The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance #4

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance, where every featured post is an Editor’s Pick! This month, the top selections were based upon entries that came closest to predicting the correct number of personal finance bloggers that posted a blurb last month on the (pick one) lessons learned/significance of/epiphanies regarding the late Michael Jackson’s debt.

The correct answer: 2477. Hee-hee! ;-)

I know, I’m bad. I’m bad. (You know it.)

Hey, here’s a thriller: For the month of June I received 156 articles for consideration, excluding the prodigious amount of spam, and other flotsam and jetsam that I typically receive every month.

I have to confess, I’m really starting to feel a bit of anguish now when I get the field narrowed down to the final 20 or so best entries, because I end up tossing out some very good articles. In fact, if this keeps up I may have to consider seeing a good psychiatrist. :-)

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun reading everyone’s submissions again. Thank you all for contributing and if you didn’t make it this month, please try again next month!

Here now, in no particular order, are the best of the best in money and personal finance for June 2009:

Jeff Rose presents 107 Things That Make Good Financial Cents, posted at Good Financial Cents, saying, “(Here’s) a comprehensive list of everything finance. From frugality to finance, everything you need to achieve financial independence.”

Talk about a tour de force! One hundred seven suggestions. Over 150 outbound links. Congratulations, Jeff! With one article you have effectively eliminated the need for anybody to read any other personal finance post ever again! Somebody tell JD Roth he may soon have to shut down Get Rich Slowly and rely entirely on his side job hosting unwatchable game shows like Opportunity Knocks. ;-)

“But seriously, Len. Over 150 links is quite impressive! How many of those referred to your website?”

Moving on… :-)

Kevin presents The Importance of Teaching Our Children Financial Literacy, posted at Parenting at More4Kids.

Experience has taught me that teaching kids financial literacy is not easy. This is especially true with younger ones because they really have no concept of the value of a dollar — to test this out just ask any youngster how much they think mommy and daddy spend each month to pay the bills. In this post, Jennifer Shakeel has a terrific interview with author Randy Loren who provides some excellent advice regarding the basic steps required for instilling financial literacy in our children. This article is a must read for all parents of teens and young children. :-)

Jae Jun presents The Art of Selling Stocks, posted at Old School Value, saying, “Buying a stock is only the first half of the equation. It is the easy half. Knowing when to sell and having a strategy to lock in gains is even more important.”

Ah, Jae. Where were you when I needed you? This is another very thorough and well-written article that elegantly explains the key strategies regarding when to sell stocks (and by extension, stock options). I’ve made many money mistakes in my lifetime; one of my worst is still haunting me. I am currently holding some stock options that are absolutely worthless that I could have sold a year ago for tens of thousands of dollars. I think I broke almost every rule Jae mentions. After reading this piece, I will never do so again. Great job, Jae! :-)

Nickel presents Gardening for Health, Wealth, and Independence, posted at Five Cent Nickel.

Nickel has once again submitted another nice article by Matt Jabs of Debt Free Adventure, who has managed to secure his second entry here at the The Best of the Best. In this piece, Matt talks about his goal of growing a vegetable garden in order to help him adopt an independent and sustainable lifestyle. Sadly, what it doesn’t address is this age-old mystery: Where oh where do carrot seeds come from? :-)

Darwin presents How FSA Plan Account Contributions Can Save You Thousands, posted at Darwin’s Finance, saying, “This article tells you everything you didn’t know about Flexible Savings Accounts and how to save thousands by using one properly.”

I have been taking advantage of flexible savings accounts for five or six years now and I estimate that I have saved approximately $4000 in taxes because of it. This is a no-brainer, in my opinion, but many people choose to pass these up when they have the opportunity because they are unsure about how they work or are simply afraid to take the plunge. Darwin’s excellent post clearly and simply explains everything you need to know about FSAs, so there should no more excuses for those of you still sitting on the sidelines. Nice post, Darwin! :-)

Lazy Man presents Save Money with Yard Sales, posted at Lazy Man and Money.

I loved Lazy Man’s fun and informative piece on yard sales. Regarding the “tip” that you can negotiate at yard sales, Lazy, let me echo your intimation that this is truly one of the worst kept secrets on Earth. I can’t count how many times I’ve had an old CD or book for sale at a measly 25 cents only to have somebody smugly come up to me and say something like, “Nobody listens to the Backstreet Boys anymore. I’ll give you 10 cents for it and that’s my best and final offer.” Wow, this guys is a master negotiator that knows how to drive a hard bargain. He did say ten cents was his best and final offer. Hmm. It’s obvious he’s got me over a barrel here, but I was really counting on getting a quarter if I have any hope of making my mortgage payment this month. Oh, what am I going to do? Think, Len, think! I’m so torn... Right. Get the heck off my yard, you knucklehead! :-)

Patrick presents Best FREE Online Money Management Tools, posted at Cash Money Life, saying, “Here are the best FREE online money management tools, including Mint, Quicken Online, Yodlee, and others.”

I said it last month and I’ll say it again. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I think we’ve already established folks that shop at yard sales do. In fact, I expect the day will soon be here when their counter-offers for my 25-cent used CDs will be “I’ll take it for free – and that’s my best and final offer!” Heh.

This month, Patrick, offers up his own virtual yard sale with this very well-researched and thorough post on Free Online Money Management tools. Thanks, Patrick! Very nice article, my man! :-)

Britannica Blog presents Dayton, Ohio: Final Fortune 500 Company Abandons City, posted at the Britannica Blog, saying, “At the turn of the last century, Dayton, Ohio, was something akin to the Silicon Valley of its day. It was the home to the Wright brothers, of course, as well as Charles Kettering, the automotive genius who would develop so many innovations that allowed General Motors to become the dominant player in a new industry. And the backbone of all this was the National Cash Register Co. (NCR), founded by John Henry Patterson.”

I really enjoyed this thought provoking piece by Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton, who also happens to be the proprietor of the blog Rogue Columnist. I do disagree with most of its left-leaning arguments, however, including the intimation that the city of Dayton, Ohio, is doomed to failure because of its loss of NCR. The truth is its not. I grew up in Fontana, California, which lost Kaiser Steel in the early 1980s. Kaiser was the largest steel mill west of the Mississippi River at the time and a key contributor to Fontana’s local economy. Many people claimed after the loss of Kaiser that Fontana would shrivel up and die too, but today it is a thriving community and ten times bigger than it was when Kaiser left town. At least that’s my two cents on this topic. Still, this is a very nice article, Jon! :-)

The Investor presents Capitalism 3.0: A groundless retreat from globalisation?, posted at Monevator, saying, “(Here’s) an exclusive blogger report from a lecture given by Professor Dani Rodrik of Harvard University about the future of capitalism. The comments are as interesting as the post!”

For a right-leaning viewpoint on the current world financial situation, The Investor makes his second appearance here on The Best of the Best with this excellent opus on the future of capitalism. Specifically, The Investor tackles the impacts of government attempts to increase regulation as a way to prevent future economic crises. I always enjoy reading The Investor’s pragmatic commentary and I hope you will too. :-)

Apply4-credit presents What You Purchase Can Change Your Credit Score, posted at Apply4-credit.com.

Finally, did you know what you purchase on your credit card can negatively affect your credit score? Me neither. Some of you might be sad to learn that escort services and bail bonds made the dubious list. Although not listed, I suppose using your credit card for international arms imports, bribes to local officials and bulk narcotic purchases is also not recommended. ;-)

And with that, folks, the June 2009 edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance is officially over.

Please send your entries for the July 2009 edition of the Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance using our carnival submission form. For more information, check out our carnival index page.

As a friendly reminder, please please please stick to the carnival guidelines. Submissions for the next carnival should include only posts written during the month of July 2009.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t subscribed to my RSS feed yet, please consider doing so! It would be an honor to have you on board! :-)

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7 comments to The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance #4

  • Everyone loves free stuff! Thanks for including my article! :)

  • Hi Len,

    Thanks for the inclusion and selection! Great work and commentary. Makes it easier to go through the list.

  • Hey, thanks for the inclusion on FSA savings! Glad to see you’re taking advantage of it too. Now I just have to continue to practice what I preach and optimize my savings.

  • @Patrick: …and thank you for submitting another great post! This carnival is only as good as the entries that are submitted and I truly appreciate your participation! :-)

    @ Jae: Aw, shucks. I think you are the first person to consider my writing “commentary.” Most folks use a different word: babbling. ;-)

    @Darwin: Try not to ever leave any free money on the table! Every October, the Honeybee and I sit down and estimate our expected medical expenses for the following year so we can maximize our FSA benefits. It’s really not hard to spend a few thousand dollars per year, even if you do have insurance. It’s really easy if you have a kid or two like we do that need braces!

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