Final tally on the recent CYC wildlife viewing excursion:
Bears 1 (black)
Pronghorn too numerous to count
White-tailed deer 1 doe, 2 fawns
Elk too numerous to count
Bison too numerous to count
Fun facts about moose: The Shiras, 1 of 4 North American subspecies (the others are Alaskan, Western and Eastern), lives as far south as southern Utah and Colorado. In other words, within a day’s jaunt of Arizona and New Mexico, if you happen to be a moose. Sorry, that’s the only fun cervine fact we’ve got this morning. On with the show:
You’re not going to believe this, but there’s a personal finance blogger who took out student loans and is now drowning in debt. No really, there is. Her name is Kristen Kuchar and the folks at My Dollar Plan have deigned to let her write about how she’s paying them off. Oh, and her degree? Yeah, it’s in journalism, the stupidest “profession” known to mankind. Good thing she’s got that sweet My Dollar Plan money rolling in.
Robert Renaud at Time Trading Guru recites the same personal development advice you’ve heard 8 million times.
Another new submitter, Jeffrey James at Life in Charge, asks if financial newsletters are worth reading. In general, no. In particular, yes. Save yourself the aggravation and just scroll down to the last 3 paragraphs of Jeffrey’s post. Control Your Cash, getting to the point since 2010.
Dividend Growth Investor understands that there’s no more vital step on the road to building wealth than to check the prices of the stocks you invest in, and to do so every day. Ha ha jk LOL, of course not. He recommends the exact opposite of that, because he’s not insane. Obsessing over daily fluctuations is dumb enough to begin with, but especially if you’re long into companies that are established and profitable enough that they’re paying dividends in the first place.
Alright, we appear to have turned the corner. One of our favorite submitters is Pauline Paquin at Reach Financial Independence, a French woman who escaped the land of government-mandated paid vacations to seek out a new life in a country with a far lower cost of living and a more consistently pleasant climate – Guatemala. Pauline wrote what might be greatest line in the history of the CoW:
[W]e live on about $1,000 per month with a full time staff, two cars, a motor boat and a couple of trips abroad during the year.
She also spends 0 hours a year in cubicles and a comparable amount of time in traffic jams. Think about that tomorrow morning, when heading to your job as an account executive or regional representative.
Michael at Financial Ramblings
writes an infomercial for reviews a financial tracking service called Personal Capital. He describes it as Mint with an investing slant, and we have to admit that it looks both elegant and functional. Michael’s review of Personal Capital is fair, not fawning. As to whether you should pay for the service or not, Michael’s got your answer.
The Carnival of Wealth is supposed to be a compendium of other people’s blog posts. Occasionally it becomes a meta-compendium, as when it features posts like this one by Mike St. Pierre at Annuity Rates HQ. Mike lists the “Top 27 Annuity Articles From Non-Biased Sources.” Or “unbiased”, if you prefer the traditional antonym of “biased”. We’ll call it 25, because Mike included posts from 2 reprehensible blogs: The Simple Dollar and Financial Samurai. (We’re exceedingly non-biased in our assessment of said blogs.)
Sandi Martin at Spring Personal Finance deserves a larger audience, and we’ll do our incremental part to help that happen. Sandi, a fee-only financial planner with a bouncy ‘do and low tolerance for stupidity, maintains that while excitement might belong in your life – perhaps in the form of motorcycle racing or free solo climbing – it doesn’t belong in your investment strategy. Especially if you’re young. Sandi recommends mutual funds, not unduly hyped single stocks with weak or nonexistent fundamentals. If you’re Canadian, hire her.
We’re officially in the heart of the order. PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net investigates the most absurdly outlying housing market in the United States, that of the Bay Area. Not only are homes in San Francisco and its environs expensive, PKamp3 argues that they might finally be unjustifiably so. In other words, bubblicious. PKamp3 and his staff somehow manage to put together an engagingly written blog, punctuated by charts and calculators of their own derivation, and update it multiple times weekly. While holding demanding full-time jobs, no less. Meanwhile we just write a couple of unadorned posts every Wednesday and Friday (when we remember) and host this goofy carnival every Monday.
Jason at Hull Financial Planning has lived that most regimented of lifestyles – that of the commissioned Army officer with unambiguous pay grade. Today he’s at the other pole, as an entrepreneur whose income derives largely from his ability to convince people to buy what he and he alone is selling. Jason also makes money by owning rental properties, which requires at least as much intellectual brawn as his day job does. Jason explains the concepts of alpha and beta as they pertain to return and risk, and does so in a detailed but readable fashion. He quantifies the downside, demonstrates the benefits endemic to real estate investing, and between he and PKamp3 we’re starting to realize the limits of our own brainpower (several levels below theirs.)
“Tips for a successful garage sale”? Come on. Do we look like Clark Howard? Adam at Money Rebound has grossly misunderstood what we do here:
[P]ut out some coffee and juice and/or set up a “kid zone” filled with coloring books and crayons where little ones can be occupied as mom and dad do their browsing.
Hold on a minute. No guy, or at least no guy we’d want anything to do with, refers to kids as “little ones.”
Upon further review, Adam was merely the submitter. The post was written by someone named Jen. Jen’s Twitter bio calls her a “reformed spendaholic” and “debt destroyer.” She had $14,000 in consumer debt, student loans, etc., etc., etc. See above. In fact, see just about every other personal finance blogger in existence.
Oh, what the hell. As long as we’re here, presenting Control Your Cash’s tips for a successful garage sale:
- Acknowledge that it’s 2013, and we have eBay and Craigslist now. You don’t have to restrict your potential clientele to dull people who have nothing better to do on a Saturday than putz around the neighborhood contemplating your junk. If you then decide that you won’t be able to turn a profit on your Disney®-logo napkin rings once you account for shipping, do everyone a favor and throw them in the garbage.
- Ignore Jen’s advice, which includes such gems as “buy those colored dot stickers at an office supply store and assign each group their own color. That way, when things get busy, you’ll have no problem knowing that lamp is Aunt Sally’s because it has the neon green sticker on it.”
Another masturbatory post that does nothing but achieve the writer’s required word count. Instead of reading about what color stickers to buy for a garage sale you’re never going to hold, read PKamp3’s or Jason Hull’s post twice.
Finally, the lovely Liana Arnold at Card Hub tells us that the money loaded on prepaid debit cards has tripled in the last 4 years. She cites a report from a research firm called the Mercator Advisory Group, which not only ranks 26 different cards, but offers its…wait for it…projection for the prepaid debit card market! (We can’t give away all the details, but let’s just say that Greenland and Antarctica will show up big.)
Thanks for coming. See you next time, preferably tomorrow.