Good Luck or Bad Luck? Maybe, It’s Hard To Tell

Reading children’s books to my kids has become a regular source of new wisdom. I guess that’s not surprising, if the goal is to teach kids about life. Here’s one that came across recently and keeps popping back in my head.

I first read it in the children’s book Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth (Caldecott Honor book). There are many variations of it online, and it may be credited as a Chinese, Buddhist, Taoist, or Zen parable. Here’s a brief version from Daily Zen:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

I enjoy the sound of Alan Watts’ voice, so I am also embedding this YouTube version:

I still have a hard time applying this parable in real-time, but it does help me after some time passes. This parable is also tricky because you have to remember both when life puts up a roadblock and when you receive an unexpected windfall.

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card Review – $500 Bonus + 4% Back on Restaurants

Capital One has refreshed their Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card with a new $500 sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and improved rewards structure. Here are the highlights:

  • $500 cash bonus after $3,000 in purchases within first 3 months of account opening
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee, waived for the first year
  • Complimentary Concierge Service and “Access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more”.

Capital One says that existing Savor cardholders will be upgraded to the 4% back on dining and other features of the Savor, but will have their annual fee waived indefinitely. No sign-up bonus, though!

Purchase rewards details. The only thing notable about this card is the 4% back on dining and entertainment. 4% is high, but there are many other rewards cards that offer some sort of boost on restaurant purchases, such as the Costco Anywhere Visa (my review) with 3% on restaurants (amongst other rewards categories) and no annual fee. Often one of the rotating 5% cash back cards has restaurants as a category. Even the lower level of this card, the SavorOne card, offers 3% on dining with no annual fee.

Basically, you’d have to spend a lot on dining out to justify paying that $95 annual fee after the first year. I would try to max out the value in my first year, but after that this card is very niche. If you do spend $10,000 a year on dining out, you might actually take advantage of their free Concierge service to help you get reservations at high-demand spots.

In case you were curious, the application page provides some direct clarifications on the rewards structure.

What counts as dining?
Purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.

What counts as entertainment?
Buying tickets to a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall or bowling alley. Also, making purchases at record store and video rental locations. This excludes non-industry entertainment merchant codes like cable, digital streaming, and subscription services.

What counts as a grocery store?
A supermarket, meat locker, freezer, dairy product store and specialty market. Excludes superstores like Walmart® and Target®.

Statement credits. The rewards on this card are nice and simple. You earn cash, which can be redeemed as a statement credit or a mailed check. There are other options, but none are especially interesting or more valuable than cash.

Credit approval details. This card says it requires “Excellent credit”. Capital One is known to limit you to two consumer Capital One credit cards per person. They are also a bit unusual in that they pull your credit reports from all three major bureaus, instead of just one.

Bottom line. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has a new $500 sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. The total first-year value of this card is over $500, which is the main reason it’s worth mentioning. Note the $3,000 spending within 3 months requirement – maybe it’s your turn to put group dinner on your card and have everyone else pay you back…

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