Search found 595 matches

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: 2196

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: 1443

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 computer, ...
by masteraleph
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone affected by the government shutdown?
Replies: 35
Views: 3012

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I bother with 529s?
Replies: 36
Views: 2712

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403b rollover help -- time limited?
Replies: 4
Views: 151

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: 751

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: 10
Views: 870

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: 10165
Views: 1790101

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: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: High Expense 403B
Replies: 24
Views: 979

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: 2777

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, desp...
by masteraleph
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Home Printer
Replies: 41
Views: 1859

Re: Recommendations for Home Printer

I'm another person who will suggest Brother (and specifically the L2340DW). Wifi on a printer is very nice.
by masteraleph
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: “The Worst Kind of Bear Market”
Replies: 23
Views: 4739

Re: “The Worst Kind of Bear Market”

I'm very, very suspicious of any article about the bond market in real terms that starts its analysis in 1940. Why? Because despite the author's claim regarding inflation, there was significant inflation during the 1940s and early 1950s, initially due to the war effort, then due to the relative lack...
by masteraleph
Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Flattening yield curve
Replies: 55
Views: 5112

Re: FLATTENING YIELD CURVE

Possibly, but in the longer term. That is, I wouldn't expect a recession in the next 12 months, but it also wouldn't shock me to see one in the next two years. Spikes in real estate prices and higher mortgage rates and corresponding decreases in demand and increases in inventory point in the same di...
by masteraleph
Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Did Jeff Bezos just pull a Henry Ford?
Replies: 32
Views: 2651

Re: Did Jeff Bezos just pull a Henry Ford?

Amazon just raised the minimum wage for its employees, about 250,000 affected workers, to $15 an hour. The company said it would also lobby Washington to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been set at $7.25 for almost a decade. Amazon actually did a relatively similar thing on sales tax- the...
by masteraleph
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why TIPS only for unexpected inflation?
Replies: 27
Views: 2688

Re: Why tips only for unexpected inflation?

If inflation turns out to be 5%, the real yield on the bonds would be -2%. What would the real yield on TIPS be? Still 1%? Yes. That's the point- you're exchanging nominal guaranteed returns for guaranteed inflation protection. It's worth noting that the yield is taxable (federally) regardless. Tha...
by masteraleph
Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card spending $20000
Replies: 10
Views: 1919

Re: Credit card spending $20000

Hi BHs- Looking for a CC advise with 1) excellent cash back or air miles 2) any signing up bonuses and 3) preferably No foreign transaction fees 4) ofcourse no annual fee unless free first year and no restriction to cancel 2nd year Will be spending $15-20k in 1-2 months..most on airlines tickets he...
by masteraleph
Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: BlackFriday Shopping - what do you usually buy? (other than Christmas gifts)
Replies: 36
Views: 2644

Re: BlackFriday Shopping - what do you usually buy? (other than Christmas gifts)

Previously decided against smart switches, but might go for it if good ones are on sale again. Considering building a new computer- I'll see if any of the components I might want are on sale at that point.
by masteraleph
Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Wolters Kluwer announces 2019 Inflation Adj
Replies: 5
Views: 1183

Re: Wolters Kluwer announces 2019 Inflation Adj

Thesaints wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:07 pm
Looks like standard deduction would only increase 1.67% vs. a CPI inflation of ~2.5%...
That’s the “Chained CPI-U mentioned above.
by masteraleph
Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:54 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529 Withdrawal of Basis
Replies: 13
Views: 803

Re: 529 Withdrawal of Basis

The 10% penalty is also waived if the 529 funds are disbursed b/c the parent needed to use own funds in order to take advantage of AOTC. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something, but is this true? Things I've read indicate a person can't disperse 529 money to pay for qualified educational expenses an...
by masteraleph
Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Varying college costs across kids in the same family
Replies: 92
Views: 5306

Re: Varying college costs across kids in the same family

This really depends on your reasons for paying for college and the relationship you have with your kids. If you're paying for college because you want them to go debt free into life, and you treat college as a learning process, then you should probably pay full ride regardless. If you're trying to u...
by masteraleph
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Yet another W4 Tax question...
Replies: 9
Views: 611

Re: Yet another W4 Tax question...

Okay thank you! You broke it down the way I needed too. Ill give you my information to maybe help the numbers a bit better. I live in Illinois, and earn 60,363.00 a year. I get paid semi monthly and have a gross check of 2525.10. With the way I have it setup now, Im seeing 1495.96 per check (401k a...
by masteraleph
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Yet another W4 Tax question...
Replies: 9
Views: 611

Re: Yet another W4 Tax question...

1) First of all, the actual W-4 is just the bottom half of the first page. You'll note, if you look at it, that there is nowhere on there that says "dependents"- line 5 is Allowances. The way the W-4 works is that when you check off the married box, your employer withholds a certain amount of money ...
by masteraleph
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:40 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 403b rules and advice
Replies: 8
Views: 530

Re: 403b rules and advice

Hi all, Long time lurker, appreciate your time and advice. I was promoted this past month with a raise in salary (yay) and I now have access to 403b/457 plans with some great devices (including most if not all of the Vanguard low ER institutional funds). I am fully vested and have a plan for AA, bu...
by masteraleph
Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What kind of medical events that may ruin your retirement?
Replies: 73
Views: 5758

Re: What kind of medical events that may ruin your retirement?

My mother was diagnosed with MS at 60. She very quickly lost function- her last vacation was a year later, her last visit to family a year and a half after that, and by three and a half years in basically spent every day in a specialized recliner, occasionally being hoisted into a wheelchair to go o...
by masteraleph
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax loss harvest int. Muni fund vanguard question
Replies: 2
Views: 204

Re: Tax loss harvest int. Muni fund vanguard question

The 6 month rule is not applicable with most Vanguard muni funds (including VWIUX, which I think is what you're referring to). It is applicable on the Tax Exempt Bond Index Admiral Shares. The key difference that you're looking for in the statutory prospectus or the annual report is that the dividen...
by masteraleph
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Feedback requested on plan to lower income to qualify for ACA Subsidy
Replies: 17
Views: 1363

Re: Feedback requested on plan to lower income to qualify for ACA Subsidy

Regarding the discussion of Silver plans- It looks like the OP is in California, which played some games with the loss of CSR payments (often call the "Silver switch" or "Silver switcheroo" depending on what source you use). Basically, all of the additional costs that insurers face from the loss of ...
by masteraleph
Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Teachers Who Have Net Worth of $1 million +
Replies: 137
Views: 18783

Re: Teachers Who Have Net Worth of $1 million +

About halfway there ($430k in retirement accounts and HSA, 510 if you count spouse's IRA- spouse is a perpetual grad student). About to turn 34, entering my 12th year, 11 full time. I'm in a private school in the NYC area, earning about $100,000 (for reference, teachers with roughly equivalent educa...
by masteraleph
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family HDHP & HSA
Replies: 4
Views: 435

Re: Family HDHP & HSA

tfb is correct. But to source it: " Family HDHP coverage is an HDHP covering an eligible individual and at least one other individual (whether or not that individual is an eligible individual)." "Any eligible individual can contribute to an HSA. For an employee's HSA, the employee, the employee's em...
by masteraleph
Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is maxing Out an IRA, 403B, and 457B Along with a Pension Too Much Saving for the Future?
Replies: 19
Views: 2476

Re: Is maxing Out an IRA, 403B, and 457B Along with a Pension Too Much Saving for the Future?

I'm a teacher in NY. My expected pension at 30 years in is 60% of 3 year final average salary. Most of my co-workers don't put aside much and are depending on their pensions. NYSTRS is well funded compared to most plans, but you never know. I'd rather have the problem of having saved too much than ...
by masteraleph
Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best MacBook Value
Replies: 40
Views: 3449

Re: Best MacBook Value

We have 3 MacBook Airs and the screens seem perfectly fine to me. For what we do, the screen is great. We've had ours for about 4 years and I've had absolutely no complaints. Have you looked at the screen on a Macbook Pro? It's lightyears ahead of the one on the Air. The MBA has a resolution of 144...
by masteraleph
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are Credit Cards Actually Convenient?
Replies: 91
Views: 7432

Re: Are Credit Cards Actually Convenient?

Regarding the slow chip reading, does anybody use Google/Apple pay? I'm finding it to be the next level of convenience anywhere I personally use the pay terminal, such as gas pumps and checkouts. I don't know why, but it seems much faster than the chip. And supposedly it uses a virtual card which i...
by masteraleph
Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best MacBook Value
Replies: 40
Views: 3449

Re: Best MacBook Value

At the moment, I'd suggest the low end Macbook Pro, as others have suggested- primarily for the screen. The screen on the Macbook Air is basically the same as the screen on your computer, while the screen on all of the Pros is a very significant step up. Caveat: There are a lot of rumors flying arou...
by masteraleph
Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: iphone purchase
Replies: 19
Views: 2306

Re: iphone purchase

To me, the question of fingerprint vs face ID comes down to a question of inconveniences. On the one hand, face ID seems slightly more likely to fail, and does require a relatively straight on view, which can be a problem with a dash mount (as someone noted previously), if you tend to check the phon...
by masteraleph
Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Figuring out long-term technology plan for kids - Chromebook?
Replies: 43
Views: 2583

Re: Figuring out long-term technology plan for kids - Chromebook?

As others have said, a Chromebook will be fine for now, and will be cheaper than the alternatives available. In a few years, depending on her interests and school requirements, she may need something more substantial, but it's quite hard to know what the computer ecosystem will look like in a few ye...
by masteraleph
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Confused about LT capital-gains tax
Replies: 7
Views: 1254

Re: Confused about LT capital-gains tax

I’m a little (by which I mean “a lot”) fuzzy on long-term capital-gains taxes. I hope I can ask this question simply enough: If I sell shares of a mutual fund and realize long-term capital gains, those gains are included in my taxable income to determine the tax rate on my capital gains—right? For ...
by masteraleph
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Weird info from HR on HSA
Replies: 13
Views: 1829

Re: Weird info from HR on HSA

That's what I figured. Thanks guys. Follow-up question: The company puts in $150/month. I'll get a total of $900 from the company this year as they pro-rate their contribution, which makes sense. Does it mean I can put in $6,000 in 2018, or should I also pro-rate my contribution? Depends on how luc...
by masteraleph
Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Day 2018
Replies: 88
Views: 10669

Re: Amazon Prime Day 2018

Bought a $25 gift card and got $5 back, bought $20 of print books (a little more technically) and got $5 back. Also shopped at Whole Foods relatively recently and got $10 towards Amazon.
by masteraleph
Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA (or PPO) and a baby
Replies: 18
Views: 1576

Re: HSA (or PPO) and a baby

I still haven't seen a plan numbers wise where the OOP max ( i.e. hospital admission) or nothing all year long doesn't favor the HSA plan over PPO when you include the premiums + OOP Max. Its those middle ground amounts where I've seen some PPO plans come out, but I just don't know how you can plan...
by masteraleph
Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA (or PPO) and a baby
Replies: 18
Views: 1576

Re: HSA (or PPO) and a baby

Are there any scenarios where an HSA doesn't make sense? Every thread I see looks like a no-brainer. I plan to make the switch next year. The NY Times had a really good article about comparing plans last fall. In this case or in general? In this case, the difference in premiums ($5640) is significa...
by masteraleph
Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA (or PPO) and a baby
Replies: 18
Views: 1576

Re: HSA (or PPO) and a baby

I'll add one more component, which is that the OP may have an FSA available to them if they're using the PPO. In which case, knowing about the baby, they would presumably fund the full $2700 into the FSA (if we're talking 2019) (this would cover up to $7500 of health expenses pretax, since you'd hav...
by masteraleph
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a current car without a console between the front seats?
Replies: 52
Views: 6231

Re: Is there a current car without a console between the front seats?

In addition to crash standards, the current recommendations are for kids to stay in the back seat for much longer- up to 12, I think (I suppose that’s also crash safety, really). Far fewer people will want a teenager or extra adult in the front row than they did a kid, in terms of space.
by masteraleph
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping at non sit down places
Replies: 94
Views: 8773

Re: Tipping at non sit down places

With no servers or no waiters? There’s something of a hybrid model at a lot of NY restaurants- you order and pay at the counter, but food is brought to you. Regardless, we have a kid who makes a mess, and most such places have the servers also behind the register or working as a barista. We usually ...
by masteraleph
Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to add to the baby registry?
Replies: 20
Views: 1421

Re: What to add to the baby registry?

*Car Seat. We liked the Chicco Keyfit (and we know others who did as well), but there are plenty of others out there. You don't need a convertible seat yet- we like our Chicco Nextfit, but there are plenty out there and you won't need one for a year. And you don't want to get one that early- car sea...
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: 242

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: 3263

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: 1179

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: New Vanguard Security Code Requirement [2FA: Two-factor authentication]
Replies: 185
Views: 14682

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: 578

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: 1437

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: 6370

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.