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May 21, 2024: Stock Market a Casino?, Set up Autopay, Cash Back Cards plus Community Wins

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.

Is the Stock Market a Casino?

Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports posted a ridiculous tweet that got over 3 million views where he said:

“My problem with the stock market is it’s just one big casino where the people in charge rig it to (expletive) over the little guy and make all the money for themselves.”

My response to this kind of emotional outburst is simple:

Owning a share of stock means you are a part owner of that company.

A company like Ford broke ownership of their company into 4 billion little pieces, each one represented as one share of their stock.

There’s no gambling involved in long-term ownership of companies.

The only people who think the stock market is gambling are people treating the stock market like a casino.

If you don’t ‘believe’ in stock market investing at all, that means there is literally no publicly traded company in the United States that you want to be an owner of.

That’s impossible.

So, let’s be clear, investing in the stock market isn’t gambling and it isn’t some nebulous unknown. You are buying small ownership stakes in companies.

In the case of a total stock market index fund, you are buying an ownership stake in over 4,000 companies.

This is not gambling, it’s investing.

Put Your Credit Cards on Autopay

I had coffee with my mom last weekend and somehow it came up that she was getting ready to log into her credit card account to make her monthly payment.

I was surprised (aghast??) that she hadn’t set up autopay on her card(s) since she was paying in full on the same date every month but was waiting for the statement to arrive in the mail in order to login and initiate the payment.

Though I’ve mentioned it dozens of times on the podcast, if she was unaware this autopay option exists, then I suspect many of you are unaware as well!

So, here’s your friendly reminder!

Assuming you pay on time and in full every month and you have enough money in your checking account to not have to worry about micromanaging your credit card payment cash flow, I highly recommend setting up autopay on your card.

You can set it up to pay the “full statement balance” on whatever day of the month you desire (it may be termed the number of days plus or minus the payment due date).

This takes one piece of stress out of your financial life and helps get you a little closer to your finances being on autopilot.

It should take all of a few clicks and under 3 minutes to do this for each of your credit cards. If you need a tutorial just Google: ‘how to set your [Bank Name] card on autopay’ and you’ll easily find instructions.

Cash Back Rewards Cards

We spend a lot of time talking about maximizing credit card rewards points, but I don’t want to neglect you if you don’t travel much and just want some cold hard cash back from your credit cards.

My friend Zac Hood, who is a member of the FI Community and the founder of ‘Travel Freely (a great app to keep track of your travel credit cards!),’ created a site & app called ‘CashFreely’ to help you maximize cash back credit card rewards.

It’s the best way I’ve found to learn how to maximize your cash back potential in general and they give you step-by-step directions on how to implement the strategy for both signup bonuses and ongoing category spending bonuses (think gas, groceries, restaurants, etc.).

I mentioned CashFreely previously in the newsletter and based on the responses I know a lot of you have benefited greatly from their step-by-step guidance.

Here’s the link to sign up for CashFreely, and if you have any suggestions for Zac and the team, be sure to reply to any of the emails you receive – they are really responsive!

ChooseFI Community Taking Action This Week

This week I started the process of opening a HYSA for each of my teenage sons. They have checking and regular savings accounts but I want them to be able to earn money with their savings. I also filled out the forms to open Roth IRA’s for each of them. They do have earned income so they will be able contribute to these accounts.

I’m sharing the things I learn from your podcast with them so they learn the things I wish someone had taught me at their age. I’m also sharing your college hacking episodes with one of my son’s friends who will be going to college in the fall! Second generation FIRE!

– Monica

My 1% win honestly feels like a lot more than 1% – I found a new job! It’s the same role I’m currently in, at a better company, making 29% more than I am currently making! Looking forward to maxing out my 401k contributions with this pay increase.

– Samantha

Our 1% this week is that we FINALLY fired our financial advisor and moved our multi 6-figure brokerage account funds over to FXAIX with Fidelity. It felt great!! We’re confident in our approach and love the relative ease of the hands-off, long term play here.

We also recently settled on a long term plan for what we’re doing with our leftover cash (after expenses). The big debate had historically been around whether we wanted to invest more vs. pay off the mortgage even earlier. Now we have a plan that involves a bit of both and should see us mortgate free and financially independent in approximately 10 years. We’re very excited and planning for some years doing slow travel.

In reality, this is a much larger impact then 1%. Thank you, Brad, for your podcast and wisdom. We almost certainly wouldn’t have made these moves without this podcast, or without reading J L Collins’ ‘Simple Path to Wealth’ (which we only heard about through you). We share ChooseFI with anyone who’ll listen, and will do so for many years to come. Keep up the massive impact, Brad!

– Hannah

A bit more than 1% but… I’m so excited to share that my husband and I paid off his student loans. Over 100k!!! When he first moved in with me a few years ago, we agreed that he would match what I paid toward the mortgage on his student loans. Every year we put my bonus and our tax refunds toward his loans and here we are with no student loans. I’m so proud of him for tackling that monster!

– Devon

Recent 1% Better! I finally convinced my Mom to cut ties with the Edward Jones advisor she’s been using for her retirement and brokerage accounts for over a decade. They had her in a few bad products, and quite riskily concentrated in only a few individual stocks in some cases.

Most frustratingly they used a “managed IRA” with her that had no online account visibility, that could only be viewed with quarterly paper statements, and changes could only be made by the advisor, who invested mostly in their own proprietary funds with higher fees. Over the phone they had minimal answers for why they did what they did over the years of advising her.

They haven’t made it easy for us to move the accounts, but now she sees why I was so persistent on getting her away, and we are nearly home free with transitioning to her new Vanguard Account!

– Tyler

I’m allowing myself to realize my dreams, that’s my 1% better for this week. For many years now I’ve wanted the cowboy experience. Just last year I discovered dude ranches and working ranches. I promised myself that I would go this summer. The time came and I found myself trying to make excuses not to go, truthfully I didn’t want to spend the money. I had it allocated specifically for this trip, which is the most money I’ve spent on myself for leisure ever.

The tipping point came for me when I listened to the recent ChooseFI episode with Trip of a Lifestyle. When Steven said “if you aren’t having fun while you are doing it (pursing FI) then you are doing it wrong.

I was able to get my plane tickets for a grand total of $11.20 due to travel rewards, and I was finally able to allow myself to spend on something that isn’t a necessity. This is what FI is about, freedom through all stages of life.

Thank you Brad, Lauren, and Steven. I may have talked myself put of it without your motivation.

– Aaron

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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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