Where have you seen inflation the most? Maybe in travel. Between flights, the rental car, lodging, and admission fees, it feels like it takes FIVE bags of Benjamins to leave your back door for a long weekend! On today’s show, we’re thrilled to welcome travel savings expert Lee Huffman. He shares tips, tricks, and best practices to get the most out of your travel savings, wherever you may go. Be sure to tune in and get the most travel savings on any upcoming travel plans you have.
In today’s conversation, Joe and Lee dive into travel savings when traveling domestically vs. travel savings for international travel. They chat about the travel savings to be had through rewards programs, how to accumulate the most points for your travel savings, and which programs offer the best value. They also touch on how Airbnb and VRBO stack up against the big hotel chains. They also dig into the best flight rewards programs for your travel savings. And they discuss the value of TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
In today’s headline, we see how the recent Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) may fall short of its stated intention—to keep up with rising inflation. We throw out the Haven Lifeline to Patrick who has a question about 529 plans for his future children.
Plus, Doug dazzles us with his 90s fashionista awareness trivia.
Deeper dives with curated links, topics, and discussions are in our newsletter, The 201, available at https://www.stackingbenjamins.com/201
Big thanks to Lee Huffman for joining us today. To learn more about Lee, visit Bald Thoughts.
Tune into his travel podcast, We Travel There with Lee Huffman.
- What celebrity said, “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
Need life insurance? You could be insured in 20 minutes or less and build your family’s safety net for the future. Use StackingBenjamins.com/HavenLife to calculate how much you need and apply.
- Patrick and his wife are looking ahead to when they have children and want to know what options are available to plan ahead for their 529 plans.
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- 529 Plan comparison and information website savingforcollege.com
Join Us Friday!
Tune in on Friday, where we’re diving into the world of dreams and how not to delay them until retirement.
Written by: Kevin Bailey
Miss our last show? Listen here: Stumbling Toward — and achieving — Your Goals (Live from Bali!) SB1422
Live from Joe’s mom’s basement, it’s the Stacking
I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor Doug. Today, we’re going to help you see the world for less money and to better splurge so that you create awesome memories with the man behind the We Travel There podcast, Lee Huffman. In our headlines, Social Security recipients are scoring a raise next year. How does it look, and how do you manage money when your budget is fixed?
We’ll share tips
on both fronts.
Plus, we’ll throw out the Haven Lifeline to Stacker Patrick, who wants to know if he should start new 529 accounts for each of his kids, or add them as beneficiaries on his account. And then I’ll share some iconic trivia. And now… Two guys who look almost as good as I do in jeans.
It’s Joe and O, J J J J Jeans!
stackers, and happy Wednesday from mom’s basement to your ears. I’m Joe Saul Sehy. I have your money on Twitter. And it’s a happier Wednesday because Mr. O. G. is sitting across the card table from me, ready to roll.
Doug, are you getting in on that, uh, skinny jean fashion?
Uh, I said it. I said it a few years ago, so I’m going to move on from that, and I think I’m going to go back to the kid and play, super saggy, I’m going to try to bring that back next.
Yeah. Alright. Have a little extra fabric.
grow for the holiday season. Right. Right. Smart play. It’s like my kids have those little, uh, pants that have the little, uh, adjustment tab on the inside that you can tighten. Oh.
Oh. Yeah. Structural improvements in the trouser industry?
Yes. There’s been engineering?
pretty crazy. Everybody, Steve, give us a break sound, sound effect on that one. We’re going to tell Lee Huffman that we can’t get to him today because, well, we’ve got a more important topic with genes. Actually, Lee Huffman here talking about travel and how do we, I don’t know if you guys know this, but I just did some travel and Lee is going to help you do more with less money and for the money you do spend.
Do a better job of your travel. Speaking of jeans, nice, lightweight, uh, travel, lightweight, uh, around the holidays
too. Normally I just wear maternity jeans at
Which is an insult to maternity jeans.
For all the expectant moms listening to the podcast, we apologize right
now. Doug’s got that big fabric that he
just pulls up over. Absolutely. It goes
all the way up size. I can pull it. Are you kidding me? All the… All the women who have those, they paid like 200 bucks for them, they’re sitting in closets, they’re just gonna send them to me now, they’re gonna be
that’s perfect. Uh,
we don’t know where to go, we don’t know what to do with that information.
While I do this, let’s get back to Lee Huffman upstairs talking to mom. The host of the amazing, amazing We Travel There podcast, Upstairs Talkin to Mom. By the way, speaking of podcast, our little baby real estate podcast.
We have a podcast about babies? No, we have a baby podcast about real estate. And, uh, big congratulations to my co host over there, Crystal Hammond, uh, because we won the Plutus Award for Best New Personal Finance Podcast. So, congratulations. That is the sixth Plutus Award that Stacking Benjamins podcast have won.
Are we in the Stacking
metaverse? Oh god, I hope not. Please say no. OG, please say no that we don’t. Crossover
It’s your favorite. And now we’ve got all these hosts running around and we’re not sure which one’s the real one. New superpowers evolving. Yes. Let’s change the metaverse into the singular verse.
And while we do that, uh, we’ve got something great for you guys to listen to. Hold on. Joe, Joe,
verse is better and more succinctly termed universe. Una being singular. Oh,
hold on. I’m going to now change it from a singular verse to a universe. Hold on a second. All right. Now that we’ve got that English language stuff, it’s chaos here today.
We’re going to start off talking social security, like all the crazy podcast talk about.
darlings. And now it’s time for your favorite part of the show. Our Stacking Benjamins headlines. Our headline today comes to us from GoBankingRate. Social security cuts, six things to know for financial planning 2024.
This is written by Andrew Lisa. Andrew says in 2024, America’s 67 million social security recipients will technically get a raise, but the boost to their benefits will be so marginal that the gain will feel more like a loss. Legislation from 1973 provides for annual cost of living adjustments designed to preserve the purchasing power of social security benefits as inflation drives up prices over time.
Faster prices rise, the more the SSA increases the yearly cost of living. However, agency’s method for calculating the adjustments has advocates worried that the coming year’s increase will leave many recipients struggling to do more with less. Well, the number came out on Monday of this week. Oh, gee, obviously we need to record this a little bit ahead, but everybody expects based on the way that they.
Calculate this, as Andrew writes here, that we’re going to see a cost of living increase that’s much tighter than actually what, uh, inflation has been for the average person. So people on social security should be, should be gearing up for maybe a little bit of a, a little bit of a tightening of the belt this year.
Yeah, I mean, there was a couple of years of some pretty good increases. And then for people who have been on social security for a long time, many years of no increases or very, very, very little increases. over the years. So, uh, when we record this, we don’t know what the number is going to be, but it’s calculated to be somewhere in the three, three and a half percent range, which is historically high for social security, but recently low.
And then if you pay attention to the inflation data, while it’s coming down, you know, inflation in August was still four and a half percent. So little less than what we’re seeing in the inflation numbers, but still better than the historical average, if you
will. The big thing that Andrew’s getting to here is not really about this year, but for people planning on social security in the future, the way that this is all calculated is using something called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and clerical workers, CPI W, to determine their cost of living.
But if you go back, OG, to 2000, Andrew writes, the result is that every 100 in benefits you got in 2000, that’s buying you just 64 worth of goods and services today. So we’ve seen a cut of roughly a third off the top in what your benefit has been, which means that if you’re doing your financial planning, looking at being retired for a long time, you shouldn’t think of social security then as keeping pace.
You should think about it as maybe a declining benefit over time. I think you were talking about this last week a little bit about how social security benefits, really that cost of living increase, not, not what people hope it would be. Well, it’s never going
to be exactly what, you know, you’re personally experiencing.
I mean, for some people in different communities. That could be enough. It could be a decent increase, but if you’re in a high cost of living area or if you’re in an area that’s having lots of growth and there’s, you know, lots of price pressure because of supply demand issues, there’s going to be some micro economies where you happen to be, and, and, you know, this is a national thing, right?
So they just look across the board and say, hey, folks in Montana get the same price increase as the, you know, Our cost of living increases the folks in Phoenix and the same as the folks in LA and the folks in Detroit. So it’s a broad brushstroke, which I think is also really important as you’re thinking about your planning.
You know, if you’re in your 40s and 50s and you’re thinking about social security and saying, well, I’ll have some of that. You can run those projections. You can go to SSA. gov and it’ll show you here’s how much you’re going to get at 67. Here’s how much you’re going to get at 70. And you can put that in your plan, but I think you want to use a much lower inflation rate for those assets than you would your regular investment assets, which again, as you back into that means that you have to be more aggressive.
You have to get a higher rate of return with your other equity investments because you have to keep up with inflation. Kind of doubly so, right? You’ve got this bucket of money that’s not doing it So you got to like bolster that bucket and then you also have to do it on your
own This is another reason why we have some issues with target date funds Which are generally getting more conservative before you need the money And I think what you’re saying OG is that you can’t afford to be getting conservative too soon.
I mean I’ve often Talked about the fact that I don’t think that you should be conservative ever because if you’re if your money is invested correctly Then it should always be kind of pretty, you know You should always be thinking that that you have a bucket for that 30 year money, right? And you have some of it that’s needed tomorrow for sure if you’re closing in on retirement, but you should also be thinking well I need money when I’m 90 years old to again back to your example folks that retired in 2000 If they retired at 65 in 2000, yeah, they’re 88, 89 today.
That’s a pretty healthy retirement timeframe, but there’s lots of 89 year olds and there’s an increasing amount of 89 year olds every single year as health gets better and thinking about like benefits and longevity and, you know, taking better care of ourselves and all that sort of stuff. There’s going to be more and more older people.
So that’s going to be you someday. And so it’s not uncommon to have this 20, 30 year time horizon. The folks who retired in 2000, if all they said was, Oh, I’m going to be nice and conservative right now. To your point about cost of living, it’s been cut by a third in terms of their fixed income. So, it’s a really big deal.
You don’t see inflation year to year much like we did the last year. Last year was obviously an anomaly. We, you know, over the last two years, give or take, the normal 3 percent inflation is like death by a thousand paper cuts. You know, you just don’t really experience it until you look at it in a
Next Monday, we’re going to do a full episode, one of our top five episodes. And this’ll be an episode that I’m sure we’re going to be referring back to a lot, our top five ways to cut expenses. But I think a couple of things to do, OG, number one, make as many expenses. the same as possible so that it’s easier to live on this fixed income that you have.
So if you’re one of, by the way, they talk about the number of people here that are living on social security, 12 percent of men, 15 percent of women count on it for at least 90 percent of their income. Those people have some tough choices to make. Andrew writes 37 percent of men, 42 percent of women rely on it for more than 50 percent of their income.
So you’re going to be looking at cutting expenses for 2024, but making sure your grocery budget’s the same every week. getting those utilities on a plan where it’s the same. Those, by the way, don’t save you money over the long term, but it makes it easy for you to get a predictable budget. Yeah. So that when things go wrong, you can lock down the rest of it.
Yep. I’m not going to give away my answers because, uh, you already stole two of mine. Yeah.
Those will be working. As he’s writing furiously, what I just said. Yes. Joe, could you say three more so I can. Maybe say that you stole those too. That’s, that’s coming up next week, but let’s pivot to this idea, which is, I remember giving talks back when I was a financial planner about social security and one of the number one questions I get from people who weren’t yet retired is, How do I treat social security in my financial plan?
Do I, do I look at it like some of these people relying on it for 90 percent or do we not include it at all? Where do you come down on putting social security benefits in your financial projections for the future?
I mean, I honestly think that it’s going to be around even for people that are, let’s say, 40 and under.
you know, will there be changes associated with social security? 100%. There has to be. I’ve yet to see a government program that goes away. It just seems to, they seem to evolve over the years. So I’m not concerned about the money not being there, but I would expect there to be some changes in terms of timing, so on and so forth.
Years ago, there was a study done by the IMF about the solvency of social security. And one of the suggestions was if they took everybody who is under 40… and said there is no option to get Social Security until age 70. So there’s none of this like reduced benefit stuff like right now you can take Social Security at 62, you know, anytime up to age 70.
If you just set everybody under 40, you only get it at 70 or later. Period. End of discussion. It would virtually solve the social security mess, because, you know, it takes away all that time, you know, that early retirement time. The downside, of course, is that, you know, from a political standpoint, it’s very, very, very difficult to bring up and talk about, but eventually we’ll have to do that.
So I think if you’re planning on it for retirement, or planning on a part of your retirement, what you might want to do is look at that full retirement benefit, move it forward three years to age 70. And then as you add inflation to it, add inflation at a lower rate than you’re projecting in your plan.
So if you’re saying, I think my normal expenses are going to increase at 3 percent a year, put Social Security increasing at 1. 5 percent a year. Be conservative with that stream of income increasing, so that you can see the gap that emerges, like we were talking about, you know, in your 80s and early 90s, when, when the power of that compounding has had an opportunity to affect.
Yeah, we’re going to dive more into this in our newsletter, the 201, uh, which comes out every Tuesday, Thursday. That is free for everybody who listens to the show. StackingBenjamins. com slash 201 if you’d like to talk more about not just this topic, but our next topic, which is Lee Huffman coming down to the basement.
Lee is an expert in travel. He has been to a ton of places, but he also does something really unique, guys. He talks to people who are from different places on earth. You know how you say, Uh, I like traveling to X, but I always find I just see what the tourists see. Well, he gets behind the scenes with local people and with some of the top travel names.
So the host of We Travel There, going to help you get more out of your heart and Benjamins when it comes to travel. But before that travel and you’re wearing jeans, I think, uh, I think you’ve got some blue jean related trivia, Doug. You’re
darn tootin I do, Joe. Hey, I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug. You know, speaking of travel, I’ve been a proud fanny pack user for years.
The pockets in my jeans are just too dank small. I constantly lose things no matter which brands I try. I mean, free people. Anne Klein, Lulu’s, over 540 million pairs of jeans are sold in the U. S. every year with the average American owning seven pairs each. That’s a lot of evening wear. The first ever pair of blue jeans was patented by Levi Strauss and Company in 1873 and were marketed as work pants.
In the 1950s, after a series of bad boy characters wore them in films like Rebel Without a Cause, they were banned in schools. School boards across the country worried that wearing them could lead to rebellious behavior like listening to financial podcasts. Today’s trivia question is, what celebrity said…
You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing. Ha ha, I’ll be back right after I find the pliers I use to zip up my jeans.
Hey there stackers, I’m Bad Boy and soon to be blue jeans model, Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug. During the break I talked to some people here at the show and apparently, men’s jeans are made with twice the pocket depth as women’s, which of course means I’ve been wearing lady pants this whole time. No wonder they’re so short on me.
Looks like Joe’s mom’s gonna be getting my hand me downs. Lucky her. Today’s trivia question is, Which celebrity said, You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing. The answer, arguably the most famous denim commercial of the 20th century, the Calvin Klein campaign that featured that tagline starred actress and supermodel…
Brooke Shields. Although the exact figure is unknown, it’s estimated that Shields earned between 500, 000 and 800, 000 for the commercial. Here, I would have done it for half that! And now, here to teach you how to travel better, it’s the host of the We Travel There podcast, Lee Huffman.
And I’m super happy he’s back in the basement.
I’ve actually got a notification that the first time he was here was nine years ago this week. My brother by another mother, because look, man, it’s Mr. Lee Huffman. How are you, dude?
Hey, it’s great to be here. You know, we both age like fine wines. At least that’s what I tell myself. And that’s what I tell my wife, you know, and
we just keep saying, it’s like a mantra, you know, just if I just keep saying it, maybe, maybe that’ll help.
Yeah, I think I can. I think I can.
Let’s start off here, man. All these episodes you’ve done of we traveled there. Where did most of us get it wrong when it comes to planning that next trip, that next vacation?
Well, I think the main thing is either it’s one of two things. Either you try to cram way too much.
into your trip or you don’t plan ahead at all and you’re just scrambling around running around and not knowing exactly what you’re doing. Like in my, in my show notes for my podcast, I put a little Google map of all the different places we talk about. So that way when you’re planning your trip, you can plan it so that way you can hit all the things on one side of town one day and then everything on the other side of town another day instead of going back and forth, back and forth.
I used to do that so much and I would be so frustrated that I’d waste so much time commuting back and forth between attractions.
It’s so funny. When I first started traveling with Cheryl, she would get angry because I was the over planner. I was the guy that would plan every minute. Like I had, I had the spreadsheet, you know, at four 57, we’re going over here.
Then at five 15, we’ll be over here. And we’ll, but she’s like, we can’t do that. We got to leave some, you know, I went to a Catholic school in our junior high dances. They’d always say, leave room for Jesus. You know, Cheryl was always like, leave some room for spontaneity. No, absolutely. On the other side, Lee, though, there’s my parents.
You know, we just went with them, uh, to northern Minnesota and my dad was like, I can’t believe the stuff you guys plan. Like, how did you find this great restaurant? I’m like, I just went to TripAdvisor.
Yeah, I think it’s one of those things, especially, I mean, for you, your kids are grown. Yeah, I still have young kids.
My kids are 8 and 12. I’m trying to get them more involved in the planning so that way it’s just not me doing all the things that I think they like or it’s things that I want to do. I’m trying to get them more involved because eventually they’re going to leave the nest, right? And I want them to have those skills of knowing what they like and knowing what to do and being able to plan their own trips because you know, yeah, again, they’re going to leave the nest and I don’t want them going out there and, and being those people that, Oh, I’m here in Paris.
I’m not sure what to do, but I heard it’s really
cool. What are your favorite tools? If you’re going well, let’s take Paris. Cause you just said Paris. If you’re, if somebody, one of our stackers said it to Paris for the first time. What are your favorite tools to begin fleshing out that, uh, perfect trip?
Well, I think one of the
things that a lot of people overlook just because it’s like old school is actually looking at like the, the visitors bureaus, uh, their website, or actually their, the office when you actually, when you land, they can. Like one, they have just a tremendous amount of resources on their sites.
A lot of times they’ll have itineraries for different types of interests, whether it’s like you’re a foodie or you like architecture or museums or whatever it is that you like, they have different itineraries for you and different ideas that way. Or you can actually just go into the office and say, Hey, I’m really interested in X, Y, and Z.
Give me some ideas of things I can do, like in that part of town, or I’m only here for like three days, those types of things. And you don’t have to wait until you actually arrive at the destination. A lot of times you can submit a form on their website or reach out to them on social media and they’re happy to respond to you.
afraid of visitors bureaus because I see visitors bureaus as you cross the Florida state line on I 75 all the way to Orlando and you and I both know those are just, you know, timeshare people just just trying hard to get there. But to your point, we went to the Hill Country in Texas last year to Bandera and there was a visitors bureau on the.
corner and Cheryl goes, let’s go in. I’m like, I don’t want to go into what are you talking about? You know, what’s cool. The guy gave us VIP tickets to the rodeo, which he’s like, Hey, take my tickets. Now I’m not telling our stackers. You’re going to get VIP tickets to the rodeo. He just, we were having a great conversation.
He goes, Hey, the rodeo is tonight. I get VIP tickets. Do you guys want mine? I’d never been to a rodeo. It was one of the most fun things ever. We had such a blast and I’m in this little gray area, but, but to your point, he knew the hikes to do in the area. We told him we like hiking. He knew some of the stuff to avoid, which was cool.
He even told us a couple of restaurants not to go to, which was, which was awesome. When
I interview a lot of people for the podcast, I actually try to avoid interviewing anybody specifically from the visitor’s bureau because. A lot of times they have to be politically correct and represent everybody.
Kind of like, I don’t have a favorite child. All of them. I love them all equally. And so it’s hard for them to have that third kid of mine’s a little jerk, but it’s like they, they’re afraid to like steer you away from someplace or really steer you to someplace because they’re afraid of somebody else getting upset.
But, uh, but one thing I really love, and obviously we love saving money is a lot of times they’ll have discounts. Maybe they’ll have like a, an attraction pass where you can pay. a flat fee and get free admission to a number of different restaurants or museums or attractions and those types of things. So it’s a great way to find some great things to do, but also to be able to save some money on your, on your trip.
Going back to Paris, I talked to many people who’ve gone to Paris. A lot of Americans can’t stand Paris because they say they don’t like Parisians. And by the way, if you’re here from Paris, you guys already know this, that the way people talk about Paris. But you know what, my analogy is Lee, when, and I thought Cheryl did this really well.
She had to spend several days in Paris and we went to the different ports. She cut it into four sections. And we spent a different part of the trip in a different section of town getting to know it. And what’s funny was when we were in the super touristy areas, St. Germain, to put it in the most American way, it’s probably St.
Germain or something, I can’t do the French thing. But when we were there. Um, People were the same way they are in Manhattan, the super tourist areas of Manhattan. They were just mean in a different language. And then I realized part of the reason that Americans often, I think, feel like they don’t like Paris is because they they’re in the super touristy areas.
My question is, on one hand, I want to see Notre Dame, but on the, was that better than saying Notre Dame? Yeah. They want to see the big attractions, but they also want to do, you know, they hear people like you saying, well, get in with the locals. You know, we had Joseph Rosendo on, he said, it’s not about the place, it’s about the people.
Sure. How do I see the good stuff, but still also make sure I get some of that local flavor? Well,
first off. When I, the first time I went to Paris, everybody was super nice, very welcoming, very friendly, very helpful. You know, uh, we spoke just a little bit of French. So I think number one, knowing a little bit of the local language, even if it’s just a couple of phrases, a few words, that goes a long way.
I think that’s one of the big problems with when Americans travel is they just assume everybody speaks English. A lot of them do, you at least have to try to speak their language and just that little effort. Even if you butcher the language and like you sound like you have marbles in your mouth, right?
As long as you’re trying, it goes a long way for them and they are super happy. And then they will switch because they realize your French is horrible. I’m going to switch over to English because neither one of us can understand what you’re saying. You know, so going out of your way to know a little bit is great.
The first time I went to Paris, everybody was helpful. The one bad experience I had, because, you know, we were there for like two weeks. I wanted a little bit of a, you know, slice of home and I went to the McDonald’s by the Louvre and that was the one place that people were rude to me. I just wanted a plain hamburger, just meat and bun.
And they told me, no, we can’t do that. I’m like, just don’t put things on it. They’re like, no, sorry, we can’t do that. And they were absolutely rude to me. And that was the only time that I ever had a bad experience in
Paris. That’s funny. I had the same thing in London, Hard Rock Cafe. I was very tired. I was collecting the glasses from Hard Rock Cafe.
So went to Hard Rock Cafe and they were horrible. But to your point, it’s some of the very touristy things where you get in trouble. Had that in Indonesia, by the way, just knowing how to say thank you in Indonesian. I learned very few words, but they would laugh, but, but they would be so excited when I’d speak a little Indonesian.
It was, it was super fun. I mean,
it just, it shows that you care enough about. The locals about the culture to learn a little bit. I mean, how long is it going to take you to learn please and thank you, you know, in another language, five minutes, 10 minutes, just showing that a little bit of effort goes a long way.
much do you rely on sites like TripAdvisor? Uh, I
don’t go on them too much. Uh, you know, I, I do use things like Yelp and things like that. Uh, Google obviously has a lot of reviews on their site now as well. Same thing with Facebook. You can look either on like on social media, they put a hashtag for the city and you’ll find some of the different suggestions that way.
Uh, or you’ll find like expat groups or different groups of people that travel to different cities and reach out to them and say, Hey, I’m planning to go to the city. Any recommendations? People love to share their recommendations. I will tell you this, you know, I mean, everybody wants to be like that travel guide that, that knows like the, the it spot.
So literally just put it out on social media and you’ll get a bunch of people telling you, Hey, try this restaurant. Do this attraction, avoid this, you know, do this, stay in this part of town, those type of things. Or you can always listen to one of my podcast episodes. That might help
too. Nice plug. I do like that though, because you know, when you asked me when I was on your show a long time ago, we, uh, we talked about Northwest Arkansas.
And I was like, super geeked about this gem of an area that a lot of people don’t know. It’s just so
absolutely beautiful. You threw me for a curveball there with Bentonville.
I love that, throwing a lot of people for a curveball. And you know, it’s funny, I’ve learned since then, everybody who goes there goes, Hey, if you love it, don’t tell anybody.
Oh yeah. ’cause it’s so absolutely beautiful. They did. They don’t want that. Is there a difference though? You know, we just transitioned from Paris to Bettonville, Arkansas. .
So little. Little. Very similar. They’re very similar. A little bit of a change there maybe. Well, they do have the Louvre of American art, right?
They Oh, they
totally do. Oh, they totally do. Good. Nice. Yes, there’s a similar. Yeah, you, you have to, have to, if you’re listening to this, you have to go to Crystal Bridges Museum. And people go, what? Bentonville? Yes, you have to go. Let’s dive into though, American travel. A difference when you’re traveling domestically versus traveling internationally?
Mm hmm. No, absolutely. Uh, one, I think, One, most Americans don’t even have a passport, maybe like 50 percent do, and of those people that actually do have a passport, they don’t really use it, you know, and so obviously the vast majority of Americans are only going to travel regionally or, you know, within the United States.
And so, the ways to improve your travel there, one, Find an airline or a hotel that you really love and stick with it. Humiliate those miles and points as quickly as possible by getting the card, uh, by using their shopping portal, sign up for the dining rewards program, all these different things to accumulate as many miles and points as quickly as possible.
That way you can book some free travel and save those Benjamins for other goals that you have, you know, but when you’re traveling within the U S, even though the lines are getting a little bit longer now, I highly recommend signing up for a TSA PreCheck. You don’t have to take out your, your liquids. You don’t have to take off your shoes.
You can keep your belt on, you know, all those different types of things. Uh, you know, when you go through those dedicated lines at the airports, again, the lines are getting a little bit longer, but you can go through the so much easier through airport security when you’re going through in a domestic airports.
And, uh, it’s a huge time saver. If you’ve ever been one of those people that you’re rushing to catch the plane, you’ll be very thankful that you saved those 10, 15, 20 minutes. Let’s talk.
I want to get back to that because I want to tackle the first part that you said first, which are these point programs out there.
Obviously, you only want to do these if you’re paying the credit card off in full, but my question is, is this, I was at a Camp Phi recently and they were talking about how, you know, I use the Marriott point program because I just like staying at Marriott hotels. So I decided that was it. I found out at a Camp Phi, that is not a great point program.
we call it Bonvoid. You got bond void whenever they, whenever there’s a bad problem. So it’s turned into a verb.
Why is that? It’s so hard to accumulate
points. No, they just, ever since they acquired a Starwood, uh, you had some very loyal people to Starwood that were used to high service levels.
Marriott hasn’t always lived up to those expectations. And then, you know, they’ve done a lot of different changes to their credit cards and to the rewards program. That’s, you know, and then obviously, you know, some of the service issues when you’re staying at a property. So they just turned it into the verb.
Bonvoy turned into Bonvoid. I got
Bonvoid. I was told by those people, Hyatt. The Hyatt program right now is, is where it’s at in terms of point value. Would you agree with that?
Hyatt has one of the best values as far as points. They have some of the best elite status benefits like Hilton and Marriott have been actually devaluing their, their upper levels of elite status.
Whereas, uh, Hyatt still has some of the best benefits as far as free breakfast, either in the lounge or at their onsite restaurant. And they just. They waive parking fees for valet and those type of things when you were doing points. So it’s one of the best programs. The problem though is they don’t have locations in every place you want to go.
And so like Hilton and Marriott and IHG, they have a far superior like map of locations. So uh, whereas if you want to use Hyatt, like you may or may not have a property there. Or if they do, you probably, you maybe only have like a, like a Hyatt express or, you know, one of like the lower level properties, like a Hyatt place.
Back in the day, Airbnb in it, or VRBO, seems so fun. Yeah. Lately, it seems the shine has come off of some of those properties. You still like it in the local flavor with an Airbnb or VRBO?
I’ve only actually stayed at one Airbnb property ever. And it was for a soccer tournament for my kids over in like eastern Tennessee in Gatlinburg.
We had a great time, great experience. The owner was very receptive and responsive to, you know, small minor tweaks. The big problem I have is if you are staying for a short period of time, the cleaning fees. Oh my God, they kill you. Yeah. They overwhelm the per daily rates. And so they really only make sense if you’re in like a really big unit and with a bunch of people, or you’re going to be staying there a little bit longer period of time.
Uh, what I don’t like is that. Not only are you paying to stay, you’re paying a cleaning fee, but then they actually give you this laundry list of, okay, put the dishes in the dishwasher, take the trash out, take the sheets off the bed, all this stuff. I’m like, why am I paying you a cleaning fee if I’m doing all the cleaning?
I should, where’s, where’s my portion of
that money? Well, part of that, what’s sad is, what’s sad is it used to be, you know, like a couch surfing thing and it was fun between a certain type of traveler and now it’s just become a hotel. Surrogate. Oh sure. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, I’ll say this, like when you’re talking about Marriott and everything, when you’re picking a hotel loyalty program, think about where you like to travel and look at the locations of what properties they have there.
And maybe you’re okay with a lower level property cause maybe you’re not going to spend that much time in the property, but maybe you’re taking your wife for a, like an anniversary trip or like a special birthday or something like that. You don’t want to stay in the Holiday Inn Express. Right? Like she’s not going to be impressed.
You want to be at a Park Hyatt, a Ritz. Free breakfast. You know, free breakfast. Well, I mean, those waffles are pretty good. I will say, think of the type of experience that you want in the, on the vacation you’re taking. And maybe, again, maybe you don’t care. You just, all you need is a bed and a clean place to put your stuff and then you’re happy.
And then yeah, go ahead and go for like those budget level properties. But if you’re going there for a special occasion, those type of things, you want something higher end. We went to, um, St. Kitts a few years ago, they have a Hyatt and they have a Marriott. Both of them are, you know, on the higher end, the Hyatt was a higher end property.
The Marriott was like upper middle class level, but there were no Hilton’s right. And so if you want to go there and you’re, you’re dead set to go to St. Kitts, sorry, even if you had millions of Hilton points, you’re not going to be able to stay there. Right. And so I always tell people like plan the next vacation that you’re going to do and figure out what airlines fly there and what hotels are there and make sure that the level of experience that you want matches what the availability is.
And then from there, focus on getting your credit card points. Uh, you mentioned earlier that like, yeah, obviously you pay off your bill, but there are other ways to be able to earn miles and points and rewards on daily activities where you don’t even need a new credit card. Most of us shop online.
Instead of going directly to like Staples or Target or Kohl’s or Home Depot or whatever, instead of going there first, go through like a shopping portal like Cashback Monitor or directly to like American Airlines or Southwest or, you know, Hilton. They have these shopping portals. You can go there. So not only are you going to get rewards on your card, even if it’s a debit card, you can still participate in this.
You’re going to get rewards directly from the website. It’s basically kind of like sharing the affiliate marketing revenue that they’re going to earn off of your purchase. You’re eating both. Yeah. You’re stacking rewards. Absolutely. You got double rewards there. Whenever you travel and you’re looking at different places to eat, you know, it’s a new city.
You don’t really have any ideas of where you’re going to eat anyways. Go to their dining rewards program or, uh, also sign up for this app called DOSH, D O S H. They provide cashback rewards anywhere. range from like five to 10 percent cashback. Basically sign up for both of those programs and link your cards and then go there and see which restaurants are participating in those programs.
So now basically all the activities that you’re doing on your vacation are earning miles and points of cash back towards your next vacation.
On that note, I want to ask about airlines, because, you know, now that I’m back in Texarkana, I can fly any airline I want, as long as it’s American Airlines. So, which stinks too, because also at Camp Fi, a thing that I learned was from the credit card hackers there, is that is the worst points program, only because it’s so rigid, right?
It is very rigid, it’s hard to move points in and out. But to your point, I have the dining part, I use the shopping portal. I try to max the hell out of it because it is my airline. I heard though from a lot of people Southwest is still that companion pass, Lee, still the number one game in town. Do you agree with
Yeah, I’ve had the Southwest companion pass every year since 2007.
Can you tell people that don’t know what we’re talking about, what that Southwest companion pass is? Actually, there are several
airlines that offer a companion pass or companion certificate. And so basically what that allows you to do.
American’s one of them. American has it on certain credit cards. Delta has it as well. And so basically. When you have the credit card and you meet certain like thresholds, sometimes based on spending, uh, you get a companion certificate where you can buy a ticket and you get a designated companion that can fly with you for free.
That’s a great deal. And depending upon what type of flight you’re taking, you can save hundreds of dollars on that. But Southwest does it one step better. Actually a couple of steps better. One, you can fly unlimited times throughout the year. And so my wife is my companion right now. We’re going to go to Cancun later on this year.
I like that right now, right now, because sometimes she, you know, she has like a normal job, you know, I’m this like slacker, you know, freelance writer that works from home. Uh, and I get to travel. Whereas like, she has like a normal nine to five. Right. And so you got to
specify the companion. Yes. So
basically with Southwest, you pick your companion and you can actually change it three times per year.
And so what I do is I book a flight, like say she and I were going to go to Cancun. And then once that’s done, my son and I are probably going to go on a, on a ski trip. So then I’ll switch and now he’s my companion. And then I can book tickets for him to go with me. And so that way, whenever you go on these flights, whether it’s the, 5 and 60 cents like the FAA taxes.
But if you pay, if you fly internationally, there’s sometimes a little bit more taxes, but basically you can use it a limited amount of times, whether you’re using cash or credits or points to book your flight, your companion can fly free with you. And so it has saved us thousands upon thousands of dollars every year for the last 15, 16 years.
And it is by far the best airline benefit out there because if you’re like me, like you want to save money and you want to be able to go on as many travel destinations as you can go, that’s the way to go because you’re saving all this money on tickets.
First, I’m glad you weren’t announcing some marital disharmony.
I thought she was dumping
you. No, not yet. I kind of get to that edge sometimes with her where I annoy her a lot, but thankfully she’s very forgiving. She’s close to letting
you go. The second piece though, is that I’m hearing also, which, which we’ve said before, but I want people to hear this. You know, don’t be afraid if you travel a lot then for these cards that maybe cost you a few dollars, right?
There’s some annual fees with these cards, but between, between TSA PreCheck, which they’ll often pay for, the Companion Certificate, maybe the Lounge Access, those can give you a lot of money.
Absolutely. Like we were just in Cabo for fall break and we hit the airport lounge there. We got free drinks and food for like three hours before our flight.
And uh, we got our money’s worth. I’ll just say that.
Traveling with Lee would be a good time. The last thing I wanted to talk about was, you talked about TSA pre check. The thing Sheryl and I. I have had a discussion about it isn’t easy for me to get the global entry, which is the international version of being able to go through customs in the U.
S. quickly. It just, it’s a pain in the butt. I got to drive all the way to Dallas. I got to set up a meeting. I got all this stuff I got to do to get
the global entry. Well, the good thing is they actually have something called global entry upon arrival, like interview on arrival. So you can actually go once you’re approved, go on your trip and on the way back as you’re going through customs, they can actually finish your interview right there.
We did that for my son coming back from Cabo a few years ago.
Oh, that’s what I’m going to have to do. Yeah, that’s the best way to do it. Well, the cool thing is my credit card pays for it, right? Yeah. So my credit card pays for that ahead of time. I haven’t seen it though. I haven’t yet, and I’ve traveled internationally a few times, Lee.
I haven’t really found the benefit because if customs, maybe I’ve been lucky, customs have been fairly quick, but when I’m, I still get there early enough that I got to collect my bags and re put them, you know, in for my domestic travel afterwards, I’m still hanging around waiting for my bag. So I’m like, even if I save this time,
Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe, don’t be team check bag, be team carry on.
You don’t have to worry about waiting for your bag. So you can carry on, we bring our bags, we’re through security, we’re through customs, and we’re on our way. People like you that check your bags! I appreciate that because now there’s more overhead than space for me, but you got to wait for everybody.
Ain’t nobody got time for that, Joe. So maybe that’s not my last question. My global entry is like on the verge of expiring. I replied for my renewal. I’ve been waiting for like 10 months. I still haven’t got my final approval. Maybe they’re like, they realize I’m a spy or something. I don’t know. They’re onto you.
They are. And, uh, but yeah, no, it’s been like pending for like 10 months. I literally have a reminder in my to do list to check my global entry status every like two weeks, just to see what’s going on. And it’s been pending for a long, long time. So like they’re backed up, like, right. You know, he’s talking about passports earlier.
It takes right now through standard processing. It was taking like 10 to 13 weeks. They actually just upgraded it to eight to 11. So they are going through the backlog. And so eventually they’re, they’re going to catch up, but. Even though we’ve kind of gotten past a lot of the COVID stuff, it’s still kind of an issue with them processing that backlog.
it’s good. I did notice, by the way, I had to get my passport redone. I paid for expediting. That came like clockwork. It came exactly in the amount of time that they talked about it. So, glad that’s not a problem. At least, have you heard of that being a problem for anybody else?
No, like, uh, we just renewed my son’s passport in May and yeah, we, we paid for expedited too, cause we were like, kind of unsure of everything.
And it’s like 60 bucks extra to pay for expedited and you can pay like another 13 if you want to like ship that two day mail. It was worth it. There’s like 75 bucks, basically round number. And we got it in like four weeks. It was totally worth it to pay that because. When you’re planning your trip, you want to be able to check off all these different things on your list and get past it and just move on to the next thing and focus on the next thing that needs to get done.
Just kind of having that hanging over your head. Uh, when’s my passport going to hear? Is it going to get here in time for the trip? You don’t want to deal with that. Like, just pay for that convenience if you can afford it. Otherwise, if you can’t afford it, like Make sure you’re planning far in advance and handling those things so that way you don’t have to worry about having that extra headaches.
I did a better job of packing light this time, going halfway around the world, Lee, but still there’s gotta be a guy like you traveling all the time. You watch your best piece of packing advice.
I always pack things folded on my way out, and then I roll them really tight on the way back. That way I can fit souvenirs.
That’s a number one, because you know what we did? We went folded on the way out and, uh, bought a duffel bag
to bring more stuff back home. I think you probably had to pay for a checked bag, you know, 35 bucks, 55 bucks or whatever. No, luckily,
luckily we had more because we checked the two main bags that I was able to carry the duffel bag in my computer bag.
Nice, nice. Was this one of the trips we’ve heard about recently on the episodes like Bavaria or Thailand or wherever you’ve been
recently? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bali.
Did I tell you I went to Bali? Right. Uh, we’ll get off that before everybody rolls their eyes too much. Doug’s gonna be throttling me here in a second.
If only there were a podcast, Lee, where people could hear more travel tips. If only they could hear about cool locations somewhere. Wouldn’t it be great if somebody had a podcast
about that? Yeah, you know, I have to talk to somebody about that. Yeah, I’m the host of the We Travel There podcast. Uh, we have weekly episodes coming out every Monday and the great Steve Stewart is our editor as well.
So the sound quality is really nice, but basically we interview local experts from all over the world to find out about the best things to do in their city. Uh, they’re about 30 minutes or so. If I go too long, then Steve slaps my hand. And then every 10th episode, we actually do a special topic.
Occasionally you hear my kids or my wife on the episode. Uh, we’ve done topics on how to start travel hacking, how to save money on flights. Uh, this week coming up, uh, we actually have one about accessible travel. So I interviewed somebody who’s in a wheelchair talking about how he travels and the pros and cons of what he experiences, uh, while flying.
And venturing out to all these different destinations around the world. He actually has more passport stamps than I do. And so I’m really inspired by him and he does a great job, but it’s really interesting learning about all these great cities, my to do list and my bucket list keeps growing because we don’t just focus on like the big cities.
We also focus on French Lick, Indiana, smaller cities, Bentonville, Arkansas. You actually just mentioned Bali. Like, uh, I did one just a couple of weeks ago called, uh, Chengu Bali. And so big cities, small cities, because what I look to do is. Obviously you want to cover the big cities because you want to provide tips for, for those cities when people can have a better experience there.
But also there’s so many smaller cities that have a lot of great character, you know, great attractions, uh, you know, amazing people. And, you know, they deserve some love too, you know, and maybe you’re not going to travel all the way to that one small city, but if you’re in the area, you’ll say, Hey, you know what?
I heard about this really cool city. It’s only like an hour away. Let’s go check it out. You know, for example, at Kamakura, Japan, it’s one hour South of Tokyo. You’re not going to fly all the way to Japan just for Kamakura, but while you’re in the area, you’re like, Hey, let’s go check it out. Maybe carve out a day and go experience everything there is to do there.
And like we talked about earlier, you’re getting away from some of those overly touristy areas and able to kind of experience life a little bit more like a local.
I love that. We drive every year from Texarkana to Detroit for the holidays and a couple of years ago, finally decided to stop in and see Franklin, Tennessee.
And, and you live right in that area. And I was like, Holy cow. This is the Hallmark channel.
Absolutely. They have a, they have a really great Christmas event with like, you know, the caroling and everything like that. And it’s cute. They like frothy monkey, like the coffee spot. And there’s a lot of good spots down
Well, next time we got to get together when I head that way. That’s great. Absolutely. Lee, thank you so much for hanging out with us and giving our stackers some great travel tips. I super appreciate it. I
really appreciate it, and we’ll look forward to seeing you when we travel there. Hey, this is Lou
from WDW Radio, and when I’m not
at Walt Disney World, or sharing my passion for Disney World, or eating, I am stacking
Hey, uh, let’s throw out Dave and Lifeline, guys, and tackle some of life’s most important questions. Our friends at Haven Life Insurance Agency OG, they put what you value first. We
are getting very close to the day where I get to eat all those little Kit Kats. They’re like about this big. All these little kids show up at my house and they take one and I take one and they take one and I take one.
It’s like this really symbiotic dance that happens at the end of every October. So, we’re starting to stock up.
The good news is, is I know you’ve got some, uh, delivery vehicles that you send out into the neighborhood to bring back even more Kit Kats.
Yes, I do. Three little, little monsters. Actually, I think the boys are too old now, so, so just kidding.
He has, he has like
cars that do this? Took me a minute to realize.
The sole purpose for O. G. ‘s family having children. Yes,
the sole reason O. G. has kids. It’s the Kit Kat. The sole reason. It’s
like the modern farming method.
Exactly. He’s like, hey, Mrs. O. G., you know it’s… It’s Kit Kat season. Kit Kat season.
Harvest time is coming. That’s right. And we don’t have any… Harvest time is coming. We don’t have any children. So I think, I think we need to fix that, that issue. But it pays off. But sadly, like you said, OG, they grow out of it. That’s, that’s the part that sucks. Yeah. So you know what? Maybe tell her you need to make some more.
Not going to happen. It says here, your loved ones and your time could have made some more loved ones, but I guess not. That’s why they made buying quality term life insurance actually simple. You got to stackyourbenjamins. com slash HavenLife now for a free quote. At Haven Life, their application, it’s simple, it’s online, you’ll get an instant coverage decision.
Used to take, uh, OG and I, it felt like decades to fill out that long, onerous form for life insurance. Those days are over with Haven Life. You get on with it so that you can spend time, uh, eating your Kit Kats. Please do the Kit Kat eating. After you go to StackyBenjamins. com
Haven Life and get your life insurance all sorted out.
Today, we’re going to throw out the Haven Lifeline. Doug, who are we throwing out the Haven Lifeline to? Uh, we’re
throwing out the Haven Lifeline today to Stacker Patrick.
Oh, Patrick. Hey, Patrick. What’s up, man? Hi
Joe and OMG. I have a question about 529 plans. My wife and I are hoping to have kids soon.
Right now, I have about 6, 000 in a 529 in my name that accumulated through various tax incentives within our state. My question is, do we open up new 529 plans for each of the kids when we have them, or do we keep contributing to my 529 and just make the kids the beneficiaries? I would like to keep control of that money in case they don’t go to college and then I can make the other children the beneficiaries.
So are there any other advantages as far as rolling it over to IRAs now that we can do that? Is there anything I’m missing? Are there any advantages to opening up the kids 529s or just keeping it in mind? I have a t shirt already, and so I know Doug is licking his chops that he might get one. However, my wife and I are also moving to Wisconsin next year, and I know Doug’s thoughts on Wisconsin.
So instead of having him get my shirt, I think I would actually like his shirt. Thanks.
Oh, that’s fantastic. You know what we’re going to do for Patrick when he references your shirt? Of course, Doug has announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential campaign. We’re going to send him specifically that t shirt. Ah, I
like it. That is good. Spreading the good
word. But he is talking smack about you with, uh, your thoughts about Wisconsin.
You’re a big fan. I
don’t know why. I, I, I. I spoke very glowingly. Of the cheese, of the folks from Wisconsin.
Lots of cheese. And by the way, Patrick used, uh, old fashioned nomenclature when he talked about having children. We’ve now called that, uh, Patrick, it’s having KitKat delivery vehicles. KitKat,
yeah, or KitKat harvesters.
Yeah, either way. KitKat.
That’s, that’s what Patrick’s
really up to. The key is to find the idiots that leave the big bucket that says, please just take one.
Uh, so OG, what, what say you about a 529, just put it in his existing 529 or open new ones? I mean,
really it’s exclusive of any account fees that each 529 might have.
It’s really six of one, half dozen of the other. The downside could be this, and he brought them all up. But number one, if you have money left over in a 529. for a child, then there’s a new provision that allows you to transfer that into a Roth. There’s a lot of bells and whistles that go with it and some hoops to jump through and it’s not available yet.
It’s supposed to be available next year, but I imagine they’ll kick it another year because it’s just a accounting nightmare. But you’re giving up the the opportunity for that to be the case for your kids if there’s extra like you, you know, think there, or maybe there could be. Number two is that you can only change the beneficiary once per 12 month period.
So if you end up having a couple of kickhead harvesters that are close to about the same age and you think about like, well, I might have a junior in college and a freshman in college at the same time, it’s going to be very difficult to time out those distributions so that Each child is getting some funds paid for because you can only change the beneficiary once per 12 months.
So, you know, it ends up being a little bit, from a logistical standpoint, a little bit of an issue. It’s not super clean to have one big family 529, if that makes sense. So I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to have a plan for each kid. You can always change the beneficiary. You’re always in charge of the money.
It’s not like a gift to minors account type of account where if you open an UGMA account or an UTMA account that money is legally the child’s at age 18. 529 is the property of the owner, or contingent owner, of the 529. Well, not property, that’s the wrong way of saying that, because it’s a gift. But, anyways, you’re in control of it, so you don’t have to worry about your kids, you know, going, sweet, dad saved a hundred grand, and now I’m not going to college, and I’m gonna take the money.
Like, that’s not a, that’s not a thing that would happen. Plus, you’ll raise them better, you know. You’ll just say, well, no Kit Kats for you, I was gonna teach you the way. So I don’t know, I think from simplicity you can always have one, but there’s some downsides to that. I’d probably just have one for each kid.
It just seems cleaner that way in terms of like keeping your keeping your mind straight of you know Who’s got what for college and you know, am I on track for Bill? And you know Billy’s on track and Susan’s behind, you know, just seems a lot easier versus one big bucket That’s what I would do have done
Yeah, I like that.
I like that as well. I think there’s another, there’s another upside OG, which is that you, you know, he talked about state incentives and some states do have some, they’re not that huge deal though. I mean, you’re not talking about big bucks by having 529s with one state versus another in most states around the country.
But all the custodians aren’t created equal. If you go to places like savingforcollege. com, you’ll see that, that some of the custodians out there are really bad. Some of the 529 plans out there are bad. And you don’t know when one asset manager might change the game or a state might change the game. So.
The cool thing about my kids was rather than thinking of it as Autumn’s pot of money and Nick’s pot of money while we had those set up the way that you talked about, having them have their own individuals, I was really more concerned with having two different asset managers. So I used Vanguard for one and I used Fidelity for the other one.
T. Rowe Price also has a good one. So we used the Nevada plan and the New Hampshire plan for our kid’s college. Was that sort of
a risk mitigation? It was. So if
pick the, yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah. Just having two different, and by the way, the chance of a 529 blowing up, not big. So that may be a little bit of overkill on my behalf, but, um, but I do like it.
Did you take
them out to dinner first to find out if they were good people, the managers? Like, how did you decide? Yeah. Maybe a movie?
Well, if you look at, right, if you look at, uh, savingforcollege. com, there’s a lot of good, uh, a lot of good stuff on all the different asset managers out there for every state.
So you can look at your state. You’ll look at the tax incentives there. You’ll also see the experience of the different, uh, companies that run the 529 plans that are, uh, available in every state. So we can link to that in the show notes at stackingbenjamins. com. But OG, I like it for that reason as well.
Perfect. Sounds like we agree. Patrick, thanks so much, uh, for the question and, uh, Patrick is going to score a different t shirt for calling in apparently a second time. Head to stackyourbenjamins. com slash voicemail if you would like to ask OG and Doug and I a question. Hey, time for the last segment of this podcast, which we call The Back Porch.
This is where we dive into stuff going on in our personal lives, maybe sometimes some movies. I know what everybody’s asking about though. They’re wondering, we did the live from Bali episode on Monday. How was the trip, Joe? So I’ve prepared 186 million slides.
Everyone’s thinking, where can we get more Bali content?
Please tell us exactly
it. Oh, I hope they talk
about it in the back. So I sent you guys just a few pictures. We went to three different islands. People are considering going to Indonesia. The first part, we went to Java. which had a lot of antiquity. You guys can see, I sent you a picture
of, I see water. I see a picture of water.
I see a picture of grass. We have those things here, Joe, and a picture of what looks like part seal, part coyote.
Right. So let’s talk about that last one with the grass, which is a Borobudur, which is a UNESCO heritage site. It’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest Buddhist, uh, temple on earth. It was, it was just simply amazing.
But when we were on Java, we saw Not just that, but we saw other antiquity sites. It was like going back in history between different Buddhist and Hindu sites. And we went to Jakarta. We had a big long layover in Jakarta. This was interesting. People say, when you go to Indonesia, make sure that you use taxis.
As just one example of places where you could get ripped off, use taxis that have meters, because the taxis without meters will try to take advantage of the fact that you’re not from there. And man, so we, we immediately, because we got this long layover, we’re going to go downtown, which is about an hour away from the airport.
So we go out to the taxis and we’ve got these taxi drivers all over us. And I said, do you have a meter? And, and the first guy that we talked to is like, Oh yeah, Oh yeah. And so we walked to his taxi and guess what? There isn’t in his car. there is, there is no meter. And he goes, he goes, Oh, I take you downtown.
It’ll cost. And by the way, if you want to feel wealthy, go to Indonesia because their local currency, the rupiah, a hundred thousand rupiah, a hundred thousand real money dollars, we’ll call it. Guess how much that is in
real US money. Why does everybody
hate Americans when they travel abroad? I can’t figure it out.
that out at all.
Yeah. What does that equal in real money? That’s 6 and 50 cents. So there were, there were some times when, when our bill came to a million, like, Hey, uh, our bill’s 62, 64 or 64. Yeah, it was, it was, it was pretty wild. But anyways, this guy said it’s going to cost me 550, 000, which we know it’s just shortened to 550.
We instead go to another taxi service that was recommended and I’m being hounded by like eight different taxi drivers. I find a taxi service has a meter. It costs 120, 000. Versus 550, 000. Just a total of one one fifth of the of the cost. Later on, I saw this weasel. We went to this place, if you guys see the picture of the thing, it’s called a Luwak.
It’s from the Weasel family. This is Luwak Coffee. Do you know how these things are involved in the making of coffee,
OG? I do, and I’m not interested. But I can tell you like it. Right?
So the Luwak, for people that don’t know, they find the best coffee beans And they only eat the best ones. Like they are known for being very discriminating about what they eat.
And, uh, it goes through their digestive system, goes right through them and people go out and they collect it and they make coffee from it. And so a lot of people call it weasel poop coffee. And I’ve had, I’ve had the opportunity to try this in the past and it’s a delicacy. And sometimes in the United States, you could pay 50, 60, 70 for one cup of this coffee.
And, uh, because you’re on site, self service where the, where the weasels are dropping, you can get it for significantly cheaper. So this time I decided to have literally Delicious.
I said that on purpose, Doug. I still
got it. I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks, but I still got it. It was, it was so good. Uh, I brought home some of the Luwak coffee. So if you guys want to try it,
pass, I’ll take the instant Folgers.
We finished our trip after going to Bali and going to the awesome retreat, which we talked about Monday on, on the show, we went to Flora’s, uh, which was like the nature channel.
We went and we saw the Komodo dragons and, uh, We went snorkeling and we snorkel with manta rays. You guys know anything about the manta ray?
It’s like a actual stingray, but a thousand times bigger. So it was, it
was fricking, I had no idea it was bigger. Oh gee. They’re like, oh, there’s
turtles in the, in the ocean
We saw sea turtles as well. Oh, weird. What did I do? Did I already tell
you this? Well, I mean, it would be really crazy if the guy like dove down and then the sea turtle started swimming with a GoPro. And it was, that would have been really cool if that happened. Oh my god.
When did I tell you that? He can’t even remember because he never
He never shuts up about the
I get it right?
Wow, what a weird guess.
Holy cow. I can’t believe that happened to you. Again. Alright, anyway. Sounds like
you had a great time. There’s a little tiny island and this was a, this, this picture’s our resort and you could see like 14 thatched roofed huts on this tiny island.
You climb one hill and you could see the entire island and uh, it was, it was pretty amazing. Sounds safe from tsunamis? Yes, uh, maybe not at all. So, luckily we didn’t have one, and you’re stuck with me again, but it was a good trip. Cheryl and I will be writing about it on the blog, Stacking Benjamins.
That’s my travel encounter. For anybody that wants the 187, 000 pictures that I took, we can have that. Maybe we’ll do a special episode, OG? For sure, maybe. It sounds like Doug when my dad would say, go ask your mom.
Did you hear that, Cy? Did that get picked up on the mic?
Your side? Just… God. What side are you talking about?
Uh, coming up on Friday, we’ve got Heidi Dusick, who took her family on a year sabbatical. She’s partway through that year sabbatical with her entire family. We’re going to chat with her about her recent trip to Alaska with the family. How has the year off gone? She’s on a roundtable episode on Friday, which will be a lot of fun.
Also this week, no Instagram live, which we normally have because our team’s at FinCon. And, uh, if you’re going to be at FinCon. That’s
funny. I didn’t hear the air quotes there, Joe, when you said our team is at FinCon.
Huh. Once again,
it’ll be, look at the time, uh, I’ll be the keynotes, the closing keynote speaker at FinCon.
So make sure you’re there Saturday afternoon as I close out the FinCon conference and probably never get invited back. You tried
that once before
and it didn’t work. So uh, Come say hi to us in New Orleans this week. Uh, that’s it. If you’re not here to talk about New Orleans, you’re not here to complain about the fact that you’re not going to New Orleans.
You’re here because of the fact that what you’re hoping is to make better financial decisions. OG and his financial planning team are taking new clients. StackyBenjamins. com slash OG gets you to the link. for his calendar so that you can have a meeting with them to see how his team can interface with you and your team to make better financial decisions at StackingBenjamins.
com slash OG. All right, that puts a pin on this week. Doug, take us home, man. What should we have learned today? Well,
Joe, first take some advice from Lee Huffman. Traveling? Explore the unexpected and look for savings opportunities. You may be able to see more for less and… The money you do spend can probably be maximized to create lasting memory.
Second, is your income fixed? Look to lock down as many expenses as possible, like your utility and grocery bills, and you’ll be on your way to a better budget and more predictable financial outcomes.
the big lesson, if you give Joe’s mom your low rise pants, probably Don’t compliment her on her whale tail.
Thanks to Lee Huffman for joining us today. You can find out more about his podcast, We Travel There, with Lee Huffman, wherever you’re listening to us right now. We’ll also include links in our show notes at stackingbenjamins. com This show is the property of SB Podcasts, LLC, copyright 2023, and is created by Joe Saul Sehy.
Our producer is Karen Repine. This show was written by Lisa Curry, who’s also the host of the Long Story Long podcast. with help from me, Joe, and Doc G from the Earn Invest podcast. Kevin Bailey helps us take a deeper dive into all the topics covered on each episode in our newsletter called The 201.
You’ll find the 411 on all things money at The 201. Just visit stackingbenjamins. com slash 201. Wonder how beautiful we all are? Of course, you’ll never know if you don’t check out our YouTube version of this show, Engineered by Tina Ikenberg. Then you’ll see once and for all that I’m the best thing going for this podcast.
Once we bottle up all this goodness, we ship it to our engineer, the amazing Steve Stewart. Steve helps the rest of our team sound nearly as good as I do right now. Want to chat with friends about the show later? Mom’s friend Gertrude and Kate Yunkin are our social media coordinators and Gertrude is the room mother in our Facebook group called The Basement.
Say hello when you see us posting online. To join all the basement fun with other stackers type stackingbenjamins. com slash basement Not only should you not take advice from these nerds, don’t take advice from people you don’t know. This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any financial decisions, speak with a real financial advisor.
I’m Joe’s mom’s neighbor, Doug, and we’ll see you next time, back here at the Stacking Benjamins show.