Opportunity Costs and Pessimism

GenerationYFinance

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When you decide to do something you have to take a look at what options are being presented to you. Everyone and I mean everyone has problems and situations they just wish that they could make disappear. I have a good friend who only looks at the positive side of things. I don’t hang out with him all the time because we have completely different lives and schedules but he is one of the most positive guys I know. He is always volunteering to do something, always looking to help less fortunate, and always smiling. Sometimes I wonder what the hell is going through the dudes head but only God knows. His hashtag is

#staypositive, instagram, keepin_1T_LIT

The millennial generation is one of the most if not pessimistic group of individuals. I used to be extremely pessimistic until I started noticing I don’t have be pessimistic about things. All I ever see on my Facebook wall are negative, degrading, and situations where people want you to feel sorry for them. Im still learning a lot at my young age, but I do think I am pretty wise for my age. I had my epiphany for change this year and started putting my brain to work a lot harder. You can not find out who you are, you have to change who you are. And I have decided that the biggest thing I need to worry about right now is being able to build a portfolio for me to be able to draw from when I am ready to retire. It isn’t a retirement portfolio but saying so and so is only for retirement and so and so is only for savings seems rather contradictory to me. What ever money one puts away into an investment account can be considered retirement money. As I get a bit older I will eventually open one but for now I am just funding two small investment portfolios. I do not put a lot of money into them, I don’t make buckets of money, and my living expenses are rather high since I live in San Francisco. The fact that I am even able to set something aside blows my mind.

My approach is extremely broad compared to what most financial experts would suggest though. The only reason I am able to get away with how I approach investing is the fact that I am extremely good with finances and very rarely miss a beat when it comes to the flow of money. I take my approach in a way or learning and just analyzing different situations that can arise for me as I get older. After all now is the time for me to create a layout. Most financial experts all suggest paying off all credit card debt before even investing. Which this is pretty true I will admit that but I look at the big picture and opportunity costs that await me. When I first started dabbling with credit cards I never even looked at my credit score when I applied for my first two cards. Ive had those cards for maybe 5 years now, but looked at my credit score my once or twice a year until this year. This is the year I started getting an actual understanding for my credit score and what it meant to me. So I was essentially just using a credit card not even aware of the fact that I was actually helping myself. Since I did this I was able to obtain basically the best credit cards on the market. Cards like the American Express Blue Cash , Citi Bank Simplicity, and Discover IT. Ive noticed that pretty much anyone can qualify for a Discover IT card, but they have at least four different types. If you are on the market looking for a card I simply have to say that Wells Fargo and Bank of America have absolutely nothing to offer and you should pretty much avoid opening an account with them.

Now while I am still paying off credit card debt I might as well use the cards and get some cash back rewards right? I just cashed in close to $150 in rewards to pay for a couple things and invested some of it into my Acorns account. Thats free money. And I am going to happily accept free money when ever it is giving to me. And I’m not paying any interest on these cards because I never miss a payment. Ninety percent of my debt is floating on my Chase Slate card which is a 0% APR card so I still have plenty of time to pay it off and don’t really worry about it either way because If I somehow for some unlucky reason have to Ill just transfer it to another 0% APR card with a 0% Balance transfer. It really isn’t that big of a deal.

When I look at my generation it really just amazes me how screwed most of us are. This is just because we as a group can’t seem to see the brighter side of things, we cant seem to learn how to attack wide open situational options we have. And most of us suck with money. We just get so tempted to keep up with the so called Joneses and spend far more than we can even afford or handle. Im really just thankful for the fact that I am getting situated at a young age and not six years from now when Im thirty. And yes we will have the smartest and brightest kids when we become parents. I refuse to think that any other generation will be smarter than our own kids when we start families. People that only look at the negative side of things are the same people who get stuck, the same people who dig holes and have no way of digging themselves out, and the same people who think they deserve the world. The optimistic people are the people who look at situations presented to them currently and situations that will arise into the future, the people who look for positive things, the people who stay on the grind and appreciate what they have.

Update on my Acorns vs Betterment Accounts.

Acorns is currently at $411.70 with $19.79 since pending that will deposit into my account I assume on Monday. I have posted a 4.5% return in only 10.5 weeks. 4.5% may not seem like a lot but it takes a shit on what savings account offer you. Im currently up $17.57. Which is extremely satisfying.

Betterment is currently at $742.20 with $200 posting on monday Im pretty sure. I have to double check my spreadsheets, but Im pretty sure I have $200 more going in on Monday but for sure I have $100 going in on Monday. Betterment altered their returns platform it says I am -0.2% right now since they do time weighted returns now. Im still trying to get an understanding for the time weighted returns, but according to their old platform which is the same as Acorns Im up 4% and have a $27.20 profit so far. Again all in 10 weeks.

I should end the year with a combine total of at least $1500 between the two platforms. And $1600 if I somehow go crazy and find a spare $100.

Capital One Quicksilver vs Discover IT vs American Express Blue Cash Everyday

GenerationYFinance

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Why would anyone in todays society pay full price for anything? Why would anyone¬†sign up for a credit card with out a 1% cash back bonus? Why would anyone carry only one credit card in our world today? ¬†How many cards do you own? Why do you need to have more than one? The simple answer is REWARDS. Last night I decided I wanted to cash in my rewards for the first time in quite awhile. I logged into my Discover account and found that cashing out my cash back rewards was really simple. I simply logged in went to live chat support told them I wanted to withdraw and then the withdraw occurred and will arrive in my BOA account in 3 business days. Really easy and really satisfied with how easy it was. I then proceeded to log into my Capital One account and noticed I could transfer cash back rewards from one card to another card so I did that and put all my rewards onto my Quicksilver card. I then proceeded to find a way to cash out my rewards and saw that the only option I had to receive my money was through a check which will arrive in 2-3 weeks. I wasn’t really that impressed with what Capital One offered since I expected the money to arrive in my checking account just like Discover. After that I logged into my AMEX account and had a harder time finding a way to cash out. I could clearly see my reward dollars in front of me, but needed to connect to live online chat support. I shortly found out that Amex forces you to credit the rewards back to your account. Which is a bunch of bullshit. I was under the impression that I would at least receive a check in the mail. It is my money so I should be able to do what I want with the money instead of being forced to redeem it on their stupid store or for credit. So I lost a lot of respect for American Express.

My American Express Blue Cash Everyday card is easily one of the best cards on the market for someone not willing to pay an annual fee. American Express has done two things recently that need to be fixed though. While they may offer the best rewards card on the market they need to fix their online platform. They spend a lot of time revamping it all the time but they don’t show you your transactions for cash back earned and now they don’t even allow you to request a check for your own money apparently. This card is strictly used for groceries though because it offers me 3% cash back on groceries. 2% back at gas stations and department stores and 1% back on everything else. But you only use this card for groceries that is the only purpose of this card.

My Discover IT card is a solid card to have in your portfolio of credit cards because it offers 5% back on revolving categories. While I will admit most of the 5% categories can be a bit stupid and pointless the card shines during the holiday season which is right now while I am writing this. You receive 5% back on all online purchases and at department stores. Their online platform is beautiful and extremely crisp. Discover easily has the most proficient and user friendly platform. And I was able to actually have MY money put into my bank account instead of being forced to credit to my credit card.

Capital One Quicksilver card is a tank. Everyone knows that getting a Capital One card is extremely easy to do. I was transferred onto the new Quicksilver card when they cancelled my old card to phase in the Quicksilvers. This is easily my favorite card even though it doesn’t offer the same value as my AMEX. Whats great about this card is it offers you a 1.5% cash back bonus on EVERY purchase. That is pretty significant. 1.5% may not seem like a lot but it adds up fast if you use credit cards daily. The only card that competes with this card is the Citi Double Cash card which is brand new. Im holding off on applying for that card, but you will need a higher credit score to apply for this one if you have a low credit score. The Quicksilver should be instant approval for most people.

Credit Card companies are fighting for millennials to sign up with them because our generation is the least educated when it comes to credit and credit scores. We are basically free walking money for these banks to walk all over and gather interest on us. So you need to make sure you receive at least 1% cash back on all purchases and pay off your card in full every month to receive maximum value. A card without incentive in todays society is useless. It is smart to carry multiple cards around because every card holds a certain value for you. Whether it be for groceries, gas, online shopping, movies, or just a regular purchase it’s smart to have a weapon for every round.

The best all around rewards card I currently own is my Capital One Quicksilver card, followed by AMEX Blue Cash Everyday, and then Discover IT. This does not include the new Citi Bank Double Cash Card though. Which probably will replace the Quicksilver for best rewards card, but I don’t need another card right now.

Capital One Quicksilver……………………………. 9.5 out of 10

American Express Blue Cash Every Day…….8.0 out of 10

Discover IT……………………………………………..7.5 out of 10

My next objective is to deposit the money I earned into my Betterment Investment account and start putting the money to work.

Check.me Review ( Formerly Pageonce )

Around 4 years ago when I was still carrying my brick iPhone 3Gs I came across an app called Pageonce. I was still going through the phase of installing literally every single app possible onto my super speedy 3Gs. I was also looking for a program to help me keep track of my credit cards. I was still brand new to handling credit cards and really didn’t want to make any mistakes. I didn’t truly understand what was good or what was bad with a credit card all I new was I had to make all my payments on time and that was that. I was never really bad with money I always had an understanding about how to use it properly but I had never dealt with a piece of plastic that at the time had a whopping $500 credit limit on it. Which I thought was the coolest thing ever. In fact 2 weeks later I decided I wanted another one so I applied for another credit card. I was granted a $500 limit on that one also. Both of these cards were Capital One Cards because It was the only credit card company that came to my head at the time because of all their commercials with the Vikings in it. Im not sure if I even realized at the time what credit card utilization was. I cant remember if I was 20 or 21 either. But I did know that since I was trying to start a life in San Francisco I needed to have a credit score. I used one credit card for my gym membership and my other credit card for my phone bill.

Getting back to Pageonce I was apparently able to link all of my financial accounts to this one single app and see everything all in one place. I thought that was pretty convenient and linked my checking, savings, debit card, and 2 credit cards to it. I was even able to link my Virgin America airline points to it. What is so great about this nifty app is it tells you when your bills are due 3 weeks ahead of time. So If I owed $50 on my Capital One Card it would alert me on my smart phone and tell me your min. payment of $20 is due on so and so and you have 3 weeks to pay it off before its due. So what I could do then was click on the credit card listed in the App and click make payment. My payment would process directly through PageOnce.

As I started getting more financially savy with credit cards I started applying for more as I got older and older and watched my credit score rise. But I was comfortable with applying for credit because I new I would essentially never miss a payment unless I somehow lost my phone or if the App was taken down from the App store and discontinued. Pageonce eventually rebranded and changed their name to Check. While the original app was called Pageonce because the objective behind the platform was to look once and just pay your bill directly. The name change to Check was brought forth because as their user base grew so did the platform and everyone was literally using the app to write checks for essentially everything, its basically a checkbook, condensing everything into one nice crisp platform. I use Check religiously.

One of greatest features behind the app is it tells you what your Credit Cards APR is, it is listed directly below the cards balance in the app so you can clearly see what your APR is. I think that is a great feature because the Y Generation isn’t exactly the brightest bunch when it comes to credit cards and interest rates. I currently have my investment accounts linked to the app also. Another nice little feature that keeps track of my daily roller coaster on the market. I was surprised to see that I could link my Betterment account to the platform. Im really hoping I can link Acorns to it in the near future. I have my sharebuilder linked to it also but don’t really pay attention to the individual stocks I own. Three of the companies I own are penny stocks im just praying hit. I only buy something if I think its interesting. Ive found that with penny stocks you cant really look at the finances the company is offering, but more so at the deep future that could be created if their product does go viral. Could they become a power in the future NASDAQ or S&P500. Ehh most of them are just really risky investments though I have small expectations.

Since singing up for Check I can happily say I have never missed a payment on any of my credit cards. If you are looking for a way to keep track of all your bills this is the platform you need. It has 5 stars on iTunes App Store for a reason. People always ask me how Im able to juggle so many credit cards and so many bills at one time. Well Check is that very reason I am able to juggle all of my bills. Never take on more debt than you can handle though. The reason I opened up so many lines of credit was to build my credit score faster. Take the damage now with my credit score and be rewarded for having 10 year old cards in 10 years with a 10 year history of paying them off. But Ill write more about credit scores in another article.