Search found 887 matches

by mlipps
Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tiny House Movement
Replies: 139
Views: 20270

Re: Tiny House Movement

I don’t think the issue is living in a larger home versus smaller home. People prefer to spend instead of save and at the end they decide they can’t afford a big home. Why not spend less and instead live in a larger more comfortable home. There is no way that a family of 3 or 4 can have a comfortab...
by mlipps
Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Order of operations" for education tax credits
Replies: 2
Views: 849

Re: "Order of operations" for education tax credits

We do this all the time at my VITA site. You should be fine; I would just prepare a spreadsheet or document clearly laying all of this out for the IRS, and also include a print out of your account statement or similar from the university. As an aside, it's bizarre you didn't get a 1098-T, as I see t...
by mlipps
Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS limits direct deposts of refunds to fight Identity Theft
Replies: 25
Views: 4064

Re: IRS limits direct deposts of refunds to fight Identity T

Epsilon Delta wrote:A PIN or password that is used once a year is not an answer to anything, except to the question "How do we create a customer service nightmare?"
There's a PIN for the FAFSA and it's not that bad.
by mlipps
Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction
Replies: 7
Views: 760

Re: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction

I assume no as well, based on Q16 here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/American-Opportunity-Tax-Credit:-Questions-and-Answers You can't get a tuition and fee deduction and the credit; I assume you can't get the AOTC and deduct education as a business expense as a corollary of that. I am interested in how y...
by mlipps
Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:28 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Getting back to trying to live frugal, correct investments
Replies: 10
Views: 1803

Re: Getting back to trying to live frugal, correct investmen

In one breath you say you want to try to live frugal and in another you say you want to buy two new-to-you vehicles. Unless these are $5k Honda Civics, I think you need to take a step back & look at the bigger picture. You're almost 50, have next to nothing saved for retirement, but make almost doub...
by mlipps
Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction
Replies: 7
Views: 760

Re: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction

Interesting question; my sense is probably not, but shrug. Pub 970 deals with education tax issues. In particular here's a link to chapter 12 'No Double Benefit Allowed' section: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch12.html#en_US_2013_publink1000178702 Yes, I read Pub 970. The part that has me th...
by mlipps
Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction
Replies: 7
Views: 760

Combine Illinois 529 Deduction with Sch. A MBA Deduction

My husband and I have decided that his MBA expenses qualify for the Schedule A "Unreimbursed employee expense". (Let's not debate that here). I know that for most education benefits that no double benefit is allowed, such as using money from a 529 plan and also taking the American Opportunity Credit...
by mlipps
Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Urban garden bed--ideas to deter dog owners
Replies: 44
Views: 7481

Re: Urban garden bed--ideas to deter dog owners

Some people are just contrary though. I don't walk my dogs in gardens, but I do ALWAYS walk on public grass that has a sign that says "Don't walk on the grass," because I think grass is meant to be walked on. So, I think putting a sign to "curb your dog" (also don't know what "curb" means in this co...
by mlipps
Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buyout Offer and Debt
Replies: 16
Views: 1677

Re: Buyout Offer and Debt

If he doesn't have the discipline to stay out of credit card debt, he doesn't have the discipline to parse out the lump sum into an appropriate monthly withdrawal. At 74, I would let the credit cards default & not worry about paying them off. Sounds like he already owns his home; what else could he ...
by mlipps
Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae incorrectly calculating interest?
Replies: 85
Views: 7757

Re: Sallie Mae incorrectly calculating interest?

They're probably rounding an intermediate number that you're not or vice versa. As long as its not even a dollar of difference I think you should find a hobby....
by mlipps
Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fed up with ATT
Replies: 66
Views: 8074

Re: Fed up with ATT

I just give everyone my cell phone number and then use Mr. number app to block spam calls.
by mlipps
Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget or create saving buckets?
Replies: 109
Views: 12177

Re: Budget or create saving buckets?

Just to be clear, I didn't say the above, OP did. :)
by mlipps
Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to send money quickly to parents in Florence, Italy
Replies: 18
Views: 2236

Re: Best way to send money quickly to parents in Florence, I

I think you're over-complicating things greatly. Send them cash via Western Union. The fee is not that high. Some credit card companies will overnight express a card in this kind of situation, either for free or for a nominal fee, depending how "nice" of a card they have. So, they should call the co...
by mlipps
Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?
Replies: 33
Views: 3111

Re: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?

Thanks! I put so much time into it I really want others to get some use out of it before it's obselete! This is an AMAZING resource. Gonna use your sheet when I go to CarMax to get a trade-in value on my 2012 Mustang V6 (for a diminished value claim, but I may look around a bit while I'm there). Tha...
by mlipps
Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?
Replies: 33
Views: 3111

Re: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?

I did an analysis 18 months ago when we replaced our Jeep with a Matrix. My spreadsheet is a little out of date, but you might still find it useful. This was my methodology: -I started with Mr Money Mustache's list of smart cars ( http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-peopl...
by mlipps
Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget or create saving buckets?
Replies: 109
Views: 12177

Re: Budget or create saving buckets?

Here's where I ran into a pitfall with Mint: My husband and I had saved $10k (give or take) to spend on our wedding. Those expenses were going to happen sporadically over the course of 9 months. There was no clear way in Mint to allocate that lump sum, then spend from it over the course of several m...
by mlipps
Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?
Replies: 33
Views: 3111

Re: Moving back to the U.S. - Any ideas on a hatchback car?

Carmax is a great place to test drive all of them with no hassling afterwards. We're very happy with our Toyota Matrix but the Fit is probably the most popular Hatchback currently.
by mlipps
Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget or create saving buckets?
Replies: 109
Views: 12177

Re: Budget or create saving buckets?

btw, I was researching online and found (all free): Mint GnuCash Money Manager EX Not sure if they'll do what we are discussing in this thread, but I'll take a look, along with YNAB. YNAB is manual, as is GnuCash. Mint is automated, but it does what you describe REALLY poorly, which is the number o...
by mlipps
Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Budget or create saving buckets?
Replies: 109
Views: 12177

Re: Budget or create saving buckets?

YNAB is great. You can also do this in the Virtual Wallet version of PNC's accounts. You can do it in the "Reserve" (aka secondary checking) or "Growth" (aka savings) account using the Wish List feature. I love it. Yes, of course it's just mental accounting (it drives my husband nuts), but it works ...
by mlipps
Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New job: Trying to decide on tax exemptions and withholding
Replies: 3
Views: 515

Re: New job: Trying to decide on tax exemptions and withhold

I wouldn't spend any more time on it personally. What's the worst that happens, you have a 3 digit tax bill come next winter? Big deal.
by mlipps
Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bringing Money to Australia - moving help!
Replies: 14
Views: 1130

Re: Bringing Money to Australia - moving help!

It's very easy to set up an Australian bank account as a foreigner, you just need a tax ID number. Not really... You need the 100 point id check (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check) but a TFN is not required if your ok with max withholding. When I went in 2011, I opened a bank account w/o...
by mlipps
Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bringing Money to Australia - moving help!
Replies: 14
Views: 1130

Re: Bringing Money to Australia - moving help!

I would move your US money from your small local bank to Capital One or another internet bank that allows free ATM withdrawals. If you need a large amount of money upon arrival, do a one time wire transfer of a chunk of the money. Then, you can use the ATM for smaller amounts until your wife starts ...
by mlipps
Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:33 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen
Replies: 38
Views: 2550

Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Is it too late to add one more? It drives me nuts when people dig up a year old thread without any real reason other than adding their opinion to it. If you have new information, maybe it's worth PM'ing the OP, but just to chime in on a thread that already had 85 posts is annoying.
by mlipps
Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:08 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Engagement Ring - Diamond Help
Replies: 61
Views: 7446

Re: Engagement Ring - Diamond Help

As a woman, I think cut is very important. I agree that you can probably get away with skimping a bit on clarity and color, although I can definitely tell the difference between my G color 1/2 carat and my friend's likely D color Tiffany's ring. The sparkle of a well cut diamond is what draws anothe...
by mlipps
Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe travel
Replies: 11
Views: 1673

Re: Europe travel

I don't know if this is the best way, but when I worked in Australia & had American student loans to pay, I found PayPal to be the most affordable way to exchange the money. I had to send the money from an Australian paypal account to an American one, both in my own. I'm pretty sure this was technic...
by mlipps
Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Legal? [Employer Paid Time-Off to Flexible Vacation Policy]
Replies: 27
Views: 4035

Re: Legal?

What is a flex vacation model and how does it differ from standard PTO? We haven't received the details, but it appears a flex plan is less rigid than a PTO model where time off is tracked. Vacation time requires manager approval and I am not sure whether it circumvents the mandatory 2 week vacatio...
by mlipps
Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:57 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance mortgage from 15 to 30yr to invest more?
Replies: 8
Views: 1190

Re: Refinance mortgage from 15 to 30yr to invest more?

If you're certain about moving, refinance to a 7/1 ARM.
by mlipps
Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Is having too much credit line a bad thing?
Replies: 10
Views: 1333

Re: Is having too much credit line a bad thing?

Something that surprised me is that the spending includes recent purchases that haven't been billed yet. So if your credit line is low enough, you can have a high credit utilization rate even if you pay off your credits cards every month. Your utilization rate that matters on your credit report wil...
by mlipps
Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family cars for non-drivers.
Replies: 38
Views: 2754

Re: Family cars for non-drivers.

Keep driving the Focus around town & rent a van when you travel.
by mlipps
Fri May 30, 2014 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Simple Camera for Travel?
Replies: 40
Views: 4023

Re: Simple Camera for Travel?

I'm really into making sure you get the best picture but at the same time, I hate DSLRs. I don't want to carry around a 2 bricks while I'm on vacation. Even the compact mirrorless cameras are still 1 brick. Take a look at the Sony RX100 3, version 3 comes out in June this month. I have version 2, c...
by mlipps
Wed May 28, 2014 7:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Moving 1.5 bedrooms 400 miles
Replies: 19
Views: 1896

Re: Moving 1.5 bedrooms 400 miles

I thought you were moving a small house! :) How about a U-Haul? Unless your furniture is very valuable, the cost of hiring moving may be a large sum. And of course, there is risk no matter who moves it, so there is a risk of serious damage. In the past we had many employer-hired movers and usually ...
by mlipps
Mon May 26, 2014 4:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inside Grilling
Replies: 40
Views: 4486

Re: Inside Grilling

Back when I was young and possibly foolish, I used a small charcoal fueled hibachi out on the third floor balcony of the 1 BR apartment we rented. The apt bldg was brick and the balcony was concrete, so not much fire hazard... We had family friends die from a charcoal grill fumes when it was left t...
by mlipps
Mon May 26, 2014 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost retirement options
Replies: 21
Views: 3132

Re: Low cost retirement options

rec7 wrote:Missouri is low cost but humid. How is humidity for COPD?
Its very humid where they live now too, so I don't think that would hurt much. It's definitely worth considering.
by mlipps
Mon May 26, 2014 11:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost retirement options
Replies: 21
Views: 3132

Re: Low cost retirement options

Aren't there any other geographical considerations to help narrow it down? Where do you want to live, where will your job be, what are their hobbies, where are all their children, etc? Our family is all in Ohio, but we're not very close to them. My grandparents have all passed away. I have one sist...
by mlipps
Sun May 25, 2014 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost retirement options
Replies: 21
Views: 3132

Re: Low cost retirement options

4nursebee wrote:Isn't Colorado a lot smokier these days?
I have no idea. If anyone has reliable recommendations for a website to compare air quality stats, I'm all ears. Most of what I can find is up to 20 years old.
by mlipps
Sat May 24, 2014 12:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost retirement options
Replies: 21
Views: 3132

Re: Low cost retirement options

We live in Chicago now, but hope to move next year so ideally we could all find somewhere together, within an hour and a half or so of one another. There are hospitals within 30 min of my parents but the quality is very poor. For example, they have been treating my dad for a few weeks for various in...
by mlipps
Sat May 24, 2014 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: owning more cars a cost-saving measure?
Replies: 16
Views: 3124

Re: owning more cars a cost-saving measure?

My parents have a 15 year old truck as a backup vehicle/for hauling materials for projects. My mom claims it only costs about $10/month to insure so I'm not surprised to hear the same for yours.
by mlipps
Sat May 24, 2014 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost retirement options
Replies: 21
Views: 3132

Low cost retirement options

My parents currently live in a very small town in the Midwest. My dad has COPD and they seem to be finally accepting that they need to move to somewhere that has better healthcare closer by (they are currently 2.5 hours from major hospital) and also with cleaner air (our town has several chemical pl...
by mlipps
Thu May 08, 2014 3:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whole House Air Cleaner vs. Room Air Cleaner
Replies: 5
Views: 563

Re: Whole House Air Cleaner vs. Room Air Cleaner

I just ordered two for my dad, who has COPD. I subscribed to Consumer Reports & looked at their recommendations. They haven't reviewed every model, but it's a good starting point. I think the whole house is generally a better option, for obvious reasons, but the room option can also help if you run ...
by mlipps
Mon May 05, 2014 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: applying for disability without attorney assistance
Replies: 8
Views: 990

Re: applying for disability without attorney assistance

FWIW I am an attorney and I hired a disability attorney to apply for both FERS and SSDI for DW. While it was easy to show that DW could no longer work as a physician (FERS), it was more difficult to show WHEN she could not work at all. She was on long term federal sick leave. A first class attorney...
by mlipps
Sun May 04, 2014 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: applying for disability without attorney assistance
Replies: 8
Views: 990

Re: applying for disability without attorney assistance

Thanks to all & special thanks to bottomfisher for that link, very helpful.
by mlipps
Sun May 04, 2014 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: applying for disability without attorney assistance
Replies: 8
Views: 990

applying for disability without attorney assistance

My father is 61 and has been battling COPD for a long time. His doctor told him at his last apt in March that if he's not much better by summer my dad needs to consider taking disability. He has a follow up appt next month but I know he has not improved. My dad works at a trucking company (managemen...
by mlipps
Fri May 02, 2014 11:43 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Student Loan Frustrations and Retirement
Replies: 21
Views: 3497

Re: Student Loan Frustrations and Retirement

Chiming in regarding the point about deducing student loan interest if you were to refinance w/a private lender. You deduct interest from ANY loan that is taken out to finance exclusively qualified educational expenses. If you used a credit card to buy textbooks & nothing else, you could deduct that...
by mlipps
Fri May 02, 2014 11:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low iregular usage international calling
Replies: 11
Views: 1064

Re: Low iregular usage international calling

How tech savvy is your mom? You can connect her existing phone number to Google Voice (not port the number, just make it a calling option) and then you basically just click a few buttons to place the call via Google Voice & it's very very affordable. This is how my parents called me when I lived in ...
by mlipps
Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does everyone have an Emergency Fund
Replies: 51
Views: 6068

Re: Does everyone have an Emergency Fund

We currently only have an emergency fund of $4k (2 months necessary expenses) BUT 1. We don't own our home (the biggest one for me). 2. We're both working (for now, I'm leaving my job this fall) and could cover those $2k/month expenses with either income. 3. We both have enough credits in to get une...
by mlipps
Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:46 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 30yo, just married, need some guidance
Replies: 24
Views: 5627

Re: 30yo, just married, need some guidance

For the record the financial risk and cost in delayed childbearing go up every year after age 30 if you actually want to have kids. Cost of fertility treatment is 20-50K and the need for it increases by about 10% per year. It is generally uninsurable. Since the probability of it working goes down e...
by mlipps
Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Money management advice
Replies: 7
Views: 1281

Re: Money management advice

I know for sure im in 15% tax bracket... was able to save because wife was working, and will be working again making more than me... Actually you're not. 41k * .95 (Salary less 5% pretax deferral)=$38950 AGI approx. Standard Deduction for married filing jointly-$12,400, Leaves $26550 $3950 exemptio...
by mlipps
Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Moving
Replies: 163
Views: 44810

Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

What do you think your annual expenses would be in Bozeman? I don't think it's the stupidest idea ever, but I'm not nearly as risk adverse as most Bogleheads seem to be. Life is too short to waste it being miserable & you have substantial resources considering your age. If you weren't a lawyer, what...
by mlipps
Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does 529 really hurt the chance to get financial aid?
Replies: 66
Views: 10057

Re: Does 529 really hurt the chance to get financial aid?

I get it that if one has high income or has assets, his kid's aid will reduce drastically. Having 529 for the kid is counted like asset and so having assets in 529 or other vehicles is similar in nature. What kind of aid we are looking at here? Is it grant or loan? By grant I mean some scholarship ...
by mlipps
Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Post Your Favorite Recipe (Or Any Recipe You Like)
Replies: 17
Views: 2118

Re: Post Your Favorite Recipe (Or Any Recipe You Like)

Made these today. They're insanely good!!

http://www.thecandidappetite.com/2014/0 ... to-scones/

Do you use Pinterest? This board of mine is all recipes I've tried successfully!

http://www.pinterest.com/mlipps/what-we-ate/