Search found 464 matches

by CAsage
Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are my Plan Administrative Fees high?
Replies: 12
Views: 494

Re: Are my Plan Administrative Fees high?

This question may be on the wrong track, but it sounds to me like a "record keeping fee" and a "advisor fee" are over and above the actual fund or investment fees themselves. You probably can't get out of the record keeping fee (think of it as corporate overhead for a 401k) but t...
by CAsage
Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cancelled Cable TV Service Today... [Downsized cable service
Replies: 26
Views: 2624

Re: Cancelled Cable TV Service Today... [Downsized cable service

I will observe that there is no such thing as a 'digital antenna'. There are digital signals which provide far better video than the older analog signals.... but a decent antenna mounted on your roof at a good enough height to get line of sight to your broadcast servers (not satellites...) will prov...
by CAsage
Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: retitling property
Replies: 5
Views: 414

Re: retitling property

Might get a better answer if we knew what state, the current title and the proposed new title format? I know it's not hard to retitle real estate in California; I filled out a new Grant Deed using an online PDF, got it notarized, and then paid to have it recorded - but that was an easy case of sole ...
by CAsage
Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Solar Tax Trick or Scam
Replies: 9
Views: 1357

Re: Solar Tax Trick or Scam

This really doesn't pass the 'smell' test. I would bet that it's illegal, and would not hold up in a tax audit. I would not personally take that chance. Very strange. There might be a reason why most homeowner residential solar systems are limited to your personal electrical use (prior bills, for ex...
by CAsage
Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much compensation to ask for, re loosing benefits?
Replies: 2
Views: 366

Re: How much compensation to ask for, re loosing benefits?

While it sounds unfair... the real question is, how much leverage does any employee have to ask for more? Clearly they are doing this to cut costs. Most part-time employees don't have any health benefits or holiday pay (as in, paid holidays, not holiday time-and-a-half). Can she find a way to stay w...
by CAsage
Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Q about Cali estimated tax "SUSPENSE" status
Replies: 2
Views: 388

Re: Q about Cali estimated tax "SUSPENSE" status

Was the payment made? You should know whether the money left your account, no? If not, that's a clue!
by CAsage
Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Property Repairs - Whose to Pay?
Replies: 32
Views: 2716

Re: Rental Property Repairs - Whose to Pay?

What does your contract say with regard to cleaning? I would think carpet cleaning is reasonable. As is repairing the broken screen (a quick job). But an end-of-life microwave - no, that doesn't seem reasonable. It probably broke because the old plastic part got so brittle with time.... Just my opin...
by CAsage
Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Housing is too expensive.
Replies: 49
Views: 6135

Re: Housing is too expensive.

Housing in good school districts doesn't get cheaper over time. If you can afford to buy for about the same monthly payment as rent... rent goes up each year. You do need to account for property taxes, insurance, maintenance.... But with two kids, you are looking at 14 years of living there. There a...
by CAsage
Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Reconcile monthly bank statement when it contains more than one month
Replies: 17
Views: 1200

Re: Reconcile monthly bank statement when it contains more than one month

Why not just reconcile over the period you need, or login and check the balance/cleared items on whatever date you choose? The cutoff doesn't matter, just match over X time period. I reconcile my accounts with Quicken (not downloading, just manual Quicken entries) to multiple checking accounts and c...
by CAsage
Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Baby Boomer Mortgage Payoff....Yes or No?
Replies: 7
Views: 656

Re: Baby Boomer Mortgage Payoff....Yes or No?

Depends so much on when you plan to retire, whether your future income supports that mortgage, what the future expectations are on investments, what the impact to your taxes is.... Note that many people are able to use their standard deductions for federal taxes in lieu of the mortgage interest, so ...
by CAsage
Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401K rollovers
Replies: 1
Views: 163

Re: 401K rollovers

Clarification might be needed. Are these 401k accounts held at prior employers, or IRA Rollover accounts? Note that the "55" applies to the age of the account owner, not the account. In general, you can rollover money between accounts (as in, from a 401k to a Rollover IRA, or between IRAs,...
by CAsage
Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Mutual fund questions
Replies: 10
Views: 356

Re: Mutual fund questions

Starting out, self education is critical! The most important factor is to save a decent amount, each and every month. Whether you invest it weekly or monthly won't really matter. The second most important factor is watching expenses - like a hawk. Choosing low cost index funds will get you the "...
by CAsage
Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier
Replies: 14
Views: 786

Re: Choosing Renewable Energy From My Electricity Supplier

Yes, people are voting with their pocketbooks on this issue. I chose to have 100% of my electric use derived from solar power (hey, it's CA). My understanding is that by paying ~20% more, my choice will support the development and investment in more renewable solar power. While the exact electrons t...
by CAsage
Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA fee and invenstment
Replies: 1
Views: 260

Re: HSA fee and invenstment

Fun little problem! Basically, you need to decide when the much higher bank fee offsets the lower expense ratio. If you calculate the net fee on various balances, I think you should stick with the HSA in-house for a very long time... Did I do this right? First line is 12*1.67, the second is 12*5.50....
by CAsage
Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: RMD on Declining Balance
Replies: 53
Views: 3274

Re: RMD on Declining Balance

The divisor on calculating the RMD drops less than 1 each year, and tapers off to about age 100 (I am generalizing). The RMD rate begins at 3.64%. Frankly, it's a very sensible withdrawal plan to stretch IRA money out over a nominal lifetime. Now, whether that is enough or whether the underlying inv...
by CAsage
Wed May 31, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Personal Capital - Phone Discussion
Replies: 29
Views: 2669

Re: Personal Capital - Phone Discussion

What is the 30 year impact of $500,000 earning .89% less than it could/would every year, which is the 'drag' that they would have on that money? Answer: Assuming 4.11% instead of 5% average earnings: $487,018. $500,000.00 4.11% $1,673,954 $500,000.00 5.00% $2,160,971 Note that many studies show mana...
by CAsage
Wed May 31, 2017 9:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I enroll in 401(k)
Replies: 7
Views: 535

Re: Should I enroll in 401(k)

Nowhere else can you get a 100% match with so little effort. Join, contribute, then leave the money there until you retire and fund school some other way. With a small percentage, it's probably not a big part of your short term spending needs, but it will grow... and grow... Edit: When you leave tha...
by CAsage
Wed May 31, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I pay off my line of credit debt?
Replies: 6
Views: 401

Re: Should I pay off my line of credit debt?

Note that you won't really get a 5% return on that money, as you are only trading off paying off that debt immediately or over 4 months. If you paid it off over 3 months, you would be paying 5% on 30K for three months, 20K for two months, 10k for one month (or something similar, interest 5% divided ...
by CAsage
Mon May 22, 2017 7:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about buying bonds in Roth IRA
Replies: 7
Views: 471

Re: Question about buying bonds in Roth IRA

If you have an emergency fund or cash outside of your Roth, you probably have (or can get) enough bond allocation elsewhere to achieve 15% of your total portfolio. As noted, most funds have higher minimums, so you (mostly) can't buy a cheap index bond fund with that amount. Consider viewing your tot...
by CAsage
Mon May 22, 2017 5:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with Funding Plan
Replies: 6
Views: 441

Re: Help with Funding Plan

Ignorant question: Cannot the trust disperse the income/capital gains to the person, and have them then include it in their taxes? Suggestion: A short term bond fund would be a suitable alternative to a CD ladder, and allow you to withdraw monthly. Saves you from having to find yet another account f...
by CAsage
Mon May 22, 2017 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: No estate plan, are DIYs wills good enough for now? CA residents need ASAP
Replies: 18
Views: 1493

Re: No estate plan, are DIYs wills good enough for now? CA residents need ASAP

You might want to research or check with a lawyer about the title to the house. Getting a stepped up basis could be valuable, beyond just the title transfer of joint tenancy. It is fairly easy to change grant deed titles in CA - find a blank form online, fill it out, get it notarized and then pay a ...
by CAsage
Sun May 21, 2017 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!
Replies: 221
Views: 45176

Re: Surprise financial disaster, severe debt $300K caused by brother-in-law - Please help!

Invest the money conservatively, as though it was cash needed short term. Possibly an intermediate or short term bond fund, or just savings. It sounds like it will be spent down on your MIL over the next very few years... match the balance and budget to your expense window. If you think it's more th...
by CAsage
Sun May 21, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Watching elderly family members burn money
Replies: 17
Views: 2615

Re: Watching elderly family members burn money

Whew. Your grandmother could have kept a great deal more of her money selling things via the usual channels - even real estate brokers don't get 15%, and it's often free to sell equipment/household goods directly. I thought auctions only made sense when you were selling under duress.... Perhaps she ...
by CAsage
Sun May 21, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I Leave a Free Investment Advisor?
Replies: 23
Views: 2286

Re: Should I Leave a Free Investment Advisor?

All prior responses right on target! Would also suggest putting your highest expected return asset class (stocks) 100% in your Roth, and then overweight your TSP/401k to make up the bond allocation. You could do this with just three funds: Total Stock in Roth, a Target or balanced fund plus more bon...
by CAsage
Thu May 18, 2017 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take a reduction in pension?
Replies: 23
Views: 1538

Re: Take a reduction in pension?

Another consideration is the risk of living a LOT longer. 10 years seems quite achievable, and I would only take a 10 year guaranteed if it was more than the lifetime pension! If you die sooner than hoped for, your daughter will inherit all the money you ended up not needing to spend in your later y...
by CAsage
Wed May 17, 2017 5:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Inheriting brokerage account- questions
Replies: 20
Views: 1104

Re: Inheriting brokerage account- questions

With an estate that long.... Estate tax returns must have been filed, you should have reports on income and accounting? Note that I think (not an expert, just a reader) estate income can be distributed to the beneficiaries (three heirs) or the estate must pay taxes on it annually. I think (not an ex...
by CAsage
Wed May 17, 2017 4:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to park Emergency Fund in Roth IRA
Replies: 6
Views: 560

Re: Where to park Emergency Fund in Roth IRA

Bond funds are vulnerable to drops if interest rates go up. If you want safe money, then short durations are the way to go. Read up on "duration" (which is approximately the number of years an account will recover current value with a 1% interest rate hike).... Personally, I like to match ...
by CAsage
Wed May 17, 2017 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to park Emergency Fund in Roth IRA
Replies: 6
Views: 560

Re: Where to park Emergency Fund in Roth IRA

Putting your emergency fund into a Roth is not a bad idea at all - no real downside. Suggest you consider your entire portfolio as one big pot, then decide how much you want in bonds/cash vs equity, and stuff the 'emergency' funds into your Roth in the cheapest short/intermediate bond fund you can f...
by CAsage
Sun May 14, 2017 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?
Replies: 27
Views: 2394

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

If you are going to put in tile (great in a kitchen) or hardwood, I think it should go in first because then all the cabinets sit on top of the tile, making that join much cleaner than having to put in quarter round or something to hide the edge. And of course the dishwasher will fit, since the cabi...
by CAsage
Wed May 10, 2017 6:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to title a house for transfer to children after death
Replies: 14
Views: 1749

Re: How to title a house for transfer to children after death

New Jersey does not currently permit titling real estate in "Transfer on Death". I would not suggest adding them directly to the deed, as it might look like a gift and you want to make it very clear that the heirs get a step up in value for capital gains.... Suggest a very simple trust tha...
by CAsage
Tue May 09, 2017 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sunscreen for men in office environment
Replies: 25
Views: 2929

Re: Sunscreen for men in office environment

I love the Olay Complete Broad Spectrum SPF 30. My uber expensive dermatologist told me to never walk outside without at least SPF 30 on face, neck, decolletage, arms, hands.... Seriously, that Olay SPF 30 which I buy on Amazon, (Target and Walmart carry online, not sure about stores), is truly ligh...
by CAsage
Mon May 08, 2017 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will and Estranged Child advice
Replies: 44
Views: 4010

Re: Will and Estranged Child advice

I think an estate plan should be written for where you are today. Choices have consequences, and estranged or children who mistreat their parents should learn that. I have no issues with disinheriting a hostile or abusive or estranged child - especially if you have made multiple efforts to hold out ...
by CAsage
Thu May 04, 2017 8:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with inheritance
Replies: 37
Views: 3539

Re: What to do with inheritance

Take your time sorting this out - park the money in a savings account or short term bond fund while you learn. There are a couple pointers you could act on now... 1) Pay off the student loans - that's a win/win with no downside. 2) If you have any retirement options available (401k, IRA) begin fundi...
by CAsage
Wed May 03, 2017 6:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My dad needs my help.
Replies: 50
Views: 4908

Re: My dad needs my help.

1) Avoid financial managers like the plague; the 1% they take is a huge chunk of expected future returns. 2) Easiest solution would be an index Target date retirement fund - super low expenses, age appropriate diversification, rebalance for you... Target 2020 or 2015. 3) An alternative would be 70% ...
by CAsage
Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is my electric bill high?
Replies: 60
Views: 5664

Re: Is my electric bill high?

Mind boggling. So I was able to retire because I don't have a pool? So Cal, few miles from beach, AC only in Aug/Sept (or more with global warming...). Peak electric bill in summer maybe $80, average $35 most months. Good grief! 2000 sf house, lots of LED.
by CAsage
Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [Advice needed for mother's inheritance/finances.]
Replies: 129
Views: 13997

Re: Too much inheritance to handle. Advice needed

Freeze everything. Instruct him in writing to make no investments or changes without specific permission (and don't give it). Read the Wiki on Windfalls and everything you can on asset allocation. It will not hurt you and your Mom to take several months, parking the money in low risk stable accounts...
by CAsage
Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Refi mortgage or Backdoor Roth
Replies: 3
Views: 476

Re: Refi mortgage or Backdoor Roth

Your math does not agree with my Excel calculations. Assuming you added the 1% fee to the loan (just to make an easy compare), here are the three loan options: PV $450,000 $450,000 $454,500 INT 3.99% 3.50% 3.25% Months 312 180 180 Payment ($2,319.71) ($3,216.97) ($3,193.63) Total: ($723,750.85) ($57...
by CAsage
Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Living off loans to limit income?
Replies: 8
Views: 1481

Re: Living off loans to limit income?

I explained to my darling offspring that debts don't actually transfer to the heir. He asked me to let him know before I kick the bucket where all my credit cards were.... Hated to burst his grand scheme with a discussion on probate law, but it did get him to sleep....
by CAsage
Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with putting sale of company stock on tax forms
Replies: 2
Views: 247

Re: Help with putting sale of company stock on tax forms

Try Schedule D, capital gains/losses (goes to line 13 of the 1040). Info on sale usually comes in on a 1099-B. You will need the cost basis (price you paid taxes on when you got them, presuming it was income?) I find it helpful to just sit with the whole pile of 1099's and make sure they all get ent...
by CAsage
Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: My Story so far. Totally confused! Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge. Managing own portfolio... or NOT?
Replies: 86
Views: 6494

Re: My Story so far. Totally confused! Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge. Managing own portfolio... or NOT?

While the money you are asking about is in a taxable account, the best overall plan can include making sure you are taking advantage of opening a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA or 401k, which is why several prior responses have asked about the whole picture. With more cash in hand, you have more choices ...
by CAsage
Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help! Dad's Retirement Account with Lincoln Financial Group
Replies: 15
Views: 2081

Re: Help! Dad's Retirement Account with Lincoln Financial Group

The major difference/benefit to a 401k is that some companies match some funds, so you get a big return right up front. Usually I would recommend putting in the % they match, and no more. You get the same tax benefit, and can invest with much lower fees, by doing a Traditional IRA. For a small balan...
by CAsage
Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling jewelry/ gold?
Replies: 4
Views: 535

Re: Selling jewelry/ gold?

If you have any scrap gold or sterling silver (e.g. this would be the lowest floor price you could sell it for, and it's worth at least weighing it and knowing that) Midwest Refineries is awesome. I sent in lonely gold earrings (lost the other), broken gold chains and a pile of completely useless si...
by CAsage
Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Different tax preparers give different estimates
Replies: 3
Views: 766

Re: Different tax preparers give different estimates

Print out each one of the 'different' tax returns, crawl through them line by line and see what the difference is. With only a few inputs, there should not be much to check (possibly an interview or input error). You can pay an estimated tax to your state to be sure it's covered anytime (most states...
by CAsage
Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: any tax benefit on paying parents for child care?
Replies: 5
Views: 543

Re: any tax benefit on paying parents for child care?

Don't forget Social Security and Medicare taxes would then have to be paid for them... gets complicated. Check out posts on nanny taxes.
by CAsage
Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: It's not too late to make a last-minute T-IRA contribution via Vanguard.com, right?
Replies: 11
Views: 689

Re: It's not too late to make a last-minute T-IRA contribution via Vanguard.com, right?

I am not sure Vanguard can process it in time (no clue). In your shoes, I would open the T-IRA into a plain old savings account at my local bank on Monday, and transfer it at my leisure.... cutting it a bit fine for me!
by CAsage
Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for College Question
Replies: 5
Views: 625

Re: Paying for College Question

Paying off the house might make the family more secure with a lower income, but a longer term plan is needed. How many years can the life insurance support them? It's possible that the spouse will need to change the low/no income and get some. Note that changing the family contribution for college c...
by CAsage
Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth Conversions/Recharacterizations
Replies: 11
Views: 699

Re: Roth Conversions/Recharacterizations

If you are going to wait until April in the next tax year to recharacterize there is no need to do it into a new tIRA unless you expect to make another conversion from that IRA in the next 30 days. The rule is you can't convert after recharacterization until the later of the next year or 30 days. Y...
by CAsage
Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax preparer charging for past tax PDF's copies
Replies: 49
Views: 3564

Re: Tax preparer charging for past tax PDF's copies

You could consider going to the IRS website and requesting a tax transcript of your prior tax returns, for free. Not sure what info you need from them, but that might be worth trying first. Transcripts are free; a copy of your tax return will cost you $50 from the IRS. https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsro...
by CAsage
Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will - what is complicated?
Replies: 72
Views: 4218

Re: Will - what is complicated?

From what I have read (and I'm a hardened DIY), if you mix up IRA/401k and trusts, it's complicated. The wording has to be so precise, and you definitely will need a trust for long term provisions for children. It does somewhat matter how much money you have ... a very modest estate can simply creat...
by CAsage
Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Overpayment
Replies: 3
Views: 576

Re: IRS Overpayment

Log on to the IRS website and check? I am hoping they have it done by now, or check later this year.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript

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