Welcome to another stirring edition of the Carnival of Wealth, the only blog carnival you need to read this week. Every Monday, we feature personal finance blog posts that are either a) interesting and/or intelligently written, b) awful enough for us to make fun of, or c) necessary to get us to a certain length. For many of our readers, the weekly highlight is determining which post goes in which category. Seriously, that’s the highlight of their week. These people need to find companionship.
Which brings us to our theme. One of the very few charities we support here at Control Your Cash is Best Friends Animal Society. (Why? Because humans can take care of themselves, a point we reinforce every day on this site.) If you’re unfamiliar, BFAS is a no-kill* rescue group. It’s probably most famous for taking in the dogs abused and mutilated by that felonious piece-of-filth cretinous Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, the one who inspires us to get down on our knees every Sunday and pray that he falls victim to a blindside hit resulting in a crushed spinal cord and has to drink out of a straw with his head forever immobilized.
In addition to the adoption events BFAS holds throughout the country, it houses 1700 dogs, cats, horses and other animals on its gigantic spread in idyllic southern Utah. Many of the residents of the sanctuary are available to adopt. They’re just sitting there, waiting for you to pick them up. If you happen to be visiting Kanab, Utah, the folks who run the sanctuary will even let you take a dog or cat for the day, acclimating him or her to outside human contact. (Kanab is extremely pet-friendly). There’s no obligation to keep the animal permanently, either. Unless you want to. Best Friends does fantastic work and deserves your money and/or time: but if you really want to help out, instead of giving them something, take something away. Help them reach their stated goal of “No More Homeless Pets” by adopting one of the adorable life companions on this page.
(Note: Here’s another charity we support, the Boo Boo Zoo. Officially the East Maui Animal Refuge, it’s a sanctuary for injured, sick and disfigured animals. From the blind cow to the leukemia-stricken kittens to the dogs left to die in the street, the refuge is populated by some of the saddest but most grateful creatures you’d ever want to meet. We’ve visited and can vouch for the care that the owners/operators and volunteers give. The refuge operates on an extremely tight budget, which would be bad enough even if the owners weren’t simultaneously dealing with government agents trying to choke the animals and their caretakers in red tape. Give them money.)
One more commercial, and all this one asks of you is a couple of mouse clicks. Before we begin today’s show, your humble blogger entered an essay contest at The Daily Muse, knowing it was a site for career advice and stuff but not realizing how strongly the site skews toward ladies. They chose 6 finalists, and all the other ones are female. The entrants were supposed to write on the topic, “The Biggest Mistake I Made at My First Job—and What I Learned From It.” Each entry is only about 600 words long, but if you don’t want to read through them all just vote for #4, the only one that involves chainsaws. (And if you want to know the difference between men and women, note the first word of the title of each essay.) Okay, now let’s get started:
Our first submission is from the chairman emeritus of the Carnival of Wealth, the intrepid Shailesh Kumar of Value Stock Guide. How comprehensive is the founder of the CoW? He’s included 47 top dividend stocks (italics ours) for April. He even enclosed his data in a downloadable Excel spreadsheet. Sorry, lady who submitted a post on how to organize grocery coupons: we’re going with Shailesh’s post instead.
Did we say “dividends”? Indeed we did. Dividend Growth Investor is up next, with a discussion on 5 particular master limited partnerships. What’s a master limited partnership? We explained them a couple of months ago. He focuses on pipeline MLPs, which he likes because they’re natural monopolies. True. You have to be some kind of committed to run a pipeline next to someone else’s existing one.
Roger the Amateur Financier reviews a new book, Charles Richards’s The Psychology of Wealth. As best we can tell, the book isn’t so much about contrasting where rich people put their money vis-à-vis poor people, but rather the difference in mindset between the 2 groups. It’s worth repeating: what distinguishes rich people isn’t so much their ability to make smart decisions, but their insistence on avoiding stupid decisions. Poor people are poor largely because they decide to be.
As any Canadian emigrant to the United States knows, the Dominion is consistently a few years behind its southern neighbor. Everything from an all-sports TV network to diet cola debuted in America and then ultimately made it to Canada, usually within a decade or so. The latest example is Mint.com, the personal finance management site. It finally debuted in Canada last week, and JB at My University Money reviews it.
In case you think we’re needlessly bashing Canada, Boomer & Echo inadvertently brought up the same point in their submission this week. Free music services like Spotify aren’t available in Canada, either. Give it until 2017 or so. Why are we mentioning this? Because B&E list 10 fees that are worth paying. We agree with almost all of them, assuming that they were joking when they said it’s cool to pay a $99 annual fee for a credit card that can offer you 7 times that in rewards. (Keep looking. You’ll find similar rewards from a no-fee card, somewhere. Or you can just drop $69 a year for a Southwest Airlines credit card, at Stephen Vanderpool at Nerd Wallet recommends.)
Time for a post from a First World country. Mike Piper at The Oblivious Investor makes his majestic return to the CoW this week. He asks a question that could have spawned a dull answer in the hands of a less capable blogger, specifically “How Much Do I Need To Save Per Year?” Mike doesn’t give a definitive answer, because there isn’t one, but he does force you to think in different ways about a crucial question.
Net worth, cash flow and bullet points from Free Money Finance this week. The topics might be rudimentary, but they’re still important and someone, somewhere, was unfamiliar with them until clicking on that link.
John Kiernan at Wallet Blog has 6 fun facts about credit cards. We love fun facts. Did you know Goldfield, Nevada holds the distinction of being farther away from an interstate highway than any town in the lower 48 states? It’s up to you to determine if John’s facts are more or less fun than that. Probably less, because that one was plenty fun.
PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net (Don’t Quit Your Day Job) is clearly engaging us in a game of research one-upmanship. He wrote about (iconoclastically, for him) buying Mega Millions tickets. We wrote a little about the expected value of a ticket versus its likely value, now he’s taken it further with calculators and graphs. Two big takeaways (and you have to love a guy who opens a post with “If you don’t care, scroll down to the conclusion!”):
-At a certain prize level, the expected value of a ticket starts to decrease. We’d say “go figure”, but PKamp3 already did.
-2 comments so far. One is from someone who wanted a point of fact elaborated upon, which PKamp3 obliged. The other is from someone who says buying lottery tickets is cool because “it’s fun to pretend for a couple days that something wonderful might happen, and it only costs a couple bucks”, punctuated with 2 smiley-face emoticons. We’ll let you guess which is of which sex.
The lovely Liana at CardHub returns with a depressing post about greater credit card fees coming our way. And this has nothing, nothing at all to do with the Credit CARD Act passed by an activist Congress and signed into law by an activist president thanks to millions of whiny idiots who ended up on the hook for billions in credit card debt because they don’t know how to read a cardholder agreement.
We’re starting to get nostalgic for the rotten posts. There was a husky psychic who used to send us weekly posts about speaking to your dead ancestors. Which we’d run for the sheer ludicrousness (ludicrosity?) of it. Then people like Mich at Beating the Index had to spoil the party with their “expertise” and their “graphics” and their “staying on topic”. Like his most recent post, in which he analyzes the stock of a junior Canadian oil and gas company with interests throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s a company he believes in enough to have a position in, and a post both comprehensive and informative.
Why do exchange-traded funds beat mutual funds? Taxes, largely. There’s all the difference in the world between redeeming your capital for cash, as a mutual fund does, and redeeming for shares as an ETF does. Dan at ETF Base notes which is better, and don’t let the title of his site dissuade you from thinking he’s being objective.
From our “Reproduce a Page of a Textbook Most Convincingly” segment comes Paul Vachon at The Frugal Toad, who lists the advantages and disadvantages to taking retirement at different ages.
Just like that, it was over. Follow us on Twitter at @CYCash. Come back here every Wednesday and Friday for another, non-carnival-related post. And of course, the patented Anti-Tip of the Day is sitting in the right column, waiting for you to read and apply it. Plus we’re on Investopedia, constantly. (Toronto’s Globe & Mail found that one worth running.) And our 6-part series on ProBlogger is up to Part IV this week.
Is that enough? We thought so.
*If an animal sanctuary or shelter doesn’t specify that it’s no-kill, don’t kid yourself. It isn’t.