Search found 385 matches

by bnes
Sun May 06, 2018 11:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone
Replies: 8
Views: 1393

Re: Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone

As far as I can tell, the house investment seems on part with a "sell and invest" strategy. Both have risks. The quake risk for example is quite real I suppose, but also if there's a quake that might raise the value of the remaining less damaged homes. Would you buy this house as an investment, if y...
by bnes
Sat May 05, 2018 12:40 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone
Replies: 8
Views: 1393

Re: Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone

OP here: there is no cash crunch. With or without the income stream from the house, there's enough to pay for the elder care. The way I see it, it's not a great investment, it's not a terrible investment (to keep it). There's risk. Depending on appreciation would be dumb. Having the house might allo...
by bnes
Wed May 02, 2018 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone
Replies: 8
Views: 1393

Sell vs. Hold Decision on Highly Appreciated House in Tech Zone

I'm seeking some ways to think about a sell vs. hold decision. It is a house in a presently-hot technology city in California. Would sell for $1.2M give or take. Original basis is $36k. Received a 50% step up a year ago based on a $1M appraisal (so $536k basis). The owner is my Mother's living trust...
by bnes
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Office Deduction - Do I Qualify?
Replies: 6
Views: 822

Re: Home Office Deduction - Do I Qualify?

Here's some analysis: https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/issues/2013/jul/20137228.html However, in the absence of a specific requirement by their employer that they work at home, when the “convenience of the employer” requirement is litigated, taxpayers in the past have usually lost. Taxpayers wit...
by bnes
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:25 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home Office Deduction - Do I Qualify?
Replies: 6
Views: 822

Re: Home Office Deduction - Do I Qualify?

A deduction for employees is generally limited by the 2% rule (expenses must be greater than 2% of your AGI), as you have no Schedule C income to write off against. Anyway your home office is likely not for the "convenience of your employer", it's your lifestyle choice. See https://www.hrblock.com/t...
by bnes
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tuition discount, 2% pre-pay, 1% two payment
Replies: 8
Views: 1155

Re: Tuition discount, 2% pre-pay, 1% two payment

Private schools can and HAVE gone bankrupt in our area. This one I know has a $250k backstop, covering any first year losses.
My basic feeling is the 2% discount is not rich enough to interest me.
by bnes
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tuition discount, 2% pre-pay, 1% two payment
Replies: 8
Views: 1155

Tuition discount, 2% pre-pay, 1% two payment

I'm staring at at a private elementary school tuition form. I can pay 10 equal payments, or get a 2% discount for a single lump sump, or a 1% discount for two payments. Tuition is non-refundable and due even if the kid withdraws (though they'd have trouble collecting it in the case of the staged pay...
by bnes
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:38 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Make sense to setup 529 for high school junior?
Replies: 19
Views: 1653

Re: Make sense to setup 529 for high school junior?

Keep in mind you can switch beneficiaries on a 529 plan. So once the first kid is out, switch to the 2nd kid.
The 529 advantage is primarily in sheltering earnings from tax, so you have to have earnings.
by bnes
Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]
Replies: 71
Views: 8729

Re: $12,000 Refrigerator? [Looking in $7k price range]

I think people comparing it to expensive cars hit the nail on the head. You get some advanced features, over-engineering, premium materials, prestige and looks. Don't ignore life cycle costs. What will the fridge(s) cost you over a lifetime of use? How many cheaply made throwaway fridges will you n...
by bnes
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Check Received: What to do?
Replies: 22
Views: 2726

Re: Check Received: What to do?

In a similar situation I endorsed with "My Name on behalf of Name on Check".
I told no lies.
The check cleared.
Nobody ever complained.
by bnes
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Handling a family loan left unpaid at death
Replies: 5
Views: 1630

Handling a family loan left unpaid at death

An elderly relative of mine made a loan to younger relative for some hundreds of thousands of dollars, secured by a lien on real property. There was a promissory note and a 5% interest rate. There was no penalty for late payment, and in fact no payments were ever made, and all attempts at collection...
by bnes
Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

Has the family talked about getting some kind of guardianship for this person? It might be possible if the family member's doctors were willing to cooperate. The individual distrusts doctors, and won't see one. A separate friend had similar problems. The parents were able to get help only after the...
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non Stick frying pan
Replies: 73
Views: 7140

Re: Non Stick frying pan

Cast Iron works great here, and we're not afraid to use soap to clean them either. After a few years the seasoning gets seriously baked on, I have found no reason to worry about it. The only way to permanently kill a cast iron pan is to leave it wet after use.
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:23 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do I Have Enough In My Emergency Fund?
Replies: 22
Views: 3464

Re: Do I Have Enough In My Emergency Fund?

Here's my situation: I am 41, no wife and no kids, in good health with a stable career, am not a home owner just yet, and live in a major metropolis area with an abundance of jobs. Do you maintain health insurance? That would reduce risk more. Given the low risk consider Series EE Savings Bonds. Yo...
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

Whoa ... I just noticed the lack of a "K" on the second mortgage. Is there really a second mortgage in default with only $275 (two-hundred-seventy-five dollars) that the young person has not been willing to pay ? I missed that because I never imagined that anybody would default and risk losing a $6...
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

I am still confused. Does the horrifically irresponsible family member not care if they loose the house and is therefore unwilling to sign anything to keep that from happening? Do they have a loan for 100k as first and then a family loan for 275k? for second? The family member may be unable to face...
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

The family elected to pay the back amount to pull the 1st out of foreclosure, and stop the fee accumulation. That just happened. There was no indication the 1st holder was willing to negotiate. Let me be clear: the family wants to keep the individual in the house even if it is expensively stupid to ...
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best credit card options??
Replies: 18
Views: 3085

Re: Best credit card options??

Consider also having a card for use during foreign travel. Both the quality of the exchange rate and the fee are important, some cards charge 3% or more in fee. The DoubleCash from Citi is a good card, with an above average set of web services.
by bnes
Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which funds would you pick, given this constrained list?
Replies: 7
Views: 1008

Re: Which funds would you pick, given this constrained list?

What kind of leverage does gnma fund use? Is it really leveraged or j just a futures transaction? Not clear to me. But bonds are 150% of the portfolio: http://portfolios.morningstar.com/fund/summary?t=PAGNX®ion=usa&culture=en-US http://ibd.morningstar.com/article/article.asp?id=639215&CN=brf295,...
by bnes
Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Replies: 146
Views: 14499

Re: Is Amazon Prime worth it?

Is it a deal? Well, follow the money. Prime is a prime driver of Amazon's profits (See https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/03/25/how-prime-makes-amazon-profitable.aspx ). So somebody's making money, and overall it's not the consumer. Prime is a huge tease, as there are a few high quality sho...
by bnes
Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Which funds would you pick, given this constrained list?
Replies: 7
Views: 1008

Which funds would you pick, given this constrained list?

Yep, these are my only choices for a given employer HSA plan, currently sitting at $20k. The Vanguard 500 fund at 0.04% seems good for the "domestic" stock component. But what would you suggest for a fixed income/bonds portion? Note I'm in California, so HSA earnings are taxable. Investment Name Tic...
by bnes
Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you let your teenager spend all his savings on a gaming computer?
Replies: 123
Views: 9245

Re: Would you let your teenager spend all his savings on a gaming computer?

I'd require that he budget for games cost also. Use this as a teaching moment to start with budgeting or even a personal loan (in case the computer is more expensive than expected)
by bnes
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:16 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

Foreclosure is not worth it to the family: the family knows that if the house is lost, the "owner" will end up in some other relative's basement. Family situations suck. The family has just decided to pay it all off, with or without cooperation, effectively folding it into a new note which probably ...
by bnes
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 9668

Re: Personal loan to a family member

Yeah, I'm dealing with the version where the family member turned out to be a deadbeat, despite having a recorded official note and lien. And because the family wants the person to stay in the house (and not bum housing off yet other relatives), there's no leverage to resolve the situation. Consider...
by bnes
Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how to destroy hard disk with personal info
Replies: 99
Views: 10192

Re: how to destroy hard disk with personal info

Screws: they're there, just under labels.
Take it apart, run a magnet over each platter, and toss the mess into a metal recycling bin (with the electronics in e-Waste).
Done. Really done.
by bnes
Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Re: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

OP here: the situation is that the family wishes to keep the homeowner in place, in the house. But there's not enough committed money available to deal with all the debts: this is an attempt to negotiate some sort of discount. I can see that with an above water house, and the opportunity to tack on ...
by bnes
Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water
Replies: 27
Views: 3484

Structuring payoff offer for house in foreclosure, above water

I am tasked with making a payoff offer on a home in foreclosure. The 1st is $100k, the 2nd $275k, with $78k in IRS lien. The house is worth maybe $600k, but has been trashed, and would present some difficulties in sale. But basically the lender can recoup their costs in foreclosure. I have cash avai...
by bnes
Mon May 15, 2017 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting a periodic transfer / Dealing with a fiscal beggar
Replies: 26
Views: 3232

Re: Setting a periodic transfer / Dealing with a fiscal beggar

If they refuse to open an account, then I refuse to help. Sorry, but conceding to the demands of someone who is begging makes no sense to me. Worse, someone who is dodging unpaid taxes. The situation sucks, but family situations often suck. Note Bluebird looked attractive, but so many places don't ...
by bnes
Mon May 15, 2017 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees
Replies: 49
Views: 6496

Re: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

Debit card transactions often carry the same fees as credit card transactions, so by using " bank debit card with local merchants" you're actually doing the very thing you're attempting to avoid. Some processors have a flat rate, but any merchant with some volume or smarts gets access to lower rate...
by bnes
Mon May 15, 2017 12:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: American Funds beat out Vanguard Index over lifetime?
Replies: 63
Views: 11741

Re: American Funds beat out Vanguard Index over lifetime?

Let's be clear that 5.75% is "worst case" for American Funds. First, in a company plan you may pay 0%. Second, retail customers pay a sliding scale: Investment Amount and Account Value Less than $25,000 - 5.75% $25,000 to $49,999 - 5.00% $50,000 to $99,999 - 4.5% $100,000 to $249,999 - 3.5% .... $1 ...
by bnes
Sat May 13, 2017 7:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting a periodic transfer / Dealing with a fiscal beggar
Replies: 26
Views: 3232

Setting a periodic transfer / Dealing with a fiscal beggar

What options are there to provide, say, $2000/month in support to an relative who refuses to maintain a bank account? I've looked into various visa/mc debit cards, but the fees are high and the procedures not well tailored to the need (for example many cards can't be refilled without the card presen...
by bnes
Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees
Replies: 49
Views: 6496

Re: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

OP here. To steer this back on track: We're going to get and use a credit card. I'd like to know in advance what "fee level" the issuing bank gets. Is there a reliable way to shop for cards, that shows the Interchange Fee category? -- In answer to above: I know many merchants pay a flat fee, and the...
by bnes
Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees
Replies: 49
Views: 6496

Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

I'm shopping for new credit cards for my parents. I'm aware that the "interchange fee" varies based on card benefit level (here's a guide): https://www.helcim.com/us/pricing/visa-mastercard-interchange-rates/ For example the interchange rate set by Visa for a Visa Debit is as low as .8% + 15 cents, ...
by bnes
Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card
Replies: 12
Views: 1659

Re: Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card

I use the Chase Liquid card for my son. I control how much money is put on the card, and I can instantly transfer money when needed. My son has been literally standing in a checkout line and I can transfer instant credit money to him via my phone, computer or iPad. It is the only card I know of tha...
by bnes
Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card
Replies: 12
Views: 1659

Re: Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card

A clarification from the op : This is not about credit vs. cash, but rather about offering a limited leash piece of plastic to the dependent. The balance will be paid every month. There's no employer involved. And there are an increasing number of card-only fiscal needs in life, most notably much o...
by bnes
Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:36 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card
Replies: 12
Views: 1659

Setting up a Credit Card for a Fiscally Irresponsible Dependent: Managed Limited Card

Is there a type of credit card that the holder can tightly manage, on behalf of an authorized user? In this case the authorized user would be a dependent unable to manage her own affairs fully. Access to a credit card is pretty much a requirement these days for work, life and even recreation. Gettin...
by bnes
Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:53 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Taxation of credit card rewards (cash back and signup bonuses)
Replies: 25
Views: 4229

Re: Taxation of credit card rewards (cash back and signup bonuses)

Here's a nice edge case for you: I purchase goods for clients, and airline tickets to fly for clients. I am required to submit exact invoices and am reimbursed to the penny. But my card accounts accrue statement credit, as do flier miles. Especially with the flier miles it's unclear what the value i...
by bnes
Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Loan Not Being Repaid
Replies: 41
Views: 4639

Re: Loan Not Being Repaid

toofache32 wrote:Send him a 1099-C so he will have to pay taxes on his gift. He can run from you but he cannot run from the IRS.
Awesome advice. But maybe start with the threat of filing 1099-C.
by bnes
Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Who do you trust when there's no one to trust? (and it involves trusts)
Replies: 47
Views: 4749

Re: Who do you trust when there's no one to trust? (and it involves trusts)

You can contact a big anonymous bank, and set up a trust in your own name. Nobody specific has to know your details, and your account will be handled by the next most junior employee in line at the bank. You can write your own rules: and the bank is obligated to follow them, even in the case you are...
by bnes
Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Deductions On My Father's Estate?
Replies: 22
Views: 3224

Re: Tax Deductions On My Father's Estate?

Will there be a problem if the estate reimburses me? For properly documented expenses, there is no problem with the estate reimbursing. It just like a plumber who did work but did not get around to billing you for some months: the bill is due when presented. The estate files form 1041, you file you...
by bnes
Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Super low ETF expenses from Schwab now.
Replies: 4
Views: 750

Re: Super low ETF expenses from Schwab now.

Kind of amazing they are reducing ER for everyone, rather than creating new share classes for new purchasers. Good for the lazy.
by bnes
Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone ordered a tuff shed from Home Depot?
Replies: 4
Views: 1034

Re: Anyone ordered a tuff shed from Home Depot?

batpot wrote:Can anyone confirm that this is the case?
Confirmed, it's the case. They build it on site, paint it on site. But why not order directly from Tufff Shed?
The one I ordered has been a champ: well built, no problems.
by bnes
Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New phone and Verizon Wireless contract pricing
Replies: 14
Views: 1849

Re: New phone and Verizon Wireless contract pricing

Or, a way that seems really bogglehead compatible: Purchase a one generation back smartphone (the Nexus 5X for example dipped to $250 for a while). Get pay as you go service from a reseller like Ting ( https://z26qaj3liq9.ting.com/ ). $6 line fee, shareable buckets of voice/text/data. Replace the ba...
by bnes
Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Deductions On My Father's Estate?
Replies: 22
Views: 3224

Re: Tax Deductions On My Father's Estate?

The right way to handle this was for the estate to directly pay those expenses.
The correction is to have the estate reimburse the individuals who made the expenses.
by bnes
Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Long Term Care Insurance Premium Increase
Replies: 29
Views: 3865

Re: Long Term Care Insurance Premium Increase

The CalPers LTC rate increases are the subject of a class action claim:

http://www.calpersclassactionlawsuit.co ... pdate.html
by bnes
Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seeking others denied by CalPERS LTC to compare notes with
Replies: 0
Views: 1618

Seeking others denied by CalPERS LTC to compare notes with

My terminally ill cancer stricken parent was denied coverage under a CalPERS Long Term Care coverage plan. Based on others in a cancer support group, this is now common procedure: the stories came out of others denied at first regardless of circumstance. This is unfortunate, as it happens right when...
by bnes
Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comcast incorrectly told us there was an internet line - now what? - solved
Replies: 47
Views: 3997

Re: Comcast incorrectly told us there was an internet line - now what?

Had same thing happen. Bait... and switch. In my case nothing ever was done about it.
by bnes
Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2475

Re: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

ResearchMed wrote:It was a support group for the relative(s) that I was suggesting.
Right. That's what's not close enough for the relatives to attend. There's a group an hour away I found because of your link.
by bnes
Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cancelling Credit Card After Switch?
Replies: 10
Views: 1320

Re: Cancelling Credit Card After Switch?

In general, for financially responsible people:
Keep your oldest card, for credit history reasons.
Always keep a backup card, from a different company. I keep two backups: one in the wallet, the other says at home.