August 31, 2014

4 Good Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

The four credit cards linked to below are worth about $400 in rewards (or more) if you spend $3000 in the first 3 months.  

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Bonus of 40,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
You can also get another 5,000 points by adding an authorized user.
Annual fee $0 the first year and $95 after
40,000 miles can get you $500 in travel
Plus you can transfer your miles to your airline mile accounts at a 1:1 ratio without fees.

Capital One Venture Rewards

Bonus of 40,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Annual fee $0 the first year and $59 after
2 miles per dollar spend on purchases

40,000 miles can get you $400 in travel expenses

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite

40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee $0 for the first year and $89 after
2 miles per dollar spent
 Miles can be redeemed for travel plus you get a 10% credit in points when redeeming

Wells Fargo Propel World American Express Card

40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Annual fee $0 for the first year and $175 after
3 miles for airlines, 2 miles for hotels and 1 miles for other
You can use miles for travel or other tings like a statement credit of 1¢ per mile.

Note that all 4 cards have annual fees that are waived in the first year but fairly pricey after that so if you do sign up for one of these its probably best to cancel after the first year to avoid the fees.  Assuming you don't value the card enough to warrant the fee, which might be possible.  But you might also be able to downgrade to a different card if you like the service.  Barclaycard has a no annual fee version of their Arrival World card.

I don't have any of these cards myself though I do have a Chase card and a couple Barclaycards now.   Note that the links above are not commission links.   These just seem like good deals.   Please be sure to read up on all the terms and conditions if you're interested in signing up for a card. 


August 29, 2014

Best of Blogs for Week of August 29th

Every Friday afternoon I share some of the more interesting or notable posts that I have seen in the personal finance blogs and other sources for the past week

MyMoneyBlog discusses the Effect of Student Loan Debt on Homeownership Rate

DQYDJ answers the question What is the Savings Rate in Other Countries?\

DQYDJ also presented Where Do Residents of the States Come From? A Demographic Study of 2012 Census Data   which lets you look up the number of people who migrated to states from various other states and nations based on age ranges. Which is kinda interesting.    In that same area, the NYT published this Where We Came From and Where We Went, State by State which has really neat charts showing state to state migration flows going back to 1900.    You can use these to see for example that the outflow of people from California may be exaggerated.   For example in 2000 a full 76% of the people born in CA still lived there and by 2012 it was down to just 75%.  Not a huge difference, and by comparison in Alaska the numbers were 53% in 2000 and 50% in 2012.  OK I'm writing too much...


August 28, 2014

How Often Are Renters Evicted?

My Dad has had rental properties for many years now and in total he manages about 20 units including the properties we own jointly.   I can only recall 2-3 instances when my Dad actually had to complete a full eviction with the courts and go to the end to have the Sheriff actually remove someone.    Almost always tenants will either pay their rent or leave if first presented with a 3 day pay or quit notice.   A minority of people will push it further than that and only a small fraction will actually let it get into the courts.  People really don't want to be evicted for good reason.   Personally I've not had to evict anyone and my wife and I have been managing our own properties for several years now.  

 From watching my Dad and my own experiences it really seems that actual evictions are quite rare.   If you look at the number of years in question and the total number of tenants it would probably work out to around 0.5% to 1% of tenants are evicted.   Thats a pretty rough ballpark number though.

The American Housing Survey for 2009 captures reasons people moved and in that data they say that 191,000 people moved in the year because they were evicted.   Among the total of 35.3M renters that would equate to about 0.5% of renters being evicted in a given year.

I found an article on SF Gate that said San Francisco logged "1,716 evictions between March 2012 and February 2013".   In any case thats in a city of 825k people and 38% of the population rents.    That comes out to about a 0.5% eviction rate.

I've got 3 different ways of looking at the eviction rate and come out to about 0.5% each way.
It seems that this is probably a fairly accurate estimate then.

My conclusion :  About 0.5% of renters are evicted annually.


August 26, 2014

MOST Students Go To Universities Where Tuition is Under $12,000

It seems typical when a news report is talking about college costs they'll cite one of the most expensive universities in the nation where the full retail sticker price including tuition, fees and room and board is in the ballpark of $60,000.    Then they'll go on to talk about someone who graduated from the overpriced school with a basketweaving degree who has over $200,000 in student loans somehow.   THis clearly isn't the norm.  Its the exception to the norm.    I've already discussed before about how a very small fraction, 0.3%, of undergrads end up with over $100,000 of student loan debt.    But how many students go to those over priced private schools?   Very few.

The collegeboard has the data in a nice chart on their site showing the distribution of students who attend schools by the published tuition & fees rates :
Distribution of Full-Time Undergraduates by Tuition and Fees

Full time undergrads go to universities with a median published tuition & fee rate of $11,093.

Pubic schools median is $9,011 and private nonprofit is  $31,290.     Most students go to public schools so the overall median is much closer to the public school rate than the higher private school cost.

About 2/3 of students go to schools with rates below $18,000 and 81.9% are at schools charging under $30,000.

88% of public university students are at schools that cost UNDER $18,000.    84% of students are in private schools that cost OVER $18,000

The vast majority of public universities charge under $18,000 and the vast majority of private universities charge over $18,000.

Keep in mind that these are the published tuition and fee rates and that most students also receive financial aid of some form so the actual net cost to students is less.

 While the average tuition at public schools is $8,890 in  the '13-'14 school year the NET paid amount is just $3,120.    For profit schools the average was $30,090 and the net was $12,460.   You can find the net pricing in the college board trends in college pricing data.   Specifically see Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 in the XLS data.

In 2012 the average student aid in grants was about $7,200 and tax benefits averaged $1200.   See college board info on trends in student aid.
Of course this figure is an average while the other figure is a median.  And aid will be weighted at the lower income group.   So the two figures don't really match.


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