Lay down your cards: Po Bronson


‘What Should I Do With My Life’ author, Po Bronson, asks big questions about life and answers a few about credit cards.

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Po Bronson, 43, has struggled to find meaning in work. He founded The Grotto, a collective workspace community for writers, filmmakers and other narrative artists in San Francisco, and fictionalized his sojourn as a bond salesman at an investment bank in his 1995 novel, “Bombardiers,” a No. 1 best-seller in the U.K. In his best-selling nonfiction book, “What Should I Do With My Life?” he chronicled the aspirations of others. In his 2005 book, “Why Do I Love These People?” Bronson explored the mysterious bonds of familial love.
Bronson’s next book, due out in 2009, will explore the science of praise and other aspects of parenting. “Modern parents soak up ideas that we get very attached to, but are not supported by what the research scientists find is valid,” says Bronson, father of two. He and his co-writer want to “correct the zeitgeist” of parenting.

Bronson puts the essentials of his life on two credit cards:

United Visa
Issuer:Chase Manhattan
Year obtained: 2000
Business or personal: Business. “I use it for travel, meals and entertainment.”
Interest rates over its life: “I have no idea, because I don’t carry a balance. This month might be the first month that I carry one because I charged two plasma TVs.”
Fees: $50 per year

Credit limit: $25,000
Perks: “I get miles on United, which I use to buy seats for my children. When I travel, I get a good exchange rate on a cash withdrawal or a credit card charge — better than I could get from a bank or on the street.”
Customer service: “They flag suspicious charges well.”
Current usage: “I use it every day. My wife has a version of this card so she’s racking up mileage points, too.”
The bottom line: “My credit card should be as invisible to me as possible. I want to give little energy or thought to it, and be able to use it around the world.”

Platinum Select MasterCard
Year obtained: 1984

Business or personal: Personal
Interest rates over its life: “I don’t know, because I never carry a balance.”
Fees: none
Credit limit: $25,000
Perks: “I get Citidollars but I don’t redeem them. I also like the annual summary they send you at the end of the year. It cuts the time it takes to do my taxes in half.”
Customer service: “There was a glitch when I almost canceled it. There was an identity fraud issue that caused me to get a new number. It took two weeks for Citibank to get me a replacement card because they had to mail it from South Dakota. You’d think they’d figure out that most of their customers don’t live there.”
Current usage: “I use it a lot.”
The bottom line: “This was my first card — I got it in college — and I keep it for sentimental reasons.”

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