Carnival of Wealth, End of November Edition

Zoot suits and powdered wigs will make comebacks before this look does


Nelson at Financial Uproar reminds us that 4 weeks ago, the male half of the species was supposed to grow mustaches to fight cancer or heart disease or something. How’d that work out for everyone? Is the disease in question eradicated yet? Even close? Exactly how does temporary facial hair result in money? Unclear.

Anyhoo, welcome to another rousing edition of the Carnival of Wealth. A weekly roundup of worthwhile and intriguing posts from personal finance blogs around the anglophone world. If you want to submit to next week’s carnival, click here and read the accompanying directions. Otherwise just keep reading.

Emotions destroy your personal life; that’s what they exist for. But emotions shouldn’t be allowed access to your financial life, under any circumstances. Squirrelers makes the point that if you’re conceiving of a “dream home”, instead of paying under market value for an asset that can appreciate, you’re losing. Justify your purchase, run the numbers, and determine if your emotions are getting the better of you.

One of our favorite quotes about money is from Thomas Sowell, the Stanford economist and prolific author. This isn’t verbatim, but it’s close enough:

If you could wave a magic wand and instantly double everyone’s net worth, some people would be against it because it would increase the gap between rich and poor.

Darwin’s Money argues that income disparity is good. Among other things, it reflects a disparity in ambition. Some people work to become CEOs. Other pour their hearts into becoming teachers. Each knows the risk going in (teaching jobs are yours for the asking, CEO jobs less so), and the resultant rewards. Income equality makes as much sense as wagering equality: why shouldn’t a bet on Green Bay to win the Super Bowl pay as much as a bet on Arizona?

Huh? Kevin McKee (spelled his name correctly this time) at Thousandaire argues that “when you buy a house, it immediately loses value, like a car.” To buttress this assertion, he quotes…well, himself. As people who know firsthand that real estate is one of the most proven ways to build wealth, we’re grateful to Thousandaire for withdrawing himself from the housing market like that. (You know, one fewer bidder.) Thousandaire makes good money, has a decent net worth, blogs about personal finance, and has resigned himself to being a lifelong renter and enjoying a -100% return on his money. We’re sure his landlord approves.

Here’s the complete list of items you should wait in line at inconvenient hours to buy:

-organs for transplant.

Instead, millions of idiots endured freezing temperatures and compromised circadian rhythms this past Friday so they could pay slightly less for luxuries. (That’s in the United States. Our Canadian friends, continuing their 144-year tradition of being a little late to the party, will do so on December 26.) Aloysa at My Broken Coin thinks that’s nuts.

Our favorite Nepali émigré, Paula Pant at Afford-Anything, bills her site as “the anti-frugality blog.” (Nice going, Paula. You just made the guy at The Simple Dollar break down and cry.) But that doesn’t mean she advocates spending recklessly. Instead she explains how simple, painless acts like winterizing your house make a tangible difference to your finances. Increase your income on the other side of the ledger, and you’ll build wealth. To paraphrase Paula, you can’t just play defense and expect to win.

Breathing is good. Sleeping is good. And even those require some qualifiers, “air” and “fewer than 16 hours at a time”, respectively. What about investing? Sometimes it’s horrible. You have to research, you have to rebalance, and you have to allocate your assets. Your Finances Simplified explains how to accomplish that last one.

The best perk ever is working for yourself. But if you are going to work for someone else, Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff argues that half-Fridays are right up there. He’s out of the office at 11 am every Friday, and while that sounds nice, we’d rather work an extra 45 minutes Monday through Thursday and not have to come in at all Friday. Then again, we work for ourselves and can take the whole month off if we felt like it. We’d go broke in short order, but that’s the tradeoff.

If a goal is a dream with a deadline, then a goal minus a deadline is just a dream. Corey at 20s Finances isn’t just saving and spending without a plan. See what he and his wife plan to invest in and pay for in the near future.

Because working for someone else isn’t depressing enough, Boomer of & Echo renown went Gestalt on us and tried to determine how much a job really earns you once you factor in all the ancillary expenses of both time and money dedicated to your employment. Fun times!

This week’s sign of our nation’s impending doom comes from Marjorie Rochon at CardHub, who avails us of the Lil’ Wayne-branded Discover card. The Young Money prepaid card lets every sales clerk you deal with know you want to achieve figurative communion with a guy whose resume includes 1 year in the slam, multiple drug arrests, and 4 kids via 3 baby mamas.

Alright, that’s not fair. The Young Money card is actually a fantastic deal. It costs $7 to possess, and you pay another $5 every time you load money onto it. And you have to pay $4 a month to use it. And $6 if you lose it. In unrelated news, Control Your Cash is taking applicants for its next Retard of the Month.

It’s a universal truth that financial planners want you to allocate assets depending on your age. Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog questions that wisdom, largely due to changing market conditions and a growing debate on valuation investing vs. buy-and-hold investing.

Man, Suba from Wealth Informatics put a lot of work into this week’s post. She recommends that you appraise yourself (financially) before the end of the year. She also mentions that her job requires her to do a “self-appraisal”. God, that’s depressing. Human resources directors weren’t loathsome enough: now they’re asking people to write their own evaluations? Which, presumably, include self-criticisms? “I came to work on time, most of the time, but I also have a serious drinking problem that often leads to violence.” Feel free to cut-and-paste that for your own self-appraisals, everyone.

Should you borrow from your life insurance policy? Free Money Finance thinks the answer is “It depends.” See what it depends upon in another excerpt from the excitingly titled The Questions and Answers on Life Insurance Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Simple Answers for Your Complex Questions.

Marie at Family Money Values probably thought she’d submit this week and we’d either accept it or reject it, whichever. We’re guessing she didn’t think we’d cite her as an example of the difference in mindset between the wealthy and the average. This week Marie visited a rich friend’s house and gave rationalizations for why she wouldn’t want to live there.

It’s awesome when people do this, because it shows how Homo sapiens isn’t as rational a species as we’d like to believe.

(Actually, you know what? Hold on. Instead of burning a couple thousand words explaining why she’s crazy within an already long carnival, we’ll save our objections for a blog post Friday. Thank you for the inspiration, Marie.)

Finally, Odysseas Papadimitriou at Wallet Blog thinks the time has come to transform unions. He argues that collective bargaining has progressed to the point where unions do their members more harm than good: in other words, the golden goose can always fly overseas.

Thanks again. See you Monday. runs on the Genesis Framework

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