Search found 1001 matches

by billern
Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Sale of Grandmother's Home
Replies: 5
Views: 578

Re: Help with Sale of Grandmother's Home

Your grandmother may already have a stepped up basis from your grandfather. If she does not, the taxable gain after commission and the $250K primary residence exclusion may not be significant. I was in a similar situation. During the process of moving Grandma to a group home, we found an appraisal o...
by billern
Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon reviews
Replies: 22
Views: 2144

Re: Amazon reviews

I wrote a review of an amazon seller who did some very sketchy stuff. There was a pattern of similar negative reviews which made me think they had some questionable business practices. The seller contacted me and offered a free replacement product and a coupon to remove the feedback. Basically a bri...
by billern
Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Frustrated with low raise
Replies: 67
Views: 4738

Re: Frustrated with low raise

I had a couple crappy salary years - a promotion to manager with a raise that was not commensurate and then a resulting salary that seemed way below industry norm. I applied myself at work and went above and beyond in ways that both enhance my value internally and also readied me for the job market ...
by billern
Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you look down on a co-worker for driving a beater?
Replies: 182
Views: 11531

Re: Would you look down on a co-worker for driving a beater?

Look... when it comes to cars - most people really only pay attention to what others drive if the paint is peeling off / if it is really dirty or if the car has had a fender bender. Those things are more about how someone treats the the car vs the miles they put on it- It is not like anyone can see...
by billern
Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please Help Me Identify 5 Reasons To Get Mother-In-Law Out of A Variable Annuity
Replies: 11
Views: 1044

Re: Please Help Me Identify 5 Reasons To Get Mother-In-Law Out of A Variable Annuity

Give one good reason. If you give a number of reasons, they can focus on the weakest one.
by billern
Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401(k) employer match true-up after leaving company
Replies: 27
Views: 1871

Re: 401(k) employer match true-up after leaving company

If you met the requirements to receive a contribution, any distribution you receive, or it's timing, is irrelevant in determining if receive the contribution. If you met the requirements (i.e., last day rule, 1000 hours, if applicable), you should receive the contribution. How would I have received...
by billern
Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Interactive Cost of Living Map, and some COL what ifs
Replies: 9
Views: 1290

Re: Interactive Cost of Living Map, and some COL what ifs

COL comparisons never seem to take into account saving for a down payment. Sure, carrying a mortgage in San Jose compared to Dallas is not as hard as it would seem given the incomes there, but good luck saving that down payment. The other thing that is missing is state income taxes. That data seems...
by billern
Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is a 401(n) retirement plan?
Replies: 6
Views: 723

Re: What is a 401(n) retirement plan?

IRC Section 401(n): Coordination with qualified domestic relations orders. The Secretary shall prescribe such rules or regulations as may be necessary to coordinate the requirements of subsection (a)(13)(B) and section 414(p) (and the regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor thereunder) with the...
by billern
Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSAs in California & 1099 tax forms
Replies: 4
Views: 551

Re: HSAs in California & 1099 tax forms

One of the HSAbank year-end forms lists something like earnings but it certainly does not include the income from the linked TD Ameritrade brokerage account. You can use year-end statements or a report from the website to determine interest, dividends, and capital gains. I suspect most people do not...
by billern
Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Average raises for promotions
Replies: 32
Views: 3685

Re: Average raises for promotions

A major level promotion should come with a substantial raise. I'd say 15-20% sounds reasonable. Not every company will do it, though. I lost a substantial amount of trust in my employer because the compensation after a promotion was not in line with my value or the market. A 5% raise when promoted t...
by billern
Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Dealerships - is this bad service?
Replies: 21
Views: 2490

Re: Car Dealerships - is this bad service?

Yes, this is pretty typical. The car dealerships are making a lot of money right now (at least in general) so many are forgetting customer service. Vote with your money. Find a dealership that provides good service and go there, if possible.
by billern
Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rent a studio to save money or 1-bedroom that is twice the cost but in my "dream" area?
Replies: 36
Views: 3690

Re: Rent a studio to save money or 1-bedroom that is twice the cost but in my "dream" area?

What would it cost to buy the condo you would like in your desired area? What does that translate to in monthly payments, including association dues? Have you saved up enough for a 20% down payment? I'm in a similar position with regards to income and cost of living. Spending almost 1/3 of your take...
by billern
Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Fraud [Understanding fraudulent returns]
Replies: 6
Views: 915

Re: IRS Fraud

Do I understand correctly that fraudulent returns are only possible if you have a refund coming? I play the RMD game and only pay at the end of the year and file electronically by early Feb owing a nominal amount. I guess that only exposes me for a couple of months? It depends on the type of fraud ...
by billern
Fri May 22, 2015 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Friends/Family that don't invest!
Replies: 94
Views: 11521

Re: Friends/Family that don't invest!

We live in a relatively free country. Other than being required to pay into social security and medicare, everyone can do what they want with their earnings. Many people chose to spend instead of save. Of those who are savers, not everyone trusts the stock or bond market. To each his own. That said,...
by billern
Tue May 19, 2015 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?
Replies: 60
Views: 4004

Re: Should I sell my company's stock and exchange it for an SP500 index fund?

Unless you hold the stock until you die, the stock drops in value, or you are in a low tax bracket when you sell, you will pay capital gains tax on the sale. There is a benefit to holding the stock (dividends and appreciation on the amount invested that you would have to pay in taxes if sold today) ...
by billern
Fri May 15, 2015 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter from IRS (I think they are wrong)
Replies: 21
Views: 3031

Re: Letter from IRS (I think they are wrong)

You can elect to treat just enough qualified dividends and long-term capital gains as ordinary income to free up your investment interest expense. The remainder of qualified income still gets the preferential rate. If this is the case but you did not compute the tax correctly on your return, the IRS...
by billern
Sun May 10, 2015 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question
Replies: 15
Views: 1187

Re: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question

I'd try to make the transition as smooth as possible. That might include notifying your customers and possibly even making arrangements for referrals with another similar provider in town.

What is the benefit to you of not giving your clients advanced notice?
by billern
Wed May 06, 2015 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: International rental car insurance
Replies: 17
Views: 1290

Re: International rental car insurance

If you have an American Express card, rental car insurance is included and primary with the exception of a small number of countries. (That, oddly enough, mostly start with the letter I). My solution is to use the AMEX card and not fly into Italy. This is only true for certain AMEX cards so check y...
by billern
Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guidance About New Spouse's IRS Issues
Replies: 47
Views: 3129

Re: Guideance About New Spouse's IRS Issues

That is a sizable amount of money so getting professional help would be advisable. Call me skeptical but, unless your S/O had their head buried in the sand, it seems that they would have been aware of this issue prior to your marriage. It is not a good sign that a $100K tax bill is coming up as a su...
by billern
Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: HSA Bank Low Balance Fee- How is it paid?
Replies: 26
Views: 2548

Re: HSA Bank Low Balance Fee- How is it paid?

On the bright side, I was charged the $3 Investment Fee this month, despite having had a balance of $5000.03. I called and they said it was a "mistake". (really? a computer can't accurately tell if my balance is greater than or less than $5000?). 6 days later I am still waiting for my $3 ...
by billern
Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Bank transfer to investment account issue?
Replies: 15
Views: 1227

Re: HSA Bank transfer to investment account issue?

I don't know about that issue but definitely check your recent activity for other issues. I had to call today about a $3 service fee that should not have been charged based upon my balance. The person I spoke with said it was a glitch affecting some customers and promised to promptly reverse the cha...
by billern
Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My professor gave me textbooks I later sold. Taxable?
Replies: 19
Views: 1228

Re: My professor gave me textbooks I later sold. Taxable?

Gifts have carry over basis. Your basis when you sell is the basis your professor had in the book (with limitations if it is worth less when gifted). Good luck figuring that out...
by billern
Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HR error- Highly compensated employee status
Replies: 11
Views: 1393

Re: HR error- Highly compensated employee status

Before you get too aggressive, I'd determine whether the employer will make a catch-up matching contribution at year-end for the pay periods where the deferral exceeded the matching percentage. Often, there is a year-end true-up in this type of circumstance. That would significantly limit the harm r...
by billern
Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Employees Forgo Wellness Cash Incentives Worth Millions"
Replies: 30
Views: 3187

Re: "Employees Forgo Wellness Cash Incentives Worth Millions

Wellness programs are designed so you have to jump through certain hoops to get the benefits. Do certain things, participate in certain events, log your data on a website, and often reach a certain goal by a set date to get the incentive. I'm surprised that 47% of employees enroll. The program I'm i...
by billern
Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hearse as daily driver?
Replies: 58
Views: 4927

Re: Hearse as daily driver?

Tom Waits used to drive a hearse. I don't think I could pull it off.
by billern
Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got a promotion, but still need to discuss salary
Replies: 9
Views: 1420

Re: Got a promotion, but still need to discuss salary

It shouldn't be based upon % of pay. I'd do your own research to try to figure out what the salary range should be based upon the position and start from there.
by billern
Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keeping the change (making saving automatic)
Replies: 15
Views: 1591

Re: Keeping the change (making saving automatic)

Set up an automatic transfer to your savings account or have part of your paycheck deposited to same.
by billern
Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dress socks
Replies: 7
Views: 826

Re: Dress socks

I only use Dockers Rayon Dress Socks. They are made out of bamboo which sounds weird but they are great quality and comfortable. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if they are still making them as they seem hard to find every time I look. Whatever you pick, buy a lot of pairs and only buy one pattern/color...
by billern
Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do I learn to like sushi?
Replies: 80
Views: 6390

Re: How do I learn to like sushi?

Some people have an aversion to the seaweed used in the rolls. If that is a problem for you, there are certain types of roles/etc that use less seaweed. Try California rolls. Those are pretty safe but tasty. If you have an aversion to seafood, try vegetarian sushi. If you don't like that, there are ...
by billern
Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to find a spouse who wants financial independence
Replies: 51
Views: 9128

Re: How to find a spouse who wants financial independence

When appropriate, share your values and goals. See how the lady responds.

If you want to avoid potential spouses that have the wrong values, don't project an image that would attract the type of person you are not looking for.
by billern
Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Ive been put on a performance improvement plan!
Replies: 66
Views: 10199

Re: Help! Ive been put on a performance improvement plan!

Trader Joe wrote:My advice is for you to immediately resign before you are terminated. It may already be too late.
His former employer will not disclose anything beyond title and dates of employment in either case due to potential liability. What benefit would he get by quitting now?
by billern
Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help! Ive been put on a performance improvement plan!
Replies: 66
Views: 10199

Re: Help! Ive been put on a performance improvement plan!

OP, this is also a good time to evaluate what you are doing and whether you want to continue down the same path. Do you like being in management? What about the industry you are in? The specific company? I would not consider quitting without something else lined up. It may be worth considering a mov...
by billern
Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?
Replies: 13
Views: 927

Re: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?

The obvious problem is if instead of revising the forms and instructions the IRS just explains what it means on the list. We really should not have secret regulations. IRS forms, publications, FAQs, and most other correspondence is not primary authority. You cannot rely on any of it to support a ta...
by billern
Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?
Replies: 13
Views: 927

Re: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?

Don't you want someone with knowledge about taxpayers behaviors and questions to proofread and comment on the first drafts of instructions written by IRS staffers and drafts of forms created by them? Or would you rather the IRS hires additional proofreaders from time to time? I guess we don't know ...
by billern
Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?
Replies: 13
Views: 927

Re: Tax Software: Access to Exclusive IRS Info?

The tax software providers and the IRS should be working together to make a more seamless tax filing season. Unless you are wanting to write your own tax preparation software and feel excluded, you should be happy that they work together. It means the tax software is ready more quickly to generate t...
by billern
Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Company's Profit Sharing Plan Mystery
Replies: 8
Views: 1130

Re: Company's Profit Sharing Plan Mystery

OP, the profit sharing plan component is generally a pooled investmentaccount. That is why you don't get broker statements and the disclosures are not frequent. My experience has been that the employee deferral component is segregated. That account should have monthly statements. Ask your employer h...
by billern
Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to buy nice men's dress shirts?
Replies: 84
Views: 7420

Re: Where to buy nice men's dress shirts?

You have to pay to play. I'm a big fan of Charles Tyrwhitt. IMO they are on par if not better then brooks brothers. I try to always get them on sale, usually 40ish + freight. They are made in Europe, so they usually take 1-2 weeks to receive. Me too. My only complaint is that CT has limited color/s...
by billern
Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unhappy With Job Raise
Replies: 78
Views: 8373

Re: Unhappy With Job Raise

I view myself as a high performer. I was promoted a little over a year ago and the pay raise was comically low. What I see as the result of the raise limits is a lack of incentive for employees to excel. Instead of cutting off my nose to spite my employer, I challenge myself every day to improve and...
by billern
Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mistake on W2 question
Replies: 17
Views: 1087

Re: Mistake on W2 question

I maxed out both 401k and HSA but W2 shows numbers hundreds of dollars below. Thinking they messed it up because we get payed for last week in Dec in January biweekly. Roughly how much is this mistake costing me? Wages are taxable when paid. A payment made in January of 2015 would not be on a 2014 ...
by billern
Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do brokerages give commission free-etfs
Replies: 19
Views: 2011

Re: Why do brokerages give commission free-etfs

The companies don’t have a revenue-sharing agreement in place, which is intended to defray servicing costs to provide the funds without commissions, said Mark Wiedman, global head of iShares. For iShares ETFs, Fidelity receives compensation from the ETF sponsor, its affiliates or both as part of an...
by billern
Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you usually order (not-free) beverage at restaurants?
Replies: 89
Views: 8157

Re: Do you usually order beverage at restaurants?

Yes, I almost always order a beer with dinner, if something good is on tap. No soda or drinks with lunch.
by billern
Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Easier to do morally right if you have money?
Replies: 3
Views: 818

Re: Easier to do morally right if you have money?

A person's true character comes out in trying times.
by billern
Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much is reasonable to spend on vacation?
Replies: 30
Views: 3257

Re: How much is reasonable to spend on vacation?

If 30 percent of your budget is earmarked for discretionary expenses, the question is "how much of that do I WANT to spend on a vacation." What is more important to you: Super duper cable package to light up a high-end TV? Vacation and experiences? Or... something else? You probably can't...
by billern
Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What are your 2015 Financial Goals?
Replies: 102
Views: 9136

Re: What are your 2015 Financial Goals?

Reduce expenditures on non-necessary consumables (reduce cost and waste). Position self for optimal career progression. Possibly a change of firm if I don't see long-term benefits of current job. I might even more out of California which has high taxes and gets low scores in ease of operating a busi...
by billern
Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High(ish) earner; spending too much?
Replies: 71
Views: 9726

Re: High(ish) earner; spending too much?

30% is a pretty good savings rate. If your employment is fairly risky, there might be a reason to increase the savings rate. Otherwise, if you like what you are doing and think you spending is worth it (luxury travel), continue doing what you are doing.
by billern
Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's the logic behind the Roth IRA income limit
Replies: 12
Views: 1390

Re: What's the logic behind the Roth IRA income limit

To good of a benefit for higher income taxpayers. You get the benefit of employer sponsored retirement accounts. After that, you are stuck with non-deductible IRAs.

As others have mentioned, the back-door Roth IRA strategy is a good option if you don't have any traditional IRA balances.
by billern
Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Girlfriend with a LOT of Student debt.
Replies: 166
Views: 14645

Re: Girlfriend with a LOT of Student debt.

I think the key is that every person can and should make their own decisions regarding consumption level and financial goals. Finding someone with compatible consumption levels and financial goals plays a big factor in the success of a relationship. Don't judge your GF on how she is. Offer, to the e...
by billern
Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ouch! IRS penalty for underpayment, Any ideas?
Replies: 24
Views: 3481

Re: Ouch! IRS penalty for underpayment, Any ideas?

There is a provision in the IRS regulations for something called a "First Time Abatement" (FTA), where if a taxpayer contacts the IRS to explain that this is the first time s/he has made a particular mistake that resulted in a penalty, the IRS has the discretion to grant a waiver if they ...
by billern
Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: That stress-relieving thing you do at work
Replies: 45
Views: 3110

Re: That stress-relieving thing you do at work

Walking at lunch. Get regular exercise every day. Don't think about work when you leave for the day. Make plans for your weekends and plan a large trip some point in the next 6 months so you have things to look forward to.
by billern
Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 39.6% Tax Bracket :(
Replies: 28
Views: 7479

Re: 39.6% Tax Bracket :(

I've seen a couple suggestions to do a roth. If you do a roth you are guaranteed to pay your high tax rate where as if you go the traditional route there is a good chance you'd pay less than 39.6% on your withdraws if you are like most people who pull less during their retirement years. Why not jus...

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