Hacking money, travel and points with Chris Hutchins

I enjoyed a podcast on “Hacking money, travel and points” with Chris Hutchins, the founder of a personal finance app, and Kevin Rose (VC at True Ventures and founder of Digg). Every few months, I seek out a refresher on how to think about personal finance. My objective is rarely about learning something new as the principles rarely change. But, I’m beginning to appreciate the value of revisiting important topics to further help me synthesize.

Nuggets / top reminders

  • Retirement: Multiply what you will need per year after retirement x 25 – that’s the size of your retirement fund. Most folks don’t know what their retirement fund should be (I didn’t think about this previously as well).
  • Learn to have conversations about your salary: After a certain point in your career, this ends up making a huge difference.
  • House: If you’re ever considering buying a house, consider it carefully. It’ll likely be the largest purchase in your lifetime.

Confirmation / Things I do (mostly)

  • Credit Karma: Monitor your credit card status – important if you live in the US.
  • Save.
  • Spend on happiness versus things.
  • Cook and eat healthy.
  • Use low cost ETFs via vanguard. Consider a target date retirement fund. That does what robo advisors like Wealthfront do.

Things I’m not sure I want to do

  • Credit card points: Their conversation about credit cards was fascinating even if I know I’d never go down that path. The principle was sound though – get a credit card that rewards your biggest expenses. Decide how much you want to optimize. Chase (for those in the US) has great cards.
  • Travel: If you travel a ton, optimize for points. Starwood points are the best points.

PS: If you’re interested in learning more about the topic, here’s an old learnographic on personal finance.