Carnival of Wealth, She’s Doing Her Best Edition

 

Some photos defy any attempts to add a caption

Some photos defy any attempts at captioning

 

Why won’t someone give her a chance? Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and we quote, says “hold me accountable” for the catastrophe that is ObamaCare.

The awesome thing about offering to be held accountable, or saying “I take full responsibility”, is that overuse has reduced those phrases to platitudes. Much like you don’t really expect God to bless someone who sneezes, you probably don’t expect anyone to hold you accountable when you say you want to be held accountable. At least if you’re the cabinet secretary tasked with implementing the single biggest public policy calamity in American history. That’s not hyperbole, either: ObamaCare even beats Social Security for sheer misappropriation and ineptitude. Alright, on to something less depressing, the Carnival of Wealth:

When Ben Franklin said “Time is money,” he wasn’t doing it in the hopes that people a quarter of a millennium down the road would marvel at his pithiness. He was making an irrefutable point that existence itself is wealth, and is necessarily precious because, well, our time is finite. So you’d think we’d each be doing as much as we can to save time, rather than treat its passage with less importance than we do our more tangible assets. Jason at Hull Financial Planning relates a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study that shows how people (or at the very least, test subjects) have the same distorted views of their time that they do of their money. Like all of Jason’s posts, this one is organized and written beautifully. It’s also nowhere near as bleak as we’re making it sound.

Some facets of American life are difficult for foreigners to comprehend. Free non-alcoholic drink refills at restaurants are one example, a lack of Gypsies is another. But the United States’ oddest quirk is its college athletics. Try explaining to a Dane how certain universities’ football and basketball teams vastly outdraw their professional counterparts, generating revenue that enriches the schools’ general funds and enables some coaches to be among the highest paid public employees in the country; yet the idea of the players who make the whole thing possible earning market rewards for their time is anathema. Oh, and a school can be sanctioned if a coach buys one of his players a sandwich. Sometimes, the transgressions are so great that the governing body of college athletics rewrites history. (“Those games you won? You didn’t really win them. No, the other team didn’t either.”) PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net has plenty to say as the hypocrisy of college athletics finally seems to be reaching a crossroads.

Imagine an unpaid internship that you took because, well, you didn’t have any other options.  In this internship, you must start when you are 5-8 years old and stay unpaid until you are around 21 years old if you want to even have a shot at a job.  In the last three years of your internship, you are forced to attend classes which have no bearing on whether or not you get your dream job.

Yeah, but you don’t have to pay to attend the classes! What’s the problem?

Justin at Root of Good is one of the rare personal finance bloggers who understands risk. He knows that it’s hypocritical to prohibit your 10-year-old child from walking home from school alone, while ordering that same kid to get in your own car and head to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. (Of course it depends on the relative distances traveled, but the chance of Junior dying is far greater in the latter scenario.) Further to Justin’s point, don’t buy comprehensive insurance policies, as a rule. Read the agreement, and determine whether what you’re signing up for is worth it.

We can always count on Dividend Growth Investor for meticulously calibrated investment advice suggestions. This week, Part IV of his retirement strategy. You’re not going to believe this, but dividend income is poised to make up the bulk of his retirement earnings. Details of his 401(k), IRA and even SEP IRA contributions abound in this week’s post. He claims he’s 5 years away from no longer being strapped to a desk, and we wish him luck.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t wait for the Twitter initial public offering because it’d be so cool to own a piece of a big social media company with tens of millions of users and an adorable bluebird logo, Barbara Friedberg would like to slap your face until some sense finds its way through your cortex. Investing isn’t supposed to be exciting, any more than cooking or exercising is. Think of it as a necessity–a task undertaken to benefit you now and in the future. Also, start early and by extension, don’t be timid. That doesn’t mean you should go long into risky securities, but rather that you should quit procrastinating and take the next step.

It’s no great revelation that attending college is an “investment” that doesn’t pay off. Obviously, aerospace engineers like Harry Campbell at The 4-Hour Workday are exceptions. In that rarefied place where a university education can translate into something marketable, does which college you go to make a difference? Harry says yes, and that paradoxically, going to a respected school can be a negative.

Oh, and check us out on the Stacking Benjamins podcast. ‘Til next time.

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