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…

Everyone Worries About Money, Even The Wealthy


Here's a refreshingly blunt quote from Scott Galloway's article Yay Capitalism via It Is Always About The Money via Abnormal Returns: Wealthy people claim they don’t think much about money. That’s bullshit; they are obsessed with money. The notion … [Read the rest]

Vanguard 10-Year Expected Asset Class Returns (2018)


I was surprised to read the NY Times article Vanguard Warns of Worsening Odds for the Economy and Markets. Everything is written very carefully using odds so that there is no "prediction" that could be called "wrong" later on, but at the same time … [Read the rest]

Five Wishes: A Living Will That Goes Beyond Just Prolong / Do Not Prolong Life


People don't like talking about money. That's why I started this site. You know what people like talking about even less? Death. My wife and I have already filled out a generic advanced health directive, but I recently ran across something … [Read the rest]

Are You Indirectly Losing Money via Your Brokerage Cash Sweep Account?


A recent WSJ article by Jason Zweig calls attention to one of the hidden ways that brokerage firms make money from you. As interest rates rise, they go out and earn the highest market rates while giving you a lot less on your idle cash. The … [Read the rest]

Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: 105,000 Bonus Points + $50 Statement Credit


The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is a new-ish card with a (temporarily?) improved bonus offer. There is a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 IHG points + $50 statement credit + $5,000 more IHG points for adding a new authorized user. … [Read the rest]

How Did Total Bond and Treasury Bond Funds Perform During the Largest Stock Market Drawdowns?


If you own bond mutual funds or ETFs, the most popular benchmark is the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index (AGG), which basically tracks all U.S. taxable investment-grade bonds, including US Treasury government bonds, investment-grade … [Read the rest]

Should I Break My Bank CD Early and Pay The Early Withdrawal Penalty?


Interest rates continue to rise, and holders of existing certificates of deposit (CDs) may be wondering if it is a good idea to break their current CDs in order to take advantage of a new higher rate. Most CDs impose an early withdrawal penalty if … [Read the rest]

Best Interest Rates on Cash – August 2018


Here is my monthly roundup of the best safe rates available, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much additional interest you'd earn if you are moving money between … [Read the rest]

Citi ThankYou Premier Card Review – 60,000 Bonus Points Redeemable For $750 in Airfare on Any Airline


Limited-time offer bump. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card from our partner Citi has a limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points (worth $750 in airfare towards any airline) a waived annual fee for the first year. This is the highest … [Read the rest]

Fidelity Investments: Zero Expense Ratio Index Funds, Zero Account Fees


Fidelity Investments announced a bunch of "zero"-themed price and fee cuts across nearly all of their products: Zero expense ratio mutual funds (two new Fidelity ZERO Index Funds) Zero account minimums, zero account fees, zero domestic money … [Read the rest]

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