What’s In Your Wallet?

I love Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?” ad campaing; they’re consistantly funny. While I’m not going to sign up for their credit card just because I enjoy the commercials, they do ask a good question. So, here’s what’s in my wallet:

Driver’s license – Of course.
Picture of wife – Gotta have it.
$10.00 bill – I prefer to pay using my cash back credit card, so I don’t carry much cash.
Post-it note with Travelocity vocher code – Vocher code was given to me when Travelocity made a mistake on a trip. I keep forgeting to use this; I don’t even know if it is still valid.
Jambacard – Jamba Juice gift card that probably has $0.73 left on it. I love smoothies!
Blockbuster Membership Card – Gets us movies.
Blockbuster Online E-Coupon for a free movie – We receive these monthly as part of our Total Access membership
PetsMart PetPerks Card – Gets us discounts on all of the stuff we buy for our puppy.
VonsClub Card – I never do the grocery shopping, so I don’t know why I have this.
Passport Service Information Card – In case I lose my passport.
AAA Roadside Assitance Card – In case I have car trouble.
500 minute PrePaid Phone Card – In case I don’t have cell phone service or change to make a phone call.
Health Net Insurance Card – Needed for doctor visits.
Optometrist’s business card – I must have grabbed this during my last visit.
Citi Dividend MasterCard – Cash back rewards card used for household expenses.
HSBC Platinum MasterCard – Cash back rewards card used for business expenses.
Mellon Commerical Visa Card – Company credit card, rarely used since I prefer to place charges on my cash back credit card and get reimbursed.
San Diego County Credit Union Visa Card – I do not use, but has a $10,000 credit limit and long payment history.
San Diego County Credit Union ATM Card – Used to access our joint savings account.
Washington Mutual Gold Debit Card – Used to access our joint checking account.
Bank of America Platinum Check Card – Used to access my personal checking account.

What have I learned from this exercise? That I have too many cards! I am ditching the following:
San Diego County Credit Union ATM Card – we only have $50 in the account to keep it open so that we can have access to the credit union for future auto loans.
Optometrist’s business card – the phone number is already programmed into my cell phone.
VonsClub Card – I don’t use it.

Picture me holding a 4” thick wallet, with a funny expression on my face, as I throw these 3 cards into the trash can, and say in a grumpy voice, “What’s in your wallet?”

RSS Feed

1MansMoney now has an RSS feed! I just learned about RSS feeds and love the convenience they provide. Inside of visiting your favorite blogs each day to see if there is new content, you can subscribe (for free) to your favorite blogs and visit one website to see updated content from all of them.

To subscribe to 1MansMoney’s RSS feed, click on the icon in the upper right hand corner of this webpage. You will be prompted to choose a reader (I use Google Reader) and create a user id and password. Then, whenever you want to see if there is new content from 1MansMoney and other blogs you subscribe to, you just log onto Google Reader. What a time-saver.

Real Emergency Fund

I think it’s great to have an emergency fund for unexpected events, such as sickness or job loss. However, if there were ever an emergency that took out the power for a long period of time, such as a major earthquake, it is likely that we would be unable to access our saving accounts or use our credit cards.

My wife and I rarely have more than $20 in cash on us, because we try to charge most of our expenses to our cash back credit cards. This puts us in a tough position if we needed to buy water or gas during an emergency. That being said, we decided to take $150 out of our savings so that we have cash available at home. We requested small denominations ($100 in one dollar bills and $50 in five dollar bills) so that we do not have to worry about getting change.

The money will be hidden in our condo and hopefully never used. We plan to buy a safe within the next year for my wife’s jewelry, important documents, and this emergency cash.

Gotta Love Easy Money

I just received confirmation from HBSC that our $25 cash back redemption request has been received, and our check will arrive within 15 business days. Not a big sum of money, but the only thing I had to do to earn it was charge my business trip expenses to my HBSC rewards Mastercard (which my company immediately reimburses me for).

My wife and I also have a Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard that we use for most of our household expenses. The card is paid off monthly and earns us up to 5% cash back. In fact, we should be able to request a $50 reward from the Citi MasterCard next month. Easy money.

Financial Websites

I really enjoy searching the web for high quality financial websites that I can learn from. It’s amazing how much information is available online. Below is a list of sites that I visit frequently.

Early Retirement Forum
Finding this site started it all for me

My favorite personal finance blog

More finance information that you can ever read

Bloomberg Calculators
Many useful financial calculators

Offers a wealth of resources and low expense Roth IRA choices

Why Don’t We Talk About Money?

Other than my family, I only have a couple of friends that I talk with about money. Even then, our conversations are usually limited to vague references, and not actual numbers. I can see pros and cons to keeping money matters private.


  • Less chance of jealousy if your financial situation is better than another person’s
  • Less possibility of embarrassment if your financial situation is worse off than another person’s
  • Less likelihood that someone will hit you up for a loan / try to steal from you


  • Lack of mutual learning thru discussion
  • Could promote “looking wealthy” rather than “being wealthy”
  • May contribute to a ignoring, or not giving enough attention to, financial issues
  • As you can see, I can argue both sides, however, I lean more towards wanting to talk about money – this blog, although anonymous, is a great example.

    One exception for me when it comes to talking about money is discussing compensation with co-workers. I don’t do it and wouldn’t recommend it.

    Net Worth Milestones

    To achieve our net worth goal of $1.5M in 20 years, we need a plan. Below are our net worth goals for each year (click on spreadsheet to enlarge). This plan assumes an average annual return of 8%, and our ability to increase our investments as our careers develop.

    As you can see, if we are able to hit our targets, we are still almost $300K short of our $1.5M goal. I guess that’s why they call them “stretch” goals.

    Roth IRA vs 401(k)

    We currently have $12,688.05 invested in my company’s 401(k) plan and $630.00 saved up to begin funding Roth IRA’s for my wife (minimum required to open a Vanguard Roth IRA is $3,000).

    The 401(k) money was accumulated (no company match) over the past 5 years of off and on investing without a plan or a goal. Now that we do have a plan and a goal, we have decided to focus on fully funding our Roth IRA’s this year, while still contributing a small amount (2% of my salary) to my company’s 401(k) plan. The Roth IRA money will be invested in the Vanguard 500 Index Fund.

    The main reasons we choose to focus on the Roth IRA’s are:

    • The average expense ratio of Vanguard 500 Index Fund is just 0.18%, while the average expense ratio of our 401(k) investments is 1.48%
    • The Roth IRA principal can be withdrawn penalty-free, while the 401(k) has limited loan availability
    • The Roth IRA has no mandatory withdrawals, while the 401(k) withdrawals must start at 70-1/2

    Since Roth IRA contributions are limited to $4,000 in 2007 (increases to $5K in 2008) we will be investing a total of $8,000 for my wife and I this year.

    Northern California Coast Trip

    We just returned last night from a friend’s wedding in Northern California. It was a great time, but we spent almost $400 for the 2-1/2 day trip. Our portion of the cabin was $160, our share of the gasoline (we drove) was $115, and meals totaled roughly $100.

    The Northern California coast is absolutely beautiful – lush green countryside, quaint cabins, and dramatic ocean views. The small town they had the wedding in was so remote that our cell phones did not work, internet access was via dial-up, and our cabin did not have a TV. Not having these distractions really helped us better enjoy the beautiful scenery. Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was turn on my computer and check on our financial accounts. Old habits die hard. . .

    Our path to financial independence and retiring early.