Search found 536 matches

by happymob
Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Best place to put infant's money
Replies: 14
Views: 2712

Best place to put infant's money

Our 1-year-old and 3-year-old each have modest (low thousands of dollars) that they have received as gifts. This was clearly gifts to them and not gifts to us (the parents) to use for them. Obviously we have to manage the money right now. Up until now, the 2% they received in their bank kiddie accou...
by happymob
Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:03 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why do people care about the Dow?
Replies: 50
Views: 5057

Re: Why do people care about the Dow?

Even worse than only having 30 stocks is that the Dow is price-weighted, which in my opinion, is not as good as market-weighted. Each has its flaws and biases. Why do you prefer the flaws and biases of a cap-weighted index to those of a price-weighted index? Because, for example, if a company like ...
by happymob
Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:25 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave Ramsey Defends His Investment Advice
Replies: 120
Views: 18221

Re: Dave Ramsey Defends His Investment Advice

His advice is contradictory. If he believes that that the S&P returns 12% on average, why recommend active investing? There's not any active funds with a long term record like that. No advisor is going to recommend 100% stocks, either. So if he thinks investors need to be managed by advisors that w...
by happymob
Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Amend for $1? [Poll] [Fix tax return, Schedule K-1]
Replies: 17
Views: 2681

Re: Amend for $1? [Poll] [Fix tax return, Schedule K-1]

Dad's investing was... erratic. He traded a lot of "stocks," and didn't know that several of them were actually shares in publicly-traded partnerships. While I could go back and get the list of everything he traded in 2012, I'm not sure how to quickly determine which of those are PTPs either. It's ...
by happymob
Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:21 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How do you estimate dividends for tax purposes?
Replies: 7
Views: 963

Re: How do you estimate dividends for tax purposes?

Dividends should be no real issue (outside of the occasional special dividend like a few stocks did this past year). I suspect what you really want is an estimate on capital gains distributions on ETFs and mutual funds. That is harder to do (go with last year's number seems reasonable unless your in...
by happymob
Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Minimalists on here?
Replies: 93
Views: 11695

Re: Any Minimalists on here?

Too many books. OK, 10-year-old travel books really should go. Much of the fictions could go. Non-fiction we won't possibly read again... should go. Surely, I can get public domain (and therefore digital) books to replace my math books. Gardening books will stay. Cookbooks will stay (despite using t...
by happymob
Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: questions about 529 plan - asset allocation
Replies: 22
Views: 2460

Re: questions about 529 plan - asset allocation

Thanks RabbMD and happymob, I will definitely look into a rollover (after the tax season) to a lower cost VG plan. I liked the link you gave RabbMD, the link indeed says, that Maryland does not recapture rollover tax breaks - has anyone actually done this? Is the 12 month rule to avoid recapture ef...
by happymob
Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: help with minivan decision please
Replies: 47
Views: 5054

Re: help with minivan decision please

How much space do you really need? Do you need a "full-sized" minivan (as oxymoronic as that sounds), or would a Mazda5 maybe work? The Mazda5 is much smaller (closer to the original Chrysler min-van), but is also $10,000 cheaper than Siennas or Odysseys. When we went through this decision, the Chry...
by happymob
Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: questions about 529 plan - asset allocation
Replies: 22
Views: 2460

Re: questions about 529 plan - asset allocation

Maryland limits tax deductions to $2500 per donor per beneficiary, and per my non expert interpretation of the law, allows one to rollover tax desuction loss free to other states plans. So I figure every 5 years or so ill do a partial rollover to new york, nevada or utah vanguard plans with the old...
by happymob
Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best place to keep emergency funds
Replies: 10
Views: 1890

Re: Best place to keep emergency funds

This question comes up a lot and common themes I've observed are: High-Interest Savings and/or CDs (high liquidity for Savings, even if interest is low) I-Bonds (stuck for one year, then inflation-protected) Roth IRAs (since contributions can be withdrawn tax-free) No EF...all in a big pile of mone...
by happymob
Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Bonds and Bond Funds are now considered Risky Investments?
Replies: 40
Views: 4503

Re: Bonds and Bond Funds are now considered Risky Investment

Rising interest rates are definitely not good for equities, either.
by happymob
Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Pay off Car or Start ROTH IRA?
Replies: 14
Views: 4253

Re: Pay off Car or Start ROTH IRA?

I vote Roth as well. Ease of pulling out the contributions combined with limited space each year... fund it for 2012 if you can.
by happymob
Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:02 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?
Replies: 237
Views: 30513

Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

I would go with 75% of 4 years over paying for the first 3. Backloading "scholarships" is also not a terrible idea (you get more as you demonstrate responsibility). The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley. I vote for not attaching strings to tuition payments. For a number of reasons, ...
by happymob
Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?
Replies: 237
Views: 30513

Re: How much do you expect your kids to pay for college?

Kids are very young now, and our thinking has been to pay for 4 years of tuition/fees/room/board, undergraduate only. That's the deal my wife and I received. However, I am toying with an idea to share the cost a little, since we don't know how responsible (academically and fiscally) our children wi...
by happymob
Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:16 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: DRIP tax question
Replies: 7
Views: 1078

Re: DRIP tax question

We have 120+ individual lots in a DRIP plan my wife owns (given to her as a UTMA long ago). I strongly suspect we will donate the stock to charity someday and take the deduction. At least this seems like the obvious first choice when we start feeling charitable. We have switched the dividend paymen...
by happymob
Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:05 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Falling Apple's Price Causes Reverse Convertible Damage
Replies: 20
Views: 3635

Re: Falling Apple's Price Causes Reverse Convertible Damage

All the risk of stocks, but a lot less tax efficient. What's not to like? :happy All the risk of a single stock, rather than "stocks" (in the index sense). Which makes it doubly ridiculous. But please, sign me up for any products tied to Apple. Or Exxon. Or General Electric. Or Enron. Or Polaroid. ...
by happymob
Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:54 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: DRIP tax question
Replies: 7
Views: 1078

Re: DRIP tax question

We have 120+ individual lots in a DRIP plan my wife owns (given to her as a UTMA long ago). I strongly suspect we will donate the stock to charity someday and take the deduction. At least this seems like the obvious first choice when we start feeling charitable. We have switched the dividend payment...
by happymob
Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Is JORAX-ARTGX a wash sale?
Replies: 26
Views: 1684

Re: Is JORAX-ARTGX a wash sale?

Please don't dismiss the issue so quickly. The IRS publication is (seemingly deliberately) vague, as pointed out here: "For example, in the case of index funds, don't switch out of one family's fund and into another that tracks the same index. You might argue that you're dealing with two different ...
by happymob
Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:20 pm
Forum: Forum Issues and Administration
Topic: Thread Abandonment Stats
Replies: 5
Views: 1355

Re: Thread Abandonment Stats

Yes, it is good (n)etiquette to acknowledge the good (or bad) advice or information you received. Nothing wrong with stroking the ego of the givers of good advice or information (and it's not just stroking their ego - it helps them tune their message for future, similar posts). And no, I have not al...
by happymob
Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?
Replies: 37
Views: 3604

Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

No, because I've never had the need. My local branch 2 blocks away and pays really good rates on rewards checking. They will also reimburse other banks ATM charges, so no great problem there (though being 2 blocks away, we almost always use their ATM). I did use ING Direct when they had much more co...
by happymob
Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:10 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Indexing vs Investing in Berkshire Hathaway
Replies: 47
Views: 5721

Re: Indexing vs Investing in Berkshire Hathaway

Closed end funds are usually terrible investments. Anything that you cannot readily get out of is awful. Aren't EFTs a type of closed-end fund? With mechanism to create and destroy shares. So they aren't really closed as arbitragers can buy in or sell out outside of simply trading existing shares.
by happymob
Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:48 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How much money do you keep in your regular checking/savings?
Replies: 104
Views: 15752

Re: How much money do you keep in your regular checking/savi

The one we use pays 2.25% for the first $25,000, so we keep, slightly more or less, $25,000 in it.
by happymob
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any reason to have two 529s?
Replies: 26
Views: 2446

Re: Any reason to have two 529s?

We will soon have two (quick edit - for each kid) because we get a 5.5% deduction on Oklahoma 529 plan contributions (up to $20,000 for a couple), but Oklahoma's clawback provisions are a remarkably generous 1-year. So we are forced into Oklahoma's not terrible, but not great plan (managed by TIAA-C...
by happymob
Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:07 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any reason to buy TIPS?
Replies: 44
Views: 4957

Re: Any reason to buy TIPS?

Will buy the 30-year TIPS at auction in an IRA in mid-February. It will be a very small positive real yield for 30 years. Other than 30-year TIPS purchased at auction, I don't hold any other current TIPS (actual bonds or ETFs or mutual funds) . Something about buying a negative real yield (before t...
by happymob
Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Any reason to buy TIPS?
Replies: 44
Views: 4957

Re: Any reason to buy TIPS?

Will buy the 30-year TIPS at auction in an IRA in mid-February. It will be a very small positive real yield for 30 years. Other than 30-year TIPS purchased at auction, I don't hold any other current TIPS (actual bonds or ETFs or mutual funds) . Something about buying a negative real yield (before ta...
by happymob
Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ridiculous lawn service
Replies: 55
Views: 8237

Re: Ridiculous lawn service

Freedom lawns rule. Assuming you don't have HOA covenants to deal with. I'd consider someone to mow my lawn. I refuse to pay someone to service my lawn. And yeah, some of my neighbors probably hate me.
by happymob
Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:42 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: CD purchase through VG - Which to buy?
Replies: 19
Views: 2029

Re: CD purchase through VG - Which to buy?

Why not just put $10k (how much money are we dealing with here?) into I-Bonds and then your money is protected against inflation. It's only "protected" against inflation if you are in 0% tax bracket upon withdrawal. Otherwise, say if you are in 25% bracket, you'd lose ~25% of purchasing power if mo...
by happymob
Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:50 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Treasury Direct -Changing Bank Account Info
Replies: 30
Views: 5507

Re: Treasury Direct -Changing Bank Account Info

Is this for real? The process for adding a bank at Treasury Direct? Yep, very real. We just did it ourselves. Small pains seem to be par for the course at TD. Now you want a real pain - getting DRIP shares of a stock held in a UGMA switched over to solely my wife's name. She's 40. The custodian sho...
by happymob
Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:56 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Dave Ramsey's Asset Allocation Revealed!
Replies: 53
Views: 29598

Re:

He has stated many times on his radio show not to worry about the FDIC limit and keeping more then $250K in the bank is not a big deal. He also stated that only 2 or 3 banks will fail. Since he has made that stated on Fox Business News, 344 banks have failed. But how many people lost out on FDIC in...
by happymob
Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: does it make sense to pass on the flex acct at work?
Replies: 64
Views: 5569

Re: does it make sense to pass on the flex acct at work?

In our case, the paperwork nightmare came from having to submit paperwork multiple times. In one case, we submitted it, it was rejected (due to a technical fault on our end). We resubmitted with correct stuff, it was rejected. We resubmitted with the exact same stuff and an explanatory letter, it wa...
by happymob
Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:08 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: i bonds return question
Replies: 12
Views: 1141

Re: i bonds return question

I guess I didn't mean to discuss how i-bonds compare to pricing of goods. i was just looking for advice on how to stay the course with maxing my i-bonds each year when i see a return that doesn't seem much better than just staying in cash. How much is cash getting you? 2% or so (whatever the inflat...
by happymob
Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: minivan thing
Replies: 84
Views: 7008

Re: minivan thing

Just FYI - Because a couple of PP have mentioned it, I'd like to comment on the Mazda5 mini-minivan. We bought an almost-new one five years ago from Carmax. It's a 2008 model that had only 5000 miles on it when we bought it. It's a nice idea of a car (good compromise between full-size van and passe...
by happymob
Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: So what's the dividend tax rate?
Replies: 9
Views: 1092

Re: So what's the dividend tax rate?

And let's not forget the 0% dividend rate still exists for those in the 15% or lower marginal brackets Tax planning for "lower" (I use the quotes as you can easily make twice or more the median household income in this country and still be in the 15% tax bracket) income folks is as complex (and poss...
by happymob
Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Marriage & Finances - Joint vs. Separate Checking/Savings?
Replies: 62
Views: 4850

Re: Marriage & Finances - Joint vs. Separate Checking/Saving

Joint. We have have similar salaries and similar savings habits, so separate seemed overly complicated.
by happymob
Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:34 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Taking a 529 state tax deduction in a non-resident state
Replies: 15
Views: 3196

Re: Taking a 529 state tax deduction in a non-resident state

I wanted to update this thread to let people know that in very limited circumstances, as an Oklahoma resident, you can get 529 deductions in 2 states (or more*?). If your income in the other state is earned, grabiner's initial analysis is 100% correct - any dollar you save on the other state's incom...
by happymob
Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Looking for direction for Retirement & College Savings
Replies: 10
Views: 1206

Re: Looking for direction for Retirement & College Savings

Is 40k a typo? That, married, 2 kids, and a 25% federal tax bracket doesn't come close to adding up.
by happymob
Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: does it make sense to pass on the flex acct at work?
Replies: 64
Views: 5569

Re: does it make sense to pass on the flex acct at work?

No comment on your situation. During the time I used a flex account, it seemed to make perfect sense because we were getting regular monthly bills for my daughter's orthodonture. I found it to be a royal PITA, because there was paperwork and an irritating delay between receiving the bill and gettin...
by happymob
Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Ready, aim, [Poll on Jan. 1 tax advantaged contributions]
Replies: 50
Views: 4611

Re: Ready, aim, [Poll on Jan. 1 tax advantaged contributions

Before Jan 15th (we have some checks to clear, money to be transferred, etc), we will fully fund our Roths (11k) and put $6k in our kids' 529 plans (Max 529 deduction for KS, though OK goes higher - we get state income tax deductions in both states, oddly enough). So, $17k total.
by happymob
Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Just Deleted Our Mint Account
Replies: 73
Views: 11744

Re: Just Deleted Our Mint Account

For those of you concerned about username and password storage, salting and hashing is almost certainly how mint stores your data. The only time that databases get hacked and there is actual cause for concern is when sensitive data is not salted and hashed. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_(cryp...
by happymob
Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:09 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Simple 529 Plan Question
Replies: 5
Views: 707

Re: Simple 529 Plan Question

No, withdrawals are prorated. Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by this? When you withdraw money, you don't get to choose whether you are withdrawing principle or gains. If you originally put in $5,000 and it is now $10,000, any withdrawal (qualified or not) will be 50% principle and 50% ga...
by happymob
Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:20 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: How to compare apples to oranges for 529 plans
Replies: 6
Views: 755

Re: How to compare apples to oranges for 529 plans

How long is the money going to stay in the plan? Do you get a tax break? These two factors weigh heavily in our decisions. An extra 0.4% in expenses each year will eat up a 5% tax break over 18 years. But over 5 years? Go for the tax break. Of course, ERs can change (the trend seems to be towards ch...
by happymob
Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [POLL] How to establish e-fund of I-bonds?
Replies: 14
Views: 1662

Re: How to establish e-fund of I-bonds?

My I Bonds are basically a second tier emergency fund. First tier is the money in the rewards checking account (2.5% interest up to $25K). But yeah, if we had to deplete that, the 0% real I Bonds would come next.
by happymob
Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:10 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Bonds = Cash ??
Replies: 5
Views: 545

Re: Bonds = Cash ??

There are certain assets I would normally consider "cash" (savings bonds and stable value funds come to mind) that I would normally count as cash, but I am willing to call them "bonds" if they are yielding more than 10-year treasuries. I understand that they won't behave in quite the same way, but g...
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:59 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Myth... Not all mortgage interest is tax deductible!
Replies: 90
Views: 17679

Re: Myth... Not all mortgage interest is tax deductible!

I've itemized once (due to a high state income tax year). We are going to itemize for a second time this year (due to doubling up property tax payments and charitable contributions into the same year, etc). This is over a 10 year period. I think I get how for a lot of the country itemizing is routin...
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:50 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Do You Regret Buying Individual Bonds/Treasuries/TIPS/Munis?
Replies: 23
Views: 2950

Re: Do You Regret Buying Individual Bonds/Treasuries/TIPS/Mu

No regrets yet. Some earlier TIPS purchased via Treasury Direct were a bit of a pain (due to taxes). All the treasuries purchased at auction through a Fidelity IRA have been pretty painless.
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment Advice for a College Senior
Replies: 10
Views: 881

Re: Investment Advice for a College Senior

Fund your Roth every year. Unless you're in an education credit phaseout, in which case you'd be in a very high bracket and a deductible TIRA would be strongly preferred (even if you convert it to Roth in the following tax year). But, we're talking $25,000/year stipend + whatever dividend and capit...
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:50 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fat Tail Minimisation compared to 4x25 Permanent Portfolio
Replies: 14
Views: 1700

Re: Fat Tail Minimisation compared to 4x25 Permanent Portfol

Is the 35% TIP allocation based on buying 30-year TIPS? If so, I have a couple questions: 1) How did this account for the period where 30-year TIPS weren't auctioned? Just replace them with 20-year TIPS? 2) How does one backtest to 1972 when TIPS weren't offered until 1997? How is the earlier 25 yea...
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I Bonds titled to minor
Replies: 7
Views: 621

Re: I Bonds titled to minor

thank you for the reply. the thought of being able to cash out with tax-free growth almost seems too good to be true. :happy Too good to be true except for the 0.0% real rate right now. But yeah, if they are under the kiddie tax limits, by all means, pay the tax (marginal rate 0%) on the interest a...
by happymob
Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:19 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Investment Advice for a College Senior
Replies: 10
Views: 881

Re: Investment Advice for a College Senior

It doesn't really matter at this point what the balance or mix of funds is as long as you are investing in tax efficient funds. Though at his tax bracket, the tax efficiency probably won't matter much. Some mix of straight total VTSMX and VGTSX should be fine. The rest of the advice is absolutely s...
by happymob
Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:12 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help! Parents ask: "How to invest your future inheritance"
Replies: 19
Views: 1894

Re: Help! Parents ask: "How to invest your future inheritanc

sscritic nails it, I think. If I had full control, due to presumed capital gains step-up (which would, in effect, make this tax-free to you at inheritance), I would be very tempted to swing for the fences with something like VEIEX (emerging markets). Plus, your parents are unlikely to have significa...