Carnival of Wealth, Ronald Reagan’s 101st Birthday Edition


His left hand is strangling a Communist


Monday and another Carnival of Wealth, this one saluting Tampico, Illinois’s favorite son. The Carnival of Wealth, if you’re wondering, is our weekly recap of the least average personal finance blog posts of the week. Some are awesome, some are horrible, none are boring. If you have a blog and want to submit, knock yourself out. If you’re just here to read, even better. LESH GO:

Again in the leadoff position, the staggeringly off-topic Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget gets points for relentlessness. She asks, “How Do You Talk Money With Your Husband?” Well, neither of us have one, so that’s moot. If you’re so inclined, you can read about how Erika’s husband (whose name is Eric, which is ridiculous) refuses to get involved in the couple’s finances. Erika was unintentionally funny last week, but this week she’s taking effortless comedy to a new level:

Eric has very little to do with our finances. I am the financially savvy one.

This is the woman who wrote last week that she’s $23,000 in debt, including a $2050 debt she didn’t even know about until she received a collection letter. If she’s the financially savvy one, her husband must spend his days wiping up kitchen spills with $100 bills.

At least she chose to submit this post, and not the one she wrote a couple days later about her husband’s flatulence problems. We’re not kidding. This week she talks about how he’s a poor communicator, in addition to him being worse than her with money, not to mention his pungent methane emissions. We honestly wonder if the husband even knows of Erika’s blog, or if he’s as blissfully unaware of it as Erika herself is about this one. Either way, by late 2013 Erika will have changed the name of her blog to

(Awful post rejected because it consisted of nothing more than 60 different phrasings of the sentence “Being frugal is good.” Also, the author pretended that her name is “Martha Jackson”, when we know damn well it’s really Parvati Mukherjee. Guy who owns the site, if you can’t be bothered to write your own articles, can you at least give an aspiring real writer a chance to do so for you?

The best part is when one of the commenters asks a question, and the guy who owns the site writes, “Let me try to answer for the guest poster”.

He called her “the guest poster”. Even he couldn’t remember the name she used. She couldn’t respond, because she was busy doing another menial online task for someone else at her office in Madras.)

You want to see it, don’t you? Fine, here it is. From John via “Martha” at Married With Debt.

A post consisting of other posts? A recursive post? Is that allowed?
/checks the submission guidelines
/cross-references them with the International Blogging Consortium policies & procedures manual

Sure, why not? Jeffrey at Money Spruce has 37 posts on how to save money on your taxes, collated and arranged in order.

Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff is the most honest man in the universe. This is the guy who declares modest eBay gains on his taxes. This week, he explains how eBay subsidiary PayPal benefits from a new tax ruling. The IRS used to require PayPal to issue 1099-K forms to any of its users who made over $20,000 a year. No more.

More tax goodness from Amanda L Grossman (The “L” is for value!) at Frugal Confessions. If you’re among the lucky 47% of United States citizens who don’t pay federal income tax (you know, the country where the rich supposedly screw the poor at every opportunity), you can somewhat nonsensically “earn” a tax “refund”.

Shaun at Smart Family Finance has a radical idea for avoiding screwing yourself when you buy a home. Shaun thinks you should be the one determining how much house you can afford, not the mortgage lender. Personal responsibility? Instead of blaming someone else for your eventual misfortune? We still do that?

Odysseas Papadimitreou at Wallet Blog returns after a temporary hiatus. (Isn’t “temporary hiatus” redundant? Can hiati be permanent?)  Checking account fees are rising. Should we storm the banks, or direct our anger elsewhere?

From Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog, probability theory! Call yourself an investment advisor, tell people stock X will rise, and 50% of the time you’ll be right. Do it again, and you’ve got a 25% chance of being right. When you’re the one investment advisor in 1,024 who correctly guesses 10 consecutive market moves, losing the 11th one could be genocidal.

Another Canadian? God, they’re like kudzu. We welcome Kurt Fischer at My Money Counselor, a rookie entrant who asks “Should Humans Buy & Hold?” He’s not being funny. He means, can our species be coldly rational enough to determine what’s undervalued and overvalued, or are we hopelessly emotional?

Paula Pant at Afford-Anything writes only one style of post: superb. You know why she kicks? When she talks about “fun money”, she’s referring to money to be invested in individual stocks, not hands of blackjack. This week Mlle. Pant shows how volatility can wipe out even the best of individual-stock investors, while ETF investors enjoy a much less bumpy ride.

(Post rejected for containing the following sentence:

I just wanted to share one of my biggest financial fears with you guys

Look. This isn’t your diary, OK? It’s a collection of personal finance blog posts. Also, the people who read your blog are not your friends. They’re readers. It’s clearly too much to expect you to make your blog worth their while, but here at CYC we actually give a damn about the people who have taken some time out of their day to visit us. Also, we call it the Carnival of WEALTH. What does you complaining about your financial fears have to do with wealth? Didn’t you see the big “No whining” logo in the CoW of 2 weeks ago?)

Oh, what the hell. Let’s leave it in. This Shaanxi earthquake of a post comes from Jen at the curiously titled Master The Art of Saving. She named her site after a mantra she should be repeating to herself at night. Anyhow, her submission is something we’ve lambasted on here time and time again: a first-person story about me and all the dumb financial mistakes I made and continue to make, please feel sorry for me, let’s have ourselves an impromptu little support group here.

Jen is a fantastic example of what not to do if you want to build wealth. She’s proud that she “finally” created an emergency fund, which is useless, and she’s overpowered with fear. She even wrote “I have plenty of fears, and I’m not afraid to admit it,” and maybe one of you can explain the concept of irony to her.

Last week, we included a submission from a guy who doesn’t want to own a Lamborghini because what if you scratch it, the insurance will be expensive, etc. Which is reminiscent of the conversation Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969:


ARMSTRONG: The moon. The freaking moon. We’re going to the moon

ALDRIN: Now that you mention it, it is pretty far. Farther than anyone’s ever been. And there’s a fair chance we might not make it back.

ARMSTRONG: You’re right. God, what if we don’t? We might get stuck in space. Or on the moon with no way home, which could be even worse. 

ALDRIN: Yeah, forget it. This is way too risky. Let’s get out of these uncomfortable suits and go to Daytona instead.


Jen is worried that she’s going to need back surgery. And she doesn’t have health insurance. Later in the post, she adds:

I am going to be so relieved the day we are finally able to get health insurance. I think if I start a business, then that would be a good way to make enough money to cover it.

Which was Steve Jobs’s very reason for founding Apple. Not to provide customers with something they’d like, or to put a vision into reality, but so he could maybe make enough money to maybe get health insurance. Come on: “…if I start a business”. Anyone want to take bets on whether Jen’s business will ever make it past the daydream stage?

It gets even better, although you’d wonder how it could:

even if we quit smoking, we couldn’t afford health insurance

Sweet Christ. Can you at least be consistent, and not cite worries about your health in one part of the post, then illustrate why your health is atrocious later in the post? At press time, 4 other ladies (including one with a guy’s name) left comments commiserating with this paean to cowardice and passivity. This is whom socialized medicine was invented for.

So to summarize, some chick wrote about how she can’t afford health insurance, but can afford cigarettes, and is worried that she’ll need back surgery one day. And somehow thinks that this is information you can use to enrich yourself.

It certainly made us feel better about ourselves.

On to the non-horrible part of the CoW. Kevin at Thousandaire must have made Trent Hamm cry with this post on why you should spend money on things that make your life easier. Read the post, and if you’re really bored you can sift through the comments from people who love to talk about their kitchen utensils.

Financial god returns this week with another superb post, and his perspective as a Canadian reveals a lot. The amazing socialized health care system that America needs to copy is about as valuable as anything else you can get “free”.

It takes months to get an elective operation that may be necessary for quality of life, doctors rush you through and care more about throughput, and it can take a year or more to get a MRI or another diagnostic test done.

But at least Canada doesn’t have those awful HMOs, amirite?

Canada is further to the left than most Americans realize. For instance, interprovincial transfer payments. Imagine if Alaska had to fork over billions in cash to Mississippi every year, simply because the former is rich and the latter is poor. They’ve been doing that in Canada forever, and not enough people seem to mind that their income is being confiscated and distributed by their elected representatives. Socialism isn’t mathematically sustainable, and our northern neighbors might be in for a shock.

Speaking of Canadians, last week we thoughtlessly referred to Mich of Beating the Index as a she. He isn’t. This week, one of our new favorites (excuse us, “favourites”) is back with a post about Canadian companies that drill and finish wells. Better than exploration and development companies, in some respects, and Mich explains why.

A former CoW mainstay, Neal Frankle returns with a guest appearance at Boomer & Echo. Neal lists 5 ways to finance a new business venture out of the gate.

Free Money Finance‘s daughter sits pets for money. See? Children are good for something.

The people who earn more. That’s the answer to Teacher Man’s question at My University Money. He wants to know who’s right, between the personal finance camp that stresses saving and the one that stresses increasing revenue. How do we know this? Because of this.

Another new entrant this week is Matt at RamblingFever Money, who reaches a surprising conclusion on the eternal 15-year vs. 30-year mortgage debate. Matt drives an 18-wheeler for a living, and says he loves listening to Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard while driving (because truckers don’t have enough trouble staying awake as it is.)

Philip Taylor at PT Money started (another) new business. If you’re planning on starting one too, do exactly what he did. (That is, choose the same entity structure and banking setup: don’t copy his business model.) One caveat: Philip adds that you should form the entity “with your state”. Works for him, he’s a Texan. DON’T DO THIS if you live in California or New York. Form the entity in Delaware or Nevada. Anywhere but home.

Suba at Wealth Informatics had nice things to say about our book, and we have nice things to say about her latest post on whether you should stay at home after ruining your life by having a kid. Once again, the thorough Suba offers an analysis that looks at every side of the discussion, breaking it down by sex and familial status.

Todd R. Tresidder’s posts are almost as long as ours. This week, the Financial Mentor uses multiple fonts and colors to tell us the positives and negatives of the 3 classes of wealth-building system, and how to amalgamate them into something greater than the sum of its parts.

We should be telling kids from kindergarten on up about the wonders of passive income. Instead, we tell them they need to find a job and a boss and opportunities for advancement and a sexual harassment policy and cupcake Wednesdays. LaTisha at Young Adult Finances explains how there’s more to life than just drawing a salary.

Did you really think you were going to get more than 5 consecutive worthwhile posts? As if. This is the Carnival of Wealth, not The New Yorker. Time for another one of those posts that should be a category unto themselves: Advice That Even The Writer Herself Will Never Abide By. This week, How to Host a Super Bowl Party on the Cheap from unnamed female writer at Personal Finance Journey. A timely idea, seeing as the Carnival went live the day after the game, but that’s not unnamed female writer’s biggest transgression. The tips her post offers include:

Vegetarian Chili – Around $5.00 for 8 servings

Any Super Bowl party host who serves vegetarian chili is begging for someone to pour it over his head.

The elaborate, Martha Stewart-like decorations that adorn some football parties are fun

We welcome “Martha Stewart-like” to the unofficial list of English adjectives, and wonder what kind of homo goes to the trouble of decorating a Super Bowl party, whether in a Martha Stewart motif or any other. Hosting a Super Bowl party is not complicated:

1) Make sure the TV’s working, and visible from every seat.
B) Cold beer and soda, and more food than you’ll need. Conventional food. Super Bowl Sunday is not the day to be taking daring culinary steps.


a couple rolls of streamers in your favorite team’s color can go a long way to transforming a room. 

“Welcome to my Super Bowl party!”
“Why is there purple bunting on your walls?”
“I’m a Vikings fan. It’s fun! Isn’t it fun?”
“Will you excuse me? I think I left the key in my car’s ignition.”

Then, this post suggests that you:

Start a friendly pool on which team will win how large the spread will be.

It’s not like they just left out a single verb here. We honestly have zero idea what thought unnamed female writer was trying to convey with that random agglomeration of words posing as a sentence. Something to do with gambling, maybe.

Speaking of gambling, we’re assuming you’re smart enough not to gamble. But you probably have a friend who was once up, didn’t cash out, lost it all, and then said, “That’s okay, I was playing with the house’s money.” A Blinkin at Funancials reminds us that you should treat all income as if it came from the sweat of your brow. Your bank doesn’t distinguish between “work” deposits” and “other” deposits, and you’re an idiot if you do.

Don at Money Smart Guides offers an introduction to mutual funds, killing some misconceptions and preconceptions along the way. Some people look at past performance – which the mutual fund companies themselves tell you is a useless indicator – and even then will throw away money on fees, loads, and unnecessary expenses.

Finally, Your Finances Simplified has 10 tips for saving money on car insurance. Don’t overinsure a junkheap, max out your deductible, etc. But he also says

if a wife is older than her husband, the couple might get a lower rate by listing her as the primary driver.

Um, yeah, but the woman is also more likely to be applying lipstick, turning around to yell at her kids in the back seat, and burning an entire tank of fuel while attempting to parallel park.

Admit it. The misses were way more fun than the hits. ‘Til next week,

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