Welcome to this week's edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance.
For those of you looking for/expecting the book giveaway I've been doing all month, please check back for the next one at the end of the day on Monday.
For those of you who do not know what a carnival is, check out Best Practices for Driving Traffic with Blog Carnivals and How to Get Your Blog to 100,000 Visitors and Beyond, Step 13; Participate in Carnivals. This particular carnival is one where personal finance bloggers submit their best posts for the week and a host (me) posts them. Then readers scan through the list (a lot in this case -- it's a popular carnival) and read the posts that interest them.
I'm sticking with my usual method of hosting a carnival -- listing a summary of each piece with the author's reason for submitting the post to the carnival (for those that submitted one) and/or a bit of the post itself as a summary -- so you readers know what to expect before you get to the post. In addition, I am posting the entries in the order they were submitted.
With that said, here we go with my picks as the best of the bunch:
- Smart Money Remains Fully Invested - The market hasn’t been performing too hot lately. Should you care? As I read posts of personal finance bloggers liquidating accounts and encouraging readers to get out and wait until they feel confident in the market again, I see people falling into the single biggest trap in investing: trying to time the market.
- You Don't Own Real Estate. Real Estate Owns You. - Many Americans believe that real estate can do no wrong as an asset class upon which they can build wealth. I disagree. Building wealth through real estate depends on your ability to distinguish among the three types of real estate ownership – investment, speculative, and personal. If you don’t know the differences, you may soon discover that you don’t own real estate, real estate owns you.
- What Were You Thinking When You Purchased Your Home? - So one might wonder, why Michael purchased a home he could not afford. His rationale, an interest-only loan helped us buy a house in an expensive county where we wanted to live and eventually send our children to school.
- Cheap Healthy Vacation Food: 61 Tips for Travel Eats on a Budget - What follows is the ultimate guide to saving dough on food while you’re away, with extra emphasis on healthy options.
- Choosing Between the Roth or Traditional 403b/401k : Our Decision Process - This is about our personal decision process in choosing between a Roth or Traditional 403b retirement plan at work. We cover both the basic differences and also our specific situation and outlooks.
And here are the rest -- still lots of good stuff here. Just because something isn't at the top of this list doesn't mean it's not good. These entries are mostly listed in the order in which I received them:
- Charities and their Management Expense Ratios - This article deals with calculating the management expense ratios of charities. This will help determine if the charity in question is using your donation dollars efficiently. The basic premise being that the charity should minimize their internal expenses and maximize the amount of money that goes towards the intention of the charity.
- How To Avoid Defaulting on Mortgage Payments - In the US, and to a lesser extent in the UK, increasing numbers of homeowners are struggling to meet their mortgage payments and are facing the possibility of their home being repossessed. If this is the case and you are struggling to pay your mortgage, these are some actions, which can potentially save your home being repossessed.
- Should the State Make Our Will? Better Not! - The state assumes everyone's objectives are exactly the same. Do we want our assets to be distributed exactly the same way as my neighbor, the grocer or the librarian? Obviously our assets, our beneficiaries and our wishes are not necessarily the same as those of others.
- What to do with an extra $2000? - What should we do with an unexpected bonus from work? Goof off, or be financially responsible with it?
- How Long is Your Lever? - As the financial markets have recently displayed, leverage can work for or against its user. Learn more about financial leverage and how to lengthen your lever...
- Floyd Norris -- Greatest 25 Years in Market History - The past 25 years have been the best period of that length in stock market history.
- Upgrading Your Home: Want vs Need - How do you know when it is time to upgrade your house?
- Pay yourself first, and not just financially - Personal finance isn't just about using dollars and cents as the only way to measure money. If time = money, then your time spent at work, is also considered to be a financial expense. So take a break, and take stock of how much money (time) you are spending at your company, and how much of an return you are getting out of your invested time.
- ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds - An article comparing ETFs Vs. Mutual Funds for use in an IRA.
- A Holistic Approach To Finances and Happiness - Finances may feel important, but over obsessing about money is unbalanced and certainly not healthy. Here are tips for more conscious living and developing a
- Top 10 money wasters, are you guilty? - From my personal experience, I can sincerely say these are the biggest money wasters around.
- Why Our Next Car Will Be New - In order to buy a used car with confidence, we'd have to do way more research and preparation than we have the time or inclination for.
- On "Averaging Down" - In a simple fashion, this means reducing the mathematical average of your cost of an equity by purchasing more shares after it declines in price.
- How to Deal With Market Volatility - Some suggestions about how to avoid panicking when your portfolio drops in value.
- Newlyweds and Foreclosures -- Why Home Purchasing and Wedding - Today on the front page of Yahoo! Finance there was an article reporting that foreclosures went up 93% since last year. This made me wonder how many of those foreclosed homes belonged to young newlyweds.
- How to find money - My personal account about how I found over $1500 of my rightfully earned
money just by picking up the telephone, and how others can do the same.
- The New Investor's Toolkit - A list of helpful free or low cost resources for investors just getting started.
- Three Ways to Make Money Investing - Here are three ways I have found to make money in the stock market.
- Yet another post about insurance - The perfect way to decide whether you need insurance.
- 7 Helpful Tips When Moving - Moving is tough, both physically and emotionally. Here are 7 tips to make moving a little easier and make a stressful activity less stressful.
- Does plug-in hybrid car really save money? - Let’s get down to earth and examine what financial benefits the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) actually offers besides the cool factor of investing into green technology and saving environment.
- PF Blogs I read, and Why - This post is about the PF blogs a relative newbie to personal finance reads--never mind that the newbie is 58 years old!
- Frugal Wedding Tips - Here are some simple, and practical money saving tips for planning a wedding.
- You can't trust that Carfax report! - So the lesson here is this: Always take the used car into a trusted mechanic for inspection before sealing the deal. Oh, and be sure to ask whether the car has been in any accidents. Don’t just trust the Carfax report alone.
- Emergency funds and how they are hurting our savings - I have a recommendation to everyone out there that is just beginning to think about saving. Don’t listen to the experts. Sure its great advice and we should all have an emergency fund, but we all should also all have at least a million saved by retirement (but how many of us actually will). My recommendation is to start with a micro-goal.
- Budgeting For Dummies Part 2: Evaluating Your Budget - We are going to evaluate that budget and see how effective it is. There are 5 main steps we are going to follow: Tracking, Assigning, Assessing, Establishing, and Applying Surpluses.
- 5 Things The Marshmallow Test Can Teach You About Money - Tina is an intellectually-gifted bartender who struggles to pay her bills. Tina serves martinis to Susan. Susan is no more intelligent than Tina, but Susan is a millionaire. If not intelligence, then what explains the difference between success and failure? And what do sticky, gooey marshmallows have to do with it?
- Getting Rid Of Clutter - Stopping The “But I Paid For This Already!” Syndrome - Just because you paid for something does not mean it is bringing any value to your life; on the contrary, it could be causing you great distress.
- Be Wary of Foreclosure Assistance Scams - The following story about Jennifer Falke and her family is one that you should be knowledgeable of if you are looking towards a third party to help you negotiate a positive resolution to your foreclosure woes.
- Optimizing Medical and Auto Insurance - One of the things I’ve been looking at lately was how to optimize our insurance policies. Here’s what I came up with.
- Twentysomething’s Quick Guide to Retirement - In our age group, saving for retirement comes in one of two forms - IRA or 401(k). Both are easy to understand and I’ll explain them both right now.
- Using A Public Claims Adjuster - Before you hire an adjuster, make sure you really want the help. Then, after you’ve shopped around, check into the background of the one you’re thinking about signing with. You can check with the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters for information about your adjuster and see how he or she has been doing.
- Mamacita's Nursing Care - How about a first-class nursing home that runs less than $50 a
day, plus all the warm, beautiful weather you can stand?
- How to Profit from the Cyclical Nature of Biotech Stocks - Anecdotally, I've heard before that Biotech stocks do well in the fall due to the preponderance of trade/medical conferences where they highlight their clinical findings, pipelines and emerging technologies. My findings actually support this claim and I have the perfect strategy to capitalize on this phenomena.
- Has The Housing Bubble Burst Yet? A Closer Look At The Signs - Is it time to make your move or should you wait a little longer and see if the price declines even further?
- True Story of Landlord-Tenant Dispute - This is a true story of how a shady landlord tried to bilk his tenants for more money than they really owed; and how a judge put the smack down on the greedy landlord. Good advice for both landlords (don't be like this jerk) and tenants (know how to stand up for your rights) inside.
- I Could Use Someone Else's Credit Card to Buy My Groceries - Credit cards are very insecure!
- When Would Be the Best Time for Leveraging? Right Now! - As the market just went down by a few percent, many people wonder if it's a good timing to borrow to invest. In fact, it is one of the best time to start.
- Big Party, Small Budget - The obvious challenge of having a large party is tackling the expense of feeding and hosting so many people. I’m happy to report that we managed to throw our shindig for roughly $100, give or take - and that was being generous, almost half of that going to beer. Here’s some pointers for your next big bash.
- Bad Credit Card Application Fees and Fineprints - If you have bad credit and need a credit card, there are issuers who are willing to issue credit cards to you. But these cards will have more fees than regular credit cards. These are the fees you have to be aware of.
- Financial blogging differences between men and women? - Discusses financial books targetting women and if there are blogging differences between men and women.
- Re-Balancing - While I encourage people to re-balance their portfolio periodically, the current recommendations are misplaced due to the fact that many of the securities recommended are still grossly overvalued.
- How to Save Money and Make Your Clothes Last Longer When Doing Laundry - An article on how to do laundry in a manner that keeps your clothes lasting longer and your wallet in better shape.
- Free Books Online - Here are some ways to save on books.
- City Dweller's Income Slashed, Happiness Discovered - Why life has become more fulfilling during unemployment.
- Why Do People Accept Wedding Gifts? - By merely "accepting" gifts are we in fact "expecting" gifts? If thoughts and good wishes are all that matters, why accept gifts in the first place?
- Thank You For Being a Friend - 11 Lessons About Frugality and Simplicity That I learned From The Golden Girls.
- Money Markets Galore - I have a money market account, but until recently, I didn’t realize their was more than one kind, and after beginning my research, I quickly realized that their isn’t a single good source of information. At least, not one that I found.
- Stop Being Poor! What Low-Income Earners Can Do To Get Off Minimum Wage - How do the working poor survive with such earnings especially in areas where the cost of living is through the roof?
- 6 Ways to Retire Poor - A satirical take on how NOT to retire.
- Very Happy With Illinois 529 Savings Plan - Gives the main benefits of the Illinois 529 plan.
- 50 Ways You Know You Are An Emotional Investor - You know you are an emotional investor if...
- How to Make Money in the Stock Market - Considering that there are roughly 250 trading days in a year, this means that missing out on the best 0.02% of the investing days over this 20 year period (i.e., the best 10 of 5000 days) would’ve reduced your total return by nearly 40%!
- Ten Life Lessons I’ve Learned In The Pursuit of Getting Rich - Each and every job we have can teach us important lessons. Here are 10 lessons I've learned from 10 different occupations I've held.
- Zen and The Art Of Personal Finance in 4 Steps - Explores applying some of the principles of Zen to personal finance.
- My experience with LendingTree, and free gift cards - LendingTree is not so much a “search engine for mortgage loans” as it is an owner of patented automated loan-facilitation technology and a seller of mortgage loan leads.
- Didn't Get a Raise, Now What? - You asked for a raise, and even though you made your case very well, your request was denied. This article offers a few ideas about how to take the "no" and move forward in a productive way.
- Americans’ Net Worth in the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) - Net worth is a favorite topic in the buck-o-sphere (personal finance blog-o-sphere) and many people pounce on a government or media report to see how they stack up against their fellow Americans. You need to understand the source of the information and know how to read economic and financial reports correctly.
- A Reader Asks #6 - The post is a response to a comment from an earlier post, "What Happens When You Die?"
- The Real Estate Bubble and Tips to Protect you from it - This is an article about real estate bubble and what is the relationship between it with your journey to financial freedom.
- MBA Options Part 1: Do You Need an MBA? - I'm looking at getting an MBA and I've started a series looking into the entire decision process. Hopefully the series will help some people decide for themselves whether or not an MBA is something that can further their career and is worth the cost.
- How to Start Your eBay Business Without Credit Card Debt - You can start selling on eBay without going into credit card debt to fund your initial investment.
- <Sarcasm>Ah... The Joys of Home Ownership </Sarcasm> - After all, how much can a microwave cost, right?
- 401k Mistakes - When I joined my current company, I simply rolled over the funds from my previous company’s 401k into the new one’s. Big mistake.
- Bank fees are almost always reversible - Just talking about how if you call up the bank and talk to them, they will generally reverse many of those silly fees that they charge you. In my case, I got charged $5 for typing a number in wrong on the ATM machine!
- The Stay-At-Home Parenting Question Hits Home Hard - As much as a part of me cries out to be a stay at home parent, it simply isn’t in the cards for us right now. That doesn’t change the fact that my son’s shouts of “Dad! DAD!” and subsequent crying as I was leaving tore me up to the point that I stopped my truck on the way to work because I was so upset.
- What Do You Do With Your Coins? - I only store coins less than a quarter. I find it easy to spend quarters so I keep quarters outside the jar.
- Learning More About My 403b Plan - I work for a tax-exempt organization so, instead of having a 401k, I have a 403(b). My retirement contributions are sent by my employer to the company that operates the 403(b), but the responsibility for allocating those contributions rests with me. I’m rather new to the “investing game” and I’m taking the time to research the various mutual funds available to me inside my 403(b) plan.
- Lose Weight, Not Money - One of the ways to save money in the long term is to maintain good health. And one of the main ways to maintain good health is to exercise and be physically fit. The only problem is that while getting in shape may save money in the long term, joining a gym takes a whack at your wallet in the short term.
- How to Find, Choose and Open an Online Savings Account - Online savings accounts are one of the newest, safest and best ways to make your money work for you.
- I Just Turned One Hundred! - I just turned one hundred posts old! This is a list of what I've accomplished, what I've learned, and how I've grown!
Thanks for visiting the Carnival of Personal Finance!