Search found 241 matches

by Taz
Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How should I evaluate these Vanguard funds?
Replies: 14
Views: 1097

Re: How should I evaluate these Vanguard funds?

OP - I don't think you need to have all 4 of the funds in your tax-advantaged portfolio. Expenses do matter and they are one thing you can control. For example Prime Cap has an ER of 0.33%; VTSAX 0.04%.
by Taz
Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hands free music for the home - Amazon or something else?
Replies: 7
Views: 645

Re: Hands free music for the home - Amazon or something else?

iHeart Radio is supported on Alexa. The Echo sounds much better than the Dot but does not have a wired output nor can it link to a Bluetooth speaker. The challenge with linking the Dot to a BT speaker is that all responses will come out of the connected speaker. Google Home just added iHeart Radio c...
by Taz
Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo Dot question
Replies: 9
Views: 1176

Re: Amazon Echo Dot question

Hey yolli71,
Looks like Amazon might be implementing what you are looking for. This article mentions possible whole house control of playback on the Echo devices.

http://www.aftvnews.com/audio-synchroni ... o-support/

Larry
by Taz
Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo Dot question
Replies: 9
Views: 1176

Re: Amazon Echo Dot question

Don't mean to hijack this thread but I have a quick question about the Echo Dot too... I have an Echo in my kitchen and we mostly use it to play music. Whenever we are in our family room (which is adjacent to the kitchen), we have to yell across the room for Alexa to hear us. If I purchase a Dot an...
by Taz
Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Interest on EE Bonds
Replies: 4
Views: 554

Re: Interest on EE Bonds

(snip) Did not ask because I think I know the answer but -- I’ll ask any way. Is there any way not to pay taxes on the interest? Roll over, reinvest in U S bonds etc? Subject to several restrictions, you may be able to exclude the interest if you use them to pay for higher education expenses. "...
by Taz
Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?
Replies: 44
Views: 1918

Re: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?

chw: Fully understand your reasoning. People do get comfortable with the iPhone's functionality & ease of use which makes it tough for some to go backwards.

We were using $35 Palm Pixi's until a few years ago. The price jump was painful.
by Taz
Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?
Replies: 44
Views: 1918

Re: iPhone SE 16GB - is memory adequate?

Bought our daughter a iPhone SE 64GB for HS graduation gift. Extra on-board storage is nice though she backs it up on iCloud & her laptop. Reasons: for 64GB? - She keeps most of her music on the phone so she isn't using data to stream it. - Higher trade in value. - Insurance for future iOS upgra...
by Taz
Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: mattresses and alcohol (bourbon, scotch, whiskey)
Replies: 45
Views: 3912

Re: mattresses and alcohol (bourbon, scotch, whiskey)

Random thoughts: - Pretty much can't go wrong with Knob Creek (sweeter; price keeps going up), Maker's Mark, Woodford, & Roses (it does seem to taste a little floral but perhaps it is marketing). - Have never bought cask strength but I have tried single barrel or small batch versions. Those do t...
by Taz
Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any downside to Grandparent 529
Replies: 20
Views: 2079

Re: Any downside to Grandparent 529

Starting this year grandparents may distribute from 529 with no effect on financial aid if distributed during junior or senior year. https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... ent-062016 Thanks for the update Penguin. Our kids' grandfather gifted my wife money over the years which we decided would...
by Taz
Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any downside to Grandparent 529
Replies: 20
Views: 2079

Re: Any downside to Grandparent 529

A portion of the grandparent's 529 distribution counts in the child's income for financial aid purposes which will impact eligibility in future years. One strategy is to use it for the final year so no impact. Below is one article from Forbes on the matter. http://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2015...
by Taz
Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Asset Allocation across TSP, and HSA and Roth IRA with TD Ameritrade
Replies: 40
Views: 2850

Re: Asset Allocation across TSP, and HSA and Roth IRA with TD Ameritrade

There is nothing wrong with investing in taxable accounts, Total Stock Market index is fine. The wiki does a good job explaining. If you have a mind towards future charitable giving donating appreciated shares offers additional tax savings. It can be useful for TLH and saving for long-term, non-reti...
by Taz
Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Backyard Chefs out there? Do you have any specialties?
Replies: 54
Views: 3464

Re: Any Backyard Chefs out there? Do you have any specialties?

Try marinating chicken or pork tenderloin overnight with plain yogurt, olive oil and different spice blends such as Moroccan Ras-el-Hanout, Indian tandoori style, etc. You can make your own blends or find them at https://www.thespicehouse.com/ or Penzeys. I usually make tzatziki or raita (both yogur...
by Taz
Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA choices - Go with a current investment partner, or seek new?
Replies: 11
Views: 906

Re: Roth IRA choices - Go with a current investment partner, or seek new?

I would recommend either Vanguard (we use for Roths, rollover IRS, taxable and 529s) or Fidelity. Since you have a two year emergency fund, I'd start a Roth Ira and fully fund 2016 and 2027 using Total Stock Market Admiral. You didn't say anything about your preferred asset allocation but if you had...
by Taz
Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on next steps - taxable account and portfolio
Replies: 11
Views: 1683

Re: Advice on next steps - taxable account and portfolio

50/50 in your mid-30s is not unreasonable but you may want to get a handle on where you need to be to meet your retirement income goals based on what you think you might need. I assume that you have a decent income now -- any idea what income you want to have when you are retired? That might influen...
by Taz
Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS Form 941 - Confusion Regarding 'Balance Due' Field
Replies: 2
Views: 183

Re: IRS Form 941 - Confusion Regarding 'Balance Due' Field

I do light bookkeeping and payroll for an S corporation. The owner & other employees receiving wages have to pay income tax on their earned wages and their portion of SS/Medicare (just like you). The corporation also pays the other half of SS/Medicare as a payroll expense, just like wages. The w...
by Taz
Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FL prepaid plan(4-Year Florida University Plan)
Replies: 21
Views: 1757

Re: FL prepaid plan(4-Year Florida University Plan)

Room and board run $9,900 a year depending on meal plan (open dining - go as often as you want, take out boxes).

Like anywhere, books are a killer. Both of ours are engineering majors so we encourage them to buy/keep all their books. Other students just buy online access.
by Taz
Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FL prepaid plan(4-Year Florida University Plan)
Replies: 21
Views: 1757

Re: FL prepaid plan(4-Year Florida University Plan)

We did the lump sum 4 yr university/fees prepaid plan in 2006 for 2 kids who are both at UF. it was approx $12k for each. Timing was perfect. Would do it again. Both received Bright Futures scholarships so I apply that for tuition & books, "pay" the rest of the tuition out of pocket to...
by Taz
Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions on Three-Fund Portfolio
Replies: 13
Views: 2718

Re: Questions on Three-Fund Portfolio

Your modified AGI for IRA considerations includes all of your taxable income including investment and other income sources. AGI has to be calculated on the return and is found on line 37 on the W2 (depending on the form you file). The modified AGI is then calculated by adding a few things back in. T...
by Taz
Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wake up lights?
Replies: 11
Views: 1176

Re: Wake up lights?

I have a smart colored LED strip behind the headboard which we set to come on at 10% brightness - usually in a dark color. Kinda like a pre-alarm warning. Generally any change in light tends to wake me up. We use an Echo Dot as the alarm. This kind of flexibility is one reason I enjoy tinkering with...
by Taz
Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Questions on Three-Fund Portfolio
Replies: 13
Views: 2718

Re: Questions on Three-Fund Portfolio

Sassy -- a few thoughts for you. First - when looking at income limits realize that the 61k limit is modified adjusted gross income so you subtract exemptions & deductions, & add back some other stuff. You may already know this but ..... Second - you can allocate your contributions to a trad...
by Taz
Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years
Replies: 23
Views: 2229

Re: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years

Whether the CPI represents the actual inflation-affected spending of military retirees or individuals is a whole 'nother problem that can't be easily inserted into a spreadsheet. What assumptions or numbers would you put into the OP's spreadsheet? I would use CPI minus 0.75 to 1.0. In using online ...
by Taz
Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years
Replies: 23
Views: 2229

Re: Military Retirement; Time value of drawing a pension at 20 years

I would not assume that retired military pay will keep up with inflation. Inflation for 2016 was approximately 1.7% depending on your source.

I received a 0.3% increase for 2017.
by Taz
Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Differences between two Index Funds
Replies: 10
Views: 1243

Re: Differences between two Index Funds

The USAA index 500 index & other USAA funds generally have higher fees. You could start there but it is a minor pain to move it later. (My sister has some strange attachment to hers.) I would recommend saving until you have enough to start a ROTH IRA at Vanguard. Recommend a Target Retirement Fu...
by Taz
Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo
Replies: 88
Views: 11110

Re: Amazon Echo

If you have Amazon Prime then I think it is a no-brainer to get the Echo. We've have found the Echo to be a great tool for: - home automation paired with Smartthings augmented with a smartthings app called AskAlexa - lights; lighting scenes, home status (which doors/windows are open), thermostat - c...
by Taz
Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: small business ACA plans
Replies: 1
Views: 433

Re: small business ACA plans

I work part-time for a small, family owned business and help with HR and financial stuff. We did not use the gov site. However, we had to provide the insurance broker an employee census to calculate premiums. The gov site would do the same, so I would agree that they wanted employee data not persona...
by Taz
Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: American Opp Tax Credit - 4 year rule?
Replies: 14
Views: 1426

Re: American Opp Tax Credit - 4 year rule?

In you are running out of tax years in which to claim the credit but still have not completed 4 years of academic credit, you can use qualified expenses for Spring 2017 if you paid them in 2016. In other words, you can use Spring/Summer/Fall 2016 and paid in 2016 Spring 2017 qualified expenses for t...
by Taz
Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New military officer. $50,000 yearly salary with no debt, no dependents, and $500 a month overhead. Thoughts?
Replies: 15
Views: 2649

Re: New military officer. $50,000 yearly salary with no debt, no dependents, and $500 a month overhead. Thoughts?

General thoughts: - Start putting something in the Thrift Savings Plan. If you don't see it you can't spend it. - Avoid First Command. Period. BTW, I really don't think you need a financial plan from someone like AssetMark who is going to sell you products. You can do it yourself. I went through the...
by Taz
Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Required to pay with Amazon gift card!
Replies: 11
Views: 922

Re: Required to pay with Amazon gift card!

Likely scam. Here's one reported on one of the Amazon community pages: By Abul Imam on 18-May-2016 16:03 America/Los_Angeles Hey someone named MEDIA MARKET CENTER tried to make me pay for a Canon T6i with Gift Card and said Amazon will send me an order Confirmation which looked legit but ultimately ...
by Taz
Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Routers!! are driving me crazy
Replies: 33
Views: 3597

Re: Routers!! are driving me crazy

If you go back to an older one (which I don't recommend) - or even a newer one, make sure you update the firmware & change the default password.
by Taz
Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 4 year graduation rate
Replies: 16
Views: 2013

Re: 4 year graduation rate

It depends on school, major, incoming credits, overcrowding at some schools, working their way, excess partying, etc.. While teaching Navy ROTC 10 year ago in the northeast, I found that engineering students were most likely to require an additional term to complete program requirements, partially d...
by Taz
Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: If you own Vanguard Total Stock Market, do you re-invest dividends?
Replies: 75
Views: 9906

Re: If you own Vanguard Total Stock Market, do you re-invest dividends?

Not in taxable. Those dividends/capital gains distributions go to our Roths helping rebalance to a lower stock allocation.

edit: Also serves to move existing money from taxable to tax advantaged accounts.
by Taz
Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shopping for an adventure wagon
Replies: 7
Views: 965

Re: Shopping for an adventure wagon

2016 Outback 4 cyl premium w/ eyesight. Comfortable on the highway. Roomy. good traction on wet roads. Seemed more polished than the Forester. Slightly better ergonomics. As has been said,the 4 cyl is a little under-powered. If you plan to drive much or tow in the mountains go with a six cyl (per a ...
by Taz
Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo & Tap
Replies: 28
Views: 3139

Re: Amazon Echo & Tap

I just asked Alexa if she was spying on me. She said, "No." I then asked if she was sure she wasn't spying on me, She replied, "I'm sorry if I've done anything to make you fell that way." No joke. Maverick3320, I understand where you are coming from. If you have a cell phone do y...
by Taz
Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Echo & Tap
Replies: 28
Views: 3139

Re: Amazon Echo & Tap

We have 1 Echo & 1 Dot and find them to be very useful for streaming music, timers, alarms, & basic information (schedule, weather, traffic, wikipedia, etc). The Dot's sound quality is on par with a clock radio bust you can use a line out or Bluetooth connection to a better speaker. The Echo...
by Taz
Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please check advice from Vanguard PAS
Replies: 8
Views: 1132

Re: Please check advice from Vanguard PAS

1. Overall, the Vanguard advisor reports we're very likely to have solid retirements (99%), but very unlikely to save enough for kids' college. He recommends dramatic increases in our investments in 529s by redirecting some money saved for retirement. [I always thought retirement should be goal num...
by Taz
Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aeropress: cappuccino?
Replies: 11
Views: 1399

Re: Aeropress: cappuccino?

Will have to try the inverted method as the normal way tends to leak before pressing. Anyway, I make Aeropress cappuccinos using hot milk frothed in an old wire mesh coffee press. Works okay, tastes good but it really doesn't taste like a coffee house expresso drink. YTBMD (your taste buds may differ)
by Taz
Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Education cost and kids
Replies: 64
Views: 5303

Re: Education cost and kids

Would she not be better off than someone who graduates from, say, Northwestern with a net worth of 0? Having graduated from Northwestern in the mid 80s (partially NROTC funded -- and a whole lot cheaper than today) I'd tend to agree. Unless her purpose of attending was to develop specific connectio...
by Taz
Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Education cost and kids
Replies: 64
Views: 5303

Re: Education cost and kids

Even though my parents were unable to pay anything for my college, I managed to use a scholarship, work, & loans. I'm still a believer in not spoiling our kids (no car, pay for your phones & data, etc) but I saw how much debt affected my parents & vowed not to make the same mistakes. I f...
by Taz
Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much is your cell phone bill?
Replies: 263
Views: 24883

Re: How much is your cell phone bill?

Puppy Wireless (Verizon MVNO) 2 lines (bring your own -- Moto X Pure which works on GSM & CDMA) Voice: 750 min /line Text: 750 texts /line 4G LTE: 1.5 GB /line $60 ($30 /line) including taxes Cricket (AT&T) & Virgin/Boost (both Sprint MVNOs) offer better overall value if you need more da...
by Taz
Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: College Savings
Replies: 18
Views: 2020

Re: College Savings

UTMAs are considered student assets meaning that a much higher percentage is counted as being available to pay towards college costs.
by Taz
Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which city to start early retirement?
Replies: 128
Views: 13272

Re: Which city to start early retirement?

Have you given any thought to NE FL?
- Jax Zoo is pretty nice.
- Cultural opportunities are growing.
- Five hour drive to Atlanta for the aquarium.
- Good healthcare options.
- No state income tax & if you rent then no direct property taxes.
- Growing craft beer scene :sharebeer
by Taz
Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long to keep records?
Replies: 16
Views: 1435

Re: How long to keep records?

Speaking from recent experience, I'd keep more than 7 years of tax returns just to have a warm & fuzzy. Electrons are cheap. The IRS decided someone with my name & most of my SSN at my address owed $325k in back taxes, interest, & penalties from 2005-2008. Even those I knew it was a mist...
by Taz
Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self-made Millionaires: how did hitting 7 figures change you?
Replies: 304
Views: 45195

Re: Self-made Millionaires: how did hitting 7 figures change you?

SNIP//// I'm also thinking not just about my kids, but my wife and me as well. I've done the military more than half my life, and I'm ready for something new and who knows how much longer I have. DW is a high-achiever and is not cut out to be a SAHM, but I want to give her the gift of being able to...
by Taz
Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Military Retirement System
Replies: 86
Views: 10553

Re: New Military Retirement System

As a military physician, you are financially better off leaving the service with or without a change in the retirement system. The benefit to remaining in the service as a physician is lower healthcare costs and the tax advantage of your BAH and BAS. [Comments have been deleted --admin LadyGeek] Th...
by Taz
Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Military pilot looking for a vector
Replies: 28
Views: 3387

Re: Military pilot looking for a vector

A few thoughts: - Save up your leave. It will give you flexibility to extend medical insurance and housing allowance, and/or sell it back. (Watch out for the tax impact) - While you need an emergency fund, don't neglect your TSP and start a Roth IRA for your wife. - Think about why you have 3 rental...
by Taz
Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: would-be semi-retirees, could you find part-time work?
Replies: 15
Views: 2263

Re: Poll: would-be semi-retirees, could you find part-time work?

I retired from the Navy and swapped stay-at-home duties with wife. Fast forward a few years, my wife now has a very secure job (after getting laid off in 2009), one kid attending a state university and the other a HS junior. No real need for me to be at home anymore but no financial pressure to work...
by Taz
Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 3602

Re: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?

Perhaps a little late on this one, but we have also tried to figure this out the best way to handle this in conjunction with a pre-paid 529 tuition plan, FL Bright Futures scholarship, and a National Merit scholarship restricted to tuition & books, VG Utah 529, and an older VG "Coverdell&qu...
by Taz
Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend a cheap, small tablet?
Replies: 40
Views: 5197

Re: Recommend a cheap, small tablet?

I got a Samsung Android for about 170 and I find it really hard to use...so screwy with the screen swipe thing, the whole different OS and virtual keyboard. Whether I use a stylus or my finger, I have trouble controlling the screen and font size..it may just be a tablet thing generally but it drive...
by Taz
Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you/your child pay for college?
Replies: 151
Views: 11814

Re: How did you/your child pay for college?

Me @ private school: Tuition & books (NROTC); Room (loans) + Board (worked @sorority) Spouse (small school): Parents + small scholarship + work (meals) + $20k in loans (in 1985) Current kid: State Tuition (prepaid FL); Room & board ($3k Bright Futures + 529); books ($1k National Merit); spen...
by Taz
Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Part-time jobs
Replies: 26
Views: 3533

Re: Part-time jobs

multivoiced wrote:
EternalOptimist wrote:This seems cool but you need an iPhone which I don't have

I have seen Android tablets at Walmart as low as $60. I wonder if those would work.


According to their web site it is iPhone/iOS only at this time. You can submit your email to be notified when the Android beta is available.

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