Search found 1287 matches

by bberris
Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Torpedo
Replies: 6
Views: 756

Re: Tax Torpedo

To clear up any possible confusion, the tax torpedo applies to other income (earned, investment, roth conversion ...) not to social security income. So you should test roth conversions using tax software to see if it really makes sense to do it. This needs to be emphasized since the torpedo leads so...
by bberris
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can you determine your estimated ex-spouse social security benefit if you don't communicate with your ex-spouse?
Replies: 13
Views: 1191

Re: Can you determine your estimated ex-spouse social security benefit if you don't communicate with your ex-spouse?

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:38 pm
What does your divorce decree say about Social Security benefits?
Irrelevant, since you can't assign or transfer your benefits.
It seems that there must be some way to get this information from SS, though I can see why SSA would want you to appear in person with documents (marriage and divorce).
by bberris
Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Patent incentive
Replies: 46
Views: 2227

Re: Patent incentive

OP, The biggest reason to file a patent when you reach a certain technical level is to be able to tell the world what you know and what you are capable of. Patents are public information. For many technical folks, unless you worked with them directly, they could not disclose what they did and what ...
by bberris
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do you hold bonds in your portfolio?
Replies: 65
Views: 4385

Re: Why do you hold bonds in your portfolio?

I hold LT treasuries in my portfolio because they are very negatively correlated with equities. https://ep60qmdjq8-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Screen-Shot-2014-12-09-at-10.20.43-AM.png https://thereformedbroker.com/2014/12/09/long-bonds-still-uncorrelated-after-all-these-year...
by bberris
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard going to do TV commercials
Replies: 42
Views: 3927

Re: Vanguard going to do TV commercials

Vanguard is not a public service. Don't be fooled into thinking that it is different from any other mutual fund sponsor because it is non-profit. That does not mean the same as "sold at cost". Profit is still the motive. I am not getting romantically involved with a business.
by bberris
Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need help with identification of preciptate in water
Replies: 18
Views: 891

Re: Need help with identification of preciptate in water

My kitchen cold water bypasses the water softener. The white deposits are mainly calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. If this water has passed through a working salt-based water softener, the deposits are likely to be sodium bicarbonate or carbonate. Nothing to worry about. If you have trouble...
by bberris
Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Craigslist vs Kelley Blue Book cash offer for car
Replies: 13
Views: 1312

Re: Craigslist vs Kelley Blue Book cash offer for car

I'm sure you can sell a low-mileage toyota on craigslist or some similar. Just ignore any non local offers or sight-unseen bids. To minimize the risk, have your test drive at a police station. Some places are organized for this. You probably run a greater risk of being carjacked at a stop light than...
by bberris
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Phone Scam - Up A Notch
Replies: 59
Views: 4496

Re: New Phone Scam - Up A Notch

Someone in metro Atlanta recently lost $35,000 to one of these scams. https://www.ajc.com/news/crime--law/darn-believable-cobb-woman-lost-35k-during-hour-call-with-scammers/66ZhrkQrC16Iyv9IIalB1J/ I still do not believe people can honestly think that the government would accept gift cards, iTunes c...
by bberris
Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: moved my wifes 401K account from big brokerage handled by money mgr
Replies: 28
Views: 1675

Re: moved my wifes 401K account from big brokerage handled by money mgr

There's no point in waiting for dividend x-dates. The price drops when the stock goes ex-dividend. Just sell the individual stocks, preferably not right at opening and closing when sometimes weird pricing happens. And there is also no point in waiting for this big runup to reverse. You are invested ...
by bberris
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Gov Pension -- Keep or Cash Out
Replies: 22
Views: 1848

Re: Gov Pension -- Keep or Cash Out

No brainer to keep the pension. You are looking at sub optimally.

The right way: what annuity can you buy for 22,000? I don't know, but here's what you get for 30,000 at age 40 for a non-indexed annuity starting at 65: $4,188 per year.
by bberris
Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stop Loss Orders
Replies: 15
Views: 949

Re: Stop Loss Orders

The trouble with a stop-loss order is that it does not stop the loss. It just enters a market order as the stock is crashing. Where your order gets filled no one knows.
by bberris
Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: buying VIX
Replies: 13
Views: 1186

Re: buying VIX

michaelsieg wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:30 pm
The beauty of doing this is that on the upside you can gain 1000%, but on the down side you can only loose 100% - so the odds are clearly in your favor.... :happy
Yes, some people actually believe this joke. If I draw to an inside straight, I either get my card or I don't. 50-50 odds.
by bberris
Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:29 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Obamacare limits investing opportunities?
Replies: 36
Views: 3475

Re: Obamacare limits investing opportunities?

You may not want to do conversions even up to the cliff. Every dollar converted is taxed by the fed, state, and 9.8 % for loss of subsidy. For us, 28 % total. That was not a whole lot less than we saved in taxes putting money in. I used excel1040 to try with and without conversion.
by bberris
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:32 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wait for Social Security - breakeven returns
Replies: 107
Views: 10091

Re: Wait for Social Security - breakeven returns

I understand now. So you are "wresting control back" by hurrying to collect and spend some money as early as possible at the expense of future benefits, before the across-the-board cuts kick in (at which point your benefits will be cut the same as others'). Okay. We can agree to disagree if that is...
by bberris
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:47 am
Forum: Non-US Investing
Topic: Advantages for US persons abroad
Replies: 42
Views: 3468

Re: Advantages for US persons abroad

I'm not sure about avoiding state income tax. You would have to establish residence in a no tax state first and then sever all ties with the state you left. Some states are very aggressive in collecting from non residents.
by bberris
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: shocking hospital fee estimate
Replies: 45
Views: 4055

Re: shocking hospital fee estimate

It doesn't matter to you, but the insurance company is probably getting kickbacks from the hospital, so they may not be paying that much. They set rates that way so that the patient gets socked as much as possible.
by bberris
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA, 1 account, spouse turning 55
Replies: 12
Views: 605

Re: HSA, 1 account, spouse turning 55

If both spouses are already over 55 can the catch up contributions go into the same shared account? Nope, to use catch up for both, you have to have two accounts. A minor nuisance. We keep one at minimal balance by using it for expenses, and have let the other do the major accumulation. Interesting...
by bberris
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve - Fees Waived?
Replies: 54
Views: 5020

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve - Fees Waived?

I will be attempting to get the $75 fee waived on the 2nd card, saying we don't need the 2nd priority pass. I want the 4.25% equivalent value on dining/travel points redeemed for travel. My Uber card is going bye bye. My wife has the CSR and we decided to simply forego having a second card. I can s...
by bberris
Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bond yield too low, how about high yield stock?
Replies: 24
Views: 1827

Re: Bond yield too low, how about high yield stock?

You might want to own bonds to lower the risk of a portfolio. High yield stocks don't do that. If you don't want to own bonds, you need to have a higher risk tolerance.
by bberris
Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Annuity buy out offer
Replies: 33
Views: 1599

Re: Annuity buy out offer

HI all, I'm helping out a friend on a annuity buyout offer. I'd appreciate any comments on my thinking. In 2007 he put $105,000 into a variable annuity with a guaranteed minimum income benefit (GMIB). It was with ING and is now with Voya. Contract value is now $137,000. He's 51. If he were to exerc...
by bberris
Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel hacking international flights
Replies: 50
Views: 5099

Re: Travel hacking international flights

... Correction: the Sapphire card gives 3 points per dollar on Travel. When redeemed at 1.5 cents per point on the Chase travel portal, the value of 3 points becomes 4.5% of the original spending. 1.5 cents per point? I only get 1.25 cents from Chase Sapphire Preferred ultimate rewards. Is there a ...
by bberris
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel hacking international flights
Replies: 50
Views: 5099

Re: Travel hacking international flights

I have a Chase Mileage Plus card, a Chase Mileage Plus Business card, and a Sapphire card, all of which I use strategically to get the maximum points on United. For instance: the Sapphire card gives 4 points per dollar on Travel, and my gym is attached to a hotel, and the annual charge comes throug...
by bberris
Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:42 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Robinhood, Heading for a Trainwreck?
Replies: 41
Views: 5471

Re: Robinhood, Heading for a Trainwreck?

OP. In what way does this matter to you? Are you in on the deal and trading on margin? Trading on margin is not for most of us here. OPM for sure, but there is no guarantee you you won’t lose it. Then where are you? Paying it back. Leverage is what got us into 2009 dire straits. If Robinhood went u...
by bberris
Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:24 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dividend investing vs. index investing
Replies: 30
Views: 2239

Re: Dividend investing vs. index investing

Which one is better? in Youtube, it looks like dividend investing is all in the rage. I know that every dividend payout results in lowering stock price of equal amount. How are people bragging about getting a force selling event every month on their shares in the form of dividend? Enlighten me :? W...
by bberris
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: laddering life insurance
Replies: 22
Views: 1120

Re: laddering life insurance

Sounds like a good plan. You might also consider a simple decreasing benefit life, if such a thing exists. What you want to avoid is having a very long term level-premium life that you later think you don't need or that you may cancel. These contracts make you pay extra in the early years while gett...
by bberris
Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: ACA over the MAGI cliff! does it really matter?
Replies: 10
Views: 1771

Re: ACA over the MAGI cliff! does it really matter?

I think you have it right. I quit my job and claimed $X of income this year and they wanted me to prove it for the ACA subsidy. Well, how do you prove how much you won't make????? I think if you had lower income in the prior year (qualifying) you get the subsidy upfront and if you don't, get it on ...
by bberris
Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:44 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Wait for Social Security - breakeven returns
Replies: 107
Views: 10091

Re: Wait for Social Security - breakeven returns

This aptly named web article ignores:

Inflation indexing of SS
Risk free annuity of SS
Sequence of returns risk

So to paraphrase the article, if you remove all of the benefits of delaying social security, and the risks of investing, it is better to claim early.
by bberris
Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:30 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Cryptocurrencies and the US dollar
Replies: 8
Views: 896

Re: Cryptocurrencies and the US dollar

The only reason to worry about cryptos is if you happen to own any.
by bberris
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: November 1 Health Insurance Time again
Replies: 4
Views: 458

Re: November 1 Health Insurance Time again

Looks like spouse and I will exceed the ACA MAGI limit next year (2020). So, no more subsidy for us I visited Healthcare.Gov The cheapest bronze policy is over $2,000 per month with lots of co-pays and out of pockets should I actually need healthcare. Not exactly encouraging. I could see a policy l...
by bberris
Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Timeshare offer experience
Replies: 103
Views: 10503

Re: Timeshare offer experience

I stopped doing this after a salesperson told me that this is his livelihood and you had no intention of buying so I was being selfish and abusing the system.He was right but the timeshare companies do the same.I did that same deal in Princeville but was not offered the second trip with the points....
by bberris
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes on Bonus
Replies: 27
Views: 3120

Re: Taxes on Bonus

Bonuses are ordinary income and subject to income and payroll taxes just like other wages. The percentages you quoted are just withholding rates. Withholding rates are higher on bonuses because salary is subject to the standard deduction and lower marginal rates. You settle the difference with your ...
by bberris
Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:39 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Buy Limit Order Filling Question
Replies: 14
Views: 974

Re: Buy Limit Order Filling Question

Two possibilities: You may have checked the All-or-None box. This would prevent a partial fill, and also puts your order at the end of the queue. In these days of 0 commissions, there's no reason to specify AON. The broker may have routed the order to a market where the price did not cross your limi...
by bberris
Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I bought a STOLEN vehicle!!!
Replies: 106
Views: 15297

Re: I bought a STOLEN vehicle!!!

Nate79 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:20 am
You don't even know if the sellers were even aware they were selling a stolen car.
They would still have to give the buyer his purchase money back. Not sure about all the other expenses.
by bberris
Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to save HSA receipts?
Replies: 14
Views: 1490

Re: How to save HSA receipts?

After the year has closed and all claims have been paid, I download the summary from the insurance co which shows the out of pocket expense for each claim. We have a high deductible plan and there is no problem generating enough expenses to deplete the HSA. I have made large claims from my HSA based...
by bberris
Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric Car Charger - options/Amp settings?
Replies: 42
Views: 2789

Re: Electric Car Charger - options/Amp settings?

Just a side bar for electric cars. People in California are having problems with their cars because the electricity had to be shut off because of the fires going on there. This is a problem that I didn't think of with them. This is a consideration for those who drive electric. birdy That's why you ...
by bberris
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What’s the proper way to pay yourself in retirement?
Replies: 66
Views: 8503

Re: What’s the proper way to pay yourself in retirement?

.... This method has meant I haven't needed to sell any investment, which would mean capital gains, which would increase my taxable income, which would mean I would lose my ACA tax credit. I have enough investments that I can sell with no capital gains that I can do the same thing next year. Probab...
by bberris
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Lump Sum Offer w/ very short decision turn around time
Replies: 12
Views: 1733

Re: Lump Sum Offer w/ very short decision turn around time

Don't take it. They are not going to make an offer that is advantageous to you. Unless of course you know something that they don't (your date of death). All of these net present value calculations are difficult and not very useful because they require assumptions about future interest rates and you...
by bberris
Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hotel mini bar - rude to use for own stuff
Replies: 42
Views: 6358

Re: Hotel mini bar - rude to use for own stuff

barnaclebob wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:34 am
Some hotels have systems that automatically detect when you move something and charge you for it. I had a lot of charges that had to be removed just from picking stuff up to look at it.
So that means you can't drink a $10 beer and replace it with a 1$ one that you got at the store?
by bberris
Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POA Reimbursement
Replies: 48
Views: 3082

Re: POA Reimbursement

The professional court-appointed guardians are a shady bunch. A few have gone to jail for abuse of the elderly. Judges were apparently complicit in getting these aholes appointed. As POA, all expenses should be documented. I think paying yourself for time crosses the line. What will the other benefi...
by bberris
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Describe Your Perfect Life Insurance Product
Replies: 19
Views: 1125

Re: Describe Your Perfect Life Insurance Product

There's near universal hate for whole life here, understandably. At the same time, BH loves level-term (as opposed to increasing premium term or decreasing benefit term). Ironically, level-term has a whole-life aspect to it. You pay an extra premium when you are young and get a bargain when you are ...
by bberris
Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:33 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TD Ameritrade Introduces $0 Commissions for Online Stock, ETF and Option Trades
Replies: 49
Views: 5478

Re: TD Ameritrade Introduces $0 Commissions for Online Stock, ETF and Option Trades

matthewmon wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:58 am
Just so you know you could have clicked on the AON (all or none) box and you wouldn't get partial fills.
That puts your order at the bottom of the queue. So I wouldn't have filled any.
by bberris
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: TD Ameritrade Introduces $0 Commissions for Online Stock, ETF and Option Trades
Replies: 49
Views: 5478

Re: TD Ameritrade Introduces $0 Commissions for Online Stock, ETF and Option Trades

I avoided using limit orders under commission regimes because the market maker would abuse the order with microfills. For example, order for 1000 shares, and I get a partial fill for 3. The $7 commission was nothing with a $25,000 buy, but really oppressive on a $75 buy. Just to teach me a lesson ab...
by bberris
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Craigslist apartments in NYC, too cheap to be true!
Replies: 8
Views: 1405

Re: Craigslist apartments in NYC, too cheap to be true!

Obviously the poster has never been to NYC. CL does not monitor ads, except maybe by some AI. These are obvious scams. There may be some legitimate vacation rentals on craigslist, but anyone posting there must know that they will be suspect. So CL is not a good place to find a vacation rental.
by bberris
Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Salt-Free Water Softeners
Replies: 42
Views: 3347

Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

Metered softeners also regenerate overnight, but you can set the regeneration time for your schedule. After the meter runs down to 0, it regenerates next night. During the regeneration cycle, the softener is bypassed so hard water is delivered. Not so bad, but if you use hot water during the regen, ...
by bberris
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Salt-Free Water Softeners
Replies: 42
Views: 3347

Re: Salt-Free Water Softeners

How do I find CPG hardness? I tried researching my city’s water reports, but can’t find anything regarding. I live in South Texas so my water is very hard. As for the purpose: I’m looking to preserve my appliances without the space requirement of a salt system. We just got a tankless water heater a...
by bberris
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: For those who see doctors 3~5 times a year, your medical costs between ACA and Medicare?
Replies: 15
Views: 1858

Re: For those who see doctors 3~5 times a year, your medical costs between ACA and Medicare?

For those retirees who may want to see doctors a few times (3~5 times) for not serious problems, when you switch from ACA to Medicare, have your total medical expenses (insurance premium plus out-of-pocket money actually paid) increased or decreased? Based on my understanding, ACA premium could be ...
by bberris
Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Protection From Catastrophic Medical Costs When Fully Insured
Replies: 109
Views: 5091

Re: Protection From Catastrophic Medical Costs When Fully Insured

I keep my health insurance card in my wallet. Is there any legal way add a note with it to say that I must be treated by an in-network hospital/provider? And if no in-network provider is around and it's a life threatening event, that they will bill at the in-network rate? Sure you can add a note, b...