Search found 77 matches

by deskjockey
Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non-fiction bucket list
Replies: 41
Views: 1887

Re: Non-fiction bucket list

A World Lit Only by Fire and The Glory and the Dream , both by William Manchester. The first is a very good introduction to the Middle Ages, and the second is an excellent narrative history of mid 20th century America. I'm sure that A World Lit Only by Fire is very interesting and enjoyable, but mu...
by deskjockey
Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non-fiction bucket list
Replies: 41
Views: 1887

Re: Non-fiction bucket list

A World Lit Only by Fire and The Glory and the Dream , both by William Manchester. The first is a very good introduction to the Middle Ages, and the second is an excellent narrative history of mid 20th century America. Traffic , by Tom Vanderbilt. This is a very thought-provoking overview of transp...
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Vanguard fund shareholders encouraged to vote as proxy campaign gets under way."
Replies: 47
Views: 5041

Re: "Vanguard fund shareholders encouraged to vote as proxy campaign gets under way."

Proposal 7— A shareholder proposal to institute transparent procedures to avoid holding investments in companies that, in management’s judgement, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights. While I certainly don't condone genocide,...
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: please help...am I overextended - first home
Replies: 74
Views: 5179

Re: please help...am I overextended - first home

What kind of RE contract allows you to back out within 10 days? Is it contingent on financing or inspection? You might not be able to back out for other reasons. My realtor said that the ball is my court, I have 10 days to back out and it could be for something as simply as the dog next door barks ...
by deskjockey
Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: please help...am I overextended - first home
Replies: 74
Views: 5179

Re: please help...am I overextended - first home

Wow, thank you for sharing that Happy to help. You may want to go ahead and make a rough estimate of your home maintenance expenses before deciding to take the plunge. Here's one idea for how to do so: https://www.thebalance.com/home-maintenance-budget-453820 It's your call, ultimately, and you'll ...
by deskjockey
Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: please help...am I overextended - first home
Replies: 74
Views: 5179

Re: please help...am I overextended - first home

I agree with others who've said you will be overextended. The budget you cite will be very, very tight--just a little bit of extra stress will break it. In effect, you would be one or two unexpected expenses away from getting into a debt spiral (or worse). Think about it that way: If your car dies o...
by deskjockey
Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP only vs TSP and Vanguard IRA
Replies: 19
Views: 1072

Re: TSP only vs TSP and Vanguard IRA

OK, back after re-reading the posts above and a few more resources. We're definitely disqualified from deducting tIRA contributions based on income limitations . It seems that after I max the TSP at $18k (and $24k after 50), I'll need to calculate modified AGI to see if we're above or below the mAG...
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Time to leave our dentist??
Replies: 54
Views: 6008

Re: Time to leave our dentist??

This is a timely thread for me. My old dentist retired a couple of months ago and last week I went to see one of the dentists who bought his practice. The new dentist said he saw a cavity that needed filling. Granted, I've been living in a city where the water is not fluoridated for the past year, b...
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need to file a gift tax return?
Replies: 26
Views: 1799

Re: Do I need to file a gift tax return?

Didn't I already say that if you are running business and taking various depreciation and associated tax benefits etc, then that is completely different than disposing or selling private property to private individual at "fair" or below "fair" market price when both the buyers and sellers are using...
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need to file a gift tax return?
Replies: 26
Views: 1799

Re: Do I need to file a gift tax return?

thangngo wrote:Do you file joint return with your wife? If so, you both have 28,000 threshold.
Yes, we file a joint return.
by deskjockey
Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need to file a gift tax return?
Replies: 26
Views: 1799

Do I need to file a gift tax return?

It just dawned on me that I might have been required to file a gift tax return for 2016, but I'm not sure. Here are the particulars: I gifted my car to my parents last year. The fair market value at the time was $24,500 (according to both KBB and my local county tax authority). The transaction was r...
by deskjockey
Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:23 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Suggestions for the Wiki
Replies: 378
Views: 190314

Re: Suggestions for the Wiki

On a separate note, I found this handy calculator at Vanguard that allows you to do a quick and dirty comparison at to whether to keep money in a UTMA or move it over to a custodial 529 account. It takes into account the kiddie tax, tax-free 529 disbursements, and the expense ratio of the UTMA and ...
by deskjockey
Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay yourself first.
Replies: 43
Views: 3819

Re: Pay yourself first.

We have most of our savings taken out via payroll deduction and have contributions to our 529 plans automatically deducted from checking. For taxable savings, I manually move amounts over after bills are paid because our monthly expenses are variable enough to make automated withdrawals hard to pull...
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retired and Lost :( Thrift Savings Plan Question
Replies: 9
Views: 1969

Re: Retired and Lost :( Thrift Savings Plan Question

First thing you need to do is read up on the TSP's required minimum distribution (RMD) rules--bottom line, you don't have to withdraw ALL of your TSP money when you turn 70.5. What happens is that, at that point, TSP requires you to start taking RMDs (just like IRAs and 401ks do). These RMD are a po...
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When doing retirement planning, do you count your spouse's savings?
Replies: 28
Views: 2365

Re: When doing retirement planning, do you count your spouse's savings?

As you can see, there are many different opinions on the topic. My personal take, if you combine your finances, do joint planning. If you keep finances separate (either completely or to some degree), plan separately. If you're thinking divorce is a possibility, plan for the worst case--look up the l...
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: When to switch from Roth 401k to traditional 401k
Replies: 21
Views: 1390

Re: When to switch from Roth 401k to traditional 401k

What do Bogleheads consider a "substantial pension"? For instance, I will be eligible for an active duty pension beginning at age 53. At age 50, I will begin collecting a pension from a previous employer. Both pensions would equate to approximately $60-70K per year, combined. Would a $60k...
by deskjockey
Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:55 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Suggestions for the Wiki
Replies: 378
Views: 190314

Re: Suggestions for the Wiki

While doing some research on 529 plan, I stumbled across a change in the rules regulating how losses are computed for 529 plans that makes the information here in the Wiki about calculating the loss or gain from a distribution in a 529 plan outdated. It seems that the PATH act in 2015 repealed the a...
by deskjockey
Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan
Replies: 68
Views: 6983

Re: Those Of You In a HCOLA - What's Your Financial Plan

I started working in the DC area nearly 18 years ago making $41,000. I made do by living with roommates and living frugally. In less than six years I doubled my salary (in nominal terms), and trebled it nine years after I started work. That, in retrospect, was the best way to deal with living in a H...
by deskjockey
Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Change in 529 plan aggregation rules and handy Vanguard UTMA/529 calculator
Replies: 1
Views: 295

Change in 529 plan aggregation rules and handy Vanguard UTMA/529 calculator

While doing some research on 529 plan, I stumbled across a change in the rules regulating how losses are computed for 529 plans. Previously, as the wiki states , when calculating the loss or gain from a distribution in a 529 plan, all distributions from all accounts in the same plan having the same ...
by deskjockey
Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overall Picture & Investments - What Am I missing?
Replies: 10
Views: 913

Re: Overall Picture & Investments - What Am I missing?

And yes, it's hard to consider a property that's losing money an investment. But what if I paid down the mortgage over the next 12-18 months to get the property cash flow positive. Does that change things, or should I still be looking to sell? thanks I'm not an expert on being a landlord and analyz...
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Overall Picture & Investments - What Am I missing?
Replies: 10
Views: 913

Re: Overall Picture & Investments - What Am I missing?

Hadn't considered selling our rental property anytime soon. I've liked having it for diversification, and it's likely to continue gradually increasing in value. But perhaps the cost is too great. I'll have to start giving it some serious thought. Thanks Spacoli--welcome to the forum! My thoughts on...
by deskjockey
Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inconsistent Vanguard requirements for gifting stock
Replies: 3
Views: 269

Re: Inconsistent Vanguard requirements for gifting stock

I'll guess that you faxed the forms as one document with one cover sheet so they got stapled together as one transaction. Next time do two transactions each with its own cover sheet and dial them up twice. I'll bet the "excess" pages looked like photocopies of the first set. Next time put...
by deskjockey
Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inconsistent Vanguard requirements for gifting stock
Replies: 3
Views: 269

Inconsistent Vanguard requirements for gifting stock

This week I called Vanguard to ask how I would go about gifting shares from our taxable account into two UTMA accounts for our daughters that I set up (also at Vanguard). On the phone, I was told to just fill out the forms, sign it, and fax it back. I did just that. The following day, I got an email...
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Suggestions for the Wiki
Replies: 378
Views: 190314

Re: Suggestions for the Wiki

The expense ratios for the Thrift Savings Plan funds found here need updating. The 2016 ratios were 0.038 for all except the I fund, which has an expense ratio of 0.039. Here is a link to the source.
by deskjockey
Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do not buy new cellphones on ebay
Replies: 54
Views: 5952

Re: Do not buy new cellphones on ebay

OP--what you need to do is find the manufacturer product number for the phone you want (do this on the manufacturer web site) and then search for that specific product number on eBay or Amazon. For example, the T-Mobile LG G5 is product # H830. To double-check, you should also then look at the 4G LT...
by deskjockey
Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?
Replies: 71
Views: 6536

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

To the original question, I do have some concerns about privacy, but at our age the insurance type concerns are largely irrelevant. If you are interested in genealogy the Ancestry tests, presentation, and link to family trees are pretty cool. No, but if you have grandchildren and you are paranoid e...
by deskjockey
Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds
Replies: 15
Views: 1606

Re: Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds

I used the spreadsheet FiveK referenced and another one from the Finance Buff to play around with some assumptions and here's an insight I had (at least I think it's an insight--I could be wrong): It seems that, if you are maxing out your 401k/TSP, it does make more sense to put it all (or most of i...
by deskjockey
Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds
Replies: 15
Views: 1606

Re: Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds

Thanks for all the replies folks--as I intimated in my OP, I'm not convinced the advice they gave on Roth vs. traditional is optimal for most feds. Klangfool hit on the main reason--it ignores the fact that the money to pay for taxes has to come from somewhere--either it was destined for consumption...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds
Replies: 15
Views: 1606

Another Roth vs. Traditional debate, but for high-income Feds

I went to a financial planning seminar that my Agency offers to employees and the presenters (all Feds themselves or recently retired annuitants, so not trying to sell anything) said that it generally makes more sense for federal employees to opt to go 100% Roth TSP even if you are a senior fed (GS-...
by deskjockey
Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:00 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What Is The Right Amount For An Emergency Fund?
Replies: 27
Views: 2729

Re: What Is The Right Amount For An Emergency Fund?

As others have stated, I think there are too many variables to set a rule of thumb on this. For us (two feds who can live off of one income), it is three months worth of expenses. That said, I currently have almost 9 months' worth in cash or cash equivalents because we're saving up for a few near te...
by deskjockey
Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused by USAA insurance statement
Replies: 5
Views: 754

Re: Confused by USAA insurance statement

You won't find the info on the statements as they only provide current balances and payment options. You can get policy-to-date totals by looking at each policy and doing the math but year-to-date is going to require even more number crunching. Do you not use Mint or another similar solution? I spl...
by deskjockey
Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused by USAA insurance statement
Replies: 5
Views: 754

Re: Confused by USAA insurance statement

Doesn't your bank account tell you how much you have paid to USAA? I can search for transactions in my checking account (or credit card since I use a cash back credit card to pay USAA) for the string "USAA" and instantly get the amount I have paid to USAA for any time period. It does, but...
by deskjockey
Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused by USAA insurance statement
Replies: 5
Views: 754

Confused by USAA insurance statement

I know USAA doesn't have the best statements around, but their insurance statements are throwing me for a loop. There doesn't seem to be a way to figure out how much I have paid on a policy year-to-date, other than going through and adding up the total remaining for each policy in every statement. I...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Curious to odd estate question
Replies: 88
Views: 5475

Re: Curious to odd estate question

Given the stipulations, I would say that Bitcoin would be the best way to "destroy" the portfolio. He could set up a Bitcoin wallet now, memorize the private key, and, right before death comes, liquidate all his holdings and buy Bitcoin, sending it to his private wallet. Once he dies, it ...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Curious to odd estate question
Replies: 88
Views: 5475

Re: Curious to odd estate question

Another one I just thought of. He could arrange to have his corpse/ashes and personal effects launched into space. There are cheap ways of doing this, but I'm sure a $6 million option could be arranged. He would then literally burn up his portfolio, as most of it would be used for the fuel and boost...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Curious to odd estate question
Replies: 88
Views: 5475

Re: Curious to odd estate question

Given the stipulations, I would say that Bitcoin would be the best way to "destroy" the portfolio. He could set up a Bitcoin wallet now, memorize the private key, and, right before death comes, liquidate all his holdings and buy Bitcoin, sending it to his private wallet. Once he dies, it w...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?
Replies: 85
Views: 6328

Re: Do You Take Your Credit Card Receipts?

I always take my receipts, then reconcile them with Quicken's downloaded transactions. Once I do that, I toss all of them except the ones for items with a warranty or that could be returned. I also keep receipts for home renovations, since those will add to the home's basis and, if/when we ever sell...
by deskjockey
Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Password Managers
Replies: 61
Views: 3935

Re: Password Managers

I used Keepass for many years before switching to LastPass two years ago. Keepass is good, but I ended up going with Lastpass because of its ability to sync multiple devices instantly. I use it on a computer, two tablets, and a phone. Like all password managers, it has its quirks, but you can try it...
by deskjockey
Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with the mechanics of transferring appreciated stock to UTMA accounts
Replies: 5
Views: 421

Re: Help with the mechanics of transferring appreciated stock to UTMA accounts

Actually it is a little more involved than that. It does matter from a reporting point of view that it is coming from a joint account. Each donor has an annual gift tax exclusion/donee (2017 = $14K) to their individual lifetime unified gift tax/estate tax exclusion (2017 = $5.49M). To avoid using u...
by deskjockey
Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:58 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with the mechanics of transferring appreciated stock to UTMA accounts
Replies: 5
Views: 421

Help with the mechanics of transferring appreciated stock to UTMA accounts

I am planning on transferring about $32,000 of appreciated stocks to UTMAs for my two kids. My wife and I jointly own the stocks in our taxable account. We have about $7,500 left to go before each of us reaches the gift tax limit for each of our two kids this year. We want to transfer as much of the...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?
Replies: 14
Views: 771

Re: Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?

This is a philosophical point I'm making, you are correct it matters for FAFSA. But if choice to parent/student was take loan of $20,000 vs. I have $100K in UTMA but EFC says only 5.64K is required to pay tab of $25K and the school offers you 0, what do you do? Take loan? See, this is what I mean, ...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?
Replies: 14
Views: 771

Re: Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?

Other thing, colleges see money saved as a pot to be taken. Doesn't really matter who's name it's in, if the aid is a loan do you really believe you would take a loan so you can keep your asset? It most certainly does matter who's name assets are in and their location. For FAFSA, certain parental a...
by deskjockey
Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?
Replies: 14
Views: 771

Is this strategy for UTMAs sound/legal?

I'm thinking of setting up UTMA accounts for my children and gifting them some appreciated stock (being mindful of the yearly gift amount). I would then sell the stocks gradually so that the capital gains in any one year would be less than 2,0000 per child (to not have to pay capital gains) and woul...
by deskjockey
Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Relative just bought a house in a hot market. Should I change my investment strategy?
Replies: 53
Views: 5238

Re: Relative just bought a house in a hot market. Should I change my investment strategy?

I would also strongly advise against doing this unless you take CedarWaxWing's advice to heart and follow it to the letter. As a couple of folks have alluded to already, investing in real estate is akin to investing in stocks. You don't just go out and buy the latest "hot tip" because doin...
by deskjockey
Thu May 25, 2017 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help! Renters asking for radon mitigation--what do I need to do?
Replies: 18
Views: 1785

Re: Help! Renters asking for radon mitigation--what do I need to do?

Thanks for the input--I'll go ahead and arrange for professional radon testing. If mitigation is needed, how quickly do I need to get it repaired--is it something that needs to be done in a few days, or can I ask for quotes from several contractors? (I also had several questions about mitigation in ...
by deskjockey
Thu May 25, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help! Renters asking for radon mitigation--what do I need to do?
Replies: 18
Views: 1785

Help! Renters asking for radon mitigation--what do I need to do?

Our renters just told us they got high radon readings in our house (6.6pCi/L) and requested remediation work ASAP. It's surprising, as the home tested near zero when we built it in 2009. Should I ask (and pay for) confirmatory testing by a certified professional? No question I'd pay for it, frankly-...
by deskjockey
Wed May 24, 2017 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Missed window for selling Fairholme Fund (FAIRX)?
Replies: 35
Views: 2157

Re: Missed window for selling Fairholme Fund (FAIRX)?

Glad to hear you'll be ditching FAIRX. I made the mistake of buying it back in 2006 when it was one of the "hot funds" everyone was raving about. It did well for a time, then it did poorly, then it did OK. All the while, the fees were eating into its performance and the churn within the fu...
by deskjockey
Tue May 09, 2017 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cell phone use in UK for one year
Replies: 13
Views: 1059

Re: Cell phone use in UK for one year

Definitely figure out if his current phone can be unlocked. If it can be (because its out of contract, for example), you're good to go) If not, he will probably need a new phone. Then figure out how much data/minutes/texts he needs and then go with 3, EE, O2, or Vodafone (or one of the VMNOs like Vi...
by deskjockey
Mon May 08, 2017 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial Road Going Forward - What are we doing wrong?
Replies: 13
Views: 2197

Re: Financial Road Going Forward - What are we doing wrong?

Livesoft; the non-deductible IRA contributions do not currently get converted to Roth IRAs as we have a large rollover IRA right now in those numbers where the tax bill is super high. If the market ever cools a little; our plan is to convert. Can you roll over the rollover IRA into your (or DW's) 4...