Search found 1640 matches

by archbish99
Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A "different" paying off the mortgage question
Replies: 29
Views: 4272

Ah, I see.... I'd read articles on housing in disaster areas and not seen a mention of that. Good to know!
by archbish99
Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:47 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: Seattle Local Chapter? The answer is "Yes"
Replies: 60
Views: 20277

And correspondingly high depression and suicide rates. A cheerful place, we've got here. :?

Honestly, though, I like it. I'll take gentle rain over hurricanes and snowstorms, and the summers are worth it, albeit short.
by archbish99
Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:45 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Moving Money from IRA to Taxable Accounts with Zero Tax ?
Replies: 19
Views: 2216

Do a small rollover before the EOY, and 2012 is your first year, though. If I'm reading correctly, the money would then be available in 2016, four years later. (First day of the fifth year after the conversion.) Alternatively, when you need money in the meantime, take distributions from the unconver...
by archbish99
Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A "different" paying off the mortgage question
Replies: 29
Views: 4272

Hijacking the thread slightly, but why would you not need earthquake insurance if you have little equity? In the event of an earthquake, the house is destroyed -- but you still owe the money. You lose the asset, but don't lose the liability. You might manage a short-sale of the lot in that case, but...
by archbish99
Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:06 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Moving Money from IRA to Taxable Accounts with Zero Tax ?
Replies: 19
Views: 2216

Better yet, don't just withdraw it into taxable, do a Roth conversion with the money. That not only gets it out of the IRA tax-free, it lets it grow still tax-sheltered.
by archbish99
Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: simple asset allocation question
Replies: 5
Views: 1186

For the IRA, it's really up to you.... If you want to invest as traditional mutual funds, go with Vanguard itself -- no one else will have Vanguard's funds cheaper than Vanguard. If you want to use ETFs instead (pro: lower ER without meeting the threshold for Admiral shares; cons: must buy in whole-...
by archbish99
Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I sign up for a HSA?
Replies: 8
Views: 1433

You also can't contribute to an HSA if you're covered by traditional insurance, even if it's someone else's policy. Run the numbers; my inclination would be to go ahead and have your parents drop you and get onto your own insurance. However, it might make sense to take whatever money you can from yo...
by archbish99
Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: How to Invest Company Stock Windfall?
Replies: 19
Views: 2838

Regarding saving for college with an unborn child, open a 529 with one of you as account holder and the other as beneficiary. When the child is born, there are no tax consequences to doing a change of beneficiary, because the new beneficiary is the child of the old beneficiary.
by archbish99
Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Withdrawal strategy - which one is best?
Replies: 14
Views: 2377

(Taken with the grain of salt that I'm nowhere close to actually doing this....) I'm attracted by the Guyton model, though it's required some thinking to flesh out because he's not terribly clear in his papers about how to actually implement it. I think it works something like this: * Initial withdr...
by archbish99
Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Paying for Kids Wedding-Parity?
Replies: 84
Views: 8563

Even "American" traditions differ. I've always heard the expectation that groom's family pays for rehearsal dinner, for example. That's not (necessarily) an insignificant piece. In our case, my parents paid for the rehearsal dinner; my wife's mom paid for the cake and flowers; her dad gave...
by archbish99
Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Loan My Kid Money for College
Replies: 81
Views: 10947

Take a look at how Yale does tuition scaling, and pull out the student portion of it. They expect the student to earn $4,500 a year between summer jobs and part-time work during the semester. They calculate how much the parents can contribute, and the foundation covers the balance. Setting a (low) d...
by archbish99
Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:29 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help with understanding Roth IRA's
Replies: 6
Views: 1445

You're right -- if everything is in the Roth IRA, you'll probably be in a lower tax bracket, and wish you'd done Traditional to get the tax benefit when you were in a higher tax bracket. You also can't take advantage of any tax benefits, such as charitable giving deductions, if that's part of your l...
by archbish99
Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:19 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Roth IRA long term political risk
Replies: 9
Views: 3059

That would be predicting the future, which everyone around here knows is impossible. My guess is that anything new would probably freeze contributions to existing accounts and have some provision for a rollover to whatever the new thing is. (i.e. roll-over your Roth to a super-duper-new-taxable-thin...
by archbish99
Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:24 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA - Paying out of pocket and then reimbursing self?
Replies: 12
Views: 16040

Given that there's no specified time period (yet), I've heard of people who just save all their receipts and intend to use them to substantiate large tax-free withdrawals come retirement.

The accounting on that seems like it would be a nightmare, regardless of the tax benefits.
by archbish99
Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Evaluating HDHP/HSA and PPO
Replies: 6
Views: 1330

Sounds about right.... You might want to run a quick Excel graph using the coinsurance amounts and compare the curves. This is insurance, so you need to care about the worst case as well as the average. FSAs are good for predictable expenses (glasses, surgeries you know about at the end of the previ...
by archbish99
Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question re USAA
Replies: 25
Views: 4730

Yeah -- I'm willing to look elsewhere for savings and investing, but not insurance or checking. Go with USAA if you're eligible. (Of course, my wife isn't willing to look elsewhere for savings either, which is why we're still getting <.02% interest.) They re-evaluate your insurance each period based...
by archbish99
Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What were your trades for the past 2 weeks?
Replies: 53
Views: 4503

Autopilot until yesterday. I had a brief impulse to fix some other imbalances in my portfolio to roll more into VTI and VXUS, but realized that the cash wouldn't clear until Monday, and I'd be on vacation with uncertainty of Internet access by then. Better in the market in a sub-optimal fund than no...
by archbish99
Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:55 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Why isn't VIPSX an index fund?
Replies: 22
Views: 4264

The other thing that complicates a TIPS fund is the "phantom income" issue. Remember that if you hold TIPS in a taxable account, you get to pay taxes on the inflation adjustment even though the money is still locked in the bond? A TIPS fund is required to distribute that as a dividend, eve...
by archbish99
Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally No penalty CD vs Savings acct.
Replies: 21
Views: 8133

Probably multiple 1099s. Their online application allows you to fill out the application once for up to (I think) 5 accounts at a time, though. I would assume their IRA is similar. Worth exploring. And I also generally bank with USAA. True, their rates are virtually identical, but their ~6 month pen...
by archbish99
Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Ally No penalty CD vs Savings acct.
Replies: 21
Views: 8133

You can't do a partial break, but as he suggests, you can spilt up the money into 10 $1k 5-year CDs and only break as many CDs as you need.
by archbish99
Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:00 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPO, HMO, or HDHP/HSA? (All premiums covered)
Replies: 10
Views: 2516

Agreed. FSAs are useful for getting a tax break (and effectively 0% financing for a year) on well-known large expenditures, or areas where your spending is very regular and you can predict an annual floor with reasonable accuracy (e.g. my wife's contacts). It's not a substitute for an HSA, which all...
by archbish99
Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:47 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Anyone Hitting Their Bands This Week?
Replies: 45
Views: 6971

New money is entirely to stocks (and has been for a few paychecks now); bonds are heavy enough to make me shift my contributions, but nowhere near triggering a rebalance.
by archbish99
Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Setting up new computer
Replies: 12
Views: 2383

I understand I already have a Windows Firewall working and based on other threads I've seen on this board intend to install Microsoft Security Essentials (anti-virus) and Windows Defender (anti-spy). Costco sent me a free copy of Kaspersky Internet Security which I intend to NOT install, and Mcafee...
by archbish99
Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PPO, HMO, or HDHP/HSA? (All premiums covered)
Replies: 10
Views: 2516

Sounds a lot like my options at work, except they're phasing out the PPO option after 2012. We're staying on the PPO until the bitter end, because my wife and I have enough chronic conditions that we have to assume the high end of the probabilities. (And Lord willing, there'll be a childbirth before...
by archbish99
Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:46 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: What is your rebalancing policy?
Replies: 64
Views: 9399

I have a slightly more complex system because of my 401k setup.... I have the 401k's core funds (a few Vanguard, mostly not) which are required to be at least 5% of my balance. The other up to 95% are in Vanguard ETFs (with a commission to buy them). I rebalance in two ways: - New money goes into th...
by archbish99
Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can I build my own PC?
Replies: 47
Views: 4964

These days, you don't save a ton of money building yourself, but it's a fun experience. Not really that hard -- just have to do some thinking about the pieces. Here's my general approach: - Pick a case - from full size ATX down to tiny micro-ATX, it's all a question of size. - Pick a CPU - Intel and...
by archbish99
Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Illegal or Immoral 529 Plan?
Replies: 41
Views: 12183

The caution here, from what I've read, is this: - UGMA accounts are assets of the student, and hurt you in the current year's financial aid calculation - 529 accounts held by the parents are assets of the parents, and only count around 5% (since they're parental assets) - 529 accounts held by someon...
by archbish99
Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Starting from scratch...
Replies: 23
Views: 2952

Agreed on the health insurance -- you're young, healthy, and well-funded, so you might benefit by looking into an HSA with a high-deductible plan. That's basically: - You pay for minor expenses out-of-pocket - Insurance kicks in to cover catastrophic illness only (to protect your assets) - You get a...
by archbish99
Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: You Just Died
Replies: 60
Views: 7764

Yeah, if my wife dies, our food & travel expenses go down, our taxes go up (filing as single), and my free time just got consumed by all the chores she does while I'm at work. It wouldn't be a catastrophe from a financial point of view, just from a life point of view. She knows what to do if I d...
by archbish99
Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Frequent Flyer Mistake
Replies: 11
Views: 2084

We paid about $550 in taxes/fees on top of 110k miles for two economy class tickets to France last year through Continental. For two economy tickets, or first-class, that sounds about right. If it's a single economy ticket, go in swinging. :-) Taxes in France, particularly CDG, are ridiculous. I lov...
by archbish99
Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:27 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Strategy When RMD Exceeds Intended Withdrawal
Replies: 19
Views: 2883

Note: Entirely hypothetical, as I'm not retired nor that old. Yeah, personally, put as much in Roth as possible to avoid the issue. So long as 5-10% of my TIRA/T401k assets are less than the target withdrawal from my total assets, this shouldn't be a concern. But if I were going to be hit with a for...
by archbish99
Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:07 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Thaler: Getting the Most Out of Social Security
Replies: 62
Views: 6869

No -- that comment was saying that if you not only delay claiming, but also keep working later, you increase the salary amount that your social security is based on.
by archbish99
Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:21 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: 401K or Roth? New Monies?
Replies: 3
Views: 493

Yeah, that's basically it.... My order of preference is: - 401k up to match limit (probably a Roth 401k, if allowed by your employer) - Build/Replenish Emergency Fund - HSA if qualified & have decent custodian (debatable) - Roth IRAs - Pay down mortgage somewhere in here (debatable) - Taxable in...
by archbish99
Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wi-Fi–Hacking Neighbor From Hell Sentenced to 18 Years
Replies: 36
Views: 4672

SSID Broadcasting

Most of the posts here are spot-on -- WPA2 with a reasonable-strength key is more than sufficient. Just remember that technology exists to block a specific attack; keeping him from getting on your Wi-Fi doesn't stop other nefarious actions if you actually did wind up with the "neighbor from hel...
by archbish99
Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:24 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Can I consider my time horizon to be long despite my age?
Replies: 16
Views: 2414

As others have said -- what you're really doing here is building a retirement account for your daughter. Pick a Target Retirement fund based on her age, and let it go. If you want to build your own portfolio, then use her age in bonds as the guideline. Minus the question of estate taxes (and if you ...
by archbish99
Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on investing inheritance
Replies: 10
Views: 1168

Agreed about encouraging her to pay off the mortgage -- that will give her much lower monthly expenses and more peace of mind, plus it's a guaranteed return. Risk premium is all well and good, but returns with no risk are very nice too. If she wants a simple portfolio, look at some of the Vanguard a...
by archbish99
Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: To etf or not to etf....
Replies: 13
Views: 1994

Deciding factors....

The main difference to me is that ETFs (generally) have a per-transaction cost, and mutual funds (generally) don't. In my 401k, I can choose between somewhat-higher ER mutual funds or very low ER ETFs. Because there's a transaction fee on the ETFs, I accumulate money in the mutual funds and periodic...
by archbish99
Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:50 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Traditional IRA vs. Roth
Replies: 18
Views: 4618

Don't forget deductions....

This has been my logic: If everything is in TIRAs or T401ks, then everything is taxable, and I likely will be in a higher or similar income bracket. In that case, I'll wish I had done a Roth. If everything is in Roths, then nothing in taxable, I'll be in a very low income bracket, and I won't be abl...
by archbish99
Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: CD ladder or Bond Fund in taxable account?
Replies: 17
Views: 5805

A previous version of their depository agreement gave them the right to refuse a withdrawal. Their most recent update removed that.
by archbish99
Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:08 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Inflation is killing part of my Emergency fund
Replies: 18
Views: 2537

Laddered CDs

I would consider putting some of it in long-term CDs somewhere with a low early-redemption penalty. (Ally is only 60 days of interest.) Leaving it alone for four months or more nets you a higher interest rate after the penalty than most savings accounts. Assume you'll need to tap it sometime and fac...