Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as inflation pain, Crypto still crashing, the 20 best road trips, trying to answer the question “What is the best travel rewards credit card?”, history of stock market crashes and downturns, ESG investing, more anti crypto gems, air travel sucks right now and a LOT more! Enjoy the reading and Happy July Fourth!
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This blog will publish every Friday in the month of July 2022.
Best of Web articles are truly exceptional and must reads, imho.
I use and recommend Proton VPN <——REFERRAL LINK
I think successful investing requires an emergency cash fund big enough to let you sleep at night when mayhem breaks out that keeps you mentally strong to stick with your investing plan and not panic sell! All bear markets are different and over my career I have been surprised how tough this can be for most people. Anyway, whatever you do, always diversify! And avoid debt because, you know, leverage kills. Let’s get to some great content I found next:
6 Things To Know About Stock Market Crashes and Downturns. First, bear markets are normal and they come around often! At this point, we don’t know how severe this current market decline will be, how long it will last, or how long it will take to recover. If you want to take some risky wild bets please take only up to 5% of your portfolio and go at it. For the rest of your nest egg please have a sensible investing plan, diversification is paramount, keep costs as low as possible, rebalance in a set interval (I prefer every six months, maybe you do annually or even quarterly, the key is to DO it!) and make smart tax moves. And…focus on what you do best!
Fascinating, click on the pic and sit back and watch this: Inflation and the cost of every day items. Everything was going down after the pandemic hit until 2021 rolled around and then…you won’t believe what happened next!
I do not specialize in ESG which has now become a hot trend after many years out there as a small niche. Of course I support these goals! But investing based on ESG screens is highly subjective and, yes, often highly hypocritical. What Does ESG Actually Mean? The author picks Blackrock’s ESG ETF fund and compares it to its S&P 500 portfolio and they are almost identical with just one difference. The ESG offering’s expense ratio is 400% more expensive! And I agree with his conclusion:
ESG isn’t about saving the environment. It isn’t about saving anything at all. ESG is a catch-all label that policymakers and company leaders can manipulate however they like to shift public perception.
This is wild! How three sisters (and their mom) tried to swindle the CRA out of millions. Not sure if this belongs in Personal Finance…other than, you know, do not steal! What these Canadian ladies did was beyond aggressive tax fraud…oh the audacity! Anyway, knowing how media reacts there may be a ten part special on Netflix about them smh. The Saker women were the model of rural ingenuity, running a successful restaurant and gourmet food businesses on Cape Breton Island. What they were mostly cooking? The books.
In order to inflate their ITCs, the Sakers created a number of companies that existed almost exclusively on paper. Through these companies, they became their own suppliers, sellers and purchasers, and they tinkered with the GST collected versus GST paid to maximize their potential government refund. The Sakers invented a huge volume of sales and purchases to justify their claims—in one case, New & Chic provided design consulting to Kishk for $500,000. They mixed in personal expenses, created invoices in the name of customers and small businesses that didn’t really exist and implicated real local businesses, many of which had never even heard of the Sakers and their many companies…In all, the seized documentation suggested in excess of $80 million in sales invoices; $55.7 million (before HST) were sales between the companies controlled by the four women. The Sakers claimed that a grocery store in North Sydney had purchased $1 million worth of Artisan Hair Loss Therapy’s wigs. There were 68 Housewives in Heels catering invoices, each in the amount of $50,000 for events of 500 people, for total sales of $3.4 million in just three months. [Yikes, Lock Them Up]
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I was never a crypto bro. Yes, sometimes, of course I wish I was in it back in those days when that guy used bitcoin to pay for pizza, who wouldn’t? But I have never invested and I like to invest for the long term. Because investing for the short term is speculating. If you start pondering “what if I had invested in XX or YY?”…, forget about it, what a waste of time, never do that! Anyway, my point is I have posted frequently some extreme anti crypto articles. And this one is so out there that I am thinking it may be the…bottom? Well, not really, still not buying you guys 🙂 Bitcoin Is A Hideous Monstrosity Made Out Of Computers And Greed That Must Be Destroyed Before It Devours The World, Part I. The article starts out with one of my favorite quotes from one of my all time favorite book:
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds
Anyway, the author, Michel de Cryptadamus (!!!), shows the conclusions of the article, can’t wait for Part II!
- Cryptocurrencies are demonic.
- The cryptocurrency industry is a hecto-billion dollar industry built entirely around the exploitation of carefully engineered gambling addictions in a rigged system that cheats its customers in every way that it can.
- Cryptocurrencies also function as some sort of bizarre internet cult.
My blog is big on educating. And entertaining comes close. And this will make you laugh as much as I did: UK Treasury takes a stake in sex party planner Killing Kittens. Say what?
Best of Web: I loved this! The Petty Pleasures of Watching Crypto Profiteers Flounder. If you watch the two video clips in the article you will realize how full of shit these crypto guys are, enjoy!
Meanwhile, Celcius is imploding. This is the company that was bragging it was paying customers up to 18.6% interest and its CEO wore a Tshirt with “Banks are not your friends”. How in the world could they pay out so high? Because they made money on lending. To companies in the crypto metaverse. For not much collateral. Until…boom, contagion. Never forget, LEVERAGE CAN KILL YOU! Also, the geniuses in this hedge fund lost everything smh: Crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital plunges into liquidation as market crash takes toll.
Maybe a year from now…bitcoin is up there again, nobody knows! Obviously, never invest more than you can afford to lose!
Meanwhile, I have added Web3 is going just great to the list of Personal Finance blogs/sites I recommend. Web3 is going just great keeps an ongoing and never ending list of collapses and frauds in the web3/crypto/bitcoin/NFT space…
Traveling right now is not fun at all! Close friends had Air Canada cancellations and trying to get rebooked was a traumatic experience that will haunt them for a while. Be careful out there and build enough cushion in your itineraries and have Plan B (and C, D, etc.). Air Travel is a Disaster Right now. Here’s Why. Main reason is that airlines cut lots of staff as they planned for a 6 year recovery period to return to normal travel…only for amazingly strong demand to return in just 18 months! Leisure travel has fully rebounded, whereas business travel is still down 30 percent. It will get better starting in the Fall…Archived Link. And, please, do not take it out on airline employees, thank you.
Looks like the Europeans are copying us: Going To Europe Will Cost You More. Here’s Why.
The European Union has created a new entry scheme to enter Europe without a visa called ETIAS. It is similar to ESTA for those entering the United States. ETIAS is likely to go into effect in May, 2023.
I really like this list: 20 Incredible Road Trips in the U.S. Which one is your favorite?
I also love these posts full of maps: 40 Unusual And Fascinating Maps That Might Change Your Perspective On The World.
UKRAINE RUSSIA WAR
The murderous horror unleashed by Putin continues in Ukraine: Russian missile strike hits crowded shopping mall in Ukraine…as we all realize this war will last for a while.
Meanwhile, at the Caspian Sea Summit in Turkmenistan, we discover that another head of state has a bigger table than Putin LOL! While Finland and Sweden, after decades of neutrality, are joining NATO…go master strategist Putin go!
The Covid pandemic keeps rolling on while almost everyone just goes on with their life. I find myself the only one masked while I go inside a store to pick up my coffee or my food order, other than few staff. Anyway, it is what it is…
Meanwhile, Monkeypox found to be evolving at a faster rate than expected. They found the virus has mutated at a rate six to 12 times as high as was expected. The researchers suggest the sudden accelerated rate of mutation in the virus may be a sign that the virus has developed a new way to infect people—currently, it is believed to move from person to person through close contact with open lesions, through body fluids or by airborne droplets. Yikes!
And get ready for another shot in the arm in the Fall! Clarity for fall: We’re getting an Omicron booster. Reading this has me more confused! Anyway, I took this at least from the article: “People vaccinated with one booster dose had 4 times the risk of dying compared to people with 2 booster doses. (Unvaccinated people had 42 times the risk of dying from COVID19 compared to those with 2 boosters)“. So, I am ready for jab #5 in the Fall…
ODDZ & ENDZ
This is awesome: Earth.fm. like Sp0tify, but for natural soundscapes. Check it out!
This is a helpful site for the ones who may need it. Please don’t hurl any insults at me, thank you: Find a Verified Abortion Provider.
What a story! John Franzese Jr. Flipped on One of History’s Most Notorious Mobsters—His Father—And Lived to Tell the Tale. John Franzese Jr. was born into mob royalty, but after getting clean and doing the unthinkable—testifying against his own father—he sought out an almost unimaginable forgiveness. Amazing this guy is still alive, what a sad life all around…
With yet another birthday under my belt, I have been thinking about this stuff more lately. How to Pass On Your Passwords When You Die. The article shows how Google, Apple and Facebook can enable you to bequeath account access to others. Archived Link.
Let’s enjoy some awesome photography next: Urban Wildlife Photography Awards 2022.
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 80k CITI Premier, 60k CHASE Sapphire Preferred, 75k Capital One Venture X, 75k CHASE Ink Cash, 75k CHASE Ink Unlimited, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, three 75k CHASE Southwest cards [End 7/11/22], 60k CHASE World of Hyatt Visa, 60k CHASE Sapphire Reserve, 20k CHASE Freedom Flex, up to 30k CHASE Freedom Unlimited, 70k CHASE United Explorer, 140k IHG Rewards Premier, 5 FREE Nights with Chase Bonvoy Boundless, 20k CITI Custom Cash, and many more, including many AmericanExpress cards, including Delta, Marriott and Hilton cards! Please check out my Affiliate links. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
If you do not see a credit card with my affiliate links, perhaps I could refer you? Contact me!
This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! Feel free to skip this section and parts of the next one if this is not for you.
As of today, I have burned 639,147 miles/points year to date and have 4,769,287 miles/points in the bank. Some do drugs, I do miles lol!
Newbies: This travel hacking hobby is mostly about getting the fat Signup Bonus of travel rewards credit cards while of course NEVER EVER carrying a balance. Banks have a marketing budget and are willing to give us many THOUSANDS of miles/points to travel mostly for free hoping to hook us to charge 20%+ interest rates on our balances. The poor souls who fall for their marketing paying these ludicrous interest rates for years end up subsidizing us responsible consumers who enjoy taking advantage of, cough, such bank marketing budgets! Some of us have been doing this for thirty years creating amazing travel memories…But how do you start? This is a good post and podcast: How to Start Travel Hacking.
In most cases, this is true! Why Transferable Bank Points Beat Airline and Hotel Points.
There is a new Amex business checking account that can earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points. Make sure you satisfy all the conditions to earn the points ok? Oh, it earns 1.1% too.
Chase continues to offer spending bonuses on most of its cards: Chase Spending Bonus for July-September, Check Your Offers.
If you eat out a lot and wanted to see how you can maximize your dining miles/points: Best Credit Cards for Dining in 2022 For Every Lifestyle.
TOP Travel Rewards Signup Bonuses Cards:
Citibank again increased the Signup Bonus for the Citi Premier card from 60,000 to 80,000 Thank You points. Annual fee is $95 and the minimum spend to score the Signup Bonus is $4k in the first three months. The Citi Premier card has a solid earning structure as it earns 3 points per dollar on gas/groceries/dining/travel and one point on everything else. Of course, you can transfer your points to mostly foreign airlines and JetBlue. Or, you can take $705 and run. What do you say? You can cash out at one cent per point. Therefore, 80,000 points means $800 less $95 annual fee——-> BOOM, here is $705 in your pocket, you need this $$$ to pay for gas! Read the newbies paragraph above and think…taking advantage of bank marketing budgets! To reiterate, do NOT become a victim of bank marketing budgets by paying interest TO the banks ok? To read more: The Citi Premier Card Has a Big Offer – 80,000 Points, Worth at Least $800. Yep, available HERE, thank you!
The Capital One Venture X card now offers a 75,000 point Signup Bonus after a minimum spend of $4k in the first three months. If you like simplicity and are looking for one (premium) card, I highly recommend this card (and yes, I have it myself!). It has an annual fee of $395 but it comes with a VERY easy $300 statement credit for travel booked on its excellent travel portal, essentially turning it into a $95 annual fee card. Wait…at each card anniversary you earn 10,000 points essentially making it FREE! Every dollar of spend earns 2 points and flights booked on the travel portal earn 5 points per dollar. You get access to Capital One and Plaza Premium airport lounges and a Priority Pass Select lounge membership and, this is important, you can add FOUR authorized users FOR FREE who can also open their own Priority Pass Select airline lounge membership. No foreign transaction fees. Free Hertz President’s Circle rental car elite status. Cell phone protection and primary rental car coverage. Awesome seats at baseball stadiums for just 5k points. And lots more. Available with my Credit Card Links, thank you for your support!
Three Southwest have 75k bonuses now which end on July 11, 2022. Chase Southwest Personal Cards: 75,000 Points with $5,000 Spend (Plus, Premier, Priority). Minimum spend is $5,000 in the first three months. Obviously, if you are going to have issues meeting the minimum spend to score the fat Signup Bonus, this hobby is NOT for you and it could lead to some very painful financial consequences! You know what you get with Southwest, your bags fly free and the best cancellation policy in the industry. And employees who appear to enjoy working there. And each point is worth 1.28 cents for wanna get away fares. So, 75,000 points plus 5,000 points (assuming at 1x) gets you 80,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points times 1.28 cents equals $1,024 minus the non waived annual fee ($69, $99 or $149), do the math! Available HERE.
In general, I do not recommend hotel travel rewards credit cards. Unless it is for a card from a hotel chain you use A LOT (like Hyatt for most of us). But right now there is a superior offer for a hotel card from a program that I generally almost never recommend. It is this one: Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless FIVE Free Night Certificates (Up To 50,000 Points Each) Bonus. You can enjoy almost a week at a very nice property anywhere in Marriott’s vast footprint for the $95 annual fee, do the math! Available HERE under Card Category/Hotel, thank you for supporting this blog! Remember, you are NOT allowed to ever carry a credit card balance if you ever get a credit card here, ok?
We are now entering BLOG BUZZ, a section for advanced travel hacking hobbyists and also a section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life because it helps me feel better about myself.
I found this What’s The Best Travel Rewards Credit Card? video targeted to newbies to be mostly okay and with lots of “information” of course influenced by the ever so influential credit card affiliate links. Kudos for mentioning Frequent Miler but when you cheer The Points Guy, well, what can I say? Also, for God’s sake, stop asking “What is the best travel rewards credit card?”, it’s like asking “what is the best stock?”! The question can NOT be answered correctly without taking a comprehensive look at the situation of who is asking it. Information that is needed at the very minimum is: travel goals, closest airport, income, spending habits, credit score, travel preferences, elite status, current credit cards, credit card history, family situation, organizational skills level, cash emergency fund levels, current debt loads, etc. Of course, all this takes time…so the Citi Premier card was recommended instead, smh! I am just going to stop there…I thought about doing a special post answering all the questions in the video the correct way when I get some time if you are interested. Readers: There is A LOT of misinformation out there, be careful!
Some cautionary advice for advanced travel hackers on how to “play” with bank deposit accounts, be careful out there!
Some of these can be brutal to pull off in practice and this is why I placed it in this section: Delectable international sweet spot awards.
The NBA Detroit Pistons continue to have an amazing draft and preseason trades. After landing #5 pick and trading for center talent rookie from the New York Knicks, they managed to get two solid role players, two second round picks and $6 Million for, well, nothing all thanks to the New York Knicks again lol. Detroit Pistons trade with New York Knicks, acquire Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and picks.
Long time readers know that I follow the news in Greece and my hometown Larisa. And that I have been a fan of the city soccer team AEL since, well, birth. For the past seven years the team has been owned by the most famous criminal attorney in Greece and it has been a total shit show. Anyway, a few days ago he finally sold the team to a well known respected business man born and raised in Larisa who grew up watching the glorious team in the late 70s and 80s who announced “We are back!”. YEAH, everyone is elated! Also, I have been really enjoying the “Sunderland ‘Till I Die” documentary on Netflix about this English team. I see the team hired coach Chris Coleman, who became famous after taking the Wales national team to its best run ever. I know Chris Coleman because he coached my AEL team and people in Larisa still speak very highly of him!
I have been heavily into running ever since February 2018 when I was met face to face with a frightening number on the weight scale when I visited my doc for my annual physical. And then I ran my first marathon in Detroit in October 2019. And then I was hooked…Three full marathons later and preparing for #4 in Berlin in September 2022. I do have a running coach since June 2019 and she assigns me my homework. And a reader asked me to blog about a typical week running homework set, so here it is what I did last week. In addition, I attend exercise classes for runners twice a week and do several exercises daily assigned by my coach.
Sunday: 13 miles, easy
Monday: Day off
Tuesday: Hills circuit for 2 miles, another 4 miles warm up and cool down
Wednesday: 7 miles, easy
Thursday: 4 X 1milers at 8.20 pace w/ 1 minute rests, another 3 miles warm up and cool down
Friday: Day off
Saturday: Biking (did 16 miles)
I found this totally shocking, what the hell is going on here? I thought technology was going to improve this, no?
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Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.