Thursday, December 16, 2010

Health Care FSA Eligible Expenses for 2011

The recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 also known as Health Care Reform has changed the rules for the purchase of over the counter (OTC) products using my Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

FSA funds can no longer be used to purchase OTC medicine and drugs unless a medicine or drug is prescribed.

The OTC items affected include items in the following categories:

Acid controllers, allergy and sinus, antibiotics, anti-diarrhea, anti-gas, anti-itch and insect bites, anti parasitic treatments, baby rash ointments, cold sore remedies, cough, cold and flu, digestive aids, laxatives, motion sickness, pain relief, sleep aids, stomach remedies.

FSA funds can still be used to purchase OTC items that are not considered a medicine or drug (e.g. bandages, splints, contact lens solution, etc).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2011 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

The IRS has announced the retirement plan limitations for 2011.

2011 Contribution Limits
401k - $16,500
Roth IRA - $5,000 if Modified Adjusted Gross Income below $107,000 ($169,000 if married filing jointly)

2010 Contribution Limits
401K - $16,500
Roth IRA - $5,000 if Modified Adjusted Gross Income below $105,000 ($167,000 if married filing jointly)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stock Market Snapshot as of Sep 14, 2010

SPY is sitting just below resistance after a big move the last 2 weeks.
A move above resistance may send the shorts for cover.

In the meantime, TLT has bounced off resistance and seems to be heading higher, which is not a good sign for stocks.

Trade idea for tomorrow:
If SPY moves above today's high and TLT shows some weakness, go long SPY with a stop below today's low.
Inversely if SPY trades below today's low while TLT is moving higher, short SPY with a stop above today's high .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fidelity Commission-Free ETFs

iShares ETFs with free online trading in a Fidelity account:

US Equity Index Funds:

International Equity Index Funds:

Fixed Income Funds:

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Experian PLUS Score Update

Via American Express, I am eligible to receive an annual complimentary credit score from Experian. It is Experian's PLUS score which has a scale from 330 to 830. It is not the more widely used FICO score which ranges from 300 to 850.

This score is now 801 which is a nice increase from last year's 790.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who is Bill Maher to Give Me Relationship Advice?

Here is some good advice for anyone in an abusive relationship:

I wonder how many people would need to follow this to actually make an impact?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Net Worth Update for 2009 and Goals for 2010

Back in 2005 I calculated that my net worth would reach $1 million by the end of 2012 if I could manage a steady 20% yearly increase. I have been tracking my progress ever since. In 2009 which was year 4, my net worth increased by 32.9% or $116,800. That is unfortunately not enough to make up for the major setback that was 2008.






Missed by $29,700




Missed by $18,700




Missed by $121,000




Missed by $101,200







In 2009 I was able to max out my 401k and my IRA contributions. I also contributed $3,000 to a 529 plan. Where I failed to execute was on the trading side. I remained too cautious after the stock market bottom was in, siding with the “non-believers” that the rally was for real.

My goals for 2010 are:
-max out 401k and IRA contributions
-contribute $5,000 to the 529 plan
-grow my investment portfolio by pursuing trading and investing opportunities in order to get as close as a $690,200 net worth as possible

On the real estate side, I will keep an eye open for any good opportunity to invest. But not before the $8,000 incentive for first-time home buyer has expired. Once the incentive will be gone, the housing prices are likely to correct further.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Investment Portfolio Return for 2009

My portfolio was up 20.8% in 2009. In comparison, the S&P500 was up 26.5% including dividends (23.5% before dividends).

In the accounts I actively trade, I started the year mostly in cash. I have been tiptoeing back into the market, but not aggressively enough, which explains my lackluster year compared to the S&P500.

I have been diversified across 3 different strategies:
-Buy-and-hold currently represents 30% of my portfolio
-Trend following using ETFs
-Swing trading on stocks which has not been working so well

In 2010 I will reduce the amount of swing trading and increase the share of my portfolio dedicated to trend following.