Welcome to the 203rd Carnival of Personal Finance. When determining a theme for this week’s carnival I wondered what one should do for a theme? I thought about swine flu, a reference to Obama’s first 100 days, or perhaps Cinco de Mayo. All good choices but I dug deeper. What is the purpose of the carnival? To expose you readers to personal finance material you may not come across on your own accord.
With that in mind I decided to mine the depths of Wikipedia for interesting things you may not know. To make the search easier I picked only people that were born on May 4th. There pickings were slim, but that just made the research all the more fun. Each category features something interesting I learned that is loosely related to the category and the someone born on May 4th. Enjoy!
Editor’s Choice: The Jacksons
Who doesn’t love a reference to Michael Jackson? Most people actually. Oh well. Michael’s mother and one of his Jackson 5 brothers both have birthdays today. Katherine (mom) and Jackie (brother) both call May 4th birthday and I’m sure the family always gets together for a big party. Actually they don’t because most of them hate each other. Regardless, I love me some Jackson 5, especially “ABC”, and I love me some Personal Finance Blog goodness. Here is the best of the carnival.
- Investing School presents Confessions of an Active Investor. Even The Weakonomist argues against active investing, I look at those people like I would a gambler. Well this guy is an active trader and claims to have beaten the market, but he points at that it comes with costs (and I’m not talking transaction fees).
- Tim from 401k Planning presents Thoughts on 401k Plans vs Traditional Pensions. Here we’ve got a classic argument among finance professionals on 401ks and pensions. We’re trending towards 401ks, but is that the best thing for us?
- Jim from Bargaineering presents Free FICO Credit Score. Normally I’m not a huge fan of promoting FICO scores because they aren’t a number you should be overly concerned with unless you’re about to apply for some type of loan. But Jim put together some tips on how to get your FICO score for free and you can’t say no to free.
- FFB from Free From Broke presents Credit Cards Don’t Suck, You Suck!. Taking responsibility for your own actions is very important when it comes to personal finance. It’s true credit card companies have done some sketchy things, but only in the most rare cases have they ever broken the rules they showed you when you picked up their card. If you get surprised by some fee or interest rate increase, there is a good chance you’re surprised because you didn’t read the fine print.
One of my most favorite movies ever is Trading Places. Is it because it’s the funniest “Wall Street” movie ever? No. Is it because Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are the funniest guys of the 80s? No. I love Trading Places because of Paul Gleason as Mr. Beeks; the weaseling banker was a fantastic supporting character. You might know him better as the principal from The Breakfast Club. In Trading Places though he rocked a fantastic beard I only wish I could reproduce. Rest in peace Gleason, I’ll always remember you as the evil banker you were.
- Joe Light from Invest Wisdom presents What is a P/E ratio?
- Dan from Darwin’s Finance presents Swine Flu Stocks: Novavax CEO Interview on Vaccine Progress, and says, “This article highlights a “swine flu stock” that moves 20-100%+ per day via a CEO interview and analysis, but cautions readers to separate the fundamentals from the hype for this bizarre new class of stocks.”
- Jason Unger from Automatic Finances presents Please Ignore This Advice
- Dividend Growth Investor presents High-Yield Canadian Royalty Trusts vs Dividend Growth Stocks.
- D4L from Dividends Value presents Elite Dividend Stocks, and says, “There are many lists of dividend companies such as S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats and others. They all try to narrow down the population to the very best dividend companies. When combined it is a large and daunting list of 319 companies. So, how do we find the Elite companies on this list?”
- David Nofsinger from Spiffy Links Personal Finance presents Steps For Detecting Investment Fraud
- Rajeev from Money For Investment presents 10 Questions you must ask your insurance agent
- Curt from PennyJobs.com presents Central Banks Begin Turning to Gold.
Finance & Economy:
Ever heard of a company called AIG? Me neither until I read today was Maurice Greenberg’s birthday. Apparently this guy ran the company from 1968 until 2005. In 2007 and 2008 the company experienced some troubles because they made some poor investments in houses or something. Of course since that happened 2 years after he left there’s no way he could have been involved.
- David from Credit Card Offers IQ presents Low Interest Credit Cards, and says, “Low interest credit cards seem like the best deal possible. But that’s not always so. This article describes when a higher interest rate card may be the best credit card offer for you.”
- Coupon Artist from Art of the Coupon presents Why Is It So Much Harder To Thrive in America Today.
- Rocketc from Rocket Finance presents Did you hear Dave Ramsey get political, fellow personal finance bloggers?, and says, “Dave Ramsey gives great advice about personal finance and it turns out that he is not afraid to speak his mind about government fiscal and monetary policy. Should we follow his lead?”
- Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents How Long Should You Keep Your Financial Statements.
- Jennifer from Money Saver 101 presents Even Sin Suffers in a Recession.
- Ray from Financial Highway presents Advisors Change Strategy, Run For Cover, and says, “Clients are putting an enormous amount of pressure on their clients and want to see results. These are the times when advisers are needed the most, just watch out for those are try to change things and may take advantage of your emotions.”
- Miranda from Yielding Wealth presents Forget Stress Tests: Consider Local Banking.
- Henry Stern from InsureBlog presents Life Insurance as ATM: Deconstructing the Myth, and says, “Summary: A new book suggests using your life insurance as a personal ATM. InsureBlog’s Henry Stern shows why that’s a bad, and dangerous, idea.”
- Dividend Tree presents What is the Value of Net Worth?, and says, “In my financial planning, the use of Net Worth is worthless. It does not provide me an effective way of measuring my goals or progress. Therefore, I address these assets as current expenses (house of living, car for diving, etc). “
Frugality, Saving & Budgeting:
Being the wife of a president is tough work these days. Michelle Obama works hard skulpting her arms, Laura Bush had the world’s first medical case of “frozen smile”, and Hillary Clinton… err… no comment. But it wasn’t always that way. Julia Tyler, wife of 10th US President John Tyler, was raised in a world of luxury and pampering. Southern sympathies during the Civil War estranged her from her wealthy family and friends after John Tyler died. An economic depression finished off any amount of fortune she still had and Julia lived her final days in the care of her children, because the small federal pension of widowed presidential spouses couldn’t cover her expenses. Perhaps Julia Tyler could have used some frugality, saving, and budgeting tips like these:
- Big Cajun Man from Canadian Personal Finance presents Earth Day Some other Ideas, and says, “You can be frugal and ecologically friendly too. “
- Hannah Clark Steiman from Quick Hits presents A $1,200 Gadget, A Marital Dispute.
- Len Penzo from Len Penzo dot Com presents Gas or Charcoal BBQs: Which One Is More Cost Effective?.
- TIE from The Finance Buff presents Medical Billing Errors.
- CPF from Christian Financial Help presents 18 classic (and completely free) ebooks, and says, “These are 18 great and classic ebooks that you can download for free!”
- DR from Doughroller presents Is Budgeting Keeping You Poor?, and says, “Budgeting can be a big help in improving your finances. But if not done correctly, budgeting can also set you back. Check out these seven ways budgeting could be making you poor and how to fix them.”
- Michal from Energy Saving Gadgets presents Monster Surge Strip will help you save money, and says, “Save money on your energy bill by cutting down your consumption with this surge protector from Monster.”
- Kyle from Amateur Asset Allocator presents Outfit A Complete Home Gym For Less Than The Cost Of A Year At The Gym, and says, “Gyms are great, but never let anybody tell you that you can’t get a good workout at home. Here’s all you need to set up a quality home gym for less than the price of a year at a commercial facility.”
- SVB from The Smarter Wallet presents Cheap Family Lives The Frugal Life With Ease
- Chris Holdheide from Stumble Forward presents 10 Things You Should Include Into Your Emergency Fund, and says, “Ever wonder what you need to include in your emergency fund. Read and find out what you need and don’t need to include.”
- That One Caveman from One Caveman’s Financial Journey presents Build a Budget You Can Use, and says, “Building a budget doesn’t have to be a painful experience. A few hours spent now can help you achieve financial freedom later. Here’s how to build a budget of your own. “
- Jeff from StretchyDollar.com presents Help Starting A Budget – A Money Journal
- Studenomist from Studenomics presents Cheapt & Creative Date Ideas For Students, and says, “A few ways to help young people enjoy dating without going broke.”
- Francois Viljoen from Liberta presents Budget Planner Excel Spreadsheet, and says, “This is not just another budgeting spreadsheet. I created the first version in 2004, and I’ve been improving it ever since. It keeps track of all your accounts, income, expenses, transfers, balance sheet, income statement, and your budget. And now I’ve decided to share it with the rest of the world.”
- Sun from The Sun’s Financial Diary presents Make A Budget in Three Steps
- The Happy Rock presents Cheaper Than Cheap Tip Of The Week #8 : Don?t Flush The Tiolet.
Being of member of ‘N Sync sure has advantages. Lance Bass made millions being the bass singer for the group. But being a millionaire isn’t enough for some people (sure isn’t for me). Bass leveraged his popularity to go to space. He participated in a program that allows Russia to subsidize the cost of space flight and send wealthy space tourists beyond the wild blue skies. Russia remains an important contributor to global space travel with help from wealthy space tourists; this is a brilliant method to raise extra cash. Alas Lance’s sponsors fell through, but fear not, he did become fluent in Russian during his training.
- Mr. GoTo from Go To Retirement presents Free Retirement and Financial Planning Resources, and says, “More financial planning resources are being made available to consumers willing to do a little work on their own – and they are free!”
- Doc S from Finance Your Life presents 7 Strategies On Spending Your Tax Return, and says, “Many people have already spent their tax return before they even receive it, here are some ideas you could try this time next year when you get that return. Never too early to start planning!”
- Megan from Counting My Pennies presents Lifestyle inflation?.
- J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents “99% of my cash is spent on food and coffee”, and says, “A lesson from IM’ing: If you learn how to spend the same amount of money each month, anything “extra” you get can be dedicated to savings!”
- CreditCardAssist.com from Credit Card Assist presents What Comes in First In Financial Priorities.
- Miss M from M is for Money presents The Family Bailout.
- SBL from SaveBuyLive presents My take on personal finance, and says, “Money management shouldn’t just a bunch of mindless penny pinching and hoarding for retirement. In this article I discuss the importance of using personal finance techniques to pursue things that add value and meaning to our lives by reducing our spending on those things that don’t.”
- Pinyo from Moolanomy Personal Finance presents College Students Should Take Responsibility For Their Financial Situation.
- Lisa Spinelli from Greener Pastures presents Passive Income Review – April, 2009. May Goals., and says, “A good dividend this month gave me a boost.”
- FMF from Free Money Finance presents Who Are Kid’s Gifts Really For?, and says, “A fun look at what you can do with gifts given to kids.”
- Wealth Pilgrim presents How Much Will the Credit Cardholder Bill of Rights Cost You?.
- Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck presents Expect the Unexpected: The Jacoby Elllsbury Edition, and says, “Wachting Ellsbury’s straight steal of home at Fenway reminded me of the importance of expecting the unexpected, especially within personal finance.”
- FruGal presents David Cameron: Thrift’s new poster boy.
- Matt from My Financial Recovery presents Lesson Learned The Hard Way #1: Large Sums Of Money .
- MLR from My Life ROI, Getting the Best Return on Life presents The Savings Account, The Spending Account & The Charity Account, and says, “An anecdote from MLR’s girlfriend, HLR, about how her parents taught her to manage her money. When receiving an allowance do you make your kids save 10% and give 10% before they are allowed to spend?”
Credit & Debt:
Hosni Mubarak has been the president of Egypt since 1981 (longer than this humble blogger has been alive). The man knows a thing or two about debt management. When you’re in over your head with debt the advice of the blogger community is often to contact creditors and negotiate settlements and debt reductions. Mubarack had the same idea. In exchange for helping the allied coalition in the Persian Gulf War the USA, Europe, and certain Gulf states forgave $20 billion in debt owed by Egypt. And how much debt did you reduce last month?
- Mr. from Not the Jet Set presents A Tale of Two Businesses, and says, “Debt, Debt, Debt! When will we stop making excuses for our debt?”
- Don from Keep My Dollar presents Role of Credit, and says, “There are different uses for credit and some types of credit can be good.”
- Shadox from Money and Such presents It’s Just a Credit Card, Stupid, and says, “Regardless of what they may try to sell you, a credit card is always just a credit card.”
- Chief Family Officer presents We are debt-free! (Except for the mortgage – here’s how we did it)
- PT Money from Prime Time Money presents Common Credit Report Errors, and says, “A list of some of the common credit report errors and why knowing them matters.”
- Apply4-Credit.com presents How to Improve Your Credit Score Before Refinancing.
- American Consumer News presents Hindrances to Credit Scores and What you Can Do about Them.
- Flexo from Consumerism Commentary presents The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, and says, “Here is a summary of the more important points of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, recently passed in the House of Representatives and making its way through the Senate.”
- Matthew Paulson from Fine Tuned Finances presents Three Ways Credit Scores are Used Against You.
- JS from Smart Money Daily presents My First Credit Card – The Root of All Evil?, and says, “Credit card companies are in the business of getting young people hooked on credit because they make a lot of money from the practice.”
- Matt from One Million and Beyond presents Focusing on Debt.
- mbhunter from Mighty Bargain Hunter presents A bolstered emergency fund isn’t a bad idea, and says, “I happen to agree with Suze Orman’s recent suggestion to pay only the minimum balances on credit cards to build up an emergency fund.”
- Bret from BretFrohlich.com presents Stopping Credit Card Deception, and says, “All of the dirty little tricks of the Credit Card companies are coming to an end.”
- Baker from Man Vs. Debt presents Suze Orman Vs. Dave Ramsey: Should Your Financial Guru Be Changing His/Her Advice?, and says, “Please tell me you are doing Carnival of personal Finance: ROFL Catz Edition”
- Mr Credit Card from Ask Mr Credit Card presents Should You Use Your Credit Cards If You Want To Raise Your Credit Score?.
- Kevin from No Debt Plan presents Get Out of Debt: Give Up Your Favorites, and says, “Often we say we want out of debt, but we’re surrounded by things that are keeping us in debt. Do we mean what we say?”
- mfd from My Fidependence Day presents The Credit Crunch Hits Home, and says, “To my surprise my credit limit got cut…”
You think real estate speculation was big a few years ago? Imagine you’re living in the 1800s and the world is still largely uncharted. John Hanning Speke was an adventurous young chap and decided it was his life’s calling to find the source of the Nile River, the amazing river that for some reason run’s north and just happens to be the longest in the world. He found the source and named it Lake Victoria, forever embedding Britain’s heritage into the most important real estate in Africa.
- Smarty from Growing Money presents The Story of My Bad Tenant And How It Began.
- Matt SF from Steadfast Finances presents 5 Lessons Potential Home Buyers Can Learn from Median Income vs Median Home Price.
- Aryn from Sound Money Matters presents Keeping Your Head During the Real Estate Offer Process.
- Dan Melson from Searchlight Crusade presents 105% Refinancing With No PMI (Maybe)
- vh from Funny about Money presents Zillowing around Phoenix.
You’ve probably never heard of Stanley Biber. Stanley may have had one of the most fascinating careers of the 20th century. Sure James Hardy did the first heart transplant, and Jonas Salk may have cured Polio, but Stanley Biber conducted the world’s first sex change operation! He had a long and successful carreer, had he not died in 2006 he’d be 86 today.
- Mr. ToughMoneyLove from Tough Money Love presents Spendthrift Colleges Getting what they Deserve, and says, “Colleges going out of business? More grads waiting tables? Something had to give.”
- Madison from My Dollar Plan presents Firing Our Nanny for More Family Time.
- Andy from Saving to Invest presents Blogging Becoming a Serious Money Business , and says, “If you have the characteristics required for successful blogging, it can provide a nice source of side, part time or full time income. Maybe not as much as $75,000 though!”
- TStrump from The Strump presents When Your Job Makes You Ill, and says, “Do you sometimes just not feel well at work? Here are a few reasons why”
- Debt Ninja from Punch Debt In The Face presents “Your jobs pretty coo, how did you get that?”, and says, “Want to know how to get the job you want?”
- ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents 5-Step Plan to a High Salary.
Will Arnette is an actor best known for playing the idiot son on Arrested Development. On the show, the main characters’ company, “Bluth Company,” is in trouble with the SEC for defrauding customers and eventually the father is charged with treason for building houses for Saddam Hussein. See there are people worse than Bernie Madoff, but they are fictional. You can’t categorize that show at all, but it’s fantastic – just like these posts.
- Shawna from Bumblef..d presents Will Social Security Survive For My Retirement? 78% of it will.
- MoneyNing from Personal Finance Blog by MoneyNing presents A Little Post on Leverage, and says, “Leverage touches us in so many levels. Use it appropriately and you will be ahead of the pack.”
- Rags from From Rags 2 Riches presents At What Point Do You Consider Yourself to Be Rich?, and says, “This is an article where I take the broad definition of “being rich” and break in down into a detailed precise one.”
- Independent Beginnings presents Why I Disagree with the Economists.
- Tyler from Taking Charge presents Prepaid card offers anonymity, porn.
- Robin from brokefamily.com presents Free generator to see your entire day in a pie chart.
- Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents ETrade Online Brokerage Account: Top Broker Review
- Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents Deciding On Our Baby Monitor.
- pfincome from Passive Family Income presents How to Get Topics for Blogging, and says, “Got writers block? Check out this post with several key tips to find inspiration in writing your personal finance posts!”
- David from Money Under 30 presents Top 15 Financial iPhone Apps.
- Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents Filing Small Claims Court: Basic FAQs.
This concludes the 203rd edition of the carnival. Please check out the carnival’s website for more details. Next week Earn What You Spend will host the carnival. He’s a Carolina boy, which makes me love him, hate him, and expect great things all at the same time. I’ll be there, will you?