Search found 1058 matches

by billern
Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Insane CPA bill, please advise
Replies: 23
Views: 4392

Re: Insane CPA bill, please advise

Going from $400 per year to a $2K bill with no advance warning makes it sound like they don't want you as a client.

Side note: Please try to be understanding if you contact your CPA this time of year. The September at October 15 deadlines are really stressful.
by billern
Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting out of upside down car
Replies: 60
Views: 3593

Re: Getting out of upside down car

Ever heard of GAP insurance. :wink:

Just kidding. You should find someone who will buy it for a good price and pay the difference to the lender.
by billern
Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Who is responsible for bank errors
Replies: 16
Views: 1352

Re: Who is responsible for bank errors

I had this issue a number of years ago when Citibank was my bank. They reviewed the check image and agreed with me that the amount debited from my account was incorrect. I had to sign some paperwork and then they handled the adjustment with the other bank. I'd expect this to be the bank's responsibi...
by billern
Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Quality Personal Property
Replies: 30
Views: 2689

Re: Buying Quality Personal Property

Nice things (houses, furniture, etc) should primarily be purchased as consumption items. If they later appreciate (or even hold their value), that should be a pleasant surprise. Just don't buy it expecting any appreciation. Even with appreciation, it likely will not perform as well as a low cost div...
by billern
Thu May 26, 2016 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Real price for a new car
Replies: 64
Views: 5747

Re: Real price for a new car

I set up a fake email account and phone number (thanks google!) and requested online quotes from dealers through edmunds and truecar. New email and phone number are important as you will get spammed for a while. Ignore the calls and see what quotes are emailed to you. Use the best offer(s) you recei...
by billern
Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a New Car...Is it Unwise?
Replies: 68
Views: 6613

Re: Buying a New Car...Is it Unwise?

I bought a 2016 accord ex without sensing and couldn't be happier. My last car was 15 years old, not super safe, and not comfortable so I haven't regretted the purchase. Having read about the sensing package and other similar products from other manufacturers, I became convinced that sensing was not...
by billern
Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: foreign currency for travel
Replies: 18
Views: 1301

Re: foreign currency for travel

Best is generally at foreign ATMs using an ATM card that rebates ATMs fees and doesn't charge a currency conversion fee. Charles Schwab, Capital One 360, and Fidelity Cash Management account are all pretty good options. I've used Fidelity extensively. They say that they may charge a 1% currency conv...
by billern
Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What happens to unvested 401k of laid off employee when company files chpt 11?
Replies: 7
Views: 1191

Re: What happens to unvested 401k of laid off employee when company files chpt 11?

Hi all! I was laid off before the entire amount of company contributions to my 401k was fully vested. I have around $10K of unvested $$$ in my 401k with my previous employer (I am still maintaining that 401k). Now this employer might file for bankruptcy, there have been rumors for a long time but t...
by billern
Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Paralyzed by indecision
Replies: 19
Views: 2420

Re: Paralyzed by indecision

How much are you saving a year and how much do you have to invest? Reality is that, until you get older and accumulate more, your savings level is much more important than the investment you pick. Pick a simple investment (equities, target fund, or some mix of stock and bonds) and then focus on savi...
by billern
Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much car to buy $$
Replies: 57
Views: 5758

Re: How much car to buy $$

I just bought a new car after 15 years with my previous car. I paid 20% of my 2015 compensation and paid cash. Percentage of annual income is a decent metric for affordability but beyond that it should not mean anything. While making more money means you can afford a more expensive car, it doesn't m...
by billern
Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Michael Kitces says IRS auditors disapprove of Backdoor Roth IRA's
Replies: 154
Views: 21497

Re: Michael Kitces says IRS auditors disapprove of Backdoor Roth IRA's

For a government $19 trillion in debt, we seem very confident that the IRS will never change its mind about going after this. In 30 years, there is going to be hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in questionable ROTH earnings. What do you think the cost of IRS audits will be in 30 year...
by billern
Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Michael Kitces says IRS auditors disapprove of Backdoor Roth IRA's
Replies: 154
Views: 21497

Re: Michael Kitces says IRS auditors disapprove of Backdoor Roth IRA's

The IRS may not have the time, resources, or interest in attacking this series of transactions. The cost of losing with this would be high for an individual taxpayer - loss of tax deferred space and the excess contribution excise tax. There are some things that can be done to make it harder for the ...
by billern
Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus taxed at 44.46%?
Replies: 39
Views: 5000

Re: Bonus taxed at 44.46%?

Income tax withholding on a regular wage paycheck or bonus is not equivalent to the income tax related to that payment. The day of reckoning comes later when you file your tax return and compute the actual taxes. If paychecks were over-withheld, you get a refund. If under-withheld, you owe tax. Don'...
by billern
Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?
Replies: 103
Views: 9619

Re: Applied for 100 jobs, no callbacks. What's up?

Tailoring the cover letter (and resume) to the individual company is what shows them you have done your research and are interested in them as a company. Sending out 100 generic resumes is the equivalent of saying "Hey" or "What's up" on a dating site. Perhaps you will find someo...
by billern
Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: kitchen remodeling-why is it the norm?
Replies: 95
Views: 8894

Re: kitchen remodeling-why is it the norm?

Norms don't matter. Unless you plan on selling the house soon, only do remodels that are worth the cost for your use.

If you are thinking of selling, determine if it is worth the cost and hassle. I think in many cases, it does not make sense unless you are doing some of the labor yourself. YMMV.
by billern
Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: At what point do you tell your biggest client that no, it's not free this time?
Replies: 37
Views: 2626

Re: At what point do you tell your biggest client that no, it's not free this time?

Raise the contract price and include a certain number of additional hours for these additional services, if that is possible. Or perhaps they already pay enough.

Regardless, how much this other company makes and the lifestyle of the owners is not relevant.
by billern
Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Bank Tax Issue - "Participant" vs Employer contributions
Replies: 20
Views: 1497

Re: HSA Bank Tax Issue - "Participant" vs Employer contributions

Look at the W-2 issued by the employer and compare to the last paystub for the year. Do the wages in box 1 include the employer and employee contributions or not? What amount is shown in box 12 code W? If the employee elective contributions through payroll are included in Box 1 taxable wages then yo...
by billern
Sat Dec 05, 2015 6:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investing and Coworkers
Replies: 57
Views: 6993

Re: Investing and Coworkers

I talk some about what I do (lead by example), and I give very gentle, general advice about saving for retirement and low cost index options unless someone asks for help. People who want to take control of their finances and figure out the right method for themselves will. Those that want advice wil...
by billern
Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Considering ESOP Assets
Replies: 5
Views: 265

Re: Considering ESOP Assets

I'd discount ESOP assets to the extent they include non-publicly traded stocks. There is a lot of risk there and generally the only way to get redeemed is through leaving the company. If you are close to retirement, it may be worth considering leaving the company early to be able to get redeemed fro...
by billern
Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: helping oversea friends paying clients online - any issues?
Replies: 13
Views: 972

Re: helping oversea friends paying clients online - any issues?

This sounds a lot like a scam. You may be involved in something shady or you may be getting set up to be ripped off. I'd stop asap.
by billern
Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I won a stock picking contest in 1986
Replies: 12
Views: 1631

Re: I won a stock picking contest in 1986

Actually, I did very poorly in a stock picking contest in a college econ course. It was clearly not an easy way to make money. That laid the foundation for becoming a passive index investor. YMMV.
by billern
Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Major CPA Problem/Crisis
Replies: 20
Views: 2937

Re: Major CPA Problem/Crisis

I'd give him a week to cool off and hopefully reason will prevail. I would not spend a lot of time or money with a lawyer at this point.

Gather all the invoices you have received for services as well as copies of all engagement letters. Those will be useful later if he doesn't back down.
by billern
Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Taxation in California
Replies: 16
Views: 3169

Re: HSA Taxation in California

California does not conform to the Federal law re HSAs. As far as California is concerned, it is just another taxable account (ie: bank or brokerage account). So same rules apply. You are taxed on interest, dividends, and realized capital gains.
by billern
Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Has anyone tried to buy a new VW?
Replies: 14
Views: 2288

Re: Has anyone tried to buy a new VW?

With the way dealerships finance inventory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail_floorplan), some dealerships may have to offer additional incentives to move inventory and pay down debt. This may be one of those times when having cash to buy a car gets a lower price.
by billern
Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pros and cons paying off credit card immediately after billing cycle ends
Replies: 29
Views: 3531

Re: Pros and cons paying off credit card immediately after billing cycle ends

I always like to keep some extra cash in my checking / savings account for emergencies.

As long as you can pay your credit card early and still maintain that cash buffer, I don't see an issue. I do this.
by billern
Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Career and Resume Advice
Replies: 9
Views: 820

Re: Career and Resume Advice

I'm a tax manager in a regional firm in California. The job market is really tight and it is hard to find good people. If you are smart and motivated, you should have no problem finding a good job. As other suggested, a coverletter to explain the government jobs would be good. The other way to appro...
by billern
Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is it possible to take on more risk than 100% Equity?
Replies: 38
Views: 2782

Re: Is it possible to take on more risk than 100% Equity?

In most cases, people are more interested in knowing they will gift or bequest a certain amount than taking significant risk with their savings in hopes of potential appreciation.

For the significantly wealthy, I'm sure this is less of a concern.
by billern
Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is it possible to take on more risk than 100% Equity?
Replies: 38
Views: 2782

Re: Is it possible to take on more risk than 100% Equity?

Why is risk even considered in terms of allocation percentages? If I've got $50K in equities and $50K of net worth (100% stock allocation), is that really more risky than $50K of equities and $100K net worth (50% stock allocation)? In one, I lose $25K if the stock market drops 50%. In the other, I'd...
by billern
Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard sued for [failing to charge market rates to and then paying taxes on services to its mutual funds]
Replies: 781
Views: 128390

Re: Vanguard could owe billions in back taxes

This is a very complicated issue brought up by a whistleblower who would stand to profit substantially if tax is collected. He keeps making wild claims to get news headlines. As far as I know, we haven't heard if the IRS is even considering pursuing this. If there was substantial risk or uncertainty...
by billern
Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I re-return money to IRS?
Replies: 25
Views: 1736

Re: Should I re-return money to IRS?

Depreciation is a method of accounting. Treating something as non-depreciable is on such method of accounting. Generally, you cannot amend a return to change an established method of accounting. You have to file a 3115 to request permission (which is automatic for certain method changes). A better w...
by billern
Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I re-return money to IRS?
Replies: 25
Views: 1736

Re: Should I re-return money to IRS?

This also begs the question: Why did a CPA prepare amended returns for you for closed years? Most of the mistakes HR Block made were related to a rental that we're selling this year. We wanted to have it squared away before selling the rental. Did you have some other issue that might be subject to ...
by billern
Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I re-return money to IRS?
Replies: 25
Views: 1736

Re: Should I re-return money to IRS?

This also begs the question: Why did a CPA prepare amended returns for you for closed years? Did you have some other issue that might be subject to substantial penalties or might keep the statute of limitations open? The only thing I can think of is foreign account/asset disclosures and/or related f...
by billern
Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: General Partnership tax question
Replies: 5
Views: 567

Re: General Partnership tax question

I can think of no circumstances where the departure of a partner would impact taxable income or income allocations for prior years partnership tax returns were the returns were correct when originally filed. Perhaps someone read the partnership agreement and realized the tax returns have not been fi...
by billern
Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: what reason should I give? [Job resignation]
Replies: 57
Views: 7034

Re: what reason should I give? [Job resignation]

It sounds like you really want to know how to get a significant raise. Probably the best way is to line up a new job offer and use that to negotiate higher pay. If it fails, you can always accept the new job offer and move on. If it succeeds, you get what you want without having to change companies....
by billern
Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving from Canada to California with substantial RRSPs
Replies: 23
Views: 1607

Re: Moving from Canada to California with substantial RRSPs

OP, the California treatment is no different than that of a taxable investment/savings account. You would pay tax each year you are a California resident on the interest, dividends, and any capital gains on sale of the underlying assets. Yup - I read that position. But it would be like someone from...
by billern
Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving from Canada to California with substantial RRSPs
Replies: 23
Views: 1607

Re: Moving from Canada to California with substantial RRSPs

I cannot understand why California thinks it can tax your RRSP. Here is their position: https://www.ftb.ca.gov/law/infoletter/20030321.pdf OP, the California treatment is no different than that of a taxable investment/savings account. You would pay tax each year you are a California resident on the...
by billern
Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Win 10 issues [Windows 10]
Replies: 28
Views: 3637

Re: Win 10 issues

Are you talking about Cortana? If so you click on the search box, click on settings and turn off give suggestions and search online. No, I got rid of Cortana. As you know, with Win 10 there is a window icon in the lower left corner that will open a menu similar to older versions of Windows. Right n...
by billern
Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Do You Find Employment Today?
Replies: 20
Views: 2914

Re: How Do You Find Employment Today?

Personal network. Having a connection to someone at a company can get you past that first filter step. A good friend who is doing hiring for his start-up recently mentioned indeed.com to me, which I'd never heard of. Apparently it is really big in certain job markets. Maybe try some other job postin...
by billern
Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Co-Workers Think I'm Doomed Based on Portfolio Perf.
Replies: 50
Views: 6267

Re: Co-Workers Think I'm Doomed Based on Portfolio Perf.

A fund (or asset class) return over an arbitrary period of time in the past does not indicate how it will do in the future.

Also, everyone likes to talk about their successes and forget failures.
by billern
Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: American Funds IRA - Account Emptied!
Replies: 26
Views: 3522

Re: American Funds IRA - Account Emptied!

That sounds very sketchy at best. Most advisors, even those with trading authority, cannot initiate transfers out of an account. The account holder has to sign paperwork to do this. This is a control that prevents unauthorized withdrawals.
by billern
Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Accountant failed to file for S-corp, advice and recourse
Replies: 11
Views: 1493

Re: Accountant failed to file for S-corp, advice and recourse

The IRS is very slow to process and respond to correspondence. I'm a CPA and I've had IRS penalty issues that have taken more than a year to resolve. I have called the IRS three months after mailing or faxing a letter and had the experience of them not being even able to confirm to deny receipt when...
by billern
Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Jack Bogle: How to handle the market's wild ride
Replies: 16
Views: 2001

Re: How to handle the market's wilde ride?

Since I'm in the accumulation phase, the only thing a price drop means is the index funds I purchase are cheaper to buy. No problem there. :) I have considered removing the value of my security holdings from my account totals that I check regularly. The price increases and decreases are just a distr...
by billern
Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: what could cause a credit score decline if no obvious issue on credit report?
Replies: 25
Views: 2030

Re: what could cause a credit score decline if no obvious issue on credit report?

Utilization, especially exceeding certain thresholds (like 50%) make a difference. Next time the credit card company reports your balance (after you pay off the large purchase) your credit score will go back up. Unless you are apply for additional credit, I would not be concerned about a temporary d...
by billern
Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Since div reinvestment 'off', no new 'lots' created?
Replies: 4
Views: 907

Re: Since div reinvestment 'off', no new 'lots' created?

There is no reason to specifically try to buy shares at a higher price to create tax lost harvesting opportunity. Buy more shares if you want to own more of the investment. If you later get in a position to tax loss harvest, that is a benefit that only partially offsets an economic loss. IE: Which i...
by billern
Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another Wash Rule ?
Replies: 7
Views: 894

Re: Another Wash Rule ?

No, because while these two funds are very similar, they are not substantially identical. In fact, over the entire US stock universe there would be several differences in the holdings in these two funds. In addition, if the funds had been the same funds, the purchase avoidance period would be 61 da...
by billern
Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I feel guilty?
Replies: 10
Views: 1540

Re: Should I feel guilty?

I would not feel guilty. I'd thank the broker for the great service to let him know the issue is not him and close the account. He does not need to know why you are moving your money out. Maybe he will assume you no longer want to invest in the market.
by billern
Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cancer (and expensive medical expenses) during early retirement
Replies: 29
Views: 3548

Re: Cancer (and expensive medical expenses) during early retirement

This is why insurance exists. To protect against low probability, high cost, outcomes. Hopefully you have a decent insurance option to purchase.
by billern
Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding Estate Tax - My Fears
Replies: 12
Views: 2370

Re: Avoiding Estate Tax - My Fears

As long as you are under the $5MM lifetime exclusion (which is indexed for inflation), for gifts and bequests there is no problem. Of course the income and estate tax laws could change in the future.
by billern
Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS regulation on 401K plan (company mistake)
Replies: 34
Views: 2117

Re: IRS regulation on 401K plan (company mistake)

Many employers send a letter to highly compensated employees in anticipation of this issue to alert each HCE that they may be subject to this. That avoids this type of surprise.

Is that notification a requirement or just a best practice?

Go to advanced search