Search found 396 matches

by bnes
Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:45 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSAs in California
Replies: 108
Views: 32865

Re: HSAs in California

For a California resident HSA, if the mutual fund I bought in the HSA has DRIP, do I realize the dividend gain right away, or when the fund is eventually sold?
by bnes
Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparison Shopping Homeowner's Insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 1625

Comparison Shopping Homeowner's Insurance

Are there tools or websites available to help comparison shop for Homeowner's Insurance? Note: comparison sites are common in Auto insurance.
Or independent brokers? I've searched for same and not found them.
by bnes
Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling older home with old knob and tube wiring
Replies: 39
Views: 34898

Re: Selling older home with old knob and tube wiring

I live in an area where virtually every house still has knob & tube. It's no big deal here: there's a special city rule about inspection prior to insulation, but that's it. The local fire people are pro knob & tube. The real secret of K&T is that the insulation is not even needed, because of the tub...
by bnes
Fri Aug 14, 2015 1:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling older home with old knob and tube wiring
Replies: 39
Views: 34898

Re: Selling older home with old knob and tube wiring

There has to be an explanation that does not involve actuarial calculations. I think it's because the insurance companies need a simple rule, and don't want to distinguish between knob & tube and knob & tube that's been badly retrofitted. I wrote about that here http://diy.stackexchange.com/a/20279...
by bnes
Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What kind of receipts should be saved for HSA account?
Replies: 20
Views: 3389

Re: What kind of receipts should be saved for HSA account?

I save each receipt, showing the eligible item. For example a register receipt showing the specific item (e.g. Aspirin). The list of what is and is not eligible is very detailed and specific. What I don't know how to do is report a mistaken purchase. For example I bought sunscreen with an HSA debit ...
by bnes
Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax questions when selling a rental property
Replies: 24
Views: 2176

Re: Tax questions when selling a rental property

There's always a trust.
Put all the stuff she does not want into a trust, that is then managed (professionally or not) for the benefit of the heirs.
by bnes
Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: So do the uber wealthy invest money the same way we do?
Replies: 95
Views: 13309

Re: So do the uber wealthy invest money the same way we do?

The ultra wealthy can use outsized life insurance policies to transfer wealth to the next generation.
Many uber wealthy are in fact focused on avoidance of taxes at death: attempting to transfer wealth beyond normal estate tax limits.
by bnes
Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Comparison Shopping Homeowner's Insurance - Seeking a Good Broker
Replies: 1
Views: 366

Comparison Shopping Homeowner's Insurance - Seeking a Good Broker

I have a feeling I'm paying to much for Homeowner's insurance. I've tried shopping around but find it's too complex. The online forms ask a lot of information, and the terms don't seem the same (for example Geico apparently excludes theft for personal computers unless I select 'Extended' coverage fo...
by bnes
Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:15 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Browsers and Security - a question
Replies: 12
Views: 2201

Re: Browsers and Security - a question

You've done the right thing by pressuring your bank to upgrade. For now, go ahead and keep using Chrome. If you don't want to see the warning, use Firefox (it's no safer with Firefox, it just might make you feel better). Hopefully your bank will start to feel the pressure and make changes before it'...
by bnes
Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to furnish a new residence, completely from scratch
Replies: 35
Views: 4664

Re: How to furnish a new residence, completely from scratch

I'll echo the "use the right credit card" theme. You'll be making big purchases, and can nab significant signup bonuses and cash back. That said rental may well be your best option: just watch out as too many of the rental places cater abusively to those renting because they can't afford it (as oppo...
by bnes
Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: IRS Tax: qualified joint venture income split reporting?
Replies: 3
Views: 1004

Re: IRS Tax: qualified joint venture income split reporting?

Thanks. Is it best to file one 1065 plus two Schedule C's, or just the two Schedule C's?
by bnes
Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: IRS Tax: qualified joint venture income split reporting?
Replies: 3
Views: 1004

IRS Tax: qualified joint venture income split reporting?

"A qualified joint venture is a joint venture involving the conduct of a trade or business, if (1) the only members of the joint venture are a husband and wife, (2) both spouses materially participate in the trade or business." http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Husband-a...
by bnes
Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:51 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Letter from Lawyer to enter my property to construct road
Replies: 39
Views: 8327

Re: Letter from Lawyer to enter my property to construct roa

What does the next lot over from Mr. A look like? Is this destined to be a glorified driveway, or destined to eventually be conveyed to a public agency for maintenance? Importantly do you want to fight this, even if you could fight it? Is there a "better place" for the road, and can you help that ha...
by bnes
Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: IRS makes Tax Error - Wrong Invoice - How to Fix?
Replies: 15
Views: 2043

Re: IRS makes Tax Error - Wrong Invoice - How to Fix?

Note the IRS has a staff of "taxpayer advocates" that are pretty good at fixing obvious screwups. They're not the people you want
if there's an actual dispute on the facts, but they can help you sort out something like this.
Similarly Intuit will help walk you through a calculation issue.
by bnes
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Has anyone restored windows?
Replies: 25
Views: 2883

Re: Has anyone restored windows?

There's a book "Save America's Windows", some details are here: http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm Restoration is a lot of work, but a restored window will last far longer than a new one. I have experience with this, and it went well. The resulting windows are best paired with ...
by bnes
Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Anti-virus software on my MAC?
Replies: 20
Views: 2219

Re: Anti-virus software on my MAC?

While Mac OS X is far more secure than Windows,
it is far from perfect. And it's subject to Trojan Horses (where you take an action to install unwanted software).
by bnes
Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:30 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Help this dummy get back on track
Replies: 12
Views: 1652

Re: Help this dummy get back on track

What's your transaction cost for "rebalancing"?
You can reduce worry by dollar cost averaging... move 1/12 of the funds per month for a year.
by bnes
Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Grandma wants to give money to the kids
Replies: 8
Views: 2393

Re: Grandma wants to give money to the kids

My suggestion is have Grandma open up separate taxable accounts in her name for each child. Grandma can decide when she wants to distribute the funds. As a backup, Have her designate a child per account in her will and a max age to receive the funds. If she's alive at "the right time", the transfer...
by bnes
Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How does an Efficient Market explain Buffett?
Replies: 257
Views: 20715

Re: How does an Efficient Market explain Buffett?

Buffet's own predictions are that his fund sizes grow, his returns will come closer and closer to matching the market.
by bnes
Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:21 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Grandma wants to give money to the kids
Replies: 8
Views: 2393

Re: Grandma wants to give money to the kids

Two of the kids have parents parents that are fiscally trustworthy, one has parents less able to control their own finances. If it were not for the third case, I'd recommend the money go into each kid's 529 for tax free gains, with a quid-pro-quo that the parents provide a matching cash bequest to t...
by bnes
Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:51 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Using UGMA to pay for past private school expenses
Replies: 6
Views: 827

Re: Using UGMA to pay for past private school expenses

There's a lot of gray here. Keep in mind nobody other than your child (or her mother, or her lawyer) will ever raise a stink about such a transfer. If everything is OK with everyone, then it's likely to be OK, nobody will ever make a peep. Consider that you loaned your child the private school money...
by bnes
Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:05 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Grandma wants to give money to the kids
Replies: 8
Views: 2393

Grandma wants to give money to the kids

Grandma would like to give money to her grandkids. Her first idea was to set up a "savings account" for each of them, and deposit money each month, but lock it until they are age 25. Kid's ages: 2, 6 and 10. All likely to attend some form of college. Kids state of residence: California, where UTMA a...
by bnes
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:58 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sellers Won't Fix Leaking Roof; Fear of Additional Damage
Replies: 58
Views: 10400

Re: Sellers Won't Fix Leaking Roof; Fear of Additional Damag

An infrared inspection can find hidden water/mold issues... and seems worth it in your case.
by bnes
Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Reporter doing story on Turbo Tax Fracas
Replies: 52
Views: 9331

Re: Reporter doing story on Turbo Tax Fracas

TT's sleazy pricing has annoyed me for years.
I tried TaxAct one, maybe two years, but found it rather worse.
This year I have access to TaxWise, and that's probably the way I'll go.
by bnes
Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing rented Comcast cable modem?
Replies: 58
Views: 21518

Re: Replacing rented Comcast cable modem?

Do it.
Check http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/ for supported models.

And even if you do go with the Comcast modem DO NOT let the installer install software on your PC.
Claim you have Linux or a Mac or temporarily lost your computer, or whatever.
by bnes
Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:24 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Should I sell My American Funds?
Replies: 51
Views: 10386

Re: Should I sell My American Funds?

For Seattlenative who asked: What American Funds am I invested in? ... Bit of a hodge-podge. They were chosen by an investment adviser and have been left alone for years. As you can see, it's a bit confusing when trying to determine my asset allocation. This is part of my incentive to change to Van...
by bnes
Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:33 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Capital losses-- Citigroup
Replies: 13
Views: 1033

Re: Capital losses-- Citigroup

If you take the loss now, Mom has a chance using the loss to offset current taxes.
If you wait, the stock's basis is raised to the market value, and the loss is lost (for tax purposes).
by bnes
Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:52 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Credit card sign-on bonuses -- worth the trouble?
Replies: 83
Views: 11721

Re: Credit card sign-on bonuses -- worth the trouble?

I view this like index investing.
I can "time the market".
Or I can just take my 2% doublecash card, and never have to hassle with anything.
by bnes
Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]
Replies: 192
Views: 15005

Re: Am I being cheap? [wedding/engagement ring]

Read this together to see how "constructed" the expensive ring thing is: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/02/have-you-ever-tried-to-sell-a-diamond/304575/ Then talk about priorities: house down payment vs. ring. The potential upside of showing an expensive ring. The potential downsid...
by bnes
Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced
Replies: 92
Views: 20895

Re: Vanguard Turbo Tax prices anounced

Desktop you can prepare multiple returns (for friends & family).
Online you pay each time.

But that said I'm offended by Intuit's pricing model on TurboTax, including the extra fee for e-File.
The IRS should want people to e-File, and ban the practice of charging yet another fee for it.
by bnes
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice for lock-boxing inheritance for 20 years
Replies: 45
Views: 4983

Re: Advice for lock-boxing inheritance for 20 years

Problem child will be bitter with the lockbox,
and may negatively anticipate it, doing nothing because he's about to be come rich.
The incentive plan sounds better: go to college, maintain a B- GPA, get 25% of the total...
...hold a job 1 year, get 10% more. Any you don't claim goes to charity.
by bnes
Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Got earthquake insurance?
Replies: 35
Views: 3589

Re: Got earthquake insurance?

Your best investment might be a pre-paid retainer with a contractor.
Insurance settlement or no, who's going to rebuild your house,
when every house in the area got hit?
by bnes
Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:54 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice on old beater car. Best way to get rid?
Replies: 34
Views: 4844

Re: Advice on old beater car. Best way to get rid?

If in California, you can get an incentive to scrap some older vehicles (for smog reduction).
by bnes
Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Software for mapping home systems?
Replies: 11
Views: 1700

Re: Software for mapping home systems?

Unless doing seismic strengthening, few people bother

But if you insist: http://www.sweethome3d.com/ (for room layout)
http://www.sketchup.com/
http://usa.autodesk.com/autodesk-123d/
by bnes
Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Price shopping for medical work: case stories : HSA/HDHP/USA
Replies: 1
Views: 551

Price shopping for medical work: case stories : HSA/HDHP/USA

I'm creating this thread for people's stories of price comparison shopping for medical procedures or lab tests. Doing so seems bogglish, yet it's pretty rare. ------------------------------------------ I'll kick it off with this story: I made a mistake, and had my daughter's blood test done at a hos...
by bnes
Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV buying recommendations
Replies: 44
Views: 4588

Re: TV buying recommendations

Recommendation:
"Dumb" TV if you can find one,
plus a smart streaming box like a Roku,
and a sound bar or sound stand.

The current TV's (plasma or otherwise) are too thin to support even adequate audio.
by bnes
Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:19 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Strategically not paying medical bills for 90 days for a dis
Replies: 30
Views: 6516

Re: Strategically not paying medical bills for 90 days for a

The situation resembles the "robo signing" mortgage mess.
I've seen the health groups send out bills they know they can't defend in hopes they stick.
The system sucks.
by bnes
Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?
Replies: 213
Views: 38914

Re: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?

Marjimmy: Put the $5,000 in a Roth IRA earning 8% and you will have $126,697.41 when you are age 65. This should be an easy choice. Note $126,697.41 won't have $126,697.41 worth of spending power at age 65. If you're saving so much you don't start "living" until age 65 that's a mistake. Live a rich...
by bnes
Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?
Replies: 213
Views: 38914

Re: 23 year old... Can I afford a Rolex?

Marjimmy: Put the $5,000 in a Roth IRA earning 8% and you will have $126,697.41 when you are age 65. This should be an easy choice. Age 65, when you're too old to enjoy the luxury item? Old and rich is not a goal, a rich life is a goal. A Rolex does not float my boat... but if it did I'd get it ear...
by bnes
Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vent free propane stove
Replies: 12
Views: 2870

Re: Vent free propane stove

Spend the extra money and get a vent.
http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blo ... as-heaters
by bnes
Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Appliance Protection Plan
Replies: 13
Views: 1235

Re: Appliance Protection Plan

$1500/$200 = 7.5
If one in 7.5 of those refrigerators die in the extended warranty period, that's a pretty crappy model.
Don't buy it.
by bnes
Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:31 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Buy Warranty for MacBook Pro
Replies: 27
Views: 5685

Re: Best Buy Warranty for MacBook Pro

Apple has a great record on taking care of AppleCare customers.
And a horrible record on extending care in case of design defects. For example 2011 MacBooks: http://action.mbp2011.com/
by bnes
Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: simple cell phone but with E911
Replies: 15
Views: 2834

Re: simple cell phone but with E911

lululu wrote:I don't remember, but the button is outside the clamshell. I don't want my purse calling 911.
You can turn the button off: I did.
by bnes
Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:53 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Retiring Parents Set in Risky Ways
Replies: 46
Views: 6570

Re: Retiring Parents Set in Risky Ways

dcw213 wrote:I will say that despite being confident in their position they watch the market very closely and react to moves downward (heard about it from them in October).
I have a elderly parent that says the same thing: "I watch the market and will get out in time". Sigh.
by bnes
Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:16 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Making 8 "horrible" investments will beat the index, right?
Replies: 35
Views: 5095

Re: Making 8 "horrible" investments will beat the index, rig

What’s the most “appalling” investment decision to make right now? Probably, to invest heavily in some index fund tracking Greece, Spain, or all of Southern Europe. Still, it’s definitely not scarier than the world index 5 years ago. That would be GVAL http://www.cambriafunds.com/gval/ Which invest...
by bnes
Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: simple cell phone but with E911
Replies: 15
Views: 2834

Re: simple cell phone but with E911

e911 is an FCC requirement in the USA: you can't not get it References: 47 C.F.R. Sections 1.720-1.736 (1999) http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/enhanced-9-1-1-wireless-services http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_9-1-1 -------- T-Mobile just discontinued their best plan: it was $100 up front then $...
by bnes
Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Very few kids in our neighborhood-Thoughts?
Replies: 29
Views: 4281

Re: Very few kids in our neighborhood-Thoughts?

I " staged " our house when the neighbouring property went on the block. We scattered extra kid's toys in the yard, and set up a lemonade stand for each day of open house. We invited friend's kids to our house, and had them jump as loudly as they wanted on the trampoline. A sour faced couple came ba...
by bnes
Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Track your car's fuel use (mileage)
Replies: 31
Views: 2990

Re: Track your car's fuel use (mileage)

The "original" fuel tracker still exists:
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=garage
Slightly updated for mobile.
by bnes
Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:25 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Oil and Gas investments
Replies: 15
Views: 1739

Re: Oil and Gas investments

Risk risk risk.
While one can get lucky with a well timed investment,
there are never free lunches. Good deals are not offered first to small retail investors.

If this were a sure thing, other cheaper financing would have been available.
by bnes
Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:14 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What to do...HSA/PPO
Replies: 6
Views: 634

Re: What to do...HSA/PPO

For me - it looks like with no FSA contribution the break even is about $5.5k spent. If we spend less than $5.5k HSA is better. Careful! An FSA and HSA are not the same thing. The HSA has savings you can keep for your lifetime, for medical needs. The Flexible Savings Account is far less flexible, a...