Search found 990 matches

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: 3451

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: 871

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: 11143

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: 3804

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: 2957

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: 1163

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: 1187

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: 3019

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: 2430

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: 1200

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: 1174

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: 1372

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: 3123

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: 4720

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: 1404

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: 1563

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: 802

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: 5963

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: 8889

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: 9745

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: 9745

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: 896

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: 896

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: 896

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: 1078

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: 7106

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: 8293

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: 1061

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: 1970

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: 8055

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: 809

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: 3201

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: 8962

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: 9632

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: 1381

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: 14336

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: 3424

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: 3042

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: 7335

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...
by billern
Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's wrong with dividend ETF's in a taxable account?
Replies: 4
Views: 578

Re: What's wrong with dividend ETF's in a taxable account?

Invest in an equity ETF in your taxable account that is more tax efficient. It will likely increase your after tax return over a long period of time without the tax drag. Total market, S&P 500, foreign, etc.
by billern
Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping prepare family financially if earner dies early
Replies: 8
Views: 1151

Re: Helping prepare family financially if earner dies early

I'm sure there are a lot of resources out there for cancer patients and their families. Books, online discussion groups, and in-person. It would be good to get connected to that to get that support. It sounds like your kids are growing up and will be out of the house in the not too distant future so...
by billern
Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Feeling very fortunate today!
Replies: 73
Views: 12297

Re: Feeling very fortunate today!

A confirmed case of OMY syndrome. Changing your retirement plans b/c the market has "pulled back" to 1860? What if it goes back up to 2000? What if over the course of the next year it continues to drop? Will you work 2 more years? 3 more? Being in my mid-50s and having a really good job I...
by billern
Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: You may be getting charged rent for a router/modem you own
Replies: 34
Views: 4477

Re: You may be getting charged rent for a router/modem you o

They assessed this charge for me. When I contest it, they said they would 'investigate' and ended up removing the charge without contacting me. Next month my cable service fee was increased by the same amount with no explanation. What a despicable company. I wish I had another option for high speed ...
by billern
Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Minimizing AMT impact
Replies: 18
Views: 2259

Re: Minimizing AMT impact

An increase in charity will definitely help. But you have hit part of the nail on the head without realizing it. Given that I live in the Northeast, where our tax burden is so high, there is no hope that I will ever escape the AMT. However, last year when I used TurboTax, I noticed that if I change...
by billern
Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Wells Fargo Advisor Sales Load/Fee Question
Replies: 6
Views: 556

Re: Wells Fargo Advisor Sales Load/Fee Question

WFA is generally a % of assets under management fee arrangement for their clients. I don't know why there would be a large trading fee on a stock.
by billern
Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 464
Views: 38392

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

What is the significance of severe volatility in the market with no catastrophic events evident to justify such volatility? The S&P swinging by over 33 points up then down (up till this hour) on two successive days?!! Is it a signal for something about to happen? It is speculation about future ...
by billern
Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?
Replies: 464
Views: 38392

Re: Headed for a 300+ point loss today?

The Wizard wrote:It could be the beginning of a Really Bad Week...
Or it could keep going up and down each day with the market not making up its mind! Stay the course...
by billern
Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like
Replies: 150
Views: 20107

Re: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like

Wow, this is a rough crowd!

I'll nominate Forest Gump.
by billern
Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?
Replies: 198
Views: 19176

Re: Is my husband a spendthrift? Or I a tightwad?

So based on that... maybe I'm good? We're not even putting 13% towards retirement. He puts 10% of his income and I put 3% of mine, so I think it's more like 6-7% when we average it out. Maybe only 5-6% because I earn more. . I think I read that you were bringing home 75% of the income - but I can't...
by billern
Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is there an "upper limit" on Boglehead theory?
Replies: 58
Views: 5013

Re: Is there an "upper limit" on Boglehead theory?

I think it gets slightly more complicated due to higher margin tax rates, alternative minimum tax, and additional taxes that only apply to high-income earners like the net investment income tax. It may be worth doing things different to get a better after tax return. There are also gift and estate t...

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