Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as investing resolutions for life, the global inflation phenomenon, taking down FTX, year end credit card checklists, Elon’s stale playbook, Putin’s war, Zelensky goes to Bakhmut and Washington, move maps, more on AI, smoking populations, the glorious ending at the 2022 World Cup and a lot more!
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This blog publishes every Friday and some Tuesdays. No Tuesday post next week!
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.
This blog started as a joke back in 2012 to keep track of the best content in my quirky hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles and points to feed my travel addiction. It has slowly evolved to its current version of posting every Friday (and some Tuesdays for now) with a carefully curated list of the best web content along with my snarky and sometimes witty (and seldom incendiary) commentary. And now focusing more on the area of personal finance which is what I do for a living actually. My goal here is to offer a different and quality blog to help readers enhance their quality of life. Also, to contribute my part to end world hunger and bring worldwide peace. Or something like that.
Best of Web: Please do not waste your time reading investment forecasts. And, come on now, never invest based on them! All of them. And this post Investing Resolutions for Life advises you to focus on the following:
Play the Long Game
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
Focus on What You Can Control: Your Habits and Your Emotions
Bonds were left for dead for a long time. Until 2022. All of a sudden everyone wants them, it is kind of weird…the speed of this turnaround. Anyway, Clipping Coupons explains five bond market nuances very well if you want to learn more about them.
Cash/CDs too! Savers watch out for signs of higher CD rates in 2023.
This is a thought provoking post. Not sure it belongs in this section but since I am the blogger I can stick it anywhere I want. The Riddle of Rest. Basically, the point of the post comes down to this: rest is when you’re not associating your self-worth with what you have to do next. Hmmm, do bloggers ever rest? Ok, let me avoid answering this question. Maybe the answer for some people is resting by…running? We are all different…
Please stop bitching about inflation. And the price of gas. Oh wait, the last time I filled up my Ford Edge car I paid $2.79 per gallon! Anyway, inflation is a global phenomenon and the US Federal Reserve is on it!
It is nice to see folks who have been screaming about the crap inherent in the crypto world. The Doctor Who Helped Take Down FTX in his Spare Time. This is the Archived Link.
Crypto hides behind all this complexity, and people hear words like blockchain and get confused. You hear about decentralized networks and mining, and it sounds complicated. But you get right down to it, and it’s just a ledger. It’s just like somebody writing down numbers in a book, and it’s page after page of numbers. That’s all it is.
There’s no value created by any of these companies. It’s all just moving money from Person A to Person B. And look at the economic conditions. You have interest rates rising; people and companies are being squeezed economically and not willing to gamble. The fact is that there are fewer suckers aping into this system, and Ponzi schemes rely on new money to survive. I think most crypto companies are, like FTX, just borrowing from customer deposits to keep things afloat. And even the companies that aren’t doing that—I think Coinbase, for example, isn’t doing anything illicit, but their business model is based on this ecosystem where new money comes in. And that’s stopping.
Loved this article for obvious reasons: Elon’s stale playbook. At Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk was a jerk with a grand vision. At Twitter, he’s just a jerk.
Here’s the Musk playbook: Enter a field with very little competition. Claim that your new company will solve a massive, global problem or achieve a seemingly impossible goal. Raise money from a fervent group of true believers and keep them on the hook with flashy, half-baked product ideas. Suck up billions from the government. Underpay, undervalue, and overwork your employees. Repeat.
If I had a dollar for every time I was told back in the dotcom crash and now the crypto crash that I just do not get it I would be, oh wait! 🙂 Crypto’s Crash Reinforces Old Lessons for Fund Investors. Can’t believe how much these funds had invested in crypto wow! So, the most important lesson is this:
Straying from your circle of competence can be costly.
Meanwhile, SBF is back in the US staying with mom and dad…and this is definitely not looking good for him! FTX executives Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang plead guilty to criminal charges, are cooperating with investigation.
UKRAINE RUSSIA WAR
Best of Web: Amazing New York Times article: Putin’s War. A Times investigation based on interviews, intercepts, documents and secret battle plans shows how a “walk in the park” became a catastrophe for Russia. Archived Link.
Meanwhile, this guy goes to Bakhmut which is being pounded by the Russians for months and then turns around and comes and speaks to Congress, wow! Zelensky wows Washington with inspiring address to Congress.
ODDZ & ENDZ
I wonder how many families like this are out there, sad! The Untold Story of the Insular Texas Family That Invaded the U.S. Capitol. The Munns became a national curiosity after five of them were indicted for participating in the insurrection. But the full scope of their malignant behavior is little known—including to the federal prosecutors tasked with investigating their crimes.
They can come and go fast! Most Popular Social Networks 2003 – 2022.
AI is all the rage lately. Generative AI: autocomplete for everything. Will it replace us? Will I tell it to write a blog post and then I sit back and lightly edit it and boom? Well, ok, bloggers can do this but what I do here is probably not that easy. I hope anyway. Very thought provoking article indeed, hope the authors are proven right.
I can’t believe I used to smoke! ( I quit December 31, 2001). Visualizing the Smoking Population of Countries. Indonesian men at 71%, WTF!
Maybe I am falling for the clickbait…but I am genuinely interested to see what makes it from my own state of Michigan: The Most Beautiful Places in Each US State. Well, no argument from me about Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Where you want to move to…based on SPECIFIC criteria: MoveMap. This is cool, check it out.
Another cool link: 40 Unusual And Fascinating Maps That Might Change Your Perspective On The World.
The GREAT Pyramid of Giza!
MILES & POINTS NEWS/PROMOS/MY ACTION
Not much going on in my end these days as I prepare to bring my 83 year old frail mother to the US from Greece for a few months or so…Actually, I had to book a return ticket to Greece for us, another 154,000 United miles for the same old Business Class Detroit-Frankfurt-Thessaloniki, Greece route on Lufthansa again…
We are getting near the end of the year so there is a lot of work to be done:
End of Year Prep. I also really like the script to tell the agent when you call pretending you want to cancel a credit card:
Check for any annual fees that posted and call the bank for a retention offer, or just chat online if it’s is American Express. I usually say something like: “I’m thinking of closing this card because of its high annual fee, but before I decide what to do I was wondering if there are any retention offers or spend bonuses.” If you get an offer, don’t forget to add: “Are there any other offers available?” Sometimes there are better offers if you keep asking.
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.
Oh no, too young to leave us! RIP Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials and The Colourfield. The tune Ghost Town is one of my favorite songs of all time, it was THE perfect soundtrack when Covid hit!
Best of Web: I am STILL blown away by what we watched in the 2022 World Cup Final between Argentina and France. I lost count how many times I said wow. I made a spontaneous comment online that we just witnessed the best World Cup Final…ever! Epic just does not do it justice. It was just a completely orgasmic celebration of this beautiful game and I think we will be talking about it for generations! And this article just gets it: We Are All Witnesses. The Argentina-France showdown wasn’t just the greatest World Cup final of all time, it was one of the most thrilling spectacles in sports, period, and a fairy-tale ending for the game’s best-ever player.
I am starting to have doubts my mother can make the trip to the US in one piece…All the weather disruptions are sure not helping at all!
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 90k CHASE Ink Cash, 90k CHASE Ink Unlimited, 80k CITI Premier, 75k Capital One Venture X, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 60k CHASE Sapphire Preferred, 60k CHASE World of Hyatt Visa, 20k CHASE Freedom Flex, up to 30k CHASE Freedom Unlimited, 140k IHG Rewards Premier AND 1 Free Night 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 1,636,135 miles/points year to date and have 4,306,672 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!
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 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!
We have higher Chase United card offers! Chase United Airlines Cards: Increased welcome offers, up to 100K. Respect blogs that DO promote the best credit card offers for their readers while hurting their own pockets. Which means run away from blogs that only write about their own inferior affiliate offers hurting their own gullible readers who are kept in the dark. Anyway, my own REFERRAL LINK has the best offers listed, except the offer 90k United Quest card, use the link in the article instead for that one.
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 amazing pic, found here.
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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.