Search found 600 matches

by bberris
Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to know if someone has filed your tax returns fradulently?
Replies: 11
Views: 778

Re: How to know if someone has filed your tax returns fradulently?

I think just using the Where's my refund app at IRS.gov would tell you something. That won't work unless you know the filing status and amount of refund claimed by the person who filed the return fraudulently using your SSN and name. (Note that the amount of refund claimed by that person likely has...
by bberris
Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to know if someone has filed your tax returns fradulently?
Replies: 11
Views: 778

Re: How to know if someone has filed your tax returns fradulently?

https://www.irs.gov/refunds

Remember they are not filing for your refund, but rather a refund. It is probably a lot larger than yours.
by bberris
Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inlaw Suddenly Wants Financial Security in 60's..
Replies: 27
Views: 3957

Re: Inlaw Suddenly Wants Financial Security in 60's..

I think if you talk with someone who has already talked to a salesman the best thing to do is say things like. "I bet he made you feel really comfortable, was a really nice person, told you that you were making the right decision etc... Did he ONLY want to charge you 1% a year, that sounds rea...
by bberris
Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Can I create tax losses with short/long ETF positions?
Replies: 4
Views: 208

Re: Can I create tax losses with short/long ETF positions?

This runs afoul of a general IRS rule called "economic substance". A transaction whose only purpose is to reduce taxes would disallow the tax loss. This might be fraud as well. Since you expect the return to be zero, this would fall under that rule. Note that you would also have to constan...
by bberris
Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Brokerage house bonuses and hidden bonuses
Replies: 2
Views: 411

Re: Brokerage house bonuses and hidden bonuses

Thanks! Looks like I left money on the table. Good to know for next time.
by bberris
Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Endless Job Interviews (with same company)
Replies: 56
Views: 5035

Re: Endless Job Interviews (with same company)

This usually happens when the direct boss wants you, but he can't convince the higher ups that you are the right one, or that they need the help, or both. I agree with asking on the phone what other information you can provide them with. Another rather sad explanation is that they are trying to pry ...
by bberris
Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard
Replies: 28
Views: 3475

Re: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard

I'm just depressed that I'm about 2 years out on a home purchase and I know interest rates will be higher. I'm figuring in 2 years we'll be between 6-7% on conventional 30 yr mortgages. If that happens, prices will be much lower. Don't count on that either. The inventory isn't there and sellers may...
by bberris
Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard
Replies: 28
Views: 3475

Re: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard

. It has been tough on our senior citizens as this has reduced their income somewhat. I have always wondered about this sentiment. You hear a lot about the "war on savers" with the low interest rates on savings accounts and CDs and such... but it seems to me that it completely tosses asid...
by bberris
Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?
Replies: 7
Views: 341

Re: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?

In the case of VTSAX and VTI, you are right. They have not had a capital gain distribution for a long time.
Not all mutual funds and ETFs operate as a pair that way. Certainly many ETF's and mutuals distribute capital gains.
by bberris
Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?
Replies: 7
Views: 341

Re: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?

The problem with unrealized appreciation in a taxable account is the same whether ETF, CEF, or mutual fund. After the capital gain is realized, you get a taxable distribution without having a comparable actual capital gain. Yes, you could mitigate this by tax-loss harvesting. That is not a clean sol...
by bberris
Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?
Replies: 7
Views: 341

Re: Do unrealized gains impact a fund's price?

Iorek is correct as he specifies mutual funds. Closed end funds with large unrealized appreciation tend to have higher discounts to NAV, because they trade independently of their assets.

If you are owning this in a tax-shelter like a 401k or IRA, unrealized appreciation won't matter to you.
by bberris
Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard
Replies: 28
Views: 3475

Re: "We’re not going back to the ‘80s, but expect the Fed to raise rates" by Joe Davis of Vanguard

Jags4186 wrote:I'm just depressed that I'm about 2 years out on a home purchase and I know interest rates will be higher. I'm figuring in 2 years we'll be between 6-7% on conventional 30 yr mortgages.


If that happens, prices will be much lower.
by bberris
Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: About to retire and need to realize 5%/year to live on.
Replies: 71
Views: 6961

Re: About to retire and need to realize 5%/year to live on.

dbr wrote:A person I knew was murdered going around collecting rent from his tenants.


And I thought stock investing was risky!
That is risk of a whole nother smoke.
by bberris
Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hitting the Obamacare "cliff" - and a possible way out?
Replies: 8
Views: 1526

Re: Hitting the Obamacare "cliff" - and a possible way out?

Is your health plan HSA compliant? It's not too late to pay into an HSA which might get you under the cliff.

I keep a spreadsheet open to constantly monitor income. There are a lot of moving parts to watch.
by bberris
Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: For those considering "magic" annuities
Replies: 10
Views: 1700

Re: For those considering "magic" annuities

"Accumulation Value". So it's a number that you can enjoy on the screen. You can even print it out. You can really do anything you want except spend it.
by bberris
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can COBRA be frozen on the account of travel to outside of Country
Replies: 5
Views: 368

Re: Can COBRA be frozen on the account of travel to outside of Country

Greetings for Ides of March, I am wondering if the COBRA health insurance can be frozen and restarted at a later date on the account of traveling of either primary person or spouse in the family benifit just so that, that time period dont get wasted. Please if anybody can comment on this, thanks My...
by bberris
Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: For those considering "magic" annuities
Replies: 10
Views: 1700

Re: For those considering "magic" annuities

But you have to admire his bravery in the face of possible assassination by Wall Street operatives! The ads appear to be browser generated based on the page content or history as they try to target the user. These are often amusing when the words have two meanings. Search for a screwdriver and you g...
by bberris
Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pros and cons of a mortgage
Replies: 10
Views: 1074

Re: Pros and cons of a mortgage

Paying cash for a house gives you the imputed rent tax-free.
Let's say you own your house free and clear. If you sell it and start renting, you now pay tax on the income produced by the sale proceeds, and still have to pay rent. The income you use to pay rent is taxed.
by bberris
Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Where to go when stocks, bonds overpriced
Replies: 53
Views: 4924

Re: Where to go when stocks, bonds overpriced

Stocks and bonds do not statistically move in opposite directions (they are not very anti-correlated with R of -1). Rather, they are non-correlated with R near zero. Even so, risk is reduced by having a bond allocation since they are not highly correlated (with a positive R). Where to go? Whole Life...
by bberris
Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 2599

Re: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?

I think you are eligible for file and suspend under the grandfathered rules. Run the calculators to see what is suggested.
by bberris
Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: AP: Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace in a decade
Replies: 45
Views: 3983

Re: AP: Americans buy existing homes at fastest pace in a decade

tinscale wrote:I predict that this won't end well. :(


Well, if it does end well, that really wasn't the end, was it?
by bberris
Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 2599

Re: Early Soc Sec or spend down investments/assets?

I second livesoft's recommendation. The main consideration is that you are buying a safe, inflation-indexed, annuity by foregoing current income. Social security income is taxed at a lower rate than other retirement income (except a roth or HSA), so you want to maximize the portion of income that is...
by bberris
Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bull/Sell your stock before dividend date or after dividend date?
Replies: 9
Views: 1200

Re: Bull/Sell your stock before dividend date or after dividend date?

Suppose you want to buy a mutual fund for total stock market. There's VTSAX which gives dividends for times a year. There's SWTSX which gives dividends once a year. Assuming stock doesn't really change in price between the two days, would you want to BUY it the day before or the day after it's ex-d...
by bberris
Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct Has Raised Its Prices
Replies: 2
Views: 625

Re: TaxAct Has Raised Its Prices

Taxact pricing is fixed when you respond to an offer. If a lower offer comes along, you can respond to it and delete the older offer. Filing time does not matter.

They have clearly adopted a kind of airline ticket pricing model. Probably no deals now.
by bberris
Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 20% low-risk one month return from Thrift Conversions (bank demutualization/IPOs)
Replies: 10
Views: 729

Re: 20% low-risk one month return from Thrift Conversions (bank demutualization/IPOs)

Speaking of these, check out some of the SEC actions at the bottom of this investor alert. https://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/mutualconversion.htm They got a little aggressive and illegal. For example, one of them used friends and relatives to open accounts all over the US, and supplied the funds fo...
by bberris
Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies
Replies: 25
Views: 1788

Re: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies

Keep in mind that level term policies near the end of the term can be a very good bet. Morbid thoughts aside, this is just a simple calculation. Look up the chance of dying next year, and you might want to keep paying the premiums. Of course you can adjust for the health of the insured. I considered...
by bberris
Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on car leases
Replies: 12
Views: 833

Re: Question on car leases

Another thing about leases. When you turn in the car, it has to have legal tread on the tires. So think about buying a new set of tires for someone you never met, like we did.
by bberris
Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Munich,Germany- advice on things to not miss
Replies: 34
Views: 1559

Re: Munich,Germany- advise on things to not miss

I enjoyed Freising and stayed there the night before our flight. It's an easy trip to the airport. Great food (we got tired of German and went to a Vietnamese place that was excellent and really cheap). It's much more peaceful and less crowded than central Munich, with a nice square and walking arou...
by bberris
Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct still not importing stock data
Replies: 32
Views: 3311

Re: TaxAct still not importing stock data

Make your own attachments using spreadsheet software after downloading the csv. Use "Enter totals from a statement of transactions that you will attach to your return." You need to separate long and short term, covered and non-covered transactions so that each is on a separate sheet. Mayb...
by bberris
Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: get rid of landline but keep access to 911
Replies: 38
Views: 3341

Re: get rid of landline but keep access to 911

Keeping a land line for 911 is a good idea if you plan to be home for all emergencies.
by bberris
Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct still not importing stock data
Replies: 32
Views: 3311

Re: TaxAct still not importing stock data

Make your own attachments using spreadsheet software after downloading the csv.

Use "Enter totals from a statement of transactions that you will attach to your return."

You need to separate long and short term, covered and non-covered transactions so that each is on a separate sheet.
by bberris
Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about ML trading practices
Replies: 11
Views: 883

Re: Question about ML trading practices

They do this because they get money from every trade. Even if there are no commissions, if one sells a few cents below the price one could get on the national market by using an odd-lot and NOT using a round lot, then the broker makes money. By the same token, if one buys and a pays a few cents mor...
by bberris
Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fender bender...no citation, likely scam...what next?
Replies: 17
Views: 2985

Re: fender bender...no citation, likely scam...what next?

Big Bucks? Not really. The usual amount for fraud claims is about $20,000 and the insurance co will pay. If they try for too much the insurance will go to trial.
by bberris
Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: fender bender...no citation, likely scam...what next?
Replies: 17
Views: 2985

Re: fender bender...no citation, likely scam...what next?

This is why everyone in Russia has a dash cam. Check out youtube for video of pedestrians throwing themselves onto moving cars' hoods. Coming soon to a country near you.
by bberris
Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: still possible to register for ACA until 31st January
Replies: 7
Views: 600

Re: still possible to register for ACA until 31st January

willthrill81 wrote:If you get coverage, there's a good chance that it will only cover you for this year. It's anyone's guess right now what will be available for these people beginning next year.


That has always been the case, even when my employer provided insurance. You can only live one year at a time.
by bberris
Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA spent incorrectly
Replies: 4
Views: 754

Re: HSA spent incorrectly

First thing, get a good record of your out of pocket from the insurance explanation-of-benefits. This should be readily obtainable; you don't need to keep track as you go. Then add to that dental expenses, and mileage @ $ 0.17 per mile to and from every doctor, dental, pharmacy trip. You might find ...
by bberris
Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Senior Unsecured Notes
Replies: 19
Views: 1178

Re: Senior Unsecured Notes

I love the term "negative gains". The sooner you dispose of these losers, you will be on the road to negative losses.
by bberris
Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reasons against margin aside from risk of margin call?
Replies: 23
Views: 1641

Re: Reasons against margin aside from risk of margin call?

I think there is a difference between actual use of margin and having a margin-approved account as to whether shares are lent. I have a margin account and use margin for a few days in small amounts on occasion. I got caught with cash-in-lieu once or twice, I haven't used it in years and never had a ...
by bberris
Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Reasons against margin aside from risk of margin call?
Replies: 23
Views: 1641

Re: Reasons against margin aside from risk of margin call?

This one is a biggie for me. If you use margin, your broker can lend out your shares for short-sellers. You gave your permission when you signed the margin agreement. I have nothing against short-sellers, but they pay you cash-in-lieu of a dividend. This is taxed as ordinary income instead of the lo...
by bberris
Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work
Replies: 83
Views: 3436

Re: Medical Charges vs Contract Price - Non Covered Work

This isn't a way for the insurance co to pressure docs to join. It's a way for hospitals and doctors to collude and avoid negotiated rates for care. These are the same drive-by docs who you never see but are always used in operating rooms, and are never in network.
by bberris
Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Porting a phone number
Replies: 8
Views: 839

Re: Porting a phone number

Not exactly the same, but I ported my number to Google Fi from Verizon. Verizon closed my account immediately. I never even spoke to them. So I would be worried about porting a number to Google voice if you are keeping your phone service.
by bberris
Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Looking for some insights into the age-old Buy vs Lease discussion for a car
Replies: 9
Views: 837

Re: Looking for some insights into the age-old Buy vs Lease discussion for a car

Selling the car at the end of the lease is not so simple. You often have to pay a fee, but the worst of it is you pay the residual sales tax, even though you only own the residual for a few days. Then your buyer pays the sales tax again. And when you buy or lease another car, more sales tax.
by bberris
Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Contribution [Maximum allowable?]
Replies: 12
Views: 1106

Re: HSA Contribution [Maximum allowable?]

If both spouses are covered by the HDHP and both are over 55, the maximum for the full year of coverage is 8,750. The catch is that the makeup contributions (the extra $1,000 each) need to be in separate HSA's.

IRS Pub 969 for details.
by bberris
Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retiring - "not subject to tax" 401K funds
Replies: 20
Views: 2222

Re: Retiring - "not subject to tax" 401K funds

I had a small portion of non-taxable 401k. You can ask for that portion by check as a non-taxable withdrawal. Not sure how a roth conversion would work.
by bberris
Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the most inexpensive way to learn driving in Seattle?
Replies: 14
Views: 1065

Re: What is the most inexpensive way to learn driving in Seattle?

If you're 30 and never learned to drive, why start now? Not that it's a bad idea but if you think $700 is a lot of money then you're in for a rude awakening when you purchase insurance, car, gas, maintenance, etc... so it might not even be worth your time. I read somewhere comparing the cost of Ube...
by bberris
Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Marijuana stocks
Replies: 17
Views: 1747

Re: Marijuana stocks

Indeed there are lots of opportunities in the weed industry for sleazy stock promoters, their easily manipulated penny stocks and naive "investors". Most went public from failed shells by reverse merger. Those shells are the remainder of the last heavily promoted stock fad. What was it, go...
by bberris
Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How do you treat 401k Match for IRR Purposes?
Replies: 46
Views: 2267

Re: How do you treat 401k Match for IRR Purposes?

The match is part of your compensation. It is not a return on investment. To see this, imagine quitting your job. Your rate of return does not go down drastically because you quit.
by bberris
Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The man vs. machine argument and how thinking can hurt you!
Replies: 26
Views: 2758

Re: The man vs. machine argument and how thinking can hurt you!

I recommend the book "Drunkard's Walk" by Mlodinow. It discusses how our intuition is frequently misled by random events. One experiment that was very telling: Make a deck of cards with three reds for each black and shuffle. Now start guessing the card color. Your optimum strategy is to al...
by bberris
Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anything I can do to reduce my taxes for 2016 or future?
Replies: 24
Views: 2833

Re: Anything I can do to reduce my taxes for 2016 or future?

A non-deductible IRA seems like a bad idea vs a taxable account, unless you plan to convert it to a roth. Dividends and capital gains in an IRA are taxed as ordinary income. Capital gains and dividends have favored tax treatment. You can choose investments that pay small or no dividends and postpone...
by bberris
Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Elective Procedures/Dental Work outside the US - $/quality
Replies: 11
Views: 734

Re: Elective Procedures/Dental Work outside the US - $/quality

I think it's too general to consider dental by country. There must be good and bad dentists everywhere. I know there are good dentists in Mexico. Try to get to know someone you trust who can refer you locally.

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