Search found 680 matches

by Eric
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Free Channels on Apple TV without Cable Subscription
Replies: 18
Views: 1418

Re: Free Channels on Apple TV without Cable Subscription

I use an HD Homerun + the Channels App with an OTA antenna which gives me all the local channels on my AppleTVs. So not free, but with an investment a little over $100 I can use it on all Apple TVs. It'll pause, skip, and rewind/ff which is also nice and has a nice guide. There's a DVR option but i...
by Eric
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Excess Liability Insurance - Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 55
Views: 3836

Re: Personal Excess Liability Insurance - Umbrella Insurance

I picked one somewhat randomly. State Farm had an underwriting loss in 2016 and 2017 (Claims > Net Earned Premium). They still made money in 2017 through investing. Good point, I oversimplified a bit. The more precise way to convey my point is Premiums + Income Generated by Investing Premiums > Cla...
by Eric
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Excess Liability Insurance - Umbrella Insurance
Replies: 55
Views: 3836

Re: Personal Excess Liability Insurance - Umbrella Insurance

My insurance company has offered to pay the first $X million in claims for a relatively small annual premium. For some reason, they believe all their Insureds are "above average" drivers (Lake Wobegon effect) and unlikely to file many claims (hence the bargain rates for this coverage). Are you sure...
by Eric
Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Stephen Hawking - how would he have fared in America
Replies: 9
Views: 1655

Re: Stephen Hawking - how would he have fared in America

To make this actionable, the question would be, "how does a person in the U.S. with an expensive chronic condition obtain health coverage?" Four answers come to mind. 1. If you are disabled (within certain definitions) for at least 2 years, you may qualify for Medicare before age 65. 2. If your inco...
by Eric
Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater
Replies: 28
Views: 1818

Re: Need Advice - Electric Hot Water Heater

Re tank size -- you should also consider the shower heads. If you have water-saver heads (required for shower heads since, I think, sometime in the 1990s), water usage will be significantly lower than if you have older heads (or have removed the water saver from a newer head). Especially if you take...
by Eric
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health insurance when retiring or self employed before Medicare age?
Replies: 30
Views: 2874

Re: Health insurance when retiring or self employed before Medicare age?

Tycoon wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:40 am
Eric, would this be the Austin Community College system?
Yes.
by Eric
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Etiquette of hanging up on live telemarketers
Replies: 77
Views: 3607

Re: Etiquette of hanging up on live telemarketers

He wasn't allowed to hang up on anybody no matter how long the person he called berated him, was instructed to just keep repeating "I understand". That sometimes applies to other customer service people, too. I once called a Megacorp to complain about a problem. After being escalated to the highest...
by Eric
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Health insurance when retiring or self employed before Medicare age?
Replies: 30
Views: 2874

Re: Health insurance when retiring or self employed before Medicare age?

Has anyone found creative ways (not sharing ministries) to get on a group plan? Are there ways to get onto a group plan through organizations such as AARP, or professional organization such as the National Association of Realtors, etc? I ask because I don't know. A lawyer I know enrolled in a commu...
by Eric
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding 2017 ACA Insurance >> Alternative to ACA until age 65 >>Possible Solutions??
Replies: 115
Views: 8052

Re: Need Help Understanding 2017 ACA Insurance Bill for $28,690 and tax liabilities? Confused? ** How to deduct in 2018

I hesitate to suggest this, but if you're in good health you could also explore getting a short-term health insurance policy. These are underwritten, non-ACA-compliant insurance policies that provide less coverage than a standard policy. Currently the term is limited to 3 months but the Trump admini...
by Eric
Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)
Replies: 13
Views: 821

Re: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)

For example, if you die in an auto accident, or as a result of medical malpractice, your estate will have a claim that is not part of the trust and requires an executor to handle. In those cases, people with revocable trusts end up paying twice: Once for the extra cost of a revocable trust to avoid...
by Eric
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)
Replies: 13
Views: 821

Re: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)

That is an interesting point about the estate having rights to money coming in from legal proceedings after death. It is not obvious to me why the trust could not be the recipient and pursue the cases, but I gather that is Tx law? The estate represents the person after death while the trust is limi...
by Eric
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)
Replies: 13
Views: 821

Re: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)

donall wrote:my advice is to use two separate RLTs. . . . The house should be owned 50% by each trust.
I know that's meant to be helpful, but this is not appropriate advice for most Texans or, I believe, residents of other community property states.
by Eric
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)
Replies: 13
Views: 821

Re: Estate Planning RLT vs. Testamentary (Texas)

A few thoughts: 1. It is rare in Texas for homes to be held as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Unlike in some other states, that is *not* the default and merely having both names on the deed is *not* sufficient to create a right of survivorship. Historically it wasn't even possible to titl...
by Eric
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Solo 401k Question - Low Self Employment Income
Replies: 17
Views: 1427

Re: Solo 401k Question - Low Self Employment Income

This is moot for the original poster, since he has already opened a solo 401(k), but for others: At very low earnings levels you may instead want to consider a SIMPLE IRA. It's a bit less involved.

https://investor.vanguard.com/what-we-o ... simple-ira
by Eric
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AirBnB my Van?
Replies: 29
Views: 2777

Re: AirBnB my Van?

I've never used this service, but Turo seems like a better fit for this than AirBnB.
by Eric
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash-out refinance to REDUCE equity?
Replies: 18
Views: 1617

Re: Cash-out refinance to REDUCE equity?

I think with a cash out mortgage would not be tax deductible under the new Trump law, especially over 750K so that's definitely a negative. Only purchase mortgages are tax deductible now up to 750K. Interest that isn't deductible as mortgage interest may still be deductible as investment interest ,...
by Eric
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:13 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.
Replies: 175
Views: 10029

Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Perhaps create "The official 2 comma club membership thread" to let people humble-brag their net worth milestones in one place, and the moderators can merge individual threads into it (putting more work on the mods, unfortunately, until those threads stop popping up). This seems like a good comprom...
by Eric
Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX
Replies: 42
Views: 3834

Re: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:22 pm
OK. You're right.
Thanks. And you are also right that the differences in return have been modest, at least over long periods, and it is perfectly rational to invest in TIPS even if they have a lower expected return.
by Eric
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX
Replies: 42
Views: 3834

Re: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:33 pm
Actually, no, VIPSX was still ahead very slightly, although I'd call it a tie.
I chose my words very precisely. ;-) For most periods starting after 2003, VBTLX leads. Try the same chart beginning in 2004 . . .
by Eric
Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX
Replies: 42
Views: 3834

Re: Inflation can cream bonds VBTLX vs VSCSX

The knock on VIPSX so far is not "low return," it's "higher return, but higher risk, and the risk-adjusted return has been lower." Also, as is often the case, the higher return is period-dependent. For most starting points after 2003, VBMFX is ahead. Some folks argue that returns on TIPS were abnor...
by Eric
Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal Allowances with MFJ $24K Standard Deduction
Replies: 5
Views: 820

Re: Personal Allowances with MFJ $24K Standard Deduction

Note that while the bill increases the standard deduction, it also eliminates personal exemptions. That offsets much (though not all) of the increase in the standard deduction for people who do not itemize. To take the simplest case, a single person with no kids currently gets a $6,350 standard dedu...
by Eric
Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Chained CPI - how does it work?
Replies: 30
Views: 2298

Re: Chained CPI - how does it work?

First, it has nothing to do with the examples of iPhones or lobsters in the above posts. The CPI has always been narrowly broken down into dozens of different groups and sub-groups. My example of lobsters and filet mignon seems awfully close to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's example of pork and b...
by Eric
Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Chained CPI - how does it work?
Replies: 30
Views: 2298

Re: Chained CPI - how does it work?

I don't think many in this thread have the right understanding about the various CPI's. As I mentioned, neither substitution nor more frequent substitution explain the difference between CPI and C-CPI. That's an interpretive narrative that I've so far found no basis for in the actual formulas. That...
by Eric
Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Chained CPI - how does it work?
Replies: 30
Views: 2298

Re: Chained CPI - how does it work?

I could see how updating the basket of goods more frequently could make a significant difference in measured inflation. Suppose the prices of lobster and filet mignon are volatile and uncorrelated. In months when the price of lobster is up, people buy more filet, and in months when the price of file...
by Eric
Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Sale and New Tax Plan
Replies: 3
Views: 554

Re: Home Sale and New Tax Plan

I won't comment on the pending legislation, in order to stay within forum guidelines. However, the article below summarizes the hardship and partial exclusion rules available under existing law. It's a bit dated (2008) but I don't immediately recall any major changes to the rules since then. https:/...
by Eric
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on HOA financial analysis
Replies: 10
Views: 814

Re: Advice on HOA financial analysis

Not legal advice, but see generally Texas Property Code sections 209.005 (regarding access to records) and 209.0051 (regarding open board meetings). You mention 209.005 in your post above but 209.0051 may also be relevant.
by Eric
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why did Vanguard drop TurboTax?
Replies: 16
Views: 3552

Re: Why did Vanguard drop TurboTax?

Vanguard operates "at cost," so the cost of providing clients discounted access to TurboTax was passed through to shareholders. In effect, Vanguard was redistributing some shareholders' money (those who don't use TurboTax) to other shareholders (those who do use TurboTax). This assumes that Vanguard...
by Eric
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What backup service to use?
Replies: 57
Views: 5034

Re: What backup service to use?

tuningfork wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:47 am
Crashplan used to be the hands down best, but they dropped their Home version to promote their less functional but more expensive Small Business version.
In what ways is the Small Business version less functional?
by Eric
Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Investing Fee Comparison Spreadsheet: Who Wants to Check My Work?
Replies: 5
Views: 747

Re: HSA Investing Fee Comparison Spreadsheet: Who Wants to Check My Work?

Most people who open an HSA at Saturna don't use Saturna's in-house mutual funds (which have the higher expense ratios you noted). Instead, they use Saturna's brokerage arm to buy other mutual funds or ETFs. The transaction fee to buy Vanguard or Fidelity funds is $25 per purchase (roughly equivalen...
by Eric
Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax Managed Balanced Fund vs Total Stk Mkt plus Tax Exempt Bond Index
Replies: 28
Views: 2602

Re: Tax Managed Balanced Fund vs Total Stk Mkt plus Tax Exempt Bond Index

Option 2 is better simply because of the tax-loss harvesting opportunities from the separate funds. In a down market, Option 2 is better for that reason. But in an up market, is there a tax case for Option 1? If you bought the stock and bond funds separately, the stock fund would be way up right no...
by Eric
Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fidelity Premium vs institutional vs institutional premium classes
Replies: 6
Views: 3751

Re: Fidelity Premium vs institutional vs institutional premium classes

Reviving this thread because I noticed an interesting quirk for "institutional" (not "institutional premium") shares at Fidelity. If you look at the minimum for "Initial Group Retirement Benefit" under the "Fees & Distributions" tab for Fidelity Total Market Index Fund - Institutional (FSKTX), you'l...
by Eric
Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2018 for Mac [and PC Released]
Replies: 44
Views: 6559

Re: Quicken 2018 for Mac and PC Released

tetractys wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:42 pm
1st big disappointment: No specific lot assignment for Mac.
Where did you see that? Quicken's comparison chart shows specific lot assignment as a feature for the Deluxe and Premier Mac versions.
by Eric
Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Quicken 2018 for Mac [and PC Released]
Replies: 44
Views: 6559

Quicken 2018 for Mac [and PC Released]

Quicken 2018 for Mac is out, with a subscription-only model and three membership levels (Starter, Deluxe, and Premier). Here's the press release , and here's a comparison chart showing the features of each membership level for Mac users. The Deluxe and Premier versions add some of the investment fea...
by Eric
Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New HSA provider Lively offers investments for $30/yr fee
Replies: 238
Views: 31170

Re: New HSA provider Lively offers investments for $30/yr fee

I just asked TD Ameritrade about the timing of the change to their ETF lineup, and got this response: I show that we expect to expand our line-up of commission free ETFs on starting on October 17. At that time, we plan to expand the program to include 296 ETFs. Starting on that date, you should have...
by Eric
Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: School Redistricting - What should we do?
Replies: 96
Views: 8575

Re: School Redistricting - What should we do?

Average test scores are almost always dependent on demographics. I assume your high schools are run by the same school board and administration with same policies, are they not? This. My son's elementary school had the top ("Exemplary") rating a few years ago. Then we had an influx of disadvantaged...
by Eric
Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LibreOffice
Replies: 24
Views: 3184

Re: LibreOffice

How compatible are Impress and PowerPoint files? I sometimes give PowerPoint presentations at conferences where the lectern is preloaded with PowerPoint. It would be important for Impress to be able to save files that open perfectly in PowerPoint -- even minor formatting glitches would look unprofes...
by Eric
Wed May 24, 2017 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawyers charging for asking about fees
Replies: 62
Views: 9100

Re: Lawyers charging for asking about fees

So regarding the original question, it sounds like while it is not necessarily common practice, it is allowed to bill a client for asking questions about an invoice? (Was not the case in this situation.) Generally I wouldn't charge a client for that type of conversation, but I can think of one unus...
by Eric
Wed May 24, 2017 9:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawyers charging for asking about fees
Replies: 62
Views: 9100

Re: Lawyers charging for asking about fees

Incendiary wrote:I did post exactly what the bill said regarding comments about the line item.
Ah, I do see that further down now. In that case, the confusion is understandable, unless the client's legal issue concerned the payment of fees to someone else. Did it?
by Eric
Wed May 24, 2017 9:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawyers charging for asking about fees
Replies: 62
Views: 9100

Re: Lawyers charging for asking about fees

...and all the other posts where others had similar (and worse) experiences. We don't want anyone to know attorneys actually behave this way. :P I see only one other comment in this long thread describing a billing complaint. "All the other posts" you speak of must be in other threads. If they're v...
by Eric
Wed May 24, 2017 9:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawyers charging for asking about fees
Replies: 62
Views: 9100

Re: Lawyers charging for asking about fees

Glad that worked out, but the bill should come with enough notes for you to reasonably identify what work was performed. I once sent a bill to a client that was perfectly clear, but he simply misread it (hastily skipped past the key words). He sent me a hot email that was really quite unpleasant. T...
by Eric
Wed May 24, 2017 9:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lawyers charging for asking about fees
Replies: 62
Views: 9100

Re: Lawyers charging for asking about fees

Just some follow up. Turns out the item was not a charge for asking about the lawyer's bill after all, but a completely legit charge relating to something else. :oops: Thank you for following up. Would you consider editing your original post, to add a note saying that? Many people may not read to t...
by Eric
Tue May 02, 2017 8:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HOA vs No-HOA
Replies: 94
Views: 10967

Re: HOA vs No-HOA

The deteriorating car(s) up on blocks for 4 years because "I'm working on it (them)" is a little harder to disguise from prospective buyers. Many cities have ordinances that would address this. (Mine does.) That allows professional, disinterested city staff, rather than a neighbor with too much tim...
by Eric
Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Portability and the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GST)
Replies: 11
Views: 1231

Re: Portability and the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GST)

Generally, if your child dies before you do, his or her children move up a generation (with respect to you). So you can make gifts or bequests to them without incurring GSTT.
by Eric
Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many of you have cut cord?
Replies: 172
Views: 18154

Re: How many of you have cut cord?

We've had a Tablo for about a month now and really like it. Combined with an antenna and an Apple TV 4 or Roku, it allows you to watch, record, and time-shift (DVR) live TV.
by Eric
Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Caution re new Fidelity VISA
Replies: 3
Views: 943

Re: Caution re new Fidelity VISA

Is quietly keeping you at the same benefit level you have been receiving indefinitely not what the default expectation should be? New customers get the better benefit schedule. Existing customers don't unless they ask for it. In view of the fact that a new card is being issued to existing customers...
by Eric
Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Caution re new Fidelity VISA
Replies: 3
Views: 943

Caution re new Fidelity VISA

We currently have the old (FIA) Fidelity Visa card that pays 1.5% on the first $15,000 each year and 2% on the excess. We're expecting to get the new (Elan) Fidelity Visa in a few weeks. Per Fidelity's website, the new card should pay a flat 2% (eliminating the 1.5% tier). We recently received a fly...
by Eric
Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Think my future father in law is giving the wrong advice to my fiance..what should i do?
Replies: 111
Views: 12027

Re: Think my future father in law is giving the wrong advice to my fiance..what should i do?

Another option is to do offsetting transactions of your own. When your fiancee sells, you buy. That works only to the limit of your assets, but may at least moderate the impact of her trading on your combined finances.
by Eric
Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard sued for [failing to charge market rates to and then paying taxes on services to its mutual funds]
Replies: 805
Views: 143421

Re: Vanguard sued for [failing to charge market rates to and then paying taxes on services to its mutual funds]

The franchise tax isn't really even a "pure" income tax (it's more of a "wealth" tax, since Texas doesn't believe in income taxes). Although part of the tax due is calculated on "taxable earned surplus," which starts with reported federal taxable income: http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/franchi...
by Eric
Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard sued for [failing to charge market rates to and then paying taxes on services to its mutual funds]
Replies: 805
Views: 143421

Re: Vanguard sued for [failing to charge market rates to and then paying taxes on services to its mutual funds]

What I found unusual was the small size of the settlement and that there was no announcement from Texas or Vanguard that Vanguard had agreed to change its policies. These suggest that it was something they both found to be relatively minor. The article doesn't say what kind of tax was at issue. But...
by Eric
Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do with tiny orphan IRA
Replies: 8
Views: 1271

Re: What to do with tiny orphan IRA

Why not roll it into the new Roth you're opening? You'll pay tax on the conversion, but should avoid any penalty.