What’s in My Wallet: 5 Personal Finance Gurus Tell All
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By Mandi Woodruff,
Business Insider
September 7, 2012

Run a web search for 'best credit cards' and chances are it would take a lifetime to wade through half the results.

Finding the right one is a whole other challenge. There are nearly twice as many credit cards in circulation in the U.S. as there are human beings, and terms change so frequently that entire websites are dedicated to sifting through them for consumers.

We thought we'd take a different approach.

We reached out to a handful of the sharpest minds in personal finance today to ask them a simple question:

What's in their wallet?

1. David Bach: Author, Finish Rich and The Automatic Millionaire

TD Bank Visa Credit Card: (Personal use) "TD Bank is a fantastic Bank in NYC, and I love my branch downtown and my bankers. They are over the top on service and a pleasure to work with. Love their double reward points."

American Express Platinum: (Business) "I've had an American Express for business for over a decade. Pay it off in full each month. American Express is fantastic for business, travel, points, services and benefits. Love, love, love American Express! I carry a platinum card because of all the travel benefits."

TD Bank Visa debit card: "My bank rebates all ATM fees."


2. Anisha Sekar: Nerdwallet's Credit Guru

Chase Freedom: "I have a short credit history, and though the Freedom has a solid rewards program (5% cash back on rotating bonus categories) it appears to be thin-file-friendly. It also has no annual fee, so it's ideal for anyone looking to boost their credit score."

Consumers Credit Union debit card: "Free rewards checking account earns 3.09% APY on the first $5,000 of your account balance, and reimburses your ATM fees (you do have to meet minimum usage requirements to qualify). Though I'm not in Illinois, between direct deposit and ATM fee reimbursements, I can use this card fee-free."

Lake Michigan Credit Union debit card: "Another great credit union, LMCU's Max Checking account offers 3% APY on up to $15,000. It, too, reimburses ATM fees (up to $15 a month) if you meet the usage requirements."

WILDCARD: "I've also been meaning to get the American Express Blue Cash Preferred, since the bulk of my spending goes toward groceries, and that card earns 6% cash back at supermarkets."


3. Odysseas Papadimitriou: CEO of Evolution Finance

Capital One Venture Rewards Card: "I travel a lot, and the Venture Card is the best all-around travel credit card on the market, in my opinion.  It basically offers 2% cash back across all purchases when you redeem miles for any travel-related expense, which means you’re not only getting a lot of bang for your buck, but you aren’t forced into flying on one particular airline or staying at one hotel chain either.  I use the Venture Card as my primary credit card and to make most everyday purchases.

American Express Hilton Credit Card: "I got the Hilton Credit Card primarily for the initial bonus and because having it was a way to keep the Hilton points I already had from expiring.  I only use it when I stay at a Hilton property because it only offers truly attractive rewards on Hilton-oriented purchases, as you would expect from a hotel-specific credit card."

Chase Amtrak Credit Card: "I got the Amtrak Credit Card purely for the initial bonus:  enough points for 2 free round-trip tickets from the Washington, D.C. area to New York.  My wife and I actually ended up using them to go up to the city for our first wedding anniversary."

WILDCARD: "I’m also considering applying for the Citi Diamond Preferred Card.  My family has some big expenses coming up in a few months, and having 0% on purchases for 18 months would be really nice."


4. Erik Larson: President and Founder, NextAdvisor.com

American Express Business Platinum Card: "This card carries a hefty annual fee of $450, but it's worth it.  I charge a large amount of business expenses on this card and I don't think any other issuer would be willing to give the six figure credit limits that AMEX does.  So to me $450 is a small price to pay for getting floated that kind of cash at no interest for 30 days every month.  It's a great source of almost free financing for a small business.  It's also got some great perks and it's nice being able to earn rewards on all of those charges."

United Mileage Plus Card from Chase: "I originally got this card years ago when I was an investment banker and flying all the time, mainly on United since they have the most flights out of San Francisco (my home airport).  While I fly much less frequently today and don't always use United, I still like using this card.  United still has the best selection of flights out of SFO so when it's time to use my reward miles, I can book flights where I want to go.  Plus, NextAdvisor.com's travel rewards card analysis showed that of the miles you earn from all the different airline rewards cards, United's had the most value in the real world."

United Mileage Plus Business Card from Chase: "I can't always use AMEX for businesses expenses, so I use this Visa card for business sometimes for the same reasons I use the United Visa for personal charges."


5. Dave Ramsey: The Anti-Credit Crusader

All you'll find in Dave Ramsey's wallet is a couple of debit cards and his license, the finance guru says.

Here's why: "You don’t need credit. Credit is an 'I love debt' score. If you live on less than you make, pay off your debts and stay out of debt, you don’t need credit.

Think of how much money you’d have if you had no payments! While I encourage people to save 100 percent down for a home, a mortgage is the one debt that I don’t frown upon. And if you deal with a local bank and get manual underwriting you don’t need a FICO score."

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