Should You Have Lots of Credit Cards In Your Thirties?

You know it’s true: You’ve been tempted by credit card sign up bonuses in the past. And you’ve maybe even signed up for a credit card solely for the sign up bonus… and then canceled it? Or have you been scared that opening up or canceling lots of credit cards in your thirties could hurt your credit score?

There’s a lot of mixed information in this area that might leave you puzzled. Here’s the deal: credit cards can be really helpful and pretty benevolent unless you can’t use them wisely. It’s like anything: if you develop an unhealthy (overspending) addiction, you need to stay away. Otherwise, proceed wisely and happily. There are lots of benefits to having multiple credit cards.

Here are some tips for having various credit cards in your thirties:

  1. Pay your credit cards off in full every month

This is pretty self-explanatory, but the real trick to benefiting from credit cards, and especially from having multiple credit cards, is to make sure you pay the full balance off every month, not just the minimum. If you can’t pay the full balance off every month, stay with fewer credit cards until you can. Sign up bonuses and points aren’t worth the crazy expensive interest charges you’ll have to pay if you rack up debt.

2.  Don’t cancel the random credit cards you opened in your early twenties

Part of your credit score is calculated based on length of credit history. If you cancel the first card you ever opened, you’re shortening your credit history, and this will hurt your credit score. Unless a card has a high annual fee that you don’t want to pay, there’s no reason to cancel. If you don’t want to use the card anymore, pay it off and cut it up.

3. If you’re opening multiple cards for a point bonus, make sure you can meet the minimum spend in the correct amount of time

If there’s an American Airlines card that will give you 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in 3 months, make sure, if you get the card, that you’re gonna spend the $3000 in 3 months. I’ve screwed this one up before and have actually forgotten to meet the minimum. Put all your other cards away and solely use that one for awhile. If you can pay major bills, like your rent, on your credit card, you should be able to easily meet the minimum. There are actually services that can help you do this –this one is called Plastiq. Though Plastiq charges a 2.5% service fee, it can be helpful if you need to meet a minimum.

4. If you can meet multiple minimums at once, it’s best to open more than one card on the same day

Even if you have great credit, you’re more likely to get denied for a card if you open a new card every few weeks. I’ve actually opened and been approved for three cards in one day (I’m really good with credit cards and pay them off in full every month). If I’d opened one card and then waited a week to apply for the next card, I would have probably gotten denied. Wait at least 90 days to apply for the next credit card(s).

5. You won’t ruin your credit from having multiple cards

In fact, the opposite is true. Your credit score is partially calculated from something called a debt-to-credit ratio. If you have more credit available, you’ll have a better ratio.

6. You won’t ruin your credit from canceling a card

If a card has a high annual fee and it’s not worth keeping, go ahead and cancel it. Your score will only drop a tiny bit from your lowered debt to credit ratio. And it will come back up again as you continue using your remaining cards wisely. The annual fees aren’t always worth keeping the card. The only exception to this rule is if you cancel your oldest card- that will definitely lower your score more than the others because it will change your length of credit history… as I mentioned above.

There’s a lot more tips for enjoying multiple credit cards safely, but I hope this is helpful! As always, please comment below with any questions you may have! Thanks for reading!

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“Second-Class Citizen” in Hollywood – At 38?

Do you have personal beauty icons? Those people who have a “look” you love and would want for yourself – and a lot of times, it’s not just their physical attributes, but rather, this unexplainable glow or draw they possess. Though they evolve, my beauty icon mainstays are Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler…

So, I was really disappointed to read an interview with Liv Tyler in the October issue of More magazine. Not because of her, she’s as awesome and lovely as ever. No, I was disturbed by something she said about being a woman in Hollywood.

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Liv Tyler

In the article, she says that thirty-eight “is a crazy number. It’s not fun when you see things start to change. When you’re in your teens or 20s, there is an abundance of ingenue parts which are exciting to play. But at [my age], you’re usually the wife or the girlfriend — a sort of second-class citizen.”

Ack. I think Liv Tyler is undeniably gorgeous. I would imagine most men from age 18 and up would agree. And so, while not surprising, I think it’s sad.

Maggie Gyllenhaal also recently said this to the Hollywood website The Wrap, “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

The big problem for me is that we’re not going to see a richness of women on screen if this doesn’t change. I don’t want to spend my 30s going to movies about gorgeous 22 year old female protagonists. I want to see more women like me on screen, especially as I head into my mid-30s.

Thirty-Something and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mood

Earlier this week I woke up on worse than the wrong side of the bed. I woke up on the wrong side of the planet.

A black sticky cloud had descended upon my usually happy-go-lucky outlook. My eyes went dark and my blood turned ice. The outside world had become bleak and unfriendly. My favorite things felt traitorous. My favorite activities felt lifeless. Everything sucked. There seemed to be no turning back.

There’s been some tumult in my life lately that could’ve caused this blackness to fall upon my days. A big change recently happened with my job that left me horribly upset. Someone said a few things to me recently that shook my trust in people. I’ve been a bit overtired. However, I’ve been through way worse things before, and I don’t usually get this moody.

Sometimes the perfect storm occurs in your life, and no matter how good you’ve been feeling in your thirties or how good things are going, your mood will drop into the negative range. It’s normal and it’s okay.

I’m just starting to shake this feeling, but I’ve come to a few conclusions about it. Here they are.

  1. Sometimes you’re in a black mood. It’s okay. Feel it and don’t beat yourself up.

Really feel the bad mood- give yourself permission to not be okay. You don’t have to always be okay. Try not to explode angrily at other people, but otherwise go ahead and live with the feelings for now. They will pass. When I just pretend to be positive and push away my mood, it usually prolongs the badness and makes me more upset.

2. Sometimes it’ll take a bit of time

Just because you don’t feel better the next day, or the next week, doesn’t mean you’ll always feel off. Give yourself time and don’t freak out or go down a rabbit hole of thinking “everything will be bad forever”….it won’t. I have a bad habit of going down that rabbit hole when I get upset- fearing that I’ve backtracked from all the progress I’ve made in my life. It’s really a terrible habit- but I have to remember that the progress I’ve made is real and won’t just go away because of a bad period. It’s hard to remember.

3. See if you can trace the bad mood.

Sometimes there’s a root cause to the negativity that you can actually work on. Sometimes you’re moody because you need to take action. When I realized that part of my bad mood was due to my job, I started talking about it. Talking things out is sometimes really helpful for me. I also have been attempting to brainstorm baby steps to work on the job issue. We shall see.

4. Be gentle with yourself

Give yourself permission to sleep extra hours if you can grab them. Take a long bath. Watch a movie you want to watch. Walk in nature. Read a book you like. Treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend who’s down. I recently went for a walk in the gardens of the Biltmore Estate, in North Carolina. It was calming to see such amazing beauty in nature.

5. Help someone else

Jane recently was talking to me about something sad going on in her life, and I attempted to cheer her up. While cheering her up, I remembered something that always made me feel better. I had forgotten about what made me feel better in the past- or rather, my bad mood had blocked me from it.

6. Your bad mood isn’t the real you

I’m gonna say something weird now. It’s gonna sound new-agey- but I’d appreciate you bearing with me for a sec. Here goes:

Something I’ve learned in the past few years is that the real you is always love.

I know that sounds weird and hippie-ish and is hard to make sense of, even for me right now. But believe it or not, I think love is what everything really is. Love is given to and received from you all the time, no matter what. Even when you’re at your most horrible, the real you is love. Even when people around you are total douches, their real selves are sending you love. Really.

Isn’t that sort of nice to think about?

Because there are so many blocks to feeling this love. So many. Like apathy. And boredom. And fear. And those darn bad moods. But the love is still there anyway. It’s crazy.

The blocks make it so hard to remember that they’re not what’s real- they’re just blocks to what’s actually real. I don’t know why there are these blocks, and why it’s so hard to get through them. But I guess life has always been mysterious.

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Yakudoshi – Or, Is Your 33rd Year Unlucky?

I’m in my 33rd year of life, and I can say it’s been one of the rougher years I’ve had in awhile. There’s been a lot of upheaval and transition in my personal life. The bright side is that I feel better equipped to handle these changes now that I’m in my 30s; nothing seems quite as dramatic as it did in my 20s. I’ve accepted that we all have u-turns in life, and I’m sure I’ll have more of them in the future. Strangely, they probably won’t be any less shocking when they happen.

So. Let me get to the point. I learned something fascinating this weekend. Apparently, in Japan, the 33rd year of a woman’s life is considered to be one of the most unlucky. This comes from something called Yakudoshi, which is a set of believed “unlucky” years (in a person’s life). For women, the unlucky years are 19, 33, and 37, with 33 being the most unlucky. For men, the numbers are 25, 42, and 61.

Yes, it is a superstition of sorts – based on no real hard facts. Wikipedia suggests that perhaps: “For women, rearing children and living a life of housework could cause unseen accidents and illness which again is proposed evidence for this theory.” Clearly, this stems from dated information. But still. I read that if you pronounce the number 3 (san) and 3 (san), it sounds like the Japanese word for misery (sanzan). With my own tumultuous year happening as I type this, I can’t help but wonder…Is there some nugget of truth here?

Perhaps. But, fear not if you’re still under 33! Aside from cleansing rituals and visiting a Buddhist shrine in advance of your 33rd year for blessings, the key seems to be to move slowly, don’t make any rash life decisions, and also…be grateful. As this article on Wow! Japan suggests, “Stop resisting your destiny. Leave your fate in the hands of deities. Just enjoy your troubles.”

And if there are indeed troubles, from the research I’ve done, it appears there’s a beautiful yin/yang quality to the idea of Yakudoshi. Yes, there are ‘unlucky’ years but they are balanced by great years of your life. And isn’t that the case in life, generally? There is no light without darkness. Happiness can’t exist without it’s counterweight of sadness, otherwise, what would it be but our natural status quo?

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How to Drive People Crazy On Facebook In Your Thirties (and Not the Good Crazy)

Sure, we’ve referred to the thirties here at OMG I’m Thirty as the “giving zero fucks” decade, but occasionally, it helps to give a fuck. If you’ve achieved the holy grail of giving zero fucks in your thirties, maybe skip this social media post.

However, my fellow still-fuck-giving-thirty-somethings, we’re the Facebook generation (and now the Instagram and Snapchat generation (because we’re cool enough to keep up with the young kids’ technology)), and we have a responsibility not to completely and utterly drive each other crazy on social media. You know it happens, I know it happens, and we might as well talk about it happening. We’re the generation that had social media foisted upon our otherwise Wow-I have- A-Real-Life-Computer lives. And now social media is everywhere and we can’t get away from it (well, we can, but that requires the willpower of an olympic athlete and/or the home set-up of a cave-dweller).

So without further ado, here’s a rant about the latest and greatest social media that has everyone I meet annoyed. (Disclaimer: most of this is a joke. Sort of. #KiddingNotKidding.)

  1. The Humble Brag– I think most people are guilty of this one, including myself. Think about how you’d react to something yourself before you post it. Putting up photos of yourself holding wads of money and writing: “when you want something bad enough and you put it out there, all of the universe conspires to help you” annoys most people. This was recently a real post from one of my Facebook friends. I hope she isn’t reading this.
  2. The Gym Selfies– “Can’t stop, won’t stop”, “Go ahead tell me that I can’t and I’ll show you that I can.”, “They said she couldn’t, she said watch me.” Okay, we believe you can. Can you just go do it and stop letting us know? Sigh.
  3. The Million Baby Posts- This one doesn’t really annoy me, but some of my friends have de-friended people for it. No more than a few photos of your baby a week, unless the baby was just born, please. And ‘a few’ is generous. At the very least, make an album and put them all up at once.
  4. The Vague Negativity Posts: “Ugh…”, “This has been the worst day :(“, “The darkness surrounds me.” These are intensely negative yet unspecific posts, and they scream ‘attention seeker!’ At least tell us what happened in the original post so we don’t have to ask! Or wait.. was your intention for us to ask? And please don’t reply after we ask: “I don’t want to talk about it.” Just no.
  5. The Non-Humble Brag: “I have the most amazing boyfriend ever!” “I’m so lucky I’m in Paris with my magnificent boyfriend and the cutest dog ever…here are all my photos!” “I have the best job that you’ll never get and I just got a raise!” Okay, we’re probably all guilty of this one in not so many words. But try to be conscious of all the green-eyed monsters this will awaken in your Facebook friends. If you post more than 2 brags a week, you’re cut off.
  6. The Bait and Switch: “Sometimes when no one’s looking I like to cover myself in Nutella and roll around on the carpet.” Woh, really?! But when I like or comment on your status you tell me ‘Psych! This is to raise awareness for Green And Blue Strep Throat Syndrome Disorder. Now you have 24 hrs to paste this post as your status or you’re a terrible person who doesn’t support the cause.’ Oh nooooooo you didn’t!!!
  7. The “I’m Gonna Leave Facebook, Goodbye World” post. Just leave, please. Go silently into the dark night. The world will keep turning. It’s very likely I won’t notice you’ve left.
  8. The Plethora of Selfies. I really don’t like selfies unless they have someone else in them…or unless they’re at least showing off a cool background. Maybe once or twice in a little while you can indulge your selfie obsession… but not all the time. This is super duper extra bad if it also falls into the Gym Selfies category… and I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. Pun intended. Please tone it down. Ugh…
  9. The Random Invite.  We haven’t seen each other in 7 years and you’re inviting me to your Best Gardener Award Ceremony in Spokane, Washington. Really? I’m obviously not gonna be there, I live in New York and you’re not really my friend. Come on now.
  10. The Constant Positivity Poster – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”Do what makes you happy.” Shut up. We get it. You’re happier than me. Ughhhh… whyyyy???
  11. The Do-Gooder Evangelist: “If you’re not a vegan you’re going to hell.” “Candy and makeup are full of toxic chemicals and you’re gonna shrivel up, get terrible pimples and cystic acne and die soon, horrible make-up wearing candy eater.” Sometimes I love beautiful vegan touting posts, or posts promoting clean eating or animal welfare. But they need to be worded wisely and non-judmentally. Tread lightly. Not everyone is as saintly as you. Take pity on us mortals.

So that’s what I have for now. Haha, I’m gonna go humbly brag about this post on Facebook now. And then maybe post something politically polarizing.

What drives YOU crazy on social media?

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Something, Anything: A Gem of a Netflix Find

The other day I was scrolling through Netflix when I saw a film titled Something, Anything. It was described as: When tragedy shatters a Southern newlywed’s plans for domestic bliss, she leaves her husband and begins a journey of self-discovery.

It sounded like it could be a great Eat, Pray, Love situation (the book, not the movie) and I knew I could get down with that, especially since I’m going through a breakup right now. I’m voraciously intaking any culture and media that’s about self-discovery and fresh starts. Anyway, I start watching.

In the first ten minutes of the movie, we see a gorgeous woman in her late 20s/early 30s who is following the life script so many of us women (and men too, I suppose) have been fed. It begins when her boyfriend proposes with a fancy diamond ring, then they plan their lush wedding, picking out items at some fancy home good store for their registry, and finally, they get pregnant. I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but let’s just say, there’s a rub in their plan.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Through a series of small encounters, the woman decides to pursue a more spiritual life, eventually entertaining the idea of perhaps becoming a monk at a monastery in Kentucky. She sells her car and all of her belongings, and heads out into the great unknown of life.

I haven’t seen many films about a woman’s spiritual journey that isn’t inspired by a man – be it from a breakup, unrequited love, etc. so this film was a refreshing, ambitious treat. As a caveat, I did find some flaws with the movie that were a bit distracting – namely it looked like the lead actress was wearing a wig the entire time and it drove me crazy. Unless people really do have hair that perfect. Who knows!

You can watch the trailer below. I’d highly recommend this movie, because how often do you see films about 30-something women ambitiously going “off-script” and doing something unconventional?

The US Open and Getting Better In Your Thirties

Next time you complain that your body’s getting old and wearing down in your thirties, think of Serena Williams and Roger Federer.

Two of the top tennis players in the US Open this year are both in their mid-thirties. Williams and Federer are both age 34 and at the absolute top of their tennis games. Serena is currently ranked Number 1 out of all women tennis players in the world and Federer is Number 2 of all the men. And neither has any intention of retiring anytime soon.

I’ve been working at the US Open for the past two weeks, and have been simultaneously watching Federer and Williams play their hearts out and listening to people in their 30’s complain that they’re old and tired. It’s sort of a funny dichotomy.

Serena came in first place in 3 out of 4 of the major tournament titles this year- the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. She made it to the semi-finals of the US Open. At 34.

Federer was possibly about to retire two years ago. He was in a slump and his back was bothering him. But now, at 34, he’s not only made a comeback, but he’s changed and added to his tennis style and has been playing with ease and confidence throughout the Open. Federer is not only the second best tennis player in the world- he’s also the father of two sets of twins! Talk about balancing career and family! Federer plays in the finals today against the reigning Number 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovich.

So, as Jane said in a recent post, stop saying you’re old in your thirties! You’re only as old as you believe you are!

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Being Single Is the New Married

This month last year, for the first time in over 40 years, the percentage of single adult Americans tipped over 50% to about 50.2%.  This is in stark contrast to the 1950s, when about 22% of adult Americans were single. So if you’re feeling bad about being single in your 30s, or feeling like a third wheel when you go to another BBQ at your married friends house, remember that the majority of us out there are single.

Surely there are lots of reasons for this trend, and lots of interesting speculation from experts in various disciplines.  Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University and the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, had some interesting things to say about why people are choosing not to settle down.

“People are spending a big chunk of their lives — much of the 20s and even into their 30s, increasingly — becoming a grown up. They’re investing their time in their job, they feel anxious about their career and they’re having a very difficult time moving into that next stage of what we’ve traditionally thought of as grown-up life.” – Eric Klinenberg

I like that quote because it makes me feel better about the fact that often times I still feel like I’m clawing my way into adulthood.

Klinenberg also talked about how single people may be reluctant to give up living alone.

“People who live alone have a degree of control over their time and space that very few other people have. They have a chance for solitude, and kind of a productive solitude. We live in this moment of incredible hyper-connection and we’re always engaged with social life through social media. When you live alone, you have a little oasis in your apartment.”

Having lived alone for over three years, I can relate to that sentiment. While I also loved living with a partner, there’s an undefinable sweet joy about creating a “room of one’s own.”

So what do you think? Is this a trend that will continue to rise upward?

Knowing the Difference Between Labor Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day by Your Thirties

Happy Labor Day! Today’s post is a repost from this past Memorial Day, but I thought it was timely. Hope you had some good barbecue and are enjoying every last bit of the summer!

Last year on Labor Day, a friend of mine was wondering whether or not to thank the military. (Short answer- sure, thank the military- but not because of Labor Day. Labor day has nothing to do with the military- it’s about American workers.)

Last Memorial Day, I overheard someone asking the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This was not a child asking- it was someone in their fifties

So in case you’re not sure of the differences between the holidays, but are too embarrassed to ask, lets clear up the confusion right now, anonymously 😉

Memorial Day: Memorial Day is for honoring and remembering military personnel who died serving their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of battle wounds. The holiday originated right after the Civil War and is always celebrated the last Monday in May because that’s when flowers are blooming to decorate the graves of the dead. Read more about Memorial Day here.

Veterans Day: Veterans Day is a day to thank EVERYONE who’s served in the military, whether in wartime or peacetime. The day is especially to thank living veterans for their service, and to really show that all those who served, and not just those who died, have done their duty. Veterans Day was created after World War I and is always celebrated on November 11. Read more about Veterans Day here

Labor Day: Labor Day is dedicated to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created in 1887 by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor. It’s always celebrated the first Monday in September. Read more about Labor Day here.

Hope your fantastic Labor Day weekend carries you into the fall and beyond!

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If You’re in Your 30s, You’re Not Old

While I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw this status update from a fellow female writer in LA:

Hey female friends in their 30’s, every time you call yourself “old” the patriarchy wins. ‪#‎Don‬’tBuckleToBullshit

I don’t want to invade her privacy by telling you who she is, but I also don’t not want to give her credit for this awesome piece of advice. So if you’re reading this right now, FB friend, you’re awesome.

This piece of wisdom was so resonant for me! I always self-deprecate and call myself ‘old,’ around younger people especially. When I worked at an arts camp this summer and everyone was younger than me, I would always refer to myself as ‘old.’ Or when I’m interacting with fellow MFA students who are in their early-mid-20s, I call myself ‘old.’

But why am I doing that?  There’s simply no reason to! Being in your 30s is young! In fact, a study showed that women feel their most attractive at age 32. When did we get this idea that you’re an older lady when you turn 30? It’s just not true. In terms of physical appearance, I think there’s such a thing as “growing into your looks.” In your 30s, you understand what looks good on you and how to make your natural assets shine.

Additionally, so many people have started new career paths entirely in their 30s and beyond. Famed comedian Rodney Dangerfield was selling aluminum siding in his 30s, and his film career peaked when he was in his 50s and 60s. That’s just the one example that always comes to mind, but there are a ton of others.

So how about we make a pact to not call ourselves old? Cause it’s kind of like when super attractive people can’t acknowledge how attractive they are. And we all know that sucks.

Is Having a “Respectable” Job In Your Thirties Worth Your Happiness?

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is having a ‘respectable’ job in your thirties.

In my twenties, I’ll admit, I hustled for money a lot…I was concentrating on my “real passion” – theater – so I was working a lot of random event jobs in between the Tradeshows I normally worked..also for extra money to support my theater career. I had jobs where I worked outside in the snow and handed out orange juice. I had jobs catering parties where people wouldn’t look at or talk to me. I had jobs at bars where too many people looked at and talked to me. I had jobs dressed as a dinosaur from a video game. There were many crazy moments. And, I’ll admit, there are still crazy moments now.

But there’s something about being in your thirties where the old job hustling doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. It feels very  important to have a “respectable” job. Job titles are cool in your thirties the way everything ‘grown up’ is sort of cool. Somewhere along the line of being in your thirties, you’re supposed to have ‘made it’ careerwise, right?

Well, I definitely don’t miss a lot of the random crazy gigs I had in my twenties, especially the ones that didn’t pay well. And I definitely am way more conscious of how I’m treated by the people I work with- I tolerate a lot less disrespect than I used to. But as for having a particularly ‘respectable’ and grown up job title…well, I don’t know exactly what that means to me. Especially since I’ve always been self-employed and have kind of cobbled my skills together.

I know some people who:

  1. Have an amazing, respectable job title and are pretty happy but make way less money than you’d think.
  2. Who have an amazing, respectable job title and make lots of money, but are way more UNhappy than you’d think.
  3. And of course, there are the people in respectable jobs who make tons of money and are super happy. I guess that = the dream. Damn those guys.

But maybe the thirties career dream actually doesn’t need the respectable title. Maybe all you need is to make good money (or at least enough money) and be really happy. Perhaps in your thirties, you don’t necessarily need that respectable title after all- just make enough money and be happy enough doing it. Then go do other things that make you happy.

So I’m sort of stopping my search for the respectable job title and am focusing the search on jobs that meet my financial needs and make me happy enough. Then I’m off doing other happy-making things.

If you can make good money hustling and are happy doing it, then by all means, hustle.  If you’re happy being a theater actor, and are okay money-wise, then be a theater actor. For goodness sake, if you’re happy and make enough money being a clown at a birthday party, then by all means, keep doing that! Screw the titles and screw explaining yourself! Figure out your own life, make yourself happy, and then of course, keep afloat. Make your own title! As long as you have the money to keep yourself smiling, then go for it. Because aren’t the thirties all about giving zero fucks anyway?

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Happy With Less (Emotionally)

If you read this blog with any regularity, you probably know that I’m a screenwriter and TV writer. Which means I scour and devour (yay, rhyming!) all things screenwriting related. One of the blogs I love is called Screenwriting from Iowa. It’s worth a read even if you’re not a writer. Two days ago, the author referenced a quote from Robert Rodriguez, a director/writer best known for his films Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn, and tons of others. His career took off when he directed/produced/wrote the super low budget El Mariachi. Rodriguez basically took the reins of his career and catapulted himself into Hollywood. Here’s the quote:

“I say when you want to do anything you need to reduce your ‘I need list’ to very little. Because if you start going, ‘Well, I need a crew first. I need a budget. I need a set…’—the longer that list gets, the further away you’re going to accomplish that. So you need to shrink that down to ‘I need nothing. I’ve got everything here.’ If you can do that you’re off and running.”
-Robert Rodriguez

When I read that quote, I thought, damn – that’s applicable to life too, isn’t it? In the same way this current craze of “de-cluttering” and minimalism in terms of material items seems to be dominating our collective unconscious, why not look for ways to de-clutter our mental plates?  What if you could be happy without an amazing job, marriage, or a child (examples of so many things on the mind of a typical 30-something)?

I’m trying to think about that myself. Right now I’ve hit none of the ‘typical’ benchmarks a 30-something might have achieved in our society. I have amazing friends and parents. And whatever happens in my external career, I do have a passion for stories and writing, and that passion is my beacon when times are challenging.

So, I guess the point is – maybe there’s something to the idea of ‘de-cluttering’ your idea of what makes you happy.

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her

Is a 0% Interest Credit Card Just a Blatant Lie In a Pretty Package?

Oh my god!! A zero percent interest credit card?? Does that mean I will have unlimited money and can buy whatever I want forever in my thirties? And then I can simply pay money back super slowly until I die…. interest free?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: no.

I mean, come on.

I was listening to reruns of The Suze Orman show podcast the other day (it has sadly gone off the podcast air this summer) and a few people mentioned using a zero interest credit card and asked Suze for her advice.

I remember the first time I heard about zero interest credit cards. I thought to myself “what the heck is a zero interest credit card? Why would card issuers would give someone money interest free? In what way would credit card companies benefit from this?”

Here’s a simple answer: zero interest offers always expire. And card issuers almost always benefit.

Here’s another simple answer: zero interest credit cards are usually a bad idea for the consumer. And then card issuers benefit.

Here’s why:

Let’s start with the way zero interest credit cards work:

  1. There are two different kinds of zero interest credit cards: deferred interest and waived interest.
  2. For both types of 0% interest cards, the 0% interest rate only occurs for a certain period of time (say, 6 months) and then expires.
  3. For both deferred and waived interest cards, after the 0% interest rate expires, the new interest rate is EXORBITANT- more than almost any other type of credit card. It could be as high as 26%, which is basically highway robbery.
  4. A deferred interest card is VERY bad, and a waived interest card is not much better. Here are the differences between the two:

a) For a DEFERRED INTEREST 0% interest card, interest is actually accruing during the special 0% promotion period (that certain amount of time I mentioned above when the card is still zero percent), but it’s being deferred. So if you buy something on a 0% credit card that’s 0% for 12 months, interest occurs during those 12 months. but you won’t have to pay it until month 13. If you pay off your original purchase by month 12, you never have to pay that interest. But if you haven’t fully paid off your purchase by month 12, you get hit with THE FULL YEAR OF INTEREST CHARGES!!!

So lets say you bought a $1000 bed on a 0% interest credit card that is deferred for 12 months. Let’s say that card has a deferred 23% interest rate. This means that about $20 in interest is adding up on your card every month. You won’t have to pay any of that interest for those first 12 months, but the card company has a record of it. If you pay off that bed within 12 months, you’ll never have to pay the interest. But if you just pay the minimum every month, the SECOND those 12 months are up you’ll be hit with a $240 deferred interest bill PLUS interest will continue accruing on anything you didn’t already pay off!! At a whopping 22% a month interest rate! This is terrible.

b) For a WAIVED 0% interest rate, lets say you bought that same $1000 bed on a 0% interest credit card that is waived for 12 months. Let’s say that card also has a waived 23% interest rate. This means that for 12 months no interest is accruing on your card. If you pay off that bed within 12 months, you’ll never have to pay any interest. But if you don’t finish paying the bed off, the SECOND those 12 months are up you’ll be hit with a 22% a month interest rate! This is pretty bad, though not as bad as the deferred card.

Credit card issuers count on you being dazzled by the zero percent interest rate and simply impulse grabbing one of their credit cards to make a big purchase. Don’t fall for it!! You’ll likely end up paying way more in the long run!

And if this hasn’t yet convinced you not to get a zero percent interest card, here are two more evil tricks 0% interest card issuers may be playing on you:

  1. For some 0% interest cards, if you’re late to pay or miss even one payment, the 0% interest offer is negated, and you’ll end up having to pay interest right away- before the 0% promotional period is even up! And it’ll be higher than other credit cards!
  2. Also, on some 0% interest credit cards, the 0% offer is only good for the first major purchase, and not the purchases thereafter. So if you continue using that 0% card, it won’t be zero interest anymore for anything other than your first purchase!

Read the fine print on 0% cards. And of course, if you can, avoid purchasing things that you couldn’t afford without a credit card anyway. A lot of times when it comes to interest rates, credit card companies are selling you very blatant lies wrapped in very pretty packages.

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