Search found 265 matches

by Userdc
Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Grandfather wanting to transfer portfolio to kids. Question
Replies: 67
Views: 5170

Re: Grandfather wanting to transfer portfolio to kids. Ques

I'm 80, and I have all my money in a simple 3-fund Vanguard portfolio... I want to give my money to my kid now, and I tried to explain why the 3-fund portfolio was simple, easy to manage, generates a decent return, and is less volatile. My daughter (and her son-in-law) told me that they have no int...
by Userdc
Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:42 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Refinance Options (ARM vs Fixed)
Replies: 7
Views: 1112

Re: Help with Refinance Options (ARM vs Fixed)

Anyone can join penfed online. If you make a small donation (less than $20 if I recall) to a specific organization that supports military families, you will become eligible.

The details are on their website.
by Userdc
Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:39 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)
Replies: 21
Views: 2638

Re: Real 3% (CPI plus 3% guaranteed)

I'd probably put my entire asset allocation in to a government guaranteed real + 3%, it's just a fantastic return that has a pretty good chance of beating out a diversified stock/bond portfolio over the long term with zero volatility. Obviously this is something quite different given you are relying...
by Userdc
Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keurig-cup coffee makers - why?
Replies: 139
Views: 30002

Re: Keurig-cup coffee makers - why?

Good whole bean coffee costs much more than 10 cents a cup. You might get 30 eight ounce cups out of a pound of coffee, so that's easily 20 cents to 40 cents a cup depending on bean quality. And that's assuming no waste, which is probably not a good assumption for many people given how quickly fresh...
by Userdc
Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help with Refinance Options (ARM vs Fixed)
Replies: 7
Views: 1112

Re: Help with Refinance Options (ARM vs Fixed)

Have you looked at the PenFed 5/5 at 2.75%? That gives you a lower starting rate and better rate protection for years 6-10 with a cap of 4.75% for those years. Assuming your current mortgage payment is ~$2,700, and you continue to pay that much every month, your mortgage balance in 10 years will be ...
by Userdc
Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: calculating tax deferred vs taxable
Replies: 11
Views: 1007

Re: calculating roth vs taxable

I think the only way a taxable can beat roth is if you have capital losses in excess of interest/dividends.
by Userdc
Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I use zero interest CC checks for emergency cash?
Replies: 13
Views: 2033

Re: Should I use zero interest CC checks for emergency cash?

That seems reasonable to me as a short term patch until you get the proceeds from the sale of the rental property. But I would continue to pursue the other ideas in case you run into a snag with the sale so you can pay off the balance transfer notes before they start accruing high interest. Along wi...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:02 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: EE bonds vs iBonds
Replies: 39
Views: 6769

Re: EE bonds vs iBonds

My wife and I are looking to purchase some EE bonds next week. The reason I like these bonds is the guaranteed double on your initial investment, and the exemption from state taxes. We are investing the full 20k, so our return after our 28% federal taxes should be 34,400 after the full 20 years. I ...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Leaving job, 401k options
Replies: 14
Views: 1830

Re: Leaving job, 401k options

Assuming the ERs in the 401k are reasonable, I'd just leave it where it is. You can always roll it over later, and leaving it there preserves some options with no downside. My wife and I have accumulated 5 different 401k accounts, all of which happen to be at fidelity. They are all decent plans, and...
by Userdc
Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:36 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Buying Call Option to Fund 2015 & 2016 IRA
Replies: 18
Views: 1314

Re: Buying Call Option to Fund 2015 & 2016 IRA

I don't understand how you are using the call option to fund your IRA.

You are buying a speculative call on the index.

Separately you are planning to invest in the index in the future.

These are two separate trades, so I would evaluate them independently.
by Userdc
Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:56 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Nanny Tax" Questions (Part-time babysitter)
Replies: 13
Views: 4147

Re: "Nanny Tax" Questions (Part-time babysitter)

I am way above the threshold so you might not be in the same boat as me, but here's what I have to do: 1) withhold federal income tax, unemployment and FICA. This is paid on schedule H when you file your federal taxes, so you may need to adjust your own withholding or pay estimated tax payments to a...
by Userdc
Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Doing my taxes by hand
Replies: 64
Views: 8524

Re: Doing my taxes by hand

I think one can still use software to do their return "by hand". In fact, I recommend it. The software will guide one, but one should still read the IRS instructions for the tax form that the software is filling out. And even better, one should read the IRS publication(s) related to the tax form th...
by Userdc
Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:38 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: POLL: Homeowners Ins cost $/month per $100k home value?
Replies: 42
Views: 15553

Re: POLL: Homeowners Ins cost $/month per $100k home value?

I pay about $15/month with USAA. But a lot of my home value is actually land value so I suspect those of us in high COL areas will be appearing to pay less on this metric even though we really aren't. Edit: it was pointed out to me that I misread the question. I believe my insured value is about hal...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: what to do with soon-to-be vested company stocks
Replies: 7
Views: 791

Re: what to do with soon-to-be vested company stocks

This sounds like restricted stock. The vesting of the stock is a taxable event which generates ordinary income based on the market value on that date and establishes your basis. So if the stock is worth $100/share and 1,000 shares vest, you will have $100,000 of ordinary income and your company will...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone ever go to spring training?
Replies: 7
Views: 1385

Re: anyone ever go to spring training?

Spring training can be a lot of fun. Feb/Mar is a great time to visit Florida, it's usually dry and much warmer than up north. It doesn't really matter when you go from a weather perspective, but a few things to consider are: Spring break - there are some weeks that are busier than others and that c...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes
Replies: 24
Views: 3257

Re: Getting Married - Want advice merging Portfolio & Taxes

Not sure I'd bother moving her 401k to VFORX at VG to reduce the ER from 0.24 to 0.18%. In many states 401ks offer a little more protection to things like bankruptcy than IRAs. Also, if it is moved to VG IRA it probably should be a separate account from whatever she might contribute to in the futur...
by Userdc
Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:51 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Social Security and Pension Question:
Replies: 36
Views: 4609

Re: Social Security and Pension Question:

I would not look at it this way as your pensions and SS are really not investment assets that you can use to rebalance and/or modify to control risk. I'd look at it this way.... after pensions and SS how much do you need to withdraw from your investment portfolio? Use this answer and the equivalent...
by Userdc
Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's in your car emergency kit?
Replies: 52
Views: 6140

Re: What's in your car emergency kit?

My kit:

-Well maintained vehicle
-cell phone
-car charger for cell phone
-live and drive almost exclusively in major metro area
by Userdc
Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:34 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Cancel Homeowner's Insurance?
Replies: 106
Views: 10972

Re: Cancel Homeowner's Insurance?

OP - what is your tax bracket? In a high tax bracket, I find that my health insurance is virtually free. I pay $2,700 for a $5,000 high deductible family plan. Those premiums save me the following on taxes: 6.85% state marginal tax 38.08% federal marginal tax (+39.6% marginal, +1.19% pease, -2.71% l...
by Userdc
Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 'Post-Tax' / Non-Deductible 401k Contributions
Replies: 16
Views: 2151

Re: 'Post-Tax' / Non-Deductible 401k Contributions

I haven't checked your math, but I've run the numbers in the past and come to the same conclusion - you could end up in a slightly lower tax bracket and still end up better off with a Roth because you are effectively raising the limit by contributing post-tax. But ultimately we are speculating on an...
by Userdc
Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 'Post-Tax' / Non-Deductible 401k Contributions
Replies: 16
Views: 2151

Re: 'Post-Tax' / Non-Deductible 401k Contributions

Thanks all. I thought this might be the same analysis as roth 401k vs traditional 401k, but I wanted to confirm as it seems less commonplace to make only post tax contributions to a 401k plan. As I am constrained in the amount of tax-advantaged capacity available to me (and taking into account my v...
by Userdc
Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:23 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to make a long bet on Crude Oil
Replies: 28
Views: 4476

Re: How to make a long bet on Crude Oil

The market also expects oil prices to rise - oil futures 5+ years out are $10-15 a barrel high than current spot prices.

So if you go long oil, prices will have to rise more than that for you to make money.
by Userdc
Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2014 Commuter Transit Benefit Raised Retroactively to $250
Replies: 6
Views: 1043

Re: 2014 Commuter Transit Benefit Raised Retroactively to $2

For the record, I'll never understand why parking benefit is so high while those of us that take public transportation have a much lower benefit. I'd guess its as simple as there are more congressional districts with voters who pay >$130/month for parking than for mass transit. Bahh..... My employe...
by Userdc
Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 2014 Commuter Transit Benefit Raised Retroactively to $250
Replies: 6
Views: 1043

2014 Commuter Transit Benefit Raised Retroactively to $250

I havent seen this get much press because it doesn't affect that many people, but as part of the funding bill signed by Obama last week, the limit for pre-tax fringe benefits for mass transit was raised from $130/month to $250/month for 2014. Notably, this is a one year fix only, and the limit will ...
by Userdc
Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work
Replies: 181
Views: 21742

Re: Dealing with pressure for "social donations" at work

I don't understand the problem here. Is it possible that it's just OP's first time working in a highly compensated job, so OP is unfamiliar with general business culture? I've worked in business/finance my whole career. I have never had a job at which the highly compensated employees, of which I am...
by Userdc
Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Speeding in CT with NY license
Replies: 14
Views: 2003

Re: Speeding in CT with NY license

I got the exact same ticket a couple years ago. After a little research, I concluded that there are certain jurisdictions in eastern Connecticut along I-95 that target out of state drivers to generate revenue. The tickets are basically extortion - they expressly say that if you pay up promptly, they...
by Userdc
Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Take the money and run? (Pension Buyout Offer)
Replies: 15
Views: 2566

Take the money and run? (Pension Buyout Offer)

I recently received an offer from a previous employer (large multinational corporation) to buy out a small pension. The pension is not COLA adjusted, and is due to pay $825/month starting about 30 years from now. The two offers I got were: Immediate Annuity of $90/month Lump Sum of $20K My marginal ...
by Userdc
Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rent Question
Replies: 12
Views: 2152

Re: Rent Question

It can't hurt to ask, especially if you are willing to walk away and spend more time and effort finding another place.

I'd simplify the request and just tell the owner that if they pay all of the broker fee you will sign the lease today.
by Userdc
Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Help me evaluate two different job offers
Replies: 10
Views: 1418

Re: Help me evaluate two different job offers

It doesn't sound like you are in love with either opportunity. If you were to wait for other opportunities, might you find something more to your liking?
by Userdc
Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Does the principal payment on a mortgage even matter?
Replies: 15
Views: 2759

Re: Does the principal payment on a mortgage even matter?

Repaying principal on any debt is not a cost. It can be a convenient shorthand for depreciation of the asset, and it's probably close enough for the typical person who buys a new car every 3-5 years and will always have a mortgage. If you want to get really precise about the cost/benefit of home own...
by Userdc
Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Solar panels, are they worth it?
Replies: 53
Views: 10966

Re: Solar panels, are they worth it?

Maybe OP could clarify, but when I read that they use 6100 to 6500 for the summer months, that means they are using approx 2000 per month in the summer. Which seems a lot more reasonable and fits in with some of the other facts.
by Userdc
Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Deleted
Replies: 12
Views: 1435

Re: Fair market value of a non profit dinner

For such a low dollar amount, I'd have trouble convincing myself I paid more than FMV for the goods and services. its a rounding error, so I'd take the easy way out and deduct zero. I do deduct a portion of the cost in similar situations when the non-profit tells me how much is deductible, but those...
by Userdc
Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying household employee taxes
Replies: 5
Views: 737

Re: Paying household employee taxes

I cant speak generally on this as I'm not an expert, but for my own situation: 1) I pay all of my Federal taxes and withholding (FUTA, employee/employer Medicare/SSI, and Fed Income withholding) annually on 1040 Schedule H. I do check my W2 withholding on my income periodically to make sure I'm havi...
by Userdc
Sat May 31, 2014 11:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529? What if they don't go to college
Replies: 70
Views: 7769

Re: 529? What if they don't go to college

This is an interesting question for me given I have young children and the compounded tax savings can really add up. I haven't thought a lot about it because I'm so worried about UNDERFUNDING my 529, as I currently maximize all my other tax-advantaged options. I'm currently putting in $10K/year, wh...
by Userdc
Sat May 31, 2014 8:34 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: 529? What if they don't go to college
Replies: 70
Views: 7769

Re: 529? What if they don't go to college

This is an interesting question for me given I have young children and the compounded tax savings can really add up. I haven't thought a lot about it because I'm so worried about UNDERFUNDING my 529, as I currently maximize all my other tax-advantaged options. I'm currently putting in $10K/year, whi...
by Userdc
Thu May 01, 2014 9:19 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: An easy way to save money: Avoid the $300,000 car.
Replies: 152
Views: 26450

Re: An easy way to save money: Avoid the $300,000 car.

I agree with the sentiment, but these ways of quantifying things always bother me because you're talking about $300,000 in 30 years. In the headline, I see $300K and I think how much money and how much money that is because I'm used to thinking about dollars in terms of the 2014 version of the dolla...
by Userdc
Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: New job, 401(k), and help with planning
Replies: 10
Views: 2288

Re: New job, 401(k), and help with planning

Your overall plan is sound. Depending on how long you plan to stay at your job and the vesting period for your company match, you may be better off just devoting 100% of your efforts to the credit card debt, but both the debt and 401k to the match should be your primary goals. Don't worry so much ab...
by Userdc
Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry
Replies: 65
Views: 9378

Re: Passport, TSA Pre-Check, and Global Entry

Pre-check used to be amazing, but something changed in the last year, and it seems like they opened the floodgates to let almost anyone in. This creates two issues: 1) There are now way more people using pre-check, but airports have not been increasing pre-check lanes at the same rate. In some airpo...
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:06 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax deductions from charities
Replies: 31
Views: 10392

Re: Tax deductions from charities

Theoretically, a giver with a tax break should be willing to give more. At the top end of the tax bracket, if I'm willing to fork over $600 to a charity, I should be willing to give $1000 and get $400 back from the goverment. Without the tax break, the charity would only get $600 from me. Of course,...
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What should I do different?
Replies: 2
Views: 464

Re: What should I do different?

Keep doing what you are doing. A >$1MM net worth on that gross income at that age is impressive.
by Userdc
Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 37
Views: 5115

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

I don't know much about the Yoga 2, but with a quick search, it looks like a windows 8 ultra book that is a little more powerful than the surface pro. So I would expect it would work very well for what you need, and best of all it is free if you already own it.
by Userdc
Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitors?
Replies: 37
Views: 5115

Re: Inexpensive Win7 laptop that will support 2 to 3 monitor

It seems like the cheapest option would be just to get a desktop, but if you want something portable, check out the original surface pro. With the release of the pro 2, the original model has been marked way down - you should be able to find a brand new one with 4GB RAM and a 64GB solid state hard d...
by Userdc
Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Delete
Replies: 11
Views: 1044

Re: Term Life Insurance - Young Couple in 20's

I'd echo a couple of the recommendations above. SS survivor benefits can be significant and they ramp up quickly early in your career because of your high earnings. This could easily be several thousand a month now or in the near future. I'd factor those into your calcs. I would recommend buying the...
by Userdc
Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Funds
Replies: 62
Views: 5241

Re: Donor Advised Funds

I guess since the money is invested and hopefully making more than 60 bps/yr. I really didn't see that as an issue. Yes, but I can just as easily invest that money in my own taxable account and end up giving more money to charity down the road because I haven't been paying the 60 bps all along. let...
by Userdc
Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:56 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Donor Advised Funds
Replies: 62
Views: 5241

Re: Donor Advised Funds

I keep coming back to Donor Advised a Funds every 6 months or so, but I just can't take the plunge. In many ways, I'm an ideal candidate: 1) I'm in very high marginal tax bracket now (~43% federal and state combined). 2) I am pretty conservative about saving but have no desire to leave a large estat...
by Userdc
Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 3043

Re: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

Check NYS form IT-2014 for withholding rules from w-2. I consider the bottom line on meeting withholding requirements is whether or not a taxpayer had enough withheld from paycheck along with estimated payments to pay the tax due, not conforming to some # of withholding allowances. Of course 75% of...
by Userdc
Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 3043

Re: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

Thank you all for to he helpful replies - MarkNYC, sscritic, and grabiner in particular. Clearly I didn't understand the tax issues well, so it looks like I should be able to recoup all of the additional Pease limitation associated with the higher withholding next year. It's my first time dealing wi...
by Userdc
Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any way to avoid large state tax refund?
Replies: 13
Views: 3043

Any way to avoid large state tax refund?

My state (NY) withholds at a very high rate for bonus or supplemental income. My actual state tax rate is much lower, so at the end of the year, I end up with a large refund. Let's say that is $10K for easy math. I believe the effect on my federal taxes is as follows: 1) the extra $10K in withholdin...
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?
Replies: 9
Views: 1396

Re: Lump Sum: prepay mortgage or park in munis?

Absent any surprises, I don't expect to move in the next 10 years.

But I recognize I'm taking additional interest rate risk if I did move earlier and would be forced to pay off this mortgage and take on a potentially higher rate.
by Userdc
Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)
Replies: 8
Views: 804

Re: Oops, I forgot a deduction (file amended return?)

Thanks for the thoughts, all. I did a little more research and found this on the IRS website: You must have a written record about your donation in order to deduct any cash gift, regardless of the amount. Cash contributions include those made by check or other monetary methods. That written record c...