Search found 385 matches

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: 971

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: 8210

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: 2003

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: 2836

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: 2183

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: 1646

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: 2380

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: 20419

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: 2380

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: 805

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: 2380

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: 10141

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: 9149

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: 21446

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: 10111

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: 1013

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: 11687

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: 14691

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: 20756

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: 4928

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: 3557

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: 4612

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: 1687

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: 543

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: 4559

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: 6444

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: 37986

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: 37986

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: 2843

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: 1208

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: 5644

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: 2793

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: 6475

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: 5055

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: 2793

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: 4234

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: 2976

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: 1721

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: 622

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...
by bnes
Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: testing cell phone coverage with discarded cell phones
Replies: 13
Views: 1239

Re: testing cell phone coverage with discarded cell phones

Watch for "fake bars". On the prepaid phones I have the signal meter looks great until you actually make a call, then it may plummet. "Bars" between phones can't be compared. Note that it's not always true that an MVNO and the host carrier have the same coverage. Some towers are excluded from the MV...
by bnes
Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vinyl Siding over wood
Replies: 18
Views: 5517

Re: Vinyl Siding over wood

I've decided on vinyl siding for our 40 year old house. The current wood siding has a couple small area of rot. It seems to be some type of fiber board material--wet areas are brittle like it soaks up the water.? Fora mid-70's house that could be Masonite siding: essentially a form of particle boar...
by bnes
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?
Replies: 24
Views: 2944

Re: Finance kids' medical educations with a HELOC?

There's no need or reason to do it without "formal legal documents". The source of your cash does not matter: to the kids it can be a loan with terms, penalties, etc.
by bnes
Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Most financially economical choice for a car
Replies: 53
Views: 7136

Re: Most financially economical choice for a car

Here's an excellent article on "reconditioned" Prius batteries: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybradley/2014/04/09/replacing-a-dead-prius-hybrid-battery-doesnt-have-to-cost-thousands-of-dollars/ Highlighting the fact that when a battery pack dies, it's often just a few cells that are bad. Note that ...
by bnes
Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VCR Head Cleaning
Replies: 22
Views: 2461

Re: VCR Head Cleaning

Cotton swab & alcohol. Better than a "head cleaner".
by bnes
Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:59 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: How to buy oil in the stock market?
Replies: 32
Views: 3724

Re: How to buy oil in the stock market?

This question is more appropriate for a speculation focused forum. This site is focused on long term low cost investing.
by bnes
Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about credit cards
Replies: 8
Views: 1243

Re: Question about credit cards

Also if you have any card from CapitalOne
you have free access to their "credit tracker", which lets you input certain life events and see how they affect your credit score.

Bottom line: keep your oldest card forever, even if you need to speed $1/year to keep it active!
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radiant Heating and Hardwood Floors
Replies: 6
Views: 1311

Re: Radiant Heating and Hardwood Floors

If the house was built with radiant from the start, I'd not worry. They may have used something like http://www.warmboard.com/ which results in a much thinner layer of wood above the tubes. With radiant: be sure your inspector is radiant savvy. Look for signs of past leaks. Look for quality material...
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about credit cards
Replies: 8
Views: 1243

Re: Question about credit cards

The effect of a few cards plus or minus is small, especially at your level. But keep your OLDEST CARD , as that goes into your credit score calculation. If it's an annual fee card, call up the company and ask for a fee-waiver or an in-service switch to a no-fee variant. Churn cards if you feel that'...
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 529 or not
Replies: 38
Views: 5371

Re: 529 or not

Consider that you don't have to give the money to the kids string free. The bank of Dad can loan the college money to the kid (at below market rates).
by bnes
Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with Home Security System
Replies: 12
Views: 1416

Re: Help with Home Security System

There's an extensive thread on one option at http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=145071

When I was shopping for such a system I wanted self-install/pay up front. You may want something different.