Welcome to the newest edition of the Carnival of Wealth, and this one’s a doozy. Quick primer: the Carnival of Wealth features the most inspired, most inspiring, and occasionally most inane personal finance blog posts of the last week. Submit yours here. If you don’t have a blog, even better. Just read. Let’s get it on:
Another “year-end” meta-post? Hell, it’s almost 2013. Julie at The Family CEO Blog lists her most popular posts of 2011. If enough of you read this one, it might make her 2012 year-end list.
LaTisha Styles at Young Adult Finances asks if you remember Little House on the Prairie. If she’s talking about the TV series, not if you’re under 30 you don’t. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original book about the finer points of churning butter, voting Whig and dying of consumption is still available everywhere, however. Anyhow, LaTisha explains how futures contracts have helped many a farmer, even a modern-day one, avoid disaster.
Lovers of the English language continue to weep and gnash their teeth, yet Eddie at Finance Fox remains undaunted. He managed to cram two tired idioms into one sentence this week, reminding us that “the deals on vehicles are dime (sic) a dozen and they are selling like hot cakes.” No word on whether the dealers are giving the store away, or pricing everything to move.
St. Paul had the story of Christ, Dan at ETF Base has dividend stocks. Dan won’t rest until every heathen on the planet takes to heart the good news of companies that pay you just for owning a piece of them. This week he discusses covered call options. The post is only 2 paragraphs long, so don’t blink.
Paula Pant at Afford-Anything is always money, and she’s now taken to reviewing a book every Friday. (Hands up all of you who don’t even read a book a week, let alone review one.) The book she reviews this week is about building wealth, and hinges on the following premise: Sometimes, stock prices are justified. Other times, enthusiasm or fear carries the market away. When that happens, stock prices become silly and provide a rational investor with a chance to profit.
So if you’ve got a stock in mind after reading that, how to buy it? John at Buy Stocks Online Info saves commission fees by using direct stock purchase plans and discount brokers.
They have satellite radio in Canada? This is the country that welcomed the internal combustion engine only in 2005. Teacher Man at My University Money recently subscribed to SiriusXM, the company that gives radio shows to amateurs like Rosie O’Donnell and Martha Stewart’s daughter yet can’t figure out why it’s losing money. (Meanwhile, Phil Hendrie languishes on AM overnights, which is criminal.) Find out how Teacher Man wore a sales rep down and saved money on his subscription. And for our own hilarious SiriusXM story, read a CoW excerpt from last month.
Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog asks a sobering question that you have to ask yourself if you’re serious about this: How much of your investment portfolio can you afford to lose? Ken explains the simple but critical math behind portfolio break-even analysis in the first of a series.
Why are you not subscribing to PK’s feed at Don’t Quit Your Day Job? Do you know how few personal finance bloggers actually take the time to write nothing but consistently worthwhile posts? PK is like a hairier, homelier version of Paula Pant. This week he defines savings for us, but with plenty of levels and nuance.
At the rate he’s going, by 2022 Your Finances Simplified and his family will have a net worth of $273,539,162.88. Their net worth more than doubled last year, and despite our estimates, it’s probably not a geometric progression. It’s still pretty impressive though. Find out how he did it.
NOTE: The word “coupon” doesn’t appear anywhere in his post, nor does the phrase “make your own deodorant”. In fact, YFS even admits “…our discretionary spending is off the charts to some. We are far from a frugal couple.” We’ll say it again: stop counting pennies, stop thinking small.
Whatever. Even using boldface isn’t going to make the slightest difference to some of you, so here’s a post from Kyle Taylor at The Penny Hoarder on how to hoard pennies by running your dishwasher at night and using laundry balls, whatever they are. Learn about a company called My Energy, and try to figure out how they make money, because we have no idea.
It took long enough, but savings bonds are finally going paperless. Jill at My Dollar Plan explains how the favorite investment instrument of grandparents and great-grandparents across the fruited plain is now available only via TreasuryDirect.gov.
(Aside: “Gift” is a noun. “Give” is a verb. Anyone who says “He gifted me an iPhone for my birthday”, please gift us a break and stop.)
The mysterious W at Off Road Finance would never do that. He’s too busy enjoying his new status among the moneyed. W officially left the middle class this year, entering the 80th percentile of income and maintaining the habits that got him there.
From deep beneath the Saskatchewan crust comes another (formerly) anonymous blogger, Nelson at Financial Uproar, with this week’s post that requires no description beyond its title: “Screw It. I’ll Just Masturbate Instead.” We’d make the “Ladies, did we mention he’s single?” joke but the post isn’t what you think, whatever whatever you think might be. Bonus: two women get into it with each other in the comments section.
After looking through the archives, we’re not sure which pronouns to use with Penny Pinching Professional, but we’re going to use feminine ones. Reasons con:
-she’s an engineer;
-the hand in the logo is a man’s.
-she submits under the name “Penny”;
-she tells a story about spending the weekend at a craft fair with her spouse (and indeed uses the unhelpful word “spouse”.) If Penny is indeed a guy, any guy who would admit to going to a craft fair isn’t going to mind being referred to by feminine pronouns anyway;
-she gives condescendingly basic advice.
This week, PPP is full of Trent Hammian goodness. She recommends that you include your name and your email address on your résumé. Also, you should include the area code with your phone number. And…you should list your relevant work experience (italics ours). And here you idiots were applying for jobs without giving your names. Now you know better.
Boomer of & Echo is among the 89% of Canadians who hasn’t been defrauded by a shady investment. This week, she tells you how to spot investment fraud. Most of it is common sense stuff, but it’s pretty comprehensive and it’s handy to have it all on the same page.
Thank God Ray at Financial Highway started writing his own stuff again. This week he reminds us that it’s once again the season for RRSPs, those curious little retirement plans our Canadian readers have. Canada’s banking oligopoly is after your business. Whom should you give it to?
One more Canadian post, but not before a Canadian joke:
Q: How do you get a group of 8 Canadians to stop loitering in a public area?
A: Say “Please stop loitering.”
Credit Cards Canada is responsible for the most beautiful and colorful infographics we’ve ever seen on a blog. These put the USA Today charts to shame. This week, Janet explains the benefits of rewards cards, and how self-defeating they are if you’re dumb enough to carry a balance.
Money saving tips? Sure, why not. It’s a carnival. Bob at Christian PF encourages you to comparison shop, maintain your old stuff instead of buying new stuff, live in a smaller house, use coupons…pretty Simple Dollarish advice, except for Bob’s recommendation that you use a PerkStreet Financial cash-back debit card! That’s PerkStreet! Which we’re sure Bob would still recommend you use even if the link in his post didn’t go through LinkOffers.org before ending up on PerkStreet’s handy signup page.
Darwin’s Money was skeptical, as anyone should be, about companies that offer no-cost refinancing. He examined them from every angle, and decided to spring for such a maneuver. We still wouldn’t touch them with a 10′ pole (see Fox, Finance) but Darwin gives clear reasons for his decision.
Life insurance, on the other hand, we don’t see any sound arguments for. KT at Personal Finance Journey thinks otherwise, however, listing all the steps you need to take before committing to a plan (sorry, but we can’t call it an “investment”) that only pays if you die and that even then offers its beneficiaries worse returns than they could find elsewhere. But hey, protection and all that.
(Post rejected for crimes against grammar. Look, it’s swell that you’re attempting to write in your second language, but we have standards here. Develop some proficiency first.)
(Post rejected for its absurd premise. Sir, stop lying. No one is emailing you to ask where they can find coupons. Alright, for kicks we’ll include one line from your post:
Don’t forget to check at the local coffee shop like Starbucks or McDonalds for extra newspaper inserts or anywhere people buy newspapers. Often many people leave them behind.
Seriously? You call that content? You think that recommendation adds anything to anyone’s life? Enough. But congratulations on getting 18 mommy bloggers to link to you. We don’t do that crap here.)
Amanda L Grossman (we don’t know what happened to the period, either) at Frugal Confessions has a frugal confession to make: she got a bunch of cheap magazines at Magazines.com.
Kevin McKee at Thousandaire is back yet again. Kevin argues, quite reasonably, that the only investing strategy that makes sense is buy and hold. Short term investing, even for just one year, seems like a complete crapshoot. That is, of course, if you don’t plan on dying in one year. So unless you’re Zsa Zsa Gabor, read his post.
Ever live in a rotten neighborhood? Aloysa at My Broken Coin did. So did a friend of hers, whom she ended up embarrassing herself in front of. Find out how Aloysa backpedaled, and what her friend was doing in that trailer park in the first place.
Don at Money Smart Guides joins us this week, and we give him the standard CoW welcome. Don spent $500 eating out last month, instead of his normal $100, and while he didn’t get fat, he started down the path. Don will spend less eating out next month.
You have to love Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget. You have to love any blogger who takes heat in one week’s edition of the CoW, clearly doesn’t bother reading the CoW, doesn’t acknowledge that we included her (despite us emailing her to tell her the carnival was live), runs a guest post from an unidentified submitter, goes 6 days (and counting) without responding to a commenter who asks her who wrote the guest post, is possibly a registered sex offender, upon further review seems to have erroneously claimed the post was indeed written by a guest, might have a drug problem, can’t pay back her student loans, and even has high school student loans. How long before our next Retard of the Month?
At least Corey at 20s Finances writes his own posts. Corey averaged a 3.7 in college despite a love for placing plural nouns with singular verbs and vice versa. Corey does helpfully define loans. “Loans require that you pay money back to them with interest.” Thank you.
Lynn Truong has encamped at Free Money Finance, with a guest post about how to avoid impulse buys. 8 billion other people have already written on this topic, but to Lynn’s credit, she comes up with some new if impractical suggestions. E.g., freeze your credit card in a block of ice. Which you’d think might be a joke, but the rest of her post is completely straight. It’s awesome when people suggest actions that they’d never undertake themselves.
Somebody named Jester at something called The Ultimate Juggle makes his CoW debut this week. Here’s a line that separates the unreadable bloggers from the all-time greats: “If you are thinking of investing in property, you should make sure to consider whether it is worth your time to invest in the property.” How thinking of investing in property differs from making sure to consider whether it is worth your time to invest in the property, we’re not sure. If you’re hungry, you should consider whether you want to eat. Food.
Passive Income to Retire is a little more detailed than Jester. PITR explains how he’s using rental properties as an income stream, and ultimately a source of cash flow for his retirement years.
This is quite the rocky patch. Yet another fortune cookie-length post, this one from Wayne at Young Family Finance who tells you how much you should tip at restaurants. Wayne concludes that you should pay 15% no matter what, and that you should use a calculator to tell you what 15% of your bill is. He says if you can’t afford to pay 15%, you shouldn’t be eating out. We’ll add that if you need someone to tell you to pay 15%, you shouldn’t be leaving the house. And if you need a calculator to tell you how to figure out what 15% of something is, congratulations for reading this far without drooling.
A Blinkin of Funancials is our favorite presidential homonym. (There are no others, we looked. Jim, Me Poke is as close as it gets.) This week A attempts to do a little reverse engineering of the FICO score. No one has ever managed to, but A summarizes it as don’t carry more than 30% of the card’s limit, and don’t close long-dormant accounts. We’ll take it a little further and say that 30% is 30% too high.
Grammatically Questionable Family Finance Smart Family Finance writes about check “indorsements” this week. He thinks that using the right conjunction in the payee field on your checks can save you a lot of hassle, if you’re the kind of person who writes checks.
Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff, save us. Daniel comes through yet again, this time with a post about how taking his car to a technician saved him money. Daniel got the shop to agree to give him a loaner, then drove away as fast as he could before they could change their minds. He returned to the shop 1000 miles later, his car none the worse for wear.
Every week, there’s one post that deserves the most attention. This week it’s from Briana Myricks at 20 and Engaged. To recap:
Populist financial guru Suze Orman apparently loves credibility as much as she loves penis. (Sorry. The pitch was right over the plate.) Ms. Orman recently lent her name to one of those prepaid debit cards created specifically for imbeciles. If you’re not familiar, it works like this: some fame whore – Kim Kardashian or Young Jeezy or whoever – emblazons their name and face on a particular brand of debit card. The cards are an unbelievable ripoff, with a regular monthly fee, a fee for calling customer service, a fee for failing to maintain a minimum balance, etc. This is the kind of product that a rational marketplace should have no room for, but again, people are idiots.
It’s bad enough to be a vapid generic celebrity and attach your name to such a card, but it’s something quite different if you’re a self-styled financial advisor. The Bancorp Bank is the institution that issues this steaming plastic cow patty, and whatever they’re paying Ms. Orman, it’s enough to get her to disavow her principles regarding building wealth and taking on debt.
Briana, and several other personal finance bloggers, called Ms. Orman out on Twitter. And they were relatively polite about it. Ms. Orman responded by tearing into whoever dared cross her path.
(Note to foul-tempered famous people: you do know Twitter is instantaneous, right? It’s also permanent if you don’t delete your tweets, which you probably don’t know how to do anyway. It’s amazing how many celebrities create a veer of propriety and then destroy it on Twitter. If you’re ever depressed about your place in the universe, read Keith Olbermann’s feed sometime and we promise you’ll feel better about yourself. It’s one venomous response after another to ordinary people, telling them how stupid they are. Why a rich and influential person would waste his time doing this beats us.)
The Bancorp Bank must have no problem with Ms. Orman getting confrontational with regard to the card in question, because she dug her heels in (well, her combat boots) and started straight-up insulting people who dared to point out the hypocrisy of her new endeavor. Not just Briana, but several of our other CoW regulars, too.
Purely from a business standpoint, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you go on Twitter and tell Nastia Liukin that the Subway sandwiches she endorses are horrible*, she’s not going to respond and tell you what a pathetic loser you are for not eating there. And if she did, Subway management wouldn’t let her do so for long.
Maybe Ms. Orman can’t live with the reality that she endorses a terrible product, and now she’s doing whatever she can to stop people from using it. Or maybe she’s just an angry hoyden. Regardless, the bottom line is that you shouldn’t care what other people think and you shouldn’t use a card that charges you for spending your own money. Both points are obvious, but again, see the part about the planet being populated with retards.
That was fun. Some slow going, but it really picked up at the end. See you next week.
*Don’t you dare. Nastia is a beautiful little tsarevna and doesn’t deserve your catcalls.