Search found 275 matches

by informal guide
Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Gnarly defaulted Puerto Rico muni bond cost basis question
Replies: 3
Views: 555

Re: Gnarly defaulted Puerto Rico muni bond cost basis question

Thanks for the replies! Based on more research I just did, I anticipate that further payments will be made, FGIC annually revalues its situation and has historically adjusted upwards its claim paying. I just found that on Monday they announced going to go to paying 43.5% of claims from the prior 38....
by informal guide
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Gnarly defaulted Puerto Rico muni bond cost basis question
Replies: 3
Views: 555

Gnarly defaulted Puerto Rico muni bond cost basis question

A family member in 2013 had the misfortune to buy a Puerto Rico muni bond in the secondary market (at around 90 cents per dollar of bond) that was scheduled to mature last July. All Puerto Rico bonds defaulted in early 2017 and stopped paying both interest and principal. The good news was that the b...
by informal guide
Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should a job offer include details about relocation package?
Replies: 20
Views: 2035

Re: Should a job offer include details about relocation package?

I am neither a lawyer nor a recruitment person. But I have moved jobs several times. Assuming this is a mid to larger sized employer, all questions like you listed are on the table; you should ask them without hesitation before signing any The recruiter is, at least in part, judged on acceptance rat...
by informal guide
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited Annuity question(s)
Replies: 37
Views: 2579

Re: Inherited Annuity question(s)

My quick take is to take a look at your 2019 tax situation and withdraw at least the amount to the top of your current tax bracket. Then I'd withdraw the rest in January 2020. That saves the hassle of a 1035 annuity move to Vanguard or Fidelity. If your income is in the $400k range, and you're marr...
by informal guide
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Inherited Annuity question(s)
Replies: 37
Views: 2579

Re: Inherited Annuity question(s)

Both Fidelity (direct) and Vanguard offer 1035 exchanges into products at an annualized 0.60% or less, including both annuity and investment fees. If you choose to keep the annuity to cash out over several years, either would be a much better option. If you cash it out over time, the income comes ou...
by informal guide
Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to title a car
Replies: 42
Views: 2761

Re: How to title a car

The one thing I would definitely not do is title jointly. In most cases, that would require both owners to sign off on the sale - -typically both having to be physically present on the title transfer - -a logistical PIA. I retained title on our college age kids' cars until it (the car) was no longer...
by informal guide
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 529 plan - investment change limitation
Replies: 5
Views: 352

Re: 529 plan - investment change limitation

I don't believe the regulations ever envisioned an investor holding multiple states' 529 plans. Also, from a practical standpoint, there is no tracking mechanism of exchanges across multiple states' plans, whereas individual plans have the investment change regulations built into the recordkeeping s...
by informal guide
Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your best deal from Craigslist
Replies: 34
Views: 2445

Re: Your best deal from Craigslist

Several weeks ago I sold a 75000 miles used 2010 Toyota RAV4 which I had owned for 7 years. I posted simultaneously on CL and Facebook Marketplace. I got about 10 replies from each within 6 hours of posting , 6-8 of which on each looked or sounded legit. I'd successfully sold 3 other cars within the...
by informal guide
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Individual municipal bonds vs municipal bond funds
Replies: 17
Views: 1082

Re: Individual municipal bonds vs municipal bond funds

There is no requirement you do one or another, if you have the time and knowledge to deal in individual bonds. Buying odd lot individual munis to holld to maturity ($5k to $50k in par value) sometimes provides yield pickup, from being, on average, lower credit quality and/or providing liquidity to d...
by informal guide
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Full View recent improvements
Replies: 14
Views: 2396

Re: Fidelity Full View recent improvements

I just have a perhaps irrational concern with anyone at Fidelity knowing about my non-Fidelity assets. I don't have that concern at Vanguard, using the Yodlee functionality for outside assets.
by informal guide
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Inheritance Question
Replies: 17
Views: 2669

Re: Inheritance Question

One other option may be to disclaim part or all of the assets I am aware of a family where one heir disclaimed part of a 7 figure traditional IRA to the kids of the beneficiary (who were the contingent beneficiaries (per Stirpes); another heir disclaimed the total IRA to the kids. Both of these bene...
by informal guide
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's "Bogle Site" gone, but most material available at johncbogle.com
Replies: 59
Views: 12014

Re: Vanguard's "Bogle Site" gone? Hopefully just a glitch.

Good to hear the sanity from John in Vanguard's communications office!
by informal guide
Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 30 year treasury yield drops below 2% for the first time in history
Replies: 41
Views: 5462

Re: 30 year treasury yield drops below 2% for the first time in history

Any one predicting last year-end that Vanguard's LT Investment Grade and LT Treasury funds would both have a YTD return on August 15 2019 of over 22% would have been called loony or worse!

Interest rate pundits seem no better than stock pundits.
by informal guide
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:56 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Has anybody bought Wellington,Wellesley,LifeStra and just said the heck with the taxes or is that just dumb in taxable?
Replies: 48
Views: 3322

Re: Has anybody bought Wellington,Wellesley,LifeStra and just said the heck with the taxes or is that just dumb in taxa

I am aware of Wellington Admiral being used as the primary investment in a trust that reports out (and distributes) taxable income to beneficiary. The beneficiary is in a very low tax bracket, so capital gains and qualified dividends are not taxed at the Federal level (joint return, up to $78,750 ta...
by informal guide
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please Help Me Find a Travel Group for My 70-Year-Old Mom
Replies: 43
Views: 3520

Re: Please Help Me Find a Travel Group for My 70-Year-Old Mom

Another organization to look at for small group travel is Odyssey International. They are a bit upscale but still pay attention to value. We did an amazing trip with them (land) to Iceland with my 80ish year old in-laws. That trip included 4 women traveling alone, who had a great time, both among th...
by informal guide
Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fidelity highlights its better sweep account yields
Replies: 28
Views: 3182

Re: Fidelity highlights its sweep account yields

Bravo to Fidelity for highlighting this. They are clearly taking smaller margins than people like Schwab, TD, etc. The math on this is interesting. Vanguard's default sweep is Federal Money Market - -VMFXX - -$129 Billion at 0.11% expense ratio and a yield of 2.17%. Fidelity's default sweep fund is ...
by informal guide
Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Donor-advised fund versus direct stock donation
Replies: 41
Views: 1998

Re: Donor-advised fund versus direct stock donation

One other benefit of a direct stock donation, for those who work (or whose spouse works for) for organizations that match charitable gifts. Many firms will not match DAF contributions, either to the DAF or grants from the DAF. So my direct stock contributions, while a bigger hassle than one contribu...
by informal guide
Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Who has the best (easiest) Donor Advised Fund
Replies: 57
Views: 3008

Re: Who has the best (easiest) Donor Advised Fund

I am very familiar with both but prefer Fidelity, even though most of my securities with big gains are at Vanguard. Fidelity continues to improve the interface and is now moving grants out of the CGF to bigger recipients (e.g., Educational institutions) via ETF, rather than sending a check. Donation...
by informal guide
Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: A caution to Vanguard paper check users
Replies: 10
Views: 1358

Re: A caution to Vanguard paper check users

One option that likely would prevent this from happening is to have your account approved for margin because the Fed MM funds for settlement would not be set aside. I believe, however, that also has an explicit downside, as one cannot at Vanguard have an alternative redemption fund in a margin accou...
by informal guide
Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care Options Until Age 65?
Replies: 25
Views: 2991

Re: Health Care Options Until Age 65?

This employer is a large financial services company with around 15,000 employees and the issue surfaced for me around two years ago. I speculate that the COBRA vendor -- -one of the largest insurers - - was involved in the decision. At least on the medical side, I believe the employer self-insured, ...
by informal guide
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gold Coin for fun, not for investment or numismatics [Canadian Maple Leaf]
Replies: 31
Views: 2713

Re: Gold Coin for fun, not for investment or numismatics [Canadian Maple Leaf]

If you decide to buy from one of the online dealers such as APMEX, you should buy the 2019 version that's straight from mint. Gold maples are fragile and easily scratched, so even those BU (brilliant uncirculated) gold maples might not look that good. You should avoid silver maples as they can get ...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Insights From a Long Call With Vanguard Reps Today
Replies: 86
Views: 17336

Re: Insights from Vanguard

We discussed Admiral index funds in the Three Fund Portfolio, the Vg funds in TD & LS funds, and we discussed the lower ER in their equivalent ETFs. The overall emphasis was that, while Admiral index funds would always be available, the lower cost ETFs appeared to the the future. Yes, bid/ask sprea...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care Options Until Age 65?
Replies: 25
Views: 2991

Re: Health Care Options Until Age 65?

"That seems odd, did they say why? Here is what it says on the CMS website about the conditions that you need to meet....." My employer and the COBRA insurance company stated that my voluntary retirement (rather than an employer termination or reduction of hours) was not a qualifying event. I believ...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care Options Until Age 65?
Replies: 25
Views: 2991

Re: Health Care Options Until Age 65?

A few things I have found out about COBRA that might not be obvious; A few states have extended COBRA from 18 months to 36 months but it may be called something else for the additional 18 months. I think it was California and one or two other states. Be sure to look at what it is for your specific ...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica
Replies: 85
Views: 10234

Re: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica

Thanks for this good information. I have the 4% guaranteed rate schedule in my contract. However my contract is with Peoples Benefit Life Insurance Co. I assume that Transamerica has assumed the Peoples' contracts. The companies are one and the same. Peoples Benefit Life changed their name. It has ...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health Care Options Until Age 65?
Replies: 25
Views: 2991

Re: Health Care Options Until Age 65?

Do look carefully at your employer's COBRA cost and coverage.(I believe offering COBRA coverage is required by law) It will give you an 18 month window to shop, along with the comfort of knowing the details of your coverage (mine was the same as my employee coverage, for under $1000 per month total ...
by informal guide
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Has anyone recently transferred shares from Computershare to Vanguard?
Replies: 27
Views: 3303

Re: Has anyone recently transferred shares from Computershare to Vanguard?

a couple months ago, a close relative transferred employee stock purchase shares (from a large NYSE listed company) from Compushare to Vanguard brokerage - -a one week process that did not require a signature guarantee - just a form via snail mail with a copy of statement. Much to my surprise, withi...
by informal guide
Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two NWM 65 Life "Gifts" from Parents. I'm Lost!
Replies: 32
Views: 4228

Re: Two NWM 65 Life "Gifts" from Parents. I'm Lost!

UPDATE: I'm having doubts about surrendering the 1990 policy after reviewing the illustration. The guaranteed rate of return on the cash value portion from now until age 65 is 4.5% and the non-guaranteed rate of return is 8.2%, which actually looks pretty good to me. If I only cash out the 2012 pol...
by informal guide
Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:01 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica
Replies: 85
Views: 10234

Re: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica

I would be surprised if Vanguard would turn over servicing to Transamerica if they knew that TCS was actually doing the servicing. Why? Vanguard would want to negotiate directly with the party doing the client service, to define service standards, etc. And Transamerica, which used to administer ann...
by informal guide
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica
Replies: 85
Views: 10234

Re: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica

I would be surprised if Vanguard would turn over servicing to Transamerica if they knew that TCS was actually doing the servicing.
by informal guide
Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two NWM 65 Life "Gifts" from Parents. I'm Lost!
Replies: 32
Views: 4228

Re: Two NWM 65 Life "Gifts" from Parents. I'm Lost!

One other thought for you. If you choose to keep the older policy (for whatever reason) and the cash from the 2012 policy is not sufficient for the credit card debt, look into what the loan interest rate is on the older policy. On some older NWM policies, it is as low as 4%. You could borrow the cas...
by informal guide
Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: your experience with tours (National Geographic, Smithsonian, REI, etc.)?
Replies: 11
Views: 1286

Re: your experience with tours (National Geographic, Smithsonian, REI, etc.)?

My spouse and I have used college alumni associations for several tours - -all have been great, including the fellow travelers. On each of the trips, the different alumni associations have, in turn, booked with a travel agency. A couple of the trips had multiple groups going, including, I believe, S...
by informal guide
Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica
Replies: 85
Views: 10234

Re: Vanguard Variable Annuity - Transitioning to Access Only Through Transamerica

Do any current vanguard variable annuity holders have a copy of their original annuity contract to see what they say about fees and expenses outside of the investment expenses and the right, if any, of the insurance company to change them? I don't have one handy, but it would be helpful right now. I...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Difference between Bank Savings Account vs. Money Market
Replies: 13
Views: 1787

Re: Difference between Bank Savings Account vs. Money Market

One other difference between the two is how the interest crediting rates come to be and the implication for that on the fund company or bank. A bank savings account (or any other depository institution like credit unions) has an "administered crediting rate." In simple terms, that means that the dep...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transferring Ownership of 529 to Maximize Financial Aid via FAFSA
Replies: 5
Views: 507

Re: Transferring Ownership of 529 to Maximize Financial Aid via FAFSA

My child went to a full time MBA program a couple years ago, after 4 years of working. Of the three selective schools that offered admission, two offered financial aid in the acceptance letter without a FAFSA or even a request for financial aid in the application (one was 10%, one was 35% of annual ...
by informal guide
Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any BMW 535i Owners Out There?
Replies: 12
Views: 1491

Re: Any BMW 535i Owners Out There?

I own a 535d 2015 (AWD) and have been very happy with it - -30 mph city; 40 highway. along with great acceleration when I need it. I bought it very reasonably with 8k miles at year-end 2015. I just hit one issue, but the warranty covered it - -the blower motor for the HVAC burned out.
by informal guide
Sun May 26, 2019 3:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Rolling over previous HSA to fidelity or vanguard?
Replies: 7
Views: 643

Re: Rolling over previous HSA to fidelity or vanguard?

Fidelity accepts HSA rollovers, but Vanguard, last I checked, does not.

You will likely have to liquidate at your current custodian and transfer cash. But there are no fees at Fidelity. I did a rollover there a couple years ago and it went smoothly.
by informal guide
Sun May 26, 2019 7:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deer hit car near kid's school...file claim back home?
Replies: 27
Views: 1774

Re: Deer hit car near kid's school...file claim back home?

Many years ago I learned that a deer/car collision was covered by comprehensive coverage, rather than collision. For me at the time, that was good because I had comprehensive but not collision coverage and the repair cost, which my insurance company authorized, was just $200 less than the book value...
by informal guide
Sat May 18, 2019 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life insurance - how much? group vs individual fixed term
Replies: 8
Views: 707

Re: Life insurance - how much? group vs individual fixed term

Price out an individual term policy outside work and if cheaper dump the group insurance and the horrible plans you have outside work (scam Whole Life and renewable annual term). Term insurance outside work is highly recommended even if it costs a little more because if you lose your job and still ...
by informal guide
Thu May 16, 2019 8:53 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Long Term Bond Index to charge 0.50% fee on purchases
Replies: 65
Views: 6685

Re: Vanguard Long Term Bond Index to charge 0.50% fee on purchases

I wonder if people are missing the impact to Vanguard of purchase fees on bond fund purchases. I see two: 1) Assessing purchase fees on an index fund generates revenue that goes to the fund and therefore improves a fund's reported tracking vs. its index that does not incur the bid/ask costs of secur...
by informal guide
Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What I don’t understand about Donor Advised Funds...
Replies: 57
Views: 5042

Re: What I don’t understand about Donor Advised Funds...

Another benefit of a DAF that I appreciate is that I can make a gift of highly appreciated securities and then make smaller gifts to charities. The gifts to charities arrive as cash, benefiting smaller charities that don't have an easy ability to handle gifts of securities. I have been using Fidelty...
by informal guide
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Migrating to better weather in retirement -- rent a timeshare or buy a vacation home?
Replies: 21
Views: 2185

Re: Migrating to better weather in retirement -- rent a timeshare or buy a vacation home?

If you are considering renting a timeshare, I'd suggest you also look at redweek.com. It is a marketplace where people who bought a timeshare can list their unit for rent or for sale. I have used it successfully several times and I find the prices for the places I am involved in to be better (i.e., ...
by informal guide
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New tax law- Do you have to itemize to deduct 529 contributions from STATE taxes?
Replies: 7
Views: 316

Re: New tax law- Do you have to itemize to deduct 529 contributions from STATE taxes?

Each state that provides state income tax benefits for 529 contributions has different rules. I have filed New York, PA and Ohio state income tax returns with 529 plan contributions; none of those states requires itemized deductions to claim the benefits of 529 plan contributions. Rather they have a...
by informal guide
Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Plan - Withdrawal related questions
Replies: 17
Views: 1103

Re: 529 Plan - Withdrawal related questions

Question 4. At any time, the account owner can withdraw any amount - -before, during, or after the student's attendance. The recordkeeper will ask for any withdrawal if it is a "Qualified withdrawal" or not and report what is indicated. The second sentence above is not correct. The 529 custodian do...
by informal guide
Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Plan - Withdrawal related questions
Replies: 17
Views: 1103

Re: 529 Plan - Withdrawal related questions

Here is my understanding - -but I am not a tax advisor. Questions 1, 2, and 3. Both tax regulations and reporting from 529 recordkeepers mandate that for any withdrawals, gains, if any, are withdrawn proportionally. The recordkeepers for 529 plans track this for you. Question 4. At any time, the acc...
by informal guide
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: After importing 1099-DIVs and 1099-Rs, what do you "clean up"?
Replies: 8
Views: 931

Re: After importing 1099-DIVs and 1099-Rs, what do you "clean up"?

My "cleanup" included ensuring that each account was reported once and only once. For my initial imports, I found that my spouse's divs that were individually registered and listed in my logon weren't imported, because I hadn't imported from spouse's logon. Then when I imported from my spouse's logo...
by informal guide
Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Full View?
Replies: 47
Views: 5561

Re: Fidelity Full View?

Maybe it is just me, but I don't care to have Fidelity know what I have elsewhere (but I am OK with Vanguard knowing it)
by informal guide
Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Splitting accounts to trust beneficiaries
Replies: 4
Views: 537

Re: Splitting accounts to trust beneficiaries

I served as a trustee for an estate a few years ago and was also an equal beneficiary (among several) of a trust that owned most of the non retirement assets in the estate. I am not a lawyer, but worked with one. It is much easier if the assets are sold and any gains are taxed to the estate/trust. I...
by informal guide
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:24 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: BofA / Merrill Edge is [Tempting me to] Switch from Vanguard
Replies: 49
Views: 4902

Re: BofA / Merrill Edge is Making Me Switch from Vanguard

The offer does sound intriguing. Two questions I would explore: 1) what are closing costs of the refinance --e.g., title insurance, origination fee/points, miscellaneous costs such as payoff fees, doc fees, recording fees, etc. 2) What is the interest rate on the settlement account at Merrill Edge a...
by informal guide
Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Surprised on tax benefit after first year as landlord!
Replies: 20
Views: 3656

Re: Surprised on tax benefit after first year as landlord!

I rented out a house for more than 20 years that I'd originally purchased as a residence. Last year I sold it. I knew that would be expensive, but I am really feeling the financial costs now - -real estate sale commission, fix up costs, transfer taxes and a host of miscellaneous closing related cost...