Search found 222 matches

by mister_sparkle
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: gray hair
Replies: 130
Views: 8639

Re: gray hair

I'm about 60% gray now at age 52 and have resigned myself to this. I see way too many older dudes (especially those in the media) coloring their hair when it obviously doesn't 'match' their overall appearance, and I think it's just a bad look. Maybe if they mixed in some gray with their former color...
by mister_sparkle
Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Alternative to Google Finance? [Portfolios feature deprecated]
Replies: 97
Views: 24271

Re: Alternative to Google Finance? [Portfolios feature deprecated]

As a temporary workaround, I just typed in "1" for the unit value of VMMXX. I figure close enough until they fix the lookup error.
by mister_sparkle
Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Going Sideways/Weird Shipment Problems
Replies: 66
Views: 5951

Re: Amazon Prime Going Sideways/Weird Shipment Problems

I recently bought a Prime membership, and soon thereafter ordered a bunch of LPs that were priced low enough to make it a no-brainer. Only 1 or 2 of them actually shipped out on time, the others I was offered a credit for if I accepted a later delivery date, and those ended up coming 2-3 weeks late...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Prime Going Sideways/Weird Shipment Problems
Replies: 66
Views: 5951

Re: Amazon Prime Going Sideways/Weird Shipment Problems

I recently bought a Prime membership, and soon thereafter ordered a bunch of LPs that were priced low enough to make it a no-brainer. Only 1 or 2 of them actually shipped out on time, the others I was offered a credit for if I accepted a later delivery date, and those ended up coming 2-3 weeks later...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Alternative to Google Finance? [Portfolios feature deprecated]
Replies: 97
Views: 24271

Re: Alternative to Google Finance? [Portfolios feature deprecated]

The new Google Finance page is pretty close to being useless for me now. It has that annoying new trend in modern web layout to have everything in giant text with tons of whitespace, so that the My Stocks view shows only 3 stocks (need to click on View All Your Stocks to see the rest), and the inter...
by mister_sparkle
Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?
Replies: 52
Views: 8065

Re: Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?

Thanks for all the reasoned thoughts. For the time being, I'll stick with the job for at least another year. The issue that's giving me the most pause is the health insurance issue. If I can hold onto working 'til 55, then that gives me 10 years of price stability 'til Medicare. Without that I'm loo...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:41 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?
Replies: 52
Views: 8065

Re: Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?

I haven't yet. I have a bunch of different calculators etc. that I've got downloaded so I'll try to find FIRECalc tonight.
by mister_sparkle
Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?
Replies: 52
Views: 8065

Do I have enough saved to pull the trigger now? Or wait 1? 3? years?

I have begun to hone in on a date where I say goodbye to working and begin to relax and enjoy free time and all that comes with it. And for me the most logical date would be in a little over 3 years when I turn 55, as a) I believe I will have sufficient assets to tide me over until I receive a (smal...
by mister_sparkle
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?
Replies: 10
Views: 993

Re: Taxes Withheld Different For Each Paycheck?

Are your payroll deductions the same with each paycheck, or are some monthly vs. biweekly/semi-monthly (e.g. mass transportation monthly pass)?
by mister_sparkle
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best BBQ in Austin
Replies: 33
Views: 3080

Re: Best BBQ in Austin

Surprised about the lack of La Barbecue. I thought the drop-off in taste was minimal compared to Franklins. But the experience is much better than Franklin's. Shorter line and free beer while waiting. They do ask for donation for the beer though. FREE beer? :shock: I went inside to the 'bar' area a...
by mister_sparkle
Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best BBQ in Austin
Replies: 33
Views: 3080

Re: Best BBQ in Austin

Franklin's is the best BBQ I've ever had, especially their brisket. I haven't been to the Austin Black's locations, but the Lockhart location had fantastic pork ribs. I was in Austin a few weeks ago and tried the new La Barbecue location; the lines are misleading, as it looked like maybe an hour but...
by mister_sparkle
Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Vanguard site is crashed now?
Replies: 188
Views: 17015

Re: Vanguard site is crashed now?

I'm probably not alone in being willing to pay a few basis points more in my VG funds if that meant that their website wouldn't crash during high-demand periods.
by mister_sparkle
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:09 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: U.S. stocks in freefall
Replies: 6752
Views: 1469454

Re: U.S. stocks in freefall

1100. :shock:

edit: Make that 1550
by mister_sparkle
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doubling of Standard Deduction--Really??
Replies: 56
Views: 7641

Re: Doubling of Standard Deduction--Really??

As a Single filer person, my exemptions go from: 2017 - $10,400 ($4050 personal exemption + $6350 standard deduction) to 2018 - $12,000 standard deduction About a 15% increase. Hardly double, but it will reduce my overall Federal tax burden by about $1500 a year, coupled with the lowered tax rates.
by mister_sparkle
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1099-R Tax question
Replies: 8
Views: 1507

Re: 1099-R Tax question

Thanks, that's what I did.

I went into the 5329 form and filled it in based on what happened in 2016, and the instructions are much clearer about what happens if you remove your excess contribution in time. Can't say the same for TT!
by mister_sparkle
Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 1099-R Tax question
Replies: 8
Views: 1507

Re: 1099-R Tax question

In doing my 2017 taxes, I'm encountering an unexpected behavior from TurboTax regarding $6500 in excess Roth IRA contributions I made in 2016 but withdrew in early 2017. The questionnaire asks "Tell us if you contributed more to a Roth IRA than was allowed in 2017 or any other previous year." If I a...
by mister_sparkle
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon to Cricket or StraightTalk
Replies: 70
Views: 7768

Re: Verizon to Cricket or StraightTalk

I went to a Cricket store today and they said that they treat the iPad as a second phone, so it's an additional $40 (or $35) a month, vs. the $20/month I'm currently paying with T-Mobile. Combined with my iPhone, my bill would be the same on Cricket, but I would get 22 gb of high-speed data per mont...
by mister_sparkle
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Verizon to Cricket or StraightTalk
Replies: 70
Views: 7768

Re: Verizon to Cricket or StraightTalk

Does anyone have an idea of how much it costs to add, say, 3 gigs of iPad data to one of these plans, e.g. Cricket?
by mister_sparkle
Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:05 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: completely new, trying to understand minimum investments
Replies: 17
Views: 914

Re: completely new, trying to understand minimum investments

Yeah, you could go with the equivalent ETF. Also the investor shares have minimum of $3k, but I believe that once you hold $10k + the Vanguard shares automatically convert to Admiral shares and you will get the lower ER rate. The Admiral conversion is not automatic based on my experience. Vanguard ...
by mister_sparkle
Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:52 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax forms
Replies: 11
Views: 950

Re: Tax forms

I need the individual state % breakdown for a Federally tax-exempt bond fund I own (VWITX) in order to do my taxes and Vanguard has ignored my message to them regarding when this will be published. Que sera sera... There is usually a table along with the 1099-Div or substitute when that mails. It w...
by mister_sparkle
Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Tax forms
Replies: 11
Views: 950

Re: Tax forms

I need the individual state % breakdown for a Federally tax-exempt bond fund I own (VWITX) in order to do my taxes and Vanguard has ignored my message to them regarding when this will be published. Que sera sera...
by mister_sparkle
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Airbnb - Guide a beginner
Replies: 28
Views: 3175

Re: Airbnb - Guide a beginner

I just had my worst ever Airbnb experience over the New Year's Eve weekend, which has soured me on the site. Basically, the unit we rented was advertised with one, artfully-shot photo, disguising many faults with the cheap furnishings, windows, bedding, bathroom, etc. In addition, the temps dropped ...
by mister_sparkle
Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Should my girlfriend keep her life insurance policy?]
Replies: 4
Views: 454

Re: [Should my girlfriend keep her life insurance policy?]

Depends what the cash will be invested in. If there is no immediate need for the money and it would be dropped into a savings account, for instance, it may pay her to keep the LI if it yields more (say 3%). She can always surrender it at any time in the future. Sometime these old WL policies pay to...
by mister_sparkle
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Should my girlfriend keep her life insurance policy?]
Replies: 4
Views: 454

[Should my girlfriend keep her life insurance policy?]

[Moved into a stand-alone post from Breath of Fresh Air - Leaving Ameriprise --admin LadyGeek] Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd add onto this thread as there is a commonality with Ameriprise. My girlfriend recently said that her life insurance bill was due, so I asked why she had life ...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax Prices
Replies: 186
Views: 25936

Re: TurboTax Prices

Amazon just lowered the price on TurboTax Deluxe 2017 (Federal only, no state) to $29.99. Good enough for me. https://www.amazon.com/TurboTax-Deluxe-Efile-Amazon-Exclusive/dp/B075BBSV5J?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAJ7T5BOVUVRD2EFYQ&tag=camelanonalerts-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeAS...
by mister_sparkle
Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bankers selling high end collectibles
Replies: 20
Views: 2426

Re: Bankers selling high end collectibles

This is a weird thread. :sharebeer
by mister_sparkle
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Cost Basis Method
Replies: 8
Views: 999

Re: Cost Basis Method

Specific ID is generally the recommended cost basis, as it gives you maximum flexibility in choosing which "lots" of funds to sell -- to choose between long-term and short-term, to maximize or minimize gains or losses. Vanguard makes this very easy as they now have to track the cost basis of all pur...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying Health Insurance on the Marketplace - primer?
Replies: 1
Views: 297

Buying Health Insurance on the Marketplace - primer?

I'm trying to help a friend who is self-employed and has income that is variable figure out the various intricacies of the state markets, subsidies (where they kick in), etc. The answer may affect where my friend ends up living, so he's pricing out 2 different locations. Is there a good source of in...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Google Finance Portfolio is about to Disappear
Replies: 6
Views: 1922

Re: Your Google Finance Portfolio is about to Disappear

I use the GoogleFinance feature in many formulas in my master investment tracking Google spreadsheet -- does anyone know if that lookup feature is going away? (Dear god I hope not :D ) Yes, I would like to know this too. One data point -- the Googlefinance price lookup feature is still working as o...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A good friend has nearly $1M in BitCoin what do I tell him?
Replies: 149
Views: 18470

Re: A good friend has nearly $1M in BitCoin what do I tell him?

Granted, he “saw the light” nearly 4 years ago, when BTC was $114. He bought $10K worth. I’m thinking it might be time to take some profits. He is a working stiff, but also a business man and a smart one at that. His opinion is that if if it goes to zero, $10K won’t break him, but if he sells, he m...
by mister_sparkle
Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Your Google Finance Portfolio is about to Disappear
Replies: 6
Views: 1922

Re: Your Google Finance Portfolio is about to Disappear

I use the GoogleFinance feature in many formulas in my master investment tracking Google spreadsheet -- does anyone know if that lookup feature is going away? (Dear god I hope not :D )
by mister_sparkle
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Filing Illinois Income Taxes Online
Replies: 11
Views: 1179

Re: Filing Illinois Income Taxes Online

We have a pretty straightforward, tax return. Filing online through the state is so incredibly easy - honestly the most painful part is entering the W2 details. Does anyone know how the new tax rate that went in effect 7/1 will work in practice? Are they just going to do an average/blended rate? Or...
by mister_sparkle
Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you get your news?
Replies: 131
Views: 10916

Re: Where do you get your news?

Vdare http://www.vdare.com American Renaissance https://www.amren.com/category/commentary/ There are no better sites. From American Renaissance: https://www.amren.com/about/issues/ What we call race realism is what was considered common sense until perhaps the 1950s. It is a body of views that was ...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where do you get your news?
Replies: 131
Views: 10916

Re: Where do you get your news?

TV: ABC national news, ABC local news RSS reader (Feedly): a bunch of different sites/blogs, but I've found that's been supplanted by Twitter and Facebook for the most part. Facebook: Talking Points Memo, Crooks and Liars, Chris Hayes/Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) Twitter: A few dozen accounts. Helps to kee...
by mister_sparkle
Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: My Smartest Financial Moves
Replies: 62
Views: 7189

Re: My Smartest Financial Moves

Going back into the corporate world at age 32 after 8-1/2 years of self-employment. Had tons of fun running my own business, travelled the world, mets loads of great people I still call friends, but I was burnt out on what I was doing, probably depressed, and making only $15K a year, so barely subsi...
by mister_sparkle
Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:46 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: the hurricane damages [Berkshire Hathaway's cash on-hand]
Replies: 25
Views: 3783

Re: the hurricane damages [Berkshire Hathaway's cash on-hand]

Also, many insurers purchase reinsurance to lay off some of their risk, which may be the case with Berkshire Hathaway.
by mister_sparkle
Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:37 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k in-service withdrawals
Replies: 22
Views: 2905

Re: 401k in-service withdrawals

The rep I spoke to made no mention of vesting, so I don't believe that is the issue. The employee benefits manual says that as long as you've been with the company X years, 100% of employer contributions are vested, and I've been here 11 years.
by mister_sparkle
Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:03 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 401k in-service withdrawals
Replies: 22
Views: 2905

Re: 401k in-service withdrawals

Piggybacking on this thread a bit... My employer's 401k plan allows in-service withdrawals of the employer match portion of my account, so I have done that twice so far. Beginning this year, my employer froze our pension plan and in lieu of that has committed to a 4% "fixed company contribution" to ...
by mister_sparkle
Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One -- Again!
Replies: 59
Views: 14039

Re: Capital One -- Again!

To me, it doesn't look all that different -- maybe a bit more "app"-ish with big buttons and larger text and a lot of white space. But yes, no more check images when you click on a deposited check.
by mister_sparkle
Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much money do you want to retire?
Replies: 433
Views: 52912

Re: A poll: How much money do you need to retire?

I am 51 with about $1.1M in assets. Years ago I had targeted $2M as my GTFO milemarker, but lately I've been more focused on refining my calculations based on my actual scenario -- including a pension at 65 and SS at 67 or whatever that number gets moved to by Congress. So right now my GTFO date is ...
by mister_sparkle
Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reversed 2016 Roth contributions, Vanguard still showing 2016 contribution
Replies: 0
Views: 342

Reversed 2016 Roth contributions, Vanguard still showing 2016 contribution

I contributed the max $6500 to my 2016 Roth IRA early in 2016, but wound up needing to reverse the contribution in January of 2017 as I would not be able to contribute anything in 2016 due to filing taxes Married Filing Separately (due to a divorce) and exceeding the $10,000 income limit. I don't re...
by mister_sparkle
Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Capital One 360 - no more free ATMs at 7-11
Replies: 5
Views: 1715

Capital One 360 - no more free ATMs at 7-11

I just got an e-mail from Capital One 360 saying that 7-11 is leaving the Allpoint ATM network effective July 1, so their ATMs will no longer be fee-free for C1360 customers. A bit of a bummer, as 7-11s were shorthand for "free ATM" to me.
by mister_sparkle
Tue May 16, 2017 9:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Sale in Year of Divorce
Replies: 15
Views: 2601

Re: House Sale in Year of Divorce

I don't want to deal with her on anything in the future. It's stipulated in our settlement agreement that we each have to file MFS for 2016.
by mister_sparkle
Tue May 16, 2017 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: House Sale in Year of Divorce
Replies: 15
Views: 2601

Re: House Sale in Year of Divorce

More follow-up questions, now that I'm doing my 2016 taxes (via Turbotax)... We signed a Certification for No Information Reporting on the Sale or Exchange of a Principal Residence form at the time of the sale in 2016, so no 1099-S was issued. No capital gains are due on the sale. So my questions ar...
by mister_sparkle
Sun May 14, 2017 3:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much to tip movers?
Replies: 71
Views: 7962

Re: How much to tip movers?

I have a lot of heavy stuff like books, records, CDs, etc., so I error on the side of tipping super generously -- $120 to $150 per guy for a 4-hour move.
by mister_sparkle
Thu May 11, 2017 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's So Magical About Age 59-1/2?
Replies: 3
Views: 1838

What's So Magical About Age 59-1/2?

Does anyone know the historical basis for why age 59-1/2 was chosen for the age that most people can begin withdrawing from IRAs? I'm assuming it's based on historical longevity statistics but couldn't find anything in the Wikipedia article about the ERISA law of 1974 that created IRAs.
by mister_sparkle
Thu May 11, 2017 10:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Travel tips for first time visitors to England and France?
Replies: 55
Views: 6326

Re: Travel tips for first time visitors to England and France?

For the Eiffel Tower, I recommend buying your ticket months in advance. I went last month and ended up having to buy a ticket with a tour company (Fat Tire Tours) as almost every available timeslot was sold out 6 weeks in advance. There are two levels of the Eiffel Tower and I found that the first l...
by mister_sparkle
Wed May 10, 2017 2:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review/Advice - "Windfall" Funds
Replies: 4
Views: 898

Re: Portfolio Review/Advice - "Windfall" Funds

Thanks for the inputs. I am going to split the baby down the middle and purchase half of my new Bond allocation in VWITX (Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Fund Investor Shares) in my taxable account and sell off some of my USA and International stock funds in my IRAs in order to buy more VBTLX....
by mister_sparkle
Tue May 09, 2017 9:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review/Advice - "Windfall" Funds
Replies: 4
Views: 898

Portfolio Review/Advice - "Windfall" Funds

LadyGeek suggested I post in this forum with my questions concerning investing a large chunk of money from my house sale, so below is my current profile/situation. I am using the Three-Fund Portfolio with a few minor exceptions -- my 401k offers only a few Vanguard funds, so I am using 100% Wellingt...