Carnival of Wealth, Off-Calendar Edition

Happy Humpday


This week only, the Carnival of Wealth jumps ahead 48 hours. Daylight Saving Time, you know. That and the Totally Money Carnival, which the delightful Harri was gracious/naive enough to let us host Monday. Two successive carnival posts are verging on a little much, so on Friday we’ll post something of our own derivation. And this coming Monday, the CoW will return to its regularly scheduled time.

Ah, the CoW. The finest blog carnival of its kind. Personal finance blog posts from across the universe, selected for your reading pleasure. If you have a blog and would like to submit, do so here. READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES, NOT THAT ANYONE EVER DOES. Or just read and enjoy. Starting now:

This might be the last-ever installment of the Carnival of Wealth, because a bullet between the eyes seems like the only way to deaden the pain after hearing that that hyperfrugal, inconsistent, parsimonious, self-parodying lunatic Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar might have sold that awful blog of his for a 7-digit sum. That’s the estimate from Jeffrey at Money Spruce. Thanks for that, Jeff.

Carnival of Wealth founder Shailesh Kumar, the Cliff Burton to our Jason Newsted, guests on Boomer & Echo this week. Shailesh reached the inevitable conclusion that our politicians have yet to share with us: in a few years, there simply won’t be enough money. If you think anyone but you is ultimately responsible for your own retirement, you’re as naive as they want you to be. Find out how to avoid spending your dotage praying for the sweet release of death.

We can’t very well host Harri Pierce’s Totally Money Blog Carnival and not run a submission from her 2 days later, can we? The Totally Money maveness explains how to use social media to look for employment. There’s actual content in this post: she didn’t just write “tell your Facebook friends you want a new job”, which is how most bloggers would have handled this subject matter.

Darwin’s Money tells the incredible story of a graffiti artist who got some equity in Facebook years ago and is on the verge of being dirty rotten filthy stinking rich. Instead of kicking himself for not playing with spray cans when he was a kid, Darwin wisely reasons that almost every other graffiti artist on the planet is either sleeping on someone’s floor or in a jail cell. It’s called survivorship bias, and it’ll save you aggravation if you apply it to your life.

We love stories about how to ensure that Uncle Sam has a little bit less money to squander on light rail, hush payments to hostile foreign leaders and welfare for losers who refuse to work. Nathan Kim at Everyday Money Info debuts in the CoW this week with a brilliant post that explains how donating stock instead of cash can help reduce your tax bite. Nathan is yet another of the disproportionate number of smart personal finance bloggers who work as engineers. Hey, maybe developing your left brain really does mean something.

This week’s (1st, there will be more) English usage pet peeve: writing that your readers should “consider” something. “Consider buying a house in a cheaper neighborhood.” “Consider shifting to a Roth 401(k).” Grow a pair already and have the strength of your convictions. Your dental hygienist doesn’t tell you to “consider” brushing and flossing, she tells you to brush and floss. “Consider”, used in this sense, is a pusillanimous and miserable word that should be put to death. Stop using it.

Jeremy Biberdorf at Modest Money wants you to consider buying an e-reader, a subject we know a little about. (He also used “needs” as a noun, which is even worse than “consider”, but one thing at a time.)

Apple couldn’t sit on the world’s largest pile of cash forever. Dan at High Yield Edge announces that now that Steve Jobs is dead, the company is finally looking at paying a dividend. Find out when and how much.

One of our favorite topics in the marketplace is anchoring. Teacher Man at My University Money demonstrates how “I got it on sale!” is possibly the single dumbest thing you can say after buying something.

Another upper-deck grand slam from Paula Pant at Afford-Anything, who recommends that you live like no one else, so you can live like no one else. If that sounds too Zen to be actionable, you’re reading it incorrectly. Click on the link and find out why she’s figured out in her 20s what most people never do.

Phil Taylor at PT Money is one of that smart minority of people who pay their credit card balances in full every month. So for his efforts, the credit bureaus are punishing him and making it more difficult for him to get a mortgage. All because of a quirk in the calendar, and the reporting bureaux’ inability to account for it. Sound insane? Believe it.

Get out of blue chips? Really? Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog (Arbor Asset Allocation Model Portfolio) is leaning towards doing so and focusing on…small-cap value stocks. A little too speculative for our tastes, but not for this seasoned investment advisor who’s using every method at his disposal to counter inflation.

Do you like detailed analysis? CoW newcomer Karl at Cult of Money has some for you. It’s somewhat technical, and a glimpse into the mind of someone whose investment strategy goes well beyond reading the business headlines and seeing what’s popular.

The Six-Figure Investor reviews a 20-year-old book at Dividend Ninja, which is a better idea than you might think. The guy who wrote the book (on value investing) hasn’t published since, but he still invests and still makes his results public. See if his strategy remains valid, and if it applies to your life.

At some point, American high school seniors (or better yet, their parents) are going to wake up and say, “Wait. Maybe we should do a cost-benefit analysis before cramming 4 more years of school into Junior’s already addled brain.” Until then, we’ve got the overwhelming problem of student debt to deal with. Shaun at Smart Family Finance knows that an easy fix is to consolidate your loans, if by “easy” you mean “disastrous.”

Instead of indulging your little 18-year-old punk’s fantasies of obtaining a degree in cinema studies or political science, have her open a Roth IRA instead. That’s what Ryan at Early Retirement Investments recommends. Ryan himself started at 21, and wishes he’d done so earlier. Find out why.

(Post rejected for its insulting premise. Save money on vacations by…vacationing close to home. Or going camping. Here’s an idea: save even more by spending your vacation in your living room. Submitters, if you’re going to write something that offers nothing of substance, save it for a less demanding carnival.)

(Post rejected because the submitter wrote a total of 3 paragraphs about switching car insurance, then dropped an inelegant link to 21st Century’s website in the final paragraph. They don’t publicize this, but do you know what 21st’s parent company is? AIG, the most horrible private corporation in the universe. R.J. Reynolds is less destructive to humanity than AIG is.)

(Crap, is it shaping up to be one of those carnivals? One with more rejections than acceptances?)

This week’s misleading post title comes from Jen at Master the Art of Saving: “The Downside of Using Credit Cards Responsibly.” Jen went on vacation with one card, which has a $600 limit. You can guess what happened.

Shaun at Young Adult Finances says if you’re not ready to buy an investment property yourself, take on partners. Or not.

Speaking of property, Amanda L Grossman at Frugal Confessions found a too-good-to-be-true daily deal hotel stay in New Orleans. The catch was that it was a timeshare, complete with mandatory 2-hour presentation.

(Post rejected for its opening sentence:

“I was looking at my credit card today [the one with the nearly $18,000 balance])

Alright, fine. We haven’t included a horrible example in some time. It’s from the perfectly titled American Debt Project, guest posting at Personal Finance Whiz. The author, whatever his name might be, talks about credit cards “enabling” him and clearly spends a lot of time thinking about himself and looking in the mirror. So yeah, if you think anyone who’s $35,000 in debt has the authority to talk about personal finance, you might as well kill a few minutes and read his post.

A Blinkin at Funancials writes about how “Loyalty is for Losers”. From the title we hoped he was talking about being an employee, but he was referring to being a consumer. Either way, his observations are more than valid.

When Alexander the Great was 26, he’d already conquered Asia Minor and most of the rest of the Middle East. 26-year-old Kevin McKee at Thousandaire dresses up like Spider-Man and loves to watch a TV show about a high school dance team, or something. In a completely unrelated tangent, Alexander’s sexual proclivities were open to question, too.

One of the funniest things (and there are many) about Canada is how it’s always a few years late to the party. MTV debuted in 1981; MuchMusic, in 1984. A similar deal with ESPN and TSN. Canadians were still drinking Tab when Diet Coke had made it into every corner of the United States. And now, in the late winter of 2011-12, Eddie at Finance Fox has discovered extreme couponing. Eddie’s proofreader apparently threw up her hands and ran out of the room screaming after a couple of weeks at the helm, quitting to leave him to his own devices and thesauri. Read this one slowly, because there’s no other way to.

(Look. You may think that you’re putting one over on your readers by getting an Indian remote assistant to write your posts. You aren’t. If this were a 1st-grader’s book report, we’d give it a gold star. But it’s supposedly coming from an adult, so it gets a black star, with one of its 5 points broken off. Thanks for the insight, Jester at The Ultimate Juggle.)

Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff is incapable of letting us down. He starts with a legitimate topic (his investments.) He quantifies like crazy. He gives details. He doesn’t employ the tired ritual of ending his posts with a couple of questions, allegedly to inspire commenters. If everyone was like him, the CoW would be much more informative (and our commentary considerably more subdued.)

Mich at Beating the Index, too. Mich got his hands on BP’s Annual Energy Outlook, which discusses future energy trends. Read and invest accordingly.

Passive Income to Retire explains how it’s not enough to build a nest egg. (A classic mistake poor people make.) Cash flow is everything. Money is dynamic, not static; the idea is not to work for it. The meaning of the second half of that last sentence changes depending on which word is emphasized. We’ll leave you to figure out which one it should be.

It’s good to know that the United States isn’t the only English-speaking North American nation whose elected representatives decided to take on the responsibility of keeping people fed in retirement, and who never consulted an actuarial table along the way. The Canada Pension Plan is on ground as shaky as the U.S.’s Social Security, and Financial god gives all the depressing details.

You’re still getting a tax refund? Come on. You don’t want to get a check on April 15. You want to send little checks to the IRS on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31. But if you do get a refund, Larry at Krant Cents has an idea of what you can do with it.

Paul Vachon at The Frugal Toad has practical advice for college kids who finally graduated and can’t wait to incur some good old-fashioned debt. Of course they don’t style it that way, but it’s what they end up doing. Paul recommends several behaviors and multiple books, although for some reason he left this one out.

Money Infant recommends that you automate your savings.

Οδυσσέας Παπαδημητρίου’s name looks even more splendid in the original Greek. The Wallet Blog guru thought he knew everything there was to know about airline credit cards. He switched his allegiance from Star Alliance to the company that calls itself The World’s Favourite Airline, and paid the price. Bonus: audio.

This was moderately funny once. This is extremely funny. And this from Your Finances Simplified is somewhere in between.

The good news is, he’s attempting to create passive income by being a landlord. The horrible, miserable, bad news is that his tenants are Section 8. Worse yet, he appears to have the least competent property manager in the universe. These losers can’t cough up $150 of an $825 rent payment, yet spend time devising a litany of ridiculous excuses for their landlord. The property manager is supposed to be the one playing bad cop here, yet doesn’t seem to mind failing to collect his percentage of the rent owed.

Aside: financial relationships are different than personal relationships. The former need to be coldly logical and, in at least two senses of the word, completely impersonal. Always treat people who owe you money worse than they treat you.

We usually dig what the folks at Card Hub have to say, and this week’s contribution from Liana continues the streak. The lesson: read the fine print. Otherwise you might ask for a credit limit increase on your First Premier credit card, and be on the hook for a fee equal to one-quarter of the increase. There are mafiosi who give their lenders more favorable terms.

Melissa Batai would make an excellent infantryman. She keeps coming, despite fusillade after fusillade. The former Control Your Cash Retard of the Month posts at Personal Finance Journey this week, and claims that she’s a good negotiator. We’ll let you decide.

Not satisfied with presiding over a stagnant stock market and an underused workforce, The Smartest President This Country Has Ever Had has decided to declare war on in-state municipal bond holders. If you thought that financing your state’s public works could benefit both you and the state, think again when you start paying taxes on that bond income. Luke at Learn Bonds has the depressing details.

Anisha Sekar at Nerd Wallet is very proud of her site’s “award-winning technology.” We’d love to know what awards it’s won. A Tony? A Pulitzer? A Vezina Trophy? Read this post if you think that Suze Orman is the only one who’s plugging a financially unsound prepaid debit card.

You can whine about how hard it is to build wealth, or you can max out your IRA and 401(k). My Money Design (and Mrs. My Money Design) did the latter. You can probably guess whether that’s worth emulating or not.

Thanks for reading. A new carnival in 7 5 days. runs on the Genesis Framework

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