The Only Credit Cards You Need in 2017

Credit cards are important and establishing credit early can really benefit you throughout your life. Additionally, the amount of rewards and benefits that credit cards offer really help to maximize the returns on your purchases. Since, I emphasize travel as my main focus for credit rewards the credit cards are geared towards earning miles. However, overall it is more important to focus on rewards for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, travel and food and drinks.

Disclaimer: I am not a credit card turner. I only have 3 credit cards and I only recommend two credit cards for 2017.

Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred –

Chase has been offering incredible benefits for their flagship credit card the Sapphire Reserve (or Preferred). Personally, I own the Chase Sapphire Reserve as my main credit card. I got this one because the 100,000 bonus miles (expired in march – replaced by 50,000 bonus) they were offering as well as the travel benefits. Everyone that travels should purchase this card as it offers travel insurance, reimbursement for lost bags, cancelled flights, access to travel lounges, reimbursement of $300 travel credit, pre-boarding and much more. Yet, one of the best parts of this card is it extends warranties for all items that do not have 2+ year warranties. However, the main drawback is the $450 annual fee but if you minus the $300 travel credit this credit cards fee is really $150 per year.

Bonus – Reserve VS Preferred

The Preferred offers many of the same benefits but cost $95 but does not give access to travel lounges and has no travel credit reimbursement. Also, since you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining with Reserve, compared to 2 with the Preferred card, based on our calculations you’ll need to spend $2,619.05 in a cardmember year in order to come out ahead with Reserve, which breaks out to just $218.25 per month. My recommendation is to go Reserved.

American Express –

American express up their game with their newest cash-back rewards card that offers 3% on groceries, 2% on gas and 1% on every other purchase. Because, groceries and gas are likely to be large expenditures for almost everyone this card essentially pays for itself. I choose to go with the unpaid version because I am not fond of paying credit card fees. However, American Express offers a $95 per year card that offers 6% for groceries, 3% for gas and 1% on everything else. Based on your expenditures and other credit card annual fees you can decide which one works best.

Overall, if I was to choose one credit card, it would be the Chase Reserve as it offers the best benefits for travel. Yet, collectively the Chase Reserve and American Express Cash Back card cover all the majority of my expenditures. Between the cards, they have covered the cost of ownership and have allowed me to use the other card benefits to my delight.

***Please note, proper credit card use comes down to a budget and not overspending. It is smart to be careful and wary of accruing debt but holding off on establishing credit can have long lasting effects on your ability to borrow and get access to these excellent credit card benefits. **

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How I Learned to Chase Health and Time

It is weird knowing that the majority of people chase a replaceable commodity (money) in exchange for non-replaceable commodities; ie Health and Time. But ultimately, I wish it wasn’t the case. Few people recognize that money is replaceable. For me, this lesson was taught through hardship, with the most prominent message – you can’t take money to the grave. What is the point of collecting more of a resource if you don’t/can’t actually use it? Personally, I view money as a social lubricant that helps me to save time/gain experiences so I can focus on what I love or to maintain/improve my health. My mindset is that increased wealth should not be at the sacrifice of my ethics or health. Additionally, the amount of time spent working should be balanced to allow me to find or pursue my passions. However, time after time I have seen people fall into an unbalanced equation with little reflection, me included. Which has sent me on a journey to beg the question, shouldn’t there be a balance between work, money, time, happiness and family?

Shark tank investor Cuban spoke about the expenses of purchasing his own private plane. In the article, it came down to the equation of time and money. Cuban doesn’t have to worry about food on his table for his family but he does have to worry about being present. How can you be a Dad, husband, brother, son etc. if you’re not there. He alluded to the fact that the jet gave him the ability to improve business relationships but also be present for his family. Furthering his point that his goal in purchasing the jet was not to save money but to save time so that he could send it on his interests. He stated, “We can’t own time!”

Yet, people are conditioned to an equation of time equals money to the point that they sacrifice their time and health. Go to college, get a skills and dedicate yourself to a career can easily be reconstructed to mean go into debt, learn outdated skills and help someone else chase their dream. Careers are made because of this sacrifice and people are paid for it. I work 8 hours and I make X per hour. Yet, the quantity of X is not determined by the amount of time spent but the skill involved with performing the activity. Your skill set is what determines your pay not the amount of time. Hence, you should collect skills that allow you to increase your value while reducing the time spent on the project.

Which brings me back to my point, you chase dollars and I chase time. I chase time not because I do not like money but it is because I recognize the correlation between time and money. Money is a lubricant that allows me access to increased time and health, however my time/health is an equation of my pay. My health and my time are my number one business interest and it should be EVERYONE’S!!! How can I be do my job if I am not healthy enough to DO THE JOB? Or a better (“millennial”) question is why should I do a job if it doesn’t allow me to pursue my interests?

I end with the best piece of advice by Amy Poehler “Treat your Career like a Bad Boyfriend”. Your career will dumb you as soon as you loss value, or they do. They won’t help you chase your dreams but they will force you to focus on theirs. They won’t care if your family is sick, or you missed a soccer game or a friends birthday. They will demean, devalue and degrade your worth. You are the only person that will treat you how you would like to be treated. Learn to treat yourself right and the rest will hopefully fall into place.

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