I’ve been unforgivably absent from the personal finance blogosphere lately. In between planning the wedding, launching a new initiative at work, and teaching I haven’t had much time to read all of the great content my contemporaries are putting out there. Hosting the 169th Carnival of Personal Finance has been a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up on what other bloggers are publishing.
Here are the highlights from this week’s batch of submissions:
Not the Jet Set proves that it really is who you know in Extravagantly Frugal - Friends in High Places.
In Forget About Tipping After Service, j.money at Budgets are Sexy suggests that we should tip your waiter prior to dinner. Interesting concept, but those who always tip a straight 10% regardless of service would be in for a rude awakening when their water goblet is no longer promptly refilled.
This piece by Eden at Finance and Fat clearly articulates why it’s so difficult to stay the course. All things that require discipline get boring or stale at some point, and Eden offers some great ideas for pushing through the monotony.
I really admire Bob at ChristianPF - he’s in the process of converting his car to a water-powered hybrid. This post includes photos and links to a related video. Sweet!
Quest For Four Pillars - 4% Rule Revisited - I want a raise! I have been interviewing financial advisors who specialize in wealth distributing strategies - there is a certain segment of financial professionals who agree with the approach recommended in this submission.
Moolanomy - Should you delay your social security benefits? Here Pinyo makes a case for not putting off taking social security benefits. He makes some good points, but as commenters point out, there are situations when it makes sense to be thoughtful about when you choose to take your government-administrated pension.
Money and Such - Over-Contributing to Your 401(k). I congratulate those of you who are contibuting to the extent where this may be a concern.
Harvesting Dollars - Do You Really Think You’ll Spend Less in Retirement? I know that the corporate assumptions at my firm are asking pre-retirees to plan to save enough so that they can spend at least 80% of their pre-retirement income once they reach benefit event (retirement). Based on lifestyle choices (more travel, purchase of second home), retirees may spend more annually after they retire.
Tight Fisted Miser - How Much Should You Save for Retirement? My answer to this question: as much as you possibly can.
Retired at 47 - 5 Easy Steps to Kick Start Your Retirement. If you’re thinking about retiring, this is very good advice. I would add “create a budget and try to live on it” to this list. Living on your retiree income for several months prior to leaving full-time employment can provide some relief to retiree budget anxiety.
Cash Money Life (guest post by Hank) - Top Eight Characteristics of a Great Mutual Fund. Good advice for those getting started with investing.
Steadfast Finances - Why Index Funds are Bad Investments. A different point of view on a type of investment vehicle that’s gained favor with several PF bloggers.
Dividends4Life - Inverted Yield on Cost Curve. If you can use this ratio to accurately predict which stocks are bargains and which are just plain troubled, you may be the next Warren Buffet.
Dividend Growth Investor - Introduction to Currency ETFs. Interested in foreign currency investments? Check out this piece on FOREX.
Saving & Budgeting
Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck - How Saving is Like Football. Love this analogy.
Prime Time Money - How to save like a madman. Fun take on serious savings.
Squawkfox - 50 Ways to Save $1000 a Year. The Fox provides a ton of ideas to help readers sock away cash.
Think Your Way to Wealth - 25 Smart Budget and Money Saving Tips for College Students. Several of these tactics can be utilized by anyone living on a tight budget.
Living Well on Less - Working an unexpected raise into the budget. My solution to this “problem”: pretend it never happened by increasing 401(k) contributions and having the rest direct deposited to emergency savings.
Can I Get Rick on A Salary - The Lady Whose $50,000 Emergency Fund Wasn’t Enough? I found this to be a good reminder that standard financial perscriptive formulas don’t work for every situation.
Millionaire Mommy Next Door - Fannie Falls Down and Freddie Comes Following After. How Can We Pick Up the Pieces? I agree with the ‘coffee conclusions’ in this piece and wonder if our national appetite for consumption will ever taper off?
Miss Thrifty - Dream home: a girl can drool, can’t she? I have been lusting after a $1.8 million tudor near my neighborhood for years, so I can totally relate to this post from across the pond.
My Dollar Plan - Myth Busted: $7,500 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit is Not a Credit. This is helpful information for people thinking about buying a home because of the ‘credit.’
Banking & Loans
No Debt Plan - A Six Step Guide to Asking for Fee Forgiveness. Great advice for first-time fee offenders.
My Two Dollars - Qualifying for a Mortgage as a Freelancer - An Exercise in Patience. Takes a look at the challenges of qualifying for a mortgage without regular, varifiable income in today’s lending environment.
Student Scrooge - Student Checking Account Options. Students can get great deals as banks try to build relationships with young clients.
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity - Top 5 Online Banks. Jim lists five banks that are paying over 3% on savings accounts!
SoCal Savvy - The 1950’s house wife. Sadly, the experience SoCal relates doesn’t surprise me at all. Love her husband’s response.
Be This Way - Shame on You, Citibank. I hate reading about banks taking advantage of customers, and here’s another example.
Greener Pastures: Personal Finance - Credit Scores: How They Are Determined May Surprise You. I learned something new about FICO by reading this post.
Chicago: Cheap! - Is your thrift costing you money? A lesson in practical frugality.
Learning the Ropes - Frugality is not about being cheap, it’s about the choice! Another look at frugality and value.
Living Almost Large - Why aren’t we honest? Advocates more financial transparancy in our relationships.
The Wisdom Journal - 3 Money Decision Traps and How to Avoid Them. This piece reminded me of my college debate team. Oh, the mental games we play.
Free Money Finance - One Thing I Want My Kids to Know About Money. Wish I would have been more mindful of this one thing in my 20’s.
MiB Smarter Money - My Friend Just Got Offered $290k to Work In Iraq, Would You? A look at the tradeoffs we make (or don’t make) for money.
Sound Money Matters - Don’t Fight About Finances: How Couples Should Talk About Money. A nice reminder for me as my wedding is less than five weeks away.
Money Smart Life - Joint Checking Accounts for Married Couples: The Great Debate Over Joint vs. Separate Bank Accounts. The debate in my house rages on…
Free From Broke - What We’re Doing to Adjust to One Income. A glimpse at what one couple is doing as they go to a single household income.
Gather Little By Little - Teen Money Management Mistakes. Sounds like a lot of adults I know!
FiveCentNickel - How Much Should You Pay a Babysitter? Sitters have come a long way since I was watching kids for $3 an hour.
The Digerati Life - Best Company to Work For: Money and Perks Like No Other. Google has been number one on Fortune’s Best Place to Work list for years - this piece explains why.
Everyday Finance - Top 10 Places to Work for New Grads in 2008. Find out where the jobs are for this year’s grads.
Funny About Money - What’s an Intellectual Worker’s Real Overhead? Do you include your education in your overhead calculations?
The Red Stapler Chronicles - It’s the Energy, Stupid. The title of this piece says it all.
Frugal Fu - Discourse from the Throne: Thoughts on Toilet Paper. Another great title - and a thoughtful post about t.p.
Mighty Bargain Hunter - Why does my 10-ounce silver bar weigh more than 10 ounces? When is an ounce not an ounce?
Blue Jeans Millionaire - All That Glitters…takes a look at gold hysteria.
Amateur Asset Allocator - The Best Financial Advice I Ever Received and How I’ve Applied It. Good advice for everyone starting out (or ending up).
Broke Grad Student - Tackle Half Dome, Tackle Life, Tackle Debt. Lovely piece about how physical challenges can help one tackle emotional ones.
The Happy Rock - What is Your Purchase Personality? Right now I feel like I’m on full spend - what about you?