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Re: How do I know if my 403b is an ERISA plan?

ERISA status should be noted in the Plan Document. Generally the document goes out of its way to explain the many ways it complies with ERISA. Does your employer make that document available to you? They're supposed to.
by Rupert
Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do I know if my 403b is an ERISA plan?
Replies: 3
Views: 294

Re: Taxable vs 529 for College

I think the penalties associated with 529 plans are too severe to risk opening one for hypothetical children. Stuff, such as infertility, happens. I would just put my money in tax-efficient index funds in a taxable account.
by Rupert
Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taxable vs 529 for College
Replies: 8
Views: 658

Re: Opening Online Savings Account with Credit Freeze

Do you have a Discover card? If so, you might be able to open an online account at Discover Bank, which has competitive rates, without lifting the freeze since Discover would qualify as an existing creditor.
by Rupert
Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Opening Online Savings Account with Credit Freeze
Replies: 10
Views: 883

Re: Taking Care Of Leaves

I'd go with the bagger, and a rake or a cheap blower to move the leaves from beds, around the house, etc, out onto the grass to be mowed/sucked up by the tractor. I've tried several blower/vac combos, and they're all incredibly slow (until you get up into the $1000 range) You'll probably be mowing ...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Taking Care Of Leaves
Replies: 18
Views: 1270

Re: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?

Gosh, I hate Zillow and would never use them to value a home. OP's post prompted me to look at my home's Zestimate, which I have done many times before and always found to be wrong. Funny thing is, something different about the description and sale history of my home is wrong every time I look. Toda...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Zillow/Zestimate to value a home?
Replies: 43
Views: 4644

Re: TV show recommendations?

I haven't read through all the posts but thought I'd recommend "The Fall" on Netflix in case no one has yet mentioned it. It stars Gillian Anderson, of X-Files fame, and that guy who was just in the "Fifty Shades of Gray" movie (Jamie Dornan, I think is his name). It's a "po...
by Rupert
Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV show recommendations?
Replies: 335
Views: 147523

Re: Another Florida Keys question

Rent a scooter or one of those golf cart things to get around Key West. Parking a car is truly a nightmare, but most guesthouses have special parking for scooters and such.
by Rupert
Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Florida Keys question
Replies: 16
Views: 1985

Re: Raising well-adjusted children when you're "rich"?

The public vs. private nature of a child's school has nothing to do with whether the child will be well-adjusted. Rupert, When you made that statement, are you referring to normal people or "rich" people?? In this thread, we are discussing about "rich" people. For "rich&quo...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:00 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Raising well-adjusted children when you're "rich"?
Replies: 43
Views: 3453

Re: Raising well-adjusted children when you're "rich"?

The public vs. private nature of a child's school has nothing to do with whether the child will be well-adjusted. Some of the most obnoxious children I know attend public school. Some of the most humble, community-service oriented kids I know attend private school. Schools don't raise obnoxious, spo...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Raising well-adjusted children when you're "rich"?
Replies: 43
Views: 3453

Re: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?

I only take my old Hondas/Acuras back to the dealer to change the transmission fluid because I do believe the experts who say Honda transmissions prefer Honda brand transmission fluid and don't like fluid flushes. (The old Honda tranny fluid should be drained, refilled, drained again, refilled, drai...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?
Replies: 54
Views: 4387

Re: evaluating job offer - health plans

Not sure if this will affect you but I'm throwing it out in case it does . . . If the expensive medication you are on for your autoimmune disease is a biologic, you should know that the Affordable Care Act paved the way for the development of generic biologic drugs. Generic versions of some of them ...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: evaluating job offer - health plans
Replies: 19
Views: 1478

Re: 529 -- How much to invest?

Save less in 529s than you think you'll need to pay for college. Why? Because changes are coming. The higher education financial bubble must burst because even reasonably wealthy people often cannot afford what colleges are presently charging and it's become a drag on the rest of the economy. Kids w...
by Rupert
Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:17 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 -- How much to invest?
Replies: 11
Views: 1397

Re: Where to buy toddler / kids sneakers?

Amazon.com or 6pm.com, the latter of which is the site where Zappos.com unloads last season's shoes.
by Rupert
Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to buy toddler / kids sneakers?
Replies: 15
Views: 905

Re: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids

I agree the Mazda5 is not a good option with 3 car seats. I am 6-1 and my knees were right on the dash of a 2008 I test drove with the seat all the way back. It might a decent 2nd vehicle but the used ones I drove were rough with front suspension issues at only 60k. Huh -- I agree that the 2-2-2 se...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids
Replies: 41
Views: 2411

Re: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids

You cannot fit three car seats in a Honda Fit. That Honda Fit guy is joking. (I hope.) I have actually seen 5 full-sized college students riding in a Honda Fit, but convertible carseats aren't as malleable as college students. Now that I think about it, one of those 5 college kids was accidentally s...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vehicle Suggestions with 3 Kids
Replies: 41
Views: 2411

Re: Life Insurance and Will general questions

I read the wiki, but still wanted some basic advice. My wife and I are late 30's no children right now. We always planned to put together a will and possibly look at term or other life options when we had children. I don't want to get into it here, but we are still looking into having at least one ...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life Insurance and Will general questions
Replies: 6
Views: 512

Re: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools

My opinion is that it depends what your children intend to do for their careers. If they want to work at big Wall Street Banks, management consulting firms, Big Law firms, become a Supreme Court Justice and/or raise their chances of securing a tenure track academic faculty position then they should...
by Rupert
Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cost of College & Weighing the Merits of Top Schools
Replies: 304
Views: 16711

Re: Gearing up for big replacement windows project

Did Pella give you a quote? Because I also have a 1920s-era house with many many windows, and Pella's quote to replace my windows in just two rooms was around $15,000. That was only for about 7 windows. My situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that my house is in an historic district and a...
by Rupert
Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:30 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gearing up for big replacement windows project
Replies: 35
Views: 2586

Re: Gearing up for big replacement windows project

Did Pella give you a quote? Because I also have a 1920s-era house with many many windows, and Pella's quote to replace my windows in just two rooms was around $15,000. That was only for about 7 windows. My situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that my house is in an historic district and al...
by Rupert
Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gearing up for big replacement windows project
Replies: 35
Views: 2586

Re: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee

Your last point is a good one. Most low-cost providers will not administer small plans, Vanguard (usually) included. (Vanguard seems to accept small plans, provided you use their preferred TPA, occasionally. Whether they're interested in your plan may entirely depend on the day you call them.) Smal...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee
Replies: 11
Views: 846

Re: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee

First, ask if you are paying the fees or if your employer is covering them. If you're lucky, your employer may cover some of it even though it's listed as an individual fee. Even with the fee, it's not so bad. You are getting Vanguard funds at standard prices which means the plan administrator is n...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee
Replies: 11
Views: 846

Re: Use work phone as primary phone?

I wouldn't. You have no right to privacy re information stored on a company phone. Also note that you may have to pay income tax on the value of your personal use of the phone.
by Rupert
Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Use work phone as primary phone?
Replies: 13
Views: 666

Re: Credit Freeze and NEW Credit Cards

You also don't have to pay to unfreeze if you're a victim of identity theft. You have to send each credit company a copy of a police report or a Federal Trade Commission report to prove you're a victim.
by Rupert
Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Freeze and NEW Credit Cards
Replies: 12
Views: 809

Re: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee

An advisor fee of some sort is common in the nonprofit world. Your employer could choose to pay the advisor directly, as opposed to passing the cost through to employees, but many people who run nonprofits don't even know this is an option. The way it is often pitched to nonprofits by advisors is, &...
by Rupert
Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k with decent options, but outrageous advisory fee
Replies: 11
Views: 846

Re: Implications of Marriage - she with debt and low income

Married men live, on average, 17 years longer than unmarried men. Wives, particularly educated wives, are really good for your health. So there's that.
by Rupert
Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:14 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Implications of Marriage - she with debt and low income (WI)
Replies: 71
Views: 6662

Re: How long do sofas really last

The answer totally depends on how you use the sofa and your size. A well-made sofa infrequently used by a 110-lb woman may last forever. A sofa, even a well-made one, used daily for naps, etc., by a 250-lb man will likely last under 10 years.
by Rupert
Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:50 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How long do sofas really last
Replies: 46
Views: 4427

Re: 50 K Credit Card Debt - any suggestions?

Consolidate the debts if possible by transferring the balances to a new card with a lower interest rate. Then cut up all the old cards, except the oldest one, and close those accounts. He should keep the oldest account open because doing otherwise will really hurt his credit score, which probably is...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 50 K Credit Card Debt - any suggestions?
Replies: 5
Views: 608

Re: Saving for baby

I think it's quite common these days for married couples who married after establishing careers to maintain separate financial accounts. It's so normal among my peers that having joint accounts is in my mind somewhat old-fashioned. My family uses separate accounts, and it works quite well for us. Of...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving for baby
Replies: 16
Views: 1832

Re: Are simple Ira contributions taxed?

Just for clarification, when you say they reduce the state and federal tax, do I still pay the taxes initially and get a tax deduction at the end of the year? Or is that money placed into the simple Ira pretax (with the exception of social security/Medicare)? No, you do not pay the taxes initially ...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are simple Ira contributions taxed?
Replies: 4
Views: 357

Re: 401(k) Plan Administrator Career Path

Rupert, You have summed up my request nicely. I was curious on the best career path to learn the nuances involved with being a plan administrator for the corporation that is offering the 401(k) to it's employees. I would assume in this position you would have the ability to act with a fiduciary res...
by Rupert
Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 401(k) Plan Administrator Career Path
Replies: 7
Views: 976

Re: 401(k) Plan Administrator Career Path

I understood OP to be asking if he could work for a plan sponsor (i.e., the employer who offers a 401k or similar plan) as plan administrator. The "plan administator" is usually the employer company. There's usually a person in HR who actually handles the paperwork, but that person is not ...
by Rupert
Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:36 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 401(k) Plan Administrator Career Path
Replies: 7
Views: 976

Re: Regular contributions to taxable

This will quickly make me unbalanced, so in my tax-advantaged accounts, I set up an automated exchange to move the excess funds from TSM and TISM to bonds. This keeps my overall balance correct. How unbalanced do you allow the accounts to get from market fluctuations? We used to try to keep all the...
by Rupert
Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Regular contributions to taxable
Replies: 10
Views: 1298

Re: Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)

You guys have given me some great questions to ask, including how the new driveway, if poured over the old, will be tied into the street and how thick a slab each contractor plans to pour. I know absolutely nothing about concrete so even the most basic suggestions are welcome.
by Rupert
Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:42 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)
Replies: 15
Views: 1693

Re: Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)

Site prep is a very big part of a good concrete job. What is under the existing runners? If the existing runners are cracked or uneven, then it is unlikely that adequate preparation was done, and it would be worthwhile to pull them up and properly prepare the site before pouring. Proper preparation...
by Rupert
Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)
Replies: 15
Views: 1693

Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)

I own a 1920s bungalow that still has what looks to be the original concrete runner driveway. I am currently getting bids to replace the driveway with concrete slabs. The first contractor I consulted advises demolishing and removing the existing concrete runners and starting fresh. The second contra...
by Rupert
Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Calling all concrete experts (replacing old driveway)
Replies: 15
Views: 1693

Re: Benefit of coverdell in my case

Is she going to be in private school for the duration? If so, I might earmark Coverdell funds to pay for private high school. That will give the money invested over the next few years enough time to grow a little. I might invest it in something like an investment grade intermediate term bond fund. I...
by Rupert
Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Benefit of coverdell in my case
Replies: 4
Views: 392

Re: Roth IRA MAGI and Taxes

If you were close to the Roth IRA phase-out last year, don't make a lump-sum contribution at the start of the year this year. Wait until you've prepared your 2015 taxes and then make your 2015 Roth contribution closer to the April 15, 2016, deadline. But if you do mistakenly over-contribute, there ...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:28 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA MAGI and Taxes
Replies: 27
Views: 1584

Re: Any situations car leasing makes sense?

Although I haven't reached this point myself, I do believe it is possible to become so rich that leasing a car makes perfect sense. You never have to hassle with the maintenance issues of older cars, and the few thousands (or even few tens of thousands, depending on the car) of dollars that you &quo...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any situations car leasing makes sense?
Replies: 63
Views: 5278

Re: Roth IRA MAGI and Taxes

If you were close to the Roth IRA phase-out last year, don't make a lump-sum contribution at the start of the year this year. Wait until you've prepared your 2015 taxes and then make your 2015 Roth contribution closer to the April 15, 2016, deadline. But if you do mistakenly over-contribute, there a...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:30 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA MAGI and Taxes
Replies: 27
Views: 1584

Re: Tankless Hot Water Heaters

I'd like to add one comment about the new energy-efficient storage heaters: The federal regulations that take effect next month have greatly increased the energy efficiency of these water heaters, but, of course, at a cost. The new heaters are more expensive. Not as expensive as tankless systems, bu...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:47 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 33
Views: 3237

Re: Exploring the Florida Keys

You're going during the height of spring break; so secluded areas will be few and far between. Also, the drive down will likely be bumper to bumper. So brace yourself for that. From Key West, take a ferry to explore the Dry Tortugas. Do you fish? If so, you'll be in fisherman heaven. There are lots ...
by Rupert
Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exploring the Florida Keys
Replies: 22
Views: 2329

Re: Do you have and auto loan?

One of our two cars has a loan on it. I don't see anything wrong with getting a loan for 0-2%. I would rather not disturb my taxable investments and get a low interest loan than have to deal with realizing gains that I don't want to do at the time for the sake of avoiding low interest amounts. A 0%...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Poll] Do you have an auto loan?
Replies: 72
Views: 4622

Re: Tankless Hit Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters will never recoup the much higher upfront cost over a standing pilot gas storage heater with energy savings (esp. with the low cost of N.A. natural gas). They have much more complex controls and repairs are expensive. Also, as was mentioned, the "rate of rise" in te...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 33
Views: 3237

Re: 32, New to investing, No retirement fund, Advice Please

OP, a couple of questions: First, does your employer offer a retirement plan, either a defined benefit plan such as a pension or a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan? Second, is your existing IRA at Fidelity a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA? Stay away from Edward Jones and the ...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 32, New to investing, No retirement fund, Advice Please
Replies: 24
Views: 1950

Re: 74% of car loans are subprime.

NPR had a story about car loans this morning. I only caught part of it, but the gist seemed to be that people are routinely taking out 7 and 8-year car notes. Bank/finance company representatives said (I'm paraphrasing all quotations in this comment), "This is great. Cars are more expensive bec...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 74% of car loans are subprime.
Replies: 29
Views: 2052

Re: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan

Given the very real possibility that you might sell or renovate this property in the near future, it makes even less sense for you to plow additional money into paying down the mortgage. You should be conservatively investing that extra money for the downpayment on the new home (or for the extra fur...
by Rupert
Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The BIG question Regarding Home Loan
Replies: 14
Views: 2433

Re: State 529 Plan - How much to contribute?

That said, once you have your retirement set up, I do not see any value in having your kids in debt at graduation. It is not like they cannot overconsume with debt, nor does debt make people frugal. Based on the people I know with loans, it seems to teach that big expenses should be put on credit. ...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: State 529 Plan - How much to contribute?
Replies: 32
Views: 2560

Re: Pemera Blue Cross Hacked

I have taken to saying this every time one of these events is reported in this forum: Everyone's identity has been stolen. Some of you just don't know it yet. Freeze your credit. There is absolutely nothing else you can do to protect yourself short of living off the grid in a van down by the river. ...
by Rupert
Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pemera Blue Cross Hacked
Replies: 5
Views: 448

Re: 403b Question

It would also be helpful for you to list the available vendors. One of them might be better than the others. For example, TIAA-CREF is often a choice in teacher 403(b) plans, and they are an okay vendor.
by Rupert
Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:42 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403b Question
Replies: 26
Views: 1935

Re: What's a good digital antenna?

Here's advice from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2009/02/dtv-tips-choosing-and-using-an-antenna/index.htm We used the link in the article to see how close our home was to local stations Based on this information, I bought the cheapest rabbit ears antenna I could find ($9...
by Rupert
Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's a good digital antenna?
Replies: 28
Views: 2194
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