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Re: Self-employed ... LTCI deductibility?

Um, yeah, that's the part I was working from. Sorry if I was confusing. The key question is, does this sentence, especially the capitalized part, mean anything? *The insurance plan must be established, or considered to be established as discussed in the following bullets, UNDER YOUR BUSINESS.* Or is...
by ilskeptic
Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-employed ... LTCI deductibility?
Replies: 3
Views: 233

Self-employed ... LTCI deductibility?

I retired early last year, but made a little money freelancing during the rest of 2013. I have a long-term care insurance policy. It looks like the LTCI premium could be deductible on Line 29 of Form 1040 (Self Employed Health Insurance Deduction). The instructions say the policy "must be estab...
by ilskeptic
Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:49 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-employed ... LTCI deductibility?
Replies: 3
Views: 233

Re: Seems odd that tax documents aren't available sooner

My 1099-DIV showed up on Vanguard today. Seems reasonable.
by ilskeptic
Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:11 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Seems odd that tax documents aren't available sooner
Replies: 39
Views: 2913

Re: Recommendations for a Laptop Computer???

Nicely timed question. Walt Mossberg did his annual column of laptop recommendations this week. http://tinyurl.com/lsog76u
by ilskeptic
Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for a Laptop Computer???
Replies: 41
Views: 3368

Re: Donating a Used TV to Charity

In Illinois, it's illegal to dispose of electronics in landfills, and nobody these days wants to buy tube TVs or CRTs. (Put one in a garage sale; you'll see what I mean.) So Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc., won't take them. Unless you're willing to pay someone to take them off your hands, all you can...
by ilskeptic
Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Donating a Used TV to Charity
Replies: 44
Views: 2954

Re: Traveling to Johannesburg for 3.5 Days -- Worth It?

Without trying to underplay the issue of South African crime -- yes, it would be nearly suicidal to blithely drive through one of the poor 'townships' of any big city, and I'm sure Jo'burg's reputation was honestly won -- I think some of the responses here are over the top. I was very apprehensive b...
by ilskeptic
Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:32 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Johannesburg for 3.5 Days -- Worth It?
Replies: 44
Views: 2352

Re: Traveling to Johannesburg for 3.5 Days -- Worth It?

I spent a little time in Jo'burg and Kruger (and more in Cape Town) a couple of years ago. South Africa is a spectacular country, and the cost is very reasonable once you're there. The drive between Jo'burg and Kruger is listed as 4 hours or so, but your plan still sounds a little jam-packed and str...
by ilskeptic
Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Johannesburg for 3.5 Days -- Worth It?
Replies: 44
Views: 2352

Re: [How to max assets for one spouse, other needs assistanc

Medicaid -- I'm assuming that's the program that would support him in assisted living -- contains certain minimum asset and income protections for a recipient's spouse. The house is usually (maybe always?) an exempt asset, meaning your mother could keep it. However, she might have to make a tough de...
by ilskeptic
Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [How to max assets for one spouse, other needs assistance?]
Replies: 12
Views: 1115

Re: COBRA question

Why didn't I start Medicare sooner? Can't. I turn 65 in August. (Other unavoidable circumstances are leading me to retire on that timetable.)
by ilskeptic
Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA question
Replies: 25
Views: 1404

Re: COBRA question

I will have five weeks between the end of my employer coverage and when I start Medicare. I've asked for a COBRA application, but my understanding is that I won't even get the forms until a couple weeks after I'm officially retired. Assuming I get through those five weeks without a heart attack or b...
by ilskeptic
Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:24 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA question
Replies: 25
Views: 1404

Re: When should I start taking Social Security?

Again, sorry for incomplete info earlier, was trying to keep the original post at a manageable length. Our eldercare attorney has done his thing. We've got wills, POAs, even an irrevocable trust that should guarantee the kids a little bit of money (didn't count that in the 'mid-six figures' mentione...
by ilskeptic
Tue May 07, 2013 4:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When should I start taking Social Security?
Replies: 22
Views: 1889

Re: When should I start taking Social Security?

Sorry, should have been clearer. No, she's never going to get a dime from Social Security, either through her own work history or mine. On the other hand, if she predeceases me, I'll receive a survivor's annuity, 50 percent of her amount.
by ilskeptic
Tue May 07, 2013 4:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When should I start taking Social Security?
Replies: 22
Views: 1889

When should I start taking Social Security?

Here’s the setup. Me: 65 in August, retired last month. No pension, have not started SS yet. Would get $2100/mo now, $2300 at FRA, 3K at 70. Traditional IRA in mid-six figures at Vanguard. Generally good health (knock on wood). Wife: 66, Retired teacher on state pension. She has virtually no SS cred...
by ilskeptic
Tue May 07, 2013 10:16 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When should I start taking Social Security?
Replies: 22
Views: 1889

Re: delay, yet avoid Medicare Part B penalty?

Aaaah, OK. But just to check: Federal Blue Cross doesn't require you to sign up for Part B as soon as you're eligible? That's the case with a lot of government retiree health policies (at least it is with the ones I'm familiar with in Illinois).
by ilskeptic
Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: delay, yet avoid Medicare Part B penalty?
Replies: 6
Views: 736

Re: Downloading movies to Ipad and Ipad mini

Does DVD Catalyst go directly from the protected DVD to a usable MP4, or is there an intervening step?


Yes, it's a one-step process, basically. For instance, if I want to (tho I generally don't), I can watch a movie on my laptop as soon as DVD Catalyst is done.
by ilskeptic
Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downloading movies to Ipad and Ipad mini
Replies: 15
Views: 3021

Re: [Visiting] Oahu

Snack time: Uncle Woody's BBQ Corn, next to Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, on Kamehameha Highway, up towards the North Shore. I like Island Style, but Baja Style is really good too.
by ilskeptic
Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:32 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [Visiting] Oahu
Replies: 32
Views: 2920

Re: Downloading movies to Ipad and Ipad mini

Nothing wrong with the advice above, but here's one more option. I use DVD Catalyst 4 to burn movies from DVDs to my laptop, then transfer them via cable to my NookHD. DVD Catalyst 4 formats them to fit the Nook. Final result is dandy. I can't speak to iPad/iPhone, but the program says it has format...
by ilskeptic
Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downloading movies to Ipad and Ipad mini
Replies: 15
Views: 3021

Re: delay, yet avoid Medicare Part B penalty?

My question is, "Why?" To save $104.90 a month for three or four months? Or even 11 months? What if you get sick/injured enough to need Part B services during that period? Just seems like tempting fate for not much reason. Am I missing something obvious?
by ilskeptic
Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: delay, yet avoid Medicare Part B penalty?
Replies: 6
Views: 736

Re: Best tax-prep software for trust income

Cool. That was easy. Thanks to both of you.
by ilskeptic
Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best tax-prep software for trust income
Replies: 8
Views: 592

Re: Best tax-prep software for trust income

OK, just read up on grantor trusts in the instructions to Form 1041. Yes, this income will be reported on our personal return.
by ilskeptic
Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best tax-prep software for trust income
Replies: 8
Views: 592

Re: Best tax-prep software for trust income

Personal return, I think.
by ilskeptic
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best tax-prep software for trust income
Replies: 8
Views: 592

Best tax-prep software for trust income

I will need to pay income taxes for the first time this year on income earned by a family trust for which I am trustee. I've done my own taxes for years, so I'm not anticipating problems, but I wonder if anybody on the board has a recommendation for a specific program (TurboTax, TaxAct, whatever) an...
by ilskeptic
Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best tax-prep software for trust income
Replies: 8
Views: 592

Worst rewards card ever?

Commerce Bank now has asked me twice to sign up for my "new Pre-Approved Commerce Bank Rewards Visa credit card." The rewards? One point per dollar in purchases and "3x points for every dollar in interest accrued on your monthly balances."

Wow, talk about perverse incentives.
by ilskeptic
Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worst rewards card ever?
Replies: 11
Views: 2089

Re: List of places that give Senior Discounts

National Park Service Senior Pass -- $10 one-time payment gives free admission to all national parks and historic sites for you and up to 3 others in your car, starting (I believe) at age 62. .... oops, missed the earlier mention. But it's worth repeating.
by ilskeptic
Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: List of places that give Senior Discounts
Replies: 25
Views: 3453

Re: Medicare Medigap policy cost

Yam: I'm about 8 months away from making this decision and just starting to research plans. For an apparently healthy person, why not add high-deductible Plan F to your list? In my area, the premium difference is $1,116 a year for a plan that pays Plan F benefits after a $2,070 deductible. (I could ...
by ilskeptic
Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Medigap policy cost
Replies: 51
Views: 13540

Re: robbed by strong arm and pickpockets in Rome and Venice

Got scammed out of $40 for two $5 jackets by a distinguished looking, fast-talking guy in Rome five years ago. I blame my son, he blames me. On the same trip, I was walking a few feet behind my son in St. Petersburg, Russia, when a well-dressed young guy very casually reached out and unzipped my son...
by ilskeptic
Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: robbed by strong arm and pickpockets in Rome and Venice
Replies: 63
Views: 8148

Re: Anyone use HDTV free air over cable?

Our house is in the woods and 20+ miles from the nearest TV station transmitter. I bought a cheap antenna from Best Buy, mounted it on the side of the house and pointed it to the nearest PBS station ("Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock"). Only problem is this time of year, when I want ...
by ilskeptic
Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone use HDTV free air over cable?
Replies: 73
Views: 5973

Re: Medicare Health Supplement question

So as far as guaranteed issue across the board goes, you have one six-month shot at it and that's it. That's true, but slightly oversimplified. There are some circumstances under which you still may have guaranteed issue rights to Medigap coverage, such as if your Medicare Advantage plan goes out o...
by ilskeptic
Thu May 17, 2012 1:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Health Supplement question
Replies: 32
Views: 2308

Re: How to send financial data to an adult child in case of

Putting the info in a safe-deposit box certainly works, but that requires a trip to the bank every time a password changes or you add a password-protected account, which probably is more often than people think about. (I'm up to 33 logons right now -- not only really important stuff like bank and in...
by ilskeptic
Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:08 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to send financial data to an adult child in case of a ca
Replies: 27
Views: 2100

Re: Alzheimer

Brody: A diagnosis of early stage Alzheimers is all too common these days. I suspect that's what Brock means. She is functioning pretty well now, perhaps with his help, but in the future ... At any rate, that's the situation my wife and I are in at the moment, tho we're younger than Brock, and it so...
by ilskeptic
Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:02 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Alzheimer
Replies: 21
Views: 1745

Wow, didn’t expect this many replies. Thanks to all. A couple followups. 1) When I mentioned ‘markets,’ I meant more than the stock market. Sorry if some found that unclear. My AA is an equity funds/bond funds/TIPs portfolio pretty much correlated with my age. For most purposes in most times, it’s p...
by ilskeptic
Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Talk me off my ledge, if you can
Replies: 77
Views: 5666

Talk me off my ledge, if you can

Without going into the politics of the issue, I hope, I've gotten increasingly pessimistic about the likelihood Congress will increase the U.S. debt limit prior to the early August drop-dead point, and I do believe failure to do so will have very serious, if not catastrophic, consequences for the ma...
by ilskeptic
Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Talk me off my ledge, if you can
Replies: 77
Views: 5666

Vanguard & voice recognition

I don't know about Vanguard's web password security, but Clark Howard reported tonight (well, the late-night rebroadcast I heard, not sure when the show first aired) that Vanguard is testing high-tech voice recognition security for telephone transactions. Are there really a lot of those any more?
by ilskeptic
Tue May 03, 2011 12:59 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: re: advised by my computer security maven to leave Vanguard.
Replies: 166
Views: 16031

Just curious, is the safe actually rated to be waterproof after being exposed to heat? For example, does it have any seals which would be damaged by heat allowing water to enter? Somewhere -- not in my safe -- I probably have the specs for the thing. But, as I recall, one reason I didn't get the ch...
by ilskeptic
Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:42 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone here own a safe?
Replies: 91
Views: 12547

Department of redundancy department

I think there are arguments for both a home safe and a bank safe-deposit box, and I have both. I didn't get the cheapest home safe around, but it was close. I use it mainly as fire protection. It's heat-resistant up to X degrees for Y period of time (I forget the exact specs), and it's also -- and t...
by ilskeptic
Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone here own a safe?
Replies: 91
Views: 12547

I've done my own taxes for about as long as PC software has been available. I used to switch back and forth among programs, depending on price, and was pretty satisfied with them all. I've used H&R Block consistently the last few years -- which has come in handy, unfortunately, in keeping track ...
by ilskeptic
Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:07 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How Many Do Your Own Taxes?
Replies: 41
Views: 4893

My answer: yes and no. At age 62, I recently bought an LTC policy that would cover me for four years and (under relatively recent federal law) would also protect an equivalent amount of assets for my wife and kids if I need nursing care for longer than that. The policy certainly isn't cheap, but it ...
by ilskeptic
Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Care Plans
Replies: 41
Views: 5071

I've used ATMs exclusively, and extensively, in both Europe (including Russia) and Africa with almost no problems. The 'almost' is because you have to watch the time change. If, for some reason, you withdraw near your daily limit on Monday (U.S.), you have to make sure it's Tuesday (U.S.) before you...
by ilskeptic
Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: First day in London: got a problem
Replies: 58
Views: 8425

"The percentage differences between taking early and taking late amounts are forever." Well, they're forever until you die. Your health is obviously a factor in this decision, which is one of the reasons I don't think it's as cut-and-dried as other posters have suggested. If you die before...
by ilskeptic
Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:04 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Withdraw from IRA or take Soc Sec
Replies: 8
Views: 1589

I tend to track spending manually -- well, via an old version of MSMoney with no online connection -- but I was also using Mint, tho mainly to keep an eye on our investment accounts. However, I dumped it just this last weekend. It worked OK at first, but performance just seemed to degenerate. At the...
by ilskeptic
Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best way to track spending and budget (ideally mobile)
Replies: 43
Views: 4179

I've done it as an experiment, and it worked. Just follow the directions in the Kindle manual. But it was still moderately cumbersome. (It didn't help that what I was converting was a kind of specialized book, one with a lot of footnotes. That made the Kindleized result a lot harder to read. And eve...
by ilskeptic
Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PDF to Kindle
Replies: 15
Views: 2108

We're NOT No. 1!

In defense of Illinois (which needs all the help it can get -- see "Blagojevich, Rod"), the Daily Beast has a table today that says Illinois actually is No. 15 in terms of debt vs. GDP.

The deepest in debt, by that calculation? Rhode Island. Really.
by ilskeptic
Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:54 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: For retirees: states that are in the worst financial shape
Replies: 11
Views: 2704

P.S.: My bad. I just went back and reread my original post (should have done that first), and I see I didn't make it at all clear that I was hoping for an online solution to my original question. Sorry if I misled etarini, or anyone else.
by ilskeptic
Sun May 30, 2010 12:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Simple question (I think) on synchronizing my checkbook
Replies: 18
Views: 1880

Well, yeah, we write about only about three paper checks a month, to the couple of local companies that still don't take payment another way, my wife's hairdresser, etc. But our paychecks are direct-deposited to this account, I take cash out every week, I schedule e-payments for utilities, our credi...
by ilskeptic
Sun May 30, 2010 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Simple question (I think) on synchronizing my checkbook
Replies: 18
Views: 1880

Simple question (I think) on synchronizing my checkbook

I've kept my check register for years on MS Money using my home desktop. With the demise of Money, I'm switching to Quicken, and at the same time I want to set up a system where I can also make checkbook entries via my laptop. I don't want to retype data between machines, and I obviously need it to ...
by ilskeptic
Sun May 30, 2010 8:58 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Simple question (I think) on synchronizing my checkbook
Replies: 18
Views: 1880

The non-taxable portion will be relatively small (tho every little bit helps, of course). My wife received $41,700 gross last year from Illinois TRS. The non-taxable amount was $990.
by ilskeptic
Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any retired Illinois teachers?
Replies: 4
Views: 2038

AXA Equitable term life premiums

My wife and I both have $100,000 term life insurance policies with AXA Equitable. We bought them back in the late '80s, when our kids were young. I expected by now -- we're both in our early 60s -- that the premiums would have climbed to the prohibitive level. But Equitable demutualized in 1992 and ...
by ilskeptic
Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AXA Equitable term life premiums
Replies: 1
Views: 630

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