Carnival of Wealth, Gaston Glock Edition

 

Oh, you think that’s his granddaughter? How delightfully naïve of you.

 

Every now and then we devote a post to a particular person. In this case, an Austrian businessman. Founder of the company that manufactures the greatest handguns ever made. A man who fended off a murder attempt in his 70s by using a mallet, rather than one of his namesake firearms. And since last year, husband of a woman half a century his junior. What have you done with your life?

Welcome to another Carnival of Wealth, what’s supposed to be a weekly personal finance blog carnival but often mutates into something else. We try to feature interesting blog posts from around the world, but the tastiness of the stew we make is conditional on the ingredients we receive. Let’s get started and see if we can keep things palatable:

PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net (for the acronymically challenged, that’s Don’t Quit Your Day Job) tore into collateralized debt obligations last week. And he’s not done. This week, he looks at a Nobel Prize-winning model that attempts to predict the prices of CDOs. The model ended up affecting the market more than the traders did, and havoc ensued. Improper valuation – thinking that there are empirical quantities than supersede freely agreed-upon prices – will be the death of us if exospheric deficit spending doesn’t kill us first.

If that’s too much for your cerebrum to handle, how about this misguided post from someone calling herself Suzanne Cullen at AuPair.org? We have to admit, these Indian remote assistants are getting more creative with their pseudonyms. First, everyone was Rajiv Malhotra and Indira Chatterjee. Then they went overboard in the other direction, every submitter a Bob Smith or a Judy Jones. Now, they’ve finally embraced less common but still unmistakably English names. Anyhow, this week “Ms. Cullen” lists 10 Tricks To Get Your Child To Eat Anything. Which has nothing to do with money, but don’t let that dissuade people from submitting.

(Another one, this one titled “How To Communicate To Your Nanny She’s Done Something Wrong”. Sorry, we only indulge one clueless submitter per week.)

(Two more. Good God.)

Harry Campbell at Your PF Pro says that if you’re a 9-to-5 ham-and-egger, you should open a health savings account. Harry has one, and a corresponding rationalizing attitude:

I’m trading a little extra money in my paycheck for free money as long as it’s spent on medical expenses.

You need to read the entire post, but that line wasn’t taken out of context. Money, as in dollars in your paycheck, is of constant utility. Money specified for medical expenses is not. This is a 21st century version of company scrip. Harry’s argument is similar to the one the Cuban government uses to tout its homeownership program: Any citizen who wants one gets a free house, as long as he buys the material and builds it himself.

Dollar-cost averaging is far superior to lump-sum when putting money in an Independent Retirement Account, right? Joe Morgan at Simple Debt-Free Finance responds with a surprising “no”. (Assuming that the market declines, and/or that your time frame is long.)

(Another garbage post, this one from something called Fast-Bad-Credit-Loan.net. This site has every hallmark of awfulness – an incompetent writer, the default WordPress template, below-res photos, nightmarish punctuation, a URL with hyphens in it, the word “needs” as a noun…if it weren’t for that au pair post this one would have been our Bizarro showcase of the week. Instead it just gets a parenthetical comment.)

Enough. Could we please have something good, or at least something related to money and how to handle it intelligently? Fellow Paulite Ken Faulkenberry at AAAMP Blog to the rescue. You know what the most important objective in asset allocation investing is? Preserving your capital, according to Ken. A bear market will steal your food out of the canister you suspended between 2 trees, growl, scat, then slash you for sport, and the scars will take years to heal. (Hey! We think we just figured out where the expression “bear market” comes from.)

A new submitter this week, or at least, a relatively new one whose previous submissions we don’t recall. Unnamed author at Enhanced Dividend Investing says we’re going to enjoy years of lousy market returns, therefore dividends will become more important than ever. This post goes from basic to intermediate within the space of a single paragraph, and features plenty of homonym confusion, but his arguments are sound and his pessimism about the market justified.

Finally, the Evolution Finance trifecta. It starts with Odysseas Papadimitriou at Wallet Blog, who explains how not just banks but plenty of other large businesses are adopting predictive analytics. Does your behavior indicate that you’ll probably default on your loans? Are you a big enough deal on Twitter that your consumer complaints are worth responding to? Are you dumb and/or poor enough that your doctor’s office needs to call to remind you to swallow the Prilosec instead of rubbing it into your eyes or letting it ferment at the pharmacy? We don’t know, but somebody does.

Charles Davis at Wallet Hub reminds us that although home prices (and just as importantly, mortgage rates) are at historic lows, it’s still not a buyer’s market in that buyers are still the ones who have to jump through lenders’ and sellers’ hoops to qualify and get approved to buy. Charles explains what you have to do before you can pull the trigger. (Explained in greater detail in Chapter VII here.)

And from John Kiernan at Card Hub, how hurricanes affect the economy. To the extent that you can create a model that attempts to reenact reality minus Hurricane Sandy but with every other variable unchanged, at least one academic calls it a $30 billion storm. Or maybe a $50 billion storm. The greater the range, the more likely it contains the precise value.

Did we mention we’re on ProBlogger? And Investopedia? Yahoo! Finance and Forbes on occasion, too. We’ll be back here with a new post Wednesday. Friday, too. We don’t take Thanksgiving off, not even the Canadian one.

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