Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as how to avoid investing mistakes, Russia sanctions, surviving stampedes, brand new high Chase bank offers, financial media, ponzi schemes, more on TIPS, 2023 top destinations, most iconic hotels, amazing trees, creepy catacombs, genocide in Ukraine, how the Koreans ended up in Ukraine, insurance scammers, amazing story about a boy’s bout with some bacteria, the best photography and more!
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This blog publishes every Friday.
Best of Web articles are truly exceptional and MUST reads in their entirety, imho.
Welcome to all new blog readers from George, your diligent curator of the BEST web content I find and share with you. No ads, no clickbait, just amazing content I discover along with my sometimes witty and seldom incendiary commentary.
Best of Web: Starting with one of the best things I read last week by Jason Zweig at the Wall Street Journal: What to Do When You Know What Stocks Will Do Next. If I had a dollar every time I came across someone convinced where the market is going in the short term… Stop, you are wasting your time, markets have an incredible ability to humble us all. The only true answer to the question is that we don’t know and it is better to diversify for your nest egg and your health! Archived Link.
…it’s so important to stick to a long-term plan rather than chasing the latest illusion of certainty.
…what happens when you pursue the illusion of certainty. It becomes easy, as you chase the next short-term gain and adrenaline surges through your bloodstream, to imagine that you know what’s coming next. Markets don’t work like that, though. They don’t permit any one of us, no matter how smart or foresighted, to know exactly what will happen.
Self-control is a key to investing success, but so is fending off self-delusion.
Any day now, someone persuasive will be telling you, with a high degree of conviction, when inflation has to fade, when interest rates must fall, which industry sector is doomed to fail or sure to dominate.
That voice of certainty will be backed by reams of past data. It will feel reassuring. It will make you feel you are not alone. It will tempt you to follow it. And it is all but certain to be wrong.
Jason also had this amazing Twitter thread from his college days taking a class of modern art.
Avoid financial media! News You Can’t Use. Good financial advice should be incredibly boring. Which does not sell eyeballs and clicks!
Amid the financial markets’ daily turmoil, investors often lose sight of fundamental truths and make foolish changes to their portfolio. To stay the course, many folks need to be regularly reminded of what sensible investing looks like.
I once had a client prospect who interviewed several financial advisors and called me back to inform me that he went with a hedge fund guy because my advice was not very sophisticated. I shake my head to this day…
“Sophistication,” of course, is a Wall Street ruse to extract hefty fees from ill-informed investors. How many investors have ended up regretting the money they sunk into hedge funds, real estate partnerships, managed futures, private equity, family trusts and goodness knows what else?
each day’s news offers little of value to longer-term investors. Instead, for those striving to be prudent managers of their own money, the big wins are to be found in subjects that rarely rank as news, things like when to claim Social Security, what insurance you need and don’t need, estate planning, trimming taxes, saving for college and funding retirement accounts.
As an immigrant myself who came to this country from Greece for college and, you know, life happened and I am still here…I am biased towards immigrants and we need more! This is a great thread explaining all the reasons why: US economic dynamism depends on immigrants.
Going to get a little wonky here about them TIPS, they are a different animal and not easy to understand. And When Inflation Surfaced, TIPS Flopped. Start getting used to being surprised in this field. Only a disciplined investment process can keep you grounded and offer you the best probability to achieve your cherished financial goals.
Here is the October 2022 Ponzi Scheme Roundup. It boggles the mind so many are being taken advantage of to this extent every day, be careful out there!
Do you go through your credit card monthly statements and at least scan all the charges? You should! Did you ever see some that looked suspicious? This website can explain what the charge is all about: What’s That Charge?
Best of Web: This is a repeat as I am still going through it as it is massive…as 40,000 words! The Crypto Story.
I also saw that many people who added .eth in their profiles…are taking that off. Because, you know, dead giveaway!
Interesting picks: National Geographic reveals its top destinations for 2023.
We are past Halloween but if you are still not over it this one is for you: Go Inside The World’s Creepiest Catacombs — And Learn The Disturbing Stories Behind Them.
Amazing trees! Some of the Most Amazing Trees From Around the World.
We end this section with this: Meteor shower over Lake Superior: Photographer captures magic shot of fireball.
UKRAINE RUSSIA WAR
Ukrainian journalist Illia Ponomarenko has become a star online and now delivers speeches, this one at the Netherlands: Ukraine has proved that hard choices pay off. Definitely worth a read.
Sanctions on Russia ARE having an impact! How have sanctions impacted Russia? In this paper we assess both the immediate economic impact and the likely longer-term impact of sanctions on the Russian economy.
Russia’s fiscal revenues are now beginning to take a hit; given the breadth of sanctions, the economy will suffer in the medium to long term. The voluntary departure of a large number of western firms, eventual energy decoupling by the EU and Russia’s inability to find equal alternatives will damage the Russian economy severely. As the Russian economy closes in on itself, it will become harder to find reliable data to evaluate the extent of the hit.
Best of Web: Another amazing Timothy Snyder lecture: The War in Ukraine and the Question of Genocide. I now understand better what the Russians are doing and it makes me sick!
Were you surprised when you first saw Korean Ukrainians like me? And wondered how they ended up there? This thread will explain it all, amazing! I am a Korean-Ukrainian, or Koryo-saram. This is who we are and why we are resisting Russian imperialism.
ODDZ & ENDZ
I can not watch any videos from the horrific Seoul tragedy…I just can’t! This thread may save your life: What To Do in a Crowd Rush. I am determined to save a reader’s life #lifegoals. 23 Survival Tips And Tricks.
Best of Web: Swamp Boy. Stunning story about a kid who suddenly started going crazy. And led through several medical misdiagnoses and numerous psychotic drugs and so much heartache! And then it will sure shock you when the parents did not give up and managed to find what caused this to their son. A small hint as I will let you read it all: cat scratches.
I despise scammers everywhere. And this guy was really something, wow! Collision Course. The car wrecks were staged. The injuries were real. Led by a charismatic rogue, one family bloodied itself to pocket $6 million. Lock him up! Archived Link.
This is mesmerizing: Moths in Slow Motion Taking Flight at 6,000 Frames Per Second.
Amazing photography: WORLD’S TOP 10 STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS 2022.
MILES & POINTS NEWS/PROMOS/MY ACTION
Every time when the holidays come around, we get online shopping promos: Shopping Portal Bonuses From American Airlines, United, Alaska, Southwest & Delta Airlines.
Before the pandemic hit, I was blogging how all these loyalty programs are going revenue based which takes away the “hack” element we in this hobby really thrive on. In other words, we lose that BANG we can get burning some of our miles and points for that amazing trip that would otherwise cost a ridiculous amount of actual money! Anyway, Delta started the descent and they keep pouring it on while marketing their moves as good for the Delta Skymiles members, typical Delta speak of course. And they are not stopping! Delta Kills Off (Almost) All Partner Awards with Exorbitant Prices.
So, the imitators keep coming. After Iberia Airlines announced they are going revenue based last week, here comes British Airways too, boo! Just don’t say you were never warned ok? And, make no mistake, bank financial product sales representatives masquerading as bloggers will NOT stop selling them as enthusiastically as before because, if no sales, no dinero!
It looks like I will be spending most of December in Greece with my mother as she decided not to come to the US. And I will be joining my girls for Thanksgiving in New York City/New Jersey area. Because I had to wait to book Thanksgiving travel, I have to admit I am flying Spirit to NYC with my daughter and we are actually paying for it, which is really strange! We are both coming back on Southwest points.
More travel to be booked, more miles and points to burn, hooray! I also need to book a trip to Singapore a year out to attend one of wife’s niece’s wedding, maybe a good base to do that Vietnam trip I have been thinking about. I am also waiting for my daughter to give me dates to book her flights to/from Paris next year, she will be studying abroad for the 2023 winter semester.
I need to look to see if my wife can get one of the Chase Ink business cards again too, it is so hard to say no to 90k Chase Ultimate Rewards points for no annual fee cards. My kids can definitely go for them too but they are not that eager to, you know, do the work required (talk to Chase bankers in the Reconsideration line, answer questions creatively, move around credit lines, etc.). No hotel nights for son anymore, he said he prefers youth hostels, where did I go so wrong? Lol.
A section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life and anything else that just does not fit in another section above.
Not much to say in this section today…Enjoying the amazingly nice weather here in Michigan. Running in my shorts and just one layer in November has been totally unexpected and so welcome.
Daughter has received an amazing offer for a 2023 summer internship. She has two weeks to accept it and me, because I am addicted to miles/points, just had to confirm travel to/from the work location was going to be paid for which of course means…more free miles, the best kind lol.
This Sunday is the first game of the season for my AEL FC Larissa soccer team in Greece. It is November already, it is about time! Such is life in the miserable Second Division in Greece. Goal is to finish in first place and return to the First Division. I have slowly done away from following all kinds of sports but this is the team I grew up with and the memories are just so strong to cut, it will never happen! Anyway, things are looking up after a disastrous 7 year reign being owned by one of the most ridiculous and hated individuals in Greece. The team is getting back to its roots with a heavy emphasis in the academies and organization in all levels and ethical blue collar spirit. The really strange thing is that there are now two more teams in the city in the Second Division…and the two other teams are next to my family home!
Thinking to return to my gym…but with such great weather still around no rush!
My neighborhood subdivision association has arranged for food trucks to come once a week and they have been a big hit!
The movie Till was very powerful.
Vote! If you will not take the time to vote, you should stop bitching!
It is hard to believe I am still blogging after almost 10 years! I have outlasted most bloggers out there who have quit. Or sold out to big time
travel bank financial product sales operations. Or quit their blogs to become writers for such operations pumping content out. I was asked recently by a blog reader how many of these operations will exit when banks stop paying affiliate commissions for travel rewards sales and I responded “well, over 95%!”. I will probably still be here, this blog sold one travel rewards credit in the whole month of October! Anyway, I still won’t have ads here and will not resort to hideous clickbait and I have found a groove of posting every Friday always aiming to educate, entertain and inspire. And evolve…Stay healthy my friends!
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 80k CITI Premier, 75k Southwest Cards, 60k CHASE Sapphire Preferred, 75k Capital One Venture X, 90k CHASE Ink Cash, 90k CHASE Ink Unlimited, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 60k CHASE World of Hyatt Visa, 80k CHASE Sapphire Reserve, 50k Bank of America Alaska Airlines Personal Visa, 20k CHASE Freedom Flex, up to 30k CHASE Freedom Unlimited, 140k IHG Rewards Premier AND 1 Free Night, 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?
This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! SKIP if you are not into it!
As of today, I have burned 1,012,309 miles/points year to date and have 4,887,202 miles/points in the bank. Some do drugs, I do miles lol!
Thanks to US banks, very lucrative travel rewards credit card offers come and go all the time. This section will act as a reference point on the best CURRENT offers. I will designate new material preceded by NEW.
BASICS: 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 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…Feel free to ask me questions or post them in the comments.
BASICS: Prefer credit cards from the proprietary points programs of banks, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Network, Capital One Rewards Miles because they are a lot more flexible and are not devalued as frequently. Over pure airline and hotel travel rewards credit cards. Pure cash back credit cards may work for you best and they are getting more valuable as airline and hotel loyalty programs keep getting devalued. Sometimes, a pure no annual fee 2% cash back card works best for simplicity!
If you wanted nothing to do with these miles and points activities and just wanted a no annual fee 2% cash back card, you can not go wrong with the Citi Double Cash Mastercard. And right now it has the highest Signup Bonus ever. Ok, it is only $200 but still it is the highest ever lol. It comes in the form of 20,000 ThankYou Points which you can cash out for $200 if you decide not to transfer them to any of the ThankYou airline and hotel transfer partners. Available here under CardIssuer/Citi.
TOP TRAVEL REWARDS SIGNUP BONUS CARDS
These two NO ANNUAL FEE Chase Business cards are now offering an amazing 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, the Chase Ink Business Cash and the Chase Business Ink Unlimited! Bottom line, I think these are the BEST business travel rewards cards out there right now! The 90k Signup Bonus can be earned after $6k of spend on the cards in the first three months. I am not going to make a fool of myself with recurring “69 reasons I love these two cards”, this is not a sales maximization blog ok? You can click to find out more about them and you can apply HERE to support this blog, thank you.
Citibank 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 1 point on everything else. Of course, you can transfer your points to mostly foreign airlines and JetBlue. Or you can cash out at one cent per point. Therefore, 80,000 points means $800 less $95 annual fee——-> BOOM! Read the newbies paragraph above and always think…taking advantage of bank marketing budgets! Available HERE, thank you!
The Capital One Venture X card 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. But wait…there is more! On 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 have their own Priority Pass Select airline lounge membership. You can transfer your Capital One points to up to 18 Transfer Partners. No foreign transaction fees. Free Hertz President’s Circle rental car top elite status. Cell phone protection and PRIMARY rental car coverage. Awesome seats at baseball stadiums for just 5k points each. And lots more. Available with my Credit Card Links, thank you for your support!
NEW: Just like clockwork, the Chase Southwest cards are again up to 75k Signup Bonus! Three personal cards, Priority at $149 Annual Fee, Premier at $99k Annual Fee, Plus at $69 Annual Fee. The minimum spend is ONLY $3k in the first three months. 75k offers expire December 5! Each Southwest point is worth about 1.4 cents so DO THE MATH! Bags always fly free and the friendliest cancellation/change policies in the industry. And if you can time it right…you could earn the amazing Southwest Companion Pass for 2023 and 2024. You can read the blog posts below to learn more and you can return here and apply for them HERE, thank you!
The premium Sapphire Reserve card is now offering 80,000 point Signup Bonus. After a subpar 60,000 SUB that lasted a very long time. Of course many of us miles/points addicts got this card when it first came out offering what was back then an awesome 100,000 points Signup Bonus. Frankly, I canceled our cards after the first year because I never felt that this card is a keeper. I am not here to maximize credit card sales like almost every other blogger ok? So, I still believe this is a subpar premium card and if you were looking for one the Capital One Venture X card above is a much better deal. But maybe you are plugged into the Chase Ultimate Rewards points sphere and you were looking for a premium travel card and you can still get this card and you want to replenish a good chunk of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points and you have a plan how to use these points pronto (you can still cash them out for travel at 1.5 cents per point making the points worth a cool $1,200!) so here is what you get on top of the 80,000 points after you spend $4k in the first three months. The main benefit is that you get to easily offset the $550 Annual Fee of the card with a very easy automatic $300 statement credit for any travel purchase with the card. You earn 3x per dollar spent on Travel and Restaurants, you get a Priority Pass Select lounge membership for you and two guests, primary rental car insurance, no foreign transaction fees, $100 Global Entry credit, transfer to airline/hotel partners 1:1 ( I transfer to Hyatt, United and sometimes Southwest as needed), a whole bunch of other travel related benefits that most of us don’t really ever use, etc. If you still decide to apply for the card please consider applying with my links HERE, thank you!
There is a new offer which could land you 130,000 Hilton Honor points along with a few Hilton free night certificates if…you can afford to devote $15k of spend on the Hilton Business card. If you are interested, please support the blog by applying for the card HERE, thank you!
Remember, you are NOT allowed to ever carry a credit card balance if you ever get a credit card here!
Let me leave you with this…
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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.