Search found 366 matches

by bnes
Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Replies: 107
Views: 5467

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: 6
Views: 535

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. Investmen...
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: 114
Views: 5180

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: 17
Views: 1667

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...
by bnes
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Personal loan to a family member
Replies: 114
Views: 6535

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: 7197

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: 17
Views: 1667

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: 17
Views: 1667

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 $275, 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 avail...
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: 2709

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: 5299

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 ...
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: 7638

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...
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: 2709

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: 5299

Re: Avoiding shafting my local merchants with card fees

OP here. To steer this back on track: ⋅  We're going to get and use 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...
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: 5299

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% + ...
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: 1435

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: 1435

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: 1435

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: 24
Views: 3278

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: 4087

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: 4067

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: 2353

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: 653

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: 892

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: 1519

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...
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: 2353

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: 3537

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: 1539

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: 3682

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: 2227

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: 1136

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.
by bnes
Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2227

Re: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

Jill07 wrote:Please check online at nami.org for a support group.Jill


Trying. None close enough for my parents to visit unfortunately.
by bnes
Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2227

Re: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

Anyone have ideas: where could I meet others, hear other stories, of families dealing with dependent adult children? If there is a named condition, perhaps there is a support group specific for that. RM The individual is not interested in seeking a diagnosis. Cash payments have kept her off the str...
by bnes
Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transfer of primary residence to trust: but preserve California Prop 13 Tax Assessment
Replies: 0
Views: 271

Transfer of primary residence to trust: but preserve California Prop 13 Tax Assessment

My parents are over 80, and looking for various reasons to place and manage their primary residence in a trust. California has set of hereditary wealth transfer laws that give significant reductions in property tax if wealth is passed on to descendants. The laws in question are propositions 58 and 1...
by bnes
Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2227

Re: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

Anyone have ideas: where could I meet others, hear other stories, of families dealing with dependent adult children?
by bnes
Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:29 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: "Uncle Sam Pays Almost Twice The Yield On Treasurys--If You Know Where To Look
Replies: 85
Views: 13090

Re: "Uncle Sam Pays Almost Twice The Yield On Treasurys--If You Know Where To Look

I use the EE's for my "emergency fund". Now, that's a fund I have very low risk of ever needing, due to ample other resources. As such, it works for me.
by bnes
Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on Smoke Detectors
Replies: 14
Views: 1580

Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

If it's a small condo, does the HOA take care of life safety? You really want to get this fixed. A simple voltmeter can tell you if the wires up there are hot. You want to test the detectors: press one, see if the others beep. Swap several units and see if the problem is the detector or the ceiling ...
by bnes
Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Threshold for pre-notifying credit card companies?
Replies: 40
Views: 3238

Re: Threshold for pre-notifying credit card companies?

It all seems pretty random these days. Usually though you can call directly from the register and get the thing unblocked with minimal delays. Also some banks text, and you can get it cleared up in a minute or two without speaking with anyone. Your 'profile' is a computer algorithm: no single thresh...
by bnes
Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:58 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Contribution to satisfy RMD
Replies: 29
Views: 2511

Re: Contribution to satisfy RMD

Hold on, what's the tax benefit of the QCD?

With it, the withdrawl of IRA funds goes on line 15a.
Without it, the withdrawal of IRA funds becomes part of gross income, but offset by the charitable deduction.

Is it all the same, for those itemizing anyway?
by bnes
Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2227

Re: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

OP here: The real question here is what trust conditions have worked for others/might work here? For example: a subsidy for work, perhaps providing a fiscal incentive to gain outside income. Or an incentive/penalty related to medications or other interventions for the metal health issues. I know how...
by bnes
Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Resource for dealing with dependent adult children
Replies: 14
Views: 2227

Resource for dealing with dependent adult children

I'm seeking resources or just stories from others who have managed issues surrounding a fiscally dependent adult child, post the death of parents. In this case, she has a pile of related issues: ⋅  Unpaid pills. Negative credit score. No credit. No bank account. ⋅  A history of u...
by bnes
Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents over 80: End of life tax strategies?
Replies: 16
Views: 3109

Re: Parents over 80: End of life tax stragegies?

The RMDs pushing to 25% Federal tax bracket may materially change advice you have already been given. I suggest you edit your original post to reflect this important fact. If I understand you correctly, they are likely in the 25% Federal tax bracket due to RMDs. They are at the margin: just a bit m...
by bnes
Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I go for 0% down, no PMI, on a mortgage in SF?
Replies: 22
Views: 1288

Re: Do I go for 0% down, no PMI, on a mortgage in SF?

I'd say run, don't walk, to an Independent mortgage broker. Shop around. That sure sounds like a sucker loan, don't be a sucker.
With your timeframe in mind some up front fees are probably worth it. Be sure to calculate all the fees: taxes, HOA fees, parking spot lease, etc.
by bnes
Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1984
Views: 331593

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My primary goal is simplicity, so I use the Amazon card for Amazon and maybe a restaurant or two, and Citi Double Cash for everything else.
I maintain separate cards for general, work and homowner expenses ( a percentage of which are home office deductible).
by bnes
Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:18 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA - Knowing the answer but reluctant to get there
Replies: 9
Views: 1158

Re: AA - Knowing the answer but reluctant to get there

Are you better at market timing than professional full time investors?
I doubt it. As long as your time horizon is 10+ years, get things in balance and be happy.
by bnes
Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Gifting whole estate in life
Replies: 77
Views: 5301

Re: Gifting whole estate in life

Claw back. To the extent VA/Medical benefits are received, this could be a classic case for the state clawing back the funds spent.
Overall: you've described the need for a trust.
by bnes
Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents over 80: End of life tax strategies?
Replies: 16
Views: 3109

Re: Parents over 80: End of life tax stragegies?

Bob's not my name wrote:Survivor gets full pension?

Yes, survivor gets full pension. Only an annuity or two drops out. RMD's will likely push marginal to the 25% Federal bracket.
by bnes
Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Try to Fix Old LED TV or Buy New
Replies: 57
Views: 4000

Re: Try to Fix Old LED TV or Buy New

Yes, some things can't be repaired. But many things can. See http://ifixit.org/pledge
by bnes
Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents over 80: End of life tax strategies?
Replies: 16
Views: 3109

Re: Parents over 80: End of life tax stragegies?

OP here: I'm working on taking a messy set of documents and scribbled notes into a proper will. Current pension is enough for living expenses, so the risk of the stock component is not great. Good point that the tax headroom with drop when a joint filing becomes a single filing. Is there an online c...
by bnes
Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents over 80: End of life tax strategies?
Replies: 16
Views: 3109

Re: Parents over 80: End of life tax stragegies?

OP here: I'm thinking definitely don't touch the appreciated stocks, because of the "opposite of death tax" that basis step up provides. And perhaps withdraw from the TIRA up to the 10% or even 15% income limit. A little bit (few hundred) could I think even be put back into a Roth, as ther...

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