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Re: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?

My wife's employer has a dependent care FSA where we can contribute up to $5k. I wonder if these loopholes work similarly, using the birth of a baby as a life-event. Example: Elect the maximum $5k contribution for 2015, have a baby in early 2015 (hard to plan but still), and cancel the salary deduc...
by Luke Duke
Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?
Replies: 29
Views: 1893

Re: New TV or Sound bar?

sscritic wrote:A new TV wouldn't be a plasma, which is why I won't replace my Panasonic 55" Plasma HDTV TC-P55UT50 until it dies on me.


Why not?
by Luke Duke
Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New TV or Sound bar?
Replies: 38
Views: 2213

Re: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?

I've taken advantage of this loophole a couple of times: 1. Had Lasik in April, got married in May. Since this was a "life event" I was able to change my FSA contribution to $0. So given the pretax benefit of an FSA, I paid less than 1/3 the cost of the surgery. My company no longer allows...
by Luke Duke
Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: If you leave your job, can you use up your whole FSA?
Replies: 29
Views: 1893

Re: Need Help Setting Up Port For Father

Is he worried about running out of money or is he trying to grow principle for his heirs?
by Luke Duke
Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need Help Setting Up Port For Father
Replies: 7
Views: 335

Re: New homeowner: lawn care advice

Never get an electric edger or weedeater if you have any trees.
by Luke Duke
Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New homeowner: lawn care advice
Replies: 54
Views: 3791

Re: Initial portfolio set-up/plan

Emergency funds: 1 month... 1. Realizing our emergency fund is short, we have budgeted to have that at 6 months by year's end. Is that realistic? Can you save five months of expenses in the 7.5 months left in this year while still paying your bills? No kidding. If you can do this, you can afford to...
by Luke Duke
Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:54 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Initial portfolio set-up/plan
Replies: 9
Views: 540

Re: Basic Home Theater System Recommendations

I would get something like this with a separate BluRay player: http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S3500-5-1-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B0077V88V8/ http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-497-5-1-Channel-Theater-System/dp/B007PU2Y4S/ If you're set on having an all-in-one unit, this will do what you want: http:...
by Luke Duke
Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic Home Theater System Recommendations
Replies: 18
Views: 949

Re: Basic Home Theater System Recommendations

sunnyday wrote:2. Have HDMI and Digital Optical Audio inputs


Why do you think you need HDMI and Optical Audio inputs?
by Luke Duke
Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Basic Home Theater System Recommendations
Replies: 18
Views: 949

Re: Help w/simplifying our accounts and emergency fund

You might consider paying your mortgage down enough so you can refinance into a 15yr fixed and keep the same payment. If you continue to pay an extra $500/mo, you will probably have it paid off in less than 10 years.
by Luke Duke
Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help w/simplifying our accounts and emergency fund
Replies: 22
Views: 1958

Re: Very Aggressive Student Loan Repayment

Congratulations.
by Luke Duke
Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Very Aggressive Student Loan Repayment
Replies: 28
Views: 2855

Are there any downsides to amending a tax return?

I will be receiving a K-1 which will show a loss. I probably won't get it for a couple of months. I have two choices: 1. File my taxes now (I am getting a return) and amend my taxes in a couple of months and get more money back. 2. File for an extension now. File my taxes in a couple of months and g...
by Luke Duke
Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are there any downsides to amending a tax return?
Replies: 2
Views: 323

Re: Portfolio Advice needed for 67 year old mother

Does the $50K/yr year in expenses include the property tax on a $725K house? In Texas (a state with very high property taxes) that could be between $10-15K.
by Luke Duke
Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:35 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Advice needed for 67 year old mother
Replies: 9
Views: 638

Re: water heater purchase from Amazon

The cost for a plumber will vary greatly. Is the old one in an attic or basement? Will he need to do more than just install the heater to bring you up to code?
by Luke Duke
Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: water heater purchase from Amazon
Replies: 12
Views: 1220

Re: Dream Home Construction/Purchase: Need Mortgage Advice

I wouldn't count on a penny from the girlfriend when performing your calculations. Consider any money from her a bonus and make extra mortgage principle payments with it.
by Luke Duke
Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dream Home Construction/Purchase: Need Mortgage Advice
Replies: 20
Views: 1629

Re: Lowes Install Services- anyone use them for a new bathro

bill1958 wrote:With this bathroom remodel, we had gotten 3 bids about 6 months ago- all were about 50-100% over our planned budget of about $10,000 (and we thought we could get the project done for $2,000 less than this!).

bill1958 wrote:Entire bathroom area is only 42 square feet.


$20K for 42sqft?
by Luke Duke
Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lowes Install Services- anyone use them for a new bathroom?
Replies: 22
Views: 1796

Re: Portfolio help for 83 year old widow lady

rustymutt wrote:She has decided in a 80/20 bond/equity allocation.


To avoid any confusion, it would probably be better to state this as 20/80. Equity allocation is typically the 1st number.
by Luke Duke
Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:08 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio help for 83 year old widow lady
Replies: 16
Views: 1095

Re: Perils of Market Timing

Image

They should call it the Costanza Fund. Just do the opposite of what they are doing for maximum success.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY
by Luke Duke
Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Perils of Market Timing
Replies: 12
Views: 1455

Re: our renters want to buy our rent house

Rent to Own programs are usually for people who can't buy the traditional way because they have poor credit or zero saved up for a down-payment. Most never follow through, so it works in the seller's favor. Yep. I know a guy that has sold the same piece of land several times. It has worked well for...
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: our renters want to buy our rent house
Replies: 20
Views: 2458

Re: I need a quality lawnmower

I have had very good experiences with both Toro and Honda.
by Luke Duke
Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I need a quality lawnmower
Replies: 31
Views: 1606

Re: Gas Grill - Natural Gas vs Liquid Propane

Basically with propane you have portability with little upfront cost and with NG you have convenience with potentially a significant upfront cost. I grill at different places on my patio depending on what's going on, so I value the portability aspect. I would also have to plumb a NG connection which...
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gas Grill - Natural Gas vs Liquid Propane
Replies: 46
Views: 6726

Re: Hit a minor milesotne today...

chaz wrote:Now if I can just get my wife to do the same..."

Does your wife prefer to spend or save?


She's a saver. To be fair, we each contribute a similar percentage of our income to our 401k. She makes less than I do, so she's not maxed out yet.
by Luke Duke
Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hit a minor milestone today...
Replies: 21
Views: 2726

Hit a minor milestone today...

I received a small raise today so I logged into my 401k account to increase my contribution. It looks like 2014 will be the first year that I will be able to max out my contribution. Now if I can just get my wife to do the same... [animated GIF icon removed by admin LadyGeek]
by Luke Duke
Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hit a minor milestone today...
Replies: 21
Views: 2726

Re: How to Insure Two Homes

OnBoard wrote:I put my parents into Property A and I pay all mortgage, taxes and insurance.


Can I adopt you? :mrgreen:
by Luke Duke
Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to Insure Two Homes
Replies: 5
Views: 339

Re: Selling my house to friends

Dave C. wrote:If they buy, I'll save roughly $14K in sales commission. As an incentive, should I offer part of that savings back to them?


Yes.
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling my house to friends
Replies: 12
Views: 1591

Re: Stay or move is the financial question.

technovelist wrote:If you move to the Bay area for only a $10K pre-tax raise, you will have a much lower standard of living, including enormous taxes, horrible commuting and wildly expensive housing.

I wouldn't do it for less than a 50% raise, if even then.


+3
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stay or move is the financial question.
Replies: 21
Views: 1567

Re: Risky investment with a "guaranteed" principal return

Tell them you want 51% of the business (and profits) until you get $150K back, then you get 10%. See what they say.
by Luke Duke
Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Risky investment with a "guaranteed" principal return
Replies: 55
Views: 3359

Re: Water heater - gas or electric?

I have no idea what I'm going to do when the 135 gallon natural gas water heater goes out. Do you need a 125 gallon water heater? If you do, then you will probably need to get dual water heaters when your current one requires replacement. You might also want to check/replace the anode rods in your ...
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 2760

Re: Synthetic engine oil worth better/cheaper in the long ru

crowd79 wrote:I change my oil every 3 months regardless of mileage as stated by my windshield stickers I get from the lube shop. Any later than 3 months you risk destroying your engine.


lol
by Luke Duke
Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Synthetic engine oil worth better/cheaper in the long run?
Replies: 89
Views: 9001

Re: Water heater - gas or electric?

You need to get a bid for a gas water heater. There are a few things that could really affect the cost: 1. How much will your installer charge to run a line to your water heater? 2. Is the gas line going to your house large enough? If it isn't you will either have to replace the line going from your...
by Luke Duke
Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water heater - gas or electric?
Replies: 49
Views: 2760

Re: Best place to put children's money

http://moneyasyougrow.org/#

You could also get a Money Savvy Pig:
Image
by Luke Duke
Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best place to put children's money
Replies: 9
Views: 959

Re: 30 Year Old with Q's on 401k - old and new

I anticipate consistent growth in my earnings. This may not be realistic. The stock market goes up and down. Historically, it has had an upward trend but it has gone down for various periods. This may seem obvious but it may help you stay the course when there is a downturn in the market. Stick to ...
by Luke Duke
Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 Year Old with Q's on 401k - old and new
Replies: 7
Views: 850

Re: Giving newborn head start on retirement

Why not invest in a taxable account in your name? When you kick the bucket (when your kid will probably be in their 50-60's) your kid gets the account with a stepped-up basis.
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Giving newborn head start on retirement
Replies: 23
Views: 2164

Re: Help With My Retirement Plan

Exxon?
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help With My Retirement Plan
Replies: 12
Views: 1562

Re: What to do in Austin, TX

There's also a new restaurant called The Hightower that's pretty good. They're dinner only right now, but I think that they are going to begin lunch service in the next week or two.
by Luke Duke
Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do in Austin, TX
Replies: 44
Views: 2817

Re: When to drop auto collision insurance?

When you are willing and able to pay for the cost of the car out of pocket.
by Luke Duke
Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to drop auto collision insurance?
Replies: 21
Views: 2030

Re: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?

Hello, this is my first thread. I love you guys, been reading the boards for a few months and soaking up as much as I can. I bought a bunch of the investing books that are on the recommended list and have gone through most of them (reading A Random Walk now). I am 29 and my wife is 26. We got marri...
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Good Idea to Sell Old Home To Upgrade To Newer Home?
Replies: 33
Views: 2274

Re: What to do in Austin, TX

hoopy wrote:Since you have a rental car, you should go to the Salt Lick for barbeque, just outside Austin. It's worth it. Bring an appetite.


There's probably 5-6 better BBQ places in Austin. The only thing that Salt Lick has going for it is the atmosphere and the all-you-can-eat option.
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do in Austin, TX
Replies: 44
Views: 2817

Re: Wanting to know if this financial situation is feasible

This is my first time poster here, but hopefully won't be the last. Here is the situation I need advice for: Something that my husband and I forgot about - which, at the time, seemed highly unlikely, even improbable - looks like it will be happening. What "this" is: stock options that he ...
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wanting to know if this financial situation is feasible
Replies: 73
Views: 4961

Re: Broker for homeowners association

You guys probably shouldn't be a 501(c)(3). It is more likely that you should be a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(7).

Start reading on page 12
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopici03.pdf
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Broker for homeowners association
Replies: 13
Views: 732

Re: What to do in Austin, TX

A visit to John Mueller Meat Co is a must. They are closed on Wed.

http://www.johnmuellermeatco.com/
by Luke Duke
Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do in Austin, TX
Replies: 44
Views: 2817

Re: Synthetic engine oil worth better/cheaper in the long ru

TnGuy wrote:What are your thoughts in regards to taking an oil such as Mobil 1 - or equivalent - out to 15,000 miles under normal driving conditions?


No one can give you an accurate answer without an oil analysis. The kit from Blackstone is free and you pay somewhere around $25 when you send it in.
by Luke Duke
Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Synthetic engine oil worth better/cheaper in the long run?
Replies: 89
Views: 9001

Re: Please help me help my Mother with her investments

Although, I also think there is a chance that they will need to draw on it when (not if) my dad needs long term care . LTC for my dad might cost $100K per year. Her costs would go down, and she would definitely sell the primary residence. But still we'd be talking about an annual drawdown of $70K (...
by Luke Duke
Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me help my Mother with her investments
Replies: 18
Views: 1507

Re: backing out of home purchase

But I just found out that there is a very good chance that my previous employer will make me an attractive job offer in another city. Are there any major consequences to backing out of the home purchase? For example, will it damage my credit rating? Will your previous employer's offer include reloc...
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: backing out of home purchase
Replies: 22
Views: 2104

Re: Please help me help my Mother with her investments

It sounds like she is investing for her heirs, so she may think about increasing her equity exposure. All of your parents' normal expenses are covered by SS and pension and worst case expenses are covered by the real estate equity.
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me help my Mother with her investments
Replies: 18
Views: 1507

Re: Need a car vacuum, battery powered

I have this Dewalt vacuum that works great. It isn't cheap and if you don't already have Dewalt batteries, it might not be worth it.

http://www.dewalt.com/tools/cordless-sp ... dc500.aspx
by Luke Duke
Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need a car vacuum, battery powered
Replies: 6
Views: 286

Re: Young Professional- Advice- Retirement v. Student Loans

I would put 6% in the 401k and the rest of your money towards your student loans.
by Luke Duke
Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Young Professional- Advice- Retirement v. Student Loans
Replies: 13
Views: 1166

Re: 30 years old, in Residency (Portfolio Review)

Any suggestions on what to do with my taxable positions? VNQ and VFINX are remnants of a past IPS, but I don't think it's prudent or necessary to sell them and take the tax hit just for the hell of it. I do all rebalancing in our Roth accounts and haven't touched anything in the taxable in a couple...
by Luke Duke
Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 30 years old, in Residency (Portfolio Review)
Replies: 18
Views: 1680

Re: Keurig vs normal coffeemaker?

I've got one of these and I'm happy with it
http://www.amazon.com/Ekobrew-Stainless ... B00859FH7O

I've never bought the disposable K-cups. In fact, I still have most of the freebies that came with the machine over a year ago.
by Luke Duke
Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keurig vs normal coffeemaker?
Replies: 128
Views: 6278

Re: Most Efficient Way to Heat a Home

Use body heat. That means: sweaters, night caps, down comforters and booties. If you don't see your breathe condensing, you have set the thermostat too high. Just checked our natural gas bills for the past 12 months: $649.07 and that includes heating the house, the hot water heaters, and the clothe...
by Luke Duke
Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Most Efficient Way to Heat a Home
Replies: 86
Views: 5242
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