Carnival of Personal Finance – Financial Armageddon Edition!

Pop quiz – You know things are bad when the current financial crisis:

a) Has its own Wikipedia entry
b) Causes the Dow Jones to fall by nearly 50% in a single year
c) Necessitates several ‘bailout’ packages that have now ballooned to well over $3 trillion, or more than the combined GDP of Canada, Mexico and Australia
d) Ushers in the biggest global recession since the Great Depression
e) All of the above

Yep, things aren’t great with the economy right now. But if they were, well, a whole bunch of really fantastic articles (like say, the ones below) probably never would have been written! All jokes aside, let’s not hit the panic button. Things are bad right now, but remember boys and girls – it’s always darkest right before dawn!

This week’s editors choice award goes to The Digerati Life for her politically charged post on where Obama and McCain stand on a series of financial issues. In my opinion, this is well worth a read. The next few years are going to be economically precipitous (to say the least!) and America needs a money-sensible leader now more than ever.

Other great articles, lovingly categorized for your enjoyment:

Taxes

My Journey to Millions answers the age-old (ok, this is my first and last pun – promise!) question of are Nursing Home expenses tax deductible? Hint: They are. But you’ll have to check out the article for all the juicy specifics.

Fools and Sages has a very interesting post on the differences between McCain and Obama’s tax plans. Ultimately, if you’re earning over $2.9 Million this year you should vote for the former, because he’s going to give you a $269,000 tax break. For the rest of us, Obama’s plan seems far more equitable.

Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck talks about paying tax on unperforming investments. Very *sniff sniff* timely for some of us. Apparently you can call taxes on losing investments cruel, ironic, or counterintuitive. Doesn’t really matter, it’ll cost you just the same.

Money Under 30 has a post on quarterly estimated tax payments. A highly recommended read, unless you like talking to the IRS!

Economy

Saving to Invest has a very telling chart on the income distribution in the USA and two dozen other OECD nations. The verdict? Not good. The chart is split into deciles (or ‘tenths’, for slightly less nerdy terminology), and the poorest decile in the USA is genuinely poor, even in comparison with countries like Mexico and Turkey.

Steadfast Finances tells readers to beware recession proof advertising! He refers specifically to a ‘Hard Sell’ commercial on CNBC of gold coins. Apparently the price of gold is going to triple! Though I suppose the source, the government-sounding-but-actually-private United States Rare Coin & Bullion Reserve, might be a *little* biased.

Online Savings Blog has a rather frightening piece entitled 1929 and 2008: Why distribution of wealth matters. A good read in its own right, it gets extra points for mentioning J.K Galbraith’s great book, The Great Crash.

Think Your Way to Wealth has another very timely article entitled ‘Ways to Deal with Financially Stressful Times’. I would say ‘Financially Stressful’ is a bit of an under-statement! Well worth a read.

Saving

Investing in your Future has a post detailing a few ways to put some extra cash in your wallet. Donny says it best himself: “Not everyone is worried about their stock performance or having their bank bottoming out. I mean plenty of people—as in hundreds of thousands—in the U.S. alone are concerned with whether they will have adequate means to meet basic living necessities.”

Frugality

Realm of Prospetiy does something truly phenomenal – he has a great weekend in college, and (are you ready for this??) doesn’t spend a single penny in the process! I’m impressed. Check out the article to see how he did it.

FruGal (love the pun) asks if the credit crunch is threatening your relationship. Apparently as financial stresses take their toll, the number of divorce enquiries has shot up by as much as 50%. Yikes!!

American Consumer News has an article on the types of Insurance you could (and apparently, should) live without. Looks like a good list, but I have to wonder about flood insurance – depending on where you live, your mileage may vary. Worth a look, but take it all with a grain of salt.

ChristianPF reviews the new Google energy saving tool. It seems that Google has recently released an application that figures out ways to save you money, and ways to save the atmosphere from Carbon Dioxide. It’s win-win!

Pecuniarities has an article on healthy and useful alternatives to Halloween candy. While some of the suggestions might get your house egged, at least you wont be contributing to a generation of tooth decay and diabetes!

No Credit Needed presents part 9 in his latest series, Top 10 ways to save money. Part 9 is give up hobbies, which is a kind of sad, but possibly necessary step. Still, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so one other possible solution might be to find cheaper hobbies!

Cheif Family Officer talks about her families biggest pitfall – eating out. I definitely see where she’s coming from here: as much as I love eating out, there’s nothing quite as satisfying (and cheap!) as a nice, home-cooked meal.

Passive Family Income details the sacrifices we all have to make to live frugally. It might suck in the short term, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Remember – no pain, no gain!

On a Quest to be Debt Free provides 5 ways to save money, get a fresh new look and get a nice green kitchen in the process. Highly Recommended!

Money Management

Financial Wellness Project asks 5 questions for your post-debt savings plan. ‘Post-debt’? I don’t know about you, but I’m so focused on being debt free, I rarely think about what I’m going to do once I get there. It’s well worth thinking about, though, otherwise you might find yourself slipping back into your old habbits.

Everyday Finance talks about ‘Prop 2′, a piece of pending legislation dealing with animal cruelty. Prop 2 is only relevant for Californian’s, but the general theme should be of interest to everyone, even those of us who are not eco-terrorists or PETA warriors.

Happiness is better wants YOU to be financially independent! Check out this list of 10 reasons why you would be happier and more fulfilled if you were.

Amateur Asset Allocator gets full points for alliteration. He’s also written a very interesting piece on whether young investors should use a financial planner. My personal belief is that everyone should see a good FP at least once, but AAA makes a good case for why this should be later rather than sooner.

Destroy Debt explains the difference between Chapter 7 and Chaper 11 bankruptcy. If you have to ‘take the plunge’, check out this article and make sure you do it the right way.

Free From Broke asks about your kids Gift Expectations. Her conclusions, that children get their expectations from their parents, is (in my opinion) totally valid. Well worth a read for the parents out there.

The Smarter Wallet talks about the very real dangers of Online Bill Payment and Automatic Deductions, and makes a very strong case for staying away from them. Personally I like the convenience, but I will certainly be keeping a closer eye on my statements from now on!

Saving Advice has an article entitled ‘The Bliss of Ignorance’ about one of his neighbours who seems to be blissfully ‘ignorant’ about the financial chaos around us. After closer inspection, however, it seems that this neighbour’s calm is perfectly justified – she has no debt, a safe job, and signficant savings. While most of us can’t say we’re in such a good position, the bottom line is that you don’t have to listen to every single harbinger of bad news out there. It’s always darkest just before dawn, after all!

Money Smart Life is convinced that someday we will be able to perform every task imaginable on our cellphone. Frankly, I’m inclined to agree. Well, almost every task imaginable, anyway. One thing I’m sure about after reading this article is that mobile banking will sooon be commonplace.

SquawkFox asks readers what their 3 worst every money mistakes are. I’m not sure about #2 and #3, but my #1 mistake would have to be not getting a proper financial education when I was young.

Tough Money Love talks about financial risk management and the nervous investor. Bottom line? When you have lost the confidence to invest, reduce your financial risks in other areas to rebuild your confidence.

The Wisdom Journal is predicting that layaway is going to make a comeback. With ‘easy credit’ becoming a thing of the past, I think he may be right!

Real Estate

Free Money Finance tells readers why he won’t rent out his home. Apparently, if you’re trying to sell your place but can’t get a good price, some people are advocating renting it out in the interim. Sounds like a good idea in theory, but as this article points out, there are several things that could go horribly, horribly wrong.

Money Answer Guy answers the eternal question of whether you should rent or buy a house. Well, it’s more of a commentary, really, but still worth a look. Ultimately if you’re planning to stay put for a while, now may not be a bad time to think about buying – assuming you can get a mortgage!

Searchlight Crusade tells us all why we should not walk away from upside down real estate. For those of you who don’t know, ‘upside down’ real estate is a term for when you owe more on your mortgage than your house is actually worth. My feelings on the issue are somewhat mixed, so I’ll just say that your mileage may vary.

Credit

Ask Mr. Credit Card has an interesting piece on utilizing your Reward cards for maximum return. Apparently the highest value per dollar spent is often returned when redeeming your points for business or first class international travel.

Taking Charge talks about a possible political scandal involving a lost credit card in a political opponent’s office. Call me cynical, but I can’t help but think there’s something fishy going on here…

Managing Money God’s Way mentions the religious implications of co-signing on a loan with someone. I’m no theologan, but apparently if you co-sign, God thinks you’re stupid. I might be paraphrasing slightly though, so you should check out the article yourself just to be sure.

Discover Debt Freedom tells you how to correct a credit history error in 5 simple steps. If you’ve ever worked with a credit agency before, you’ll know that things are rarely ‘simple’, but this is a good guide to get you started in any case.

Budgeting

Budgets are Sexy has a piece on why you should think of saving as just like paying an extra bill. Sounds both simple and sensible to me – the perfect combination!

Mighty Bargain Hunter writes about the importance of planning. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more, and one of my favourite mantras is ‘if you fail to plan, you should plan to fail’. Ok I admit it’s kind of cheesy, but boy is it ever true!

Investing

Dividend Growth Investor writes about whether you should be looking at dividend stocks (suprising, eh?). It’s a good article though, and some nice dividends would sure come in handy about now.

Intelligent Speculator has an interesting article on an interesting company. You use them to search the internet, but would you invest in them? Google just released an earnings report, so is now a good time to buy?

Dividends4Life asks in these uncertain times, WWWBD? Or in other words, What Would Warren Buffet Do? Considering the man’s philosophy is ‘be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful’, I think it’s pretty obvious WWBWD!

Don’t Mess with Taxes has an excellent write-up on 401(k)’s. Despite the recent market turmoil, you still need to be saving for your retirement – don’t waste the many tax advantages of investing in your 401(k).

MoneyNing gives us tips on how to not lose sleep in a bear market, an article after my own heart. I wouldn’t be at all shocked if recessions and insomnia were related!

Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has an interesting article on using the stockmarket to predict the next president. Like him, you can color me skeptical, but it’s a fascinating read nonetheless.

Broke Grad Student presents the College Student’s guide to Roth IRA’s. While retirement is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re at college, it most certainly shouldn’t be. Planning for your retirement when you’re young will make thing exponentially easier when you’re older. It’s compound interest, baby!

The end is nigh! (not really though…)

Well I hope this edition of the COPF wasn’t *too* depressing – I was only kidding, after all! Next week The Sun’s Financial Diary is hosting, and I’m sure they’ll pick a far more optimistic theme, so stay tuned!

41 thoughts on “Carnival of Personal Finance – Financial Armageddon Edition!”

  1. Thanks for such a great personal finance carnival! I am thrilled you included my post and enjoyed the political discussion that it brought forth! I will be going through these links and doing a roundup soon! Thank you again :) !

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