Search found 951 matches

by CAsage
Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Questions about POA for my mother
Replies: 29
Views: 2496

Re: Questions about POA for my mother

Taking your Mom to see a lawyer and get key documents drawn up is a really good idea. A current will, Medical and legal POA are good. Even though you are the sole heir, if she passes on today without some estate planning documents in place, it will be much harder for you than it needs to be. For exa...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do next with "extra" money
Replies: 21
Views: 3589

Re: What to do next with "extra" money

No one can predict the future of market returns. Whether you would make more over time in the stock market is historically likely, but not guaranteed. What would you do with the 'extra' cashflow after you pay off the mortgage? I would be happy with the lower rate, and target paying it off by your pl...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transferring parent's home loan/title
Replies: 17
Views: 1575

Re: Transferring parent's home loan/title

I would avoid treating it as a rental, if it was me. Sounds like many layers of complexity. You are not doing this as a tax shelter, you are doing it to take the burden off your Mom. Lots of people have second homes, and who lives there is no one's business. I would also note the relative value of t...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do next with "extra" money
Replies: 21
Views: 3589

Re: What to do next with "extra" money

Sounds like you are in a good place, financially. I will note that my favorite online Mortgage place, Cashcall mortgage, is offering no cost, no fee refinance for 30 years, 3.375 APR. 15 years is 2.75 but you don't want that, and that 's fine.... If you are already maxing out your tax sheltered acco...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:57 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: pocket listing
Replies: 13
Views: 1356

Re: pocket listing

One of the things I thought you were supposed to do when interviewing brokers was to ask for a Comparative Market Analysis, which would guide how much they would list the house for. Depending on how much time you have to review this offer while thinking about it, it should help you determine whether...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:51 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Question, Please Help!
Replies: 9
Views: 1596

Re: Student Loan Question, Please Help!

So, it sounds like the desire is to invest in a career change. Based on that, I would suggest: 1) Put current funds into her 401k (or equivalent) maximum matched, for sure. 2) Consider putting in up to the maximum allowed, and then roll over to Roth after she quits teaching. 3) Open a Roth IRA now, ...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Transferring parent's home loan/title
Replies: 17
Views: 1575

Re: Transferring parent's home loan/title

Just a wild idea. If Mom has enough money to cover her other living expenses... How about you and your brother 'buy' the house from her jointly, fund the cash by getting 2nd mortgages on your own homes (if you have them), and let her live there rent free? You are paying her mortgage anyway. I would ...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Student Loan Question, Please Help!
Replies: 9
Views: 1596

Re: Student Loan Question, Please Help!

I think a clearer picture of cash flow and expenses over the next few years would be worth working out. Let me see, we have a person who already owes $60,000 on her father's home, which puts his house at risk if for any reason she cannot pay it back (illness, accident, disability...). Plus $2770 in ...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me find a new mortgage lender.
Replies: 9
Views: 1530

Re: Help me find a new mortgage lender.

Just an option here to think on. When I refinanced (repeatedly...) over the years to chase lower interest rates and shorter terms, I found that at some point the no-cost, no-fee guys were not interested anymore. That was probably at the $200K range (I live in a HCOL area...). You might research what...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deceased Parents' Bank Statements [how long to retain]
Replies: 6
Views: 1675

Re: Deceased Parents' Bank Statements [how long to retain]

Personally, I would keep only the records that you needed to file the final tax returns - 1099, w-2, SSA, 1099-R, etc. Possibly closing statements or appraisals of any real estate or capital gains step up assets. I would not keep any of the monthly stuff. I think you are safe after three years (the ...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Exterior glass tile wall question
Replies: 6
Views: 938

Re: Exterior glass tile wall question

Glass blocks on exterior wall. I am guessing that window was designed as a passive solar system when built. If it is on the South side of the house, I am guessing that the builder/installer meant to let the solar heat in deliberately. And yes, with the air gap, not nearly as bad as single pane glass...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best Way to Finance Remodel on an Inherited Property
Replies: 9
Views: 1351

Re: Best Way to Finance Remodel on an Inherited Property

Go with whichever rates are lowest. Note that you can only deduct interest on a loan up to $100K (i.e. loans up to that amount which are not used to acquire the property). Personally, when I looked into funding for a remodel, I found that a HELOC had zero application or startup fees, and I could bor...
by CAsage
Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Re-finance? (Finish minor upgrades before?)
Replies: 9
Views: 1150

Re: Re-finance? (Finish minor upgrades before?)

It has been my experience with refinancing, even when they do an appraisal, the key factors are square footage and location. Having a truly awful kitchen or bath would hurt, but otherwise - cosmetic changes don't matter. I would suggest looking into what it would take to pay down the mortgage to get...
by CAsage
Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Too much in investments subject to RMD, should I invest some in taxable instead?
Replies: 10
Views: 1372

Re: Too much in investments subject to RMD, should I invest some in taxable instead?

Without any knowledge of your tax bracket (and it's all about the tax bracket) ... You might consider what your current tax bracket is. If you can put away pre-tax savings to reduce your taxable income to (pick a number) from a higher bracket to a lower bracket, AND you assume you then pull the mone...
by CAsage
Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts
Replies: 12
Views: 1343

Re: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts

Zero points always better. But to answer the 'break even' question. I redid the Excel with the two loans, same starting balance, same payment.... And the 'savings' in interest adds up to the amount of the original fee in approximately month 66. Which is 5.5 years.
by CAsage
Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts
Replies: 12
Views: 1343

Re: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts

OP and Watty are right about the options for refinancing again. The loans are so close, makes sense to keep the money in your pocket and your future options open.
by CAsage
Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts
Replies: 12
Views: 1343

Re: Please help me choose between two refinance rates/pts

I thought I would look at this as a 'fresh' problem and see how I would answer the original question. I chose to make the payments the same $1115, and simply compare the starting balance WITH FEES and interest rate (cranked through 120 months in Excel): Loan #1: Balance $115,515 (roll in the fee), R...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Slightly Overwhelmed on Home Maintenance Issues
Replies: 45
Views: 6215

Re: Slightly Overwhelmed on Home Maintenance Issues

Consumer Reports can be browsed for general prices on appliances and expected lifetime. I don't bother repairing anything like that (fridge, range, microwave, TV), as they last a long time, and the new ones are generally better/more efficient. One piece of advice I can share after many years of home...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: AA - Knowing the answer but reluctant to get there
Replies: 9
Views: 1353

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

Very conservative? You have ~45% for your non-house assets in a fund that lost about 27% of value in 2008/2009. Vanguard rates this fund a '3' for risk and describes it like this: "Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund invests in a diversified portfolio of medium- and lower-quality corporate bonds, oft...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Earlier Retirement with Lower Pension?
Replies: 26
Views: 3761

Re: Earlier Retirement with Lower Pension?

One thought. You might also look into a 529 account instead of a UTMA (which might accidentally go for a Corvette at 18...). I also took early retirement, love being home after school with my High School kid! I would also think you might want to fully fund that 529s account for your child's educatio...
by CAsage
Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TSP and 403b Calculation Help/Questions
Replies: 2
Views: 283

Re: TSP and 403b Calculation Help/Questions

Thoughts: Are the investment options particularly better in one place or the other? Is there any reason you would not just fund the maximum in your primary job? Especially if the secondary job fluctuates'. And make sure you stretch your contributions over the entire year, I know people that maxed ou...
by CAsage
Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Draw from taxable or 401k in early retirement?
Replies: 7
Views: 1020

Re: Draw from taxable or 401k in early retirement?

Personally, I would do Roth conversions now as much as you can handle (for sure, up to the maximum of the 15% bracket every year, or some 25% if you can). Shelters the taxes for your life and for a long time for beneficiaries. It's surprising how much the RMD and SS can cost you, and if tax rates go...
by CAsage
Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: home equity loan interest for federal tax purposes on Sched A
Replies: 3
Views: 491

Re: home equity loan interest for federal tax purposes on Sched A

I did think of an exception! If that home happens to be on Martha's Vineyard, or waterfront Lake Tahoe (most expensive waterfront property in USA per google), your first mortgage is over $1M AND you blew $100K on loans for other stuff.... then it might not be. Always the special case....
by CAsage
Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: home equity loan interest for federal tax purposes on Sched A
Replies: 3
Views: 491

Re: home equity loan interest for federal tax purposes on Sched A

I don't read it that way at all, just go through it more carefully and you will see that you are fine. (as in, that $35k HELOC would be deductible, but possibly not home loans exceeding other amounts used for other purposes. The important text is copied from IRS below: Generally, home mortgage inter...
by CAsage
Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:49 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Move account from Morgan Stanley?
Replies: 16
Views: 1530

Re: Move account from Morgan Stanley?

To find out what you are being charged, you need to specify what the exactly is in the IRA and taxable accounts. If it's stock, you should be able to go back and look at your statements for fees. If funds, then go online to the Morgan Stanley website and see what their expense ration are. Also, for ...
by CAsage
Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:29 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Converting to a 1 Fund Portfolio for Spouse
Replies: 6
Views: 1079

Re: Converting to a 1 Fund Portfolio for Spouse

Check on the rules for step-up basis. If you live in a community property state, you can get a step up on 100% of a joint community property account on the death of either owner. If you are facing a big capital gains tax hit, maybe don't rush.
by CAsage
Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ROTH IRA Question
Replies: 13
Views: 1692

Re: ROTH IRA Question

Research "backdoor Roth" and the rules on pro-rating your IRA. Embrace form 8606 and read the instructions. In answer to your last question, no, you cannot open a new IRA and convert only that to a Roth and ignore your other IRA(s). The IRS will tax the conversion assuming the Roth dollars are a fra...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Refinance vs. prepay [Mortgage]
Replies: 4
Views: 866

Re: Refinance vs. prepay [Mortgage]

Current loan 319,000, Interest 3.5%, payment $2560, paid off in ~155 months and pay a total of $78,026 in interest. New loan: $327,000, interest 2.3%, payment $2150, paid off in 180 months would be a total of $59,950 in interest... Gee rate matters a lot! I would also look into the best rate you can...
by CAsage
Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Request for recommendations: English Mystery TV series
Replies: 82
Views: 7784

Re: Request for recommendations: English Mystery TV series

P.D. James (movies, not short episodes)
Lord Peter Wimsey (very British)
Cadfael (very British, very vintage :))
Gosford Park (one movie, fabulous if you like Foyles war, might like this)
by CAsage
Thu Aug 11, 2016 5:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-nup questions
Replies: 35
Views: 5290

Re: Pre-nup questions

If there are any household furnishings with significant value, those can be spelled out in the prenup, just like you would in a will. (not an expert, life experience only!). Here a divorce lawyer would be really helpful, as I am not sure to what level people divide things up when they break up. If y...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pre-nup questions
Replies: 35
Views: 5290

Re: Pre-nup questions

Let's assume these two people are getting married because they want to be together for a long time. Having their home be only 'her' house is fraught with divisive emotional and financial mine fields - they want it to be theirs. Having him buy in and then foot half the bill for upkeep, expenses and f...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:11 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Roll 401k after layoff to Betterment / Vanguard / Other IRA?
Replies: 12
Views: 2029

Re: Roll 401k after layoff to Betterment / Vanguard / Other IRA?

Several thoughts. 1) Where you choose to hold your funds does not matter as much as the cost of those funds. If you can get your funds at Fidelity or Vanguard or Betterment - just watch the bottom line on fees. Vanguard Total Stock and Total Bond are cheaper than Betterment... but either are better ...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Parents over 80: End of life tax strategies?
Replies: 16
Views: 3289

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

Research inherited Roth - if you inherit a Roth IRA it can be distributed over your lifetime. If your parents pull out the money now, and you (and siblings) invest it in your Roth (either gifted or inherited cash), it can then be distributed over your heir's lifetime. Research step up capital gains ...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cell Service for Elderly Parent
Replies: 10
Views: 1352

Re: Cell Service for Elderly Parent

You might consider how well your Mom can really handle a regular phone, and if cost is the only driver here. If she (like my Mom...) doesn't deal with with complex systems... you might look into a Jitterbug phone. Not cheaper, but bigger buttons and a live human customer service - things that can ma...
by CAsage
Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What is the best way to choose a mortgage company?
Replies: 13
Views: 1863

Re: What is the best way to choose a mortgage company?

Mortgages get sold quickly so you aren't choosing a relationship, you are buying a commodity. Call a couple banks, talk to a mortgage broker, look at some online mortgage sites for going rates, or get a referral from your agent. Choose based on price alone. Lowest APR wins.
by CAsage
Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: why the limit of six withdrawals on a savings account
Replies: 22
Views: 4408

Re: why the limit of six withdrawals on a savings account

Because a savings account is not supposed to be a checking account? That of course would be the casual observer difference.... Fed regulations override!
by CAsage
Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Will realtor advise on needed improvements for home sale?
Replies: 38
Views: 2821

Re: Will realtor advise on needed improvements for home sale?

You can always start with the work you know has to be done, cleaning out the clutter. Keep a few pieces of basic furniture to 'stage' the house. When my Mom passed, I found it amazingly hard to sell furniture, it goes for very little and if it's in poor shape you may be better off tossing it to sell...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How are taxes different after retirement?
Replies: 39
Views: 4740

Re: How are taxes different after retirement?

Hmm. I think your comments on effective tax rate are somewhat confusing. If you look at the link, it's an average of 13% for a range of incomes from $100k to $250k, and an average of 22% for a range of $250k to 1 million, There is nothing magical about tripping over the exact point at $250k. I'm pre...
by CAsage
Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:09 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Backdoor Roth Pro rate rule
Replies: 7
Views: 703

Re: Backdoor Roth Pro rate rule

Excellent succinct advice from livesoft & mhalley. I would like to add a simple example, which you can then research as everyone should do whenever making tax changes with real money. You really need to know form 8606. Example. You have an Old IRA with 20K. You want to do a back door IRA, so you ope...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:22 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: rollover IRA to 401k in preparation for backdoor Roth
Replies: 3
Views: 511

Re: rollover IRA to 401k in preparation for backdoor Roth

Separate questions: 1) If you can convert your old IRAs to your new 401k, then you can do backdoor Roth IRA each year separately with new money.. but my old employer had a restriction on how long and which former 401K would be allowed in, and I don't think they took many. Not sure about that. The on...
by CAsage
Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Non-deductible tIRA
Replies: 6
Views: 456

Re: Non-deductible tIRA

Two separate issues: 1) Many people not eligible for a Roth do exactly what you are proposing, and do a 'backdoor' Roth conversion as soon as it is funded (or thereabouts). Warning: the IRS does count ALL your IRA balances when they calculate the taxable basis of this transaction, and it is strictly...
by CAsage
Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are these home [insulation] items worth it?
Replies: 19
Views: 2830

Re: Are these home [insulation] items worth it?

Am I the only one that wonders where the OP lives? Most insulation expenses pay off hugely in colder parts of the country. Here in sunny So Cal, I have neighbors that don't close all their windows year round. But I am a little OCD about insulation... I can highly recommend a book called "Cut your En...
by CAsage
Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Changing mesh screen of patio sliding door
Replies: 8
Views: 1040

Re: Changing mesh screen of patio sliding door

Check with local door & window companies, or local handymen. It's really not hard if you can get stuff wide enough.
by CAsage
Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amount of Life Insurance: no spouse, just baby
Replies: 17
Views: 2396

Re: Amount of Life Insurance: no spouse, just baby

Your situation is far from rare; it is shared by every divorced parent as well. First, you probably cannot assume your parents will get custody. You can hope they remain involved, and that you and the baby's father agree on who might succeed if both of you are gone. You also have not mentioned wheth...
by CAsage
Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How bad is CA probate? Living trust needed or not?
Replies: 23
Views: 2411

Re: How bad is CA probate? Living trust needed or not?

In my opinion, if the beneficiaries are competent adults, the ONLY asset that should be in a trust is real estate. Everything else can be transferred via beneficiary or TOD forms. The good thing about a trust is that you can set up a simple one cheaply through a DIY form (I got the book and the prog...
by CAsage
Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Which retirement income is never reported to the IRS?
Replies: 29
Views: 3892

Re: Which retirement income is never reported to the IRS?

HSA distributions do get reported, you will receive a form 1099-SA which you need to include in your tax return. But, if you spend it on the allowed medical expenses it is not taxable. Muni bond interest for state bonds is not taxable in my state or for the IRS, but it's reported, and needs to be ac...
by CAsage
Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Preparing financially for our funerals - prepay or not?
Replies: 113
Views: 11793

Re: Preparing financially for our funerals - prepay or not?

Wow. I want, right now, to thank my dear departed Mom, for insisting we not spend one more red cent on her 'final' expenses than we had to. She wanted her money to go for college for her grandchildren. I spend $741 on a local cremation service, which included four death certificates (only had a very...
by CAsage
Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Unexpected death, inheritance windfall, do we need professional help?
Replies: 6
Views: 1850

Re: Unexpected death, inheritance windfall, do we need professional help?

First, condolences to your family. Second, I have some experience in parent estate issues, having lost my father years ago and my mother more recently, and dealt with all of it myself. So here is some stream of consciousness advice: 1) Don't worry about filing your FIL 2016 taxes until next year, bu...
by CAsage
Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refi to a 15 with 15 years to retirement?
Replies: 14
Views: 1713

Re: Refi to a 15 with 15 years to retirement?

After getting serially gouged refinancing with various lenders in my younger and more naive days, (I rode the rate drop down for years....) I finally learned the easiest, cleanest way to refinance is to do a no cost, no fee loan - and any rate that is cheaper than your current rate is a winner. I se...
by CAsage
Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:33 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Put ALL work 401k in S&P index 0.62% expense, or 0.90% to 1.30% expense funds?
Replies: 19
Views: 1568

Re: Put ALL work 401k in S&P index 0.62% expense, or 0.90% to 1.30% expense funds?

In looking at which funds to put in what kind of account, I did some similar analysis. It makes good sense to pick the 'best' (aka cheapest index) fund for your 401k, make sure you are putting in enough to get 100% of any match that is offered, and diversify your other accounts. For me, I chose what...