We're continuing with the first round of Free Money Finance March Madness (if you wonder what's going on in these posts, see my article announcing March Madness and/or click on my March Madness category link and scroll down to read all the posts involved in this subject.) I've listed each "game" (one post versus another) in segments along with the wording provided by the author when the post was submitted. Be sure to comment which one you like the best out of each set of two as commenters have the chance to win a free book. Here we go:
- 12 Mistakes to Avoid With Your Retirement Savings Plan - While most people take part in some sort of retirement savings that doesn't mean everything is just fine. There are twelve common mistakes that people make that can actually hinder their results. This list outlines the most common mistakes that everyone should avoid.
- Creating Your Allocation - This is the beginner's guide to asset allocation. This post is an excellent way for beginner's to find out WHAT asset allocation is and HOW they case use it to their advantage. Charts and examples abound in this discussion of ways to create your allocation based on your personal circumstances. Follow along and create your own!
- My Greatest Investment - After reviewing my finances yesterday, I asked myself what is my greatest investment thus far? I’m only in my mid twenties, but I’ve invested in mutual funds, stocks, real estate, businesses, bonds, almost every investment imaginable. I remember at 14 years old, I invested in a company called AMD, which I later sold for a nice profit. However, in terms of consistency, ROI, and sheer volume, my greatest investment by far has been my career.
- I Do Not Use Credit Cards - This post was picked up by Lifehacker.com. It sparked an amazing debate. If you've ever wondered if you could live without credit cards, the answer is, "YES!".
- Dollar-Cost-Averaging: For Higher Return or for Lower Risk? - I like this post because I used real data to calculate the gains and standard deviations for different DCA methods and come to the conclusion that the commonly used DCA method (every month) didn't really work that well in terms of both return and risk. Though I have read some papers before about the disadvantages of DCA, it's more believable after my own calculation.
- 401k For Beginners - What to do with your 401k plan - A primer for those starting to invest in a 401k. Learn the ins and outs of your investment plan.
- Solving Customer Service Problems - This is a post that I'm really quite proud of. Helpful and to the point. If you're tired of getting walked on by companies with which you do business, then this post is for you.
- How to Beat the 10% Compounding Myth - In a sister article to this, I debunk the idea that investing in the stock market will make you 10% over the long haul. After inflation, investing fees, and taxes, it could be as low as 3.5%. This article discusses a way to beat that percentage using Prosper.com. Judging risk on Prosper is something that's very difficult to impossible, so it's hard to say whether this idea stands up to the test. I note especially because Prosper's Director of Communications reached out to me and put it in Prosper's In the Blogs section of their website. They also contacted me about a NY Times and International Herald interview which fell through when I didn't want to give up my anonymity.
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Reducing Debt on an Irregular Income - Most blogs and personal finance advice assumes that one has a steady stream of income. This makes is difficult for someone with irregular income to plan their strategy. This post looks specifically at how to reduce debt if you are on an irregular income.
- Why Dave Ramsey's "Drive Free" Theory May Be Flawed - When financial gurus speak, most people usually follow them blindly. Sometimes, for our own benefit, it is essential that we dissect their ideas to see if they really make sense. In this spirit, this post attempts to critically analyze Dave Ramsey's *Drive Free* theory on practical grounds.
- Thursday Thirteen #27 - 13 Personal Finance Helpers - The world of personal finance blogging is so huge that it can appear quite overwhelming to someone just starting out. This collection of thirteen tips and sites is perfect from someone just beginning to get a hold of his or her personal finances!
- Reasons why you should not save for retirement - I think this post hits home with a lot of people and hopefully opens up their eyes that just because you can come up with an excuse does not mean that you should just go ahead and throw away your retirement dreams. Well all have our problems\issues\dilemmas as to why we haven't started saving for retirement, but there really is No excuse for not starting right this very second.
- Walking In A Winter Wonderland for $1,300 - This is my favorite article in my entire blog, the reason being that it is the only one where I have featured some photos of my family (albeit cleverly disguised) and where I share a truly happy moment with them, with everyone else. I love this post because if anything else, it's one place I recorded a wonderful memory of my extended family for posterity even as it uncovered some lessons in frugality.