personal finance

Tag Archives for personal finance.

Did Fidelity Just Become the Best Investment Bank? 2 New FREE Funds!

Very cool news from Fidelity today. This Friday, August 3rd, 2018, they’ll introduce 2 new total market funds with ZERO management expenses and NO minimums to start investing.

Plus, they’ve slashed fees and minimums on several other funds, effective immediately. I just logged into my account and already see lower expenses.

I wrote about the best IRA accounts and which banks let you start investing right away with a single $1. What’s cool with Fidelity is you can pair your IRA with the Fidelity Visa, which earns 2% cashback on every purchase. Then sweep the cashback rewards into one of these free index funds. The card is free to have – so it’s literally free money to invest into free funds.

fidelity zero index funds

Fidelity just made a bold move with 2 FREE funds

Everyone should have an IRA account. Here’s more info on Fidelity’s new mutual funds.

Fidelity Zero index funds

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LAST DAY: $499 FinCon Passes – This September in Orlando!

Update 7/31/18: It looks like the $499 price is going strong because of a “Summer Sale”! I’d still say to act ASAP if you’re interested!

Looking for inspiration, truly great networking opportunities, and a ton of personal finance information in one jam-packed 4-day event?

I attended FinCon 2017 in Dallas. As soon as it was done, I immediately registered to attend Orlando 2018, though I didn’t know how I’d fit it in at the time.

Flash forward to now. In 2 short months, I’ll be in Orlando for a week of CardCon, FinCon, and maybe even Disney World (when in Rome, right?). 🏝

Last year’s FinCon was a turning point in my own financial development. Plus, I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person (Paula from Afford Anything, Chonce from My Debt Epiphany, and Summer from Mommy Points) – and so many other knowledgable, inspirational peeps.

This year’s conference will be in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel from September 26th through 29th, 2018. Today is the last day to lock in a basic pass for $499. As of tomorrow, the price jumps to $599. So if you’ve been on the fence, now’s the time to get the best deal! 

fincon 2018 orlando

Spend a few days delving deep into finance at FinCon this September

Plus, I’ll be there! 🤑

FinCon 2018 Orlando event information

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Turn Your Credit Card Into a Debit Card (And Earn Rewards!) With This Website and App

Debitize has been on my radar for a long time. It’s a website (and iOS app) where you plug in your credit card and bank account information. As you make purchases on your credit card, money is moved automatically every time you swipe – as if you were using your debit card.

For peeps who have trouble with the idea of managing credit, or afraid to overspend, you can still see money leaving your account every time you use your card. And Debitize will pay your card off in full each month.

debitize review

Debitize lets you earn credit card rewards with a debit card mentality

In essence, you can treat your credit card like a debit card. But the big plus is, you can still rack up valuable credit card rewards!

Here’s more about the service.

What’s Debitize?

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Bottom of the Barrel: Have I Gotten All the Points & Miles Cards I Possibly Can?

I wanna type out loud for a sec to assess which card offers I can still earn. Before I begin, I know there aren’t many.

After all, I currently have about 30 cards and have rotated through many others since I started the points & miles game in 2012 (and heavily in 2013).

which cards are left

My first award trip was to Hawaii in 2013, with Delta miles and Hilton points

So what’s left for me? I know it’s not much.

Let’s take a deep dive.

Which cards are left that I can even get?

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Why I Bought a New Car (With a Car Note!) Despite FIRE

Also see: 

I wrote how I bought a car with credit cards in early 2016. It was a used 2004 Subaru Forester. And it fit my needs at the time.

I swore I’d never buy a new car. It’s a badge of honor within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community to have an old car with tons of miles on it. It means you’re frugal. And saving. And “doing it right.” A quick search on Reddit returns more opinions than you can ever filter through.

There’s even a rap song called “No Car Note.” (“I love my ’98 Honda!”)

But after running the numbers, I broke my own rule. And bought a 2017 Nissan Versa Note. With a car note.

New or used car? Why I went new

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Points Are a Currency – And YOU Get to Set the Value

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Peeps conceptualize their points & miles in various ways. I’ve heard the argument they’re worth as much as you’re willing to pay in cash – logic that has always failed me. I use points because I won’t pay cash… right?

If I get a $10,000 Business Class flight for say, 50,000 miles – but I’m only willing to pay $1,000 in cash for the flight, does that mean the miles were worth the retail value of $10,000… or my “willing to pay” price of $1,000?

points worth

I used points to fly Lufthansa First Class… a product I’d NEVER pay cash for!

To me, they’re worth up to the cash cost because I typically travel for pleasure. Even though I value most points & miles at 2 cents each (at least!). Which in this case, 50,000 miles would be worth at least $1,000 but actually much more because of the retail price.

Knowing the selling price is the thrill of the deal. That’s the point of points in the first place (or First Class). And often, I use points & because only because of the retail value, despite what I’m “willing” to pay.

So I set my minimum value at 2 cents each because under that, you might as well use a 2% cashback card for the same (or better) result. I collect points for those times when I get outsized value – that’s what makes it worth it. And why I set the points value at – benchmark low – 2 cents each. But it all depends.

What’s your points value?

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In Closing: My Experience Buying a House

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Back in November, I wrote about wanting to close on a house in Dallas. I did, in fact, close on a house in Dallas right on schedule, on December 15th, 2015.

The new living room where I'll (hopefully!) be banging out new Out and Out posts!

My new living room!

That was almost 3 months ago, but it’s taken me this long to write about it.

A friend of mine said it best. We had lunch when she was scheduled to close on a house a few days later.

“OMG!” I exclaimed. “Are you like, so excited to be closing ?”

“Not really, actually. I’m just sort of… ready for the process to be over.”

I didn’t think much of it at the time because I still was excited to be moving toward a closing.

That is, until I got there.

Hurry up and wait

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Get Instant Access to Aspiration Summit, the Best Checking Account in America

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Time Magazine just named Aspiration Summit the best bank account in America for 2015.

aspiration summit sign up

#1… I’d agree!

I’m glad I got in on the ground floor of this account. You can sign up too if you’d like!

About Aspiration Summit

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ABC + FIRE! (In which life is all acronyms.)

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I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a few months by now. Now here it is!

Yesterday, I made the final payment on my credit cards. Now, I don’t owe a cent of credit card debt!

As you guys know, I charged those puppies up to:

There was a point, a real and scary one, where I felt I’d certainly overleveraged myself.

I wrote about the feeling in Smart Debt: Is carrying a balance ever a good idea?

Side hustle of the millennium

Side hustle of the millennium

And I definitely felt I’d nearly crossed the line into plain ol’ dumb debt.

Digging out of credit card debt is by far one of the most psychologically strenuous exercises I’ve faced. And that moment where I saw the interest get charged felt so wrong, my stomach turned. But I knew I could shoulder a couple of months of interest to make it all back, plus more.

Still, it sucked.

And today is the official turning point where I go full-force into FIRE.

What is FIRE?

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New Aspiration Checking Account Has 1% APY and Free Global ATM Use

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Update 10/1/15: I just got my own invitation link.  Yay! You can sign up for an Aspiration Summit account here.

Update 8/26/15: I have the account set up now as well as email invites. If you’re interested, leave a comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll hook you up – it’s supposed to let you “skip the line!”

I’m always on the hunt for a great new banking product, so when I saw Aspiration’s new Summit checking account with a 1% APY (NOT APR!), I had to check it out.

aspiration summit checking account

Aspiration Summit checking account will earn you 1% APY when you have a $2,500 daily balance

I’ll show you the benefits and highlight one big caveat.

What’s Aspiration?

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In Praise of Humble Beginnings

I was reading an article called “How to invest even if you’re treading water financially” via Get Rich Slowly and a certain part jumped out at me (bolding and links mine):

“Don’t despise small beginnings.
The first steps in any endeavor are humble. Gustave Eiffel, famous today for his tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty, started as an unpaid assistant in a foundry. Setting aside $10 a month might feel meaningless: “What difference can that ever make?” That’s wrong. It makes a difference in many ways:

Start somewhere

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