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Re: Tax Question about Tuition Expenses

Yes, you can amend your 2013 tax return. Likely the best credit for you to claim is the Lifetime Learning Credit, unless your income is above the limit, in which case you can claim the tuition & fees deduction. Both are for required tuition & fees only, not books. ETA: Since you're amending ...
by mlipps
Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Question about Tuition Expenses
Replies: 8
Views: 456

Re: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?

My parents never made anywhere near $50,000 per year, probably not even $25,000 per year, between them. And they retired in 1976. They saved, invested wisely, paid off their home, didn't believe in keeping up with the Joneses, whoever they are, were frugal and kept their cars until they died. They ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?
Replies: 147
Views: 8570

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

Not to pile on here, but this thread brings up a really big issue I'm having. I bought a MacBook Air six months ago, and already its 4 GB brings up the wheel of death every time I try to use a Microsoft Word doc with Chrome and another doc open. It was my first Apple, and it's really disappointing ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 40
Views: 1983

Re: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?

My parents have never made more than $45k and I can't think of too many mistakes they've made financially, except buying a business for $20k that didn't work. On the other hand, they built their home & took out a loan of only $17k to do so, so I think those cancel each other out. They only have ...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:26 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any success stories of ppl who never made >$50,000?
Replies: 147
Views: 8570

Re: Macbook Air; how much RAM?

If browsing the web & editing documents is all you're doing on it, a Macbook Air of any variety is a huge waste of money. My Lenovo ultrabook is essentially the same size/weight, has 8GB of ram, larger solid state drive, better processor and cost less than $700 last year. You'd be crazy to spend...
by mlipps
Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Macbook Air; how much RAM?
Replies: 40
Views: 1983

Re: College Counselors

There is a book you might find helpful: The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg. The so called premier college is actually Wesleyan University in CT. If your child wants to apply to Wesleyan, be careful. Some of the departments have unstated policies...
by mlipps
Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: College Counselors
Replies: 44
Views: 2568

Re: Republic Wireless

Can someone confirm if Republic Wireless charges taxes based on your area code or your billing address? eg. say I use a California area code but live in New Jersey; will I be charged CA taxes or NJ taxes? Would greatly appreciate if someone living in NJ and using Republic Wireless can tell how much...
by mlipps
Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Republic Wireless
Replies: 51
Views: 12366

Re: Paper or plastic?

The city I live in banned plastic bags a while back. Actually for me it has not been a problem. I just have a couple of reusable bags in my car for use when I shop. The store sell a paper bag for ten cents if you need a bag. Now the state is considering banning plastic. From listening to the discus...
by mlipps
Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paper or plastic?
Replies: 63
Views: 2830

Re: Paper or plastic?

Honest question. For those of you who don't ever get plastic bags at the grocery store, what do you use to line your trash cans? I have a small one in the kitchen for non recyclables and another in the bathroom. I'll admit that eventually we end up with more grocery bags than trash, so we could use ...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paper or plastic?
Replies: 63
Views: 2830

Re: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?

Bob's not my name wrote:You still can't deduct $10,000 of student loan interest annually.


True. Only $2,500 and only if you meet the necessary MAGI cutoff.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?
Replies: 23
Views: 1435

Re: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?

What percentage of your relative's retirement funds does this represent? If it were five percent that'd be one thing, but if it were 80% I'd say definitely not. For the record, as long as the loan is recorded legally & your relative claims the interest, you can also still deduct it. You can dedu...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off student debt with family inheritance "loan"?
Replies: 23
Views: 1435

Re: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?

Maybe check out relay rides to see if you can find a wrangler for rent there. They're fun cars to own but they're surprisingly small inside and not even a little bit comfortable. Also, Jeeps are about the most unreliable brand of car in America so personally I wouldn't buy one, even new. The first t...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:28 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: No car for 10 years - should I scratch the itch?
Replies: 28
Views: 2117

Re: What about non-U.S. colleges?

I would not recommend the traditional semester/year abroad as an academic experience. It is too little time, expensive and is less rigorous for the most part, and often they come home and find that they will need another year to graduate in their major. There are better and cheaper ways to visit an...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What about non-U.S. colleges?
Replies: 28
Views: 2036

Re: What about non-U.S. colleges?

I work in a study abroad office. Our students who go to a UK college often come back with mediocre grades because their system is so much different than the American one: no homework, participation, or midterm, just one final written exam which includes not just the lecture but pages and pages and p...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:01 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What about non-U.S. colleges?
Replies: 28
Views: 2036

Re: Android smartphone with physical keyboard

Does that phone have Swype or something similar installed? If not, you should get it & try that plus the stylus. I imagine it's much much quicker than typing out each letter. Swype is certainly faster when I'm using my finger on the touchscreen.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Android smartphone with physical keyboard
Replies: 44
Views: 2498

Re: Zegna Suits

How much was your fiancee's dress? Did she get the dress of her dreams, or compromise to save money? What's good for the goose....

You can afford it of course. Only you can say how much a suit is worth to you, or how much $3,500 in your bank account is worth.
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:51 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Zegna Suits
Replies: 197
Views: 9483

Re: Subaru Blues

You will likely NOT find many used Subarus for sale. If you do, they will cost you a lot because they do not depreciate in value. The actual facts are that the ALG residual value of the 2014 Subaru Forester is almost exactly the same as that for the Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4, for example. They depr...
by mlipps
Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 7948

Re: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps

Do you use Facebook? They recently made a change where videos automatically play, even on cellular, which uses tons of data. Here's an article: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/24/beware-facebooks-new-video-in-news-feed-could-be-a-mobile-data-headache You are da man! Thank you so much...
by mlipps
Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps
Replies: 16
Views: 1394

Re: What documents should you never throw away?

If you have a passport and a driver's license, I'm not convinced you even need your birth certificate. Mine has no sentimental value, we only got it when I was 16 so I could get my drivers license. After you have a passport you pretty much never need your birth certificate again, but if you do its n...
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What documents should you never throw away?
Replies: 17
Views: 1657

Re: Rain Jacket Recommendations

I'm pretty sure that rain jackets are one of those "pick two of three qualities" items, with the qualities being affordable, waterproof, and breathable.
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rain Jacket Recommendations
Replies: 29
Views: 1760

Re: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps

Do you use Facebook? They recently made a change where videos automatically play, even on cellular, which uses tons of data. Here's an article:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... a-headache
by mlipps
Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big iPhone Data Bills/Google Maps
Replies: 16
Views: 1394

Re: Cost, duration of grad school?

So, it seems that it's correct to assume that MOST multi-year hard and soft (i.e. social) sciences in good programs at top schools are likely to be tuition free + stipend, whereas the more professional oriented degrees (MD, law, MBA) and some of the shorter 1 year type masters will require tuition ...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost, duration of grad school?
Replies: 29
Views: 1444

Re: Subaru Blues

The plural of anecdote is not data. The data from Consumer Reports and the like report that Subaru are reliable year after year after year. They also maintain value better than (nearly?) any brand, making them expensive compared to other comparable used cars. I assume you meant "inexpensive&qu...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 7948

Re: Subaru Blues

Reviews are one thing, but personal experience tends to weigh heavily even if it is a sample size of 1. Unfortunately, my personal experience so far is the two-strike outcome for this acquaintance with Subarus and I don't think reading a bunch of reviews will easily trump that in my mind. If I knew...
by mlipps
Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:45 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 7948

Re: Subaru Blues

The plural of anecdote is not data. The data from Consumer Reports and the like report that Subaru are reliable year after year after year. They also maintain value better than (nearly?) any brand, making them expensive compared to other comparable used cars.
by mlipps
Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:36 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Blues
Replies: 87
Views: 7948

Re: Bankrolled Her Brother, Regrets It (article)

My stupid sister is terrible with money. She stopped at my dad's work the other day and he "loaned" her $20. I'm really trying to resist the urge to email him this article. Just keep telling myself it's his money to spend as he wishes...
by mlipps
Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bankrolled Her Brother, Regrets It (article)
Replies: 24
Views: 3947

Re: How do you address your inlaws and being addressed?

I've generally avoided the whole thing for seven years now. Since having kids it's easier because I can just call them grandma and grandpa now. This thread is doing nothing but validating my bad behavior. I too call my husband's parents nothing. But, his dad made a big fuss over how there are no in...
by mlipps
Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you address your inlaws and being addressed?
Replies: 84
Views: 4755

Re: Your Favorite charity organization...? please

Robin Hood Foundation in NYC. They have an interesting approach. They donate to organizations that provide them with a business plan and goals (to fight poverty). If the goals and plans look good they are given $. However, if they want to continue to receive $, they must meet their goals. They're a...
by mlipps
Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your Favorite charity organization...? please
Replies: 91
Views: 4283

Re: Bank account to teach kids

My mom opened a pass book account for me when I was 2. I also started getting an allowance around then, which was half my age my whole childhood. I had to put 50% into savings so we had a special box I put it in and then took it to the bank every few months. I suppose it's a bit more hassle in our c...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank account to teach kids
Replies: 17
Views: 896

Re: HDHP vs PPO (least bad choice)

You're not considering a few things: 1) As others have said, out of pocket max is a factor. But you say the HDHP pays 100% after meeting the deductible, so that means the max is $2500. Is that true? (I have not heard of such a thing, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.) If that's the case, this...
by mlipps
Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HDHP vs PPO (least bad choice)
Replies: 13
Views: 822

Re: Refinance to include student loans?

Can she do income based repayment? I think that resets every year so if she is still unemployed that should help with payments and allow you to focus on the car loan. Assuming you don't want to just sell the car and buy something cheaper to take that off the table. If the loans are subsidized, IBR ...
by mlipps
Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance to include student loans?
Replies: 5
Views: 533

Re: Refinance to include student loans?

Why don't you refi the car loan? I assume if you have a mortgage you probably have better credit than she does for her rate to be so high. Lots of online credit unions, like Alliant and Digital, offer rates under 2%. That will help. For the student loans, you could look into SoFi, which recently ope...
by mlipps
Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance to include student loans?
Replies: 5
Views: 533

Re: Tracking Credit Score

As of this week, there's a new beta feature on Credit Karma that let's you review your actual credit report as well. You can look at it weekly. They must be making tons of money from their very obnoxious advertising.
by mlipps
Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking Credit Score
Replies: 19
Views: 1217

Re: credit card 0% teasing rate question

The cash advance will be separate and interest will only be charged on that portion, but keep in mind there is no grace period for a cash advance; the interest starts accruing the same day.
by mlipps
Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: credit card 0% teasing rate question
Replies: 8
Views: 502

Re: POLL: Wills vs. Living Trusts

I don't have a will because I have no kids and everything is jointly titled with my husband that can be. I suppose if we both die simultaneously our parents will split the money. Not too concerned about that outcome. Maybe I should write a will so someone can inherit my dogs, that would be my only f...
by mlipps
Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Wills vs. Living Trusts
Replies: 35
Views: 3141

Re: Principal Residence = Poor Investment?

In addition to all the other wise comments above, I would add that most renters pay at least some utilities so it seems silly to include those in your analysis. A standard rule of thumb for maintenance is 1% of the homes value per year, so I think you're underestimating there.
by mlipps
Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:57 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Principal Residence = Poor Investment?
Replies: 70
Views: 5368

Re: Best Current Credit Card Bonus for $10k Purchase?

Another to consider is the AA Executive card. I think the minimum spend on the Chase Sapphire is pretty easy w/normal spending, while AA Executive, not so much. $450 annual fee (not waived), $100 statement credit, and 75k miles after $7,500 in spending (down from 100k for $10k spend earlier this yea...
by mlipps
Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Current Credit Card Bonus for $10k Purchase?
Replies: 14
Views: 1698

Re: How would you handle this situation if it was you.

110 a month is a lot for a cell phone for one person. Most carriers will give u 2 gigs of data and minutes and text for 80. If moving to an apartment with kitchen will mean you eat out less, it's not that more expensive, you should consider it, you may end up saving money. As for school, do you kno...
by mlipps
Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:19 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How would you handle this situation if it was you.
Replies: 15
Views: 2010

Re: Second Largest PreK-12 School District Wins a 457b award

Its got nothing on the 403b plan at my private University, where I have access to institutional class Spartan funds from Fidelity. My ER's are beautiful!
by mlipps
Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Second Largest PreK-12 School District Wins a 457b award!
Replies: 11
Views: 915

Re: Income change budget adjustments

Just to note, the reason for the more expensive house/cars was due to my previous business income of around 150k/year for several years as well as being able to do a large down payment on the house. Unfortunately that income has fluctuated and is now significantly lower. We also did not really get ...
by mlipps
Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Income change budget adjustments
Replies: 16
Views: 1642

Re: Income change budget adjustments

You can't afford that house on your salary. There's no way around that fact. You also do not need two SUV's for one or even two kids, let alone ones that cost $30k. These are facts. I would check out the post "Smart Cars for Smart People" on Mr Money Mustache, as well as his blog in genera...
by mlipps
Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Income change budget adjustments
Replies: 16
Views: 1642

Re: Tiny House Movement

So I just watched the 1st Tiny House Nation episode: http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation I think the designers did well to pack two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom into 172 sq. ft! My house is about 3 times that size; perhaps I should re-evaluate what I consider "tiny." I loved ...
by mlipps
Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tiny House Movement
Replies: 139
Views: 16009

Re: What after-tax income could you live on today?

I'm actually a little surprised at the responses to this one. I took it to mean how much could you live on for an extended period of time if you had to cut back most, but maybe not all, of the luxuries in your life. Our rent is $1,000 and our other necessary expenses about the same. We probably spen...
by mlipps
Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:34 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What after-tax income could you live on today?
Replies: 48
Views: 5175

Re: Tiny House Movement

I don't think it's snobbish to want your home to be aesthetically pleasing, even if it's tiny. Also, I think a lot of people want the challenge of building something on their own & doing so using sustainable materials.
by mlipps
Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:52 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tiny House Movement
Replies: 139
Views: 16009

Re: Tiny House Movement

That's a LOT of assumptions you're making. Not everyone prefers to spend instead of save. And it's great that you want to work and like your job, but don't assume that I have "issues" because I don't! Most Bogleheads on this forum, take nice vacations, live in a nice not-so-tiny-homes, dr...
by mlipps
Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tiny House Movement
Replies: 139
Views: 16009

Re: Tiny House Movement

I don’t think the issue is living in a larger home versus smaller home. People prefer to spend instead of save and at the end they decide they can’t afford a big home. Why not spend less and instead live in a larger more comfortable home. There is no way that a family of 3 or 4 can have a comfortab...
by mlipps
Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tiny House Movement
Replies: 139
Views: 16009

Re: "Order of operations" for education tax credits

We do this all the time at my VITA site. You should be fine; I would just prepare a spreadsheet or document clearly laying all of this out for the IRS, and also include a print out of your account statement or similar from the university. As an aside, it's bizarre you didn't get a 1098-T, as I see t...
by mlipps
Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:14 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Order of operations" for education tax credits
Replies: 2
Views: 641

Re: IRS limits direct deposts of refunds to fight Identity T

Epsilon Delta wrote:A PIN or password that is used once a year is not an answer to anything, except to the question "How do we create a customer service nightmare?"


There's a PIN for the FAFSA and it's not that bad.
by mlipps
Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS limits direct deposts of refunds to fight Identity Theft
Replies: 25
Views: 3427

Re: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction

I assume no as well, based on Q16 here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/American-Opportunity-Tax-Credit:-Questions-and-Answers You can't get a tuition and fee deduction and the credit; I assume you can't get the AOTC and deduct education as a business expense as a corollary of that. I am interested in how y...
by mlipps
Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction
Replies: 7
Views: 360
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