Search found 92 matches

by montesquieu
Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mac Book Pro- do I need antivirus software?
Replies: 32
Views: 8498

Re: Mac Book Pro- do I need antivirus software?

I highly recommend NOT running anti-virus software. Running the latest version of OS X and using good sense when using your computer is MUCH better advice. Anti-virus software that is constantly running in the background will NOT speed up your computer - it is much more likely to slow it down. Anti-...
by montesquieu
Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax implications of renting out my house
Replies: 13
Views: 2235

Re: Tax implications of renting out my house

You do have it correct. There is a tax advantage to owner-occupancy because there is no tax on imputed rent . In owner-occupancy, the landlord–tenant relationship is short-circuited. Consider a model: two people, A and B, each of whom owns property. If A lives in B's property, and B lives in A's, tw...
by montesquieu
Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

Just for a counterpoint to the posts of Magellan and KyleAAA, here is an opinion from a successful team at this week's Pwn2Own: For Apple, the OS is regarded as very safe and has a very good security architecture,” Chen said. “Even if you have a vulnerability, it’s very difficult to exploit. Today w...
by montesquieu
Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

Even when AV is running a full scan, it's completely unnoticeable to me during regular use. I ran a scan out of curiosity stemming from this thread. My laptop became hot and the fan kicked into full gear. The full scan took an hour and half. It found two "viruses": emails in my spam folde...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

I was merely pointing out the flaw in the "I'm a reasonable user and don't do anything questionable" argument. Again, I appreciate your responses, but this is a straw man. I don't think anyone argued that "I'm a reasonable user and don't do anything questionable, therefore I'm invuln...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

Assuming actual good behavior on the part of the user, the level of care required to avoid infection on Windows 95 and OSX really isn't as different as you'd think. Of course, such a user doesn't exist and it wouldn't be practical to do so in any case, but the idea that Mac's are somehow naturally ...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

I still don't feel your link is on-point. I would never claim that my Mac would stand up to any hacker in the Pwn2Own contest, and it would clearly be hubris to do so. Would AV software on the Mac have prevented the Pwn2Own attacker? In the case you linked (written by an AV software vendor), I think...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

With today's sophisticated malware strains, your computer can get infected simply by visiting a compromised website. This discussion is about AV software on the Mac. Is there an example of Mac malware that could install itself by visiting a compromised website? Would any of the available Mac AV sof...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

I've seen people with PhDs in computer science get tricked into opening an infected attachment. The tech-savvy are not immune and the percentage of people who are actually careful users relative to how many people claim to be is in the low single digits. I can definitely understand this. "The ...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

The Mac users on this thread don't seem to believe that the Mac is invulnerable to attack, just that AV software generally would not help. Without going on the defensive, can IT professionals really make a case that individual or personal Mac users who take sensible precautions should be running AV ...
by montesquieu
Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible error on my bank's Form 5498-SA (HSA tax form)
Replies: 5
Views: 1025

Re: Possible error on my bank's Form 5498-SA (HSA tax form)

Thanks for the correction Alan - you are right. I misunderstood the instructions for Form 5498-SA, Boxes 2 and 3.
by montesquieu
Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Possible error on my bank's Form 5498-SA (HSA tax form)
Replies: 5
Views: 1025

Re: Possible error on my bank's Form 5498-SA (HSA tax form)

I would be mildly concerned that IRS will automatically assume an HSA over-contribution, and mildly annoyed that BNY Mellon did not account for contributions properly. Form 5498-SA even has special line items (boxes) for your exact situation, that (I infer) they did not make use of. Of course, if IR...
by montesquieu
Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is brokerage money protected?
Replies: 18
Views: 2306

Re: Is brokerage money protected?

You should check to see if the cash is in an FDIC-insured "sweep" account.

Here is a relatively informative article:

http://www.finra.org/Investors/ProtectY ... es/P116996
by montesquieu
Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Please help: Whats out tax filing status?
Replies: 4
Views: 878

Re: Please help: Whats out tax filing status?

(I posted before, but deleted the post because I think I misunderstood the circumstances and the rules.) It sounds like YOU are a resident alien for tax purposes, so regardless of whether your spouse is, she can be TREATED as one. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p519/ch01.html#en_US_2013_publink1000...
by montesquieu
Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anti-virus for Mac?
Replies: 80
Views: 6858

Re: Anti-virus for Mac?

I agree with the posts by Auream. On various Macs, I take a few common-sense precautions, like not installing Java or Flash (Macs come without both, out of the box); making sure that Gatekeeper settings are set properly (in System Preferences >> Security & Privacy >> General); and perhaps even u...
by montesquieu
Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxact schedule A question
Replies: 4
Views: 435

Re: Taxact schedule A question

Take a look at the Schedule A instructions, page A-3.

My guess is the $32 is the mandatory contribution to the NY worker's compensation fund.
by montesquieu
Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lifetime Learning Credit
Replies: 16
Views: 1137

Re: Lifetime Learning Credit

Changing your withholding will not affect whether you get this credit. That would be a pretty big loophole, wouldn't it? :happy Look at Form 1040. Your lifetime learning credit is on line 49, next to other non-refundable credits. If your tax (line 44) is zero, non-refundable credits are no help (bec...
by montesquieu
Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: tax question
Replies: 2
Views: 424

Re: tax question

I believe the question is about federal tax laws. The answer to the question "Can I deduct state income taxes paid as an itemized deduction on my federal tax return?" is yes. This would apply to state income taxes you paid on your unearned income, and your dividends. See Schedule A and its...
by montesquieu
Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes for F-1 Visa Non-Resident
Replies: 7
Views: 843

Re: Taxes for F-1 Visa Non-Resident

It looks like she will be owing Uncle Sam about $500 unless there's something I'm missing because she has no deduction or credits. You haven't done the calculation correctly. Using the form would reveal the error(s). She could also try an IRS VITA site that helps international students. http://irs....
by montesquieu
Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes for F-1 Visa Non-Resident
Replies: 7
Views: 843

Re: Taxes for F-1 Visa Non-Resident

There should be a personal deduction of 6,100 and exemption of 3,900. So taxes should really be on $3,000 of the income unless there is something not listed in your post. Non-resident aliens are generally not eligible for the standard deduction. Use Pub. 19, Tax Guide for Aliens while you're workin...
by montesquieu
Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?
Replies: 65
Views: 16056

Re: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?

Many fiduciary duties exist due to the relationship between the parties rather one party explicitly agreeing it owes fiduciary duties to the other. Another way to put it is that by agreeing to act in a capacity, a party picks up all of the attributes of acting in that capacity, which may include fi...
by montesquieu
Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?
Replies: 65
Views: 16056

Re: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?

It's well and good to have a right to have your adviser act as a fiduciary, but a right without a remedy doesn't do a whole lot. This is true. In most cases, there should technically be a remedy of a suit for something like breach of fiduciary duty (in addition to the other things you mentioned). B...
by montesquieu
Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?
Replies: 65
Views: 16056

Re: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?

It's well and good to have a right to have your adviser act as a fiduciary, but a right without a remedy doesn't do a whole lot. This is true. In most cases, there should technically be a remedy of a suit for something like breach of fiduciary duty (in addition to the other things you mentioned). B...
by montesquieu
Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?
Replies: 65
Views: 16056

Re: How to tell who is bound to a fiduciary standard?

Maybe this link will help: http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/advoverview.htm It explains in layman's terms generally what it means to be a fiduciary in the context of investment advisers. I looked up Personal Capital and Vanguard Advisers on the FINRA website and yes, they are both registered ...
by montesquieu
Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1099-Misc for work on rental property?
Replies: 9
Views: 4033

Re: 1099-Misc for work on rental property?

If your rental property is a trade or business (i.e. you operate for gain or profit), then you probably have a 1099-MISC filing requirement for the independent contractor. Payments made to corporations like Lowe's are generally excepted, so probably no filing requirement there. http://www.irs.gov/in...
by montesquieu
Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Splitting Education Expenses between Deduction and Credit
Replies: 11
Views: 1427

Re: Splitting Education Expenses between Deduction and Credi

In my opinion, which is worth what you paid for it :D , you can claim both the credit and the itemized deduction (as long as you qualify for both and don't claim a double benefit). From Pub. 970 : Also, your work-related education expenses may qualify you to claim more than one tax benefit. Generall...
by montesquieu
Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How is an ETF basket determined?
Replies: 3
Views: 560

Re: How is an ETF basket determined?

techcrium wrote:Where can I find the formula or summary of this?
In the prospectus.
by montesquieu
Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is TIAA-CREF pulling a fast one??
Replies: 21
Views: 3219

Re: Is TIAA-CREF pulling a fast one??

Ourbrooks - What you state is the reason for my original posting: You've apparently known from the beginning that payouts involved a minimum guaranteed contractual amount + additional amounts. I assume that you knew this because you were informed of this -- by the terms of your contract or by other...
by montesquieu
Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Scholarships on unqualified educational expenses
Replies: 2
Views: 1128

Re: Scholarships on unqualified educational expenses

The amount of the scholarship you exclude from income will be allocated first to qualified education expenses.

The amount of the scholarship you include in income will be allocated first to non-qualified expenses like room and board.

Read Pub. 970, especially the examples on page 13.
by montesquieu
Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deleted
Replies: 20
Views: 6731

Re: Need EIN from closed daycare, how to find?

I don't believe TaxAct's description of what the IRS "allows" is correct. Rather, TaxAct just doesn't support this particular e-file feature. E-file allows for entering "SEE PAGE 2" in the provider SSN/EIN field, and you can provide a written explanation of your due diligence to ...
by montesquieu
Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Loss Selling: Are FTSE and Tot. Int. "Different Enough?"
Replies: 39
Views: 3554

Re: Tax Loss Selling: Are FTSE and Tot. Int. "Different Enou

From the Fairmark discussion of "substantially identical securities" : If I were sitting with a loss in an index fund and wanted to get around the wash sale rule, I would invest for 31 days in a high quality no-load managed fund that emphasizes stocks of the type that are in the index. A m...
by montesquieu
Tue May 29, 2012 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: legal issues with installing work software on home computer
Replies: 59
Views: 4873

Re: legal issues with installing work software on home compu

I would not install any work related software on my personal devices. I would not do any work related work on my personal devices. In the context of e-discovery, the best starting point is the second sentence. It's not technical points like whether software was installed or merely accessed, or whet...
by montesquieu
Wed May 02, 2012 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Best buying strategy: market? last sale? bit below?
Replies: 24
Views: 1849

Re: Best buying strategy: market? last sale? bit below?

You probably don't need much more than this: The least risky way to place an order for an ETF is to match the best current offer by placing a limit order to buy at the current best offer to sell (or vice versa). While there are many other ways to place an order, many of them are suitable only for ex...
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Thoughts on Emerging Market Countries
Replies: 15
Views: 1341

Re: Thoughts on Emerging Market Countries

The wiki, recommended books, and posts by grabiner and others, explain this well. ...if an emerging market is reclassified as developed, an emerging-markets index fund will have to sell all its stock in that country, infrequently generating a large capital gain. A fund including both developed and e...
by montesquieu
Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax Woes: Other Income vs Independent Contractor
Replies: 13
Views: 6634

Re: Turbo Tax Woes: Other Income vs Independent Contractor

I hold no particular brief for TurboTax but this isn't a bug or an occasion for disappointment. TurboTax has a routine of asking questions, which when answered point to a reasonable conclusion, regarding whether income is from "self-employment". One can see that the questions asked are des...
by montesquieu
Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filing taxes after amended return
Replies: 17
Views: 908

Re: Filing taxes after ammended return

As sscritic notes, you can still file, you just can't e-file. I don't believe even an amendment will alter that, though only IRS could tell you for sure. Mail your daughter's amendment (these take 4-6 weeks to process), and mail your own return (this will be processed more quickly). Do report back w...
by montesquieu
Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Received final 2% rewards from Schwab Visa
Replies: 100
Views: 11125

Re: Received final 2% rewards from Schwab Visa

Bank of America charges a fee for Direct Connect (via Quicken or other DC-enabled program). Online Banking through Quicken online personal financial software is free for the first three months, and then it's only $9.95 a month. For business customers, it's $15.00 a month. http://www.bankofamerica.co...
by montesquieu
Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:50 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Cash Back Credit Cards
Replies: 53
Views: 7743

For many years I have used USAA cards and opted for "cash back," but the process has always puzzled me. Can't shake the guilty feeling that my "cash back" comes out of someone else's pocket. Who gains and who loses from "cash back?" The cardholder gains. Everyone else ...
by montesquieu
Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: New Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ)
Replies: 41
Views: 9619

I completely agree that one must keep a very careful eye on Schwab, particularly with bond funds. The new U.S. Aggregate Bond Index ETF is managed by the very same people as the infamous fund that nisiprius calls out above. These are the same managers who went way off-index, and way off their own pr...
by montesquieu
Mon May 09, 2011 8:46 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 100 percent TIPS dead?
Replies: 53
Views: 8981

Re: 100 percent TIPS dead?

Food and energy price surges are deemed speculative, and not included in the CPI. Gas prices double, food goes up by 30 or 40% and once again TIPS are of little value. This misinformation seems to never die. Food and energy ARE included in the CPI used by TIPS. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (...
by montesquieu
Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are spouses liable to pay each other's debt?
Replies: 11
Views: 2078

Can the hospital legally go after the wife for the husband's debt? I think the short answers are "Yes, in a community property state," and/or "Yes, if the wife co-signs for the debt," and/or "Yes, if hospital bills of this type are considered family obligations in the state...
by montesquieu
Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax refund-ethical question
Replies: 22
Views: 2528

Re: Tax refund-ethical question

brock wrote:I did the math and useing the wrong numbers i ss where the irs came up with the $321 REFUND.
Care to share what IRS's error was? How did it get "wrong numbers"?
by montesquieu
Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is google spying on me?
Replies: 53
Views: 5837

I've been considering reserving my mac for personal email and financial web sites only, and buying a cheap netbook for recreational web browsing. This is probably gonna be the push that makes me do it. That is overkill. Go here: http://www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp ...and follow t...
by montesquieu
Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:28 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: FocusShares to undercut Schwab, Vanguard
Replies: 12
Views: 2680

I'm not familiar with 'Securities Lending'. What does that mean? Is that something that would be allowed if the prospectus and SEC filings simply say it is a passive fund following an index? Securities lending would be in the prospectus. From a summary prospectus: Like many index funds, the fund al...
by montesquieu
Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Any ideas to reduce AGI by $100? 600% marginal tax.
Replies: 18
Views: 2547

I would guess that the effect is more like $300 (just estimating). Take a look at the Adjustments to Income section of Form 1040 and see if she qualifies for any of those. As for creating a capital loss or the employer taking back money, 2010 is over. :D If she can't get to the 50% Savers Credit, sh...
by montesquieu
Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fixed Income Fool?
Replies: 6
Views: 1214

I thought that it was the close proximity of outstanding national debt to GNP that has gotten Greece into its current financial mess. One difference among many that makes this a poor analogy is that Greece's debt is denominated in euros (a currency it doesn't exclusively control), whereas USA's deb...
by montesquieu
Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you do?
Replies: 46
Views: 7537

You just brought up something important. I just realized that the $600 figure was my own limit that I set on myself! I was never told that there was any limit. Also, I leased the car on my own, expecting to pay for it on my own. I had no idea that it would be reimbursed. The day after I signed the ...
by montesquieu
Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you do?
Replies: 46
Views: 7537

You can't write off miles if you get reimbursed for your car. It's one or the other. But you still have to account for the fact that the vehicle was used for business. Commuting and taking long road trips are not business uses. Do you account for this to your employer? I'm just trying to understand...
by montesquieu
Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you do?
Replies: 46
Views: 7537

Re: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you d

Just curious: unless I've misunderstood, it sounds like your company deducts the cost of the lease, and you pay no income tax on the fringe benefit. How is this legal? Don't mean to hijack the thread, and I don't work for IRS. Just would like to know how this works. :) The tax system is unfair. :( ...
by montesquieu
Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you do?
Replies: 46
Views: 7537

Re: I get $600/mo car lease reimbursement. What would you d

A year and a half ago, as a pay raise, my job offered me an extra $600 per month to lease a car… “the company car”. Just curious: unless I've misunderstood, it sounds like your company deducts the cost of the lease, and you pay no income tax on the fringe benefit. How is this legal? Don't mean to h...