Search found 3578 matches

by mikep
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Join ebates for extra cash back
Replies: 22
Views: 1572

Re: Join ebates for extra cash back

"ebates" and "ebay rebates" are not the same thing.. ebates gives straight cash back or you can change it before payout to a gift card with more value. Often the comparison is the same % off you would get on the secondary sites for that giftcard anyhow. I use ebates -> raise.com for my giftcard ... ...
by mikep
Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TaxAct for $13.50
Replies: 41
Views: 3325

Re: TaxAct for $13.50

I got a premium offer for $27 federal + who knows what state. Last year I paid $10 combined for fed/state premium.. better deals will come later.

My suspicion is that the best deals will be Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend or after 4/1/18.
by mikep
Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)
Replies: 5
Views: 521

Re: Best Credit Card Bonus to fly to Japan (From west coast)

If you have a business, get the chase ink preferred and the chase sapphire reserve. Your spouse can also refer you for another sapphire preferred for a 10,000 + 50,000 bonus. Rather than closing it I'd suggest your wife upgrade it to the reserve after the referral posts. The real power in the reserv...
by mikep
Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MVNO's versus the Big 4
Replies: 52
Views: 4786

Re: MVNO's versus the Big 4

+1 for cricket, 5 lines for $100 on AT&T with 4GB each is hard to beat. Lots of good stuff over on reddit r/nocontract, r/cricketwireless, r/cricketreferrals, r/cricketgroups to check out.
by mikep
Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Changing Health Insurance Around Child birth to reduce costs
Replies: 25
Views: 1912

Re: Changing Health Insurance Around Child birth to reduce costs

Changes are usually retroactive to the baby's birthdate. I had the same idea as you with births early in the year but decided it wasn't worth the headache involved. Many charges are in addition to the OB/GYN. You will get the hospital, anesthesiologist, lab work, etc all billed separately. It's like...
by mikep
Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed
Replies: 19
Views: 1974

Re: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed

Might be a good idea to stagger if the need comes to withdraw some, you don't have to take all the money out of the CD. No reason not to stagger IMO. Not with Ally. Ally does not allow partial withdrawal from a CD (except for the RMD). That's why it has been recommended that one opens multiple CDs ...
by mikep
Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Finance 1.49% a Good Rate?
Replies: 40
Views: 3292

Re: Car Finance 1.49% a Good Rate?

As a banker, I can tell you that you aren't going to find a new auto loan for less than 1.49% anywhere. Dealers almost always have the best interest rates on financing. (That's to entice you to buy more car than you otherwise are able or willing to spend of course). Wasn't the case with me.. dealer...
by mikep
Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed
Replies: 19
Views: 1974

Re: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed

My dad has 200K he would like to do this with, but in the name of his trust so he has to call and see what's up with that...he already has the online savings ally account in the trusts name, so shouldn't be a problem and quick, maybe a little more delay...I'll still make sure he's got 20K always in...
by mikep
Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed
Replies: 19
Views: 1974

Re: Ally CD - No Penalty CD Help/Advice Needed

Savings rate is up to 1.15% now. The no penalty CD rate is lower for < $5000..

Meanwhile my reward checking is still 3.09% so I don't keep much at Ally in anything..
by mikep
Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Car Finance 1.49% a Good Rate?
Replies: 40
Views: 3292

Re: Car Finance 1.49% a Good Rate?

As a banker, I can tell you that you aren't going to find a new auto loan for less than 1.49% anywhere. Dealers almost always have the best interest rates on financing. (That's to entice you to buy more car than you otherwise are able or willing to spend of course). Wasn't the case with me.. dealer...
by mikep
Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cricket Wireless Groups
Replies: 31
Views: 2953

Re: Cricket Wireless Groups

I run a group over there and its fine. I Don't share the username/password or PIN number, everyone paypals me $20 per month (or higher depending on their plan). I claim all the referrals in exchange for managing the group. Plus I am able to stock up on the sales at target/best buy for refill cards ...
by mikep
Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)
Replies: 139
Views: 18296

Re: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) breaks 1.00 (% not $)

Still like my reward checking at 3.09% for 12 debits (30 seconds of online $1 purchases) per month.
by mikep
Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How would you invest $50k in 529 with 11 years to College?
Replies: 32
Views: 3307

Re: How would you invest $50k in 529 with 11 years to College?

With answers like this, we know we are at/near a market peak. Some threads from 2009-10 say you have a much shorter time horizon for college vs retirement so you should scale the allocation accordingly. Any money needed in 10 years or less shouldn't be in stocks. I use TR2015 for my 10 year old in a...
by mikep
Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University ??? worth it?
Replies: 120
Views: 8621

Re: Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University ??? worth it?

I thought about teaching this at my church but I still churn credit cards for the huge bonuses since I get thousands of dollars per year for free. I also don't pay off my 1.48% car loan any earlier than the schedule since I can easily invest and earn more than that. I don't follow the baby steps. I'...
by mikep
Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cricket Wireless Groups
Replies: 31
Views: 2953

Re: Cricket Wireless Groups

I run a group over there and its fine. I Don't share the username/password or PIN number, everyone paypals me $20 per month (or higher depending on their plan). I claim all the referrals in exchange for managing the group. Plus I am able to stock up on the sales at target/best buy for refill cards ...
by mikep
Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cricket Wireless Groups
Replies: 31
Views: 2953

Re: Cricket Wireless Groups

I run a group over there and its fine. I Don't share the username/password or PIN number, everyone paypals me $20 per month (or higher depending on their plan). I claim all the referrals in exchange for managing the group. Plus I am able to stock up on the sales at target/best buy for refill cards a...
by mikep
Sat May 27, 2017 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay off car loan?
Replies: 17
Views: 1799

Re: Pay off car loan?

1.09% tax free return is nothing to sneeze at for a 4-5 month duration (half your remaining loan term). Comparisons against a savings account do not include taxes. Pay it off and simplify your life.
by mikep
Fri May 19, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long do I really need to keep tax returns?
Replies: 18
Views: 1817

Re: How long do I really need to keep tax returns?

I keep them all forever since I have roth contributions and unreimbursed medical expenses from my HSA. Once you reimburse, you have to prove that you didn't reimburse those or deduct them before. I think the only way to prove that is to keep the actual tax returns.
by mikep
Fri May 19, 2017 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS says I owe..I don't
Replies: 34
Views: 5680

Re: IRS says I owe..I don't

Did you include a statement with your return about the conversion? I didn't and the same thing happened to me. I put a statement, but for the following year as that's when I did the actual recharacterization. I put all of this in a letter, mailed back to the return address of the CP2000 notice and i...
by mikep
Fri May 19, 2017 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using Plastiq?
Replies: 30
Views: 6236

Re: Using Plastiq?

I was using Plastiq successfully for about 9 months to pay my mortgage. I got in on a 1.75% promo and using the 2% Citi double cash, so I was making a few bucks per month. All was fine until this month it never arrived in 3 weeks. I set a flag with my bank (US Bank) to stop the plastiq check and the...
by mikep
Thu May 18, 2017 1:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VFORX to start taxable account [Target Date Retirement 2040]
Replies: 8
Views: 808

Re: VFORX to start taxable account

Maybe you want to claim the foreign tax credit from holding international in a separate fund but can't.
by mikep
Thu May 18, 2017 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Challenging a Late Medical Bill
Replies: 22
Views: 1845

Re: Challenging a Late Medical Bill

Start with an explanation of benefits from your insurance company. It is possible that insurance won't pay anything since it is submitted long after services were rendered, but at least they can advise you what to do if you have a similar statute of limitations on payment.
by mikep
Sat May 13, 2017 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you suggest a mortgage lender who does not resell
Replies: 67
Views: 5467

Re: Can you suggest a mortgage lender who does not resell

With regards to the situation where the subsequent company required escrow, just make sure that the contract you sign specifies that you WILL NOT escrow. It is not uncommon to pay an additional 0.25% in closing costs if you don't escrow taxes and insurance. At today's interest rates, there isn't an...
by mikep
Sat May 13, 2017 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are bank test deposits taxable?
Replies: 22
Views: 2725

Re: Are bank test deposits taxable?

This sure is a headache linking my bank account to my HSA for ACH reimbursements. I wish there was another way. I have to treat it as an above the line contribution and withdrawal for medical expenses, and dial down my work contributions $1 to not go over the limit.
by mikep
Wed May 03, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible to have an HSA and an HRA?
Replies: 1
Views: 217

Re: Possible to have an HSA and an HRA?

Yes you can for above the IRS minimum deductible expenses only, even if your plan deductible is higher otherwise it disqualifies your HSA eligibility. Google "section 105 one person HRA" for all of the info. (Any links I have are to businesses which sell them, not sure if allowed here). I ...
by mikep
Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dealership rejecting rebate after contract signed
Replies: 118
Views: 15884

Re: Dealership rejecting rebate after contract signed

If the error was the other way they would tell you no a contract is a contract, so tell them that.
by mikep
Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Paying Tax Bill with Credit Card
Replies: 9
Views: 949

Re: Paying Tax Bill with Credit Card

Is it really worth the effort and little bit of float in a low interest rate environment to earn a net $1.30? I agree it's small change, but its not much more effort and you don't have to worry about it later. Took me 5 minutes to do it. Some churners have this down to a science: m If your "ab...
by mikep
Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State Taxes and itemized deductions
Replies: 5
Views: 510

Re: State Taxes and itemized deductions

That still gives you the same net result - with the income and deduction simply being on different line (in different places). Not exactly, the refund goes on top of your AGI impacting anything related to that like child tax credits. I had a $200 state refund once swallow $50 of a child tax credit ...
by mikep
Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 73
Views: 8729

Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

I plan to product change between CSR/CSP every other year, since I can get 2 years of $300 credits against a single $450 AF, so I net $150 to offset the $95 fee for CSP the other year. The travel credit is per CALENDAR year so in one year of CSR annual fees you can get 2x the $300. Net cost = $55 in...
by mikep
Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone use Verizon wireless prepaid for cell phones???
Replies: 41
Views: 4086

Re: Anyone use Verizon wireless prepaid for cell phones???

For me cricket is good on AT&T. I pay $20/month in a 5 line group for unlimited minutes/text/3GB and collect $250 per year in referral credits = they pay me $10/year.
by mikep
Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 73
Views: 8729

Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally. Victoria I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift...
by mikep
Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa -- 3% back on travel/restaurants
Replies: 5
Views: 1141

Re: Citi Costco Visa -- 3% back on travel/restaurants

None of this is guaranteed but it is a good guideline. I thought "Anaheim Resort Transit" would code as travel for Chase Freedom but instead it codes as a Clothing store.. :annoyed
by mikep
Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 73
Views: 8729

Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than...
by mikep
Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS and TurboTax Finger Pointing At Each Other
Replies: 17
Views: 1988

Re: IRS and TurboTax Finger Pointing At Each Other

CAsage wrote:You might be able to page through your Turbotax interview and see how you answered the questions. It does sound likely that you defaulted on the date, which would then be 4/14 (or worse, 4/18!). They do ask for that.... somewhere....


What's wrong with paying as late as possible?
by mikep
Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Article--Money Funds Yielding Over 1.​0 Percent Makes News; More Coming Soon
Replies: 21
Views: 3083

Re: Article--Money Funds Yielding Over 1.​0 Percent Makes News; More Coming Soon

VCTXX (CA tax exempt MM) is yielding 0.71% which for me is a 1.18% taxable equivalent. It's tempting that is fed and state tax free, although higher risk since it is concentrated in CA. Is that the general consensus here? Sure, there is more state-specific risk, but I wouldn't worry about it, espec...
by mikep
Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Article--Money Funds Yielding Over 1.​0 Percent Makes News; More Coming Soon
Replies: 21
Views: 3083

Re: Article--Money Funds Yielding Over 1.​0 Percent Makes News; More Coming Soon

VCTXX (CA tax exempt MM) is yielding 0.71% which for me is a 1.18% taxable equivalent. It's tempting that is fed and state tax free, although higher risk since it is concentrated in CA. Is that the general consensus here? Since I have a 3.09% reward checking which is easy to meet, I'll stick with th...
by mikep
Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Section 179 for Sole Proprietor Business Computer
Replies: 5
Views: 523

Re: Section 179 for Sole Proprietor Business Computer

If the computer is part of a home office deduction you better take 100% of it otherwise the IRS will point to it and say its not exclusive use of the home office.
by mikep
Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: review paper returns in TaxAct before filing?
Replies: 9
Views: 687

Re: review paper returns in TaxAct before filing?

Go through the efile steps, you can download the full return before sending it to the IRS. The preview 1040 is only the 1040 with no other forms. If something is wrong you can start over efile steps. Wait its shorter to go through the "print return" steps.. you can go back to efile after t...
by mikep
Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Energy Audit recommended actions: 28.4 year payback period??
Replies: 33
Views: 3266

Re: Home Energy Audit recommended actions: 28.4 year payback period??

1/28.4 is a 3.5% ROI Of course, this is not likely to increase the value of your home should you sell before then. Not quite, you lost all the initial investment. It's not like earning 3.5% in a bank account, since your original principal is gone. (Or maybe its not, if the "value" is conv...
by mikep
Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?
Replies: 24
Views: 3079

Re: Is there any downside to Home Equity line of credit even if we won't use it immediately?

Whenever you want to refinance the 1st mortgage, the HELOC always gets in the way. The new bank wants it closed.. but after you get a new mortgage you can set it up again.
by mikep
Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you do your income taxes?
Replies: 95
Views: 5646

Re: How did you do your income taxes?

Taxact for $10. Tried Freetaxusa after the taxact price hike, but they couldn't do a simple adjustment code for capital gains, so back to taxact. Caught the $10 deal after I filed and got refunded.
by mikep
Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best HSA (2017)
Replies: 163
Views: 27159

Re: Best HSA (2017)

I use Saturna to hold my Fidelity TIPS index fund. Great for CA residents to avoid some state taxes (see the wiki), and I pay $14.95/trade/year for each 1 year rollover and no fees to reinvest the monthly dividends. Works great for me. If I skip a rollover year its just a $12.50 inactivity fee.
by mikep
Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: taxact $10 premium deal today [includes state] [price match if already filed]
Replies: 12
Views: 1458

Re: taxact $10 premium deal today [includes state] [price match if already filed]

2comma wrote:Thanks for posting this.

Is it going to be free to efile the federal and state or do they charge extra for that?


$10 includes efile for federal and one state.
by mikep
Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxact-2017-Plus pre-order $60? (download version)
Replies: 11
Views: 1098

Re: Taxact-2017-Plus pre-order $60? (download version)

Take a look at freetaxusa.com. The name is awful but it does federal, including investment and self employment, for free, $12 for state (although I did state by hand). I found it to be comparable to TaxAct and Turbotax. Tried that (taxhawk which is the same thing) and they couldn't handle something...
by mikep
Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: taxact $10 premium deal today [includes state] [price match if already filed]
Replies: 12
Views: 1458

Re: taxact $10 premium deal today [includes state]

I paid $27.50 a week ago but did not file yet just to review a "printed" return. I plan to efile in a few days. They refunded me $17.50 today and it does include state after I emailed them asking for a price match. So if anyone used taxact online and paid more than $10 this year, email the...
by mikep
Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone use coupon apps?
Replies: 22
Views: 2526

Re: Anyone use coupon apps?

Cardpool has target gift cards at 6.5% off so I don't bother with the target redcard anymore unless I'm ordering something online where they don't accept gift cards. Plus I can buy those with a 2% CC and get 2% back through topcashback so its really 10.5%. +1 for TopCashBack -> Cardpool. I use this...
by mikep
Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone use coupon apps?
Replies: 22
Views: 2526

Re: Anyone use coupon apps?

I have cartwheel, ebates, raise, cardpool and money mailer. Works great. Cardpool has target gift cards at 6.5% off so I don't bother with the target redcard anymore unless I'm ordering something online where they don't accept gift cards. Plus I can buy those with a 2% CC and get 2% back through top...
by mikep
Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: freetaxusa: How to Enter adjustment code for cost basis
Replies: 2
Views: 480

Re: freetaxusa: How to Enter adjustment code for cost basis

The support is fast! Unfortunately they can't do this so it is back to taxACT for me :(