Search found 51 matches

by azb
Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Barcelona Hotel Recommendations
Replies: 30
Views: 3133

Re: Barcelona Hotel Recommendations

I second the recommendation for Olivia Balmes. Convenient location and a really great staff.
by azb
Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]
Replies: 289
Views: 49757

Re: [Fidelity drops AmEx, Bank of America credit cards]

I just received my last statement for my Fidelity Mastercard, and despite spending over $10,000 last month (we had some big one-time purchases), the statement says that I earned ZERO rewards this month. The Bank of American customer service agent was clueless about why this would be. He thought it m...
by azb
Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:10 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Law firm capital contribution as part of asset allocation?
Replies: 11
Views: 1501

Re: Law firm capital contribution as part of asset allocation?

I am a partner at a law firm and make capital contributions. In my case, the capital will be returned when I retire or leave the firm, but with no interest (which makes sense since my income reflects the ROI on the capital contribution). In some sense, therefore, it is a declining asset given inflat...
by azb
Thu May 26, 2016 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2924
Views: 575191

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Anyone have the Chase Hyatt card? Two free nights after spending $1k but annual fee after the first year. Wondering if you cancel the card during the first year to avoid annual fee would you also lose the two free nights if you haven't used them yet? Maybe Marriott is a better deal actually, 80k po...
by azb
Wed May 25, 2016 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 2924
Views: 575191

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Our credit card strategy is focused on maximizing the value we receive from our cards. Since we travel quite a bit, this means that we aim for travel benefits if it maximizes our value received. We do so through the Chase Ultimate Reward Program and the Citi Thank You Rewards program. Through Citi, ...
by azb
Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best auto/home insurance?
Replies: 13
Views: 1723

Re: Best auto/home insurance?

I have found that which company is cheaper will vary by location and circumstance. I get bids every two years or so from the following companies, which seem to generally offer good customer service and good rates: USAA (if you are eligible) State Farm GIECO Amico AARP Hartford (the lowest price for ...
by azb
Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2016 HC.gov health insurance pricing is up
Replies: 51
Views: 5719

Re: 2016 HC.gov health insurance pricing is up

When I went to health.gov today, they had anew feature that allowed you to put in providers names and then the summary of the options included whether or not the providers were covered. It worked for all my option except Care First, which apparently has not given the requested data yet. So far I hav...
by azb
Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2016 HC.gov health insurance pricing is up
Replies: 51
Views: 5719

Re: 2016 HC.gov health insurance pricing is up

As a partner in a firm, I don't get subsidized health insurance. I pay the full premium cost for our family's coverage if I use our firm's coverage. Like many of my fellow partners, I have been shopping on the healthcare exchange, and have found that I can get an HSA compliant plan on the exchange f...
by azb
Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thinking of switching from phone to phablet
Replies: 49
Views: 6548

Re: Thinking of switching from phone to phablet

I have had a Samsung Note for the past two years and love it. For me, the biggest benefit is that the larger screen makes it far easier to read. I only rarely have calls on the smart phone, and largely use the phone for web access and email, and for those purposes the Note in wonderful. I can fit th...
by azb
Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Alaska Cruise - Saving Money On Shore Excursions
Replies: 25
Views: 2918

Re: Alaska Cruise - Saving Money On Shore Excursions

I agree with the previous posters that said that while the price for excursions booked independently are not always appreciably cheaper, in my experience, they are often better experiences. We did an Alaskan cruise last summer and had great experiences with the following: Juneau: whale watching with...
by azb
Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for Family Trip to San Diego
Replies: 16
Views: 2079

Re: Recommendations for Family Trip to San Diego

San Diego is a wonderful place to vacation with kids. My wife, son and I are repeat visitors (when my son was 1,2 4,6, and 9). We have always rented a house and Condo. We highly recommend the Pacific Beach area--our sone loved to play on the beach after our adventures to the Zoo, Wild Animal Park, A...
by azb
Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Switching to no-fee AMEX
Replies: 7
Views: 1690

Re: Switching to no-fee AMEX

It is also my understanding that AMEX has a practice of backdating the account opening date for new cards to the date of the first card you have with AMEX. this means that getting a new fee-free card with AMEX could greatly help you score. http://www.noobtraveler.com/american-express-backdated-rule-...
by azb
Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding SEP/solo 401k limits
Replies: 6
Views: 1214

Re: Understanding SEP/solo 401k limits

Thanks for the responses so far. To clarify: My partnership: my partnership is large and offers a traditional 401k to which I make the maximum contribution. The partnership does not pay my social security/medicaid, so I am obligated to pay self employment tax on this income. My 1099 consulting incom...
by azb
Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Understanding SEP/solo 401k limits
Replies: 6
Views: 1214

Understanding SEP/solo 401k limits

I am considering opening up a\either a SEP IRA or a solo 401K and could use some help understanding the contribution limit. My situation is as follows. I am a partner in a large firm that has many partners and it offers a 401k retirement account. I max out my employee contribution ($17k) but won't b...
by azb
Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rewards credit card advice
Replies: 66
Views: 102240

Re: Rewards credit card advice

I am a big fan of the Chase Sapphire card, especially when combined with a Chase Freedom. With a Chase Sapphire account, you are able to transfer points from both the chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire accounts to hotel and airline partners. This has allowed me to get far more value out of the rewards...
by azb
Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving back, charity, and similar
Replies: 22
Views: 2295

Re: Giving back, charity, and similar

When my wife and I married, we agreed (at her insistence) to give 10% of our gross income to charity. Its one of the best decisions we have ever made. While some of this goes toour church, the large share gos to charities focused on combating extreme poverty. I've done some public service, and have ...
by azb
Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I "super-fund" my 529 for my kids?
Replies: 13
Views: 3372

Re: Should I "super-fund" my 529 for my kids?

I adopted a similar strategy, but with a caveat--I decided to stop putting funds in my son's 529 once we had enough in the account to pay for 4 years at a state (Virginia) school, with the plan of adding funds each year (if necessary) to keep it at that level. So far the account is just a little hig...
by azb
Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 4 Simple Rules for Retirement Saving
Replies: 14
Views: 3594

4 Simple Rules for Retirement Saving

[Thread merged, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

Vox has a very bogleheads article on retirement savings that is well worth reading:

http://www.vox.com/2014/7/31/5882885/re ... -do-i-need
by azb
Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water/sewer backup coverage: buy or not?
Replies: 33
Views: 27658

Re: Water/sewer backup coverage: buy or not?

Drain:

We have a separate low ($250 deductible) for the sewer back-up coverage. I have no idea why there is a separate (quite low) deductible for this coverage when we have a much higher deductible for all other hazards. May be the result of state law (Virginia).
by azb
Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Water/sewer backup coverage: buy or not?
Replies: 33
Views: 27658

Re: Water/sewer backup coverage: buy or not?

We have had some very painful recent experiences that might be relevant. Like you, we live on the top of a hill and thought we were immune from sewer backup issues. We were wrong. We recently had a backup caused by a blockage inside our home (as the plumber said, we didn't have a tree root issue, we...
by azb
Thu May 22, 2014 12:50 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your 529 Plan - Thoughts and Strategies
Replies: 43
Views: 6502

Re: Your 529 Plan - Thoughts and Strategies

Here goes: 1. How old are your children who you're saving for? One child, 9 years old. 2. Which 529 Plan do you invest in? We have been moving around so have funds in Utah, Arizona and Virginia. Have thought about consolidating but have seen no compelling reason to to so. 3. What's the current balan...
by azb
Tue May 13, 2014 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Germany!
Replies: 34
Views: 2929

Re: Germany!

We have family in Bonn, and just did a roadtrip that we really enjoyed. I recommend that you rent a car and do a road trip. Some places we enjoyed: Trier--an old Roman city in the Mosel River Valley. Lots of great Roman ruins and the Mosel River Valley as well. Rothenberg ab tauber--a well preserved...
by azb
Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:39 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

So far, I am very happy with this no-fee account. (Heck, they even let me use a credit card to make my initial HSA deposit, which gave me 2% free money. Can anyone else confirm that they will allow a full years of contribution to be funded by a credit card? Correct me anyone if I am wrong, but havi...
by azb
Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

SobeCane wrote:AZB- what type of credit card was it? I have heard that Citi cards code it as a cash advance.
SobeCane: I just sent you a DM. I did not use a Citi card.
by azb
Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

So far, I am very happy with this no-fee account. (Heck, they even let me use a credit card to make my initial HSA deposit, which gave me 2% free money. Can anyone else confirm that they will allow a full years of contribution to be funded by a credit card? I was able to do a 2013 contribution of $...
by azb
Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Post-Tax 401k Contributions
Replies: 9
Views: 763

Re: Post-Tax 401k Contributions

In further researching this, I found the following Ameriprise article: http://cdn.ameriprisecontent.com/cds/al ... 589130.pdf
by azb
Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Post-Tax 401k Contributions
Replies: 9
Views: 763

Re: Post-Tax 401k Contributions

I'm glad that I posted my question. This in-plan Roth conversion is very interesting. Just to be clear on what you are suggesting: whether I can do this is dependent on whether my plan will allow me to transfer my post-tax contributions into a Roth 401k. If I do so, I only pay tax on the small gain ...
by azb
Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Post-Tax 401k Contributions
Replies: 9
Views: 763

Post-Tax 401k Contributions

I could use some help thinking through the following issue: as a partner at my firm, in addition to contributing $23,000 pretax into my 401k, I am also allowed to contribute an additional amount on a post-tax basis. (In about 2 years, I will qualify for more generous pretax treatment, but that's not...
by azb
Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:02 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

They have other commission free options but I didn't pay much attention since I was focused on the Vanguard EFTS Yes, you can buy stocks and bonds and the commissions seem reasonable.
by azb
Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

I can answer your last two questions. Once you reach 2500 of the full amount can be invested. I put in 3000 and was a able to invest the full amount. TD Ameritrade rate is a full service brokerage so the investment options are near limitless. The attraction to me was that they offer no commission Va...
by azb
Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:13 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?
Replies: 69
Views: 19935

Re: Experiences with Eli Lilly Credit Union for HSA?

I too just opened an HSA account at ELI Lilly. The identity verification controls did seem a bit more careful than other banks, but the account was otherwise easy to open online. Once my account was open, I was able to set up a TD Ameritrade account--which offers no-fee Vanguard EFTs. This is certai...
by azb
Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why are there so few attorneys on this site?
Replies: 48
Views: 3243

Re: Why are there so few attorneys on this site?

Jake46 wrote:
JamesSFO wrote:There are several attorneys here (myself included).
+1. Not sure it is always necessary to identify yourself as an attorney when posting here.
+2 I guess I never thought my occupation was particularly relevant
by azb
Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wi fi range, extenders, Powerline, etc
Replies: 64
Views: 5595

Re: wi fi range, extenders, Powerline, etc

Another option that has worked very well for us is MOCA adapters that use the existing cable lines in your home (and not powerlines). This works particularly well for entertainment connections such as Roku and Blu Ray players. One big advantage of MOCA adapters is that you don't need to use limited...
by azb
Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: wi fi range, extenders, Powerline, etc
Replies: 64
Views: 5595

Re: wi fi range, extenders, Powerline, etc

Another option that has worked very well for us is MOCA adapters that use the existing cable lines in your home (and not powerlines). This works particularly well for entertainment connections such as Roku and Blu Ray players. One big advantage of MOCA adapters is that you don't need to use limited ...
by azb
Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Signing up for health care
Replies: 324
Views: 34796

Re: OK to talk about the details of signing up health care?

For the states that are using the federal exchange, the following link will give you a list of providers and sample premiums for each plan by county. You don't need to set up an account to get this page, which does not seem to be having any problems. It might at least give you a sense of what is ava...
by azb
Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Heat Pump
Replies: 19
Views: 2813

Re: Heat Pump

We have a heat pump that is set to work at temperatures down to 32 degress in the winter. We have a furnace that kicks it for colder temperatures. We live in the Dc area and the heat pump does the vast majority of the heating in the winter.
by azb
Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding a Common Social Security Planning Mistake
Replies: 24
Views: 2775

Re: Avoiding a Common Social Security Planning Mistake

Obvious Investor--love your blog, and thanks for participating here as well. I have a question on this post: My wife is a stay-at-home Mom, and has been for the last 5 years. Do the Social Security projects from SSA assuming that she willhave no income in the yeas before retirement? Or do they make ...
by azb
Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash Back Reward Credit Cards
Replies: 55
Views: 7598

Re: Cash Back Reward Credit Cards

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred--6% on groceries (use for groceries only; has a $75/year feee, but my family still comes out ahead using this card. YMMV.) Note that it looks like this is going down to 6% on the first $6k of groceries per year for 2013, and 1% after that. Yes. Apparantly this was done to s...
by azb
Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cash Back Reward Credit Cards
Replies: 55
Views: 7598

Re: Cash Back Reward Credit Cards

Here is my current portfolio of cash back/reward cards cards: PenFed rewards--5% on gas (use for gas only) AMEX Blue Cash Preferred--6% on groceries (use for groceries only; has a $75/year feee, but my family still comes out ahead using this card. YMMV.) U.S. Bank Cash Plus--lets you set your own 5%...
by azb
Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Property Depreciation Recapture
Replies: 6
Views: 2032

Re: Rental Property Depreciation Recapture

We just sold our prior residence after renting it out for a few years. I don't pretend to be a tax expert, but did learn the following from that experience: while your losses are capped due to your income, when you actually sell the home in the future, you will be able--in that tax year--declare all...
by azb
Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental property tax question
Replies: 25
Views: 5092

Re: Rental property tax question

A few points of clarification: 1. Your rental expenses (including mortgage interest and real estate taxes and depreciation) are deductible to the extent that they determine your net income or loss from the property. You just can't deduct any net loss if you are in the higher income brackets. 2. IWhe...
by azb
Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tithe 10% of Gross?
Replies: 102
Views: 8727

Re: Tithe 10% of Gross?

My wife and I have tithed since we were married. We give a little more than 10% of our gross income each year to a combination of our church (about 1/3) and a group of other charities (2/3). We do so even though our church downplays the tithe, and affirmatively rejects the notion that we will someho...
by azb
Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Plan - Ideas To Take To My Lawyer
Replies: 26
Views: 2048

Re: Estate Plan - Ideas To Take To My Lawyer

Brody:

Fair points all--especially the point about individual circumstances. We actually have a turst--largley because we have monor children.
by azb
Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Estate Plan - Ideas To Take To My Lawyer
Replies: 26
Views: 2048

Re: Estate Plan - Ideas To Take To My Lawyer

The recent changes in the estate tax make a trust a much less important vehicle unless you have a very large estate or have minor children. Under the new law, you no longer need a Rube Goldberg trust arrangement to take advantage of both spouses' $5 million estat tax exemption. chances are, therefor...
by azb
Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Total Bond Index Funds are Not the Total Bond Market
Replies: 15
Views: 2164

Re: Total Bond Index Funds are Not the Total Bond Market

Rick: Thanks for this. As a federal employee I have access to the G Fund (in addition to the F Fund) as a fixed income offering in the Thrift Savings Plan. In trying to put together the bond portion of my portfolio, I have veen trying to figure out how to treat the G Fund. Should I treat the funds i...
by azb
Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: More on I Bonds and SS#s
Replies: 6
Views: 879

Re: More on I Bonds and SS#s

I had hoped that was the case. Thanks! Here's hoping my access card arrives in the mail before the end of the month!
by azb
Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: More on I Bonds and SS#s
Replies: 6
Views: 879

More on I Bonds and SS#s

I have a simple question that I hope that someone can answer. If I buy electronic I-bonds on TD and list my wife as the co-owner, does the bond purchase count against both her $5k allotment and mine? If so, what work-arounds would people suggest?
by azb
Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unusual way to defer taxes
Replies: 32
Views: 3324

These type of plans are actually quite common for law firms, who seek to find a way to increase tax deferment opportunities for higher compensated employees. My old law firm had such a plan. Our plan was invested by Vanguard, with a very modest investment target: meeting the return of 30 year T-bill...
by azb
Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me fine tune my retirement accounts
Replies: 4
Views: 1107

After reading both the Wiki post of the G Fund, as well as several robust discussions here on the topic, I am revising my plan to add the G Fund as part of my bond holdings. (Thanks for pointing me in this direction, DSInvestor!). After reading the different views on this topic, however, I am leanin...
by azb
Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help me fine tune my retirement accounts
Replies: 4
Views: 1107

I appreciate the input and the references to read. My strategy on my taxable accounts has been to focus on total after-tax return at my tax bracket--which seems to be a mix of tax free intermediate and taxable short term. I love my job so I suspect that I will retire at 70, with a slowdown in my six...