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Re: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work

I don't understand the problem here. Is it possible that it's just OP's first time working in a highly compensated job, so OP is unfamiliar with general business culture? I've worked in business/finance my whole career. I have never had a job at which the highly compensated employees, of which I am...
by Userdc
Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work
Replies: 167
Views: 9265

Re: Speeding in CT with NY license

I got the exact same ticket a couple years ago. After a little research, I concluded that there are certain jurisdictions in eastern Connecticut along I-95 that target out of state drivers to generate revenue. The tickets are basically extortion - they expressly say that if you pay up promptly, they...
by Userdc
Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:50 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Speeding in CT with NY license
Replies: 14
Views: 1296

Take the money and run? (Pension Buyout Offer)

I recently received an offer from a previous employer (large multinational corporation) to buy out a small pension. The pension is not COLA adjusted, and is due to pay $825/month starting about 30 years from now. The two offers I got were: Immediate Annuity of $90/month Lump Sum of $20K My marginal ...
by Userdc
Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take the money and run? (Pension Buyout Offer)
Replies: 15
Views: 2175

Re: Rent Question

It can't hurt to ask, especially if you are willing to walk away and spend more time and effort finding another place.

I'd simplify the request and just tell the owner that if they pay all of the broker fee you will sign the lease today.
by Userdc
Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rent Question
Replies: 12
Views: 1807

Re: Help me evaluate two different job offers

It doesn't sound like you are in love with either opportunity. If you were to wait for other opportunities, might you find something more to your liking?
by Userdc
Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me evaluate two different job offers
Replies: 10
Views: 1020

Re: Does the principal payment on a mortgage even matter?

Repaying principal on any debt is not a cost. It can be a convenient shorthand for depreciation of the asset, and it's probably close enough for the typical person who buys a new car every 3-5 years and will always have a mortgage. If you want to get really precise about the cost/benefit of home own...
by Userdc
Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does the principal payment on a mortgage even matter?
Replies: 15
Views: 2318

Re: Solar panels, are they worth it?

Maybe OP could clarify, but when I read that they use 6100 to 6500 for the summer months, that means they are using approx 2000 per month in the summer. Which seems a lot more reasonable and fits in with some of the other facts.
by Userdc
Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels, are they worth it?
Replies: 53
Views: 5649

Re: Fair market value of a non profit dinner

For such a low dollar amount, I'd have trouble convincing myself I paid more than FMV for the goods and services. its a rounding error, so I'd take the easy way out and deduct zero. I do deduct a portion of the cost in similar situations when the non-profit tells me how much is deductible, but those...
by Userdc
Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fair market value of a non profit dinner
Replies: 12
Views: 903

Re: Paying household employee taxes

I cant speak generally on this as I'm not an expert, but for my own situation: 1) I pay all of my Federal taxes and withholding (FUTA, employee/employer Medicare/SSI, and Fed Income withholding) annually on 1040 Schedule H. I do check my W2 withholding on my income periodically to make sure I'm havi...
by Userdc
Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying household employee taxes
Replies: 5
Views: 382

Re: 529? What if they don't go to college

This is an interesting question for me given I have young children and the compounded tax savings can really add up. I haven't thought a lot about it because I'm so worried about UNDERFUNDING my 529, as I currently maximize all my other tax-advantaged options. I'm currently putting in $10K/year, wh...
by Userdc
Sat May 31, 2014 11:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529? What if they don't go to college
Replies: 70
Views: 6257

Re: 529? What if they don't go to college

This is an interesting question for me given I have young children and the compounded tax savings can really add up. I haven't thought a lot about it because I'm so worried about UNDERFUNDING my 529, as I currently maximize all my other tax-advantaged options. I'm currently putting in $10K/year, whi...
by Userdc
Sat May 31, 2014 8:34 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529? What if they don't go to college
Replies: 70
Views: 6257

Re: An easy way to save money: Avoid the $300,000 car.

I agree with the sentiment, but these ways of quantifying things always bother me because you're talking about $300,000 in 30 years. In the headline, I see $300K and I think how much money and how much money that is because I'm used to thinking about dollars in terms of the 2014 version of the dolla...
by Userdc
Thu May 01, 2014 9:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: An easy way to save money: Avoid the $300,000 car.
Replies: 152
Views: 18559

Re: New job, 401(k), and help with planning

Your overall plan is sound. Depending on how long you plan to stay at your job and the vesting period for your company match, you may be better off just devoting 100% of your efforts to the credit card debt, but both the debt and 401k to the match should be your primary goals. Don't worry so much ab...
by Userdc
Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:20 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New job, 401(k), and help with planning
Replies: 10
Views: 1998

Re: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry

Pre-check used to be amazing, but something changed in the last year, and it seems like they opened the floodgates to let almost anyone in. This creates two issues: 1) There are now way more people using pre-check, but airports have not been increasing pre-check lanes at the same rate. In some airpo...
by Userdc
Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry
Replies: 65
Views: 5212

Re: Tax deductions from charities

Theoretically, a giver with a tax break should be willing to give more. At the top end of the tax bracket, if I'm willing to fork over $600 to a charity, I should be willing to give $1000 and get $400 back from the goverment. Without the tax break, the charity would only get $600 from me. Of course,...
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax deductions from charities
Replies: 31
Views: 6061

Re: What should I do different?

Keep doing what you are doing. A >$1MM net worth on that gross income at that age is impressive.
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What should I do different?
Replies: 2
Views: 338

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

I don't know much about the Yoga 2, but with a quick search, it looks like a windows 8 ultra book that is a little more powerful than the surface pro. So I would expect it would work very well for what you need, and best of all it is free if you already own it.
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 37
Views: 3269

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

It seems like the cheapest option would be just to get a desktop, but if you want something portable, check out the original surface pro. With the release of the pro 2, the original model has been marked way down - you should be able to find a brand new one with 4GB RAM and a 64GB solid state hard d...
by Userdc
Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 37
Views: 3269

Re: Term Life Insurance - Young Couple in 20's

I'd echo a couple of the recommendations above. SS survivor benefits can be significant and they ramp up quickly early in your career because of your high earnings. This could easily be several thousand a month now or in the near future. I'd factor those into your calcs. I would recommend buying the...
by Userdc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delete
Replies: 11
Views: 740

Re: Donor Advised Funds

I guess since the money is invested and hopefully making more than 60 bps/yr. I really didn't see that as an issue. Yes, but I can just as easily invest that money in my own taxable account and end up giving more money to charity down the road because I haven't been paying the 60 bps all along. let...
by Userdc
Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:13 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Funds
Replies: 62
Views: 3007

Re: Donor Advised Funds

I keep coming back to Donor Advised a Funds every 6 months or so, but I just can't take the plunge. In many ways, I'm an ideal candidate: 1) I'm in very high marginal tax bracket now (~43% federal and state combined). 2) I am pretty conservative about saving but have no desire to leave a large estat...
by Userdc
Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Funds
Replies: 62
Views: 3007

Re: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

Check NYS form IT-2014 for withholding rules from w-2. I consider the bottom line on meeting withholding requirements is whether or not a taxpayer had enough withheld from paycheck along with estimated payments to pay the tax due, not conforming to some # of withholding allowances. Of course 75% of...
by Userdc
Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 1580

Re: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

Thank you all for to he helpful replies - MarkNYC, sscritic, and grabiner in particular. Clearly I didn't understand the tax issues well, so it looks like I should be able to recoup all of the additional Pease limitation associated with the higher withholding next year. It's my first time dealing wi...
by Userdc
Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 1580

Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

My state (NY) withholds at a very high rate for bonus or supplemental income. My actual state tax rate is much lower, so at the end of the year, I end up with a large refund. Let's say that is $10K for easy math. I believe the effect on my federal taxes is as follows: 1) the extra $10K in withholdin...
by Userdc
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 1580

Re: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?

Absent any surprises, I don't expect to move in the next 10 years.

But I recognize I'm taking additional interest rate risk if I did move earlier and would be forced to pay off this mortgage and take on a potentially higher rate.
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?
Replies: 9
Views: 1153

Re: Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)

Thanks for the thoughts, all. I did a little more research and found this on the IRS website: You must have a written record about your donation in order to deduct any cash gift, regardless of the amount. Cash contributions include those made by check or other monetary methods. That written record c...
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)
Replies: 8
Views: 541

Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)

While doing my taxes this year, I realized that one of the charities I contributed to in 2013 I had also contributed to in 2012 and 2011 but I did not include those deductions on the prior year returns. I remember is being pretty easy to file a 1040X by hand in the past, but three questions: 1) what...
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)
Replies: 8
Views: 541

Re: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?

Yep, that's more or less the conclusion I can to. Thanks for weighing in.
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?
Replies: 9
Views: 1153

Re: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?

When your children reach the age of 5, they will become eligible for free child care for 6-7 hours a day for approximately 35-40 weeks per year. Although you say you have no child care costs, for many people this makes up the largest chunk of providing for young children through either direct care p...
by Userdc
Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do children become less expensive as they grow up?
Replies: 93
Views: 7681

Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?

I have a lump sum available - the amount isn't important, but it is a sufficiently large amount to make this question worth while. The lump sum is about 40% of my outstanding mortgage balance. My mortgage : 5/5 that resets in 3 years. Current rate is 2.875%, and max for years 4 - 8 would be 4.875%. ...
by Userdc
Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:17 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?
Replies: 9
Views: 1153

Re: How long does it take to do your taxes?

I'd guess around 6-8 hours, using turbotax. I spent about 4 hours this past weekend gathering all of the paperwork and inputting everything into turbo tax. I had a follow up list about 5 items long of either missing forms or tax topics I wanted to research/double check, so I'll work through that ove...
by Userdc
Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long does it take to do your taxes?
Replies: 53
Views: 3117

Re: Truly high earners (>$1M/year) how'd you do it?

Investment banking here. $1 million isn't what it used to be, but it is still a lot of money, even in NYC. It's tempting to even the most committed boglehead to loosen up and spend more. I do find myself paying for convienence (dry cleaning, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, takeout) as free time is...
by Userdc
Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Truly high earners (>$1M/year) how'd you do it?
Replies: 64
Views: 7250

Re: Portfolio Review- High income, NY/NJ, 529, Roth 401k, EM

Thanks for the replies so far. On #2, I expected that response on this board and will just say that I have spent long hours building simulations of managed futures strategies, so I have a very good idea of what the return / risk profiles look like for various strategies. There is a very specific ma...
by Userdc
Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review- High income, NY/NJ, 529, Roth 401k, EM
Replies: 26
Views: 1962

Re: Why aren't Car dealers prepared to deal?

I agree that it is a good idea to "defer" any discussion about financing (or paying cash) until the deal is finalized. Good luck with this. Most salesman will not work with a client that refuses to disclose how he/she is paying for the purchase. Method of payment is the very foundation of...
by Userdc
Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why aren't Car dealers prepared to deal?
Replies: 91
Views: 9369

Re: International Cell Phone for Vacation?

Just went to the UK. I have an iPhone 4, which doesn't have a SIM slot, so I couldn't use that phone in the UK with a purchased SIM card. I used an iPhone 4 with a purchased SIM in Barcelona, so maybe some IPhones are different. My iphone had a much smaller SIM card slot than the standard size, but...
by Userdc
Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International Cell Phone for Vacation?
Replies: 23
Views: 1157

Re: Would you put down all cash on a home purchase?

Would you have to recognize significant capital gains to liquidate investments and raise the cash? I don't think there's anything wrong with having a mortgage, particularly at a low LTV and in your financial situation where you have sufficient wealth to never have to worry about losing the home. But...
by Userdc
Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Would you put down all cash on a home purchase?
Replies: 35
Views: 3977

Re: State 529 - Use it for the deduction or not?

You may have to look at more than just the expense ratio. The state deduction is not quite as valuable as it appears. If I reduce my tax bill to the state by deducting a 529, that also reduces the state taxes I deduct on my Federal return -- which increases my Federal tax bill. You're gaining a lit...
by Userdc
Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:39 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: State 529 - Use it for the deduction or not?
Replies: 9
Views: 805

Re: Planning on staying in home 7 years, 15 or 30 year mortg

The 15 year is probably good for you, but I would consider an ARM. Specifically the Pen Fed 5/5 ARM. Right now they are offering the 5/5 at a 3% interest rate, and the adjustment cap is 2%, so the rate can go no higher than 5% for years 6-10 even if rates go to the moon. If you make the same payment...
by Userdc
Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Planning on staying in home 7 years, 15 or 30 year mortgage?
Replies: 10
Views: 737

Re: Does anyone own a Hyundai?

I bought a new 2011 Sonata (which is the first model in the latest redesign) in March 2010.

I haven't had any significant issues. I would highly recommend the car, it was a tremendous value for the base model with no options. I expect to own this car for many more years.
by Userdc
Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone own a Hyundai?
Replies: 71
Views: 6639

Re: Why aren't Car dealers prepared to deal?

All this talk about not being able to negotiate online is incorrect. I realize many folks here are older, but it's 2013. There is an internet sales manager at nearly every dealer! They waste little time getting to the point because they know you are an informed consumer. Make them counter against c...
by Userdc
Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why aren't Car dealers prepared to deal?
Replies: 91
Views: 9369

Re: Does a home mortgage use Simple or Compund Interest?

I think there are some terminology differences here causing confusion. Some people are interpreting "compound interest" to mean "interest is paid on interest" and others use the word "compound" to indicate that payments of interest are due at periodic intervals prior to...
by Userdc
Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does a home mortgage use Simple or Compund Interest?
Replies: 126
Views: 9278

Re: Does a home mortgage use Simple or Compund Interest?

This may be a terminology difference between academia and the real world, but in the consumer loan space "simple interest" has a very specific meaning, and virtually all mortgage loans are NOT Simple Interest. Auto loans are typically simple interest. Lets say you have a $300 monthly payme...
by Userdc
Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does a home mortgage use Simple or Compund Interest?
Replies: 126
Views: 9278

Re: Global Entry experiences

I've had it for about a year and I love it. I have used it on return trips from Canada (into Newark), so I'm not sure if the issue the previous poster was referring to has been fixed or if it is airport specific. I've never had an issue, and it usually gets you into the pre-check line when flying do...
by Userdc
Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Global Entry experiences
Replies: 6
Views: 693

Re: Subaru VIP program

I don't really trust the invoice price. I just bought a new Honda last week for 10% below invoice and I had multiple dealers willing to sell at that level. I believe there are all kind of hidden incentives that are paid to the dealer that reduces their cost basis. Maybe Subaru is different and that ...
by Userdc
Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru VIP program
Replies: 21
Views: 5777

Re: Am I saving enough that I can spend some of it?

Don't. DON'T buy cars on credit any longer. Paying for $14k of car for 5 years doesn't make any sense. Pay cash in the future for your transportation. Like you would any other tool . I disagree with that. The low interest rates these days are very attractive. He's paying 1.49%. You can often get be...
by Userdc
Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I saving enough that I can spend some of it?
Replies: 38
Views: 4206

Re: Roll over 401k or not?

Finally, could you explain why it being a 401k gives more flexibility to do Roth conversions? Yes, this may not be relavent in your situation, but if you do not qualify for a direct roth IRA contributon, you can do a "backdoor" contribution through a two-step process: 1) contribute to a n...
by Userdc
Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:12 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roll over 401k or not?
Replies: 17
Views: 1120

Re: Roll over 401k or not?

I'd leave it there. It's tempting to roll over to reduce the number of line items you have to track, but don't let the desire for simplicity drive your decision making. It looks like a great plan with great funds and low fees, and since its in a 401k, it gives you more flexibility to do Roth convers...
by Userdc
Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:02 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roll over 401k or not?
Replies: 17
Views: 1120

Re: Hiring parents to take care of children

I'm by no means as expert on this, but given my experience paying a nanny, you will be responsible for paying the employer portion of social security and Medicare taxes related to this income as well as withholding the same from their income and paying that to the IRS. Additionally you will need to ...
by Userdc
Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hiring parents to take care of children
Replies: 8
Views: 1055

Re: What to do with 230K?

All this comes at the cost of spending less time with one's children. This is a very personal decision, and not something that the OP asked for advice on, so I'm not sure why this topic came up, but there are many potential benefits to both spouses working including: more money if both spouses earn...
by Userdc
Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with 230K?
Replies: 29
Views: 23176

Re: What to do with 230K?

Unless I'm misunderstanding something...do NOT pay off that student loan if there's a reasonable chance you will continue to get that loan repayment perk. You are paying $1000 in interest per year right now, so if you expect to get that amount repaid or more, definitely keep the loan. You can always...
by Userdc
Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with 230K?
Replies: 29
Views: 23176
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