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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 10:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund vs Total Bond Market
Replies: 27
Views: 2150

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 1:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Child Care Tax Credit vs FSA Savings
Replies: 5
Views: 566

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 1:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Valuing a personal residence for net worth purposes
Replies: 73
Views: 3988

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 9:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: investing and debt
Replies: 22
Views: 1430

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 9:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Morningstar Rates 529 College Saving Plans
Replies: 8
Views: 1159

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 1:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: old 401k to IRA precludes backdoor Roth contribution??
Replies: 5
Views: 406

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 3:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Poll] How many brokerage firms do you use for investing?
Replies: 43
Views: 2038

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 8:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?
Replies: 41
Views: 1913

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 9:49 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 vs taxable for 15% marginal tax bracket?
Replies: 41
Views: 1913

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 8:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Piggy bank -> savings account for minor child -- options
Replies: 16
Views: 983

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 1:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 60 Minutes 3-30-14: Michael Lewis book "Flash Boys"
Replies: 70
Views: 3583

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 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Choosing between small blended and small value
Replies: 6
Views: 413

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 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Choosing between small blended and small value
Replies: 6
Views: 413

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 8:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: your lowest exspense ratio fund in 401
Replies: 31
Views: 1622

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 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Series EE bonds - can I roll into 529?
Replies: 11
Views: 477

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 9:41 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 31% cumulative
Replies: 10
Views: 1173

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 12:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there a best way to prepare for the expense of college?
Replies: 31
Views: 1659

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 11:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Purchase farmland or sell it?
Replies: 33
Views: 2128

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 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the usual time to do your taxes?
Replies: 29
Views: 2002

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 11:25 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who Invests 100% in Passive Index Funds/ETFs
Replies: 79
Views: 5793

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 7:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using cash
Replies: 56
Views: 2856

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 4:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mega Millions jackpot to $636 million
Replies: 82
Views: 4213

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 8:46 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What percentage of your income are you saving?
Replies: 208
Views: 12462

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 11:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What Fund for Downpayment/Early Retirement Money?
Replies: 5
Views: 645

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 8:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to respond to request for current salary in an interview
Replies: 113
Views: 7676

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 8:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to respond to request for current salary in an interview
Replies: 113
Views: 7676

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 10:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 988

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 10:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 988

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 10:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 988

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 7:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How important is a cover letter?
Replies: 32
Views: 2120

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 7:23 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 2299

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 6:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 2299

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 9:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Math Problem: tax savings with 529 account
Replies: 7
Views: 597

Re: Are you buying I bonds in 2014? And if so, for what role

Yes. For emergency fund and possibly, eventually, for college tuition (we don't know if we will meet the income restrictions or not). We may also buy some under the kids' names and have them pay interest annually (they are under the kiddie tax limitations right now).
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are you buying I bonds in 2014? And if so, for what role?
Replies: 11
Views: 1305

Re: Poll: House value as % of assets when mortgage paid off.

Currently 12.5%, not including any SS or Pension numbers (we'll have both for both of us).
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: House value as % of assets when mortgage paid off.
Replies: 41
Views: 3060

Re: VWIUX in Taxable

You don't mention your Federal tax rate - that is pretty critical to determine if you should go with VWIUX or simply stick with Total Bond. I-Bonds are certainly an option, at a limited amount per year. They're not going to make you wealthy on a real basis (not that any bond fund is likely to do tha...
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VWIUX in Taxable
Replies: 15
Views: 1111

Re: Stagnant Business Money

When you are talking 6 figures or more, I would suggest talking to the President of a local bank directly. While they might not normally accept corporations for rewards checking, they might be willing to work something out outside of their normal savings or CD rates for a large enough sum of money.
by happymob
Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:09 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stagnant Business Money
Replies: 14
Views: 1226

Re: Kansas 529 state income tax benefit

There are some other states that behave the same way. I know that KS, MO, and PA all allow deductions (up to some limit) for contributions to any state plan. There are probably others. Given that the KS and MO plans aren't particularly attractive, there is no real reason to ever invest in them.
by happymob
Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:16 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Kansas 529 state income tax benefit
Replies: 4
Views: 365

Re: Anyone buying 10-year TIPS tomorrow? (est yield now 0.54

I'm actually buying 30 year tips. real yield is now at 1.60% I buy these as well at the (infrequent) auctions in an IRA. I plan to hold to maturity (or pass them on to my heirs). I just don't see the appeal of 10-year TIPS. I definitely would max out I-bonds before even considering the 10-year TIP.
by happymob
Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone buying 10-year TIPS tomorrow? (est yield now 0.54%)
Replies: 13
Views: 1296

Re: Retirees: do you ever take a bonus?

hidesert---Hell yes, when things are really good (and they don't get much better than this year), take a little bonus. If I had a wife that was still working I might possibly consider taking just a wee bit more......Gordon The key is "little" (and this varies quite a bit). If everything i...
by happymob
Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirees: do you ever take a bonus?
Replies: 19
Views: 1905

Re: Buying iBonds in my early 30s: Wise or maybe not?

I do wonder if the doubling property of EE bonds might be better at your age (with children still theoretical), but I can't fault you for the thought, particularly if tax-deferred becomes tax-free based on the educational benefit.
by happymob
Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying iBonds in my early 30s: Wise or maybe not?
Replies: 23
Views: 2336

Re: Pay For College From 529 Or Save It?

If I'm understanding your thought process, it poses an interesting question: How does an investment indexed to the cost of college compare to one indexed to more traditional investments like VTI? And the follow up in your situation: does it outperform sufficiently to overcome taxes/penalties? Doing...
by happymob
Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay For College From 529 Or Save It?
Replies: 12
Views: 979

Re: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?

Only 1 kid? And you're fairly well off? And she's a good kid with good grades? Yeah, you owe it to her. (Put another way, why wait until you're dead to give her what she can better use now?) There are lots of things that can go wrong. She might actually go to a public school, even when accepted int...
by happymob
Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 2994

Re: I bonds: October or November?

I'm waiting till November. If you buy now, you're locking in a 1.0% to 1.2% rate for the next 12 months. I'd rather lock in the low rate for 6 months only. You only get that rate for the first 6 months. They quote an annual figure, but you really get half that for 6 months, and then it will adjust ...
by happymob
Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:06 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I bonds: October or November?
Replies: 29
Views: 3622

Re: TIAA Real Estate Account, bond-like or Madoff-like?

...plus roughly 9% of REITs presently owned to spice things up a bit (my interpretation). That's purely to have liquid assets to handle redemptions. I think the outflows during 2008 surprised them a bit. They could simply hold cash, but they decided since they are a RE fund, they might as well hold...
by happymob
Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIAA Real Estate Account, bond-like or Madoff-like?
Replies: 79
Views: 7171

Re: 529 - starting from scratch

1 chck your state 529 plan, see if it has state tax benefits, usually if it does, it makes it the best one A few states (KS and PA that I know of) allow deductions for contribution to any state plan. So know if you get a deduction, and know the limitations. OK (and perhaps others) have generous rec...
by happymob
Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:13 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 - starting from scratch
Replies: 29
Views: 1840

Re: Tracking Donations

We keep a manila folder for each tax year, including the current year. Mostly, this is for tax forms as they arrive in January and February. But we also document charitable donations, day care receipts, property tax receipts, etc as they occur in this folder. For thrift store item donations, we don'...
by happymob
Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking Donations
Replies: 25
Views: 1371

Re: Do you budget for expenditures or saving?

No. We have an excessive amount in "cash" (rewards checking, now paying 2%) to handle small-to-medium expenditures (vacations, medical bills, etc), and enough taxable savings for larger purchases (such as a new vehicle). We certainly feel very fortunate that we don't have to do specific bu...
by happymob
Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:27 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you budget for expenditures or saving?
Replies: 30
Views: 2244

Re: Time to sell some company stock - sell the biggest winne

Absent an increase in LTCG rates, it is almost always to defer as much LTCG tax as you can. What you avoid in taxes now will grow over time. Yes, you will probably have to pay the deferred taxes eventually, but that amount remains fixed in nominal dollars (and will shrink in real dollars). So sell t...
by happymob
Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to sell some company stock - sell the biggest winners?
Replies: 16
Views: 797

Re: Anyone have experience with Harvard Extension school?

www.degreeinfo.com would be a good forum to ask. I know they have multiple people who earned masters degrees through them.
by happymob
Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:48 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have experience with Harvard Extension school?
Replies: 22
Views: 2281
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