What Happens To My Frequent Flyer Points When I Die?

When a loved one passes away, there are often many financial matters to deal with in the estate planning process. Often, you have to deal with collecting life insurance policy proceeds, closing out bank accounts, and dealing with the transfer of IRA and 401(k) accounts. In most families, there is also lots of discussion over possessions including automobiles, jewelry, or other collectibles. But, what about all of those frequent flyer points? Will they continue on to a beneficiary or just drift away into a black hole of frequent point oblivion? Before we discuss various programs and what the potential outcomes are at death, let’s talk about some best practices. Most families don’t even really track their miles or points. This is why we encourage people to use the online personal financial dashboard with oXYGen Financial because you actually have the ability to track all and any point programs to know exactly what you have. It’s not a great idea to ...

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How To Organize Your 2014 Budget

Even though exercise and diet remain the top two New Year’s resolutions that most Americans have, the next few days might provide you with some opportunity to visit your overall 2014 spending plan.  It can be a painful process sometimes building out a spending plan (or budget) as your self-reflection may often reveal ugly spots that you just don’t want to see. The first and most important step toward a financially successful 2014 is to get a reality check around where your dollars and cents were actually spent in 2013.   Here are my six tips on how to organize and set up a household budget.  This is the bedrock of what has created a successful personal financial plan for my household for many years. Gather The Last 12 Months Of Fixed Expenses– Fixed expenses are generally expenses that do not change much over the course of the year.  An example of this would be your rent or mortgage.  Most of ...

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AMEX Points: Try The Clearance Rack

People often ask me what is the best type of credit card to get when it comes to frequent flier or cash back awards. I’ll cover some of my favorite reward cards in other post, but in today’s blog I thought I would share how to make the most of your AMEX card.   Sad to say, but most people who carry the GOLD or PLATINUM card don’t ever look at or use most of the benefits of card.   What most consumers are aware of is that with each purchase they rack up 1 point for every dollar they spend.   So how do you make the most of your rewards?  Check the CLEARANCE rack.  Here’s an example of three items you can get in the clearance section on AMEX membership rewards today. (source: AmericanExpress.com) When you click the membership rewards link in your AMEX account, you’ll notice on the far right hand side a link called ‘specials’.  If you click this ...

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Do I Need A Store Credit Card?

If you have played a game of credit card poker with yourself it could surely be a sign that you have too many credit cards from too many places.    I am a big advocate of having fewer credit cards and establishing a longer credit history with those creditors by upping your credit lines over the years and showing your ability to pay them off regularly.   However, I often get asked about store credit cards from places like a Best Buy or a Target and whether it is a good idea to have one of these cards.  Do you need a store credit card? Most the store credit cards that get issued generally happen at the cash register.    The smiling face at the checkout counter tabs your bill up and then tells you that if you opened up a store card today that they will take 10%, 20%, or more off of your first purchase.     You quickly do the math in ...

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How Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit

Forming a new LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp can be intimidating. Not only will you have to navigate the fees, taxes, and filing requirements, but also learn how to build credit history from scratch for this new entity. One of the most common ways people do this is to apply for business credit cards. But guess what? Those might not help your business credit – and sometimes – it can even hurt your personal credit. Here are five caveats you need to know about. #1. Banks require personal guarantees Nowadays all of the business credit cards on the market require a personal guarantee. That means you will have to apply with your Social Security number. Approval (or denial) will be based upon your personal credit history and if anything goes wrong with the account after it’s opened, it will show up on your personal credit report. Is it possible to get a business card without a personal guarantee? Sure, but there ...

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What to Do When You’re Robbed on Vacation

Heather Godsey was 600 miles from home when her wallet was stolen in a restroom. Godsey, from Joliet, Illinois, usually travels with half her cash and one or two credit cards at her hotel—but not on this trip. “I broke my rule at the wrong time,” she says. At least she had some rules. To prepare against an unimaginable hassle, you can take precautions before, during, and after your travels. Want more travel tips? Check out these stories. • 12 Sneaky, Slimy Travel Scams • Staying in Touch, Wirelessly (International Rates Don’t Apply) • 4 Ways to Make Calls from Overseas on a Dime Before You Go Plan on traveling light—on the finances. Keep just three or four things in your wallet: cash and traveler’s checks, a driver’s license, an American Express card and another credit card, says Ted Jenkin, co-CEO/founder of Georgia-based financial-services company oXYGen Financial. Julie Sturgeon, owner of Indiana travel agency Curing Cold Feet, suggests photocopying your ...

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You Can Now Tell Me What Credit Card To Use?

On Monday, the Justice Department sued Visa, MasterCard, and American Express for anticompetitive practices. At the same time, it reached a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard. The ruling aims to end anticompetitive practices and allow customers to save money, but it is likely to also have unintended consequences for consumers, says LowCards.com. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange Fee is Confusing Interchange fees, or swipe fees, are difficult to understand, and credit card processors like Visa, MasterCard and American Express have provided very little information about these fees, protecting their control and this significant revenue source. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange fees began in the 1960s to help banks to cover the cost of processing credit card transactions. The fee is divided between the merchant’s bank, the consumer’s bank and the credit card company. The fee covers processing fees, billing statements, fraud protection, innovations, and other expenses. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange fees typically range between 1.0% and 3.5% of every purchase made with a credit ...

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