Well, we have a champion. After a couple months, several games, and many, many votes (thanks to all of you who participated) the winner of this year's Free Money Finance March Madness tournament for best personal finance post of 2008 is (along with the detail about his post):
- 10 Things I Have Learned About Money - Since I started writing about personal finance a year ago I've really come to realize a lot of things about money. Some of them are basic, but some of them are life changing. Here is a rundown of the top 10 things I've learned about money in the past year.
It was a great battle all the way to the end (with almost 200 votes cast in the semi-finals and almost 160 votes in the final). And it was a close win. The championship was determined by a mere two votes.
Second place went to:
- Do you appreciate what you have? - Read about what how a simple volunteer event for my son one evening turned out to to have an impact on our whole family. His one hour volunteer effort gave us a completely different perspective on what we have and how fortunate we are. Do you appreciate the things you have? Don't ever forgot, some people have little to nothing.
And the other two in the Final Four included:
- The Pursuit of Financial "Happyness" - It doesn't matter if you're a financial ninja: personal finance just isn't about the money. If you don't know why you're trying to amass money in the first place, then every dollar you save is just another dollar you waste.
- The College Student Debt Machine: A National Disgrace - This post exposes the shameful and often ignored failure of colleges and universities to control their own budgets. Concurrently, these same colleges freely encourage their students to use student loans to finance the ever increasing costs to attend. With no one held accountable, young adults graduate with crushing debt that takes years to repay.
If you haven't read all of these pieces I'd suggest you take the time to do so. They are all excellent.
As most of you know, there was a financial side to the competition as I promised to donate to the charities selected by the Final Four posts. As such I'll be making donations for the following amounts to the following charities:
- $500 -- Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank
- $250 -- American Diabetes Association
- $100 -- CharityWater.org
- $100 -- Saddle Up
If any of you are so inclined, I'd encourage you to check out these fine charities and make a donation yourself.
Thanks to all who made March Madness a great success and congratulations to the winner, the Final Four, and all the participants. Hope to see you all back for more of the same next year. ;-)