Gosh, am I nervous! I feel like an investor in a new musical that has just opened up on Broadway…
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance! The goal of this carnival is to provide bloggers with a stage for highlighting their very best personal finance posts of the previous month. To keep the carnival true to its theme, I decided to limit the selections to what I felt were the ten best entries from those received. What this means is that each entry featured here is an Editor’s pick!
This month I received 36 legitimate entries (i.e., not spam) and it was a very tough assignment for me to narrow the list down to a Top Ten. If you didn’t make it this month, don’t be dismayed and please try again! There really is a lot of good writing out there in the blogosphere and, as a result, there were many very good articles that didn’t make this limited list.
So without further adieu, let’s raise the curtain! I hope you enjoy these excellent posts as much as I did.
In no particular order, here are the best of the best in money and personal finance for March 2009:
Barry Wright III presents Fashion Mathematics: The Value of Mixing and Matching, presented at 3stylelife, saying, “Understand just how much money you can save on clothes by purchasing individual pieces which can be mixed and combined easily.”
I really, really, loved this post, Barry! You did a fantastic analysis! I never before considered buying my clothes with the intent of maximizing value, but I think I am going to start. I’m a guy who thinks high fashion is a polo shirt and Dockers. Still, your article inspired me to make a quick run into my closet just to see how many different outfits I could assemble. Pretty sad. Aside from my business suit, I have six pairs of Dockers (all black) and 6 polo shirts (white, grey, black, beige, tan, and khaki). Hey, I’m an engineer, not a used car salesman. Hold on, the Honeybee just told me that beige, tan and khaki are the same color. Is that really true, Barry?
This is a nice article by Jeff Rose, who uses a car accident analogy to coach us on how to recover from the recent market crash. Very nice article, Jeff! Personally, I do not get too flustered when looking at the declining figures on my 401(k). It’s not like I was going to be retiring any time soon. By the way, as an aside, why is it that stocks are the only thing that many people prefer to buy when they are not on sale?
Q presents What’s a Guy Gotta Do to Get Fired? A Rant on AIG Bonuses, posted at Bankling.
Great post, Q! That was a very entertaining and fun read! I agree those guys should have been tossed. I don’t think there is any conspiracy though, as you suggest. However, as an engineer, I have to take exception to you characterizing the boneheads at AIG’s Financial Products division as “slide rule guys.” The core of people that created those fatally flawed Frankenstein financial models at AIG were business majors, not engineers. My not so biased and humble opinion is that if engineers were running AIG those models would have been exposed for what they were and AIG would still be solvent.
This post by LAL asks us to consider the merits of student loans and how much money should be borrowed before the loan becomes a poor deal for the student. Good post, LAL! The article doesn’t try to profess a right answer; indeed, everybody’s situation is unique. The end result is some stimulating conversation that may help readers come to their own conclusions on this topic. In my opinion, the bottom line is common financial sense has to be applied before jumping into any student loans. For example, I’ve always questioned why many people spend well over a hundred thousand dollars to get a liberal arts degree from an Ivy League or other expensive university if the typical starting salary is in the neighborhood of $30,000 per year. Anybody?
The Investor presents , posted at : The Uncomfortable Truthsmonevator.com, saying, “Quantitative easing is now being positioned as our last chance to save the financial system. But what does this arcane term really mean, and what will be the consequences further down the line?”
The Investor does a great job of explaining quantitative easing and predicts its impacts to all of us down the line. Frankly, this post was a lock for the Best of the Best the moment I read, “Quantitative easing sounds like a laxative, which is appropriate since everyone is talking a lot of bull about it, and it could land us all in the deep stuff.” Investor, sir, you are spot on with your analysis! I have been spouting this same mantra for the past year. Excellent post!
This is another nicely written and very thought-provoking post. Well done, Abigail! I have to respectfully disagree with your conclusion though. I don’t think optimism is “a fatal flaw in our economy.” A free-market economy absolutely depends on optimism. I think of the banking industry as the engine that runs the economy, and optimism as the fuel. Without optimism, the banks stop working; they become afraid to take risks and loan the money necessary to enable businesses to start-up or expand. On a micro scale, I think most folks got in to financial trouble not because they were overly optimistic, but because they were in denial.
This is a nice well-written and concise article that really ruined my day. Thanks a lot, David. A while back I bought some stock of a very well-known Fortune 500 company at $80 per share. It’s now worth less than $40 per share. I’ve been telling the Honeybee for the past six months that “it isn’t a loss unless we sell the stock.” What do you suggest I say to her now, Mr. Smartypants? I guess I can always go back to that old standby: “Remember, Dear, we’re buy and hold investors!”
Jacqulyn Richey presents Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency posted at Las Vegas Real Estate News, saying this is, “A breakdown of the new tax credits under the Obama adminstration for home improvements relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
I posted this brief but very informative article because the tax filing deadline is fast approaching here in the United States. Keep in mind, though, that the updated credits Jacqulyn is addressing are for the 2009 and 2010 tax years. Very big tax savings can be had for those of you willing to make your home more energy efficient. Nice post, Jacqulyn.
I don’t have too much to say about this one because Nate pretty much seemed to cover all the bases with this very comprehensive post. If I had one additional suggestion to add to the list, I’d say make sure you buy an inexpensive used car. There is no need to be saddled with car payments when you are in college. Besides, I think most college students don’t have the luxury of a garage to store their car, so why leave a new car continually exposed to the elements over a four or five year period?
And last but certainly not least, Arohan presents How To Save Money, Invest, Pay Off Debt, Travel and Still Live The Life of Your Dreams, posted at Personal Dividends, saying, “We all know what we need to be doing to get our financial act together; the problem is doing it. I’m assuming you don’t want to have a six-figure income if it means you’re also one million dollars in debt. The trick to paying off your debt, saving for Costa Rica, buying a second home, and still socking cash away for retirement is to do ALL of these things all at once.”
This is an interesting post that asks us to look at our obligations as individual pieces of a pie rather than numerous balls being juggled. Overall, a very nice post, Arohan! My only quibble is that if I was in the unenviable position of having a balance on my VISA card where I was paying, say, 20% interest, I would not bother setting aside a portion of my pay to save for a trip Costa Rica. For me, Costa Rica would not even be on my radar until that onerous VISA bill was gone, gone, gone. And with that, I’m gone too!
That concludes the March 2009 edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance.
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