Search found 86 matches

by AstroJohn
Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery
Replies: 17
Views: 3052

Re: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery

The questions you were asked were generated by whatever credit bureau the USPS uses. If your credit was frozen like mine is, you would not be able to get past that stage. Instead you would have to print some docs and go to the post office. The same applies to setting up a SSA account online. My cre...
by AstroJohn
Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery
Replies: 17
Views: 3052

Re: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery

I just signed up for this last week. No credit check was required. After myUSPS account was created, signing up for informed deliver was a separate process. To verify my ID I had the option of answering questions on-line which were just like the questions asked to verify ID for my on-line SSA accou...
by AstroJohn
Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery
Replies: 17
Views: 3052

Re: Clark Howard - Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery

Not sure this makes any sense. Part of the signup procedure involves a credit check. Mine Is frozen and I had to appear in person at the post office to prove identity and complete the process. Unless the imposter already has access to your credit info, this seems pretty far fetched.
by AstroJohn
Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Maui - Ka'anapali Beach Hotel
Replies: 15
Views: 2065

Re: Maui - Ka'anapali Beach Hotel

A few years ago, we stayed at the Westin Maui just down the beach. Walked by the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel every morning on my daily walk. It looked fine, but perhaps a little more spartan than the Westin and the others.
by AstroJohn
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable Tax Deductions
Replies: 46
Views: 3620

Re: Charitable Tax Deductions

The tax code changes have been something of a wash for me. Federal tax will go down. State tax here in Virginia will go up because we must now also take the VA standard deduction. I am not planning on either reducing or increasing charitable donations. We don't give for tax reasons. One small plus h...
by AstroJohn
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option
Replies: 38
Views: 7463

Re: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option

Our Capital One savings accounts are in the name of our living trust. I would think that makes this less of problem as the successor trustee can manage/distribute funds as needed. Moving the accounts from joint to trust was easy. "Moving the accounts from joint to trust was easy" - maybe for you, s...
by AstroJohn
Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option
Replies: 38
Views: 7463

Re: Capital One 360 no beneficiary option

Our Capital One savings accounts are in the name of our living trust. I would think that makes this less of problem as the successor trustee can manage/distribute funds as needed. Moving the accounts from joint to trust was easy.
by AstroJohn
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:19 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping lawn service and trash pickup
Replies: 48
Views: 4118

Re: Tipping lawn service and trash pickup

The person who mows at my weekend home bills for each mowing. I always put something extra in the check I send him. People doing that sort of work are often working multiple part time gigs and need every dollar they can get. And he responds by occasionally doing a little extra for me, like helping t...
by AstroJohn
Sun May 27, 2018 5:47 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Available 2018 tax estimator
Replies: 44
Views: 9222

Re: Best Available 2018 tax estimator

Very happy with dinkytown.net estimators as well. Have used them for several years for doing estimated taxes.
by AstroJohn
Wed May 23, 2018 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken - Do you use it?
Replies: 59
Views: 4267

Re: Quicken - Do you use it?

No one will die and national security won’t be threatened if Quicken disappears.
Sadly, we might see some posts on this site that would make us think otherwise.
by AstroJohn
Wed May 23, 2018 1:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken - Do you use it?
Replies: 59
Views: 4267

Re: Quicken - Do you use it?

Used Quicken for many years, but grew tired of the ever increasing chart-junk on each page and moved to Moneydance. Runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. No subscription model. Reasonable cost. Usually every other update is free or reduced price for current users. Small enough company that support reques...
by AstroJohn
Tue May 22, 2018 7:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants
Replies: 99
Views: 15241

Re: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants

Tell you what. We will survey the net worth of 10000 1989 mazda owners and the net worth of 10000 2018 911 owners. How much money would you bet on the 1989 Mazda owners having a higher average net worth? :) People that look rich tend to be rich. There are exceptions at both ends. But those are the ...
by AstroJohn
Tue May 22, 2018 8:00 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants
Replies: 99
Views: 15241

Re: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants

Civil servants, teachers, and similar professions belong to the portion of the population that has a fairly tightly clustered range of possible income levels. They amassed wealth by saving and investing wisely. Entrepreneurs belong to a different portion of the population that includes, for example,...
by AstroJohn
Mon May 21, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants
Replies: 99
Views: 15241

Re: The Millionaire Next Door and civil servants

Retired Civil Servant here and well into the two comma club as are many of the scientists and engineers I worked with during my career. I rather enjoyed the book when it first came out, probably because it reenforced my ongoing urge to live below my means and invest the rest wisely. That being said,...
by AstroJohn
Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Standard deduction on federal return and itemized deduction on state return?
Replies: 12
Views: 1328

Re: Standard deduction on federal return and itemized deduction on state return?

AstroJohn - Thanks for the info. I suspect the same will happen to us - savings from being in a lower federal income tax bracket will go to paying VA if we can't itemize. Do you know if this negates the tax saving impact of contributing to VA529 plan if we can't itemize? In 2017, we owed in federal...
by AstroJohn
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Standard deduction on federal return and itemized deduction on state return?
Replies: 12
Views: 1328

Re: Standard deduction on federal return and itemized deduction on state return?

Spoke with my state senator during the legislative session. Virginia law likely will not change for 2018. My estimated savings at the federal level will end up going to the Commonwealth of Virginia as a higher state tax.
by AstroJohn
Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do state taxes change for the 2018 tax year and beyond?
Replies: 15
Views: 1057

Re: Do state taxes change for the 2018 tax year and beyond?

Spoke with my Virginia state senator during the legislative session and was told things would likely not change for 2018. I'm estimating my state taxes based on that info. What the IRS giveth that Commonwealth of Virginia taketh.
by AstroJohn
Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Estimated taxes for 2018
Replies: 18
Views: 2101

Re: Estimated taxes for 2018

dinkytown.net has always had very good tax estimators. I've used them for several years. Here is the link to the 2018 software.

http://www.dinkytown.net/java/Tax1040.html
by AstroJohn
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Portfolio Advisory service?
Replies: 23
Views: 3428

Re: Fidelity Portfolio Advisory service?

Another happy indexer at Fidelity. My current Private Client Manager has never called. Previous one checked in once a year. They know I am an indexer and just take care of any questions I may have, which is rare. We did have one pushy person many years ago. Shortly after our one and only visit with ...
by AstroJohn
Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which financial program to get? Quickbooks vs YNAB vs others
Replies: 52
Views: 8463

Re: Which financial program to get? Quickbooks vs YNAB vs others

I have been running gnucash and moneydance in parallel for several years. Love them both. Hated quicken.
by AstroJohn
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buying and Spending Bitcoin
Replies: 199
Views: 31132

Re: Buying and Spending Bitcoin

Fascinating discussion, but my understanding is that in the US the IRS considers bitcoin to be an asset not a currency. So, when you buy bitcoin you acquire an asset and must record the cost in US dollars. When you then buy something, say a sandwich at Subway, you are selling the asset and must reco...
by AstroJohn
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Software
Replies: 132
Views: 15059

Re: H&R Block Software

Another annoyance with Block Basic this year: I've used Basic Fed only for many years now. In the fall they always offer next year at just under $15. This year, the emails all said the best price of the year for Basic Fed return only was $19.95. This seemed like a serious price increase, so I have b...
by AstroJohn
Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trade QUICKEN for Spreadsheet
Replies: 28
Views: 2733

Re: Trade QUICKEN for Spreadsheet

If all you want to do is reconcile and keep track of costs by category, I second the suggestion of gnucash. It will do as well or better than a spreadsheet at generating reports and helping you see where the money is going and has room to grow if you want more than a spreadsheet can offer. Also, unl...
by AstroJohn
Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cutting The Quicken Cord
Replies: 13
Views: 3583

Re: Cutting The Quicken Cord

For those who want to be able to do accounting at the level of detail desired by Tyler, it would be worthwhile to look at ledger-cli (ledger-cli.org) and its various ports before you roll your own software. GnuCash actually has the ability to write all its transactions as a ledger text file.
by AstroJohn
Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cutting The Quicken Cord
Replies: 13
Views: 3583

Re: Cutting The Quicken Cord

Abandoned Quicken many years ago for Moneydance. A bit less expensive than Quicken and to me much better. I've also embraced GnuCash. It is a more complicated, which leads to my second comment. If you are comfortable with a complex piece of software, is your spouse as well? My wife can keep things u...
by AstroJohn
Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern
Replies: 516
Views: 78650

Re: Quicken's future direction - a cause for concern

LadyGeek: Great to read that you find Moneydance meets your needs. I went to Moneydance many years ago when I switched from a pc to a mac and was won over immediately by the clean design and lack of chartjunk that was polluting the Quicken screen. I have had several interactions with the company reg...
by AstroJohn
Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Tax Credit and IRS Form 1116 -- Thanks Bogleheads!
Replies: 0
Views: 487

Foreign Tax Credit and IRS Form 1116 -- Thanks Bogleheads!

This year for the first time the amount of foreign tax paid by my international index fund exceeded $600 and I have had to face the dreaded Form 1116. After puzzling over the instructions for quite some time and messing with both H&R Block and TurboTax, I realized that this must have been discussed ...
by AstroJohn
Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annual Vacation Budget
Replies: 320
Views: 33787

Re: Annual Vacation Budget

When I retired at the end of 2011, my wife, who was already retired, and I set a vacation budget of $10,000. In 2012, we greatly exceeded that. So the next year we set a vacation budget of $20,000. In 2013, we greatly exceeded that. For the last two years, we have finally stabilized at a vacation bu...
by AstroJohn
Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: This is a good weekend to start tracking your net worth.
Replies: 69
Views: 6817

Re: This is a good weekend to start tracking your net worth.

I have been updating my family net worth a couple of times a year for decades. At this point in my life, mostly retired, it mainly serves as one of the bits of information that reassures my wife that she will be able to survive without me. To me, the most important thing to do at least yearly, and J...
by AstroJohn
Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How do you track your finances?
Replies: 79
Views: 9128

Re: How do you track your finances?

Moneydance for the checking, saving, and investments. I am on a Mac and Quicken has never been that useful to me. Also, when I was no a pc, the Quicken chartjunk on the homepage just kept growing and growing. Mostly as an educational tool, I also keep track in GnuCash, which is a great piece of soft...
by AstroJohn
Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:49 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: Boglehead's newest millionaire
Replies: 89
Views: 11536

Re: Boglehead's newest millionaire

Congrats Chris. Wife and I passed that milestone some time ago (and told no one) and now I rarely total things up. I feel like I'm seeing a replay of watching our IRAs grow many years ago. For a long time it looked like each year all the growth in the accounts was the annual contribution. Then one d...
by AstroJohn
Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fountain Pens - Do you use one?
Replies: 104
Views: 10367

Re: Fountain Pens - Do you use one?

nisiprius wrote: Go ahead, tell me that Montblancs never leak, just go ahead.
Mine never has. I do not, however, carry it in my pocket on airplane trips. Changing pressure can be a problem.
by AstroJohn
Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fountain Pens - Do you use one?
Replies: 104
Views: 10367

Re: Fountain Pens - Do you use one?

Have always used fountain pens. Thirty-nine years ago, I bought a Mont Blanc Diplomat at Fahrney's Pens in DC to reward myself for finishing my PhD and getting my first job. A few decades later, I used it to write the first draft of a book. The only problem these days is finding decent paper to writ...
by AstroJohn
Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: LTC Quandary
Replies: 32
Views: 3950

Re: LTC Quandary

I am also struggling with the same decision. Am oscillating between dropping coverage, which gets me back the money paid in as benefits when needed, and keeping the monthly cost the same and accepting a ridiculously small inflation factor. The second option amounts to partial self insurance. My wife...
by AstroJohn
Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone else getting nervous and converting to cash as a short-term move?
Replies: 116
Views: 14591

Re: Anyone else getting nervous and converting to cash as a short-term move?

Semi-retired for almost five years now and have yet to modify my plan in response to market conditions. Now on to the next generation. Last night I helped my 35 year old daughter shift her 401(k) and Roth IRA from way too many mutual funds to a classic age-appropriate three fund portfolio. Also made...
by AstroJohn
Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to VA as a state employee, help/feedback needed please!
Replies: 18
Views: 2712

Re: Moving to VA as a state employee, help/feedback needed please!

I am currently a half time research professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and had the same choices you are looking at when I started there after retiring from the federal government. Since I expected to only be working a few more years, I went with the ORP. But in making that decision...
by AstroJohn
Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Premium increase for federal employee long term care insurance
Replies: 69
Views: 7915

Re: Premium increase for federal employee long term care insurance

May I ask what your total premium is for a single person? My ltc bought through employer is $2700.00. For a max of $270,000. Max of $273 a day. I bought at age 56. I initially bought at age 52. My premiums are going from $123.64 per month to $279.42/month, so $1484 per year to $3353 per year. Wife'...
by AstroJohn
Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Premium increase for federal employee long term care insurance
Replies: 69
Views: 7915

Re: Premium increase for federal employee long term care insurance

My wife and I signed up for Fed LTCi when it was first offered. We were in our early 50s. When the first premium increase came along, we reduced our benefit to keep the premium more or less the same, essentially deciding to partially self insure. Our letters about the upcoming increase arrived yeste...
by AstroJohn
Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken
Replies: 33
Views: 3281

Re: Quicken

Have a look at Moneydance. Runs on Macs, Windows, and Linux. Good price. Great support. You can download it and try before you buy. I've been generating simple tax reports with it for years.
by AstroJohn
Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2014 just starting asking for "Intuit ID Password"
Replies: 16
Views: 11939

Re: Quicken 2014 just starting asking for "Intuit ID Password"

I gave up on Quicken many years ago. Partly it was because of a move to the Mac, but mostly it was annoyance at the constant need to update and the ever increasing amount of chartjunk on the screen. Moved to Moneydance, which imported all the Quicken data just fine. Am also using Gnucash for some of...
by AstroJohn
Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: CapOne360 Jt Acct ------->Revocable Living Trust
Replies: 8
Views: 1084

Re: CapOne360 Jt Acct ------->Revocable Living Trust

Earlier this week, I changed our joint CapOne360 account to our trust. Was able to do it online and found it to be much less confusing than the printed form I downloaded. Have you tried the online form?
by AstroJohn
Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block vs TurboTax
Replies: 0
Views: 451

H&R Block vs TurboTax

For many years now, I have used H&R Block Basic to do my taxes, mostly because even the $15 version of the software does it all: 1040, Schedules A, B, D, etc., whereas TurboTax wants an arm and a leg to do a simple long term capital gain. I then do my state taxes for Virginia using the state web sit...
by AstroJohn
Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vacation Homes
Replies: 78
Views: 12578

Re: Vacation Homes

I find it interesting that this thread has unfolded much like many of the conversations my wife and I have had with friends and neighbors about our weekend home. Those who tend to look only at the financial aspects of a weekend home constantly ask what we do there. They seem to be seeking some reas...
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is your decline in Net Worth as of today?
Replies: 96
Views: 13478

Re: What is your decline in Net Worth as of today?

I only look at that once or perhaps twice a year. More often than that invites madness. Keep calm and carry on.
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vacation Homes
Replies: 78
Views: 12578

Re: Vacation Homes

I find it interesting that this thread has unfolded much like many of the conversations my wife and I have had with friends and neighbors about our weekend home. Those who tend to look only at the financial aspects of a weekend home constantly ask what we do there. They seem to be seeking some reaso...
by AstroJohn
Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: upgrade OS on older MAC?
Replies: 33
Views: 3109

Re: upgrade OS on older MAC?

2008 iMac with 2 GB of memory. Every OS upgrade has been great until El Capitan, which is much slower. Poor performance is likely due to amount of memory. Traffic on the web seems to indicate that El Cap is more of a memory hog than earlier versions.
by AstroJohn
Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vacation Homes
Replies: 78
Views: 12578

Re: Vacation Homes

Eight years ago, my wife and I bought a weekend home in the Shenandoah Valley 105 miles from our primary residence in the suburbs of Washington DC. We bought it with cash, which significantly reduces the expense of ownership. Nevertheless, spread over the average of 58 nights we spend there each yea...
by AstroJohn
Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Intuit to Sell off Quicken
Replies: 63
Views: 9682

Re: Intuit to Sell off Quicken

Also gave up on Quicken and went to Moneydance when I moved to an iMac many years ago. I recommend it highly. I also use gnucash. Moneydance is much easier to use for stocks and bonds. Both are about the same for checking and savings accounts. Moneydance reports can be saved as text files, which mak...
by AstroJohn
Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is Your Plan B if Quicken dies? [Intuit selling Quicken unit]
Replies: 105
Views: 18051

Re: What is Your Plan B if Quicken dies? [Intuit selling Quicken unit]

Gave up on Quicken many years ago when I migrated to an iMac. Currently using Moneydance and GnuCash. Moneydance is simple and in my view does a better job with reports and investments. GnuCash takes a little longer to learn to use, but is also excellent. In both cases importing data from Quicken wa...
by AstroJohn
Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 3447
Views: 1021677

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

The Men Who United the States by Simon Winchester, a nice exploration of the events and people--some famous some not--who helped unify a growing nation. One pleasant aspect of being a Boglehead is that managing investments takes so little time that there is more left for reading and other leisure a...