Carnival of Wealth, Quokka Edition

The only Australian animal that doesn't carry 14 different kinds of venom in its sac

The only Australian animal that doesn’t carry 14 different kinds of lethal venom in its sac


Just look at this guy! Quokkas live in southwesternmost Australia and, it’s said, have no fear of humans. (Poor naïve little things.) They’re the size of cats, they’ll eat whatever you put in front of them, and we wish we could trade the scorpions that populate our neighborhood for a quokka or two. Now, let’s carnival up:

Are there really people who buy groceries with food stamps and then pile the groceries into a Bentley? Probably. Come to think of it, didn’t Notorious B.I.G. do it? Well, he got his. Carmen at Gajizmo calls out those people, and the ones who buy too much car even without sucking on the taxpayer teat. Just because you can afford an Infiniti, buying one with 80% of your income is a dumb idea regardless of how much you make. Leasing it is even dumber. Bonus: Map that shows that the most lucrative jobs in the country these days involve working for the federal government and thus producing nothing of value. (Don’t click on the “how to save money on gas” link contained therein, it’ll make your head hurt.)

First and presumably last submission from JeanNicole (no space) Rivers at 5 Star Student. She lost us with the post title (“Funny Things Kids Say #2”), and the subhead just killed it. (“Dollars and…”) Guess what? Guess freaking what goes in the ellipsis.

Sense LOL! Dollars and Sense! See, you thought it was going to be “Dollars and Cents”, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, you were sitting there reading along, minding your own business and then BOOM, JeanNicole messes your stuff up with the comedic cut fastball. On the other hand, she spelled every word without error and even punctuated “its” correctly, i.e. not at all.

Barbara Friedberg continues to fight the noble fight with her wealth-building guide for the financially illiterate. Who are not to be confused with the literally illiterate, whom you can usually see here every Monday. Yes, Barbara wrote a book about how to get rich entitled How to Get Rich. And she made a YouTube video. Please click on it, it had 38 views as the CoW went live.

Last week we ran a submission from a guy who advocated saving money by…not flushing the toilet. He’s now effectively dead to us, so we’re running movie reviews from hypnotherapists. Specifically a review of Jobs by Jon Rhodes at Affiliate Help.

Dividend Growth Investor must have gone on vacation a fortnight ago, but has returned with a description of the all-encompassing purpose of his investment stragety (he said in Bugs Bunny-like fashion.) The dividends themselves are secondary, a means to an end. Income, particularly increasing income, is what we’re after here. Getting all moist over dividend yields is stupid if you have to lower the denominator instead of increasing the numerator to get there.

(Did they just say “moist”? Nah, must’ve been a typo.)

Defending Control Your Cash Woman of the Year Paula Pant at Afford Anything again takes conventional wisdom and stands it on its head. Continuing the tiresome analogy, until the money falls out of its pockets. But only the bills, because Paula has little use for pennies and nickels.

To take an ever-so-slight tangent, we’ve made a cottage industry out of taking down noted pinchfist Trent Hamm. We spend a few thousand words doing so every couple of months, although our obsession makes it seem more frequent. But Paula managed to summarize the problem with Trent’s ilk in a single line:

I used to shuffle small sums of money between savings accounts because one offered an interest rate that was 0.5 percent higher than the other. (Total extra earnings: maybe $10 per year).

Trent’s likely response: “Good for you! Why’d you stop?”

Do fewer tasks with greater returns. If you’re instead doing more tasks with smaller returns, and patting yourself on the back for “staying busy,” well, that’s why you’re coming home from your sales coordinator job exhausted while Paula is sipping espresso in a café in either in Bulgaria or Guinea-Bissau.

Bigger Pockets is a new entrant this week (we say “entrant”, like it’s a race. Hell, maybe it is.) Guest poster Jason Hull has set a quantifiable goal: ensuring that half his retirement income derives from residential real estate. Which means that his retirement income should equal his properties’ rental income, given the site’s stated rule:

Over time, 50% of your real estate investment’s income will be spent on expenses, not including the mortgage.

What’s trippy and slightly depressing about this post is that Jason – a hale and sharp 40-year-old – has already factored his own senescence into the equation. It’s the exact inverse of YOLO thinking:

[A]t some point, [Hull and Mrs. Hull are] going to get to be too old to deal with rental properties…This will be particularly the case as our cognitive skills decline.

Jason has no kids to shove him into a nursing home in 2054, so he’s probably found a workaround there, too.

We allow a single CoW submission per customer per week, otherwise the thing would collapse in a miasma of debt-blogger diatribes. But when you’re Jason Hull, you get an exemption. On his own site, Hull Financial Planning, Jason critiques the continuum that has indulgence without regard for consequences at one end, and rigid deferral at the other. The sweet spot is the area where you have the capacity to enjoy things and experiences (“hedonic units”, if you will) while knowing that the credit card balance that’ll appear at the end of the month will be vanquished with a single payment. Your present enjoyment and your capacity for future enjoyment might not be perfectly correlated, but there’s a way to maximize both simultaneously. Learn your derivatives, kids.

Jim Jones at Critical Financial is a lumberjack, and he’s alright. Mr. Jones inadvertently found himself with 8 acres of marketable old-growth timber, but every means of removing it involved him breaking a sweat. Until he found someone willing to do the work and take a cut (LOL!) Jim farmed out the work, reasoning that 45% someone else’s labor > 100% of one’s own.

If you’ve got variables, PKamp3 at has a corresponding calculator for you. This week, our most intrepid submitter lets you plug in your savings rate, income, net worth and ambiguous expectations, creating an output that’ll tell you whether financial independence is an achievable goal for you or merely a theoretical ideal.

Don (no further description, not even a surname) at My Dollar Plan says it’s never too early to look at your tax situation for a given year. Not literally, of course – reviewing your filing status and HSA contributions on January 2 does seem a little much. But late September is as good a time as any to boost your IRA.

Mike St. Pierre at Annuity Rates HQ changes gears this year, advocating a long position in several exchange-traded notes as a vehicle for retirement income.

Just kidding. He’s plugging annuities again, for the 4000th week in a row.

(Post rejected because it’s 4 months old. Come on, get it together.)

Harry Campbell at Your PF Pro recently quit his job, thus he’s resorted to paid reviews of PayPal competitors to keep the lights on. We wish him the best.

Thanks again for reading. See you tomorrow. (® Applebee’s 2013) runs on the Genesis Framework

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