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Re: Quicken WillMaker - any users?

The above plain talk will raises an interesting point I had with Willmaker vs. local lawyer. The language used by both was quite different, both using obtuse legal wording for the most straightforward points, with (struggling to remember accurately here) the local lawyer being worse. It occurred to...
by Iorek
Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quicken WillMaker - any users?
Replies: 24
Views: 3097

Re: do people still steal portable GPSs from cars?

I had someone steal the charging cord when I left that in the car without the GPS, but I think I might have left the car unlocked (in our driveway). Anyway, I always put it out of sight, but don't really worry about leaving it in the car.
by Iorek
Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:55 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: do people still steal portable GPSs from cars?
Replies: 13
Views: 1933

Re: Best travel rewards card for my unique situation

The Sapphire Preferred is a good card (the Sapphire is similar but no fee, and not quite as good, e.g. I think it has a 1% transaction fee on foreign transactions), but FYI I think Chase discontinued the 7% bonus.
by Iorek
Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best travel rewards card for my unique situation
Replies: 11
Views: 1500

Re: Paying down mortgage vs maxing out retirement

Financially the question is whether you expect to do better than 3.75% over the comparable time horizon (13 years? 23 years?) for the amount you would be diverting. Aside from that, there is the psychological/emotional sides of things. Probably no wrong answer, but I would hope you could do better t...
by Iorek
Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying down mortgage vs maxing out retirement
Replies: 11
Views: 1421

Re: Retiree Health Insurance - Federal Employee

Not an expert but my understanding is that W can change plans, or change from self only to self and family either during any annual open season or at the time that H loses coverage.
by Iorek
Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiree Health Insurance - Federal Employee
Replies: 37
Views: 2400

Re: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced

I used to do my taxes by hand, and I still like to review the printed forms, but I think Congress basically gave up a while ago on having a tax form simple enough to do by hand and now counts on people having access to tax software (whether through free file or otherwise).
by Iorek
Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced
Replies: 57
Views: 7753

Re: Investing Magazines

I think the core problem is that you can probably learn what you need to know in one, or maybe two, issues of a magazine, but of course they need to publish many more so the possibilities are that they tell the useful stuff they've already told you, or they tell you stuff that is not helpful (either...
by Iorek
Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investing Magazines
Replies: 29
Views: 2247

Re: Help Me Pick Insurer - Safeco - Erie - AAA

I have heard Erie, USAA, and Amica are the best for auto insurance, and Erie, Chubb and Firemans are the best for the home insurance. If they are competitive on price I would go with Erie.
by Iorek
Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help Me Pick Insurer - Safeco - Erie - AAA
Replies: 25
Views: 2127

Re: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced

Flagship Services and Asset Management Services clients will receive complimentary access to the Federal: Basic, Federal: Deluxe, and State: Basic products. Looks like it's free for Flagship folks once again. Last year the TT Deluxe edition handled Schedule D which was free. It appears this year on...
by Iorek
Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced
Replies: 57
Views: 7753

Re: Bonds for taxable

Don't forget about i-bonds (and/or EE bonds) too. There are purchase limits, but they can be a nice option for at least a chunk of your taxable bond portfolio.
by Iorek
Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds for taxable
Replies: 15
Views: 1221

Re: A simple coffee maker

1) If money is no object, the best coffee makers are made by Technivorm, starting at around $300. "Best" is based on reviews by coffee snobs. 2) If you want to economize but still want reliable, high-temperature brewing, Bonavita makers can be had for about $150. The coffee snobs consider...
by Iorek
Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A simple coffee maker
Replies: 38
Views: 3169

Re: Online legal documents

I am also a lawyer and I would not discourage anyone from hiring a lawyer for their will, but I do think its possible to overstate the importance of a lawyer for a simple will, and I think generally following Nolo accurately will be better than no will at all (which is often the alternative). In par...
by Iorek
Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Online legal documents
Replies: 5
Views: 878

Re: Online legal documents

user5027 wrote:Used Nolo Willmaker.


+1. I liked Willmaker better in part because I trust nolo more and because there isn't another person involved in entering my info, so if there's a mistake it's my mistake.
by Iorek
Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Online legal documents
Replies: 5
Views: 878

Re: A simple coffee maker

I highly recommend a coffee maker with a thermal carafe-- either the zojirushi or the bonavita (the bonavita is more expensive but not as expensive as the technivorm).
by Iorek
Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A simple coffee maker
Replies: 38
Views: 3169

Re: Bumped out of first class at boarding - compensation?

Agree with FlyerTalk. The fact that you were flying award travel on USAir with United miles is going to make this a little more complicated for them to sort out. You'll have to be persistent and patient. It sounds like the gate agents and flight attendants did the best they could for you so I would...
by Iorek
Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bumped out of first class at boarding - compensation?
Replies: 52
Views: 6338

Re: Is this 529 abuse?

You don't have to worry about exceeding a reasonable amount in a 529; the 529 will do that for you. All 529s have upper limits after which growth may continue but no additional funds may be added. That number is typically around $400,000 per beneficiary. The bigger issue as others have said is the ...
by Iorek
Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:04 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is this 529 abuse?
Replies: 9
Views: 1295

Re: Bumped out of first class at boarding - compensation?

I would ask over at flyertalk-- they are very knowledgeable about all the rules/practices. Look for either the USAir or the United FF forum.
by Iorek
Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:59 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bumped out of first class at boarding - compensation?
Replies: 52
Views: 6338

Re: A friend asked about about resignation timing, but IANAL

This is not legal advice and I have no experience in these areas, but I would have thought that the meaning of "vest" is that it's his no matter what happens after that. Now whether they can make it difficult as a practical matter might be a different question.
by Iorek
Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A friend asked about about resignation timing, but IANAL
Replies: 13
Views: 1543

Re: Good books on Law to give to a teenager?

That is such a broad request, but I'd say two you might consider are A Civil Action and The Buffalo Creek Disaster, which are both stories of lawyers fighting mass torts. My recollection is that Buffalo Creek Disaster is more readable but Civil Action is more modern/realistic (although both are cons...
by Iorek
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good books on Law to give to a teenager?
Replies: 12
Views: 1015

Re: A week in Tuscany: April 2015. Suggestions?

You might check out the Fodors boards-- at least of a couple of years ago they had some active posters who very knowledgeable about Tuscany. We rented a villa in the Val D'Orcia a few years ago, outside of Montepulciano and had a wonderful time. It's south of Florence, and a long (but possible) dayt...
by Iorek
Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A week in Tuscany: April 2015. Suggestions?
Replies: 22
Views: 1580

Re: GAO Concerned your IRA may be too big!

a dual-professional couple who aggressively saved and invested in qualified 401k (with full employer contributions) beginning upon departure from school is in serious danger of running afoul of the 5,000,000 figure that is a recurring theme of the GAO report. In a country of over 300,000,000 people...
by Iorek
Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GAO Concerned your IRA may be too big!
Replies: 25
Views: 3587

Re: Land Trust "investment" for tax deduction

I have no idea how the OP's deai is structured, but I would just note that I find it very hard to believe that one could invest $50k in a deal and generate $250k in tax deductions. Presumably whatever one purchases the land for is its FMV and the FMV of the easement cannot be more than the FMV of th...
by Iorek
Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Land Trust "investment" for tax deduction
Replies: 14
Views: 1211

Re: When do your account returns dwarf your contributions?

It's taken me about 20-25 years. It is a little bit of a good news/bad news situation that when I run retirement projections the results don't seem seem to change very much based on contributions for the next 10-15 years.
by Iorek
Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:24 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When do your account returns dwarf your contributions?
Replies: 51
Views: 6879

Re: Should I have even $1 in Bonds?

You want to know your portfolio risk, in approx +10 yrs, that is excess of your needs. SS and pensions will be sufficient for your living needs. Is this correct? If this correct, then I say that bonds are not needed. Bonds could be drag on returns or even increase risk. I am curious what you mean b...
by Iorek
Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:38 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I have even $1 in Bonds?
Replies: 34
Views: 4251

Re: Estate planning - big firm or solo practitioner?

I think going through the Nolo Willmaker book is a very good way to prep for a discussion with a lawyer. It costs about $30 and will start you thinking about issues and give you understanding of some techniques like a bypass trust. I was quoted substantially larger fees for a will from the firms I c...
by Iorek
Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate planning - big firm or solo practitioner?
Replies: 22
Views: 2233

Re: Should I have even $1 in Bonds?

Noting but leaving aside for now the question of what constitutes your minimum expenses, I think in the end this comes down to the question of whether, if you have your minimum expenses covered, is that an argument for taking more risk or less risk with the rest of your portfolio. I don't think ther...
by Iorek
Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I have even $1 in Bonds?
Replies: 34
Views: 4251

Re: Question about Vanguard total stock market

I think they will pay another quarterly dividend around 12/20.
by Iorek
Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about Vanguard total stock market
Replies: 8
Views: 1258

Re: Tax Question

Basis of the rental property will be the lesser of actual basis or fair market value when converted to a rental.
by Iorek
Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question
Replies: 14
Views: 1770

Re: Basic investing/tax related question

IIRC, your losses will first reduce your gains (long-term then short-term) and then what's left over can be deducted against ordinary income (up to $3k/year).

So, if you have no capital gains then you should be able to deduct the losses.
by Iorek
Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Basic investing/tax related question
Replies: 6
Views: 453

Re: Backdoor Roth IRA - some specific questions

I assume each of us have to do individual 8606’s? As a married couple, if you file jointly I believe each person's basis IRA contributions are reflected on the same 8606 and, like many lines on the return, are identified as "T" for Taxpayer and "S" for Spouse. At least, that's h...
by Iorek
Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Backdoor Roth IRA - some specific questions
Replies: 7
Views: 883

Re: Backdoor Roth IRA - some specific questions

Turbotax is just as easy for two as one-- it will simply ask you all the same questions for you and then for your spouse, and then generate two forms.
by Iorek
Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Backdoor Roth IRA - some specific questions
Replies: 7
Views: 883

Re: How do you automatically rebalance?

Since they are tax advantaged accounts you could find some fund or combination of funds that will rebalance for you (like lifestrategy or target retirement)-- that's what we do.
by Iorek
Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you automatically rebalance?
Replies: 34
Views: 2380

Re: Tax Question

You should check pub 523 for info, but you do need 730 days of occupancy during the 5 year period.
by Iorek
Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question
Replies: 14
Views: 1770

Re: Tax Question

IIRC, you will need to know your original basis, fair market value when you converted it to a rental, allowable depreciation (whether or not you took it, but hopefully you did), as well as sales proceeds.
by Iorek
Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question
Replies: 14
Views: 1770

Re: home insulation question

I would look into a home energy audit which is often subsidized or even free through your local utility. They will give you a good sense of what the issues are and what's most cost-effective to fix.
by Iorek
Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home insulation question
Replies: 13
Views: 1771

Re: Australia and New Zealand

I know it's semi-insane to try and do so much on 3-4 weeks, but we really would like to see quite a bit and don't want to pass too much up on what might be the only trip across the Pacific for a few decades. Due to my wife's work, it has to be in June or July. We'd like to spend roughly 10 days in ...
by Iorek
Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Australia and New Zealand
Replies: 47
Views: 4318

Re: What savings vehicle should I use for my car?

I'm doing an automatic deduction from my regular account into the internet savings account that I keep as a general cash reserve.
by Iorek
Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What savings vehicle should I use for my car?
Replies: 35
Views: 1698

Re: life insurance ladder calculation

Here's a recent thread on this topic--

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=149081
by Iorek
Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: life insurance ladder calculation
Replies: 5
Views: 386

Re: UGMA beneficiary trying to access funds

I had a UTMA account that had been in existence for over 25 years. I had to provide a certified birth certificate to get it converted/liquidated, even though it was obviously to all of us that the beneficiary had to be over the age of majority. On the other hand, I did not need the original custodia...
by Iorek
Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: UGMA beneficiary trying to access funds
Replies: 29
Views: 2364

Re: Is spouse eligible for SS benefit without ever contribut

I am not a SS expert (!) but I think nonworking spouses are generally entitled to benefits on the working spouse's record (50% at FRA, less before, unless caring for a child who has a benefit). This is the basis of the "file and suspend" strategy (which, as I understand it, allows the nonw...
by Iorek
Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is spouse eligible for SS benefit without ever contributing?
Replies: 12
Views: 1485

Re: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?

In London if you want clean cheap newish no frills and centrally located then I would look into Premier Inn (they have a couple locations-- Blackfriars and County Inn are a couple of them). They are almost like a grown up hostel/dorm-- not a lot of charm (although friendly service) but perfectly ade...
by Iorek
Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Athens and London, what to do and where to stay?
Replies: 36
Views: 2081

Re: TSP Contribution

Personally I expect that I (and most people) will be in a lower tax bracket at retirement so I would max out your traditional TSP before investing in Roth (that said, I think it's a good idea to have some money in a Roth).
by Iorek
Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:19 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP Contribution
Replies: 7
Views: 838

Re: lost 8606 from years ago - am I in trouble?

I don't really get why it matters. If you have a basis of $600 but claim no basis on withdrawal, what's the problem?
by Iorek
Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lost 8606 from years ago - am I in trouble?
Replies: 16
Views: 1797

Re: Bonds in taxable or tax advantaged?

I have seen enough debates about this (e.g. is tax advantaged space more valuable for stocks because of their greater growth potential or for bonds because they may spin off more income per year) that I generally aim for a balanced approach. That said I do look at ways to keep my taxable bonds to a ...
by Iorek
Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds in taxable or tax advantaged?
Replies: 9
Views: 905

Re: Anybody ever reduce term coverage amount?

FWIW, I went ahead and bought the full policy thinking I could always cut back, but for some reason I think the cost difference wasn't that much for us.
by Iorek
Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody ever reduce term coverage amount?
Replies: 16
Views: 922

Re: Siren song of increased stock allocation

I consider my lifecycle funds to be my lashings, and that's why I dislike when people suggest they are inappropriate for experienced investors. As the Delphic oracle said, "know thyself".
by Iorek
Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Siren song of increased stock allocation
Replies: 38
Views: 2999

Re: I Bonds - Best redemption strategy

I don't generally sell assets that are doing well to avoid having to pay taxes on my gains. I suppose the result is that I could end up in a higher tax bracket but I don't want to let the tail wag the dog.
by Iorek
Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I Bonds - Best redemption strategy
Replies: 13
Views: 1439

Re: Refinance ARM to 15 year fixed with 5 years left?

I would at least shop rates. $4500 for a reissue on title insurance is outrageous. Check out Amerisave, maybe get a no cost refi. Personally I am a fan of fixed mortgages unless you know you will move soon, and paying them off, but there are plenty of arguments for taking longer mortgages and invest...
by Iorek
Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance ARM to 15 year fixed with 5 years left?
Replies: 8
Views: 1084

Re: Supreme Court to hear fiduciary duty/high cost funds cas

The order granting cert is here . Briefs are here . The question presented is as follows: Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual fun...
by Iorek
Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Supreme Court to hear fiduciary duty/high cost funds case
Replies: 13
Views: 1660

Re: Best place to park my emergency funds

There are lots of threads on this. Personally I like i-bonds, although you'll want to phase in your purchases partly because of the annual purchase limit and partly because they are not redeemable in the first year.
by Iorek
Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:40 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best place to park my emergency funds
Replies: 16
Views: 1981
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