Search found 696 matches

by markcoop
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?
Replies: 16
Views: 1786

Re: Is there a way to send text messages on my computer?

I use a program called mightytext. You can Google it. It works pretty well. They have a pay version if you want some of the fancy features, but for basic texting the free version is pretty good.
by markcoop
Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Helping Mom with Taxes
Replies: 40
Views: 1845

Re: Helping Mom with Taxes

My experience has been that the first year will take the most time. I did most of the return in under an hour. But a few questions took me alot of time to figure out. Did not want to make a mistake. After the first year, it was much easier. Every year there was maybe one new question to figure out.
by markcoop
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which 529 for CA resident? Utah vs NY vs MA vs NV?
Replies: 17
Views: 713

Re: Which 529 for CA resident? Utah vs NY vs MA vs NV?

Keep in mind how 529s may affect a child's FAFSA application. Parental assets will reduce a student's aid package by a maximum of 5.64% of the asset's value (ie, 529 plan opened by parent) Student-owned assets will reduce the aid package by 20% of its value (ie, custodial account under UGMA/UTMA) A...
by markcoop
Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Purchase and Sale Scams
Replies: 10
Views: 1044

Re: Car Purchase and Sale Scams

I once sold a violin on Craig's list and was not so knowledgeable about these scams. Scam #1 was tried on me. I was sent a check for too much money. The check looked real with a real bank associated with it. I called the bank and they said it was a fake.
by markcoop
Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it advantageous to have kids in college simultaneously from an aid perspective ?
Replies: 14
Views: 569

Re: Is it advantageous to have kids in college simultaneously from an aid perspective ?

The answer depends on the school you go to. Sure, in some cases you may just get more in loans. However, in other cases you can get a large amount of aid from the school. Some select schools meet full need of the student. At such a school it is a huge deal having multiple kids in college at the same...
by markcoop
Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cutting cable
Replies: 51
Views: 2636

Re: Cutting cable

When I watch ESPN on Sling TV, it is definitely not as good as cable. It's just not as smooth. Anyone else experience that streaming sports? Perhaps I can upgrade my internet and it will look better???
by markcoop
Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

Is there any limitation to the amount of an account that can be converted from percent owned to student owned custodial 529? (For instance, if I wanted to do this while they were in high school after I felt confident in their handling of the money at 18 years old) This is really a question for the ...
by markcoop
Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

If a regular UTMA/UGMA account is converted to a custodial 529 (remember, 529s only accept cash, so the regular UTMA/UGMA would have to be liquidated first with all the tax implications), it would be reported on FAFSA as a parent asset that would be assessed at around 5.6%. Whether or not it would ...
by markcoop
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

Thanks again for all the insight. At this point I think I'm going to do it. However, I have a few months to really decide because I already submitted the Profile application for my son who is in college for 2018/19. I actually will only get 2 years of benefit and probably won't do it for the whole $...
by markcoop
Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

Thank you very much for that reply. It was very helpful. Do you know what happens if you don't use the money in a custodial 529? In a parent owned 529, I can always change the beneficiary to another child or maybe even a grandchild someday. I would guess in a custodial 529, when the child becomes th...
by markcoop
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

As pointed out above, how child 2's student-owned 529 account is treated by a CSS Profile school depends on that schools' specific policies. If having the money in such an account treated as a student asset instead of a parent asset will be a major issue, it would be a smart move to determine schoo...
by markcoop
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

I am actually surprised that more people have not talked about this issue. It always seemed wrong to me that I saved for my 3 kids in college and the money earmarked for one sibling affects the other siblings. I believe I found here a way for that not to be the case. The affect could be in the thous...
by markcoop
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

Contact the school's financial aid office and ask how they treat a student-owned 529 account (student asset or parent asset). They will probably tell you, and then you will know. Thanks for your reply. I guess there are two issues if I convert child 2's 529 to an UGMA 529: 1) Child 1 - I believe it...
by markcoop
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

Regardless, in no case is it not reported on one or the other. So your basic idea of getting more aid is not going to happen. I am not sure why you believe that to be the case. If a younger sibling has a UGMA 529 account, then it would not go on financial aid forms of the older sibling (FAFSA or Pr...
by markcoop
Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Re: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

You learned this from who? and on what financial aid forms? I originally got the idea from the College Confidential web board. I am not sure how to get a copy of the current instructions for the Profile (even though I recently submitted it). But here are some sources: https://finaidonline.collegebo...
by markcoop
Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 4k UHD TVs worth it?
Replies: 66
Views: 5040

Re: 4k UHD TVs worth it?

I recently got a 55" 4K TV to replace my 10 year old 42" Plasma. To be honest, I only see a small quality difference, but the bigger screen size is very noticeable. I did have an issue connecting the new TV to my old surround sound Dolby Pro-logic system because there was only an optical out. I even...
by markcoop
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529
Replies: 27
Views: 1256

Individual 529 vs Custodial (UTMA/UGMA) 529

I am trying to figure out whether to transfer part of my parent owned Individual 529 to a child owned Custodial 529 (AKA UTMA/UGMA 529). Situation: I have one child (child 1) that attends a college that uses the Profile and meets full need. He is currently receiving a nice grant. I have another chil...
by markcoop
Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College scholarships: How much should I pencil in for my future students?
Replies: 54
Views: 2629

Re: College scholarships: How much should I pencil in for my future students?

To clarify, I'd like to exclude need based scholarships from this thread. We won't be in a position to qualify for any need based scholarships. I never thought that I would qualify for need based aid, but I did. I have no idea your situation, but If you make anything up to $200K/yr, I'd recommend u...
by markcoop
Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College scholarships: How much should I pencil in for my future students?
Replies: 54
Views: 2629

Re: College scholarships: How much should I pencil in for my future students?

To clarify, I'd like to exclude need based scholarships from this thread. We won't be in a position to qualify for any need based scholarships. I never thought that I would qualify for need based aid, but I did. I have no idea your situation, but If you make anything up to $200K/yr, I'd recommend u...
by markcoop
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FAFSA with low income but high net worth
Replies: 39
Views: 2481

Re: FAFSA with low income but high net worth

CSS goes far more in depth into your finances, including retirement accounts, home value, etc. All the Ivies including Princeton mentioned earlier in this thread fall into this category. It depends. My understanding is retirement accounts are not considered by most schools, even though you must dis...
by markcoop
Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FAFSA with low income but high net worth
Replies: 39
Views: 2481

Re: FAFSA with low income but high net worth

There is an interesting vibe in this thread about whether someone who has considerable assets should get financial aid if they can. I know in my case, I made an assumption when my children were young that I would not qualify for any aid (other than maybe loans). Well, here I am with 2 kids in colleg...
by markcoop
Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51031

Re: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]

LadyGeek wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:55 pm
Everyone, from new investors to experts, is requested to review this outline. Please see: Wiki - Tax law changes and provide comments.
From the wiki: "Allows tax-free rollovers of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to a 529 savings plan."

Hasn't this been true in the past as well?
by markcoop
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AOTC fifth year in new tax law?
Replies: 1
Views: 211

AOTC fifth year in new tax law?

I believe it was on the table to extend the AOTC credit to a fifth year. Was it included in the final bill?

Thanks
by markcoop
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?
Replies: 14
Views: 632

Re: 7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?

Carl53 wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:43 am
I have used date of service when I have done this in the past.
Seems pretty clear, at least in Turbotax, that it's the amount paid, not date of service.
by markcoop
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?
Replies: 14
Views: 632

Re: 7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?

Found my own answer on Turbotax: In what year do I deduct medical expenses? Deduct the expenses in the year you paid them, regardless of when the expenses occurred. For example, if you had surgery in December of 2015, but paid the bill in February 2016, you would deduct the expenses on your 2016 ret...
by markcoop
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?
Replies: 14
Views: 632

7.5% medical deduction for 2017 on billed amount or payed amount?

As I understand it, unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of AGI can be claimed as a deduction for 2017. Is that for expenses (meaning billed in 2017) or for payments made in 2017 (meaning I cannot pay a 2017 bill in 2018 and claim it on the 2017 taxes)? Thanks. I have never deducted...
by markcoop
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51031

Re: Bunching mortgage for 1 year, 2 years?

mikep said this earlier: "I think you can only do Jan by the end of the year. Interest must be paid in the year accrued.. January is actually interest for the months of December so that's the only one that can be moved."
by markcoop
Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51031

AOTC

I believe at one point I saw that the American Opportunity Tax Credit was going to be expanded to 5 years, with the fifth year being a smaller credit. Is that still true?

Thanks
by markcoop
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moto G5 Plus: Software updates?
Replies: 84
Views: 5182

Re: Moto G5 Plus: Software updates?

spoonfork wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:51 pm
I'm not willing to drop $700 on a Pixel just to get the fastest updates.
I find all phones have deals eventually. On Cyber Monday, Bestbuy had the Pixel XL for $5/month on contract for 2 years ($120 total).
by markcoop
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 and ESA
Replies: 5
Views: 607

Re: 529 and ESA

ESA funds can only be spent on educational expenses (unless you're willing to pay a penalty). I don't think funding another account (even one also expressly intended for educational purposes) counts for that. I am pretty sure funding another account is not a taxable distribution. The only rule I am...
by markcoop
Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much longer do I need life insurance?
Replies: 19
Views: 1410

Re: How much longer do I need life insurance?

I'm 51 and my youngest is 14. I have thought about this question as well. The need for life insurance lessons as times goes on. This is one reason I think a policy not tied to inflation is a good idea (the same policy will be worth less every year). However, my need probably goes down quicker than i...
by markcoop
Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 and ESA
Replies: 5
Views: 607

Re: 529 and ESA

The fact that you already paid the school for this year is a problem. You are allowed to withdraw money from an ESA, have a check sent to yourself and then contribute that money to a 529. There are no tax ramifications for doing such a transaction. One thing that is a bit unclear is whether you are ...
by markcoop
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 and ESA
Replies: 5
Views: 607

Re: 529 and ESA

Can I withdraw from ESA now for private school without any tax implications and basically transfer that money to the 529? I'm not sure I understand the question. If you withdraw from the ESA for private school, then you spent the money. How can spent money then be put into the 529. You can take mon...
by markcoop
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon TravelPass
Replies: 45
Views: 3846

Re: Verizon TravelPass

I no longer use GoogleMaps due to serious limitation mentioned, as well as what I consider an unfriendly user interface. I highly recommend HERE, which I've used extensively on both the Android and IOS platforms. However, using GoogleMaps wifi only on my Android I can get walking or transit navigat...
by markcoop
Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon TravelPass
Replies: 45
Views: 3846

Re: Verizon TravelPass

Using Google maps offline by downloading maps when on wifi works great, or even downloading the maps when home. I went overseas and was able to use the GPS on my phone without using data for driving directions. However, and I never figured out if this was just something I was doing wrong, I don't be...
by markcoop
Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 20797

Re: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?

I get the salad bar at my cafeteria almost every day. I usually put a ton of veggies and mix it up every day. Cost is between $7-$8 dollars. To bring a similar lunch would involve lots of chopping and probably not save a whole lot (a pound of veggies is not so cheap). If I didn't have that option, I...
by markcoop
Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited IRA [take as lump sum or life expectancy]
Replies: 13
Views: 1292

Re: Inherited IRA [take as lump sum or life expectancy]

I did life expectancy. One reason to take a lump sum would be for a small inheritance where it's not worth the bother to deal with 1099Rs and RMDs for the rest of your life. I know it's not a big deal, but in the KISS paradigm where you want to keep things simple, perhaps some would opt for a lump s...
by markcoop
Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Stable Value Funds vs Bond Funds
Replies: 33
Views: 3254

Re: Stable Value Funds vs Bond Funds

I always thought that SVFs tend to lag the rates of bonds. So, if bonds rates were to rise, SVFs having contracts based on older lower rates, would not do as well. Eventually, however, they would catch up. I was never sure I really understood this relationship.
by markcoop
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:26 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Guard Against These 3 Nonfinancial Retirement Risks"
Replies: 5
Views: 1160

Re: "Guard Against These 3 Nonfinancial Retirement Risks"

But I would say you'd want to think about having well over $3 million in assets if self-funding long-term care needs were a goal for you. That seems extreme - what is that, 20 years of LTC? I'd be willing to consider LTC insurance that kicked in only outlier case such as after, say, two years. I wo...
by markcoop
Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard upgraded my accounts - angry [Brokerage Services]
Replies: 159
Views: 24418

Re: Vanguard upgraded my accounts - angry

You get consolidated 1099 forms, which is nice. However, I believe you don't get them as quickly (you get them in late Feb??).
by markcoop
Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: tennis ball machine recommendations
Replies: 5
Views: 509

Re: tennis ball machine recommendations

an_asker wrote:We rent it at $20/hour.
I'm sure this varies from club to club. In the cold months you pay for court time. In the summer, court time is free at our club. In the summer, the machine is something like $10/hour (I think).
by markcoop
Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: tennis ball machine recommendations
Replies: 5
Views: 509

Re: tennis ball machine recommendations

My recommendation would be not to buy one at all. Although I think there is value hitting with a ball machine, I'd recommend using the ball machine at the club you play at (there's usually a relatively small fee to do so). That way you use a high quality machine, don't have to lug it around and save...
by markcoop
Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS or no TIPS again
Replies: 47
Views: 4491

Re: TIPS or no TIPS again

AntsOnTheMarch wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Important: If you do buy TIPS, do it in your IRA account.
Yes, this question was asked in reference to current VBTLX holdings in SEP IRA.
But remember that TIPS are exempt from state taxes making them not so bad in a taxable account if you live in a high income tax state.
by markcoop
Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIPS or no TIPS again
Replies: 47
Views: 4491

Re: TIPS or no TIPS again

I help a retiree out with their finances and have about 20% of the fixed income invested in TIPS (75% nominal bonds, 5% bank/CDs). Most of the bonds are taxable and in the 28% Fed tax bracket (+state taxes). Therefore decided to put most of that 75% into muni-bond funds. I debated how much to put in...
by markcoop
Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trying to save money on prescription drug
Replies: 28
Views: 2045

Re: Trying to save money on prescription drug

I don't have any experience but I am considering doing something similar. How did you pick a Canadian pharmacy online? Can you post the URL?

Thanks
by markcoop
Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why Wouldn't Everyone Customize His Own Glidepath?
Replies: 17
Views: 2449

Re: Why Wouldn't Everyone Customize His Own Glidepath?

...when valuations are generous, expected returns are modest and the potential for really bad negative returns increases. Ones current financial circumstance does depend on past returns that resulted in current valuations. And the opposite is true too when valuations are low. I've been recently thi...
by markcoop
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another one of those "We are at the peak, crash is coming, how do I invest?" posts!
Replies: 75
Views: 7216

Re: Another one of those "We are at the peak, crash is coming, how do I invest?" posts!

You said: "However, when things were really low in 2009, I increased my equity." - I imagine when everything is crashing psychologically it's difficult to increase your equities position. Did it take a lot of guts to do this? The answer is it did take alot of guts. I do feel that the market tends t...
by markcoop
Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Another one of those "We are at the peak, crash is coming, how do I invest?" posts!
Replies: 75
Views: 7216

Re: Another one of those "We are at the peak, crash is coming, how do I invest?" posts!

Sometimes (like the past year or so) I wonder if we're missing a point when we say something like "Pick an appropriate allocation and stick to it." Perhaps an allocation should be more dynamic. I may feel fine with a 60% stock allocation in most market conditions. But when long term market valuation...
by markcoop
Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vue/Sling tv users--what do you miss?
Replies: 43
Views: 3722

Re: Vue/Sling tv users--what do you miss?

I do sling and get the basic cable package to get the networks. I also nave Netflix and Amazon Prime. I'm pretty happy with this setup. At times, Sling quality is not as good as cable, but usually it's good.
by markcoop
Tue May 23, 2017 10:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Identify theft inusrance coverage - worth it?
Replies: 10
Views: 1108

Re: Identify theft inusrance coverage - worth it?

I have Allstate Motor Club. Maybe it's included? I'll need to check.

At $25/month, it's certainly cheap enough.