Author Archives: RLP


A large part of my mental comfort insists on my apartment being orderly. I’ve read or heard it described somewhere that the wide variety of environments we inhabit each day have both positive and negative affects on our moods and mind. It would seem that acute attention should be paid to designing a stimulating and supportive primary living space.

When I walk into a room, especially one that I know well, open spaces and the familiarity of a few cherished mementos placed thoughtfully is a deep and genuine welcome to me. The warm sense that even space and inanimate objects acknowledge my presence and invite me with emptiness is a happy and comfortable feeling indeed.

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The Best Health Savings Account – An HSA Redux

I left my old job in mid 2015. That was a grand moment. As the year came to a close, I enjoyed the last few remaining winter months happily unemployed and free. Then, in March, I went back to work.

Anyway, that doesn’t matter. This story isn’t about work. Instead, it’s all about a little HSA account I adopted way back in 2013, and its now rather imminently impending replacement.

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Tricking Tax Year 2015

That title just sounds a lot slicker than “Unusual Retirement Account Funding Techniques.

Last year in April I wrote Debt Free, my ode to faithfully filling up my Vanguard Traditional IRA to its $5,500 brim. At that time I was about $2,500 short of maxing out my IRA. My solution was to fund my Target REDcard (since discontinued by American Express) by charging the $2.5k to my Capital One VentureOne card, withdrawing the balance from REDcard to my checking account, and finally transferring the funds to my IRA account.

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A New Website

Once an idea finds coupling with an interest, it is at that time new and meaningful things begin to happen. My passion for travel planning is now a full-blown hobby. Simply pulling up Google Maps provides an endless source of destinations, each of which of course has a name, but perhaps also an interesting story. Placing myself into that story is one of the most culturally respectful rites and socially entertaining sensations I can experience. Full immersion. I am now living in another world, others’ world.

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Restlessness. It is what I am these days. These days? What kind of a dimension is that? Call it the last 3 or 4 months. Remember the attainment of routine that I so proudly held aloft, just a year ago? That feeling has been replaced, or at least heavily modified. I got tired of it, I just outgrew the freshness of an exciting, but rote track walked daily. This makes me sad, somewhat. Disappointment in myself sometimes creeps into my mind, and I usually push it aside with the thought of time being a cure.

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Booked a flight to Miami (MIA) from LaGuardia airport (LGA) for a visit next month in late June.

LaGuardia (LGA) → Miami (MIA) → Newark (EWR)

A rough outline of the costs involved:

  • 15,000 Avios miles redeemed:
    • 7,500 LGA-MIA ($168.10 equivalent fare ) – $0
    • 7,500 MIA-EWR ($168.10 equivalent fare) – $0
  • 1 night in Hilton Bentley South Beach ($402.10 equivalent rate) – $0
  • 3 nights via Airbnb in the Wynwood Arts District ($325.00 total equivalent rate) – $153.97
  • Transportation:
    • Public Transportation – $0
    • Uber × 3 – $0

The itinerary has been a joy to assemble!

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Seven Steps

Internet explorations can take a person to such strange lands. Finding a place to stay for a night in Cincinnati and then a second night in Washington took me over to Couchsurfing. After a quick search in the DC area it turns out that there are quite a few hosts. One in particular, Jordan K, really stood out with his 268 references. Reading through his profile it is apparent that Jordan isn’t a guy just offering up his couch. “There is a lot to see so be prepared to walk until your feet fall off!!!” is how he ends his couch description. By linking directly from his profile to “How to Be a Good Guest” on CouchWiki, it appears Jordan fully endorses the cultural sharing aspect of Couchsurfing.

What a cool guy!

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Debt Free!

Milestone attained. I’m debt free!

No longer have I the big scary education loan or distasteful car note. Nope. All paid off as of January 2015, and on schedule too!

Instead I’ve recently taken out a $2,500 ‘loan’ from Capital One. Not wanting to miss out on contributing to my Traditional IRA for tax year 2014, I took my VentureOne credit card over to Target and loaded funds onto a Target REDcard. Once loaded, the funds were withdrawn to supplement my linked bank account. From there it was simple to transfer the full $5,500 to my Vanguard retirement account. That account holds just 1 fund, VTSMX Investor Shares with a lowly 0.17% expense ratio.

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