10.1.19 Schwab eliminates trading fees; Using your credit card overseas; Getting married in a diamond store

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Southwest is having a sweet sale right now!

An all-out price war to zero is underway with small company Interactive Brokers and giant Charles Schwab. Both are ending commissions on stock trades. Buying and selling stocks and ETFs will be commission-free. This will penetrate the investing world, with discounters also going to zero. This started earlier this year with Fidelity Zero, offering free mutual funds – no account minimums required. The ability to invest at zero cost is taking hold in the marketplace. Fidelity and Schwab are both trying to deal with the Vanguard juggernaut. Co-op Vanguard, operating as a credit union for investing, has taken investing market share gains for the last 7 years. As these behemoths compete, investors win, regardless of which one you choose. Meanwhile, those still investing with banks, full commission stockbrokers or insurance companies pay massive fees. Invest for free, to keep your money working for you.

There’s a common rip off for credit card users traveling overseas. Often upon card payment, the processing machine will automatically convert your charge from the local currency to U.S. dollars. This is done to rip you off on the conversion rate. When overseas, NEVER EVER EVER say yes when asked if you want to pay in U.S. dollars. Be aware many Visa / MC banks are automatically putting the purchase in dollars, and you need to override that into local currency. The difference could be as much as 10%. Watch closely while purchasing. Before you sign any charge slip, make sure it’s NOT processed in dollars. You always want the charge in local currency. Today many cards don’t charge foreign currency junk fees. AMX doesn’t do this. See Clark’s guide to save while traveling.

Survey says, of people age 38 and under, over 90% would consider eloping over a traditional wedding. The reasons: to save money, avoid wedding planning and make the event more personal. Destination weddings are expensive and limit the number who can be there. Helzberg Diamonds offers a wedding service with ring purchase. No hoopla. People used to go to Vegas for a simple, quick and cheap wedding. Now, just go to the mall to Helzberg. 1700 Helzberg employees are ordained / licensed to conduct marriage ceremonies. If you’re planning a post wedding party, don’t mention the word ‘wedding’ to any vendors involved or the cost can triple.  

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