Search found 305 matches

by skylar
Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA receipts
Replies: 6
Views: 577

Re: HSA receipts

We scan in the receipts, and also keep the paper copy in a folder just in case. We have a spreadsheet that shows when the expense was incurred, for whom, and whether it's been reimbursed yet (we haven't actually taken any distributions in the 7 years we've had a HSA). We also keep credit card statem...
by skylar
Fri May 24, 2019 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: American Express lowered my credit limit
Replies: 61
Views: 5404

Re: American Express lowered my credit limit

I had my limit cut as well ($15k to $8.5k) due to low spending. I never charged more than a few hundred dollars per month (almost entirely in the 3% grocery cashback category) and paid the balance off every month, so I guess in that respect, I'm one of their worst customers. :)
by skylar
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade
Replies: 18
Views: 1798

Re: HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade

I'm new to the HSA. I signed up to the GEHA HSA plan through my employer back in December. I'm contributing the $3,500 individual max into my HSA account this year and have signed up with TD Ameritrade, the brokerage firm linked with HSA Bank. For people who have used HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade, I'...
by skylar
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:01 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade
Replies: 18
Views: 1798

Re: HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade

I'm new to the HSA. I signed up to the GEHA HSA plan through my employer back in December. I'm contributing the $3,500 individual max into my HSA account this year and have signed up with TD Ameritrade, the brokerage firm linked with HSA Bank. For people who have used HSA Bank and TD Ameritrade, I'...
by skylar
Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Morningstar article-"Can Vanguard Remain Alone?"
Replies: 10
Views: 2097

Re: Morningstar article-"Can Vanguard Remain Alone?"

I'm confused as to what the concern is with Vanguard - it's become the largest fund company in the world, and continues to grow even while its competitors stagnate because of its breadth of very low cost index fund offerings. The article seems to raise a concern that Vanguard's employees don't have ...
by skylar
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are index fund managers forced to sell stocks when incurring greater trading?
Replies: 28
Views: 2212

Re: Are index fund managers forced to sell stocks when incurring greater trading?

Yes, and it's part of the reason why fund companies put frequent trading restrictions or even purchase and redemption fees in place: if the manager can't handle redemptions out of cash flow, then they have to sell the underlying assets, possibly at a loss, which all of the fund investors have to ac...
by skylar
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Experience with HSA to HSA trustee transfer?
Replies: 41
Views: 2626

Re: Experience with HSA to HSA trustee transfer?

I've been doing partial trustee transfers from Health Equity to HSA Bank (and now Lively) for a while now. Health Equity just sends a check to the other trustee and leaves my account open. With HSA Bank, I always had to mail a form to them, but Lively has a web-based workflow and it seems like they ...
by skylar
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are index fund managers forced to sell stocks when incurring greater trading?
Replies: 28
Views: 2212

Re: Are index fund managers forced to sell stocks when incurring greater trading?

Yes, and it's part of the reason why fund companies put frequent trading restrictions or even purchase and redemption fees in place: if the manager can't handle redemptions out of cash flow, then they have to sell the underlying assets, possibly at a loss, which all of the fund investors have to acc...
by skylar
Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?
Replies: 144
Views: 8442

Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

I also factor in * in winter, I want to avoid northern hubs entirely -- this has me avoiding United and American into Chicago. I used to think this as well, but it actually turns out that some northern airports deal with winter weather much better than southern ones . I've definitely been burned by...
by skylar
Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Do You Spend The Most On Annually?
Replies: 158
Views: 9154

Re: What Do You Spend The Most On Annually?

I'm not sure I would include savings as an expenditure, but if I did it would easily be number 1. For the rest:
  1. Rent
  2. Taxes
  3. Groceries
  4. Charity
Then there are a bunch of categories that are close to being tied (entertainment/recreation, dining out, transportation, computer/telephone, etc.).
by skylar
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?
Replies: 144
Views: 8442

Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

I've had good and bad experiences with each of them, and have had heard about the same number of good and bad anecdotes for each as well. I would pick the flight combination that (a) has the best schedule/routing for you and (b) has the best options if you get delayed/rerouted. If you need am a,amen...
by skylar
Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Will you contribute the max to your IRA and then invest it all in equities for the first market day of the new year?
Replies: 160
Views: 9239

Re: Will you contribute the max to your IRA and then invest it all in equities for the first market day of the new year?

Spouse and I just did, and it saved us needing to sell bonds to rebalance. I suppose we could wait, but I would rather check the task off ASAP.
by skylar
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you use your own cards for work travel?
Replies: 16
Views: 1318

Re: Do you use your own cards for work travel?

I don't travel much for work, but I pay for stuff out-of-pocket and get reimbursed later. This has two advantages:
  1. I get to keep the credit card rewards.
  2. I get paid per-diem for meals, and eat frugally when I travel so I get to pocket the difference.
by skylar
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Do you rollover all of your previous 401ks?
Replies: 33
Views: 2511

Re: Do you rollover all of your previous 401ks?

If the new 401k is a decent plan (measured in expense and fund selection), isn't there an advantage to rolling the old 401k over into the new 401k rather than an IRA, since the money would be available at age 55 rather than 59.5?
by skylar
Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Inter term treasury - portfolio turnover
Replies: 9
Views: 637

Re: Inter term treasury - portfolio turnover

It might have high turnover, but are the transaction costs for a treasury bond fund really that high? It's not like there's much work to do - there's a single issuer (US government) and no differences in credit quality, with a grand total of 115 holdings. The expense ratio even for the investor shar...
by skylar
Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping at non sit down places
Replies: 94
Views: 9116

Re: Tipping at non sit down places

I'll tip 20% - I feel fortunate to have the money to go to a place and have someone else deal with preparing the food. We eat out so rarely (sit-down or not) so this <$100/year, and I just don't worry about it.
by skylar
Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:17 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?
Replies: 83
Views: 25086

Re: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?

Is there a way to pay the HSA Bank fees without having them come out of your tax protected account? Like sending in a check or paying from another account? That's an excellent question, but I don't know the answer. If there is no way to avoid the fee coming from the HSA balance, then that's another...
by skylar
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!
Replies: 46
Views: 3840

Re: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!

Another reason I'm in the habit of keeping receipts is that I travel occasionally for government-sponsored work (either as my day job, or as a consultant). Depending on what budget the money comes out of, I might have different reporting requirements - sometimes I need food receipts, sometimes I nee...
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?
Replies: 29
Views: 9434

Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

I used to read them occasionally but found that Bogleheads does a better job in communicating what things I really should care about (really, not much besides expense ratios and asset allocation). :)
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?
Replies: 10
Views: 1177

Re: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?

I'm salaried and paid twice monthly, and I've noticed that some of my state deductions (workers comp, etc.) fluctuate a bit. I have a feeling it has to with them being prorated daily, and the length of the second pay period in a month varies with the length of the month, but the difference is so sma...
by skylar
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!
Replies: 46
Views: 3840

Re: Credit Card Statement & Receipt Clearing - Help!

We keep receipts for a year, separated by month regardless of credit card. We have 12 folders hanging in a drawer (one for each month), with the current month in front. Every month, the rear folder gets its contents dumped and moved to the front. I shred receipts by hand (no mechanical shredder yet)...
by skylar
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA--New Passive Plan
Replies: 80
Views: 26609

Re: Health Equity HSA--New Passive Plan

I expect to be doing a transfer soon. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has had experience with doing a partial transfer from Health Equity HSA (leaving enough behind to keep account open). Was there a transfer fee or not? How long did it take? Any problems? I've been doing regular transfer...
by skylar
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rent (free at library) or buy books?
Replies: 50
Views: 4203

Re: Rent (free at library) or buy books?

I only buy books that I know my partner and I will both read (and preferably read several times). Shelf space is too valuable a commodity to waste on books that will only be touched once. Buying new is expensive (new book depreciation must rival new car depreciation), so I buy books at our local lib...
by skylar
Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?
Replies: 44
Views: 19480

Re: views on "Empower Retirement" as a 401k provider? fees? ease of use etc?

My state 457b plan is through Empower. As others have mentioned, the platform is nice, but YMMV with the fees. For this plan, the fees are very low — there's an admin fee of 0.1283% of assets, and then the expense ratios of the funds themselves, which range from 0.13% to 0.25%. Most of the non...
by skylar
Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2019?
Replies: 198
Views: 19218

Re: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?

OMGoodness I am so not one of you. I read books with vampires in them. Or dragons. Or magic. Or shapeshifters. Or ... ALL OF THE ABOVE! I prefer "bubble gum" reading -- gets me out of my own brain. Not my cup of tea but my spouse reads nearly any novel focused on vampires. Any recommendations, part...
by skylar
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2019?
Replies: 198
Views: 19218

Re: What non fiction book will you be reading in 2018?

I don't tend to plan reading far in advance, but the next non-fiction book on my list is Telescope in the Ice, which is about building an instrument in Antarctica to detect neutrinos.
by skylar
Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?
Replies: 190
Views: 16136

Re: How much do you spend on food per month, per person?

Over the past year, we've spent about $200/month/person. This is a combination of a local food coop, Trader Joe's, and farmer's markets, but does not include alcohol purchases or other non-grocery purchases (tissues, toilet paper, etc.) at grocery stores.
by skylar
Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much did you contribute to your 401k in 2017?
Replies: 155
Views: 14178

Re: How much did you contribute to your 401k in 2017?

1. I contributed the maximum to both a university 403b and a state 457b.

2. Early 30s
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?
Replies: 83
Views: 25086

Re: Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?

I am surprised to learn that so many HSA custodians use a brokerage window at TD Ameritrade. My employer just switched to HealthEquity, which offers Vanguard funds with an administrative fee and a $2000 cash minimum. If you make frequent trades (monthly or per paycheck) or hold a lot of funds, Heal...
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA
Replies: 11
Views: 2474

Re: Health Equity HSA

. My employer uses HealthEquity, and I do a transfer from them to HSA Bank a couple times per year . I keep a small amount of money in HSA Bank to pay the $5.50/mo fee, and everything else in TDA. Like you, I don't feel like paying an AUM fee to HE and an ER to Vanguard; at least the HSA Bank fee d...
by skylar
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why is Vanguard switching all accounts to brokerage accounts?
Replies: 91
Views: 23311

Re: Why is Vanguard switching all accounts to brokerage accounts?

I converted my account and both of my partner's accounts a few months ago. I was worried we would need to get another signature guarantee to maintain our shared account access, but it turns out that we could transfer that access online. Overall, it was a non-event and took less than 30 minutes of wo...
by skylar
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Health Equity HSA
Replies: 11
Views: 2474

Re: Health Equity HSA

My employer uses HealthEquity, and I do a transfer from them to HSA Bank a couple times per year. I keep a small amount of money in HSA Bank to pay the $5.50/mo fee, and everything else in TDA. Like you, I don't feel like paying an AUM fee to HE and an ER to Vanguard; at least the HSA Bank fee doesn...
by skylar
Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETFs
Replies: 55
Views: 7570

Re: TD Ameritrade user? Question regarding selling Free ETFs

Since it was only $6.95 and I feel it was my fault not enrolling at the first place, so I did not ask for waive. I did ask for the waive of those $19.99 I was charged at a local branch office because I did not understand why I was charged multiple $19.99 on my monthly statement. It seems very trick...
by skylar
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 566
Views: 75237

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("...
by skylar
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 566
Views: 75237

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("...
by skylar
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fellow TDA bogleheads [TDA dropping Vanguard ETFs from commission-free list]
Replies: 566
Views: 75237

Re: Fellow TDA bogleheads

Currently I have most of my HSA at TDA invested in the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF (BND). Is there an equivalent to BND in the new ETF lineup? I took a glance and couldn't identify any based on name; the ones that seem sort of close also have exciting things in the name that turn me off ("e...
by skylar
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Health Savings Account recommendation
Replies: 22
Views: 4166

Re: Health Savings Account recommendation

We use HSA Bank+TD Ameritrade, and also HealthEquity (no choice there, as that's through my employer). At this point we make enough in dividends from the TD Ameritrade account to more than cover the low balance fees on the HSA Bank side, so we only leave enough in HSA Bank to cover ~6 months worth o...
by skylar
Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 25111

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

Brown paper lunch bags: approx. $0.10 each at Amazon.com Reusable lunch bags: approx. $5-10 each at Amazon.com So you're wasting $20-30 a year if you're not using a reusable bag. Disclaimer: I almost never bring my lunch. Special circumstances only. Otherwise I would eat at my desk too often. I nee...
by skylar
Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it really Worth it to brown bag your lunch at work?
Replies: 313
Views: 25111

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

Great post on the financial savings. I bring my lunch to work almost everyday. One downside is networking. Do you feel not going out with everyone you are impeding your career? I bring lunch almost everyday as well. I actually find that I'm more temperamentally compatible with the other people that...
by skylar
Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?
Replies: 142
Views: 17877

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

We save 87% of gross income. We save 78% of net income. An employer match is in that numerator so maybe subtract off 5% for that if you want. Also "save" means put in tax-advantaged accounts, but we are depleting our taxable account, so maybe subtract off another 5% for that too if you want. Still ...
by skylar
Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Saving 50% of salary; what does it really mean?
Replies: 142
Views: 17877

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

Well, for those of us with salaries that aren't in the mid six figures, just maxing out a retirement plan at work gets us a good percent of it without the tax hit. So that may help. Employer matching maybe counts in some figures? In any case, I have no idea what my savings rate is. My spending each...
by skylar
Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What career helped you become wealthy?
Replies: 75
Views: 12873

Re: What career helped you become wealthy?

Having a high-paying job might help you find wealth, but being frugal and finding non-monetary meaning in life is what lets you keep it.

To answer the actual question, IT. And as far as investing goes, I ignore it as much as possible, tune out the noise, and check stuff at most once a quarter.
by skylar
Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do your income taxes?
Replies: 96
Views: 8015

Re: How did you do your income taxes?

My wife and I used the IRS free fillable forms (free arithmetic, not much else), since our situation isn't that complex. Assuming nothing has changed since the previous year (good bet for us), we can look to see which forms we used that year to see what we need to do for the current year. I think it...
by skylar
Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard versus Dimensional
Replies: 22
Views: 5089

Re: Vanguard versus Dimensional

I can access a few DFA funds without an adviser through my 403b. I wouldn't use them at all if I needed to pay for an adviser.
by skylar
Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it safe to use debit cards? Anybody here have one compromised?
Replies: 67
Views: 7656

Re: Is it safe to use debit cards? Anybody here have one compromised?

My wife's debit card was compromised last year. It was only a few hundred dollars and she eventually got it all back, but it was a stressful few weeks. Fortunately it was with a credit union, so they had more of an incentive to care about their customers. By contrast, a few weeks ago, her credit car...
by skylar
Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to run a background check on people
Replies: 34
Views: 6004

Re: How to run a background check on people

Your state patrol might offer this service for a modest fee, but note that even name + DOB is not guaranteed to find anything, nor is it guaranteed not to return false positives.
by skylar
Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do Bogleheads Budget?
Replies: 113
Views: 17218

Re: Do Bogleheads Budget?

We just track expenses, but have no strict budget. We've always saved 40-60% of our take-home pay, and have very few discretionary expenses. We just have phone, Internet, and rent (no Netflix, no TV, no gym, etc.) as recurring payments, and maybe eat out once a week. We discuss big purchases, but th...
by skylar
Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Emergency radio with hand crank
Replies: 30
Views: 4392

Re: Emergency radio with hand crank

I live in Oklahoma (a.k.a. Tornado Alley), so a decent emergency radio was one of my first purchases when I moved here. Amazon has a variety of decent options from "Ambient Weather". You can get one for less than $30, and most of them all include a flashlight, hand crank, solar panel, AM/FM/NOAA ra...
by skylar
Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping Practices
Replies: 18
Views: 2512

Re: Tipping Practices

I don't go out much (cheap + prefer eating in peace&quiet at home most of the time), but when I do I tip at least 15% even for "fast casual" if the service is friendly. None of us live in a vacuum, and I recognize I've been very fortunate and would like to help others less fortunate. I certainly wou...
by skylar
Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: RFC: WA teacher retirement system, maxing out the 3 plans?
Replies: 5
Views: 868

Re: RFC: WA teacher retirement system, maxing out the 3 plans?

I agree that using the 457 plan is a good idea. I work for WA state as well and max out contributions to that plan since they can be taken out anytime after employment ends, also using the dirt-cheap S&P 500 fund.