Carnival of Wealth, May flowers edition

Next time, try flying

Welcome back to the Carnival of Wealth, the only personal finance blog carnival you need to be reading. A weekly roundup of the best and worst personal finance posts of the week. (Submit here if you’re interested.)

Fun facts about the Mayflower:

  • She took 66 days to cross the Atlantic.
  • 2 of its 102 passengers died en route. (Wait, that’s not a fun fact at all.)
  • It landed with 101 passengers. One passenger gave birth on board. She named her kid Oceanus, which is fantastic.
  • Despite there being hardly any room (there were also 25-30 crew members), some people brought their pets.
  • 45 passengers died the following winter.

Puts that bad taco you ate on board the Carnival Dream in perspective, doesn’t it?

Alright, shall we get started? Let’s:

Green Panda Treehouse asks a (hopefully) rhetorical question: should you stick with one job for your career? The answer, of course, is yes. You should also vote for Eisenhower, see the new Martin & Lewis movie, take the streetcar to the Brooklyn Dodgers game (I hear they have a Negro patrolling second base now) and buy your wife that dress from Gimbel’s that she’s been going on and on about. Ladies love shopping, you know.

It never fails to surprise us how many people can break down every plot point of Mad Men but couldn’t tell you the difference between a Roth 401(k) and a traditional. Not that everyone should be as into personal finance as we are here at Control Your Cash, but the latter will affect your life far more profoundly than the former. Roger the Amateur Financier gives a 5-point method for increasing your financial literacy. We’ll reduce it to one point: spend $7 on this.

In that same vein, the tireless Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog explains mutual fund expense ratios. How much of your mutual fund payments are going to the manager’s 3-martini lunches and 4-line-of-coke nightclub visits? Understand that if your mutual fund’s value stays unchanged, you’ll still be losing money.

(Post rejected because apparently, discerning the difference between plurals and possessives isn’t all that important to some people.)

Teacher Man at My University Money knows the difference, he just wasn’t sure what side of the “s” the apostrophe goes on. Or maybe he was sure, but wrong. Anyhoo, he explains how to apply for scholarship money if you’re an incoming college student.

Can we add another tip? If you plan to study anything other than the hard sciences, do yourself and society a favor and withdraw your application. Go to a trade school instead, and become a productive citizen. Better yet, join the Navy.

Some guy got a Costco membership and wrote a boring story about it. Do you really care what he buys pine nuts for? (A: Pesto.) We figured you didn’t, and thereby saved you from reading about it.

A new entrant this week, who styles himself Chase DuMont, Rainmaker. Seriously. Never mind his self-appellation, Mr. DuMont appears to be the real thing. A Penn State business grad who now makes his home in Beijing, he’s written possibly the longest post we’ve ever run. It’s on why you shouldn’t rely on (too much) outside funding to start a business, and he’s absolutely right. (We speak from experience.) And his grammar is flawless, which will almost always get you included in the CoW.

Also, having a participant dubbed “Rainmaker” gives us an excuse to offer a musical interlude:


Treat your ears and buy this album (Dance of Death) and the 3 others Iron Maiden have released since Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson rejoined the fold (Brave New World, A Matter of Life and Death, and The Final Frontier.) Easily their best stuff, and the bar was pretty high to begin with.

Marie at Family Money Values spends more time on content than she does decorating the standard WordPress template that her blog came with. This week she explains how to cut expenses if you happen to own a rental property. Which you should, if you can, because it’s a great way to earn passive income without relying on the vicissitudes of the stock market.

Oh, for the love of Pete. Michelle at See Debt Run is yet another mommy blogger (that’s 5,438,239,102, by our count) who thinks she’s the first person in history to crank out a child and can’t wait to tell you what it’s all about. Here are some utterly unremarkable thoughts she had and assumed would be worth sharing with you:

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences ever.  I love my children completely and unconditionally.

That’s the kind of penetrating insight we expect here at the Carnival of Wealth. Good for you, Michelle.

Even though I wanted to be kinder to the environment and pamper my baby’s bum with soft cotton and not silica gel filled plastic pants, I was overwhelmed by the finality of (my mother buying me $300 worth of cloth diapers)

At Control Your Cash, we have, ahem, cats. (Deliverable to the highest bidder!) They’re infinitely more rewarding than any child could be, and have yet to call from the county jail at 2 a.m. asking for someone to come down and bail them out. That being said, if we ever, ever, dared to write a 2000-word post debating the merits of Fresh Step vs. Litter Perfect, or referred to their hindquarters as “bums”, or thought that you’d find such tripe interesting, or wrote “I love my cats completely and unconditionally”, we’ll buy every last one of you a copy of Trent Hamm’s latest book. Oh, she also managed to jam in a paid link. SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT IT:

There are tons of cloth diapers online.  We went with a brand, Alva Baby,  with excellent reviews that only cost about $6 per all-in-one set, which includes an adorable, soft, sizable snap cover and one absorbent insert.  We spent about $80 and picked out some cute, girly colors and designs.

Again. Carnival of WEALTH. Not Carnival of Infant Feces.

Nobody knows anything, as Andy at Saving to Invest proves. Half the experts he cites say we’re in a bull market, the other half say bear. Andy has a few tips for preserving or maintaing any wealth you have in securities. Now if we can just get to tell people to act on his advice, instead of merely “consider(ing)” it, we’ll have something.

If you can get past the writing style (English for ESL students), Darren (no last name provided) guest posts about value investing at Faith & Finance. A brief history of the concept, of its patriarch Benjamin Graham, and of Graham’s intellectual progeny. Not just Warren Buffett, but others.

Barbara Friedberg of same Personal Finance lists 57 Habits to Build Wealth. Well, 58 but she listed “drink water” twice.

If she’s going to list them, we’re going to critique them. Most are valid, some are curious. Like “54. Own a pet.” It might be rewarding, it might be kind, but it’s not going to build wealth. Also, “3. Get a college education” and “40. Get an advanced degree” will destroy wealth, not build it, unless you’re more specific about what you’re going to study.

Our favorite is “18. Drink alcohol infrequently.” The CYC principals both teetotal, not for any moral reasons but because alcohol is a fertile breeding ground for bad decisions. It also costs money, which Barb was alluding to. Yet it’s interesting how even a seemingly obvious recommendation – don’t drink – can’t be explicitly stated in our alcohol-fueled culture. It has to be tempered, qualified. You can’t possibly tell people to stop drinking, that’s unrealistic. Just tell them to, y’know, curb it a little. You’ll still be squandering money, just less of it. You’ll still be numbing brain cells, just fewer of them.

God. What preachy douches you are. 

No. We aren’t. Nothing in that paragraph was a value judgment. Read it again. It’s all objective.

Hmmm…Theresa Torres at Credit Donkey wrote a post (complete with fancy infographic, and code allowing you to “embed on your own site”, for some reason) telling people to pay something more than the minimum monthly payment on their credit card balances. But she doesn’t say to pay the balances in full. Again, the “smoke low-tar cigarettes” advice. Should we run the post? Ah, what the hell.

The prolific Laura Edgar at Nerd Wallet is back as always. Her posts are consistently informercialtastic, but not without content. Still, we’d much rather read a long post about why a Wyndham Rewards credit card is awesome (or in Laura’s analysis, awful) than see an out-of-place link in the middle of a paragraph about diapers. You know, like the Pampers you should let your precious little angel soil. That’s Pampers, brought to you by the good folks at Procter & Gamble.

Free Money Finance wrote 5 tips on how to succeed in the workplace. They’re exactly what you’d expect – work hard, be likable, etc., but #4 is awesome. Be attractive.

He’s 1000% right. There is no better advantage in this world than being pulchritudinous. Even the ugly among you can do something. You can at least get in shape, buy decent clothes and get a more flattering haircut. That won’t change the face God gave you, but it’s a start. It’s less work than developing your brain, too. Dumb people can’t get smart, but homely people can get good-looking. (Just ask Sarah Brightman.) Do you think an idiot like Tara Reid or Chelsea Handler would be as successful as she is without being somewhat easy to look at? Do you think portly schlub Newt Gingrich ever had a hope in hell of winning the Republican presidential nomination against a stud like Mitt Romney?

Some uxorious twit just had to chime in on FMF’s post, probably with his Gorgon of a wife standing over his shoulder. Here, we’ll repeat it:

FMF: I know you’re just trying to give people tips that will realistically help them, but as a man who respects his wife and thinks she is beautiful without makeup, I have to go off on a tangent…

Maybe instead of telling women to paint their faces, you could advocate against that type of misogynistic nonsense. Even if you had just addressed makeup in the same way as plastic surgery, that would have been a good start.

The suggestion to wear makeup is also counterproductive in this context, because the stuff is expensive enough that even if wearing it did help to increase your income, you have also increased your expenses. In addition, you increase your long term health-related expenses by smearing the toxic sludge on your face.

Our society thinks its so much better than those “backward” societies who force women to cover their faces, and then we turn around and do the same thing.

Yes, rouge = a burqa. Check out the link, at least for FMF’s brilliant takedown of this clueless and unrealistic commenter.

John Kiernan at Wallet Blog hates prepaid cards and the people who pimp them, as do we. (Because Lil Wayne and George Lopez are whom you should turn to for financial acumen. We’ve already discussed Suze Orman. And if you think we’re going to spend 5 seconds researching to find out where the apostrophe goes in Lil Wayne’s name, we aren’t.) But John thinks regulators need to step in and put a handle on the fees these card issuers charge. We disagree. As always, read the freaking agreement. If you’re too stupid or lazy to read it, and you get screwed, you had it coming and are lucky they left you anything at all.

Three more home runs and then we’re done. We can always count on PKamp3 at DQYDJ for meaty analysis presented in a form lay people can understand without having it unnecessarily dumbed down. This week, diversifying your portfolio via the Kelly criterion. This post is so good it’ll make you forget that doggerel from the mommy blogger above.

No one knows anything like Mich at Beating the Index knows the Canadian natural resource market. This week he discusses the Viking Oil Trend, west-central Saskatchewan’s (although from the map, it appears to be south-central Alberta’s) answer to the Bakken Formation. A little inside baseball, but definitely worth taking your time and digesting to see which companies have the upper hand on exploring this rich region.

Finally, Liana Arnold at CardHub discusses the statute of limitations (actually, statutes of limitations, one for each state plus D.C.) for unpaid credit card debt. Don’t want to pay VISA? Wait them out! And good luck in court, you deadbeat.

That’s everything. Thanks again for coming. New post Wednesday, new Anti-Tip of the Day every day. Check our 6-part series on ProBlogger, our frequent goodness at Investopedia, and follow @CYCash on Twitter. ‘Til then. runs on the Genesis Framework

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