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FI Weekly – July 25, 2023: Real Estate ‘Buy Box’, 0% Cap Gains Income Limits, Top Recommended Rewards Cards

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

Chad Carson’s Real Estate ‘Buy Box’

Chad Carson joined us last week on Episode 446 of ChooseFI to talk about his ‘Small and Mighty’ framework for real estate investing and it was so invigorating to see a successful real estate investor understand what enough means, instead of constantly striving for more.

The episode is fantastic, so if you haven’t listened yet, hit download on your podcast player of choice.

Chad also offered a special free pdf download only for readers of the FI Weekly that describes his personal ‘buy box’ – the criteria he looks for when purchasing a property.

This pdf looks simple, but it is truly hard won wisdom learned over a 15+ year real estate investing career, so it’s incredibly valuable and well worth the download in my opinion.

As a note, Chad’s book came out last week and he and offered our community a 10% discount if you use the coupon code ‘choosefi.’

2023 Income Limits for 0% Capital Gains

I found the CNBC article “Here’s how much you can make and still pay 0% capital gains taxes for 2023″ and I wanted to feature it here in the newsletter this week because it highlights a major benefit for those of us in the FI Community.

If your taxable income is under a certain threshold, you pay a 0% Federal rate on long-term (LT) capital gains.

Keep in mind this is taxable income so this would be after your standard deduction, so these income amounts are quite significant:

Single filers pay a 0% LT cap gains rate on taxable income in 2023 between $0 and $44,625

Married filing joint (MFJ) filers pay a 0% LT cap gains rate on 2023 taxable income between $0 and $89,250

I also found this article from a financial planning firm in NY that does a good job explaining how this concept works, so if you want to understand in great detail, I suggest reading it.

In essence, how it works is you figure out your taxable income without factoring in your LT cap gains to figure out how much ‘space’ you have at 0%.
If you are filing MFJ and your taxable income before LT cap gains is $60,000, this means the first $29,250 of LT cap gains would be taxed at 0% Federally!

And do not fear if you happen to go over that amount; it doesn’t retroactively make all the LT cap gains taxed at the next rate (15%), just that amount over the income threshold so the first $29,250 would still be at 0% in this example.

Top Recommended Travel Rewards Cards

I spent a lot of time this past week personally creating a resource I’ve wanted to see exist for a long time:

ChooseFI’s Top 10 Recommended Travel Rewards Cards page now lives on our site with the ten best card bonus offers I think are available this month.

My plan (thanks to a recurring task I setup in ToDoIst) is to update this the 1st of every month, or more frequently if a new can’t-miss offer comes on the market, so be sure to bookmark this.

Number 1 in the list is our top recommended card for people getting started with travel rewards and #2 is the best business card on the market with a new lower spending requirement to get 100k points. 

#4 in the list is my current go-to card and though the annual fee looks daunting, I detail how you can effectively wipe it down to zero with the benefits the card offers.

(Note: If you use the links on our website to sign up for credit cards, we do receive compensation.  Since I’ve decided to eliminate ads on the podcast, this is the best way to support our mission at ChooseFI and is a win-win situation, as you also give yourself the gift of nearly free travel in the process).


ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

  • Jennifer said, “Here is my more than 1% better that began with one decision to listen to your podcast! A friend told me about how to use credit card points to get free travel. He suggested I check out your website for more information. From here, I began listening to your podcast. I also happened to hear an episode about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. I was previously told that I was in the wrong repayment plan, but after listening, I paid the small fee to meet with someone from studentloanplanner.com. I recommended your podcast to my son. He listened and learned about Salesforce, so he signed up for Talent Stacker. He has a round 3 interview with a major finance company this week for a Salesforce Admin position. I am happy to report that I received notice that my $217,000 in student debt is now clear thanks to the limited waiver I was able to take advantage of last year as a result of listening to your show and taking a chance on the Student Loan Planner service. We also took a trip to Korea, Hawaii, and are headed to Japan in a few weeks thanks to travel points. Sometimes we just can’t predict how one seemingly small decision may lead to major life changes. Thank you!!!”
  • Julie said, “I just calculated my CoastFI numbers (according to the Mad FIentist’s latest article on the problem with the 4% rule) and realized I’ll hit CoastFI by 30 — less than 2 years away! I’m overwhelmed by all of my options (in a good way!) and can’t wait to try them on for size — taking 3-6 months off of work per year, decreasing working hours, slow travel, etc. In the meantime, I’ll be crafting my dream life and planning where to start!
  • Kevin said, “My 1% win this past week was using a new credit card to earn travel rewards points for the first time! I earned credit card bonus points a couple weeks ago and then last week I used Point.Me to find out that Air Canada had a 20% bonus on transfers! I booked 2 one-way tickets from DC to Crete, Greece for 26,000 points each. Roughly 2.8 points per mile for my first redemption got me very very excited!
  • David said, “I have a number of 1% wins I have been making over the past 1.5 years with the help of ChooseFI. I have reached $70,000 in my 401k, $10,000 in an HSA and have just set up my own IRA account in Vanguard with a goal to max that out by the end of the year. I have been using travel rewards for years but working on optimizing this strategy. I gained 100,000 miles with sign on bonuses for American Airlines just this year so this will allow me a trip home to Ireland for free. A few months ago, I moved our emergency fund over to CIT Bank and it is now earning 4.9% risk Free!! Both of our dogs take Apoquel and I was able to decrease the cost by 50% simply by getting a written prescription from the vet and filling it at Costco!! This is saving us $100 per month now as they are big dogs. Finally, just today I switched our insurance to save us over $980 per year for better coverage. I look forward to my next steps of hitting $100k and starting some real estate investing along with helping my wife to finally open her 457 account in work. Thanks for all you have done over the last few years.”
  • Nick said, “I wanted to share an interesting personal win from this week that some might see as a loss.  I am trying to pick up some side hustle/freelance work to boost my savings as I aim for Fat FIRE. A recruiter offered me some work at $35/hr. I pushed back that I was worth $45 and held firm at this rate. The recruiter countered that the client will probably not go this high and told me that I am risking the assignment going to someone else.  It felt amazing to hold firm on how much I value myself and negotiate from a position of strength. The version of me ten (or even five) years ago would have taken their rate and been thankful for it. Today I am more confident and in a better position. If they don’t meet my rate, I will just wait for a client who knows what I am worth.”
  • Wendy said, “I have a wonderful 1% to share with the community this week. I have been stressing about paying almost $900 for a hotel room in DC for the Marine Corps Marathon weekend. Given the event, rates are high, even by DC standards. I checked multiple Marriott hotels and points required but in the end, I reserved with Hyatt for location. After listening to a recent podcast where you specifically mentioned Hyatt, I thought about checking points for that specific hotel. Guess what? It only required 29,000 points total for the weekend! I quickly transferred my points and reserved it! Thank you for saving me about $600!

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
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