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Spring has sprung! At this time of year, we love swinging downtown to check out the cherry blossoms. However, this year with the pandemic in play, we may skip our annual tradition. Here’s a picture from last year’s blossom excursion:
Despite paying zero attention to organized sports, I did fill out an NCAA March Madness bracket with my extended family. I might asked Nate Silver from 538 for some advice in how to fill it out 🙂 My two alma maters are both in the tournament this year.
Even TurboTax Makes Mistakes
I still haven’t filed my taxes yet for 2020, nor have I filed for an extension yet. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on it. As I prepped for filing, I decided to take a swing at it using Turbotax to see what the damage was. Occasionally, I find a thing or two that I would have missed, launching me into a research bing into some arcane tax rule.
This year, I was surprised that Turbotax got a couple things wrong. I write software for a profession and understand how impossible it is to write bug-free software. But for some reason, I expect more from TurboTax. Their whole schtick is to save people effort and angst by doing the math for them, and odd bugs like this can put folks in a panic.
First, when entering my W2 information, Turbotax informed me that I would be getting a corrected W2 from my employer. What? I started poking around, and found what looks like a TurboTax bug.
Second, I found it impossible to correctly account for my IRA recharacterization from my 2019 contribution that was recharacterized in March 2020. TurboTax insisted that I’d be paying a penalty, but having been on this rodeo before, I seriously doubt it. But I’ll be doing my due diligence to find out if the mistake is on my end. In hindsight, I should have just done a TIRA and rolled it over cleanly, avoiding the recharacterization mess.
Third, the state tax return got rejected for a “charitable contribution” error for my second oldest’s return. All it took was logging back in and hitting the e-file button again, but seemed wonky.
Maybe all the tax changes triggered by the pandemic are making it harder to get things right. However, it does chip away at the trust that folks place in TurboTax
Whoops! I Did It Again!
The DumpsterFire, Inc. saga continues!
In January, I had some options that expired in the money and more than 85% of my position was liquidated. But then, in early March, the price of DFI dropped back below the price of one of the lots sold in January, so I bought back in at a discount. My mental gymnastics/rationalization was “it’s like I never sold them in January”. Except I did, realizing a long-term capital gain in January.
I’m back in the business of selling covered calls for additional passive income from DFI.
From the Bookshelf
I usually have four books going at a time. This month I finished the following:
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer. Not my all-time favorite business book, but lots of golden nuggets mixed in. It was interesting coming on the heels of Nine Lies, especially the opposing viewpoint about feedback, recommending giving lots of candid feedback. They also gave weight to the trend of “flexible” time off instead of limited paid time off. Not sure I buy that one.
- Airborne by Kenneth Oppel. I read this YA fiction aloud to the kids and everyone enjoyed it, from my sixteen year-old to the eight year-old. It was actually my second time through it, but I honestly only remembered fragments from before. We’re currently in the second of the trilogy, Skybreaker.
- The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers by Tom Standage. It’s remarkable how similar the internet subculture was to it0707s 19th century predecessor, the telegraph. It reminded me of the BBS culture of the 80s and the early internet. I also found the history of cryptography and the simple ciphers used to secure telegraphic communications fascinating.
- The Ages of the Investor: A Critical Look at Life-cycle Investing (Investing for Adults Book 1) by William J Bernstein. This book is practically a pamphlet, but had lots of hidden gems. It’s what triggered my analysis of value investing versus lump sum and another couple posts I have in my queue.
- Has Anyone Seen the President? by Michael Lewis. I’ve always enjoyed books by Michael Lewis, from Liar’s Poker to The Big Short. However, this one was a little different, coming with a view of how the current political climate brought about the rise of the Trump presidency. In summary, fear and anger drives elections more than rational discourse.
- Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Fun read, probably more appropriate to read in the fall. Wonderful metaphors. One of my favorite quotes came at the end: “Is Death important? No. Everything that happens before death is what counts.”
- The Relentless Moon: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal. Final book in the Lady Astronaut trilogy, an enjoyable ending. Totally different main character, telling a parallel narrative of the second book.
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. I picked this audiobook up after reading about it on A Wealth Of Common Sense. While I found it entertaining, I also don’t know how much to believe of the story. The kicker was his dad dying from a heart attack while making love to his mom. I’d heard that exact same story from a friend, also from Texas, about his grandfather going the same way, “doing the thing he loved.” I’m calling BS on this macho, testosterone laden anecdote. I seriously doubt this memoir will age well.
That’s a lot of books for March!
How was your March? Read anything interesting this month? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.