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Re: Need to make estimated payment on Cap Gains windfall?

Yes, if you are withholding enough this year to cover last year's taxes, you will be safe and not need to pay estimated taxes this year and have no federal penalty. Be wary of state rules now as they often have different rules. Be wary of federal rules for the following year even though you should b...
by happymob
Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Need to make estimated payment on Cap Gains windfall?
Replies: 2
Views: 408

Re: Using 529 Stable Value Fund for non-college savings

I'm not buying the fraud idea - after all, who is being defrauded? The 529 administrator makes their money. You pay (deferred) taxes, plus an extra 10% penalty, so the federal government can't be too upset. Most (all?) states that allow a deduction will claw back the state tax deduction on a non-qua...
by happymob
Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:27 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Using 529 Stable Value Fund for non-college savings
Replies: 11
Views: 1616

Re: CO 529 Stable Value Fund 3.09% for 2015

Even with 10% penalty on non-qualified withdrawals, that is a really nice tax-deferred, fairly safe return.
by happymob
Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CO 529 Stable Value Fund 3.09% for 2015
Replies: 2
Views: 320

Re: Poll: How much $ for childcare?

<$450/child for 2 children for 5 days/week day care.
by happymob
Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: How much $ for childcare?
Replies: 20
Views: 2147

Re: Best CD Inside a 529 College Savings Plan?

Colorado's plan has a stable value fund with a 2% minimum currently paying 2.64%

https://www.collegeinvest.org/our-savin ... value-plus
by happymob
Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best CD Inside a 529 College Savings Plan?
Replies: 5
Views: 584

Re: I BONDS

If I understand things correctly, you could also pay taxes on the accrued interest to date now (rather than defer) at the 15% rate while continuing to hold the bonds, though you would then be stuck paying interest annually for as long as you hold the bonds.
by happymob
Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:05 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I BONDS
Replies: 8
Views: 1166

Re: New 457 plan - how much and how should I contribute?

Definitely in the 15% tax bracket. With $35,000 in traditional 403b contributions, the standard deduction, and exemptions (2 children) we get there. We do have very low expenses (own an energy efficient home, no mortgage or other debt, low property taxes are big factors). There are no extra fees on ...
by happymob
Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:52 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New 457 plan - how much and how should I contribute?
Replies: 8
Views: 531

New 457 plan - how much and how should I contribute?

The (government) employer of both myself and spouse recently added a 457 plan option (Roth and Traditional) to our existing 403b options (Roth and Traditional). It seems like we should contribute to the 457 plan, but wanted the expertise of the forum. Our situation: Marginal tax bracket: at the top ...
by happymob
Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New 457 plan - how much and how should I contribute?
Replies: 8
Views: 531

Re: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment

Do I understand correctly that Betterment uses pairs of ETFs that for most purposes can be considered almost interchangeable, and does tax-loss harvesting by doing massive switches from one into the other? I've read that isn't any definitive statement by the IRS of what constitutes a wash sale, and...
by happymob
Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:49 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My 30-day trial experience with Betterment
Replies: 73
Views: 9662

Re: Once Again 529 or Roth IRA

Other possibiilities are taking out a 401(k) loan later. That loan could either be used to pay for college or could be used to invest in a 529 plan ithen. Appreciate your prompt response livesoft. What you said make sense. The only point I didn't understand in above was when you said "invest i...
by happymob
Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Once Again 529 or Roth IRA
Replies: 5
Views: 715

Re: Is tax loss harvesting ever a bad idea?

Yes, if you are in a very low tax bracket, it probably doesn't pay to tax loss harvest, especially if you have gains the same year that would go in the 0% LTCG bracket. No. Even if you are permanently in the 0% tax bracket, there's no harm in TLH. (But it doesn't help, either.) And if you are in (s...
by happymob
Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:07 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is tax loss harvesting ever a bad idea?
Replies: 17
Views: 1089

How to arrange 1 or 2-month rentals?

Our family (mom, dad, 3 and 5-year olds) would like to escape our local hot, dry, and windy summers. We are looking at the possibility of doing approximately 8-week vacations every summer. neither of us officially work over the summer (college professors), though we do have various responsibilities ...
by happymob
Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to arrange 1 or 2-month rentals?
Replies: 2
Views: 436

Re: Reliable Portable CD Player Needed

This sounds so retro.

In all seriousness, is there a reason a good, inexpensive mp3 player isn't an option? You can legally burn your existing CDs to mp3 files.
by happymob
Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reliable Portable CD Player Needed
Replies: 28
Views: 1548

Re: Death of family member - what to do financially

In addition to looking at entries in the check and checking the mail, I would review income tax forms over the past few years. If there were any additional bank account there should have been an interest statement. Though with low interest rates, some accounts could remain hidden (<$10 in interest,...
by happymob
Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Death of family member - what to do financially
Replies: 26
Views: 3305

Re: Why don't utilities get any praise

I would have some worry that some unforeseen regulatory or financial event could severely impact the profits of utilities could result in significant dividend cuts (the financial crisis in 2008 did result in some utility dividend cuts - look at the charts of AEE or HE, for example, to see the carnag...
by happymob
Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why don't utilities get any praise
Replies: 39
Views: 3899

Re: 3% Max Checking…instead of bonds?

My IPS allows me to treat cash-like assets as bonds when they are yielding more than 10-year treasuries. As a result, at different times, I have treated stable value funds, rewards checking, I-bonds, and CDs as "bonds" rather than "cash". Currently, our rewards checking pays 2% o...
by happymob
Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:25 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 3% Max Checking…instead of bonds?
Replies: 14
Views: 1355

Re: Point of clarification - ETFs in Roth

Please note that, and i apologize if you know this already, that all trading transactions in a Roth do not have any tax impact now or in the future. Small quibble, but... except with wash sale rules when you buy something in a tax-preferred account that you recently sold (or will soon sell) in a ta...
by happymob
Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:27 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Point of clarification - ETFs in Roth
Replies: 12
Views: 603

Re: Stable Value Fund vs Total Bond Market

My 403b stable value fund was paying a contractually 'guaranteed' 3.5%. However, once they realized they could no longer guarantee that rate, they simply added a .6 expense ratio, effectively knocking the rate down to 2.9. Quite shifty and angered a lot of people. 2.9 is still good but I'm moving b...
by happymob
Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund vs Total Bond Market
Replies: 27
Views: 2380

Re: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings

1) make sure you account for state taxes as well.

2) The Child Tax credit is capped at $3000 for 1 child or $6000 for multiple children. If you spend more than that on child care, it can make sense to mix the two.
by happymob
Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings
Replies: 5
Views: 644

Re: Valuing a personal residence for net worth purposes

I use Zillow, but chortle heartily when viewing the extremely volatile figures (for example, Zillow says my house is worth 25% less today than it was last Saturday). I don't mind the added volatility to my net worth as the actual number doesn't really change how we save or invest.
by happymob
Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Valuing a personal residence for net worth purposes
Replies: 73
Views: 4775

Re: investing and debt

There's plenty about SLs I don't understand (tax deductions, forgiveness programs, etc), so I look at them too simple I guess. But, there's not much out there beating a 4.75% or 6.25% return right now... overall really, but especially guaranteed returns like paying down debt. Get the credit cards d...
by happymob
Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: investing and debt
Replies: 22
Views: 1464

Re: Morningstar Rates 529 College Saving Plans

Kansas gives a tax break for investment in any state's 529 plan plan. so why anyone would invest in the Kansas plan is a mystery.
by happymob
Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Morningstar Rates 529 College Saving Plans
Replies: 8
Views: 1264

Re: old 401k to IRA precludes backdoor Roth contribution??

All traditional IRA (including rollovers from traditional 401k plans) are considered when doing a backdoor Roth to determine what portion of the trad IRA to Roth IRA conversion is taxable. If you leave the 401k alone, it won't be considered. If you roll it into a current 401k plan, it won't be consi...
by happymob
Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: old 401k to IRA precludes backdoor Roth contribution??
Replies: 5
Views: 439

Re: [Poll] How many brokerage firms do you use for investing

3 - Vanguard, Fidelity, and TIAA-CREF. Vanguard, for obvious enough reasons. Fidelity was originally a 401(k) rollover account which I kept due to ability to buy and sell treasuries. Vanguard has since closed that feature gap, but I maintain the Fidelity account anyway. TIAA-CREF is a 403(b) that co...
by happymob
Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Poll] How many brokerage firms do you use for investing?
Replies: 43
Views: 2241

Re: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?

Asif, I am not trying to give you a hard time but maybe, just maybe, a reality check. Please feel free to ignore my thoughts that follow. I just read this and went to the IRS site for tax brackets. Are you aware that the 15% bracket ends and the 25% bracket begins at a taxable income of $36,900? I ...
by happymob
Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?
Replies: 41
Views: 2477

Re: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?

If you are in the 15% tax bracket, you would also qualify for the education tax break on savings bonds. If you are considering buying I-bonds anyway, making them tax-free (rather than merely tax-deferred) might be a reasonable selling point.
by happymob
Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?
Replies: 41
Views: 2477

Re: Piggy bank -> savings account for minor child -- options

Our local bank pays 2% interest on balances up to $5000 (and 1% up to $10,000) on kids accounts, so we feel reasonably good about putting money there. If we ever hit $5000, we'll likely buy them some I or EE bonds and pay the interest along the way (as they are well under kiddie tax limits).
by happymob
Wed May 07, 2014 7:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Piggy bank -> savings account for minor child -- options
Replies: 16
Views: 1067

Re: Is The US Stock Market Rigged? ~ 60 Minutes March 30, 20

For anyone that knows anything about how technology works, especially how connections are routed, this story was clearly pandering to older people who don't understand technology. They coiled a fiber optic cable for 60km and that slows down traders? Fiber Optics goes the speed of light so that amou...
by happymob
Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 60 Minutes 3-30-14: Michael Lewis book "Flash Boys"
Replies: 70
Views: 4080

Re: Choosing between small blended and small value

According to the plan literature, the DFA fund is classified as small-value. It could, of course, not be as titled towards small as the Vanguard fund. It's the first time I've had any of the DFA funds as an option (this is the only one available in the new plan), and I know some people really like t...
by happymob
Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Choosing between small blended and small value
Replies: 6
Views: 423

Choosing between small blended and small value

Our retirement plan changed providers. We lost decent international options, gained good small cap and REIT options, and still don't have good bond options. So, all domestic equities for the new plan. Assuming one wanted to tilt small, would you choose: 1) Vanguard small-cap index at a total cost of...
by happymob
Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Choosing between small blended and small value
Replies: 6
Views: 423

Re: your lowest exspense ratio fund in 401

climber2020 wrote:The lowest ER, fees included, is Vanguard Total Stock at 1.30%. It's unfortunate.

Ouch. We get Vanguard Total Stock at 0.22% (0.05% + 0.17% added to all funds). That is our low.
by happymob
Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: your lowest exspense ratio fund in 401
Replies: 31
Views: 1651

Re: Series EE bonds - can I roll into 529?

What do you mean by "roll them over"? There is no way to convert other program without paying taxes on them. Yes, you could (income restrictions apply) cash them in and directly use them for educational expenses. yes, you could cash them in, pay taxes on the gains, and put the money wherev...
by happymob
Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Series EE bonds - can I roll into 529?
Replies: 11
Views: 489

Re: 31% cumulative

Does this also include contributions? Many retirement plans love to show a total increase over time, including adding additional principal, which leads to some really misleading "rate of returns".
by happymob
Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 31% cumulative
Replies: 10
Views: 1180

Re: Is there a best way to prepare for the expense of colleg

Not exactly the direction you were going in, but... Prepare your kids to graduate in 4 years. Most college graduates take longer. And while there is nothing inherently wrong in that, even an extra semester is expensive, both in direct cost and opportunity cost of delaying employment. So, how does on...
by happymob
Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there a best way to prepare for the expense of college?
Replies: 31
Views: 1759

Re: Purchase farmland or sell it?

Thank you all for your advice thus far. We appreciate the varying opinions, and so far it looks like most people are for selling the farmland. I know farmland is at its all time high and that would be another good reason to sell now. But I can also see the rental income as a fixed asset paying $16,...
by happymob
Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchase farmland or sell it?
Replies: 34
Views: 2556

Re: What is the usual time to do your taxes?

About March 15th due to late arriving K-1s.
by happymob
Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the usual time to do your taxes?
Replies: 29
Views: 2020

Re: Who Invests 100% in Passive Index Funds/ETFs

The last of our Wellington is gone, so 100% of our equities is in passive index funds. We do own I-Bonds and Treasuries directly, so we're not 100% passive in our bond allocation.
by happymob
Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who Invests 100% in Passive Index Funds/ETFs
Replies: 79
Views: 6024

Re: Using cash

I use cash for smaller purchases at locally owned businesses. I figure they can use the added margin. I'm sure Wal-Mart shareholders could make use of the added margin as well, but I don't worry so much about them.
by happymob
Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using cash
Replies: 56
Views: 2884

Re: Mega Millions jackpot to $636 million

Yes. It's part of my IPS. Not really, but I do have rules about this. When jackpots get really big (roughly >$200 million), I'll put $5 on it. When we are traveling for the summer, I will purchase 1 mega millions, 1 powerball, and 1 local lottery (odds are far better, and I wouldn't turn down 1.9 mi...
by happymob
Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mega Millions jackpot to $636 million
Replies: 82
Views: 4321

Re: What percentage of your income are you saving?

Around 50% of earned income is our goal. In reality, we are at about 40% of earned income (and 60% of all income).
by happymob
Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What percentage of your income are you saving?
Replies: 208
Views: 13305

Re: What Fund for Downpayment/Early Retirement Money?

Questions: 1. I’m fairly set on investing this money in a place that could earn more than the checking account but I would still like to hear other opinions on what to do in my specific situation. What do you think? 2. Should I treat the house down payment money as part of my overall portfolio and ...
by happymob
Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What Fund for Downpayment/Early Retirement Money?
Replies: 5
Views: 753

Re: How to respond to request for current salary in an inter

Somehow, you've got to establish what is an acceptable number assuming they will want to hire you. Otherwise you get a situation where you're making $80K in your present job and they offer you $75K for that new job, thus wasting everybody's time... Unless you are willing to take a pay cut for bette...
by happymob
Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to respond to request for current salary in an interview
Replies: 113
Views: 8177

Re: How to respond to request for current salary in an inter

"My current salary is X, but that is not necessarily reflective of what I expect in this position."
by happymob
Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to respond to request for current salary in an interview
Replies: 113
Views: 8177

Re: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax

One more concern I forgot about - do you have any tax-loss carryover? Even if your LTCG rate is 0%, your carryover will get eaten up first by any gains.
by happymob
Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 1062

Re: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax

There is no "wash sales" law on gains, so you can do this for federal tax purposes. I assume you have possible state income tax implications handled. Keep in mind that you do not have an unlimited 0% capital gains: the capital gains will fill up your bracket depending on how much other in...
by happymob
Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 1062

Re: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax

Smart move, assuming transaction costs are minimal. Make sure you don't sell so much that your gains push you into the 25% tax bracket and account for state taxes as well (if any).
by happymob
Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 1062

Re: How important is a cover letter?

Very mixed, in my experience. I've seen people doing the hiring completely ignore the cover letter (the important stuff is in the resume!) to people considering the cover letter more important than the resume. I treat it very seriously whichever side of the hiring process I am on. The cover letter i...
by happymob
Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How important is a cover letter?
Replies: 32
Views: 2152

Re: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA

Personally, I have a (small) cash component and a bond component in my AA. I normally treat SV as cash (despite possible withdrawal limitations), but if the SV fund is returning more than 10-year treasuries, I have the option to treat it as bonds (I will also treat a CDs or other cash-like instrume...
by happymob
Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 2343

Re: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA

Personally, I have a (small) cash component and a bond component in my AA. I normally treat SV as cash (despite possible withdrawal limitations), but if the SV fund is returning more than 10-year treasuries, I have the option to treat it as bonds (I will also treat a CDs or other cash-like instrumen...
by happymob
Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 2343

Re: Math Problem: tax savings with 529 account

About 10 years ago, most of the plans I saw had expenses fees around 1%. I figured that the drag from the expense fee over 10-20 years would be similar to the LTCG tax, or I could take higher risk and aim for higher return on my own (which took a wild ride, but I think is higher today even after ta...
by happymob
Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Math Problem: tax savings with 529 account
Replies: 7
Views: 613
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