Search found 1548 matches

by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lowering service price for charity, tax writeoff?
Replies: 4
Views: 222

Re: Lowering service price for charity, tax writeoff?

If you charge less than it costs you to perform the service then you would have a charitable donation of the difference between what the gig actually cost you, and what the charity paid. If instead of $2,500 you only charged $250, and then your drummer got sick and you had to hire some other drummer...
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about 403b plan
Replies: 12
Views: 370

Re: Question about 403b plan

I wonder if somebody on the school board is getting a kickback.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Encyclopedia, World Book, Complete Set, 1960 Ed.
Replies: 43
Views: 3727

Re: Encyclopedia, World Book, Complete Set, 1960 Ed.

A few years ago I saw a great cartoon strip. A kid is in the library and sees a set of books on the shelf. He asks the librarian what the set is, and she tells him that it is the Encyclopedia Britannica. His reply: "Gee, you mean somebody actually printed out the whole thing?"

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Location of SPIAs, which account?
Replies: 42
Views: 1517

Re: Location of SPIAs, which account?

Any other reasons that you can think of for a preferred location for an annuity, assuming you have enough money to fund from any of the three locations? The opportunity cost of using up your tax-advantaged space. My understanding is that many people use SPIAs to create an income floor, which permit...
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Location of SPIAs, which account?
Replies: 42
Views: 1517

Location of SPIAs, which account?

I understand the tax treatment of SPIA payouts from ROTH, Traditional IRAs, and taxable accounts. I am having trouble figuring out the optimum account to buy the SPIA in. In the 33% income tax bracket it looks like a $300,000 annuity in a traditional IRA would give me the same after tax income as a ...
by ralph124cf
Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips on Uber
Replies: 64
Views: 4788

Tips on Uber

Do people usually tip on Uber? How much? How, cash or on the app?

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Insurance Premium - How to decrease.
Replies: 41
Views: 3571

Re: Home Insurance Premium - How to decrease.

One additional thing that causes increased rebuilding costs is updated building codes. If you have a partial loss, anything redone must be to the new code. Perhaps you would have to replace Romex with conduit, or replace certain plastic pipe with a different plastic, or copper.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2009 Toyota Highlander on the way out
Replies: 23
Views: 1632

Re: 2009 Toyota Highlander on the way out

Happy wife, happy life.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Provence and Normandy
Replies: 11
Views: 863

Re: Provence and Normandy

It looks like Smithsonian Journeys has exactly the tour that you are looking for, leaving either Sep. 11 or Oct. 6., 15 days including travel days to and from the US. Also check out Andante Travels, a London based tour company so all tours start from England.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home remodel / addition plans
Replies: 17
Views: 1716

Re: Home remodel / addition plans

Consider oversize interior and entrance doors and stairways. Appliances are getting bigger, and it is at least an even bet that somebody in the family will need a wheelchair at least for a week or two (kids break legs). Put up safety grab bars as a substitute for towel bars, plus safety bars in the ...
by ralph124cf
Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RV Rental
Replies: 25
Views: 1985

Re: RV Rental

When we lived in Buffalo, we got tickets to the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Then we tried to find a place to stay. Totally struck out. Nothing within a hundred miles. We ended up renting a small RV and parking on a gravel parking lot on the Lake Placid grounds for five days. We didn't want to mo...
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CREF Stock QCSTIX vs ?
Replies: 12
Views: 345

Re: CREF Stock QCSTIX vs ?

Many people on this board really like the tiaa real estate fund. Note that this is not a REIT type of fund, they actually buy and operate the properties.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Payout [how funds use proceeds when a holding is acquired]
Replies: 9
Views: 803

Re: Payout [how funds use proceeds when a holding is acquired]

Hi Slowmoney. You asked what happens to the capital gains. A mutual fund (either active or index fund) is required to distribute realized capital gains (net of realized capital losses) to owners of the fund at least once a year. So, no, the fund would not be able to distribute the gains among other ...
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home exchange experiences
Replies: 9
Views: 976

Re: home exchange experiences

I don't want the risk of home exchange, but reciprocal guesting sounds like it would be safer, especially for a higher end home.

I just looked at HomeExchange.com, and they do offer hospitality exchanges as well.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Employee Compensation Question
Replies: 11
Views: 1145

Re: Employee Compensation Question

Regarding only what people have been saying about do this only with a non-volatile stock: I think this works even better with a volatile stock, just as dollar cost averaging works best in a volatile market during your accumulation phase.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees
Replies: 42
Views: 3986

Re: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

On a sufficiently large purchase, I will frequently ask for a 5% discount for cash. If the merchant counters with 2%, I'll take it.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I increase "Retirement Protection" Insurance?
Replies: 4
Views: 710

Re: Should I increase "Retirement Protection" Insurance?

The price doesn't seem bad, provided that this is true "own occupation" insurance. I'm sure that if you couldn't perform surgery you would not want to get a job flipping hamburgers, but some insurance companies would say that it is a job you can do, so no disability payments. Does the cost...
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extended CAR Warranty
Replies: 32
Views: 1540

Re: Extended CAR Warranty

Check other places for an extended warranty. My credit union has had good deals on them in the past, and I think that my insurance company also has them. Usually a better deal with more coverage at a lower profit margin than the dealer.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question on My 401K's Lack of Dividends
Replies: 7
Views: 381

Re: Question on My 401K's Lack of Dividends

TIAA-CREF does not pay any dividends on its stock funds. I think that is because all of the funds can only be held in tax sheltered retirement accounts, so dividend taxation is irrelevant.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:45 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: international real estate ETFs in 403b
Replies: 3
Views: 175

Re: international real estate ETFs in 403b

I would say that it is your employers rules, not the brokerage rules, that prevent this. I do invest in international real estate ETFs in my Schwab 401(k) and my Schwab IRA.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do REITs have high growth if housing only keeps up with inflation?
Replies: 19
Views: 1708

Re: Why do REITs have high growth if housing only keeps up with inflation?

The value of real estate generally only keeps up with inflation, but there are also profits to be made off of existing real estate. Further, REITs generally are just holding stock in companies that profit off of real estate. (Not owning real estate directly.) So REIT returns are influenced by: - st...
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?
Replies: 142
Views: 10241

Re: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?

Some people have access to a self funded Defined Benefit plan. This type of plan offers huge potential savings opportunities, but comes with significant accounting and paperwork burdens. Usually only business owners use these. Using the usual definition of "gross pay", these plans can make...
by ralph124cf
Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?
Replies: 10
Views: 698

Re: Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?

Update. I called my insurance company, USAA, and the claims agent didn't bat an eye. She said that she had been dealing with rodent claims all day. Perhaps she is the designated rodent claims agent. She arranged to have my truck towed to a repair shop, and will even apply the one hour labor charge a...
by ralph124cf
Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?
Replies: 10
Views: 698

Re: Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?

Good to hear.

I just came back from the repair shop, and the parts are more than expected, $8,600 for parts alone, and the mechanic refuses to give a firm price on installation, expects about twenty hours.

Time to call the insurance company.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?
Replies: 10
Views: 698

Car Damage: Insurance Coverage?

While driving, I noticed my yellow antiskid warning light on. I took the truck (2006 Toyota Tundra, 31,000 miles) in to my reputable local shop that I have been using for ten years. They reported that I had a couple of mice nests under the hood, and that the mice had been chewing on my wiring harnes...
by ralph124cf
Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?
Replies: 32
Views: 2192

Re: Do I need an electrician? If so how much would it cost?

One of the most expensive parts of home projects is always: "While we're at it, we might as well..." Still, if you are going to have an electrician there anyway, see if there is any other work which you should have done, like extra outlets another place, another light switch, or another ce...
by ralph124cf
Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Selling Covered Calls - LEAPS
Replies: 7
Views: 779

Re: Selling Covered Calls - LEAPS

I do this with any stock that I am interested in selling. Sell a call at ten or twenty dollars over the current price, but only if I can get at least $10/share for the call premium. I am happy if the call is exercised, and if it is not, then I have the call premium and can resell the same call or se...
by ralph124cf
Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?
Replies: 102
Views: 4089

Re: What's your personal criteria for deciding whether or not to rent a car?

It sounds like the first trip is about 800 miles round trip, so you are only paying ten cents a mile for the rental car. I am sure that wear and tear, tire usage, and routine maintenance would cost you more for the Highlander than that, and that is before figuring in any mileage based depreciation. ...
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gifting an apartment to my cousin--Incur gift tax or not?
Replies: 7
Views: 938

Re: Gifting an apartment to my cousin--Incur gift tax or not?

You can gift $14,000? per year with no gift tax return, $28,000 if married, $56,000 if both parties are married. In many areas this would be enough to complete the gift over a few years. Manhattan, maybe not.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do I need title insurance?
Replies: 37
Views: 2328

Re: Do I need title insurance?

Five years after I bought my current house, I went to open a home equity line of credit. The title search showed a second mortgage lien from ten years earlier that did not show up on the initial title search. It was in error, but I would have had to pay a lawyer to solve the problem if I had not had...
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone replaced a pickup with an SUV?
Replies: 35
Views: 1987

Re: Anyone replaced a pickup with an SUV?

If you are reasonably handy, you can build a platform that will fit over the wheel wells and allow you to carry sheet goods flat above the wheel wells.

In this case the only limitation will be how wide the lift gate opening is.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are earnings on traditional IRAs taxable?
Replies: 12
Views: 739

Re: Are earnings on traditional IRAs taxable?

Everything taken out of a traditional IRA is taxable whether it was a contribution or earnings.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: rental property expense question
Replies: 12
Views: 1407

Re: rental property expense question

What I read into the above answers is that the IRS may charge you interest if they audit you, but that they are unlikely to charge you a penalty for expensing the improvement.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:47 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving TIAA CREF out of money market
Replies: 16
Views: 1208

Re: Moving TIAA CREF out of money market

Many people here would say that your best option is TREA. You have a lot of time for your investment to grow.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Equity in Roth, Bonds in Traditional ?
Replies: 4
Views: 404

Re: Equity in Roth, Bonds in Traditional ?

Your time horizon matters here. If you are 1 year from retirement, it probably does not matter. If you are 40 years from retirement, then equities in ROTH should be wildly better.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advisor suggested this - Good idea?
Replies: 41
Views: 2603

Re: Advisor suggested this - Good idea?

This adviser has given you "good enough" advice. Many on this forum are trying to fine tune this advice to the "best possible" advice. Everybody disagrees about what is the best possible advice.

You were given a perfectly reasonable plan, I would say go for it.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What's your strategy for withdrawing funds in Retirement ?
Replies: 57
Views: 6097

Re: What's your strategy for withdrawing funds in Retirement ?

In retirement I am trying to keep our income relatively constant. This helps with taxes versus large swings in income. We are firmly in the 33% Fed bracket, and will remain there even after one of us dies, so there is no advantage to Roth conversions. We have an expected base from SS (age 70), pensi...
by ralph124cf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retirement Account with LPL - Issues
Replies: 6
Views: 451

Re: Retirement Account with LPL - Issues

Is there a chance that the owner of the company is getting a kickback from the LPL guy?

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dizzying Medicare options [in Massachusetts]
Replies: 64
Views: 3740

Re: Dizzying Medicare options

One large challenge is figuring out the various part D options. All of the plans have different costs, and cover different drugs at various levels of co-pays and deductibles. First figure out if your drugs are covered, then find out the out of pocket cost for that drug. Sometimes a drug will be appr...
by ralph124cf
Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Draws on unprofitable LLC
Replies: 4
Views: 345

Re: Draws on unprofitable LLC

As the manager are you responsible for depositing payroll and withholding taxes? Make sure that is up to date at all times, or you personally will be in trouble with the IRS.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contract purchase of condo from elderly mother to fund assisted living
Replies: 7
Views: 624

Re: Contract purchase of condo from elderly mother to fund assisted living

If your mother is needing assisted living care, then she is probably able to deduct medical expenses, and so any profits from the sale are most likely going to be tax free. The only reason that inheriting the property is advantageous is the step up in basis, which is irrelevant in this situation. Ra...
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax saving question - newbie
Replies: 4
Views: 404

Re: Tax saving question - newbie

If all income is W-2, there is not that much you can do. I will note that CA income tax is deductible, is a large part of your annual car tax, and charitable contributions. Necessary work expenses such as small tools and unreimbursed travel expenses and union dues are deductible, as are professional...
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CREF variable annuity in 403(b) -- any reason to pay the high expense ratio?
Replies: 37
Views: 2338

Re: CREF variable annuity in 403(b) -- any reason to pay the high expense ratio?

TIAA-CREF has some fairly complex rules. Except for the Traditional Annuity and TREA, most of the CREF funds are essentially equal to mutual funds during the ACCUMULATION stage. it is during the annuitization stage that things get interesting. Depending only on your age, you get paid for a certain p...
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience selling car to Carmax?
Replies: 52
Views: 16747

Re: Experience selling car to Carmax?

In 2007 I was selling a 1998 F-150 after I bought a new truck. Carmax had higher mileage, less well equipped F-150s advertised for sale for $10,000. They offered me $5,000. That is quite a profit margin. I sold privately for $7,000. Check what Carmax is advertising as the sale price of a very simila...
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LLC or other liability protection as landlord
Replies: 17
Views: 1318

Re: LLC or other liability protection as landlord

Some insurance companies will write umbrella insurance that covers rental properties provided the underlying liability insurance on the rental has a high enough limit. It helps if both the underlying insurance and the umbrella insurance is with the same company. Either way be sure to disclose the ex...
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When should you replace a vehicle?
Replies: 52
Views: 4160

Re: When should you replace a vehicle?

Financially the best decision is always to drive it into the ground.

A factor that should also be considered is the additional safety features in newer cars, as well as the generally better gas mileage of an equivalent newer car.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gratuitous homeownership items
Replies: 218
Views: 18242

Re: gratuitous homeownership items

I recently moved into a new place that has granite countertops. They weren't on my list of "must haves" or even "nice to haves," but the home was otherwise great for me. The countertops have been nothing but trouble. There were some stains in them when I moved in, and I got a fe...
by ralph124cf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hong Kong hotel - which side of the harbor?
Replies: 8
Views: 876

Re: Hong Kong hotel - which side of the harbor?

The Peninsula is a great hotel. If for some reason you can't get in there, consider the Harbor view Convention Center (it's a Marriot). Another very good hotel on the water. Most rooms are on the higher floors, so it might not meet your requirements.

Ralph
by ralph124cf
Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Schwab offering .03% ER
Replies: 75
Views: 2942

Re: Schwab reduces index mutual fund ER and trade commission

Schwab market-weighted index mutual funds expense ratios will be reduced to match their ETF expense ratios (from 3/1/17). For example: ER for S&P500 index mutual fund will be 0.03%, total bond will be 0.04% In addition, trade commission is reduced from $8.95 to $6.95 (from 2/3/17). http://press...
by ralph124cf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wedding cash gift
Replies: 68
Views: 4000

Re: Wedding cash gift

We may have had the cheapest wedding of all. My mother knitted my wife's dress, I wore my dress uniform, and we were married in the base chapel, with no guests or meal involved. The priest could not take any money for his duties, so I tipped the eight year old altar boy $5. Still married after 46 ye...

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