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Re: HSA vs 401K

Some things to remember about HSA: 2. Depending on your income, tax bracket, and number of years worked, $1 put into HSA might cause you to lose a lot more than $1 in social security old age benefits. While a very degenerate case, this applies to either new immigrants, or people who spend very litt...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA vs 401K
Replies: 16
Views: 933

Re: Mortgage reamortization after lump sum payment?

Once you have paid down the mortgage, refinancing to a shorter term might be a good idea; you could continue making about the same payments, or lower payments, but at a lower interest rate. A 15-year mortgage should carry a rate much less than 5.5%, even thought it is no longer your primary residence.
by grabiner
Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage reamortization after lump sum payment?
Replies: 9
Views: 450

Re: Low cost HSA and 529 for 21 year old

I believe my state does allow me to deduct $5k from my state and possibly city taxes, but I think the benefit ends up being quite small because federal taxes will increase. To compute the effective state tax benefit of this or any other deduction, multiply your state tax rate by (1-federal tax brac...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Low cost HSA and 529 for 21 year old
Replies: 5
Views: 444

Re: Tax Loss Harvesting -- go for it?

I found this in Publication 590: Recognizing Losses on Traditional IRA Investments If you have a loss on your traditional IRA investment, you can recognize (include) the loss on your income tax return, but only when all the amounts in all your traditional IRA accounts have been distributed to you a...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Loss Harvesting -- go for it?
Replies: 20
Views: 2388

Re: Wash sale

While it won't be a wash sale, selling Total International to buy International Growth may cost you in taxes in the long run; I would expect International Growth to lose about half a percent per year to capital-gains distributions. (It hasn't distributed any gains recently because it had losses from...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Wash sale
Replies: 2
Views: 164

Re: Investment interest expense and muni bonds

NB. Mortgage interest IS deductible, regardless of whether or not you own muni bonds. This is incorrect. To quote from Turbotax as a convenient source: "If you used the proceeds of a home mortgage to purchase or "carry" securities that produce tax-exempt income (municipal bonds) , or...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Investment interest expense and muni bonds
Replies: 7
Views: 803

Re: 15 vs 30 mortgage on a condo I plan on renting after 5 y

the reason I am not positive I want a 15 is because I plan on renting the condo in 5 to 7 years, similar condos rent for currently rent for about $1250, meaning I would have to put extra money towards the monthly costs instead of breaking even with the 30 year. Unless you have liquidity issues, you...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 15 vs 30 mortgage on a condo I plan on renting after 5 years
Replies: 14
Views: 799

Re: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)

Whenever I have examined the guide's arithmetic on premiums, deductibles, employer deposits, and taxes, I have always found the guide to be accurate. For some reason, though, the dental estimates have been wrong for two years. Another complaint I've had in the past had to do with the guide characte...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)
Replies: 37
Views: 2173

Re: Paid off our Mortgage this evening!

This is a more common issue with auto insurance; the lender will require collision and comprehensive, often with a low deductible such as $500, to protect its own interest. When the car loan is paid off, you can drop collision and comprehensive, or keep them with a $1000 or $2000 deductible to redu...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off our Mortgage this evening!
Replies: 62
Views: 5996

Re: Quit Cobra to go on Obamacare?

Insurance companies can and do deny claims that you thought were covered by reading the plan disclosure. For example: -- I select a doctor based on that insurance company's list of providers. I even tell the doctor's office my insurance information when I make the appt. I go to the doctor, and even...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quit Cobra to go on Obamacare?
Replies: 23
Views: 2723

Re: Paid off our Mortgage this evening!

I am not sure if there are other advantages to paying off mortgage. For example if you are living next to a stream that barely has any water but you lender will force you to get a flood insurance. I don't have experience but I am guessing there are advantages to not having mortgage. My lender requi...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paid off our Mortgage this evening!
Replies: 62
Views: 5996

Re: HSA with post-deductible health FSA question

Welcome to Bogleheads. That's a tough first question :-) I am not an expert on this but I'll refer you to the wiki: Flexible spending arrangement - Bogleheads . When you say "limited" FSA, I assume you mean a "limited purpose FSA"? As I understand it, if you have a HSA, then you...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA with post-deductible health FSA question
Replies: 3
Views: 381

Re: TGH question - Gift to family

you will lose your money (you gave it away); and the recipient is stuck with your gains and the taxes (at their tax rate, not yours), too. I don't see how giving your spouse saves you any taxes. Do you? Thanks livesoft. I was thinking whether gifting appreciated stock to my littlle (like he is 1 ye...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Gain Harvesting - Charity / Gift to family
Replies: 16
Views: 1205

Re: Do I payoff my house or rentals?

That's what I was thinking. Paying my house first. Do you know any website in which I can learn more about the implications and consequences with the taxes once I pay off the house? I know right now that I can deduct the loan interest, however there is a phase out because of our income. So even tho...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I payoff my house or rentals?
Replies: 5
Views: 595

Re: Keep or sell Zero Coupon Bond?

1. it depends on your sale cost. What spread the dealers will give you? For bonds you usually get worse than the quoted price (opposite of a small investor for stocks). 2. does it matter from a capital gains vs. interest point of view, for tax? For the OP, it doesn't matter, since he holds it in an...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keep or sell Zero Coupon Bond?
Replies: 7
Views: 859

Re: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase

That much money from the TSP will have a high payment, plus you’ll still have a payment on the remainder of the money you have to borrow to buy the land. And the TSP loan still has potential to cost you 4 to 5 times more out of your future retirement than it will save in interest on a commercial lo...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase
Replies: 34
Views: 2108

Re: Question about HSA options

It looks like Option 2 comes out ahead but I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Shouldn’t there be something to be said for tax savings? Yes, you should adjust for the tax savings on your own contributions to the HSA, at your own tax rate. Well if I were to contribute another $1,200, the tax sav...
by grabiner
Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about HSA options
Replies: 4
Views: 781

Re: How much is saved by taking mass transit to work?

Check with your insurer what will happen to your rates; many insurers charge based on your commute distance, and if you regularly take public transit or vanpool, the distance drops to near zero.
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is saved by taking mass transit to work?
Replies: 51
Views: 3272

Re: Question about HSA options

It looks like Option 2 comes out ahead but I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Shouldn’t there be something to be said for tax savings? Yes, you should adjust for the tax savings on your own contributions to the HSA, at your own tax rate. Or the fact that the extra money contributed to the HSA ...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about HSA options
Replies: 4
Views: 781

Re: Another bond fund question do I need short term in my 40

Unless you are earmarking money for short-term use, you don't need a separate short-term fund. Total Bond Market Index holds short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term bonds, so it serves the same purpose as holding three separate funds such as Short-Term, Intermediate-Term, and Long-Term Bond Ind...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:54 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another bond fund question do I need short term in my 401k?
Replies: 7
Views: 468

Re: Minimizing Taxes on Year End Bonus

I live in Massachusetts, and last year my year-end bonus was taxed at approximately 40%. I am sure this is a common problem, and am wondering if anyone has a way to maximize the amount they recieve from their bonus. Adjust your withholding. The withholding for the bonus may be based on the assumpti...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Minimizing Taxes on Year End Bonus
Replies: 8
Views: 1238

Re: Which bond fund for a three-fund taxable portfolio?

I understand the theory of placing bonds in tax-advantaged accounts and then rebalancing across the accounts after you sell stock from the taxable account. But that seems to work only if the amounts are large and/or stable. Say I put $50,000 in my taxable account, and in three years I want to use t...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which bond fund for a three-fund taxable portfolio?
Replies: 8
Views: 1551

Re: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase

That much money from the TSP will have a high payment, plus you’ll still have a payment on the remainder of the money you have to borrow to buy the land. And the TSP loan still has potential to cost you 4 to 5 times more out of your future retirement than it will save in interest on a commercial lo...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase
Replies: 34
Views: 2108

Re: GEHA - Standard vs. HDHP Options with Baby on the Way

And you are right, I didn't factor in premiums into the equation. One thing to keep in mind, this isn't like an fsa where the money is sitting there at the start of the year. It is built as your employer makes their pass through. However, if the money isn't there yet, you can pay out of pocket, and...
by grabiner
Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEHA - Standard vs. HDHP Options with Baby on the Way
Replies: 36
Views: 2020

Re: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase

Consider that you will be paying taxes on the borrowed money twice. TSP loans are repaid with after-tax money. When you withdraw that money after retirement, you pay taxes on it again. This isn't a real loss, because the interest goes back into the TSP; effectively, you are taking a non-deductible ...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Borrowing from TSP for lot purchase
Replies: 34
Views: 2108

Re: lock-up for 20 years

If you know that you won't want the money for 20 years, it's a good deal. A 20-year zero-coupon Treasury currently yields 2.99%, so you are getting an extra 1% with no risk. (And is a zero the right comparison? If the CD allows you to withdraw interest without penalty or leave it invested, this is b...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: lock-up for 20 years [20 year CD]
Replies: 21
Views: 2467

Re: Glidepath (target date) investments distort asset alloca

... conventional wisdom ignores empirical evidence that younger workers with less secure employment and scant savings are far likelier to raid their retirement accounts to meet basic living expenses. Since they’re also more likely to lose their jobs in a recession, which in turn is likelier to occu...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:39 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Glidepath (target date) investments distort asset allocation
Replies: 20
Views: 2735

Re: Effect of market dip midstream

Given the same overall return, a market decline midway through will give about the same total return if you make a constant investment every year. If your investment returns a fixed 10%, then the first year's investment will return 10% compounded for 20 years, the second will return 10% compounded f...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Effect of market dip midstream
Replies: 6
Views: 944

Re: HSA Questions

Oooh, one more question - are there any restrictions limiting the frequency at which you can change investments in an HSA (similar to the once-per-year limitation in a 529 plan)? Not that I will be trading frequently, but wondering about any limitations on rebalancing once per quarter or twice per ...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA Questions
Replies: 9
Views: 777

Re: Which bond fund for a three-fund taxable portfolio?

If you want to hold all your bonds in taxable, I would suggest splitting evenly between NJ Long-Term Tax-Exempt and Limited-Term Tax-Exempt; this would get you an average intermediate-term duration, and reduce the single-state risk because only half your bonds are in NJ, while subjecting much less t...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which bond fund for a three-fund taxable portfolio?
Replies: 8
Views: 1551

Re: Online ETF graphs that show growth minus fees (expns rat

Thanks for the input. I'm learning a lot but I apparently have more to learn. I thought that growth chart shows what would have happened if I invested $10K in each of those funds 10 years ago. So I don't understand why that's not apples and apples? There are two issues in an apples-to-apples compar...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:08 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Online ETF graphs that show growth minus fees (expns ratio)?
Replies: 14
Views: 1182

Re: Cost to furnish a condo

One thing to be careful about is the size of the furniture. The rooms of condos can be much smaller than houses so you need to adjust the size of the furniture. I found out the hard way when my couch did not fit when I moved into my condo. :oops: And wait until you actually buy the condo to buy any...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost to furnish a condo
Replies: 29
Views: 2656

Re: Online ETF graphs that show growth minus fees (expns rat

They account for everything but loads/ sales charges and tax drag (need to see that in table form under tax cost). And for tax costs, it's better to check with the fund provider; M* doesn't always know about qualified dividends, so it often overestimates ETF tax costs. (You can see this by comparin...
by grabiner
Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:00 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Online ETF graphs that show growth minus fees (expns ratio)?
Replies: 14
Views: 1182

Re: Emergency and earmarked funds - investing ideas

2. Can someone explain the tax implications to me? I understand that with a tax-exempt bond fund, earnings are not taxable until I sell. But what happens when I sell? If I buy $60k and then it goes up to $65k, and I sell. I recognize $5k in income for taxes? I am tired of having to pay taxes on my ...
by grabiner
Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Emergency and earmarked funds - investing ideas
Replies: 8
Views: 952

Re: GEHA - Standard vs. HDHP Options with Baby on the Way

I worked out a similar example at the DC Bogleheads meeting yesterday; here's a day-one cost comparison; this is the amount you pay if you never see a doctor for anything other than an annual checkup. If you are in the 28% tax bracket, you are probably maxing out SS, so contributing to the HSA by pa...
by grabiner
Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: GEHA - Standard vs. HDHP Options with Baby on the Way
Replies: 36
Views: 2020

Re: Can active funds reliably beat the index? Actually, Yes

Surprised to see that the managerial factor was more important than the expense factor. Cause and effect are likely to be backwards for managerial ownership. The manager decides how much he wants to hold in the fund after seeing the performance records; if a manager has managed a fund which did bad...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can active funds reliably beat the index? Actually, Yes.
Replies: 37
Views: 4631

Re: Target Date Fund all I need?

floatingdoc wrote:If I might piggback a question here, how come the lifestrategy series paid capital gains when the underlying funds did not??? Aren't they all index funds?


The Total Bond Market Index fund did pay capital gains, and those gains were passed along to the LifeStrategy and Target Retirement funds.
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Target Date Fund all I need?
Replies: 19
Views: 2562

Re: Social Security - Death and Taxes

Here's a summary of the rules for taxation of Social Security benefits from our wiki. For tax purposes, it doesn't matter what type of benefits they are, only how much they are and what your other income is. If you have high income (of any kind), 85% of your benefits are likely to be taxable. (In ad...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security - Death and Taxes
Replies: 1
Views: 418

Re: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)

Just to be clear, I can open the hsa (probably through hsa bank) myself before geha or Aetna does? Would they put their contributions into this account or a different one!? You'll have to check with the insurer, but I believe that if you have already opened an account with the same bank, and give t...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)
Replies: 37
Views: 2173

Re: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)

I believe Jan 1 is the effective date of enrollment, so the HSA is established Feb 1? So both leave you out in the cold for the first full month? Yikes if that is true! Not that anything is likely to happen, but it is something to consider. If it were just me, I could go in lockdown for the month o...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:10 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)
Replies: 37
Views: 2173

Re: TurboTax '14 Deluxe (Desktop) Excludes Schedule D

I do three tax returns every year, mine and my two daughters. I've been using Turbo Tax for about 20 years. How easy is it to get Tax Act to read your Turbo tax file so that you do not have to do all the data entry from scratch? Doing it now and will let you know. TaxACT says it will read a PDF fil...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax '14 Deluxe (Desktop) Excludes Schedule D
Replies: 64
Views: 7013

Re: Just signed up Obamacare again.

It seems to me that if a doctor can justify $250 as a reasonable charge, regardless of insurance paying $100 based on the agreement, the doctor should be able to declare $150 as a business loss. I realize that is an incredibly simplified hypothetical, but is that how it works? All businesses report...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just signed up Obamacare again.
Replies: 41
Views: 3235

Re: First post - Advice on Obamacare HSA

Health Savings Account on our wiki gives a lot of information about how to use HSAs and some suggested custodians.

If you are planning to use the HSA for medical expenses, it would probably be a good idea to leave an amount equal to the deductible in cash, as part of your emergency fund.
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:44 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First post - Advice on Obamacare HSA
Replies: 7
Views: 714

Re: Grade me

I'm enrolling you in an IEP. Your assignment is to learn about IRAs. Please write three sentences on how an IRA is a better investment vehicle than a saving account. Then write up your plan to open an IRA for each of you and your strategy for funding it. You may watch the Bogleheads video series fo...
by grabiner
Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Grade me
Replies: 12
Views: 1342

Re: Should I close this credit card?

I have a credit score of 769. What kind of APR would I get on a new card? Do you carry a balance? If not, you shouldn't care about the APR, since you aren't paying it. With a good credit score (and 769 is good in most versions of FICO), you can open a card with a high APR but other benefits such as...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I close this credit card?
Replies: 10
Views: 1180

Re: Advantages of HSA?

My primary care doctor does not take any insurance. Since it is unlikely that my out of pocket expenses will exceed my deductible there is no financial penalty for me going to this doctor rather than an "in network" doctor. This is not correct, because in-network rates are limited; even i...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advantages of HSA?
Replies: 13
Views: 1191

Re: Advantages of HSA?

My primary care doctor does not take any insurance. Since it is unlikely that my out of pocket expenses will exceed my deductible there is no financial penalty for me going to this doctor rather than an "in network" doctor. This is not correct, because in-network rates are limited; even i...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advantages of HSA?
Replies: 13
Views: 1191

Re: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)

Another issue is the HSA. GEHA uses HSA Bank, waiving all fees, so you can put 100% of your HSA in ETFs at TD Ameritrade without any cost. Aetna uses PayFlex, its own provider, waiving all fees, and offers low-cost funds including some from Vanguard, but I can't find any fee information yet; the Aet...
by grabiner
Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aetna HDHP or GEHA HDHP (federal employee)
Replies: 37
Views: 2173

Re: HSA question

IRS Publication 969 says that you can contribute a prorated amount for each month you were covered on the first of the month; thus, if you changed jobs in September, you can contribute 9/12 of the maximum. If you contributed more than that, you will have to take back the excess contribution (withou...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA question
Replies: 2
Views: 307

Re: Advantages of HSA?

The key issue is to work out your own estimated costs. The high-deductible plan will cost you more than a low-deductible plan if you have high medical expenses, and the tax advantage of the HSA may (or may not) make up for that. Also, wouldn't we end up paying significantly more for doctor/dentist/o...
by grabiner
Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advantages of HSA?
Replies: 13
Views: 1191
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