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34
votes
2answers
47k views

How are long-term capital gains taxed if the gain pushes income into a new tax bracket?

First, my understanding is that the long-term capital gains tax rate is 0% for those whose marginal rate on ordinary income is 10% or 15%, and (ignoring the highest 39.6% bracket) the rate is 15% for ...
38
votes
7answers
94k views

Why do banks want you to pay off interest before principal?

When you take out a traditional mortgage the first payment you make to a bank pays off mostly interest and then later payments start paying off principal. What is the reason for this? Is it just a ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

Why are daily rebalanced inverse/leveraged ETFs bad for long term investing?

I was reading this article about S&P 500 short ETFs: https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/176217/4-ways-to-short-the-sampp-500-with-etfs and I was confused when it said: "investors should note that ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

If low-cost index funds are considered the best investment, why are there so many high-cost, managed funds?

The general consensus is that the single best indicator of a fund's future performance is the its expense ratio (source). If you look for more than 5 minutes online you discover the Bogleheads ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

How to avoid having my father's down payment assistance get taxed as a gift

My father has offered to pay up to $70k towards a down payment on a condo for my wife and me. I understand that gifts of over $13k get taxed pretty heavily. Is there a way to avoid this when it comes ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Investing in low cost index fund — does the timing matter?

I'm a young person with some money to start investing. I do believe in the superiority of low cost index fund over actively managed fund. But I still freeze up a bit about the timing of when to start ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Achieving ideal credit card utilization above 0%

So everyone is aware of the general rule that you should keep credit card utilization below 30% of your credit limit. It's also a good idea to keep this utilization above 0%. It's very easy to stay ...
71
votes
4answers
10k views

What are some tips for getting the upper hand in car price negotiations?

My family wheels are pushing 200K miles and lights are starting to come on, noises are starting to come out, and I want to investigate a newer car before I sink money into repairing mine. What are ...
85
votes
18answers
89k views

By 18 years of age, I want a brand new car that's $43,668

I'm from Arizona and I will be 18 in 4 months. I make about $1,200 a month from my job. I have $600 in my bank account and I don't plan to spend any of it until I'm 18. I'm looking to get a ...
81
votes
10answers
18k views

Why does a company pay dividends at all?

If a company can lower the dividends and even stop paying them at all during hard times, why would they re-install them at all? If I understand correctly a company pays dividends so that investors ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

Where should I park my rainy-day / emergency fund?

This is the US companion of the same question for Canadians Where can I park my rainy-day/ emergency fund?. Basically I want to know what options I have for my emergency fund?
30
votes
2answers
3k views

What to do with sudden wealth?

I am about to receive a considerable(for me, anyway) amount of money- about $100k- and really have no idea what to do with it to make it grow even larger. Of course I want to pay off credit card debt(...
24
votes
7answers
14k views

Why are interest rates on saving accounts so low in USA and Europe?

For example, in USA interest rates are 1-2% percents, while in Russia it is normal to have up to 8% anually for US dollars account. Same goes for Euro. For Russian ruble it can be up to 12%, but with ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

How would bonds fare if interest rates rose?

The first thing I learned about bonds is that when interest rates rise, the price of existing bonds tends to fall. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much else about bonds. So I have a couple questions ...
12
votes
3answers
17k views

Comparing HDHP vs PPO Plans: Am I missing something?

It's that time of year at work that we're needing to renew our insurance carrier. HR decided to continue the two PPO plans we previously had available, while adding an HDHP + HSA plan. I've compared ...
22
votes
11answers
19k views

How to get rid of spare change

So I have about $50 in pennies, dimes and nickels. What would you do with it? I'm asking because I don't think spending hours rolling up the change and taking it to the bank is the best/most ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I freeze my credit?

If freezing your credit is a better way to protect your identity and the associated credit that goes along with it, how do I freeze my credit?
5
votes
1answer
671 views

Pay off mortgage or invest in high value saving account

I have a mortgage of 30 yrs amortization and have 290k left on the mortgage. It suddenly hit me that with my bi weekly payment of 620, it would take forever to pay it off. I need some help deciding if ...
16
votes
4answers
349k views

How to correct a mistake made when writing a check?

I think I know the answer to this, but I'm not sure, and it's a good question, so I'll ask: What is the accepted/proper way to correct a mistake made on a check? For instance, I imagine that in any ...
4
votes
1answer
441 views

Tax on money withdrawn from Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA when living outside the United States and over 59.5-year-old

I am over 59.5 year-old and live in the United States. I contributed to Roth 401(k) as well as Roth IRA. Money withdrawn from Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA is not taxed in the United States as I am over 59....
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a reasonable salary for the owner and sole member of a small S-Corp?

I am the owner and sole member of a small s-corp. I am a litte confused regarding the reasonable salary the IRS requires. The S-Corp is fairly small and requires very little work to maintain. Would ...
10
votes
6answers
191k views

Ontario harmonized sales tax (HST) transition benefit rebate cheques / OSTTB: Who, when, how much?

As part of introducing the HST this July 1st, 2010, the government of Ontario promised to issue special HST rebates to people meeting certain criteria, in order to ease the transition to the new tax. ...
11
votes
3answers
919 views

What is the optimal ratio of used credit to credit limit for your credit score?

I have been told to never go over 50% of my credit limit on any credit card even if I pay always off in full for each statement, in order not to hurt my credit score. Is this true? What is the ratio ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Does a stock really dip in price on the ex-dividend date? And why would it do this?

As per this Investopedia article: Because the stock price is expected to drop by the amount of the dividend on the ex-dividend date, Why is a stock expected to fall on the dividend date? Does it ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How bad would maxing out my credit card once a year affect my score

I just got approved for a $1500 cash secured credit card from Wells Fargo. This means I have no credit history whatsoever, and am going to use this card to establish one. With fall semester at ...
7
votes
2answers
12k views

Are tax federal or state tax refunds taxable in the next tax year?

If I get a refund from IRS and or from a state tax agency, will that refund be considered taxable income for the next year's federal or state income taxes?
235
votes
21answers
77k views

Why isn't everybody rich?

This question came up after reading this question (stock market long term risks), in which it is re-iterated (as it has been many times on this site), that investing in the stock market, especially an ...
188
votes
19answers
27k views

How smart is it to really be 100% debt free?

For the last 2 years, I have been trying hard to be debt free without affecting my personal cash flow. I am by no means a rich person, but I have a decent salary. I still have debt, specifically ...
153
votes
10answers
34k views

Do I make money in the stock market from other people losing money?

Basically I am new to stock trading and neglect to see the differences between trading stocks and betting on sports. Basically I am "betting" on which company will do well, and this can change due to "...
178
votes
11answers
46k views

I'm supposedly eligible for an inheritance from a distant relative. Offer appears to be legitimate

About 12 months ago, I received a letter ostensibly from a company carrying out genealogical research for law firms. It said that they were dealing with the estate of someone who had left money to my ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

Where to start with personal finance?

I am married with kids and starting to look hard at savings for retirement, buying a house and sending my kid to college (still a LONG way away). However, I am completely new to the world of finance ...
44
votes
7answers
5k views

Ethics and investment

I am a young man who has recently reached a point of financial stability. I'm starting to think about long-term plans which may one day buy a home, or provide for myself in old age. This raises the ...
31
votes
8answers
5k views

Paying Off Principal of Home vs. Investing In Mutual Fund

I close on my first home October 21. I've locked in a 4.330% APR on a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage and my payment will be ~$800/month. I've put the required 20% down to avoid paying PMI. ...
39
votes
9answers
20k views

What happens to my savings if my country defaults or restructures its debt?

I live in a eurozone country that a lot of people think will soon default or restructure its debt. My family has a savings account in a bank here. A similar question has been asked before, but it isn'...
49
votes
5answers
24k views

Why is transferring money online to someone else's bank account so difficult in the U.S.?

I used to live in a poor, third world country (India) where I freely transferred money between my bank account (a savings account) to accounts held by my friends in different banks, and different ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you short US Treasuries?

As the US government continues to issue record levels of debt, I don't think it can continue to sell that debt at 2 - 3% interest. It will face the simple supply/demand law of economics - the more ...
13
votes
4answers
48k views

What does “more buyers than sellers” in technical analysis of stocks actually mean?

I often hear/read technical analysts looking at volume and price action on a chart and claiming that there are "more buyers than sellers" or vice versa. Since every trade requires a buyer and a ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

Investing in a leveraged index ETF for retirement. Risky?

I'm 23, and in addition to my 401k at work, I have a few thousand saved in an IRA. Right now I have it sitting in Treasurys earning around 3%. Over the past 50 years the S&P has averaged around ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Penalty to withdraw from a new Roth IRA for first time home buyers?

My wife & I are 28 and plan on purchasing our first home in the next 1-3 years. Right now our assets are in two places: 403-b that I will not touch for the next 30+ years FDIC-insured savings ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Best starting options to invest for retirement without a 401k

I'm trying to avoid asking a duplicate question, but I feel my situation is more specific than general beginner's saving or investing. I am a university student with a part time job that does not ...
6
votes
1answer
10k views

Received W-2 but was never paid

I just now received a W-2 from a company that I worked for 3 days as a contractor. I had to leave country for 2 months due to a family emergency. Since the employment duration was very short, I was ...
19
votes
3answers
45k views

Would depositing large cash amounts cause problems?

I saw an article recently where a man withdrew $600,000 USD in cash from his bank. I'm sure many folks here would advise against this move for obvious (and perhaps not-so-obvious) reasons. My ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Can I get a rebate after using my HSA?

I used an HSA to buy some contact lenses. They came with a rebate form that I can send in to get a refund of about 1/5 of the purchase price. Is it okay to send away for the refund after using the ...
10
votes
4answers
22k views

For a car, would you pay cash, finance for 0.9% or lease for 0.9%?

Everybody knows "buy used car in cash" is the generally accepted, financially sound decision, but let's assume one wants a nice, fresh, brand-new car. Given: Car is $30,000. All-in (inclusive of ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the rationale behind an FSA being “Use it or Lose it”?

One of the biggest gripes most people have with the Flexible Spending Account is the rule that you must "Use it or Lose it". This can lead to people frantically running around just before their money ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do (ACH) payments that withdraw or deposit on my bank account require 1+ business days to complete?

Based on this question, I figured that there might be multiple questions for distinct locales. Why do the most common transactions to or from bank accounts in the US require waiting one or more days ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How does end-of-year interact with mutual fund prices (if it does)?

Should I expect prices of mutual fund shares to go up in anticipation of dividends, down after dividends have paid out ... or just trust that the market has already reacted to that and the price is ...
18
votes
3answers
11k views

How should I handle taxes for Minecraft server donations?

I run a Minecraft server and there is a donation button so players can help support the costs. I pay out of pocket for the rest, it's $125/mo. The money they donate goes right to paypal which is ...
13
votes
8answers
121k views

In a house with shared ownership, if one person moves out and the other assumes mortgage, how do we determine who owns what share in the end?

Let us assume a shared ownership house, where everything is 50/50 in terms of deposit, monthly payments, bills, and eventually estate agent costs, and lawyer costs when the house is sold. If the ...
8
votes
2answers
7k views

What happens to options held during a reverse stock split?

I held 1 put option for 100 shares of USO that expires on May 8. Yesterday, USO underwent an 8:1 reverse stock split. My options are now for USO1 instead of USO, but what does that mean? The strike ...

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