Category Archives: 401k and Personal Finance

Earn $25 filing a bug report, enhancement request, or user story

for #iPhone #app #myNestEgg ~ the retirement calculator (link at iTunes store) and receive an Amazon gift card (one winner per category).

I am starting this mostly for fun, three categories ($25 per category):

bug report; enhancement request; user story

Send email to uudaddy(No Spam) AT gmail DOT com. This runs until Dec 31, 2010. One entry for one person.

How the prize being determined
My 7 months and a half daugher gets to decide :-)

Seriously, I will decide according the merits.

AmazonThankYou2010-04-27 myNestEgg_12_2010-10-25_2

Version 1.2 is coming
Just in time for annual benefits enrollment. The following is a glimpse. Note I purchased Glyphish Pro icons this time. So hopefully you can show this app to your friends without being embarrassed for lack of icons in version 1.0/1.1

F.A.Qs

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Submitted 2nd iPhone iOS app collegeFund ~ college savings calculator

(Update 10-26-2010) I forgot to mention that app is available at iTunes App store since Oct 5. The product support page is at uudaddy. Sorry for my omission :-)

(Original) I submit the collegeFund app 3 days ago. This app is similar to the myNestEgg ~ the retirement calculator, it helps parents (and other family members who are willing to help) to calculate the kid’s college savings fund vs. the retirement fund in the retirement calculator.

I got this idea more than a year ago when a close friend who is sending kid to college. I can felt financial burden of the father, while I can also fully appreciate the kid’s decision to go to a well known college instead of the college his dad and yours truly both went (btw, the job prospect of our alma mater was very good).

This March, our daughter was born, I was hoping I don’t have to be put into such as tough spot when my kid starts college (btw, her father will have to seriously think about the retirement plans then). Hence, I opened the Ohio 529 plan a month after her birth, and started to put away the money we received from family. Meanwhile, I set an automatic monthly deposit for her account.

CF_currentSaving0_age0_annual5000

Anyway, I wish this is a beginning for parents, grand parents, uncles, aunties etc. to plan for their kids’ college education. Now let’s hope the app gets approved soon :-)

Announcing iPhone app myNestEgg ~ the retirement calculator

(Update Oct-22-2010) The version 1.1 was released yesterday Oct 21, 2010. This link is the same. Release notes is attached at the iTune store description as well.

(Original) iTune store link here.

myNestEgg_iTune_store_2010-09-17

Product support page here.

What is it (myNestEgg)?
myNestEgg is a retirement (savings/income) calculator iPhone app. It runs on iOS 3.1.2 or later.

How much does it cost?
99 cents in the US (Apple tier 1 price, CA$0.99 GB£0.59 EU0.79 € AU$1.19 NZ$1.29 etc.)

Any special promotion for new product launch?
Yes, you can. If you can find a significant bug or suggest a meaningful feature, you can email me at , and I will give you the refund (via Paypal). And if you like, I can send you the Ad hoc version of my future products for free as long as you send me the feedback (note you will need to send me the UDID of your device for the Ad hoc version).

Looking for a few good reviewers and bloggers for iPhone app

I am looking for a few good reviewers and bloggers for my 1st iPhone app, myNestEgg ~ the retirement calculator. Here are a few basic requirements for the reviewer/blogger:

1) An iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad device with iOS 3.1.2 or above.

2) Has an iPhone app review site or a personal finance blog web site. More importantly, are willing to try out my app and write independent reviews.

How to get the app?
The app is at “Wait for review” stage. I can build ad hoc version of the app and send it to you (about 500k). Email me if you are interested. My email address is .

What you will get besides the app?
Well, I can not promise anything significant because they will affect your opinion. But I can come up with something appropriate later after seeing the review.

Earn up to 75,000 AA miles for new Citi AAdvantage card holder

(Update 02-10-2011) The previous link expired. Try this new link if interested. One difference is they requires one spend $4000 in first 6 months to get the full 75,000 miles. Good luck!

(Update 09-17-2010) I got the 75,000 AA miles.

(Update 8-19-2010) Received the Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature card today, called and verified the “spending $1500 in first 6 months, receive 75,000 AA miles” is good.

(Original 8-16-2010) Got the offer from my AA membership letter. Choose one of the three cards:

Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature card, Citi Select /AAdvantage American Express card, or CitiBusiness /AAdvantage Visa card.

Here is the link www.away5.citicards.com.

I applied the card before getting the mail, via another link. Today I received the letter says my card got approved. I hope the 75k miles offer applies to my application (and I got a free round trip ticket back to China 😀

Time to get a new car, or a used one?

(Update 07-24-2010) Got it, this is my new car (SUV, or tall wagon to be exact), 2006 Subaru Forester. BTW, I think this Subaru Credit Card reward program is quite interesting.


(Picture credit: edmunds.com)

(Original) As much as I love my 2001 family sedan, recent repair bills made me think hard on my options. Year to date I’ve paid $1,500 to fix the engine noise and windshield motor problems, not a small sum, considering the car itself is worth about $3,000.

Car problems show up as it ages, this is normal phenomena. I remember spending pretty money maintain my 1991 Corolla back from 1998 to 2002 (can not afford a new car). I bought my current car brand new a little over 9 years ago, now it’s aging fast, esp. since I started to commute again this Feb, after working from home for 15 months.

Besides the cost issue, another reason is we will need two cars, because now I need a commute car (better to be reliable), and my wife will need to take our baby girl sometimes, she will need the car to do her own thing too. Couple days ago I said “rent a car” is an option, but after 2 days of renting, I do see some of the inconvenience of renting as well.

I thought about getting a used car, but after recent my own car issue, and my own inability to diagnose and fix the car problems, I am thinking new car should also be an option. I know, financially buying a new car is not always smart, but a new car comes with warranty, and a piece of mind.

Buying a used car

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Cash Back Credit Card II: rebate category madness

(Update 07-28-2010) I found Citi® Platinum Select® AAdvantage® World MasterCard® to be interesting. AA actually offers 3 cards: Master Card, American Express or Visa. They has a 30,000 miles promotion as of now. Another card, which is more useful in our daily lives, is the Upromise® World MasterCard® credit card with Dining & Grocery Rewards, offered by BoA. But I think I will go for the Subaru card, for the 3% cash back (Subaru dollars, good at Subaru dealers for purchase or service).

(Original)Costco American Express Card
3% gasoline
3% Restaurant
2% Travel
1% everything else (including Costco purchase)

Discover card
5% gasoline, hotels, movie and theme parks (July 1st to Sept 30). Discover rotates the 5% cash back category every quarter.
1% for everything else (after meeting those $2,000, $3,000 spending requirements, as I said in earlier post)

Citi Dividend Card
Citi Dividend changed its policy from July 1. It no longer offers 2% (3%?) cash back on groceries etc. Instead it’s taking a page from Discover Cash Bonus Card, doing the rotating category thing. For instance, for this quarter (July 1 to Sept 30) it offers 5% for restaurant (needs enrollment).

It offers 1% for everything else.

Citi Professional
3% cash back on gas station, restaurant, office supplies and car rental;
1% on everything else

Summary
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SPG Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX credit card special offer

First I want to thank everyone who used my referral enrolling in Ohio College Advantage 529 plan, esp. those of you who kept quiet after using my referral code. My daughter (although she can not understand what is college these days, being 3 months and 3 weeks old) and my wife also want to express their thanks.

Saw this Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX credit card special offer from dealsea.

SPG has a new promotion – free 30,000 Starpoints after you spend $1000 in 3 months. No annual fee for the first year (then $45). Offer expires 7/6/10.

Here is a review for the card. And another review which talks about points redemption. Quote:

Starwood Preferred Guest program was the first program that had no blackout dates, which meant that if they had a room, they will give it to you. You need 2,000 points for a weekday stay at a category 1 hotel and 3,000 points for a weekend stay. You could also use a combination of points and paying cash. For example, you can use 1,250 points and $25 for a category 1 hotel stay. Starwood also allows you to get a fifth night stay free at category 3,4,5 and 6 hotels. The minimum points required is 28,000 points for a category 3 hotel. Room upgrade requires a minimum of 1,000 points. You can also get 50% off regular rates by using just 1,000 points for any category hotel. Points can be used to redeem for an entire vacation – with hotel stays and flights as well.

Starwood hotels include brands like Four Points, Sheraton,Westin and W Hotels. It seems to me Starwood program is better than HHonors program (Hilton family hotels), and SPG points worth more than HH points. For instance, 3,000 points can get one free night stay at Four Points Daning in Shanghai. So I took the bait: applied the card just now, and got approved 😀

Credit card series I: Amazon Visa Card

link here. This is the new card I got this year. I got the $40 first statement credit, and am very pleased to get the extra points for my Amazon purchase (quite a bit after our new baby born).

With your Amazon.com Rewards Credit Card, you will earn points for every dollar you spend on the card.

Earn 3 points on eligible Amazon.com purchases
Earn 2 points on eligible gas, dining, and drugstore purchases
Earn 1 point on purchases everywhere else

This is probably the most straightforward reward card.

Sample rewards
2,500 points can get you $25.00 Amazon gift card;
5,000 points can get you $50 check;
……
90,000 points can get you an air ticket to any where in the world (disclaimer: worth about $1,600).

One point is roughly 1 cent ($0.01).

What is American Funds and my 401k choice

It’s 401k enrollment time, because of my recent job change. I have lived life without 401k contribution for several months now, although I tried to keep up with buying mutual fund Scottrade IRA account. But I found this IRA thing is not as easy my good old 401k account. Couple reasons:

1) Automatic payroll deduction and investment in 401k vs. manually deposit/buy fund in IRA;

2) Dollar average cost (DCA) for the investments (mutual funds) in 401k, vs. picking the best time to buy mutual fund cheap (not easy to time the market);

3) Choosing from about 10 mutual funds vs. choosing from thousands of mutual fund Scottrade offers (a daunting task, which I talked a bit in my earlier post).

Anyway, here is the new mutual funds and their respective weight I chose for my new 401k plan.

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