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My Money Blog

Personal Finance and Investing Blog

Last Build Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:36:10 +0000


Alaska Airlines Dash For Miles Promotion: 3,000 Bonus Miles, Reset Expiration

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:19:00 +0000

Alaska Airlines has a Dash for Miles promotion where you can earn up to 3,000 bonus miles: 1,000 bonus miles times three partner sites through September 30, 2017. You must register at the link above first, and then complete at least one transaction from any of the following: Mileage Plan Dining Mileage Plan Shopping The […]

1,000 Marriott Rewards Points for New Visa Checkout Customers

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:17:44 +0000

Here’s another promotion for Visa Checkout (they are really pushing this thing). Create a new Visa Checkout account from and earn up to 1,000 free Marriott Rewards points: Earn 500 points when you sign up for Visa Checkout on and 500 points when you use Visa Checkout within 15 days of signing up. […]

$20 Starbucks Gift Card for $10 with Visa Checkout

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:19:30 +0000

Fall promo is live. Starbucks is selling $20 Starbucks Gift Card for $10 if you buy it using Visa Checkout instead of credit card directly. Limited to the first 225,000 loads, but if you can still buy a gift card at the link, then the promotion is should still be alive. Otherwise valid 8/14/17 to […]

Solo 401k – Best Retirement Plan for Self-Employed Business Owners

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:05:22 +0000

The wealth management group Del Monte published a whitepaper on Solo 401k plans, calling it the “financial industry’s best kept secret” and a “powerful and underutilized” retirement plan for self-employed business owners. The 4-page PDF does a good job at summarizing the benefits of a Solo 401k, aka Self-Employed 401k. Perhaps most importantly, the Solo […]

Man Who Lived Alone on an Mediterranean Island For Nearly 30 Years

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:05:59 +0000

Financial freedom means that you can do what you want. Now consider that if you earn like everyone else and spend like everyone, you’ll end up like everyone else. This is why unconventional people are the most likely to achieve early retirement. I sometimes envy those people who are satisfied with the idea of working […]

College Majors: Job Availability vs. Average Salary

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 07:05:37 +0000

The American Enterprise Institute used newly-released New York Fed data in their article Major matters in the job market for college graduates. (They probably could have tried harder in their title choice.) More specifically, they found that high employability doesn’t always match up with higher earnings. In the following chart, the plotted the percentage of […]

Wealthfront Review 2017: Feature Breakdown and Comparison

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:15:48 +0000

(Updated August 2017. Added details about Advanced Indexing (smart beta), portfolio line of credit (lower rates than HELOC), customized company stock sales, and 529 college saving guidance.) Wealthfront is one of the largest independent digital advisory firms (i.e. not tied to a specific brand of funds like Vanguard or Schwab). With a younger target audience […]

Active vs. Passive Funds Debate: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 07:05:52 +0000

A common theme in the financial media these days is that “index funds will take over the world armageddon gaaaaahhhh”. People have already used the “bubble” label. Here’s an example of how three charts on the same topic can suggest very different things. First, you’ve probably seen charts like this that encourage you to extrapolate […]

Longleaf Partners Funds Shareholder Letters

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 07:05:03 +0000

One of the early books that impacted my investing philosophy was Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David Swensen. As a very successful manager of the Yale Endowment, he offered common-sense explanations of why low-costs are good and which core asset classes make the most sense to own. In addition, he pointed […]

Free 1,000+ Marriott Rewards Points Promotion

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 02:46:55 +0000

Back again, but different? I’m not sure if this works if you’ve already done it before, but there is a new Chirpify promotional page with a new #RewardsPoints hashtag (instead of #MRpoints) showing the following opportunities: 750 free points. 250 points each for linking your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. 250 free points. 125 points […]

Free Collection of Investing Books by Meb Faber

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 20:07:13 +0000

Free again. Asset manager Meb Faber is promoting the launch of his new book, The Best Investment Writing: Selected writing from leading investors and authors (Vol. 1), by making all four previous self-published books free in Kindle format for a limited time (ends Saturday 8/5). Below are direct links to each book. Check first that […]

Most Underfunded Private Pension Plans in the S&P 500 (Infographic)

Thu, 03 Aug 2017 02:51:00 +0000

In addition to data on underfunded state pension funds, Bloomberg also has an infographic on private pensions: S&P 500’s Biggest Pension Plans Face $382 Billion Funding Gap. There are at least 20 large corporations that have put aside less than 70% of what they need to pay out their estimated pension obligations. This is even […]

Best Interest Rates on Cash Savings – August 2017

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 07:37:05 +0000

Interest rates are slowly waking up from their multi-year slumber, so I’m paying closer attention to the various changes each month. Don’t let a megabank pay you 0.01% APY or less for your idle cash. Here is my monthly roundup of the best safe rates available, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Rates checked […]

Fidelity Index Mutual Fund and ETF Expense Ratios (Updated August 2017)

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 05:18:59 +0000

Updated. Fidelity announced another round of expense ratio cuts effective August 1, 2017. They last announced a big round of expense ratio drops in July 2016. This move allows them to make the following claim: Fidelity beats Vanguard on expenses on 17 of 17 comparable stock and bond index funds and 11 of 11 comparable […]

Costco New Membership Discount – LivingSocial

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 18:25:10 +0000

LivingSocial has a Costco Gold Star Membership Package where for $60 you can get $215.63 value: 1-year Gold Star membership ($60 normally), which includes a membership card for the primary cardholder as well as one free Household Card $20 Costco Cash card $$35.63 in free coupons – Free Paper Towels Create-a-Size 12/160 ct ($15.69 value), […]

Amazon Prime: Buy Sample Box, Get Equal Credit Towards Similar Products

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:35:48 +0000

Updated (again) with new sample boxes. Amazon Prime members can buy sample boxes that come with a credit towards a future purchase in that specific product category. For example, you can buy a beverage sample box for $9.99 and then you’ll get an equal $9.99 credit towards a future purchase that is valid towards eligible […]

Why Don’t More People Use Programmable Thermostats?

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 06:38:03 +0000

The hottest time of the year has arrived. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shared some results from their 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey in regards to air conditioning. A programmable thermostat can save you a ballpark 15% on your cooling bill, with the average household saving $10-$15 per month. A programmable thermostat will adjust […]

Betterment Review 2017: All Plans Now Include Human Financial Advice

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:20:52 +0000

(Updated July 2017. Added details about unlimited access to human advice for all customers, Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Portfolio options, simplified pricing structure with lower costs for some.) Betterment is an independent hybrid digital/human advisor that will manage a diversified mix of low-cost index funds and help you decide how much you’ll need to save […]

Landline Phone Replacement: OBi200 Adapter $40 Deal + Installation Tips

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:16:05 +0000

Updated. If you still like the idea of landline phone service and multiple handsets around the house, Obihai VoIP boxes are officially supported by Google Voice to provide unlimited free calls to the USA to Canada. That’s totally free: $0 a month + $0 in tax and fees. Low international per-minute rates as well. All […]

Limited-Time Offer: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® 75,000 Mile Bonus

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:15:32 +0000

Limited-time offer. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, is their premium American Airlines co-branded card. The previous 50,000 miles bonus has been improved to 75,000. Here are the details: For a limited time, earn 75,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account […]

Money Buys Happiness… If You Outsource Your Unwanted Chores

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:36:58 +0000

First, you were told that the best way to buy happiness was to buy experiences, not things. Other research then said happiness can come from buying the right things. Here’s another academic study making the rounds (WaPo, NYT): Buying time promotes happiness by Whilans et al, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. […]

Low-Cost Funds Capture Nearly All of the Market’s Gains (and Losses)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 07:48:49 +0000

Here’s a quick snapshot that illustrates why Vanguard and other low-cost funds are taking assets from active managers. Via this Bloomberg article. The US stock market has been on a great run for nearly 9 years now, and low-cost funds have been giving investors nearly all of those gains. People always chase past performance. The […]

What if the North Pond Hermit Has Pursued Early Retirement Instead?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 07:33:04 +0000

Of my summer reads was The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. Many people dream about leading a “quiet life” away from all the hustle and bustle. The “North Pond Hermit”, real name Christopher Knight, lived alone without speaking or interacting with another human being for […]

Amazon Audible: Free Trial w/ 2 Free AudioBooks (May Work For Previous Trial Members)

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:52:29 +0000

Amazon Audible has an improved promotion where you can get a free 1-month trial to Audible that includes 2 audiobook credits (usually only 1 audiobook credit). Even if you are not a new member, try clicking anyway as it worked for me and I had a previous trial Audible membership. Here’s what you should see […]

The Intangible Benefits of Saving Money: Flexibility and Robustness

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 07:06:46 +0000

Need a break from the charts? Morgan Housel has an insightful article Let Me Convince You To Save Money that includes no historical data, no survey results, no fancy infographics. Read the whole thing, but here’s my favorite excerpt: But the best reason to save is to gain control over your time. Everyone knows the […]