Search found 3181 matches

by dodecahedron
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it possible to have a Traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k), Traditional IRA, and a Roth IRA account at the same time?
Replies: 23
Views: 1118

Re: Is it possible to have a Traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k), Traditional IRA, and a Roth IRA account at the same time?

Note that if you have a 401(k) with a Roth option as well as an employer match, you will automatically have both a traditional and a Roth, because employer matches MUST go into the traditional account. (Same is true for 403(b) as well.)
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Social Security announces 2.0% benefit increase for 2018]
Replies: 26
Views: 3220

Re: [Social Security announces 2.0% benefit increase for 2018]

Just as an aside Medicare Premiums are also taxable for those with enough MAGI to make them so. (I send 25% of my GROSS SS Benefits back to the government each year). I'm not understanding this comment. Medicare premiums are something you pay. They're not income to you. They are not "taxable". Not ...
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spending FSA dependent care money
Replies: 7
Views: 674

Re: Spending FSA dependent care money

What makes you think they aren't employees? In addition to factors already mentioned above, a big distinction for babysitters is whether they care for your child in YOUR home (generally IRS would consider them to be your employees) or whether they care for your child in THEIR home (generally IRS wo...
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with unused paint?
Replies: 38
Views: 2307

Re: What to do with unused paint?

Theater groups may be able to use them for painting sets. Contact the high school drama club or local community theater.

If worse comes to worse, my understanding is that an environmentally safe way to dispose is to paint scrap wood (e.g. used pallets), let it dry, and throw out the wood.
by dodecahedron
Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you value your time?
Replies: 97
Views: 3791

Re: How do you value your time?

My understanding of the tax code effects other behaviors as well. When giving someone a $1 tip that is appropriately reported to the IRS, for example, I realize that 6.2% goes to social security (twice if self employed), 1.45% goes to Medicare (twice if self employed), as much as 38% goes to federa...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9161

Re: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]

In general, asset Rothification would be a way to reduce one's attractiveness to a vulture. Why? I don't understand. For essentially the same reason that Rothification reduces one's attractiveness to a predatory AUM financial advisor. Prepaying taxes (possibly in concert with lumping of advance cha...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9161

Re: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]

Now that I have picked my jaw up off the ground, I can think of several things that could have made a huge difference in situations like these: 1) Annuities! If an elderly individual or couple annuitizes (most of) their assets, they become a much less attractive target for an opportunist like Ms. Pa...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9161

horrific cautionary tale in New Yorker: how to protect against something like this

[merged dodecahedron's thread into this existing one - moderator prudent] My jaw dropped farther and farther in horror as I read this New Yorker story about the terrible systematic court-endorsed financial abuse of a number of elders by self-appointed complete strangers who got themselves appointed...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds
Replies: 64
Views: 7356

Re: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds

Sometimes there is a confusion as to what constitutes cash. i.e. does it have no variability in value? How liquid does it have to be-- instant like a checking account with an ATM card? Does an early withdrawal penalty make a CD not cash? This is a great question. I have purchased some 5-year broker...
by dodecahedron
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds
Replies: 64
Views: 7356

Re: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds

...Cash loses buying power due to inflation... If "cash" means things like interest-bearing bank accounts, Treasury bills, or money market mutual funds, I don't think it has historically lost buying power to inflation. In a taxable account, I believe that interest-bearing bank accounts, T-bills, an...
by dodecahedron
Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do you LBYM? Why do you save and invest?
Replies: 192
Views: 12829

Re: Why do you LBYM? Why do you save and invest?

Not counting human capital, my late husband and I started with zero net worth when we were in grad school in the late 1970s. Since then, our household has spent well below our means *overall*, but we have definitely had periods when we spent above our means. (E.g., we had an uneven income stream due...
by dodecahedron
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't Walk RUN from AT&T - no prorate on last bill
Replies: 13
Views: 1479

Re: Don't Walk RUN from AT&T - no prorate on last bill

By contrast, I was (pleasantly) surprised that after switching my landline service away from Verizon, they sent me a prorated refund check for the unused portion of the month I had already paid for without my even asking for it.
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available
Replies: 15
Views: 1232

Re: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available

I turn 65 in the middle of next year, so will be signing up for the first time. I am happy to see that the plan I had been hoping to use is still going to be available, though with slightly modified details. For those going onto Medicare, one important thing to be aware of is any potential penaltie...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What products do you think will outpace inflation?
Replies: 16
Views: 1347

Re: What products do you think will outpace inflation?

No guarantees of course, but modest home improvements that will reduce future energy and/or ongoing future maintenance costs is my approach. (My local utility is asking for a close to 20% rate increase in electric and gas rates next year. They won't get that much but I am sure they will get somethin...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available
Replies: 15
Views: 1232

Re: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available

I turn 65 in the middle of next year, so will be signing up for the first time. I am happy to see that the plan I had been hoping to use is still going to be available, though with slightly modified details. It is a Medicare MSA (Medical Savings Account) plan with the following features: 1) I can us...
by dodecahedron
Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I'm shocked! [Mother 100% in bonds and annuities]
Replies: 67
Views: 6366

Re: I'm shocked! [Mother 100% in bonds and annuities]

I never asked my mom how her money is invested. Mom asked me if I wanted to go to the bank (She had an RMD check from an annuity, that she wanted to roll over). She told me if I had any questions to ask the advisor. It turns out ALL her 1.5 million is in bonds and annuities getting 3% since 2009. I...
by dodecahedron
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FYI- Security issue at PenFed
Replies: 9
Views: 1135

Re: FYI- Security issue at PenFed

I had a lot of trouble opening my PenFed account (I had to make multiple in-person visits (three!) to a brick-and-mortar branch after on-line and phone call didn't work) to invest in their CDs. There are no branches near me, but fortunately a relative I visit regularly (despite the fact that she liv...
by dodecahedron
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter For Survivor(s) / Executors
Replies: 10
Views: 1280

Re: Letter For Survivor(s) / Executors

Thanks Peter. Just out of curiosity, why would a spouse disclaim SS survivor benefits? Perhaps because they were taking 1/2 of spousal benefit but their own benefit would be greater? and Peter replied: Wife would not disclaim SS survivor benefits, but might disclaim an account for which she is name...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:23 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 23
Views: 1996

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

I should have made this point explicitly in my earlier posts, but I didn't. We are talking about real interest rates and changes in real interest rates. We are not talking about nominal interest rates or changes in nominal interest rates. BobK More specifically, I think you need to talk about *afte...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:36 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 23
Views: 1996

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

One thing I learned from Sita Slavov's presentation, which is rather important, is that when interest rates are low, as they have been for the last several years, postponing retirement becomes an increasingly more potent retirement financial tool relative to increasing your pre-retirement savings r...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 23
Views: 1996

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

Deleted my previous comment, because I didn't read BobK's comment carefully enough before posting.
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversions and taxes
Replies: 36
Views: 3611

Re: Roth Conversions and taxes

Given that you're sure you'll ultimately be in the 28% or 33% bracket I think the top of the 25% makes the most sense. Nobody can be *sure* that they will "ultimately be in 28% or 33% bracket" ten (and more) years down the road. Even leaving completely aside the possibility of future tax legislatio...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?
Replies: 59
Views: 4755

Re: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?

So rebalancing is buy but not hold? There are times (i.e., during decumulation) when simply holding an asset class is actually rebalancing into that asset class. A person in the decumulation phase right now who decides to "hold" his bonds necessarily needs to sell other asset classes to support his...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?
Replies: 59
Views: 4755

Re: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?

I am very strongly of the opinion that there is no more to it than that, as clever as different people might try to be. Also, "dry powder" is a useless metaphor that has no place in investing. My impression is that the use of the term "dry powder" in a financial context comes from Jack Bogle. In an...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1738

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

I've been waiting to see the details on this card. It is potentially a very good deal, but only with BoA's Preferred Rewards, preferably at the top tier, giving a 75% bonus. That will pay 3.5% on travel and dining, and 2.62% on everything else. For train travelers, I would still argue that BoA's no...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1738

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

Those are the terms but we will need to see what the reality is when the data points start coming in. Lots of time people are able to buy airline gift cards and get reimbursed. In general though, I think people who auto disqualify a card based on an annual fee are being a little short sighted. You ...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1738

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

$95 annual fee? Not interested. You get a $100 travel credit so if you use it it nets out to -$5 annual fee. That annual $100 travel credit is pretty narrowly constrained to incidental charges I would normally try to avoid anyway: Up to $100 annual airline incidental statement credit for qualifying...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1738

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

I've been waiting for this news for a while after seeing the initial WSJ article. It was finally revealed today. The card seems weak. https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/premium-rewards-credit-card/ http://www.mymoneyblog.com/bank-of-america-bofa-premium-rewards-card-review.html htt...
by dodecahedron
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vangard Index Fund through Merrill Edge
Replies: 26
Views: 2051

Re: Vangard Index Fund through Merrill Edge

You could save some money by buying the initial amount at Vanguard then transferring to Merrill. That seems to be a lot of unnecessary hassle, which could all be avoided by simply having the account at Vanguard. Not if the desire is to have all the holdings at Merrill. Possibly the OP wants to qual...
by dodecahedron
Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Implications of Buying a House and Renting it Out
Replies: 9
Views: 943

Re: Tax Implications of Buying a House and Renting it Out

Or would it just be 4.63% of the 14,000? Thanks. Yes, this is correct. But as you are a California resident, California will tax you on your entire $124,000 income, though they will allow you to take a credit against your California resident state income tax that takes into account the amount of ta...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway
Replies: 11
Views: 1170

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

My project was very comprehensive, involved regrading, better drainage, new porch, removing badly deteriorated walkway, replacing with beautiful concrete walkway and terraced steps, bluestone terrace, all designed for long term aging in place.). I am really glad this is all getting addressed in comp...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway
Replies: 11
Views: 1170

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

I am just now completing a very similar project. I hired a landscape architect who came up with a great cost effective and attractive plan. The General Contractor she recommended has done an amazing job under her watchful supervision. (He is highly motivated not to cut corners because her recommenda...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA 9.69% Affordability rule
Replies: 6
Views: 951

Re: ACA 9.69% Affordability rule

IRA (and HSA) are "above the line" deductions to AGI, so they do reduce MAGI for ACA purposes. Yes . Similarly, certain things like state income tax refunds (for the prior year) are additions for MAGI. Note that state income tax refunds are additions for MAGI *only if* the taxpayer claimed state in...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 87-year old dad is interested in reverse mortgage
Replies: 13
Views: 2004

Re: 87-year old dad is interested in reverse mortgage

Watty--Thank you for raising these points. I was only thinking about today's economic perspective. That said, if he does need assisted living at some point down the road, I'm not sure how that impacts the RM. My understanding is that the RM is contingent upon you living in the house. Don't know if ...
by dodecahedron
Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: QCD vs donating appreciated securities? [Qualified Charitable Distributions]
Replies: 5
Views: 431

Re: QCD vs donating appreciated securities?

No time to analyze all that you have written above right now, but strongly suggest that you read Michael Kitces excellent blog post on this topic. https://www.kitces.com/blog/ira-qualified-charitable-distribution-qcd-to-satisfy-rmd-vs-donating-appreciated-securities/ if: a) taxpayer does not itemize...
by dodecahedron
Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inheritance (Day 1)
Replies: 19
Views: 3442

Re: Inheritance (Day 1)

FDIC (and NCUA) insurance on bank (and credit union) accounts can easily be increased to $500K if you are planning to title it as a joint account with your spouse (or if you plan to title the account with a POD/TOD beneficiary who get the proceeds upon your death.) If you have multiple POD/TOD benef...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Stop income tax withholding
Replies: 15
Views: 1535

Re: Stop income tax withholding

Claiming more than 10 will reduce your withholding. In the past, if you claimed more than 10 on your W-4, your employer was required to send your W-4 to the IRS to make sure you were withholding enough. However, now the IRS does not require your employer to do this routinely. Instead, you may claim ...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Maximum Medical Deduction
Replies: 8
Views: 728

Re: Maximum Medical Deduction

Yes, sadly, I have encountered a number of taxpayers in the VITA program with very large medical expenses (LTC) that totally wiped out their taxable income. Edited to add: And no need to withdraw from your Roth to avoid being put "in the 25% bracket." Your medical deductions will reduce your tax bra...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7346

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

Absolutely true. One reason property taxes are so high in NY is that in NY (unlike other states), counties have to pay a big share of Medicaid costs. Medicaid is the biggest line item in my county's budget and that has to be taken into account in setting property taxes. In other states, the nonfede...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7346

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

High property taxes do not always correlate to good services. Absolutely true. One reason property taxes are so high in NY is that in NY (unlike other states), counties have to pay a big share of Medicaid costs. Medicaid is the biggest line item in my county's budget and that has to be taken into a...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7346

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

I, however, live in a part of the country (upstate NY) with phenomenally high property taxes (property tax is my single biggest budget item, almost $1K per month in property tax on a home worth somewhere in the low $300s--and was even higher before I successfully challenged my assessment.) Seniors ...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merrill Edge account being closed/Vanguard Flagship transfer
Replies: 13
Views: 1726

Re: Merrill Edge account being closed/Vanguard Flagship transfer

Are you a preferred rewards customer? Have you really received no explanations from ME? This may be worth a call. The Bogleheads for sure would be interested in hearing. That is, if this is Merrill Edge and not, like, Merrill Lynch. Yes, I would be super-interested to hearing why they closed your a...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7346

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

Why just include property and state income taxes? Why not also include sales/use taxes? Or other expenses? If I didn't have to budget for (fill in the blank), I could have retired at (55, or 45 or 35, depending on the expense). Obviously, planning requires thinking about all costs, but as I noted a...
by dodecahedron
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?
Replies: 116
Views: 7346

Re: How much sooner could you retire with NO property taxes?

Seniors of low and moderate income get amazing property tax breaks in some places. Example: in Arlington Virginia , a single person household can have income up to $55,000/year and pay zero property tax. A married couple can have income up to $68,000/year pay zero property tax. There is a sliding sc...
by dodecahedron
Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Public Service Announcement: Effective vs Statutory Marginal Tax Rates
Replies: 5
Views: 766

Re: Public Service Announcement: Effective vs Statutory Marginal Tax Rates

The recent thread Taxes and safe swr discusses the difference between Marginal Tax Rates and Effective Tax Rates and when it is better to use each one (but not Effective Marginal Tax Rates). Yes, Celia's comment raises the issue that it is important to distinguish between "effective tax rates" (a t...
by dodecahedron
Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare
Replies: 73
Views: 4781

Re: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare

We don't have MSAs in my state so I have no personal knowledge of your hypothetical. But of course it would not be "a lower monthly premium" than a zero-premium Part C plan. And according to the "Medicare and You" book, no MSA includes self administered prescription drug coverage whereas almost all...
by dodecahedron
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do people in the 15% tax bracket tax loss harvest?
Replies: 24
Views: 2203

Re: Do people in the 15% tax bracket tax loss harvest?

A lower tax bracket is mathematically impossible. if you are in the 15% bracket, your long term capital gains are taxed at 0. Hence, I would tax gain harvest if I was in the 15% tax bracket. Because your increasing your basis for free. Warning: tax gain harvesting is not always "increasing your bas...
by dodecahedron
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare
Replies: 73
Views: 4781

Re: Self insure vs Medigap when on "traditional" Medicare

The problem with complete self insurance is that although traditional Medicare covers 80% of most conventional medical costs there is no out of pocket maximum, so some form of coverage is needed for catastrophic expenses.
by dodecahedron
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: All areas will have Obamacare plan in 2018
Replies: 14
Views: 1706

Re: All areas will have Obamacare plan in 2018

These limited doctor plans (Obama Care) may very well work for routine and preventive care, but they are fraught with risk if you get seriously ill and really need them. Good luck negotiating a referral to an interventional cardiologist if you develop a leaking heart valve. You may be able to get a...
by dodecahedron
Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do when a parent's money runs out?
Replies: 218
Views: 31470

Re: What to do when a parent's money runs out?

Well, in the case of the OP, what's the worst thing that can happen if his mother goes head over heels into debt with credit cards and the like? She'll have to declare bankruptcy and then be forced to live within her means, or creditors will take whatever she owns when she passes away. "What's the ...