Search found 538 matches

by happymob
Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:29 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax
Replies: 14
Views: 2196

Re: Reset cost basis to avoid capital gains tax

Smart move, assuming transaction costs are minimal. Make sure you don't sell so much that your gains push you into the 25% tax bracket and account for state taxes as well (if any).
by happymob
Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How important is a cover letter?
Replies: 32
Views: 2836

Re: How important is a cover letter?

Very mixed, in my experience. I've seen people doing the hiring completely ignore the cover letter (the important stuff is in the resume!) to people considering the cover letter more important than the resume. I treat it very seriously whichever side of the hiring process I am on. The cover letter i...
by happymob
Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:23 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 3089

Re: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA

Personally, I have a (small) cash component and a bond component in my AA. I normally treat SV as cash (despite possible withdrawal limitations), but if the SV fund is returning more than 10-year treasuries, I have the option to treat it as bonds (I will also treat a CDs or other cash-like instrume...
by happymob
Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:48 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA
Replies: 26
Views: 3089

Re: Stable Value Fund as Part of AA

Personally, I have a (small) cash component and a bond component in my AA. I normally treat SV as cash (despite possible withdrawal limitations), but if the SV fund is returning more than 10-year treasuries, I have the option to treat it as bonds (I will also treat a CDs or other cash-like instrumen...
by happymob
Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:26 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Math Problem: tax savings with 529 account
Replies: 7
Views: 993

Re: Math Problem: tax savings with 529 account

About 10 years ago, most of the plans I saw had expenses fees around 1%. I figured that the drag from the expense fee over 10-20 years would be similar to the LTCG tax, or I could take higher risk and aim for higher return on my own (which took a wild ride, but I think is higher today even after ta...
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Are you buying I bonds in 2014? And if so, for what role?
Replies: 46
Views: 6918

Re: Are you buying I bonds in 2014? And if so, for what role

Yes. For emergency fund and possibly, eventually, for college tuition (we don't know if we will meet the income restrictions or not). We may also buy some under the kids' names and have them pay interest annually (they are under the kiddie tax limitations right now).
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:32 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Poll: House value as % of assets when mortgage paid off.
Replies: 41
Views: 4001

Re: Poll: House value as % of assets when mortgage paid off.

Currently 12.5%, not including any SS or Pension numbers (we'll have both for both of us).
by happymob
Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: VWIUX in Taxable
Replies: 15
Views: 2626

Re: VWIUX in Taxable

You don't mention your Federal tax rate - that is pretty critical to determine if you should go with VWIUX or simply stick with Total Bond. I-Bonds are certainly an option, at a limited amount per year. They're not going to make you wealthy on a real basis (not that any bond fund is likely to do tha...
by happymob
Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Stagnant Business Money
Replies: 14
Views: 1731

Re: Stagnant Business Money

When you are talking 6 figures or more, I would suggest talking to the President of a local bank directly. While they might not normally accept corporations for rewards checking, they might be willing to work something out outside of their normal savings or CD rates for a large enough sum of money.
by happymob
Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:16 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Kansas 529 state income tax benefit
Replies: 4
Views: 547

Re: Kansas 529 state income tax benefit

There are some other states that behave the same way. I know that KS, MO, and PA all allow deductions (up to some limit) for contributions to any state plan. There are probably others. Given that the KS and MO plans aren't particularly attractive, there is no real reason to ever invest in them.
by happymob
Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:14 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Anyone buying 10-year TIPS tomorrow? (est yield now 0.54%)
Replies: 13
Views: 1591

Re: Anyone buying 10-year TIPS tomorrow? (est yield now 0.54

I'm actually buying 30 year tips. real yield is now at 1.60% I buy these as well at the (infrequent) auctions in an IRA. I plan to hold to maturity (or pass them on to my heirs). I just don't see the appeal of 10-year TIPS. I definitely would max out I-bonds before even considering the 10-year TIP.
by happymob
Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Retirees: do you ever take a bonus?
Replies: 19
Views: 2206

Re: Retirees: do you ever take a bonus?

hidesert---Hell yes, when things are really good (and they don't get much better than this year), take a little bonus. If I had a wife that was still working I might possibly consider taking just a wee bit more......Gordon The key is "little" (and this varies quite a bit). If everything is up 10% w...
by happymob
Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Buying iBonds in my early 30s: Wise or maybe not?
Replies: 23
Views: 2756

Re: Buying iBonds in my early 30s: Wise or maybe not?

I do wonder if the doubling property of EE bonds might be better at your age (with children still theoretical), but I can't fault you for the thought, particularly if tax-deferred becomes tax-free based on the educational benefit.
by happymob
Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pay For College From 529 Or Save It?
Replies: 12
Views: 1223

Re: Pay For College From 529 Or Save It?

If I'm understanding your thought process, it poses an interesting question: How does an investment indexed to the cost of college compare to one indexed to more traditional investments like VTI? And the follow up in your situation: does it outperform sufficiently to overcome taxes/penalties? Doing...
by happymob
Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:14 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?
Replies: 28
Views: 4024

Re: Anybody pay for college 100% out of 529 plan assets?

Only 1 kid? And you're fairly well off? And she's a good kid with good grades? Yeah, you owe it to her. (Put another way, why wait until you're dead to give her what she can better use now?) There are lots of things that can go wrong. She might actually go to a public school, even when accepted int...
by happymob
Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: I bonds: October or November?
Replies: 29
Views: 4540

Re: I bonds: October or November?

I'm waiting till November. If you buy now, you're locking in a 1.0% to 1.2% rate for the next 12 months. I'd rather lock in the low rate for 6 months only. You only get that rate for the first 6 months. They quote an annual figure, but you really get half that for 6 months, and then it will adjust ...
by happymob
Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: TIAA Real Estate Account, bond-like or Madoff-like?
Replies: 79
Views: 13005

Re: TIAA Real Estate Account, bond-like or Madoff-like?

...plus roughly 9% of REITs presently owned to spice things up a bit (my interpretation). That's purely to have liquid assets to handle redemptions. I think the outflows during 2008 surprised them a bit. They could simply hold cash, but they decided since they are a RE fund, they might as well hold...
by happymob
Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:13 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 - starting from scratch
Replies: 29
Views: 2596

Re: 529 - starting from scratch

1 chck your state 529 plan, see if it has state tax benefits, usually if it does, it makes it the best one A few states (KS and PA that I know of) allow deductions for contribution to any state plan. So know if you get a deduction, and know the limitations. OK (and perhaps others) have generous rec...
by happymob
Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:35 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tracking Donations
Replies: 25
Views: 2056

Re: Tracking Donations

We keep a manila folder for each tax year, including the current year. Mostly, this is for tax forms as they arrive in January and February. But we also document charitable donations, day care receipts, property tax receipts, etc as they occur in this folder. For thrift store item donations, we don'...
by happymob
Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do you budget for expenditures or saving?
Replies: 30
Views: 2798

Re: Do you budget for expenditures or saving?

No. We have an excessive amount in "cash" (rewards checking, now paying 2%) to handle small-to-medium expenditures (vacations, medical bills, etc), and enough taxable savings for larger purchases (such as a new vehicle). We certainly feel very fortunate that we don't have to do specific budgeting fo...
by happymob
Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Time to sell some company stock - sell the biggest winners?
Replies: 16
Views: 1496

Re: Time to sell some company stock - sell the biggest winne

Absent an increase in LTCG rates, it is almost always to defer as much LTCG tax as you can. What you avoid in taxes now will grow over time. Yes, you will probably have to pay the deferred taxes eventually, but that amount remains fixed in nominal dollars (and will shrink in real dollars). So sell t...
by happymob
Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone have experience with Harvard Extension school?
Replies: 22
Views: 6687

Re: Anyone have experience with Harvard Extension school?

www.degreeinfo.com would be a good forum to ask. I know they have multiple people who earned masters degrees through them.
by happymob
Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: NOT saving for college
Replies: 112
Views: 11746

Re: NOT saving for college

I'm not sure if this has mentioned yet (as I haven't finished the thread), but you basically have two advantages with 529s: 1) The tax-deferred (well, tax-free if used for education) growth is used for education. Obviously, this is maximized by early contributions and compounding. 2) The state incom...
by happymob
Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: What do you use your standard Savings/Share account for?
Replies: 18
Views: 1467

Re: What do you use your standard Savings/Share account for?

Everyday expenses. Since our rewards checking gives 2.0% for $25,000 and $25,000 is about 6 months expenses (without cutting back), our checking account = our emergency fund.
by happymob
Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:23 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Like Cash ?
Replies: 26
Views: 2735

Re: Like Cash ?

You can buy treasuries at auction through Vanguard.
by happymob
Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: college savings for kids - how much?
Replies: 20
Views: 3181

Re: college savings for kids - how much?

my personal approach - 1) Max out retirement first. 2) With leftover money... a) Each year look at the estimated cost of 4 years at Flagship State U (now required to be available for every universty) b) Subtract what I already have dedicated to college savings for the kid c) Divide that number by th...
by happymob
Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:57 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: would a portfolio last forever if you only took the dividend
Replies: 31
Views: 3973

Re: would a portfolio last forever if you only took the divi

Would a portfolio last forever (until passed to heirs/charity) if one only collected the dividends? The reason I'm asking is that while it appears that the taking interest only means not tapping principle, every time a dividend is paid the principle is reduced by the amount of the dividend paid. So...
by happymob
Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: POLL: Why do you slice and dice your portfolio?
Replies: 30
Views: 3596

Re: POLL: Why do you slice and dice your portfolio?

Other. While the rebalancing bonus is nice, part of my slice-and-dice is done to increase tax loss harvesting opportunities (in taxable). I hope every slice goes up, but if one doesn't... I can swap funds in the same sector and capture the loss.
by happymob
Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cashier's Check question
Replies: 31
Views: 6416

Re: Cashier's Check question

And, as crazy as it sounds, there are too many cases of police seizing large (even less than $10,000) of cash even without charging the driver with anything. I would not encourage anyone to travel with multiple thousands of cash over any significant distance.
by happymob
Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Some things a teen could do to help out parents college-wise
Replies: 74
Views: 7013

Re: Some things a teen could do to help out parents college-

Buy used textbooks. Sometimes bookstores will buy them back at the end of a course. Even better, buy used textbooks from Half.com or Amazon.com, giving yourself enough lead-time to have the books on the 1st day of class. This will save significant money over used at the college bookstore. If you wa...
by happymob
Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Farmland--Cash Rent or Share Crop?
Replies: 10
Views: 5809

Re: Farmland--Cash Rent or Share Crop?

It depends on how easy the farmer is to work with. We have a great share cropping relationship with one farmer. He deals with most of the FSA (farm subsidies, disaster payments, etc) paperwork (we gave him power of attorney for this purpose) and we get detailed reports on things. Other farmers will ...
by happymob
Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:44 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to TLH from Bond Fund
Replies: 4
Views: 545

Re: How to TLH from Bond Fund

I personally based "substantially identical" for index funds based on the index they follow. Different indexes (even if both are designed to cover the same market segment) is not substantially identical, in my mind. In your case, I would avoid (for 30 days) another fund that seeks to match the Barcl...
by happymob
Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do with small cash gift for baby
Replies: 14
Views: 1844

Re: What to do with small cash gift for baby

I think that savings bonds need to NOT be in the child's name (at least in this scenario) to get the tax deduction on interest when used for education. This seems to confirm that, and might affect your plans: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/planning/plan_education.htm True, but you can also hav...
by happymob
Thu May 30, 2013 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bankrates 2013 survey of high yield rewards checking
Replies: 6
Views: 775

Re: Bankrates 2013 survey of high yield rewards checking

We're still getting 2.25% on balances up to $25,000 (and 1.0% from $25K to $50K) at Legacy Bank (in Oklahoma). That's down from 3.0% a year ago and I wouldn't be shocked by another cut.
by happymob
Fri May 24, 2013 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on Highlander/Odyssey purchase
Replies: 44
Views: 11367

Re: Advice on Highlander/Odyssey purchase

Not sure how you narrowed it down to those two. If you want a minivan then choose between an Odyssey or Sienna If you want a car-like SUV then choose between a Highlander and a Pilot The minivans should be plenty adequate to navigate any roads you might find in the Bay Area. Where the SUVs might ha...
by happymob
Mon May 13, 2013 5:38 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Substantially Identical ??
Replies: 5
Views: 1505

Re: Substantially Identical ??

Two ETFs based on the same index - I get a bit nervous. But active managed funds are never substantially identical (in my mind), nor are simlarly named ETFs based on different indexes. I don't think (not tax advice) you'll have any problem with replacing an emerging market fund and a developed marke...
by happymob
Mon May 13, 2013 7:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Obtaining University Scholarship(s)
Replies: 54
Views: 3705

Re: Obtaining University Scholarship(s)

If your child is short of being a NMS, keep regional publics in mind, depending on the field they want to go into. They are often far cheaper than even the flagship state U, can be far easier to get an athletic scholarship to (NCAA division II schools have to offset those football scholarships someh...
by happymob
Fri May 03, 2013 7:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bank mailed me letter, $5 fee starts in June
Replies: 122
Views: 9662

Re: Bank mailed me letter, $5 fee starts in June, criminal.

VictoriaF wrote:Why to use banks? Credit unions are much better.

Victoria
PLenty of small towns don't have credit union. The closest brick and mortar credit union to me, for example, is a 60 minute drive away.
by happymob
Fri May 03, 2013 7:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Vanguard 529 Plan or PA 529 or other?
Replies: 24
Views: 5569

Re: Vanguard 529 Plan or PA 529 or other?

Edited: Pennsylvania appears to be unique in offering state income tax deductions for contributions to out-of-state 529s, and exempting qualified withdrawals from out-of-state plans from income taxes. So the only tax benefits are inheritance tax treatment. Since the fees for PA plans are higher tha...
by happymob
Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:08 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Any Reason Not to Invest in a 529?
Replies: 53
Views: 4347

Re: Any Reason Not to Invest in a 529?

Since we assume that you'll be sending the kids to college... That's a common thought, but it just isn't a question of whether you'll be sending kids to college. It is a question of whether your child will have qualified higher education expenses that are of a greater amount that is in the 529 plan...
by happymob
Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Checking Net Worth Only Once a Year
Replies: 41
Views: 5738

Re: Checking Net Worth Only Once a Year

I do a full check of all accounts once a year before my wife and I discuss our financial moves for the next year. I will also update the spreadsheet anytime I check a specific account when we make a move, but it is understood that the net worth isn't all that exact anytime other than that one time a...
by happymob
Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:02 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Month-long visits to American cities
Replies: 52
Views: 6207

Re: Month-long visits to American cities

I like the idea. I will be following this thread. My wife and I (with 2 young kids and jobs where we are are officially off for 3 months) are considering doing something similar for 2 months out the year. Edit - I don't want to suggest a city, but I do want to point out that for an individual or a c...
by happymob
Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IT Professionals - Applying For Job Without Requested Skills
Replies: 34
Views: 3370

Re: IT Professionals - Applying For Job Without Requested Sk

Use your cover letter to sell yourself. Explicitly deal with issues that might otherwise torpedo your application (lack of PHP, in this example). Sell your experience in web development and ability to learn new languages. The lack of PHP shouldn't be a barrier in your case, so let them know that. An...
by happymob
Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Did Vanguard really limit portfolio history to only 5 yrs?!?
Replies: 12
Views: 2368

Re: Did Vanguard really limit portfolio history to only 5 yr

Speculating here, but it could be because the volume of data is so large that allowing all customers to view more than 5 years of history would slow down the web site for other customers. Enabling the site to remain fast enough for customer satisfaction could be costly, particularly as the company ...
by happymob
Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home?
Replies: 62
Views: 7404

Re: [POLL] Are zillow price estimates accurate for your home

I'd say within +- 10%... we purchased 2.7 years ago in a growing (due to oil/gas) rural community with plenty of new construction. The Zillow price has never gone below our purchase price, has gone up as much as 7%, but mostly fluctuates between purchase price and +7% of purchase price. That doesn't...
by happymob
Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:20 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Could I-bonds really return >10% in hyperinflation scenarios
Replies: 27
Views: 4234

Re: Could I-bonds really return >10% in hyperinflation scena

Consider taxes. I Bonds certainly aren't going to yield 10% after tax in a 10% inflation scenario (absent tax-free education benefit). Same with 0% TIPS held in a taxable account. In a Roth IRA, a 0% TIP would yield exactly the rate of inflation (absent default).
by happymob
Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Saving for Education for kids. Need Suggestion
Replies: 15
Views: 1518

Re: Saving for Education for kids. Need Suggestion

DualIncomeNoDebt wrote:I-bonds. $10k per year per Social Security Number, plus the additional $5k via tax refund. Search forums on this. Not enough time for EE bonds.
Assuming you aren't likely to be over income limits for the education benefits at time of redemption.
by happymob
Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 529 Plan for Grad School.
Replies: 3
Views: 504

Re: 529 Plan for Grad School.

Without a state tax benefit and with a very short time frame, which limits the tax-free gains aspect, I would say "no".
by happymob
Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Medallion signature guarantee - is this requirement common?
Replies: 101
Views: 29555

Re: Medallion signature guarantee - is this requirement comm

We needed to a signature medallion guarantee to simply transfer some shares from a UGMA account for my wife to my wife outside of the UGMA. The ridiculous part was my wife is 40. All we wanted to do was get her mom's name off the account, which should have been pretty darned easy given that 21+ year...
by happymob
Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:43 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Second Bachelor's or terrible idea?
Replies: 49
Views: 10703

Re: Second Bachelor's or terrible idea?

I am strongly opposed to you quitting your job to get the second degree in the way you describe. You're already in the IT industry with a bachelors (admittedly, not in IT). Experience will benefit you far more than a second bachelors in software engineering. You will likely be making twice your curr...