Thursday, March 2, 2017

Brokerage Price War

This past week, I was informed that three of my brokerages have reduced their commissions. TD Ameritrade reduced their trade commissions from $9.99 to $6.95 per trade. E*TRADE also reduced their rate from $9.99 to $6.95 per trade. And, I found that Fidelity lowered their price from $7.95 to $4.95 per trade. This is an all out price war among online brokers!

In an October 2006 post, I mentioned that I stopped paying much attention to commissions when they dropped below $20 per trade, saying that "The difference of few dollars is not a big deal." But, it is interesting to note that stock commissions are still going down -- a true race to the bottom.

And yes, PFStock has been around since 2006. As the tagline goes:

PFStock: Providing Food for Thought and helping you to reach the Pinnacle of your Finances since 2006.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Money Market Rates February 2017

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.15% Popular Direct Savings*
1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.20% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 2/24/17. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

*I recently added Popular Direct which is from Banco Popular North America. I don't know much about this bank, but will note that they have a $5000 minimum to open an account, and will charge $4 each month if the account balance is less than $500. If anybody has experience with this bank, I would like to hear from you.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. They said that all accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change. However, I did notice that they reduced their interest rate after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

PFS

Friday, January 27, 2017

Waiting for 1099s to Come In

Like many people, I am waiting for the last of my 1099 forms from banks and brokerages for tax year 2016. Together with these 1099s and my W-2 form, I have should all the data that I need to start on my tax returns.

Historically, these 1099 forms were sent out by January 31st. For investors, however, there are certain items that will delay your forms to at least February 15th. The usual suspects are mutual funds (especially foreign funds), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), tax-free bonds, and dividend paying stocks. For mutual funds, there are four categories of distributions: long-term capital gains, short-term capital gains, dividends, and non-qualified dividends. ETFs will sometimes declare a distribution in December, but not pay you until January. Unfortunately, you need to pay taxes on these funds in your prior year's taxes. Sometimes, foreign mutual funds need to calculate the foreign taxes paid by the fund. This calculation often takes a while for the fund to figure out. Foreign taxes paid can be taken as a credit on your U.S. taxes.

These are just a few of the reasons why you may still be waiting for your 1099 forms well into February.

Disclaimer: PF Stock does not provide tax advice. I encourages readers to consult with a tax adviser if they have specific questions about 1099 forms or filing their taxes.

PFS

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Credit Card Bonuses 2017

Save money on purchases and get cash back with coupon codes and the following credit cards:

Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back 1/1/17 - 3/31/17: The Home Depot and Home Furnishing Stores
  • 5% cash back 4/1/17 - 6/30/17: Drugstores and Fitness Clubs
  • 5% cash back 7/1/17 - 9/30/17: Hilton and Airlines
  • 5% cash back 10/1/17 - 12/31/17: Best Buy and Department Stores
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back 1/1/17 - 3/31/17: Gas Stations, Ground Transportation, and Wholesale Clubs
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 1.05% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
  • 3% on gas
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 2% at wholesale clubs (including Costco)
  • 1% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card
This card replaced the Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express on June 20, 2016.
  • 4% on gas
  • 3% on restaurants and travel
  • 2% at Costco
  • 1% on everything else.
  • There is no annual fee, however you must be a Costco member.
Citi ThankYou Card
  • 2X points on Dining Out and Entertainment
  • 1X points on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 2.1% on everything else.
  • ($89 annual fee after first year)
PFS

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Money Market Rates November 2016

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.26% Popular Direct Savings*
1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.20% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 11/28/16. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

*I recently added Popular Direct which is from Banco Popular North America. I don't know much about this bank, but will note that they have a $5000 minimum to open an account, and will charge $4 each month if the account balance is less than $500. If anybody has experience with this bank, I would like to hear from you.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. They said that all accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change. However, I did notice that they reduced their interest rate after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

PFS

Friday, October 28, 2016

Money Market Rates October 2016

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.26% Popular Direct Savings*
1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.20% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 10/27/16. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

I recently added Popular Direct which is from Banco Popular North America. I don't know much about this bank, but will note that they have a $5000 minimum to open an account, and will charge $4 each month if the account balance is less than $500. If anybody has experience with this bank, I would like to hear from you.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. They said that all accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change. However, I did notice that they reduced their interest rate after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

PFS

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Credit Card Bonuses Q4 2016

Save money on purchases and get cash back with the following coupon codes and credit cards:

Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Best Buy & Department Stores
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Amazon.com & More
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 1.05% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
  • 3% on gas
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 2% at wholesale clubs (including Costco)
  • 1% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card
This card replaced the Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express on June 20, 2016.
  • 4% on gas
  • 3% on restaurants and travel
  • 2% at Costco
  • 1% on everything else.
  • There is no annual fee, however you must be a Costco member.
Citi ThankYou Card
  • 2X points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • 1X points on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 2.1% on everything else.
  • ($89 annual fee after first year)
PFS

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ten Years

I am happy to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this blog, PFStock. There have been a lot of changes in the past decade: recession and recovery. Please see my original welcome post from August 2006:

Welcome to PFStock

PFS

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Money Market Rates July 2016

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.25% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 7/25/16. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. I recently added GE Capital Bank has changed its name to GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank. By a small margin, GS Bank Online Savings retains the top position on this list yielding 1.05% APY.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. All accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

PFS

Monday, June 27, 2016

Credit Card Bonuses Q3 2016

Save money on purchases and get cash back with the following coupon codes and credit cards:

Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back 7/1/16 - 9/30/16: Hilton & Car Rentals
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Best Buy & Department Stores
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back 7/1/16 - 9/30/16: Home Improvement & Amazon.com
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Amazon.com & More
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 1.05% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
  • 3% on gas
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
Costco Anywhere Visa Card
This card replaced the Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express on June 20, 2016.
  • 4% on gas
  • 3% on restaurants and travel
  • 2% at Costco
  • 1% on everything else.
  • There is no annual fee, however you must be a Costco member.
Citi ThankYou Card
  • 2X points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • 1X points on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 2.1% on everything else.
  • ($89 annual fee after first year)
PFS

Friday, May 27, 2016

Money Market Rates - May 2016

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.25% Unify (Western) FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 5/26/16. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. I recently added GE Capital Bank has changed its name to GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank. By a small margin, GS Bank Online Savings retains the top position on this list yielding 1.05% APY.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they have changed their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. All accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

PFS

Friday, April 29, 2016

Money Market Rates 4/16

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

1.05% GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank Online Savings
1.00% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.95% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.95% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.90% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.25% Western FCU Money Market
0.03% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 4/28/16. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. I recently added GE Capital Bank has changed its name to GS (Goldman Sachs) Bank. By a small margin, GS Bank Online Savings retains the top position on this list yielding 1.05% APY.

Western Federal Credit Union has announced that they will change their name to Unify Financial Credit Union. All accounts and services are intended to remain the same after the name change.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

DC

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

IRS e-file – When Will I Get My IRS Tax Refund (2016)?

If you are wondering when you can expect to receive your tax refund from the IRS, you are not alone. In past years, the IRS published a table where you could look up when your federal tax refund would be deposited in your bank account (by direct deposit), or when your check would be mailed. It seems that this document, Publication 2043, either doesn't provide a table anymore. From previous years, the IRS reported that over 90% of refunds were issued in less than 21 days. The same results are expected in 2016.

You can also check the status of your income tax refund using this link. (And of course, en Español: ¿Dónde está mi reembolso?) You will need to enter your social security number, filing status, and refund amount to see your refund status.

I've heard some anecdotal stories about the IRS a long time to process refunds in the past. So I will be curious how the IRS does this time around.

If you haven't prepared your tax return yet, I encourage you to do so soon.

PFS

Note to Commenters: If you represent a company such as Intuit, H&R Block, TaxACT, CompleteTax, FreeTaxUSA, Microsoft, etc., please leave your contact information or send pfstock an Email (the Email address is listed in the sidebar) to let me know that you left a comment. If I cannot determine that your comment is authentic, it will be deleted.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Credit Card Bonuses Q2 2016

Save money on purchases and get cash back with the following coupon codes and credit cards:

Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back 1/1/16 - 3/31/16: New Beginnings: Home Depot & Home Furnishing Stores
  • 5% cash back 4/1/16 - 6/30/16: Drug Stores, Fitness Clubs
  • 5% cash back 7/1/16 - 9/30/16: Hilton & Car Rentals
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Best Buy & Department Stores
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back 1/1/16 - 3/31/16: Gas & Ground Transportation
  • 5% cash back 4/1/16 - 6/30/16: Restaurants & Movies
  • 5% cash back 7/1/16 - 9/30/16: Home Improvement & Amazon.com
  • 5% cash back 10/1/16 - 12/31/16: Amazon.com & More
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 1.05% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
  • 3% on gas
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express
  • I've stopped using my Costco American Express card since it will be discontinued early in 2016. At this point, I have no need for an AmEx card since Costco will no longer accept it.
Citi ThankYou Card
  • 2X points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • 1X points on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.1% on travel and dining
  • 2.1% on everything else.
  • ($89 annual fee after first year)

PFS

Monday, January 25, 2016

What are Non-dividend Distributions?

This is a re-post of an article about non-dividend distributions, published in April 2015. Hopefully, I am early enough for people wondering about this topic on their 2015 taxes.

A couple of the stocks that I own made what are called a non-dividend distributions in 2014. This was reported to me on Form 1099-DIV in box 3 (Nondividend distributions). These distributions are not treated the same as ordinary (Box 1a) or qualified dividends (Box 1b). So this begs the question what is a non-dividend distribution?

I found the answer, on the website of one of the stocks that made a non -dividend distribution in 2014: Mattel, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT). The third question in their FAQ is "What is a non-dividend distribution?"

A non-dividend distribution represents a return of a portion of the shareholder’s original investment in the stock of a corporation. Generally, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, a non-dividend distribution is first treated as a reduction in the shareholder’s tax basis in the stock held, and when the basis in the stock is reduced to zero, a non-dividend distribution is then treated as a capital gain to the shareholder.

Further down the page, Mattel has an example of how a non-dividend distribution works for tax purposes:

Non-dividend distribution Example

An individual who is a citizen of the United States owns one share of Company A, Inc. stock. This share was purchased on December 31, 2013 for $50.00. During 2014, the shareholder receives total dividends of $5.00 on his single share of stock. Assume that Company A, Inc. determines that for U.S. federal income tax purposes, 60% of the 2014 dividend should be treated as a non-dividend distribution and 40% should be treated as a dividend. Therefore for U.S. federal income tax reporting, this shareholder should treat $3.00 of the $5.00 distribution as a non-dividend distribution and $2.00 of the $5.00 distribution as a dividend.

The portion of the distribution which is treated as a dividend for U.S. tax purposes is taxable to the shareholder in 2014. Accordingly, this shareholder should report $2.00 of dividend income on his 2014 U.S. Federal Income Tax Return.

The portion of the distribution which is treated as a non-dividend distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes will likely first reduce the shareholder’s basis in his stock.  Therefore, in 2014, the $3.00 of non-dividend distribution will likely reduce the shareholders basis in his stock from $50.00 to $47.00.  The reduction in basis should not be taxable in 2014 but may impact the amount of the taxable gain or loss recognized by the shareholder when the single share of Company A stock is sold.

Assume this shareholder sells his single share of Company A stock for $65.00 on June 1, 2015.  The shareholder’s gain from the sale of the single share of Company A stock for 2015 will likely be calculated as follows:

Original basis                                                                $50.00
Less: non-dividend distribution                                       ($ 3.00)
Adjusted basis                                                              $47.00
Sale proceeds                                                               $65.00
Less: Adjusted basis (above)                                         ($47.00)
Capital gain                                                                   $18.00

I hope this information is helpful to people wanting to know more about non-dividend distributions.

Disclaimer: This example is not intended to be tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for advice specific to your situation.

PFS