More on this Wednesday. We were going to do an introductory paragraph on Hunter Mahan, but one thing led to another and it warranted its own post. Instead, the CoW in earnest:
After far too long a layoff, several months, Daniel at Sweating the Big Stuff returns with a vengeance. You know why we love Daniel? Because he can review a credit card and not waste a single word discussing its interest rate; which is by far the least important criterion when selecting a card. Daniel got a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card, paid $69 to receive $820 worth of flights, and then, and this is key:
Since the day-to-day rewards of the card itself are not very impressive, I plan on cancelling the card before the year is up.
Daniel is the antithesis of the bloggers who write variations on “I woke up one day and found I owed $43,000 on my credit cards. I don’t know how this happened.” Daniel pays attention, and read the cardholder agreement, which is why he’s doing well and they aren’t. He’s certainly not Chase’s favorite customer, as it’s costing them money to have him around, but a) that’s hardly Daniel’s problem and 2) they don’t care that much as he’s lost in the shuffle anyway. For every Daniel who takes advantage of the system, there are 1000 imbeciles self-indenturing as we speak.
America’s, and thus Atlanta’s, largest individual landowner is Ted Turner. But that’s for now. Paula Pant is chasing at his heels and can’t sate her voracious appetite for real estate. The genius behind Afford Anything bought a 3-bedroom/2-bathroom house, her 4th. Is it her dream home? No, of course not. It’s as generic as such houses get. Why? Because Paula cares about renting the house out, thus creating income. In other words, making the customer happy, which is how you build wealth. (Sure enough Paula’s already found a tenant, something she wouldn’t have done as quickly if the house weren’t so unremarkable.) Did we mention that Paula just got back from an extended visit to Paris, too? You can do this. Anyone with a brain can do this. Well, a brain, confidence, and the willingness to work hard at something doable but unfamiliar. Those last 2 requirements eliminate most aspirants.
When’s the bond sale coming? According to Michael at Financial Ramblings, sooner than you might think. Interest rates are rising, because 1) it’s about time and b) at 0-¼%, they literally couldn’t get much lower. Higher interest rates mean that newly issued bonds will offer higher returns than their predecessors, which means that to stay competitive the older bonds will have to fall in price. Bonus: the first line of the first comment on Michael’s post was written by a Stalinist.
Dividend Growth Investor has temporarily turned his site into an FAQ: answers to the most common questions from people who don’t know the first thing about dividend investing but want to learn. Dividend Growth Investor can be a little loquacious at times, but it’s more than justified when his answers are as richly detailed as they are this week. Everything you could want to know about dividend investing – what a prudent investor’s investment criteria are, how returns are taxed, why you’d bother choosing particular stocks instead of just buying an index fund – he answers in defensible and logical terms. Read this and learn how to lay the foundation for being rich.
Now here’s the venom and intolerance we like to see. Big Cajun Man at Canajun Finances answers his own rhetorical question, Are Credit Cards Making You A Bad Person? Not just bad, but fat, lazy and stupid. (His words.) We don’t necessarily agree – see Daniel’s opening contribution – but credit cards, like the tools that they are, certainly increase one’s capability for obesity and sloth. (Or for fitness and resourcefulness. As Chuck Berry said, it all depends how you use it.)
There’s frugality for its own sake, which is pointless, and then there’s frugality with a purpose. Pauline Paquin at Reach Financial Independence embraces the latter, with the stated goal of making life easier (and less reliant on active income) decades hence.
Mike St. Pierre at Annuity Rates HQ wants you to buy an…well, what do you think? An annuity, of course.
If you’re looking forward to receiving a pension, or even something less codified such as stock appreciation or continued dividends, Evan at My Journey to Millions reminds you to shake yourself. Nothing is guaranteed, and there are several thousand public employees in the festering abyss that is Detroit who are slowly beginning to realize this. Or not. Evan has a slight flair for hyperbole
[Detroit’s bankruptcy] will have repercussions that will literally affect every single American if not the every single person in the civilized world
but that shouldn’t cloud the message that your retirement is your own responsibility. Also, don’t buy civic debt from institutional economic hardship cases like Detroit, regardless of price. No one knows what’s going to happen re Detroit’s insolvency, but we’ll hazard a guess. Much like General Motors and Chrysler, bondholders will unfairly and illegally lose their place in the creditor hierarchy and get nothing or next to nothing. Detroit pensioners will be made as close to whole as possible, given that they’ll still be receiving pennies on the dollar. The Detroit pensioners who vote outnumber the Detroit general obligation bondholders, and enfranchisement and suffrage are the only currencies that matter in modern-day America.
Enough nihilism. Are You Better Off Than You Were 6 Years Ago? Not a rhetorical question. PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net not only asks it but gives you your meticulously researched answer. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s numbers indicate that we – the United States, collectively – lost almost ⅕ of our wealth in the last recession. However, we’ve gained it all back and then some. Yeah, we’ve also gained population and experienced inflation, but there’s a narrative to be followed here.
Finally, Jason at Hull Financial Planning reassumes his coveted closing spot. He begins with a quote from cocaine connoisseur and possible mariticidal maniac* Courtney Love, employing his infamous construct Monkey Brain to force home a point: if you’re in debt, you’re an addict and you need to channel that addiction into different, beneficial avenues. Also, the results of donating money to charity are considerably more predictable than tooting a Schedule II controlled substance will ever be.
And we’re done. See you tomorrow.
*In which case, amen. Three of that guy’s out-of-tune albums were enough.