How to Raise a Finance Nerd – Tips to the Aspiring Parent
Ever since I was a kid, money was an open discussion in my family. We had weekly meetings to understand how much my dad made and what our budget was. My parents would hold a monthly “family council” where we would decide together how much we could spend in each budget category. When I turned 10, rather than simply give me a weekly allowance, my mom and dad introduced a Weekly Tracker Sheet with chores and tasks on it. Each day, I could earn my “allowance” by doing the chores, tasks, and activities on the sheet. For example, if I vacuumed the living room in the morning, I could earn $0.50, and by mowing the lawn each Saturday, I could earn $10. Definitely a creative idea, and it helped me understand the value of hard work!
When I turned 11, my dad gave me the budgeting program Quicken to track my own income and expenses. I love my parents… but I hated that program. I could never get my expenses to match up, and Quicken malfunctioned more often than it worked. Also when I was 11, I started a swim school with my siblings. Yes, I was only 5 feet tall. And yes, I was basically only good for holding kids in the water and letting them scream. And yes, unfortunately, I was only making $6 per hour. But over the course of the following 7 years before I left for college, I was able to grow this swim school business and our customers to thousands of families, earning over $100 per hour. Below is a picture of me rollin G’s by the pool circa 2006. The only cool thing about this photo is that I was wearing Hollister and not American Eagle. Let’s be honest.
Becoming a Credit Addict – Tips to the Aspiring Millennial
When I left for college, I knew that I wanted to study business and felt that accounting would be a good fit. During my sophomore year, I discovered the finance program at BYU and was introduced to investment banking. The industry intrigued me, and I took on the challenge of successfully breaking into one of the most difficult industries to break into directly out of college. Coming from a non-target university, I felt like I was at a natural disadvantage to Ivy League students, so I created a thorough preparation plan. Integral to my plan was taking multiple networking trips to New York City from Provo, Utah. Networking trips = several 3-day trips to the city and 2-night hotel stays = lots of money = normally a big problem for a college student.
Since leaving home a few years earlier, my parents had kindly cut my financial ties and allowed me to have the responsibility of controlling my own personal finances. Haven’t received a penny from them since 2011 — I wasn’t always grateful for this, but in hindsight I recognize and am thankful for the pressure it put on me to live simply and get creative with my finances. As many of you have probably been in the same position, I think you understand what I mean when I say that my budget as a student was tight. It was around this time that I discovered the utility of credit cards. No, not racking up debt on them and carrying interest as I “promise” myself I’ll pay them down later. This is NOT good. Do NOT do this.
Rather — I discovered the world of credit card bonus rewards and points, and I realized that I could fund my networking trips with credit card points. I applied for and received the Bank of America Cash Rewards, the Red AAviator, and the Delta Gold Amex cards. Using the signup bonus points from these cards alone, I was able to fund my networking trips to New York and eventually received an offer to join an investment bank full-time in the city. Since then, I have become quite the credit card points nerd. I follow every new card bonus and credit churning update.
Earn Over $10,000 in Credit Card Points in Five Months – Tips to the Aspiring Human
That leads us to today. Hannah and I started a serious “experiment” with credit cards about 5 months ago. Over the last several months, we have opened tons of credit cards and earned over $10,000 in cash-equivalent credit card rewards. Wut? Is this possible?! Sure, look below at the list of cards we’ve opened in the last five months. We don’t show you this to brag or scare you off. Hopefully, if anything, this validates Hannah and my deep experience with opening and using credit cards for their signup bonuses:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – $1,650
- Chase Freedom – $650
- Hilton Honors – $750
- Hilton Honors – $750
- Marriott Rewards – $900
- Marriott Rewards – $900
- Chase Ink Business – $1,900
- Bank of America Merrill Plus (phone offer only) – $800
Quick side-note: hitting the minimum spend on all of these credit cards would have been IMPOSSIBLE if Hannah and I hadn’t planned ahead. In the last five months, we had tons of one-time travel, work, and moving expenses when we came out to New York, so we ended up spending MUCH more than we generally do each month. **this is why we recommend only conservative credit card churning for most people** The total redeemable value of the cards listed above is $10,300. My cash-equivalent dollar values above were calculated using the approximate average redemption value of each point’s individual program. However, I estimate our personal redemption value to be well over $13,000 given my understanding of where the best value lies for each reward program. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your points, learning where and when to use them is crucial. We’ll guide you every step along the way — selecting the best cards, maximizing the points you earn, and redeeming them for the best value.
So I know we may sound a little crazy here when I say this, but we’re not stopping at $13,000. Hannah and I are stoked to keep our pace forward! Follow along as we continue to apply for new cards, earn millions of credit card points, and show you how we redeem our points for the best value! Our goal is to elevate our $13,000 to over $20,000 by the end of a full year, next March. Join in, get cards of your own, and tag us in your travels! We’re going to help you do it, and we can’t wait to experience your travels with you.
Want to Earn Thousands as Well? – Tips to the Aspiring WSM Reader
Although we already have a generous amount of experience, the goal of our credit card “experimentation” journey is for us to understand the ins and outs of credit cards, what you actually NEED to know to churn cards, and what you can expect from the credit card game. Lots of people want to churn credit cards conservatively, but there’s so much to know that it’s hard to figure out where to start. And what’s worse, there’s always this nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you might be forgetting something or doing something wrong and thereby hurting your credit score. We don’t want you to feel that way.
Follow along as we give simple, detailed instructions and insight into the cards you should get, how you should redeem your rewards, and how seriously we recommend you play in the credit card game. We’ll cover how it affects your score (like mine below) and what actions you can take to ensure credit churning raises your credit score. << This is big. I’ve yet to come across any credit churning websites that teach you how to elevate your credit score and enjoy beautiful credit card signup bonuses simultaneously. We do it at Wall Street Minimalist. Proof below. We opened 6 new cards and closed 7 accounts during this short period… notice how there aren’t any drastic fluctuations in my score? That’s because manipulating your credit score can be easy if you understand how it is calculated.
So, the big picture: we’ll be earning over $20,000 in credit card signup point rewards within one year, and you’ll be earning thousands yourself. Honestly, you’d be an fool to pass up on this opportunity. It’s like telling Santa “no, thanks… I don’t want Christmas to come early this year.” Who even says that? No one. That’s the point. Friends don’t let friends have crappy finances. And Santa sure ain’t dropping G’s down your chimney in August like we are. Hop onboard, this flight is taking off.