Search found 176 matches

by scotthal
Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What I don’t understand about Donor Advised Funds...
Replies: 57
Views: 5060

Re: What I don’t understand about Donor Advised Funds...

Odd query - I've tagged my Fidelity DAF as beneficiary for my traditional IRA. Are there any significant drawbacks to doing so?
by scotthal
Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Am I understanding this right about DAFs? If so...wow
Replies: 41
Views: 6276

Re: Am I understanding this right about DAFs? If so...wow

Thanks for the all the good information. We are 32% fed + 6.3% NJ so looking for some tax efficiencies. Is there a limit to the DAF initial transfer that would't be allowed because of income? We were only able to take the std. deduction for 2018. I assume all medicare + AARP + rx + copays + dental ...
by scotthal
Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: The capital gains cliff (27% tax)
Replies: 35
Views: 3599

Re: The capital gains cliff (27% tax)

I oft obsess over the 27% marginal tax, & use it whilst gaming even/odd year tax strategy. Big concern, however, is dealing with the FY19 60,000% marginal cliff.. oops, dropped a couple of zeroes (rounding error) 6,000,000%. Appears a $0.01 diff in MAGI can trigger a >$600 surcharge. My bad.
by scotthal
Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good
Replies: 128
Views: 15378

Re: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good

Reviews say the NVH is appreciably worse than the competition (Honda/Mazda/Subaru); & that Toyota plans to address the problem 'next year' ... What is NVH and can you elaborate on the issue? NVH == noise, vibration, & harshness. Ex (Consumers Reports): "The RAV4’s ride is stiff and a little jumpy, ...
by scotthal
Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good
Replies: 128
Views: 15378

Re: New 2019 RAV4 is now out - looks good

Reviews say the NVH is appreciably worse than the competition (Honda/Mazda/Subaru); & that Toyota plans to address the problem 'next year' ...
by scotthal
Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Close my AT&T Universal Card?
Replies: 43
Views: 5541

Re: Close my AT&T Universal Card?

Another 1990 'charter member' here - rarely use the card, but keep it active for the sake of longevity (average credit age 15yrs 4 mon). Hadn't realized a 'product change' could retain original issue date - will have to give Citi DoubleCash a try.
by scotthal
Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Tax 2018 Forms Now Online
Replies: 65
Views: 5325

Re: Vanguard Tax 2018 Forms Now Online

Downloaded my Consolidated Form 1099 today, but TurboTax is (as of 7pm PST) claiming that it won't be available for import until the 29th.
by scotthal
Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: NY Times $1 per week digital
Replies: 41
Views: 6065

Re: NY Times $1 per week digital

Bought in to this - figure a 'free press' still has to cover it's bills. Have donated to theguardian & huffington; rarely read more than a couple of nytimes articles per day (freebie). That said, I respect their reporting, & wanted to keep 'em solvent.
by scotthal
Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:50 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: VBILX dividend not received
Replies: 3
Views: 526

Re: VBILX dividend not received

My experience over that past couple of years is that VBILX dividends hit on the first business day of the month. First one FY18 was 01/02/2018, most recent was 12/03/2018; I expect that next one tomorrow - 01/02/2019.
by scotthal
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Fund for small donors - my experience
Replies: 49
Views: 3106

Re: Donor Advised Fund for small donors - my experience

Luv DAFs - I have two; Fidelity & Vanguard. Simplifies donation of appreciated securities, facilitates bunching for tax purposes, allows anonymity. Tagged my Fidelity DAF as sole beneficiary to my traditional IRA.
by scotthal
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Vague Deposit Transactions from Funds
Replies: 3
Views: 410

Re: Vague Deposit Transactions from Funds

Odd coincidence - dollar amounts look to be roughly equal to the difference in expense ratios between admiral & institutional shares (0.02%/yr).
by scotthal
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I roast my own coffee?
Replies: 43
Views: 3158

Re: Should I roast my own coffee?

Part of the joy of small batch home roasting (I do a ~150gm load) is having multiple varieties of beans in the 'fresh roast' window. I like to switch off daily. Rwanda yesterday, Ethiopia/Sumatra today, Majirani Blend tomorrow morn. Have been using a modified West Bend Poppery I three to four times ...
by scotthal
Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Negotiating for a new Toyota.[my fault comparing apples and oranges]
Replies: 36
Views: 5794

Re: Negotiating for a new Toyota.[my fault comparing apples and oranges]

Don't know if it's relevant, but I priced a VW through CostcoAuto.com a couple days back. Offered deal (at $2300 below MSRP) is better than the TruCar average, & a few hundred less than I can easily get elsewhere -dealership salesfolk saw the hardcopy quote, & couldn't meet (much less beat) it. Figu...
by scotthal
Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbo Tax- Foreign Tax question.
Replies: 8
Views: 1236

Re: Turbo Tax- Foreign Tax question.

I worked it both ways. Went back to the initial answers as suggested and it seems I am one of the odd ones where taking it as a deduction was more useful. Does anybody have any ideas why it would be the case. Thanks everybody. Your foreign tax credit may have been limited for the year; there's a co...
by scotthal
Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Donor Advised Funds - Watch the fees
Replies: 7
Views: 1117

Re: Donor Advised Funds - Watch the fees

afan wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:43 pm
Interesting. Why have two DAF's?
Vanguard Charitable for the ease & short turnaround (often same day) for donating appreciated assets held at Vanguard; Fidelity Charitable for the granting flexibility & lower grant minimums. As long as both accounts are above $20K, fees are a wash.
by scotthal
Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Donor Advised Funds - Watch the fees
Replies: 7
Views: 1117

Re: Donor Advised Funds - Watch the fees

I have DAFs with both Vanguard & Fidelity, Bulk of my assets are Vanguard, & I donate chunks of appreciated assets to Vanguard Charitable. I use the Fidelity account for donations, & fund it with an annual grant from the Vanguard account. Set up of the Fidelity account was easy - I did it online (wi...
by scotthal
Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Owning vs Renting -- A thought on taxes and returns
Replies: 13
Views: 1995

Re: Owning vs Renting -- A thought on taxes and returns

The capital gain advantage only applies to homes used as an investment. When I purchase the home I like and I don't sell it, I couldn't care less of capital gains. It reminds me of those who buy cars based on depreciation. I'm not in the business of selling cars, but in the one of enjoying driving ...
by scotthal
Fri Nov 24, 2017 12:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help DW gets fired, but then next day her boss offers her job back
Replies: 156
Views: 17156

Re: Help DW gets fired, but then next day her boss offers her job back

FWIW - in some states, going back to work at a significantly reduced salary restarts the clock for unemployment benefits. It's a 'new' job. If she accepts the position, works a couple of weeks, then gets dumped, she's screwed. No unemployment benefits, no recourse.
by scotthal
Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help DW gets fired, but then next day her boss offers her job back
Replies: 156
Views: 17156

Re: Help DW gets fired, but then next day her boss offers her job back

Heck - I'd say stay fired, & collect unemployment insurance whilst searching for a less stressful position (with a sane boss).
by scotthal
Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using a donor-advised fund to minimize taxes
Replies: 34
Views: 3796

Re: Using a donor-advised fund to minimize taxes

Oddly, the marginal tax rate (& thereby the DAF tax savings) tends to be higher for bogleheads in the 15% bracket than those in the 25% bracket. How can a marginal tax rate be higher for those in the 15% bracket than those in the 25% bracket? :confused If you're in the 15% bracket, the deduction re...
by scotthal
Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Using a donor-advised fund to minimize taxes
Replies: 34
Views: 3796

Re: Using a donor-advised fund to minimize taxes

Oddly, the marginal tax rate (& thereby the DAF tax savings) tends to be higher for bogleheads in the 15% bracket than those in the 25% bracket.
by scotthal
Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor advised fund at Vanguard or elsewhere?
Replies: 49
Views: 5954

Re: Donor advised fund at Vanguard or elsewhere?

I maintain DAFs at both Fidelity and Vanguard. Most of my investments are at Vanguard, and the turnaround on donating appreciated assets typically takes a single business day. I use the Fidelity DAF for all of my charitable donations, and fund it with grants from the Vanguard DAF. A bit more complic...
by scotthal
Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategy for smartphones.
Replies: 31
Views: 4071

Re: Strategy for smartphones.

FWIW - In a recent court filing, Apple asserts that customers should not expect their iPhones to last more than a single year. But in a class-action court case over the widespread premature failure of tens of thousands of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, Apple argues that the company cannot guara...
by scotthal
Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:53 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Costco vs. Amazon - Thoughts of Prime Members?
Replies: 80
Views: 13709

Re: Costco vs. Amazon - Thoughts of Prime Members?

I'm equidistant from my nearest Costco & Whole Foods storefronts; both are between me & the library ... my Amazon Prime membership gives me fast shipping, a lot of choice (items often not carried by Costco), & a 3% bump in cashback awards. Savings at Costco easily cover the membership fee - I save $...
by scotthal
Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees
Replies: 49
Views: 7812

Re: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

FWIW - my dentist (these past 30+ years) offers a 5% cash discount for payment by cash or check. They save on processing fees :: billing cost. I save on out_of_pocket. Win! On the flip side, once charged a new heating system ($5K+) because the credit card surcharge was significantly less than the ca...
by scotthal
Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keurig Coffee Makers
Replies: 57
Views: 7493

Re: Keurig Coffee Makers

Braun wasser ... (ref: Bagdad Cafe). Keurig turns out stale, watery coffee. Have achieved something drinkable w/2 pods per cup (4oz setting), but the beast trades off convenience against flavor & aromatics.
by scotthal
Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Difficulty reconciling Amazon charges to Chase Amazon Visa
Replies: 23
Views: 4479

Re: Difficulty reconciling Amazon charges to Chase Amazon Visa

The only time I've seen multiple charges for a single order is when it gets split into multiple shipments w/differing ETA's. Annoying, but worth it for the 5% cash back.
by scotthal
Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Sleep well or not ? [Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt]
Replies: 45
Views: 11101

Re: Sleep well or not ? [Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt]

I'm retired, living off the portfolio, & trying to stay in the 25% bracket. Hold $200k+ VWIUX in taxable as 2nd tier emergency (or <3year spending bucket); toggling to:from VBTLX to harvest short term losses. Changes in fund NAV don't muck with my sleep schedule, & can be an opportunity.
by scotthal
Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Fund options
Replies: 23
Views: 3752

Re: Donor Advised Fund options

I currently have a Vanguard DAF, as the bulk of my appreciated assets are held at Vanguard. Asset transfer is very fast & valued at same (or next) day end of day prices. I'm planning to open a Fidelity DAF later this year, funded by a grant from my Vanguard DAF - Fidelity's granting options are defi...
by scotthal
Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2016 Oregon Form 1099-G shows Kicker instead of Refund
Replies: 19
Views: 9172

Re: 2016 Oregon Form 1099-G shows Kicker instead of Refund

If the kicker amount was greater than your actual refund, I'd guess you'd report the kicker amount as income, & the difference as Oregon taxes paid in FY16.
by scotthal
Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Theater Projector
Replies: 10
Views: 1319

Re: Home Theater Projector

I've been using a projector as my primary viewing rig for more than a decade - rec room is below grade, so ambient light has never been a problem. Had a 55" LCD for awhile, but got rid of it when I realized that it had been sitting behind the drop down screen for nearly two years w/o ever being turn...
by scotthal
Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Casio G Shock radio wave solar watches
Replies: 11
Views: 2462

Re: Casio G Shock radio wave solar watches

I have two - a GW-500A (bought in 2005), & a GW-M850 (2014). Band, case, batteries have all held up; the only problem I've encountered is that a scum of sweat & suntan lotion tends to accumulate on the face adjacent to the bezel. Reduces the efficiency of the solar cells.
by scotthal
Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just Learned about donor advise fund (DAF) and thinking of jumping in before year end.
Replies: 18
Views: 4329

Re: Just Learned about donor advise fund (DAF) and thinking of jumping in before year end.

FWIW - If you decide to donate appreciated stock/fund shares to a DAF, 'tis best done before the ex-dividend date, so the undistributed (& untaxed) capital gains are still included in the share price.
by scotthal
Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Products to cope with other drivers' LED headlight
Replies: 66
Views: 16082

Re: Products to cope with other drivers' LED headlight

Color temp on HID and LED headlights tilt much further towards the blue end of the spectrum than the older incandescent tech. Yellow tinted glasses should reduce glare - improving your comfort level without doing much damage to overall visibility.
by scotthal
Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Printer/Copier recommendation for home use
Replies: 18
Views: 3034

Re: Printer/Copier recommendation for home use

I'm fond of my Brother HL-L2380DW laser - cost me $100 (BestBuy). Supports Google cloud print from my Android tablet(s), Apple airprint, networked printing from my Windows desktop, standalone B&W copying, & color scans. Generic toner cartridges are cheap & work well. Few complaints, other than the c...
by scotthal
Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VW Jetta TDI Settlement
Replies: 9
Views: 1395

Re: VW Jetta TDI Settlement

Another option might be to buy a "new" 2015 Jetta TDI - VW has a cache of TDI vehicles that they can't legally sell until they're fixed. Prices should be quite reasonable (well below original invoice), and they'll carry the court mandated ?10 year extended warranty on all emissions related gear. I'm...
by scotthal
Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Coffee makers: Moka, French Press, etc.
Replies: 64
Views: 6671

Re: Coffee makers: Moka, French Press, etc.

I have: an Aeropress, Yama vacpot, Bialetti moka pot, Bodum 4c french press, Gevalia 4c (cone) drip, ... My goto day_to_day is a Krups Moka Brew. Aeropress turns out excellent coffee, a cup at a time. Vacpot excels for the fruit bomb Ethiopians & aromatic central Americans, but doesn't do justice to...
by scotthal
Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blocking robot calls.
Replies: 61
Views: 10392

Re: Blocking robot calls.

This thread is of interest to me. I started a similar thread a while back, without results that I put to use (yet). scotthal - What you seem to suggest is similar to what I'm looking for. Do you have a specific brand or model you can suggest? The Tel-Sentry v2.2 (& it's v2.0 predecessor) both do th...
by scotthal
Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blocking robot calls.
Replies: 61
Views: 10392

Re: Blocking robot calls.

Another option - take a look at automatic blockers with "white list" capabilities. Typical unit allows you to set up a "black list" for call block, "white list" for pass thru, & requires unrecognized callers to to press 0 (or 1) to ring thru.
by scotthal
Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HDTV Question
Replies: 27
Views: 4030

Re: HDTV Question

Both the Bose Lifestyle Model 5, & Samsung HW-K450 are 2.1 audio systems. Dialogue - typically mixed for the center channel - ends up getting redirected : remixed for the left/right speakers, & may be masked by the rest of the sound track. A 3.1 soundbar might work better for you, or one of the more...
by scotthal
Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HDTV Question
Replies: 27
Views: 4030

Re: HDTV Question

Many of the less expensive : manual HDMI switches (costing ~$20) will automatically switch to a freshly powered input.
by scotthal
Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HDTV Question
Replies: 27
Views: 4030

Re: HDTV Question

FWIW - the manual for yr TV shows an optical SPDIF output... but (buried in the fine print) explains that it down converts HDMI audio to two channel; surround sound is only available for over_the_air content.
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

Figure I may replace my 2010 2D TDI Golf with a 2015 TDI Golf Hatch or Sportwagon - could be some decent deals on previously unsold 'fixed' stock, and the extended 10 year / 150K mile warranty should apply.
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

I will get ~$26k for my '12 A3 tdi (~70k miles on it now). We will almost certainly take the offer. It will reset the car-age clock to zero. I'm also very wary of the warranty they state would be offered (to 120k? why bother?) on the fix, and wary of what the car would become after the fix, and we'...
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

Perusing the court attachments, it appears that if you're driving less than 1042 miles per month, the buyback offer can increase over time. Not clear about how mileage adjustment is made. Is it using current mileage at time of vehicle buyout but the adjustment figures from the Sept, 1915 N.A.D.A. b...
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

Perusing the court attachments, it appears that if you're driving less than 1042 miles per month, the buyback offer can increase over time.

In the extreme / edge case, waiting a couple of days to hand off my car could increase the buyback amount by over $400.
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

My initial reading of the court document's executive summary at http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/crb/vwmdl/proposed-settlement#Benefits is that the buyback will be the same: "If a Class Member who owns a car chooses a Buyback, the price Volkswagen will pay for that car is the September 2015 National Aut...
by scotthal
Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?
Replies: 32
Views: 5379

Re: Any VW or Audi TDI owners out there with thoughts on settlement?

I have a very low mileage 2010 Golf TDI - figure I'll take the buyback, but will hold on to the car as long as possible (?09/2018). Car won't depreciate in the interim; dings & dents won't diminish it's cash value; maintenance costs will be minimal. Suspect VW won't be able to get an approved fix fo...
by scotthal
Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TDI Settlement
Replies: 1
Views: 520

Re: TDI Settlement

Kewl! Looks like the buyback value is locked down, w/no additional depreciation (sans mileage adjustments) after 09/2015. Dings, dents, ... even major unrepaired body damage won't have any impact on the cash offer. Kinda nice - fixed per_mile costs, no depreciation, damage doesn't reduce 'resale' va...
by scotthal
Fri May 06, 2016 11:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: *IF* VW buys back my TDI
Replies: 37
Views: 4520

Re: *IF* VW buys back my TDI

Downsides of holding on to yr VW TDI - if totalled, the insurance settlement will suck; older models have a 'fragile' high pressure fuel pump, failure of which destroys the engine (acknowledged by VW, extended warranty service thru ?'018); dieselgate fixes will reduce torque / drive-ability / fuel m...