Search found 113 matches

by informal guide
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Savings - Is it enough?
Replies: 19
Views: 1366

Re: 529 Savings - Is it enough?

I have modestly overfunded 529 plans for my two children (both of whom graduated a few years ago). But my older child is now studying for an MBA so the overfunding in her account will go "poof." My other back-up plan is to use any excess to start accounts for grandchildren, if they materialize - -as...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bonus pushed back - should I be annoyed?
Replies: 43
Views: 2872

Re: Bonus pushed back - should I be annoyed?

My employer's bonus was pushed back a few years ago from December to January, but I found it actually good for me. First, the taxes owed on it were also pushed back; second, i had a better idea of what my taxable income was going to be earlier in the year for tax planning. Third, I retired early in ...
by informal guide
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA’s: What level of risk do you prefer?
Replies: 58
Views: 3659

Re: HSA’s: What level of risk do you prefer?

Therefore if you are making traditional, deferred contributions to an IRA or 401k, bonds would take priority there over an HSA. Your last HSA dollar distributed might be treated as no worse than tax deferred but has a chance to be tax free. Your "HSA last dollar distributed" will be treated worse t...
by informal guide
Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell individual stocks now after transfer to Vanguard?
Replies: 14
Views: 992

Re: Sell individual stocks now after transfer to Vanguard?

If you plan to sell in January anyway and the stocks are widely traded, you might want to consider selling covered call options (slightly out of the money) on the stocks - -It gives you the possibility of a higher sale price and reduces risk a slight bit. This adds some complexity short term - -not ...
by informal guide
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?
Replies: 16
Views: 1000

Re: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?

One other cold cash opportunity with your HSA. If your employer offers payroll deduction for an HSA, use that approach, rather than contributing directly. That is because an HSA contribution through payroll deduction occurs before either social security or medicare tax deductions are calculated and ...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?
Replies: 16
Views: 1000

Re: Contribute to both HSA and FSA in same year?

I'd suggest you carefully review the Wiki and the related IRS references on it. To answer your questions directly, when you converted on 10/1 to an HDHP, your FSA must become a limited purpose FSA or you will violate the FSA rules. You can use the FSA for pre 10/1 expenses, butr regardless of what y...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transition to new health insurance company - cautions?
Replies: 10
Views: 737

Re: Transition to new health insurance company - cautions?

October 15?? maybe you mean September 15? When I retired early last year, I used COBRA for my wife and me through the 16 months until Medicare for me and the full 18 months for her. For me it was a good deal cheaper than comparable ACA. More importantly the deductible/co-payment amounts carried over...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question for car guys & gals: Two vs Three Row AWD vehicle...?
Replies: 16
Views: 979

Re: Question for car guys & gals: Two vs Three Row AWD vehicle...?

We bought a '17 3 row Pilot 8 months ago and love it.The third row can actually handle smaller adults like no other SUV we looked at. We looked at it after my brother in law told us about it - -he uses it for business because he sometimes travels with 5 other adults - -it is unbeatable for that. We ...
by informal guide
Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?
Replies: 19
Views: 1569

Re: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?

Thank you for all of posts in response to helping me value the WLi policy. I'm a little unclear on dividends. I have a couple of much older participating policies from NWM; I am taking the dividends, over the premiums, in cash, at least until the tax basis of the policies reach 0 (then the cash div...
by informal guide
Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?
Replies: 19
Views: 1569

Re: Help me calculate returns on Whole Life Policy - Keep it or cancel it?

Your math for the first (newer) policy includes about $220 per year for riders that are doing more than buying the stated amount of insurance. The $196.50 for the right to buy more insurance at some given price - -probably more whole life insurance. My guess is that is a particularly lousy deal unle...
by informal guide
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Memory Foam Mattress Recomendations
Replies: 51
Views: 4417

Re: Memory Foam Mattress Recomendations

Here is a current review site that I like - -we're also considering a foam mattress:

http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-fo ... uy-online/
by informal guide
Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 732

Re: NY 529 Plan

My 30 day example was random; I recall there is (understandably) a delay of at least a week to ensure they don't disburse money that was not ultimately honored by the bank upon from which the deposit was made. If it is important to you, you may wish to call the NY 529 plan representatives to ask. Ou...
by informal guide
Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 732

Re: NY 529 Plan

And, in addition, if you are a taxpayer of New York or a few other states (such as Pennsylvania) you get to deduct your contributions to the plan from your state level taxable income (in NY limited to $10k (married filing jointly) or $5k per taxapayer) in the calendar year of your contribution. That...
by informal guide
Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NY 529 Plan
Replies: 8
Views: 732

Re: NY 529 Plan

There are specific Federal and NY State tax regulations that permit tax-free withdrawals if (and only if) the funds are used for 'qualified higher education expenses. From a practical standpoint, that means that these expenses are incurred in the same calendar year of the withdrawal. Both myself (Fe...
by informal guide
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 301
Views: 32095

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. Are you sure those were Admiral shares that you transferred to Fidelity? Yes, in funds such as Primecap Admiral. At the time I was told one ...
by informal guide
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Customer Service
Replies: 301
Views: 32095

Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. I have never tried to make additional purchases, but I still successfully do dividend reinvestment at no cost and my tax lot information succ...
by informal guide
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Global Bond Index Portfolio (annuity)
Replies: 11
Views: 1484

Re: Vanguard Global Bond Index Portfolio (annuity)

Interesting. 70/30 is the US/EXUS bond split found in the LifeStrategy and TR funds. LifeStrategy Income would probably be a better choice here? A true global bond fund (with market cap weights, as per above post) would make it trivial to hold William Sharpe's World Bond/Stock portfolio. My guess i...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare
Replies: 5
Views: 387

Re: Medical Insurance between COBRA & Medicare

My employer offers a good option. Because I retired (as defined by my company policy) my spouse and I were eligible for the same coverage, through the same providers, as my employer plan when working. However, I am required to pay full freight - -$750-$950 a month for an HDHP and drug coverage per p...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 7 year old son's coin collection (& my observation on circulation?)
Replies: 14
Views: 2283

Re: 7 year old son's coin collection (& my observation on circulation?)

I really caught the coin collecting bug when I started delivering newspapers in 5th grade in the early 1960s. In those days, the "paper boy" also collected payment, typically knocking on doors each month to collect $2.50. My earnings, before tips and assuming no bad debts, were 2 1/2 cents per paper...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safe Deposit Box Fee (Bank of America)
Replies: 35
Views: 10899

Re: Safe Deposit Box Fee (Bank of America)

My experience suggests BofA doesn't take Safe Deposit boxes very seriously. When I moved to my current town more than 2 decades ago, I rented a box at the local branch of the bank I had used where I used to live. My spouse and I signed the 5x7" old fashioned card. We visit it 1-2 times a year, every...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Travel Insurance and Irma
Replies: 5
Views: 501

Re: Travel Insurance and Irma

Our experience has been good - - I'd encourage you to wait a few weeks and see what the resort you booked at is telling you, rather than exercising the "cancel for any reason at 75% term" now. A couple years ago we booked an expedition cruise through a travel agency that chartered the boat and arran...
by informal guide
Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: BenefitWallet HSA Lowers Fund Expenses, adds Vanguard Institutional Shares
Replies: 2
Views: 330

Re: BenefitWallet HSA Lowers Fund Expenses, adds Vanguard Institutional Shares

It is nice to see price reductions in the HSA arena. Admittedly, the providers have significant costs to offer them (e.g., high # of transactions, debit card costs, specialized processing that is more complicated than IRAs) and average balances are much lower than other accounts, but for those of us...
by informal guide
Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: NYS 529 Direct plan (Vanguard/NYSaves.org) fee reduction
Replies: 3
Views: 439

Re: NYS 529 Direct plan (Vanguard/NYSaves.org) fee reduction

There are no other fees, unless you choose to have a wire transfer (rather than a check or payment directly to a college) used for a withdrawal. The only downside I am aware of for this plan is the NY State tax rules for those who pay taxes within NY State. If, as a New York income taxpayer, you do ...
by informal guide
Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Individual 401k question
Replies: 3
Views: 367

Re: Individual 401k question

Also, some Solo 401ks offer the option for employee contributions to be Roth contributions -- Vanguard does, but I don't believe that Fidelity permits it.
by informal guide
Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help: Fidelity or Vanguard
Replies: 33
Views: 2566

Re: Help: Fidelity or Vanguard

One question to ask if you are thinking about the Fidelity solo 401k is whether they accept Roth contributions - -I haven't checked recently, but last time I did, Vanguard did take Roth solo 401k contributions but Fidelity did not.
by informal guide
Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Money Market vs. Savings Accounts
Replies: 42
Views: 5989

Re: Vanguard Money Market vs. Savings Accounts

Like MrDogg, I use a short term bond fund - -in my instance, the Vanguard Short Term Investment Grade Admiral fund. SEC yield (today, 2.02%) is consistently higher than money funds (and bank money market deposit accounts). However there are two tradeoffs: 1) there is modest principal volatility and ...
by informal guide
Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Emerging Markets, not Emerging Market Indexes
Replies: 21
Views: 1739

Re: Emerging Markets, not Emerging Market Indexes

A different option that's trickier and likely increases risk is to buy actively traded ADRs of EM companies that meet your criteria and, together with EM funds, offer sufficient diversification. For example, my EM portfolio is over 80% in funds but also includes KOF (Coca Cola Femsa, a Mexican and S...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PA 529 and GSP after moving here recently
Replies: 1
Views: 191

Re: PA 529 and GSP after moving here recently

Two comments that may be helpful to you in considering your options. 1) The PA income tax deduction is for contributions to ANY 529 plan, not just the two you mentioned that are PA-based. The Vanguard 529 plan (NV) assets are reoprted on your Vanguard.com logon (and count for flagship status qualifi...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendation for things to do in Seattle area
Replies: 18
Views: 1187

Re: Recommendation for things to do in Seattle area

If you are into food, I suggest a "savor Seattle walking tour." My wife and I did it one afternoon three years ago and really loved it - -food (small plates), and frequently wine - at 6-7 places.

Another real winner is a trip up to the Boeing factory - -truly amazing!
by informal guide
Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 100k milestone
Replies: 49
Views: 6120

Re: 100k milestone

When I was young, my milestone was not net worth, but annual income. I graduated from college in the mid-70's and made my first small individual stock investment in late 1974. Too bad that was all I had! (Dow around 650). In those days there was no Vanguard; mutual funds were almost always sold by b...
by informal guide
Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Delta Air - various classes of service
Replies: 59
Views: 3855

Re: Delta Air - various classes of service

I flew that route R/t earlier this year - -on Air Canada out of Newark (EWR). At least then, Air Canada was flying a 787 - -a significantly better airplane IMO. 787's pressurize at a lower altitude than most other planes, with higher (but still low) humidity. The lower altitude and higher humidity m...
by informal guide
Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: HSA question
Replies: 9
Views: 924

Re: HSA question

One other benefit of contributing to your HSA through your workplace is that the funds contributed through payroll go in before social security and Medicare taxes are assessed (just like health insurance premiums). For folks making more than the social security wage limit over a year, this reduces t...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard invite - transition to a Brokerage Acct
Replies: 33
Views: 2717

Re: Vanguard invite - transition to a Brokerage Acct

I wonder if the invite is some sort of test or pilot project, given no one else is reporting receiving this?
by informal guide
Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering switching from AMEX BCP to BCE
Replies: 5
Views: 555

Re: Considering switching from AMEX BCP to BCE

Six months ago, I closed a fee-based Amex card (Delta Platinum.). when I spoke with Amex customer service, they indicated that one can cancel a card until the bill due date on the month the annual fee is charged. So I did it and my fee was credited back to my now closed account and my final Delta mi...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Variable Life Insurance as an Investment Vehicle
Replies: 39
Views: 2821

Re: Variable Life Insurance as an Investment Vehicle

Even the Ameritas VUL product (among the better ones) skims 3% off premium payments. The only reason I have one is that when I was a kid (in the 60's) my mother bought a Mutual Benefit whole life product. The company went into "rehabilitation" (insurance speak for bankruptcy); when it emerged in the...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: medicare premium amount
Replies: 37
Views: 2765

Re: medicare premium amount

I looked carefully on the notice/bill - -there was no mention of a fee. The only cost I identified is the stamp. The downside is that you apparently cannot set this up as auto-instructions for the credit card. One must do it (and mail it) each time. I will let you know in a week or so when it is pro...
by informal guide
Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Poll: Do Bogleheads own Stocks?
Replies: 77
Views: 8149

Re: Poll: Do Bogleheads own Stocks?

Is there any way to revise my answers? I incorrectly answered the question "% of equities in individual stocks?" rather than "% of portfolio in individual stocks." That moves me from 25-50% reported to 10-25%, given that I am roughly 65% equities.
by informal guide
Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: medicare premium amount
Replies: 37
Views: 2765

Re: medicare premium amount

I just received my first bill over the weekend - -for 4 months at $134/month. The same day I got the second letter I have received that tells me I am subject to IRMAA . (June birthday, not yet drawing SS, received my Medicare card about two weeks ago) At least for the moment I am using a credit card...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Would You Sell Berkshire?
Replies: 17
Views: 1543

Re: Would You Sell Berkshire?

If you are charitably inclined, you may want to donate some of it to a charitable gift fund, rather than sell it and pay taxes(Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard all offer them) In the mid-1980's. I had the good fortune to buy a very small odd lot of brk (now brk.a) for less than $3000/share. Today it i...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wedding Ring repair
Replies: 5
Views: 639

Re: Wedding Ring repair

My wife got a new version after more than 25 years - -because she gave the central stone to our daughter's, about - to - be fiance. The view is that this will keep the rock in the family through the next generation, given that our daughter now has her engagement ring. The good news is that my wife n...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Expense Ratio Advantage
Replies: 37
Views: 3142

Re: Vanguard Expense Ratio Advantage

Yes, the featured index funds now have very similar expense ratios - -although I like the fact that Vanguard has few capital gains distributions vs. Fidelity, due to their patented fund/ETF structure (only of value to taxable investments - -not IRAs). But I really like the significantly higher yield...
by informal guide
Wed May 31, 2017 10:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Effective July 20, 2017, Vanguard will impose a $10 wire fee on outgoing wire redemptions from nonretirement accounts."
Replies: 30
Views: 3725

Re: "Effective July 20, 2017, Vanguard will impose a $10 wire fee on outgoing wire redemptions from nonretirement accoun

I assure you that whatever bank Vanguard uses for its client outbound Fed funds wire transfers, that bank charges Vanguard explicit, per wire fees - -likely in the $5+ per wire range. My guess is that a higher proportion of clients call to make wire transfers, including one time wires to third parti...
by informal guide
Wed May 31, 2017 9:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Effective July 20, 2017, Vanguard will impose a $10 wire fee on outgoing wire redemptions from nonretirement accounts."
Replies: 30
Views: 3725

Re: "Effective July 20, 2017, Vanguard will impose a $10 wire fee on outgoing wire redemptions from nonretirement accoun

As a former banker, I am sure that Vanguard is charged by its bank(s) for every outbound client Fed wire transfer - -- I wouldn't be surprised if it is $5 or more per item - -and that is before the extra costs that Vanguard incurs. I don't see any problem in Vanguard passing on its increased costs t...
by informal guide
Sat May 27, 2017 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Third-party travel insurance, anyone?
Replies: 34
Views: 2347

Re: Third-party travel insurance, anyone?

We bought it through Allianz for a trip to South America that focused on a cruise but included other travel in South America. We arranged the air separately - -business class, non-refundable on an overseas airline that we were unlikely to fly again. Three weeks before the trip, the cruise was cancel...
by informal guide
Wed May 24, 2017 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Save mobile deposit checks?
Replies: 16
Views: 2104

Re: Save mobile deposit checks?

I keep mine for a month, notating on them where and when I deposited them. I have used these for a couple years with no incidents - - until last month when my bank reversed one that they's accepted when I deposited it, supposedly because of a bad image. The bad news is they didn't call or e-mail me ...
by informal guide
Thu May 18, 2017 11:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: At crossroads with Annuity
Replies: 21
Views: 2105

Re: At crossroads with Annuity

One clarification on Friar's good response regarding withdrawals from annuities- -I believe withdrawals from variable annuities are taxed as income first. so the only way you could spread today's $30,000 gain (unless you annuitize) is to take, say, $10,000 per year for the first two years . Then the...
by informal guide
Mon May 15, 2017 7:57 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Best way to hold Treasury Bills???
Replies: 37
Views: 3947

Re: Best way to hold Treasury Bills???

If one is investing serious amounts of money in a regular account (not an IRA), there is one other advantage of buying Treasury Bills (not notes or bonds) directly , either from a brokerage account or through Treasury direct. Interest earned is not taxed until maturity. So if one buys a one year Tre...
by informal guide
Sun May 07, 2017 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Auto Insurance - When do you drop collision insurance?
Replies: 7
Views: 1164

Re: Auto Insurance - When do you drop collision insurance?

Geico in PA offers $2500 deductible on collision and comprehensive. That is my choice. It helps if you have an $1800 loss that gooses your rates for several years if reported.
by informal guide
Sat May 06, 2017 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get out of a apartment renter lease? They want $3,600
Replies: 40
Views: 3564

Re: How to get out of a apartment renter lease? They want $3,600

My daughter in the NY area was on the other side of a transaction like this. She found a place through a web site, Leasebreak.com (I have no financial interest in it!). She agreed to take on a 15 month lease, the old tenant kicked in a bit to lower the first three months rent, and the landlord got a...