Search found 678 matches

by rjbraun
Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement
Replies: 1
Views: 181

403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement

I'm trying to help a family member who will soon turn 65. Exact retirement date still undetermined, but it will be within the next few years, at most. He will receive some retroactive pay raises beginning early next year. He doesn't need the money to live on. Should he invest as much as possible in ...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Replies: 19
Views: 1873

Re: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The fee is likely worth it, but only as a card to get and then cancel (though it would've been better to get it earlier this year). In that scenario, you could've gotten 2x $300 travel credits- and even if you "don't travel," parking garages, cabs, EZPass, all count as well. You'd also be...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I recently got a Chase Ink Business Preferred card. I already climbed on the Chase Sapphire Reserve bandwagon and even got SO to bite. My original plan was that I would help him reach the $4000 minimum spend, but he's already almost there so I figured I should consider getting yet another card with ...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cheap hotels in NYC
Replies: 35
Views: 2447

Re: cheap hotels in NYC

airbnb -- especially if you'd like to stay nearby your friends -- is the way to go in NYC, IMO. (or, if they live in a high-rent neighborhood and you'd rather be somewhere cheaper in Brooklyn or Queens but in a highly transportation-accessible area -- think Brooklyn Heights -- airbnb would also be ...
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)
Replies: 26
Views: 1893

Re: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)

All good points. I agree with having this discussion before doing the referral. I just don't see, from a management perspective, how a referral fee motives me to send them a better employee than I would have without the incentive. I wouldn't refer anyone that I know to be a garbage referral, simply...
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)
Replies: 26
Views: 1893

Re: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)

SouthernCPA wrote:I wouldn't refer anyone that I know to be a garbage referral, simply based on preserving my reputation with the company alone - don't see how getting paid would change that.

Also, who would want to bring on someone unpleasant, incompetent, etc. whom you could end up working with.
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

OP here. Thanks for all the great feedback! I went ahead and ordered the tree below from BB&B. I managed to get a 20% off coupon for one item by providing my e-mail or something. That helped to bring the price for a 4.5' tree to slightly below $130 (pre-tax). While I agree I could have saved som...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

We've had a small artificial tree from them in our NYC apartment for decades—the branches fold-up and it fits into a 6"x6"x3' box. https://www.bronners.com Wow. That's pretty tiny! Some of the trees shown on the website seemed heavier than I would have guessed. I think one weighted 17 lbs...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

Why even bother putting up a tree? If you do not have a tree will it not feel like xmas? We havent put a tree up for years...well I lied...we put up an old ceramic one that has lights attached to it...its approx 1.5 feet tall. All is well in the world. I hear you. It's important to SO, so I want to...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

You're probably okay but caveat emptor. I've had pretty good experience with BB&B. Don't forget to use one of their 20% off single item coupons! I have received tons of those 20% coupons in the past. Naturally, I don't have one on me now. Just when I need it! I'll see if I can scrounge one up a...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

Off the top of my head I want to say about 48"x12"x8"? I'd have to go home and look. When we put it away its quite compacted in the box. Thanks. That indeed sounds quite compact. I saw an attractive one in a store made by the National Tree Company (NTC). As already noted by a poster,...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

We bought a 5' tree from Costco for less than $200 if I recall correctly. It comes with white lights but looks great and we haven't had any go out yet and this is our third Christmas with it. It comes in three sections and the branches can fold and be stored in a long rectangular box. ...I see Cost...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 1945

Artificial Christmas tree

We will be home at Christmas this year and are thinking of getting a tree. While a "real" tree would be nice in some ways, I think we've decided to go the artificial tree route. I would be interested in recommendations or advice others may have based on their experiences. We live in an apa...
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I'm hoping to downgrade my Chase Sapphire to Freedom as well, but I've read that sometimes that does not work - they only will downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited. Anyone have success downgrading to Freedom recently? Yes, I downgraded from CSP to Chase Freedom within the past few months. No problem....
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

giesen5 wrote:I'm hoping to downgrade my Chase Sapphire to Freedom as well, but I've read that sometimes that does not work - they only will downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited. Anyone have success downgrading to Freedom recently?

Yes, I downgraded from CSP to Chase Freedom within the past few months. No problem.
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to visit NYC from DC
Replies: 33
Views: 2365

Re: Best way to visit NYC from DC

If you have enough lead time and are pretty certain of your plans, you can book Amtrak regional service trains for $49 one-way (non-refundable for cash -- only Amtrak e-credit possible). Far more comfortable than a bus, in my opinion, and most likely a shorter ride. Personally, I don't think Acela i...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ: Vanguard’s Inflows Pass Previous Annual Record in 10 Months
Replies: 7
Views: 1243

WSJ: Vanguard’s Inflows Pass Previous Annual Record in 10 Months

Apologies if this has already been posted. (Moderators - please merge or remove as appropriate)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/vanguard-re ... 1478107624
by rjbraun
Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve: Too good to be (completely) true
Replies: 150
Views: 17380

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve: Too good to be (completely) true

But.... There appears to be a catch that makes the above claim a bit misleading. I was reading the fine print in the materials sent with the card and noted this sentence buried deep in the agreement: "The cost of travel is based on the rates and fares available through the Ultimate Rewards web...
by rjbraun
Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ - The Dying Business of Picking Stocks
Replies: 38
Views: 5922

Re: WSJ - The Dying Business of Picking Stocks

matjen: Thank you for this article and its important excerpts. "The truth must be repeated over and over again because lies are constantly being told around it." -- Rick Ferri Best wishes. Taylor Edit: My Miami home edition, with the same October 17th date, does not contain this article ?...
by rjbraun
Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Another thing to keep in mind is that AA's website does not include all of it's available partners. You can search for partner award space on their websites, identify the flight # and exact date and time, and call AA to book the flight. I have typically just called the AAdvantage desk to inquire ab...
by rjbraun
Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440 Question is: You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online... ...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Are reward cancellation policies airline specific? Victoria Yes. Were you inside 72 hours before flying? "Delta charges an award ticket redeposit fee of $150, which is waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members. Award tickets not canceled at least 72 hours prior to the originating fligh...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How I circumvented Chase's 5/24 rule
Replies: 38
Views: 5682

Re: How I circumvented Chase's 5/24 rule

And the ongoing rewards rate of the cards are quite decent - basically 4.5% on travel & dining purchases, the PP lounge access, no foreign transaction fee. Reason enough for me to keep it past 12 months. How does the PP lounge access work and how good is it? When I looked, my understanding was ...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

In 4Q2016, Freedom 5x categories include Wholesale clubs, department stores and drug stores. In 4Q2015, Freedom 5x for Amazon was from the beginning of the quarter, but then they added 10x. It became possible to get 22.5k UR by spending $3k on Amazon. I used Freedom to purchase Amazon credit, which...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

In 4Q2016, Freedom 5x categories include Wholesale clubs, department stores and drug stores. In 4Q2015, Freedom 5x for Amazon was from the beginning of the quarter, but then they added 10x. It became possible to get 22.5k UR by spending $3k on Amazon. I used Freedom to purchase Amazon credit, which...
by rjbraun
Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Public announcement: You can now activate Freedom 5x rewards for 4Q2016. Victoria Amazon wasn't an option when I looked, though my understanding is that Amazon was among the 5x rewards participants in 4Q2015. I don't have a Freedom card (yet), but I vaguely recall that Amazon may have only been ann...
by rjbraun
Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Thanks. Yes, it looks like you got a good point value for this route. Delta also flies this route nonstop and costs $475 next July which is less than with United. The cheapest award costs 22,000 miles + $11.20 . While that would be a a lower 2.10 cpp value than your 2.2cpp, if I'm transferring Chas...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Singapore Sling (Raffles Hotel) or Suntory Whisky (Park Hyatt Tokyo)?
Replies: 13
Views: 1126

Re: Singapore Sling (Raffles Hotel) or Suntory Whisky (Park Hyatt Tokyo)?

I've been to both and would choose the Park Hyatt. I had a drink and some appetizers at what I assume was the NY Bar at the Park Hyatt. We were seated by windows in a room that looked similar to what was shown in your link, though I can't say with certainty it was NY Bar (visited a number of years a...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I have the original Chase Freedom card. When I opened CSR I downgraded CSP to ANOTHER Chase Freedom card, thinking I could get double the limit on 5% quarterly categories. But when I tried to register my second Freedom card for the 5% thing, I couldn't do it. I wonder if they limit you to one card ...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 85
Views: 5776

Re: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated

I have no idea how many are still there. I left in 2010 and I never found one that wasn't. We were in Italy twice in the past three years and it seemed relevant still. The book focuses on traditional places so I would guess they don't go out of business. The inns would be more likely to not be open...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 85
Views: 5776

Re: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated

I lived in Rome for five years and there is a lot of good advice for you in this thread. 1. Anyone going to Italy should buy this book. Not only are the meals better, but usually less costly too: https://www.amazon.com/Osterie-Locande-dItalia-Traditional-Places/dp/8884991145 It looks like it is onl...
by rjbraun
Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Christmas gift expectations
Replies: 61
Views: 4532

Re: Christmas gift expectations

Just specify $250 (each) as your desired "secret gift". Pick whichever mode of delivery would seem most acceptable: Visa or similar gift card, Amazon gift card or similar (i.e., wherever you shop regularly), or a check to be applied towards the <your choice ... planned cruise, new furnitur...
by rjbraun
Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 898
Views: 102812

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

That said, Starwood points are one of the few hotel programs that seem to offer good hotel transfers, and I have about 250K AA points. I am tempted by this, but in the long run I think I am better off saving my Starwood points and having the flexibility of where I use them when I need them. Beware ...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Banks not honoring bank bonuses on time
Replies: 30
Views: 2250

Re: Banks not honoring bank bonuses on time

I played the bank bonus thing for a while but anymore when I see a bonus of even $300 it doesn't get me going. It's just not much money for what's required. Thanks for posting, tbradnc. I was just reading this thread and feeling conflicted for having not gone after the bank bonuses myself, despite ...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:10 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

You need CSP, or CSR, or a business card (Bold) to transfer URs from Chase to airlines. Let's say a year from now you decided to close the CSR to avoid the fees. Before closing the CSR you could transfer some URs to United and the rest of them to your dormant Freedom. Some time later you would open...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

If you already have CSR and Freedom, I don't see a reason for converting CSP into Freedom Unlimited. You can cancel CSP now and some time in the future re-apply for CSP or apply for Freedom Unlimited for new sign-up bonuses. Victoria I don't have Freedom now. I only have CSR (approved but awaiting ...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:30 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

The current 5% categories on the Freedom this quarter aren't so helpful to me.... I have the Chase card and the 'revolving category' thing is often worthless, and it needs activation every quarter, kinda a PITA. In the end, it's often completely worthless to me so, I no longer use the card. KISS......
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:22 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

If you already have CSR and Freedom, I don't see a reason for converting CSP into Freedom Unlimited. You can cancel CSP now and some time in the future re-apply for CSP or apply for Freedom Unlimited for new sign-up bonuses. Victoria I don't have Freedom now. I only have CSR (approved but awaiting ...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

Another vote to convert to a Freedom card. I also have the Sallie Mae card, but as you almost certainly know, they have discontinued it for new applicants. So far, so good for all the current cardholders, but there is always the possibility that those cards will be closed or converted to an inferio...
by rjbraun
Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:09 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

I'd downgrade to the regular chase freedom. The 5% categories for Q4 will be Amazon and warehouse stores. Then next year there will be gas and groceries for a couple quarters which is good. Keep the CSR for a year or so, then open a new CSP to get the bonus again. I have the "old" Sallie ...
by rjbraun
Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any reason to not cancel a credit card?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Any reason to not cancel a credit card?

I was recently approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card -- thank you fellow Bogleheads for helping me to think things through! I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) card. As I am beginning year 2, I recently paid the $95 annual fee. Once I receive the CSR I plan to cancel my CS...
by rjbraun
Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:15 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

That was just last month, and now I'm already on my way to getting a CSR (got approved today). Too good of an offer to pass up. And the process starts anew. Again. :greedy :shock: Congrats. I went to Chase with my husband so he could apply with the CSR - also make a deposit for a savings account bo...
by rjbraun
Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

<snip> At 1.25 cents per point you are better off getting a free 1.5-2% cash back card that you can use for anything you want. I actually think that is the best solution for many people, especially those that do not often fly internationally. It is also simpler. I don't disagree and was actually he...
by rjbraun
Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

Can you give a rough idea of what kind of point value you get on international flights? I realize that it varies based on routing, etc., but even a range would be helpful ... are we talking 1.5 cents or more like 2 to 4 cents ...? I will almost never cash in points for less than 2 cents/point....I ...
by rjbraun
Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

Fyi, if you transfer UR to korean air, you can redeem 125k points for a round trip business class flight from US to Hong Kong. Such a flight would otherwise cost about $5k so you are redeeming at 4c per point as opposed to the 1.25c/pt you get booking through the chase portal. The points are only w...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

Let's say I swap out of my CSP for the CSR (would be nice if Chase lets me pro rata the membership fee in some fashion) and after one year decide that CSR is not for me and I would like to go back to CSP. Will Chase likely let me cancel my CSR and get another CSP? I recognize that they will be unli...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

In that regard, I'm not so upset as I'm pretty happy with our (coach) fare on Cathay Pacific: $780 r/t. That seems like a pretty good price for round-trip. Last year we flew United to Hong Kong nonstop, direct from SFO, and the ticket was $658 one-way. This was on Dec 25, booked only 10 days earlie...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:33 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

If you are going to an expensive destination like Hong Kong, the reserve is probably worth it. Especially with the 100,000 points signup bonus going on for $4000. The Reserve card has a $450 annual fee vs $95 for the Preferred, but accounting for the $300 travel credit, it's really a $150 annual fe...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:18 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

Avoid the portal if you can. The best use of UR points tends to be for expensive (usually international) flights, booked via transferring points to the airline. IMO, you have to be careful with that, as some programs require you to pay large amount of taxes out of pocket even on award flights. Yes,...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:10 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points
Replies: 38
Views: 3526

Re: Chase Ultimate Rewards - redeeming points

Fyi, if you transfer UR to korean air, you can redeem 125k points for a round trip business class flight from US to Hong Kong. Such a flight would otherwise cost about $5k so you are redeeming at 4c per point as opposed to the 1.25c/pt you get booking through the chase portal. Sounds like you alrea...

Go to advanced search