Totally Money Blog Carnival LV

 

We needed a theme, so we decided to celebrate the golden anniversary of Friendship 7. Fifty years ago today, future U.S. Senator John Glenn orbited the Earth, solo, 3 times in 5 hours. That means he was going about 40 times faster than your standard airliner. Glenn was America’s 1st non-chimpanzee to orbit the planet, which is something to think about the next time you don’t want to drive 2 miles to the supermarket because you’re too exhausted. Or if you don’t know how to drive a standard transmission. 

 

Note: If you’re looking for the Carnival of Wealth, your life is about to be pleasantly enhanced. 

Is it hubris? Is it plausible deniability? For whatever reason, some bloggers occasionally take it upon themselves to let Control Your Cash guest host their carnivals. Sometimes, months later, they realize their dreadful mistake and change their minds. Other times they just let it ride. Fortunately for us, and for you, the lovely Harri Pierce of Totally Money is in the latter category.

Presenting the Totally Money Blog Carnival, a roundup of personal finance posts from across the known universe. (By the way, did you get a look at that masthead? There are 7 attractive women in the entire UK, and 5 of them write for Totally Money.) It’s like the Carnival of Wealth, except with fewer enemies. Let’s get it started:

We’re supposed to list several of the submissions as Editor’s Picks. Drama would dictate that we leave them until the end. We hate drama, whether in queen form or otherwise, so let’s start with the Editor’s Picks instead:

My, where has Jennifer Derrick at Saving Advice been all our lives? She speaks frankly and uncompromisingly to people who want to know how they can afford to buy expensive items without, you know, spending a lot of money. The answer? First, get your priorities in order. Second, don’t be a retard. (We’re paraphrasing.)

Dan at ETF Base is back with his usual insight. Greece is burning, the PIIGS have been slaughtered, and no one’s saying a thing about what the NASDAQ is doing. Dan sees opportunity, not miasma. We get the feeling Dan is one of those people who’s naturally optimistic while everyone else is out on the window ledge smoking a cigarette and thinking about jumping.

Most sites have zero good writers. DQYDJ (Don’t Quit Your Day Job) has at least 2. Cameron Daniels explains automation and forced savings, telling you that if you can’t be disciplined enough to save, at least be disciplined enough to know you’re not disciplined enough and act accordingly.

Citibank wasn’t satisfied with merely being kicked off the Dow. The beleaguered bank is now sending tax forms to credit card holders who collected…frequent-flyer miles. This shocking development brought to us by John Kiernan at Wallet Blog, who asks a non-rhetorical question: Should you have to pay taxes on non-monetary rewards? If you think the Internal Revenue Service would be satisfied if you paid the tax on 180,000 frequent-flyer miles by offering them a Toledo-to-Cleveland coach seat, you’d be wrong.

The eloquent and forthright Paula Pant at Afford-Anything interviewed Jean Chatzky this week. After Suze Orman’s recent self-immolation, Chatzky has become the most respected mass media financial lady out there, by default. Paula asked probing questions, and if you read between the lines you can see that Jean has little patience for Dave Ramsey’s ridiculous debt snowball. Just when we thought we couldn’t love her any more than we already do.

Which makes these the Editor’s non-picks:
Do you hate money? That is, really, actively hate it? Do you ever go to your bank, withdraw a couple of thousand, then set the bills in a neat little pile and bring a Ginsu knife right down the vertical axis, laughing maniacally as you turn your assets into confetti? Then you’ll love Parenting Family Money‘s presumably serious take on buying life insurance for your children. An excerpt:
Children are the face of the future. 
No, hoverbikes are the face of the future.

Echo of Boomer & Echo explains how you have more options than ever for finding a way to put a down payment on that first house. The catch? You have to be Canadian. Give it a few more million years, and maybe there’ll be beachfront property in Saskatoon after all.

Free Money Finance gives us a book excerpt from Scrabble walk-off plays Zvi Bodie and Rachelle Taqqu, authors of Risk Less and Prosper: Your Guide to Safer Investing.

Don at Money Smart Guides has discovered that stocks sometimes go up, and occasionally go down. Therefore he wants you to invest in an index fund. By the way, if you’d bought a Dow index fund 5½ years ago, you’d have gained 0 since then.

Mutual funds get liquidated? Not often, but often enough, and FIRE Finance explains what to do when that happens.

Vancouver has changed a lot since your humble blogger lived there, many years ago. Young & Thrifty calls The City Without A Nickname home today, and remarks that it’s not a cheap place to live. Second on the continent to New York, by one estimate. (Some San Franciscans would disagree, but it’s her post.) The author explains how to save money by living somewhere expensive, and her ideas are truly groundbreaking – take in a roommate, ride the bus etc. (Note to the author: Just go to Wreck Beach already. You’re obviously thinking about it, just do it. For the calf workout, at least. Maybe you can get a blog post out of it.)

 

You New Yorkers really have it made. You get to live in a place with zero scenery and miserable winters, while surrounding yourself with 8 million insufferable blowhards. And you can never buy more groceries than you can carry. But hey, it’s the greatest city in the world. Barbara Friedberg shows how dumb you are by not living somewhere cheaper. (Paraphrasing.)

Nepotism? Yes, we do. Presented without judgment, Betty Kincaid offers 6 Reasons You’re Still Poor.

Someone named Simple Island Living guest posts at Married With Debt this week. The author’s identification with simplicity notwithstanding, she offers a complex method by which couples can eat at fine restaurants (or as the superfluous expression goes, “fine dining restaurants”) without spending the ride home yelling at each other over how much money they spent.

Congratulations to Kathie Lee Gifford’s and Roger Clemens’s kids Kody and Kolton Green for starting their very own blog. The creators of Financial Money Tips recommend that you not merely make money for its own sake, but build skills (with even greater future earning potential) while doing so. Here’s a fun game: if you read this post while counting all the cliches in it you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Take your time with it, the playing field is wide open.

Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, writes (or has a letter she wrote cut-and-pasted, one or the other) at Free Small Business Resource this week. She appeals to politicians of both U.S. parties to work together to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship. We wish her luck with that Sisyphean task.

(Post rejected because it consisted of nothing but 8 tips on how to dye your hair. Lady, it’s the Totally Money Carnival. Not the Totally Trying To Make Men Think I’m Younger Carnival.)

This week’s 1970′s Coca-Cola commercial fused to a campfire rendition of “Kumbaya” and masquerading as a blog post comes from Jill Suskind at Your Teen’s Money Skills.

We teach teens to give 10% of all the money they receive.

She’s referring to charity. May we editorialize?

Just about every teen on the planet except Dakota Fanning is a net financial negative. You come out of the womb incurring debt to your parents, and it only gets worse. Shouldn’t any extra money be going back to the family first?

Wait, there’s a reason for A owing money to B yet giving it to C. By doing so, teens can:

  • Explore the experience of knowing themselves as part of the whole of humankind.
  • Remember, always, that wealth building is not a competitive, individualistic competitive (sic) sport; rather, wealth is a tool that makes great things possible.
  • Lead the way to a world in which we take care of each other and our planet with love, compassion, and responsibility.
  • Lead the way to creating a world that works for everyone.

Never mind that comparing “wealth” to “wealth building” is like comparing salmon to salmon fishing, Angel Moya Acosta and the rest of the outspoken heroes rotting in Cuban jail cells appreciate your 15-year old “lead(ing) the way to creating a world that works for everyone.” Which will doubtless trickle down to them in no time.

There are differing opinions as to when adulthood starts, and Michigan State University has one of its own: sometime after freshman year. Money Beagle explains how the school now requires incoming students to have health insurance. What health insurance has to do with purchasing an education is anyone’s guess, but it does teach kids a valuable lesson: there will be little room for individual decision-making and responsibility in tomorrow’s America. Also, your humble blogger is glad to know that something other than his high school transcripts are preventing him from attending college in beautiful downtown East Lansing.

Jon the Saver at Free Money Wisdom needs to do himself a favor and let us know up front when he’s featuring a guest writer. We were a few lines into his post about name-brand vs. generic consumer goods when we came across this:

I have no qualms about seeking out the generic, or lower priced brand, on medicine, facial moisturizer, body wash, peanut butter (if you don’t go all natural), and my Greek yogurt.

Huh?

Jon is awfully fresh-faced and youthful. Debonair and handsome, too. Alas, he didn’t write that post. A palindromic interloper (female, fortunately) named Hannah did.

(Hannah, by the way, is one of those people who keeps her Twitter account locked for some reason. We can only imagine what she’s hiding.)

Thanks to the indomitable Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget for sparing us another story about her husband’s flatulence and inability to listen to his wife. (God, how we wish we were making that up.)

Alright, look. Not to blindside Erika, who probably thought our days of haranguing her on this site were over, but enough already. If you’re going to talk to your readers in the first person and share every intimate detail of your life – essentially turning your “personal finance” blog into your own little version of Facebook – we reserve the right to call you out. The author of this post is candid about the crushing 5-digit debt she and her long-suffering husband are living under, and then announces a monthly $515 one-time jump in her monthly income with an exclamation point. Congratulations, your debt is now 98.5% of what it was before.

That’s not even the worst of it.

I am still planning on going on a honeymoon.

Why do people stay poor again? That’s right, they incur overwhelming debt and then act as though it doesn’t exist. Sister, you don’t get a honeymoon. Just like we don’t get a Learjet, and Larry Ellison doesn’t get Japan’s entire GDP. It’s called living within your means. This post also contains what might be the most passive-aggressive sentence in the history of blogging:

Eric has been amazing this month with really making a concentrated effort to help around the house more.

Translation: He learned to flush! She posts pictures of the husband on the site, so presumably he has friends who can identify him. Friends who, if they have any self-respect, are mercilessly ribbing him about his wife’s gentle barbs as you’re reading this. Hopefully they’ve got a Doug Christie jersey picked out in just his size.

Speaking of overbearing spouses and how to deal with them, Marie at Family Money Values tells you how to travel when your significant other would rather sit on the couch. (Bonus: use of the words “experience” and “consider”.) We’re going to include a couple of excerpts. Here, try to guess if Marie has kids or not:

Whether you travel with someone or alone, you should care for your safety and security. Be aware of your surroundings. Plan your trip so that you stay in safe areas. Minimize your after dark excursions in unknown territory.

Keep extra cash and ids in a safe place – separate from your purse or wallet. Make sure you have written health information available in case you are involved in a medical emergency – allergies, medicines, blood types, known problems, doctor’s phone number and name and etc. Also carry emergency contact information (names/phone numbers/email ids) in your vehicle and on your person. Plan to keep in regular contact.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Eat your vegetables. Don’t talk to strangers. Wear a bike helmet. Better yet, walk. Do your homework. Stop pulling your sister’s hair. Stop pulling your sister’s hair. Don’t make me come back there. Stop pulling your sister’s hair. I mean it this time. 

Alright, the 3rd paragraph is fiction. (Also, if you have “extra” ids, welcome to a very select club. It’s you, Hugh Hefner, the members of Mötley Cruë and that’s about it.)

There’s such a thing as cancer insurance? Well, we’ll be dipped. Hank at Money Q&A lists it as one of the 5 types of insurance you don’t need. We agree with 4 of them, but strongly disagree with the other one – pet insurance.

If you happen to be reading this in a country with a major veterinary clinic chain that offers wellness plans, drop everything and buy one for your pet. (Technically it’s not pet “insurance”, but it’s close enough.) The sooner the better, as plans for puppies and kittens cost less than those for adult dogs and cats. You’ll save hundreds if not thousands of dollars, while preserving your pet’s life.

You take workout and diet advice from obese people, don’t you? Good, then you’ll love this post from Elizabeth at Broke Professionals, another of the countless overeducated, underperforming people who populate the personal finance blog milieu and the world as a whole. Elizabeth argues about semantic use of the word “broke”, and insists she isn’t, despite having a net worth of -$110,000. Maybe it made sense in the first draft.

Our SEO keyword-friendly post of the week comes from Colin Williams at Humble Savers, who uses “financial plan” 20 times and “financial planner” 21 times in his efforts to get you to patronize (he’s Australian, so “patronise”) a certain type of business. You’ll never guess what Colin does for a living.

There’s nothing more awesome than an ostensible personal-finance blog post that’s really an introspective song without melody. Aloysa at My Broken Coin shares her pain with us, remarking on how she loves to go shopping yet can’t seem to get out of debt. (We assume you’ve already detected the theme here.) In Aloysa’s defense, she grew up in Lithuania and didn’t discover sweet, wonderful consumerism until a late age. But still.

Andy at My Retirement Blog lists his tips for, appropriately enough, retirement saving. Most are straightforward (contribute to your 401[k]), but one sticks out: invest in defensive industries. We initially read that as “defense” industries, and thought he was encouraging us to go long on Raytheon and Northrup Grumman. But he means non-cyclical industries such as, his words, alcohol and condoms.

(We’ll save you the trouble. Andy’s sentiment might make sense as a throwaway thought, but it can’t be implemented in real life. Durex is made by Reckitt Benckiser, which trades on the London Stock Exchange. Reckitt Benckiser also makes French’s mustard, Mucinex, Clearasil, Frank’s Red Hot sauce, Calgon, Lysol, and dozens of other products that have nothing to do with contraception. Trojans are sold by Church & Dwight, which trades on the New York Exchange. The latter company also makes everything from Aim toothpaste to Nair to Arm & Hammer baking soda, so it’s not like you can invest specifically in their condom division. Nice try, though. B- for effort.)

There’s no bigger laughingstock, at least to us, than the person who drives an Audi, carries a giant credit card balance, wears Fioravanti suits and lives in a rental. The flip side of that is what Money Reasons refers to in this post, people who dress and behave below their financial level. It’s a wonderful place to be. There are few luxuries greater than not having to dress expensively, and refusing to embrace the absurd accoutrements that some people equate with having money.

Amanda L Grossman of Frugal Confessions believes in giving her keyboard a rest, which is why she wrote 103 words on how she read the manual that came with her vacuum cleaner and considers that to be a post. An excerpt:

We were gifted a wonderful Bissell vacuum cleaner about two years ago.

SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, CAN WE STOP THIS PRACTICE OF USING “GIFT” AS A VERB? We have a perfectly good word in English for transferring the possession of something to someone. Even Eddie at Finance Fox is familiar with it. Let’s try that again, shall we?

We were given a wonderful Bissell vacuum cleaner about two years ago.

There, was that so hard? By the way, our exposition of Amanda L’s post is 24% longer than the post itself.

Megan Durham guest posts at Yes, I Am Cheap, and explains how she and the other vultures in her family are busy picking her grandmother’s bones while she’s still breathing.

Alright, that’s a little dramatic. Megan talks about succession planning, which sounds a little distasteful on first appearance but is really a sensible, prudent way to figure out which survivors get what without resorting to ugly squabbles.

And just like that, it was over. Thanks for reading. Bookmark this site for more of the same. If you’d like to submit to next week’s Totally Money Blog Carnival, do so here. Our own carnival, the Carnival of Wealth, returns here Wednesday. Adios.

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