Search found 3202 matches

by dodecahedron
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can/Should early retiree avoid ACA tax credits?
Replies: 34
Views: 2105

Re: Can/Should early retiree avoid ACA tax credits?

Can you just decline the subsidy? Absolutely! Even if you choose to buy a policy on the ACA exchange and your predicted income would qualify you for a subsidy, you are not required to take "Advanced Premium Tax Credits. (APTC)" You can choose an APTC of anywhere from 0% to 100% of the predicted PTC...
by dodecahedron
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9338

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation. I got a laugh out of this. I went to two very well-known universities, both well funded. Received no aid I d...
by dodecahedron
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:09 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does it always make sense to delay SSA?
Replies: 15
Views: 1179

Re: Does it always make sense to delay SSA?

You will not get much of a benefit on your wife's record; if she dies first, your widower's benefit will be less than your own benefit even if your wife waits until 70 to claim and you claim at FRA. If she dies first, the OP can claim his widower's benefits as early as age 60 (or even age 50 if the...
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9338

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Most private colleges are not in a position to be too choosy about full-pay students, but have very limited financial aid funds, are in generally precarious shape, and would like to get as much "bang for the buck" for their scarce financial aid dollars. I thought all financial-aid is need-blind. Ad...
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9338

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation. Are you sure about this ? A significant percentage of students at top schools are south asian and asians. Th...
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9338

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Why should I donate to my alma mater?
Replies: 133
Views: 9338

Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

I graduated 20+ years ago and every year give a token $50-100. I do it mainly to add to their "participation numbers". I have no dreams/plans for my children to attend this school. I also do not keep in touch with any of my classmates, apart from a once every few years meetup... I was on a huge aid...
by dodecahedron
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime - Decline in Delivery Service?
Replies: 60
Views: 5089

Re: Amazon Prime - Decline in Delivery Service?

Amazon performance has been consistently excellent up in this neck of the woods (Upstate NY).
by dodecahedron
Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:18 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Roth IRA Contributions: Still make sense for us?
Replies: 13
Views: 1116

Re: Roth IRA Contributions: Still make sense for us?

If you've maxed other tax-advantaged choices, Roth IRA is perfectly fine. It is always better than taxable. Since your income is fairly high, are you using the Backdoor Roth technique? It's not always better than taxable. Taxable gains are taxed at potentially LTCG rates and losses credited at inco...
by dodecahedron
Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:49 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: To Avatar or Not - Get One? How did you choose?
Replies: 128
Views: 6618

Re: To Avatar or Not - Get One? How did you choose?

I built my Avatar myself (out of Zometools ) and then photographed it. It is not the usual convex Platonic solid with 12 pentagonal faces that usually comes to mind when you think of a dodecahedron. Rather, it is a great dodecahedron , a nonconvex but beautifully regular solid whose faces can be vie...
by dodecahedron
Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Alexa Multi-room feature
Replies: 3
Views: 503

Re: Amazon Alexa Multi-room feature

A440 wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:47 am
Echo and the Dots in the bedrooms throughout the house.
"Echo and the Dots" sounds like a good name for a rock band! :D
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medicare Supplemental Plan F High Deductible
Replies: 18
Views: 1455

Re: Medicare Supplemental Plan F High Deductible

My feelings about the high deductible plan align with those of the OP. I have been on that plan for about ten years and would estimate I’ve saved at least $50,000 over that period for DW and me. Not a bad savings for the very slight inconvenience of using bill pay to shoot off a few small copay che...
by dodecahedron
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Morningstar: Cognitive decline in aging. A strong case for portfolio simplification?
Replies: 98
Views: 7979

Re: Morningstar: Cognitive decline in aging. A strong case for portfolio simplification?

As far as the US Treasury, I don't know their procedures, but the IRS does know when someone has died and if a tax return has been filed or not. The normal procedure for getting a refund that would have been due to the deceased is for the executor to file the final return for the deceased person an...
by dodecahedron
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about free tax filing
Replies: 9
Views: 863

Re: Questions about free tax filing

But this year I have had little income and big enough deductions to reduce my taxable income to a tiny puddle. I figure I qualify for free filing because of low income. But now I am wondering whether the free options include the forms I will need to itemize deductions and document stock sales. I ju...
by dodecahedron
Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I Cut the Cord yesterday!
Replies: 51
Views: 4467

Re: I Cut the Cord yesterday!

I cut the cord the month after my husband died--after realizing that he was the only TV watcher in the family. That was June 2013. My young adult daughter (who lives with me) and I have not missed it since then (except--a little--during the National Spelling Bee. There are years we have joked about ...
by dodecahedron
Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I-bond inflation irony?
Replies: 35
Views: 3683

Re: I-bond inflation irony?

Of course now: - $5k per person per year, only available as electronic bonds through Treasury Direct and credit cards are not accepted. - $5k paper bond from federal tax refund - Paper bonds may still be cashed at many banks and credit unions and funds are immediately available. - Cashable in 1 yea...
by dodecahedron
Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA or Traditional Health Insurance - Need Insights
Replies: 17
Views: 1295

Re: HSA or Traditional Health Insurance - Need Insights

A question, can HSA be used to fund dental costs (for which we self insure) or are they restricted only to the OOP costs associated with the high deductible health plan. Yes, HSA can fund OOP dental, vision, and pretty much any OOP medical expense that would be itemizable on a Schedule A. So for ex...
by dodecahedron
Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Would David Swensen's advice be different if he wrote his book in 2017?
Replies: 4
Views: 962

Re: Would David Swensen's advice be different if he wrote his book in 2017?

In 2005 Treasuries had a nominal yield of 4.2%. Inflation was 3.4%. So the real yield was 0.8%. Today Treasuries have a nominal yield of 2.3%. Inflation is 1.7%. So the real yield is 0.6%. It seems to me that yields now are almost exactly the same as when Swensen's book came out 10 years ago so I'm...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this "Earned Income," or not?
Replies: 43
Views: 2130

Re: Is this "Earned Income," or not?

The OP's daughter is in a grey area in between these two clearcut cases described above. If she is not "in the trade or business" of being a professional equestrienne, the IRS might deem her prizes to be "unearned hobby income" with gross proceeds reported as Other Income on line 21. How would cont...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is this "Earned Income," or not?
Replies: 43
Views: 2130

Re: Is this "Earned Income," or not?

How is it not a prize? Prizes are taxable but aren't "earned income." Prizes that you don't work for (e.g., lottery prizes) are certainly not earned income and get reported as "Other Income" on line 21 of Form 1040. However, in the case of someone who is in "the trade or business" where they actual...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Declaring Tutoring Income
Replies: 16
Views: 2478

Re: Declaring Tutoring Income

Livesoft, it sounds like overwithholding this month shouldn't be an issue. They already overwithhold during the year by around $2,000 to $3,000 so that should be more than enough to offset any tax underpayments but I still am not 100% sure that the IRS looks at it that way. Yes, the IRS does in fac...
by dodecahedron
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:22 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is it possible to have a Traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k), Traditional IRA, and a Roth IRA account at the same time?
Replies: 23
Views: 1332

Re: Is it possible to have a Traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k), Traditional IRA, and a Roth IRA account at the same time?

Note that if you have a 401(k) with a Roth option as well as an employer match, you will automatically have both a traditional and a Roth, because employer matches MUST go into the traditional account. (Same is true for 403(b) as well.)
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Social Security announces 2.0% benefit increase for 2018]
Replies: 26
Views: 3485

Re: [Social Security announces 2.0% benefit increase for 2018]

Just as an aside Medicare Premiums are also taxable for those with enough MAGI to make them so. (I send 25% of my GROSS SS Benefits back to the government each year). I'm not understanding this comment. Medicare premiums are something you pay. They're not income to you. They are not "taxable". Not ...
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Spending FSA dependent care money
Replies: 7
Views: 729

Re: Spending FSA dependent care money

What makes you think they aren't employees? In addition to factors already mentioned above, a big distinction for babysitters is whether they care for your child in YOUR home (generally IRS would consider them to be your employees) or whether they care for your child in THEIR home (generally IRS wo...
by dodecahedron
Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with unused paint?
Replies: 38
Views: 2556

Re: What to do with unused paint?

Theater groups may be able to use them for painting sets. Contact the high school drama club or local community theater.

If worse comes to worse, my understanding is that an environmentally safe way to dispose is to paint scrap wood (e.g. used pallets), let it dry, and throw out the wood.
by dodecahedron
Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you value your time?
Replies: 97
Views: 4301

Re: How do you value your time?

My understanding of the tax code effects other behaviors as well. When giving someone a $1 tip that is appropriately reported to the IRS, for example, I realize that 6.2% goes to social security (twice if self employed), 1.45% goes to Medicare (twice if self employed), as much as 38% goes to federa...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9972

Re: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]

In general, asset Rothification would be a way to reduce one's attractiveness to a vulture. Why? I don't understand. For essentially the same reason that Rothification reduces one's attractiveness to a predatory AUM financial advisor. Prepaying taxes (possibly in concert with lumping of advance cha...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9972

Re: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]

Now that I have picked my jaw up off the ground, I can think of several things that could have made a huge difference in situations like these: 1) Annuities! If an elderly individual or couple annuitizes (most of) their assets, they become a much less attractive target for an opportunist like Ms. Pa...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Senior citizens can lose everything [to professional guardians via court rulings]
Replies: 111
Views: 9972

horrific cautionary tale in New Yorker: how to protect against something like this

[merged dodecahedron's thread into this existing one - moderator prudent] My jaw dropped farther and farther in horror as I read this New Yorker story about the terrible systematic court-endorsed financial abuse of a number of elders by self-appointed complete strangers who got themselves appointed...
by dodecahedron
Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:55 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds
Replies: 64
Views: 7769

Re: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds

Sometimes there is a confusion as to what constitutes cash. i.e. does it have no variability in value? How liquid does it have to be-- instant like a checking account with an ATM card? Does an early withdrawal penalty make a CD not cash? This is a great question. I have purchased some 5-year broker...
by dodecahedron
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds
Replies: 64
Views: 7769

Re: Peter L. Bernstein: Cash BETTER than Bonds

...Cash loses buying power due to inflation... If "cash" means things like interest-bearing bank accounts, Treasury bills, or money market mutual funds, I don't think it has historically lost buying power to inflation. In a taxable account, I believe that interest-bearing bank accounts, T-bills, an...
by dodecahedron
Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do you LBYM? Why do you save and invest?
Replies: 204
Views: 15713

Re: Why do you LBYM? Why do you save and invest?

Not counting human capital, my late husband and I started with zero net worth when we were in grad school in the late 1970s. Since then, our household has spent well below our means *overall*, but we have definitely had periods when we spent above our means. (E.g., we had an uneven income stream due...
by dodecahedron
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Don't Walk RUN from AT&T - no prorate on last bill
Replies: 13
Views: 1586

Re: Don't Walk RUN from AT&T - no prorate on last bill

By contrast, I was (pleasantly) surprised that after switching my landline service away from Verizon, they sent me a prorated refund check for the unused portion of the month I had already paid for without my even asking for it.
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available
Replies: 15
Views: 1384

Re: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available

I turn 65 in the middle of next year, so will be signing up for the first time. I am happy to see that the plan I had been hoping to use is still going to be available, though with slightly modified details. For those going onto Medicare, one important thing to be aware of is any potential penaltie...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What products do you think will outpace inflation?
Replies: 16
Views: 1454

Re: What products do you think will outpace inflation?

No guarantees of course, but modest home improvements that will reduce future energy and/or ongoing future maintenance costs is my approach. (My local utility is asking for a close to 20% rate increase in electric and gas rates next year. They won't get that much but I am sure they will get somethin...
by dodecahedron
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available
Replies: 15
Views: 1384

Re: 2018 Medicare Plan Details Now Available

I turn 65 in the middle of next year, so will be signing up for the first time. I am happy to see that the plan I had been hoping to use is still going to be available, though with slightly modified details. It is a Medicare MSA (Medical Savings Account) plan with the following features: 1) I can us...
by dodecahedron
Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I'm shocked! [Mother 100% in bonds and annuities]
Replies: 67
Views: 6813

Re: I'm shocked! [Mother 100% in bonds and annuities]

I never asked my mom how her money is invested. Mom asked me if I wanted to go to the bank (She had an RMD check from an annuity, that she wanted to roll over). She told me if I had any questions to ask the advisor. It turns out ALL her 1.5 million is in bonds and annuities getting 3% since 2009. I...
by dodecahedron
Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: FYI- Security issue at PenFed
Replies: 9
Views: 1204

Re: FYI- Security issue at PenFed

I had a lot of trouble opening my PenFed account (I had to make multiple in-person visits (three!) to a brick-and-mortar branch after on-line and phone call didn't work) to invest in their CDs. There are no branches near me, but fortunately a relative I visit regularly (despite the fact that she liv...
by dodecahedron
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter For Survivor(s) / Executors
Replies: 10
Views: 1381

Re: Letter For Survivor(s) / Executors

Thanks Peter. Just out of curiosity, why would a spouse disclaim SS survivor benefits? Perhaps because they were taking 1/2 of spousal benefit but their own benefit would be greater? and Peter replied: Wife would not disclaim SS survivor benefits, but might disclaim an account for which she is name...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:23 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 24
Views: 2437

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

I should have made this point explicitly in my earlier posts, but I didn't. We are talking about real interest rates and changes in real interest rates. We are not talking about nominal interest rates or changes in nominal interest rates. BobK More specifically, I think you need to talk about *afte...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:36 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 24
Views: 2437

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

One thing I learned from Sita Slavov's presentation, which is rather important, is that when interest rates are low, as they have been for the last several years, postponing retirement becomes an increasingly more potent retirement financial tool relative to increasing your pre-retirement savings r...
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:52 pm
Forum: Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community
Topic: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov
Replies: 24
Views: 2437

Re: DC Bogleheads Meeting in Ballston with Sita Slavov

Deleted my previous comment, because I didn't read BobK's comment carefully enough before posting.
by dodecahedron
Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roth Conversions and taxes
Replies: 36
Views: 3831

Re: Roth Conversions and taxes

Given that you're sure you'll ultimately be in the 28% or 33% bracket I think the top of the 25% makes the most sense. Nobody can be *sure* that they will "ultimately be in 28% or 33% bracket" ten (and more) years down the road. Even leaving completely aside the possibility of future tax legislatio...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:01 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?
Replies: 59
Views: 5026

Re: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?

So rebalancing is buy but not hold? There are times (i.e., during decumulation) when simply holding an asset class is actually rebalancing into that asset class. A person in the decumulation phase right now who decides to "hold" his bonds necessarily needs to sell other asset classes to support his...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?
Replies: 59
Views: 5026

Re: What is the main purpose of rebalancing?

I am very strongly of the opinion that there is no more to it than that, as clever as different people might try to be. Also, "dry powder" is a useless metaphor that has no place in investing. My impression is that the use of the term "dry powder" in a financial context comes from Jack Bogle. In an...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1851

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

I've been waiting to see the details on this card. It is potentially a very good deal, but only with BoA's Preferred Rewards, preferably at the top tier, giving a 75% bonus. That will pay 3.5% on travel and dining, and 2.62% on everything else. For train travelers, I would still argue that BoA's no...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1851

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

Those are the terms but we will need to see what the reality is when the data points start coming in. Lots of time people are able to buy airline gift cards and get reimbursed. In general though, I think people who auto disqualify a card based on an annual fee are being a little short sighted. You ...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:40 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1851

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

$95 annual fee? Not interested. You get a $100 travel credit so if you use it it nets out to -$5 annual fee. That annual $100 travel credit is pretty narrowly constrained to incidental charges I would normally try to avoid anyway: Up to $100 annual airline incidental statement credit for qualifying...
by dodecahedron
Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New BOA Premium Rewards Card
Replies: 29
Views: 1851

Re: New BOA Premium Rewards Card

I've been waiting for this news for a while after seeing the initial WSJ article. It was finally revealed today. The card seems weak. https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/premium-rewards-credit-card/ http://www.mymoneyblog.com/bank-of-america-bofa-premium-rewards-card-review.html htt...
by dodecahedron
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vangard Index Fund through Merrill Edge
Replies: 26
Views: 2220

Re: Vangard Index Fund through Merrill Edge

You could save some money by buying the initial amount at Vanguard then transferring to Merrill. That seems to be a lot of unnecessary hassle, which could all be avoided by simply having the account at Vanguard. Not if the desire is to have all the holdings at Merrill. Possibly the OP wants to qual...