I see VBMFX Vanguard Total Bond Fund as the all time favorite of many on this board. I am advised, by a fellow at the Schwab bond desk, that I should consider VBISX, the Vang...
by Don46
Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

... With the size of your nest egg, I would consider accomplishing the above goal by using your taxable money to buy a ladder of high grade, AA or better municipal bonds. Since the interest income wouldn't be included in your AGI, there's no risk that it will push you into an even higher tax bracke...
by Don46
Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

Don, what do you expect your income tax bracket to be in retirement and what state do/will you live in? With that nest egg and RMD's, I'd guess you may still be in the 25% bracket or higher? I'm in SC and expect my RMD to run about 75k after I turn 70.5 in 2016. My SS is about 30k, 25.5k taxable. T...
by Don46
Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Vanguard Research

Hi Don: I can't blame you for being worried after reading all the scare stories in the media. It is what sells. Vanguard's Research Group published a lengthy report on this topic last July: This is a part of their Conclusion: We continue to encourage investors to view bonds as a diversifier for the...
by Don46
Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

Does your employer sponsored plan offer a guaranteed fund? I just moved a portion of my fixed income/bond allocation to the guaranteed fund. I know that the guarantee is only as good as the company guaranteeing it, but I believe that there is a greater chance of interest rates raising than the comp...
by Don46
Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments

I am making the transition from a managed account that includes an IRA and a taxable account with Schwab. I have about 3.2 million all together, and another .5 million in employer sponsored retirement accounts. I'm 67, and therefore about 3-4 years out from the point where the Minimum Required Distr...
by Don46
Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on Fixed Income/Bond Investments
Replies: 27
Views: 2973

Re: Bond myth.

I know that if interest rates rise 1 percent then the investment will decline about 5%. Antiqueman: This often repeated statement is simply untrue. There are many periods in which inflation (and interest rates) went up and bond returns also went up. Listed below are the historical U.S. inflation ra...
by Don46
Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VBMFX Duration
Replies: 21
Views: 2055

Re: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity

This has all be very helpful. I just set up the account on Schwab. I did not realize until I got into the process that I would have to decide on which stocks to transfer into the account before it could be set up. I started with about $30k of some shares that had an 88 pct LTCG. If I have this figur...
by Don46
Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity
Replies: 8
Views: 525

Re: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity

You should understand that YOUR deductible donation is made to the Donor Advised Fund. Once you make that donation the money (or assets) belong to the DAF. You don't control the sale of donated stock. You can direct donations to your chosen charities under the terms of the DAF. That's the "don...
by Don46
Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity
Replies: 8
Views: 525

Re: Allocation using Schwab ETFs

If you like Schwab, those ETFs are fine. However, given the high dollar amounts involved, you should not make ETF selections based on whether or not you have to pay a $9 brokerage commission. VTI, VXUS, and BND are all marginally better because they hold more securities and thus better represent th...
by Don46
Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Allocation using Schwab ETFs
Replies: 2
Views: 235

Re: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity

Yes, the gains would be LTCG. It sounds like a DAF is the way for me to go. A $50k DAF this year would save me about $25k in taxes and avoid up to another $4 or $5k in LTCG taxes. And it would give me a generous fund from which to dispense further contributions. What I do not understand yet is how t...
by Don46
Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity
Replies: 8
Views: 525

Allocation using Schwab ETFs

I'm making the transition from a managed account to what will be a three fund allocation of 35% US Stocks/ 50% US Bonds/ 15% International Stocks. I have been in a Schwab account for twenty years or more and am inclined to stay with them. I am considering using the following Schwab ETFs: SCHF for in...
by Don46
Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Allocation using Schwab ETFs
Replies: 2
Views: 235

Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity

I am facing huge capital gains this year that throw me into the highest tax bracket. I want to learn more about using charitable contributions to reduce taxes this year. I found some useful information on the Boglehead Wiki: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Donor_advised_fund I see that Schwab has a c...
by Don46
Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about Charitable Trust or Gift Annunity
Replies: 8
Views: 525

Re: Advice on PIMCO Total Return

So there. And even if you believe your investment guy to be honest (Schwab is IMHO one of the lesser evils out there), there's still the possibility that he truly holds that belief and he's wrong . After all, very smart and very well respected people, for example two of the recentmost Nobel laureat...
by Don46
Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on PIMCO Total Return
Replies: 18
Views: 1751

Re: Advice on PIMCO Total Return

I'm familiar with PIMCO total return mutual fund, but the OP is talking about PIMCO TR Managed Account , and I assume that is not a mutual fund. In looking it up I see that it is supposed to be provided by an advisor, is that true? Does it imply additional costs? What exactly are PIMCO managed acco...
by Don46
Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on PIMCO Total Return
Replies: 18
Views: 1751

Advice on PIMCO Total Return

I have an IRA with about 1.25 million and am making the transition from a (badly) managed portfolio of mostly junk bonds to a more stable bond portfolio. My Schwab broker advised that I consider using PIMCO Total return Managed Account, which allows me to own a set of bonds directly. The fee slides ...
by Don46
Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on PIMCO Total Return
Replies: 18
Views: 1751

Re: Allocation Across Taxable and Tax Deferred Funds

This makes sense to me. At present my tax deferred account is full of losses from some very bad bets on bonds my investment manager put me into. I wish I could use them in my taxable account! There I have some big gains, which I will want to move out of slowly with an eye on my taxable income over t...
by Don46
Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Allocation Across Taxable and Tax Deferred Funds
Replies: 5
Views: 508

Allocation Across Taxable and Tax Deferred Funds

I have my investments more or less evenly divided in taxable and tax deferred accounts, as it happens. I am transitioning from a situation in which an investment manager had my fixed income investments in the tax deferred account and the equity investments in the taxable. I want to arrive at somethi...
by Don46
Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Allocation Across Taxable and Tax Deferred Funds
Replies: 5
Views: 508

Re: Three-Fund Portfolio - VBTLX vs. VBILX

Morningstar also rates VBILX as having HIGH historic risk, and shows it in the high interest rate sensitivity category. I'm looking at the Schwab summary page on each fund. VBTLX in contrast is in the AVERAGE historic risk. Just glancing at the 10 year graphs for the two funds both appear to follow ...
by Don46
Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:53 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Three-Fund Portfolio - VBTLX vs. VBILX
Replies: 11
Views: 1613

Bond Mutual Fund VBTLX or Schwab ETF SCHZ?

I have a Tax Deferred (IRA) account I want to allocate to some fixed income mutual fund or ETF. I have about 1.2 million in this account. This is a Schwab account and have access to very low cost ETFs. Should I consider an ETF alternative to Vanguard Total Bond Admiral Shares VBTLX, perhaps Schwab U...
by Don46
Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond Mutual Fund VBTLX or Schwab ETF SCHZ?
Replies: 1
Views: 222

Re: Investing in Bonds

Twins Fan wrote: I'm not a big fan of total bond because of the MBS porting it holds. But, that's just my opinion. Others might like it because it has MBS in it.


I'm clueless: what is MBS? And why is this a problem with the Total Bond Fund? I'm still learning here.
by Don46
Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:18 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Bonds
Replies: 39
Views: 2088

Re: Investing in Bonds

My goal would be preservation of capital, ballast to protect against downside risk in the overall portfolio, and enough total return to offset to some degree at least inflation and taxes. When we are talking about Total Bond Fund, is this the best choice: Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admira...
by Don46
Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Bonds
Replies: 39
Views: 2088

Re: Investing in Bonds

Slightly off-topic, but I wonder how is possible to accumulate such a sum in an IRA if the annual contribution limits are just $5500 at present, and must have been lower in the previous years? Very simple - rollovers from other qualified plans such as 401k's, lump sum pensions, etc. Bruce Exactly: ...
by Don46
Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Bonds
Replies: 39
Views: 2088

Re: Investing in Bonds

I have an IRA worth about 1.2 million with Schwab. Slightly off-topic, but I wonder how is possible to accumulate such a sum in an IRA if the annual contribution limits are just $5500 at present, and must have been lower in the previous years? I rolled over a 403b (like a 401k but usually for educa...
by Don46
Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Bonds
Replies: 39
Views: 2088

Investing in Bonds

I have an IRA worth about 1.2 million with Schwab. My total investment portfolio is about 4 million. I want to put this IRA into fixed income investments for ballast and some steady income. I'm 67, not yet retired, in good health, and probably going to go another two years before I do retire. Overal...
by Don46
Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investing in Bonds
Replies: 39
Views: 2088

Re: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query

Not sure why you're ignoring depreciation in the calculation of adjusted basis, since it's a significant factor in the amount of the taxable gain. My guess is that 17 years of depreciation on the various properties could be $300K or more, which reduces the basis and increases the taxable gain upon ...
by Don46
Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query
Replies: 6
Views: 582

Re: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query

It was hiding in plain sight! I take back my swipe at the IRS. Thanks for helping me on this. This makes a huge difference in what I take away from this deal. Now I'm going to have a talk with my CPA ... and then find a new one.
by Don46
Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query
Replies: 6
Views: 582

Re: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query

thank you. That makes perfect sense. Otherwise I would, in effect, be paying capital gains tax on money I borrowed. Can I ask how you know this or what your authority is? I'm not doubting you, please be aware. My CPA charged me $550 to review this deal and tell me what my tax exposure would be. He s...
by Don46
Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query
Replies: 6
Views: 582

Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query

I inherited a Commercial Real Estate (CRE) property in 1996 when my mother died. My cost basis was established at about $500k. I rolled this over into a second and then a third 1031 exchange property. I do not have the details of the first exchange, but at the sale of the second CRE in 2005 I came a...
by Don46
Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital gains on Commercial Real Estate Query
Replies: 6
Views: 582

Re: Rebalancing Taxable - psychology of paying taxes?

I think it was late in 2000 after I had let some terrific gains in tech stocks (CISCO in mid 70s, bought under 10) run their course with the idea that I could take a 20 percent hit and still come out great. Then, gulp, a huge tech correction that left me absolutely sickened. I remember going to a me...
by Don46
Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Rebalancing Taxable - psychology of paying taxes?
Replies: 19
Views: 1518

Re: Real Estate vs Equities

So your friend is planning to buy some kind of commercial real estate property, not a REIT or some other indirect means of investing in the US (?) real estate market? Over the course of 40 years of investing I've had experience with residential and commercial real estate and I did all right, but it ...
by Don46
Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Real Estate vs Equities
Replies: 15
Views: 1223

Re: What does your CPA charge?

What do you think you should be paying? why do you think a return should be about only a 4 hour job? What was the advice that you think should have involved no more than 1 hour's work? K-1s, business deductions and commercial RE investments are complicated. Try doing them yourself. Business deducti...
by Don46
Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:09 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What does your CPA charge?
Replies: 30
Views: 2824

Re: Structured Sale in Commercial Real Estate Sale

The article (from May of 2012) refers to a 1031 rollover and like-kind exchange. What I am asking about is a structured (installment) sale of what was a 1031 investment I now want to sell, and not roll over. I've done the rollover twice and had no issues with the IRS.
by Don46
Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structured Sale in Commercial Real Estate Sale
Replies: 2
Views: 296

Structured Sale in Commercial Real Estate Sale

I am about to sell what was a 1031 rollover commercial real estate investment. I want to learn more about doing a structured sale, as described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structured_sale My goal is to postpone and spread out capital gains taxes and pay 15% instead of 20% capital gains. I und...
by Don46
Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structured Sale in Commercial Real Estate Sale
Replies: 2
Views: 296

Re: What does your CPA charge?

Thanks for all these responses. I'm not sure what I should be paying, and that is why I asked my question. I don't find myself asking friends what they pay for things. Most of my friends do not have incomes and tax returns that are comparable. They probably pay $300 a year or do it themselves and wo...
by Don46
Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What does your CPA charge?
Replies: 30
Views: 2824

What does your CPA charge?

I have been paying from $1500 to $2000 each year to a CPA for doing my taxes. This year he charged about $1500 but another $550 for advice that should have involved no more than one hour's work. He seemed to drag it out and make it more complicated than it was. This is a joint return with two salari...
by Don46
Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What does your CPA charge?
Replies: 30
Views: 2824

Capital Gains Tax Rates after Retirement Questions

My wife and I are planning to retire in two years. We have about $4 million in assets, some in real estate and stocks with a good deal of long term capital gains. Our income now is about $300k. After retirement I will get 30k social security. My will gets 25k in a pension. I have another 50k in comm...
by Don46
Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital Gains Tax Rates after Retirement Questions
Replies: 2
Views: 381

How do I find a good accountant?

I have been working with an accountant for several years. He was recommended by Schwab. He's OK but I'm concerned that he is too slow and charges more than his services are worth. I used to do my own taxes using Turbo Tax and I started hiring a preparer when my finances got more complicated. How do ...
by Don46
Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I find a good accountant?
Replies: 1
Views: 198
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