Archives for August 2011

The Carnival of Wealth is filling up

Are you on board? You know how this works. On Wednesday we remind you of the upcoming Carnival, on Thursday you write 200 words on how saving is essential to money management, on Friday we read your submission and toss it, on Sunday the Carnival appears. While we go back through the archives and determine whether we usually capitalize “carnival” in this use, you can write something provocative and submit it here. Readers, join us Sunday. Or as we call it, chaff-and-wheat separation day.

The Best of Money Carnival #118

Is there such a thing as too many carnivals? Carnival overload? Not at Control Your Cash there isn’t. It’s an endless midway of mirth here – full of the personal finance equivalents of The Zipper; the livestock show; and the kiosk serving Dippin’ Dots, The Ice Cream of the Future. In addition to our own weekly hosting of the Carnival of Wealth, this week we’ve decided to cram yet another traveling roadshow into our busy schedule. Presenting the Best of Money Carnival.

This one works a little differently than most carnivals do. As the hosts, we’re supposed to exercise some judgment with the BoMC and not just run every submission we get no matter how lame. No, the Best of Money Carnival actually rewards excellence. We peruse the submissions, cull the herd and present the 10 best for your reading pleasure. They follow. Thanks again to the incredibly organized* FMF at Free Money Finance for letting us host, and now, let the carnival begin:

10. The Family Wallet has an amazingly insightful recommendation if your income has fallen: you should…(wait for it) economize. Yep, spend less than you did before. There’s nothing in this post that isn’t glaringly obvious, but his spelling and grammar were nails. That’s good enough for a top 10 spot.

9. Joe Plemon makes a guest appearance at Christian PF, explaining 4 relatively painless ways to pay your mortgage off faster. (He left out one: make the occasional off-schedule payment and stipulate that it’s to go completely to the principal.)

8. Want to attend college and defer the productive part of your life for a few years? America needs more sociology majors. Roger the Amateur Financier explains how to secure a student loan, when to pay it back, and how to avoid paying it back. (Spoiler: you have to die or get permanently disabled.)

7. If you’re reading this in a chair, go find a bucket. Preferably one with a non-porous lining. You’re going to want one after reading this post from Flexo at Consumerism Commentary. Did you know that the Federal Reserve authorized $1.2 trillion in secret loans beyond TARP? Whatever Rick Perry wants to do to Ben Bernanke should he ever show his bearded mug down in Texas, it won’t be enough.

6. A guest poster at Experiglot has a new ruthless, demanding boss who expects him to work 10-15 hours a day for very little money. The boss is Chris Thomas, who recently decided that the best way to work down his 6-digit student loan debt was to quit his 9-to-5 gig. And you know what? We actually support him. Not financially – that’s his wife’s problem – but we give him kudos for realizing that self-determination and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand. Well, maybe just a single kudo. One tip, Chris? Pay GoDaddy so your link will work. (Still though; >$100,000 in student loans?)

5. “Extended warranty? How can I lose?” – Homer Simpson
Then there’s Jason at Live Real, Now, who explains that the extended warranty on most items is a gigantic waste of money. However, rather than just criticizing the idea of purchasing one, he suggests what you can do with the money you save.

4. We normally eschew list posts – the reality TV of blogging – and especially when they come from what looks like a link farm, but we’re willing to make an exception for Online Masters. This week Marino Dixon gives 15 legitimate ways to reduce college expenses.

3. It’s appropriate that a guy who appears to be wearing a cast on the landing page of his website would write about whether disability benefits are taxable. Neal Frankle of Wealth Pilgrim reminds us that the last thing you want to do is run afoul of the IRS, who aren’t above throwing blind and crippled tax evaders in jail. (Wait, it’s his daughter’s cast. Never mind. Optical illusion.)

2. Mike Piper calling himself “The Oblivious Investor” is like a fat guy with the nickname “Tiny”. It’s irony (in some form)! Alright, the title of the blog doesn’t necessarily pertain to its creator, but still. Mike loves to buck conventional wisdom, which is one of the reasons we dig him. This week’s butchered sacred cow is the idea that you shouldn’t withdraw more than 4% of your nest egg in the early stages of retirement.

1. Yesterday we discussed the possibility of us being one pinprick away from gold reaching bubble status. Kevin at Invest it Wisely takes that hypothesis into exciting new places today, with this heavily researched post on gold’s value throughout the years vis-a-vis that of the greenback and other major currencies. Read the comments, especially the one that predicted that this just might be the Post of the Week.

That’s it? Wow. That was easy. Every carnival should have exactly 10 entrants. Next week, the carnival touches down at Complex Search. ‘Til then.

*Seriously. Not only does he write 8 million words a week, FMF has already figured out the carnival’s hosting schedule through next May.

Carnival of Wealth, ephemeral edition

“Damn straight we’re gonna play 2!”

Today, the Carnival of Wealth. Tomorrow, the Best of Money Carnival.
Yes, we’ve decided to host back-to-back carnivals. We’ll be looking at the world through a cotton candy haze (for our Canadian readers, a “candy floss haze”) until regaining our footing next week. How did this blue-moon curiosity happen? Well, we agreed to host the latter carnival months ago. Some time before that, we’d started hosting the Carnival of Wealth on the first Sunday of every month. A few weeks ago we ended up taking over the Carnival of Wealth permanently, which meant creating a new carnival every Sunday. We looked at the schedule, realized we’d committed to host the Best of Money Carnival this coming Monday, and…here we are. Like February 29 or a Cubs World Series appearance, relish this unusual event while it happens. Here comes Carnival No. 1:

Batting leadoff, from our Tired Metaphor department comes Kyle James pinch-hitting* for Fanny at Living Richly on a Budget, who likens the recent stock market gyrations to a roller coaster ride. Whee! Kyle gives us 4 ways to manage our “personal economy”. He thinks you should sdflkcvx,mzzzzzzzz….sorry. He thinks you should build an emergency fund and that if you carry any credit card debt, you should…here, we’ll make it multiple choice:

a) not pay it down
b) pay it down.

Echo, the fils of the mother-and-son team Boomer and Echo, writes about “how to thrive and survive as a single-income family.” After Mrs. Echo cranked out a kid, the Echoes had to economize. And budget. And defer big purchases. On the other hand, they now get to clean feces out of diapers and wake up at 3 a.m. to high-pitched screaming, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Thanks to Jon the Saver for reinforcing why we get down on our knees every night in gratitude and praise to the God of our parents’ choice for letting us escape from the festering stinkhole that is the modern office. Basically, he tells you not to goof off at work. The More You Know.

Flexo at Consumerism Commentary understands that most people leave money on the table because they don’t even know that discounts exist. Case in point, your property taxes. Convince the taxing authority that your house is worth less than its deemed value, and you could save a lot on your next bill. (Fun typo: “review it quickly and repeal [appeal] right away”.) If only it were that easy.

(Deleted link farm post. Australian International Travel Insurance site, step your game up.)

The payroll tax! Yes, government administering a penalty for the one thing that makes the economy grow. Madison du Paix at My Dollar Plan discusses the temporary reduction in the payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, and what’ll happen when it goes up again.

A wag at Cracked recently questioned why all the companies trying to sell you gold as an inflation hedge take currency as payment. Consumer Boomer (no relation to the Boomer of Boomer & Echo notoriety) thinks gold might be approaching bubble status.

It’s hard to determine which is the biggest scam in all of commerce – new vehicle rustproofing, or weddings. It’s one thing for a couple to consciously impoverish themselves, something different when they get their friends involved. Sustainable Personal Finance dropped $520 as a groomsman, or 13 times more than a marriage license costs. (Also, SPF felt the need to point out that in regard to bachelor parties, “my group of friends has little interest in going to strip joints.” Completely coincidentally, his wife is his blogging partner.)

We’d always assumed the hosts of My University Money were young. But this week Teacher Man, who apparently is 90 years old, takes a break from lecturing his great-grandchildren to explain the perils of orientation week to incoming college freshman. Our favorite line is this self-congratulatory closer before the obligatory series of questions that every blog post is supposed to end with:

Man I wish some anonymous angel had given me this “how to” guide for my first week.

Man, I hope someone at the Library of Congress records this blog carnival for posterity’s sake, because it’s awesome.

Next week on Control Your Cash, we’re going to do a long post about how to walk on the moon and what you need to do to prepare for it. We’ve never walked within a quarter-million miles of the moon, only had fantasies about it, but why should that stop us from speaking authoritatively on the subject? Enter Jo Robinson at Totally Money, who offers tips for starting a business during a recession. Her qualifications?

My business idea is to have a beautiful artisan shop selling organic produce and loads of home-made goodies, maybe even somewhere you can have a coffee as well.

So yeah, listen to her sage advice.

Like a mom clinging to her kid who’s gone off to college, Arohan of Value Stock Guide likes to check in weekly. (Yes, Arohan, we’re getting enough to eat and studying hard. Thanks for asking. We miss you too.) The former host of the carnival comes with an interesting post about Apple as an investment. Even though the stock’s risen 47% in the last year, Arohan thinks it’s still trading at a discount.

It would be exceedingly poor form not to include tomorrow’s regular carnival barker, FMF of Free Money Finance; largely because his posts are always well-written and provoke plenty of thought. This week he wanted to look at which strategy would help you make the most over your career — starting at a higher salary, or getting larger annual increases. Rather than just openly wonder, he sat down and analyzed the options.

Consecutive correctly spelled, helpful posts? Believe it! This one comes from Investor Junkie, who pours a ton of cold water on the notion that a risk-free investment exists. He not only classifies the multiple risks inherent in even the safest investment, but explains how some risks are insidious and invisible.

*Yes, we’re aware that a pinch-hitter can’t technically bat leadoff. Unless it’s for the home team, and in the middle of the 1st inning a position player had left the game and was scheduled to bat first.