Bienvenue a la Carnival of Wealth

French Canadians are every bit as freaking weird as the Japanese, except closer to home and they look more like us.

 

Thanks for indulging our pidgin French. That horrifying sight is the mascot of the Quebec Winter Carnival, familiar to all Canadians and dubbed “Mr. Snowman” by erstwhile CNN sports anchor Fred Hickman.

(SEGUE)
And HEY! Speaking of Carnivals, here’s this week’s Carnival of Wealth. Let’s get her started. And God, the pickings were slim this week:

This week’s linguistic beef: using “needs” as a noun. E.g., “See us for all your foreign and domestic automotive purchasing needs.” Oh, you pompous douchebag. How about “see us when you want to buy a freaking car”?  Too good to use vernacular English like the rest of us? Why bother, when you can sound stilted instead?

Sarah at Nerd Wallet did it again. Those folks submit first every week, maybe because they’re diligent, maybe because the schedule just works out for them that way. Anyhow, their infomercial masquerading as a blog post for this week’s carnival centers on the American Express Blue for Business card. Which is a horrible name and, as it turns out, not the best deal among no-free business credit cards.

Kim of Managing Your Financial Risk thinks you should have a financial plan.

(Submission rejected because the author can’t spell. It was about car insurance.)

(Submission rejected because the author spelled worse than the previous submitter. Guys, we’re not running a preschool here.)

Finally, somebody good. Mike Piper at the Oblivious Investor discusses bond duration. When choosing a bond fund, you need to look not only at the underlying bonds’ credit quality, but also at the weighted-average length of time before you receive the cash flows involved.

Here’s a depressing tale from Corey at 20s Finances about how living in a duplex can make you cold. Long story short, his inconsiderate neighbor (and even less considerate gas utility) screwed him over.

His name is Dividend Growth Investor, not Dividend Shrinkage Investor. That’s why he looks at companies that not only pay dividends, but that have the wherewithal to do so well into the future. If they don’t, it’s time to switch out for some that do.

Paula Pant at Afford-Anything can write. She can’t understand why people refuse to diversify their income streams, and neither can we.

Mike Holman at Money Smarts Blog points out that an annuity can work just as well as a defined benefit pension plan. So why aren’t annuities more popular? Because old people think they’ll die the minute they buy one, among other things. Seniors, relax. Electricity doesn’t leak out of light bulbs. No one’s going to steal your credit card number on Amazon. The teenagers next door are, however, going to break into the garage the moment you go to the store for more prune juice.

Okay, this late rally is saving what would otherwise have been one of the worst CoWs ever.

A Len Penzo sighting? Say it isn’t so! The most agreeable man in all of personal finance blogging makes a cameo with his list of 9 guilt-free ways to rip off your credit card company. He’s using hyperbole (at least we think he is), but the lesson is valid: credit card companies are going to make money off someone. It doesn’t have to be you. Let the other customers be the ones to take the hit. You can ride on their backs, and enjoy benefits you wouldn’t get if you only paid cash.

From our philosophical scion Nelson at Financial Uproar comes a piece that needed to be written a long time ago. Almost every personal finance blogger in existence tells you that you need to slash expenses before you do anything else. Almost none of them touch the opposite side of the ledger, the one where revenue lives. Sure, defense wins championships, but not if you never score.

Here’s one of ours: a CYC self-referential promotion, on the exact same topic.

What a whore. FMF at Free Money Finance ran into one of those pedantic customer “service” idiots for whom serving a customer will never be as important as following a rule, and the rules must be followed. The culprit in his case was a Best Buy clerk, who took (or attempted to take) FMF’s driver’s license number for no reason whatsoever. Her rationale? “It’s a federal law.” Which, after he pressed her, she admitted was just a store policy.

Folks, we’ll use this as a segue into a call for you to stand your ground. Don’t let these idiots at the 2nd lowest rung of the economy get you down. Like the brain-dead clerk I saw at the San Antonio Amtrak station who refused to sell a woman a ticket because her driver’s license had expired 3 days earlier.

Hey jackball: when your employer tells you you need to ask for “current and valid ID”, they’re doing that so you can positively identify the person in front of you, not so you can prove that you’re smart enough to figure out whether today’s date falls before or after the date on the license. If the woman was showing you a license that had expired 20 years ago, with a picture of a middle-aged woman on it instead of an old one, that’d be one thing. But knowing that she hasn’t legally been able to drive for 3 freaking days does not make her a potential terrorist. Also, stop flattering yourself: al-Qaeda doesn’t give a damn about your workplace, nor are they hiring gray-haired Tejana ladies to carry out their business. She should have hoofed him in the testicles.

Same goes for you, ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park, only substituting “ovaries” for “testicles”. Yes, I understand that I have to show valid ID with my park pass. We all know the market for sneaking one’s way into national parks must be a highly lucrative one. However, a concealed weapons permit is a valid form of ID. The signature on it matches the one on the park pass, therefore by showing you both I’m proving that I’m merely trying to get what I paid for. At the time, I couldn’t have been bothered to move my finger an extra eighth of an inch and procure my driver’s license instead, which she should have been fine with. But no, here’s how it went down:

Annoying Slut: Don’t you have a driver’s license?
Me: (looking her straight in the eye, lying through my teeth) No.
Annoying Slut: Then why are you driving?
Me: Well, I guess I shouldn’t be. So why don’t you call the police, tell them you have an unlicensed driver trying to get into the park, and I’ll wait here. With all these other cars behind me.
(long pause)
Annoying Slut: (grumbling) Proceed.

I’ll show you whatever damn valid ID I like. I’m sorry you chose to sit in a little box and collect money for a living, but that’s not my problem.

Alright, blood pressure has returned to normal. J.R. Weber at Smart Balance Transfers is a proponent of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Even if you’re a day late with your monthly credit card payment, if you can somehow get with the customer retention department your issuer might bribe you to stick around.

A new contributor this week, Wesley Evans at Metal Energy Blog. He’s given us his inaugural post, full of data and details about how to deal in leveraged commodity exchange-traded funds: i.e., ones that deal in silver, natural gas etc. Take some time and inhale this one.

Convinced that you can beat the odds and have a happy marriage? Bless your naive little soul. If you’re stubborn enough to insist that you can make it work, Jill at My Dollar Plan reminds you what to do with your finances after making it legal. The big one? Named beneficiaries on financial accounts supersede any written wills. She’s not kidding. Now good luck tolerating each other over the next few decades.

As always, thanks to our submitters and more importantly, thanks to our readers. Now go out there and buy some assets.

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