Matt LeBel Security & personal finance for startup employees

My personal finance stack 💳

Several friends have asked me about my personal finance “stack.” Analogous to sharing the tech stack behind a product, here’s the stack of banks and Fintech startups behind my financial life:

Credit cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom

For security, convenience, and rewards point reasons, I favor using credit and avoiding cash / debit transactions wherever possible. Accordingly, I spent a decent bit of time researching and fine-tuning this component of the stack.

I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) card as the default for the majority of transactions and mix in the Freedom card on purchases that are in that 5% rotating quarterly bonus categories.

The CSP card offers AmEx-like warranty, travel, and rental car protection for purchases made on the card. Paired with no foreign transaction fees, its VISA signature status, and a sign-up bonus with a cash value of $400, it’s one of the best cards out there at the moment.

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Preparing for the worst 💀

Over the past several years, I’ve picked up some high-risk activities: private aviation, late-night Getaround rentals, startups (😉), etc. I’m also climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in September. It seems safe to say that my absolute risk % of death relative to my age is above average.

Though a bit morbid, it’s my personal preference to think through this worst case scenario and prepare items of personal importance, financial accounts, and digital data for distribution.

I’ve been iterating on the core strategy and backups since the beginning of the year. Here’s what I’ve landed upon so far:

Creation of a legal will and living will (health care directive)

Having put this off for several months, I was excited to see a completely free service from a company in the latest batch of YC swoop in to solve this problem.

It’s early days for the startup, but they’ve made the process dead simple, with each step providing helpful context + tooltip text around the available decisions.

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Bannerman security — highly recommended 👍

Bannerman is a YC-backed security startup headquartered in San Francisco. They’re tackling a huge problem: the incumbent private security guard market.

At Tilt, we frequently entrust Bannerman with security for happy hours, overnight office security, and more.

The Bannermen / women that I’ve talked with have backgrounds ranging from ex-bouncers to recent veterans — all have been very sharp and super friendly. The quality of Bannerman guards I’ve interacted with so far is of such high caliber that I’d hire any of our former guards for a full-time office security position without hesitation.

Customer-facing guard service aside, the operations team behind the app is just as phenomenal, and the reason I go out of my way to recommend Bannerman to other startups / individuals who host events.

This foundation of trust is built on top of my first experience with their team:

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FAQ - Which personal finance blogs do you read? 👀

Here’s a list of the blogs / communities around the web where I spend time reading and learning about personal finance:

Tier 1 (visited daily)-

  • Seeking Alpha - While I don’t often invest in individual stocks, I thoroughly enjoy reading the Wall Street analysis of both the technology sector and global market activity.

  • r/financialindependence - One of the best communities I’ve found so far. A very candid group of well-wishers. Frequented by lots of startup folks who have been through the gauntlet a few times.

  • r/personalfinance - A welcoming community useful for getting started on the pf journey. Less helpful for deep dives into specific topics like early retirement.

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