Search found 1092 matches

by Mike Scott
Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:15 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you keep a calendar?
Replies: 55
Views: 2159

Re: How do you keep a calendar?

Another paper wall calendar user. Used pages go into the file for record keeping. It's worked for me for a long time and I don't have any intention of changing now. E calendars only work if you enter things and then actually look at them.
by Mike Scott
Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:45 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Tell me your HSA strategy/advice
Replies: 15
Views: 702

Re: Tell me your HSA strategy/advice

Our strategy is to use it as a tax advantaged health savings account... We are only a couple of years into using a HSA but the basic plan is to max the contribution and then use it pay for expected and ongoing medical expenses through the year which will generally consume most of it. The balance sta...
by Mike Scott
Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Avoiding Dealership for Replacement Honda Pilot Key
Replies: 6
Views: 783

Re: Avoiding Dealership for Replacement Honda Pilot Key

Call the dealer and get a new one while you still have one to use. Then you can feel bad again if you find the lost one. What else are you going to do?
by Mike Scott
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Too many credit cards?
Replies: 54
Views: 2809

Re: Too many credit cards?

If you are going to use a credit card at all, you should keep a minimum of two different ones open in case one of them gets closed for fraud etc you still have an open card to use. You sound like a candidate for a couple of Visa / MC free 2% cards. Skip the American Epress for minimalism. Perhaps th...
by Mike Scott
Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When did tax planning become important for you?
Replies: 20
Views: 1426

Re: When did tax planning become important for you?

The very first year I paid taxes was the beginning of my interest in tax planning/reduction. It was easy enough to do at first with paper forms and printed bulletins. Things got a bit more complicated as time went on adding business income etc but I feel fairly competent to figure out the things tha...
by Mike Scott
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How does Alliant Credit Union make money on their Credit Card?
Replies: 5
Views: 382

Re: How does Alliant Credit Union make money on their Credit Card?

There is an annual fee that requires a fair amount of spend to equalize with a free 2% card. Presumably, people getting their credit card may do other business with them also. Alliant must think there is some benefit or the offer would not exist. If nothing else, it has given national name recogniti...
by Mike Scott
Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Fiancée Thinks I'm Putting Too Much Towards Retirement/ Not Enough Towards Short-Term Goals
Replies: 136
Views: 10533

Re: Fiance Thinks I'm Putting Too Much Towards Retirement/ Not Enough Towards Short-Term Goals

OP, Congratulations! All things considered, this sounds like a fairly minor quibble. If you are working toward combined finances, it all counts when combined. You can put money into retirement and she can put money into starting life together and time will balance it out in the long run. You don't (...
by Mike Scott
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pension Handcuffs?
Replies: 51
Views: 4346

Re: Pension Handcuffs?

I have four years to full pension eligibility and the pension system is the best financial piece of this job. I don't know what I will decide to do when I get there, but I look forward to having more choices.
by Mike Scott
Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Build EF or Max Tax-Advantaged Space?
Replies: 12
Views: 693

Re: Build EF or Max Tax-Advantaged Space?

I would also pick option 2. As you say, you have a lot of new stuff going on. In a couple of years you may a better handle on how it is all working and then you can evalaute things again.
by Mike Scott
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Sudden Needs of Cash Do You Prepare For?
Replies: 64
Views: 3598

Re: What Sudden Needs of Cash Do You Prepare For?

If you have that much cash then you should be covered for about anything that you can reasonably plan for. If something different happens then you shift some cash and move on. The chances of ALL of them happening at exactly the same time is pretty slim and in most cases you can get some time to orga...
by Mike Scott
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does Buyer ever Lose on eBay?
Replies: 36
Views: 2231

Re: Does Buyer ever Lose on eBay?

My alternative to ebay is that I am a member of several long time private "chat" groups that also buy/sell/trade items of mutual interest. I have known some of these people for almost 30 years and we have more or less annual get togethers. Locally, craigslist works fairly well for things that don't ...
by Mike Scott
Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Delaying retirement just to help adult children
Replies: 66
Views: 6141

Re: Delaying retirement just to help adult children

I think this is similar to recent discussions on how many young adults still get basic financial assistance etc from family. It sort of fits in with the general concept of "helicopter" parents. I see a lot of young adults (college students) who assume family will take care of everything because that...
by Mike Scott
Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Does Buyer ever Lose on eBay?
Replies: 36
Views: 2231

Re: Does Buyer ever Lose on eBay?

I was fairly active on ebay for many years when it was still mostly individuals buying/selling. I still sometimes buy specific things that are difficult to find anywhere else but I have completely stopped selling because of the fees, paypal fees and buyer scams. The feedback system has changed so th...
by Mike Scott
Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best use of a DAF in a bear market
Replies: 6
Views: 395

Re: Best use of a DAF in a bear market

If you will be itemizing this year, you can just write a check directly to the charity. You don't have to run everything through a DAF just because you have one.
by Mike Scott
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Your ideal home size
Replies: 130
Views: 8287

Re: Your ideal home size

We have what we consider a near perfect home for us. But I would trade some home space for a similar amount of more "garage" space.
by Mike Scott
Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using less plastic
Replies: 69
Views: 1855

Re: Using less plastic

My personal goals are to reduce packaging waste and increase energy efficiency at home and with travel.
by Mike Scott
Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Any reason for optimism?
Replies: 81
Views: 3060

Re: Any reason for optimism?

There seem to be some very positive large economic indicators yet the stock market seems to be responding differently. I see the national stats on wage growth etc but I do not see that happening in our region. Personally, my plans for this year are to bump up emergency funds and keep a close eye on ...
by Mike Scott
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Family Charitable Fund - Experiences and Best Practices?
Replies: 12
Views: 710

Re: Family Charitable Fund - Experiences and Best Practices?

The mechanics described are way too complicated with too many people to keep up long term. If your family is like many, I would stay out of it, avoid the hassle and then do something similar by myself if I were inclined.
by Mike Scott
Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: University Alumni Associations—Any Value?
Replies: 19
Views: 1791

Re: University Alumni Associations—Any Value?

University Alumni Associations are part of the fund raising arm of the university. I would be surprised if they gave out more value than they got back unless it was a genuine freebie for them. There are also less tangible reasons that people want to be members of an alumni association.
by Mike Scott
Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Etiquette of selling used items
Replies: 20
Views: 1675

Re: Etiquette of selling used items

Some groups have specific "rules" but others don't. "Cash in hand" is much more pursuasive than "I would like to see some pictures". If you do tell someone you will hold an item for some period of time; be sure to give them that much time to respond and then move on if they don't.
by Mike Scott
Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amex rewards dollars for closed account?
Replies: 25
Views: 778

Re: Amex rewards dollars for closed account?

What did Amex say when you asked them about the possibility of getting a check when closing an account?
by Mike Scott
Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is opening and immediately closing a donor advised fund a good strategy?
Replies: 6
Views: 667

Re: Is opening and immediately closing a donor advised fund a good strategy?

Assuming you stayed at Vanguard for this, what did they say when you asked them?
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Charitable contributions as a tax efficiency tool
Replies: 5
Views: 238

Re: Charitable contributions as a tax efficiency tool

For tax purposes, contributing to a DAF is the same as contributing directly to any other charity. Charitible contributions are not really tax efficient on their own because itemized charitible contributions may reduce your taxes but the contribution $ was still more than the $ you get back. For me,...
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Which balanced fund for taxable (if in a low tax bracket)?
Replies: 6
Views: 754

Re: Which balanced fund for taxable (if in a low tax bracket)?

Vanguard's Balanced Fund is 60% stocks rather than 50% stocks so it's total return should be generally higher than the Tax Managed Balanced Fund.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA pre-tax (with only one financial institution) vs after tax (more choices)
Replies: 14
Views: 838

Re: HSA pre-tax (with only one financial institution) vs after tax (more choices)

It should be comparable tax relief the following year either way. However, some people choose to pay the FICA (not using employer payroll deductions in an outside account) for long term social security planning and some people choose the employer plan in order to avoid paying the FICA. Another quest...
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is deciding to pay medical expenses with HSA timing the market?
Replies: 4
Views: 444

Re: Is deciding to pay medical expenses with HSA timing the market?

Not if you intend to use it for medical expenses. Our approach is to max the HSA, take the expenses during the year as they occur and leave the rest for later. There is less long term tracking and there is enough there to cover a larger medical expense if it happens.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax donation question [lump vs serial]
Replies: 4
Views: 294

Re: Tax donation question [lump vs serial]

That's the new "normal"... look at all the other DAF threads for confirmation. Also look to see if you can bunch any other itemized expenses into the same year. BTW, you don't have to do a DAF to get the bunching benefit. You can simply contribute 2X or whatever multiplier directly to the charities.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AT&T Landline - what's considered "Long Distance"
Replies: 22
Views: 1285

Re: AT&T Landline - what's considered "Long Distance"

Your local phone company will have a map. No one here can answer that question for you.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is opening and immediately closing a donor advised fund a good strategy?
Replies: 6
Views: 667

Re: Is opening and immediately closing a donor advised fund a good strategy?

You don't need a DAF. Just write the check or donate the stocks directly and be done.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: switch from managed portfolio to 3 fund index portfolio
Replies: 5
Views: 897

Re: switch from managed portfolio to 3 fund index portfolio

Along the spectrum from managed to DIY, you might also look at the "balanced fund" options in the middle in tax advantaged spaces. The cost ratio is a smidgen higher than DIY, but the balanced fund manages the rebalancing for you.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Is there any Low Risk 4 % Return
Replies: 52
Views: 6391

Re: Is there any Low Risk 4 % Return

CDs are the obvious answer but... if you are willing to do the work monitoring and moving money around new accounts, you can get bank bonuses on bank accounts. Look up doctorofcredit.com and read the bank bonus info. For rentals, do you want to take on the "job" of running/managing rental properties?
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket
Replies: 10
Views: 1165

Re: Should I invest in a ROTH to the top of the 12% tax bracket

You can't know if the 12% bracket will last or not. Even so, the general guideline is that it does not matter much if you stay in the same tax bracket before and after. If you do have 0 income years, then the TIRA and converting to Roth during those later years makes sense. Why pay 12% now when you ...
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:02 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Which balanced fund for taxable (if in a low tax bracket)?
Replies: 6
Views: 754

Re: Which balanced fund for taxable (if in a low tax bracket)?

If at Vanguard (given the names you give as examples) the Tax Managed Balanced Fund would be more tax efficient at a 50/50 split. The 60/40 Life Strategy fund would give you international stocks and a bit of international bond but would not be as tax efficient. Given your one fund in taxabe premise,...
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Life Stategy Growth Fund - taxable account
Replies: 10
Views: 785

Re: Life Stategy Growth Fund - taxable account

You should take another look at the Roth IRA rules before you discard that idea.
A separate question is do you really want to switch your house down payment $$ from 0% stocks to 80% stocks?
by Mike Scott
Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Want to buy $5k Paper i-Bond: Do I have prepay tax before 2019?
Replies: 9
Views: 1035

Re: Want to buy $5k Paper i-Bond: Do I have prepay tax before 2019?

"The deadline for paying Q4 1040ES payments via one of the online payment services, pay1040.com, is Jan 1st 7AM Eastern Time, rather than the IRS deadline of Jan 16th 2019."
by Mike Scott
Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Better options for emergency Fund than Ally CDs/Savings?
Replies: 20
Views: 2674

Re: Better options for emergency Fund than Ally CDs/Savings?

Ally works. Their CDs are competitive also. I would still check them periodically just to stay in touch with rates. I can't imagine setting it up and letting it roll for years without checking their status and rates. There are several other bank/credit unions that will do about the same. There are s...
by Mike Scott
Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Minimizing losses-what if anything are you doing
Replies: 18
Views: 1785

Re: Minimizing losses-what if anything are you doing

Nothing really. Everything but the money market and savings accounts are down. I''m waiting for the next buy date on my calendar which will come at the end of January and it will go as planned whatever happens between now and then.
by Mike Scott
Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: suggest 50/50 portfolio
Replies: 21
Views: 2455

Re: suggest 50/50 portfolio

If you are looking for a single balanced fund at Vanguard... they do have a 50:50 tax managed balanced fund. They also have the balanced Life Strategy funds including 60/40 and 40/60 splits. Look at the options, but I don't see that you need to do anything different right now.
by Mike Scott
Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Struggling to accurately calculate if taking cash advance was worth it
Replies: 28
Views: 1833

Re: Struggling to accurately calculate if taking cash advance was worth it

It's done and so it does not matter anymore. Time to pay it down.
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Asset allocation
Replies: 6
Views: 716

Re: Asset allocation

Stocks are moving themselves in the direction you want to go so I would concentrate on putting new money into the fixed income side to bring it up. Depending on the size of your "pile" this may or may not be enough to make the difference. It may also be a tax loss harvest opportunity to mix in with ...
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making Large Purchases with Credit Card and Immediately Paying Off- Bad for Credit Score?
Replies: 44
Views: 3883

Re: Making Large Purchases with Credit Card and Immediately Paying Off- Bad for Credit Score?

Call and check with your card issuer to see if they are OK with "cycling" your credit limit. Doing it won't effect your credit score but they may block you from doing it or potentially close your account. Ask for a higher credit limit while you are talking with them. This could also be a time to get...
by Mike Scott
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Will you contribute all $6,000 to IRA in Jan or DCA?
Replies: 32
Views: 1957

Re: Will you contribute all $6,000 to IRA in Jan or DCA?

Usually, a bit goes in every month but for now I'm holding enough $ to complete our 2018 IRA contributions until after I do a final tweak on 2018 tax prep and all the final forms are even avaialble. I think I have the new tax plan figured out in my spreadsheet but I want to wait and see where a coup...
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to make monitoring for rebalancing less manual?
Replies: 8
Views: 474

Re: How to make monitoring for rebalancing less manual?

You should seriously consider going to a single balanced fund if this is such a big deal.
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: General Rule for Home appreciation over 25 year+ period?
Replies: 48
Views: 2514

Re: General Rule for Home appreciation over 25 year+ period?

What's your local trend? Our's has had some ups and downs but overall has been pretty flat for almost 20 years.
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Don't put in stocks what you can't afford to lose? Really?
Replies: 16
Views: 2137

Re: Don't put in stocks what you can't afford to lose? Really?

There are degrees of "lose". Individual stocks can and do go to 0. If the Total Stock Market Index goes all the way down to 0, we all have a very different kind of problem.
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does carrying a credit card with a very high limit bother you? Say you have credit card for 50k but never spend more
Replies: 71
Views: 3404

Re: Does carrying a credit card with a very high limit bother you? Say you have credit card for 50k but never spend mor

There are some slight advantages to having higher rather than lower credit card limits but if it bothers you, call and have it reduced. It's not a big deal either way. If you are going for simplicity, it's probably more important to have two cards so that you can use the second card when the first o...
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:19 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Itemizing Strategy as applicable to new tax calculations
Replies: 3
Views: 269

Re: Itemizing Strategy as applicable to new tax calculations

"Bunching" deductions in alternate years is not an uncommon thing. I "pre-paid" deductible items as much as possible at the very end of 2017 and itemized. I will do standard deduction for 2018. I ran the numbers earlier this morning for what to do in 2019 and it looks like 2019 will be another deduc...
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 2018 401k limit is $55K - do you max it out? Why/why not?
Replies: 125
Views: 14483

Re: 2018 401k limit is $55K - do you max it out? Why/why not?

I would max every thing if I had more money but I need to keep something out to buy food and pay the mortgage. :)
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is it time to increase the cash Emergency Fund?
Replies: 51
Views: 3572

Re: Is it time to increase the cash Emergency Fund?

Given the general range of 6 - 12 months of recommended emergency funds, why not move towards the 12 month level using new money? Ignore the "timing" comments if you are discovering that your risk tolerance is not what you thought it was.
by Mike Scott
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Math: How much would you spend to repair this car?
Replies: 53
Views: 2373

Re: Math: How much would you spend to repair this car?

I would have the check engine light and alignment checked and maybe fix that problem and headlight if it is only a few hundred $. Then just drive the dented car while taking the time to find a good deal on a new/different car. Then sell / donate / scrap the old one.