Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as stock pickers are always underperforming, Crypto bank collapse, Elon Musk is the worst human, how to help Ukraine, 90k Chase Ink cards offer is ending, debt and inequality, countries with lowest inflation, worker perks, a rapper involved in the 1MDB scandal, the guy who started the “fake until you make it” crap, Arnold the Terminator with an awesome message, a read that will give you nightmares involving tooth extraction, we travel to remote places and on the Autobahn going to West Berlin before the Wall came down, Michigan tax relief and of course we end with all the developments in the frequent flyer miles and points world…what started this blog back in 2012!
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Changing things up again, this will be a shorter post than usual. Aiming to save some material for Tuesday and make them about equal length, we ‘ll see how this goes.
In case you were not aware: Most stock pickers underperformed in 2022’s ‘stock picker’s market’. Shocking that more than half could not beat the S&P 500 in a bad year like 2022!
However, outperformers rarely continue to outperform. According to an SPDJI report published in April 2022, of the 29% of 791 large-cap equity funds that beat the S&P 500 in 2019, 75% beat the benchmark again in 2020. But only 9.1%, or 21 funds, were able to extend that streak of outperformance into 2021.
There is a lot of excellent debt related data in this piece titled: “Debt and Inequality“.
Texas is home to 7 of the 10 counties with the highest percent of residents in debt. The other 3 in the top 10 are in South Carolina.
Credit card debt has now reached its highest levels ever, far surpassing levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis. New data just released from the Federal Reserve shows that credit card debt is now at $930 billion, up from $870 billion in 2008.
Having no debt improves the quality of your life, I highly recommend it. In my long career providing personal finance advice…no one has ever regretted paying off their mortgage too early! It is…FREEEEEEDOM!
Inflation is resilient it appears. But how about learning Which Countries Have the Lowest Inflation? The winner is, please sit down, South Sudan at -11.6%. Then Macau at 0.8%, followed by China and Hong Kong at 1.8% And if you believe that…what can I say? Anyway, pretty fascinating link imho.
This was really good: The Perks Workers Want Also Make Them More Productive. And they are: Working from home, 4 day workweek, paid leave.
Employers seem to understand that many of these benefits are good, since they have long often offered things like flexible work and paid leave as benefits to employees to try to recruit top talent. But that leaves many more workers out. When employers have decided to require return to office, they’ve often framed remote work as “phoning it in” or said that in-person work is good for “company culture” without offering much evidence. When it comes to a shorter workweek and paid leave, many businesses object to the up-front costs, even if they benefit later from worker retention. So far, the evidence of all the potential benefits hasn’t been enough for employers to invest widely in new work cultures.
And there goes the crypto bank: Silvergate Capital will liquidate after crypto collapse wipes out bank. Amazingly bitcoin is still above $20,000! Update: Went under $20k when hit “Publish” lol.
Silvergate held $1.8 billion in total deposits and $2 billion in assets at the end of its 2018 fourth quarter. By crypto’s peak in 2021, its total deposits and assets had risen to $14.3 billion and $16 billion, respectively.
Best of Web: I agree with this! Elon Musk’s Compelling Case for Worst Human of 2023. This guy just never amazes to go…lower! He fired an employee with a disability…only to realize later after Legal told him to apologize because firing him will cost the company $100 Million LOL.
In a turn of events that must have come as a surprise to absolutely no one, it turns out that the employee Elon was abusing for his amusement was an actual human being. His name is Haraldur Thorleifsson, and he has a fascinating backstory, a very real disability, and a fairly wicked sense of humor.
Yeah, Haraldur, he prefers to be called Halli, is a really great human being indeed!
Meanwhile, Twitter continues to go down more often…
We have talked here in the past about the 1MDB and Malaysian fraudster Mr. Low (perfect last name…and still in hiding by the way!) and the shenanigans with Goldman Sachs. But this article was very surprising: The Fugee, the Fugitive and the FBI. How rapper Pras Michél got entangled in one of the century’s great financial scandals, mediated a high-stakes negotiation between global superpowers and was accused of major crimes. What the hell was this guy thinking, wow! And his spending is obscene!
…maintained a lavish lifestyle, including a $30,000-a-month New York apartment. His tastes tended toward the flashy: Patek Philippe watches and a Lamborghini SUV, which he showed off on social media.
So much fake shit online. You are being sold something non stop. And people just fall for it. I preach stop spending so much time online, get outside, move! Go on a media diet. Follow only a few trusted sites that enhance the quality of your life. Anyway, this all started with this guy in a way: This all-but-forgotten con man sold America on ‘fake it till you make it’.
Glenn W. Turner is now all but forgotten. But this salesman extraordinaire in flashy suits was once all but omnipresent in American life. Turner, the son of a sharecropper, told people they could all be rich and successful like him — if, that is, they made an investment in his multi-level marketing company. They would peddle “mink oil” makeup and his “Dare to Be Great” motivational tapes, and collect more money by recruiting others and taking a percentage on their sales…When newly minted salespeople found it impossible to make a go of it, they were told to “fake it until you make it,” by wearing expensive clothes and waving around $100 bills to lure in others, a disillusioned Oregon recruit testified in court in 1972.
There’s a difference between psyching yourself up and misrepresenting yourself, and the latter is where “fake it” has gone too far. We need a reset, and to find a way to once again prioritize and reward diligent, honest effort over faux success. Government needs to return to enforcing meaningful financial regulation; politicians and entrepreneurs who deceive their supporters need to face consequences. And we need to be less credulous and stop falling for the next shiny thing. [Amen!]
ODDZ & ENDZ
Best of Web: RESPECT to Arnold! Arnold Schwarzenegger has a powerful message for those who have gone down a path of hate.
Best of Web: This article deals with a former addict’s battle after being prescribed opiate painkillers. On Novocaine. I can not relate to that but I did relate to the position he was in having a tooth extracted and it was, well, nightmarish. I actually did have nightmares the night I read this!
Then he shot me up with Novocain and he went in there with a wrench, and I realized that dentists have soft, delicate hands and seem like doctors, like intellectuals, but when you really need dental care, you go to a dental surgeon and their main qualification is brute physical strength. This guy had white hair and arms the size of my legs, and he put the pliers on me and wrenched and wrenched and wrenched, and despite the Novocain, the pain was like a hundred Hitlers gnawing on my nerves, gnawing them right down to the roots and then just sinking Nazi teeth up to the hilt in my brain. There was blood everywhere. I was making horrible sounds out of my throat, and the dental surgeon was saying just hold on for one more second, saying it through gritted teeth, and I was writhing in my chair with tears pouring out of my eyes. Then it was over and he was wiping the pliers on his white coat and I thought, I never knew something like this could happen in America,…
The guy is still out there smh: The man who launched the vaccine wars Andrew Wakefield is still trying to fool the medical establishment. We are still dealing with this shit today…
When you want to get away…12 of the Most Remote Places on Earth That You Can Visit.
Best of Web: The Rules for Travelling on the Autobahn Through East Germany to West Berlin. Wow, these videos! I actually did this on a train and then took the Metro from West to East Berlin back in 1987!
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.
I am still trying to get back into running…the way I was before I left for my short trip to Greece. My sciatica issue flared up again so I am slowly trying to get back to the same form. It is not easy when you get older!
Current tax season is going well, aiming to be all done by the time April rolls around…Speaking of taxes, heads up on changes coming for my state of Michigan! Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs Michigan tax relief, minus $180 checks. The Pension tax will finally be repealed…but it will take four years to get there. The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit will help lots of lower income taxpayers. Sadly, many of them who will greatly benefit will still bitch about the Democrat Governor smh.
More casualties caused by AI: CNET is doing big layoffs just weeks after AI-generated stories came to light. The cuts come from Red Ventures, the private equity-backed media company that bought CNET in 2020. If you are shocked…you are not paying attention.
Under Red Ventures, former CNET employees say the venerated publication’s focus increasingly became winning Google searches by prioritizing SEO. On these highly trafficked articles, the company crams in lucrative affiliate marketing ads for things like loans or credit cards, cashing in every time a reader signs up.
Everything below deals with the hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles and points. If you are not interested, you can stop here, thank you.
MILES & POINTS NEWS/PROMOS/MY ACTION
Anyway, I mean, this is how you sell plastic: End Date Is Very Soon: The Best Ever Chase Ink Offers Are Going Away Very Soon! Readers Have Been Earning Hundreds Of Thousands Of Points On These, Don’t Miss Out! Please support this blog by getting them HERE, thank you!
I have gotten three of these cards in my household already, can’t beat 90k points for no annual fee cards! Chase Ink Business Cash Card, Best Ever 90K Bonus Ending Soon.
My household swims merrily in the Chase Ultimate Rewards points ecosystem and I know I am giving up way too many Amex Membership Rewards points in the meantime. It’s okay, all this takes a lot of mental bandwidth you know! But this is just getting way too ridiculous and it is probably time to take some from this company too, especially the Gold card. I hope the referral link from son’s Platinum card works out for me, this IS targeted! American Express Excellent Increased Offers Via Referrals For Both Referrer & New Member (Platinum, Gold, Blue Cash Preferred). Offsetting the $250 annual fee with straight up $200 statement credit is the sweetener I needed, on top of 90,000 Membership Rewards points, 4x points on restaurants AND groceries and a $10 monthly statement credit on participating restaurants (hope my Shake Shack down the street participates!) AND another $10 monthly statement credit on Uber, errr, Uber Eats that is. But wait, there is more! The referrer gets a bonus for referring AND 5x on grocery spend up to $25,000 of the person referred for the card! Or maybe I get son his own Chase Ink Business Cash card for 90k points and save me all the nit picking trying to earn all these monthly statement credits #FirstWorldProblems #ThanksUSBanks Oh, let me know if you would like me to refer you for these AmexOffers…assuming we were targeted for this!
I need to do this, you probably should too: Best Hyatt Category 1-4 Hotels & Resorts (book before 3/28).
Of course, this happened finally: Ouch: Virgin Atlantic Hikes Award Rates for ANA First Class. So many bloggers have turned this hobby into a big business and they don’t like me when I say things like this.
If you are into Wyndham, they have a promotion.
And here are some more: Hotel Promo Update: Best Western, Choice, Hyatt, Radisson & Wyndham March 2023.
I haven’t had any time to do any bookings…but the third 90k from my daughter’s Chase Ink Cash card should land soon!
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 90k CHASE Ink Cash & 90k CHASE Ink Unlimited (ENDS 3/21/2023), 75k Capital One Venture X, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 70k Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa, 60k CHASE Sapphire Preferred, 45k Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus, 175k IHG Rewards Premier 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 310,000 miles/points year to date in 2023 and have 4,320,935 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
By far, the best BANG you can get these days! 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.
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!
Chase IHG Rewards Premier Card 175,000 Points Signup Bonus. After only $3,000 in spend in the first three months. Not free, you gotta pay the annual fee of $99. Free night up to 40,000 points per night starting with the second year of holding the card. Automatic Platinum status (which is not a big deal) while you hold the card. Card earns 26x per dollar spent on IHG properties, 5x on travel/dining/gas and 3x everywhere else. Fourth reward night free on stays of 4 or more nights. Under Category/Hotels HERE, thank you.
70k Points Bonus for the Alaska Airlines Business Card that comes along with a Famous Companion Fare ticket. Yes it is available with my links and it supports this blog. But these two ways can earn the blog nothing but you get more and you should be aware of this because…it is the right thing to do: 1) If you login to your Alaska Airlines account and start the process to book a new flight you may be offered the same number of bonus miles AND a $100 statement credit and 2) This link alaskaair72k.com will give you 72,000 miles!
Six new higher offers for the consumer and business Delta Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards. I do not recommend Delta Skymiles, especially with so many better and more flexible points choices out there. Unless you know what you are doing and you can swing more of them because they work for you. Or you can jump on the Delta Flash Sales right away…Available 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.