Dec 26

Bet you thought today was going to be a “Post Christmas Roundup.” Well, my good friends to the north are celebrating Boxing Day today, and it’s a holiday in its own right.

I just found a deal, Coinstar with give you a $10 bonus gift card when converting $40 in coin to one of the many gift cards they offer. If you were planning to buy an iTunes, or other store cards, this is free money. No fee involved. Some time ago, I had some negative remarks about Coinstar, a fee of 9% to turn coins to bills made no sense to me. I called the fee an idiot tax. Now that they’ve offered a number of gift cards instead of cash and a fee, I’m ok with them. And their Redbox service is pretty decent. Last time I flew, I was able to grab a DVD at one airport, take a flight, and deposit it after I landed. A jusr released movie for $1. Not bad.

At The Tax Foundation, they asked Does Lowering Taxes Increase Government Revenue? Well, if you don’t know what the Laffer curve is, you might want to read this article. Can we ever know where we stand on the curve? And despite the evidence, will people go for it?

Russ Thornton at The Wealthcare Revolution started a seven part series on Understanding Monte Carlo Simulation. He’s up to the 5th installment, but it’s a great series you can read from the 1st installment. Monte Carlo Simulation is a way to predict long term market probability, often used to determine how a specific investment strategy will payoff over one’s retirement years. A complex topic, a great read.

The Financial Buff offers The Backdoor Roth IRA: A Complete How-To. Here is a step by step on how to transfer your post tax IRA deposits to a Roth without impacting your Pre-Tax IRAs. A sneaky but legit method, I like the idea.

Last, this week, a guest post on Len Penzo’s site, from his daughter, Nina on Why I Love Christmas: A Guest Post from My Daughter, Nina. I wonder if he paid her. When my daughter guest posted, she got a $1 per comment and that post got a record number. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you too, Nina.

Joe

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Jan 31

Jason at Automatic Finances asks When Will You Have Enough? This brief post makes you think. About your quest for more and more stuff. When is enough, enough? A similar thought is raised in Money Help For Christians’ How Much Savings for Retirement is Enough? A bit of a different perspective, we’re offered a Bible quote which supports the dangers of a hoarding mentality, and accumulating wealth for its own sake.

In Money Relationship, Adam asks Good Debt vs. Bad Debt: Isn’t It All Bad? I have mixed feelings on this issue. Why do we need to assign the words good or bad to this inanimate object? Instead we should look at the big picture of one’s finances. My mortgage, costing less than 10% of our income may have a higher balance than my neighbor’s, yet his may be 40% of his income. Finance isn’t absolute, it’s personal.

B Simple at Simple Financial Lifestyle posted 10 Simple Ways to Save without cutting coupons. After my first reaction to the title (Hey! What’s wrong with coupons?) I read through the list and found it pretty, well, list worthy. For those who on a tight budget, there’s nothing list a review of the things to look at to find places to save.

Christian PF’s Craig wrote about Five Reasons to Stop Contributing Toward Retirement. Fair enough, in anyone’s financial life there are situations that call for a change in plans. Flexibility is often a good thing. On the flip side, I’d be wary of stopping a matched 401(k) deposit. No matter what the factors are.

Visual Economics produced a series of Cost of Home Ownership charts which help to put the housing bubble in perspective. Yearly Income vs Housing Costs makes for a stunning chart but the lack of normalizing for the drop in mortgage rates that took 30 year mortgages from a high of nearly 17% in the 80’s to under 5% recently is a bit of a disappointment. I’d have liked to see a chart comparing monthly income to the monthly mortgage payment for the median home. Maybe another time.

Jeff at Deliver Away Debt knows How to Calculate Net Worth. If you haven’t read his blog or tweets, Jeff is working extra hours delivering pizza to pay down his debt. I’ve used Jeff’s story as an example when people say they can’t make ends meet and tackle their debt. No matter what your situation, there are two approaches: cut spending or raise your income. Jeff’s story shows that where there’s motivation, there’s a solution.

I’ll close this week’s roundup with a special post, How to Keep Spouses From Growing Apart posted at Redeeming Riches. Not by Jason, RR’s blogger, but by his Mom. Admittedly, it’s not quite a PF article, however, a happy marriage is the path to a happy family and Mom’s advice and insight here is a good read.

Joe

By the way – Last Call for a chance to win a copy of Your Money Ratios. You can sign up for the drawing by signing up for my RSS email subscription. I will choose the lucky winner between 6 and 8 pm tonight. (East Coast Time) Good luck!

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Jan 10

Last week, I found I had such a great selection of New Year Resolution blog posts, that I was unable to narrow it down to a list short enough to share in one post here. So let’s get going with the rest….

2010

Jim Wang at Bargaineering plans to invest half of his emergency fund account into the stock market. At present, his EF is a full year’s expenses, a pretty healthy sum.

Matthew at Mint.com posted Financial New Years Resolutions You Can Keep, a top ten list of his resolutions of concrete, tangible goals. No “save more” or “spend less” on this list. Among the goals: (10) Make or update your will (amen!) (6) simulate bad news, a dry run to understand how to survive a financial disaster, and (1) don’t buy a house. Visit and read the full post to understand why Matt’s not buying this year.

Mark Miller at Retirement Revised offers a Resolution for a new decade: Work with meaning. This single resolution introduces this thought with “The Greatest Generation. . . the Silent Generation . . . And now, the Over-indulgent, Self-Centered Generation? It doesn’t sound too good–and it’s an unfairly harsh judgment, from my perspective.” A thought provoking post on the generational changes we are witnessing as boomers age.

On Gen X finance Charissa wrote Five Foolproof Financial Strategies That Will Ensure You a Better 2010. More  a list of suggestions of strategies to adopt than resolutions,  if you’ve not set up your own goals for the year, here’s a few thoughts to get you going.

Single Money Guy has five great New Year’s Money Resolutions focused on credit and debt. Among them, getting rid of the little extras that add up over time, such as that $4 latte that keeps you $1200 a year to the poorer.

Last post I’ll share in this resolution roundup is Free From Broke’s New Year’s Resolutions Are Bulls@%t! If only to provide a bit of a different view, a discussion of how resolutions are quickly broken and soon forgotten. FFB also offers suggestions on how to move from potentially unachieved resolutions to meaningful goal. A nice end to our two part resolution discussion.

What are your goals this year? Leave a comment, please, and let me know.

Joe

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Jan 03

Yesterday, I posted my own goals for the year 2010. Pronounced ‘twenty-ten’, or better still just ‘ten,’ not like someone will ask what century you’re talking about. Today, I’d like to share some goals or resolutions, if you must, of some of my fellow PF bloggers.

dollar10

(This dollar is not photoshopped. I got it while in NYC last weekend, and believe it’s the Big Guy’s ™ way of telling me to call this decade simply ’10’)

Let’s start with Kelly at The Centsible Life who declares with conviction 2010 is gonna rock! Kelly has two groups of goals, first those for her website, and then goals for herself and family. Even if you are not a blogger yourself, her personal goals are worth a look, she really has her priorities in order.

Next, Trent at The Simple Dollar had four goals spread out over as many posts. He plans to lose 40 pounds (makes the 10-15 I need to lose a bit more manageable), pay cash for a replacement truck, learn to play the piano, and reduce entertainment and hobby spending by 50%. I know quite a few people who’ve mention the need to drop a few pounds, maybe we can all compare notes and specific goals for the year.

At Don’t Mess With Taxes, Kay Bell has a short list, ‘Get Organized.’ I’m good with that. For me, the first step was to keep the clutter from growing. I’m in the midst of my own ongoing organization battle. Let’s see how we all get organized this year.

Flexo at Consumerism Commentary offers a nice mix of income goals, investing goals, and personal. There’s the desire to get in shape and to keep the place clean enough to have company on short notice. We’ll all be buff and neat by ’11.

Kelly at Almost Frugal posted her New Years Goals and Resolutions, and a recap of her ’09. In a minimalist approach, she has just three; sticking to a zero balanced budget (i.e. tracking every penny. An excellent way to understand where it all goes), to give something, every week, and to keep stress from affecting her personal life. Good luck, Kelly, sounds great to me.

New Year’s Financial Resolutions: Resolve to Take Baby Steps by Amanda at My Dollar Plan is a focused finance-centric list of how to get your finances in order over the next year. She addresses debt,  saving, income, and investing in one’s own future. Not sure if it’s polite to ask her if she’s in great shape or just decided to stick to finance for the goals.

Another excellent 8 Financial Resolution Ideas for 2010 in an article by Kathryn at Million Dollar Journey. She includes some of the usual suspects, tracking spending, max out your pretax accounts, etc, but also includes two easily overlooked goals; Write or re-write your will, and save up for something fun. Great advice. I’d add that while your reviewing your will, you should also check the beneficiaries listed on your retirement plans.

Too many great lists to call it quits, I’ll complete the round up next week.

Joe

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