Carnival of Wealth, JFK Golden Anniversary Edition

Pillbox hats will make a comeback, just you wait

Pillbox hats will make a comeback, just you wait


Today, November 18, 2013, marks a historic occurrence. Because it was 50 years ago today that John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, had his very last extramarital encounter. With an anonymous hotel desk clerk in Tampa, Florida. He said he’d get his secretary to call her back next time he was in town, but of course he was dead 4 days later. When offered a similar encounter with incoming President Lyndon Johnson, the desk clerk resigned her position at the Floridan Palace and went home and cried.

Let’s the get the weak rookie submission out of the way first. Jon Brooks of Making Money Fast And Slow enjoys making conclusions, then working his way back to the premises, if any:

[I]t is worse to have more economic inequality than less economic inequality

So a better world would be one in which Pierre Omidyar, who’s done more to increase liquidity and make more goods available to more people at more mutually satisfactory prices than just about anyone who ever lived, is as rich as, say, this fellow, whose largest contribution to society seems to be that he went to historically unprecedented lengths to draw attention away from his monobrow.

It takes Jon only 3 paragraphs to contradict himself:

In my opinion working to become wealthy is a virtuous goal

Never mind that “working” is a process, not a goal. That’s only the 43rd-most egregiously wrong thing in this post. It’s followed with more nonsense about why taxing long-term capital gains less than ordinary income is bad. (It isn’t. Taxpayers need some incentive to take financial risks, rather than just collect paychecks, otherwise the economy would never grow.) That’s followed by some points that the author himself admits are scattered. What’s really disturbing is that he claims to be “an analyst at a large accounting firm” and the holder of a B.S. in finance from Virginia Tech.

We’re going to need at least a couple of good posts to wash that off. Starting with PKamp3 at, whose “Is The Stock Market Overpriced?” tetralogy enters the home stretch. He includes an infamous cover of BusinessWeek, which leads us to wonder how often business magazines’ loaded headlines end up prophesying correctly. As an individual investor you can’t be full contrarian in a permanent bull market, but on the other hand going fully contra-contrarian (compliant?) doesn’t work either if you want to beat everyday returns. Finding the appropriate amount of conventional wisdom to discard is not an easy task.

No, still a little dirty. No CoW submitter brings practical market tips week in and week out quite like Dividend Growth Investor does. His passion, if you will, and if you can’t figure it out, is dividend investing. But investing in dividend stocks has huge up-front costs, doesn’t it? So how to do so if you don’t have thousands of dollars on hand? Via Loyal3, a company that lets you buy as little as $10 worth of dividend stocks with no transaction costs. One catch is that orders are executed in batch, rather than in real time, but there’s got to be a second catch. Which is that you have to spend money on a monthly investment plan. Loyal3 has an impressive management team and an interesting business model, the assessment of which we’ll leave to Dividend Growth Investor.

And another. Jason at Hull Financial Planning explains why he walked away from a job that a) was all but impossible for him to get fired from, b) would have guaranteed him a decent pension and c) he could have retired from at 42. Sound crazy? Not when working at that job defeats the very purpose of Jason’s greater goal; making enough passive income to live on. These days there are almost as many methods of deriving passive income as there are people wanting to benefit from same. Jason lists some of the largest ones and explains which he’s using in his own life.

We swear we don’t plan it this way, but the very next post we received this week was a guest appearance by Doug Nordman at Root of Good. It’s titled “Join the Military to Retire Early?”, and that question mark makes all the difference. Doug served in the Navy and explains how an active-duty member can enjoy a comfortable pension with still enough time to enjoy life. Yet only one of out every 600 Americans does so. As to why, Doug gives one of the frankest discussions of the positives and negatives to military life that we’ve ever seen. (Travel the world? But enjoy less personal space than a prisoner. Have job security? But run the risk of dying in combat. Assume tons of responsibility and leadership at a young age? Well, we can’t think of a counterpoint to that one. Just use the risk of dying in combat one again.)

Okay, time for another bad post. Just kidding, Afford Anything is incapable of featuring anything bad. This week, a guest post from Brandon Turner, who makes enough to live on via passive income from real estate. He’s also 28 and no longer broke. Brandon explains how one real estate investment enables the next. His portfolio now includes single-family homes, triplexes, even a large apartment building. Brandon’s even managed to find partners who give him way too large of a cut, but as he points out, they’re looking for someone to manage their investment and save them the trouble of doing work. There are so many methods of building wealth that it’s astonishing that poverty still exists.

Does anyone write their own posts anymore? Alexandra writes at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance about how to save money. This post features various exclamation points, 2 instances of the word “needs” as a noun (for all our English usage criticism needs, presumably) and…we were waiting for this. A recommendation to start a motherloving emergency fund. You shouldn’t, as a dog explained on this site last year, but no one listens. This post also contains some adorable lady math:

Let’s say your goal for an emergency fund is $5,000. You want to have that saved up within a year. By dividing 5000 by 12, you realize you have to save about $417 per month to reach your goal. You could also divide your $5000 goal by 52, and you will see you have to save $96.15 per week to reach your goal.

Or you could divide 5000 by 26, and find that you need to save $192.31 every fortnight. Or you could divide 5000 by .01, and realize you need to save $500,000 every century. Damn, maybe we should have led with this post instead of the other crappy one. Because the byline just seals it:

Alexandra is the owner of Real Simple Finances, where she writes easy finance tips for real people. In addition to fighting off student loan debt, Alexandra is a university English Instructor and will be graduating in May, 2014, with her Master of Arts.

We decided to give Alexandra the benefit of the doubt and assume that she meant fighting off other people’s student loan debt. She didn’t. She has tens of thousands of dollars of her own, yet thinks it’s something other than ridiculous for her to be dispensing personal finance advice. These debt bloggers have no self-awareness, let alone originality, so we feel it’s our duty here at CYC to dispense stark reality checks that, again, their objects won’t pay the slightest bit of attention to. But yeah, if you want to know how to handle your money, by all means listen to the woman with the high-five-digits debt load who’s about to finish her 2nd useless degree and will die with a negative net worth.

Should we end it here, 2 awful posts bookending several great ones? Probably, but we have 1 more submission. Harry Campbell at Your PF Pro ruins our symmetry with his post on health savings accounts. Harry loves them, largely because they effectively work as IRAs if you never end up needing the money in your HSA. Harry thinks you should max yours out and never look back, and we agree. Low deductible, low out-of-pocket maximum…Harry’s employer’s HSA sounds so much better than a traditional plan that it’s almost worth having a real job.

Check us out on Investopedia, and on the Stacking Benjamins podcast. ‘Til next time. runs on the Genesis Framework

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