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A Not So Socially Secure Roundup

Some weeks there seems to be a common theme, whether it’s kids, mortgages, spending, retirement etc. This week no one topic seemed to dominate my reading. So let’s start with Free From Broke’s Extreme Couponing: Do You Really Save or is it a Waste of Time? – I have my thought on this, in any process, there’s often the “low hanging fruit,” the easy thing that pays off. So it goes with couponing. You might rifle through the Sunday fliers and in 5 minutes find $20 in savings. But the next units of time will probably yield less and less, to the point where it makes little sense. The point of diminishing return.

At boomer and echo, a nice piece on Why I Love Shopping At Costco, as he points out some of the pros and cons of warehouse store shopping. As Echo says, some love it, some hate it. Ok, I’ll ask – for those who hate it, why not just get your membership fee back and quit? No one should go to Costco who hates it. I’d rather be in a store where people are all happy to be there. As far as the limited selection goes, I wrote a review of The Paradox of Choice that discussed how too many choices of anything is actually a bit unsettling, and itself a time waster.

Jim Yih writes at retire happy blog, and this week he asked his readers Do you BELIEVE you can become wealthy? He explains why your answer either positive or negative is likely to be correct. A good read, to be sure, but a necessary one if you are a nay-sayer.

Guest Posting at Million Dollar Journey, Frugal Trader asked Can One Save Too Much Money? Given the sad state of the average retirement accounts in this country, I’ll say that such things are possible, but rare, and only known in hindsight. In the struggle to avoid running out of money during retirement there are those who leave millions on their death. It’s not like any of know when we’ll meet our maker. Tough to plan.

On the topic of mortgages and more to the point, those that are underwater (this means that the homeowner owes more that the value of the house, which is now getting more and more common in the states) Len Penzo suggests If It Feels Good Do It: Maybe Strategic Defaults Aren’t So Bad After All and explains why, which if you know Len, is a bit sarcastic and makes the opposite point. I have my own opinions on the topic, my own post soon to be published.

10 Ways to Stay Poor Forever is a guest post at Budgets are Sexy. One of those posts that tells you just what not to do, a personal sharing of Elise Adams and her husbands bad money moves over the years.

And last, Khaleef Crumbley of KNS Financial guest posted 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your Retirement at Bible Money Matters.The one that really caught my eye was to not rely on Social Security. The numbers may have changed slightly, but when I wrote an article Social Security Benefits last year, a $50K/yr worker (The US median) will see a full benefit of $21,000, 42% of his income replaced by Social Security. If the target is to replace about 80% of one’s income, this is more than half of that. Part of me agrees that it’s dangerous to count on this money being there, yet, if it’s not, I can see some serious consequences to the economy and the credibility of our government.

  • Echo June 12, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Thanks very much for the mention, and nice post on the paradox of choice.

  • JOE June 12, 2011, 3:47 pm

    You bet! And thanks for the complement!

  • Glen Craig June 13, 2011, 8:46 am

    Thanks so much for the mention!

  • Augustine June 14, 2011, 10:18 am

    I’m not against strategic defaults in principle or in practice. I’m quite comfortable that each one makes this decision on his own. However, I find the rationalizations about strategic defaults amusing. A loan is not an investment and loans for investment have nothing to do with the purpose of the investment (e.g., margin brokerage). Indeed, no one HAS to pay interest, only those who promise to in a contract. Strangely, people don’t walk away from car loans when they drive one out of the dealer lot, when it’s instantly under water.

    Rationalizations apart, I find it preposterous that many who defend strategic defaults fail to mention that in most states the borrower still owes the bank any difference between the amount obtained at foreclosure and the initial loan amount. In other words, you still owe the bank, but now you don’t have a roof over your head. And with such a credit history, I wonder how many will want to have you as a renter…

  • JOE June 14, 2011, 2:25 pm

    Good points. I’ve not researched which states are non-recourse, nor how aggressively the banks go after the mortgage holders after default.

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