Search found 1042 matches

by billern
Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Bank Tax Issue - "Participant" vs Employer contributions
Replies: 19
Views: 972

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: 6005

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: 179

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: 762

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: 1419

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: 2619

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: 1719

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: 2124

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: 3271

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: 715

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: 2476

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: 2476

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: 776
Views: 108405

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: 1560

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: 1560

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: 1560

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: 496

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: 6418

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: 1382

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: 1382

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: 21
Views: 2370

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: 2714

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: 5889

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: 3299

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: 987

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: 1886

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: 1821

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: 841

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: 733

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: 1468

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: 3335

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: 2227

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: 1908

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?
by billern
Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2008 Honda Accord with only 10K miles. Any major service needed?
Replies: 47
Views: 3795

Re: 2008 Honda Accord with only 10K miles. Any major service needed?

I have a old Honda civic with low mileage and ignore most of the time based service recommendations.

It seems like tires and breaks are two areas where it makes sense to spend the money, when there is even a hint of a question about safety.
by billern
Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The case of the exploding vehicle sunroofs
Replies: 31
Views: 3233

Re: The case of the exploding vehicle sunroofs

I've started looking for a replacement car and was surprised to find that certain car models lose a fairly substantial amount of headroom due to sunroofs and moon-roofs. Not cool, especially when bundled with the higher trim level.
by billern
Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Preparing for the unimaginable
Replies: 33
Views: 3111

Re: Preparing for the unimaginable

I'd say prepare for a 50% equity drop that takes 10 years to recover. Will your portfolio be able to sustain you in retirement in that situation? Will you be able to tolerate your investment plan in that scenario and not do something that makes it worse? What can you do now to reduce that potential ...
by billern
Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get laid off[? company laying people off with good severance package]
Replies: 28
Views: 3856

Re: How to get laid off to get a package?

The downside I see is that many employers have policies to not rehire someone they have previously laid off. If your wife is willing to forgo the possibility of coming back this employer, it may be worth pursuing.
by billern
Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What Did You Do In The 2008/2009 Stock Market Crash?
Replies: 51
Views: 4315

Re: What Did You Do In The 2008/2009 Stock Market Crash?

Kept my 100% allocation to stocks, did some tax loss harvesting, and continued to invest savings. My philosophy was (and still is) that it is better for stock prices to be low during the accumulation phase.
by billern
Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Did a dumb thing [lump summed into market after sitting on cash for years]
Replies: 111
Views: 13514

Re: Did a dumb thing

Markets fluctuate. They go up and they go down. If you can't stomach the ride, reduce your allocation to equities.

A poor investment strategy is buying in bull markets and selling in bear markets. No one gets rich buying high and selling low.
by billern
Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: $13 Million Goal for Early Retirement (am I crazy?)
Replies: 128
Views: 14423

Re: $13 Million Goal for Early Retirement (am I crazy?)

Your income does not seem to be high enough to reach your goal. Your annual spending is not high enough to need nearly that amount of assets to support retirement. The other thing to keep in mind (that I see comments on this board regarding) is that people who are frugal in the accumulation phase ha...
by billern
Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Sale of Grandmother's Home
Replies: 15
Views: 1401

Re: Help with Sale of Grandmother's Home

Your grandmother may already have a stepped up basis from your grandfather. If she does not, the taxable gain after commission and the $250K primary residence exclusion may not be significant. I was in a similar situation. During the process of moving Grandma to a group home, we found an appraisal o...
by billern
Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon reviews
Replies: 22
Views: 2476

Re: Amazon reviews

I wrote a review of an amazon seller who did some very sketchy stuff. There was a pattern of similar negative reviews which made me think they had some questionable business practices. The seller contacted me and offered a free replacement product and a coupon to remove the feedback. Basically a bri...
by billern
Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Frustrated with low raise
Replies: 71
Views: 5607

Re: Frustrated with low raise

I had a couple crappy salary years - a promotion to manager with a raise that was not commensurate and then a resulting salary that seemed way below industry norm. I applied myself at work and went above and beyond in ways that both enhance my value internally and also readied me for the job market ...
by billern
Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you look down on a co-worker for driving a beater?
Replies: 196
Views: 14927

Re: Would you look down on a co-worker for driving a beater?

Look... when it comes to cars - most people really only pay attention to what others drive if the paint is peeling off / if it is really dirty or if the car has had a fender bender. Those things are more about how someone treats the the car vs the miles they put on it- It is not like anyone can see...
by billern
Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:02 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please Help Me Identify 5 Reasons To Get Mother-In-Law Out of A Variable Annuity
Replies: 11
Views: 1145

Re: Please Help Me Identify 5 Reasons To Get Mother-In-Law Out of A Variable Annuity

Give one good reason. If you give a number of reasons, they can focus on the weakest one.
by billern
Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401(k) employer match true-up after leaving company
Replies: 31
Views: 2537

Re: 401(k) employer match true-up after leaving company

If you met the requirements to receive a contribution, any distribution you receive, or it's timing, is irrelevant in determining if receive the contribution. If you met the requirements (i.e., last day rule, 1000 hours, if applicable), you should receive the contribution. How would I have received...
by billern
Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Interactive Cost of Living Map, and some COL what ifs
Replies: 9
Views: 1370

Re: Interactive Cost of Living Map, and some COL what ifs

COL comparisons never seem to take into account saving for a down payment. Sure, carrying a mortgage in San Jose compared to Dallas is not as hard as it would seem given the incomes there, but good luck saving that down payment. The other thing that is missing is state income taxes. That data seems...
by billern
Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is a 401(n) retirement plan?
Replies: 6
Views: 797

Re: What is a 401(n) retirement plan?

IRC Section 401(n): Coordination with qualified domestic relations orders. The Secretary shall prescribe such rules or regulations as may be necessary to coordinate the requirements of subsection (a)(13)(B) and section 414(p) (and the regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor thereunder) with the...
by billern
Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSAs in California & 1099 tax forms
Replies: 4
Views: 670

Re: HSAs in California & 1099 tax forms

One of the HSAbank year-end forms lists something like earnings but it certainly does not include the income from the linked TD Ameritrade brokerage account. You can use year-end statements or a report from the website to determine interest, dividends, and capital gains. I suspect most people do not...

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