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Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance, a weekly listing of the top personal finance articles around the blogosphere in the following categories – taxes, money management, investing, career, debt, frugality, credit, economy, finance, real estate, saving, and budgeting.
It’s amazing to think that it’s been almost 20 weeks/editions of the Carnival since the last time we hosted (back on January 17th of this year). Time sure does fly! However, it’s good to be back hosting again.
The theme for this week’s carnival is the most expensive per night hotel rooms in the world! I hope you enjoy the posts and amazingly pricey hotel room descriptions and that you can stop by My Personal Finance Journey on my non-carnival days as well!
This week, we had 67 total submissions, only 1 of which was spam (which has got to be a record for a blog carnival!). Flexo and Revanche must be doing a good job keeping spammers at bay. High five!
Listed below are this week’s top 3 editor’s picks. Congrats to the three winners!
1. Our #1 pick of this week is by Ashley from Money Talks, who presents An Argument for Privatizing Social Security. It’s a widely known fact that the Social Security system in the US will have serious difficulty in making sustained benefit payments as even more of the Baby Boomers continue to retire. However, did you know that by 2030, it’s projected that there will be just 2 workers per Social Security beneficiary in retirement (down from 42 to one in 1945)? Clearly, something needs to be done to improve the system. The question is, “WHAT?!”
Ashley proposes a solution involving the personalization of Social Security that definitely made me “think.” Personally, I think the plan would need to be modified slightly in order to work long-term, but it’s a start!
2. The #2 pick of this week is by Ye ole’ wise Squirrel from Squirrelers, who presents Are Stocks Ready to Take a Summer Vacation?, and says, “Historical data shows that stocks tend to show a low rate of retun from May through September, compared to most of the rest of the year. Will this year go any differently, now that we’re into May?” One thing that distinguishes Squirrelers apart from most other bloggers is that he is not afraid to actually dig in to historical performance data of equities and generate meaningful conclusions. This is in my mind, a very useful skill to have, and it’s not all that hard (just click on this link to go to Yahoo Finance where you can analyze prices of the S&P500 index since 1950).
In this post, Squirrelers examines some seasonal trends in stock prices that exist. He concludes that the stock performance in 2011 is poised to follow the historical trend of slightly lower performance in the summer months. I think this type of trend could be important for investors looking to profit from short term fluctuations in individual stocks. However, for a more long-term, passive investor such as myself, Jeremy Siegel proved in his book, Stocks for the Long Run, that it is better to invest money as you have it in low cost index mutual funds, rather than try to time the market. This is due in part to the fact that even a handful of days throughout the year can have a very significant impact on positive long term returns.
3. Our #3 pick for this week’s Carnival is by Peter from Bible Money Matters, who presents Make A Total Financial Picture Spreadsheet With Account Logins, Assets, Liabilities And Insurance.. Just In Case, and says, “I put together a “Total Financial Picture Spreadsheet” that gives a snapshot of your finances to your loved ones in case you were to die or become disabled.” Nowadays, with so many accounts being opened, closed, and managed online, keeping track of all of ones passwords, usernames, and logins can be a challenge when you are alive. However, just think about how impossible this task would be for your loved ones if you die! I think it’s important for everyone to list out their account locations and information so that loved ones can easily access it in the event of your death or a severe injury.
Included in this hotel room is an open bar, a private butler on call 24/7, and a limousine at your disposal in the event that you need to make a late night run to the supermarket.
And, listed below are the rest of this week’s great article submissions, separated by category for targeted reading.
Tushar Mathur from Everything Finance presents 11 Money-Saving Uses for Dryer Sheets, and says, “Standard dryer sheets can do far more than just keep your clothes from sticking together in the laundry.”
Daniel from Sweating The Big Stuff presents Ways to Save Money on Gas.
Tom Drake from Canadian Finance Blog presents The Complete Guide To Booking The Best Hotel Deals, and says, “Want the best hotel deals? As a former hotel employee with over 10 years of experience, I’m going to share the complete guide to booking hotel rooms.”
Sandy from Yes, I Am Cheap presents Coupon Industry Fights Illegal Extreme Couponing, and says, “The Extreme Couponing program unknowingly shows people using illegal methods to save money. Now the coupon industry is fighting back!”
Paula @ AffordAnything.org from AffordAnything.org presents Reject the “Everyone Has Debt” Mentality, and says, “I noticed a new trend: the “normalization” of debt — and tell you why you shouldn’t console yourself with the thought that everyone else has debt, too.”
Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents How to Negotiate With Credit Card Issuers, and says, “You can negotiate with your credit card issuer. Here are some tips for increasing the chances that you will get what you want.”
Jeri Ford from Help Me Travel Cheap presents How Many Chase Credit Card Applications are Permitted? Will I be Approved?, and says, “If you have a lot of Chase credit card applications then there is a possibility that you may be denied. Review this info to increase approval possibility.”
Glen from Free From Broke presents Blue Cash Everyday (SM) Card from American Express – Review, and says, “American Express has a new credit card as part of it’s “blue” family. See what it’s all about in this review.”
Marjorie from CardHub.com presents The Best Credit Cards for Every Stage of Life, and says, “In this post, I explain what types of credit cards are best for the varying stages of your life. Understanding the type of card to look for at different points in your life will make selecting a specific card that much easier when the time comes.”
Ryan from The Finacial Student presents App-O-Rama, and says, “If you need a lot of different cards for different benefits, an app-o-Rama is the way to go. “
Cathy Moran from Money Health Central presents 3 Questions To Keep Perspective About An Underwater House, and says, “Think clearly about whether to keep paying on an underwater house.”
Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Real Estate 101 – Purchase and Finance, and says, “Here is the summary version of the important things everyone should know before they purchase a house.”
Money Thinker from Money Thinking presents It’s All About Location- In Regards to Housing.
Echo from Boomer & Echo presents How I Saved Over $300 On My Cable And Internet Bills, and says, “We ended up saving over $300 on our cable and internet bills with just two phone calls.”
Tom from Stupid Cents presents Emergencies for Your Emergency Fund Part 1, and says, “Identify times where you should have an emergency fund and how much you should have saved. Here are 5 instances where you should have money saved up.”
FMF from Free Money Finance presents How To Impress With Your References, and says, “A very strong reference can make the difference between receiving an offer that you will absolutely accept and not receiving an offer. Here’s how to get one.”
Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget presents How to Ask for a Raise, and says, “How do you ask for a raise without creating problems? Here are three simple suggestions to help you navigate through the rocky terrain of raises.”
vh from Funny about Money presents How to Deal with a Workplace Bully, and says, “This is a guest post from my student Anita Martinez, an up-and-coming writer. She offers five strategies for dealing with workplace bullying and provides several resources to help.”
Bob from Christian Personal Finance presents 4 Things I Learned As A Grocery Bag Boy, and says, “I look back on my days as a grocery bag boy and a grin comes to my face. This grin has mixed emotion. Working at a grocery store was one of those jobs where you did it because it was the only thing you could think of at the time…”
Lahesha Williams from Career Help for Christians presents 8 Leadership Tips to Maximize Performance, and says, “Whether you are a formal or informal leader, these tips can help you maximize your success and the success of others.”
Glen Craig from Parenting Family Money presents How to Combine Children with Work-at-Home Jobs, and says, “These days more and more people are looking to find ways to work at home. But if you have kids it can be difficult. See how you can combine working at home with watching your kids.”
Kathryn @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents 30 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them, and says, “This guide not only tells you what the interview questions are but also provides insight into what the interviewer is really asking and what types of answers will help you get the job.”
FruGal from TotallyMoney Blogs presents Is it better to learn about money the hard way?, and says, “Looking at the best means of telling your teenage kids about money.”
Jim Yih from Retire Happy Blog presents Did you learn anything in Financial Literacy month?, and says, “In the US, the goal of Financial Literacy month is to heighten awareness about personal finance. However, awareness, alone, is not enough.”
Craig Ford from Money Help for Christians presents Should You Only Own a Single Target Retirement Fund?, and says, “Target retirement funds are growing in popularity. Is owning a single target retirement fund a good idea?”
Mike from Do Not Wait presents How to Generate Income From Your Retirement Investments, and says, “Making money in your retirement.”
Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents Saving for Retirement: A Quick and Easy How To Guide, and says, “Are you getting ready for retirement?”
Pat S from compounding returns presents Forex: Currency Trading in Review, and says, “Many people invest in Forex without fully understanding the risks involved. Currency trading in review offers a quick explanation and analysis of Forex trading.”
Roger Wohlner from Chicago Financial Planner presents Is a Good Company a Good Stock?, and says, “While working out the other day, there was a guest on CNBC who mentioned that the stock price of four tech stalwarts was lower today than it was ten years ago. The companies are Dell; Cisco Systems; Microsoft; and Intel.”
Jim from SEC Fraud presents What Makes Insider Trading Illegal?
Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Are dividend stocks a separate asset class?, and says, “An asset class is a group of securities that exhibit similar characteristics, behave similarly in the marketplace, and are subject to the same laws and regulations. The three main asset classes are equities (stocks), fixed-income (bonds) and cash equivalents (instruments). Some investors also classify real estate and commodities as a separate asset class.”
Money Smarts from Smart On Money presents TIPS: Inflation Protection For Your Portfolio, and says, “If you want to add a little more stability to your portfolio while keeping pace with inflation, Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) might be a workable solution.”
Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents Is Cash Value Life Insurance Really a Good Investment?
Ben from Money Smart Life presents How to Invest Without Wetting Your Pants, and says, “Investing despite uncertainty and worry over financial markets.”
ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Do Men and Women Invest Differently?
mbhunter from Mighty Bargain Hunter presents At long last, all of my Prosper loans have reached maturity, and says, “My investor balance is now zero. How did things pan out? Would I do it again? “
Len Penzo from Len Penzo dot Com presents 14 “Dubious” Personal Finance Moves It’s OK to Do. (Really!).
Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance presents When I Win the Lottery, and says, “What I will do when I win the lottery.”
Janet from Credit, Eh presents What if You Aren’t Raptured? Long Term Financial Preparedness, and says, “Whether your retirement fund doesn’t stretch far enough, or whether you end up being left on earth after all your friends have been taken, running out of the money you need to sustain yourself can be a trying experience. It’s always good to have a Plan B. “
Jason from One Money Design presents Physically Fit Leads to Financially Fit, and says, “Did you know becoming physically fit can help you save more money and become financially fit?”
Brandon Crombar from Shared Financial Success presents FORTUNE 500 – Who You Should Trust WIth Your Money, and says, “Following a few basic guidelines will help you choose a winning bank!”
Darwin’s Money from Darwin’s Money presents You’ll be Surprised by What Health Insurance Does and Doesn’t Cover in America, and says, “You’ll be Surprised by What Health Insurance Does and Doesn’t Cover in America”
Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Labor supply of women over time, and says, “Married women have done paid market labor for much of history. The idea that “both adult members of a family needing to work” is a new thing ignores most of history. Nicole and Maggie give historical perspective on this idea and explain how the concept of a stay-at-home wife is the exception to history and not the rule. “
N.W. Journey from Net Worth Journey presents What is Self Employment Tax?, and says, “Learn about the basics of self employment tax.”
Dan Ray from Taking Charge presents A new player in the Smurf game: a parental wallet.
Grace from GRACEful Retirement presents Healthcare in Retirement. What ARE We Thinking?
Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents Liking Something When I Don’t Really Like It, and says, “It’s important to get your voice heard and social media is a great new way to make sure you’re a happy customer.”
Well, that concludes this week’s edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance! To all of this week’s participants – it was an honor to be able to read and get involved with such high quality articles! Please remember to link back to this post if your article was included here.
Next week’s carnival, #311, will be hosted by our good friends at Miss Thrifty and is scheduled for May 30th, 2011. Be sure to submit your articles for next week’s edition, using the following handy submission form.
Also, if you’re interested in hosting a future edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance, you can apply using this form.
***Most expensive hotel information from http://www.dirjournal.com/info/10-most-expensive-hotel-rooms-in-the-world/