Churning Towards Investments

Calvin Hobbes Time OutIt’s been a long while since I posted here! I took a long break from work, from blogging, from churning credit cards, and from selling gift cards for a few months to focus on the family. My kids are growing up too fast and I wasn’t spending enough time with them. I was also feeling a bit burned out from juggling a full-time job and a few side projects I’ve been working on. So over summer, I put everything on hold to spend time with the family. We traveled quite a bit and did a lot of things together. I got to spend two fantastic weeks at Disneyland – one week per kid so each got 1:1 time with me and got to do everything they wanted to do!   We also went to New York for a couple of weeks and did a lot of touristy things. The rest of the summer was spent hanging out at local parks, different beaches, the library, and home. What an amazing summer and a much needed break!

Now that school is back in session, I’m back to work. I also picked up some churning and reselling. Looks like things are becoming increasingly more difficult with many manufactured spending options shutting down and eBay restricting gift card usage. Oh well, time to put the thinking cap back on and figure out the next best opportunity.

That said, I’ve also changed my focus and strategy for FPT Gift Box. I took the FPT Gift Box Store offline. It was too much to keep up and maintain. Not sure if I will continue doing direct sales, but for now, I will stick to reselling through third party channels so that I can buy and sell at my own pace. Also, I want to go back to my original “Five Plus Two” idea of generating and channeling more resources towards charities and areas of need through strategic investments and giving strategies. Over the years, I’ve applied for and amassed an insane number of credit cards. I’ve also accumulated lots of miles and points. While miles/points are useful, I haven’t got all the time to figure out how to use them. So for now, I’d like to simplify things a bit by focusing on cash back instead of miles/points. One half of generating resources is accumulating cash back from the purchasing and the other half is making money (or earning freebies) from the reselling.  Cash is king!

Cash is King


Fidelity Rewards Visa

Fidelity VisaLast month, I got the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card. The card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases and has no annual fee. Cashback is then deposited in a Fidelity investment account that will grow over time. This fits very well with “The FPT (5+2) Model” – making more money from free money! I also happen to know of one Fidelity fund that I believe will outperform the market by manifolds. I won’t post the name of the fund publicly because I don’t want to be held responsible for people following my footsteps only to lose their hard-earned money. People are happy when they make money but some get mean and nasty when they lose money. I’m no financial advisor but I do trade the stock market for fun and for my lunch money, so I trade/invest at my own risk (which I score 10/10 on the risk tolerance scale).

So here’s my plan:

  1. I’m going to put the majority of my charges (living expenses as well as churning/purchasing/reselling expenses) on the Fidelity Rewards card.
  2. All earned cash back will automatically be deposited into the Fidelity investment account. I’ll need to manually invest the amount to the Fidelity fund.
  3. When the annual fee comes around for my other miles/points cards, I plan to cancel most of them including my favorite card, the Barclay Arrival Plus card, which I’ve had for almost two years now.
  4. I’ll be tracking total cash back earned as well as the growth of the Fidelity account over time.

With no annual fee and one credit card for the majority of my expenses, life will be much simpler. I am also curious to see how much cash back I can generate in a year and even more curious how my star fund will perform over time. I can imagine the compounded growth from the cash back AND the fund will be phenomenal! Meanwhile, all my miles and points are depreciating over time because I haven’t made any plans how to use them yet.

investment growth

Portfolio Snapshot

On 8/26/2016, I opened the Fidelity investment account and funded it with $2500, the minimum amount to invest in this particular fund. Today, 9/6/2016, the account is worth $2,641! That’s a 5.6% return in less than 2 weeks! Meanwhile, the S&P returned 0.3% in the same timeframe! Definitely a star performer, but we’ll see how this one continues to perform over time. I’ll try to update with a portfolio snapshot every few months.

The first credit card statement hasn’t closed yet so I have yet to add any cash back to the account. I’ve already put over $7k of charges to the card, so at minimum, I expect an additional $140 to be added to the fund later this month. This is very exciting! I’m positive this account will more than double in a year’s time.


The FPT (5+2) Model

At the end of the year, I plan to donate the equivalent earned cash back amount to a donor advised fund, but I won’t withdraw from the Fidelity account. Instead, I will transfer investments from another investment account so that I can track the performance of the Fidelity account as a benchmark to what churning towards investments (or retirement) might look like if others did the same. That’s “The FPT (5+2) Model”!

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