Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

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renue74
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by renue74 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:30 pm

I admit, I've only played with credit card rewards and banking bonuses a few times...but not a lot. Maybe about 6 or 7 years ago, I racked up 1 million airline miles in about a year of hard core credit card bonuses. I remember going to CVS and buying $3,000 in vanilla visa cards for loading.

But, I've never really looked at transfer bonuses and "obscure" credit union high interest checking accounts, etc. to "optimize," my money.

Apparently, if you do it right and a lot, you can make quiet a lot in bonuses?

What are your experiences? Worth it?

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:46 pm

With everything.....$10k a year for me. I don't do anything extreme and nothing that's out of my way. Tradelines and stop & shop gas points during visa gift card bonuses are the base of my activity. I do credit card sign ons and bank account starts for bonuses, but they're less often found as I've done most of them.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

jminv
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by jminv » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:32 pm

$2500 for a million in transferred brokerage assets and often some amount of free trades too. $4000 at the two million mark is common. You will receive a 1099-MISC. Sometimes the bonuses exclude retirement accounts from being eligible.

I think that it's worth doing if you don't mind the period where you can't trade while the transfer occurs which shouldn't be a problem if you're a buy and hold investor. There's also the possibility of the cost basis not transferring over correctly.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:15 am

I've made around $10k/year for each of the past four years. I prefer credit card bonuses but also do bank and brokerage bonuses.

Orion Credit Union currently offers 4% interest on up to $30k. They do require a $500 deposit into the account each month, which I've set up to happen automatically (money goes in at start of the month and out at the end). They also require 8 debit card transactions a month. A couple of cups of coffee for my wife and me on separate transactions along with buying a few items at the grocery store (self checkout lane with each item bought as a separate transaction), takes care of that requirement. It takes very little time to earn $1200/year of interest. All I have to do is pick the right card from my wallet. The interest is taxed, but if you're in a low bracket like I am, it isn't such a big deal.

I'm also working on a Bank of the West checking account bonus right now. I deposit $250 into the account for a few months and then should get a $250 bonus in the fall sometime. It takes 2 minutes a month to deposit the check by using the mobile app.

We are almost always working on a credit card bonus. My wife earned around $500 (after accounting for an annual fee) on a Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card this month. Since we've met the requirements for the bonus on that offer, I'm planning to open a United credit card next month for miles. We haven't paid for airfare or hotels in years. Our credit scores remain in good shape. There is no tax to pay on these bonuses.

Last year, I broke up each of our Roth IRAs into three pieces for bonuses. I'm now planning to consolidate them again for bonuses. No taxes on these either since they are Roth accounts. We have low six-figure Roth accounts so the bonuses are not huge in our case but they do add a bit to the account balance each year.

It does organization. I keep a spreadsheet to stay organized, set reminders on my phone calendar to make sure I don't forget to do things like make transactions, close accounts, etc. All of this takes time, too (though not all that much, to be honest). I am a public school teacher so my salary isn't huge but I have lots of time off, including the entire summer. If I had a big salary and little time, perhaps I wouldn't bother with these bonuses. Additionally, my employer doesn't pay for health benefits. I use the credit card bonuses to help pay our expenses and keep taxable income down by putting money into retirement accounts that would otherwise be used to pay bills. By doing this, we get a subsidy on the health insurance exchange that's worth around $15k/year. This is just an example of personal circumstances being different for everyone in whether or not these bonuses are worth going after but, for us, they are incredibly valuable.

Pu239
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Pu239 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:04 pm

renue74 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:30 pm
I admit, I've only played with credit card rewards and banking bonuses a few times...but not a lot. Maybe about 6 or 7 years ago, I racked up 1 million airline miles in about a year of hard core credit card bonuses. I remember going to CVS and buying $3,000 in vanilla visa cards for loading.

But, I've never really looked at transfer bonuses and "obscure" credit union high interest checking accounts, etc. to "optimize," my money.

Apparently, if you do it right and a lot, you can make quiet a lot in bonuses?

What are your experiences? Worth it?
I've also wondered about the hassles of sending ones investments on a road trip. It sounds worthwhile for the amount of effort required yet still I hesitate. Maybe I'm comfortable with Vanguard and current mutual fund asset allocation and simply don't want to stir things up. Maybe I'm over thinking this assuming that something will go wrong. Maybe it just adds more complexity when I'm seeking less (although I do some cc and bank account bonus chasing). For now, I'm sitting put.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:48 pm

I recommend:

The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

I use ETFs to make my assets easy to move around. No need to worry about being able to transfer or buy a particular mutual fund.
Play Gloria!

Topic Author
renue74
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by renue74 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:50 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:48 pm
I recommend:

The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

I use ETFs to make my assets easy to move around. No need to worry about being able to transfer or buy a particular mutual fund.
Naive question....but if all my portfolio is in mutual funds....can I convert to ETF without realizing capital gains?

Topic Author
renue74
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by renue74 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:52 am

Pu239 wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:04 pm
renue74 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:30 pm
I admit, I've only played with credit card rewards and banking bonuses a few times...but not a lot. Maybe about 6 or 7 years ago, I racked up 1 million airline miles in about a year of hard core credit card bonuses. I remember going to CVS and buying $3,000 in vanilla visa cards for loading.

But, I've never really looked at transfer bonuses and "obscure" credit union high interest checking accounts, etc. to "optimize," my money.

Apparently, if you do it right and a lot, you can make quiet a lot in bonuses?

What are your experiences? Worth it?
I've also wondered about the hassles of sending ones investments on a road trip. It sounds worthwhile for the amount of effort required yet still I hesitate. Maybe I'm comfortable with Vanguard and current mutual fund asset allocation and simply don't want to stir things up. Maybe I'm over thinking this assuming that something will go wrong. Maybe it just adds more complexity when I'm seeking less (although I do some cc and bank account bonus chasing). For now, I'm sitting put.
I, too, am a little skeptical...simply because we've worked so hard to consolidate (as much as we can) our portfolio and keep it simple. I looked yesterday and some of the bonuses are fairly high.

deltaneutral83
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by deltaneutral83 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:58 am

Merrill Edge used to do a $1,000 for $200k in assets about one promo period a year (thanks Earl!). Process takes less than an hour over the phone. Very solid BoA credit card options as well and all you have to do is keep $25 in a BoA checking account to leave dormant. Free ETF trades as well. Customer service is top notch although I've only needed to call in twice in several years. If you use ETF's I'm not sure why someone wouldn't be with Merrill unless you have a customized sweetheart deal elsewhere. The $1,000 (you will get 1099'd) is nice but so are the other bennies.

sc9182
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by sc9182 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:04 am

Per Earl’s maintained thread - there are at times non-public transfer bonuses - to the north of $3000 to - $4000 upon a $1 Million net-new-money/assets transferred. Never bothered about mutual funds and their portability, always been in a low-fee ETFs and a few individual stocks (hope BH’ers won’t catch this one here). Makes my portfolio quite portable, call it suitcase money.

You decide your time value for this money/bonus and a possible bit of upkeep (especially around tax lots especially in Taxable accounts: not as much in IRA type assets).

Consistently doing $3500-$5000 a year over the past 4 years (on non 401k monies, wish 401k allowed bonuses too) with minimal work.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:35 am

A long while back, Schwab gave me a $5000 incentive to move a couple mil. over to them. They said it was for a minimum 1 year to be kept in account with that minimum balance. Didn't matter what form or fund. Once they got the dough, they didn't seem to care what I did. After about 6 months, I trickled most of it into Vanguard, some into Fido.

The incentive was not advertised but suggested by a "friendly broker". It worked out. But, was a bit stressful for some reason. I wouldn't do it again.

j

Pu239
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Pu239 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:26 am

renue74 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:52 am


I, too, am a little skeptical...simply because we've worked so hard to consolidate (as much as we can) our portfolio and keep it simple. I looked yesterday and some of the bonuses are fairly high.
Converting from mutual funds to ETFs solely for the purpose of chasing bonuses seems to be my main hold-up. I prefer the mutual fund structure and don't want to change. And I've been too lazy or apathetic to contact a brokerage for details. It probably is as easy as many say but I'd want to research the details before proceeding (Earl's thread has been very helpful generally). I'm also less enthusiastic about moving an IRA than I would be with a taxable account. I chase bonuses for the extra current income, not to build up for retirement.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:35 am

renue74 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:50 am
Naive question....but if all my portfolio is in mutual funds....can I convert to ETF without realizing capital gains?
It depends. If you're at Vanguard, many mutual funds can be converted to ETF without a taxable transaction. Some funds don't have an ETF share class or the class doesn't support conversion (some bond funds). Naturally, anything in tax-advantaged doesn't matter.
Play Gloria!

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Transfer bonuses --- worth the hassle?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:43 am

Pu239 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:26 am
Converting from mutual funds to ETFs solely for the purpose of chasing bonuses seems to be my main hold-up. I prefer the mutual fund structure and don't want to change.
Most of these brokerages will allow you to reinvest distributions free for traditional funds. Things with Admiral are a bit in flux, but you could see if the custodian will take your funds. I realize some people prefer to have just one account at a time, but that never bothered me. I'm happy to move a slug of assets to a broker and leave it. I never reinvest, so for taxable you can just transfer off the distributions and do something else if you don't like the available options.
Play Gloria!

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