Search found 380 matches

by TBillT
Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: ICE or a hybrid car
Replies: 30
Views: 1513

Re: ICE or a hybrid car

2006 Prius here, best car ever for low cost, reliability, good cargo space, and with a roof rack/box can rival minivan hauling capacity in a pinch. Hybrids don't use brakes much, so nothing ever goes bad but heavily used hybrids have concerns over HV battery replacement costs. Plug-ins not currently...
by TBillT
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why bonds when they return nothing over inflation?
Replies: 31
Views: 4853

Re: Why bonds when they return nothing over inflation?

If you have been holding short term bonds or bond funds just as cash, then now you can move that more of that cash to CD's etc. because short-term rates have risen. If you are holding long term bonds, they have considerable potential for capital gains in addition to dividends, especailly when the st...
by TBillT
Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Switch to Brokerage Accounts
Replies: 55
Views: 4684

Re: Vanguard Switch to Brokerage Accounts

Like you I've heard about this probably 2 years now here on BH, but I do not think they have bothered us about it yet.
We make very few transactions, but a few.
by TBillT
Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Non-profit Account with Fido or VG Possible?
Replies: 2
Views: 143

Non-profit Account with Fido or VG Possible?

Can our non-profit set up an account with Fido or Vanguard?
We'd like to use money market funds and broker CDs to make some interest on our savings.
by TBillT
Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: radon mitigation exposure concern, are we at risk?
Replies: 59
Views: 3926

Re: radon mitigation exposure concern, are we at risk?

You are probably not at any risk from your neighbors house.
The implication however is that your house may also have a radon problem.

The radon is natural coming from the earth. By the time you are outside you are breathing diluted air.
by TBillT
Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 64 YOA. Withdraw from 401k to buy I BONDS
Replies: 10
Views: 961

Re: 64 YOA. Withdraw from 401k to buy I BONDS

I might question the need for more iBonds, right now CD's are in the range 3% so the need for iBonds is perhaps less in the current financial environment. Up til now compared to zero interest the iBonds have been fairly good (I got some). And you are taking money out of tax-deferred into taxable. Bu...
by TBillT
Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dental implant in Tijuana
Replies: 37
Views: 3752

Re: Dental implant in Tijuana

I went to a top notch implant guy in South Jersey when I knocked out my two front teeth.
We recently had a $2000 fender bender and some guy in Ca. said I could get it fixed for $250 in Mexico. too far though.
by TBillT
Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?
Replies: 32
Views: 3601

Re: 1 year treasuries @ 2.4% instead of bond funds?

if stocks crash the 1 year treasury will rally too (assuming the crash is before maturity). If the stock market crashes and 30-year Treasury interest rates fall from 3% to 2% (this is purely hypothetical), 30-year Treasuries will rally about 22%. If the 1-year rate drops from 2.3% all the way to 0%...
by TBillT
Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is Jim Cramer a Closet Boglehead?
Replies: 22
Views: 2250

Re: Is Jim Cramer a Closet Boglehead?

After the criticisms of Jon stewart some years ago, Cramer has been pretty good about hyping index funds for your main investment strategy. Then you have "play" money you can fiddle with in stocks. I believe Cramer has valuable experience/insights but I do not personally fiddle with many stocks, so ...
by TBillT
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Buy Bond Funds When Patelco/Provident CU Accounts Return 2-3%?
Replies: 10
Views: 1560

Re: Why Buy Bond Funds When Patelco/Provident CU Accounts Return 2-3%?

If you are buying bonds/bond funds simply as "cash" to make 2-4% interest, then CD's and money market funds are back. If you are buying long term bonds, to balance your stock holdings, the long term bonds will generally appreciate substantially if the market tanks. In that case your goal is capital ...
by TBillT
Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax + deductions
Replies: 25
Views: 3129

Re: Property tax + deductions

Politics and personal incentives aside, this is an easy question and should be a 9-0 decision if it actually gets to SCOTUS. States do not get to decide what is deductible under federal income taxes. There are couple things going on here: (1) Existing *special contribtution* plans that some states ...
by TBillT
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax + deductions
Replies: 25
Views: 3129

Re: Property tax + deductions

Assuming this scheme works and assuming you are MFJ, you may have “vastly increased” your itemized deductions but your standard deduction was already $24,000. So a $4,500 difference — at the 22% federal marginal rate, you saved $990. The "scheme" works as I noticed that Va. has apparently continued...
by TBillT
Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Garage door experts
Replies: 19
Views: 1405

Re: Garage door experts

There’s one very big problem with some of these posts. Garage door springs come in two entirely different flavors, torsion springs and simple extension springs. Can’t say for sure, but some posts seem to be referring to torsion, while others to extension. Since no one actually specifies which type ...
by TBillT
Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax + deductions
Replies: 25
Views: 3129

Re: Property tax + deductions

I am trying to better plan our savings for this year. Can someone shed some light on how deductions work with property taxes. We live in a VHCOL area and our property taxes are rather high. It is ~30k on a 2.5 million house. Do we get to write off a portion of our property taxes? What are some ways...
by TBillT
Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax + deductions
Replies: 25
Views: 3129

Re: Property tax + deductions

Try the TaxCaster app. It’s for 2017, but there is an option to estimate 2018 federal taxes. The issue is that the standard deduction for a married couple is now $24,000. So with property taxes plus state and local taxes capped at $10,000, then your mortgage interest and other deductions must be $1...
by TBillT
Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Property tax + deductions
Replies: 25
Views: 3129

Re: Property tax + deductions

Try the TaxCaster app. It’s for 2017, but there is an option to estimate 2018 federal taxes. The issue is that the standard deduction for a married couple is now $24,000. So with property taxes plus state and local taxes capped at $10,000, then your mortgage interest and other deductions must be $1...
by TBillT
Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 403B Coal Raking! Help!
Replies: 18
Views: 2101

Re: 403B Coal Raking! Help!

Maybe see if they allow holding in CASH for free, that way you still get the tax deduction and preserve capital until such time as they change to a better plan. Meanwhile, study other institutions to find examples where they got a better plan and check out how they did it. These 5% loads really hark...
by TBillT
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which minivan?
Replies: 56
Views: 5614

Re: Which minivan?

Make sure your wife test drives it. My wife used to like to drive minivans, but the size of these vehciles is big now, I think we can safely toss out the MINI part of the name. We have a Chrysler minivan variant, and a Prius for the miles. Prius is a pretty good family car with liftback space.
by TBillT
Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Electric/Hybrid Tax Credits
Replies: 14
Views: 1041

Re: Electric/Hybrid Tax Credits

The best thing is to use Turbo Tax or other software to do a prelim tax return to see the results. Sounds like you are talking about the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Minivan. That HV battery is big enough to qulaify for the whole $7500 credit. And there are really no competitors in the Plug-in big mini...
by TBillT
Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 403B Coal Raking! Help!
Replies: 18
Views: 2101

Re: 403B Coal Raking! Help!

My wife once had a very similar workplace 403B to that, some years ago at a small private institution for severely handicapped children. At my request, for a while the agent let us escape into a money market fund without the load fees. If i recall they decided to disallow the money market fund optio...
by TBillT
Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?
Replies: 82
Views: 4363

Re: Have you ever purchased a pricy musical instrument?

Violins more like fine wine, can increase value with time. Clarinet here, and they are more prone to moisture impact and probably less time value. Got my Pete Fountain clarinet used off EBay, supposedly it was orignally selected by the late Buddy DeFranco as a gift for someone. Good enough for me, b...
by TBillT
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Eesh! 100% Company Stock - Help me with my 401k!
Replies: 20
Views: 1489

Re: Eesh! 100% Company Stock - Help me with my 401k!

You say a newer Roth-style 401K...so I am out of my comfort zone regarding options for handling company stocks, other than the obvious case you can exchange for other funds. In a regular 401K you might want to hold onto the lower cost shares.
by TBillT
Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Dad asked for my help on pension decision that I do not understand
Replies: 43
Views: 3436

Re: Dad asked for my help on pension decision that I do not understand

Lump sum to Rollover IRA sounds good now that you can get 3% CD's without too much trouble (via Fidelity/Vanguard brokerage accounts, etc), not to mention money market funds approaching 2% and heading higher as the Fed ticks up quarterly on the short term interest rates. The problem since 2008 has b...
by TBillT
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any kayakers here?
Replies: 60
Views: 3496

Re: Any kayakers here?

10-ft Wilderness Systems Tarpon Kayak here mostly for fishing...
I like to transport it locally inside my minivan for ease of use.
by TBillT
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:49 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fidelity Fees For Bond Purchases
Replies: 8
Views: 679

Re: Fidelity Fees For Bond Purchases

I normally purchase myself...Fido charges me $1 per $1000 (or $500 per $500,000)
So sounds like the are charging you $4 per $1000 to do the work for you...not too bad I suppose.
by TBillT
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The "leaving the old 401k where it is" argument
Replies: 30
Views: 3803

Re: The "leaving the old 401k where it is" argument

I think of 3 considerations: (1) Investment choices - such as a good stable value fund or other higher fixed rate offering (2) NUA considerations- If you have appreciated company stock there are special withdrawal options (3) Legal considerations the 401K might be harder for someone to take in a li...
by TBillT
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Replacing lost iBonds FORM 1048 Options
Replies: 0
Views: 114

Replacing lost iBonds FORM 1048 Options

Today I started the paperwork for replacing lost iBonds. Question- can you get replacement for lost iBonds? or only redeem for the money? The reason I ask is the June_2018 revision of FS FORM 1048 only seems to allow redemption of lost iBonds, which seems to contradict the TreasuryDirect.gov instruc...
by TBillT
Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: The "leaving the old 401k where it is" argument
Replies: 30
Views: 3803

Re: The "leaving the old 401k where it is" argument

I think of 3 considerations: (1) Investment choices - such as a good stable value fund or other higher fixed rate offering (2) NUA considerations- If you have appreciated company stock there are special withdrawal options (3) Legal considerations the 401K might be harder for someone to take in a lia...
by TBillT
Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Callable bond- maintain or take loss?
Replies: 35
Views: 2021

Re: Callable bond- maintain or take loss?

I am confused who got the 9% dividend.
But I would look at the growth/or loss of money to date to me. (Principal+Interest ) vs. orig purchase price.
If I was breaking even, and could sell easily, then I would.
But I am not sure it is easy to sell these special structured investments.
by TBillT
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: EE savings bonds to 529 for grandkids?
Replies: 22
Views: 1095

Re: EE savings bonds to 529 for grandkids?

I believe parents Savings bonds, if parent's income level qualifies for Savings Bond educational tax benefit, could apply.
The next question would be if the grandparent bond ownership could be transferred.
by TBillT
Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Basic 30-year TIPS vs 30-Year Treasury Bond Question
Replies: 9
Views: 594

Re: Basic 30-year TIPS vs 30-Year Treasury Bond Question

Economist Gary Shilling would say 30-year Treasury is *not* bought for the interest, but for the cap gains. So if interest rates go down to 2% (which Shilling is still looking for last I heard) you would make something ~50% cap gain + interest on a T-BOND. What Shilling really does is (gulp!) buy 30...
by TBillT
Thu May 31, 2018 11:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation
Replies: 24
Views: 2086

Re: Car with best smell, pollution and noise insulation

Is this polluted location USA or not?
by TBillT
Tue May 22, 2018 9:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pimco INCOME BOND FUND PONAX beating VWIAX Wellesley ~~ too good to be true?
Replies: 26
Views: 2032

Re: Pimco INCOME BOND FUND PONAX beating VWIAX Wellesley ~~ too good to be true?

I agree PONAX follows similar performance curve as VWINX, with PONAX being smoother.
So in Fidelity I use PONAX. PTIAX is a good combo fund complimentary with PONAX.
by TBillT
Sun May 20, 2018 9:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Wife Retiring hesitant to roll-over funds to Vanguard
Replies: 36
Views: 2785

Re: Wife Retiring hesitant to roll-over funds to Vanguard

Usually there is no reason for an instant decision. I left my 401K in there for about 7 years after retirement before rollover, and my wife is still in hers after retirement. I think we are about ready to rollover hers now though, now that interest rates are up on CD's etc.
by TBillT
Mon May 14, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: keyless ignitions and carbon monoxide
Replies: 83
Views: 5393

Re: keyless ignitions and carbon monoxide

Sounds like some valid issue, but limited per below. Perhaps car-on alarm or something could help (and CO alarm of course). My Toyota Prius carbon monoxide is almost zero due to the cat converter. (Prius are all California pollution control design). I am having to wonder how it is even possible for ...
by TBillT
Tue May 08, 2018 11:31 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today
Replies: 379
Views: 52675

Re: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today

Kevin- Fidelity question for you, I used to like to use the Fidelity graphics function for CD's and bonds to pick out the best. Looks like we can only get the tabular data now. no more plots vs. maturity date? I don't recall seeing that at Fidelity, but yeah, now all I see in the search results is ...
by TBillT
Mon May 07, 2018 12:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today
Replies: 379
Views: 52675

Re: 2-year CDs at Vanguard and Fidelity Today

Of course these things can change tomorrow, or even later today. I wonder if the secondary deal is signaling that a new-issue 2-year will be coming out at 2.80% soon. Kevin Kevin- Fidelity question for you, I used to like to use the Fidelity graphics function for CD's and bonds to pick out the best...
by TBillT
Mon May 07, 2018 11:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: XOM Question
Replies: 6
Views: 711

Re: XOM Question

I've been a seller last couple years. Dividend is good though.
by TBillT
Sun May 06, 2018 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bucket List Adventures/Activities
Replies: 110
Views: 8840

Re: Bucket List Adventures/Activities

I want to go up Washington Monument.
Seems like a cliche but it's been closed so much since the 2011 earthquake, I may have procrastinated too long.
I live close too.
Yellowstone is a favorite but been there twice already.
by TBillT
Wed May 02, 2018 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving to The Woodlands,TX
Replies: 49
Views: 6171

Re: Moving to The Woodlands,TX

We did not live in Houston, but we did live in Baton Rouge a few years. Southern lifestyle can be different in some ways from the northeast. I certainly like the warmer climate for year-round jogging etc. One thing is fire ants so in my experience sitting in the lawn is less likely activity. Not sur...
by TBillT
Tue May 01, 2018 11:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why was my CD purchase order got cancelled?
Replies: 6
Views: 1055

Re: Why was my CD purchase order got cancelled?

Is the CD avail today? Pretty rare I do not recall a cancellation before. I had one case where I grabbed a bond they had mispriced modestly in my favor. End of the day the trading desk "did me a favor" reversed the purchase rather than charge me the real cost. I probably could have complained. It wa...
by TBillT
Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lake Tahoe
Replies: 28
Views: 2550

Re: Lake Tahoe

I will be attending a conference in Lake Tahoe in June and will be taking my wife and two boys (ages 17 & 9). We will have 4 free days after it is over and am looking for suggestions on places to visit. Was considering 2 days in the Yosemite area then driving to San Francisco for a couple of days. ...
by TBillT
Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HOA won't help. [Homeowners Association]
Replies: 37
Views: 4921

Re: HOA won't help.

Like TbillT, I am in VA. Anyone can recommend me where to look such HOA regulations or laws? Google helps me find Property Owners' Association Act. I will read it tonight. Thank you for all your input. Makes sense you are in Virginia... HOA are common here actually quasi-gov't bodies substituting f...
by TBillT
Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MAGI and Medicare Premium
Replies: 17
Views: 2238

Re: MAGI and Medicare Premium

That "dump" will not happen soon. I signed up for Medicare in June 2017 with coverage beginning in September 2017. In August 2017 they sent me my IRMAA information, and it was based on my 2015 tax return even though my 2016 tax return had been filed in January 2017. If they were still using 2015 ta...
by TBillT
Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HOA won't help. [Homeowners Association]
Replies: 37
Views: 4921

Re: HOA won't help.

Our HOA recently published a summary Virginia laws on the tree issue. If a tree falls unexpectedly, it is an Act of God and nobody is at fault. So that means if Neighbor-A's tree falls on Neighbor-B's yard and house, that is Neighbor-B's financial problem. However, if it is considered negligence (Ne...
by TBillT
Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Way to Decline an International Job Assignment
Replies: 23
Views: 1909

Re: Best Way to Decline an International Job Assignment

As someone above advised, it partially depends on company expectations and practices and your ranking status. I worked for one big company that I thought was more fair to me (as a non-high-flyer), another big company less so, that would allow office politics to rule, and allow higher ranked folks to...
by TBillT
Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying T-bills ..help needed
Replies: 17
Views: 2233

Re: Buying T-bills ..help needed

For what it's worth, economist Gary Shilling who has been recommending long term TBonds since 1980. still seems to feel 2% will come someday to the 30-year. He likes long term, zero-coupon bonds as a high-octane approach, which would hypothetically yield a large cap gain if long term rates did indee...
by TBillT
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying T-bills ..help needed
Replies: 17
Views: 2233

Re: Buying T-bills ..help needed

I use Fidelity which I find convenient, but I have not tried the others. You can do new or secondary, but for new you have to wait for the date of auctions...not always available. You also have the zero coupon option. There is not really too much mark-up on TBIlls, I don't think. You pay a small fee...
by TBillT
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Undecided students and STEM majors
Replies: 51
Views: 4575

Re: Undecided students and STEM majors

My father before me (an ME) was interested in electronics so he suggested EE for me.
So that was the decision, but after a year I switched to ChE as that was my passion, along with biology- eg; bioengineering.
Later in life, guess what, I am interested in electronics.
by TBillT
Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: MAGI and Medicare Premium
Replies: 17
Views: 2238

Re: MAGI and Medicare Premium

I am in the same boat: I would rather use 2017 income over 2016. My approach was to file my 2017 FORM 1040 early in hopes they will see that latest return when I apply. But my guess is they will use 2016 return, even if 2017 is available to them. Your guess is right. If you want them to look at a l...