That’s the temperature in Kanab, Utah as we type this. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, not even a white one. Weather.com says it’s 56º in Portland, Maine right now, making us wonder why anyone would live in a cold climate unless sentenced to do so by a court of law.
Which is as good a segue as any to this edition of the Carnival of Wealth. Personal finance blog posts from around the globe, organized and collated for your edification. If you want to submit yours, there’s a link on our site somewhere; we’re not going to just spoon-feed you. Now read:
Oh, for Christ’s sake. Post #452,489,293,877,258 on how to get out of credit-card debt from a 1st-person perspective. Is this what life was like when the Cro-Magnons invented speech? Did everyone tell the same damn campfire story every night until finally one caveman couldn’t take it any more, bashed that night’s storyteller to death with a club, and started the tradition of narrative drama?
Anyhow, Jefferson at See Debt Run brings us rationalization of the highest order – a post on how paying off your cards too early can be bad. This from a guy who incurred $22,000 in debt while fathering 3 kids. (Wait, you mean kids cost money? And thus make it harder for you to get out of debt? We had no idea!)
I didn’t cut up my credit cards– but I did put them in a drawer in my kitchen. However, as I was recently looking for a way to save some money on life’s necessities, I decided to pull them out again.
Yes, because the credit equivalent of hiding your cigarettes always works. What are we, children? This is like lazy people who set their alarm clocks 15 minutes fast to trick them into thinking that that it’s later than it is. OMG I CAN’T SAY NO TO THAT THROW RUG AND PILLOW SET AT TARGET! If you can’t handle credit, you obviously shouldn’t have cards. But what you really shouldn’t be doing is telling other people what to do with their cards.
One of the ever-dwindling number of personal finance bloggers whom we’re on speaking terms with says, and this is paraphrasing, “Does your personal trainer carry 3 spare tires? Does your dentist have a mouth full of missing teeth? Then why would you take personal finance advice from someone who can’t get their stuff together?” Amen.
As if on cue, Dave at 6400 Personal Finance gives you the opposite perspective. The title says it all; “Discipline is Cheaper than Credit Card Debt.” But read beyond the title, please. This from a 20-something who manages to regularly update two excellent blogs (Dividends For The Long Run Blog is the other) while, oh yeah, leading soldiers into battle. We’re guessing he has little time for frisbee golf and navel-gazing.
Here’s another woeful story, albeit from a 3rd-person perspective. Ben DeMeter at Credit Card Assist laments the situation of a moron with $65,000 in student loans and 2 kids. This post is full of funny excerpts. This is our favorite:
Bob Johnson…took on student debt not once but twice in order to find work in an ailing market and (is) now struggling just to stay off welfare. After graduating in 1987 with a BA in journalism, the NYC native struggled to find work. By the time he got a job that paid about $800 a month, he had already been forced to defer his loans twice. When he was laid off in the mid-’90s, he decided to go back to school for his MFA in theatre management, believing that it would increase his chances for employment.
Journalism. Theater management (while already in the hole). It’s as if when Bob Johnson was applying for his loans, he said, “Awesome! If I keep this up, Control Your Cash will poke fun at me one day.” Wait, here’s a better one:
his student debt has grown from less than $100,000 to several hundred thousand dollars. “The money coming in is not great,” he says. “I currently have $700 or so in the bank, $400 in a drawer and $5K in a retirement account
But no, you keep believing that tertiary education of any kind is the key to your financial future.
Now this is what we’re talking about: Anisha at Nerd Wallet sees things correctly, which is to say, our way. She opens:
The Amex Campus Edition Prepaid card is about as useful – and expensive – as an art history degree.
Which tells you what her post is about, and what she thinks of said topic. Purchase fees? Charges for withdrawals above a tiny minimum? Come on. The Campus Edition Prepaid card sounds like something Suze Orman would endorse if she didn’t have her own terrible prepaid card. Why do we love Nerd Wallet? Because while they praise good products, they’re also happy to call out rotten ones by name.
Teacher Man appears at Young & Thrifty this week, discussing how to shrink your mutual fund fees. Which is important, if you’re Canadian and thus pay the highest fees in the world.
Another Canadian, Boomer (of “& Echo” renown) explains segregated funds. They’re like mutual funds, but sold by insurance companies. (There’s way more to it than that. You want a full summary in 3 sentences? Please. Just read the post.)
Ooh! Touchy-feely hippie blather! Welcome to Scott Vong, who explains that the best way to build wealth is…spiritually. Not that there isn’t a place for spirituality, but he’s looking at something that transcends being honest and giving value for service. Mr. Vong thinks “the best way to earn money is by doing what you love.”
Tell that to a Rookie League baseball player who gets released after one year as a pro, a year (more accurately, a summer) in which he made $1800 a month and lived in Pulaski, Virginia. The above paragraph’s sentiment has resulted in endless pain and frustration. Following your dreams is simple, puerile, fairy godmother advice that does nothing to enrich you. You build wealth by doing (creating, building, selling) what other people love and are willing to pay for. Your passions don’t mean anything, unless you can somehow find a way to sell to yourself.
Also, it’s “byproduct” and not “bi-product”, Professor. (The potential jokes on that misspelling are too easy. We’re leaving it alone.)
Let it ride! Don at My Dollar Plan wants to know if you should do so, or rebalance your portfolio. Our opinion? If you do the latter, you’re investing for proportionality, rather than for wealth building. If the stocks in your 70-30 stock-bond portfolio double in value, now you have an 82-18 portfolio and have to buy…bonds? You figure it out.
Make that 452,489,293,877,259 posts on how to get out of credit card debt. Simple Debt Free Finance, knock yourself out.
Look, here’s how you get out of credit card debt: live like a Dickensian pauper and put every dollar to your credit card bill. Better to suffer sharp, brief pain than dull, prolonged pain. None of you are going to do this.
And that’s only the 2nd-best way to get out of credit card debt. The best way is to figure out how much money you’re spending, and make sure it’s less than you’re taking in. Then you won’t get into credit card (or any other kind of) debt in the first place. Again, the vast majority of people aren’t going to do this, but there it is.
Please. That’s unrealistic.
Fine. You can say celibacy is too, but tell us another guaranteed way to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
Steve Zussino at Grocery Alerts is relentless, we’ll give him that. Another pointless and derivative post designed to insult your brain, this one called The Ultimate Guide To Father’s Day Gifts On Any Budget.
First, he doesn’t literally mean any budget, we think. Second, good Lord. He breaks the gift choices down by personality type (gifts for the businessman, the “photo enthusiast”, etc.) Here are some verbatim gems:
For the businessman:
- Leather briefcase
- Dress shoes
- Pocket watch
What is this, 1954? How about a nice porkpie hat? A SUBMITTER SUGGESTED BUYING A POCKET WATCH FOR THE BUSINESSMAN IN YOUR LIFE. Or a suit, because he probably doesn’t have one and is about to get fired because he wears gym clothes to the office every day.
For the photo enthusiast:
- Polaroid camera
- Digital camera
You’re saying a “photo enthusiast” (who talks like that?) might like a camera? How about a car for a driving enthusiast?
- Lens cap mug (a coffee mug that looks like a lens cap)
Would it kill you to try? Just a little?
Movie tickets for the “TV/movie enthusiast”. Tickets to a sporting event for the “sports enthusiast”. “Musical instrument” for the musician.
“Dad, since you play the clarinet, I got you…a clarinet.” Or is the idea to expand the recipient’s horizons? “Dad, since you play the clarinet, I thought you could use this ocarina.”
It continues. Hunting, fishing and camping gear for the “outdoorsy man”…any mammal and most reptiles could have written a more interesting post. This is utter and complete garbage. And it stands to reason that a guy who refers to hunters and fishermen as “outdoorsy men” would post a picture of himself wearing a mother-loving papoose. There it is, right on top of the post, and he couldn’t look prouder (“essential for dads to carry their little ones”). Our fathers’ generation rolls in its collective grave.
Finally, Mr. Zussino is reduced to triply-strained pablum:
it really is the thought that counts. Think about what your dad enjoys and get him a gift based on that.
So I shouldn’t have read your post, is what you’re saying? Wow. It’s the rare bad blogger who’s self-aware enough that he knows his own advice isn’t worth reading. He continues:
If you don’t have much to spend, all you have to do is simply spend time with Dad. If he enjoys baseball, sit on the couch with him and watch a game.
Aside: The distaff half of Control Your Cash would like to know if there are any real, normal men left. On the one extreme, you have the wannabe alpha male UFC idiots with their Xtreme Couture shirts and neck tattoos. On the other you have the fancy fellows with their man purses, capri pants and papooses.
Guys, have a tool set and use it. Even if you do nothing more than unscrew and then immediately rescrew parts under your hood, at least you’re learning what size wrench goes on which component. Learn how to change a tire – the instructions are right there in your car’s owner’s manual, thus they’re written in a style that even Trent Hamm could understand. That drip under your sink can probably be solved by a 1/2″ washer and 2 minutes of elbow grease, instead of a call to the plumber. And yes, if you hire him to take care of that he’ll be laughing at you as he leaves. Turn the main off first. Know where the main is. Get your hands dirty. Grow your hair out a little. Listen to something with distorted guitars in it. Let your wife go to Sunday brunch with her friends instead of you; that’s what they’re there for.
Back to our program, already in progress:
(Another post on how to build an emergency fund. We’ve already discussed what a waste this is. In fact, a dog even figured it out.)
Odysseas Papadimitriou from WalletBlog says if your lender foreclosed on you, some good news might be entering your life along with the tiny sliver of natural light that hits your new basement apartment between 9:14 and 9:17 every morning. Yes, your lender might have falsified documents, and bureaucrats in the federal government think that your lender thus needs to make good. (Of course, if you lied about your income on your loan application, that’s the fault of someone other than you.)
Home stretch. 3 good ones, and then we’re done. The guys at DQYDJ (Don’t Quit Your Day Job) are chronically incapable of sucking. This week, PKamp3 and the gang discuss extrapersonal finance – what to do when your friends and acquaintances are spending like retards.
Mich at Beating the Index brings his trademark combination of insider knowledge and comprehensiveness with a piece on the Spearfish oil play in Manitoba and North Dakota. Technology has turned a formerly forgettable swath of the continent into a moneymaker. Mich explains who’s there, who’s drilling, and whose stock can enrich you if you play things correctly.
Finally, John Kiernan at CardHub dispels the mystery of the best credit card on the market. No, not the HiltonHonors American Express card, although it’s a dandy. John’s discussing form, not content. Specifically, the chip-and-PIN cards that prevail in Europe and Canada but have yet to catch on in the United States. They’re susceptible to fraud, so now you have something else to worry about while wondering if “bath salts” are available in your kid’s school. News at 11.