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Re: Which are non-taxable accounts?

HSA is never taxed if used for qualified medical expenses.
by mhc
Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Which are non-taxable accounts?
Replies: 5
Views: 355

Re: VTSAX: Does it eliminate the need for dividend funds?

I do not see any need for them. Go to morningstar and chart them together. They are very close.

In general, I believe total return is more important than dividend yield.

Which is more important to you, total return or dividend yield and why?
by mhc
Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:50 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VTSAX: Does it eliminate the need for dividend funds?
Replies: 7
Views: 916

Re: If not dollar cost averaging...then what?

Kidfresh, invest the money when it comes available. There is another context where people lump sum into Roths that I didn't see mentioned above. Let's assume that a person has $6000/mo to invest. Instead of periodic (bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly) investing into the Roth, some prefer to lump sum ...
by mhc
Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:16 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If not dollar cost averaging...then what?
Replies: 15
Views: 771

Re: Woodpeckers...I'm desperate!

John3754, I've been spending time on this forum for a little under a year. Your post was hands down the most depressing post I've read so far I know, and I'm sorry, I felt bad writing it but it's all true. We were desperate, the damage to the house and being woken up at the crack of dawn every day ...
by mhc
Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Woodpeckers...I'm desperate!
Replies: 52
Views: 3316

Re: Irrigation system question

Make friends with someone who knows a lot about house repairs/maintenance and ask him to explain to you the proper way to maintain your sprinkler system.

I have a couple of friends at work who are my go to people when I have questions like this or need help around the house.
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Irrigation system question
Replies: 28
Views: 1127

Re: Irrigation system question

I have been having my sprinkler system blown out for 15 years. I am still on the same backflow valve. Never had a problem. I would ask people in your area if this is common. Maybe your weather is different than mine. I know we had -20F this past winter. I would probably find a new person to winteriz...
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Irrigation system question
Replies: 28
Views: 1127

Re: Retirement Check

There are multiple tabs on firecalc. Make sure you go to each one and put in the appropriate info.

I got 100% for your data. If you can't get it to work, I'll give more detailed instructions, but I don't have time right now.
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:44 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Check
Replies: 12
Views: 1192

Re: Retirement sanity check

Welcome to the forum!

Looks good to me. I put your info into firecalc.com, and it looks good.

If you list your portfolio, there might be some suggestions for improvement there; otherwise, it looks like you are in good shape for retirement.
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:06 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Check
Replies: 12
Views: 1192

Re: Do I have too littled invested to diversify?

But first things first, get that 2013 contribution in there. She only has four days left. this is a great point. once she fully funds her Roth for 2013 (for argument sake, we can say she fully invests in US Total Stock Market Index Fund), can she alter her allocation next week without paying any fe...
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:53 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have too littled invested to diversify?
Replies: 15
Views: 852

Re: Online Retirement Calculators

firecalc and fidelity are the two best I have used. financial engines is entertaining, but I would not follow the portfolio advice because it will be constantly changing.
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Online Retirement Calculators
Replies: 17
Views: 1656

Re: HSA cost benefit analysis

Your analysis looks good. I would go with the HSA. If you wanted to get fancy, you could put equations into excel and plot the two plans with medical costs on horizontal axis and out of pocket for the vertical axis. This will show which plan is better for different amounts of medical costs. Did you ...
by mhc
Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA cost benefit analysis
Replies: 23
Views: 1625

Re: Do I have too littled invested to diversify?

OP, are you and your wife going to have one combined portfolio or two separate portfolios? If it is one portfolio, you need to consider your accounts also. If the portfolios are separate, then starting with only Total Stock Market is fine. When she gets her 401k going, then look for a good bond fund.
by mhc
Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have too littled invested to diversify?
Replies: 15
Views: 852

Re: How often do you rebalance to maintain your AA

I use contributions to keep my portfolio in balance. I get chunks of money throughout the year. I update my spreadsheet with current balances and see where the new money needs to go.
by mhc
Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:48 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How often do you rebalance to maintain your AA
Replies: 35
Views: 1635

Re: HELOC

If you are quitting your job to go to school, you may have to repay the 401k loan fully on termination of your job. Make sure you understand all the terms of the 401k loan.

I would lean towards the HELOC.
by mhc
Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELOC
Replies: 11
Views: 821

Re: HELOC

Welcome to the forum! What is the interest rate on the HELOC? How long would it take you to pay back the HELOC? I have not looked at HELOC's for a long time, but I had one that was 0% interest for a year. I paid it off by the end of the year. This was probably 10 years ago. If you can do something l...
by mhc
Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:43 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HELOC
Replies: 11
Views: 821

Re: Home improvement plans not filed with town?

My concern would be if there was no permit, then there was no city inspection. If there was no inspection, who knows what the owner did. Did he follow code? A lot of people are hacks in doing their own work. That is fine as long as the owner lives there. New owner beware!
by mhc
Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:29 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home improvement plans not filed with town?
Replies: 21
Views: 940

Re: Firecalc says I will be 100% successful but ...

What parameters do I change(s) do I make on the Spending Model page to make it tougher to pass? The only one is inflation. The nice thing about firecalc is that you can play with the different fields and see how they affect your success. For example, if you are 100% with 3% inflation and only 50% s...
by mhc
Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Firecalc says I will be 100% successful but ...
Replies: 13
Views: 2215

Re: electronic signatures: are they safe and easy?

Is electronic signature a good way to make an offer to buy a house that is 300 miles away? I would have no issue doing it. I used electronic signatures for selling a condo in town. With anything on the internet (surfing, email, purchases, ...), there is all kinds of electronic things going on. It r...
by mhc
Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electronic signatures: are they safe and easy?
Replies: 7
Views: 391

Re: Umbrella Policy, do you have hands on experience

If you do not know what is covered, you should read your policy. If you have questions, you could also speak to your agent.
by mhc
Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Policy, do you have hands on experience
Replies: 15
Views: 1584

Re: Fidelity Bond Fund Question

Welcome to the forum.

FSTVX is not a bond fund. FSITX is the Fidelity Spartan total US bond fund. Take a look at that.
by mhc
Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:37 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Bond Fund Question
Replies: 8
Views: 686

Re: passive versus active

Richk2,

you could try to answer your question by comparing the standard deviations of some active/passive fund pairs. Or you could plot them together and eyeball their standard deviations.
by mhc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: passive versus active
Replies: 25
Views: 1197

Re: Buying for someone who "has everything"

One thing that works is to buy something consumable, so even if you already have it, you will use it up. It could be things like a bottle of wine, a gift package of nuts or cheese, etc. Jeff I agree with the quote. I am very difficult to by for, so my family has learned to buy me Walker shortbread ...
by mhc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying for someone who "has everything"
Replies: 43
Views: 2288

Re: passive versus active

Richk2, the active is worse than the passive (in general) because of the drags on the returns (expenses, turnover, ...). The returns are not better on the passive funds because the passive funds have more risk and therefore higher expected returns. In general, I would say active funds have more risk...
by mhc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:13 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: passive versus active
Replies: 25
Views: 1197

Re: Term Life Insurance - Young Couple in 20's

You could factor in SS survivor benefits. I'm 20 years older than you, but the survivor benefits for my family are significant. If you are saving a lot, I think as you get older, the amount of needed insurance decreases due to portfolio size increase. Also, I believe the SS survivor benefits increas...
by mhc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance - Young Couple in 20's
Replies: 11
Views: 693

Re: POLL: Do you use your HSA funds to pay for medical expen

aw82 wrote:Regarding FICA, can I only avoid FICA if the contributions are payroll deductions? Stated differently, if I make a contribution from my savings account to my HSA, is there any way to recover FICA taxes?


Must be payroll deductions to avoid FICA taxes on the money.
by mhc
Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Do you use your HSA funds to pay for medical expenses?
Replies: 78
Views: 4143

Re: Help investing for education expenses (not college)

Before spending the money on your children, do you think your retirement portfolio is on track for you to retire when you want to with the lifestyle you want?
by mhc
Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:51 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help investing for education expenses (not college)
Replies: 4
Views: 187

Re: New bond funds in HSA - should I switch?

Agree with above poster. I would not put bonds in an HSA that is meant as a retirement account. I have small-cap international in mine. The beauty of an HSA is no taxes. I want the highest growth fund to be in my HSA, not the lowest growth.
by mhc
Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:03 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New bond funds in HSA - should I switch?
Replies: 16
Views: 637

Re: Preventing Office Theft of Food and Other Stuff

For a while, a co-worker put a lock box in the refrigerator to protect his cream.

Unfortunately, in a large office setting whatever is not locked up or locked down will eventually be stolen.
by mhc
Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Preventing Office Theft of Food and Other Stuff
Replies: 77
Views: 4966

Re: Moving money for roth: all in or over time?

Welcome to the forum.

It really depends. It is hard to say without knowing your complete story. Take a look at:

http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started

Take a look at the Asking Questions section.
by mhc
Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving money for roth: all in or over time?
Replies: 5
Views: 650

Re: Assistance with purchasing Fidelity funds

Welcome to the forum. I'll try to get the ball rolling for you. 1. Total Stock Market (TSM) and Total International Stock Market (TISM) funds are good choices for taxable account. If this is at Fidelity, use the Spartan funds. Just make sure you keep your AA in balance. 2. Investing $15k sounds good...
by mhc
Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Assistance with purchasing Fidelity funds
Replies: 9
Views: 856

Re: Ex-Employer Vacation Mistake - Taxes and Repayment

See IRS pub 525 P 33 for instructions on how to recover taxes you paid on money you are returning to your employer. You need to get a formal letter from the company showing that you were overpaid so that will have evidence that your repayment was made because you had no right to the funds you are r...
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ex-Employer Vacation Mistake - Taxes and Repayment
Replies: 4
Views: 539

Re: Retirement pulse check

Helen2 wrote:What is YMMV?


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ymmv
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:24 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement pulse check
Replies: 15
Views: 1396

Re: DIY Landscaping to Save $

I don't see it mentioned here, but I have a piece of advice that I picked up last year. Avoid wood mulch, as it loses it's color and is supposed to be cleaned up and replaced with new mulch yearly. The alternative is rubber mulch, available in a variety of colors. Lasts much longer, doesn't need re...
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY Landscaping to Save $
Replies: 10
Views: 1007

Re: Ex-Employer Vacation Mistake - Taxes and Repayment

You need to pay them back. If they underpaid you, would you want them to correct it? It is reasonable to ask for written instructions on how to return the money.

You can file an amended tax return to get your taxes back. I don't know if you need an amended W-2 or not, but that seems reasonable.
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ex-Employer Vacation Mistake - Taxes and Repayment
Replies: 4
Views: 539

Re: VSS March Dividend

It looks like the same thing happened in 2013. No distribution in March 2013.
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:30 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VSS March Dividend
Replies: 4
Views: 464

Re: DIY Landscaping to Save $

Here are some ideas. 1. drive/walk around town and see what you like. Pay attention to details. Take pictures. If you don't know what the plants are, take the pictures to the nursery. They will know. 2. County and/or local University Extension services. My neighbor received a plan from a University ...
by mhc
Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:33 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: DIY Landscaping to Save $
Replies: 10
Views: 1007

Re: Retirement pulse check

There are many couples in retirement living reasonably off of that much, especially if you hit retirement with no debt. If you want to retire early, SS will not pay the bills in early retirement. Since you are trying to predict events many decades away, it is very hard. I would recommend saving what...
by mhc
Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement pulse check
Replies: 15
Views: 1396

Re: Itemized deductions and mortgage - pay off make sense?

I would look into if you can pay your property taxes two years at a time like you mentioned. If so, you could lump your property taxes and charitable giving into every other year so you can itemize and then take the standard deduction for the in between years. If you can pull that off, you may want ...
by mhc
Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:04 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Itemized deductions and mortgage - pay off make sense?
Replies: 11
Views: 649

Re: credit report

placeholder wrote:Discover cards are currently giving one FICO score free each billing cycle (note that you have many FICO scores based on the reports from three different companies).


Some banks will also do this.
by mhc
Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: credit report
Replies: 12
Views: 474

Re: credit report

The two above explained how to get the credit report. This is what I did to get a free credit score. I kept asking my credit card company to increase my credit limit until they denied me. When they denied me, the letter stating the denial had my credit score. I don't know if this will work for all ...
by mhc
Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: credit report
Replies: 12
Views: 474

Re: credit report

The two above explained how to get the credit report. This is what I did to get a free credit score. I kept asking my credit card company to increase my credit limit until they denied me. When they denied me, the letter stating the denial had my credit score. I don't know if this will work for all c...
by mhc
Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: credit report
Replies: 12
Views: 474

Re: TurboTax Audit Defense?

I wouldn't pay for it. I never paid for it when I had a rental. I have never been audited.
by mhc
Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Audit Defense?
Replies: 4
Views: 458

Re: wittdrawal percentange taxable vs. non-taxable

Yes. You need to account for taxes.

A taxable account might have taxes for cap gains.
by mhc
Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:42 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: wittdrawal percentange taxable vs. non-taxable
Replies: 7
Views: 394

Re: ESAs [Education Savings Account]

I have an ESA and 529's for each of my children. For many, the 529 gets a state tax break. Not so with ESA. You can't open a new ESA at Vanguard. The laws on ESA's have changed several times. For a while, it looked like they might die. As you mentioned, low limit and income restrictions. I think the...
by mhc
Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ESAs [Education Savings Account]
Replies: 4
Views: 318

Re: What makes a boglehead different

Longtimelurker,

I agree with much of your OP. Any activity can become addictive, to include saving.

I think you should also consider that some people save to minimize anxiety by increasing their perceived security by having a safety net provided by their savings.
by mhc
Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:36 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What makes a boglehead different [Behavior of saving]
Replies: 36
Views: 2399

Re: Do you have hardwood or tile in your kitchen?

I have hardwood. A number of years ago the icemaker leaked, and I didn't notice it until the wooden floor buckled. I fixed the leak, and within 6 months it was almost impossible to tell that the wooden floor ever buckled. Everyday spills are not going to harm wooden floors. I would not want tile in ...
by mhc
Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:19 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you have hardwood or tile in your kitchen?
Replies: 57
Views: 3088

Re: How much water do you drink every day?

About 1 gallon a day. All from the tap. We have great cold water here.

1 quart - first thing in the morning
4x16oz glasses during the day at work
1 quart at home in the evening

Living in an arid environment requires lots of water. We have days with single digit humidity.
by mhc
Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much water do you drink every day?
Replies: 70
Views: 2840

Re: Vanguard VFSVX

The ETF version VSS is a good choice for small cap international. I hold it in my HSA brokerage account.
by mhc
Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard VFSVX
Replies: 4
Views: 350

Re: those with basements

Where I live, there are building codes for insulating a basement when finishing it. We don't have a split HVAC, and the basement can be on the cool side in the winter even though it is insulated. In the winter, we shut the vents on the second floor and open them in the basement and the main floor. T...
by mhc
Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:34 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: those with basements
Replies: 17
Views: 1975

Re: Keeping backdoor roth open

Here is my favorite article on backdoor roths. It lists your options for hiding the money:
http://thefinancebuff.com/the-backdoor- ... ow-to.html
by mhc
Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keeping backdoor roth open
Replies: 7
Views: 548
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