Search found 49 matches

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: 6
Views: 458

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: 2420

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: 684

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: 684

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: 684

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: 4708

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: 4708

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: 4708

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: 79
Views: 4715

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: 58
Views: 2694

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: 366

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: 366

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: 645

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: 645

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: 645

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: 4877

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: 1639

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: 1639

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: 1954

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: 711

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: 2103

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...
by deskjockey
Fri May 05, 2017 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Renters are PITAS and I'm overseas - rent or sell?
Replies: 6
Views: 1051

Re: Renters are PITAS and I'm overseas - rent or sell?

We also live overseas and are renting out our house. A property manager is crucial to make it bearable; from your budget numbers it looks like you have one. For us, we are renting it out because we want to move back to it when we return to the US. Otherwise it does not make financial sense. so my a...
by deskjockey
Wed May 03, 2017 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [POLL] What is your personal saving rate?
Replies: 63
Views: 8035

Re: [POLL] What is your personal saving rate?

Last 12 months, our savings rate has been 33%, according to Quicken (not including employer match, which is 5% of gross salary for both of us). It was lower in 2012-2015--averaging around 22% for those years.
by deskjockey
Wed May 03, 2017 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HOA vs No-HOA
Replies: 53
Views: 3443

Re: HOA vs No-HOA

I'm in the no-HOA no-way camp. that was in fact one of my top priorities when we first bought a house. We bought in a nice, older neighborhood in the close-in suburbs. For a few years, the house next to ours was a rental and was not well kept up--at one point a broken toilet sat next to their drivew...
by deskjockey
Wed May 03, 2017 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Strategy for Grad School
Replies: 7
Views: 930

Re: 529 Strategy for Grad School

Bump. I'm looking to understand whether this is a viable strategy. The simplest way to sccomplish the objective of obtaining the VA deduction. I need to take the near term action to create these accounts. Thanks I'm a little late to the party, but yes, that should be a viable strategy. Here's a lin...
by deskjockey
Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Megaback door Roth + Backdoor Roth
Replies: 4
Views: 546

Re: Megaback door Roth + Backdoor Roth

You have another option if your after-tax earnings are non-trivial and you have a qualified plan that accepts incoming IRA rollovers (including the source of the Mega backdoor Roth rollover.) You can rollover the earnings to a traditional IRA and then roll those back into the qualified plan. ^ This...
by deskjockey
Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:27 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with retired parents' portfolio
Replies: 7
Views: 773

Re: Help with retired parents' portfolio

Thanks, everyone. I ran a few scenarios through both the Vanguard tool and Firecalc and it seems that either fund should work for them (with a 100% chance of success on both sites, which will help them rest easier) and give them a cushion in case of large unexpected health expenses. Thanks for the l...
by deskjockey
Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with retired parents' portfolio
Replies: 7
Views: 773

Help with retired parents' portfolio

While helping my dad with his taxes, I discovered that my parents don't have a coherent investment strategy. They've got about half of their retirement savings in a non-interest bearing checking account (about $250k) and half in a low-yield savings account. My dad is very risk averse and has gotten ...
by deskjockey
Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: quickest or best way to learn Spanish?
Replies: 39
Views: 2950

Re: quickest or best way to learn Spanish?

My 19 year old daughter has booked herself into a 6 week program at Santa Cruz La Laguna in Guatemala this summer so that she can spend a semester on a field research course in Panama in 2018. Santa Cruz is apparently a 4 hour bus ride from Guatemala Airport. I am impressed by her adventurousness. ...
by deskjockey
Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you spend on food in a year?
Replies: 155
Views: 8157

Re: How much do you spend on food in a year?

Reading this thread is amusing. Lots of implicit assumptions underlie a lot of the judgments tossed around. One key thing to remember is that grocery bills vary a lot depending on the COL in your area, your food preferences, and your family size/age of kids. Here are our (family of 4) numbers for ou...
by deskjockey
Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Share your net worth progression
Replies: 553
Views: 134067

Re: Share your net worth progression

2004: $271,000 (age 28) 2005: $357,000 2006: $551,000 2007: $598,000 2008: $587,000 2009: $679,000 2010: $746,000 2011: $820,000 2012: $920,000 2013: $1,263,000 2014: $1,450,000 2015: $1,614,000 2016: $1,857,000 (age 40) Now: $1,926,000 I've included home equity, which is currently 27% of our overal...
by deskjockey
Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TSP Participant Account Balances
Replies: 43
Views: 8841

Re: TSP Participant Account Balances

Nice to see the distribution. I'm happy to be in the >$500,000 club, all of it from Federal service over the past sixteen years, but wish I'd maxed out my contributions from the get-go.
by deskjockey
Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does anyone else have (possibly too much) fun dealing with finances?
Replies: 69
Views: 5681

Re: Does anyone else have (possibly too much) fun dealing with finances?

I also like dealing with my finances, and the rewards (improving the chances of having a comfortable retirement and retiring early) make it more interesting. That said, I do have hobbies and family life to keep me busy. I guess you could say it's one of my minor hobbies.
by deskjockey
Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 307
Views: 30768

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

Anyone have any experience with AceMoney?
by deskjockey
Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Applying Tax-Efficient Fund Placement when there is plenty of Roth and Tax-Deferred room.
Replies: 8
Views: 591

Re: Applying Tax-Efficient Fund Placement when there is plenty of Roth and Tax-Deferred room.

Should I keep any muni bond funds in the taxable account for diversification (even though I presently don't 'have' to?) I would say no. You don't need a muni fund for diversification. Consider your entire portfolio as a unitary whole--if your entire bond allocation is already accounted for, don't p...
by deskjockey
Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:16 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Your USER NAME...what does it mean?
Replies: 342
Views: 23153

Re: Your USER NAME...what does it mean?

Mine describes what I do every day. Some people drive cars, others fly planes. I... sit at my desk most of the day. It's also a pejorative nickname used by some in the military to describe folks who have a bureaucratic assignment instead of one focused on the mission--one that I find quite funny and...
by deskjockey
Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any books really change your outlook on life?
Replies: 280
Views: 44900

Re: Any books really change your outlook on life?

I've read a fair amount of books that have impacted the way I see the world to some degree, but only one stands out to me now as having shaped my world view and, in many ways, inspired me choose a career in government. It was William Manchester's The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of Ameri...
by deskjockey
Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TSP Expense Ratio jumps to 0.038%
Replies: 57
Views: 5938

Re: TSP Expense Ratio jumps to 0.038%

Doesn't seem right to publish the fee after the calendar year ends where they charged it. Why dont they say the fee for 2017 will be X instead of we already charged you more, too bad? The reason is that the TSP doesn't fix the expense ratio, so if its expenses go down, your expenses go down. I'm st...
by deskjockey
Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 307
Views: 30768

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

I definitely don't like what they are doing in Canada and hope it doesn't work out for them. Does anyone know of a similar product to Quicken that allows you to manually enter and reconcile transactions, as well as track your portfolio?
by deskjockey
Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Expat Forums or Advice on Expat Package?
Replies: 10
Views: 1328

Re: Best Expat Forums or Advice on Expat Package?

I'm an expat in London (moved here last summer), but I'm a Fed, so I'm afraid I can't give you much help in terms of negotiating a package. That said, There are still many commonalities for us expats. 1. Housing--London is insanely expensive when it comes to housing, even after you factor in the 20%...
by deskjockey
Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My New Car Buying Tips
Replies: 218
Views: 48650

Re: My New Car Buying Tips

One possible way of getting around any dealer collusion would be to use very different email addresses for contact with each dealer, and to give each dealer a unique variation of your first name (Jon, Jony, Jono, Jonathan, Nate, etc.). That might work if the dealerships don't dig too much when discu...
by deskjockey
Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Federal Thrift Savings Plan (30 Years Old)
Replies: 22
Views: 1917

Re: Federal Thrift Savings Plan (30 Years Old)

A lot of the advice here is pretty sound, but I would suggest that the OP first determine his/her level of risk using one of the online questionnaires, such as Vanguard's . That will be a good starting point from which to determine how to proceed and which option (L fund or otherwise) is best. From ...
by deskjockey
Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I move my Roth to a myRA?
Replies: 12
Views: 1022

Re: Should I move my Roth to a myRA?

You're too focused on market volatility and are overlooking the risk of inflation eating into your savings. Inflation for 2016 came in around 2.1%, so any investment that made less than that actually went down in value in real terms. If you're in your early 40s, you have 20 years or so until retirem...
by deskjockey
Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: An annoyance for backdoor Roths with new Vanguard brokerage
Replies: 8
Views: 1776

Re: An annoyance for backdoor Roths with new Vanguard brokerage

I'll add my experience doing the backdoor today. We have "old style" tIRAs, old style Roth IRAs, and "upgraded" Roth brokerage IRAs at Vanguard. When I tried to make the conversion from our "old style" tIRAs to the "upgraded" Roths, Vanguard's site did not dis...
by deskjockey
Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Whats your number to walk away?
Replies: 245
Views: 30338

Re: Whats your number to walk away?

My number is about 8mm to walk away right now (I'm 40, two little kids), mostly because I'm concerned about health care, elder care, and education costs down the road. My number will go down significantly once I reach the Federal government's retirement age, at which point I can keep my health insur...
by deskjockey
Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!
Replies: 5
Views: 740

Re: Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!

BL--yes, I'll have to do this gradually over several years in my taxable account because of the conversion issues. First step will be to transfer all the ETFs from Wealthfront to Vanguard, then change the destination of distributions, then sell when advisable (hopefully paired with TLH somewhere to ...
by deskjockey
Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!
Replies: 5
Views: 740

Re: Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!

Duckie--thanks a lot for the detailed answer and the suggested distribution in various accounts. I hadn't really thought of parsing things out that way, but I can see how that would really simplify my record-keeping. Also, thanks for the answer on the stocks. I think I'll sell them off slowly to dam...
by deskjockey
Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!
Replies: 5
Views: 740

Looking to simplify porfolio and adjust allocation-help, please!

Hi--I've been lurking here for several years, and finally decided to post because I'm at a cross-roads with our portfolio and haven't come up with a good way to move forward. My wife and I have been diligent about saving for retirement and college, but I'm no longer satisfied with the current portfo...

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