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My Money Blog

Personal Finance and Investing Blog

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 01:12:07 +0000


California Residents: Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass Shortcut Offer

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:03:35 +0000

If you are a California resident, check out this special offer on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card that provides a shortcut to the SWA Companion Pass: Plus Consumer (CA Only), $69 annual fee, 40,000 point bonus Premier Consumer (CA Only),$99 annual fee, 40,000 point bonus Premier Business (CA Only), $99 annual fee, 60,000 point […]

TD Ameritrade Commission-Free ETF List – Changes Effective November 2017

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:55:16 +0000

Updated. As of October 2017, TD Ameritrade notified their clients of the following changes to their commission-free ETF trading program. Here are the highlights from the e-mail: Here is the old ETF list [pdf]. Through 11/20/17, they trade commission-free. Starting 11/21/2017, they will trade at standard commission rates ($6.95 online trades). Here is the new […]

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® Review: 60,000 Miles Limited-Time Offer

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:51:40 +0000

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, is running a limited-time offer on their co-branded American Airlines credit cards.  Here are the updated card highlights: For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* […]

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® Review – 60,000 Miles Limited-Time Offer

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:48:47 +0000

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, is running a limited-time offer on their co-branded American Airlines credit cards. Here are the details: Designed for businesses For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening* First checked bag is […]

Social Security Provides Majority of Retirement Income for Most Americans

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 06:24:06 +0000

The Washington Post has a rather depressing article on The New Reality of Old Age in America, which includes the following chart about Social Security: For 1/3rd of recipients age 65+, Social Security represents 90% or more of all their income. For 61% of recipients age 65+, Social Security represents at least half of all […]

Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman on Mental Accounting

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:05:45 +0000

Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for Economics this year for his pioneering work in Behavioral Economics. Of course, he promptly said he would spend the prize money “as irrationally as possible”. Here’s a light-hearted Q&A from the NY Times. Linked was a funny example of mental accounting, told by Gene Hackman about Dustin Hoffman. […]

CIT Bank Review: Savings 1.35% APY, No-Penalty CD 1.45%, Opening Process

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:00:07 +0000

CIT Bank (not be confused with Citi Bank) has become one of the larger online-only banks with a multi-year history of competitive rates. They don’t offer a checking account, so their products are mostly designed to be savings products with high interest rates. Here are their most-interesting products, in my opinion: Premier High Yield Savings […]

Savings I Bonds November 2017 Update: 2.48% Variable Interest Rate

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:00:57 +0000

Savings I Bonds are a unique, 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 […]

Amazon Prime: Buying Add-On Items Without Minimums w/ Alexa

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:26:29 +0000

On of the main benefits of Amazon Prime is that you can buy things whenever you want with no minimum purchase requirement, shipped to you for free. Mostly. Amazon classifies some of their lower-priced products as “Add-On” items, which must be bundled with $25 of items shipped by Amazon, excluding gift cards. I understand the […]

MoviesAnywhere: 5 Free Digital Movies After Linking Accounts

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:29:53 +0000

MoviesAnywhere is a service that links up movies that you bought online at one retailer and lets you view them on another retailer. For example, you might buy a movie from iTunes and watch it from Amazon Video. This “digital movie locker” service used to be called Disney Movies Anywhere, but just expanded to include […]

Amazon Cash: Add $25, Get $5 Bonus Credit

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:27:28 +0000

Updated. Amazon is running a new promotion that gives you $5 Amazon bonus credit if you add $25 via Amazon Cash. Amazon ran a similar promo earlier this year that expired, so note that this one is only valid if you haven’t used Amazon Cash before. Amazon Cash let you load cash into your Amazon […]

RealtyShares Update: My First Loan Default and Foreclosure Recovery (Ongoing)

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 06:40:36 +0000

Here’s an update on my debt investment at RealtyShares. The borrower stopped paying for unclear reasons, and as a result this is my first investment to go into foreclosure proceedings. I am still hopeful for a full recovery of my principal and accrued interested, but it will take a while to come to a resolution. […]

20% off at Amazon with 1 American Express Membership Rewards Point (Targeted)

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:57:43 +0000

Amazon has a targeted promotion offering a 20% off your Amazon purchase (max discount $50). This may be targeted to people with an eligible American Express card with Membership Rewards points linked in their account. If you have one that isn’t linked, you may want to try adding it and then checking the link […]

Amazon Music Unlimited: 4-Month Free Trial with Eligible Citi Credit Card

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:30:28 +0000

Update: The previous $10 credit sold out quickly, but Amazon has brought back this promo with a $5 credit. Still better than nothing if you missed it initially. 🙂 Here’s a quick and easy offer for new subscribers to Amazon Music Limited. Even if you don’t like to stream music, you can sign up for […]

Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Benefits of Being Mostly Optimistic

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:01:46 +0000

Eric Barker writes at and his talent/skill is synthesizing hundreds of different sources of academic research and historical anecdotes into actionable ways to improve your life. That’s kind of a crowded field these days, but I enjoyed reading his book which combines a lot of his past work: Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The […]

S&P 500 Total Return: Still Doubled From October 2007 to 2017

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 06:29:19 +0000

In early October 2007, the S&P 500 index hit just over 1,500 – an all-time high. You might have been concerned, or you might not have even noticed. Less than 2 years later, the financial crisis occurred and the S&P 500 dropped 50% down to 750 (March 2009). If you were a lump-sum investor, October […]

Kelly Criterion and Your Fun Money Allocation

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 06:00:56 +0000

Do you think you’re a below-average driver? I didn’t think so. In the same vein, Jason Zweig had a funny tweet the other day that hit home: Admit it: You do it, too. — Jason Zweig (@jasonzweigwsj) October 2, 2017 His linked article ends with this advice: Put 90% of your money in low-cost […]

Consumer Reports: Top 10 Cars Reaching 200,000 Miles (Updated 2017)

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 04:32:41 +0000

Consumer Reports has an updated for 2017 list of the 10 vehicles (including cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks) that reached 200,000+ miles according to their big annual car survey. Here’s the list based on the total number of responses (ignoring model years), with the Toyota Camry the top model. Toyota Camry Honda Accord Toyota […]

Best Interest Rates on Cash – October 2017

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 06:18:17 +0000

Interest rates are slowly waking up from their multi-year slumber. 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. I focus on rates that are nationally available to everyone (not restricted to […]

Amazon Prime: Spend $25, Get Free Caramel & Cheddar Popcorn

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 20:24:49 +0000

Amazon Prime members who spend $25 or more can now get a free bag of Sweet ‘n’ Cheesy Popcorn Mix, Caramel & Cheddar. The page for a free bottle of Amazon Elements vitamins is still up, but readers report the code coming back as expired. Many readers have reported that you can get the deals […]

PeerStreet Review: Real Estate Backed Loan Investments, My 14-Month Experience

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 06:59:50 +0000

I’ve been investing in various real-estate crowdfunding platforms since early 2015 with minimum $1,000-$2,000 investments here and there. In August 2016, I put $10,000 into a new platform: automated real-estate loans from PeerStreet. I decided to wait a year and see how it worked out letting someone else pick your loans. For this type of […]

Scott’s Pizza Tours: Unconventional Entrepreneur Turns Passion into Business

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 06:00:35 +0000

I’m a sucker for people turning their unique interests into a profitable small business, especially a quirky one-person business (like this person who farms food from other people’s yards). My newest discovery came from watching the Scott’s Pizza Tours documentary about Scott Wiener, who turned his passion for pizza into a successful tour business and […]

Practical Advice on Identity Theft and Removing Unauthorized Accounts

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 04:06:35 +0000

The boilerplate advice I keep reading at the end of every article about the Equifax hack is… Everybody freeze their credit! That certainly is an option, but perhaps it might be overkill to expect 150 million people to do that? The credit reporting agencies seem to make it an painful experience on purpose, charging you […]

Tomorrow App: Free Will & Trust, Optional Term Life Insurance

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 06:22:35 +0000

The newly-launched Tomorrow app brings estate planning to your smartphone. The app includes software that will guide you through the creation of a legal will and trust for your family, and it makes money by also selling term life insurance (which you can use to fund your trust). You can use the free will and […]

Vanguard Thoughts: Pros and Cons from a 15-Year Client-Owner

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 03:50:02 +0000

Vanguard has been sucking up assets like a vacuum, with total assets now exceeding $4 trillion. Their hybrid robo-advisor Vanguard Personal Advisor Services has over $65 billion in assets under management. Are they unbeatable? People tend to love building things up, then love tearing it down. Vanguard holds the majority of my net worth, grown […]