Search found 86 matches

by FrugalProfessor
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What UN-frugal thing do you do?
Replies: 163
Views: 7734

Re: What UN-frugal thing do you do?

Finally succumbed and bought a $41/mo gym membership on campus to allow me to rock climb. I do so 3x/week and it makes me happy.

We bought 2 moviepasses the other month and that's been great: https://www.costco.com/MoviePass-and-Fa ... 95930.html
by FrugalProfessor
Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: what is marginal tax rate?
Replies: 23
Views: 1720

Re: what is marginal tax rate?

We have a fun example. We are eligible for EITC with 2 children currently. EITC has a 21% phaseout rate. Before 401k contributions, we'd be in the 10% bracket, plus 4% state income tax bracket. Also, the state matches EITC at 30%. So every $ contributed to traditional 401k saves 10% + 4% in taxes, ...
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting Rid of Comcast Modem
Replies: 21
Views: 1762

Re: Getting Rid of Comcast Modem

cancel your comcast phone service... and buy a normal docsis 3 cable modem then buy a obihai and use it with google voice phone number... https://www.amazon.com/OBi200-1-Port-Adapter-Support-Service/dp/B00BUV7C9A no monthly fee as it uses google voice. but there is a 15 dollar a year fee if you wan...
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting Rid of Comcast Modem
Replies: 21
Views: 1762

Re: Getting Rid of Comcast Modem

cancel your comcast phone service... and buy a normal docsis 3 cable modem then buy a obihai and use it with google voice phone number... https://www.amazon.com/OBi200-1-Port-Adapter-Support-Service/dp/B00BUV7C9A no monthly fee as it uses google voice. but there is a 15 dollar a year fee if you wan...
by FrugalProfessor
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Internet Speed 15Mbps okay ?
Replies: 27
Views: 1914

Re: Internet Speed 15Mbps okay ?

3mbps down & 1mbps up here. I'm living proof that you can survive the atrocities of slow internet.

I notice an almost imperceptible difference between work (super fast) and home, with the caveat that 3mpbs can't handle simultaneous devices well.
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategies for my simple tax situation
Replies: 9
Views: 776

Re: Strategies for my simple tax situation

Looks pretty accurate to me. You properly accounted for the $2k CTC. If I were you, the only remaining option I'd entertain is shove money into Roths (including your 401k if Roth 401k is an option). In this manner, you lock in the 12% bucket now and are hedged against future increases in taxes. You ...
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you live on a budget?
Replies: 65
Views: 3433

Re: Do you live on a budget?

I track our spending. We spend without remorse on items we need (groceries, shelter, healthcare). We next spend money pretty freely on things we really want (infrequent trip to a restaurant, simple entertainment, modest vacations). We tend not to spend money on "sort of wants" (random trinkets, conc...
by FrugalProfessor
Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disney visit
Replies: 28
Views: 3468

Re: Disney visit

We did a VRBO 2 years ago in this area: https://www.vrbo.com/results/usa/florida/central-disney-orlando/lake-buena-vista/bonnet-creek-fairfield-orlando. I believe the specific hotel was "Wyndham Bonnet Creek". Paid around $150/night. It was within the Disney property. Just a few minute drive from th...
by FrugalProfessor
Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 414
Views: 82426

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

I strongly recommend against boa auto pay through ebills. I had it before for one credit card and paid less attention on its payments until a collection letter came. It turns out the ebill is tied to the credit card number, not the account itself. So if the card number changes for any reason, their...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards
Replies: 414
Views: 82426

Re: Bank of America/Merrill Edge - Preferred Rewards

I strongly recommend against boa auto pay through ebills. I had it before for one credit card and paid less attention on its payments until a collection letter came. It turns out the ebill is tied to the credit card number, not the account itself. So if the card number changes for any reason, their...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to get rid of an IRA from old 401k plan to allow a back door Roth
Replies: 12
Views: 1120

Re: How to get rid of an IRA from old 401k plan to allow a back door Roth

For myself, I rolled into current employer's 403b.

Brilliant post here by the white coat investor on how to do it if the above option is unavailable: https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/penni ... -roth-ira/
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank of America Merrill Edge Up to $900 Bonus for Preferred Rewards Clients
Replies: 36
Views: 2586

Re: Bank of America Merrill Edge Up to $900 Bonus for Preferred Rewards Clients

I moved $50k of VTSAX from Vanguard to Merrill Edge last month to juice my BOA credit card rewards. Contrary to what has been posted elsewhere on this blog, you don't need to convert to VTI prior to transferring out. The caveat is that VTSAX cannot be purchased within Merrill Edge. Knowing the above...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Thinking through Paying Down the Mortgage
Replies: 58
Views: 4296

Re: Thinking through Paying Down the Mortgage

To me, stuffing Trad/Roth IRA/401k/401a/457, HSA, 529 trump paying off mortgage. Only after the above would I consider prepaying mortgage. My 15Y mortgage is similar (2.875%). Going forward I will itemize, so no subsidy on debt. For my taxable accounts to beat my mortgage, I'd have to get at least 2...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: To the doctors on the forum
Replies: 88
Views: 5369

Re: To the doctors on the forum

Bacchus01, I feel your pain and am equally perplexed at the complete failure of medicine to provide transparent pricing. We have a HDHP plan as well and have faced similar frustrations while pricing out basic procedures/exams (strep test, pink eye, etc) prior to hitting our deductible each year. At ...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Prices
Replies: 171
Views: 21258

Re: TurboTax Prices

Freetaxusa does schedule c and d and lives up to it's name. Only downsides are the platform is online and does not import brokerage data. I've inputted my data on TurboTax and freetaxusa and get identical numbers. I'm not sure why freetaxusa doesn't get more love from bogleheads. Manually inputting...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Considering PhD...but so much to consider...
Replies: 51
Views: 3587

Re: Considering PhD...but so much to consider...

I finished a phd last year at the age of 35. I don't think it makes financial sense over a master's in most fields other than a couple. Attrition is high in many PhD programs. We lost 50% of our students for various reasons (half walked out and half kicked out). I received a 25-30k stipend which cer...
by FrugalProfessor
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 100% VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx Adm)??
Replies: 70
Views: 5726

Re: 100% VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx Adm)??

Watched the youtube video. Interesting, but mostly unrelated to the topic. The video highlights the debilitating effects of compounded fees. 100% VTSAX has almost no fees. Bogle has changed countless lives (but unfortunately not enough as the video highlights). Thank you Bogle! I'm 70% VTSAX (and fi...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529's: Torn Between Utah and Vanguard (Nevada) Plans
Replies: 21
Views: 10420

Re: 529's: Torn Between Utah and Vanguard (Nevada) Plans

CA has the cheapest all-in index fund available. If I were you guys (unconstrained by state incentives), I'd do that without any question. https://www.scholarshare.com/research/fees.shtml Index U.S. Equity Investment Portfolio (8bp all-in fee). If you want diversification, achieve it in other accoun...
by FrugalProfessor
Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?
Replies: 266
Views: 21410

Re: Do you see a meaningful change in your income with new Tax Bill?

Would everyone expecting a decrease (or increase) in their 2018 Federal tax bill mind coming back in 2019 and tell us how it actually worked out for them? We fall into that group of high-income working people that will likely see a significant increase in our tax bills. But we are not very sure of ...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51146

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

The wife and I are trying to figure out the best way to handle our charitable donations given this tax reform. We have 10,000 mortgage interest (slightly declining each year). We will hit the $10,000 cap for SALT. We want to donate $10,000 to charities which should we do? 1. Donate 30,000 to a Dono...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51146

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

I have written fairly comprehensive Excel models for 2017 and 2018 taxes. Available for download at bottom of this page: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/model-of-new-tax-plan-house-senate-compromise/. The 2017 model is accurate to within $5 for all scenarios I've thrown at it, with the caveat that ...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Post Tax Bill Questions Here [was Tax Bill Omnibus Thread]
Replies: 886
Views: 51146

Re: Tax Bill Omnibus Thread

I have written fairly comprehensive Excel models for 2017 and 2018 taxes. Available for download at bottom of this page: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/model-of-new-tax-plan-house-senate-compromise/. The 2017 model is accurate to within $5 for all scenarios I've thrown at it, with the caveat that i...
by FrugalProfessor
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Instant Pot users here?
Replies: 102
Views: 11212

Re: Any Instant Pot users here?

I have had an electric pressure cooker for 10 years, predating the instantpot for sure. We just upgraded to the largest instantpot. I would recommend an instantpot to anyone. Put a price alert on CamelCamelCamel and buy when on sale.
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Hire CPA or file my own taxes?
Replies: 12
Views: 1129

Re: Hire CPA or file my own taxes?

Do it yourself. FreeTaxUSA is free federally with nominal state charge. TurboTax is really easy to use as well, but costlier. If you don't trust FreeTaxUSA, enter into both tools and see that they produce equivalent results. You only pay TurboTax at the last step (eFiling) so it's free to play aroun...
by FrugalProfessor
Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The College Bubble - investment opportunities after the collapse?
Replies: 114
Views: 8375

Re: The College Bubble - investment opportunities after the collapse?

I teach. I'm not sure what the future of higher education is. I can definitely see it going either way. Reasons why it will collapse: student debt is unsustainable, job prospects are poor for many majors, easily consolidated and provided for free from top colleges via internet. Reasons why it won't ...
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What Credit Card is good for me?
Replies: 19
Views: 1531

Re: What Credit Card is good for me?

I think the best single card on the market is the USAA 2.5% cash back card. I've had either the Fidelity & Citi 2% cards for close to a decade. My new strategy is to park $100k of Vanguard funds at merril edge, then do the following: 5.25% cash back on gas (BoA cash rewards card) 3.5% cash back on d...
by FrugalProfessor
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $23k credit card emergency
Replies: 76
Views: 8885

Re: $23k credit card emergency

You have a spending problem, not an income problem. 1.) Slash living expenses. Find a roommate if possible, saving $500/month. I pay $1/month on cell phones. You should not pay more than me. https://www.frugalprofessor.com/phones/ Groceries: Slash your budget by 50%. Eat only oatmeal, banannas, rice...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/403b
Replies: 6
Views: 418

Re: TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/457

tfb wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:54 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:48 am
Thanks for catching the mistake TFB. Sorry to misquote. I have updated the original post accordingly.
Still not quite right because you left 457 there.
Just fixed it. Thanks!
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/403b
Replies: 6
Views: 418

Re: TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/457

I read the following TFB article on after-tax contributions to a 403b/457 this morning: https://thefinancebuff.com/401a-plan-contribution-limit.html. He states that some employers allow for the elusive after-tax contributions to 403b/457 plans, which opens the door for contributions up to the $54k/...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/403b
Replies: 6
Views: 418

TFB article on after-tax contributions to 401a/403b

I read the following TFB article on after-tax contributions to a 401a/403b this morning: https://thefinancebuff.com/401a-plan-contribution-limit.html. He states that some employers allow for the elusive after-tax contributions to 401a/403b plans, which opens the door for contributions up to the $54k...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: avoiding sequence of returns risk?
Replies: 39
Views: 3143

Re: avoiding sequence of returns risk?

The most intelligent discussion I've seen on the topic is here: * http://www.choosefi.com/035-sequence-return-risk-early-retirement-now/ * https://earlyretirementnow.com/2017/05/17/the-ultimate-guide-to-safe-withdrawal-rates-part-14-sequence-of-return-risk/ * https://earlyretirementnow.com/2017/09/1...
by FrugalProfessor
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 Savings - Is it enough?
Replies: 38
Views: 4191

Re: 529 Savings - Is it enough?

CA offers a total US stock market fund for 0.08%: https://www.scholarshare.com/research/fees.shtml. It is where I am planning on putting 529 contributions in excess of my state's 10k limit. Regarding the optimality of prioritizing 529 above retirement, I have a hard time conjuring up such scenarios....
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which BoA Credit Card to use?
Replies: 24
Views: 1972

Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

The Premium Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in cash. $95 annual fee. There are a few additional perks, but that's mostly it. The Travel Rewards card gives 2.625% on everything, redeemable in statement credits for travel. $0 annual fee. If the OP's family travels a decent amount,...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which BoA Credit Card to use?
Replies: 24
Views: 1972

Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

My understanding of the new Premium Rewards card is that you get the increased base rewards rate of the Travel Rewards card (i.e. 2.625% at platinum honors), but that you can redeem the rewards for cash back, not just travel. The Cash Rewards (for groceries/gas/costco) and the Premium Rewards (for ...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which BoA Credit Card to use?
Replies: 24
Views: 1972

Re: Which BoA Credit Card to use?

Thanks alvapert. Ugh wasn't aware there was a Premium Reward. We do grocery, costco, gas, restaurants. About $10k per month paid in full. Sounds like we'll just stick with Cash Rewards. Got the Travel Rewards for when we start traveling more - we hit the $2k or whatever is required to get the initi...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:25 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Question
Replies: 19
Views: 1074

Re: Tax Question

Other posters have done a great job, of course. At your level of income, you want to max out other accounts prior to putting a penny in taxable brokerage accounts. Prioritize using something like this: www.frugalprofessor.com/hierarchy-of-savings/ Once you fill up tax advantaged buckets (HSA, 401k, ...
by FrugalProfessor
Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Boglehead vs Mr Money Mustache philosophies]
Replies: 203
Views: 16877

Re: [Boglehead vs Mr Money Mustache philosophies]

MMM: Younger demographic. Less rich. Discussions about cell phone plans + DIY home & car repairs. BH: Older demographic. Much richer (I'm amazed at the abundance of multi millionaires here). Discussions about tax optimization and index investing. Similarities: Both think critically about problems th...
by FrugalProfessor
Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dividends vs. Capital Gains for Spending Needs?
Replies: 212
Views: 18773

Re: Dividends vs. Capital Gains for Spending Needs?

I loathe dividends and am perplexed by people's obsession with them. If a mutual fund or stock's dividend yield isn't high enough for your liking, sell some stock and create your home grown dividend. For an investor with a multi decade investing horizon, I hate the drag caused by dividends, as show...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dividends vs. Capital Gains for Spending Needs?
Replies: 212
Views: 18773

Re: Dividends vs. Capital Gains for Spending Needs?

I loathe dividends and am perplexed by people's obsession with them. If a mutual fund or stock's dividend yield isn't high enough for your liking, sell some stock and create your home grown dividend. For an investor with a multi decade investing horizon, I hate the drag caused by dividends, as shown...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you value your time?
Replies: 97
Views: 4636

Re: How do you value your time?

My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)). Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc). Unfortunately taxes are the great distortion of modern societies and DI...
by FrugalProfessor
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you value your time?
Replies: 97
Views: 4636

Re: How do you value your time?

My effective marginal tax rate is 45%. If I can spend $1 less, it's the equivalent of earning an extra $1.82 (=1/(1-.45)).

Don't forget taxes when valuing DIY activities (mowing lawn, paying for parking, making own meals, etc).
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bay Area Real Estate
Replies: 154
Views: 16516

Re: Bay Area Real Estate

As other posters have commented, one thing is often neglected with the CA rent vs buy decision: Property taxes due to Prop 13. My grandfather recently sold his Los Altos home for $2.2M in 2013 (Zillow currently has it pegged at $3.5M) which he purchased in the early 70s. Built in the 60s, it was 250...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Circumstances in which a freeze needs to be lifted
Replies: 34
Views: 3012

Re: Circumstances in which a freeze needs to be lifted

I've had my credit frozen for years. The only time I've had to unfreeze is when applying for new credit (Mortgage). Check your credit report. Any instance of a credit inquiry in your recent past is an instance in which you'd have to unfreeze your credit going forward. My preferred method of unfreezi...
by FrugalProfessor
Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I am in the investment advice industry and I'm not sure if I provide any value
Replies: 67
Views: 7217

Re: I am in the investment advice industry and I'm not sure if I provide any value

Don't conflate value with price. They are not the same thing. You can provide a lot of value but you can still be vastly overpriced. Value belongs to the consumer. This was the best comment on the tread so far. Well said TFB! My vote is for you to transition from an AUM to an hourly fee model. Doin...
by FrugalProfessor
Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My Smartest Financial Moves
Replies: 62
Views: 6608

Re: My Smartest Financial Moves

1.) Spending my early 20's reading Random Walk Down Wall Street, Boglehead's Guide to Investing, Millionaire Next Door, Little Book of Common Sense Investing, Richest Man in Babylon, Four Pillars of Investing. 2.) Living significantly below my means (no TV bill for past decade, around $10/year in VO...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My boneheaded financial mistakes
Replies: 124
Views: 17544

Re: My boneheaded financial mistakes

1.) Blindly following advice of HR woman during intern onboarding at MegaCorp in which she advised opting out of 401k. I pissed away a 6% company match. Total cost < $1k. 2.) Blindly following advice of HR woman during onboarding at phd student onboarding. I learned after the fact that I was eligib...
by FrugalProfessor
Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My boneheaded financial mistakes
Replies: 124
Views: 17544

Re: My boneheaded financial mistakes

1.) Blindly following advice of HR woman during intern onboarding at MegaCorp in which she advised opting out of 401k. I pissed away a 6% company match. Total cost < $1k. 2.) Blindly following advice of HR woman during onboarding at phd student onboarding. I learned after the fact that I was eligibl...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1979

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

Look at the "Earn more cash back as a Preferred Rewards client" portion of the first link. I know how Preferred Rewards works, since I have Platinum Honors status, but my understanding is that it does not apply to the points sign-up bonus. Doctorofcredit.com agrees that it doesn't apply (see the FA...
by FrugalProfessor
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1979

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

75% bonus from your offer once you plop $100k in Merrill Edge and achieve "platinum honors" status. https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/cash-back-credit-card/#headlineCcalcModule https://info.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/#benefits I don't see anything that suggests that the p...