Search found 265 matches

by Userdc
Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:49 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2012 Retroactive Transit Pre-Tax Increase (Need revised W2?)
Replies: 7
Views: 1751

Re: 2012 Retroactive Transit Pre-Tax Increase (Need revised

Yes, you need to get a revised W2. My company is reissuing the W2 because of this. If you max out X your tax rate, is a sizable amount. Thanks, that's what I thought. I'll reach out to my payroll department. I think that you are cutting it too fine as a few hundred dollars might come out to $10 per...
by Userdc
Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2012 Retroactive Transit Pre-Tax Increase (Need revised W2?)
Replies: 7
Views: 1751

2012 Retroactive Transit Pre-Tax Increase (Need revised W2?)

A little history for those care: For years, the IRS has allowed you to exclude certain qualifying commuting expenses for mass transit and parking costs if your employer sets up a way to have these funded through a payroll deduction. The monthly limit is adjusted annually for inflation, and historica...
by Userdc
Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Percentage of money in tax-advantaged accounts
Replies: 17
Views: 2274

Re: Percentage of money in tax-advantaged accounts

How do you intend home equity to fit into this calculation? That dramatically shifts the number I would enter... I consider primary home equity to be tax advantaged. It throws off a dividend every year in the form of shelter value (rent equivalent less interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance). I do...
by Userdc
Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401K contribution and bonus
Replies: 25
Views: 10378

Re: 401K contribution and bonus

Earned income is earned income - your salary and bonus are not treated any differently when you go to file your taxes.

You may have federal tax withheld at a different rate for a bonus, but the amount of tax you actually owe on it is no different from your regular salary.
by Userdc
Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:54 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio help for 23 year old
Replies: 42
Views: 4720

Re: Portfolio help for 23 year old

I agree that you should go with pre-tax 401k. Who knows what the tax scheme will look like 30-40 years from now, but unless there is a seismic shift away from a graduated income, I think it's pretty likely that your marginal tax rate will be lower in retirement. Based on your age, location, income, ...
by Userdc
Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:50 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review for 28 year old; $165k to invest
Replies: 10
Views: 1037

Re: Portfolio Review for 28 year old; $165k to invest

Moot for now, but it's eating away at the AMT moat, so if OP sees income rise much further, the marginal federal income tax rate jumps to 39.6 plus phaseouts.
by Userdc
Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:19 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Portfolio Review for 28 year old; $165k to invest
Replies: 10
Views: 1037

Re: Portfolio Review for 28 year old; $165k to invest

28% is the correct marginal federal income tax rate if OP is in AMT land and above the exemption phaseout. That certainly seems plausible given the high income and high state taxes. The deduction and standard exemption phaseouts don't apply if the AMT is being paid. That doesn't include the a medica...
by Userdc
Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy vs Rent - am I looking at this correctly?
Replies: 22
Views: 3297

Re: Buy vs Rent - am I looking at this correctly?

OP here. Thank you all for the input. For this specific situation: - There is no flip tax - Renting is prohibited (except for hardship cases), but I think it is possible that I can structure this in a way that works for me by having the MIL as a shareholder and/or on the proprietary lease. I know my...
by Userdc
Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy vs Rent - am I looking at this correctly?
Replies: 22
Views: 3297

Buy vs Rent - am I looking at this correctly?

My wife and I are helping support my mother-in-law by paying the rent on her apartment. We are looking for a long-term rental in a new area closer to our house. We have looked at many apartments in the surrounding area, but there is a limited stock of multifamily rentals. Most of the multifamily bui...
by Userdc
Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA question - married mid-year, $0 earned income
Replies: 7
Views: 1973

Re: Roth IRA question - married mid-year, $0 earned income

Why not save yourself the worry, just put the $460 away each month, and then add it to the ROTH when you're free and clear and don't have to worry about it. 5 months isn't going to make a difference in the long run. I agree with this. Invest it in a taxable account the same way you would if it were...
by Userdc
Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:38 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: American Taxpayers Relief Act of 2012 resources:
Replies: 103
Views: 9070

Re: American Taxpayers Relief Act of 2012 resources:

It will be interesting to plug in the new AMT numbers along with the itemized deduction phaseout and new tax rates to see if I actually have to pay more in federal income tax (the end of the payroll tax holiday and the higher dividend tax rates will certainly sting me). The AMT gives me some "protec...
by Userdc
Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: AMT mortgage advantage?
Replies: 12
Views: 1835

Re: AMT mortgage advantage?

I still do not follow. If the state income tax effect is independant of AMT or regular tax, why mention it as being quite a bit better than under the regular tax. Its a wash then. There is no specific AMT benefit. It can be better under the AMT, but it's a little convoluted. Let's say you itemize y...
by Userdc
Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I have to buy a house?
Replies: 53
Views: 7220

Re: Do I have to buy a house?

Keep renting.

The paper slipped under your door with the higher rent is pretty much the only downside to renting, so don't go buy a condo because its fresh in your mind.

If your willing to move, negotiate with your landlord. Otherwise, swallow the higher rent and sleep soundly.
by Userdc
Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying new house - tell me i'm ok or crazy (like i think)
Replies: 18
Views: 2290

Re: Buying new house - tell me i'm ok or crazy (like i think

You have your financial housr in very good order and it doesn't look like you would be stretching to me. You have the wealth and earning power to buy this home without putting your lifestyle at risk. But nothing comes for free, so by buying this house you have to consider how it will affect your oth...
by Userdc
Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AT&T's new sharing plans
Replies: 16
Views: 2924

Re: AT&T's new sharing plans

We have three smartphones with three separate data plans so we'll save a little under the shared plan.

Also it lowers the bar to add a 3g iPad - I've steered clear so far, but $10/month is starting to be enticing.
by Userdc
Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rules of Thumb for Drawing Pension?
Replies: 6
Views: 1307

Re: Rules of Thumb for Drawing Pension?

There is no rule of thumb because it is so dependant on specific factors: 1) Your age and your spouse's age 2) your health and your spouse's health 3) your overall financial picture and ability to live off other sources 4) the difference in payout between the two options 5) whether or not any health...
by Userdc
Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:58 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The excitement of day trading without the risk!
Replies: 27
Views: 2753

Re: The excitement of day trading without the risk!

If you decided to go 100% stocks some days and 100% bonds other days, I believe you'd get the same return as a 50/50 portfolio over the long run assuming: 1) you spend half your days in stocks and half in bonds 2) there are no transaction costs 3) there is zero (positive or negative) correlation bet...
by Userdc
Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A Little Tax Help
Replies: 16
Views: 1377

Re: A Little Tax Help

There are plenty of things you can do to get to a lower tax bracket, but why is that your specific goal?

Quitting your job is probably the easiest way.
by Userdc
Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How many times have you refinanced?
Replies: 27
Views: 2767

Re: How many times have you refinanced?

Refinancing is expensive where I live due to mortgage recording taxes.

I have only "refi'd" once since I bought my home over two years ago - I paid a point upfront to modify my 5/5 from 3.875 to 2.875 and extend out the reset.
by Userdc
Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I take $10K out of savings to pay student loans?
Replies: 49
Views: 3808

Re: Should I take $10K out of savings to pay student loans?

Clean up that mess, then focus on buying a home. What mess? We don't have all the facts about income or savings rate, but the OP appears to be saving quite a bit by contributing to tax-advantaged accounts while also accumualting a sizable sum in cash just 5 years out of school. Long-term debt at a ...
by Userdc
Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Is Treasury Direct so bad that I should no longer….
Replies: 39
Views: 7221

Re: Is Treasury Direct so bad that I should no longer….

The TD interface is a little clunky, but no more so than some privately run financial institutions i use. I've never had any problems doing the basic transactions necessary to buy-and-hold.

The old physical login card was annoying, but that's gone now.
by Userdc
Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:03 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Should Paid Off House Be Part of 401k Ratio Consideration?
Replies: 5
Views: 940

Re: Should Paid Off House Be Part of 401k Ratio Consideratio

Here's how I think about it: Its very unlikely your house will decline in value by more than X%. X varies depending on a lot of factors about the home (land value vs improved value, replacement cost of home, and supply/demand and economic health of region, metro area, city, and neighborhood). Typica...
by Userdc
Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Safest way to get cash using a debit card
Replies: 32
Views: 2705

Re: Safest way to get cash using a debit card

Do you guys have any idea which retailers have the safest card processors? I don't, because it's basically irrelevant. Pick your retailer based on price, selection, and service and you'll be much better off than trying to only buy from the guy you believe is most secure. Your bank has a vested inte...
by Userdc
Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:37 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: DJIA up 1.78% while VTSAX down .18% How so?
Replies: 6
Views: 1361

Re: DJIA up 1.78% while VTSAX down .18% How so?

Mutual fund NAVs update at the end of the day, several hours after the market closes.

You are looking a yesterday's change in price of VTSAX an comparing it to today's index movements.

VTI is the ETF equivalent of VTSAX, so use that to get an idea of where VTSAX will end up.
by Userdc
Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Amazon Kindle Fire Feedback
Replies: 39
Views: 5739

Re: Amazon Kindle Fire Feedback

I have the kindle Fire and it's a solid machine. I've never really thought about the privacy/security issue to be honest, I have it set up for one click but I never really let others use it. Its not as smooth as an ipad, but the form factor is perfect for me (fits comfortably in jacket pocket) and I...
by Userdc
Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying off 5/5 ARM
Replies: 7
Views: 1196

Re: Paying off 5/5 ARM

Refi into the lower rate loan but continue to make the same monthly payment you are making now.

You'll pay the loan off in less then 9 years.
by Userdc
Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I Want to Pay My Parents Debt
Replies: 33
Views: 4780

Re: I Want to Pay My Parents Debt

Confused wrote: People on this site don't seem to have a clue how good they've got it. Oh, you make $140k and you have a mortgage? You could just save up for seriously two years and buy a house in cash! This isn't true for most people. Most people making $140K are living in high COL areas and payin...
by Userdc
Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:41 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: what's a millionaire today ?
Replies: 38
Views: 3837

Re: what's a millionaire today ?

I agree that it makes perfect sense to exclude home equity from your net worth for this definition (and really any definition). I had $200K in my 401K and was living in a million dollar, paid off house, but I wasn't a millionaire. So I took out an $800k mortgage on my house and invested it in a trip...
by Userdc
Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I Want to Pay My Parents Debt
Replies: 33
Views: 4780

Re: I Want to Pay My Parents Debt

I'd suggest: 1) liquidate your taxable account and use it to pay down your own loans. 2) reduce your 401k contributions to the minimum needed to get the match. 3) start paying a fair market rent to your parents immediately. 4) reach your e-fund goal and pay off your debt. That should take several mo...
by Userdc
Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How much house do you own?
Replies: 44
Views: 5156

Re: How much house do you own?

2-income households? our home is way more than 3X my income alone, but in line with 2-2.5X our gross household income. This definitely skews it. If I deduct child care expenses as a cost of having two incomes, my ratio goes up. My ratio is 1x - 1.5x gross income, but I have very high taxes and livi...
by Userdc
Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:12 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fed survey of family finances shows sharp wealth decline
Replies: 52
Views: 8369

Re: Fed survey of family finances shows sharp wealth decline

I find it ridiculous that homes can be considered as assets... they are consumption items. Do you calculate the price of your car, your electronic gadgets as part of your net worth? Of course I do. Any thing that I own that has value adds to my net worth. A car, an iPad, or a home could all have va...
by Userdc
Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: A rental with 13% return, help me find the catch
Replies: 86
Views: 7208

Re: A rental with 13% return, help me find the catch

You're friend bought a house for less than replacement value, which is a good thing. However, that also implies the land underneath the house is essentially worthless. You're excluding a large number of costs from the equation: 1. Rental income offsets: vacancy, credit loss, eviction costs, re-leasi...
by Userdc
Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:00 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Guru's still underperforming 2 to 1
Replies: 15
Views: 2778

Re: Guru's still underperforming 2 to 1

If they are consistently wrong 2/3 of the time, couldn't you make money by betting against them?
by Userdc
Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:15 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Space
Replies: 57
Views: 7590

Re: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Spac

I've been on the fence about EEs, but I'm starting to think about pulling the trigger given what rates have done in the last few weeks. Also, this could be a "limited-time offer". If we really do have a protracted period of low growth, low inflation, and low rates, I wouldn't be surprised if they ex...
by Userdc
Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anyone regret paying off mortgage early?
Replies: 505
Views: 137211

Re: Anyone regret paying off mortgage early?

I think the people who would regret it wouldn't do it in the first place. I sleep fine with a mortgage worth of index funds in my taxable account, so I won't ever be in a situation to regret it. Plus it's a pretty easy "mistake" to undo by taking out another mortgage (although you might miss your ol...
by Userdc
Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:15 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: SEC yield on muni bond funds is a severe underestimate
Replies: 30
Views: 3449

Re: SEC yield on muni bond funds is a severe underestimate

You are not earning a 3.7% yield. Some of that is a return of premium paid so it's really a return of your initial investment.

This is the same as you paying $110 for a $100 bond with a 3.7% coupon. You will get paid $3.7 every year for 6 years, but you only get $100 back when the bond matures.
by Userdc
Thu May 31, 2012 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Where to put money for house downpayment in 10 years
Replies: 17
Views: 1934

Re: Where to put money for house downpayment in 10 years

I'll third I-bonds.

They are pretty much a free lunch in fixed income right now, given their current yield and optionality.
by Userdc
Tue May 29, 2012 10:36 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fun with treemap charts (updated w/ new website)
Replies: 49
Views: 5517

Re: Fun with treemap charts (updated w/ new website)

Really cool, great progress. One suggestions that would make this more intuitive to me would be to use two primary colors as your base (say red and blue) and then a blend between them could be the secondary color (purple). One tip for finding the right filing is to use Edgars advanced search: You wa...
by Userdc
Mon May 21, 2012 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Am I overfunding my 401k?
Replies: 10
Views: 2100

Re: Am I overfunding my 401k?

My priorities in your shoes would be: 1) E fund. Especially since you say your job situation is volatile. 2) Debt. Pay it all off. At those interest rates, its just holding you back. 3) Deductible IRA and spousal IRA. 4) Save for down payment in taxable (ibonds). 5) 401k The bottom line is you have ...
by Userdc
Mon May 21, 2012 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Investing a portion of emergency fund
Replies: 14
Views: 1461

Re: Investing a portion of emergency fund

In my view, an emergency fund is all about liquidity. A mutual fund is just as liquid as a savings account for most needs (next business day access as opposed to immediate). I don't have a separate cash emergency fund, aside from a cushion to handle normal course monthly spending fluctuations. If I ...
by Userdc
Sat May 19, 2012 8:07 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fun with treemap charts (updated w/ new website)
Replies: 49
Views: 5517

Re: Fun with treemap charts

I'm glad that was helpful.

Since I didn't say so before - this is a cool idea and well executed. Thanks for doing the hard work!
by Userdc
Sat May 19, 2012 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Space
Replies: 57
Views: 7590

Re: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Spac

Yes, the purple line will always meet the greent line. The zero has the same value at maturity (face) regardless of what rates do. The way I've been thinking of EEs are more similar to long term CDs with an extremely high early withdrawal penalty. Effectively it's a 3.5% yielding 20 year CD with a p...
by Userdc
Fri May 18, 2012 10:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Fun with treemap charts (updated w/ new website)
Replies: 49
Views: 5517

Re: Fun with treemap charts

Can't you just use the SEC filings to determine the underlying stocks in a fund? All SEC-registered funds have to file a quarterly statement of their holdings.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/ ... _final.htm
by Userdc
Fri May 18, 2012 5:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Non-retirement investment for 1-5 years, other than I bonds
Replies: 3
Views: 898

Re: Non-retirement investment for 1-5 years, other than I bo

Will you be able to max I bonds next year from other sources? If not, I'd keep $20k in a savings account to put into Ibonds in January.

For the other $5K or for all of it of you can buy ibonds otherwise, I'd go with a CD with cheaper early withdrawal optionality.
by Userdc
Fri May 18, 2012 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Are we underinsured?
Replies: 27
Views: 2524

Re: Are we underinsured?

My advice as someone who recently went through this exercise: The math to figure out how much money will be needed to provide for your child is hard and full of unknowns. Do the math as best you can and round up for peace of mind. If you decide you need more, consider a 10 year policy to fill the ga...
by Userdc
Fri May 18, 2012 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Space
Replies: 57
Views: 7590

Re: Revisiting Series EE Bonds, Short on Tax-Advantaged Spac

This thread inspired me to check on some old EEs (the only ones I own): Issue date 6/1/1995 Current redemption value 178% of face. But I believed these were issued under the 17 year doubling, so they will be worth 200% of face in a couple weeks! As of today, my Semi-annual YTM is almost 700%! Defini...
by Userdc
Wed May 16, 2012 3:57 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I Bonds replacing Tips Fund?
Replies: 19
Views: 2248

Re: I Bonds replacing Tips Fund?

Of course, you can do this if you want. However, if you have an I-bond that yields 3.6% real, you may be reluctant to part with any of it. Jeff I guess I look at this as a positive feature of Ibonds. Dividends are effectively re-invested automatically at the original real yield of the Ibond. If you...
by Userdc
Wed May 16, 2012 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: I Bonds replacing Tips Fund?
Replies: 19
Views: 2248

Re: I Bonds replacing Tips Fund?

The disadvantage of savings bonds during retirement is they to not pay out any cash. They increase in value instead. So, if you want cash flow for living expenses, you have to redeem some of the bonds. When you redeem, you get the interest on that bond. However, you also get back the principal, whe...