Search found 237 matches

by Taz
Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Interest on EE Bonds
Replies: 4
Views: 511

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: 1828

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: 1828

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: 3745

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: 1996

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: 1996

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: 38
Views: 2595

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: 3348

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: 878

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: 1658

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: 169

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: 1647

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: 1647

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: 2661

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: 1153

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: 2661

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: 2176

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: 2176

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: 1212

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: 10750

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: 430

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: 1340

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: 2629

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: 880

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: 3511

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: 1975

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: 9688

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: 944

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: 3099

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: 3099

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: 1120

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: 1347

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: 5195

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: 5195

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: 258
Views: 22770

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: 1993

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: 13012

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: 1406

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: 44803

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: 10390

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: 3159

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: 2248

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: 3585

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: 5148

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: 11705

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: 3493

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: 4147

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: 1024

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: 4147

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: 25264

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...

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