We didn't see that coming...
For those anticipating Armageddon with Donald Trump as a President-Elect, timing the stock market would have led to a missed opportunity.
On the night of the election, stock market futures plunged to the point where market regulators temporarily halted all activity until the following day. We all thought our portfolios were doomed and that our net worth would drop 10% along the way. There was no doubt our dollar bills were turning into nickles and dimes by the second.
And then something funny happened – the markets went up. A week later the stock market continues to climb, reaching all-time highs in the wake of the election. Will it stick? Who knows.
As with most things in life, keep it simple.
1. Set aside some cash each month.
2. Invest that cash into a diversified and low cost ETF such as VOO, VTI, or IVV.
3. Focus on living your life; surround yourself with your friends, family, and have a good time along the way.
4. Repeat Steps 1 – 3 each month.
What Would Martin Say?
Damn Gina! With 100,000 bonus points this card is the real deal – we simply have not come across a more lucrative signup offer on the market. However, you may want to slow your roll as the annual fee comes in at $450 (includes a $300 travel credit). So let’s net the two and find out if this card is worth $150 per year.
I Like The Way You Work It
No diggity. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has some pretty, pretty, pretty good rewards with 3X earned on travel, 3X on dining, and 1X on everything else. Curious about earning that 100K bonus? You’ll have to spend $4,000 within the three months of owning the card on top of the $450 annual fee. From there feel free to transfer those points directly to any major airline or deposit ‘em to your bank account for a cool $1,000. Straight cash homey.
Show Me The Money
For those frequent travelers out there, this card includes access to 900+ airport lounges globally, covers your $100 TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry application fee, and has no FX fees (shout out to our San Diego readers traveling to Tijuana). Another gem: the Reserve has a 50% bonus when you use their travel portal on all points earned. We checked out those prices and they match Kayak.com
We crunched the numbers and here’s our take; the Chase Sapphire Reserve should be in your wallet…but only for a year or two. The Chase Reserve is on another level via a nice bonus but is somewhat average in the time after. Thinking of keeping the card? We're in support of that as long as you book as much travel as possible through Chase. Dollar Dollar Bills Yall.
Wanna Be A Baller? Us Too.
With Michael Phelps stacking up his gold medals in Rio, this got us thinking about stacking up our cash money. When it comes to investing, we always recommend a well diversified approach with low fees. That being said, we tried to get fancy by picking individual stocks and timing the market over the last year.
Did it work?
Nope. We looked at our annual performance from August 1, 2015 through July 31, 2016. Over the year we jumped into and out of a variety of stocks…and failed miserably. While the stock market had plenty of ups and downs, the S&P 500 returned a respectable 5.61%. Our portfolio returned -2.06%. Yikes.
A Word To The Wise
Had we simply invested in the S&P 500 (a.k.a. the biggest & best 500 companies in the USofA) our portfolio would be worth 7.67% more. Going forward, we will be taking a healthy dose of our own medicine by leveraging a simplified approach to investing – and you should too. Broad market funds such as the iShares S&P 500 ETF (ticker IVV) and Vanguard’s S&P 500 ETF (ticker VOO) are our TOP picks. Take our advice by investing in one of these funds and sticking to it. We plan on doing the same.
Make It Rain
Here at Dollar Dollar Bills Y’all we often talk about saving and investing your cash money. But life is short - so we are also big fans of putting your money towards great trips, experiences, and good times. Which brings us to Lollapalooza; a four day festival in downtown Chicago to close out July 2016. The weekend comes with a slight price tag and we made sure to track all of our (digital) receipts. Curious to know the rundown for your next Lolla adventure? Read on and rock on.
$10 for a beer? Sign me up!
$335 – Four Day Pass
$35 – Dinner @ Parlor Pizza
$60 – Beverages
$5 – Uber
$3 – Starbucks Iced Coffee
$40 – Beverages
$15 – Burger and Fries from Billy Goat Tavern
$10 – BBQ Dinner from Smoke Daddy
$9 – Rain Poncho (much needed)
$5 – Uber
$50 – Beverages
$20 – Second BBQ Dinner from Smoke Daddy
$5 – Uber
$60 – Beverages
$20 – Tip to Lollapalooza Staff
$15 – Dinner from M Burger (cheeseburger and fries)
$7 – Lunch from M Burger (another cheeseburger)
$2 – Bottle of Water
Total = $696
Without a doubt.
Growing your dollars can take time but understanding your credit takes just a few minutes. So take a look…
What Would Ice Cube Say?
You better check yourself before you wreck yourself. And there are some great and free resources available online such as Credit Karma. Getting your credit score used to be a hassle but things have changed (hooray! for technology). Be sure to check out Credit Karma’s app to get a grip on what the credit agencies along with the rest of the gossip girls have been writing behind your back - xoxo.
Key Factors: The No Fun Zone
While these tips may not get you out of bed each morning, it’s time to be an adult and get down to the basics.
1. Your Credit History – The folks that determine your credit score are curious to know whether you had that credit card for 10 weeks or 10 years. The longer the history the better.
2. Your Payments Over Time – Have you paid your monthly balance in-full or are you skipping out? Credit agencies are looking at your ability to handle credit and whether you are able to demonstrate consistent payments over time. This applies to anything from your credit card, to student loans, to even your monthly Comcast and other utility bills. The good news? Pay these off each month and your credit will be movin’ on up.
3. Credit Utilization – While high credit limits can be enticing, let’s slow our roll and spend less than 30% of our credit limit. For example, your credit card allows you to spend $10,000…keep your spending under $3,000.
4. Last But Not Least - When it comes to credit, only take what you need. Credit agencies track the number of credit applications you submit (think credit cards, loans, or insurance). The fewer the inquiries the better.
What Do We Have Here?
Show Me What You're Working With
Flying Southwest is a favorite of the folks here at Dollar Dollar Bills Y'all. That being said, we understand that you may have a personal favorite in American or United and we 100% recommend picking one airline and sticking to it. When it comes to Southwest, low priced fares, great customer service, and no bag/cancellation/transfer fees all have our attention - and it should have yours too.
What About the Credit Card?
It’s all about the Benjamins…and the points. This card earns 2 points for each dollar you spend on Southwest and 1 point on everything else. Even better? Get 50,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend $2,000 within the first 3 months. That’s basically 2 free round trip tickets. Oh and for all of you international travelers out there, this card sports no international transactions fees.
Like most travel cards, the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa has a $99 annual fee. This amount is offset each year with 6,000 Rapid Reward points ($100 in flight credit) from Southwest; we haven’t come across another travel card that does the same.
9 out of 10
Is There Any Reason Why I Should Invest My Dollar Bills ?
Glad you asked. The stock market goes up over time.
What Does That Mean?
Okay we’ll back it up. Have you ever heard of the S&P 500? It’s a fancy name for tracking how the largest 500 companies in the United States are doing. Think Apple, Amazon, Google, Exxon, Wells Fargo, along with another 495 more – it’s these companies that do the best job of describing “the market”.
But the Stock Market Sounds Terrifying
The market goes up and down in the short term. Curious to know what it does in the long run? It goes up - take a look for yourself. In order to grow your dollar dollar bills (y'all), investing over an extended period of time is a key component to adding commas to your bank account.
What Would Jerry Maguire Say?
Show me the money…and that it’s really difficult to pick individual stocks. In fact, most finance pros can’t beat the S&P 500 over time. So if you can’t beat them, join’em. Our advice is to invest in the market with low cost investments which are well diversified (so that you're not putting all of your eggs in one basket). Companies such as Vanguard and Fidelity offer up some great options to get started. Give Vanguard a call at 877-662-7447 and tell them you’d like to get going with the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF.
My pops always told me that investing should never be what’s left over from your monthly budget or expenses. Investing is an expense – try setting aside 10-20% of your paycheck to invest towards your long terms goals.
Looking to up your credit card game?
Well my vote goes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Visa.
I did plenty of research here and this card offers the most flexibility with your points. The biggest attention grabber is the 50,000 points awarded upon sign-up. These points can be redeemed for cash or flights. What's more, there are zero fees on international transactions and you're able to transfer points to most major airlines (example: send 10,000 Chase Points to your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account).
How Do I Earn Points?
Points are earned as you spend. What I love about this card is that you can earn double miles towards all dining and travel. Booking a flight? Boom - Double Miles. Taking an Uber? Double miles. Making a Chipotle run? You guessed it...double miles.
What else should I know?
You're going to need excellent credit for this card. Not there yet with your credit score? Focus on paying down any outstanding credit card debt first. Credit agencies want to see consumers with a consistent ability to pay off their debt obligations. If you pay your credit card off in full each month (a strong recommendation from the Dollar Dollar Bills Y'all family), you'll be in a great position with any credit card application.
Does this card have an annual fee?
As part of the sign-up bonus, your first year is free and it's $95 per year after that. While some cards offer no annual fee, you simply won't find another travel card out there which can match the perks. We'll have more on our no annual fee card recommendations down the road.
Here’s the plan. At Dollar Dollar Bills Ya'll, we’ll be providing advice on your cash money. Curious about investing? Not sure what credit card is right for you? Credit scores? We got you covered.
About Dollar Dollar Bills Y'all
just here to help others with their dollar bills
Chase Sapphire Reserve