Search found 552 matches

by masteraleph
Tue May 29, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401K options changed...how are my new fund options?
Replies: 4
Views: 176

Re: 401K options changed...how are my new fund options?

They are both very similar trust-based S&P 500 trackers with extremely low expense ratios. They do both hold ~80% of the market- if you want small cap and more medium cap, you'd also want to invest in an extended fund.
by masteraleph
Tue May 15, 2018 10:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any experience with Blue Apron?
Replies: 34
Views: 2788

Re: Any experience with Blue Apron?

We've used several of their recipes, and they always seem to come out really nicely. We haven't actually ordered anything from them, though.
by masteraleph
Tue May 15, 2018 9:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card with no credit history
Replies: 15
Views: 924

Re: Credit card with no credit history

Thank you all https://www.annualcreditreport.com This site is legit right? Yes. It is the official place to receive your credit report from each of the 3 agencies, once per year, for free. Note, though, that may not include your credit score, and they’ll all try to upsell you on some service. You d...
by masteraleph
Mon May 14, 2018 8:43 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Two- Factor Authentication at Vanguard - Update
Replies: 41
Views: 8789

Re: Two- Factor Authentication at Vanguard - Update

Is vanguard even considering 2FA compatible with an authenticator app? SMS or email 2FA is useless if your computer is compromised. Vanguard already supports hardware token based auth and U2A I believe. No reason to prioritize a TOTP authenticator app on top of that which would be technically less ...
by masteraleph
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: First iPhone upgrade for VZW Post Contract Subsidies: Where to Buy?
Replies: 6
Views: 461

Re: First iPhone upgrade for VZW Post Contract Subsidies: Where to Buy?

Do you have an iPhone you're trading in? Verizon seems to be offering pretty good deals on trade ins- likely better than the $150 from Sam's, at least.
by masteraleph
Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gift Tax Question?
Replies: 22
Views: 1203

Re: Gift Tax Question?

Just to be clear here- if you make the deposits separately in order to avoid the reporting requirements, you may actually be guilty of structuring, which is a crime in and of itself (Section 5324 of Title 31), even if you acquired the money perfectly legally. So don't do that. Either deposit all the...
by masteraleph
Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How did you file your income taxes?
Replies: 77
Views: 4143

Re: How did you file your income taxes?

H&R Block Deluxe + State. Ran a little under $20 on sale. Because we live in NY and didn’t need any other states this year, that was the total cost including efiling- NY efiling is free.
by masteraleph
Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New York Balance Billing for Out of Network Providers
Replies: 19
Views: 1769

Re: New York Balance Billing for Out of Network Providers

Thanks ! I've never communicated with the lab directly, for sure. The doctor's office did get me to sign a number of forms about responsibilty for co-payment, insurance etc. etc., and it's possible they may have slipped in a para or even a form saying that my bloodwork may go to an out of network p...
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Merrill Edge sold my ETFs without my consent, SEC, FINRA, CFPB?
Replies: 89
Views: 8421

Re: Merrill Edge sold my ETFs without my consent, SEC, FINRA, CFPB?

MS sounds like a lot of work only to pick up nickels It is now. Prior to 2008 and the economic crash, most credit card companies were willing to throw as many cards (including bonuses) at you as you wanted. And there were a lot more opportunities- IIRC, you could buy dollar coins from the US Mint a...
by masteraleph
Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco Kirkland Brand Liquor
Replies: 58
Views: 6288

Re: Costco Kirkland Brand Liquor

Costco in NY typically sells beer only. I think there’s one with a liquor store, and maybe more with separate liquor stores attached, but in NY, chain liquor stores are illegal. It’s why Trader Joe’s only has the one at Union Square and Whole Foods the one at 97th and Columbus.
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with 529 Accounts - Son got full scholarship!
Replies: 54
Views: 5472

Re: Help with 529 Accounts - Son got full scholarship!

One with NY (which is administered by Vanguard) and the other two with Vanguard directly. Had thought of moving the NY one to Vanguard as well, but just left it there since I didn't see too much of an advantage (other than being able to see everything in one place :-)). Just a note- if you ever rec...
by masteraleph
Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small landlord and 1099-MISC, how to answer TurboTax Interview
Replies: 3
Views: 384

Re: Small landlord and 1099-MISC, how to answer TurboTax Interview

You can see what happens both ways, but if the work requires it, you're required to issue it. I paid/did not issue will get you into the various remedies for not having failed the proper 1099s; did not pay/did not issue will avoid that problem (assuming that the IRS agrees with your interpretation).
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College costs not covered by 529
Replies: 30
Views: 2499

Re: College costs not covered by 529

I would think that having a student responsible for his/her own cell phone bill after high school graduation would be a good start on the march toward financial independence from parents. Offhand I'm not seeing exactly why a parent would need to fund a college student's cell phone bill.... It's usu...
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)
Replies: 70
Views: 6911

Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

As others have noted- either one will likely work for most scenarios, each one will probably mess up a couple of scenarios, and TT seems to have slightly more in the way of guidance, but can be more of a pain about filling in forms. We switched from TT to HRB back when TT tried to force everyone wit...
by masteraleph
Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheapest way to get spare car keys
Replies: 32
Views: 4195

Re: Cheapest way to get spare car keys

We have a 2000 Toyota Avalon, which does have a chip. While copies can be programmed at some places besides the dealer, there is also a way to do it yourself if you have one of the original master keys- it involves pressing the brake and gas pedals in a certain pattern, which allows the car itself t...
by masteraleph
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long to wait for 1099s?
Replies: 10
Views: 1297

Re: How long to wait for 1099s?

Thanks to everyone for the replies. From digging a little bit more online, it seems like banks have different policies regarding 1099s for bonuses (things like "open an account, do 2 direct deposits with X balance, get $300 after 3 months"). Some banks classify that as interest income, which would b...
by masteraleph
Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why don't 401K managers fight on our behalf?
Replies: 28
Views: 4164

Re: Why don't 401K managers fight on our behalf?

Not everybody is taking it, my wife worked at Fujitsu and she just got a class action suit in the mail. Fujitsu is being sued for not providing enough low cost fund options. For the record, Fidelity was the 401k provider and I didn't think the fund selection was that bad, but we filled out the pape...
by masteraleph
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of desktop computer should I buy?
Replies: 49
Views: 4306

Re: What kind of desktop computer should I buy?

Ditto what mattshwink said. The 850 EVO is a generation back (soon to be two), but is well regarded still. It's not going to be a significant difference.

And viewing ultrasound images/movies isn't going to be taxing on a GPU- the integrated graphics are fine.
by masteraleph
Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How long to wait for 1099s?
Replies: 10
Views: 1297

How long to wait for 1099s?

We have all of our tax documents except for two 1099s, both from bank account bonuses. Those bonuses were under $600, however, so I'm not sure that the banks are going to issue 1099s- some do, and some don't, and it's not clear which are which. At what point would you give up on the 1099s and just f...
by masteraleph
Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of desktop computer should I buy?
Replies: 49
Views: 4306

Re: What kind of desktop computer should I buy?

Some of the posters here seem to be ignoring the desired use cases, none of which are exceptionally demanding (presuming that "light video editing" is in fact light). 1) As others have said, you want an SSD as your boot drive, at the very least. Depending on what you're doing (for example, if you're...
by masteraleph
Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PODs and not so simultaneous deaths
Replies: 12
Views: 1325

Re: PODs and not so simultaneous deaths

Our estate attorney uses this example of why everyone needs a will. True story [may have a few small detals off] - Husband and wife, newly married. Neither has a will. Husband has life insurance policy with wife as beneficiary. Family party. Husband has a headache and takes a Tylenol. A few minutes...
by masteraleph
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Make $90k, pay no Federal Income Tax in 2018? Check / critique this scenario.
Replies: 76
Views: 12467

Re: Make $90k, pay no Federal Income Tax in 2018? Check / critique this scenario.

Sorry for the late response. I haven't been on here for a bit and just saw your message. Here's their situation: My friend is a California public school teacher married to another California public school teacher. They have 3 kids. They purchased their home about 20 years ago and it is paid off now...
by masteraleph
Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying Iphone X with AT&T
Replies: 16
Views: 1005

Re: Buying Iphone X with AT&T

The good news is that contracts are now a little cheaper than they were back when they gave you price breaks. This is particularly true if you keep a phone beyond two years. I can’t speak for AT&T, but Verizon charges a line fee that’s $20/month cheaper than the old style- so over two years, you pay...
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Does Shiller PE imply negative returns?
Replies: 57
Views: 3847

Re: Does Shiller PE imply negative returns?

Between 1996 and 2009, the stock market was exactly flat, and had two major crashes to get there. Really hard to see how his prediction was wrong. Cash would have earned the same, and with no volatility. Cherry picking the exact bottom seems odd- you could just as easily talk about 2008, or 2006 if...
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worried about employer not paying all I am owed
Replies: 29
Views: 2689

Re: Worried about employer not paying all I am owed

In addition to what everyone else has mentioned: are you certain the employer has properly withheld taxes? You might find that the IRS thinks nothing has been withheld for you this year.
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Recharacterization/Conversion rules?
Replies: 4
Views: 353

Recharacterization/Conversion rules?

I know that the tax bill from 2017 eliminated recharacterizations of conversions. We contributed to Roth IRAs at the beginning of the year for both myself and my wife (who is not covered by an employer retirement plan). If later in the year we find that the markets have continued dropping, we should...
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Today was a Really Bad Day
Replies: 278
Views: 48407

Re: Today was a Really Bad Day

Those futures percentages and point differences are all wrong- they're all below the closing value, and the gap between fair value and the futures value is incorrect (and again, wrong number as well).
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help with a "401k pension plan"
Replies: 4
Views: 380

Re: Help with a "401k pension plan"

A "401k pension plan" is just a 401k. Pension plans can be either Defined Contribution (e.g. 401k, 403b, 401a, 457) or Defined Benefit (what you're thinking of as a "pension"). Companies refer to "401k pension plan"s to tell their workers that they offer some sort of retirement plan.
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Internet Speed 15Mbps okay ?
Replies: 27
Views: 2234

Re: Internet Speed 15Mbps okay ?

What kind of internet is this? Cable internet can run under rated speeds, especially at peak usage times. If it's cable then I'd opt for something higher- 50mbps, for example- to have the extra leeway.
by masteraleph
Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6639
Views: 1434632

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

As a reminder- a 700 point drop in a week from Dow 26000 is very different from a 700 point drop in a day from Dow 11000.
by masteraleph
Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it advantageous to have kids in college simultaneously from an aid perspective ?
Replies: 14
Views: 747

Re: Is it advantageous to have kids in college simultaneously from an aid perspective ?

In terms of federal aid, grants phase out very quickly as you move up the income ladder. But schools that provide grants of their own, especially (top tier) private universities, may give you bigger grants.
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:12 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I have an overwhelming gift I'm in need of help of please.
Replies: 89
Views: 8589

Re: I have an overwhelming gift I'm in need of help of please.

Although the OP has not specified where the windfall is coming from, assuming it is a gift from n individual or couple there is little likelihood that either the giver or recipient will owe any tax on the gift. The giver will need to file form 709 with the IRS for the amount over the yearly exclusi...
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401K profit sharing plan
Replies: 3
Views: 365

Re: 401K profit sharing plan

1) Yes. "Profit sharing" just means that the employer is putting in money no matter what you do, as opposed to matching what you put in. My not-for-profit employer has "profit sharing" for its employees with a certain term of employment. 2) Yes. 3) There is a combined $18500 limit (higher if you're ...
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6639
Views: 1434632

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

Just to note- this is apparently the largest 2-session drop (by percentage) for the Dow since September 9 2016 and the worst single session by percentage since May 17 2017. That drives home just how much the trend has been up and up and up.
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6639
Views: 1434632

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

I feel old- I remember when a 350 point drop on the Dow would have been a pretty severely bad day. Now it's a ho hum day- down 1.5%, nothing to be especially concerned about.
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taxing Problem
Replies: 8
Views: 897

Re: Taxing Problem

Are you claiming social security or not? Because obviously that makes a difference. Also, is all of the money in your TIRA taxable? For New York State: $108,000-$16,050 standard deduction- $40,000 pension exclusion (presuming that each of you is pulling out at least $20,000)= $51,950 of taxable inco...
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: When did the bad news start in 2008?
Replies: 135
Views: 13703

Re: When did the bad news start in 2008?

I just want to expand on something chw noted above- If you read or watch "The Big Short," one of the most interesting things is not only how some people identified the coming meltdown, but also how the few people who did identify it coming were almost wiped out by how long the meltdown took to come....
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:22 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: American saving rate
Replies: 28
Views: 5279

Re: American saving rate

The question is what "near future" means. It does feel to me like we're getting later in the cycle, especially with increases in retail sales and the decrease in the savings rate. It's worth noting, though, that sales increased significantly in 1999 and the 2001 recession didn't start, well, until 2...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cashed in Ibonds
Replies: 4
Views: 1114

Re: Cashed in Ibonds

I'm not sure that Coverdells at this point would matter- I'm pretty sure the spending had to be in 2017. With that said, in addition to the other expenses: if you contributed to a 529 ("Qualified Tuition Plan" in IRS terms) or a Coverdell in 2017, those contributions qualify as qualified higher educ...
by masteraleph
Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two commas for a day
Replies: 14
Views: 2329

Re: Two commas for a day

I can't speak for Tuesday, but I check investments once a week on Sunday, and we passed $500k this time- a year and a half before we were hoping (I'm 33.5 now, and we were hoping to hit it for 35). Of course, my first thought is that we'd hit that milestone now and that it's entirely possible that a...
by masteraleph
Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying This Week: IPhone X or IPhone 8 Plus
Replies: 35
Views: 3390

Re: Buying This Week: IPhone X or IPhone 8 Plus

Landscape works fine on the X for videos. But it's worth noting that the X's aspect ratio is such that, when in landscape, videos don't take up the whole screen- it's wider than "widescreen" (16:9).
by masteraleph
Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card with chip - fraud. How?
Replies: 7
Views: 874

Re: Credit card with chip - fraud. How?

Looks like my credit card was compromised. The only possibility seems to be a use in a local grocery store the day before the fraudulent charges. While using it, I had to insert it into a chip reader, not by swiping it. Why? How do you know it didn't happen earlier? For that matter, how do you know...
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I Bonds as tax refund: tracking down a missing one
Replies: 18
Views: 2440

Re: I Bonds as tax refund: tracking down a missing one

Is there any advantage in getting bonds instead of cash for tax refunds? Just asking.. If you want paper bonds, it's the only way to get them. And if you're already purchasing the maximum amount of I-Bonds every year, then it functionally increases your maximum (it's not counted against the Treasur...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tax Exempt Bond Funds - Considerations after Tax Reform
Replies: 12
Views: 2134

Re: Tax Exempt Bond Funds - Considerations after Tax Reform

One (minor) clarification: The capital gains rates were not updated in the new tax bill. What that means is that the 22% bracket starts at $38,700/$77,400 single/MFJ for 2018, but the 15% rate on capital gains actually starts at $38,600/$77,200- not the hugest difference, but something to keep track...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to fix Roth IRA over-contribution? Not eligible for backdoor
Replies: 10
Views: 530

Re: How to fix Roth IRA over-contribution? Not eligible for backdoor

Depends on your tax rate in retirement. If you’re in a bracket where you’re paying tax on capital gains and dividends regularly, then the traditional IRA could make sense. But it may be that taxable is you’re best option right now.
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:52 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to fix Roth IRA over-contribution? Not eligible for backdoor
Replies: 10
Views: 530

Re: How to fix Roth IRA over-contribution? Not eligible for backdoor

Technically it would be a recharacterization of the contribution to traditional rather than Roth, but yes, it would be perfectly legal to do that.
by masteraleph
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Use HSA money or pay out of pocket?
Replies: 36
Views: 3460

Re: Use HSA money or pay out of pocket?

I would add one thing to the discussion- HSAs can be a serious pain to deal with if the owner dies. So they're very useful, and I'd hold onto the money, but I'd also use it when possible early in retirement and certainly before any Roth IRAs in retirement.
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Roth?
Replies: 7
Views: 1092

Re: Why Roth?

Hi, I read a lot of articles regarding Traditional vs Roth, but still confused about Roth, since I found out that most people have Roth and even try to backdoor method to maximize Roth account. I am 32-year-old single, and about 200k income, only have a Pre-Tax 401k account, no IRA, and really don'...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing
Replies: 211
Views: 20624

Re: Memo to those who have won the game: it's time to quit playing

These are all the higher readings I can find from a monthly table: Shiller PE Ratio by Month May 1, 2001 34.07 Feb 1, 2001 35.83 Jan 1, 2001 36.98 Dec 1, 2000 37.27 Nov 1, 2000 38.78 Oct 1, 2000 39.37 Sep 1, 2000 41.89 Aug 1, 2000 42.87 Jul 1, 2000 42.75 Jun 1, 2000 42.78 May 1, 2000 41.96 Apr 1, 2...