Search found 16 matches

by Chief_Engineer
Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Excel for Personal Finance Accounting ?
Replies: 42
Views: 3408

Re: Excel for Personal Finance Accounting ?

I'll put in a third recommendation for GnuCash. I can't list pros and cons because it's the only accounting software I've ever used. But it's flexibility is unmatched. If you're familiar with Python, there's a package (piecash) that lets you access the GnuCash file and process the data any way you w...
by Chief_Engineer
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FY17 Final, Personal Savings Rate
Replies: 26
Views: 2380

Re: FY17 Final, Personal Savings Rate

Looks like this year was about -20% of gross. And no, that negative sign was not a typo. We've been slowly draining our savings this year as I finish my PhD. Next year should be very different!
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you include your house in your net worth if you own it outright?
Replies: 89
Views: 6567

Re: Do you include your house in your net worth if you own it outright?

This question always reminds be of the differing options on the meaning of the word "theory." In the scientific community, the term theory is only applied to well-tested ideas. There is a significant body of evidence that supports the theory. However, use of "theory" in the public is much different....
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 21254

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

We will see about a 5% increase in take-home pay than we would have under the old tax law. This is mostly due to the increased phase-out threshold for the child tax credit and lower tax brackets. We live in a low tax state and rent, so we would've claimed the standard deduction no matter what. Our t...
by Chief_Engineer
Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 financial goals - what are yours?
Replies: 92
Views: 11694

Re: 2018 financial goals - what are yours?

1) Finish my PhD
2) Rebuild emergency fund
3) Keep maxing out HSA
4) Hopefully, 2018 will be the first year of our marriage with a positive change in net worth.
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Re: Debt vs HSA/529

Do you consider a reduction from 6.8% to 5% to be a "small" interest rate reduction? Did you get a quote on a 20 year term? federal repayment options are great to have... you should look in detail in the options with loan refinancing because they often have financial hardship options as well. how b...
by Chief_Engineer
Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Re: Debt vs HSA/529

Have you looked into student loan refinancing options with sofi? Earnest? Citizens? You should definitely be able to get your rate down substantially, especially if willing to take on a short term (be careful with the high minimum payments). I looked into SoFi and DRB. I got a preliminary offer (th...
by Chief_Engineer
Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How can I keep track of my monthly spendings?
Replies: 27
Views: 2106

Re: How can I keep track of my monthly spendings?

I use GnuCash. I keep all receipts in a box and once a week enter them manually. I track our entire financial lives (except cash spending): income, retirement accounts, loans, and expenses. About once a month I reconcile my accounts in GnuCash with the bank. The built-in reports and charts are nice,...
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Re: Debt vs HSA/529

Do not do the 529 while you have 200k student loan debt with a high interest rate. That is the very definition of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we do not even know that Paul is going to college. I agree. The only reason I'm asking is if it makes sense due to the 20% tax credit. If it doesn't make ...
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Re: Debt vs HSA/529

How long will it take to pay off the loans? If you pay 7%, 6%, 5%, and 5% for four years, that's enough of a loss (compared to what you could earn risk-free) that it isn't worth contributing to the 529 this year, unless you can refinance the loans to a lower rate. It will take us 4.5 years to pay o...
by Chief_Engineer
Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Re: Debt vs HSA/529

Can your parents/in-laws open a 529 for your children? That would have the college savings available for your children while you are paying down your student loans. But it does not help you with your state income tax. This is a possibility, but my parents don't have much money to offer and her pare...
by Chief_Engineer
Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Debt vs HSA/529
Replies: 13
Views: 1456

Debt vs HSA/529

Hello everyone. I have a couple questions about whether it makes sense to reduce debt repayment in order to contribute to our HSA and a 529 plan. Here is our relevant information: Debt: Student Loans $240k at 5-7% Tax Filing status: Married Filing Jointly with 2 kids (2 and newborn) Tax Rate: 25% Fe...
by Chief_Engineer
Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buried in Student Loans
Replies: 22
Views: 6536

Re: Buried in Student Loans

As an engineering student in Indiana, I'm guessing you're a fellow Boilermaker. From what I recall regarding those staff fees paid through a 529 plan change the amount you can get from the Hope/Lifetime learning tax credits. It has been 5+ years since I looked into this, so things might have change...
by Chief_Engineer
Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buried in Student Loans
Replies: 22
Views: 6536

Re: Buried in Student Loans

This is interesting and something I would never have thought of. If I understand correctly, you're saying we can take some of our emergency fund and put it in a 529 to get a tax credit on Indiana taxes, and immediately withdraw it because the principle can be withdrawn without any tax penalties lik...
by Chief_Engineer
Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buried in Student Loans
Replies: 22
Views: 6536

Re: Buried in Student Loans

Thank you everyone for your replies. I'd contact Vanguard and do a rollover and conversion to a Roth IRA. Sign up for online statements and there will be no account fees. Put it all in Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 for now. The conversion will cost you about $280 in taxes, but now's a good time si...
by Chief_Engineer
Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buried in Student Loans
Replies: 22
Views: 6536

Buried in Student Loans

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone on this board. I've always had an interest in retirement saving and index fund investing, but the things I've learned since finding Bogleheads has been incredible. I've noticed recently in a few threads a desire to hear from lower income members; Average Joes...