Tastyworks ACAT Transfer Bonus: $500 for $25k, $2,000 For $100k

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Transfer/deposit offer has been extended though March 2023. Tastyworks is a discount brokerage targeted at active options traders, as they are cheaper than the big brokers for options trading while also having the full fancy options interface. Right now, they have a up to $2,000 ACAT transfer bonus with referral code TIERED_2023 and you must keep the initial funding there for 12 months.

New customers who open and fund a tastyworks account with $5,000 or more in cash or by an account transfer (ACATS) and enter TIERED_2023 into their referral code field when initially registering with tastyworks will receive a cash bonus. The bonus amount is dependent on the initial funding amount. There is a 12-month withdrawal hold on the initial funding amount to retain the cash bonus. You can find each tier’s funding threshold and resulting payout in the table below.

  • $100 with $5,000 – $24,999 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $500 with $25,000 – $99,999 in qualifying new money
  • $2,000 with $100,000+ in qualifying new money

Eligible account types include individual (cash or margin), joint (cash or margin), LLC, Partnerships, S-Corp, C-Corp (cash or margin), and Autotrade enabled accounts. IRAs, trust accounts, and international customers are not eligible. Promotion extended to March 31st, 2023. Note their definitions:

WHEN WILL I SEE THE AWARDED CASH IN MY ACCOUNT?
Awarded cash generally gets delivered to an account 1-4 business days after the initial deposit settles.

WHEN DOES THE 12-MONTH HOLD PERIOD START?
The date starts the day the awarded cash is delivered to your account.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THE TIERED OFFER IF I AM ALREADY AN EXISTING TASTYWORKS CUSTOMER?
The tiered offer is only open to new tastyworks customers. Unfortunately, if you already have an open and funded tastyworks trading account, regardless of account type, then you are not eligible for this promotion.

Brokerage Asset Bonuses vs. Bank Deposit Bonuses. There is an important difference between brokerage asset bonuses and bank deposit bonuses. A bank deposit bonus pays you extra interest for holding a certain amount of cash with them. A brokerage asset bonus requires you to transfer over your existing investments like index funds, individual shares of Apple or Berkshire Hathaway, individual shares of REITs, and so on. You still own the asset and it’s still doing its thing. The brokerage bonus is on top.

In this example, if you really wanted to compare it directly against an interest rate, you should at least assume you will be holding a T-Bill ETF like SGOV, GBIL, or BIL (current SEC yield over 4%) and then adding 2% to that yield. However, the real benefit for patient, long-term investors that you can just keep your existing assets and earn yourself a nice “self-management fee”.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund: How to Claim Your State Income Tax Exemption

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As the brokerage 1099 forms for 2022 are coming out, here is a quick reminder for those in states with local income taxes. If you earned interest from a money market fund, a significant portion of this interest may have come from US Treasury bills and bonds, which are exempt from state and local income taxes. However, in order to claim this exemption, you’ll have to manually enter it on your tax return after digging up a few extra details.

Let’s take the default cash sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund (VMFXX), which has an SEC yield of 4.29% as of 1/24/23. Vanguard has recently released the U.S. government obligations income information for 2022 [pdf] for all their funds, which states:

This tax update provides information to help you properly report your state and local tax liability on ordinary income distributions you received from your mutual fund investments in 2022. On the next page, you’ll find a list of Vanguard funds that earned a portion of their ordinary dividends from obligations of the U.S. government. Direct U.S. government obligations and certain U.S. government agency obligations are generally exempt from taxation in most states.*

To find the portion of Vanguard dividends that may be exempt from your state income tax, multiply the amount of “ordinary dividends” reported in Box 1a of your Form 1099-DIV by the percentage listed in the PDF. Note that on the IRS Form 1099-INT, there is a special Line 3 that includes “Interest on US Savings Bonds & Treasury obligations”. However, for the Vanguard funds, they report on 1099-DIV and not 1099-INT. My Vanguard 1099-INT was all zeros.

For the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, this percentage was 37.79% in 2022. Therefore, if you earned $1,000 in total interest from VMFXX in 2022, then $377.90 was exempt from state and local income taxes. If your marginal state income tax rate was 10%, that would be a ~$38 tax savings for every $1,000 in total interest.

Note that several other Vanguard funds have a significant percentage of dividends from US government obligations, including the popular Vanguard Target Retirement Income funds:

I don’t believe that TurboTax, H&R Block, and other tax software will do this automatically for you, as they won’t have the required information on their own. (I’m not sure if they ask about it in their interview process.) If you use an accountant, you should also double-check to make sure they use this information. Here is some information on how to enter this into TurboTax:

  • When you are entering the 1099-DIV Box 1a, 1b, and 2a – click the “My form has info in other boxes (this is uncommon)” checkbox.
  • Next, click on the option “A portion of these dividends is U.S. Government interest.”
  • On the next screen enter the Government interest amount. This will be subtracted from your state return.

In the same way, municipal bond and money market funds will usually have their federally tax-exempt interest listed on the 1099-DIV, but they should also break down their interest down to the state-specific level elsewhere. This data was provided as part of my Vanguard 1099 forms. Your muni bond interest might be 100% exempt from federal income taxes, but most states also don’t tax their own municipal bond distributions. For example, dividends from the Vanguard Intermediate Tax-Exempt Fund was roughly 15% from New York, 10% from California, and 7% from Illinois.

[Image credit – Wikipedia]

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Tiicker: Link Your Brokerage Account, Get Shareholder Perks

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TiiCKER is a new app that helps promote certain brands and companies by encouraging people to become shareholders and investors. Tiicker? 😝 Obviously, “Tickr” was already taken. (They say “ii” stands for individual investor.) In the past, Wrigley used to give out free packs of gum to shareholders, Dial used to give out soap coupons, Colgate-Palmolive gave out discounts on toothpaste, and so on. They are still somewhat popular in Japan, from baseball tickets to bags of rice. Found via DoC. Here are the perks currently available:

  • Link a brokerage with $100 worth of ANY stocks held inside, get $11 Amazon gift card or Visa virtual prepaid debit card.
  • Link a brokerage with $50 worth of Amazon (AMZN) stock held inside (partial shares allowed), get $10 Amazon gift card or Visa virtual prepaid debit card.
  • Link a brokerage with $50 worth of Real Good Foods (RGF) held inside, get $50 Instacart gift card. Limited quantities.

Sometimes they require a minimum holding period, but the perks above currently do not. A few screenshots:

In order to prove your ownership, you must link your existing brokerage account via the Plaid service. Plaid says it does not save nor share your username and passwords with anyone, and with many brokerages, you now log in directly on your brokerage website for authentication.

I can report that I was able to sign-up, link my account via Plaid, and grab the first two bonuses in under 5 minutes. Since this is not a brokerage account, no SSN was required. Gift card redemption was instant and easy. Now, 10 shares of RGF costs about $60 and the perk is a $50 Instacart gift card, so you could technically buy the shares for a while just to get the perk. You may need to refresh or unlink/relink your brokerage account after buying the shares for it to recognize a new purchase, or possibly wait up to 24 hours. In addition, I have noticed this “RealGood” brand at Whole Foods and may try it now, so hey, this marketing may actually work…

Tiicker has a referral program, although the reward is vague: “Spread the word and help others discover investor perks. Refer 5 friends and receive a free TiiCKER perk!” If you wish, you can use my my referral link. Thanks if you do.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns 2022 Year-End Update

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It’s the same at the end of every year. People will explain 2022 to you like it was obvious that cash would be king, and the proceed to make confident predictions about 2023. Humility may not get you a lot of social media followers, but it’s a better long-term bet at making and keeping you wealthy.

Callan Associates updates a “periodic table” annually with the relative performance of 8 major asset classes over the last 20 years. You can find the most recent one at their website Callan.com. The best performing asset class is listed at the top, and it sorts downward until you have the worst performing asset. Above is the most recent snapshot of 2003-2022 (click to enlarge). I find it easiest to focus on a specific Asset Class (Color) and then visually noting how its relative performance bounces around.

The Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns conveys the strong case for diversification across asset classes (stocks vs. bonds), capitalizations (large vs. small), and equity markets (U.S. vs. global ex-U.S.). The Table highlights the uncertainty inherent in all capital markets. Rankings change every year. Also noteworthy is the difference between absolute and relative performance, as returns for the top-performing asset class span a wide range over the past 20 years.

Key takeaway: The best you can do is to identify assets that are a good long-term investment, with the acceptance that the short-term ride will be unpredictable and it will never be at the top every single year.

dilbert_divers

(Dilbert comic source)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – January 2023

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash as of January 2023, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. We all need some safe assets for cash reserves or portfolio stability, and there are often lesser-known opportunities available to individual investors. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 1/9/2023.

TL;DR: 5% on up to $25,000 from fintech. Short-term rates up a little. 4.35% APY available on liquid savings. 4.60% to 5% APY available on short-term CDs Compare against Treasury bills and bonds at every maturity (12-month near 4.70%). 6.89% Savings I Bonds can be bought with 2023 annual limits now.

Fintech accounts
Available only to individual investors, fintech companies often pay higher-than-market rates in order to achieve fast short-term growth (often using venture capital). “Fintech” is usually a software layer on top of a partner bank’s FDIC insurance.

  • 5% on up to $25,000. Juno now pays 5% on all cash deposits up to $25,000 and 3% on cash deposits from $25,001 up to $250,000. No direct deposits required. If you set up direct deposit and qualify for their Metal tier, you may be able to upgrade to 5.5% interest. Please see my Juno review for details.
  • 4.00% APY on $6,000. Current offers 4% APY on up to $6,000 total ($2,000 each on three savings pods). Must maintain a direct deposit of $200+ every 35 days. $50 referral bonus for new members with $200+ direct deposit with promo code JENNIFEP185. Please see my Current app review for details.
  • 4.00% APY on up to $250,000, but requires direct deposit and credit card spend. Now again accepting new applicants. The top tier requires you to maintain positive cashflow in the checking account each month, $500 in total monthly direct deposits, and $500 in credit card purchases each month. Existing customers will get up to 4% APY through April 2023, with requirements waived through March 2023. Please see my HM Bradley review for details.

High-yield savings accounts
Since the huge megabanks STILL pay essentially no interest, I think every should have a separate, no-fee online savings account to accompany your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I list the top rates as well as competitive rates from banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you with a temporary top rate and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

  • The leapfrogging to be the temporary “top” rate continues. MySavingsDirect at 4.35% APY. All America/Redneck Bank is at 4.25% APY for balances up to $75,000 ($500 to open, no min balance).
  • SoFi Bank is now up to 3.75% APY + up to $275 new account bonus with direct deposit. You must maintain a direct deposit of any amount each month for the higher APY. SoFi has their own bank charter now so no longer a fintech by my definition. See details at $25 + $250 SoFi Money new account and deposit bonus.
  • There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at 3.30%+ APY that aren’t the absolute top rate, but historically do keep it relatively competitive for those that don’t want to keep switching banks.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (plan to buy a house soon, just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 4.10% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 3.50% APY for all balance tiers. Marcus has a 13-month No Penalty CD at 3.50% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • INSBANK has a 12-month certificate at 4.85% APY. $2,500 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 90 days of interest.
  • NASA FCU has a special 9-month certificate at 4.60% APY. $10,000 min, new money required. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization membership.

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs*
Many brokerage firms that pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). * Money market mutual funds are regulated, but ultimately not FDIC-insured, so I would still stick with highly reputable firms. I am including a few ultra-short bond ETFs as they may be your best cash alternative in a brokerage account, but they may experience short-term losses.

  • Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund is the default sweep option for Vanguard brokerage accounts, which has an SEC yield of 4.22%. Odds are this is much higher than your own broker’s default cash sweep interest rate.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 4.36% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 4.46% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is some term interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 4.57% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 4.51% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks and are fully backed by the US government. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 1/9/23, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 4.24% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 4.70% annualized interest.
  • The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) has a 3.94% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.10 years. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 3.87% SEC yield and effective duration of 0.08 years.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest. The annual purchase limit for electronic I bonds is $10,000 per Social Security Number, available online at TreasuryDirect.gov. You can also buy an additional $5,000 in paper I bonds using your tax refund with IRS Form 8888.

  • “I Bonds” bought between November 2022 and April 2023 will earn a 6.89% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More on Savings Bonds here.
  • In mid-April 2023, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.
  • See below about EE Bonds as a potential long-term bond alternative.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are severely capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore, as I feel the work required and the fees charged if you mess up exceeds any small potential benefit.

  • Mango Money pays 6% APY on up to $2,500, if you manage to jump through several hoops. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.
  • NetSpend Prepaid pays 5% APY on up to $1,000 but be warned that there is also a $5.95 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain regular monthly activity.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops which usually involve 10+ debit card purchases each cycle, a certain number of ACH/direct deposits, and/or a certain number of logins per month. If you make a mistake (or they judge that you did) you risk earning zero interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others would rather not bother. Rates can also drop suddenly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling.

  • Pelican State Credi Union pays 5.11% APY on up to $10,000 if you make 15 debit card purchases, opt into receive only online statements, and make at least 1 direct deposit, online bill payment, or automatic payment (ACH) per statement cycle. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization membership.
  • All America/Redneck Bank pays 4.50% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 10 debit card purchases each monthly cycle with online statements.
  • The Bank of Denver pays 4.00% APY on up to $15,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases of $5+ each, receive only online statements, and make at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info.
  • Presidential Bank pays 4.00% APY on balances between $500 and up to $25,000 (3.00% APY above that) if you maintain a $500+ direct deposit and at least 7 electronic withdrawals per month (ATM, POS, ACH and Billpay counts).
  • Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 15-month CD at 5% APY. Open now with just $50, but you can still add on more deposits later. You must have a military relationship to join NavyFed.
  • Lafayette Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 4.63% APY ($500 min), 4-year at 4.58% APY, 3-year at 4.52% APY, 2-year at 4.47% APY, and 1-year at 4.42% APY. They also have jumbo certificates with $100,000 minimums at even higher rates. These are competitive rates to build a CD ladder, but know that the early withdrawal penalty for the 5-year is very high at 600 days of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. Right now, I don’t see any 5-year non-callable CDs. Be wary of higher rates from callable CDs, which means they can call back your CD if rates drop later.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10 years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. You might find something that pays more than your other brokerage cash and Treasury options. Right now, I see a 10-year CDs at (none available, non-callable) vs. 3.60% for a 10-year Treasury. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs where they can call your CD back if interest rates drop.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate, currently 2.10%. As of 1/9/23, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 3.83%.

All rates were checked as of 1/9/2023.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

MMB Portfolio 2022 Year-End Update: Dividend & Interest Income

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s my 2022 Year-End income update for my Humble Portfolio. I track the income produced as an alternative metric for performance. The total income goes up much more gradually and consistently than the number shown on brokerage statements (price), which helps encourage consistent investing. I imagine my portfolio as a factory that churns out dollar bills.

Short recap about dividends. Stock dividends are a portion of net profits that businesses have decided to distribute directly to shareholders, as opposed to reinvesting into their business, paying back debt, or buying back shares directly. The dividends may suffer some short-term drops, but over the long run they have grown faster than inflation.

In the US, the dividend culture is somewhat conservative in that shareholders expect dividends to be stable and only go up. Thus the starting yield is lower, but grows more steadily with smaller cuts during hard times. Here is the historical growth of the trailing 12-month (ttm) dividend paid by the Vanguard Total US Stock ETF (VTI), courtesy of StockAnalysis.com. Unfortunately, they recently shortened their lookback period on their charts.

European corporate culture tends to encourage paying out a higher (sometimes fixed) percentage of earnings as dividends, but that also means the dividends move up and down with earnings. Thus the starting yield is higher but may not grow as reliably. Here is the historical growth of the trailing 12-month (ttm) dividend paid by the Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS).

The dividend yield (dividends divided by price) also serve as a rough valuation metric. When stock prices drop, this percentage metric usually goes up – which makes me feel better in a bear market. When stock prices go up, this percentage metric usually goes down, which keeps me from getting too euphoric during a bull market. Here’s a related quote from Jack Bogle (source):

The true investor will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.

My personal portfolio income history. I started tracking the income from my portfolio in 2014. Here’s what the annual distributions from my portfolio look like over time:

  • $1,000,000 invested in my portfolio as of January 2014 would have generated about $24,000 in annual income over the previous 12 months. (2.4% starting yield)
  • If I reinvested the income but added no other contributions, over the year of 2022 it would have generated ~$51,500 in annual income over the previous 12 months.

This chart shows how the annual income generated by my portfolio has increased over time and with dividend reinvestment.

TTM income yield. To estimate the income from my portfolio, I use the weighted “TTM” or “12-Month Yield” from Morningstar (checked 1/6/23), which is the sum of the trailing 12 months of interest and dividend payments divided by the last month’s ending share price (NAV) plus any capital gains distributed (usually zero for index funds) over the same period. The trailing income yield for this quarter was 3.33%, as calculated below. Then I multiply by the current balance from my brokerage statements to get the total income.

Asset Class / Fund % of Portfolio Trailing 12-Month Yield Yield Contribution
US Total Stock (VTI) 30% 1.66% 0.50%
US Small Value (VBR) 5% 2.03% 0.10%
Int’l Total Stock (VXUS) 20% 3.09% 0.62%
Int’l Small Value (AVDV/EYLD) 5% 4.36% 0.22%
US Real Estate (VNQ) 10% 3.91% 0.39%
Inter-Term US Treasury Bonds (VGIT) 15% 1.74% 0.26%
Inflation-Linked Treasury Bonds (TIP) 15% 6.96% 1.04%
Totals 100% 3.13%

 

My ttm portfolio yield is now roughly 3.13%, a bit lower than last quarter’s value. (This is not the same as the dividend yield commonly reported in stock quotes, which just multiplies the last quarterly dividend by four.) US dividends went up a bit, international dividends went down a bit, Treasury bond yield is catching up, TIPS yield is still high from tracking CPI inflation.

What about the 4% rule? For goal planning purposes, I support the simple 4% or 3% rule of thumb, which equates to a target of accumulating roughly 25 to 33 times your annual expenses. I would lean towards a 3% withdrawal rate if you want to retire young (before age 50) and a 4% withdrawal rate if retiring at a more traditional age (closer to 65). It’s just a quick and dirty target, not a number sent down from the heavens. I keep the 3% number in mind, while also tracking dividends and interest (and inflation). During the accumulation stage, your time is better spent focusing on earning potential via better career moves, improving in your skillset, and/or looking for entrepreneurial opportunities where you can have an ownership interest.

As a semi-retired investor that has been partially supported by portfolio income for a while, I find that tracking income makes more tangible sense in my mind and is more useful for those who aren’t looking for a traditional retirement. Our dividends and interest income are not automatically reinvested. They are another “paycheck”. Then, as with a traditional paycheck, we can choose to either spend it or invest it again to compound things more quickly. Even if we spend the dividends, this portfolio paycheck will still grow over time. You could use this money to cut back working hours, pursue a different career path, start a new business, take a sabbatical, perform charity or volunteer work, and so on.

Right now, I am happily in the “my kids still think I’m cool and want to spend time with me” zone. I am consciously choosing to work when they are at school but also consciously turning down work that doesn’t fit my priorities and goals. This portfolio income helps me do that.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

MMB Humble Portfolio 2022 Year-End Update: Asset Allocation & Performance

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

portpie_blank200Here’s my quarterly update on my current investment holdings as of the end of 2022, including our 401k/403b/IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts but excluding real estate and side portfolio of self-directed investments. Following the concept of skin in the game, the following is not a recommendation, but just to share our real, imperfect, low-cost, diversified DIY portfolio. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone else did the same? (Many people do track the 13F filings of well-known investors.)

“Never ask anyone for their opinion, forecast, or recommendation. Just ask them what they have in their portfolio.” – Nassim Taleb

How I Track My Portfolio
Here’s how I track my portfolio across multiple brokers and account types. There are limited free options nowadays as Morningstar recently discontinued free access to their portfolio tracker. I use both Personal Capital and a custom Google Spreadsheet to track my investment holdings:

End of 2022 Asset Allocation and YTD Performance
Here are updated performance and asset allocation charts, per the “Allocation” and “Holdings” tabs of my Personal Capital account.

Target Asset Allocation. I call this my “Humble Portfolio” because it accepts the repeated findings that individuals cannot reliably time the market, and that persistence in above-average stock-picking and/or sector-picking is exceedingly rare. Costs matter and nearly everyone who sells outperformance, for some reason keeps charging even if they provide zero outperformance! By paying minimal costs including management fees and tax drag, you can essentially guarantee yourself above-average net performance over time.

I own broad, low-cost exposure to productive assets that will provide long-term returns above inflation, distribute income via dividends and interest, and finally offer some historical tendencies to balance each other out. I have faith in the long-term benefit of owning businesses worldwide, as well as the stability of high-quality US Treasury debt. My stock holdings roughly follow the total world market cap breakdown at roughly 60% US and 40% ex-US. I add just a little “spice” to the vanilla funds with the inclusion of “small value” ETFs for US, Developed International, and Emerging Markets stocks as well as additional real estate exposure through US REITs.

I strongly believe in the importance of knowing WHY you own something. Every asset class will eventually have a low period, and you must have strong faith during these periods to truly make your money. You have to keep owning and buying more stocks through the stock market crashes. You have to maintain and even buy more rental properties during a housing crunch, etc. A good sign is that if prices drop, you’ll want to buy more of that asset instead of less. I don’t have strong faith in the long-term results of commodities, gold, or bitcoin – so I don’t own them.

I do not spend a lot of time backtesting various model portfolios, as I don’t think picking through the details of the recent past will necessarily create superior future returns. You’ll find that whatever model portfolio is popular in the moment just happens to hold the asset class that has been the hottest recently as well.

Find productive assets that you believe in and understand, and just keep buying them through the ups and downs. Mine may be different than yours.

I have settled into a long-term target ratio of roughly 70% stocks and 30% bonds (or 2:1 ratio) within our investment strategy of buy, hold, and occasionally rebalance. My goal is more “perpetual income portfolio” as opposed to the more common “build up a big stash and hope it lasts until I die” portfolio. My target withdrawal rate is 3% or less. Here is a round-number breakdown of my target asset allocation.

  • 30% US Total Market
  • 5% US Small-Cap Value
  • 20% International Total Market
  • 5% International Small-Cap Value
  • 10% US Real Estate (REIT)
  • 15% US Treasury Nominal Bonds or FDIC-insured deposits
  • 15% US Treasury Inflation-Protected Bonds (or I Savings Bonds)

Commentary. The goal of this “Humble Portfolio” is to create sustainable income that keeps up with inflation to cover our household expenses. According to Personal Capital, my portfolio went down about 16% for 2022. There was only a little minor rebalancing to be done this quarter.

Due to the rising real yield on TIPS, I have shifted back to a target bond allocation of roughly 50% US Treasury/Bank CDs and 50% TIPS/I Savings Bonds. My traditional Treasuries are of intermediate term, and I may convert to a manual ladder of them in the future. My TIPS are also of intermediate to long-term, depending on the real yields available at the time of purchase. I have been manually buying individual TIPS of longer terms this quarter. 1.6% real yield may not be terribly exciting, but it’s a lot better that was available for a long time, and it may be better that what will be available in the future.

I’ll share about more about the income aspect in a separate post.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Personal Capital: $100 Visa Gift Card For Financial Advisory Sales Call

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$100 offer is back. You must sign up by 1/31/23 and have your meeting by 2/28/2023. Personal Capital is an investment advisory service that offers several free online financial tools as a way to introduce themselves to potential clients. I mention them once a quarter, as I use them to track my Humble Portfolio performance and asset allocation across various brokerage and 401k accounts. They also have various retirement planning tools for projecting required savings rates and future income. Below is a screenshot from my own account. (Morningstar recently started charging for their Portfolio X-ray service, leaving Personal Capital as one of the few such services left.)

After you sign up for their free tools, Personal Capital will usually call you once and introduce themselves and their services. They want to help you manage your portfolio for a management fee that is somewhere between the cost of the average 100% digital robo-advisor and a traditional human advisor from a Big Firm. If you politely decline, as I did, they won’t hard-sell and won’t call you again. (Much more pleasant than trying to cancel my cable service!) You can keep using their free software after that without hassle.

Now through 1/31/2023, Personal Capital will explicitly pay you a $100 Visa gift card if you sign up for their free tools and receive a financial advisory analysis and sales call from them. You will need to sync up your investments accounts showing total investable assets of at least $250,000. You do not need to accept the proposal or pay for financial advice, but you do need to listen to their presentation.

The next conversation you have could come with $100. Here’s how:

– Sign up for our free, easy-to-use financial tools including our Retirement Planner
– Link your bank and investment accounts
– Receive your free financial analysis after talking with an expert
– Treat yourself with your FREE $100 Visa® gift card**

Offer fine print:

Offer available through Feb 28, 2023. If you schedule an appointment with a Personal Capital Advisor and participate in both an initial call and a second call in which you receive a recommendation and proposal for paid investment advisory services by Feb 28, 2023 (a “Recommendation”), then you will receive receive a $100 Visa®* Gift Card (the “Gift Card”). The Gift Card will be provided via email no later than Mar 31, 2023 through Thnks.com (“Thnks”), an independent third-party gifting platform. By participating in this promotion, you are agreeing to allow Personal Capital to share your email address with Thnks for Gift Card fulfillment purposes and agreeing that information collected from promotion participants may be used by PCAC or affiliates for marketing or solicitation of paid products or services.

The Gift Card is only available to prospective clients who receive a promotional offer. To qualify as a prospective client, you must: (1) have a minimum of $250,000 in investable assets, (2) not have redeemed a Personal Capital promotion in the previous 24 months, and (3) answer a suitability survey posed at the beginning of the initial call with a Personal Capital Advisor at which time the Advisor (at his or her sole discretion) will make a determination as to whether you qualify as a prospective client for paid advisory services offered by Personal Capital Advisors Corporation. Using an ad blocker may adversely affect our ability to determine your account eligibility in the program. This offer is not transferable and cannot be redeemed in any other manner. Final determination of eligibility is at Personal Capital’s sole discretion.

I am now an affiliate of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) and will be compensated if you sign up for this offer though my link above. To be blunt, if you don’t want to listen to a full presentation, I would just sign up for the free tools and skip the advisor call. The free tools are truly useful just on their own and Personal Capital has never bothered me again after their initial call. But if you do want to hear what they have to say and maybe get a little free advice, then right now you can get a $100 gift card on top (instead of nothing).

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

2023 Retirement and Benefit Account Contribution Limits: 401k, 403b, IRA, HSA, DCFSA

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The beginning of the year is also a good time to check on the new annual contribution limits for retirement and benefit accounts, many of which are indexed to inflation. Our income has been quite variable these last few years, so I regularly adjust our paycheck deferral percentages based on expected income for the year. I still try to max things out if I can, or at least stay on pace to do so. This 2023 SHRM article has a nice summary of 2023 vs. 2022 numbers for most employer-based retirement and benefit accounts.

401k/403b Employer-Sponsored Accounts.

For example, I would break down the applicable limit down to monthly and bi-weekly amounts:

  • $22,500 annual limit = $1,875 per monthly paycheck.
  • $22,500 annual limit = $865.38 per bi-weekly paycheck.

The higher maximum limits are useful are for those folks that have the ability to contribute extra money into their 401k accounts on an after-tax basis (and then potentially perform an in-service Roth rollover), or those self-employed persons with SEP IRAs or Self-Employed 401k plans.

If you are contributing to a pre-tax account instead of a Roth, you could also use a paycheck calculator to find the detailed impact to your after-tax “take home” pay.

The investment options in 401k plans have also improved on average steadily over the years with lower fees and costs, allowing your money to compound even faster.

Traditional/Roth IRAs. The annual contribution limits are up $500 from last year, now $6,500 with an additional $1,000 allowed for those age 50+.

  • $6,500 annual limit = $541.67 per monthly paycheck.
  • $6,500 annual limit = $250 per bi-weekly paycheck.

Most brokerage accounts (Vanguard, Fidelity, M1 Finance) will allow you to set up automatic investments on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. As long as you have enough money in your linked checking account, the broker will transfer the cash over and then invest it on a recurring basis. You may even be able to sync it to take out money the very same or next day as when your paycheck hits.

Health Savings Accounts are often treated as the equivalent of a “Healthcare IRA” due the potential triple tax benefits (tax-deduction on contributions, tax-deferred growth for decades, and tax-free withdrawals towards qualified healthcare expenses). This assumes that you have a high-deductible health insurance plan (more popular every year as they are cheaper for employers too), you can cover your current healthcare expenses out-of-pocket, and you can still afford to contribute to the HSA. Up a little for 2023.

Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts are still an commonly-available option for others. Up a little for 2023.

Dependent Care FSAs are easy tax savings if you have children in daycare and/or preschool. These are not indexed to inflation.

Even if you aren’t hitting the limits, just increasing your salary deferral contribution rate 1% higher than last year can make a substantial difference if you keep it up. Simple evergreen advice. The easiest way for me not to eat potato chips is not the have them in the house. (Looking at you, Costco bag of Himalayan Salt Kettle Chips…) The easiest way to make sure you don’t spend the money that you want to invest, is to never have it touch your bank account.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Portfolio Asset Class Returns, 2022 Year-End Review

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yearendreview

Happy New Year! I enjoyed a little winter nap. This worked out fine as successful investing does not require constant attention. To be honest, if all my research and/or experience showed that lot of trading activity led to greater returns, I’d probably be happily trading away right now. But the opposite is closer to the truth, which means I have to make up rules to keep myself from unnecessary action. Here is the obligatory Warren Buffett quote:

Benign neglect, bordering on sloth, remains the hallmark of our investment process.

I used to login to look at my portfolio daily. Then I switched to tracking monthly returns on my low-cost index fund holdings across various asset classes. Now, I only rebalance with incoming cashflows based on my quarterly portfolio updates, and only check my official performance numbers and make major adjustments (selling something) at most once a year. Per Morningstar, here are the annual returns for select asset classes as benchmarked by popular ETFs after market close 12/30/22.

Commentary. Unlike years like 2020 and 2021 where nearly everything went up, 2022 was a year when nearly everything went down. Considering how high inflation was as well, there really was no place to hide.

The “set and forget” Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 fund (roughly 90% diversified stocks and 10% bonds) was down 17.5% in 2022, the biggest loss since the Financial Crisis in 2008. Still, if you have been a steady investor over the past several years, your average return over that span certainly isn’t horrible:

In my mind, this was one of those “inevitable” years. Sooner or later, all that money being pumped into the economy was going to lead to inflation. I had no idea it would be this year, but it was. As such, nobody can predict what 2023 will hold. I still like what I own overall. I just have to make sure our financial position allows us to survive any short-term panics in order to stay invested for the long-term.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

M1 Finance Review: Free Custom Robo-Advisor, Up to $500 Deposit Bonus, Up to $10,000 Account Transfer Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

New ACAT transfer bonus. M1 Finance has rolled out some of their biggest bonuses ever for the new year:

  • M1 New User Deposit Bonus: Up to $500 bonus depending on your initial deposit of $10,000-$100,000. Details on tiers below.
  • M1 New/Existing User ACAT Transfer Bonus: Up to $10,000 bonus, depending on asset size transferred between $50,000 and $2M+. Details on tiers below.
  • M1 Referral Bonus (alternate): $10 bonus with smaller $100+ deposit for new users.

I’ve tried out my share of robo-advisors, which sounded nice in theory but I became a little disillusioned as they kept generating lot of unnecessary taxes every time they change their model portfolios to chase the latest and hottest trends. My favorite option is where I can pick my own custom target portfolio, but the robo still does the hard work: M1 Finance. Here’s a quick rundown of what makes them different:

  • Fully customizable. You pick your own target asset allocation “pie”. (You can add ETFs or individual stocks.) You can simply copy one of the many model portfolios out there, or make your own custom pie as you like. You have full control! M1 handles the tedious stuff, like rebalancing or dividing a $100 contribution across 8 different ETFs. Here is my pie which I named the My Money Blog Portfolio.
  • No commissions. Free stock/ETF trades with a low $100 minimum for taxable accounts and a $500 minimum for retirement accounts.
  • 0.00% management fee! Most robo-advisors charge an annual management fee of 0.25% to 0.50% of assets, or force you to own something bad, like artificially low-interest cash. (Looking at you, Schwab…)
  • Free dynamic rebalancing. All new deposits (and withdrawals) will be invested (or sold) dynamically to bring your portfolio back toward your target asset allocation. M1 will also rebalance your entire portfolio back to the target allocation for you automatically (for free) whenever you chose, on demand. You don’t need to do any math or maintain any spreadsheets.
  • Fractional shares (dollar-based). For example, you can just set it to automatically invest $100 a month, and your full amount will be spread across multiple ETFs. Dollar-based transactions were one of the advantages of buying a mutual fund, but fractional shares solve this problem. ETFs are also usually more tax-efficient than mutual funds.
  • Real brokerage account with off-the-shelf investments that you can move out. Some robo-advisors hold special, proprietary funds that you have to sell if you ever leave, possibly creating a big tax bill. (Looking at you, Fidelity…) M1 is built on a regular brokerage account, so you can move your Vanguard/iShares/Schwab ETFs and stock shares out to another broker whenever you want.

M1 Finance investment minimums:

A minimum account balance of $100 is necessary to get started on M1. Once the $100 account minimum has been reached, deposits can be any amount above $10. Retirement accounts require an initial investment of $500.

M1 Finance checks off nearly all the boxes of my brokerage wish list. They do all the managing for me, but according to my rules. But since I can choose the exact ETFs that they purchase, if I decide to stop their service down the line, I just end up with a brokerage account filled with ETFs that I can easily move elsewhere. I suppose the only thing they could add would be to have the high availability of knowledgeable customer service of a huge company like Fidelity or Schwab. Otherwise, I really like their feature set and I have been putting my recent annual IRA contributions into M1.

How do they make money? They have a variety of income streams:

1) Interest on idle cash (can be minimized as you can auto-invest all idle cash in the investment account)
2) M1 Borrow (you take out a loan, they charge interest)
3) M1 Checking (debit card generates fees for them)
4) Payment for order flow (same as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade)
5) M1 Plus (subscription fee that gets you higher interest rates, credit card annual fee waiver, additional perks).
6) M1 Credit Card (transaction fees and interest)

M1 Plus. They have been aggressively adding features and pushing their premium M1 Plus membership, which costs $125 a year after an initial 3 month free trial. Essentially, it makes everything a little bit better:

  • Higher APY on checking accounts (currently 3.30% APY). A new 4.50% APY savings account is coming in 2023.
  • Lower rates on margin borrowing.
  • No annual fee on the M1 Owner’s Credit Card.
  • Extra PM trade window.
  • Automated “smart” transfers.

$10 referral bonus. There is currently a $10 referral bonus only available if you open with a M1 Finance referral link (that’s mine), make an initial deposit of $100 for taxable accounts and $500 for IRAs within 30 days of sign-up, and not withdraw the initial deposit within 30 days.

Up to $500 New User deposit bonus. See promotion link for full details. Tiers:

M1 Existing/New User Trransfer bonus. See promotion link for full details. Tiers:

Bottom line. M1 Finance is a brokerage account that acts like a free, customizable robo-advisor with automatic rebalancing into a target portfolio. You control the model portfolio, and they do the tedious work. I deposited part of my Roth IRA contribution with them.

Disclosure: I am now an affiliate of M1 Finance, and may be compensated if you click through my link and open a new account.

Also see: Big List of Free Stocks For New Commission-Free Brokerage Apps

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Plynk Investing App: $110 in New User Bonuses ($100 for Existing Users)

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Plynk is a stock and crypto brokerage app that targets beginner investors. Right now, new users can earn up to $110 in bonuses: a $10 sign-up bonus and a $100 deposit match bonus. Existing users are still eligible for the $100 deposit match bonus (they had a different sign-up bonus recently, so check your app).

$10 sign-up bonus details. From the fine print:

To be eligible for the $10 Sign-Up Bonus, you must be a new Plynk customer and (i) download the Plynk app, (ii) sign up, and (iii) link an eligible bank account. Plynk will deposit $10 USD into your Plynk account within 30 days of your satisfying these conditions and Plynk accepting your account. Whether a qualifying customer is eligible for the $10 Sign-Up Bonus is a determination made in the sole discretion of Plynk.

$100 deposit match details.

The Deposit Match program (the “Deposit Match”) is effective November 17, 2022 through January 25, 2023 (“Offer Date”) for qualifying brokerage customers. Plynk will match up to $100 of your “Net Deposits” to your brokerage account completed between November 17, 2022 and January 25, 2023. The Deposit Match requires a total minimum Net Deposit in your brokerage account of at least $25 during the Offer Date. For purposes of this offer, “Net Deposit” shall mean total cash transfers from an external source minus assets withdrawn or transferred out your brokerage account during the Offer Date. Net Deposits totaling less than $25 and the end of this promotion are not eligible for the Deposit Match.

How it Works: To be eligible for the Deposit Match, new customers must (i) download the Plynk app, (ii) sign up, (iii) link an eligible bank account, and (iv) make a minimum Net Deposit of at least $25 during the Offer Date. Qualified existing brokerage customers are also eligible for the Deposit Match program if you have (i) downloaded the Plynk app, (ii) signed up, (iii) linked an eligible bank account, and (iv) made a Net Deposit of at least $25 during the Offer Date.

Plynk will match your Net Deposits at 3 periods during the Offer Date (“Payout Dates”). The first Payout Date will be within 15 days of December 8, 2022, the second Payout Date will be within 15 days of January 5, 2023 and the third Payout Date will be within 15 days of January 25, 2023. The maximum Deposit Match available through all Payout Dates is $100. If your Net Deposits are less than $100 to your brokerage account during each Payout Date, Plynk will match up to the amount deposited. Deposits received in connection with the $10 Sign-Up Bonus and those made use Plynk’s recurring investment function do not qualify as Net Deposits for the Deposit Match program. Whether a qualifying customer is eligible for the Deposit Match is a determination made at Plynk’s sole discretion.

Note that Plynk plans on charging a $2 monthly fee, but apparently they are waiving it for an undetermined amount of time. From their fee schedule:

Monthly app fee: $2. At our discretion, DBS will temporarily waive this monthly fee, in the form of a free trial or otherwise, and will provide notice upon reinstatement of this monthly fee or general changes to our fees. This monthly fee is currently waived for all customers.

An easy decision to deposit $100 and get $100. This app appears to be a quiet spin-off or separate subsidiary of Fidelity Investments. Seems like they are experimenting to see what works with beginner investors, as Plynk offers lots of educational aspects and encourages you to invest as little as $1 at a time.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.