#TBT – My Golf Summit with Mr. Speaker


#TBT.  Here’s a post that ran just over 5 years ago on June 20, 2011.

On Saturday, President Obama did something that I did 33 years ago: He spent an afternoon on a golf course with John Boehner. On July 22, 1978, I put in 4-5 hours as a personal assistant / pack mule (caddy) for the current Speaker of the House when he was just a 20-something.

I know this because I am a counter.  I’m not a Rainman-instantly-count-a-dropped-box-of-toothpicks counter.  But I count things.

I know that I have been on 56 TV shows;  seen major league baseball games in 41 parks;  and have performed 3,074 stand-up comedy shows on 475 stages, in 296 cities in 42 states – including all of the places named in The Steve Miller Band’s “Rock ‘n Me” and Sade’s “Smooth Operator” songs.

In my various “character building” careers, I made $510.72 as a paper boy, $439.89 slinging frozen yogurt, and $641.60 as a caddy.  The other day I came across my caddy records and noticed that Mr. Boehner paid me $5 for the 18-hole round – which included a 50 cent tip.  In his defense, that tip was fairly common.  I blame the Carter Malaise.  That or my inability to find lost balls.  Adjusted for inflation, that $5 is like getting $18 today.

Even though John Boehner was just a plastics salesman at the time and years away from politics, I always remembered I had caddied for him.  Probably because I was just out of 8th grade and with a little imagination, his name could be pronounced “Boner”.  Who knows, maybe I let that slip and that is why I got the fin.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to continue preparing my treatise on the lawns I cut from 1979-1984.

Here is a page of the actual ledger from which that above image was taken:

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Balance Transfer2

How To Transfer Your Balance To A 0% Card


balance-transfer2Carrying a $5,000 balance on your credit card at 10% interest is $500 a year that you are wasting.

Here’s the nitty-gritty on how you can STOP paying interest for the next 15-21 months.  It’s very easy!

You apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card, and have them move your current card’s balance over to the new 0% card.  To keep the 0% rate for the term, all you have to do is pay the minimum amount due.  Done and done!

Click on this li’l widgetty display thingy right here to check out the best cards:

Email me if you have any questions. Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks!

All but one of these cards charge a Transfer Fee of about 3% of what you transfer over.  Transferring $5,000 x 3% = $150.  The Transfer Fee of 3% is a lot less than the regular 10% interest you are currently paying.  But if you can save $150, you should!

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Nfl Sunday Ticket Free

Get NFL Sunday Ticket for FREE


I’ve gotten NFL Sunday Ticket for free – FOUR years in a row!  That’s a nice little run.

Here are a few ways you can get it free (Tweet it):

A) You could steal it. But, it’s probably best to not spend the 7th day resting while simultaneously shattering one of The Commandments.

B) You can get it free if you are a new customer to DirecTV, and sign a two-year contract with the “Choice” package or higher.  If you apply via this link, I get a taste from them.  It’s the same deal for you, but I get a li’l sumthin’, and isn’t that what life’s all about?

DirecTV_Refer_Friend-smOr… if you are going to be a new customer to DirecTV, you can also get $100 off if you are referred by someone who has it. The referrer also gets $100 in statement credits. Order online at directv.com/refer or by calling 1-800-507-4045. Please give them my account number 15929124 when asked who referred you – so we can both get rich. Rich, I tell you. RICH!

C) If you are already a DirecTV subscriber and eschew thievery, here’s the first step I took to getting it free. I called DirecTV. I told the robot that I wanted to “disconnect service”. This got me a human in “Customer Retention”.  If you aren’t going to utter the words… 

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Retirement Gamble 200

The Retirement Gamble


Retirement Gamble 200If you’d like to put away money for your retirement, this 52 minute video by FRONTLINE is a good first step.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this video is from Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard.  At 33:15 in, Bogle says it is better to invest in broadly diversified index funds instead of actively managed funds.

You invest in a fund that closely resembles the market, like the S&P 500.  You hold onto it.  You don’t trade.  It costs about 1% a year to own.  You ride the market up and down.  Otherwise, he said maybe you have a 1% chance to beat the market.

At 36:20 – Jason Zweig of Wall Street Journal says the “Ultimate dirty secret” is that a lot of people who run other fund companies own low cost, not actively managed index funds.  Those are the kind of funds Jack Bogle suggests.

Helaine Olen, Author of Pound Foolish chimes in at 37:40 with what makes sense to me.  It’s not that the fund managers are trying to hustle you. She said that active managers selling funds convince themselves that their fund will beat the market.

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Cubs Cash Card

A Baseball Card


I was watching the All-Star Game last night.  I’m sorry, I meant the “Mid-Summer Classic”.  By the way, when did saying “All-Star Game” turn into something verboten like uttering “MacBeth” in a theatre?  I digress…

Baseball fans, gather ‘round!  I wanna tell ya about a nice cash back credit card that can be customized with any of the 30 Major League Baseball Team colors and logo.

Besides all the visual swankiness, here are some perks:

  • Never an annual fee
  • $100 cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.  Here’s how you can do that easily: 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.

If you’d like to get a card, click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offer$” at the top right side of this website. Then click the “Sports Team Card” section. The 3rd card is the MLB card. Email me if you have any questions. Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks!  And…

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House Money

How To Lower Your Property Taxes


When you owe more on something than it’s worth, you are “upside-down”.  If this describes your home, fear not.  There’s an upside to being “upside-down”.

Get the Tax Man to reassess your property’s value and thereby lower your tax bill.

My buddy JT had his home’s value reviewed.  The Assessor came back with an even lower value than what JT hoped.  He saved over $1,000 in property taxes.  Remember, that is after-tax money.  In his case, that was more like what is left after paying taxes on income of $1,500.

I dunno what goes on in your parts, but here is information about the appeal process in Los Angeles, where property owners are allowed to appeal their value between July 2 – Nov. 30.

Contact your local assessor and turn those lemons into a half full glass of lemonade!

Have This Guy Negotiate Your Next Car Purchase


Honda Civic1My sister called to tell me her 17 year old car was dying.  She said, “I hate the idea of having to shop for another car and do all that negotiating.  I HATE IT!”  Well, it’s a good thing she called.  I’ve got a guy: Jeremy, aka ”Jer The Car Guy”.  Now you do too!

I met Jeremy a few years ago at a friend’s game night here in Los Angeles.  He’s a former car salesman whose hobby is negotiating car purchases for people.

For a few hundred bucks, Jeremy will find you the kind of car you want and negotiate it for you – new or used.  When the deal is locked down, you stroll into the car dealership, check out the car, sign the papers and you’re off!

Jeremy lives in the state of Washington and my sister is in Florida.  They connected a couple Dixie cups with string across the country.  Nay… they used the telephone.

They spoke on a Friday about her budget and what kind of cars might be in her price range.  Two days later, she drove her 2013 Honda Civic off the lot.  It had 37,000 miles and cost a total of $10,300.  My sister was thrilled!

Jeremy said, “A serious shopper who invests weeks into getting a car can generally

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Car 16 Years 176700

2 Cars in 30 Years


I’ve had two cars in 30 years.  During that time I’ve driven over half a million miles.  10 years of car payments and 20 years without!

I don’t cotton to car payments.  As I said in My Hooptie’s Total Recall, my first car ran for 13 years and 328,536 miles.  My 1999 Infiniti just turned 17 and 184,000 miles.  Although nearly worthless, it looks pretty sweet.  Thankfully, I don’t live where rust never sleeps.

A couple years ago, I cancelled the Collision portion of my insurance coverage.  So, please don’t hit me.

My insurance agent said my car falls in the “classic/antique car arena”.  What tipped him off, my cassette deck?  My Thomas Guide map in the glove box?  A glove box?

He said it would be worth about $1,000 if totaled.  Well, that is my deductible, sooo… This must be what it feels like to stop taking a medication and start greeting every day as a gift.

For it’s 17th birthday, I upgraded to a new radio with built-in Bluetooth, iHeart Radio, Pandora, USB ports and a bunch of other things that didn’t exist when I rolled it off the lot last century.

Lots of folks assume any 17 year old car must always be in the shop.  In the four

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AngerManagement Stillcropped

My Identity Has Been Stolen!


AngerManagement - StillcroppedWho am I?!  Don’t ya know me, Bert?

For only the 3rd time in my life, there was a fraudulent charge on one of my credit cards.  My credit report says I’ve had 61 cards over the past 25 years.  So, I feel pretty lucky.  Yes, this is considered having one’s identity stolen.

This was a pretty easy one to spot since I rarely use that card and even more rarely shop at Forever 21.  I’m more of a Lane Bryant gal.

The day after the charge hit my card, the transaction popped up in my Quicken.  Because I have Quicken download any new transactions in all my financial accounts, I knew about it the day after it happened.  No waiting for a statement in the mail.  Check out my Quicken review: I Feel Like Quicken Tonight.

I called the number on the back of the violated card.  They credited the amount back to my card.  I owed nothing.

The next step is that they send out a new card.  Because this was a card that was about to charge an annual fee (which is no bueno), I stopped them.

I asked them to transfer my credit line to another card that I had at their bank.  They were able to move over all but $500.  Then I canceled the card that had the fraudulent charge.  This way, I keep all but $500 of my credit line, thereby having very little impact on my credit score.

The still was taken from my appearance on ANGER MANAGEMENT. See it here.

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