[Targeted] Discover: Earn 6% Cash Back On Grocery Store Purchases ($1,250 Spend)

Update: Some people have the same offer but for gas instead of grocery.

The Offer

No direct link to offer, sent out via e-mail. Unknown subject line

  • Discover is offering some cardholders 6% cash back on grocery store purchases, on up to $1,250 in purchases

The Fine Print

  • Valid until 12/31/21
  • Excludes purchases made at Walmart and Target

Our Verdict

Great deal if you can spend big on grocery stores. $1,250 limit is relatively generous as far as these offers go as well.

Hat tip to reader X W

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Biotech Stocks – What They Are and Why You Should Invest in Them

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Over the past few decades, innovation in health care has been incredible. If you had said 20 or 30 years ago that HIV and hepatitis C soon wouldn’t be death sentences, no one would have believed you. The same goes for various types of cancers, epilepsy, and several other ailments. 

The driver in the development of new therapeutic options is the same driver behind evolutions in entertainment, shopping, and more: technology. Technological innovation is changing the way we live our lives, and nowhere is that fact more clear than in the field of medicine. 

In fact, technology has played such a major role in the innovation of new therapies that an entirely new market — known as the biotech market — has emerged. 

The emergence of the biotech industry led to extended lifespans and better quality of life for countless patients over the past few decades. It has also led to tremendous growth in revenue, profits, and investor interest in the stocks that represent the companies making novel medicines and treatments. Investment opportunities are being created in the space consistently, making the biotech sector one of significant interest for stock market participants. 

What Are Biotech Stocks?

Biotech stocks represent companies in the biotech sector. These are companies that are focused on the development of new medicines, vaccines, or medical devices through the use of innovative technologies and advanced medical science. 

These companies are working to bring an end to some of the world’s most devastating health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and several rare diseases that most people can’t even pronounce. 

These medical science efforts have been so successful that experts such as the Legacy Research Group suggest that we are entering an age of a biotechnology renaissance.

Biotech stocks include familiar pharmaceutical names like Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and Merck, along with a host of yet-unknown companies with products in early-stage development. 

Pro Tip: Are you looking for the next great investment but don’t have time to do the research yourself? The Motley Fool Stock Advisor, one of the most successful stock picking services, will send you two stock recommendations each month. Netflix, a past recommendation, is up more than 21,000%. Learn more about Motley Fool Stock Advisor.


Biotech Stock Pros and Cons

Investments in biotechnology companies can lead to massive gains and make you feel good. However, when things go wrong, they can go very wrong. As with any investment, these investments come with their fair share of pros and cons. 

Biotech Stock Pros

There are several benefits to making the right investments in the sector. Some of the most important of these benefits include:

1. Potential for Massive Profits

Investing in the biotechnology industry can prove to be overwhelmingly lucrative. Most clinical-stage stocks in this sector trade at prices under $5 per share. However, the successful launch of a new treatment option can send the stock soaring in many multiples. If there’s ever a sector that creates millionaires, biotechnology is it. 

2. The Feel-Good Effect

These days, investors make investments for more than profit. In fact, there’s a trend of socially responsible investing sweeping the globe. With socially responsible investing, you look for and invest in companies that are making positive change in the world. 

Some socially responsible investors look toward solar stocks for environmental change or financial-literacy stocks designed to remove the wealth divide. Others invest in the biotech sector, helping to fund the development of life-saving and life-changing treatment options. That’s something to feel good about. 

3. Better Understanding of Medicine

When investing in any stock in any sector, it’s important to do your research. When doing this due diligence in the biotech industry, you’ll learn quite a bit about the human body, medicine, and the various ailments medicines are being designed to treat and cure. 

There’s value in knowing why your ticker ticks and how to keep it ticking for the long run. Investing in biotech stocks could lead to lifestyle decisions that don’t only improve your financial health, but your medical health as well. 

Pro tip: Before you add any biotech stocks to your portfolio, make sure you’re choosing the best possible companies. Stock screeners like Trade Ideas can help you narrow down the choices to companies that meet your individual requirements. Learn more about our favorite stock screeners.

Biotech Stock Cons

There are plenty of benefits to investing in biotech, but every darling has a blemish. There are some drawbacks to investing in this space as well. 

1. Clinical Failure

Any company can fail. In the biotechnology industry, failure can come much easier. A failed clinical trial means the loss of millions of dollars and years in research, generally leading to dramatic losses. 

2. Commercial Failures

Taking a new medical product to market takes quite a bit of work and capital. Even if that product seems as though it will be met with high consumer demand, failure can happen. These failures prove to be extremely costly when they occur, both for the biotech company and its investors. 

3. One-Hit Wonders

Once products are created and commercialized, biotech companies only have a limited amount of market exclusivity. After a period of several years, competitors will launch generics. If the company doesn’t have other products to fall back on, generic treatments could lead to dramatic declines in share values.

4. Poor Financial Foundations

There are an elite few companies in this sector that have created a blockbuster product, brought it to market, made billions, and continued to innovate, growing out a multibillion-dollar, stable company in medicine. The vast majority of biotech companies are in clinical stages and produce no revenue. With poor financial foundations, these companies are at the mercy of the investing community and lenders to stay afloat. 


Biotech Stock Stages

There are multiple stages of a biotechnology business. The stage of a company’s product development tells you a lot about the potential risk and reward associated with an investment in that particular company. 

1. Research-and-Discovery-Stage Biotech Stocks

Research-and-discovery-stage stocks are the most risky plays you can make in the sector. In fact, they are so risky that most of them trade on the over-the-counter (OTC) market because they do not meet key requirements set by major exchanges like the NASDAQ or New York Stock Exchange. 

These companies have a plan, but no product. They are currently researching to discover the basic foundations of what will become an experimental vaccine, therapy, or device. 

There are several major risks to consider when thinking about an investment in a research-and-discovery-stage company. Among the most important are:

  • Research That Doesn’t Produce Results. The best scientists in the world may look for ways to deliver an effective treatment. That doesn’t mean they’re going to find them. Ultimately, these companies are rooted in research, which doesn’t always yield a viable product. 
  • Capital Requirements. Research in the field of medicine is a highly capital-intensive process. Not only do companies have to pay high salaries, but they also have to pay high costs associated with equipment, regulatory matters, and more. Without a product, research-and-discovery companies don’t generate any revenue. So, this capital must come from debt, grants, or the investing community, neither of which is good for current investors. 
  • Fraudsters. While most research-and-discovery biotech companies are looking for ways to improve quality and length of life in patient populations, there are also plenty of companies out there designed for nothing more than creating a payday for the founders. These companies say they want to perform research, but need to raise capital to do so. That capital goes to paying executive salaries and perks, and the research never happens. This is a common scam in the biotech sector, and investors should be highly diligent in looking for it in these early-stage companies. 

2. Preclinical-Stage Biotech Stocks

Preclinical-stage biotech companies are a bit further along than research-and-discovery-stage companies. These companies have done the research that has led to the development of an experimental product. 

However, preclinical-stage companies are still quite young in terms of development. In the preclinical stage, companies are looking to prove their concept. For example, if a preclinical-stage company is developing a drug for lung cancer, it may treat mice that have lung cancer with the new drug, looking for signs of the treatment’s efficacy and safety. 

Although mice are quite different from humans, our bodies work in many of the same ways. Therefore, a treatment that works in mice has a better likelihood of working in humans than one that doesn’t. 

In order to move into human studies, these companies have to show regulatory authorities that there is a strong likelihood that a treatment will work and be safe to use in humans. The preclinical stage is centered around doing just that. 

At this point, there are still several risks to consider. The most important of these risks include:

  • Preclinical Failure. If a new treatment is given to a mouse, and the mouse dies as a result of the treatment, it will be difficult to bring that treatment to human studies. As such, if a company at this stage announces a preclinical failure, it could send the stock tumbling. 
  • Capital Requirements. As biotech companies move through the process of developing new therapies, costs only grow. Like research-and-discovery-stage companies, preclinical-stage biotech companies don’t have products on the market and are unable to generate revenue. As a result, they will need to look for funding elsewhere. While some of this funding may come from grants, the vast majority of preclinical companies are funded through transactions — such as public offerings of common stock — that ultimately dilute the long-term value of shares currently held by investors. 
  • Regulatory Hurdles. For a company to go from preclinical to the clinical stages, it will have to receive investigational new drug approval from regulatory authorities. This approval gives the company the ability to test a new drug in humans. All the preclinical data may look positive to the average investor, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may use a different measuring stick. If the company’s investigational new drug application is declined, its stock will fall. 

3. Early-Clinical-Stage Biotech Stocks

Early-clinical-stage biotech companies have a tangible product that is being developed. Moreover, this product has been given the green light by regulatory authorities for experimental testing in humans. 

There are three main phases of clinical studies in this experimental process. Companies in the midst of the first two phases are considered early-clinical-stage companies. 

Phase One Clinical Studies 

Phase One clinical studies are the earliest studies in which human subjects are used. These studies generally consist of small patient populations. In most cases, all volunteers involved in the Phase One clinical studies are healthy adults. The idea of Phase One studies is to slowly escalate the dose of a treatment to find the maximum tolerable dose in the human body.

While Phase One studies will show signs of the treatment’s effectiveness, the main focus of these studies is safety and tolerability. These trials usually aim to answer the following questions:

  • Are there side effects? 
  • Are the side effects tolerable? 
  • Is the new therapy or other medical product safe to use?
  • What dose is needed? 
  • Is there a glimmer of efficacy?

Phase Two Clinical Trials

Phase Two clinical trials are generally proof-of-concept trials. Knowing the maximum tolerable dose for healthy adults, early-clinical-stage companies will open a new trial, enrolling actual patients who are dealing with the ailment the new treatment or device aims to improve or eradicate. During these studies, companies aim to answer the following questions:

  • Is the medical product safe to use in a sick-patient population?
  • Does the experimental medical product produce positive results by reducing the symptoms or eradicating the illness in a small patient population?

Early-clinical-stage stocks come with similar risks to preclinical-stage stocks:

  • Clinical Failure. Although preclinical data must be solid to get to this point, there is no guarantee that results in mice and petri dishes will equate to results in humans. Although there’s a stronger chance of positive outcomes in clinical stages than there is in preclinical stages, there is still a chance of failure. Clinical failures mean the loss of millions of dollars and years of research and can lead to a substantial loss of value in the stock that represents the company in charge of the trial. 
  • Capital Requirements. Even at this stage, the companies don’t have products on the market and face the same capital challenges seen by research-and-discovery and preclinical companies. The difference here is that with a tangible product in development with FDA approval for experimental use in humans, the risk to lenders and institutional investors is lower, often leading to better fundraising opportunities. Nonetheless, these transactions can still cost investors in the long run. 

4. Late-Clinical-Stage Biotech Stocks

Late-clinical-stage biotech companies are at the final step before submitting the applications that allow them to bring new medical products to market. 

These companies are in the midst of Phase Three clinical development. In Phase Three clinical studies, late-clinical-stage companies enroll large populations of patients that have confirmed cases of the illness they are attempting to treat. In the enrollment process, the company will attempt to hit every corner of the patient population, ensuring a wide diversity in age, race, and (often) severity of the condition.

Late-stage biotech companies already have a good understanding of the safety and tolerability profile of their treatment and believe it to be effective. Now, it’s time to prove that it is safe, tolerable, and effective across the vast patient population that would use it once approved and marketed. 

If there is a current standard of care for the ailment being addressed — that is, the standard treatment you would expect with what’s currently available — late-stage companies will generally treat a percentage of the patient population with the experimental drug and another percentage with the standard of care. The goal of these head-to-head clinical studies is to prove that the experimental drug performs better than the current standard of care. 

As with all other stages of biotech stocks, late-stage stocks come with their own risks:

  • Clinical Failure. As you begin to invest in biotech, you’ll see that clinical failure, even in late stages, happens all too often. By this stage, companies have spent incredible amounts of money on research, preclinical testing, and early trials. The process has likely taken several years, if not a decade or more. A failure at this stage is extremely painful, and that’s seen in the stock’s price when it happens. 
  • Capital Requirements. Phase Three clinical trials are expensive. Also, to move out of the clinical stage and into commercial stages, there is a large cost involved in regulatory approvals. If capital hasn’t already been worked out at this point, companies may be forced to move forward with transactions that aren’t in the best interest of investors in order to raise the capital needed to go through the final stages of development and work toward commercialization. 

5. Commercial-Stage Biotech Stock

In the world of biotech, commercial stages are the big leagues. At this point, companies have been through the clinical development process and have either brought or are bringing a product to market. 

This is the point at which companies will need to market properly to bring their treatment to the masses. If all works out, revenue will start to pour in and shareholders will enjoy the fruits of their investments. However, even commercial-stage biotech stocks come with risk:

  • Commercial Failure. Even if a new drug seems like it provides far more benefits than other options, it can fail in the market. A great example of this is MannKind’s Afrezza. The inhaled mealtime insulin treatment frees diabetics from the needle. However, when it hit the market, sales were slow. While the product is still sold, it was nowhere near as successful as many expected it to be. As a result, MannKind stock has fallen from a value of more than $50 per share following the drug’s approval to under $5 per share today. 
  • Early Commercial Capital Requirements. At the point of commercialization, biotech companies have the ability to generate revenue through product sales. However, the marketing and distribution of these products can be extremely expensive. If there is not a commercialization partner involved, the producer of the new medical product will have to pay the costs. Early in the process, this can lead to capital issues that ultimately end in loss of value for investors. 
  • Exclusivity. Patents and exclusivity for a new medicine are only temporary. After the exclusivity period — often five to 12 years — generic options may hit the market at a much lower price than the brand-name drug. This can deeply cut into profits of companies with products that have been on the market for a while. 

How Much Should You Invest in Biotech Stocks?

No single asset or single class of assets should make up 100% of your investing portfolio. Diversification is an important tool to protect you from extreme losses. 

There is no one-size-fits-all allocation strategy. However, there are some factors to consider when determining your asset allocation. 

Never Forget Bonds

Although stocks are the darling of the investing community, you shouldn’t discount the value of bonds. Sure, bonds will generally grow at a slower rate than stocks, but they offer a level of protection that should not be ignored. 

If you don’t already have a bond allocation strategy and are not sure how much of your portfolio should be in bonds, simply use your age. For example, if you’re 32 years old, 32% of your investing dollars should be invested in bonds. This rule of thumb and its many variations provide a solid level of volatility protection that increases as you age. 

The 5% Rule 

Considering that most biotech companies are in clinical, preclinical, or discovery stages, investments in the industry can be highly speculative and therefore carry a high risk. If these are the types of biotech stocks you’re interested in, consider the less-than-five rule: less than 5% of your portfolio should be used in these high-risk investments. That way, if the high-risk investment fails, no more than 5% of your money is subject to the losses you will face. 

If you have other high-risk investments, consider how much of your 5% high-risk cap you want to allocate to biotech plays and what percentage you will allocate to other more speculative investments. 

Lower-Risk Biotech Stock Allocation

Of course, if you’re more interested in established stocks in the sector, such as Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie, and several others with massive market caps, the risks are far lower. The less-than-five rule wouldn’t play into your decision to invest in these more established companies. However, these stocks have already made their dramatic runs and don’t offer the same potential for profit that the higher-risk, late-clinical-stage or early-commercial-stage biotech stocks do. 

Nonetheless, they do make attractive investments for some investors. Big pharmaceutical companies, also known as big-pharma companies, are known for producing slow but steady gains over time while offering decent dividends. 

However, even under these terms, your exposure to a single stock should never be more than 5% of your investment dollars. Again, this is to protect you should a decision to buy one of these stocks result in a turn for the worst. 

Take the time to look into revenue growth, profit growth, continued innovation, dividends, and exclusivity periods for any company you’re considering to get a good idea of the quality of the investment you’re making. From there, decide if it’s worth risking 5% of your investment dollars. Continue to assess in this way until you’ve gone through all of the quality blue-chip biotech stocks you’re interested in. 


Consider Investing in Biotech Funds

Investing in stocks that represent biotech and biopharmaceutical companies can be rewarding. Not only will your investments potentially generate profits, they’ll help improve the lives of patients with debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, and various cancers under the oncology umbrella. 

However, individual stocks aren’t the only way to get involved. 

If you want to invest in the industry but don’t have the time, know-how, or desire to do the research it takes to pick and maintain a portfolio of the best stocks in the space, you may want to consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

ETFs pool money from a large group of investors that’s used to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks based on the fund’s prospectus, and there are plenty of biotech ETFs out there to choose from. 

If you decide to go this route, make sure to look at the fund’s historic performance, expense ratio, and prospectus before you dive in. This will help to ensure that the funds you invest in have a high probability of producing competitive returns while keeping expenses to a minimum. 


Final Word

The biotech industry can be a great place to invest. It can also generate extreme losses if things go wrong. Considering this, there are a few rules to follow when investing in biotech stocks:

  • Never Overallocate. No matter how good an investment in biotech seems, unless you’re an investing pro, never spend more than 5% of your investing dollars on a single stock. Also, never spend more than 5% of your investing dollars across all high-risk investments. 
  • Never Stop Researching. An educated investment decision has far better potential to be a winner than a dumb-money investment. Research the biotech stocks you plan to invest in very deeply before making your initial investment. Once you’ve made your investment, keep a close eye on what the company is doing to ensure that your money is well-invested through the long term. 
  • Always Remember the Risks. The biotech industry can lead to huge profits, but stocks can also lose the vast majority of their value if things go wrong. Always consider the risks before making any investment. 

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Source: moneycrashers.com

American Express Business Platinum Annual Fee To Increase Tomorrow, Should You Apply Now?

Update: Annual fee has been increased to $695, but only on applications after received 1/13/21.

Earlier we posted a rumor surrounding new benefits for the American Express Business Platinum, we’ve now had other sources confirm that the annual fee will be increasing tomorrow (no idea if the rumored benefits are accurate but I suspect so).

We also unfortunately do not know what the annual fee will be increased to, the personal platinum recently increased from $550 to $695 ($145 increase). The business platinum is currently $595 so I could see an increase to $695 or even $745.

The best bonus on the Business Platinum card is currently 150,000 points. My guess is that when the annual fee increases we will see a similar bonus but with an additional spending component (e.g the personal platinum offers 125,000 points + 15x on restaurants and small businesses).

It’s hard to know if signing up now before the annual fee increase comes into effect or not makes sense, but it’s something to at least consider if you’re eligible. My gut feel is that signing up now makes sense if you’re not confident you’ll be able to spend big in any possible bonus categories (my guess is that these would be construction/hardware stores, electronic goods, and shipping) and to hold off if you can spend big in those potential categories.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Credit Card Review

At a glance

Wyndham Rewards Credit Card

Our rating

Wyndham Rewards Visa Card (Annual Fee)

  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points (good for up to 8 free nights) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Earn an additional 30,000 bonus points (worth up to 4 free nights) after you spend at least $2,000 total within six months of account opening.
  • Rewards: Unlimited 6 points per $1 spent at eligible Wyndham hotel and resort properties and on eligible gas purchases; Unlimited 4 points per $1 spent on dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart); Unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
  • Benefits: 7,500 bonus points each year on your cardmember anniversary
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for six months on all Wyndham timeshare purchases; 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card is a hotel rewards credit card with a $75 annual fee. It has a relatively simple rewards program that favors cardholders who frequently stay at Wyndham hotel and resort properties. 

Although it’s not necessarily as well known as competitors such as Hilton and Marriott, Wyndham is a huge hospitality company with more than a dozen brands represented across thousands of hotel and resort properties. Popular Wyndham names include Microtel, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Super 8, Wyndham Grand, TRYP, and Dolce.

Whenever you swipe your Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card, you earn Wyndham Rewards points, Wyndham’s loyalty currency. You generally need at least 7,500 points to redeem for a completely free night at the most budget-friendly Wyndham properties. However, if you’re willing to fork over some cash to make up the difference, you cash redeem for discounted stays with just 1,000 Wyndham Rewards points. 

Wyndham offers other redemption options, including airfare and merchandise, but at lower point values than redemptions at Wyndham properties. And, like many travel rewards cards, Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus has a fairly generous sign-up bonus worth up to four free nights.

Key Features

These are the key features of the Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card.

Sign-Up Bonus

This card’s two-part sign-up bonus offers up to 90,000 bonus Wyndham Rewards points. That’s good for up to 12 free nights at participating Wyndham properties.

Here’s how it works:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 30,000 additional bonus points after spending a total of $2,000 on purchases in the first six months.

Earning Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus earns unlimited 6 Wyndham Rewards points for every $1 spent at Wyndham hotel and resort properties, and on qualifying gas purchases as well.

Eligible dining and grocery store purchases earn unlimited 4 points per $1 spent. Purchases made at Target and Walmart aren’t included in this category. 

All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent, excluding Wyndham Timeshare resort down payments.

Redeeming Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards points can be redeemed for free nights (Go Free awards) at any participating Wyndham property — virtually every property in the portfolio, save for a handful of extremely high-end resort properties. 

Wyndham has three redemption tiers for full award night redemptions: 7,500 points, 15,000 points, and 30,000 points to earn a free room night. Higher-quality properties generally occupy the two higher rungs of the redemption ladder.

Importantly, Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus cardholders always qualify for a 10% redemption credit on Go Free award nights. That means a 15,000-point redemption requires just 13,500 net points.

To redeem points even faster, you can combine 1,000 points and a variable amount of cash (Go Fast awards) for a free night at participating Wyndham properties. Low-end properties such as Days Inn and Super 8 require less cash, while high-end properties such as Wyndham Grand and the company’s all-inclusive resorts require upwards of $150 per night. 

Non-Wyndham Redemption Options

Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus cardholders can also take advantage of some non-Wyndham redemption options. These include general merchandise, airfare, gift cards, magazines, and rental cars. Redemption minimums vary widely by redemption type and may not be available at all times.

Automatic Wyndham Rewards Platinum Membership

Cardholders in good standing automatically qualify for Wyndham Rewards Platinum Membership, whose benefits include a higher point-earning rate on paid stays, early check-in, late checkout, preferred room selection where available, and upgrades on Avis and Budget car rentals.

Anniversary Bonus

As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you receive 7,500 Wyndham Rewards points after your cardmember anniversary. That’s enough for one free night at participating Wyndham properties.

Introductory APR

Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus cardholders enjoy 0% APR on Wyndham timeshare purchases made within six months of account opening. However, there is no intro APR on regular purchases.

Additionally, cardholders who complete balance transfers within 45 days of account opening pay no interest for 15 months from account opening.

Additional Travel Benefits

Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus has some additional travel benefits, including complimentary rental car insurance, travel emergency assistance for travelers stranded far from home, and the best available rate on bookings with participating Wyndham properties.

General Benefits

This card has some useful nontravel benefits. These include:

  • Purchase protection, which provides cardholders with redress — usually replacement or reimbursement — for lost, stolen, and damaged purchases
  • Return protection, which compensates cardholders when merchants refuse to accept returned items

Important Fees

This card has a $75 annual fee. There is no foreign transaction fee.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.


Advantages

These are the top advantages of the Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card.

  1. Good Intro Deal for Balance Transfers. The Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card has an unusually generous 0% APR balance transfer promotion. It’s good for 15 months from account opening. That’s longer than virtually any other travel card’s balance transfer promotion. In fact, most travel rewards cards lack balance transfer promotions altogether. If you’re in the market for a card that gets you closer to free hotel stays and helps with existing high-interest credit card balances, this is one to watch.
  2. Solid Sign-Up Bonus. Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus’ sign-up bonus totals 90,000 points, enough for up to 12 Go Free award nights. It’s also super attainable, with just $2,000 in total spending required during the first six months. 
  3. Straightforward Rewards Program. Compared to many hotel rewards programs, which can have confusing tiers and restrictions, Wyndham Rewards is pretty easy to grasp. You always need at least 7,500 points for a totally free night, no matter where you’re redeeming. This makes it a lot easier to plan free and paid travel ahead of time.
  4. Automatic Wyndham Rewards Platinum Membership. Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus cardholders automatically qualify for Platinum status, whose benefits include a higher point-earning rate on paid stays, early check-in, late checkout, preferred room selection where available, and upgrades on Avis and Budget car rentals.
  5. Excellent Value on High-End Hotel Redemptions. Wyndham Rewards offers excellent redemption values at higher-end and all-inclusive properties, whose nightly rates can easily exceed $300 and often range much higher. By contrast, most other hotel credit cards require vastly more points for high-end room redemptions — sometimes 10 or 20 times as many — relative to their cheapest options. That can severely impact their points’ redemption value. With a little foresight, you can increase the value of your Wyndham Rewards — and offset this card’s annual fee — by earning points at low-end properties and redeeming at pricier hotels and resorts.
  6. Wyndham Has Tons of Participating Properties. Wyndham’s portfolio has nearly 8,000 properties. That’s more than some competitors with superior name recognition, such as Marriott. With so many properties in the Wyndham arsenal, you’re likely to find plenty of choices — and plenty of earning and redemption options — wherever you go.
  7. Anniversary Bonus Offers a Nice Boost Each Year. This card’s 7,500-point anniversary bonus is enough to cover the entire cost (in points) of a free night award at the lowest-tier Wyndham properties. Many competing cards don’t bother with anniversary bonuses at all.
  8. Wyndham Rewards Points Don’t Expire Under Normal Circumstances. As long as you earn or redeem points within an 18-month period, your points remain active indefinitely.
  9. No Penalty APR. Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus never charges penalty interest. If you sometimes miss payments due to liquidity issues, this is a big relief. Most penalty APRs remain in effect indefinitely. Note that missing payments may still hurt your credit score.

Disadvantages

These are the most noteworthy drawbacks of the Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card.

  1. Annual Fee. This card has a $75 annual fee. For frugal and infrequent travelers, that’s a big drawback relative to the no-annual-fee version of this card — which offers similar but less generous benefits — as well as to fee-free travel rewards cards such as the Expedia+ Card from Citi.
  2. Non-Wyndham Redemptions Have Poor Value. There’s little reason to redeem your Wyndham Rewards points for anything other than free or reduced nights at Wyndham properties, unless you’ve accumulated more points than you can realistically use. However, if that’s the case, this might not be the best card for you anyway. Non-Wyndham redemptions generally value points at less than $0.005 apiece, far lower than typical Wyndham redemption values. What’s more, many competing cards, including Chase Sapphire Preferred, let you transfer your accumulated points to other travel loyalty programs at 1-to-1 ratios. That lets you shop around for points and redemption options that maximize the value of your travel spending.

Final Word

The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card is a reasonably priced travel rewards card made for people who regularly stay at hotels and resorts in the Wyndham family. 

If you can earn enough points to offset the $75 annual fee and travel frequently enough to at least redeem your 7,500-point anniversary bonus each year, you’ll find this card a solid addition to your travel spending repertoire. 

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The Verdict

Wyndham Rewards Credit Card

Our rating

Wyndham Rewards Visa Card (Annual Fee)

The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card is a great card for frequent Wyndham guests who earn rewards quickly enough to offset the annual fee and can redeem their accumulated points at higher-end Wyndham properties. It’s among the best travel rewards cards for balance transfer candidates, not to mention people who can’t be bothered with trying to “hack” complex travel rewards programs.

On the other hand, this isn’t a great card for cardholders seeking luxurious and convenient hotel or travel perks, nor those interested in a wide range of competitively valued redemption options outside the Wyndham portfolio.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The Cost of Living in Reno

With tons of outdoor adventure activities just a short drive away, beautiful scenery all around and manageable traffic, Reno, NV is a great place to live. The overall cost of living is slightly above average — but does it fit into your budget?

Reno is a smaller city with 246,500 residents. Many who live here like that it’s a small city with big-city amenities. They don’t have to worry as much about crime and traffic, but they still get to enjoy amazing restaurants, exciting events and some of the best shopping in the country.

Plus, for those who love a desert climate, Reno is ideal. It’s warm most of the year and, though there isn’t a drastic change from season to season, the spring wildflowers are a sight to behold.

The cost of living in Reno is above the national average by 8.3 percent, a 4.5 percent drop since last year. That’s awesome news for residents, especially when considering the average rent in Reno. But rent isn’t the only thing you have to consider when deciding whether a city is right for you or not. We dig deep into what makes up the cost of living in a city so you can see whether Reno is the best choice when it’s time for a move.

Townhouses in Reno, NV

Townhouses in Reno, NV

Housing costs in Reno

The housing market in Reno is not for the faint of heart. Just in the last year, the average rent in Reno increased by 63 percent to $2,353 per month. Overall, the cost of housing in this city is higher than the national average by 28.8 percent.

While there are a few neighborhoods that are even pricier (like South Meadows, where the average rent is $3,101), there are some more affordable options. If you’re looking for something under $2,000 per month, the following neighborhoods might fit your needs nicely.

You can even find rentals in Downtown Reno that can fit your budget (average = $1,811) and keep the cost of living in Reno lower than average.

Average rent prices in cities near Reno

Another way to find affordable rent in Nevada is to look at rental properties in the suburbs of Reno or other nearby cities. Here are a few cities with rent prices that can keep your cost-of-living expenses low.

Home prices in Reno

If you truly want to live the American Dream, then at some point you’ll want to consider owning your own home. Is Reno the right city for you to do that? Perhaps. The average cost of a home on the market right now is $500,000.

Housing prices are up in this city by nearly 18 percent from last year. The housing market is somewhat competitive with some homes receiving multiple offers. The average home sells for between 2 and 5 percent above the asking price. Homes typically sell between 5 and 20 days after they’re listed.

How do mortgage payments compare to the average rent in Reno? As a reminder, the average rent is $2,353. If you put $50,000 down on a $500,000 home, you’ll pay $2,850 per month (4.25 percent interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage). If you put $100,000 down (the often-recommended 20 percent down payment), you’ll pay $2,343 each month.

Food in Reno, NV

Food in Reno, NV

Food costs in Reno

Another factor that can significantly drive up the cost of living in Reno is food. Whether you like to eat out a lot or prefer to stay home and cook, you’ll still end up paying about 7.6 more than the national average. Fortunately, food prices fell 6.3 percent over the past year.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the prices you can expect at the grocery store and how they compare to the U.S. average.

  • Fried chicken: $1.23 in Reno; $1.32 – national average
  • Tuna: $1.00 in Reno; $0.99 – national average
  • A dozen eggs: $1.80 in Reno; $1.47 – national average
  • Half-gallon of milk: $3.04 in Reno; $2.10 – national average
  • Sausage: $4.24 in Reno; $4.09 – national average
  • Ground beef: $5.56 in Reno; $4.10 – national average

The average cost of a meal out (for one person) is approximately $17, though some restaurants (like Fourk Kitchen can cost $19 per person, not including beer or wine). And if you’re like most people, you’ll probably eat out somewhat regularly — both for fun and for convenience. You’re in luck because Reno has some amazing restaurants. You’ll find cuisine of all sorts including Mexican, Thai, German, Eastern European, Italian, French, Northern Californian, Korean, Chinese and Farm-to-Table.

Of course, it’s important to remember that if you’re living on a budget (and really, who isn’t?), you might have to limit how often you eat out if you’re paying the average rent in Reno. The combination of higher grocery prices and the convenience prices of someone else cooking for you can quickly cause the cost of living in Reno to spike.

Utility costs in Reno

One area in which the cost of living in Reno is below the national average is utility costs. On average, utility bills are 17.2 percent cheaper.

The average monthly energy bill in Reno is $160.97, which is about 0.14 percent lower than the U.S. average. Other utility costs include:

  • Internet: Average plan price is $63.30
  • Cable: Prices are dependent on the provider and plan you choose but costs range from $39 to 65 per month
  • Cell phone service: Prices depend on which provider and plan you choose but range between $39 and $90 per month
  • Water: Again, rates vary on usage, but the average is $70.39 per month

Additional utility costs include garbage and recycling pick-up and home security.

Reno, Nevada highway

Reno, Nevada highway

Transportation costs in Reno

The transit and walkability scores in Reno (34 and 52, respectively) aren’t great. But the bike score (59), due to existing bike infrastructure, proves that the city is above-average for folks who like to get around on a bike. And that can help residents save some money on the cost of living in Reno.

However, a bike isn’t suitable for every errand, so you might need to decide between using RTC Ride, Reno’s public transit system and owning a vehicle.

RTC Ride’s single fair is $2, while a day pass is $3. You can purchase a 7-day or 31-day pass for $14.50 and $65, respectively.

If you decide to own a vehicle, you’ll have to factor fuel, maintenance, registration and insurance fees into the cost of living in Reno. Gasoline currently costs $3.31 per gallon (the national average is $2.76), which is pricey but still less expensive than Sacramento, California at $4.49 per gallon. A common maintenance fee is tire balancing and rotation, which experts recommend doing every 5,000-7,500 miles, or every 2 years. In Reno, the cost for this service is $60.67.

Overall, the cost of transportation in Reno is 17.6 percent higher than the national average. While that seems like a big jump above average, transportation costs in Reno have dropped by 12.8 percent in the past year.

Healthcare costs in Reno

It’s difficult to state with certainty how much healthcare costs will impact the cost of living in Reno. Healthcare is such a unique topic because each person has their own needs. Some people have chronic illnesses or low immune response, which makes them more susceptible to illness. Healthcare costs are naturally higher for those people.

On average, healthcare costs in Reno are 6.1 percent higher than the national average. Thankfully, this has dropped over last year, when the rate was 16.9 percent higher than the national average.

Here’s a breakdown of some common healthcare costs and how they compare to the median cost in the U.S.

  • Doctor check-up: $125 in Reno; $112.81 – national average
  • Dental check-up: $110 in Reno; $99.44 – national average
  • Eye exam: $105 in Reno; $105 – national average
  • OTC Ibuprofen: $11.46 in Reno; $9.80 – national average

On the whole, prescription medications are 3.87 percent lower than the U.S. average.

Man with his dog in Reno, NV

Man with his dog in Reno, NV

Goods and services costs in Reno

Once you’ve spent your hard-earned income on the basic necessities, now it’s time to consider the non-essentials: miscellaneous goods and services. These are things you spend money on that are fun and make life more enjoyable. In this category are items like:

  • Clothing
  • Salon visits
  • Haircuts
  • Pet grooming
  • Going out to the movies
  • Date night or girls/guys night out
  • Personal sundries

Surprisingly, these costs are 2.9 percent cheaper than the national average. This is one area where Reno residents get a break!

Let’s say you have a fun day planned. You’re going to start the day with some shopping (you really need a new pair of pants). Then, you’ll head to your stylist to update your hairstyle. After that, you decide you really need to work out some tension (it’s been super stressful lately), so you go to a yoga class. When class is over, you head home, clean up and then, head out with your friends to go to the movies and get some pizza and beer. This is what your expenses for the day would look like:

  • Women’s pants: $23.66 in Reno; $30.37 – national average
  • Haircut: $23.33 in Reno; $20 – national average
  • Yoga class: $17.50 in Reno; $15 – national average
  • Movie: $10 in Reno; 11.12 – national average
  • Pizza: $11.49 in Reno; $10.49 – national average
  • Beer: $9.24 in Reno; $9.66 – national average
  • Totals: $95.22 in Reno; $96.64

As you can see, these “extras” add up quickly and they can absolutely impact the cost of living in Reno. Do your best to find out how much you spend on these things so you can determine whether you can afford the average rent in Reno or need to look for an apartment in a more affordable neighborhood.

Taxes in Reno

If you’re looking for a tax-friendly state, Nevada is for you! There’s no state income tax. Instead, the government collects money through sales tax, property tax and “sin” taxes on things like alcohol and cigarettes. And since it’s a big gambling and hospitality state, the government collects tax money from the casino and hotel industries, as well.

Property tax rates are some of the lowest in the country, too. So, if you decide to purchase a home, you’ll save some money on this expense! At the current Washoe County tax rate (0.62 percent), you’ll pay $3,100 per year on a $500,000 home. Compare this to New Jersey, the state with the highest property tax rate in the country. Someone who purchases a $500,000 New Jersey home will pay 2.39 percent in property taxes, an average of $11,950 per year.

Sales tax in the state is 8.27 percent, which is a combination of the Nevada sales tax rate (4.6 percent) and the Washoe County sales tax rate (3.67 percent). If you made a purchase of $1,000, you’ll pay an additional $82.70 in sales tax.

How much do you need to earn to live in Reno?

How much you need to earn to live in this city depends on all the factors mentioned above, along with how close you want to live to the action.

The average Reno resident earns $58,790 annually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The average rent in Reno is $2,353, or $28,236 per year. If you were to pay the average rental fee, you spend nearly half your income on that alone. Is that something you can afford?

If not, remember that there are several more affordable neighborhoods and suburbs with apartments for rent that fit into the recommended 30 percent maximum goal. If you’re not sure if you can afford a Downtown Reno apartment, check out our free rent calculator to get a better idea of what rental fees fit into your budget the best.

Understanding the cost of living in Reno

Moving to a new city is a big decision. It can be a lot of fun to go somewhere new and start a new chapter in your life. But before you take a leap of faith, it’s best to do some digging. Investigate the cost of living in Reno to see if it will really fit your budget. Try to get as much info as possible about your new city so you can have confidence that you’re making a truly informed decision.

If, after all of your investigating, you decide that Reno is indeed your city of choice, make sure to check out our listings to find apartments for rent in Reno. Using our filter feature, you’re sure to find a rental that fits all your needs.

Source: rent.com

Barclays Wyndham Cards: Up To 90,000 Points [Last Day]

When logged in it states ‘Limited-time offer ends 10/14/21’, unsure if it will actually end then. I’d recommend applying before then if interested in this card. Hat tip to Chris B

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Barclays is offering increased bonuses on the Wyndham cards of up to 90,000 points. The offers are as follows:
    • Earner Rewards: 45,000 points after you $1,000 in spend within 90 days and an additional 15,000 points after you spend a total of $2,000 within the six months
    • Earner+ Rewards: 60,000 points after you $1,000 in spend within 90 days and an additional 30,000 points after you spend a total of $2,000 within the six months
    • Earner Business: 60,000 points after you $1,000 in spend within 90 days and an additional 30,000 points after you spend a total of $2,000 within the six months

Card Details

  • Earner Rewards
    • Card earns
      • 5x points at Wyndham properties and on qualifying gas purchases
      • 2x points on eligible dining and grocery purchases
      • 1x points on all other purchases
    • No annual fee
    • Automatic Wyndham gold status
    • 10% discount on go free awards
    • Anniversary bonus of 7,500 points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases
  • Earner+ Rewards
    • Card earns
      • 6x points at Wyndham properties and on qualifying gas purchases
      • 4x points on eligible dining and grocery purchases
      • 1x points on all other purchases
    • Annual fee of $75, not waived first year
    • Automatic Wyndham platinum status
    • 10% discount on go free awards
    • Anniversary bonus of 7,500 points
  • Earner Business
    • Card earns
      • 8x points at Wyndham properties and on qualifying gas purchases
      • 5x points on marketing, advertising and utilities
      • 1x points on all other purchases
    • Annual fee of $95, not waived first year
    • Automatic Wyndham Diamond status
    • 10% discount on go free awards
    • Anniversary bonus of 15,00 points

Our Verdict

Previously the best bonuses were 45,000 points with the annual fee waived first year. These new offers are significantly better. All Wyndham properties used to cost 15,000 points per night, but there are now three tiers (7,500, 15,000 or 30,000) even at the most expensive properties this will give you three free nights. Always a good idea to do some searches to make sure you’ll actually be able to use the points before signing up, but this is a really good offer in my opinion. We will add these to the list of the best credit card bonuses.

Hat tip to @nick_roosevelt

Source: doctorofcredit.com

What Are Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs)?

Astute investors tracking the initial public offerings (IPOs) of companies such as eyewear maker Warby Parker and green shoe manufacturer Allbirds might have noticed that these companies are registered as public benefit corporations (PBCs). 

Until recently only private companies or subsidiaries adopted this corporate structure, and PBCs were beyond the reach of the typical individual investor. 

Should you add one of these “feel-good” companies to your portfolio?

Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs)

The PBC corporate structure signals that a business considers a “triple bottom line” – people, planet and profit – extending benefits to stakeholders like communities and employees. 

Delaware, where a majority of publicly traded companies (and virtually all new startups over the past five years) are incorporated, adopted PBC regulation in 2013. At present, 36 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing for PBC charters.

An amendment to the law in 2020 has made this option more feasible and attractive for a growing number of companies. For example, directors now have greater protection if a company is accused of failing to deliver on its public benefit goals, and opting in or out of a PBC is now a matter of obtaining a majority of shareholder votes, lowered from 90%. 

Before 2020, there was just one publicly traded PBC: Laureate Education (LAUR). Since then, about a dozen publicly traded companies have incorporated as PBCs, and several private PBCs have come public via IPO.

Given strong investor interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, more companies might consider the PBC business model to set themselves apart, and possibly to prime themselves for inclusion in ESG funds. 

Public benefit corporations define the particular benefit purpose aside from shareholder interest. In the case of online education company Coursera (COUR), for example, this purpose is “to provide global access to flexible and affordable high-quality education that supports personal development, career advancement, and economic opportunity.” A PBC company’s directors are required to balance the stated purpose with financial interests of shareholders. However, this does not mean that financial concerns are secondary to a benefit purpose, nor does it mean that directors are legally liable for failure to meet the benefit purpose. 

A PBC must report every other year on its efforts and progress to attain the stated public benefit. Though this reporting may be done through a third-party certification, it is not required and may simply be self-reporting. 

Also note that the nonprofit B Lab has provided “B Corp” certification to more than 4,000 companies globally, including to some PBCs. These two monikers sound similar but are not the same.

PBCs Meet Shareholder Activism

In response to rising corporate and investor interest in ESG and sustainability, the U.S. Business Roundtable (BRT) issued a splashy reframing of the Purpose of a Corporation document in 2019, signed by 181 CEOs. 

No longer centered only on creating shareholder value (referred to as “shareholder primacy”), the new purpose includes creating value for customers, employees, communities and suppliers, in a nod to the concept of “stakeholder capitalism.” 

Yet a 2020 study of BRT letter signatories found that these companies performed no better than non-signatories when it came to responding to the workplace and societal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frustrated by this apparent lack of accountability, some ESG investors have pressured signatories to the BRT letter to become public benefit companies by filing shareholder proposals. 

So far, those proposals largely haven’t stuck.

Investor advocacy nonprofit The Shareholder Commons and others filed at least 16 shareholder proposals asking companies to convert to PBCs. Of these, all but one received very low shareholder support and cannot be refiled next year; in fact, even some of the most progressive fund managers, such as Boston Trust Walden and Calvert, voted against PBC shareholder proposals. 

Yelp (YELP) – which garnered almost 12% shareholder support and is the only vote that stands a chance of moving forward to the next proxy year – will be an interesting test case.

Pros and Cons of PBCs

There are some good reasons that investors interested in ESG should consider PBCs:

  • In many cases, these corporations offer innovative business models that embed public benefit by design. For example, Broadway Financial (BYFC) is the largest Black-led minority depository institution in the U.S., which in turn can help provide much-needed capital to minority-owned businesses in urban communities.
  • Company directors have more freedom to adopt a long-term vision for company growth and value creation.
  • Many of these companies are consumer-facing, offering sustainable branding and origin stories at a time when consumers increasingly favor sustainable brands. 
  • For companies that are now private and going public, the PBC IPO may offer greater transparency on ESG goals and reporting. 
  • The PBC corporate structure has not deterred venture capital (VC) investors, indicating a level of comfort and trust in the PBC model. A 2020 study of 295 Delaware-registered PBCs that received private funding between 2013 and 2019 showed that VC funds invested $2.5 billion in PBCs, at a rate similar to conventional companies. 

Just understand there are downsides to investing in PBCs as well. 

  • Existing publicly traded PBCs are still a new structure, and many companies remain skeptical of the logistics and legal fees required for conversion. 
  • PBCs might be less attractive as takeover targets, meaning that shareholders might be less likely to benefit from an acquisition.
  • Just because a company is a PBC does not mean that it has adopted other best practices for corporate governance. In the case of Allbirds, the company’s IPO includes dual-class board structure, granting directors 10 times the voting power as shareholders. 
  • PBCs are not required to be certified by third parties, and the value of ESG reporting and performance metrics are not regulated or standardized. 

Bottom Line

PBCs are likely to remain a small but growing niche of investible companies. While this business model is an intriguing way of signaling that sustainability is part of corporate DNA, there are no guarantees that this structure will avoid greenwashing, or merely be used for marketing. Investors should care about this potential shortfall. 

Accurate, certified, standardized ESG reporting and performance commitments may lead to better management and in many cases, improved financial performance. A 2020 Fidelity study found that from January to September 2020, companies with top ESG ratings outperformed those with poor ratings for every month other than April, with a cumulative difference in relative returns of 17 percent. A 2020 State Street study reported similar effects. 

How do individual investors get access to this valuable ESG data? Aside from a few nonprofit organizations that assemble publicly available information, mom-and-pop investors have few ways to access or untangle it. For this reason, investors should welcome sustainability information provided in a PBC IPO, where ESG disclosure is so often lacking. 

For existing and larger corporations however, this type of self-reported data is simply less valuable than what the big investment firms are analyzing, and investors should tread with caution. 

Source: kiplinger.com

Seasonal Merchandise Appears Early but is Gone Fast Too

From candy to tableware and decorations and even clothing, seasonal merchandise is everywhere. Sometimes months before the holiday, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

But this year, here’s a tip: Don’t wait to buy what you want. It may be gone before the holiday  even appears on the calendar. And don’t expect those blow-out post-holiday sales that have let you stock up on seasonal merch for next year.

You’ll likely find better prices at discount retailers but this year what may bug shoppers more than sticker price is the lack of availability of seasonal items as a specific holiday gets closer. You want Thanksgiving placemats and napkins? Buy well before Halloween.

“What we are definitely seeing, and I’ve been seeing for the last few years, is an increase in customers’ appetite for seasonal products, whether it be Christmas or Halloween or Easter,” said Lisa Surella, vice president and general merchandise manager for Bealls Outlet stores.

COVID Pandemic Has Increased Appetite for Seasonal Merchandise

The COVID pandemic is fueling heightened consumer demand.

“I think it stems largely from people wanting to celebrate holidays with their families. They’re looking for something upbeat and fun and wanting that comfort of the holiday time period,” Surella explained.

Based on last year, Surella and her retail colleagues are doing their best to predict the future.

“I’m not sure how this year will play out, but (there is) definitely an uptick in terms of desire for all things Christmas whether it’s apparel or home products,” she said. “At least that’s what we’re anticipating because we can see it already even with smaller holidays like Halloween.”

That means stores are ordering more merchandise, but they don’t want to have too much, meaning the days of great after holiday blowout sales for seasonal merchandise may be over.

Stores want to satisfy demand but they don’t want to end up with a lot of extra merchandise after any holiday, Surella said.

Supply Chain Issues May Lead to Seasonal Shortages

Those lingering supply chain issues may contribute to seasonal shortages this year.

“I think it is going to cause some things to be so late that we have to make decisions about what to do with it. There’s no point in having Christmas merchandise hit the floor the day after Christmas,” Surella said. That could mean warehousing it until next year.

“We bought a lot because we definitely felt there was going to be a big increase in needs this year, so I think we should be in a good position, but I definitely see some slides on those deliveries already.”

Don’t wait if you see something you really want.

Retailers Know More About Their Customers

Retail planning has also improved over the years, though COVID has put a crimp in that.

“With advanced data science, (retailers) have gotten better at planning and tracking your personal purchases said Theo Prodromitis, an experienced retailer, retail consultant and member of the National Retail Federation’s Small Business Retail Advisory Council.

Using loyalty programs and other tools like click and pick, retailers know what people have purchased in the past and what they are likely to buy in the future.

Prodromitis said if a retailer knows you buy Pokemon cards, they are going to let you know when they get seasonal Pokemon merchandise in the stores, and based on the number of past purchases, they know roughly how many to order.

“The more data they have on you, the more they can customize the seasonal merchandising,” she said.

Months before any holiday, Prodromitis helps clients determine how much physical space retailers should devote to seasonal merchandise.

“(Retailers) measure every foot in a store as to how many dollars it will generate,” she explained. “So they make a plan about how much space they designate for seasonal merchandise and if they are displacing anything else, what they do (with those items.)”

She said post-holiday clearance blowouts have gone by the wayside because retailers are leaner and are more focused on the staple items, especially due to supply chain issues.

“They’re still serving customers, and yes they make money on seasonal items, but the staple of their business every day when somebody goes to (a place like) Home Depot is not the little dancing Christmas tree.”

People Are Buying Seasonal Merchandise Earlier Than Ever

You’re also not imagining things. The holidays seem to come around earlier and faster than ever.

Data from the National Retail Federation’s survey of 6,615 adult shoppers in November 2020 said 59% of people had started shopping for the late winter holidays in early November and more than 40% said they had started shopping earlier than they used to. More than half of the people said the pandemic has made them more interested in holiday decorations and seasonal items.

“We’re seeing things hit the floor early and honestly sometimes it is pure accident or an early shipment but when things hit early, we are seeing them unexpectedly sell very well,” Surella said. “I think it goes back to an increased appetite for those holiday products.”

Americana items were her big surprise this year. Surella said she typically starts selling red, white, and blue items around Memorial Day in late May. This year, it started selling much earlier in the year and lasted later than usual.

Her prediction for the winter holidays, family sleep items. We can’t seem to get enough of matching pajamas.

“That’s a category that does very well for us. I think those are things that at the right price are emotional and make you happy,” she said, adding they seem to sell early for family photos.

So when you see the perfect sleepwear for the whole family including fluffy and fido, grab it. You may not find it later.

Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com