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Credit card and other financial housekeeping

December 29th, 2014 at 01:09 pm

How many times have I typed an entry and forgotten to copy it before hitting "Publish," only to lose it? I hate that....

Today I closed my Chase Amazon card account. I'd only acquired it a few months ago for the upfront bonus, and credit cards seem to freely procreate in my wallet. (Doesn't seem to be hurting my credit score any...my FICO score has been flirting with 800 for a while.)

I have 9 cards now, plus another, the AARP card, on the way. I'll get back $100 after charging $500 in the 1st 3 months.

My total credit limit on all the cards is an incredible $67,500! Enough for a house down payment, for gosh sakes. I am sure they are all just hoping I will not pay in full eventually, but that ain't about to happen. I need to cancel another card or two.

It was only because of my longstanding habit of tracking my expenses that I recently realized I'd never gotten or paid the 4th quarterly sewer bill of the year. I called the town and sure enough, they mailed it in November and it's due this Friday. To avoid a late payment fee, I hand-delivered it since I'm off work today. I inquired about the charge itself, which is higher, and yes, the fee went up. Oh, it was mentioned in a story in the local paper, she said. Well, not everyone in town subscribes to the local paper; you'd think they'd send out some sort of notification about rising fees, but no.

After paying the fee, I walked on the nearby trail for about 35 minutes.

Today I also made a pear/oatmeal thingy in the slow cooker.

I'm also making a split pea soup now with carrots, parsnips and celery, so I'll have plenty of food for work week lunches. It will be a short work week, just 3 days, thank God.

In other doings, I moved $27,000 from some Vanguard stock funds to some bond funds. I was over-weighted in mostly large cap stocks by about 5 percentage points and sought to reduce volatility in my portfolio. Counting all domestic, foreign and REIT stock funds, my stock exposure was 65%, rather high for someone in their mid-50s, and I worry that the hammer will come down sometime in 2015 after such a long bull market. The transfer I did today should get my stock exposure down to about 60%, I believe, and my ongoing 401k contributions will continue to tilt my portfolio more toward bonds than stocks. I'd like to have about 45 or 50% stock exposure.

I also went online to direct future 401k contributions into a Roth 401k instead of traditional 401k and set new contribution amounts for the 27 pay period deductions in 2015.

6 Responses to “Credit card and other financial housekeeping”

  1. Another Reader Says:

    Normally bonds and equities are inversely correlated. However, rising interest rates will cause both asset classes to drop in value in the current environment. Interest rate increases are more directly tied to bond values, so they will likely drop in value more abruptly. In your shoes I would be cautious in rebalancing. At the very least, I would concentrate bond allocations in short duration funds and look at some bond alternatives, such as CD's.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks! I welcome your feedback. Yes, short-term seems to be the way to go, and all the money in this transfer went to short term investment grade and short term bond funds. I also have another $18K already in 5-year CDs. Perhaps I should do more, but everyone says CD rates should rise in 2015 once the fed loosens its stranglehold. There is more to be done.

  3. Another Reader Says:

    Sadly, PenFed did not do their 3 percent, 5 year CD's this year. I bought some of those last year. I hope they will reconsider in January, but it's not a strong hope.

    Sometimes it can make sense to take an early withdrawal penalty to move to a higher yielding CD. The author of the depositaccounts.com website gives some examples of where you collect a higher interest rate overall by getting out of a longer term CD early and paying the penalty.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    I will check out that site, Mystery Reader. I've been thinking of going with Everbank; while 3 or 4 others offer 5-yr CDs at 2.25% as well, only Everbank mentions on site that they do IRA CDs. I know that GE and Barclays do not as I called them to find out.

    The money I'd be moving to the CD would preferably be coming from a Vanguard IRA money market account languishing at about 0.60%. That's "safe" money anyway, no plans to use it, so it might as well earn better than that. I may do a $10,000 portion of it now in a 5-yr CD and then save the remaining $12,000 or so for a CD when rates rise again.

    I could yank money out of my lone taxable mutual fund, a T. Rowe international fund, but don't want to pay distributions on it, and with the Vanguard IRA money, there's no need.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    I'm actually now leaning toward CIT Bank, which has a higher stability rating than Everbank on depositaccounts.com.

    They're offering a 5-yr CD (including IRAs) at 2.30% APY, which is what i would go with, although they do have an interesting "Ramp UP" 3-year CD that starts at 1.45% and you can "ramp up" to the current rate once if rates rise during the term. However, the minimum is $25,000.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm looking forward to a short work week as well, although we have a 4 day one. (Only New Year's Day off)

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