Search found 184 matches

by jaxxmjd
Fri Oct 13, 2023 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: State tax withholding following PCS
Replies: 0
Views: 438

State tax withholding following PCS

I completed a voluntary PCS this summer with the blessing of my leadership chain, moving from MD to AZ but effectively keeping my same position on the same team/branch/division/etc. However, the SF-50 process seems to be stuck indefinitely in limbo. My most recent SF-50 shows my position still listed in MD and I'm currently still receiving MD locality pay, so I'm unsure whether I should continue having state taxes deducted for MD or transition them over to AZ. Likewise, looking ahead for filing, should I claim that any wages earned following the move were taxable by MD or AZ? I know there are a number of federal employees and former employees on this board, so I'm hoping someone can help provide clarification as my initial research into the...
by jaxxmjd
Thu Jan 12, 2023 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2022 software offer
Replies: 281
Views: 35223

Re: H&R Block 2022 software offer

Spriteman wrote: Thu Jan 12, 2023 9:38 am Newegg has H&R Block 2022 Deluxe ($10 off) & Deluxe+State ($15 off) on sale for $14.99 ($19.99 respectively) with promo code as of Thursday morning 1-12-2023. I pulled the trigger on Deluxe+State. Total including tax: $21.60
Thanks for the heads up on the Newegg offer! Taxes, here we come!
by jaxxmjd
Tue Jan 10, 2023 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on home alarm / security system
Replies: 30
Views: 4797

Re: Advice on home alarm / security system

Personally, I prefer the SimpliSafe hardware aesthetically by a small margin, but I abhor mandatory subscription services. Ultimately, I opted for the Ring system and was very pleased with the choice. Ring offers a subscription monitoring service that can be activated for any length of time, but also allows the option to completely self-monitor your system through the app/notifications without a subscription. Costco often offers a good starter kit as a reasonable price which includes a keypad, base station, motion detector, range extender, and a number of sensors for doors/windows. You can supplement that starter kit with additional sensors as necessary. I purchased an additional sensor for possible water detection in my basement around our...
by jaxxmjd
Tue Apr 05, 2022 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Prioritizing Investments- HSA important at 24??
Replies: 19
Views: 1805

Re: Prioritizing Investments- HSA important at 24??

muitu wrote: Tue Apr 05, 2022 11:10 am Would the HDHP be listed on my paystub?
There would likely be a deduction for your healthcare premiums, yes. When you were hired, did you choose a healthcare plan? HDHPs are a very specific class of healthcare plans that must meet federal requirements to be classified as such.
by jaxxmjd
Tue Apr 05, 2022 10:58 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Prioritizing Investments- HSA important at 24??
Replies: 19
Views: 1805

Re: Prioritizing Investments- HSA important at 24??

Are you participating in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)? If not, you cannot contribute to an HSA.
by jaxxmjd
Tue Sep 07, 2021 3:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pistol safe recommendation
Replies: 32
Views: 5638

Re: Pistol safe recommendation

Another vote for V-Line Brute here.
by jaxxmjd
Mon May 10, 2021 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

LISD wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 10:57 am
new2bogle wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:38 am I did end up purchasing the Lorex system linked above from Costco.
The only Lorex complaint I see from Costco reviewers is about the noisy fan on the NVR. I'm curious if you (or others who have a Lorex system) think it's noisy. (I suppose I can put it in the garage, but it gets hot in there so it's probably not the best location).

I sent an email question to Lorex 2 months ago - they never answered, so the customer support appears very good as long as you don't need it :D
I don't consider my Lorex NVR fan noisy at all. It will depend on whether where you house it has good ventilation, if you put any other boxes on top of it or around it, etc.
by jaxxmjd
Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

new2bogle wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 1:26 pm I've had this up for several weeks now and it is pretty much everything I wanted - a set it up and forget camera system. The video quality is very good and each camera records audio as well.

Thanks again for all the tips.
Glad to hear that the system is working and meets your needs. Thanks for the update!
by jaxxmjd
Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing old Washer & Dryer
Replies: 23
Views: 2192

Re: Replacing Washer & Dryer (Gas)

Another vote for LG through Costco with the Costco credit card here. Replaced ours a year ago and they've been running like a champ. Efficient and nice to know that Costco's warranty is behind them for another three years.
by jaxxmjd
Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

corpgator wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:22 pm
jaxxmjd wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:42 am Just closed this morning on our refi. ~$310k at 2.000% VA fixed for 30 years. A+B+C-J (Credits) = $950. Originally financed the property at 4.25%, refied at 2.75% in 2012, and didn't expect it to ever drop to 2%, but managed to lock it in before the rates started creeping back up. Plan to pay it off as though it were a 15 year mortgage, but nice to have the flexibility of 30 year payments in case of an emergency. I don't anticipate any future refinances on this property.
Who did you use for your loan?

Anyone else have recommendations for VA loans?
BNC National Bank. Shopped around at Better, LD, LF, etc. as well, but, while competitive, none of them could match or beat BNC's offer.
by jaxxmjd
Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

Just closed this morning on our refi. ~$310k at 2.000% VA fixed for 30 years. A+B+C-J (Credits) = $950. Originally financed the property at 4.25%, refied at 2.75% in 2012, and didn't expect it to ever drop to 2%, but managed to lock it in before the rates started creeping back up. Plan to pay it off as though it were a 15 year mortgage, but nice to have the flexibility of 30 year payments in case of an emergency. I don't anticipate any future refinances on this property.
by jaxxmjd
Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USPS is incredibly fast!
Replies: 163
Views: 15752

Re: USPS is incredibly fast!

Northern MD isn't much better off. If I expect something in the mail, there's a 50% chance that it gets dumped into a queue where it goes off of the grid for about 3 weeks before finally reappearing and being delivered. But yes, the junk mail is definitely getting through, so at least the USPS has its priorities straight...
by jaxxmjd
Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Razer Deathadder Mouse
Replies: 23
Views: 2772

Re: Razer Deathadder Mouse

Love my Deathadder v2.
by jaxxmjd
Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

With your credit score and LTV, 2.00% should be considered a competitive offer (depending on the size of the loan, of course). Try reaching out to some of the other lenders mentioned in this thread (Loan Depot, Better, Interactive Mortgage, LenderFi, etc.). It's a buyer's market right now, so don't feel pressured to take the first offers you receive without doing some shopping around. I just got 2.00% on a 30 yr refi with a small lender credit from BNC, which blew me away, so the deals are out there if you're willing to look for them. That is crazy that you're getting 2% on a 30-year with lender credit! They must have a large origination fee? It's actually a VA IRRRL and I receive VA disability, so there's no origination and no funding fee...
by jaxxmjd
Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Market will be at all time high by year-end
Replies: 234
Views: 30003

Re: Market will be at all time high by year-end

Okay, so what's next Nostradamus?
by jaxxmjd
Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I wouldn't consider 3.5% a competitive rate unless you meant 2.5% and even then, it might be a little high. The only convenience advantage I can see with using your current lender is if you can do it without any paperwork. Oops.. I meant 2.5% . Long day back at work. Most quotes I am receiving are coming back 2.5 %- is that a little high? Wells Fargo quoted 2.3% but closing cost are higher (and they don't get the best reviews). My credit score is over 800 and LTV ratio is 50% That is also the rate on the LenderFi website (without points) , but it looks like people may be getting quoted better rates when the call? With your credit score and LTV, 2.00% should be considered a competitive offer (depending on the size of the loan, of course). T...
by jaxxmjd
Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I wouldn't consider 3.5% a competitive rate unless you meant 2.5% and even then, it might be a little high. The only convenience advantage I can see with using your current lender is if you can do it without any paperwork. Oops.. I meant 2.5% . Long day back at work. Most quotes I am receiving are coming back 2.5 %- is that a little high? Wells Fargo quoted 2.3% but closing cost are higher (and they don't get the best reviews). My credit score is over 800 and LTV ratio is 50% That is also the rate on the LenderFi website (without points) , but it looks like people may be getting quoted better rates when the call? With your credit score and LTV, 2.00% should be considered a competitive offer (depending on the size of the loan, of course). T...
by jaxxmjd
Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I started the day with the intent of refinancing from my 8 year old, 30 year 2.75% VA fixed to a 15 year fixed at the lowest possible rate with as close to zero closing costs as possible. Most offers are in the 2-2.25% range thus far. As I was collecting estimates for comparison, the bank that refinanced our current loan offered a 30 year fixed VAIRRL at 2.00% with only $1,200 in closing costs (title services and misc fees). Since it's the same bank as our existing loan, I doubt there would be fees for another appraisal. I asked about what they could offer for 15 year fixed rates and it's basically the same 2% with a small lender credit ($750). I need a sanity check here. DW and I are financially disciplined and we believe that we can cont...
by jaxxmjd
Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I started the day with the intent of refinancing from my 8 year old, 30 year 2.75% VA fixed to a 15 year fixed at the lowest possible rate with as close to zero closing costs as possible. Most offers are in the 2-2.25% range thus far. As I was collecting estimates for comparison, the bank that refinanced our current loan offered a 30 year fixed VAIRRL at 2.00% with only $1,200 in closing costs (title services and misc fees). Since it's the same bank as our existing loan, I doubt there would be fees for another appraisal. I asked about what they could offer for 15 year fixed rates and it's basically the same 2% with a small lender credit ($750). I need a sanity check here. DW and I are financially disciplined and we believe that we can cont...
by jaxxmjd
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance Mega Thread
Replies: 12864
Views: 1327263

Re: Refinance Mega Thread

I started the day with the intent of refinancing from my 8 year old, 30 year 2.75% VA fixed to a 15 year fixed at the lowest possible rate with as close to zero closing costs as possible. Most offers are in the 2-2.25% range thus far. As I was collecting estimates for comparison, the bank that refinanced our current loan offered a 30 year fixed VAIRRL at 2.00% with only $1,200 in closing costs (title services and misc fees). Since it's the same bank as our existing loan, I doubt there would be fees for another appraisal. I asked about what they could offer for 15 year fixed rates and it's basically the same 2% with a small lender credit ($750). I need a sanity check here. DW and I are financially disciplined and we believe that we can conti...
by jaxxmjd
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Smart Thermostats – Worth it?
Replies: 42
Views: 4326

Re: Smart Thermostats – Worth it?

Over the last 2 years, I've saved roughly 5-10% on propane (heat) and 20% on electricity (HVAC) after switching to Nest thermostats. I'd argue that they've more than paid for themselves already.
by jaxxmjd
Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: .MP4 Splitting
Replies: 20
Views: 11115

Re: .MP4 Splitting

I prefer using MP4Tools Joiner and Splitter for manipulating .mp4 files. It has a simple GUI and is easy to use.

https://www.mp4joiner.org/en/
by jaxxmjd
Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waste collection (trash) prices
Replies: 56
Views: 3400

Re: Waste collection (trash) prices

$30/month for weekly garbage and bi-weekly recycling (90 gallon cans) in somewhat rural MD.
by jaxxmjd
Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Color laser printer - worth it for intermittent light use?
Replies: 69
Views: 4320

Re: Color laser printer - worth it for intermittent light use?

Another fan of the EcoTank here. Appreciate that it reversed the existing model of "cheap printer, expensive ink" to "paying what the printer costs, cheap ink". We love ours and it's holding up very well. Never feel guilty about printing color. Don't have to debate whether or not it's "worth" printing something. The Costco package provides a ton of ink with the initial purchase, so you don't have to worry about running out anytime soon.
by jaxxmjd
Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

dual wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:52 pm Do power over ethernet cameras require special routers/switches or can they be plugged in to any old router?
Usually, an NVR will have PoE ports, but if you're planning on remoting the switch as I mentioned I did, you'll need to make sure the switch you use has PoE ports. Basically, whatever the cable from the cameras plugs into needs to have PoE ports in order to deliver power to the cameras. From there, regular switches/routers can be used as only data needs to be passed from that point forward.
by jaxxmjd
Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

Thank you for the detailed posts and link. I will probably sleep over it tonight and pull the trigger on the Lorex product from Costco. Not quite sure about installation - i.e., is it DIY or hire someone. I really like your idea of making mounting brackets. Was the aluminum from Home Depot? It's been a good 25 years since I've worked with cutting/drilling/fashioning aluminum. If you're familiar with the difficulty of running cables through existing walls or you can make most of your connections in open space (you mentioned your attics), it's definitely a possible DIY. If you're not, it's probably not something you want to take on yourself. The last thing you want to do is open up a lot of drywall and get frustrated because you can't find a...
by jaxxmjd
Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

Thanks for the detailed post. This is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. Based on the other posts, how hard is it to actually wire everything up? My house has a few easy to access points to two different attic areas, one over the garage where I think would be the easiest. Did you hire someone to do the wiring? Was there anything special needed on the phone app side to see live and recorded videos? Did you have to setup your router specially for this? There's more to unpack with those questions than you might expect. If you get overwhelmed, jump to the bottom of this post. The difficulty in wiring really depends on where you plan to locate the cameras and the NVR, your comfort in handiwork such as drilling holes and working in the atti...
by jaxxmjd
Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: home security camera
Replies: 75
Views: 9342

Re: home security camera

I bought a Lorex system from Costco in 2019 and I've been very happy with it thus far. I have four recommendations for you, though. First, think about the points where you plan to mount the cameras and the angles that they will capture. I was able to provide 360 degree coverage of my house with 5 cameras, putting additional cameras focused on my driveway and one in my garage (so I can always check to see if the door has been closed). With a house that has more angles, more cameras might be required to get all of the views needed. Second, the number of channels an DVR/NVR (the main box) can support is the maximum number of cameras your system can support. Thus, the system you linked will only support up to 8 cameras. If you think you might w...
by jaxxmjd
Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Easiest Way To Transfer To A New Computer
Replies: 22
Views: 2528

Re: Easiest Way To Transfer To A New Computer

For the cleanest experience if your new machine already has an OS installed, create a list of necessary applications and reinstall them manually on the new machine. Backup specific files to any external medium and transfer them to the new box.

If you're really looking to image your existing environment, check out Macrium Reflect.
by jaxxmjd
Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nest thermostat question
Replies: 12
Views: 1297

Re: Nest thermostat question

I experienced an issue like this with my attic furnace. It ended up being two issues. The first was that the main power to the furnace had been poorly wired in the box, resulting in a loose connection. The second was a blown fuse (3A if memory serves?) on the control board for the unit. After tightening the wiring in the box and replacing the fuse, the issue was resolved and the thermostat has operated normally since then.
by jaxxmjd
Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving to Baltimore area
Replies: 50
Views: 5581

Re: Moving to Baltimore area

I work in Harford County but live in Cecil County. Your housing budget would definitely go much further in Cecil County (part of the reason we chose it), but your commute is going to be a minimum of an hour each way. Bel Air and Fallston are the places we considered in Harford County as they are nice communities with good schools, but you might find that your housing budget falls short of your expectations for those areas. I'm not as familiar with the residential areas in and around the city, so I'm afraid I can't help you much there. There is a commuter train line that follows the coast of the bay if your employer is located in proximity to it.

All things considered, I wouldn't discount the Houston opportunity so quickly.
by jaxxmjd
Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Applicability of 5 year rule to Roth IRA conversions
Replies: 11
Views: 878

Re: Applicability of 5 year rule to Roth IRA conversions

The conversion clock doesn't apply if the account owner is over 59.5. Unsure whether or not that applies in this situation.
by jaxxmjd
Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bradford White vs Rheem Gas Water Heater
Replies: 42
Views: 18961

Re: Bradford White vs Rheem Gas Water Heater

https://smile.amazon.com/Magnesium-Flex ... 880&sr=8-5

Yes, the water does not travel interior to the Bradford White anode rod, but simply through a cutout near the top of the rod into the nipple connector. That was my experience when I replaced mine last fall.
by jaxxmjd
Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bradford White vs Rheem Gas Water Heater
Replies: 42
Views: 18961

Re: Bradford White vs Rheem Gas Water Heater

neilpilot wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:23 pm
marcwd wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:05 pm Loosening the old rod is one thing. But once it’s loose and can be pulled up above the heater, I think it can be easily cut in pieces if there’s limited headroom. Replacement rods can be found that are segmented, allowing insertion in limited space.
Are you sure a segmented rod will work in a BW unit? I think you need a specific rod integral with a hot water discharge port for BW.
There are segmented rods with integrated hot water discharge ports for BWs.
by jaxxmjd
Fri May 15, 2020 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity HSA Investment
Replies: 31
Views: 5329

Re: Fidelity HSA Investment

I'm 37 and rolled over my HSA to Fidelity at the beginning of the year when we switched health plans. I'm currently 100% FXAIX, but will adjust over time to diversify more once the market stabilizes a bit.
by jaxxmjd
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 30 year mortgage under 3%
Replies: 301
Views: 55678

Re: 30 year mortgage under 3%

In 2012, I refinanced our two year old mortgage into a 30 year fixed @ 2.75% which included a small lender credit. The notary who came to our house to sign the papers said he had never seen a rate that low before. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities, including 20 and 15 year options, but I suspect that it might be a while before anything can surpass my existing rate.
by jaxxmjd
Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.
Replies: 128
Views: 15939

Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

I just completed this maintenance for my Bradford White with the noted complexities listed above. I watched a couple of YouTube videos in advance and was prepared for the steps that were necessary, so it wasn't a particularly difficult process. All of my lines are currently CPVC, so while I was doing the swap, I cut out a section of the CPVC on the hot water outlet side and installed a SharkBite flex line that connects directly to the anode rode/hot water outlet side. I made sure to use teflon tape and pipe dope on the joints to prevent leaks and the flex line will make future replacements quite easy. The only thing I might have done differently was getting a sectional rod that can bend to accommodate smaller spaces. In the end, I used a ha...
by jaxxmjd
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2020 FEHB HDHP - how to calculate vs. traditional plan?
Replies: 5
Views: 908

Re: 2020 FEHB HDHP - how to calculate vs. traditional plan?

Here is a link to the Aetna HSA investment options: https://imgur.com/a/laPWmH4.

I have been covered by Aetna's HDHP for nearly 10 years, but plan to make the jump to GEHA's HDHP during this open season. Aetna's premiums are increasing significantly to almost a third more than GEHA's while the annual deductible is increasing by $400, the coinsurance upon reaching the deductible is increasing by 50% from 10% to 15%, and the annual out of pocket maximum is increasing from $7,900 to $13,800. I won't deny being a bit concerned about the balance billing issue, but the annual premium increases have averaged to be about 10% over the last decade and the blatant money grab by Aetna this year is too much to overlook.
by jaxxmjd
Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: idiot networking [Need more ethernet ports, replace cable modem?]
Replies: 38
Views: 4338

Re: idiot networking [Need more ethernet ports, replace cable modem?]

Most consumer routers these days have both simple and advanced setup modes. The simple mode will be more than enough to get the average customer up and running with basic features such as an SSID (the name of your wireless network) and setting up a wireless password. They also generally have a WAN Ethernet port (where the OP would connect their cable modem) and around 4 LAN Ethernet ports (where the OP could connect any hard wired devices they need). If you need more than 4 LAN ports for hardwired devices on your network, then you would consider purchasing a switch to expand your network connections. The cable modem will provide an external IP address to the router and the router will assign internal IP addresses to the connected devices vi...
by jaxxmjd
Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [2018 tax return - How does it compare to previous years?]
Replies: 441
Views: 45143

Re: How did you feel about your 2018 tax returns?

The process took a bit longer as the new format took a bit of time to fully understand, but having invested that time, I agree with the changes that were made to the format (although there's probably still room for improvement). Without the bias of familiarity of the prior system, I think most people would see the newer format as more intuitive. Financially, the result was about breaking even. My federal tax liability certainly decreased, but my state increased nearly as much to offset the gain. My state requires a filer to use the state standard deduction (capped at a fairly low amount) if they've claimed the standard deduction on their federal returns, so my state deduction amount dropped significantly (talking about 5 digits here), thus ...
by jaxxmjd
Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [2018 tax return - How does it compare to previous years?]
Replies: 441
Views: 45143

Re: [2018 tax return - How does it compare to previous years?]

Federal:
AGI up 8.5%
Effective tax rate down 0.9%

State:
Same AGI change as above
Effective tax rate increased by 0.9%

Good old Maryland taking advantage of the tax law changes to boost income tax revenues without even having to lift a legislative finger. I'd like to see the state give residents the option to itemize their state returns even if their federal returns claim the standard deduction or at least significantly boost the maximum state standard deduction as I lost over $9k in deductions compared to 2017 due to this.
by jaxxmjd
Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Visiting Tucson, AZ for 3 days - what to see?
Replies: 46
Views: 3142

Re: Visiting Tucson, AZ for 3 days - what to see?

- Chiricahua National Monument
- Kartchner Caverns
- Tombstone (O.K. Corral)
- Downtown Bisbee Shops / Mine Tour
Edit: - Biosphere 2 (from the movie Bio-Dome)

Source: lived in Sierra Vista, AZ for ~5 years.
by jaxxmjd
Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Military TSP and Roth IRA Help
Replies: 4
Views: 733

Re: Military TSP and Roth IRA Help

02nz wrote: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:57 am You should fully use all tax-advantaged space before investing in a taxable account. The priority order for you should be:
1. Get the 5% match in TSP
2. Contribute to HSA ($7000/year) - For this you need an HDHP. Read more in the wiki. If the HDHP works for you, the HSA is a tremendous deal. The government contributes a few thousand a year, I think, but you should max it.
3. Max Roth IRA
4. Contribute more to TSP, up to $19K max
5. Contribute to taxable accounts
SGT Turtlemcshell and his wife are almost certainly covered by Tricare, thus they wouldn't be eligible for HSA contributions. Other than that, I'd agree with this priority order assuming he has already built up a reliable emergency savings. Keep up the savings, OP!
by jaxxmjd
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Disney visit
Replies: 28
Views: 5271

Re: Disney visit

My wife and I have brought our 8 year old daughter to Disney World on three visits now. The first time, we stayed on Disney property at the Grand Floridian. The second time, we stayed off Disney property at a nearby timeshare that my father owned. Our most recent trip, we stayed in a club level suite at the Grand Floridian (comped from issues during our first stay). I've also visited Disney World prior to that a number of times, dating back to my teenage years, but we always stayed off of the property at the aforementioned timeshare. So I've had a fair bit of experience with both options. Your choice should be greatly weighed upon whether your trip will be Disney exclusive or if you plan to visit other sites in the Orlando area as well (Uni...
by jaxxmjd
Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees: BCBS Basic or GEHA HDHP Health Insurance?
Replies: 65
Views: 26486

Re: Federal Employees: BCBS Basic or GEHA HDHP Health Insurance?

rascal7298 wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:56 am Apparently DOD does not utilize hsa so hdhp is a no go.
I'm DoD with an HDHP & HSA.
by jaxxmjd
Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!
Replies: 168
Views: 22593

Re: Which Engineering Discipline for the next 20+ years !!!

As a Millennial Electrical Engineer, my money would be on Software Engineering/Computer Science as the area with the greatest potential for the next 20 years. EE is still on the fringe of this and will be fine, but as many others said, we are reaching some technological limits (such as an atomic transistor) that will likely lead to a continuing slow down in hardware design. But hardware will always require software to operate and there is a huge space in the software domain to find improvements in efficiency and completely new ways of doing things.

Mech is fine, Chem is fine, but if you really want to know where the best potential will lie for the next 20+ years, I'd recommend something in software.
by jaxxmjd
Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Road Trip; Denver, Casper, Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore
Replies: 16
Views: 3132

Re: Road Trip; Denver, Casper, Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore

I grew up in South Dakota and have always enjoyed the Black Hills as my favorite part of the state. A lot of the sights in the Midwest require a decent amount of driving to get between, so I hope you're up for some time in the van. I'm very familiar with the Hills and recommend these activities (in rank order of how much I encourage you to consider doing each): 1. The Badlands: The Badlands are about an hour drive East of the Black Hills, but it's so unique and worth driving through. Imagine a smaller Grand Canyon set in the middle of grass plains. If you can time your visit with sunrise or sunset, you'll be even more impressed with the striations in the sedimentary rock formations. You'll also end up near Wall Drug! 2. Devil's Tower (Wyomi...
by jaxxmjd
Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: So Is Now The Time To Buy?
Replies: 21
Views: 1920

Re: So Is Now The Time To Buy?

Some people here are so programmed to say anything against market timing that they'll respond before even fully reading your initial comment. They are also unable to imagine that you'd utilize spare cash laying around for anything other than retirement planning. Bogleheads is a great forum, but the groupthink sometimes can be overwhelming. There's a vast difference between emotional buying and selling due to changes in the market and analytical decision-making during an time of opportunity. If you can genuinely afford to drop $25k to buy shares at the recently "reduced" price and have no second thoughts if the market does indeed drop another 10-20% (or even more!) after your purchase because you're willing to keep them for the lon...
by jaxxmjd
Fri May 29, 2015 11:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Federal Employees - New HSA process?
Replies: 7
Views: 1276

Re: Federal Employees - New HSA process?

Edit: After I posted this, I realized that I had made the assumption that you work for DoD. You obviously wouldn't have access to myPay unless you're DoD as myPay is the Defense Finance and Accounting Services's portal to pay issues. Perhaps whatever agency you work for has a similar portal, though?

You may want to log into myPay and check the Health Savings Account link under Pay Changes. Verify that the institution routing and account numbers are correct. If something happened to them, it could explain why your contributions are being sent to you instead of directly to HSABank. If there's a mistake, you can fix it right there and avoid any of the bureaucracy.
by jaxxmjd
Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Black Hills SD, where to stay?
Replies: 17
Views: 2268

Re: Black Hills SD, where to stay?

I grew up in South Dakota, but on the other side of the state. I always enjoyed staying at the Hillside Country Cabins (13315 S. Highway 16 Rapid City, SD 57702, http://hillsidecountrycabins.com/ ). If they're in your price range and available, I can't recommend the location enough. Nice cabins, fantastic location along Highway 16 for sightseeing, and close proximity to all of the major roads. Make sure you fit in a dinner at the Alpine Inn in Hill City. Trust me, it's worth the wait. Also make sure you go through the Badlands on your way. Try your best to time your travel through there during sunrise or sunset when the sunlight makes the colors stand out best. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask on here or PM me. I absolutel...