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Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

The first step will be to document (a spreadsheet is helpful) the date and amount of every share purchase (JPY), including reinvested dividends, if you have the fund set up for that. It can also be good to find out number of shares purchased on each date, too, and keep that on the same spreadsheet, ...
by Karamatsu
Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Advice for [Religious Investor]

Well, maybe if we set aside trying to come up with a recommendation for Muslims in general and focus only on the OP's friend, perhaps we can say that the first requirement is to look at the questions raised by the varying Islamic interpretations of investment issues, and decide how he will answer th...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for [Religious Investor]
Replies: 39
Views: 2950

Re: Advice for [Religious Investor]

Well, ultimately we're asking for the best risk-adjusted return from a mix of asset classes once the unacceptable ones are removed, so the first step is to enumerate the asset classes, then remove the ones that are not going to be usable, then examine the correlations among diversified funds and per...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for [Religious Investor]
Replies: 39
Views: 2950

Re: Advice for [Religious Investor]

This is what I meant by asking if there is a "look-through" principle. Presumably since the OP's friend holds equities, the fact that most companies are debt financed does not present a problem so long as the investor himself is not "making money on money." There is a grey area, ...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for [Religious Investor]
Replies: 39
Views: 2950

Re: 1040 address for foreign filer (unreliable mail)

I think what I would do is continue to use the US mailing address on Form 1040, but then attach a statement that it's just a mailing service and your actual residence is abroad. It seems like that should be enough to document the situation, though you could go further by filling out a Form 2555, eve...
by Karamatsu
Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1040 address for foreign filer (unreliable mail)
Replies: 3
Views: 276

Re: Consolidation with Schwab?

I suppose it just depends no who you talk to. I remember when I first went in to the Schwab branch to set up my account. The guy there advised me to choose funds, and to allocate my age in bonds. If I'd listened to him back then I'd probably be retired by now, but it would have been hard to stay the...
by Karamatsu
Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Consolidation with Schwab?
Replies: 21
Views: 1375

Re: Advice for [Religious Investor]

On the one hand it's a fascinating thought experiment. What if there were no such thing as bonds or any other kind of interest-bearing debt obligation? How would you reduce risk versus a 100% equity portfolio? What would be "the other asset class" that Bogleheads talk about when they say &...
by Karamatsu
Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice for [Religious Investor]
Replies: 39
Views: 2950

Re: The Unthinkable Disaster: What If Your Account Disappear

Well, on the one hand, of course companies make efforts to protect their data through backups, redundancy and access controls, but no such plan is perfect. It may well be prudent to have multiple brokerage/bank accounts, though you have to be careful. Sometimes, due to outsourcing, two companies tha...
by Karamatsu
Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The Unthinkable Disaster: What If Your Account Disappeared?
Replies: 43
Views: 4366

Re: Contributing to prior year's Roth

It's the same benefit as a Roth IRA in general: unlike a traditional IRA, with a Roth you will pay no taxes on any interest, dividends, or capital gains realized on the investments, and in addition, no minimum required distributions, so you can distribute the funds when you want to, rather than when...
by Karamatsu
Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Contributing to prior year's Roth
Replies: 23
Views: 1181

Re: Consolidation with Schwab?

The only time I did that it worked as you say and I had to liquidate the account, but that was decades ago so perhaps things have changed for the better? But even if not, getting the value of the account in cash would make it that much easier to reallocate, and I think that as long as you arrange th...
by Karamatsu
Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Consolidation with Schwab?
Replies: 21
Views: 1375

Re: Consolidation with Schwab?

I second (third?) the recommendation to slow down and take a few deep breaths. It's not that complicated but you need to make sure you do things systematically, one thing at a time. The nice thing about Schwab is that they do have branch offices scattered around. You can find the nearest one by ente...
by Karamatsu
Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Consolidation with Schwab?
Replies: 21
Views: 1375

Re: What tax forms to store "7 years"

I am going to be moving overseas, and maybe multiple times, and it won't be easy to keep it all secure, and don't want to pay for storage, or impose on any friends etc . I suppose what I would do is encrypt the files, then make several copies. You could take one copy with you on your computer, mayb...
by Karamatsu
Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What tax forms to store "7 years"
Replies: 11
Views: 978

Re: What tax forms to store "7 years"

I'd just keep in mind that these are minimums. Unless you've done something that you'd rather nobody know about, it's often useful to hold onto documentation permanently. For example, a couple of years ago I was in a dispute with the IRS and had to document the history of my retirement accounts goin...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What tax forms to store "7 years"
Replies: 11
Views: 978

Re: [American living abroad - Foreign Earned Inc. Excl. Limi

It would work as long as your contributions to the initial tIRA were valid. But to the best of my knowledge you can only make contributions to the tIRA if you have earned income that was not excluded by the FEIE. Otherwise the original tIRA contribution (even if non-deductible) would be considered &...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [American living abroad - Foreign Earned Inc. Excl. Limit]
Replies: 17
Views: 716

Re: Should you discuss your wages with your peers?

Talking about your salary is very common here. What it leads to is a kind of levelling of compensation based on objective and quasi-objective criteria, so if need be a manager can essentially point to a chart or a spreadsheet that shows how a person's compensation was determined. Back in the 80's th...
by Karamatsu
Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should you discuss your wages with your peers?
Replies: 82
Views: 6611

Re: What's the word on Sean Hyman's investing scheme?

There is something oddly compelling about someone who thinks he/she has THE ANSWER to whatever the question of the day might be. Maybe it's because so many of us aren't certain, or if we are certain about anything, then we're certain that what truly rules the day is uncertainty. Whether it's someone...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What's the word on Sean Hyman's investing scheme?
Replies: 9
Views: 1127

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

The difference is incredible, isn't it? I'm not sure if the IRS should be ashamed of themselves or if we should be ashamed because we pay for such poor service.
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Tax Lost Harvesting old Stocks That Have Gone to Zero

Well, I've had that happen a couple of times, but sure, when a stock goes to zero you can take your entire cost basis as a capital loss. Even if that happened a few years ago you would still have been able to carry the losses forward, so in principle, at least, it's worth doing since you can use tho...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Lost Harvesting old Stocks That Have Gone to Zero
Replies: 7
Views: 654

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

It's the old excuse, though... we're all "presumed to know the law" even if nobody explains it to us, or even if they outright refuse to explain it when asked.
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Ah... yes, somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered something about having to make the election before the filing deadline. I guess I'd be tempted to try it anyway, too, though. The IRS knows what a pain all this is, so unless it's a huge position, they might just accept the amendments and look...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: forex tax treatment?

Based on the article Steve linked to above I don't think it's necessary to report gains/losses on currency held for personal use. It's only when you hold currency as an investment or are an active FX trader. Of course, it's not always clear which is which. If I buy a Japanese yen ETF it probably wou...
by Karamatsu
Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: forex tax treatment?
Replies: 6
Views: 390

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

At first I was reluctant about NISA but in the end it does seem advantageous. The only things to remember are that the US will want to tax distributions/gains in the account (unless some agreement is negotiated) and, as usual, to avoid PFIC stocks unless you want to deal with the IRS treatment. Beyo...
by Karamatsu
Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Yes, after a while it seems like the main value of a tax advisor is just to take responsibility. Be sure to shop around when it comes time for that! Fees and terms vary a lot.
by Karamatsu
Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:07 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: forex tax treatment?

As I understand it (1) yes, it's a taxable event, and (2) for a one-off situation like this you'd probably just report it on 1040 Line 21, where it would be taxed as ordinary income. People who trade FX professionally (or for whom it's just a bad habit) can take advantage of special provisions of th...
by Karamatsu
Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: forex tax treatment?
Replies: 6
Views: 390

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Yes, unfortunately the unrealized gains on PFIC stocks do get taxed if you choose mark-to-market. That's sort of the essence of MTM: you declare your gains and losses year by year, rather than waiting until you sell. Since the gains aren't "earned income" they wouldn't be excluded by the F...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:58 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

I'd like to say take your trip, clear your head, decide your goal, and then find the simplest possible way to achieve it. The only thing to realize is that you are a bit out on a limb right now with the IRS, so it would be good to take care of the Japan equity fund as soon as you can. It may well tu...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points

Hmmmm... ours was American Express, so maybe it's just a Japan thing, or perhaps we were simply told that the card wasn't eligible and the executives were using the points as off-the-books compensation? Anyway, good to know that it can still be done.
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points
Replies: 12
Views: 860

Re: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points

What exactly is there to "catch onto?"


Oh, it's just that the last time I looked, our corporate card wasn't eligible for rewards, otherwise we probably would have done something similar.
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points
Replies: 12
Views: 860

Re: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points

I have a friend whose company did this. It was a telecommunications company and they managed to pay a vast number of operating expenses with a credit card. They accumulated so many reward points that wherever they went, all over the Asia-Pacific region, they flew business class but never once had to...
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying Business Expenses With Credit Card to Get Points
Replies: 12
Views: 860

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Yeah, I know what you mean about the tax rules. It's crazy. Honestly for the investments outside your 401(k) you might be better off just using a US broker and buying a Japan stock fund if you want extra Japan exposure. Don't let this get between you and your SO. It's not worth it. That said, just f...
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:17 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: 8% ROI needed

Well, it's worth pointing out that the first three are funds, not individual companies, so the portfolio isn't quite as undiversified as it first seems (the fourth is a REIT). But there is no getting around the fact that with that kind of yield in this low-interest rate environment, the funds must e...
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 8% ROI needed
Replies: 28
Views: 3948

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

I suppose I just wouldn't worry about mark-to-market and Form 8621 if it makes you dizzy. It's certainly not a necessity. To be honest I only know about it because, unable to leave well enough alone, I somehow convinced myself to try it as an experiment and see what happened, so I bought one share o...
by Karamatsu
Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: advice requested from engineers

I don't know... I didn't find the pace of an engineering program so difficult that it kept me from exploring widely, but maybe that's just because I liked it. The university helped by having "distribution requirements" that required us to take classes in several broad categories. I admit t...
by Karamatsu
Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: advice requested from engineers
Replies: 85
Views: 4403

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Yes, that is an unusual and useful rule that is well worth taking advantage of if you have TLH opportunities!
by Karamatsu
Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:17 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Thoughts On Pre-Paid College Plans

There are so many unknowns that I suppose I'd aim for a scheme that provided maximum flexibility rather than limiting you to one state, or to one subset of the available schools. There's no way to know what a four-year-old is going to want to do by the time she graduates high school except rebel aga...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts On Pre-Paid College Plans
Replies: 28
Views: 1928

Re: advice requested from engineers

I think what matters most for undergraduate education is breadth, having the opportunity (or perhaps obligation) to delve into subjects outside your main field of interest. As a result, I'd be wary of a university that focused too much on engineering at the expense of other disciplines. The main rea...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: advice requested from engineers
Replies: 85
Views: 4403

Re: tax documents and privacy

In situations where I've been asked to send copies of brokerage/bank statements here and there, and there was no need for the recipient to have the account number or other details, what I've done is make a copy of the document, white-out the information that I didn't want to provide, then make a cop...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: tax documents and privacy
Replies: 10
Views: 667

Re: Tax form 1116 questions

Form 1116 asks for a lot of statements, most notably when you get to the carryover (Line 10), reductions (Line 12), adjustments (Line 16), and the stuff you're seeing now. TurboTax provides a way to add these statements but I've never used the IRS software so I'm not sure how that's done. It seems l...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax form 1116 questions
Replies: 29
Views: 1642

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

In part because I've seen too much to believe that the market is a good judge of future value, I just thought I would at least mention that I've been using the Form 8621 mark-to-market election now for several years on PFIC stocks, and it hasn't so that bad. As a result, using funds rather than indi...
by Karamatsu
Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:22 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Is yield on cost (YOC) a useful metric?

I'm not sure there is a "collective wisdom" on the subject but I find that YOC distorts a person's view of their investments, making them think that a particular issue is worth more than it really is. Instead I think what matters is the value of your investments now, and the yield you are ...
by Karamatsu
Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is yield on cost (YOC) a useful metric?
Replies: 36
Views: 1250

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Yes, I do the taxes myself these days, with TurboTax for the US and I'm still unsettled on the best software for Japan. In both cases there are still forms I have to do by hand. It can be useful to have a professional do your taxes, just so you have an example to work with, but in my experience Japa...
by Karamatsu
Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:55 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Vanguard index funds through Schwab

Personally I just go for simplicity, with Schwab ETFs for most of my index funds and VBR for small value. Since the Schwab ETFs are already commission-free, paying $8.95 once a year or so to rebalance into or out of VBR doesn't hurt very much.
by Karamatsu
Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard index funds through Schwab
Replies: 18
Views: 1466

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Kara = spicy & "matsu" = pine in Japanese, so was just curious Yes, indeed. I live in Hokkaido. Karamatsu (唐松) is a type of pine tree that is very common in this area, so that's where the name comes from. I kind of like the idea of a "spicy pine," though! The reason I asked ...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:03 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Do you have a Tax Advisor?

Oh, but that said, normally I don't use an advisor for taxes. I did for several years, but found that they made so many mistakes that I ended up having to do the return myself anyway, just to figure out what was wrong. It's one of those truisms that nobody cares as much about your money (taxes) as y...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you have a Tax Advisor?
Replies: 21
Views: 1650

Re: Do you have a Tax Advisor?

I think it can be useful every now and then to have professional advice, just to make sure you're doing things right. I know one accountant here who offers a kind of "second opinion" service, and will check over your return. I'm not sure if she really delves into the details, looking for d...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you have a Tax Advisor?
Replies: 21
Views: 1650

Re: Timing of Federal Estimated Tax Payment

You can go ahead. Just mark the payments as "2014 Form 1040-ES" and they'll get credited to your account for next year's taxes.
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Timing of Federal Estimated Tax Payment
Replies: 6
Views: 653

Re: Bubble Behavior?

Haven't you ever wondered why the price of a box of cake mix is ten times the price of the ingredients in the box sold separately? That's Zizzy Zeta at work You definitely have a future in financial journalism. Unless of course you have a soul! But one thing that occurred to me is that you do see t...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bubble Behavior?
Replies: 18
Views: 2010

Re: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth try

Welcome back ;-) It's hard to see any down sides at all to the three-fund portfolio. The only thing to consider is that there will likely be some overlap with the TR fund. But that's not such a bad thing, and given that Japan just doubled the capital gains tax rate, it may in fact be better just to ...
by Karamatsu
Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overseas, already in VTIVX: "3 Fund Portfolio" worth trying?
Replies: 49
Views: 3218

Re: Is the foreign tax credit worth it?

Vanguard provides a helpful page that lets you calculate the amount of foreign tax paid per share by multiplying dividend distributions by a factor found here . Other fund families have similar pages to help people work out the details, but usually it's quite simple for funds since all you do is use...
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is the foreign tax credit worth it?
Replies: 17
Views: 1100

Re: Confession: I bought a stock. What is wrong with me?

I bought a stock. Oh my. Obviously you've been infected by Pyogenes morgana-nomura, a encephalopathic fungus. As it consumes your brain tissues you will eventually feel the urge to climb up a tree, then partway up the fungus will punch through your skull with a kind of spike-like protrusion and ess...
by Karamatsu
Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:11 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Confession: I bought a stock. What is wrong with me?
Replies: 25
Views: 2137
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