Archives for January 11, 2018

Sam’s Club: Free 3-Month Membership Extension (or Full Refund Upon Cancellation)

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

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(Update: Sam’s Club has added that language that this offer is limited to “members in closing clubs”. I’m not sure if that includes if you live in the same area as a closing club.)

Sam’s Club is offering all of their members a free 3-month extension if you fill out the linked form by March 31, 2018. This is in response to their sudden closure of 63 Sam’s Club locations (about 10% of all stores).

Alternatively, you can cancel your membership and receive a full refund via electronic gift card within 7 days (I want to say you can use this at Wal-Mart, otherwise where would you spend it? Just pay the 5% surcharge?) or mailed check within 6 weeks. If you take the free extension, you can still decide to cancel with free refund later.

50% of American Households Don’t Own Any Stocks At All

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

Here’s another stat to add to your knowledge. For roughly half of Americans, the stock market’s record highs don’t help at all, according to a recent Washington Post article. This chart shows that half of US household have no exposure to stocks, either directly or indirectly:

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Direct vs. indirect. The academic paper by Dr. Wolff of NYU was a bit confusing with their terminology. From what I read, “direct” stock ownership means owning individual shares of stock. “Indirect” stock ownership includes “mutual funds, trusts, or various pension accounts”. Here, the term “pension accounts” include defined contribution accounts like IRAs, 401(k), and 403(b) plans. However, assets in defined benefit plans, which is the more traditional definition of the term “pensions”, are not included under “pension accounts”. Social Security is also excluded. Got that?

In theory, you don’t need to own stocks to have a comfortable retirement. You could have a mix of other resources like Social Security, private company pension plan, bank deposits, bonds, whole life insurance, commercial property, residential rental property, and so on. However, I’m willing to bet there is a healthy correlation between owning one and owning multiple forms of these productive assets.

Financial freedom means owning enough productive assets to get off the treadmill of work, spend, work, spend. I know there are probably good reasons why many people have trouble finding the money to invest in stocks. I don’t have an easy fix. However, one small tip for those on the margin is to get that spark and start viewing such assets with desire. The same desire as a nicer car or kitchen remodel. I get excited when I buy another chunk of VTI or VXUS. Others get excited when they acquire another rental property. Find a way to start your snowball.

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