Lending Club Logo

I’ve been investing with Lending Club for awhile now. While I can’t complain about the returns, I’ve always felt that the entire process has the potential to be a bit of a time suck.

Yes, I’ve been able to minimize the time commitment by using a well-refined filter, but I still have to log on regularly to run the filter and buy notes.

Sure, their “PRIME” program offered automation, but at a cost. For starters, PRIME had a $25k minimum balance requirement and they tacked on an extra 0.8% fee to convert existing balances or to add new money.

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Image of Financial Growth

I recently ran across an interesting article by Burton Malkiel in The Journal of Economic Perspectives. In it, he examined the growth of the financial services industry since 1980.

Care to guess what he learned?

Well, for starters… As a fraction of the GDP, the size of the financial services sector increased by ca. 70% (from 4.9% of GDP to 8.3% of GDP). Not only that, but this growth has been driven in part by a substantial increase in asset management fees.

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In case you haven’t heard, Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor has released another book. This time around, he and co-author Austin Frakt tackled the topic of microeconomics.

And guess what? For a limited time (through tomorrow, June 4th) you can get the Kindle version for just $0.99 — here’s the direct link.

While hard copies are available, they’ll set you back $13-ish. But keep in mind that Kindle e-books can be read right on your Mac or PC, so pretty much anyone can take advantage of the Kindle deal.

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Good Credit Sign

Back in January, I checked my Equifax credit report as part of my diy credit monitoring system. This system involves checking one of you three free credit reports every four months.

The hard part, of course, is remembering to pull your credit reports on a regular basis.

To combat this problem, I ended up putting together an automated e-mail reminder system to keep me on track, and I also made it available (for free) to readers like you.

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Did you know that 90% families with at least $5M in investable assets will exhaust that wealth within three generations? Well, it’s true.

The problem, of course, is unreasonably high withdrawal rates. On top of this, the money ends up getting spread pretty thin as the family grows across generations.

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How Do Credit Cards Define "Travel"?

by Michael on May 15, 2014

Photo of a Man on a Suitcase

In response to my recent post about the Barclaycard Arrival 5k point promo, a reader named Paul wrote in to ask:

“Regarding the Barclaycard Arrival credit card, which hotels, motels, airlines, tour operators, car rental agencies, etc. are affiliated with this card?”

The short answer is: it depends.

This card is not specifically affiliated with any particular travel provider. The same is true of many other credit cards that offer travel-related rewards. In such cases, it all depends on how the merchants code their transactions when processing them.

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Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Remember when I was hunting around for a credit card with an EMV chip for use in Europe? At the time, such cards were relatively hard to come by in the American market.

As a reminder, Europe has largely transitioned to so-called “chip-and-PIN” credit cards in hopes of reducing credit card fraud. These cards contain a special chip that makes them hard to clone, and the PIN requirement means that a stolen card can’t easily be used.

Card issuers in the United States, on the other hand, have lagged behind and mostly stuck with chip-less cards with the old school magnetic stripe on the back. This is true even for cards that are explicitly targeted at travelers. Weird, huh?

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I’ve long been a fan of the writings of Bill Bernstein. In fact, “The Four Pillars of Investing” stands as (probably) the best investing book that I’ve ever read. It’s both informative and accessible. I recommend it to all.

I was thus intrigued when I saw that Bernstein had published a short e-booklet called “If You Can: How Millenials Can Get Rich Slowly” (see below for access). In it, he provides a simple (but not necessarily easy) strategy for building wealth.

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