Alright, here’s the video. Never forget that journalism, particularly broadcast journalism, is the most imbecilic line of work on the planet. Your average debt blogger is…not necessarily smarter than a news-reading talking head, but in the ballpark. “Wi To Lo” made us laugh like Mongoloids, but “Bang Ding Ow” just sealed it.
Welcome to another in the endless series, the Carnival of Wealth. Blog posts from other financial bloggers, collated and commented upon by us every Monday, saving us the trouble of coming up with something original. Here goes:
No, no, no, no, no. This is all wrong. From Rob at Financial Sprout, and we don’t even feel comfortable cutting and pasting the title of his post, “How to Get a Free Cell Phone (Obama Phone).” (Parenthetical clarification his.)
Great. So now our site has gone from a place where people can learn the finer points of personal finance and hopefully build wealth, to a place where they can get the taxpaying stooges down the street to finance their cell phones. We’ve written before about what a racket charity is, and how helping the helpless depends on how expansive your definition of “helpless” is. If you have a hand to hold a phone with, and an ear to hear callers with, you can work and buy your own damn mobile phone. Just like your great-grandparents did. Rob explains how taking advantage of the welfare state can be easy and fun:
Consumers in every state are eligible to enroll in the program if they have an income that is at or below 135% of poverty levels. Consumers who participate in any of the following federal programs may also be eligible for the Lifeline program:
- Supplemental Security Income
- Food Stamps
- Section 8 Housing
- Free Lunch Program
- Head Start
This is worse than anything Girl Meets Debt, Peter J. Buscemi or the Newlyweds on a Budget gal ever desecrated our carnival with. At least they weren’t encouraging our readers to participate in state-sanctioned theft.
How about this? If you’re getting food stamps, or living in Section 8, or getting whatever TTANF is, stop reading blogs and find a job. Rob, the CoW is for the aspiring, not for the downwardly mobile. Send that jetsam to someone who’s not going to mock it.
Michael at Financial Ramblings has a habit of picking challenging topics to write about. Fortunately, he has a skill for explaining them in layman’s terms. This week, how do you get your decrepit old relatives to qualify for Medicaid? If you answered “Give away assets until they fall below the threshold,” that’s cheating.
Here’s an idea, septuagenarians who need joints replaced and boils lanced: spend the previous decades eating healthily and exercising. Get off the couch. Do you really need to watch every episode of CSI? And hire a trainer. At a real gym. A 20-minute routine at your local Curves is not a workout.
Another new submitter, from a sporadically updated blog: Steven Chang at Support And Resistance Trading, who wants you to use his Excel worksheet (you won’t) to trade options via his strategy. In Chapter 7 we explain how you can’t even think about trading in derivatives until you understand trading in more basic securities, but tell that to Steven. Buying and selling securities, especially options, isn’t a game the way Steven paints it to be. Any investor who plans to make trades in increments of 10 is asking for poverty.
We don’t know the first thing about Dividend Growth Investor, except his sex (we confirmed it with him in an email once) and his fondness for small fonts. Well, that and his status as an authority on…dividend investing, of course. If you think you need to invest millions to enjoy comfortable dividend returns, or that dividend stocks are only for old people, or that paying dividends means that a company’s managers have run out of ideas, you really need to read this post and toss your misconceptions aside.
Uncle Sam will get his piece, whether you live in St. Paul or Sao Paulo. Amanda at My Dollar Plan reports that Americans living abroad have to file U.S. income tax returns – even if those Americans have to pay income taxes to their countries of residence, too. (Not unlike how “undocumented” immigrants in the United States mail tax returns to both the IRS and the Servicio de Administración Tributaria. HA HA HA)
[Post rejected because we like the website’s owner, who writes most of the stuff on the site, but who farmed this week’s post out to a freelance gal whom we’ve made merciless fun of over the years. Even though we’re thin this week we still couldn’t run it. Quality over quantity.]
Closing out with 4 of our favorites. Longtime CoW contributor Pauline Paquin has a new site, Make Money Your Way. Pauline compares building wealth via real estate to doing the same via investing in stocks, and says the former wins on a dozen different counts. For one thing, real estate can generate income while you’re waiting for it to appreciate. Yeah, some stocks pay dividends, but who are you kidding if you’re trying to legitimately compare the two? Of the 12 reasons she lists, #5 and 6 are the ones we swear by the loudest. (Chapter 8.)
We tell people over and again, don’t get an adjustable-rate mortgage when you can get a fixed-rate. The former is just asking for trouble and potential ruin. But we’re assuming that you’re not as diligent as Cameron at DQYDJ.net, who weighed the 5-year teaser rate of an ARM against how much he’d be paying with a fixed-rate. The increase in up-front cash is enough to make a difference to Cameron, and with the extra $10,000+ thus to invest, he should still come out ahead even if rates rise by a reasonable amount. Plus he’s young and his income will presumably rise over the course of the mortgage. We’d still like to know what his cap is, though.
Sandi Martin at Spring Personal Finance is the definitive Carnival of Wealth contributor. She’s articulate, funny, and thoughtful, but not so urbane that she’s above making “anus”/”onus” puns. Meanwhile, most debt bloggers think they’re sluicing comedic gold by noticing the similarity between “cents” and “sense”. Sandi discusses Canada’s Harmonized Sales Tax, which is in effect in 5 of Canada’s 6 easternmost provinces and which has become a bane of confusion and inconsistency for the humble small business owner. Or as Sandi puts it,
When you have to collect HST for the government:
- Read the manual
- Call the helpline
- File and remit
- File and remit the next year
- Get penalized for not guessing that there’s a step 3½ that Revenue Canada doesn’t tell you about but you should be able to magically guess on your own.
- Write a curmudgeonly letter to your (Member of Parliament)
Jason at Hull Financial Planning is in the coveted final spot yet again, partly due to his use of the words “eudaimonia” and “caudate”. Some people feel a need to dumb their posts down (some are already written as dumbed down as possible), and others try to raise the level of discourse. That’s Jason, who explains how the necessary transition from his parents gently bribing him to letting him find other motivators was almost seamless. There’s more to life than earning rewards: really, there is. That’s why “I ran 3 miles today, therefore I earned a jelly doughnut” makes no sense as a conditional statement (and why people who are really good at running don’t “reward” themselves with increasingly unhealthy foods.)
Thanks for coming. We remain on Investopedia, and elsewhere. ‘Til tomorrow.