Money

Significant Figures

Peter Cooper Jr.
I have been curious for quite some time, if the calculation of the US National Debt is the quantity with the most significant figures that’s regularly used. It’s currently at 16 digits, and is calculated each and every business day. Their FAQ states that “daily accounting is still the most effective, efficient, and accurate way to account for the debt.” Most physics constants don’t have anywhere close to 16 digits of certainty.

Quote of the Day

Peter Cooper Jr.
I am starting to think that the right way to think about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and tokens might be the way you’d think about stocks, if stocks had just been invented. Here in 2017, it is uncontroversial to say that the invention of limited-liability joint stock companies utterly changed how humans organized their economic activities, and had huge impacts on economic productivity and on society as a whole. But it is also fair to say that the first few hundred years of stocks were mostly fraud and irrational speculation.

Random Life Update

Peter Cooper Jr.
As mortgage rates have dropped significantly, I’m working on refinancing my mortgage. I find it bizarre that when staying with the same bank, they need to do an appraisal to ensure that we have a low enough loan-to-value ratio, when they’re already taking the risk of having loaned us the amount of money that we have out. In fact, by lowering the payment all the refinancing is doing is lowering their risk.

Tip of the Day: Checking Credit Reports for Free

Peter Cooper Jr.
It’s handy to be able to check your credit report to ensure that the information companies are reporting about you is accurate. It’s especially important to check before you plan on applying for credit, but errors can sometimes take a while to resolve, so it’s a good plan to check regularly anyway. There are 3 credit reporting bureaus in the U.S. Federal law (FCRA) allows you to get one report from each bureau for free every 12 months.

Money successfully transferred from one pocket to the other

Peter Cooper Jr.
My $2500 in coins arrived yesterday, and today I deposited all but a $25 roll into my high-interest checking account. The deposit went without any trouble, although I think they were rather confused, and they did ask me for ID. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard of needing ID in order to deposit money in an account.

Buying money to make money

Peter Cooper Jr.
The U.S. Mint is offering a wonderful program, where they offer sets of 250 $1 coins for $250, charged to a credit card, with free shipping. I just bought the maximum-currently-available of $2500 worth (2 sets of $250 for each of 5 presidents) with my cash-back credit card. I intend to deposit it all (maybe all except $25-$50 in coins to spend) in my bank as soon as it comes in.

Going infinite on gift cards

Peter Cooper Jr.
Shaw’s, among many other retailers, is offering a promotion where one can buy a $330 gift card at a cost of $300, or a multiple of those numbers, any number of times, the theory being that government economic stimulus payments are often in multiples of $300, and they’d rather you spend it at their store. I suspect that their POS system would allow one to pay for a gift card using another gift card.

Interesting Lottery Deal

Peter Cooper Jr.
So, the Massachusetts State Lottery tried an interesting new product over the last couple months, which was more of a raffle format than the format the lottery usually uses. Tickets cost $20 and were available over the past couple months, and the winning ticket numbers will be chosen tomorrow. There’s a $20 million prize, as well as ten $1 million prizes and forty (40) $250,000 prizes. They were planning on selling 4 million tickets.

My bank is encouraging interesting spending habits

Peter Cooper Jr.
So, my bank this week launched a new checking account product, where as long as you (1) get e-statements, (2) get a direct deposit or withdrawal at least once a month, and (3) use your debit card at least 10 times in a month, you get a phenomenal 6% APY on the checking account. (If you don’t meet the requirements, you get a reasonable-nowadays 0.5% APY for that month.) The first two requirements I already meet, of course.

Inefficiency as a feature

Peter Cooper Jr.
I have a Prime Money Market account at Vanguard, which is where I keep my emergency fund as well as money that I’m accumulating throughout the month for large monthly expenses such as my mortgage. It pays a pretty good interest rate, and is handy for automatically funding my Roth IRA there as well. So when I need to transfer money from the money market account to my bank for something like my mortgage, I really have two options: