Carnival of Wealth, Africans Are Inferior Edition

Make a right turn at Bechuanaland

Make a right turn at Bechuanaland

 

Of course not, but that’s the kind of arresting headline that’s supposed to result in lots of page views.

Some of our superannuated readers might remember when Germany was 2 separate countries: the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German Democratic Republic. Both names are unwieldy and confusing. So using First World ingenuity, society came up with de facto names for each of them. We called the western one West Germany and the other one East Germany.

Fast forward to 1997 (also 1960-1971, but we’re getting behind ourselves), and in a parallel to the German situation, there are 2 adjacent countries in Africa that share a name. Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The latter was called Zaire until reverting to its neighbor’s name, for some reason. Imagine if Canada decided to call itself the People’s Republic of America. (Or if some southern states in the 1860s formed their own country and called it the Confederate States of America.)

Any sane person would distinguish Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo by calling them West Congo and East Congo. Yet no one at the Associated Press, The New York Times, or any of the hundreds of other media outlets that serve as arbiters of political nomenclature have taken this obvious step. Why? The unofficial answer is because it’s only Africa, and who gives a damn. This has been bothering us for years, and it has nothing to do with personal finance, but this is our outlet for this sort of thing.

Onto the Carnival. Shall we?

Harry at Your PF Pro is tired of certificates of deposit that earn femtoscopic interest. So he gave Lending Club a try – peer-to-peer lending that removes traditional institutions from the equation. How did it work out for him?

the loan has officially been charged off, I’ve lost my principal investment($25) and I’m pissed.

Remember that the next time you’re occupying Wall Street.

Why do people live in densely populated places? Is it the claustrophobia that you love? Or the constant interactions with Homo sapiens, God’s relentless and disgusting punchline? Maybe it’s the foul air and constant noise that turn you on. Pauline at Reach Financial Independence asks how a modular 250-ft² apartment grabs you. But hey, it’s in the self-proclaimed Greatest City in the World, where the weather is atrocious, the mayor is the definitive example of a tiny man drunk on power, and private citizens are at the mercy of any criminal with a weapon. But yeah, fantastic town.

Wait…she says you can’t invest for the short-term and expect lasting wealth? Well, she is a CFA. Katrina Lamb at Jemstep reminds us that clichés are important to your retirement strategy:

Retirement Planning is a Marathon, not a Sprint

And in case you missed it,

Retirement planning isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Somebody named Shaun Rosenberg has decided to adopt the look and content of Steve Pavlina. Mr. Rosenberg has given us a post he wrote 4 months ago. Even better, he included a donate button. Maybe we’ll send him some money in June.

It’s turning into one of those CoWs. If you joined us in the last couple of weeks, the Carnival is rarely as good as you’ve become accustomed to.

How about William at Quote Me A Price, with an inelegantly written infomercial for a company that buys annuities? No? You want something better?

Perhaps Steve at 2012 Tax has something good. His post is about how to file your taxes free, with the IRS’s blessing. Steve vacillates between writing in the 3rd and 2nd persons, and his advice is nowhere near as good as ours, and is name probably isn’t Steve, but whatever.

Short of journalistically trained Miranda Marquit making an appearance, this carnival can’t get much worse.

Let’s try Jon Haver at…oh God, it’s called Pay My Student Loans. Let’s see. Jon mistakes secondary for tertiary education and has a little trouble with punctuation, but on the other hand he’s a mechanical engineer – one of the few professions worth a college education. He also purchased an engagement ring, while at college no less, so he sounds like a guy who knows all about building wealth by buying assets and selling liabilities. Jon’s post explains to his weary readers the difference between private and federal loans, which is insignificant when compared to the chasm that exists between loans for worthwhile degrees and loans for degrees in interpretive dance.

Alright, there are some good posts in the hopper. But you’re going to have to wade through the foul-smelling filth to get there. Or you could just scroll down, but what’s the fun in that? Masochist Peter J. Buscemi (not to be confused with Peter W. Buscemi or Peter Q. Buscemi, we guess) at Four Quadrant is back for more fun:

At the end of the day, the sales team is responsible for the entire sales process and needs to orchestrate resources accordingly. Ideally, there is a clear and clean set of roles and responsibilities but bidirectional feedback is still required to make certain that the process is efficient and effective. Reps will harvest the installed base and hunt for new opportunities. Once engaged in qualified opportunities the sales focus will turn to presentations, business and technical discovery and proof of concept.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…huh? Looks like someone’s sat through his share of strategy meetings and now wants to spread the pain.

(Post rejected because it’s about nursing. Step your game up, submitters.)

David de Souza at Tax Credits lists how much of selected countries’ output is confiscated by their governments. Don’t read the numbing commentary, just look at the chart. This is the only metric by which Mexico doesn’t look awful, only because David didn’t control for gangland-style executions and bodies hanging from bridges.

(“Master Your Family’s Schedule with These 10 iPhone Apps”? What did we ever do to you? Rejected.)

We’re partially to blame for these bottom-heavy Carnivals. We save the proven commodities for the end, forcing ourselves to sift through the substandard submissions as some sort of penance. Which brings us to Andrew at 101 Centavos, who explains why the (post-5 p.m.) lines at the Cheesecake Factory are so long, and what you’re getting in exchange for desultory customer service at Walmart.

Dividend Growth Investor presents The World’s Best Dividend Portfolio. World’s best? D.G. gives us his standard melding of quantification with superfluous explanations of what businesses his investments engage in:

The Coca-Cola Company (KO), a beverage company, engages in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of nonalcoholic beverages worldwide.

Big Cajun Man at Canajun Finances summarizes his post better than we can: “If the only way you can get in your significant others’ pants is by spending $750, maybe it’s time to rethink your relationship?”

We actively solicited a post from Glen Craig at Free From Broke this week (it’s a long story), and he delivered. If you think your 401(k) will guarantee you deferred riches, regardless of its composition, rethink. Glen even suggests the drastic step of finding a new job if your 401(k) is legitimately awful. We’d go one step further (see our latest ebook, link above.)

Single American guys who can’t meet a girl, Canadian Budget Binder avails us of the phenomenon of single women buying homes. How they’re doing it, why they’re doing it, and more. Also, if you can get past the accents, Canadian girls can be charming.

PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net joins the small but growing chorus of writers who understand that Dave Ramsey is selling an emotional bag of goods and not “personal finance” advice in any helpful sense of the term. Mr. Ramsey thinks it’s reasonable to assume 12% annual returns in the stock market over the next 4 decades. PKamp3 throws enough data at that assumption to make the remaining hair on Ramsey’s head stand on end.

From Darwin’s Money, mutual funds whose returns make those of your standard exchange-traded fund look puny. Why? Good old asymmetrical information. Darwin looks at funds that invest in “frontier markets”, an industry term for firms in countries that are somewhere between destitute and overextended; in this case, places such as Qatar and Kuwait.

Charles Davis at Wallet Hub explains FHA loans. If you’re poor, tired of renting, and don’t want to/can’t be bothered to earn more, you can buy a house with the help of the Federal Housing Administration, which will put the taxpayers on the hook in the event that you default. At which point another government program will doubtless help “keep you in your home”, and the process continues. U! S! A!

The higher tax rates get in the present, the more value there is in deferring taxes. (A blanket statement. Of course, to defer taxes you have to be in the market and thus risk exposure.) Michael at Kitces.com asks a non-rhetorical question. Should you invest in cheap variable annuities, purely to reduce your 2013 tax bite?

Lynn at Wallet Blog explains massive open online courses, better known by their acronym. MOOCs might revolutionize education, or maybe they’re just a glorified Wikipedia. Either way, they’re inexpensive and offer an opportunity to detach from the traditional lecturer/pupil dynamic.

For pedophobes like us (read it again, this time closely), there are few things more important than pet care. John Kiernan at Card Hub asked some industry experts on how to save money when vet bills get exorbitant. Or you could just walk away from the problem, you heartless bastards.

Wait, that was unnecessary. John explains the benefits of health insurance for pets, and ways you can economize – not cut corners, economize – while preserving Fluffy’s and Snookums’s long-term outlooks. (Here’s our contribution to the discussion.)

Free Money Finance continues its Real Estate 101 series, with a post by some cat named “Apex” summarizing the series’ previous posts. A long read if you click on each link, but absolutely worth it if you’re looking to let renters make you rich. It’s probably more work than investing in nothing but securities, but it’s also a lot easier to leverage. Other people’s money is awesome.

Jason at Hull Financial Planning also writes about Lending Club, which means we probably should’ve run his post next to Harry Campbell’s, but then we wouldn’t have been able to make those jokes about all the unreadable posts you had to sit through on the way to the crust of the CoW, here. Thanks for staying with this, by the way. Jason had 7 charge-offs among his 86 notes, and concludes that that’s too small of a sample size. (The solution? Gamble Invest more!)

Thanks again. New posts every Wednesday and Friday, new CoW every Monday. New Anti-Tip of the Day every day. Also Investopedia. See yez.

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