May 14

College costs continue to spiral, rising faster than inflation. 2010-11 tuition was up 4./4% from the prior year at private colleges and up 5.8% at public schools. Detailed report available in an article titled Trends in College Pricing 2010.

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Apr 18

Another year, another set of tax returns behind us. Everyone has a different view on taxes and whether getting a refund is a good thing. For some, the refund acts like a forced savings plan, for me, it’s a sign that I lent Uncle Sam money at zero interest. I prefer to pay. In fact, I prefer to owe just enough that I am shy of owing a penalty as well. But that’s just me. On to this week’s reading recap:

Green Panda Treehouse explains Why the US Govt Likes a Weak Dollar For Now. I’ve always found discussions of the dollar’s value to be tough to understand, even in grad school where apparently I understood it well enough to maintain a decent GPA. Low interest rates keep the dollar week, but high rates in turn push the dollar higher. I agree that the economy can benefit from sustained low rates.

Alan Schram guest posted at Canadian Finance Blog about Reward Points, Loyalty Cards, and Lies. So long as the reward/loyalty cards don’t entice you to spend more than you would otherwise, it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of the benefits you can get. Me, for credit cards, I’ll stick with my Fidelity 529 College Rewards Card which puts 2% cash into a college savings account. No annual fee, either.

Len Penzo answers, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Others: What’s the Best Travel Search Engine? Let compares two different trips among six different online travel sites. An intersting comparison, no clear winner.

Mike at The Oblivious Investor talks about Using Annuities to Protect Inheritance. I should note that while I tend to be anti-annuity, I’m open to the proper use of an immediate, fixed annuity, which is what Mike is discussing in this article. I think most of us are simply looking to plan to make it through retirement without depleting our savings let alone planning to leave our kids an inheritance. Mike offers some sound advice that can help with that effort even if leaving money isn’t part of your plan.

Austin Morgan offered My Curriculum for Money Education in High School. Some great thoughts here, he spells out the full curriculum for two classes that high schoolers would take. I find the lack of a basic understanding of finance to be prevalent and I’d support any effort to add finance to the basic high school curriculum.

Last, but one that stuck with me was Peter Anderson’s Bible Money Matters post on the 7 Lies About Money That Can Kill Your Financial Future. Of Peter’s seven, I’ll share the one that occurs to me most (as a misconception.) Number 6 “Having expensive things means that you’re successful.” I’ve known this to be false for some time, and my observation was confirmed by Dr Thomas Stanley’s book Stop Acting Rich, which I read and reviewed a couple weeks back.  Some thought provoking ideas here, Peter, nice work.

Enjoy the week,


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