Search found 245 matches

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: 25
Views: 2744

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: 1143

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: 43
Views: 3194

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: 1471

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: 459

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: 1429

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: 573

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: 1663

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: 672

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: 64
Views: 5732

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: 4557

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: 2008

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: 284

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: 985

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: 985

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: 858

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: 32
Views: 2721

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: 503

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: 4555

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: 3453

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...
by informal guide
Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Opening 529 for out of state grandchild
Replies: 4
Views: 316

Re: Opening 529 for out of state grandchild

If you want the NY income tax deduction, you or your spouse need to be the owner of the account (quote from the NY 529 direct plan): If you're a New York State taxpayer and an account owner, you may be able to deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 if you're married filing jointly) of your Direct Plan contrib...
by informal guide
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee
Replies: 34
Views: 3419

Re: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee

RLGY (Realogy Holdings, NYSE) is, I believe, the largest pure play residential broker - - franchising Caldwell Banker, Better Homes and Gardens, Century 21 etc. Interesting to note the stock is down 55% in the last 12 months and down almost 75% over last 5 years. Selling at trailing PE of just under...
by informal guide
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Are Vanguard Mutual Funds dying?
Replies: 152
Views: 16177

Re: Are Vanguard Mutual Funds dying?

Those seedlings will be taller than the redwoods, and the redwoods will not be able to survive in their shade... First, I don't know why you single out "Vanguard" mutual funds. Second, I don't know exactly where the "mutual funds are dying," "mutual funds are dinosaurs" meme keeps coming from, or w...
by informal guide
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many companies have you worked for?
Replies: 125
Views: 6495

Re: How many companies have you worked for?

Since college graduation. 5. 2 years between undergrad and MBA, then 4 years for second, 8 years for third, three years fourth, and 22 years for fifth before retirement three years ago. None had defined benefit plan. <2 % of my retirement benefits as of retirement come from second employer; 45 % fro...
by informal guide
Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do We Need to File State Income Tax Returns?
Replies: 21
Views: 1350

Re: Do We Need to File State Income Tax Returns?

There is a bill being considered in Congress to try to address this. The following quote from today's Kiplinger's Tax Letter provides some perspective; they suggest the following effort , among others, is "languishing in Congress:" "Long-requested state tax relief for people who work briefly in anot...
by informal guide
Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do We Need to File State Income Tax Returns?
Replies: 21
Views: 1350

Re: Do We Need to File State Income Tax Returns?

I am not a tax professional, but it is my understanding that each state has its own definition of when state reporting/withholding/returns are required. If my memory is correct, some states, like NY, are strict about it (it was then 14 days). Several years ago, my employer (I am since retired) annou...
by informal guide
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:37 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts
Replies: 623
Views: 53163

Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts]

I have heard from folks who've done financial analysis on CMA type accounts (such as the Vanguard Advantage, Fidelity CMA, etc.) that on a standalone basis these accounts are clearly unprofitable. Because of lots of activity, including deposits, checks, debit card transactions, the operational expen...
by informal guide
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard To Liquidate Convertible Securities Fund
Replies: 25
Views: 2272

Re: Vanguard To Liquidate Convertible Securities Fund

It is an interesting case study to follow this fund in its liquidation path. Per Vanguard's web site, the fund as of January 31 is down to $561 million in assets (from about $1 billion when the liquidation was announced). As of 12/31/2018 , the fund had $210 million in short term reserves. As of 1/3...
by informal guide
Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Individual bond fees
Replies: 32
Views: 1745

Re: Individual bond fees

Michael, I encourage you to tread carefully. If you are going to use new issues, it will take some time to assemble a diversified portfolio, particularly if you want to just stick to AAA rated bonds. With new issues, you don't usually pay any fee - --good compensation is built into the underwriting....
by informal guide
Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:04 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's Innovation Studio
Replies: 4
Views: 892

Vanguard's Innovation Studio

https://www.forbes.com/sites/traceywelsonrossman/2019/01/14/harnessing-shiny-new-tech-in-service-to-finance/#29d76d5c4e27 It is good to read that Vanguard is investing in "Fintech," outside the mainstream of its massive daily operations. I am hopeful it will help us as Vanguard investors have even b...
by informal guide
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate investment Cabo San Lucas Mexico- vacation home
Replies: 17
Views: 1993

Re: Real estate investment Cabo San Lucas Mexico- vacation home

Something to put on your checklist is that when you own property in any other country you also need to take the time to have your wills updated so that your estate can easily be settled some day or your heirs could have a long and expensive legal mess on their hands dealing with Mexican(or any othe...
by informal guide
Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:05 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What do you use for your bond exposure?
Replies: 47
Views: 3281

Re: What do you use for your bond exposure?

My approach is approximately as follows (all in tax-deferred accounts): 30 % Total Bond index 30% Intermediate Term Investment Grade 25% TIPs 15% Vanguard High Yield Corporate I know many here don't want risks in their Bond allocation, but this has served me well over the last 25 years (TIPs were ad...
by informal guide
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I use my own judgment in deciding what is a Qualified Tuition and Related Expense?
Replies: 4
Views: 698

Re: Can I use my own judgment in deciding what is a Qualified Tuition and Related Expense?

My perspective is that if it is required for attendance and graduation and is not specifically listed as an exclusion (e.g., transportation costs) it qualifies. I have heard many stories of the IRS questioning whether a distribution is used for qualifying expenses, but I've not heard about disputing...
by informal guide
Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Real estate investment Cabo San Lucas Mexico- vacation home
Replies: 17
Views: 1993

Re: Real estate investment Cabo San Lucas Mexico- vacation home

The beach on the Pacific side of Cabo is spectacular, but is not swimmable (rapid drop-off and numerous drownings). If that is important, be sure you are on the Sea of Cortez side.
by informal guide
Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Question about Vanguard Advantage Checking
Replies: 9
Views: 1159

Re: Question about Vanguard Advantage Checking

I've had the account for a number of years and it works well in the way you describe. I occasionally use both the checkwriting and the debit card. But I don't sense it is something that is a focus of Vanguard - -rather I see it as "an accommodation" to Vanguard high net worth clients who might other...
by informal guide
Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Risk free or very low risk at 4%
Replies: 43
Views: 4671

Re: Risk free or very low risk at 4%

Vanguard has investment grade fixed income funds that have SEC yields above 4%; they are certainly not risk free, but would generated more than 4% current yield if you are just looking to generate yield to spend, without any inflation adjustments. Intermediate Term Corporate Bond fund (Admiral -VICS...
by informal guide
Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:17 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Close Match to Wellesley or Wellington w/Fidelity
Replies: 26
Views: 2771

Re: Close Match to Wellesley or Wellington w/Fidelity

The Puritan fund or the Balanced fund are the two closest to Wellington. They don't really have something like Wellesley I don't think.. She also might look at the Fidelity Freedom Index Funds in whatever stock/bond ratio is of interest One difference with Puritan (compared to Wellington) is that a...
by informal guide
Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I feel like Transamerica just did me wrong
Replies: 26
Views: 2545

Re: I feel like Transamerica just did me wrong

My understanding of industry rules are that if a request "is in good order," SEC regulations require that it be processed as of the date of receipt with those dates' prices, even if it is actually processed days later. This is black and white. There is no requirement to send the money any way except...
by informal guide
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Stick with Fidelity or open Vanguard account?
Replies: 34
Views: 1756

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: 41
Views: 3048

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Portfolio Watch
Replies: 13
Views: 1066

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: Personal Investments
Topic: TLH Vanguard to Fidelity Zero
Replies: 8
Views: 469

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: 587

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: 1459

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: 53
Views: 6621

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: 572

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: 1038
Views: 91083

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: 731

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard
Replies: 11
Views: 1299

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Bond fund yields: Schwab vs Vanguard
Replies: 11
Views: 1299

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...