Search found 207 matches

by informal guide
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Stick with Fidelity or open Vanguard account?
Replies: 34
Views: 1650

Re: Stick with Fidelity or open Vanguard account?

Just be aware that for a taxable account, Fidelity broad equity index funds (such as total stock and 500 index) have distributed capital gains in their index funds each of the last several years; Vanguard has not, due to their patented ETF share class. This entails real costs of capital gains taxes ...
by informal guide
Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Open social secuity
Replies: 40
Views: 2661

Re: Open social secuity

IMHO, the tool is excellent, particularly for married couples; the advanced section allows one to explore "boundary conditions" on different claiming choices. For example, one can model how young or old one would be when he/she passes with the surviving spouse living much longer/shorter. For the fir...
by informal guide
Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Portfolio Watch
Replies: 13
Views: 1015

Re: Vanguard Portfolio Watch

I have used it for years and find it quite helpful. But it is important to look at the underlying securities and see how they are classified before tkaing action. For example, my single largest individual stock holding is Berkshire Hathaway. The stock is classified as a financial stock. causing my d...
by informal guide
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TLH Vanguard to Fidelity Zero
Replies: 8
Views: 419

Re: TLH Vanguard to Fidelity Zero

I would caution you about using Fidelity's index funds vs, Vanguard's in a taxable account (this is irrelevant in an IRA). Even if the performance is equal or a couple basis points better, Fidelity's equity index funds have paid capital gains each of the last several years, whereas Vanguard's have n...
by informal guide
Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Landlord Exemption - suggested books/blogs
Replies: 6
Views: 555

Re: Small Landlord Exemption - suggested books/blogs

If your remodel plans include kitchen appliances, an HVAC unit, or carpeting, , I'd suggest you split them out for the better depreciation. Also, I encourage good record-keeping. Last month I sold my single family rental house (converted from a primary residence in 1982) that I owned for 39 years. F...
by informal guide
Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard could not complete transactions last Thursday - says will be done on Monday
Replies: 9
Views: 1439

Re: Vanguard could not complete transactions last Thursday - says will be done on Mondya

My understanding is that if your request was completed correctly before the close of the market on Thursday, the transaction will be processed at Thursday's values and prices. including correct dividend calculations. Brokerage and mutual fund firms have this "as-of" processing capability to handle a...
by informal guide
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best online banking accounts?
Replies: 48
Views: 4995

Re: Best online banking accounts?

I think it all depends on how you define "best." For me, I've discovered that simplification is worth quite a bit. I used to have separate online savings and checking accounts which earned among the "most" in interest but I folded everything into the Vanguard Advantage Account in order to keep thin...
by informal guide
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free half price mass transit card NYC for seniors
Replies: 2
Views: 552

Re: Free half price mass transit card NYC for seniors

Many thanks! I travel to NY several times a year and will especially appreciate the reloading feature. For those folks >= 65 traveling in and around Philadelphia the rules for senior discounts have changed. The good news is seniors can now ride free on subways, busses, and regional rails within Penn...
by informal guide
Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Rumor mill - Fidelity starting individual HSA's Nov. 15th
Replies: 860
Views: 65382

Re: Rumor mill - Fidelity starting individual HSA's Nov. 15th

A few years ago, I was able to roll my individual HSA over to Fidelity, purportedly because I had worked at Fidelity for a few years in the early 1990s. No fees; seems to be processed just like a brokerage account (I could buy i-shares ETFs offered through Fidelity with no commissions and could also...
by informal guide
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Harvesting 529 gains
Replies: 8
Views: 697

Re: Harvesting 529 gains

Two ideas to explore as you consider taking withdrawals for private school. 1) Does your state provide state income credits for contributions to 529s? If it does, doing qualified withdrawals and then subsequently making contributions for a state tax deduction is beneficial. 2) If you decide to open ...
by informal guide
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard
Replies: 11
Views: 1227

Re: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard

Duration, rather than average maturity, is what is more relevant in defining interest rate risks.
by informal guide
Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard
Replies: 11
Views: 1227

Re: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard

In addition, Vanguard muni bond expense ratios are even lower for Admiral Class shares - -available on most muni bond funds when balances exceed $50K. Expense ratios are 0.09% and yields, around 0.10% higher. VCLAX is the Admiral California Long term muni, currently yielding 2.74%. This is the advan...
by informal guide
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:24 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 to 529 Rollover - when?
Replies: 6
Views: 697

Re: 529 to 529 Rollover - when?

If you've decided to do the rollover, there is no reason to delay until you make your 2019 contribution. You can either initiate your rollover online or call Vanguard and they will help. Once you've done the rollover, making 2019 contributions is a snap (and doesn't require the $3,000 minimum openin...
by informal guide
Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity-Very Negative Experience with Inheritance Services
Replies: 9
Views: 2905

Re: Fidelity-Very Negative Experience with Inheritance Services

So is it the fact that the assets must be split that caused the complication ? Better to leave different beneficiaries on different accounts to divvy up before death, and make things simpler for your heirs ? Another approach is to have the nonretirement assets in a revocable trust account and after...
by informal guide
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LLC for one rental property?
Replies: 28
Views: 2402

Re: LLC for one rental property?

I learned that in PA, retitling an existing rental property into an LLC would subject the transaction to a transfer tax - -very expensive!
by informal guide
Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529 Withdrawal of Basis
Replies: 13
Views: 803

Re: 529 Withdrawal of Basis

How big are the accounts, and what % is the earnings in them? Also, in case you didn't already know, in addition to using on certain other relatives and/or holding for grandkids, 529s can cover lots of postgrad stuff - grad school, nursing school, pharmacy school, dental school, med school, etc. If...
by informal guide
Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Question regarding roll-over of 401(k) and pension into IRA
Replies: 8
Views: 610

Re: Question regarding roll-over of 401(k) and pension into IRA

The main reason people want to roll an IRA into a 401(k) or similar is to allow the use of backdoor Roth when their MAGI gets too high for the regular contributions. If you think that might be case in the future, then be aware of the potential problem. Depending on state, the 401(k) might provide g...
by informal guide
Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cheapest Home Insurance ?
Replies: 34
Views: 3248

Re: Cheapest Home Insurance ?

thanks everyone for the feedback. Given the advise, I'm leaning on keeping Geico, given the reputation of Geico. I'm not sure about Hippo yet, still researching ….I will call Amica and Chubb soon.... Years ago I worked with a well known property casualty insurance strategy consultant, who had what ...
by informal guide
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Zealand
Replies: 17
Views: 1668

Re: New Zealand

Our family did a trip 3 years ago and loved it. We spent the majority of our time in the South Island, with a rental car - an excellent choice. One caution if you drive - -beware of speeding. Our teen-aged daughter spelled me driving and 15 minutes later was stopped for speeding - just 10km/hr over ...
by informal guide
Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Money Market Funds vs. Online Banks
Replies: 38
Views: 4107

Re: Money Market Funds vs. Online Banks

I have a brokerage account with Vanguard Federal money market as my settlement account.

Recently, I have noticed that if I move money from this settlement account via ACH to an external account at another brokerage on a business day before 4 PM, the money arrives the next business day.
by informal guide
Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help With 529 Plan
Replies: 18
Views: 1959

Re: Help With 529 Plan

Further to #4: It is generally better to open separate accounts for each child. First, many 529 investors use age-based investments -- if you do, you want the appropriate investment mix for each child's funds. Second, and more importantly, when you get to withdrawal time, you need to associate the w...
by informal guide
Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Brokerage checking: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard
Replies: 36
Views: 3953

Re: Brokerage checking: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Fidelity's expense ratio on SPRXX (Government money market) is 0.42% vs. Vanguard's Federal money market of 0.11% (yields before expense reductions are virtually identical). On an average balance of $10k, that is $30 per year. If one does 10 or more ATM withdrawals annually at $3 per withdrawal, the...
by informal guide
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Bigger Story: Fidelity Expense Ratios
Replies: 98
Views: 11174

Re: The Bigger Story: Fidelity Expense Ratios

There is lots of discussion about the most recent Fidelity price drop/zero price offering. There has also been significant mention of the tax drag on taxable accounts from Fidelity's capital gains distributions. Many have praised Fidelity for their bold moves. Others have talked about these funds be...
by informal guide
Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for Medicare by credit card
Replies: 10
Views: 1172

Re: Paying for Medicare by credit card

I am in a similar boat, 15 months later. One can set up a payment by credit card, but you must do it each month, unlike a bank draft, which can be set up to run automatically. There are no charges, so any rewards are your to keep in exchange for the bigger hassle and stamps each month. In 15 months ...
by informal guide
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Poor HSA Investment Options
Replies: 23
Views: 1749

Re: Poor HSA Investment Options

I don't know if it is totally open to the public, but I was able to transfer my investment-oriented HSA to a Fidelity HSA two years ago, because decades ago, I worked for a firm where fidelity managed its 401k. I made maximum contributions for 10+ years and never did a withdrawal - -it is now worth ...
by informal guide
Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Order of selling equities in taxable account
Replies: 9
Views: 1080

Re: Order of selling equities in taxable account

If your stocks are at Vanguard, or if you track them as an outside account at Vanguard, I'd suggest looking at the Stocks section of Vanguard's portfolio watch, for your industry diversification versus the market. I hold a number of individual stocks in my portfolio, as well as some active funds. I ...
by informal guide
Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Moving from Vanguard to Fidelity
Replies: 55
Views: 8231

Re: Moving from Vanguard to Fidelity

I am surprised that Fidelity no longer accepts VGI Admiral class shares in kind. I did several partial taxable account transfers years ago with Vanguard Admiral class shares (both index and active) to Fidelity and had no problems. Regardless of what the web site shows, you may want to call and ask.
by informal guide
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Total Market Index Fund on Taxable Account
Replies: 19
Views: 1965

Re: Fidelity Total Market Index Fund on Taxable Account

My beef with the Fidelity Total Market Index in a taxable account is the capital gains they have paid. For the last three fiscal years (ending February 28) they have paid out the following long term capital gains per share (per the annual report) 2018 $0.51 2017 $0.39 2016 $0.31 For 2018, the reinve...
by informal guide
Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DAF, would you ?
Replies: 21
Views: 1394

Re: DAF, would you ?

If you are employed by a company that matches charitable giving (for example to educational institutions) and use that company match, the match may not be available for the charity of your choice. However, matches are frequently not done for charitable gifts to religious institutions, s those contri...
by informal guide
Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fidelity Files for Four Fidelity ZERO℠ Funds (0.00% ER)
Replies: 798
Views: 81690

Re: Fidelity Files for two Fidelity ZERO℠ Funds (0.00% ER total stock and total international mutual funds)

One interesting part of the Fidelity press release is as follows: " industry’s first self-indexed mutual fund..." meaning that Fidelity will itself create the index to which the new funds will be managed. This is different than the major index funds today, which track externally created indexes, suc...
by informal guide
Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund is changing
Replies: 85
Views: 13519

Re: Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund is changing

One interesting element of the fund going forward - -they have a huge tax loss carryforward - -$8.36 per share or over 86% of NAV as of 6/30/2018. So if the new strategy is successful and generates realized capital gains, shareholders will not be taxed for an extended period of time as long as they ...
by informal guide
Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best time to travel to Iceland?
Replies: 22
Views: 3054

Re: Best time to travel to Iceland?

We just returned from a ten day trip put together by Odysseys Unlimited but sponsored by a college alumni association (so it included a Geology professor from that university) (early June) here is the URL for their trip: https://odysseys-unlimited.com/tours/europe/exploring-iceland/ The geology (inc...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cataract surgery - one or two?
Replies: 31
Views: 1450

Re: Cataract surgery - one or two?

a close acquaintance (early 70's and in good health) just had both eyes done at once (a Kaiser medicare plan in North California) two weeks ago. She lives alone; a friend drove her both ways. The following day, everything was fine and she was comfortable driving a short distance in the daylight.. Sh...
by informal guide
Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Considering adding VWALX; pros-cons
Replies: 16
Views: 2569

Re: Considering adding VWALX; pros-cons

I understand and appreciate the view that higher yield bonds act more like equities. Yet my personal philosophy is to have 10-15% of my bond allocation in high yield bonds to improve the income generated for spending in retirement. Yes the price is more volatile than Treasuries, particularly in time...
by informal guide
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is individual Bonds better than Bond Fund?
Replies: 58
Views: 5669

Re: Is individual Bonds better than Bond Fund?

With individual bonds you get more control on effectively the cash flows, choosing when to buy and sell. You get to determine the risk exposures, maturity dates, and what to do. But that doesn't really have to do with rising interest rates or interest rate risk. Bonds have risk whether held directl...
by informal guide
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Special Needs Trust
Replies: 31
Views: 2934

Re: Special Needs Trust

One simpler option to consider is a 529 ABLE Account. They work much like 529 plans; some states even provide state income tax deductions for contributions to them. Funds that remain in the account grow tax-deferred and can be withdrawn tax-tree when used for the beneficiary. An attractive part of t...
by informal guide
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: best way to receive large sum of money from another country
Replies: 34
Views: 2682

Re: best way to receive large sum of money from another country

sil2017 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:29 pm
Irs 3520 form . Does the giver have to sign form or just the receiver
Just the US taxpayer - -the receiver - -has to file the form, as a part of his/her tax return for the year received. Be sure to keep a copy, in case there is ever any question.
by informal guide
Tue May 29, 2018 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cruise ships for multi-generational family
Replies: 61
Views: 3964

Re: Cruise ships for multi-generational family

Viking has new cruise ships and several new routes. We did a river cruise with them and quite enjoyed it, so I'm researching them. They have smaller ships than the other mass cruise lines. For 7 days you can visit Cuba: https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/cruise-destinations/caribbean-americas/cul...
by informal guide
Tue May 29, 2018 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?
Replies: 12
Views: 1637

Re: SPIA - inflation adjusted or not?

My way of thinking about a SPIA COLA - -either based on CPI or a fixed % increase per year- -is that they and other annuity options are akin to the old fashioned approach to buying optional extras on a car you order. Each option has a higher margin than the base car; similarly, each option on an imm...
by informal guide
Mon May 28, 2018 9:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Brokerage Account
Replies: 17
Views: 2827

Re: Vanguard Brokerage Account

I've had much the same experience. I'm a long-time customer of Vanguard, and when I opened up IRA accounts about 2 years ago, they said that accounts are now through Vanguard Brokerage Services. Same thing when I opened up a non-IRA account more recently. I've noticed no difference in access to fun...
by informal guide
Sat May 19, 2018 7:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Year End Tax Forms
Replies: 7
Views: 871

Re: Vanguard Year End Tax Forms

informal guide wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:09 pm
I show my Vanguard tax forms available online going back to tax year 2012. I am confident if you had a pressing audit issue back beyond that time the you could get Vanguard to send earlier forms to you.
by informal guide
Sat May 19, 2018 7:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Year End Tax Forms
Replies: 7
Views: 871

Re: Vanguard Year End Tax Forms

I show my Vanguard tax forms available onliine going back to 2012. I am confident if you had a pressing audit issue back beyond that time the you could get Vanguard to send earlier forms to you.
by informal guide
Thu May 17, 2018 1:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: brokerage firm recommendations for CDs
Replies: 10
Views: 1146

Re: brokerage firm recommendations for CDs

Typically, Vanguard and fidelity rates are very close; I'd encourage you to use the firm where your relationship is centered. New issue CDs are easiest and are usually at par; you may squeeze a few more basis points of yield out of CDs in the secondary market, albeit with the hassle of amortizing pr...
by informal guide
Wed May 09, 2018 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Custom suit needed for a wedding. Help me shop around!!
Replies: 30
Views: 2598

Re: Custom suit needed for a wedding. Help me shop around!!

I have had very good experiences with Indochino (online MTM suit-maker). Their suits are currently $369 plus a $75 alteration credit for a local tailor if needed. One time a suit came with an issue that couldn't be fixed by easy alterations (jacket lapels had gaps between them and the chest), and th...
by informal guide
Tue May 08, 2018 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can COBRA coverage be extended indefinitely?
Replies: 13
Views: 1722

Re: Can COBRA coverage be extended indefinitely?

My employer offered COBRA for 18 months and then a retiree health care option identical to the COBRA (and active employee) coverage options until I and my spouse both reach 65. My monthly COBRA costs for my spouse and me were around $550 per month a couple years ago. The retiree rates for my spouse ...
by informal guide
Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: For all ETF users "must read" [Morningstar: 5 Tips for Trading ETFs]
Replies: 4
Views: 943

Re: For all ETF users "must read" [Morningstar: 5 Tips for Trading ETFs]

One other comment I would suggest. Some brokers, including Fidelity but not Vanguard, publish an "indicative intraday quote." To find that on Fidelity's web site, get the ETF quote and then click, below the quote, "more quote info." This is only available if you have a Fidelity login. I have found t...
by informal guide
Sun May 06, 2018 11:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Start 529 Plan?
Replies: 45
Views: 2574

Re: Start 529 Plan?

There is real money to gain if you use a 529. First, the Illinois state income tax deduction of $20K is worth $990 per year - -(at 4.95%) more valuable now that the Federal state and local tax destructibility is capped at $10K (our property tax alone is over that amount). Second the gain in portfoli...
by informal guide
Thu May 03, 2018 9:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity How to report tax lots
Replies: 7
Views: 707

Re: Fidelity How to report tax lots

I found this single report data on my Fidelity holdings across individual and joint registrations, no less - --but it was only because I also have a Fidelity Charitable account. In the Fidelity charitable workflow, after logon, click Contribute, then Fund Your Giving Account, then From a Fidelity Ac...
by informal guide
Thu May 03, 2018 12:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to finance new home-IN a hurry!
Replies: 22
Views: 1766

Re: How to finance new home-IN a hurry!

Thanks informal! That sounds risky if you don't time it right. So it seems like there in no way to borrow against an IRA, even a Roth one. It is risky indeed, unless you have a sure source of cash that you can use to repay. Also, margin borrowing is risky, particularly if you borrow close to the ma...
by informal guide
Thu May 03, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to finance new home-IN a hurry!
Replies: 22
Views: 1766

Re: How to finance new home-IN a hurry!

Can margin buying via a Vanguard/Fidelity account be done with an IRA? No under most circumstances. If I remember correctly, one can take an IRA distribution and repay it within 60 days, without it being taxable. But if it goes 61 days or more, all taxes apply, including penalties if you are under ...