Carnival of Wealth, Monday 1 a.m. Edition

1:30 in Newfoundland (only our Canadian readers will find that amusing, and probably not even them)

1:30 in Newfoundland (only our Canadian readers will find that amusing, and probably not even them)

 

Just 3 hours left to get this thing out the door! No time to waste:

The eloquent Sandi Martin at Spring Personal Finance returns with a stern assessment of retirement calculators. You know, this input plus this input divided by that input equals this amount I need to live with some sort of comfort in my declining years. To summarize her long and detailed post, don’t concentrate on the parameters you can’t do anything about (future interest rates, predicted returns, etc.)

While entering this next submission, we happen to be watching the pantherine Gerri Willis on the Fox Business Network (Hey girl!) She just presented a list of the alleged top 10 cities for worker happiness. San Jose was #1, if you care. Jason at Hull Financial Planning would argue that the premise is invalid, and that you find true happiness at the end of a business license. Jason cites a study that says that entrepreneurs are happier than the rest of us, and the reasons he gives are both undebatable and inspiring. If you’re thinking of quitting your job to venture out on your own, read Jason’s post. (Then read Chapter 10 in our book.)

Anton Ivanov at the curiously titled Dreams Cash True is back, explaining why attempting to time the market is a game played only by suckers and the extremely lucky. He padded his post to get it to an aesthetically suitable length, not unlike the high schooler who has a 1500-word book report due tomorrow and whose first draft contains only 400 words.  Anton still doesn’t have an editor, and thus our synopsis of his post contains pretty much all the same actionable advice that his post does.

Something of similar unnecessary length (or as they say in Canada, “lenth”) from Peter Jones at Money Bulldog, who’s not only an attorney but writes like one. How to invest. (Again, our book. This time, Chapter IV.)

Fitz Villafuerte has some standard-issue self-improvement advice for you: how you can be successful at anything in 7 steps. Anything? Anything. He must know what he’s talking about or he wouldn’t have written so authoritatively.

Dividends are just a special treat, aren’t they? Dessert after a well-balanced meal of capital gains, right? Not according to Dividend Growth Investor, who makes the remarkable point that dividend income has declined in fewer of the last 34 years than capital gains have. Of course you can’t separate the two, but that’s as powerful an argument as we’ve heard for investing in stocks with increasing, substantial dividends.

Emergency funds are stupid, self-defeating, an inefficient use of resources and a lazy person’s way of arranging money. We have occasion to say this every week, but almost every other personal finance blogger in existence claims to know better. This week Jen at Money Rebound joins the lunatics’ chorus; Jen who, of course, had 5-figure student loan and credit card debt. Which thus distinguishes her from the 2,987,332,445 other debt bloggers. She claims that if she’d socked $25 a month into an emergency fund in her early 20s her finances never would have fallen into disrepair, and you can probably guess what our assessment of that notion is. She also ends her post with 2 boldface questions posed at the reader, the sign-off of the truly original blogger.

Why do you think building an emergency fund is a better idea than paying off your consumer debt? Or never incurring it in the first place? Leave a comment below!

John Kiernan of Card Hub continues his “Ask the Experts” series, in which dozens of academics pontificate about a real-world financial issue. In this case, how to fix retirement at the institutional level. Some University of Wisconsin professor of Public Affairs and Consumer Science, which apparently is a field of study, thinks that universal health care coverage is the answer. If you read only one of the quotes, read our favorite; the one from Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University.

Hey, Canadian Budget Binder: this (‘) is called an apostrophe. Let us show you how it works, at least with respect to your opening sentence:

Some people like knowing what their friend’s financial numbers are, other’s don’t.

Awful. 0 out of 10. Well, 1 out of 3. You got the one in “don’t” right. Here’s our stab at it:

Some people like knowing what their friends’ financial numbers are, others don’t.

See how much better that was? The latter is in comprehensible, identifiable English. Actually, we can do even better:

Everyone would like knowing what their friends’ financial numbers are, assuming they’re available.

Come on, who wouldn’t? It’s not as if this is an opportunity that comes up regularly and that we can reject at our leisure. “Hi, I’m your neighbor. My net worth is —” BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH FINGERS IN MY EARS CAN’T HEAR YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW. Yeah, that’s a realistic scenario.

UPDATE: It turns out Mr. Canadian Budget Binder is not originally from Canada. Alright, we’ll sheepishly cut him a break on his punctuation.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: He’s originally from the UK. We take it back.

We’ve written before about welfare and what great disdain we have for anyone (yes, anyone) who collects it. But from a purely utilitarian perspective, it might make sense for plenty of low-income people to just give up and let their fellow citizens keep them afloat. Just ask Pauline at Reach Financial Independence, whose own sister is in financial doldrums but who has a French welfare state ready to make her life better than ever if she’d only quit her low-paying job and stretch her hand out.

(Holy crap. According to Pauline, the French government gives out Christmas bonuses to people on welfare. “Here you go. Thanks for helping out throughout the year, and congratulations on a job well done.”) No wonder she left for Guatemala.

Michael at Kitces.com reports that we’ve managed to stave off Social Security’s insolvency for at least one more year. The good news, if you want to call it that, is that within a decade Social Security will still be able to pay out 77¢ on the dollar. Franklin Roosevelt confirmed that retirement is not your responsibility, much like a later president did regarding health care. This will end well.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are wholesale craziness, right? Especially with fixed rates being as low as they are? Kevin Mulligan at Free From Broke says not necessarily: the introductory rate on an ARM is going to be tantalizingly low (that’s how they advertise them, after all), and there’s only so high it can rise. If you need any further convincing one way or the other, Free From Broke’s own founder wrote an addendum stating whether his own mortgage is fixed-rate or adjustable.

A post about a post? If you’re PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net, you get that leeway. Especially since the post he’s writing about was written by Nelson Smith at Financial Uproar. Nelson thinks the Canadian real estate market is grossly overvalued, not unlike the American one was a few years back. PKamp3 seconds that opinion and Nelson’s idea to short the stocks of 4 of Canada’s oligopolistic banks. Bubbles will do what they do, but that doesn’t stop Nelson from getting attacked by a bunch of overextended mortgage holders who decided to buy in one of North America’s 2 most expensive housing markets (Vancouver) and don’t want to hear his cool logic. Even better, the attacks are ad hominem. You see, Nelson’s allegedly stupid because he didn’t go to college. Meanwhile, the liberal arts majors who laid into debt-free and erudite Nelson are putting their pre-barista degrees (and concomitant student loans) to diligent use.

(Post rejected because it’s from a domain called 2010Tax.org. Guys, would it kill you to pay a few dollars for a URL that shows you’re making an effort to stay current?)

That judge shouldn’t have punished Chad Johnson ( Johnson) for slapping his attorney on the posterior. No, according to Michael at Financial Ramblings, she should have done so for his staggering disdain for financial responsibility. A guy who once signed a $36 million contract is now spending money about 15 times faster than he’s bringing it in. And these days he’s only bringing in $3000 a month. If he were smart he’d cut out all his expenses (which he can’t, because most of them are court-ordered) and spend that $3000 on nothing but lottery tickets.

It’s not Chad Johnson-level stupid, but it only differs in degree: single mothers with limited income deciding to get away from the demanding world of watching soap operas and pressing buttons on a microwave so that they can attend college as mature students. Erin at Pay My Student Loans illustrates how such women can suck off the public teat and have federal and/or state taxpayers foot the bill for the same kind of useless degrees we made fun of 3 paragraphs ago. Post ends with a redundant chart that only a masochist would read through.

Bryan Chau at Success Pen Pal quotes Bruce Lee, who had a lot of truisms in his quiver for a guy who died at 32.

And that’s it. New stuff tomorrow, even more new stuff the following day. Thanks for reading.

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