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My Money Blog

Personal Finance and Investing Blog

Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:35:29 +0000


Blue Cash Preferred from American Express Review: 6% Cash Back on Groceries

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:44:18 +0000

Limited-time offer. If you apply by 5/3/17, you can earn 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. This is in addition to the $150 back after you spend $1,000 on all purchases within the first 3 months, for a total of $350 in sign-up incentives. […]

Back Again! Free Website Reveals Your Address History and Names of Relatives (Opt Out)

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:29:35 +0000

Update April 2017. It appears that the same people behind the website mentioned below have created another nearly-identical website. Even if you opted-out last time, all of your sensitive personal information is up again on this website. You must opt-out again by clicking on “Privacy” at the bottom and then the “record removal link” (alternatively, […]

Tough Job: 5% of Active Investment Managers Will Add Value

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:15:22 +0000

People always argue about how “efficient” the market truly is. Only academic, ivory-tower geeks believe in efficient markets right? My longstanding opinion is that no, markets are not 100% efficient, but it’s a tough, cutthroat world out there. Especially over the long run. Here’s yet another reminder to put in the anecdote folder. This WJS […]

Barron’s Best Stock Brokerage Rankings 2017

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:46:34 +0000

Barron’s has released their 2017 annual broker rankings. Two major themes this year are (1) trade commissions dropping overall and (2) improved mobile app trading. To analyze 2017’s top brokers, we took a hard look at the value they offer to clients, analyzing security, mobility, and social-media features as well as the depth of their […]

Fundrise eREIT Quarterly Liquidity Details and Redemption Process

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:39:51 +0000

I’ve been putting some side money into crowdfunded real-estate investments – see here and here – and I am now closing out my Fundrise eREIT investment. An important difference between most of these private real estate investments and publicly-listed REIT is liquidity. On most any given weekday, I can sell my public REIT (i.e. VNQ) […]

Buy, Hold, Rebalance a Globally-Diversified Portfolio 2017

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 03:00:57 +0000

When I think about it, I am impressed with how different 2017 feels compared to when I started seriously learning about investing in 2003. Instead of only reading about it in few books mostly read by finance nerds, nowadays nearly every robo-advisor out there uses a globally-diversified mix of low-cost ETFs to build their portfolios. […]

Callan Investment Returns Ranked by Asset Class 1997-2017

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:48:36 +0000

We’ve all been told that past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but it’s still hard to buy an investment that has been performing poorly. We need to remember the historical power of diversification and that even though something may look horrible now, good news may be just around the corner. Callan Associates updates […]

Apple iWork Suite, iMovie, and GarageBand Now Free on Mac and iOS

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:46:04 +0000

If you have an older Mac OS or iOS device, it may be nice to know that Apple has made their iWork productivity suite, iMovie, and GarageBand apps free to download for all users. These apps come free with new hardware, but users with old hardware had to pay $5 to $20 for each individual […]

Early Retirement Portfolio Income, 2017 Q1 Update

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 04:11:39 +0000

While I understand the arguments for a “total return” approach, I also appreciate the behavioral reasons why living off income while keeping your ownership stake is desirable. The analogy I fall back on is owning an investment property that produces rental income. If you are reliably getting rent checks that increase with inflation, you can […]

Early Retirement Portfolio Asset Allocation, 2017 First Quarter Update

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:38:51 +0000

Here is an update on my investment portfolio holdings after the first quarter 2017. This includes tax-deferred accounts like 401ks, IRAs, and taxable brokerage holdings, but excludes things like our primary home, cash reserves, and a few other side investments. The purpose of this portfolio is to create enough income to cover our regular household […]

Simple Portfolio Rebalancing Spreadsheet Template (Google Drive)

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 05:38:57 +0000

Updated. Automated portfolio management services like Wealthfront and Betterment will help you manage a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds for a fee. While I understand their appeal for those that wish to outsource that task, I choose to maintain my own diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds. I enjoy having full control of all […]

Savings I Bonds May 2017 Update: 1.98% Inflation Rate

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 07:52:39 +0000

Savings I Bonds are a low-risk investment backed by the US Treasury that pay out a variable interest rate linked to inflation. You could own them as a replacement for cash reserves (they are liquid after 12 months) or bonds in your portfolio. New inflation numbers were just announced at, which allows us to […]

Amazon Coupons: $10 off $50 Warehouse, $15 off $40 for Amazon Student

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:55:26 +0000

Here are a couple of quick Amazon promotions before I sign off for the weekend: Amazon Warehouse Deals $10 off $50. Get $10 off a $50+ purchase at Amazon Warehouse with coupon code EARTH10. This is where Amazon sells their open-box and pre-owned products. Basically, stuff other people returned. I’ve bought a few things without […]

E-File Federal and State Tax Extension Online For Free (Updated 2017)

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:27:01 +0000

Updated for 2017. This year, the deadline for federal tax filing is Tuesday, April 18th, 2017. If you file for an extension, you can extend the time allowed to file your return by six months to Monday, October 16, 2017. (It does not extend the time to pay any tax due.) There are many legitimate […]

Trim Savings: Connect Your Visa Card For $40 Cashback Towards Everyday Purchases

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:44:01 +0000

Financial chatbot Trim has a new feature called Trim Savings. (Here’s a previous review of Trim’s subscription cancellation service.) You link your existing Visa card and they will come up with cashback coupons. The offers are linked to your Visa card number so that when you swipe your card, the coupon is automatically applied as […]

Digit Review: “You Won’t Even Notice” Automated Savings Account

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:35:30 +0000

Update April 2017. Digit is now a paid service. After a 100-day free trial, Digit will charge a $2.99 monthly subscription. If you are a current user, you also get another 100 days free but after that they will start taking $2.99 out of your linked checking account automatically. If you don’t want this to […]

Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard Review: 1.5% Cash Back + $200 Bonus

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 23:15:29 +0000

Updated with improved offer. Barclaycard has improved this offer by increasing the sign-up bonus to $200 after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. The $200 flat bonus makes this card work out better for those folks that don’t put a lot of purchases on their cards. For example, if you were […]

How is Lemonade Different Than Mutual Insurance?

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 07:01:51 +0000

After my initial post about Lemonade insurance, there was a discussion in the comments about how Lemonade’s business model compares with existing mutual insurance companies. Lemonade reached out to me and wanted to clarify some things, and I suggested that they write a guest post about the topic. (By the way, they are now available […]

5% Cash Back Credit Cards: Rotating Categories Update 2017

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 05:30:01 +0000

New 5% categories for 2nd Quarter 2017 are live. Activate them all now if you haven’t already. The credit cards below offer a hefty 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but I also rack up over a hundred dollars in additional rewards per year without […]

Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back + 1st Year Promo

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 04:16:25 +0000

Alliant Credit Union, the 5th largest US credit union by assets, has launched their new Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card. This cash back rewards card is targeted towards high spenders, with a headline feature of 2.5% cash back with a $59 annual fee. As a first year promotion, they offer 3% cash back and the […]

Don’t Trust Your Student Loan Servicer, Especially Navient

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 05:37:04 +0000

If you don’t understand why having a fiduciary requirement matters in terms of financial advice, read this Bloomberg article about student-loan servicer Navient. Learn about the sad behavior of a company that services the student loans of over 12 million people. Here’s what Navient CEO Jack Remondi says in public: At Navient, our priority is […]

H&R Block Desktop Tax Software Discounts: Free $20 Nike Gift Card

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 04:50:41 +0000

Updated with new deal. If you are still looking for downloadable desktop tax software that doesn’t require your Social Security Number and financial details to be stored in the cloud, here’s a limited-time deal on H&R Block Tax Software 2016. NewEgg has H&R Block Deluxe Federal + State for $29.99 plus a free $20 Nike […]

Free State Income Tax E-File Options For All 50 States (Updated 2017)

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 04:44:39 +0000

Links checked and updated for 2017 (Tax Year 2016). With commercial tax prep software, it is always wise to note the cost of your state return and e-File as it may actually cost more than your federal return (especially if you wait until April to file). As such, you may wish to do your state […]

Best Interest Rates on Cash Savings – April 2017

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 04:00:42 +0000

Our family keeps a year’s worth of expenses (not income) put aside in cash reserves. Even if you think that’s too much, you still need something. There are many ways that the ROI on emergency funds can be higher than simply the interest rate on your bank statement. If you have cash, it pays to […]

Buy It Nice, or Buy It Twice: Kitchen Edition

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 06:04:53 +0000

Reader Chris sent in the following question (edited for clarity): I read in your website about cast iron pans and KitchenAid mixers. I want to buy a small home and have nothing. What are some must-have kitchen items that will last a long time and be used most often? So they are an “investment”. I […]