Carnival of Wealth, Stacking Benjamins Podcast Edition

 

Logo used with permission, more or less

Logo used with permission, more or less

 

Every week, we appear on the Stacking Benjamins podcast. Host Joe Saul-Sehy (we don’t know how to pronounce it any better than you do) manages to temper our abrasive personality and mesh it with those of co-panelists Paula Pant (see below) and Len Penzo into a coherent whole. Plenty of personal finance advice, occasional yuks. Highly recommended, if we do say so ourselves. Onto the Carnival:

This time, let’s mix things up and start with a good submission. PKamp3 at DQYDJ.net took time out from his loaded regimen of 3 a.m. feedings and irregular screaming to create the Wilshire 5000 Dividend Reinvestment Calculator. Pick any 2 dates since the release of King Crimson’s Lizard, and it’ll tell you how much a basket of stocks invested in America’s most comprehensive index would have done between said dates. Adjusted for inflation, if you want. Further evidence that dividends are indeed what Benjamin Graham styled as “the intelligent investor’s secret weapon.”

Justin at Root of Good is now 4 months into retirement, with plenty of years ahead of him assuming that fate coöperates. (Pretentious umlaut use is in retaliation for Justin referring to food as “fare”. Now we’re even.) Justin has learned a delightful truth, which is that your schedule fills up quickly even (nay, especially) when you don’t have a workplace to check into 5 days a week. Graphs at the post’s conclusion show that Justin is saving a healthy ratio of his income, although we’re curious what constitutes the $5 “gift” entry among December’s expenses. Is that a Christmas present from a great-grandmother, given for Justin to spend on penny whistles and moon pies? Unclear.

Circumlocutory block of text from Stacey at the overhyphenated Plastic-Card-City.

Dammit, and now we’re back to zero. Lisa Park at Secrets 2 Save thinks that you’re interested in learning about companies that conduct online surveys, and that pay the respondents a small stipend. As CYC honoree Paula Pant of Afford Anything points out, so you want to make money. Great. Is your time worth nothing? Doing mentally undemanding tasks at someone else’s behest from your couch isn’t going to pay much, by definition. (See Demand, Supply and. Also Scarcity.) Leverage your own time, rather than being the vehicle through which others – in this case, survey companies – leverage theirs. Although we do have to credit Lisa for her nice touch with the “http://www.” before every URL she listed. Makes her look very technologically savvy. Just be grateful we chose to make fun of that and not of her attempts at spelling and grammar.

Whatever you do, no matter what your financial situation is, never, ever, ever, ever start an emergency fund. We’ve written about this time and again. Among other reasons, there are very few “emergencies” that you can’t insure against. Most of the authoritative personal finance blogging idiots who recommend creating an emergency fund seem to think that socking money away in a low- or non-interest-bearing account and letting it stagnate there should be a higher priority than paying off debt or investing. Encouraging an emergency fund is facile, inoffensive (except to us) advice that doesn’t help anyone’s financial situation, but does let the blogger in question think he’s somehow educating the masses. It’s the first resort of the unimaginative dolt who never had interesting things to say in the first place.

Jack at eMoneyLog thinks you should start an emergency fund.

“Why do you guys make fun of the bad posts? Why not just discard them instead?” Because then the CoW would be 3 sentences long. Mark Wang at The Money Mail sent us a paid post for the UK version of Boost Mobile. People with bad credit shouldn’t be granted access to the wireless spectrum.

Nothing says “I disdain the readers of Control Your Cash” quite like sending us an uninspired post, having us make blatant fun of it, then submitting the exact same post a week later. Thanks, Jon Haver at Pay My Student Loans, for showing an unmatched level of care and creativity. Send us the same post next week, we dare you. Even that long-ago CoW submitter who killed 5 hookers never pulled that sort of nonsense.

However, this guy did. Easy Extra Dollar has now submitted “Avoiding Scam Online Job” thrice in 4 weeks, and with every passing CoW that post’s original release date of August 2013 looks more and more ludicrous. Still, this post does contain one of the all-time unintentional comedy bits in personal finance blogging history (sic‘d, all of it):

It is in your best interest not to reply to jobs that offer outrageous salaries or that are not written in a professional manner. You ought to even be weary of job ads that contain lots of punctuation, spelling, or grammar mistakes, as plenty of individuals who do not speak proper English conduct untraceable foreign or abroad scams through the use of job sites.

We’re definitely “weary” of such mistakes. Did we use that joke during one of the previous submissions of this same post? Probably. Why should the submitters be the only ones to have the fun of repeating themselves?

More sediment from May at Messy Money, who did the masochistic courtesy of thanking us for making fun of a post of hers in a previous CoW. That one was dismal, but this one is intricately so. She starts with a tired enough premise:

Money is a frequent cause of conflict in relationships.  This conflict can be exasperated (sic) by poor communication.

This post is so awful that her confusion of “exacerbated” and “exasperated” isn’t even the worst part of it. Here’s May’s surefire method for solving such communication problems:

The shower exercise. A 6-part method for taking a shower together and discussing your money problems while the bathroom mirror fogs up. Here’s Step 4:

After the opening, each person takes a turn to talk about what they believe is the most pressing financial issues for them and why.  After the person states their pressing issue, the other partner needs to ask, “What do you need or what needs to happen to improve this situation.”

What did we do to deserve this? All we tried to do with this site was provide an unorthodox, helpful, entertaining place to offer sound and practical personal finance advice. Instead we’re besieged by kooks explaining that you should talk about money woes while lathering up and loofahing. Should you have wet and sweaty sex in your accountant’s office, then? Fortunately, May didn’t leave us hanging after Step 4. Here’s Step 5, which you couldn’t have figured out unless she spelled it out for you: 

Address the answer to the question about what needs to happen and negotiate the next step to move towards the solution.

Whore. Do you know what advice is? It’s “Insist on the employer match for your 401(k) contributions, that’s free money.” Or “Never trade your car in with the dealer, sell it on eBay Motors instead.” It’s not “Here’s a moronic exercise that no one, sane or otherwise, will ever, ever do. I just needed to fill some space because I’ve never had an actionable thought.” Messy Money, never darken our doorstep again.

Paula Pant? Yes freaking please, and not a moment too soon. One paragraph from the Afford Anything proprietor can make up for all sorts of lower-level nonsense. Paula took a random walk down Wall Street, or a random toss, anyway. A blindfolded Paula chose 10 stocks to invest in for 2014. Includes a video, featuring her bouncy new highlights. (Although to be fair, we didn’t see duds like JC Penney and Teradata on her dartboard.)

Chris at This, That and the MBA tells the story of a roofer he claims to know, who had extra tiles after finishing a job and offered to patch up people’s houses in the neighborhood. They told him to take a walk because they didn’t know who he was. Moral of the story: let people know who you are. 

Pauline Paquin at Make Money Your Way to the rescue. Again.  The Franco-Guatemalan land tycoon lists multiple ways you can rely on your existing body of talents and skills to make money. Listen to her. In fact, do everything she does and you’ll almost certainly be farther ahead than you are now.

Where the hell has Michael Kitces been? The longtime CoW contributor returns after [checks archives] 5 months. We’re glad to see that in the interim he adopted our suggestion to use a bigger font. This week, Mr. Kitces looks at human capital: some of us have a “bond-like” capacity for generating income, while others are more “stock-like”, and Michael argues that your investment strategy should serve as something of a counterbalance. This post is written primarily for financial planners, and it’s a little jargonized, but well worth your time. Welcome back, Mikey.

Kurt Fischer at My Money Counselor regales us with the story of an intellectually compromised Canadian couple who signed a car loan authorizing a 25% interest rate, then cried foul when the lender starting charging 25% interest. Oh, and did we mention that the couple had declared bankruptcy in 2010? They should consider themselves lucky they didn’t have to pay 40%. Hell, they should consider themselves lucky they didn’t have to take the bus. Kurt essentially says everything we would have said about the couple in question.

We’ve officially turned the corner. Andrew at 101 Centavos with more gold, and we’re not saying that just because he references us in his post. In fact, we disagree with his premise – that gym memberships are a waste of money. But Andrew’s so deft a writer that it doesn’t matter. (Side note: Can Amazon create a drone with sufficient lift to deliver kettlebells? Can we order said kettlebells to be dropped on the houses of people we don’t like?) Includes the word “pullulate”. Damn he’s good.

Like, Jason Hull good. Hull Financial Planning asks if spending more time at work is worth the salary increase. We’d argue that it depends on your station in life – the younger you are and the more you like your job, the more likely we’d answer “yes.” That being said, Jason determines that extra hours have a non-linear (concave) relationship to increased utility. Even worse, the benefits don’t kick in until the 48-hour-a-week mark, which we’re proud to say we did our best to avoid approaching in the first place. Just enroll in Jason’s Winning With Money course instead (link to the right).

Finally, Harry Campbell at Your PF Pro pimps some credit card.

Thanks for reading. See us on Investopedia, and oh yeah, on the Stacking Benjamins podcast. ‘Til next time.

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