Minimalist Wealth http://sett.com/minimalistwealth Unsolicited Opinions en-us Sun, 26 Mar 2017 02:49:10 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Targeted Offers- Capital One Savings http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/targeted-offers-capital-one-savings Once in a while if you have good credit, you’ll get offered some money to open a financial account that not everyone else gets. I received a targeted offer from Capital One recently $100 to open up a savings account with 6 months of 1.1% APR. If you have a referral from a Capital one customer, you can get another $20 (they get $50).

(These can only be opened at a Capital One branch)
Activities Completed Rewards Checking Premier Rewards Checking
Swiping Debit Card as “Credit” 10 miles 20 miles
Swiping Debit Card as “Debit” 5 miles 10 miles
Withdrawing from ATM / Writing a Check 5 miles 10 miles
Online Bill Payment 10 miles 20 miles
Account Anniversary Bonus (Only Once) 1,000 miles 2,000 miles
Opening Account Bonus 1,000 miles 2,000 miles
Setting Up Direct Deposit 4,000 miles 8,000 miles

I went in to speak with a banker, and they pulled my info to confirm my eligibility (I didn’t need to bring in the actual offer). Of course he tried to get me to open a Premier Rewards Checking account as well. I usually don’t fall for the upsell, but look at the Rewards-

These aren’t worth much- only half a cent per mile if redeemed for cash back. But that’s $50 just for opening the account and making 1 direct deposit, which isn’t hard to do. The other rewards are just nickels and dimes.

Capital One’s checking accounts are some of the best – they reimburse up to $15 for other banks ATM fees per month and have non-zero interest rates in addition to the rewards. My checking account at Charles Schwab has comparable rates at .4% and reimburses all ATM fees internationally but doesn’t give me any rewards. After further consideration, I’m switching over to Capital One for domestic checking.

After the 6 month promo interest rate is up, I’ll move my savings back to Ally. And I’ll be about $200 richer for this minor inconvenience. Not bad!

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Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:10:53 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/targeted-offers-capital-one-savings
​VantageScore vs. FICO http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/vantagescore-vs-fico Key Points:

  • Almost all lenders look at your FICO scores, not your VantageScore
  • Hard inquiries affect your VantageScore more than your FICO score.
  • Other than that, they're pretty similar.

VantageScore was created by the 3 major credit bureaus to compete against FICO, which is used by the vast majority of lenders. The main advantage of VantageScore is that it's free and easily obtained. It is in version 3.0, and like FICO, is scored out 850 points.

VantageScore 3.0
Category Description Weight
Payment history how timely and consistent your payments are 28%
Credit utilization debt-to-credit ratios and how much credit is available 23%
Credit balances what your total debt is, most likely; delinquent debt is counted more harshly than current debt 9%
Depth of credit length of credit history and types of credit previously received 9%
Recent credit how recent and many new hard inquiries and new accounts there are 30%
Available credit how much credit can be accessed, for example, could you spend $50,000 of credit tonight or within the next week 1%

Since VantageScore is used by less than 10% of lenders (this is changing, although FICO isn't going anywhere this decade), but easily obtained through any number of free sources, you should adjust your VantageScore to reflect your FICO score. The biggest difference is that credit inquiries are weighted far less by FICO.

FICO Score

Category Description Weight
Payment history how timely and consistent your payments are 35%
Credit utilization debt-to-credit ratios and how much credit is available 30%
Depth of credit length of credit history and types of credit previously received 25%
Recent credit how recent and many new hard inquiries and new accounts there are 10%

If you've made late payments or have debt, your credit score is going to be pretty shitty no matter what, but it will affect your FICO more than your VantageScore. Whichever you use makes no difference since lenders pick from dozens of FICO scores which vary between the credit agencies.

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Sun, 22 Mar 2015 21:30:31 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/vantagescore-vs-fico
Credit Update 2015 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/credit-update This is a masturbatory summary of how my credit / wealth situation has changed in the last few years.

CreditKarma Score: 760

This is up a few points from last year, which may be due to CK's change in algorithm to Vantagescore 3.0, or just the aging of my credit history. I have more / higher credit lines now, but I have never kept a balance, so I wouldn't expect it to change all that much.

Creditor Card When I Use Rewards Cash Back Promo Annual Fee
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday Groceries 3% Supermarkets.. $100 $0
BarclayCard Arrival World Dining and Travel 2.2% dining/travel $200 $0
BarclayCard Aviator Red American Airlines 2% American Airlines 40,000 Miles $89 (ask to waive)
Capital One QuickSilver Never 1.50% $100 $0
Capital One VentureOne Never 1.25% $200 $0
Chase Chase Slate Never None None $0
Chase Chase Sapphire Never 2% $125 $0
Chase Chase Freedom Seasonal 5% rotating $100 $0
Discover Discover It Seasonal 5% rotating $100 Amazon $0
GE Synchrony PayPal Never Unclear None $0
Orbitz Orbitz Rewards Card Orbitz additional 5% in Orbucks $50 $0

I use my Barclay Arrival World most frequently, since the bulk of my spending is on restaurants, and I won't keep extra cards in my wallet just so I can get 1% more cash back on something every now and then. Many of these cards I only opened for the promotions, and just sit in my archives aging to better my credit score (The age and amount of credit are two major determinants of credit score). Transunion is still reporting about a dozen hard inquiries which really hurts my. Hopefully by the time I need a loan, these won't affect my score any more.

From April-June they replace my Barclay card in my wallet for 5% on restaurants. Even cards with annual fees don't usually beat 5%, so these are nice to have, even if I hardly use them when it's not restaurant season.

My new Orbitz card is pretty great. When I look for flights, I end up booking on Orbitz because even without their card, they have a rewards program and as many offerings as anyone else. It's not a great rewards program- you can only put Orbucks towards select hotels, and the points expire quite fast. But they are applied automatically, and Orbitz is my preferred travel site. To me, the Rewards card was just $50 and an extra 5% on what I already do anyway. Orbitz also has frequent 10-15% off booking promos, so the rare times I do book hotels, I book through them.

The Paypal card is the worst card I've ever had. I can't even schedule automatic payments.

Takeaways:

Applying for credit as soon as you can get it is wise because:

  • The older your credit history, the higher your credit score
  • You have more time for your credit score to bounce back from hard inquiries
  • You'll have some credit at your disposal!

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Sun, 22 Mar 2015 17:13:15 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/credit-update
Slim fitted bullshit http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/shirts-for-athletic-builds Shirt manufacturers don't make it easy for toned guys to find a shirt. By sizing shirts for the increasingly heavier American male, manufacturers capture a larger market, leaving us gentlemen with tapered torsos with fewer options. This is not a matter of style- if you are at all thin, a regular, or 'modern fit' shirt will not fit, and is analagous to JNCO jeans.

From much experimentation, I've found that most shirts labeled 'Slim Fit' will fit most fat men just fine. Body builders and fullbacks might fill out a typical 'slim fit' shirt but guys with swimmers' bodies will be swimming in it.

After much searching, I picked up a few of the more affordable slimmest cuts I could find. They are:

  1. Macy's Alfani RED
  2. Macy's Alfani Spectrum
  3. Calvin Klein Extreme Slim-Fit
  4. Express Extra Slim-Fit
  5. Uniqlo Slim-Fit

For reference, I am 5' 9" and 140 lbs. My shoulders are considerably wider than my waist.

Macy's Stuff

Alfani RED Fitted

Alfani sizing goes like this:

Alfani Big & Tall (you are obese), Alfani (you are fat), Alfani Red Fitted (you could be fat), Alfani Spectrum Slim-Fit (you are not fat)

(source)

All of the RED line is 'Fitted'. Confusingly enough, the 'Fitted' label at one point meant, 'more tapered than slim-fit', but has now settled itself comfortably as another meaningless fashion adjective. Within the RED line there are two price points- the 80/20 Cotton/Polyester blend shirts are $3 cheaper. These are always on a sale that ends 'today' for as low as $17. Both the 100% cotton and 80% cotton shirts may also be labeled 'Performance' which means they allegedly wick sweat. Polyester blends are less wrinkly, dry faster, and more durable, at the cost of comfort.

Fit: This will make the average guy look sleeker. If you are thinner than average, move on.

Value: They hold up just fine. The cotton/polyester blends will irritate sensitive skin. Macy is a huge coupon slut so you can easily get these for less than $20, in fact it's hard to find them over $25.

Alfani Spectrum Slim-Fit

Most of these are 97% cotton, 3% spandex. These tend to be a couple bucks more than the REDs, but sometimes the REDs are discounted so low they aren't eligible for coupons. The ones with french cuffs will require cuff links (which I didn't know at some point in my younger days).

Fit: As good as you're going to get at this price point.

Value: Hate polyester? Spend a few bucks more and get these.

Calvin Klein Extreme Slim-Fit

Also found at Macy's, these are $30-$60 but subject to deep discounts.

Fit: These are pretty hard to breathe in. This is for beanpoles, not the broad shouldered. Great quality cotton, but my athletic frame tests it every time I reach.

Value: The fabric is a step up from Alfani. Some of these are blended with nylon or spandex. It's well worth the money, and eligible for coupons.

Express Extra Slim-Fit 1MX

Express has a huge variety of bold colors in their 1MX shirts, but if you prefer more conservative colors, don't worry cause the dye from these will run faster than Usain Bolt. These clothes are marketed as clubby and cool, rather than professional and boring.

Fit: This is another one for thin guys. If you have any shoulders at all, get their Fitted cut is for you.

Value: Lackluster. Ironic, because the luster of these when new is what fools young guys into buying them. What they really mean by 'dry cleaning recommended' is 'This will wear out and wrinkle horribly.' I know Express is popular with college freshmen trying to impress girls but, it's not popular with anyone else for a reason.

Uniqlo Slim-Fit

The brand that has stayed true. Uniqlo sells high quality clothes at reasonable prices, with fits for slimmer men. The tradeoff is that their discounts are not as steep. Their range of styles includes mainstream, somewhat hipster, and whatever the fuck SPRZ NY is.

Their button up shirts come in a dozen varieties of cotton like Denim, Oxford Cloth, and Easy Care, with 4 kinds of collars. For the most part, only people you might want to fuck (women and gay men) will notice the differences, but that's the only reason fashion even exists in the first place.

They have a better reputation for their casual button down shirts than their dressier ones.

Fit: As advertised. Just well enough not to need tailoring.

Value: While made with better cotton than many brands, Uniqlo shirts are more for dressing up in a casual environment, rather than dressing for a formal one. Their great oxford and chambray cloth shirts are casual by European standards, but much more versatile for the typical American.

Conclusion:

After half a year of fumbling around stores scanning for the words 'slim fit', I've learned that being in shape is fucking annoying. So is the excessive amount of choices which are ultimately pointless exercises in vanity. I wish stores had a section for "Fits and Isn't Orange". I go with Uniqlo for my casual button downs and Alfani Spectrum for dress shirts. Other options are far above the $50 price point, but I have yet to find a reason to look that nice.

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Fri, 05 Dec 2014 17:39:53 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/shirts-for-athletic-builds
Dress Shirts 1: eBay garbage http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/suffer-for-fashion Background

I am clueless when it comes to men's fashion. When I go out, it's usually to play sports, so I'm dressed for performance. These are my idea of great shoes: comfortable, and 5E width. Half my closet is performance gear. I own a 3-button sportcoat from high school so ill-fitting that even after tailoring it still looks like shit.

Seduced by the amazing pictures of cheap eBay clothes , I decided to take purchase a few and see if they are as awful as people say. My reasoning was thus:

  1. My body type is not that different than a mannequin's. Many size 28 jeans are too big for me, and I have broad shoulders. Made for an Asian frame? Challenge Accepted.
  2. Slim-fit clothes in America are too large for me.
  3. This is a cheap way to experiment with style, something I haven't figured out yet.

Doublju and Yesstyle are notorious for making awful Chinese knock-offs of awful Korean knock-offs. I did not know this at the time.

My Measurements:

Weight: 140lb

Height 5' 9", longer torso, short limbs

Neck 14 1/2

Sleeve 32

Chest: 38"

Shoulder: (not sure, measured at 17.7" but I I'm narrower)

Waist: 28"

I wear S slim for Uniqlo shirts and 14.5 S Fitted in Express 1MX shirts (My tits are too voluptuous for Extreme Slim, and I don't want my nipple rings to be visible through a white shirt)

Reference:

Me in a Uniqlo Size M linen shirt (slim?)

Me in a Uniqlo Size S slim Oxford Cloth Button Down

The eBay Loot

Button-up 1 $15 (free shipping)

eBay link The first thing to notice about this is that it's modeled on an actual person, not a black mannequin. If you think this is an indicator of a less-stinky piece of shit, you are correct. I got this in a Medium, which was listed at: shoulder 44cm(17.3") chest 102cm(40.2") length 73cm(28.7") sleeve 62cm(24.4")

Fit 1 I'm using a DSLR camera and I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Self Photography

Fit 2

Verdict

The cotton is thin, and it's not as slim as it looked in the pictures. I had to cut off a several strands of extra stitching. The cuffs/ entire shirt needs to be ironed but I dare not subject this delicate shirt to such harsh conditions. For $15, I'm less than satisfied with this shirt. 5/10

Button-up 2- $17 (cost includes shipping)

Here we have the dreaded black mannequin. Known to be aOnce again, the fit looks amazing on the model, which in this case is the dreaded black mannequin (feel free to disagree with me, I have no idea what I'm talking about). I love the shine which you usually only see on polyester, silk, merino wool (still talking out of my ass)

Fit 1 It looks a bit fitted.

Fit 2 It fits like shit and has NO luster at all.

My Final Form This doesn't look that bad, right?

Verdict

The only people who would wear a shirt of this quality are the slaves who made it. The buttonholes have many loose frayed threads, often catching the button going in/out.It's too wide in the cuff, sleeves, and chest. Before you say it's my fault for ordering the US M / Asian XXL, look at how short it is! The small would barely reach my hips! On another note, how in the heck could this be considered an Asian XXL? Maybe in Vietnam, but the average East Asian isn't four sizes smaller than Westerners. 3/10, but I'll still wear this piece of crap if I'm hanging out with someone I hate.

What I Learned From This Experience

Even if you have an Asian frame, perfect arms, six pack, large penis, eBay clothes will still not fit you. Whereas clothes from Wal-Mart and Target are made to fit as many people as possible, offbrand eBay clothes seem to fit as few people as possible.

I also bought two blazers from eBay which are fucking grotesque. I'm embarrassed even mentioning them.

I really don't know what I'm doing fashionwise, so all criticism is welcome, especially unconstructive insults and heterophobic slurs.

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Sun, 17 Aug 2014 20:29:40 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/suffer-for-fashion
Resorting to food tourism: the problem with eating in NYC http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/offset-weekend-resorting-to-food-tourism If you are ever offered the chance to work from Sunday-Thursday, I highly recommend it. But on Fridays I have to get creative when my friends are busy. So I went to the Lower East Side to check out some new places to eat. One of them was Stage, a tiny Ukrainian diner right next to STOMP in the East Village. My friend insisted I check it out months ago, but I never had time since they are closed on Sundays. The fried pierogies and cream of turkey soup were good, but the homemade bread was amazing. Eastern Europe food is very starchy, fatty, and sparsely spiced, but I've had it many times in my life and I still get cravings for it when I've been eating too much Malaysian food. Stage is a cash-only budget diner, and lives up to its Yelp reputation. I will come back and for the blintzes and turkey dinner. 5 out of 5.

I've been to a lot of places around the world and eaten a lot of things. I'm far from a picky eater (i.e. whiny pain in the fucking ass), I know this because I have a friend who is, and everything he orders is served with a side of misery and neurosis. But I am somewhat jaded, having eaten things that have set new gastronomic standards for me countless times. This adds a layer of difficulty in the already complicated process of finding a restaurant in New York that can really impress.

I say that NYC makes this difficult because word-of-mouth spreads so fast that when a hot restaurant gets 'discovered', it blows up overnight as local foodies flock to see for themselves. Long waits form, and assuming the staff can keep up, their reputation builds upon itself, attracting even more visitors. It doesn't take long for expectations to increase, as well as prices, until the more finicky patrons start labeling it 'overrated', 'overpriced', or 'not what it used to be'.

Notable examples of this would be the David Chang restaurants (Momofuku Ssam, Noodle Bar, etc.) and Katz's Deli.

I think the blame lies somewhere in the middle between the restaurants and the notorious reputation of New Yorkers for having unrealistic expectations.

The NYC restaurants that have true longevity are the ones are the little guys that don't have the space, or patience to ever develop any air of pretension. My best food experiences here have been in greasy spoons like Stage and the Pakistani food carts that defy New York's insistence on smelling like a shitpiss from the 1980's with their spices that are so absent from White kitchens.

But I'm certainly not averse to the famous NY joints. On my way back, I had a grasshopper pie from Momofuku Milk bar and a slice from Joe's Pizza (I've eaten a caprese slice from Joe's before, but this time I wasn't on acid). Both were delicious. At least delicious enough to stop me from comparing in the relentlessly tiring search for "The Best". And shouldn't that be enough?

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:35:01 +0000 http://sett.com/minimalistwealth/offset-weekend-resorting-to-food-tourism