Search found 245 matches

by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 534

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

The argument for moving the funds out of the 457b are sound. Not sure if you're planning the right way to do it. You want to do a custodian to custodian transfer from the 457b to the IRA. You probably can transfer it directly into a Roth IRA and rather than having to first roll it into a traditiona...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 534

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

- currently (and in the next few years) in the 12% tax bracket If you expect (based at least on some back of the envelope calculations, not merely a vague idea) to be in 20+% brackets for the rest of your life after the next few years, then converting the 457b to Roth makes sense. Well, anything ab...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 534

Re: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

Are you looking to convert pre-tax to Roth? Or take a distribution then make a Roth IRA contribution with the proceeds? I'm not sure I totally follow. Also, if you are only looking at a partial conversion, then that doesn't really address having fewer accounts (at least not immediately). My plan wa...
by armeliusc
Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA
Replies: 14
Views: 534

Deciding Whether To 'Convert' 457B to Roth IRA

Greetings, I have a governmental 457b from an old employer with about 70K balance. I have been debating whether I should 'convert' some of these, if not all, to Roth IRA. The 457b has administrative plan of 25 basis point of the balance a year. It also have great funds, including Vanguard Institutio...
by armeliusc
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?
Replies: 42
Views: 3208

Re: Tires: Where to Get? Warranty? And Questions?

Michelin currently has $70 rebate promotion. I just got a set of 4 tires yesterday and uploaded my receipt for the rebate last night. I got my tires from a local tire store; they seem honest, don't try to sell me stuff, and have fair price, so I stick with them. The Defender I had on our 04 Civic la...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?
Replies: 32
Views: 2312

Re: Which of our cars should we use more, old or new?

Who cares? Drive whatever car you feel like driving. You didn’t buy them to park them in the driveway. Good luck, JT +3. This. Cars age both by time and mileage. I believe it's more likely that a car becomes 'too old' time wise than mileage wise, unless you drive a lot of miles. And there is nothin...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furniture Protection Plan worth it?
Replies: 18
Views: 895

Re: Furniture Protection Plan worth it?

Not worth it in my opinion Edited: I don't know if it's worth it, but I personally would not get it. They were trying to sell us similar thing when we got our furniture (slightly less expensive than yours). But I go by the rule of thumb that I don't buy 'insurance', 'warranties', etc if I can affor...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: One day car repair is on day 16 - what to do?
Replies: 15
Views: 1561

Re: One day car repair is on day 16 - what to do?

I would probably have told them to stop and give me back the car after day 3, 1 week at the most. What you described are signs of incompetence and that they didn't know what they're doing. Both suggestions of showing up unannounced (during or after) hours are good. One time, a tire place broke my wh...
by armeliusc
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Practices for Saving Tax Returns and Supporting Documents
Replies: 2
Views: 376

Re: Best Practices for Saving Tax Returns and Supporting Documents

I just stored them electronically. For any paper supporting document, I scan it as PDF and save the PDF in a file directory for that year, together with the eventual tax return. I put the original hardcopy in a folder in a file drawer, but I don't even print out the tax return that I do electronical...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job transition and pregnant - when to inform employer?
Replies: 30
Views: 2479

Re: New job transition and pregnant - when to inform employer?

I seconded the suggestion to wait at least 3 months before notifying anyone, except maybe the closest of family. One thing to consider is how long she plans to take off after delivery. Please be aware that she may not be eligible for FMLA if she has less than ~1 year full time (please check). So the...
by armeliusc
Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Modest stereo system
Replies: 57
Views: 3536

Re: Modest stereo system

Consider Amazon Echo with Amazon music subscription. You can get most radio station from TuneIn (comes with it by default). It's relatively inexpensive and it's simple to set up. I consider myself a tech geek and picky about sound quality. My music collection is all digitized, have my own streaming ...
by armeliusc
Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA family max contribution lowered to $6850 for 2018
Replies: 105
Views: 11053

Re: HSA family max contribution lowered to $6850 for 2018

Thanks for the heads up. Checked my provide (Optum Bank), it says limit is $6850. But my elections / contribution is managed by ADP. Called ADP (their website sucks), they insisted the limit is (still) $6900 for family. After a bit back and forth, I just ask them to adjust my monthly contribution so...
by armeliusc
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $500 gift card, what to do?
Replies: 42
Views: 3204

Re: $500 gift card, what to do?

You're essentially asking two questions: how to use it and what to spend it on. For the latter, I don't think anyone can give you meaningful answer. That's like giving a gift to random stranger on the internet without knowing what the person likes / enjoys, hobbies, etc. What do you want to have / d...
by armeliusc
Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Max 401k or Save More Cash?
Replies: 7
Views: 992

Re: Max 401k or Save More Cash?

For a $300K house, you'll probably need closer to $70K, just to be safe, for a 20% down-payment and closing costs. So I'd probably bring the house saving to that level by the time you want to buy. I would contribute enough to 401K to drop your tax bracket to 12%, then contribute to Roth IRA. Roth IR...
by armeliusc
Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5112

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

Our local Honda dealer generally has coupons available for $19.99 dollar oil change. When that comes around I take advantage of it. You just have to be ready to turn down about $600 worth of stuff they found wrong :D Check their website for deals. You got that right. Honda will bring a list of thin...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealership oil change worth it?
Replies: 69
Views: 5112

Re: Dealership oil change worth it?

It's always worth to find a reliable, trustworthy local mechanics where you live to do regular maintenance, non-warranty work such as oil change. If you can, find one that specialize in your car make. Although in general many things are similar across different brands, different brands do have diffe...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods
Replies: 30
Views: 2787

Re: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods

I can already get at least 3% cash back at Meijer, Kroger, or Costco and their prices are good! OK, could you share how to get this 3% ? Amex Blue Cash Everyday is 3% at all grocery stores. Citi Visa is 2% at Costco, plus 2% executive reward for 4%. I'm not in Whole Foods target demographic, I don'...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods
Replies: 30
Views: 2787

Re: Amazon Prime Visa now 5% back at Whole Foods

Yes, we just dropped AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. Since we joined Costco last year, our groceries shopping has been mostly at Costco, some at Whole Food (for some stuff), other thing at Kroger. Costco doesn't take AMEX. With BCP $95 fee, one has to spend $3167 to break even, which we won't anymore. So ...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Strategies for getting out of a car dealership quickly?
Replies: 78
Views: 6957

Re: Strategies for getting out of a car dealership quickly?

Just be polite but be very firm. You may need to repeat what you want to do multiple times, and reject every offer they try to make for anything. Say something like "Thank you, but no, I just need to cancel the extended warranty". You do not need to give them any reasoning, etc. It will open up an o...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Custom shades from Home Depot
Replies: 13
Views: 1637

Re: Custom shades from Home Depot

Another vote for selectblinds.com. We also looked at Home Depots and Lowe's initially but got the SelectBlinds recommendation from this forum and after browsing around decided to give it a try. It was a simple process: measure ourselves, put in the order, and install them myself.
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite socks?
Replies: 83
Views: 5343

Re: Favorite socks?

I have been wearing Carhartt Crew Work Socks. I bought a bunch of them, same color (black) at one time. Here's for example: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051U18L4/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 When most of them wears out, I'll get another set. I hate missing socks or trying to fin...
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4014

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

The "tax hit" that OP refers to is not that much anyway. Regardless how it's reported, it has to be reported somehow so the 15% of $1200 tax is fixed. - If reported as Misc Income: no extra SE tax - If OP had been an employee with W2: add the FICA employee portion (which should have been withheld): ...
by armeliusc
Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help! Buying my first sofa/couch
Replies: 27
Views: 1512

Re: Help! Buying my first sofa/couch

Our first sofa (for an apartment) probably cost about $400 or so (can't remember) from a local furniture / warehouse-style store with delivery. It's twelve years later and we still watch TV on it and I sometime take naps in it on Saturday afternoon. When we moved to a house we got another sofa for l...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4014

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

Related questions that I am never clear: is the payer always required to issue 1099 when for the payee to file Sched C? Why? The payer is required to issue 1099 if amount is over $600. Payer has no idea if payee filled out Schedule C. The reason payer is supposed to issue 1099 is not only to give p...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scratch-removal products for cars
Replies: 3
Views: 549

Re: Scratch-removal products for cars

Start with Meguiars Scratch-X and just do it by hand. In my experience, it will remove most scratches. If your clear coat / paint is hard, you can try using Meguiars Ultimate Compound by hand. Both of those are really safe to use, i.e. you cannot really damage your paint. A buffing pad with a Dual-A...
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Staying Motivated: How do you ward off hopelessness?
Replies: 59
Views: 7357

Re: Staying Motivated: How do you ward off hopelessness?

One thing you can do is break down the big challenge into small, achievable tasks. This is what we do in science/engineering. One task at a time, and celebrate the small victories.

Another thing is be realistic, and accept the fact that something is just beyond our control.
by armeliusc
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4014

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

1. A schedule C incrementally increases your chance of audit. Misc income requires no schedule C 2. The risk of you being audited and this coming up is very small 3. Schedule c is a bit of a PITA 4. On the really small chance you get audited you be honest and say you weren’t clear how to handle it,...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]
Replies: 87
Views: 4014

Re: Misc Income [how to report with no 1099]

I tried the schedule C as freelancer... But holy cow, it took $500 off my refund!?!? A $500 tax hit for $1200 of misc income?!? does that seem right? 42%. That could be right. It will often be 15.3% self-employment tax plus your marginal tax rate. If your earned income (wages plus the $1200 self em...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?
Replies: 30
Views: 3480

Re: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?

I think I will look in to the Google Voice thing as others have suggested. How do I do that? Do I just go to Google Voice and set up an account? I'm not real tech savvy. Thanks again. Yes, pretty much. If people already have your cellphone number, then just start replying them from your GV number, ...
by armeliusc
Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?
Replies: 30
Views: 3480

Re: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?

You can use Google Voice (GV). Create a new phone number from GV. Link your cellphone number as forwarding number in GV. Only give out the Google Voice number. Text send to GV number will get forwarded to your 'real' cellphone (and email, if you so desire). If you reply from your cellphone, it will ...
by armeliusc
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Scrapping old computer parts
Replies: 25
Views: 1776

Re: Scrapping old computer parts

I have used GreenDisk recycling to 'throw away' computer parts / cables / floppy disks, etc. Most of the e-recycle / computer recycling even in town only take a 'whole computer' unfortunately, not random motherboard / graphic / sound card / cables and whatnot. Unfortunately I have to pay greendisk f...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Umbrella Policy - Is it worth it.
Replies: 43
Views: 3322

Re: Umbrella Policy - Is it worth it.

rholt wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:20 pm
I guess I am convincing myself I should keep it - its just a little painful to pay for something you will likely never use.
Insurance (umbrella, life, even health) is perhaps the only product you buy you wish you never have to use.
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keep maxing 401k, or pay off debt?
Replies: 9
Views: 596

Re: Keep maxing 401k, or pay off debt?

Do you have any asset you can use as collateral for lower interest debt? For example, can you get a 'car loan' with your existing car as collateral from a local credit union? Regarding your question, I would definitely stop contributing to 401K (except for any employer match) to pay off CC debt. But...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Oops! Miscalculated International AA, should I just stick with it?
Replies: 19
Views: 971

Re: Oops! Miscalculated International AA, should I just stick with it?

If it makes you feel any better, Vanguard TR funds seems to have 40% of equities in international stock, for .e.g. TR 2045 And, this Vanguard research paper (PDF) seems to suggest 30-40% of international equities to be optimal. There are a lot of other opinions of course, but seems that you're not f...
by armeliusc
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lock mortgage rate now(for a cost) or let it ride 9 days
Replies: 5
Views: 333

Re: Lock mortgage rate now(for a cost) or let it ride 9 days

I would let it ride. Locking it now guarantees the cost of ~$700. But no one knows anything about the future, so it's a cost with no guarantees of benefit. My philosophy for these kind of things has always been to defer cost until you can't anymore. Now if you know for sure that paying for something...
by armeliusc
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever found an error on your amazon bill?
Replies: 20
Views: 1682

Re: Have you ever found an error on your amazon bill?

I check / reconciled amazon orders monthly. It is somewhat tedious, but doable. Have not found any error so far for many years.
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: completely new, trying to understand minimum investments
Replies: 17
Views: 779

Re: completely new, trying to understand minimum investments

I second the recommendation of using a target date fund. Target date funds are mainly composed of the four funds you mentioned. Pick the one that approximate your desired AA. And No, you don't get locked in. Once you have enough to meet the minimum of each fund ($3000 for investor or $10K for admira...
by armeliusc
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:55 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.
Replies: 105
Views: 9950

Re: Doesn't seem like people respond to portfolio assessments like they did a few years ago.

Bottom line: I'd encourage everyone, whether you think you know enough or not, to make an effort to give one response a week to a portfolio help thread. If even 10% of us did that, it would meet the need. Whether people will do that voluntarily or not is beyond me. I am one of the lurkers who's bee...
by armeliusc
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me simplify my portfolio & asset allocation
Replies: 5
Views: 619

Re: Please help me simplify my portfolio & asset allocation

As others have stated, if you are looking to simplify, use the Three-Fund Portfolion : Total Stock Market, Total International Stock, and Total Bond. Your desired AA seems reasonable to me. You seem to have good fund choices to get to 3-Fund portfolios in all of your accounts; Just use the funds cor...
by armeliusc
Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?
Replies: 30
Views: 2306

Re: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?

Here's another data point. My 401K and 457b from previous employer were also with "Empower Retirement". The fee is 0.25% per year, spread out every month. This is shown in the quarterly statement. I checked at the very beginning and seemed that the consensus here was that it's very reasonable (you c...
by armeliusc
Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Internet speeds
Replies: 37
Views: 2604

Re: Internet speeds

You will be fine with 10 mbps. For the longest time we only had 6 Mbps with similar situation: streaming movie (netflix, amazon prime) and browsing / working from home. Sometime we even stream different movies at the same time, no issue. You can always upgrade later if you find you need higher speed.
by armeliusc
Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal finance software / Alternatives to Mint.com
Replies: 21
Views: 2499

Re: Personal finance software / Alternatives to Mint.com

I'm trying to find personal finance software. My main constraints are: My computer runs Linux. So the software has to either be web-based (e.g. Mint ) or run on Linux (e.g. GnuCash, kMyMoney, HomeBank, etc). I slightly prefer web-based. I want it to automatically download transactions from my banks...
by armeliusc
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lunch Ideas
Replies: 44
Views: 4603

Re: Lunch Ideas

My lunch for tomorrow is almost always today's dinner. This is also mostly true for everybody in my whole family.
by armeliusc
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Need help with investing and saving advice - way late on saving!
Replies: 4
Views: 877

Re: Need help with investing and saving advice - way late on saving!

Hello, For starters, I would do the following: 1. Contribute to traditional 401K instead of Roth 401K which should drop you to 15% tax bracket. 2. Use the tax saving and possibly stop new Roth IRA contribution to pay off debts. The student loan at 7% would be my priority. I'd think both the student ...
by armeliusc
Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Price of haircut?
Replies: 194
Views: 11861

Re: Price of haircut?

$12 + $4 tip at Great Clips every ~3 months. I may go earlier than that if there's an upcoming event and/or DW tells me to get a haircut.
by armeliusc
Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you record customer service interactions?
Replies: 23
Views: 1432

Re: Do you record customer service interactions?

Yes, unless for the trivial case that's resolved in one call and I expect no further action / interaction needed. How?: I use Trello to manage my tasks (at work/professionally and at home/personally). One nice thing about it is it allow me to attach just about anything to it. So for example, I have ...
by armeliusc
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Someone spoofing my phone number?
Replies: 65
Views: 5453

Re: Someone spoofing my phone number?

Neighbor spoofing; here is an NPR Planet Money transcript: http://www.npr.org/2017/07/31/540515367/familiar-looking-numbers-are-the-latest-twist-in-robocalls Thanks for this. I have been getting a lot of these lately. I know it's spam, but it's disconcerting to see the first 6-digit is always the s...
by armeliusc
Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual enrollment time, trying to decide on Dependent Care FSA
Replies: 9
Views: 463

Re: Annual enrollment time, trying to decide on Dependent Care FSA

In this case I would probably not bother when using FSA and just claim Dependent Care Credit when filing taxes later. The difference is probably small enough, but you risk of forfeiting the money in the FSA if you don't end up using it.
by armeliusc
Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgage Refi, How To, Should I?
Replies: 12
Views: 1362

Re: Mortgage Refi, How To, Should I?

QL is probably not the lowest rate out there but some of these outfits may be throwing out teaser rates you aren’t likely to get. Could you elaborate why you think this 'teaser rate' is not likely to get? (honest question). So on a lark I put in a quick online info request and Sebonic called me wit...
by armeliusc
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: idiot proof router?
Replies: 53
Views: 4825

Re: idiot proof router?

Google Wifi. Every wifi point has one ether port, and you can add switch to every single one of them if you need more than one port. You can start simple just following its wizard but it can also do reasonably advanced configuration.