Search found 111 matches

by AstroJohn
Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Changes to 401(k) and IRAs, SECURE Act - It's signed
Replies: 292
Views: 22619

RMD date change in spending bill

It looks like the spending bill that is through the House and is pretty certain to pass the Senate and be signed by the president will increase the age for RMDs from 70.5 to 72. This has been floating around for quite some time, but appears about to come true.
by AstroJohn
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing money near death of a spouse
Replies: 60
Views: 3846

Re: Managing money near death of a spouse

All the responses to my initial post have been fascinating. Clearly, this is a serious issue that we all need to be more aware of. It can be challenging to discuss this sort of thing with a spouse, and even more so with children and their spouses. Often my wife just says she expect to die first, so ...
by AstroJohn
Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing money near death of a spouse
Replies: 60
Views: 3846

Re: Managing money near death of a spouse

Our two checking account are “tenants by the entirety” so we are covered there. The scary part of the story for me is that with a joint account, the ill spouse can just walk into the bank and take everything. This seems to me to argue for at least some significant amount of money in separate accoun...
by AstroJohn
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing money near death of a spouse
Replies: 60
Views: 3846

Re: Managing money near death of a spouse

Our two checking account are “tenants by the entirety” so we are covered there. The scary part of the story for me is that with a joint account, the ill spouse can just walk into the bank and take everything. This seems to me to argue for at least some significant amount of money in separate accoun...
by AstroJohn
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Managing money near death of a spouse
Replies: 60
Views: 3846

Managing money near death of a spouse

At Thanksgiving along with one of our children and her husband, we hosted his widowed mother. Her husband died recently of Alzheimer's disease and she had quiet a story to tell about some of the financial issues she faced near the end. Her experience gave us a lot to think about in terms of how we s...
by AstroJohn
Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Experience/cost MLB spring training?
Replies: 29
Views: 2139

Re: Experience/cost MLB spring training?

My wife and I go to Nationals spring training every year, usually about the second or third week in March. By that time the regular players are getting substantial playing time. Tickets are likely to be expensive this year, but we will be going. One thing my wife discovered a few years ago is that y...
by AstroJohn
Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Trust to avoid Probate
Replies: 21
Views: 2053

Re: Trust to avoid Probate

I have always read that a significant advantage of a trust is the possibility of a successor trustee taking over in the event of disability. In my experience that has been easy compared to things like durable powers of attorney. Is that not the case?
by AstroJohn
Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement
Replies: 28
Views: 3774

Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

BTW, I want to mention that while I pay most bills, but my spouse is responsible for paying some bills. The idea is that she knows how to do financial things if I die. And I know how to do financial things if she dies. I think the ability of either spouse to take care of things when the other spous...
by AstroJohn
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Boglehead Approach to Home Tech? Looking for Home Security Cameras
Replies: 19
Views: 1764

Re: Boglehead Approach to Home Tech? Looking for Home Security Cameras

For our weekend home, I started with a game camera that I could review whenever we were at the home. Inexpensive, but died after a few years. Now we have an Arlo, which is fantastic. It is battery powered, so can be placed anywhere near the house. I get an email notification and a ten second video c...
by AstroJohn
Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How often do you check your net worth?
Replies: 257
Views: 17342

Re: How often do you check your net worth?

I update ours twice a year and will probably cut that back to once a year. But then at 69 and with plenty of assets for the rest of my life, there is not much to worry about. Scanning all the answers, I think it would be great if someone could put together a scatter plot of how often Bogleheads chec...
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I keep money in TSP long term?
Replies: 66
Views: 3387

Re: Should I keep money in TSP long term?

Finally, I have always been somewhat annoyed/worried by TSPs statements that if someone manages to get access to your account and figure out a way to drain it, you are on your own. My guess is that Fidelity would make me whole. Whoa. Those are pretty big assumptions on which to base a decision. I w...
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:14 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I keep money in TSP long term?
Replies: 66
Views: 3387

Re: Should I keep money in TSP long term?

Finally, I have always been somewhat annoyed/worried by TSPs statements that if someone manages to get access to your account and figure out a way to drain it, you are on your own. My guess is that Fidelity would make me whole. Fidelity does have a Customer Protection Guarantee, but you have to not...
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:07 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I keep money in TSP long term?
Replies: 66
Views: 3387

Re: Should I keep money in TSP long term?

Finally, I have always been somewhat annoyed/worried by TSPs statements that if someone manages to get access to your account and figure out a way to drain it, you are on your own. My guess is that Fidelity would make me whole. Whoa. Those are pretty big assumptions on which to base a decision. I w...
by AstroJohn
Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should I keep money in TSP long term?
Replies: 66
Views: 3387

Re: Should I keep money in TSP long term?

I am just turning 69 and ahead of RMDs have transferred my TSP (all G fund) into my IRA. While I know changes are coming that provide more withdrawal options, I decided that having everything in one place would be easier for DW if I go first. Also, you have to consider the next generation and their ...
by AstroJohn
Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Eliminate my emergency fund?
Replies: 90
Views: 7554

Re: Eliminate my emergency fund?

We have never had a separate emergency fund. And now that we are into retirement there is really no need. But a portion of the fixed income side of our investments is in a money market account. My asset allocation spreadsheet lists the value of that account minus $20,000. The message there to DW and...
by AstroJohn
Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block tax preparation software and Form 1116
Replies: 15
Views: 1135

Re: H&R Block tax preparation software and Form 1116

I have been doing a Form 1116 for several years now using H&R Block Basic. At first I was intimidated by the IRS instructions. Then I followed a suggestion posted by someone here. The instructions have to cover a very wide range of income sources, and that makes them look intimidating. The solution ...
by AstroJohn
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why I Own a Total Market Index Fund
Replies: 43
Views: 6827

Re: Why I Own a Total Market Index Fund

Occasionally, I get a little too involved in overthinking how my money should be invested. And then Taylor comes along and reminds me that this really isn't rocket science. Thanks Taylor.
by AstroJohn
Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoreau Simplify
Replies: 64
Views: 7259

Re: Thoreau Simplify

Cleaning up and simplifying has been a lifelong struggle between me and my wonderful spouse. She likes "things." While I have read and taken much of Thoreau to heart, my favorite quote is in the other direction.

"Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived."
--Anne Lamott
by AstroJohn
Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "3 Tips For Streamlining Your Portfolio"
Replies: 11
Views: 1859

Re: "3 Tips For Streamlining Your Portfolio"

Good, simple, make sense tips. I'm wondering about reasons to simplify and consolidate. I've just crossed the threshold of being able to claim early social security, so maybe am thinking more about the future. Of course, having a simpler portfolio in less locations would make things easier for my w...
by AstroJohn
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Desktop Computer (home): Do you leave it "On" or turn "off" after using?
Replies: 77
Views: 5272

Re: Desktop Computer (home): Do you leave it "On" or turn "off" after using?

Both my iMac and my wife's PC are shut off at night. I feel that the less time they are on the internet the less time there is for bad actors to get into them.
by AstroJohn
Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: External Hard Drive?
Replies: 71
Views: 4448

Re: External Hard Drive?

I recently bought a 4TB Western Digital drive for a ridiculously small price. But that is just my first line of defense. I also have three 16 GB thumb drives that important files get backed up to in a monthly rotation. Finally, the same files are backed up to sync.com regularly. I can't say enough g...
by AstroJohn
Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken alternatives?
Replies: 47
Views: 4352

Re: Quicken alternatives?

Gnucash has a pretty steep learning curve, but does a good job once you master it.

Moneydance is the best alternative to Quicken I have found. Works great on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Reasonable cost and upgrade cycle, and so far no talk of an annual subscription approach.
by AstroJohn
Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Deluxe 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?
Replies: 34
Views: 3406

Re: H&R Block Deluxs 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?

Every year I buy and download H&R Block Basic. Every year, including this year, it includes Schedule D (as well as the dreaded Form 1116). I just fired up the copy I bought and it indicates the final version Schedule D will not be available until 1/16/2019. It has always baffled me that the folks h...
by AstroJohn
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Deluxe 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?
Replies: 34
Views: 3406

Re: H&R Block Deluxs 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?

Every year I buy and download H&R Block Basic. Every year, including this year, it includes Schedule D (as well as the dreaded Form 1116). I just fired up the copy I bought and it indicates the final version Schedule D will not be available until 1/16/2019. It has always baffled me that the folks h...
by AstroJohn
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block Deluxe 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?
Replies: 34
Views: 3406

Re: H&R Block Deluxs 2018 doesn't include Schedule D?

Every year I buy and download H&R Block Basic. Every year, including this year, it includes Schedule D (as well as the dreaded Form 1116). I just fired up the copy I bought and it indicates the final version Schedule D will not be available until 1/16/2019. It has always baffled me that the folks he...
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: 3204

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: 3204

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: 3204

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: 2183

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: 3916

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: 41
Views: 9374

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: 41
Views: 9374

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: 4442

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: 13849

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: 5480

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: 5480

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: 16611

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: 16611

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: 16611

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: 1522

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: 1522

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: 1405

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Estimated taxes for 2018
Replies: 18
Views: 2448

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: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Portfolio Advisory service?
Replies: 23
Views: 4345

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: 51
Views: 13176

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: 34480

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: 16764

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: 3545

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: 4110

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: 4110

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...