First In First Out

One of the things that comes up around tax time is capital gains. Short term gains for investments held less than one year are taxed as regular income (25% for me) while any gains on investments held for more than one year are taxed at only 15%. I’m usually investing for the long term with mutual funds, whereas I will be happy to sell a stock after it goes up 20% regardless of how long I have held it. Every now and then when I get close to 1 year, I might hold on to get a long term gain instead of short term.

With mutual funds, I might move money around every now and then, but not really that much. I’ve had investments in the same mutual fund sometimes for 10 years or more, so anytime I sell anything in that fund, it will be a long term gain. Even if I buy some shares and then sell them the next month, the IRS sees that as long term because I can sell the older shares instead of the ones I just bought. The only time I get messed up with that is with wash sales where I sell at a loss within a month of buying shares. I got some wash sales during the financial crisis with Suntrust stock as its stock price went on a roller coaster ride and I was hitting 20% gains or losses within a few days.
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Hargis Family Bible

Aunt Edythe had this bible and George included a scan of the pages in his giant book of genealogy. I thought I would try to transcribe it. The bible belonged to Dr. Robert Bell Smith Hargis who was a doctor in Pensacola before and after the Civil War. He played a pretty prominent position in the fight against yellow fever, writing a couple of books about it, and also getting yellow fever in the process. Dr. Hargis, originally from North Carolina, wasn’t related to us, but his wife was a descendant of Dr. Eugene Sierra, like us. Their son, Dr. John Whiting Hargis, married Paw-Paw’s sister, Edythe Grant (hmmm . . . also a descendant of Dr. Sierra; by my calculations they were second cousins, once removed), and their daughter was Mom’s cousin, Edythe.

Each page has two columns, so I am including the headers for those columns as “Births,” “Marriages,”, or “Deaths.” In keeping with the format of the original pages, some additional marriages and deaths were added at the end. Some of it is hard to read and I may not have gotten things right, and some is impossible to read. I will post pictures if I get them.

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Gold

I wrote about how to possibly buy gold ten years ago. Since then, it has gotten a lot easier and also much more expensive. There are now exchange traded funds that invest in gold, introduced in 2007. The biggest gold ETF has ticker symbol GLD. It has $32 billion in assets, all of which is invested in 400-ounce bricks of gold bullion: 804 tons! You buy the shares just like you buy shares of stock. The costs are minimized and the money is invested directly in gold, not gold-related stocks like mining companies which is how many mutual funds invest in gold. Even with operating expenses of 0.4% per year at GLD (0.25% for the similar IAU), if you’re serious about investing in gold, an ETF is a pretty good way to do it. One caveat is that capital gains on gold (considered a “collectible” by the IRS) are taxed at 28% for long term gains. One way around that would be to use money in your IRA to buy shares of a gold ETF, then when you sell it, you wouldn’t pay taxes on any gains. This doesn’t work for gold bullion. If you have gold bullion in an IRA and sell it for a profit, you will owe tax that year, but this doesn’t apply to a lot of ETF’s even if they invest in gold bricks like GLD or IAU. My Fidelity Roth IRA account is also a brokerage account, so I can invest in GLD, SLV, or IAU. Fidelity offers commission-free trades for some iShares ETF’s, but not iShares precious metals ETF’s SLV and IAU. In fact, Fidelity will even let me buy bullion for my IRA through Fidelitrade (a separate company, apparently), but there are a lot of fees per transaction and for storage. You also have to be careful about buying physical gold in an IRA because not all gold is eligible (Kruggerands are not eligible because they are not pure 24 karat gold, but American Eagles are despite not being pure gold).

American Gold Eagle

American Gold Eagle

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