529 · Covered Calls · Monthly Update · Travel

August 2020 Update

Each month, I find that there’s a bunch of small topics that don’t warrant their own post but that I want to share nonetheless. Here are some from August.

Beach House In North Carolina

In the eight years that we’ve lived in Virginia, we’ve rented houses near the beach on the southern coast of North Carolina. We usually vacation there in mid-September, when the water is still warm but with off-season pricing. With my oldest child starting college at the end of August, we decided to take our trip now instead of later.

We rented a place on Oak Island, literally one day before we headed down. The house we rented was a couple blocks from the beach but that didn’t stop us from spending time every day enjoying the surf. The pandemic made for a slightly different experience, but North Carolina is a little less “locked down” than Virginia. Everyone had fun and it was a very relaxing trip. I even taught the kids a new card game, called Barbu, that we had learned about through some neighbors who are expats from France.

What I didn’t know about Oak Island was that it was one of the hardest hit by hurricane Isaias a couple weeks before our trip. Most of the first row houses had damage, some of it superficial, but most not. The local police had cordoned off sections where the damage was greatest, only allowing homeowners and contractors in. And there was one house that was completely destroyed by fire, presumably triggered by the storm. Hopefully no one was hurt.

To School She Goes!

My oldest is now settled into her dorm room at the university. Hopefully things go well and she doesn’t need to come home before Thanksgiving. Crossing my fingers. 

As for the 529 (are you sick of me talking about, yet?) I’ll probably hold off making the withdrawals for tuition until towards the end of the year, giving it more time to increase a little in value.It’s all in stable, conservative income options so the chances of it losing value are pretty low. Again, cross fingers. 

I also did a rollover from the Ohio 529 into the Virginia 529, scoring an additional tax deduction on the original contribution amount. The process involved initiating the rollover through Virginia529 and took about 2 weeks end-to-end for the rollover to complete.

Hello Tello

Speaking of growing up, my daughter needed a new phone plan as she went off to college. Her old sim was being handed down to her younger sister. We looked over her options together and she ultimately decided to go with Tello (on the Sprint network) and a $5/month, 500mb plan with unlimited text and no minutes. 

After looking it over with her, I’m actually considering switching there myself. My current plan is $3/month for 30 minutes of talk/text and no data. You can get a week-long data pass for $10. Do that a couple times a year and you might as well go with Tello. I’ll probably start the switch this week.

Bank Bonuses

Despite claiming that I want to simplify my financial account footprint, I seem to be making it more complicated. This month I decided to take M&T Bank up on a $350 bonus for keeping $10,000 in an account for two months, and then $7,500 for an additional four months. That’s over a 5% IRR, even taking taxes in account, so I decided to take them up on it.

It wasn’t smooth sailing. After putting a temporary thaw on my credit report, I made the attempt and was rejected with the message “you’ll need to come into a branch to complete this offer.” Not happening. I tried again the next day, this time disabling my ad blocker and everything worked. In the end, I’m not sure if it was the ad blocker or a delay in the credit thaw.

Getting Assigned

I’ve written about writing covered calls against DumpsterFire Inc. Earnings was at the end of July and I had several contracts outstanding right before their earnings, including some at $14, $15, and $16 strike prices. A couple days before earnings, I closed out the $15 and $16s but kept the $14. Earnings was great, the price jumped to something over $15 and my $14s were assigned. I’d paid on average $12/share so I was totally fine with the outcome. 

Following earnings and the optimism boost, I immediately sold more options at $18 and $19 with a September 18th expiry. DumpsterFire Inc has continued to stay in the $14-$15 range and those calls look highly likely to expire without assignment. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Hopefully your summer is coming to a great conclusion.

Hasta luego!

4 thoughts on “August 2020 Update

  1. Congrats on the move – good luck!

    Mrs. Max OOP is actually staying on campus again for her training in Calgary for the next 3.5 months.

    Nice photos. We lived in NC (about an hour south of Raleigh) before moving to New England in 2017. We did two trips to Oak Island when we lived down there. One of Mrs. Max OOP’s teacher friends had a house out that way.

    I heard those bank bonuses get taxed, but not entirely sure. I have backed off the credit card bonuses and such in recent years mostly to simplify my life. I am pretty much down to my fidelity 2% cashback card. Life is simple.


    1. Yep, the bank bonuses get taxed as interest income, unfortunately. With that calculated in and the requirement to keep $7,500 in essentially 0% interest for 6 months, this comes out to a ~5% rate of return. I hear you on keeping things simple. Love my Fidelity 2% cashback as well.

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