Search found 51 matches

by apk
Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Roth Conversions and the Vanishing 25% and 28% Tax Bracket
Replies: 59
Views: 11124

Re: Roth Conversions and the Vanishing 25% and 28% Tax Bracket

One additional matter to consider is how much will be in your regular IRA when you must take RMD. If your regular IRA is likely to be large, e.g., one million or more, your RMD may surprise you. It may be a lot higher than you had expected. Converting to a Roth is one way to drive down your RMD. The...
by apk
Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too many credit cards?
Replies: 46
Views: 5348

Too many credit cards?

I currently have three credit cards that I use with some regularity, i.e., each month. I am a member of Costco and in several months they will be changing which credit card they will accept for purchase in their stores. Right now, it is American Express. I think it will be Visa when the change is ma...
by apk
Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare Rx at Costco
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Medicare Rx at Costco

If your wife has a prescription, she should be able to pay cash even if the drug is included in her Part D plan. The insurance company is not requiring your wife to use its service. Maybe she didn't bring the prescription with her to Costco? If she has a prescription and is willing to pay cash, Medi...
by apk
Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Trust beneficiary - Adviser not acting in best interest, investments]
Replies: 14
Views: 1623

Re: [Trust beneficiary - Adviser not acting in best interest, investments]

If the trustee can justify investments under the "prudent person" rule, then you won't have any success with your challenge. The trustee does not have to produce outsize returns. All the trustee must demonstrate is that he/she/it is acting as a prudent person.
by apk
Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard Utilities Index
Replies: 5
Views: 1046

Vanguard Utilities Index

For 2015 this fund is down around 5 percent. I know this is a very short time frame, but does anyone know why it is so far down. I know it is down because utility stocks are down. So my real question is: Why are utility stocks down so much in such a short period of time.
by apk
Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying Vanguard Energy Index
Replies: 22
Views: 3942

Re: Buying Vanguard Energy Index

Previously, I owned shares of Vanguard Energy Index. At some point I realized how volitile this fund was (is?), so I sold all my shares. I've never looked back.
by apk
Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question re Medicare bills?
Replies: 13
Views: 2632

Re: Question re Medicare bills?

Your father might be eligible for a program called Medicare Savings Program. Call your state SHIP office to find an agency that will help him apply. If his only income is Social Security and if his resources (saving account, checking account. stocks, bonds, etc.) are minimal, the MSP could be a big ...
by apk
Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: NJ - Buying house in flood zone (FEMA)?
Replies: 48
Views: 6583

Re: NJ - Buying house in flood zone (FEMA)?

I live in a floodway fringe in Indiana. Flood insurance is mandatory. It is based on the balance of your mortgage. As you pay off your mortgage, your flood insurance prmium should decrease. This decrease is not, however, automatic. You must confirm that you want your premium adjusted to your lower m...
by apk
Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Confused with Medigap Options]
Replies: 39
Views: 3329

Re: [Confused with Medigap Options]

Call SHIP in North Carolina. These are volunteers who help people with Medicare questions. They are unbiased.
by apk
Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Financial crises are inevitable
Replies: 3
Views: 585

Financial crises are inevitable

If you believe that financial crises are inevitable, e.g., financial institutions will be reckless because they believe they will always be bailed out, how do you build these crises into your investment strategy? My guess is that there is no way to avoid a loss when a crisis occurs, but do you have ...
by apk
Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: IEX and Flash Boys
Replies: 2
Views: 611

IEX and Flash Boys

Does anyone know if Vanguard uses IEX to broker its buy and sell orders? In Michael Lewis' book, Flash Boys, IEX is considered the only stock market exchange that really treats buyers and sellers fairly. Most of my holdings are in Vanguard index funds. This should mean that the only time Vanguard ha...
by apk
Tue May 20, 2014 7:59 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax question
Replies: 6
Views: 424

Tax question

This year, I intend to sell between 10K and 12K to cover certain expenses I will have. My two choices are my taxable Total Stock Market fund account and my I bond account. I am in the 25% marginal tax bracket. I think this means that if I use my taxable TSM account, this sale will be taxed at 15%. I...
by apk
Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ
Replies: 25
Views: 6213

Re: Redrawn flood zone map puts portion of property in FZ

Do you have a mortgage? If you do, then you will have to have flood insurance. The amount of flood insurance you must carry depends on the size of your mortgage. The lower your mortgage, the lower coverage you must carry. If you are mortgage free, then you don't have to have flood insurance.
by apk
Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Special Needs Trust and Attorney Suggestions
Replies: 13
Views: 1390

Re: Special Needs Trust and Attorney Suggestions

Contact your state ARC. It might operate its own special needs trust. If not, it should be able to give you the names of several attorneys.
by apk
Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Masters in Mental Health Counseling
Replies: 21
Views: 1633

Re: Masters in Mental Health Counseling

I don't want to be the voice of doom, but this work is thankless. The pay is low. The mental health system is designed to fail. She might be better off choosing another vocation and volunteering for this kind of work. Volunteering once a week for a couple of hours might give her fulfillment. Doing t...
by apk
Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: If you were retired, how would you spend your time?
Replies: 90
Views: 10926

Re: If you were retired, how would you spend your time?

I am retired. My day works great for me, but probably won't work for many others. In the morning I read several newspapers online. In late morning I exercise. In warmer weather I either walk 2-3 miles or I ride my bike -- around 10-12 miles. (I used to ride around 20 miles, but my body is no longer ...
by apk
Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Healthcare.gov: Can now view plans without account.
Replies: 49
Views: 6872

Re: Healthcare.gov: Can now view plans without account.

The most consistent number I'm getting for equivalent coverage, deductible, OOP fees, etc using various calculators (including Kaiser Foundation) is running about 75% higher than I'm currently paying under a separate private Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. Thank you, Washington DC, for making my life ...
by apk
Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Extra year-end cash from RMD
Replies: 6
Views: 805

Extra year-end cash from RMD

I think I will have around $5,000 in cash after taking my RMD for this year. I see two options: (1) put the $5,000 in a taxable account, maybe Total Stock Market; (2) convert $20,000 from my traditional IRA to my Roth IRA and use the $5,000 to pay the tax. My marginal tax rate is 25%. Which of the t...
by apk
Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spousal benefits
Replies: 10
Views: 1283

Spousal benefits

I am retired and began collecting Social Security when I was 63. I am now 71. My wife is 65 and has not yet started collecting Social Security. She intends to wait until she is 70 before collecting. Here is my question: Is there any value in her applying for spousal benefits when she is 66? Would th...
by apk
Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Homes as Investments?
Replies: 101
Views: 8312

Re: Homes as Investments?

My wife and I bought our home in 1995 for $217,000. Let's assume we sold it today for $317,000. That looks like a profit of $100,000. But it really isn't. We had a 30 year mortgage. If we kept the home for all 30 years, the interest from the mortgage would result in a total cost of $405,398. Because...
by apk
Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.
Replies: 119
Views: 9751

Re: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.

Are you sure about the timeframes for upgrading and downgrading Medicare supplements? Maybe the information you have is from a specific insurer? I am under the impression that each insurer is open to doing what they want once the initial enrollment period is over.
by apk
Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.
Replies: 119
Views: 9751

Re: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.

For those that say that the MA plans are a lot more expensive to taxpayers .... you you please support that with data that represents the current state of affairs? Take a look at any of the annual MedPAC reports. MedPAC is congressionally mandated to comment to Congress on Medicare and related issu...
by apk
Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.
Replies: 119
Views: 9751

Re: Medigap or Advantage? Lots of info/Lots of questions.

MA plans are often less costly to individual policy holders, but they are a lot more expensive to taxpayers. If all recipients of MA received, instead, regular Medicare, the savings to taxpayers would be in the BILLIONS . Like others have said previously, there is no free lunch. It might be free on ...
by apk
Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AARP Medigap Plan F. - Your experience w. rate increases?
Replies: 29
Views: 20846

Re: AARP Medigap Plan F -- your experience w. rate increases

I tried sending this earlier, but it did not seem to go through...so I'm trying again. AARP has a unique premium price when first enrolling. You receive a 30% discount. This discount disappears over a ten year period, three percent each year. Premium wise what this means is that if your regular prem...
by apk
Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard's Bogle: Yesterday Sound & Fury Signifying Nothing
Replies: 16
Views: 2916

Re: Vanguard's Bogle: Yesterday Sound & Fury Signifying Noth

I'm amazed that they keep inviting him back. What he says goes against what they hype. But he does say it politely. Maybe they don't understand what he is saying?
by apk
Thu May 16, 2013 2:37 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard Flagship Phone Problem
Replies: 6
Views: 934

Re: Vanguard Flagship Phone Problem

Flagship service has been good. No complaints from me. I would think, however, that your Flagship rep would probably have been unable to respond to a tax question.
by apk
Sun May 12, 2013 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to protect against big medical bills?
Replies: 41
Views: 6137

Re: How to protect against big medical bills?

No, I understand the limits are separate and the drug part technically has no limit on your costs. I just meant the drug co-pays become pretty minimal at the catastrophic stage, so there is almost a cap on that part. For example in my area the AARP-UHC complete plan covers both drugs and medical wi...
by apk
Sat May 11, 2013 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to protect against big medical bills?
Replies: 41
Views: 6137

Re: How to protect against big medical bills?

I think a Medicare Advantage cap is limited to Part A and Part B -- the medical costs. If the MA plan also covers prescription drugs, that part of the plan is unlimited. For example, if the cap is set at $4,500, that covers medical costs, not prescriptions. Prescription costs is open-ended. Well, s...
by apk
Thu May 09, 2013 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to protect against big medical bills?
Replies: 41
Views: 6137

Re: How to protect against big medical bills?

Check with your state SHIP office to find out which, if any, insurance companies offer Medigap policies to people under 65 and disabled. In Indiana, for example, effective June 1, 2013, no insurance company will offer Medigap policies to people under 65 and disabled. They will have to wait until age...
by apk
Thu May 09, 2013 7:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to protect against big medical bills?
Replies: 41
Views: 6137

Re: How to protect against big medical bills?

I think a Medicare Advantage cap is limited to Part A and Part B -- the medical costs. If the MA plan also covers prescription drugs, that part of the plan is unlimited. For example, if the cap is set at $4,500, that covers medical costs, not prescriptions. Prescription costs is open-ended. You migh...
by apk
Sat May 04, 2013 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Q for Medicare Experts
Replies: 47
Views: 4636

Re: Q for Medicare Experts

I live in Indiana, the Indianapolis area, and have had no problem finding doctors when I need them. Perhaps the Medicare logjam might focus on primary care doctors? I can see where the new law might create problems for people receiving Medicare and looking for a primary care doctor, but I would be s...
by apk
Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Q for Medicare Experts
Replies: 47
Views: 4636

Re: Q for Medicare Experts

DM 200, I hope you are right about the taxpayer costs for regular Medicare and MA coming more into line over the next several years, but the skeptic in me says taxpayers will continue to pay a lot more for MA recipients. According to MedPAC (Medicare Payment Advisory Committee) taxpayers now pay 6 b...
by apk
Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Q for Medicare Experts
Replies: 47
Views: 4636

Re: Q for Medicare Experts

If you choose a MA plan when you first turn 65 and then, sometime within the first 12 month of joining, decide you want to switch to the Original Medicare Plan, you can do so and purchase any Medigap plan A through L sold in your area. This is a special trial right period . Your Medigap agent should...
by apk
Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sanity check a newbie portfolio, special needs trust
Replies: 2
Views: 441

Re: Sanity check a newbie portfolio, special needs trust

Once your child becomes of age he/she might be eligible for benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These benefits are intended to pay for basics like food, shelter, and medical care. A special needs trust is designed to pay for costs not paid by benefits such as Medicaid and ...
by apk
Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VGHAX vs. VHCIX
Replies: 2
Views: 2559

VGHAX vs. VHCIX

For many years I have owned shares in Vanguard health care funds. Initially, I owned shares in VGHCX -- Vanguard's Health Care fund investor shares. More recently I have owned shares in VGHAX -- Vanguard's Health Care fund Admiral shares. Would it be worthwhile to exchange my VGHAX shares for VHCIX ...
by apk
Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Worst case planning for Social Security
Replies: 16
Views: 1737

Re: Worst case planning for Social Security

My wife and I never factored Social Security into our retirement. But, boy, it has made all the difference between a decent standard of living during retirement and a comfortable standard of living.
by apk
Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:34 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any recent changes to VTINX?
Replies: 17
Views: 3747

Re: Any recent changes to VTINX?

SSCritic: I profit from many of your comments, but this one seemed unnecessarily nasty.
by apk
Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SSDI => Medicare
Replies: 8
Views: 1076

Re: SSDI => Medicare

Another issue for your friend to consider is health insurance for what Medicare does not pay. Typically, Medicare pays 80 percent of the bill. Your friend would pay the other 20 percent. Your friend could choose a Medicare supplement, but she won't have much choice until she is 65. For some reason t...
by apk
Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?
Replies: 107
Views: 32948

Re: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?

Correct me if I am wrong, but if you are choosing a Medigap policy, then you can use any doctor you want. The limit on doctors only applies if you are choosing a Medicare Advantage plan. With Medigap, the only potential limit on doctor choice is if the doctor you want does not accept Medicare as pay...
by apk
Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?
Replies: 107
Views: 32948

Re: Medigap Plan G vs Plan F?

I think Kaiser Health just did a study on Medigap policies. One of its conclusions was that the monthly premium for the same plan varied dramatically from company to company. Calling a slew of companies is time-consuming. Also, in many cases you are asked for your name, address, and phone number. An...
by apk
Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power
Replies: 36
Views: 3732

Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

I have been using Power Strip for maybe a decade. One Power Strip is for my computer, computer screen, and printer. I have another for my tv, dvr, and speakers. When I first plugged them in, I did keep track of electric usage. I don't remember the specifics, but I did save energy. I also saved money...
by apk
Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:28 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do You Regret Buying Individual Bonds/Treasuries/TIPS/Munis?
Replies: 23
Views: 2962

Re: Do You Regret Buying Individual Bonds/Treasuries/TIPS/Mu

I started buying individual 10 year TIPS when they first came out. Each year, as one batch matured, I bought another batch. I've been happy with this approach. This year, however, I will not buy new 10 year TIPS. My reason has nothing to do with its rate of return. Recently, I started investing in t...
by apk
Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TurboTax - How many returns?
Replies: 14
Views: 12551

Re: TurboTax - How many returns?

Do the answers above also apply for people who get TurboTax through Vanguard's Flagship service? I think this use of TurboTax is at no cost. Can users still get up to five federal tax returns?
by apk
Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Choosing part D. Same drug, same pharmacy, $6.50 vs $111?
Replies: 27
Views: 3500

Re: Choosing part D. Same drug, same pharmacy, $6.50 vs $111

I do not use my insurance for drugs anymore. Many food stores/pharmacies sell 90 day supplies of generics for $10-$12. Simvastatin included. Often when they put my ins info in, it comes back costing more. I don't use CVS, its the most expensive of all. I never signed up for part d. For what it's wo...
by apk
Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Choosing part D. Same drug, same pharmacy, $6.50 vs $111?
Replies: 27
Views: 3500

Re: Choosing part D. Same drug, same pharmacy, $6.50 vs $111

I don't remember the exact percentages (short-term memory lose) but a few days ago I read about renewals for Part D coverage. A significant percentage of Part D recipients were unaware that they could change plans between 10/15 and 12/8. Another significant percentage never bothered to compare plans...
by apk
Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The Long-Term Care Insurance Gamble
Replies: 81
Views: 5803

Re: The Long-Term Care Insurance Gamble

I'm going on memory, so take what I am about the share with a grain of salt. Concerning whole life policies and applying for Medicaid, if the policy has a cash value, the cash value counts as a resource to the applicant and must be spent on care before Medicaid will pay. If the policy is term life, ...
by apk
Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Medigap policy cost
Replies: 68
Views: 35860

Re: Medicare Medigap policy cost

You can go to the Medicare webcite for information on Medigap supplemental plans. The cite gives you a listing of all the plans and describes what they cover. Once you pick a specific plan, e.g., Plan F, you can get a listing of all the companies that sell this plan. The hard part is contacting seve...
by apk
Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:52 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is being too conservative just as risky
Replies: 24
Views: 3123

Re: Is being too conservative just as risky

I am paraphrasing, but I think Peter L. Bernstein (Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story Of Risk) defines risk as "Not having the money you need when you need it." That's worked for me.
by apk
Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recumbent exercise bike recommendations needed
Replies: 26
Views: 6734

Re: Recumbent exercise bike recommendations needed

Is there a used sports equipment store near you? If so, why not try out the used recumbent bikes they have in shop? I did this and bought the used bike that worked best for me. It was a Pro-Form. I don't remember reading reviews on this particular bike, but I have had it for three or four years and ...
by apk
Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medigap F for folks with "conditions"?
Replies: 25
Views: 3622

Re: Medigap F for folks with "conditions"?

An insurance company cannot turn you down during your Medigap Guaranteed Issue Priod, also called the Open Enrollment Period. This period lasts for 6 months. It starts on the first day of the month in which you are both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B. During this time, the insurance com...