Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #92. Rather than go with a catchy theme, I decided I’d say a line or two about each of the posts. Let’s get started with the Editor’s Choice posts.
- The most personal of the personal finance articles this week comes from Online Savings Blog. They are worried about moving their money to Vanguard. I’d suggest moving a small amount to start just to get comfortable with moving money online. Overall, I wouldn’t be too worried. Billions of dollars move from financial institution to financial institution each day. I’d call up Vanguard and voice your concerns. I’m sure they’ll walk you through the process. Also make sure you have all the documentation for your RiverSource funds.
- The Travelin’ Man at Stuff You Outta Know shows some great insight into airline miles and other reward programs. He’s got a point that it’s not worth saving up points. I had never thought about all the ways they depreciate over time.
- Kevin at Kmull examines various gift card services and, more importantly, the best service to use to save on fees. For instance, I have a $100 Circuit City Card, so I should use Card Avenue. Anyone use any of these services? Any recommendations on the best ones?
- Silicon Valley Blogger gives a run down of financial stress events. I’m not sure if I agree about managing assets due to marriage is more stressful than losing a job. This is yet another why my fiancee and I are thinking about keeping our finances separate.
- Matt at Getting Green has a solid review of Sun Rocket’s VOIP phone service. I have had Vonage for close to three years at nearly the same price (but limited to 500 minutes a month). Perhaps Matt and I should go all out and get Skype which I believe is under $75 for a year’s worth of service (with SkypeIn number).
- Flexo from Consumerism Commentary shows the true cost of owning a home. Be sure you don’t miss all the great comments.
- This is news to me, but Money Smart Life writes that photocopiers may be tools for identity theft. I think I might still take the risk or photocopy things at work. It’s a calculated risk I’m willing to make.
- Free Money Finance has a summary of saving for college. I need to get started with this later on this year, but I have to navigate the maze of Coverdell’s and 529’s first.
- My Financial Journey talks about parents who spending a million dollar on their kids. I disagree with a few points in the article. I can’t see skimping on schooling or tutors for my children. In a world of $1000 purses and other extravagances, I can’t complain on money allocated in these places.
- Growth in Value compares personal finances with filling out a NCAA bracket. I’m not much of a college basketball fan, so I didn’t fill out any brackets this year.
- John from Mighty Bargain Hunter mentions a few key points for planning for an upcoming inheritance. I actually stand to get an inheritance from a real distant, distant relative. I don’t think it will be more than a $1,000 by the time is said and done, so I will skip the planning.
- Money and Such illustrates some ways to figure out your market value. If you think I didn’t e-mail Shadox 30 seconds after reading this to ask about the Silicon Valley salary survey, you don’t know me well enough.
- Bryan C. Fleming explores the world of 6% interest. Lots of great information here, but it seems like a lot of work for a few months of good interest
- Sun’s Financial Diary has an in-depth guide on how to buy 4-week treasury bills. Earning 5.2% should attract a lot of people.
- Fire Finance shows why market timing doesn’t work. I invest in index funds at a pretty steady rate. However, I have to say I’ve been tempted to try market timing, with a small amount of funds.
- Pro Bargain Hunter details an application that shows Ebay’s most popular items called (wait for it…) Ebay Pop. I hadn’t heard about this, but it seems like this might be a good complement to Google Trends.
- Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity details furniture in three quality levels. I think he gives IKEA a bad rap – I definitely don’t consider it disposable, even if it’s priced that way.
- My Two Dollars gives a great guide on how to buy a new car. I financed my first car from my credit union. The interest rate was 4.9%, not at all that bad for a somewhat ignorant 24 year old.
- Blunt Money has a budgeting confession. She doesn’t budget. Hey, I don’t budget either. It’s just too much work for this Lazy Man. I just make sure that I’m paying for what I buy and I that I’m not buying too much useless stuff.
- Cents You Asked links to a Vanguard study about re-balancing your portfolio. It seems like the key is to passively rebalance your portfolio. I’m not sure if I’m given this option in my accounts.
- My Financial Odyssey has a review of the Envelope System. It’s a pretty neat psychological trick, and effective for many people. However, it reminds me a little too much of Richard Simmons’ Deal-a-Meal, not necessary a plus in my opinion.
- No Credit Needed has a post on fixing finances. He mentions Dave Ramsey of whom I am not a fan. NCN rocks anyway!
- Mom’s Advice has a lot of tips on how her family saves money on cleaning. There are a ton of good tips here. Personally, I’m not going to be making my own cleaning products, as it’s just a very, very small part of my expenses over a year.
- Personal Finance Advice lists a variety ways to save on pizza. I’m a huge fan of Costco pizza for the value and taste. It’s good that it made the list.
- The Frugal Duchess lists 10 reasons why she’d save money even if she was wealthy.
- My Retirement Blog says your home is not a retirement asset. I’m not sure I agree with the premise. Buying a home is great leverage, which goes quite a ways to evening things out. Plus, I know a lot of people who are able to downsize into a smaller home and use the funds as a retirement asset.
- Sushi Money writes about how to sell a home. I hope that everyone selling a home reads this. I went to an open house this weekend, and the sellers were looking for $740K for a 1100 sq. ft. fixer upper. I guess that’s just the market in Silicon Valley, but they could have definitely done a little fixing up before putting it on the markets.
- Living almost large recounts how she got her townhouse reassessed at a lower rate. It adds up to big savings down the line.
- The Frugal Law Student says that being rich in a meaningful way is all about gratitude. I’ve always said that appreciating what you have is one of the most overlooked areas of personal finance. Along similar lines, My Financial Awareness writes that we are more than our net worth.
- However, Phil for Humanity has an opposing viewpoint. He makes a good argument for not giving to charity. The key point to take away is to get yourself financial secure and then help others. It’s a little like securing your air mask first before help others with theirs. I have to agree.
- My Wealth Builder re-emphasizes that you should pay yourself first. I’m a strong believer in paying yourself first, but I would pay my credit card payments before myself. Not paying your credit cards digs a pretty deep hole at with their compounding interest.
- Broke Ass Student digs through the fine print on several credit offers. I haven’t gotten a card in so long that I had no idea that they had account origination fees, monthly maintenance fees, zero-day grace periods (what kind of credit is that?). I only go with cards that friends or other bloggers recommend – even then I always look at the fine print.
- Brad at Brad’s bits details all the credit cards in his wallet. I have a Chase card that gives me the benefits that the Dividend Platinum Select Card used to give, but I don’t think it’s still available. I’m also getting the Discover Miles Card in the mail.
- Money, Matter, and More Deconstructs his credit score after 0% APR Credit Card Arbitrage. This article was important for me to read, because I’m attempting credit card arbitrage. I’m failing, but that’s another story.
- Ask Mr. Credit Card gives 5 ways to improve your credit score.
Solid Reading Value
- Grand Money Matters offers a list of jobs for side income. Many of these require extra work and don’t generate a lot of passive income. I’m looking to get away from things that pay hourly rates.
- Rad at Financial Zero to Hero Husband and Dad (quite a title there) gives a medley of ways that he’s using compound interest to make money work for him.
- Nina at QueerCents interviews Erin Hamilton. It’s good to read a celebrity talk about money. I would like to read more about celebrities and money, but often times you only hear about the bling-bling purchase.
- We’re in Debt gives some tips on debt consolidation.
- Insure Blog shows how the true cost of health care can add up to over $1M in a short time when you require expensive drugs. That $4 a month to raise your lifetime limit from $2M to $6M seems like a bargain.
- Ryle from The Thinking Man talks about the state of America. I have to agree, wages don’t seem to be keeping up with inflation for a lot of people.
- Opportunities A Plenty gives some fundamentals of investing.
- Search Light Crusade has a guide on how to shop for a buyer’s agent when buying a home. Time for a related mini-rant… My friend was a real-estate agent and he set me up with a MLS login. I did most of the leg work from there. That’s why I am a little biased against real estate agents. I just want the MLS system open to the public.
- Buford Twain gives an intro to 401Ks.
- Plonkee talks about British Pensions and how they can be trusted. I think in America, where I am, it’s an entirely different story. However, I’m still trusting my fiancee’s military pension – it’s private pensions I’d be leery of.
- Aaron Patzer from MyMint write about the problems with many financial programs such as Money and Quicken. Considering that MyMint makes a competing product, the post hit me as a little self-serving. Simple Excel spreadsheet works fine enough for me. OpenOffice has an alternative if you don’t have Microsoft Office.
- My Simpler Life has 10 Tips for Getting Out of Debt. As you might expect with from the “Encouraging Coach” URL, it’s a little heavy with getting in touch with your feelings, but there are some concrete tips in there as well.
- In the first of two regional real estate articles, Steve Dickinson writes about China Real Estate. It was a little over my head, so if that’s the kind of thing you are interested, give it a look. In the second, Salt Lake Real Estate Blog answers some questions.
- Today’s Ten gives a top ten list of currencies to invest in. I’m not sure if the average person should be investing in currency. It’s a little interesting that the #1 choice is “the weakening US dollar.” Burst Creativity talks about changing your attitude towards money.
- World Wide Success has an article about Agloco, my favorite new pyramid scheme. The article has a total of 17 undisclosed affiliate links to Agloco. The comparison of Agloco to YouTube, is questionable. I’ll give you shares of Lazy Man and Money if you spread the word as well. E-mail me and we’ll work out a deal.