Search found 661 matches

by bberris
Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental Insurance/Costs
Replies: 25
Views: 1627

Re: Dental Insurance/Costs

Most people will probably about break even or come out slightly head on dental insurance if they get twice yearly cleanings, if you get fillings or any other services you'll probably come out significantly ahead by having insurance. Most the time the only way to have lower costs by not having denta...
by bberris
Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental Insurance/Costs
Replies: 25
Views: 1627

Re: Dental Insurance/Costs

I have not been to a dentist in many years but have quite a bit of non-emergency work I need to get done. Mostly cavities and one crown. Does anyone have any ideas on how to alleviate the cost? Does dental insurance cover "pre-existing" dental issues? Mexico: http://wheelingit.us/2013/01/18/getting...
by bberris
Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: New to 401k. How is this Match?
Replies: 14
Views: 1338

Re: New to 401k. How is this Match?

It seems a little stingy for a match; I've seen and had at least 3 % of contribution rather than a flat limit. But then you have to look at your compensation and benefits as a whole. The health insurance looks pretty good. Anyway, I'm not sure what action you can take except to make sure you contrib...
by bberris
Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Drinking water price craziness
Replies: 80
Views: 7159

Re: Drinking water price craziness

Expensive bottled water is strictly a US thing. In Italy and France, a 1 L bottle costs less than 25 c at the grocery store, even the neighborhood minimarts. The fact that people will pay high prices is due to what economists call an inverse-demand curve. The higher the price, the more people want i...
by bberris
Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal mortgage loan
Replies: 16
Views: 725

Re: Personal mortgage loan

What is the goal here? You do realize that a loan won't help him qualify for a mortgage, but a gift will.
by bberris
Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TSA Pre-check for free
Replies: 75
Views: 5552

Re: TSA Pre-check for free

I just signed up for TSA Pre-check for my wife and I . I did this based on the new security requirements imposed by the TSA and I thought it was a good idea. Well I though so anyway. A friend of mine says I wasted my money . He says that whenever he flies " primary Jet Blue and Southwest "...
by bberris
Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Green Dot cards are ID fraud!
Replies: 22
Views: 2805

Re: Green Dot cards are ID fraud!

If they don't use credit, what would someone gain by opening a card in your name? Isn't it a stored-value card? If they put money on it you could take the money. Some people will put money on it, or link their bank account, tax refund, or welfare. People without bank accounts might be fooled into d...
by bberris
Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are bitcoins nonsense?
Replies: 73
Views: 4537

Re: Are bitcoins nonsense?

A US dollar (or US treasury issue - just another form of paper IOU) is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. I have no idea what is backing the "value" of a bitcoin. The backing of the US Government only has weight because other countries and people say it does, the sa...
by bberris
Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:40 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are bitcoins nonsense?
Replies: 73
Views: 4537

Re: Are bitcoins nonsense?

LRDave wrote:You've got to have something to pay ransomware with.....


I know you're kidding but there is a grain of truth to it. Ransom is a kind of tax (you don't want to pay, you have to pay), and taxes drive money.
by bberris
Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pausing 401k to Pay Debts?
Replies: 48
Views: 2195

Re: Pausing 401k to Pay Debts?

No way would I stop the 401k to get the match. That is free money you will never get back.
Is day care really worth it? That second income is being taxed at least 33 % income and payroll taxes and maybe more state. Consider having the lower paid of you stay at home.
by bberris
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: What Drives Municipal Bond Yields
Replies: 42
Views: 3358

Re: Larry Swedroe: What Drives Municipal Bond Yields

The article is silent on the big one to me, calls. Almost all munis are callable, treasuries never. So the buyer of a muni takes almost all the risk of rising interest rates and gets almost no benefit from falling interest rates. Not at all. There are plenty of munis that are not callable. Hopefull...
by bberris
Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Larry Swedroe: What Drives Municipal Bond Yields
Replies: 42
Views: 3358

Re: Larry Swedroe: What Drives Municipal Bond Yields

The article is silent on the big one to me, calls. Almost all munis are callable, treasuries never. So the buyer of a muni takes almost all the risk of rising interest rates and gets almost no benefit from falling interest rates.
by bberris
Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alternatives to Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player
Replies: 29
Views: 1915

Re: Alternatives to Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player

Ricola wrote:
DSInvestor wrote:Here's a link to bestbuy.com with sansa clip that show some options at $35, $49 and $59:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage. ... &keys=keys


I looked at the manual for the Sansa Jam and it said the only books it would accept are Audible.

It's an mp3 player. It will play books or rap on mp3. There is no music detector.
by bberris
Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Security trades with an IRA (ROTH)
Replies: 3
Views: 300

Re: Security trades with an IRA (ROTH)

Not trying to speak for Livesoft, but if you wash a taxable-account loss with an ira buy, you lose the tax deduction forever. That is kind of a big deal. If you had washed the sale in taxable you only defer the deduction. That would be "No big deal".
by bberris
Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: OuiGo and OuiBus: Any experience?
Replies: 1
Views: 200

Re: OuiGo and OuiBus: Any experience?

I used OuiGo train a few years ago. As I remember, there were two cars attached to the far end of a regular SNCF. They check your ticket as you board instead of later. No other difference I could tell.
by bberris
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:14 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cryptocurrencies
Replies: 45
Views: 3259

Re: Cryptocurrencies

Calling something a currency does not make it money. I realize bitcoin is used for extortion and other illegal activities, and maybe for something legitimate here and there. But anyone doing this (except the bitlocker guys) will immediately exchange their bitcoin for real money. Think if you were a ...
by bberris
Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: car lease buyout at term end - how negotiable?
Replies: 25
Views: 2097

Re: car lease buyout at term end - how negotiable?

Not very. The dealer would rather sell/lease another new car to you. And if you return the car they can always sell it. (Maybe you can buy it then!) The only way they would take less than residual is if the car has depreciated below that number. In that case, wouldn't it be in your interest to turn ...
by bberris
Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Delay Social Security to age 70 and Spend more money at 62
Replies: 203
Views: 31613

Re: Delay Social Security to age 70 and Spend more money at 62

I've read through this entire thread, and I don't think this was covered (sorry if it was and I missed it). How do you account for a couple that has similar salaries and work history, and thus very similar SS benefits. For simplicity, let's say each person would receive $2,000/month SS benefit at a...
by bberris
Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 74k in unrealized gains in a high fee, taxable account.
Replies: 5
Views: 662

Re: 74k in unrealized gains in a high fee, taxable account.

I've learned about the Bogle world in the past year and was unsure of what to do since the market seems to keep going up. But now I am ready to dive in. About 13 years ago I received a windfall of about 200k. Having no clue on what to do, I was advised to put half in stocks and half in CD's. I went...
by bberris
Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 6856

Re: Personal loan to a family member

Conventional wisdom is a loan to friends/family = a gift you will never see repaid. could giving $$ in this way be considered a 'gift' and generate some form of taxable event? https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i709.pdf If there is a promise to pay, it's not a gift. Even if they never pay, it's not a ...
by bberris
Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 401Ks and mergers
Replies: 5
Views: 511

Re: 401Ks and mergers

Is the "new" stock already trading? If it's really new, hard to say. No company decides the prices of their stock; buyers and sellers do that. The merger proxy statement should tell you something. And in theory, a merger by stock swap shouldn't change the total value any.
by bberris
Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: can a city mandate garbage & recycling service? is that legal?
Replies: 36
Views: 2372

Re: can a city mandate garbage & recycling service? is that legal?

Is it legal for a City to mandate that a homeowner has curbside recycling service? and charge them for it in/on their property tax? even if as a separate 'fee' on the prop tax bill (pays for local private hauler to pick up your recycling 1x a week) same question about garbage service (private haule...
by bberris
Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Life Insurance
Replies: 14
Views: 1780

Re: Buying Life Insurance

Don't cancel the old policy. Level-term life in the last few years of the term is a very good deal. Look at life expectancy tables for your age, run the numbers and you will see what I mean. You can always buy another policy without canceling the old one.
by bberris
Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Jewelry insurance. Is it ever worth it?
Replies: 35
Views: 3096

Re: Jewelry insurance. Is it ever worth it?

By definition, someone who buys expensive jewelry can afford to lose it. Your life would not change one whit by losing a $10,000 ring. Most of the purchase price was lost on the day of sale. On the other hand, if you inherit valuable jewelry, sell it.
by bberris
Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When should I exercise my incentive stock options?
Replies: 34
Views: 2405

Re: When should I exercise my incentive stock options?

I think you have this wrong about taxes. The original stock or option grant is taxable at ordinary rates including payroll tax. You would only pay ltcg if the stock went up between exercise and sale, and then only the capital gain (difference between exercise and sale) would be taxed at favored rate...
by bberris
Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10k House (hypothetical) at 3.75% rate, you pay $6,672.16 in interest after 30 years?
Replies: 49
Views: 4734

Re: $10k House (hypothetical) at 3.75% rate, you pay $6,672.16 in interest after 30 years?

Most mortgages in the US are simple interest loans. In your example, if you start with a $10,000 mortgage balance in month one, your interest payment in month two will be exactly 3.75% of $10,000 (plus some amount of principal established based on your amortization schedule). Interest each month is...
by bberris
Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies
Replies: 31
Views: 3288

Re: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies

Can you sell or transfer a term policy? I've always thought it had to be owned by the insured. Gill Anyone can buy a term policy on anyone else's life, if they have an insurable interest (they would lose something if the person died). I remember Walmart was buying policies on low-level employees as...
by bberris
Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies
Replies: 31
Views: 3288

Re: Selling no-longer-needed term life policies

Can you sell or transfer a term policy? I've always thought it had to be owned by the insured. Gill Anyone can buy a term policy on anyone else's life, if they have an insurable interest (they would lose something if the person died). I remember Walmart was buying policies on low-level employees as...
by bberris
Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is a "sleeve"?
Replies: 34
Views: 3227

Re: What is a "sleeve"?

Hmm. I guess financial advisors (insurance salesdroids) are using random words to disguise annuities.
by bberris
Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicaid irrevocable trust- any experiences?
Replies: 46
Views: 2284

Re: Medicaid irrevocable trust- any experiences?

Medicaid is not inferior care, it is not care at all. It is state assistance for paying for care. You can choose any nursing home; some accept medicaid as payment in full and some want additional. So if you transfer assets to a child 5 years before the need, you can go to any nursing home. The chil...
by bberris
Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicaid irrevocable trust- any experiences?
Replies: 46
Views: 2284

Re: Medicaid irrevocable trust- any experiences?

Medicaid is not inferior care, it is not care at all. It is state assistance for paying for care. You can choose any nursing home; some accept medicaid as payment in full and some want additional. So if you transfer assets to a child 5 years before the need, you can go to any nursing home. The child...
by bberris
Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car leasing similar to buying an option
Replies: 12
Views: 1220

Re: Car leasing similar to buying an option

You are correct that there is an option aspect to a lease. Your risk of depreciation variance is transferred to the lessor. But as others posted above, there are details. One that hasn't been mentioned: what if you don't want the car at the end of the lease, but it is worth more than the residual va...
by bberris
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chances of delaying Social Security to age 70. Realistic?
Replies: 54
Views: 4086

Re: Chances of delaying Social Security to age 70. Realistic?

palaheel wrote:
annielouise wrote: I also use 75% of full benefits, since that's the expected benefit reduction under current law.


Could you elaborate on that, please?

What law is that? I'm not familiar with any current law that cuts future benefits for anyone.
by bberris
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chances of delaying Social Security to age 70. Realistic?
Replies: 54
Views: 4086

Re: Chances of delaying Social Security to age 70. Realistic?

Some of the posters are using a little shorthand to describe social security benefits taxation. Either that, or they don't understand. SS benefits are not taxed at 85 %, even with tax torpedoes, or humps, or whatever. Instead, a maximum of 85 % of SS benefits are considered taxable income. So social...
by bberris
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Opinions on a 401K Stable Value Fund
Replies: 9
Views: 838

Re: Opinions on a 401K Stable Value Fund

This is a short term corporate bond fund with 0.75% expense ratio. It would have been a nice fund if the expense ratio were not so high. Part of that fee is to insure against losses when participants trade out of the fund. You can lose money in a bond fund but very unlikely in a svf. You can look a...
by bberris
Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Realtor fee negotiations
Replies: 27
Views: 2434

Re: Realtor fee negotiations

Where we live, the market is so tight I think you could easily get a break on the listing. As with all things real estate, it's local. Edina Realtors here owns the market, but they are desperate for listings, there are other brokers, and every listing we saw had multiple, over list offers.
by bberris
Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Argentina issuing 100-year bond.
Replies: 64
Views: 6354

Re: Argentina issuing 100-year bond.

I wonder what the base strip will trade for? a sub-penny bond.
Perpetual bonds aren't limited to consols. You could consider some corporate preferred stock as a perpetual bond.
by bberris
Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How Does Fed Reduce Balance Sheet?
Replies: 24
Views: 2623

Re: How Does Fed Reduce Balance Sheet?

Earlier it was stated that the Fed simply destroys the money it receives back when the bond expires, and gives the interest to the treasury. Question: Why not destroy the interest money it receives as well? It is all money supply. Fungible. If destroying money is good (and I'm not arguing that unwi...
by bberris
Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Those pesky account closing fees
Replies: 14
Views: 1521

Re: Those pesky account closing fees

Are you liquidating or transferring the assets? The receiving firm of a transfer will probably reimburse you, and possibly more.
If you are simply liquidating and need the funds for spending, ask them to waive the fee, if you've been a good customer or have other account.
by bberris
Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Overpaid Big Time On Warranty
Replies: 55
Views: 3150

Re: Overpaid Big Time On Warranty

A 72 month car loan? Seriously? ...arghhh. If the financing is zero percent, I thought it would be wise to stretch it out. It will improve your cash flow and there is no mathematical justification for paying off a 0% loan on a shorter term unless there is deflation. In the car business as in any bu...
by bberris
Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Overpaid Big Time On Warranty
Replies: 55
Views: 3150

Re: Overpaid Big Time On Warranty

All insurance is a money-losing proposition, on average. That doesn't mean never buy insurance. No one would bet their entire net worth on one roll of the dice, even if the odds were in your favor. (That's why otherwise silly quiz shows like "who wants to be a millionaire" get viewers.) Wh...
by bberris
Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When is Municipal Bond Interest NOT "Tax-free"...
Replies: 15
Views: 1520

Re: When is Municipal Bond Interest NOT "Tax-free"...

Muni bond interest from out of state is also taxed by your residence state. It also counts for ACA subsidy income, effectively adding 9.6 % marginally, or possibly 10,000 % if the income pushes you over the cliff. Then there is the MN property tax refund, where it also adds to income when considerin...
by bberris
Wed May 31, 2017 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2016 trip to Ancient Greece
Replies: 3
Views: 744

Re: 2016 trip to Ancient Greece

I would love to go to Ancient Greece. Can you tell me the name of your time-travel agent?
by bberris
Wed May 31, 2017 7:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seresto Flea and Tick collar
Replies: 4
Views: 465

Re: Seresto Flea and Tick collar

I need to get a flea and tick product for a cat and a dog. Has anyone tried the Seresto 8-month collar? I would hate to drop 55.00 on a collar that did not work. Would consider an alternate product, so long as it works Yes it works. I also live in the tick capital of the world. Max had many imbedde...
by bberris
Wed May 31, 2017 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Condo Assoc seeking thoughts
Replies: 24
Views: 2450

Re: Condo Assoc seeking thoughts

Making current owners pay for repairs down the road (2037) doesn't seem fair to me. What if some of them don't plan on staying there that long? My HOA has a reserve of 1 year of operating expenses but we only maintain the common-area landscape and the neighborhood perimeter wall. I'd be interested ...
by bberris
Mon May 29, 2017 9:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Credit unions are non-profit, how come they do not dominate over banks???
Replies: 73
Views: 5943

Re: Credit unions are non-profit, how come they do not dominate over banks???

Non profit does not exactly mean there is no profit margin. It is really just a tax and ownership issue. For example, a non-profit may choose to pay high salaries and do extravagant travel to lower their retained earnings. And they can always retain earnings as a reserve. Finally remember that prof...
by bberris
Mon May 29, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Credit unions are non-profit, how come they do not dominate over banks???
Replies: 73
Views: 5943

Re: Credit unions are non-profit, how come they do not dominate over banks???

Non profit does not exactly mean there is no profit margin. It is really just a tax and ownership issue. For example, a non-profit may choose to pay high salaries and do extravagant travel to lower their retained earnings. And they can always retain earnings as a reserve. Finally remember that profi...
by bberris
Wed May 24, 2017 8:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to calculate tax benefit of owning a home
Replies: 34
Views: 2437

Re: How to calculate tax benefit of owning a home

You are mainly discussing the tax benefits of a house note. The real tax benefits come to a buyer who pays cash. Now you still take the standard deduction, but you get the tax free return of rent that you would have paid. So if your $300,000 house would rent for 2,000 a month, you earn 8 % tax free....
by bberris
Mon May 15, 2017 2:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Uses of Debt
Replies: 21
Views: 2473

Re: Uses of Debt

One particular debt/tax strategy that comes to mind would apply to an older person with a large taxable capital gain, say something that would fund fifteen years of consumption in retirement. Start taking margin loans for consumption instead of selling stock. The margin interest is deductible provi...
by bberris
Sat May 13, 2017 5:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Uses of Debt
Replies: 21
Views: 2473

Re: Uses of Debt

Continuing on the fungible money idea: Once you have spent the borrowed money, the debt doesn't care what you spent it on. You owe it anyway. So the argument that debt is good or bad depending on what it is used for isn't very useful to me. The question is was the spending (or investment) worth it. ...