Search found 228 matches

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: 1600

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: 158

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: 17
Views: 1364

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: 17
Views: 1364

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: 2546

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: 1097

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: 2546

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: 2112

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: 2112

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: 1170

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: 84
Views: 10035

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: 415

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: 1238

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: 2608

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: 863

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: 3461

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: 1946

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: 9537

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: 925

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: 3029

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: 3029

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: 1109

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: 1299

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: 5058

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: 5058

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: 223
Views: 17975

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: 1969

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: 12662

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: 1393

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: 44110

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: 84
Views: 9816

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: 3099

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: 2232

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: 3570

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: 5112

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: 11630

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: 3467

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.
by Taz
Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Contributing enough to TSP to maximize the match.
Replies: 53
Views: 4091

Re: Contributing enough to TSP to maximize the match.

These last two posts seem contradictory. Am I reading them correctly? Thank you for your patient responses. I think you are overthinking it. Seems to me that if you are 50 or older and your only TSP/401 type contributions are in the TSP, you can contribute up to $23k, but to go above $17.5K you hav...
by Taz
Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: college tuition
Replies: 15
Views: 1021

Re: college tuition

Perhaps, state schools should charge MORE for non- STEM majors since we need more technical graduates! Anyway, there are quite a few decent state engineering schools although it does depend on the particular area of study.. As FL residents, we primarily looked at: (total estimated cost) GA Tech - gr...
by Taz
Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Contributing enough to TSP to maximize the match.
Replies: 53
Views: 4091

Re: Contributing enough to TSP to maximize the match.

One more question. Can I still max out my catchup contribution, even if I'm only otherwise contributing five percent of my gross salary. No. You must be "making regular contributions to a civilian or uniformed services TSP account (or both), and/ or an equivalent employer plan (such as a 401(k...
by Taz
Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?
Replies: 237
Views: 24809

Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

For the OP: At a minimum, my kid will work a small part-time job to pay for spending money beyond tuition/room/board/books. We'll pay for an in-state degree. This will result in no loans & his small UTMA (that we never should have started - gee thanks USPA-IRA) upon graduation. Now, to jump into...
by Taz
Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helaine Olen: Pound Foolish
Replies: 73
Views: 13784

Re: Helaine Olen: Pound Foolish

I used to counsel young sailors usually in debt or who complained that they could never save any money. It didn't take long to free up money by reducing discretionary consumption on a few things. Even before you began working on a budget there was often low hanging fruit you could bring up just to p...
by Taz
Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Florida Home Owners Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 1174

Re: Florida Home Owners Insurance

Ours is roughly $2300 a year. It is pricey, even if you are not in a hurricane area (we live 14 miles as the crow flies from the coast). Throw in a swimming pool & screen enclosure .... One thing you can do is have the house specifically inspected so that all hurricane/structural features are do...
by Taz
Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax and Charities
Replies: 14
Views: 1570

Re: Turbotax and Charities

If you import from previous years, I've found some of the information is already there providing a starting point. Also, if you donate goods or transfer stocks, TT does a decent job of walking you through the steps. Of course maintaining the original documentation goes without saying.
by Taz
Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FAFSA Rules [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]
Replies: 19
Views: 2345

Re: FAFSA Rules [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]

Divorce as a strategy or silver lining to increase college financial aid eligibility is a complicated topic. I recommend this site: http://www.finaid.org/fafsa/maximize.phtml . But there's lots of other resources out there... Google is your friend... I think we'll pass on the divorce. I did like th...
by Taz
Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stereo Receiver Suggestion
Replies: 70
Views: 9718

Re: Stereo Receiver Suggestion

CountryBoy: I gave away my 1985 NAD 7140 (sitting in the garage for about 4 years) last month to a friend's college aged son student who just discovered vinyl. I hope he found some decent speakers. The 7140 still worked great, but wouldn't work with a home theater setup. Plus, sleeping under the car...
by Taz
Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FAFSA Rules [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]
Replies: 19
Views: 2345

Re: FAFSA Rules [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]

Divorce as a strategy or silver lining to increase college financial aid eligibility is a complicated topic. I recommend this site: http://www.finaid.org/fafsa/maximize.phtml . But there's lots of other resources out there... Google is your friend... I think we'll pass on the divorce. I did like th...
by Taz
Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon launched AutoRip today!
Replies: 23
Views: 3223

Re: Amazon launched AutoRip today!

Saw the thread & had to go check. Wow! It was a shock to see how many CDs I had purchased from Amazon over the years. Thankfully, many of them were freebies! Still, if I had invested in TSM ..........

As a bonus, several CD purchases were for gifts so now I have a copy too! :happy
by Taz
Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cheap cell plan with minutes only
Replies: 14
Views: 1908

Re: cheap cell plan with minutes only

Page Plus has a 1200 minute + 250MB data + 3000 texts for $29.99. Hard to beat that deal. Also worth noting is that Page Plus works on the Verizon network and with most verizon phones. I bought a Droid X on ebay for $70 that I converted to page plus in about 5 minutes. +1. Note: Mostly all Verizone...
by Taz
Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Increasing Bond Allocation: G Fund or VG Funds
Replies: 18
Views: 2482

Re: Increasing Bond Allocation: G Fund or VG Funds

You can easily build a portfolio with the G Fund and other treasury funds that will respond about the same to changes in interest rates (Taz's emphasis) and will have higher credit quality and higher yield than Total Bond Market. Food for thought. Correct, the variations presented here are a bit ov...

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