Search found 634 matches

by masteraleph
Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: have I been targeted for identify theft?
Replies: 12
Views: 1453

Re: have I been targeted for identify theft?

I am astounded that this thread got this far without the link to the appropriate XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1279/
by masteraleph
Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Target gift cards 10% off today & tomorrow (Sat/Sun Dec. 5/6)
Replies: 49
Views: 5834

Re: Target gift cards 10% off today & tomorrow (Sat/Sun Dec. 5/6)

02nz wrote: Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:07 pm Combine with 5% cash back from Discover. Effective discount of 14.5%. Or use PayPal at checkout with Freedom/Freedom Flex for 5%/5X UR points.
Even better for those of us in year 1 where you get an extra 5%.
by masteraleph
Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:20 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who actually rebalanced recently?
Replies: 92
Views: 5745

Re: Who actually rebalanced recently?

I generally do 5/25. I do have streams of contributions coming in that can do some rebalancing, or sometime the opposite- 401k contributions go to US stocks and bonds, which has mostly helped keep fixed income up this year but in some years is a problem; HSA contributions go to international, which ...
by masteraleph
Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2020 software offer
Replies: 372
Views: 26475

Re: H&R Block 2020 software offer

I'm interested in this H&R Block product but had a few questions: How difficult is it to switch from TaxAct? Looks like this H&B product does not include state filing fee. Correct? Thanks, Francis The first should be reasonably easy- all of the big tax programs are set up to do this simply....
by masteraleph
Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: HSA Investments
Replies: 7
Views: 703

Re: HSA Investments

I generally use mine strictly as an investment vehicle. Since my 401k (which consists of ~50% of our retirement savings) has much better domestic stock funds than anything else, followed by a bond fund, I use my HSA for international stocks. Most of my HSA funds are with Fidelity, but some are with ...
by masteraleph
Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Limited Purpose FSA: What to Buy with Excess Funds?
Replies: 17
Views: 1030

Re: Limited Purpose FSA: What to Buy with Excess Funds?

Not “large” in that fashion, but a multi month supply of contact solution.
by masteraleph
Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:26 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Does every one here only have 3 funds in their portfolios?
Replies: 131
Views: 8468

Re: Does every one here only have 3 funds in their portfolios?

11 or 12 depending on how you count, due to a mixture of various account types and funds in the account: Domestic stock (ideally would just be total stock market)- these are all in my 401k, where total stock isn't available: *Vanguard S&P 500 *Vanguard Midcap *Vanguard Smallcap Real Estate (in m...
by masteraleph
Thu May 21, 2020 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Kids savings account vs UTMA?
Replies: 4
Views: 478

Kids savings account vs UTMA?

A little background- My mother passed away a few months ago. My father now, between his own accounts and hers, has more money than he has any intention of using, especially now, with Coronavirus doing what it's doing- he's been very open with his finances, and a 2 or 2.5% withdrawal rate would easil...
by masteraleph
Fri May 15, 2020 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has Your Spending Changed Since The Shutdown?
Replies: 180
Views: 7414

Re: Has Your Spending Changed Since The Shutdown?

A lot less on restaurants, a lot more on groceries- both price gouging, stocking up, delivery fees, and also cooking more interesting and fancy stuff since we're home all the time.

More on toys, because our daughter is at home 24/7 instead of at school.
by masteraleph
Mon May 11, 2020 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simplest Coffee Cold Brew Systems
Replies: 16
Views: 1053

Re: Simplest Coffee Cold Brew Systems

I have the Oxo one, which I find works quite nicely. I have used a french press for it before, and didn't like the results quite as much.
by masteraleph
Fri May 08, 2020 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to invest an HSA (through PayFlex)?
Replies: 19
Views: 984

Re: How to invest an HSA (through PayFlex)?

As with others, my main HSA is through Fidelity (what's accumulated and been transferred over the years). This year's HSA, through my employer is through Payflex, and the investment options are fine, but frustrating. I'll be transferring at the end of the year, but there's also a decent chance that ...
by masteraleph
Tue May 05, 2020 2:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window AC for bedrooms and living room, any recommendations?
Replies: 28
Views: 1505

Re: Window AC for bedrooms and living room, any recommendations?

tibbitts wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:29 am
Why does a window unit depend on the pandemic? You mean people wouldn't install theirs for the summer over concern over bringing contaminated air into the house?
Sorry, the take a walk around piece had to do with walking around, not with installing window AC units.
by masteraleph
Mon May 04, 2020 7:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window AC for bedrooms and living room, any recommendations?
Replies: 28
Views: 1505

Re: Window AC for bedrooms and living room, any recommendations?

atikovi wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 9:59 pm Where is this? I can't imagine anywhere outside Alaska or above 8,000 feet that wouldn't have A/C other than some low income areas.
Any older building in any city? Walk around NY some time and look at how many window units there are (I mean, when the pandemic is over).
by masteraleph
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DD filed not dependent
Replies: 44
Views: 2679

Re: DD filed not dependent

There is also one weird additional insurance quirk, which is that if you're on an HSA-eligible family plan and is not a dependent, she can actually open up her own HSA and contribute at the family level, totally separately from whatever you're contributing to yours.
by masteraleph
Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: College in fall
Replies: 549
Views: 47877

Re: College in fall

"Traditionally you'd travel the world"? Only on Bogleheads...Don't most young adults look for jobs? I can understand that remote classes may not be perceived as effective (I'm a scientist who spent more than a decade in university labs), but for incoming freshman at least, wouldn't it be ...
by masteraleph
Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NY State Tax Return Status
Replies: 13
Views: 678

Re: NY State Tax Return Status

Mine was on almost the exact same timing as retire2022 above, but also standard deduction, which may have sped things up.
by masteraleph
Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stand Mixer
Replies: 59
Views: 3051

Re: Stand Mixer

We pretty rarely use ours. We don't grind meat or make pasta at home, and the hand mixer handles batters and cakes and such pretty well (or even the immersion blender whisk attachment for really small quantities). We do make bread, but rarely the kind that needs intense kneading, and it's more fun t...
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Need Explanation: Why Locking in Losses is Bad
Replies: 26
Views: 2087

Re: Need Explanation: Why Locking in Losses is Bad

Since no one has mentioned it, just pointing out the wash sale rule in its usual meaning doesn't apply because it's in a tax-advantaged account. The 401(k) may have its own rules against frequent trading, however, but the IRS doesn't care. And finally, unless this a self directed brokerage option i...
by masteraleph
Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How are you supporting your community?
Replies: 60
Views: 3393

Re: How are you supporting your community?

We donated to a GoFundMe for the workers at our favorite restaurant- it's a lovely, wonderful small restaurant, independently owned, and had to lay off its staff because there's just no way it can afford to pay salaries with nothing coming in.
by masteraleph
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:50 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Not eligible for HSA?
Replies: 7
Views: 718

Re: Not eligible for HSA?

In addition to what was said before, except for preventative care, everything has to be deductible eligible. Many ACA plans are not, for example, even if their deductibles are large, because most customers don’t want plans where prescription drugs fall under the deductible rather than a copay.
by masteraleph
Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer
Replies: 317
Views: 29690

Re: H&R BLOCK Pre-Order 2019 Software Offer

Northster wrote: Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:52 pm For those like me that prefer the disc, Amazon has Deluxe+state for $22.50.
And also now the downloadable version, as well.
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS 2020 W4 withholding: new calculation method, new form
Replies: 82
Views: 7585

Re: IRS 2020 W4 withholding: new calculation method, new form

The new Withholding Estimator looks better than Tax Caster. I’m not sure I understand the new W-4 though. I just put the total I want withheld in 4(c)? After years of thinking in exemptions, this feels strange. If the IRS is simplifying the W-4, this is a good move. No, 4c is the additional amount....
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS 2020 W4 withholding: new calculation method, new form
Replies: 82
Views: 7585

Re: IRS 2020 W4 withholding: new calculation method, new form

Had to fill it out recently- was actually rather annoyed. I understand why they're doing it this way, but they've made the numbers even more opaque than they previously were.

It would be really, really nice if they just gave an opportunity to set your withholding and be done with it.
by masteraleph
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403b: worth it or not?
Replies: 18
Views: 2085

Re: 403b: worth it or not?

My pension has been in Critical and Declining Status for years and shows no signs of going the other way. Pension is an anger-provoking word to me. Don't understand: I already have a Vanguard Roth IRA, which I have maxed out every year: how can I have a Roth 403b, too? Thought I can only have one R...
by masteraleph
Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network
Replies: 54
Views: 4836

Re: Wifi extenders vs Mesh network

Still a fan of the Orbis. Bottom line: extenders are a headache, often have reduced bandwidth, and typically don't handle handoffs correctly (handoffs being when your device switches access points because the signal from AP#1 is low and the signal from AP#2 is good). Mesh networks are set up to do a...
by masteraleph
Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Former bond king Gross says chances of beating the market 'much less' now
Replies: 19
Views: 2659

Re: Former bond king Gross says chances of beating the market 'much less' now

He’s basically saying that there used to be more ways to exploit inefficiencies in the market, and now that it’s been well studied, there aren’t. That shouldn’t be shocking to anyone, but it’s nice to see someone who was involved in active trading (of bonds) acknowledge that. This who are still in t...
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Moving 401K to Vanguard: Seeking Advice
Replies: 3
Views: 388

Re: Moving 401K to Vanguard: Seeking Advice

I'm 61 years old and took a separation package from my company. I'm looking at rolling 75% of three 401k's into a single Vanguard IRA. The other 25% will be moved into Vanguard IRA's with more risk reward potential. It sounds to me like you're a little confused about your terminology. An IRA is an ...
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Transfer to Vanguard and medallion signature guarantee
Replies: 28
Views: 5157

Re: Transfer to Vanguard and medallion signature guarantee

I believe the only time I’ve needed one was signing up for a Treasury Direct account.
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Making sense of 403b with no match
Replies: 13
Views: 817

Re: Making sense of 403b with no match

1) You don't specify whether or not you're married or whether that's possible in the future. That would obviously have an effect on your tax bracket- perhaps drastically, if you're the higher earner. 2) For most people, even if they end up in a higher tax bracket in the future, a non-Roth 401k/403b,...
by masteraleph
Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Wife does not hold job but still invested question
Replies: 13
Views: 1538

Re: Wife does not hold job but still invested question

One note- you’re totally right and he’s wrong. But it’s worth noting that she can’t claim the Saver’s Credit, which is restricted from full time students- it’s possible that’s what the professional was thinking of?
by masteraleph
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Article recommending Boglehead books
Replies: 0
Views: 265

Article recommending Boglehead books

Slate.com has a new article featuring 13 personal finance related book recommendations. Amongst the recommendations are both The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing and Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. Article can be found at https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/02/best-personal-financ...
by masteraleph
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax law expiring in 2025
Replies: 22
Views: 2309

Re: Tax law expiring in 2025

Fill in your HSA too- basically, anything that can come out tax free. Remember that HSAs can be used to pay Medicare premiums tax free in addition to saving receipts. Also, it’s not relevant now, but to the degree that things revert to more itemized deductions available and lower standard deductions...
by masteraleph
Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport Photos ?
Replies: 85
Views: 4884

Re: Passport Photos ?

Our local CVS was really, really good about taking pictures of our daughter. She was 2 at the time, and has some special needs that make it very hard for her to sit still and focus directly on something, but she was still subject to the various rules (no smiling, etc). They probably spent 15 minutes...
by masteraleph
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard website help? Opening IRA specific.
Replies: 2
Views: 205

Re: Vanguard website help? Opening IRA specific.

Wouldn’t she need to have her own online account? I believe it’s possible to grant some control over some accounts to other online accounts, but her accounts almost certainly need to be under her access, not yours.
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 Pro Activation Keys [Inexpensive keys for sale]
Replies: 21
Views: 2209

Re: Windows 10 Pro Activation Keys [Inexpensive keys for sale]

No, they're not legal.

Of note, though: Windows 10 now attaches to the account, rather than to the hardware. So an OEM version (which used to be attached to the motherboard) can now be legitimately move from computer to computer forever.
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing Vanguard or American Funds via TIAA-CREF
Replies: 22
Views: 1589

Re: Investing Vanguard or American Funds via TIAA-CREF

As others have mentioned, you might want to look into Traditional as a possible substitute for some of your bonds. The advantage is a guaranteed interest rate for the year and no loss of principal, whereas in a bond fund, your interest rate could go up (and therefore your principal would go down), o...
by masteraleph
Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptops - swapping hard drives
Replies: 18
Views: 895

Re: Laptops - swapping hard drives

One addendum to RickBoglehead- Windows 10 installations SHOULD now be tied to your account. But make sure they are before switching them over, if possible.
by masteraleph
Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Really need help with new computer purchase!
Replies: 89
Views: 4750

Re: Really need help with new computer purchase!

To All 2. RE:monitor - I hadn’t given thought to my existing monitor (purchased in 2009) and hook up to a new computer! Hope this isn’t a problem. My monitor is an HP2009m 20” 16.9 LCD monitor. W/VGA & DVI-D connections. 4.Thank you for the advice regarding SSD vs standard on an older computer....
by masteraleph
Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Really need help with new computer purchase!
Replies: 89
Views: 4750

Re: Really need help with new computer purchase!

A few comments: 1) Others have noted the advantages of a Costco warranty/service. 2) Microcenter is quite good too- they're well known for offering very nice prices on some things in store, and are a definite step up in terms of equipment and knowledge vs. Best Buy. I don't know to what extent they ...
by masteraleph
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I contest a medical bill with doctor's office if insurance says it's not covered?
Replies: 29
Views: 2868

Re: Can I contest a medical bill with doctor's office if insurance says it's not covered?

CF testing would make sense as part of blood work- if nothing shows, then there's no concern; if your wife was a carrier, they'd probably recommend testing you, and if you were a carrier, doing CVT or amniocentesis. Given that genetic diseases don't necessarily manifest themselves in family members,...
by masteraleph
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help me understand Google Drive
Replies: 17
Views: 1962

Re: Help me understand Google Drive

Ideally you want to have Drive ("Backup and Sync" I think it's called now) installed on all your PCs. That will duplicate all of the files in Drive on those PCs and in the cloud, and you'll be able to access it where and when you want. If you save the Publisher file somewhere else on your ...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone affected by the government shutdown?
Replies: 35
Views: 3167

Re: Anyone affected by the government shutdown?

Not directly yet. But there are a lot of people, in addition to those in this thread, who may need to start planning- people used to getting their tax refunds as soon as possible (especially those who need the money), for example. I'm sure that customs enforcement will start slowing down at some poi...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I bother with 529s?
Replies: 36
Views: 2978

Re: Should I bother with 529s?

It’s page 14 in pub 970- no double benefit allowed (a 529 is a QTP).

Note that you can claim the AOTC and use a 529 if your expenses are high enough- if you had to pay $10k, for example, you could pay $5k out of pocket and claim the AOTC and $5k out of the 529 tax free. You just can’t double dip.
by masteraleph
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 403b rollover help -- time limited?
Replies: 4
Views: 234

Re: 403b rollover help -- time limited?

1) The 60 day limit is if they send a check to you. You wouldn't want them to do that anyways- you want them to transfer directly to the new custodian. In general, when you leave an employer, you can leave the money in their 401k/403b indefinitely. 2) I know that they can refuse to accept rollovers ...
by masteraleph
Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 non-qualified withdrawal penalty and tax question
Replies: 10
Views: 904

Re: 529 non-qualified withdrawal penalty and tax question

I'd also note that the words "graduate school" haven't popped up here anywhere- another way to spend down a 529.
by masteraleph
Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why Vanguard Total World instead of VTI and VXUS.
Replies: 9
Views: 4387

Re: Why Vanguard Total World instead of VTI and VXUS.

Some people like to tilt more towards the US than current market weight- some because they think the US is in a better place overall, some because the US is their home country and therefore lacks currency risk for Americans. Also, it’s easier to tax loss harvest with separate funds.
by masteraleph
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in free fall
Replies: 21219
Views: 2879439

Re: U.S. stocks in free fall

The algorithms are confused. Two point swing in an hour for no reason. VTI is selling at a premium. Smart money says buy. That's probably not algorithms, actually (or not exclusively). Traders were betting that the Fed was going to include language in their statement that made future rate increases...
by masteraleph
Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: High Expense 403B
Replies: 24
Views: 1143

Re: High Expense 403B

It's a public K12 school. There are other 403 providers, but they are through life insurance companies/annuities. I will try to check into the 457B option. It wasn't on the list of offerings I was given, but sounds like something I should check into, If you can list all of the providers, that would...
by masteraleph
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Who is buying SCV, EM, Intl SC
Replies: 41
Views: 3187

Re: Who is buying SCV, EM, Intl SC

We'll probably do some contributing to Total International (which obviously includes Intl SC and EM) in January when we contribute to our IRAs. Looks to me like most of our overvaluation is actually in S&P, though with the current drops, who knows where we'll be in a month? I am expecting that, ...
by masteraleph
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Home Printer
Replies: 41
Views: 2491

Re: Recommendations for Home Printer

I'm another person who will suggest Brother (and specifically the L2340DW). Wifi on a printer is very nice.