Is the Amex EveryDay Credit Card Worth It?

The $0-annual-fee Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers some solid value. Terms apply. But should you sign up? Here are some things to consider when deciding whether this card is worth getting.

Valuable perks of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Rewarding welcome offer

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers a welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

NerdWallet values Membership Rewards® Points at around 1 cent each, depending on how you use them, so this bonus is worth about $100.

Swipe more for greater rewards

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year, then 1 point per dollar after that. You’ll also earn double points on eligible travel purchases made through American Express Travel. Terms apply.

Those points payouts are pretty standard for a travel rewards credit card in this price range. What sets this card apart is that you can earn even more rewards by using it a lot.

Make 20 or more charges to the card during your billing cycle and you will earn 20% more points for those purchases. That makes the U.S. supermarket purchase 2.4 points per dollar and all other purchases 1.2 points per dollar. Terms apply.

Points transfer to airline and hotel programs

It is rare for a $0-annual-fee credit card to have full access to valuable airline and hotel partners. For example, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardmembers can’t transfer their points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners the way the holders of more expensive Chase cards can.

But in the case of this credit card, you have ample transfer opportunities. The points you earn with the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card — American Express Membership Rewards® points — can be transferred to 18 different airline partners and three hotel partners. Sometimes, booking award travel directly through the airline or hotel can cost fewer points than if you redeemed the points directly through American Express Membership Rewards. This ability to transfer points means you can choose from two prices when booking award travel, which can sometimes mean significant savings. Terms apply.

Further, American Express lets you pool points from other Membership Rewards-earning credit cards into one account. So if you want to cancel a pricier AmEx card, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is an opportunity to save your hard-earned points while shedding the other card’s high annual fee.

Money-saving offers

AmEx Offers are a great way to save money or earn more points at many different merchants. When logged into your American Express card account, you can browse dozens of merchant-specific offers for travel, dining, grocery, gas, merchandise and more. Simply click to add available offers to your card and you’ll get discounts or bonus points when you spend at those merchants. New deals are added regularly. Eligibility for these offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the AmEx Offers section of your account before redeeming.

The ability to earn more rewards (or save money on items you were purchasing anyway), in addition to the credit card rewards you already were earning, is a great benefit for a $0 annual fee credit card.

American Express Plan It payment option

While not a benefit that should be used frequently, the Plan It option that comes with the card gives you flexibility for paying for larger purchases. When you spend $100 or more on a purchase, this benefit allows cardmembers to split the charge into monthly payments over a fixed period of time. Instead of paying interest, you pay a fixed monthly fee. There may be up to three duration options. Terms apply.

The bottom line

While the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers good value, there could be more rewarding American Express cards for your lifestyle.

If you spend a lot of money at U.S. supermarkets, consider The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, which offers higher rewards for spending at U.S. supermarkets while charging a $95 annual fee. But if you don’t spend a lot of money each month on credit cards, or if you often make 20 or more small charges in a month, the $0 annual fee on this credit card could offer the right balance of rewards and affordability. Terms apply.

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet.

To view rates and fees of The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, please visit this page.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

3 Hilton award stays I’m booking now to save on future travel

Why to book Hilton Honors award stays now – The Points Guy


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Smart Ways to Negotiate Your Salary in an Uncertain Economy

The pandemic-related recession has altered many job descriptions. For Haley Jones, a 24-year-old resident of Michigan, the coronavirus changed the needs of her company, and as she adapted to meet them, her responsibilities were no longer confined to her marketing specialist role.

“I graduated with a marketing degree, no medical experience at all, and I ended up having to scrub in at our surgery center and help patients get prepped for anesthesia,” Jones says.

After adding those kinds of new hats, Jones felt that her responsibilities had outgrown her entry-level salary and position, so she requested more compensation.

Your role may also merit a salary discussion, even in uncertain times. Here are some strategies to help you achieve the ideal salary.

Research the market

Understanding the market for your job is critical, according to Lindsey Pollak, author of the upcoming book “Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work.”

“You can look at websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com and PayScale and see what’s standard,” she says.

These websites offer a minimum and maximum salary range that you can reference to give your boss a realistic request. Pollak also suggests networking with professional associations in your industry and asking about the appropriate salary range for the job in your particular city.

Tally up your contributions

If you’re working remotely, Pollak suggests being more self-promotional about big wins. With many distractions in the pandemic, your boss may not know the extent of your contributions.

Jones created a slideshow presentation with links to her work, a list of tasks completed and her overall impact on the company. Her boss shared the presentation with others weighing in on her salary request.

“If you want someone to do something for you, make it as easy as you can for them to say yes,’’ Jones says.

Dive as far back into your contributions as is necessary or gather evidence up to the last annual or midyear review. And be as specific as possible.

Lay the groundwork for the conversation

Be strategic as you plan the conversation. Gauge your level of confidence at every step.

  • Put it on your supervisor’s radar. Give your boss a general but serious reason for the meeting. Pollak suggests saying that you want to have a “career conversation” about your role and future at the company.

  • Time it right. Don’t plan such a conversation after the company announces a terrible quarter or when your boss is in a bad mood, says Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of the book “Get Paid What You’re Worth.”

  • Practice until you’re confident. Jones built confidence by rehearsing in front of her mirror and loved ones.

  • Be intentional with your environment. If it’s a video call, use sticky notes to remember key points. In an office environment, Jones leaned on slides and hard copies to move the conversation along.

If you need further guidance, Pollak suggests connecting with a college’s career center for advice, whether that’s your alma mater or a community college. Even if you never attended college, your local community college may offer resources.

Maintain control of the conversation

Don’t allow emotions or nerves to steer the conversation away from your goal. Remember three key points for your discussion:

  • Lead with gratitude. Jones began by thanking her employer for many learning opportunities, then pivoted to her excitement about the company’s future and her role in it.

  • Know when to stop talking. Get comfortable with silence. “Say the amount you want and then stop talking,” Pollak says. Don’t negotiate against yourself by saying that you’d like a $15,000 increase, but you’re willing to settle for $8,000.

  • Focus on the value for your employer. Don’t phrase your request around reasons why you need a raise or promotion. Be aware of economic impacts to your company and its priorities, and keep the focus on how you’re saving the company money or contributing to its bottom line.

Be prepared for the response

If your employer can’t meet your request this time, all isn’t lost. You have promoted your work and carved out the path for the next conversation, according to Garfinkle. You can also consider negotiating for non-monetary benefits.

“Maybe it’s a title change, or they’ll pay for an executive coach, or they’ll provide some training, or additional benefits or retirement contributions,” Garfinkle says. “There are other things you can get that might be beneficial for you.”

If your employer is willing to offer a pay increase or an alternative, get it in writing. Send a thankful email to your boss summarizing the conversation and alert them that you’ll be following up on the next steps.

In the case of a firm “no” or “not right now,” let your boss know that you would greatly appreciate the chance to revisit the conversation in the future.

Following up is key with any response. Jones followed up twice in a month, once via email and another time in person. Eventually, she was promoted to marketing director and received $5,000 more than the maximum amount she requested.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

Source: nerdwallet.com

10 Cities Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically

Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically – 2021 Study – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Nationwide, when it comes to wealth and personal finance success, Black Americans generally have less. Census data from 2019 shows that the median Black household income is 33% lower than the overall median household income and the Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Data on wealth accumulation depicts even starker disparities: Black families’ net worth is 87% lower than that of white families and 33% lower than that of Hispanic families, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Though the national picture is less than encouraging, economic outcomes for Black Americans are better in some places than others. In this study, we determined the cities where Black Americans fared best economically leading up to 2020. We compared 129 cities across six metrics: median Black household income, Black homeownership rate, Black labor force participation rate, poverty rate for Black residents, percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree and percentage of business owners who are Black. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Six of the top 10 cities are located in Texas, Florida and North Carolina. These cities are Grand Prairie and Garland, Texas; Pembroke Pines and Miramar, Florida; and Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina. In both of the Texas and Florida cities, the median Black household income is higher than $61,000 and the Black homeownership rate is 46% or higher – compared to study-wide averages of about $43,000 and 35%, respectively. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Durham rank particularly well for our education and metro area business ownership metrics. In both North Carolina locales, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and at least 3% of businesses are Black-owned – compared to study-wide averages of about 23% and 2%, respectively.
  • Preliminary 2020 estimates show that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by not only the health impacts of COVID-19, but also its corresponding economic effects. The regional economic effects of COVID-19 on Black Americans are difficult to determine due to insufficient localized data, but the available national data paints a grim picture: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that as of December 2020, the Black unemployment rate was 3.9
    and 3.2 percentage points higher than the white and overall unemployment rates, respectively. Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate was about 2.0 percentage points lower than both white and overall participation rates.

1. Virginia Beach (tie)

Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks in the top 10 cities for four of the six metrics we considered. It has the seventh-highest median Black household income, at roughly $65,600, and the sixth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate, at 78.7%. Additionally, Census Bureau data shows that the 2019 poverty rate for Black residents in Virginia Beach is 10%, fourth-lowest in our study. In the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area, more than 5% of businesses are Black-owned, the seventh-highest percentage for this metric overall.

1. Grand Prairie, TX (tie)

Grand Prairie, Texas ties with Virginia Beach, Virginia as the city where Black Americans fare best economically. It has the fourth-highest Black labor force participation rate (at 79.9%) and the lowest Black poverty rate (at less than 5%) of all 129 cities in our study. Additionally, more than a third of Black residents in Grand Prairie have their bachelor’s degree and the median Black household income is more than $63,000. The city ranks sixth and 10th out of 129 for those two metrics, respectively.

3. Aurora, IL (tie)

Aurora, Illinois ranks in the top third of all 129 cities for five of the six metrics we considered, falling behind only for its metro area’s relatively low concentration of Black-owned businesses. It has the fourth-highest Black homeownership rate (about 52%), sixth-highest median Black household income (about $65,900) and 10th-lowest Black poverty rate (11.9%). Aurora’s Black labor force participation rate is 73.5%, ranking 15th overall for this metric. Moreover, more than 29% of Black residents in the city have their bachelor’s degree, ranking 26th overall.

3. Pembroke Pines, FL (tie)

Just north of Miami, Florida’s Pembroke Pines ties for the No. 3 spot. Across all 129 cities, it has the second-highest Black homeownership rate – 60.20% – and the sixth-lowest 2019 Black poverty rate – 10.6%. Additionally, incomes for Black households are relatively high. In 2019, the median Black household income was about $61,500, the 11th-highest in our study.

5. Miramar, FL

The Black homeownership rate in Miramar, Florida is the highest in our study, at 68.07%. This is about 26 percentage points higher than the 2019 national Black homeownership rate, which is approximately 42%. Miramar additionally ranks in the top 15 cities for three other metrics: its high median Black household income (about $66,300), its high Black labor force participation rate (74.1%) and its relatively low Black poverty rate (7.9%).

6. Charlotte, NC

Though the median Black household income in Charlotte, North Carolina – at a little more than $46,300 – is relatively low, Charlotte ranks in the top third of cities for the other five metrics we considered. It has the 28th-highest Black homeownership rate (41.45%), the 18th-highest Black labor force participation rate (73.0%) and the 14th-lowest poverty rate for Black residents (13.6%). Additionally, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and almost 4% of businesses in the larger Charlotte metro area are Black-owned – both of which rank within the top 25 out of all 129 cities in the study.

7. Garland, TX

The Black homeownership rate in Garland, Texas is the fifth-highest in our study, at 50.98%. This city has the 11th-highest Black labor force participation rate, at 75.8%. It also ranks in the top 15 for its median Black household income ($60,030) and the percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (32.5%). Garland falls the most behind when it comes to the poverty rate for Black residents, which was 23.7% in 2019. That’s 1.2% higher than the national average for Black Americans and the worst of any city in our top 10.

8. Durham, NC

Only about two hours northeast of Charlotte, Durham, North Carolina takes the eighth spot on our list. The city ranks particularly well for its percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.2%) and percentage of Black-owned businesses in the larger Durham-Chapel Hill metro area (4.7%). Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate is the 30th-highest across all 129 cities in the study, at 69.4%. The poverty rate for Black residents is 35th-lowest overall, at 18.9%.

9. Enterprise, NV

Enterprise, Nevada had the fifth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate (79.0%), the 16th-highest 2019 median Black household income (about $58,500) and 23rd-best 2019 Black homeownership rate (roughly 43%) of all 129 cities in our study. Enterprise falls behind, however, when it comes to the number of Black-owned businesses in the larger Las Vegas metro area, at less than 2%. The city ranks 67th out of 129 for this metric.

10. Elk Grove, CA

The median household income for Black residents in Elk Grove, California is a little more than $76,300, the second-highest in our study (ranking behind only Rancho Cucamonga, California, where the median household income is almost $92,000). Elk Grove also ranks in the top 10 cities for its relatively high Black homeownership rate (52.51%) and the relatively high percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.1%). But like in Enterprise, Nevada, few businesses in the Elk Grove area are Black-owned. Annual Business Survey data from 2018 shows that less than 2% of employer firms in the greater Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade metro area are Black-owned.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where Black Americans fare best economically, SmartAsset looked at the 200 largest cities in the U.S. Only 129 of those cities had complete data available, and we compared them across six metrics:

  • Median Black household income. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black homeownership rate. This is the number of Black owner-occupied housing units divided by the number of Black occupied housing units. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black labor force participation rate. This is for the Black population 16 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Poverty rate for Black residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree. This is for the Black population 25 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of business owners who are Black. This is the number of Black-owned businesses with paid employees divided by the number of businesses with paid employees. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Business Survey and is at the metro area level.

To determine our final list, we ranked each city in every metric, giving a full weighting to all metrics. We then found each city’s average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Editors’ Note: SmartAsset published this study in celebration and recognition of Black History Month. Protests for racial justice and the outsized impact of COVID-19 on people of color have highlighted the social and economic injustice that many Americans continue to face. We are aiming to raise awareness surrounding economic inequities and provide personal finance resources and information to all individuals.

Financial Tips for Black Americans

  • See if homeownership makes sense. The Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Deciding whether or not to buy is often difficult. SmartAsset’s rent or buy calculator can help you compare the costs to see which one makes sense for your financial situation. Additionally, if you want to figure out how much you can afford to buy a house, our home-buying calculator will help you break down the target price for your income.
  • Some kind of retirement account is better than none. The Federal Reserve says that Black Americans are less likely to have a retirement account than white Americans. According to their 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, 65% of white middle-aged families have at least one retirement account, while only 44% of Black families in the same age group have one. Even though 401(k)s are a popular retirement plan because employers could match a percentage of your contributions, an IRA could also be another great opportunity to boost your savings. In 2021, the IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for people under 50 and $7,000 for people age 50 and older.
  • Consider a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

Photo credits: ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.

Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

Ski-town chic: A review of The St. Regis Aspen

Review: The St. Regis Aspen


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard

If you’re a traveler looking for inexpensive but quality hotels, you’re probably familiar with Best Western. This hotel group spans 18 brands in about 100 countries.

Even if you stay only a few times per year, you should consider the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard®. Not only will the card generate Best Western Rewards points toward future stays, but it also comes with a number of valuable, underrated perks.

But first: The well-known reasons

  • Welcome bonus: Get 80,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 billing cycles after the account is opened, plus 40,000 points when you spend $5,000 every 12 billing cycles.

  • Automatic platinum status: Cardholders are upgraded to Best Western Platinum elite status, which gets you a 15% bonus on all points earned on eligible stays.

  • Earnings bonus: Cardholders get 20 points per dollar spent at Best Western hotels, as well as 2 points per dollar spent elsewhere.

Underrated reasons

Potential for an additional 40K bonus points every year

If you spend $5,000 in your first 12 months as a cardholder, the company will reward you with an additional 40,000 points.

Even better: This offer is good every year.

Your 12-month qualifying period begins the month after you enroll your credit card, and starts again on your card anniversary. With rewards nights ranging from 8,000 to 36,000 points, your complimentary stays could add up quickly.

Helps you keep an eye on your credit score

The Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® gives you access to your FICO Bankcard Score 9, which is the version of the credit score that the company uses to manage your account.

The card is light on fees

Credit cards sometimes offer lots of “free” perks, but then charge huge fees. This card is a little easier on the wallet. The annual fee is a relatively modest $89. Plus, it doesn’t impose a 1% to 3% surcharge on purchases made abroad or in a foreign currency. Since the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, it’s a good card to use when traveling abroad.

10% discount on every stay for rewards members

Sign up for Best Western Rewards in conjunction with your new credit card and you’ll receive a minimum 10% discount on the hotel’s flexible rate. This member-only discounted rate is available when booking online at bestwestern.com.

Points don’t expire

It can be frustrating to manage rewards points that have deadlines. Thankfully, the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® makes it easy: The points you earn won’t expire as long as you use your card.

What’s more, there are no blackout dates for reservations, taking some stress out of the equation for cardholders.

Flexible arrival and departure times

If you love to drop off your bags at the hotel before a day of exploring or prefer to take your mornings slow, this underrated perk of the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® will put a pep in your step: Cardholders enjoy early check-in and late checkout for every stay.

The bottom line

Adding the Best Western Rewards® Premium Mastercard® to your wallet is worth considering for travelers who stay at Best Western properties at least a few times a year. Not only does it give you automatic elite status and a strong sign-up bonus, but it also offers an opportunity to earn additional rewards points every 12 months. The card gives you these benefits with only an $89 annual fee and zero foreign transaction fees.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

The 10 best secret beaches in the Caribbean

The best secret beaches in the Caribbean


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

We Really Dig This Adorable and Affordable Hobbit House in Wisconsin

For anyone driving around an established neighborhood of traditional homes in Madison, WI, one residence on Stevens Street stands out. Or doesn’t stand out.

“It’s an earth-sheltered home. Not necessarily built into the ground, but it’s earth-covered on the roof and on a couple of sides,” explains the listing agent, Jennifer Rios. “It’s in a kind of older neighborhood, with typical midcentury homes and older.”

She says she doesn’t believe any comparable earth-covered home can be found within at least a 10-mile radius.

The style has proved popular with buyers. The home was listed for $329,900, and multiple offers above the listing price came in after just a few days on the market.

“We went into it not really knowing what to expect with the uniqueness of the home,” Rios explains. “I laid out two scenarios: In this market, we’ll either see a very quick turnaround, or we may sit awhile. We tested it and had the best outcome possible.”

Exterior of home in Madison, WI
Exterior of home in Madison, WI

VRX Media Group

Exterior
Exterior

VRX Media Group

Exterior
Exterior

VRX Media Group

Exterior
Exterior

VRX Media Group

Interior
Interior

VRX Media Group

Bedroom
Bedroom

VRX Media Group

Bathroom
Bathroom

VRX Media Group

The home has two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, plenty of living space, and is surprisingly bright.

“It has full exposure on the back side, so there’s lots of nice natural light,” Rios says. “Because of its earth-covered roof and partially on the sides, it’s very temperate inside. The earth provides a really nice installation and flow of air.”

Which adds up to lower electricity bills—a boon in this part of the country.

___

Watch: Idaho Home Perched on a Lake Is a Storybook Fantasy Come to Life

___

Living space
Living space

VRX Media Group

Kitchen
Kitchen

VRX Media Group

Porch
Porch

VRX Media Group

Built in 1980, the home has only had two owners in the past 41 years, and the current owner has lived there for 26 years.

Rios says she feels a perfect buyer would be somebody who is environmentally conscious and appreciates the uniqueness of an earth home, and who also likes being able to walk or bike around the city.

She grew up in the neighborhood and knows this distinctive dwelling quite well.

“I would ride my bike by, and wonder who in the world lives there,” she says.

Now that Rios has been inside and scoped out the place, she says that looks are deceiving.

“When you walk in, you kind of feel like you’re entering a hobbit house,” she says. “It’s really surprising when you open the front door, and it’s an abundance of natural light. It feels like a very traditional home for the most part, except for the curved roof line.”

The curve is an interesting flourish.

“It creates such a nice sort of vaulted ceiling effect, but it’s kind of open and airy, which is what a lot of people like nowadays,” Rios adds.

Living space
Living space

VRX Media Group

Inside, the house doesn’t need require any more maintenance than any other 40-year-old home, but Rios points out that the roof does need attention and upkeep—at least after the snow melts.

“You can let it go and become real grassy, or you can mow it,” she says. “The sellers have just gone up there with a weed whacker a couple of times a year.”

Living space
Living space

VRX Media Group

Bathroom
Bathroom

VRX Media Group

Living space
Living space

VRX Media Group

Exterior
Exterior

VRX Media Group

Wine nook
Wine nook

VRX Media Group

Aerial view
Aerial view

VRX Media Group

Interior
Interior

VRX Media Group

Porch
Porch

VRX Media Group

Bathroom
Bathroom

VRX Media Group

  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Madison, WI
  • Learn more about Madison, WI

Source: realtor.com

What to Know About Chase’s New Policy on ‘Cash-Like Transactions’

Chase is using a new and expanded definition of “cash-like transactions,” which for Chase credit card holders refers to purchases that trigger the penalties of taking a cash advance. Cash advance rules can vary by card, but they often include expensive fees and interest while also disqualifying the purchase from earning rewards, such as cash back, points or miles.

A common example of cash-like transactions, sometimes called “cash equivalents,” would be using a credit card to take out cash from an ATM.

To some extent, Chase is just making explicit its current definition. The changes take effect at various dates, mostly in early- to mid-April 2021.

What’s changing

Chase in recent years has rejected some types of transactions, such as funding an account for online gambling and purchasing cryptocurrency from an exchange. That remained true as Chase implemented its new definition of cash-like transactions.

But if Chase eventually allowed those transactions, they are now clearly identified as cash-like transactions and would be considered cash advances.

In its notification to cardholders, Chase said cash-like transactions include, but are not limited to, four categories:

  • Currency exchange and other forms of payment: Travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, other similar digital or virtual currency and other similar transactions.

  • Gambling: Lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, racetrack wagers and similar offline and online betting transactions.

  • P2P payments: Person-to-person money transfers and account-funding transactions that transfer currency.

  • Third-party bill-pay services: Includes bill-payment transactions not made directly with the merchant or their service provider.

Some of those things, such as lottery tickets, were already considered cash-like transactions in Chase’s previous cardholder agreements. The new definition expands and clarifies what Chase means by cash-like transactions, it said.

Missing from the list is explicit mention of certain popular payment systems, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal Key and Plastiq. A Chase spokeswoman said all of those “could” be classified as a cash-like transaction. However, purchases of goods and services from a business using a third-party payment service are not cash-like transactions and would not have the associated fees, she said.

So, for example, using a Chase card to fund an in-person retail transaction via Apple Pay or an online purchase via PayPal at checkout would not be a cash-like transaction.

Charitable donations made with a Chase credit card are treated as purchases and would not be cash-like transactions, she said.

Why the definition matters

Generally, a cash-like transaction could have these downsides:

  • Cash advance fee. This is a one-time fee charged when you take your advance, usually 3% to 5% of the amount.

  • Higher interest rate. Many cards charge a higher annual percentage rate for cash advances than for regular purchases.

  • No grace period. If you pay your balance in full monthly, your credit card usually gives you a grace period of at least 20 days to pay off your purchase before you’re charged interest. Cash advances, though, start to accrue interest from Day One.

  • Lower credit limit. Some credit cards have a separate cash advance credit limit, which is lower than the overall credit limit.

  • No credit card rewards. Your spending on a cash equivalent probably doesn’t qualify for rewards, such as cash back, travel points or miles. Similarly, it won’t count toward your required spending to earn a sign-up bonus.

What to do if you’re nervous

If you’re concerned about being socked with cash advance fees, you can call the number on the back of your card and request that Chase reduce your cash advance limit. That way, if a purchase turns out to be a cash-like transaction, it will be rejected if it’s over that limit instead of being assessed fees.

If you don’t like Chase’s changes to the definition of cash-like transactions, you can reject them up until the day before they take effect. But then Chase will close your account.

What Chase offers as alternatives

Cash advances are an expensive way to get cash. But Chase offers another way to access your credit card’s line of credit besides making purchases, if that’s your goal.

My Chase Loan

My Chase Loan is like a bank loan. Once approved, you receive a deposit directly into your bank account. You have a set amount of time to repay the loan, and you’re charged a variable interest rate, depending on the Chase card you are using for the loan.

Source: nerdwallet.com

15 Cities Where Homes Are Selling the Fastest

COVID-19 has brought tremendous volatility to many economic sectors, and one area where the effects have been felt most strongly is real estate.

In most areas, the onset of the pandemic last spring temporarily brought the real estate market to a standstill. Economic uncertainty was high as businesses shut down, making both buyers and sellers hesitant to enter the market, while stay-at-home orders and health and safety fears made it harder to arrange showings, inspections, and in-person meetings during the closing process.

As time has gone on, however, demand in the real estate market has picked up in a dramatic way. With the transition to working and schooling from home, families are increasingly seeking out homes with more space and amenities. Moreover, government efforts to stimulate the economy have kept interest rates low and provided relief to households through expanded unemployment benefits and direct payments. Simultaneously, shifts in consumer behavior have pushed savings rates higher over the last year. This combination of factors has given more buyers the desire and the means to look for homes.

Despite this, increased demand from buyers has not been met with an equal willingness of homeowners to sell. Some would-be sellers remain worried about risking COVID-19 exposure from tours and showings, but economic conditions may be the main reason why current homeowners are opting to hold onto their properties. For example, the same low interest rates that are enticing prospective buyers also make it easier for homeowners to refinance and stay put. Since selling one house frequently means buying another, sellers may look at a competitive market with many buyers and decide to avoid the hassle.

The overall effect is a market with unusually constrained supply of homes for sale. Real estate inventory usually shifts on a seasonal basis, dropping in the winter and picking up in the warmer months. COVID-19 interrupted these trends when the pandemic emerged in March. Inventory held flat during the spring but began to decline soon after. By December 2020, the number of active listings on the market was nearly 40 percent lower than at the same point in 2019.

Limited supply has affected sales in two major ways: first, prices are much higher, and second, homes are flying off the market. As with inventory, time to close usually follows seasonal patterns, with sales taking longer in the winter and less time in the warmer months. And here again, COVID-19 had a strong impact: sales were unusually slow after stay-at-home orders took effect but accelerated again over the course of the year. The median number of days a home spent on the market in the last quarter of 2020 was more than 15 percent lower year-over-year than the same period in 2019.

And as with all real estate, location matters. Demand—and with it, the speed of sales—are especially high in Western and Southwestern states that have been experiencing the highest rates of population growth. This includes the three states where homes are selling the fastest: Washington, Nevada, and Arizona.


Read More