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Re: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?

I agree with others, that section is just so they can prioritize the processing. I have always received my passports very quickly, much quicker than advertised.

Put anything down, Canada, UK, whatever. An answer in that box is not a condition of receiving a passport.
by Rainier
Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting Passport without specific travel plans?
Replies: 29
Views: 1677

Re: Minimizing Taxes

I think adding a CPA to your list of helpers will just raise your expenses and complexity level.

They don't have any magic tricks. Make less money, get out of the AMT....
by Rainier
Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Minimizing Taxes
Replies: 17
Views: 979

Re: is $125 from Toyota economic loss settlement taxable?

What is this for?

Not likely, the $125 is just making you whole.
by Rainier
Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: is $125 from Toyota economic loss settlement taxable?
Replies: 3
Views: 511

Re: Divs & Cap Gains - killing me at taxes

You could buy crappy stocks that only lose money then you wouldn't be stuck paying taxes.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Divs & Cap Gains - killing me at taxes
Replies: 8
Views: 861

Re: Emergency fund tiers?

In a natural disaster you can withdraw I bonds in less than one year. I could have after Sandy. Just saying. A five year ladder of I bonds is too much work for most people. Of course its not for everybody, as nothing is. Just throwing out a thought and an option. I would just boost the amount in ca...
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency fund tiers?
Replies: 24
Views: 1289

Re: Emergency fund tiers?

In a natural disaster you can withdraw I bonds in less than one year. I could have after Sandy. Just saying.

A five year ladder of I bonds is too much work for most people.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency fund tiers?
Replies: 24
Views: 1289

Re: Emergency fund tiers?

Yes, I would. 9-12 months is well beyond my e-fund. But I have a large taxable account that can be used in emergencies.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency fund tiers?
Replies: 24
Views: 1289

Re: Emergency fund tiers?

Online bank savings accounts are the best option for cash right now, not brokerage money markets.

Floating rate funds are the latest fads in a long line of failed fads. I have no idea how or when it will end, but watch out for them.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency fund tiers?
Replies: 24
Views: 1289

Re: Financial Status Review

I could probably guess what company you work for, but I won't. The stock purchase plan seems scary, only a 15% discount and you have to hold for two years. Kind of sucks. Seems like what executives get, not regular employees. I'd try to reduce the risk here, pay the taxes if you must but reduce the ...
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Financial Status Review
Replies: 8
Views: 723

Re: Paying extra directly onto mortgage

Assuming nothing crazy happens with FILs estate you get this money back tax free.

Nothing illegal here as mortgage interest income is being reported. Biggest issue is that nothing is guaranteed and FIL can do whatever he wants with the account.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying extra directly onto mortgage
Replies: 17
Views: 1585

Re: Tax Lot Size

Brokerages are obligated to do this for you.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:14 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Lot Size
Replies: 7
Views: 299

Re: Paying extra directly onto mortgage

Are you deducting the interest? Is your FIL reporting the income?

Doesn't sound that crazy to me. It's a forced savings plan with an interest rate reduction.

Seems like there are other pitfalls I am missing though.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying extra directly onto mortgage
Replies: 17
Views: 1585

Re: Question on Sanctions and Asset Seizures

If I was a big company, like Apple for example, I wouldn't be leaving any assets in The banks in R. I'd keep doing business in R so long as I was allowed, but leaving assets there beyond what is needed in daily operations would be nuts. Even if that meant paying taxes on it.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question on Sanctions and Asset Seizures
Replies: 5
Views: 431

Re: PenFed 5/5 ARM promotion now expired

Its just supply and demand. When they get back logged they just end the deal.

I just closed a HELOC at prime minus 25 bps. Some bank is now prime plus 75 bps on their website...lucky me.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PenFed 5/5 ARM promotion now expired
Replies: 6
Views: 663

Re: Help with Paychex 401k funds

Actually, it looks really crappy.

First, he doesn't work at paychex.

Second, there is no match. He said it was discretionary. Sounds odd to me. Need more details on this part.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with Paychex 401k funds
Replies: 5
Views: 297

Re: Question on Sanctions and Asset Seizures

I typically use country A and R hypothetically.

Assume country R can do anything it wants and that the laws of country R will not protect you. But the price that R pays for doing that far exceeds the benefit financially.
by Rainier
Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:04 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question on Sanctions and Asset Seizures
Replies: 5
Views: 431

Re: TurboTax Underpayment Penalty, is this right?

Did TurboTax know your 2012 information?
by Rainier
Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Underpayment Penalty, is this right?
Replies: 8
Views: 767

Re: Recharacterize Roth Contribution

Nope, I split it "just because." I am eligible to get the full $5,500 deduction.

Not sure I want to do an "explanatory statement" for the approximately $175 in tax savings, but I am still tempted.
by Rainier
Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Recharacterize Roth Contribution
Replies: 3
Views: 164

Recharacterize Roth Contribution

I see a lot of examples of recharacterizing a Roth to Traditional contribution if you have losses, but what about when you have gains? In 2013 (for tax year 2013) I contributed $500 to my Roth and $5,000 to my Traditional IRAs. I am in the 25% tax bracket plus the child tax credit phaseout (+5%), an...
by Rainier
Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Recharacterize Roth Contribution
Replies: 3
Views: 164

Re: More Efficient Emergency Fund

Don't worry about the tax on $5000 of ibonds, it's not much.

Also, don't think of it as a three month penalty on interest. Just think that you don't earn interest for the first three months. True, it is a penalty but the value in your account always shows what you are getting.
by Rainier
Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: More Efficient Emergency Fund
Replies: 28
Views: 2143

Re: overcontributed to HSA

Not sure about TaxAct, it may ask you a question somewhere in the process. I had the same thing occur and I withdrew the funds. But for $200 it would have been cheaper to leave in the HSA and pay the 6% rather than the $20 fee my HSA charged me. Neither are very big, but it's another way to look at ...
by Rainier
Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: overcontributed to HSA
Replies: 27
Views: 1898

Re: Looking for Portfolio Help (26 y/o)

From Vanguard Total Return Investing . Remember that dividends are taxed at normal high income tax rates while capital gains are taxed at the lower rates of 0%, 15%, or 20%. In a retirement account it makes no difference since money removed from a roth is tax free and money removed from a tradition...
by Rainier
Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking for Portfolio Help (26 y/o)
Replies: 30
Views: 1368

Re: overcontributed to HSA

Don't change your w-2 numbers, they are correct.

TaxAct should add back that income since it was excluded from your w-2 wages.
by Rainier
Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: overcontributed to HSA
Replies: 27
Views: 1898

Re: Removing Escrow from Mortgage

You can get rid of the mortgage.

Some states require them to pay interest on the escrowed funds. CT had a very generous rate, well above market rate.

Pay a fee and get out of the escrow.
by Rainier
Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Removing Escrow from Mortgage
Replies: 13
Views: 893

Re: Taxable account bond options

If you are in the top income bracket how do you contribute to a Roth? Backdoor?
by Rainier
Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:45 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taxable account bond options
Replies: 7
Views: 487

Re: Moving to Australia - what to do about retirement accoun

Isn't the worst case just cashing out? Pay the penalty and income taxes and never think about this issue again.

Bold move, but if I was your age (and I am) and never coming back to the US I'd want to simplify as much as possible.
by Rainier
Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving to Australia - what to do about retirement accounts
Replies: 19
Views: 1900

Re: W2 Help -- Student Loan Deduction

Any chance your office is an off shore oil rig?
by Rainier
Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: W2 Help -- Student Loan Deduction
Replies: 3
Views: 270

Re: Amtrak across the US?

I've always wanted to take the train cross country, sounds like a great trip. Obviously, it is slow but the real issue is cost. It is so much more than flying.

If I ever did I would do the trans Canada first though, seems way more scenic.
by Rainier
Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amtrak across the US?
Replies: 38
Views: 2615

Re: Warren Buffett's new letter

So when Buffett dies all their operating companies will stop making money? Their 400,000,000 shares of coca cola will stop paying dividends? The entire BNSF railroad will just shutdown?
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:09 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Warren Buffett's new letter
Replies: 13
Views: 1489

Re: Warren Buffett's new letter

Pretty sure he's not a stock picker. That's what mutual fund managers do.

He buys businesses, sometimes the whole thing, and uses their profits to invest in other companies.

Believe it or not, it is possible to make money owning a business.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Warren Buffett's new letter
Replies: 13
Views: 1489

Re: Warren Buffett's new letter

The risk is you need to sell when the moody neighbor is offering a really low price. And not just for a day, but for four years! Book value doesn't mean $&@( then.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Warren Buffett's new letter
Replies: 13
Views: 1489

Re: Girl Scout Cookies - why not tax-deductible?

Go for it, deduct it. You know the risks.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Girl Scout Cookies - why not tax-deductible?
Replies: 25
Views: 1805

Re: Ideal Assets to GOOD Debt ratio

9.8534% exactly, it's not even worth discussing because it is law, like gravity and the speed of light. Can you please advise how were you able to get to this exact %? I will appreciate insights. I didn't, it's law! Somebody very smart figured it out. Honestly, I don't know. Expect 0% as a common a...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ideal Assets to GOOD Debt ratio
Replies: 10
Views: 419

Re: Ideal Assets to GOOD Debt ratio

9.8534% exactly, it's not even worth discussing because it is law, like gravity and the speed of light.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ideal Assets to GOOD Debt ratio
Replies: 10
Views: 419

Re: Bitcoins as investment

Can anybody recall when the last time a bank lost it's money and stuck it to the depositors? Happened frequently during the financial crisis of the past few years (in excess of the $250K FDIC limit of course). No, like literally lost the money? No bank has enough cash to pay back all it's depositor...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bitcoins as investment
Replies: 190
Views: 10537

Re: Bitcoins as investment

Can anybody recall when the last time a bank lost it's money and stuck it to the depositors? Happened frequently during the financial crisis of the past few years (in excess of the $250K FDIC limit of course). No, like literally lost the money? No bank has enough cash to pay back all it's depositor...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bitcoins as investment
Replies: 190
Views: 10537

Re: Purchasing physical gold??

He mentioned it again this year, just referring to only looking at the price, not the income
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:15 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing physical gold??
Replies: 45
Views: 4208

Re: The Great 100 thousand dollar pension question.

It would be one thing if the five year buy in meant you could retire next week, but waiting another five years is the scary part to me. So hard to know what will happen in five years. Also, working for another PD (at least in the same state) is part of a double dipping problem that could easily be e...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Great 100 thousand dollar pension question.
Replies: 65
Views: 6150

Re: Tax Consequences of closing out a UTMA account

I would just hope that's it not really a UTMA and maybe just an account he set aside (and paid taxes on himself). I don't know though.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Consequences of closing out a UTMA account
Replies: 14
Views: 706

Re: Purchasing physical gold??

abuss368 wrote:Commodities is speculating and not investing.


Agreed, you are only speculating on somebody paying more in the future for it. No income, just a yellow metal to coddle.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Purchasing physical gold??
Replies: 45
Views: 4208

Re: Bitcoins as investment

Can anybody recall when the last time a bank lost it's money and stuck it to the depositors?
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bitcoins as investment
Replies: 190
Views: 10537

Re: Tax Consequences of closing out a UTMA account

It's moot now, but the UTMA was always her, and at 21 she likely had a legal right too it. But, you can't go back in time. Honestly, the UTMA probably no longer exists as most of them automatically drop the UTMA designation when you reach the legal age. Who was paying the taxes? Was this really a UT...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Consequences of closing out a UTMA account
Replies: 14
Views: 706

Re: Legos

I thought I'd revive this thread since we can know accept that "everything is awesome." I've been torn about this with my four year old son. The kits are so great, but within a day or two they get destroyed or recreated. Since everything is awesome that is okay. I buy the kits, let him enj...
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Legos
Replies: 52
Views: 4240

Re: When to consider legal action for expensive 403(b) optio

Seems like a normal topic for somebody with 1 post on this forum, but with 200+ posts, that is scary.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When to consider legal action for expensive 403(b) options?
Replies: 10
Views: 665

Re: The Great 100 thousand dollar pension question.

This morning Warren Buffett said that public pensions are in deep trouble. Louisiana would be no exception. I wouldn't put a dime into what is essentially a massive ponzi scheme that could be turned off at any time.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Great 100 thousand dollar pension question.
Replies: 65
Views: 6150

Re: "Warren Buffett’s Use of Index Funds"

Warren Buffet rarely says anything negative about the future.

In his letter this morning he noted that public pension plans are in deep trouble over the next decade, particularly the beneficiaries of these plans.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Warren Buffett’s Use of Index Funds"
Replies: 6
Views: 1290

Re: Anyone ever buy Masters tickets in Augusta?

But they also sign autographs, if you are into that.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:22 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ever buy Masters tickets in Augusta?
Replies: 17
Views: 1468

Re: Converting amps to KwH

Yes, but 6 cents seems way too cheap for all in electric cost. Could be just the generation side and not the supply.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting amps to KwH
Replies: 18
Views: 612

Re: Converting amps to KwH

1,000 watts for 1 hour equals 1 kilowatt hour
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting amps to KwH
Replies: 18
Views: 612

Re: Converting amps to KwH

Volts times amps equals watts. 1,000 watts equals 1 kilowatt.
by Rainier
Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting amps to KwH
Replies: 18
Views: 612
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