Search found 1374 matches

by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

So a couple of interesting things I just discovered playing around with looking for awards from Europe to the US on Delta's website: 1) Delta adds a "carrier imposed international surcharge" onto award tickets on Delta metal that originate overseas. With this surcharge, the total fees for ...
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Best HSA (2017)
Replies: 109
Views: 10081

Re: Best HSA (2017)

Sounds like Saturna is competitive these days and could be the best choice for some people.

However, even if Saturna were completely free, that probably wouldn't be enough to get me to switch from HSA Bank just to save $5.50 a month.
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Replies: 30
Views: 1414

Re: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

I generally don't worry about VPNs as I don't use a lot of unknown Wifis, but when I take long international trips, I do. I have used free services like CyberGhost and some free iPhone apps and they stink. Recently got a month of ExpressVPN and really liked it. It's pricier than some of the others t...
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I live in Chicago and Delta is okay if you are going somewhere in Europe they go direct (from Atlanta). As far as I can see, Delta only flies to Paris and Amsterdam direct from ORD. Otherwise you will be making 2 stops (Atlanta most likely + somewhere in Europe) which I hate doing. So, for example,...
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

As a side note, I'm wondering why generally people bash the Delta Skymiles program...? :confused I nabbed the Delta Plat Business and Delta Gold Business for 70k and 50k mile bonuses, plus joined the dining program and racked up another 5k miles. Based on flights to Hawaii for this November, I'm lo...
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:00 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

American periodically opens up a ton of award space, so depends if you're able to jump on it that day or week, there can be a lot of flights to Europe for the saver points category. That being said I value them less than United or other Star Alliance carriers due to availability restrictions. Good ...
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:54 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 730

Re: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .

Not so much a mind game @Bfwolf, but rather my believe (perhaps mistaken) that since my ROTH gains are not taxed, I'd like them to be as big as possible. That's why I want to change from having bonds in roth to bonds in my 401k. -Mike Mike, if you set up your asset allocation such that you are taki...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:39 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 730

Re: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .

Also, I suspect you want to keep your higher expected return equities in your Roth because you are playing a mind game on yourself. This mind game involves not discounting your 401k assets by your expected tax rate at withdrawal. So, for instance, if you have $100K in your 401k all in bonds and $100...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .
Replies: 15
Views: 730

Re: Merriman Bonds vs. horrible 401k bonds . . .

Does your 401k have a low cost stock index fund?

I understand you want to keep your bonds in your 401k in an ideal world, but 0.8% expense ratios aren't an ideal world. If there's a 0.1% expense ratio stock index in your 401k, buy that and put your bonds in the Roth.
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:30 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I open an out-of-state 529 plan. Was I stupid?
Replies: 12
Views: 606

Re: I open an out-of-state 529 plan. Was I stupid?

Not recommended. NYS will claw back the tax deduction you took on those contributions made to the NYS plan when you were a resident. If you make a contribution to NYS plan, take tax deduction, then you must leave the money there. You can make qualified withdrawals for higher education without being...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the l...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the l...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:01 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: I open an out-of-state 529 plan. Was I stupid?
Replies: 12
Views: 606

Re: I open an out-of-state 529 plan. Was I stupid?

You are probably in a ~7% marginal tax bracket with NY state. So what would be a $1,000 contribution to a NY 529 essentially becomes a $930 contribution when you take taxes into consideration.

Would you stick with Fidelity if all they offered were funds with 7% front end loads?
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I'm planning a trip to Paris from the east coast of the US. I have UR, MR and AA points and the could possibly churn new cards (judiciously) for bonuses. I checked and it seems like many carriers offer routing from here - so it looks wide open for me. What airline or points/miles program would you ...
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

Also plenty to do in Bucktown/Wicker Park area, so shouldn't have a shortage of places to see and things to do. Note that that area used to be full of artists and was more transitional in the 70s -- now it's the hipster area of Chicago and very affluent although if you go a bit west, it can be dici...
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

These sound like a riot!! haha very cool. I can almost guarantee we'll try to do both of these. Bfwolf you would probably fit in well with our circle haha. 8-) We likely won't do much dancing though...2 engaged guys and me (married 7 years) aren't really into the dancing/clubbing scene or trying to...
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Me: 14 cards Chase Sapphire Jan 16 4k/3mo 55,000 Chase Freedom March 16 .5/3mo 17,500 Chase United April 16 2k/3mo 50,000 AmEx Hilton May 16 1k/3mo 75,000 Chase FU May 16 .5/3mo 17,500 Capital One June 16 3k/3mo 40,000 Barclay Arrival July 16 3k/3mo 40,000 Alaska business Oct 16 1k/3mo 30,000 Citi ...
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:32 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What instrument to keep emergency fund in?
Replies: 16
Views: 635

Re: What instrument to keep emergency fund in?

Why not just open an Ally savings AND checking account? They're free and have no minimums. Moving money from an Ally savings to an Ally checking account is instant. Thanks for the replies so far! For those of you with an Ally checking account too, are cash withdrawals at a local ATM free? Free ATM ...
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:15 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What instrument to keep emergency fund in?
Replies: 16
Views: 635

Re: What instrument to keep emergency fund in?

Why not just open an Ally savings AND checking account? They're free and have no minimums. Moving money from an Ally savings to an Ally checking account is instant.
by Bfwolf
Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

Oh and if it rains, you can get into some museums, including the world renowned Art Institute, for free that weekend with a Bank of America credit card.

http://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/gl ... 5M0KGid3Po
by Bfwolf
Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

A few more thoughts: MikeMak's Innjoy idea is a good one. On Saturday night they'll blast music from the 80s and 90s and there will be a lot of dancing. But in my experience there's a high guy to girl ratio and the ladies are generally not that attractive. It IS really fun though and near to where y...
by Bfwolf
Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

The "Do Division" street festival is that weekend within easy walking distance of where you are staying. It is a fun festival to have a few drinks, listen to live music, and have some good street food. If the weather is nice, North Avenue beach should be packed that weekend with 20-someth...
by Bfwolf
Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)
Replies: 40
Views: 2003

Re: Debating a weekend in Chicago (south side)

That's a great time to visit Chicago. Summer should be in bloom but it probably won't be ridiculously hot. There's several neighborhoods outside of Lakeview that I think are worthy of consideration: 1) River North. Easy access to Sox CTA stop via Grand Red line stop. The area around Hubbard Street i...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is your preferred Weather App?
Replies: 55
Views: 3053

Re: What is your preferred Weather App?

I have been using Weather Underground but bought Dark Sky based on the recos in this thread. We'll see how it goes! I like the idea of the alerts functionality.
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:35 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?
Replies: 18
Views: 874

Re: Utah Vs. New York 529 - Which one and why?

I'd say you've already thought too much about it. They're both excellent 529s, and it's splitting hairs to try and select one as better than the other.
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Does anyone here have experience with the Capital One Spark Business cards? choice of $500 cash or 50,000 points/miles for $4.5K spend. I see the points/miles are valued at a penny each, so the cash or points appear to be equivalent except in the case they devalue in the near future? Anyone have ex...
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you purposely spend with companies in your investment portfolio?
Replies: 42
Views: 1932

Re: Do you purposely spend with companies in your investment portfolio?

Not only do I not think one should show favoritism toward the companies one invests in, I don't think one should show favoritism toward the company one works for unless it is publicly visible and would affect one's perception at work.
by Bfwolf
Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to do with $100???
Replies: 78
Views: 4668

Re: What to do with $100???

Lots of good ideas here. The charity one is a nice one. Some people estimate that you can save a life in the poorer parts of the world for about $1,000 if you give to the right charity. So you could save 1/10 of a life! Perhaps consider the Against Malaria Foundation, one of Givewell's top ranked ch...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Opening a joint (checking vs. savings?) account to save/pay for a wedding...advice?
Replies: 15
Views: 1115

Re: Opening a joint (checking vs. savings?) account to save/pay for a wedding...advice?

I agree that convenience, and not interest rates, are what matters here. I have an Ally checking account and it's great, but if you see any value in bricks and mortar and already have a relationship with Chase, sure go ahead and use them. I think your credit card plan is reasonable. One thought is t...
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:58 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Do I need a separate emergency fund?
Replies: 15
Views: 1383

Re: Do I need a separate emergency fund?

I don't think you need a separate emergency fund once your taxable account reaches the level you're talking about. While it's possible the perfect storm--an emergency requiring a very large withdrawal of cash during a major market downturn--could hit you, it's more likely that this WON'T happen to y...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Going forward, does it make sense in general to keep the CSR? For the first year, I understand because of the bonus, travel credit, and and $100 credit toward global entry, but second year onward other than the travel credit i don't really see the point of spending $150/year. Or am I missing someth...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:03 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Quick question: I just got he chase sapphire preferred last week without really knowing much about the sapphire reserve... I just realized that if i open the reserve before Friday I get 100k bonus points. Does it make sense to open the reserve at this point just to get those 100k points? My strateg...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Quick question on what option you would choose. I only have one chase credit card left as I am at 4/24 right now. I have 53,000 southwest miles. Would you do the 100,000 CSR reward or try for the Southwest 60k business card bonus and get the Companion Pass? Not sure how likely I am to get the busin...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:32 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Andrews 3% CD or Total Bond Market?
Replies: 44
Views: 7734

Re: Andrews 3% CD or Total Bond Market?

Maybe I shouldn't try to peak behind the curtain, but do we have any idea how Andrews can afford to have this offer out there for an extended period of time when the next best CDs are at a meaningfully lower rate?
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Quick question on what option you would choose. I only have one chase credit card left as I am at 4/24 right now. I have 53,000 southwest miles. Would you do the 100,000 CSR reward or try for the Southwest 60k business card bonus and get the Companion Pass? Not sure how likely I am to get the busin...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:54 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Any thoughts on the best use of Thank you miles? Redemption on American airlines is going down from 1.6 to 1.33 on 7/23/17 but I am finding that it is an expensive redemption even at 1.6. Looking at RT air to Europe, it consumes almost 50k points RT PLUS about $600-700 in fees. I can find full pay ...
by Bfwolf
Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:51 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Andrews 3% CD or Total Bond Market?
Replies: 44
Views: 7734

Re: Andrews 3% CD or Total Bond Market?

I opened an IRA with Andrews and purchased a 7 year 3% APR CD in it. There was some hassle factor in opening the account but not too bad. The most annoying part is I have been completely unable to get web access to the account despite placing a phone number to customer support. Oh well--they do send...
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:58 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

With Aer Lingus joining One World, you may be able to use those AA miles to fly to Dublin then use Ryanair or one of the other budget carriers to get to where you want to go in Europe. I have a trip to Italy planned and I was pretty much priced out of going to the Rome airport directly, but I found...
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My other strategy is combining bank bonuses with credit card rewards with the Merrill Edge deal. Fund 200k for 90 days in a merrill edge account and get 600$. Also apply for Merrill edge credit card for 50k bonus and Bank of America's Travel Rewards credit card for 1.75 bonus. Has anyone else run t...
by Bfwolf
Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

You're right, I think it is BA. I have found it extremely difficult and limited to find a route that avoids them, especially with American airlines. It makes AA almost worthless for me to do Europe. IMO, AA miles stink. Finding availability within the Americas on a saver award is pretty much imposs...
by Bfwolf
Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I choose traditional or Roth IRA for 2016?
Replies: 4
Views: 536

Re: Should I choose traditional or Roth IRA for 2016?

sawhorse wrote:Does your state allow deductions for retirement contributions? Most do, but a few do not.


The tax impacts I listed in the OP include state taxes.
by Bfwolf
Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I choose traditional or Roth IRA for 2016?
Replies: 4
Views: 536

Should I choose traditional or Roth IRA for 2016?

I am eligible to take a deductible IRA contribution and/or make a Roth contribution for 2016. I've completed my taxes, so am now able to run scenarios with TurboTax. I ran 3 scenarios. 1) $5,500 contributed to my Roth. 2) $1,612 contributed to my traditional IRA and $3,888 contributed to a Roth. Thi...
by Bfwolf
Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:04 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: 17 year old just starting/need advice
Replies: 28
Views: 2044

Re: 17 year old just starting/need advice

Stephanie, First of all, let me congratulate you on getting your financial house in order at such a young age. I am incredibly impressed that you have read all those books already. You are surely on your way to financial security and independence. I love most of the advice you've gotten on this thre...
by Bfwolf
Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:39 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What constitutes Preventative Care?
Replies: 12
Views: 974

Re: What constitutes Preventative Care?

Everything said above seems correct to me. But in my experience, some docs are pretty cool about it and will handle some deviation (or maybe a lot of deviation) from the annual physical checklist and still just code it as a physical.
by Bfwolf
Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:46 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Advice on what to do with CD coming due
Replies: 10
Views: 906

Re: Advice on what to do with CD coming due

I think we need more information. Info like:

1) How stable is your job and how much are you saving annually?

2) What are you saving the money for? Retirement or something closer in?

3) That debt....will it be 0% forever? If not, when does it change and to what?
by Bfwolf
Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wifi Router Advice
Replies: 43
Views: 3399

Re: Wifi Router Advice

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-router/ (The Wirecutter generally has good reviews for electronics) I have the Archer C7 recommended in the article. For a long while, I was having tons of issues with slow service when I connected with my phone (but not with my computer for some reason)....
by Bfwolf
Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vietnam
Replies: 31
Views: 2650

Re: Vietnam

Hoi An is lovely as others have mentioned. Many hotels have bikes they'll let you borrow which you can use to go to An Bang beach, which is really nice. I did 2 tours with the same company at Hoi An which I would highly recommend. One is the free bike tour of Kim Bong village. Really enjoyable...the...
by Bfwolf
Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

My wife and I recently both applied for the Chase Reserve card for the 100k point sign up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Our next payment will put us over that $4000 limit on each card, so we'll get the points. I'm hoping to open another Chase credit card to use it for the sign ...
by Bfwolf
Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:43 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: why invest internationally?
Replies: 72
Views: 3574

Re: why invest internationally?

Why doesn't the head of the Norwegian fund listen to Bogle and invest mostly in the US? What are they all missing? Why are all the world's investors being so dumb? :? Good question. Apparently they think the trend of the last 30+ years is about to do an about face. If US stocks continue to outperfo...
by Bfwolf
Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 1327
Views: 166108

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

travellight wrote:^ I found it! Thanks Drew and btwolf. Should one wait a month between churning the Alaska airlines cc?


I believe current conventional wisdom is 3 months in-between churning this card.

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