Saturday, December 7, 2013

Carnival of Financial Planning

My second foray into blog carnivals, here is this week's Carnival of Financial Planning.


JP @ My Family Finances writes Shopping Online or In the Store: See Which One Is More Cost Effective - You will find that eCommerce allows you to maintain the highest profitability based on lower costs and increased sales.

SBB @ Simple Budget Blog writes The Physical Manifestations of Keeping a Budget - How maintaining a budget can keep you healthier for years to come.

GenY @ Gen Y Finances writes Sharing Your Finances - Personal finance for some of us is a challenging task. Imagine adding another person to share these finances with. With as complicated as money can be it is no surprise that it is the root of many problems in relationships.

Harry Campbell @ The Four Hour Work Day writes Have You Ever Had a Really Great Manager? - On most nights when I get home from work, I have a pretty consistent routine. I’ll work online for a couple hours while I have a little snack and then it’s off to prepare dinner, or grab a quick bite to eat. Once in a while, my fiancee will even cook dinner for me! But after that, I sit down in front of the TV and put on one of my favorite shows: The Office. It’s kind of sad but that show is one of the only ones I can watch over and over without it ever getting old.

Daniel @ Make Money Make Cents writes It's Time To Stop Trying to Keep Up With The Joneses - Keeping up with the Joneses is the phenomenon of using your neighbors as a standard for which to compare your own life and material goods.

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes Five Ways for Parents to Save on Tutoring - You may be starting to notice your child's strengths and weaknesses in school, as far as grades go. There is a solution: tutoring.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes How your Upbringing Affects your Money Habits Part 2 - Something that most people do not realize is that how they were raised as children can actually have a big impact on how they make decisions as adults, especially with money.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes Online and Mobile Retail make Black Friday practically obsolete - Ladies and gentlemen, here is a certifiable fact; marking down prices for Christmas is an American tradition. Here is another fact that is a bit newer; today, those markdowns and bargains come right to you at home so there is no need to actually go to the store to get them.

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Do Exchange-Traded Funds have an Advantage over Index Mutual Funds? - One of the questions that we frequently get is whether or not there is an advantage for long-term investors to use exchange traded funds instead of index mutual funds. It’s an excellent question, to be sure.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes Money Saving Holiday Shopping Tips 2013 - Did you go so far over budget on your holiday spending last year that you didn not pay off your bills until the Fourth of July? If yes, then this post is definitely for you.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes The Secret of Saving for Your First Deposit - Are you ready to become a homeowner and do not fancy a no-deposit home loan? Then the biggest obstacle standing in your way is the first deposit or down payment.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes How to spot a good mortgage broker from a bad one - How can you decide if a mortgage broker is a good one or a bad one? The best way is to learn the answers to these questions.

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes 10 Reasons To Consider Small Business Exporting - Exporting used to be seen as something that only the bigger companies really did. These days the process is more accessible than ever before, even to small businesses.

Buck @ Buck Inspire writes Club MomMe Family Fall Fest 2013 Entrepreneurship for Moms Recap - Like I mentioned in my Club MomMe Family Fall Fest 2013 Recap, the Entrepreneurship for Moms speaker panel was one hour filled of informational and inspirational stories. The interesting thing was you could not get a more diverse mix of styles and personalities.

Holly @ Club Thrifty writes Avoiding Obamacare: Screw You Guys, I'm Outta Here - Avoiding Obamacare has become my goal over the past few months and I think I found a way to do just that. Read about it here.

Natalie @ Debt and the Girl writes Finding Out What Makes You Thankful This Holiday Season - This time of the year always makes me reflect on certain things in my life and how fortunate I am for what I have. It also makes me reflect on certain things that I can do to make things better for myself and those that I care about.

Alexa @ Single Moms Income writes My Work at Home Truths - It has officially been one month since I quit my job to work on my online businesses. Over this past month I have had some revelations.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes How to Use a Zero Sum Budget - If you want to improve your financial health you need to budget. Here is how you can use a zero sum budget to improve your personal finances.

Graham @ Moneystepper writes 2014 New Year Resolutions – Update on my 2014 goals - Maybe I'm being a little impatient, but I started early this year! Check out my November progress!

GenY @ Gen Y Finances writes Renting versus Buying - Home ownership in the United States is often times considered the American Dream. The fact of the matter is that home ownership is not all fun and games. It is a huge commitment that requires more than just money.

Christopher @ This That and The MBA writes Manage Debt Before It Manages You - It is important to keep debt at reasonable and manageable levels or we could end up incurring high interest rate charges. Even worse having barely enough money to pay the minimum payments on our credit cards.

Christine @ CO123 writes Edible Arrangements Coupons For The Holidays - It’s the holiday season and with family visiting, engagement parties, holiday parties, and office get-togethers, we all need coupon codes to help us save money. Check out coupons from everyday favorites like Dominos or even fruit bouquets from Edible Arrangements.

Fiona @ ReadyForZero Blog writes How To Network On a Budget - Networking can help you make valuable professional connections and potentially benefit your career as a result. But when networking goes beyond connecting via LinkedIn and wanders into the realm of professional lunches or happy hours, your wallet can really feel the strain. We share how to successfully network without busting your budget!

Mollie @ Success Manual writes Reasons for Distilling Wisdom - Self Improvement


Debt Guru @ Debt Free Blog writes College Finance: Tips for Starting a College Fund - Everyone knows how expensive college is. However, by utilizing a few of the tools listed below you too can begin saving for college.

Sarah @ BloggerPreneurship writes How to Think of Blog Article Ideas - It is very difficult to think of blog article ideas. As a blogger and entrepreneur, you rely on your blogs and websites for at least a portion of your income. Whether or not blogging is directly related to your income or it drives customers to your actual business, having fresh new content is incredibly important. This is no surprise, but what may be surprising to you is how difficult it is to find topics to write about on a consistent basis.

Gary @ Gajizmo writes Highest Paying Jobs in America - With new economic data showing an accelerating economy and improving labor market, young adults and professionals should be wondering about the best paying careers in America. Here is an in-depth list of jobs as well as their corresponding salaries, and job and education requirements. With the New Year around the corner, wouldn’t obtaining a new high paying job be a great resolution?

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes How Reading Biographies Can Change Your Life - Here are some ways I believe reading biographies (or autobiographies) can change your life.


Michelle @ The Shop My Closet Project writes Black Friday Pay Off Challenge-Did I Succeed?? - I decided about a month ago to pay off a credit card on Black Friday. I'm not anti-Black Friday.

Lindy @ Minting Nickels writes Credit Card Myths: Are They Really What They Seem? - The typical wallet might have at least one credit card inside it.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Is saving really a virtue? - Saving builds savings; you are still working for your money. Start investing and make you money work for you.

Jon @ Increase Credit Limit writes How To Increase Your Credit Limit - Even if you might know that you should increase your credit limit, that information will do you no good unless you know how to get it done. So, here are some tips for how you can increase your credit limit.

The Wolverine @ Wolverine Finance writes Financing Your Next Car...For How Long? - In the United States, the average new vehicle loan is now 65 months! If you choose to finance a car, how long should your loan be?


Ryan @ Cash Money Life writes Bitcoin: Investment or Speculation? - Bitcoins are an entirely digital currency that is growing quickly. People want to know if they are a good investment, or if we are nearing a Bitcoin bubble.

Roger the Amateur Financier @ The Amateur Financier writes Keep Your Cyber Monday (and Other Holiday Shopping) Inexpensive - A list of advice on how to keep your online shopping relatively inexpensive, looking at rebate sites, free shipping, coupon codes, and comparison sites for shopping.

Daisy @ Suburban Finance writes Cheap Things to Do on New Years Eve - Looking for an inexpensive new year celebration? We have listed some cheap things to do on new year's eve (NYE on the cheap).

Tushar Mathur @ Everything Finance writes The Four Gift Rule - The four gift rule is the perfect way to cut down on materialism this Christmas all while still giving your kids exactly what they want.

Crystal @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff writes Growing a Blog - Sorry, It Takes Time - A bunch of you have emailed me over the last 2-3 months asking how to grow your site as fast as humanly possible.

Cat Alford @ Budget Blonde writes How to Avoid Big Purchases and Deal with Emergencies - If you want to know how to avoid big purchases and be better prepared to deal with financial emergencies, look no further than this post!

Tushar @ Finance TUBE writes 5 Secrets of Successful Savers - Are you a saver or a spender? There are several things you can do if you make saving more natural or spender. There are also strategies you can use that will help your children become savers and set them up on a path to wealth.

Crystal @ Married (with Debt) writes My 2014 Financial Plan - Rather than prepare a list of financial goals, I've chosen to instead craft a solid financial plan ahead of 2014, with a goal of sticking with it for 2014.

Suba @ Broke Professionals writes How Much Should De-Stressing Your Life Cost? - We all have stressors. Some of them are the little nagging ones, like getting to daycare on time to pick up the kids and avoid extra charges.

Don @ MoneySmartGuides writes Beginners Guide to Power of Attorney - The idea of power of attorney can be a complicated one. It is important that you understand the logistics of how power of attorney works before you are in the situation of being one.

Cindy @ MidLife Finance writes How to Retire the Cheapskate Way - What if you could retire better, earlier, happier — now or in just a few years?

SavingMentor @ How To Save Money writes Insurance: Can You Get A Better Rate? - Insurance, more than any other product or service I pay for, makes me nervous ...

Irfan @ Everything About Investment writes Warren Buffett: How to teach your children about money - Warren Buffett is one of the most famous billionaires in the world. He also loves sharing his advice with kids as part of his Secret Millionaires Club. Here, he answers five questions, including what he thinks the biggest mistake is that parents make when teaching their kids about money and how he learned about money.

Ben Luthi @ The Wealth Gospel writes Rules of Thumb to Ignore - Rules of thumb can be helpful when you're just starting to learn how to deal with your finances. But for some people, they can be holding you back from reaching your potential.

Pauline @ Make Money Your Way writes How are Currencies Traded? - Today Troy continues the investing for beginners series, he explains how exactly are currencies traded?

Chris @ MyTermLife123 writes Term vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Is Better? - You’ve heard about life insurance, but what about the different types of policies? Do you know what differentiates between term versus whole life insurance, and the pros and cons of each type of coverage? While shopping this holiday season, think about your life insurance needs as well.


Matt Becker @ Mom and Dad Money writes What to Look For in a Disability Insurance Policy - There are a lot of variables to consider when looking at disability insurance, and with all of the different terms it can quickly get confusing. Today I’d like to explain some of the most common and important characteristics of a disability insurance policy so that you can make a more informed decision when evaluating your options.


Justin @ Root of Good @ Root of Good writes Three Months of Early Retirement - In this tell-all exposé, Justin reveals the secret life of a 33 year old early retiree. Buying baby diapers in bulk, repairing appliances, tracking spending. It's all in here folks!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Carnival of Retirement - 94th Edition

This is my first time to host a blog carnival, and I'm honoured to host this week's Carnival of Retirement - 94th Edition.

Here are my top three picks:

SBB @ Simple Budget Blog writes Ready, Set, Shop! Tips on Getting Through the Holiday Shopping Season - The things to watch out for as you begin your annual holiday shopping experience.

Daisy @ Suburban Finance writes Want to Learn About Personal Finance? Play Monopoly - According to, the term -monopoly- is defined as "exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices." I highly doubt I knew what that meant when I was younger, but read what I learned.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Here are 4 Fees that you actually Should Pay - There are a handful of fees that it actually pays you to pay (no pun intended) and our little blog today will let you know what they are and why you should do it. Enjoy.

And the rest of this week's submissions:

Tushar @ Earn More and Save writes 3 Reasons Why Bargain Shopping is Bad for Your Wallet - The economy is still shaky for the most part and everyone wants to be a bargain shopper nowadays. The problem? Bargain shopping can often be bad for your wallet. Here's why.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Frugality or folly: stop wasting food! - We all waste too much food and it is time to stop. As a bonus you'll learn how to make spaghetti carbonara and meringue.

Corey @ Steadfast Finances writes Reasons to Get Life Insurance - I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is almost 3o and his wife is pregnant. When I asked him what type of life insurance he had, he looked puzzled. "Surely you have life insurance at your age, with a child on the way?" I asked him. I was shocked to find out that he did not think he needed life insurance because he was ONLY 30.

Eva Baker @ TeensGotCents writes Paparazzi Business Update - I started a new business in September and spent my entire emergency fund in the process. This is my first paparazzi business update!

Minimalist @ Minimalist Finance writes Ways to Find Money to Save - Over and over again, we hear about people that use the excuse that they can’t save money for the future because they don’t have enough money in the now. Many people struggle to put money away when they are already living hand to mouth.

JP @ My Family Finances writes Why Paying Down Debt Is Better Than Investing In The Stock Market - Overall, while investing in the stock market may seem like a good idea, the fact remains that doing so would only put you at a greater risk of losing more money.

Tushar Mathur @ Everything Finance writes How To Save A Few Bucks When You Go Out To Eat - If you want to go out to eat but you're on a tight budget, here's how to save a few bucks when you go!

Mr. Frenzy @ Frenzied Finances writes Common Personal Finance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them - There are widespread personal finance mistakes made by many Americans that can easily be avoided. What mistakes are you making? Read here to find out!

Kyle @ The Penny Hoarder writes Long-term vs. Short-term Small Business Loans - Learn about the key differences between short-term loans and long-term loans. No matter what kind of business you have, this information will help you determine which small business loans can best benefit your bottom line.

CAPI @ Creating a Passive Income writes Getting a Kickstart: How to Use Donation Sites - Most people are either unaware of or are reluctant to use donation sites. For some, this may seem like virtual panhandling, but the exact opposite is true.

Mrs. Accountability @ Out of Debt Again writes Shopping Cart Abandonment: Three Ways to Drop the Rate - Have you ever logged onto a store’s website and browsed around, maybe clicked on a couple of items to add them to your cart, then left the page without buying a single item?

Hank @ Money Q&A writes How You Can Save A Ton Of Money With Coupons This Holiday Season - You don't have to go to extreme measures to make coupons, coupon codes, and deals help you and your family save money with coupons. Here are some great tips to save a ton!

PPlan @ Provident Plan writes Is Income Protection Necessary? - My wife and I have finally gotten to a point where we are earning a decent amount more than our expenses.

Cat Alford @ Budget Blonde writes Wow, It's Really Hard To Save Money Here! - Now that I've been back in the U.S. I've been spending money left and right. It's really hard to save money here! There are so many unexpected expenses!

Crystal @ Married (with Debt) writes I Bought a New TV - I just bought myself a new TV. There wasn’t anything wrong with my old TV. I just wanted a new one. Before you start typing, let me explain.

IMB @ Investing Money writes Increasing the ROI on Your Investments - This holiday season, everyone wants a little extra cash to spend on those you love. If you are an investor, you might be looking for the money from your investments. If you can squeeze a little higher return from your investments, you might be able to spend a little more in Holiday shopping.

Ryan @ Cash Money Life writes Take the Stress Out of Christmas Shopping - Christmas shopping can be an expensive and stressful event! Use these tips to make your shopping list, set a budget, and the reduce stress of the season!

Tushar @ Start Investing Money writes Should You Blow Your Savings on Christmas? - This has to be one of the most tempting times of the year. It's like a diet you stay on for 95% of the duration, only to fall at the final hurdle and let yourself down during those last few days that could have made a real difference.

Luke @ Learn Bonds writes Two Moderately-Aggressive Asset Allocations For Income-Focused Investors - A look at 2 moderate risk asset allocation models for those who want to have a higher yield while being able to withstand risk in maturities.

Brent @ PersonalFinance-Tips writes 6 Tricks To Help You Get Out Of Debt Quickly - Debt is something that the majority of people today have to deal with, which is unfortunate. With this being said, if you do have debt, there are simple things you can do to increase the rate at which you are able to pay it off. Below are six tricks to help you reach a debt free lifestyle as quickly as possible.

Don @ MoneySmartGuides writes 5 Tips for Identity Theft Victims - Identity theft has made so many victims that you should no longer wonder if your identity will be compromised, but when.

Lindy @ Minting Nickels writes Top Mistakes to Avoid in Online Forex Trading - There are plenty of places that tell you what you should do when you’re trading Forex online, but not as many telling you what you shouldn’t.

Jacob @ AllPersonalFinance writes Commodities: Tips and Tricks to Expert Investing - Many investors, young and old, look to the commodities market when seeking double-digit returns. In this market, one can make serious returns even when the overall stock markets are down. However, when trading commodities, one should follow a few basic rules should they want to achieve success. Here are four tips for a commodities investor.

SFB @ Simple Finance Blog writes How to Set Yourself Up To Be a Financial Success When Starting the First Job------ - Whenever anyone starts out at their first job, it is a process of learning few significant lessons in order to succeed in the real world.

Mike @ Personal Finance Journey writes 5 Costly Mistakes Contractors Make When Starting a Home Remodel Project - 5 simple but easy to follow ways to avoid making mistakes and costing yourself money during a home renovation.

Tushar @ Finance TUBE writes Time to Manage Your Largest Asset - For most people the largest assets are there home and the contents inside of it. But many people don't spend enough time managing their home, not understanding their financial implications of not managing it.

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves writes Do You Have 6.2% Extra In Your Paycheck? - It’s pretty amazing to me how many people truly still don’t understand our payroll tax system.

Crystal @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff writes 10 Tips to Save Money - Here's an oldie but goodie from early 2011! Here are my top 10 tips to save money: 1. Save Automatically. Setting up automatic contributions is the best way, in my opinion, to save money...

Roger the Amateur Financier @ The Amateur Financier writes Save Money While Job Hunting: A Few Simple Tips - A contribution discussing some ways to keep your cost of going to interviews and job hunting to a minimum while you are getting a number...

Dominique Brown @ YourFinancesSimplified writes I Don't Borrow-Why Should I Worry About My Credit Score? - People who don’t worry about their credit report and credit score are being short-sighted.

Bargain Babe @ writes 9 More Ways to Stay Warm Without Turning the Heat On - 9 More Ways to Stay Warm Without Turning the Heat On

Debt Guru @ Debt Free Blog writes Hand Me Downs: Why They Win the Battle of New VS Used - Need clothes for your child? Consider the money savers that are hand me downs, or even used clothing from other sources, instead of buying new.

Michelle @ The Shop My Closet Project writes Life in the Red-A tale of being in debt - I have spent my entire adult life living life in "The Red". When I say in "The Red". I mean in debt. When you talk living paycheck to paycheck I get it. I get juggling bills and money around to see what I have in the bank and in my pocket so that I can pay things off.

Cindy @ MidLife Finance writes Getting the Most from Black Friday - Inside and Out - It’s coming — the holiday shopping period that drives us crazy each year, but also gives up great bargains. BlackFriday is on its way!

Ben Luthi @ The Wealth Gospel writes What I Learned About Financial Independence as a Mormon Missionary - My experience as a missionary in Germany was unforgettable. Beyond meeting all the crazies and getting to serve others, I learned a lot about financial independence

Ben Luthi @ The Wealth Gospel writes Changing Your Behavior Isn't Enough - If you want to obtain financial security, it’s not enough to change your behavior. You have to change your nature.

Michael Kitces @ Nerd's Eye View writes The Idiocy Of The IPO Price Pop - The whole point of an IPO is for a company to sell off a piece of itself, raising money to help invest for its future growth. Which actually means companies that have a big price "pop" after they IPO get less value, and the "best" IPOs should actually be the ones where the price does NOT immediately rise!

Daisy @ When Life Give You Lemons writes We’re Doing Big Things to Tame Our Heating Bill - We hate our heating bill, and we are doing a lot to lower it. Here are some of the steps we have taken.

Daisy @ Suburban Finance writes Want to Learn About Personal Finance? Play Monopoly - In my opinion, Monopoly is the ONE game that sheds light on several aspects of personal finance. It makes you think about money. How to manage your money. How to build wealth. Risk tolerance. Knowing when to take a risk. Buying, owning and investing in real estate. It is a game that can be used as a tool to teach kids and adults about how important it is to manage your money and grow your wealth.

Daniel @ Make Money Make Cents writes It's Time To Stop Trying to Keep Up With The Joneses - Keeping up with the Joneses is the phenomenon of using your neighbors as a standard for which to compare your own life and material goods.

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes Harmless? Hardly. These things can Negatively affect your Credit Score. - Most consumers are so busy looking out for the big mistakes that can cause credit problems that they completely overlook small but equally damaging problems that can pop up every day.

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes Five Ways for Parents to Save on Tutoring - You may be starting to notice your child's strengths and weaknesses in school, as far as grades go. There is a solution: tutoring.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes How your Upbringing Affects your Money Habits Part 2 - Something that most people do not realize is that how they were raised as children can actually have a big impact on how they make decisions as adults, especially with money.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes Online and Mobile Retail make Black Friday practically obsolete - Ladies and gentlemen, here is a certifiable fact; marking down prices for Christmas is an American tradition. Here is another fact that is a bit newer; today, those markdowns and bargains come right to you at home so there is no need to actually go to the store to get them.

Lenny @ Best Money Saving Blog writes Avoid these Common Mistakes or you will Always be Broke – Part 2 - While being broke may just be the fault of your circumstance because you are out of work, underemployed or just went through bankruptcy, the fact is that most people are broke all the time because they make a lot of financial mistakes.

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Thinking about purchasing Aflac Stock? Now may be a very good time - Aflac is, right now, an excellent buy due to its recent post earnings pullback and, in our opinion, could easily be chosen over other insurance rivals like The Hartford and Berkshire Hathaway.

Andrea @ So Over This writes More Money, More Gifts: Effective Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping - There are so many people looking to save money during the holidays while also getting the gifts that they want for their family and friends. Fortunately, there are several effective ways that this goal can be accomplished.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes Can you improve your credit in 15 Minutes a day? Yes you can - More and more people are realizing that maintaining a high credit score and understanding their credit is vital to their financial well-being as well as their life in general.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes The Secret of Saving for Your First Deposit - Are you ready to become a homeowner and do not fancy a no-deposit home loan? Then the biggest obstacle standing in your way is the first deposit or down payment.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes Over 70% of Employees Missing Out on Pretax Dollars for Medical Expenses - In 2013 fewer Americans than ever put pretax dollars a way to cover future medical expenses but changes in 2014 will make these flexible spending accounts bit more attractive. These new changes will actually give taxpayers a bit of extra time to use their money.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes How to spot a good mortgage broker from a bad one - How can you decide if a mortgage broker is a good one or a bad one? The best way is to learn the answers to these questions.

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months writes The Joys of Being a Freelancer - While I do not consider my consider my consulting role that of a freelancer, I have, at times, taken on freelance clients for various projects. The beauty of being a freelance is not necessarily the freedom to work wherever you want, but more so the ability to work with whomever you feel is a great fit.

Buck @ Buck Inspire writes Tis The Enrollment Season To Be Jolly - It is time to enroll for your employee benefits! Some basics are pretty straightforward and really depends on personal preference like HMO versus PPO.

Monica @ Monica On Money writes How To Graduate College Debt Free - It might be hard to believe, but it is entirely possible to graduate from college debt-free. Think about how amazing it would be to start your new career without worrying about paying off student loans.

Holly @ Club Thrifty writes 5 Ridiculous Gifts I'm Not Getting My Kids - As the mother of two toddler daughters, I am horrified by some of the toys I have seen in stores. Read this post for 5 ridiculous gifts I will not be buying.

Larry @ KrantCents writes Everything Is Always on Sale! - Everything is always on sale seems like an exaggeration! If you are expecting to go to your local store and find absolutely everything on sale, you will be disappointed. Then again, you can find just about everything on sale somewhere.

Natalie @ Debt and the Girl writes Can Frugal Be Taken Too Far? - I was perusing the Netflix selection on my computer one afternoon and I found a show called Extreme Cheapskates.

Alexa @ Single Moms Income writes 5 Practical Christmas Gifts for Kids - If you want to save money and buy Christmas gifts kids will love, you need practical gifts. Here is a list of five practical Christmas gifts for kids.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes Personal Finance 101: Back to the Basics - To layout a strong financial foundation you need to know the personal finance basics. In this post we go back to the basics for you.

Graham @ Moneystepper writes Peer-to-peer lending – Funding Circle experiment - Peer-to-peer lending – Funding Circle experiment

Jason @ The Money Makers writes Olivia Wilde is Having a Baby: What are the first-month expenses? - Olivia Wilde recently announced her pregnancy with fiance Jason Sudeikis as she is due with her first child in the coming year. Although the couple have declined to reveal their due date, they likely are expecting to set aside a budget for their baby, even with their high incomes.

Sustainable PF @ Sustainable Personal Finance writes The Importance of Saving Early - When my husband and I first married, we were poor and in debt. It was a difficult place to be, and, even as we made inroads and improved our finances, we still felt pinched.

FI Pilgrim @ FI Journey writes Is Patience Still A Virtue? - There are a lot of things in life that money cannot buy. But in my experience there are also a lot of things that debt can take away. I council patience!

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes Dump your Mutual Fund if they do these 4 things. - The simple fact about investing in mutual funds is that it does take a bit of work, time and energy to do it right.

GenY @ Gen Y Finances writes Does Everyone Need an Emergency Fund? - You’ve probably heard more times than you can count that you should have savings put away for a rainy day. You may have also heard the old phrase that one size does not fit all.

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes What Are Your Priorities? Choosing Where You Spend Your Time - While I’m excited about these newfound projects, I do need to be careful about over-scheduling. One of the pitfalls of modern society is the tendency to be out and doing for the sake of being busy. I want to stay carefully balanced.

Adam @ Money Bulldog writes 5 Signs You Chose the Wrong Career - Do you find yourself getting bored at work way too often? Maybe it's time to switch career paths.

Adam @ Money Rebound writes Who Are the Richest Fictional Characters of All Time? - Fictional characters that made you wish you had their riches when you were younger.

Justin @ Root of Good @ Root of Good writes Investment Management Using Asset Allocation Targets - Many investors have an asset allocation for their portfolios. Find out how to rebalance your portfolio using asset allocation targets and free software.

Little House @ Little House in the Valley writes A Yummy Retirement Recipe - A while ago, I thought of a clever idea; write up the steps to a budget like a recipe. Here's my "recipe" for a successful retirement:

Lazy Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes A Great 14 Year Old Entrepreneur - You may remember me writing about Abigail Martin and her $500 wedding. At the time I called her my hero. Today, I add Willow Tufano to that list. A few more of these stories and I'll have to come up with a Lazy Man Hall of Fame of Amazing People.

Matt @ Living in Financial Excellence writes Do You Have Enough Money to Retire? - If you don’t want to end up greeting strangers at the door of Wal-Mart (and I know I don’t!), then you might want to sit down and figure out how much money you’ll really need when you retire.

Christopher @ This That and The MBA writes Saving For The Future - When I am looking for a new account, I tend to look for an online account because many of them pay higher interest rates than the typical brick and mortar banks. Just because the account is online does not mean that they are any less of a bank than a brick and mortar bank that you are used to.

Dollar @ Easy Extra Dollar writes 5 Ways To Improve Your Adsense Earnings - Leaderboard is the most popular ad format that most webmasters uses on his website. It is good too. Using leaderboard on top of the page is the best place to improve click through rate of ads.

Brian @ Luke1428 @ Luke1428 writes What Good Is Freedom When You Are Told What To Do With It? - Freedom is the foundation upon which the United States was founded. The implementation of Obamacare seems to have blurred the lines between personal freedom to choose and the government's role to better society.

John @ Frugal Rules writes Tradeking Review: An Online Brokerage Worth Considering - Investing in the stock market is vital to building wealth and with the variety of options available of where to invest it can be confusing. Choosing a good brokerage that has good offering and low fees can be a great way to help grow your retirement portfolio and get your investing on the right foot.

Jon Haver @ Pay My Student Loans writes How to Find School Loans and Grants - Sources of loans and grants lie in three primary places: federal government, state education agencies, and individual college and university financial aid offices.

Matt Becker @ Mom and Dad Money writes Disability Insurance: Why Almost Everyone Needs It - Disability insurance is one of the hallmarks of a secure financial plan. And it's something that almost everyone needs. If you rely on your income, disability insurance is a must.

Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence writes My 7 Steps to Financial Freedom – A Proven System for Building Your Wealth - Today Anton Ivanov of Dreams Cash True gives us an overview of his wealth building system, the 7 steps to financial freedom describe in his eBook.

Pauline @ Make Money Your Way writes I bought another PF blog! - I just bought a third PF blog, here are the details of how to value a blog and the expected returns!

Mr.CBB @ canadian budget binder writes Comparing the comparison sites in Canada - If you love a good deal then you know you can compare prices using comparison sites online.

Harry Campbell @ Your PF Pro writes Am I Ready for a Career in Financial Planning? - One of my goals during my three month work hiatus was to look into a career in financial planning. Even though I majored in aerospace engineering during college, it wasn’t until after I graduated and started working that I found out how much I liked helping people with their finances. People are usually surprised to discover that I’m so into personal finance considering my educational background. But I think the two go hand in hand; I base a lot of my investing principles/techniques off f

Harry Campbell @ The Four Hour Work Day writes Have You Ever Had a Really Great Manager? - On most nights when I get home from work, I have a pretty consistent routine. I’ll work online for a couple hours while I have a little snack and then it’s off to prepare dinner, or grab a quick bite to eat. Once in a while, my fiancee will even cook dinner for me! But after that, I sit down in front of the TV and put on one of my favorite shows: The Office. It’s kind of sad but that show is one of the only ones I can watch over and over without it ever getting old.

For the carnival archive visit: If you want to host a future carnival or submit for next week see the signup form at Blogger Carnivals.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Giving is Sexy

Do you give to charity?

For those of us who track our net worth monthly, the idea of giving money to charity can be counterintuitive. Why would you give your money away, when it, on paper, decreases your networth. It is a cost, like any other, but it can pay some surprising benefits.

The first is some handy tax deductions:

As a Canadian, for federal tax, you get a 15% tax deduction on the first $200, and 29% on everything over $200. Also, every province has their own additional deductions rates, ranging from Ontario at 5.05% on the first $200/11.6% on everything over $200, to Quebec which allows a deduction of 20% on the first $200, to 24% on everything over $200. You can claim donations up to Dec 31 of the tax year, and any unclaimed donations from the prior 5 years. Canada Revenue Agency has a handy tax credit calculator: Charitable donation tax credit calculator.

If you haven't claimed the Canadian Donation Tax Credit before, the government is offering a First Time Donor's Super Credit! This new tax credit gives an additional 25% off up to $1000 of monetary donation for a first time donor. It can be claimed once in the 2013-2017 tax year for donations made after March 20th 2013. Effectively this means that a first time donor will get 40% federal tax credit for the first $200 of donations, and and 54% federal tax credit for donations between $200 and $1000.

If you're inclined to give to political parties, there are even more generous tax credits available. You can receive a federal tax credit of 75% of your contribution up to $400, 50% of the next $350, and 33.3% of the last $525 up to a maximum credit of $650. Different provinces also have different rules, so read up. The reason for the very generous tax credits is that this is an indirect method of public financing of elections.

The second, and more important in my opinion: Giving makes people happier.

Researcher Arthur Brooks says that people who give charitably are 43 percent more likely to say they are "very happy" than non-givers, while non-givers are three and a half times more likely to report they are "not happy at all." Putting a charitable donation in the mail provide great personal satisfaction.

If you cannot afford to give money, you can give your time. Giving in this way is perhaps even more rewarding, as you can directly see the impact of your efforts. Charitable giving of any form is a great way to get involved and shape your community.

As a donor you have choice in when and how you give. Some people donate to friends and family as they do runs/walks/bikes for charities. Others give to charities they support. Others give funds to shape specific initiatives. I give to a scholarship at my university that was created to support a specific kind of student.

And besides, giving is sexy. A person who is generous is more attractive than someone who is miserly.

What about you? Do you give to charity? Is it a part of your monthly budget?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Combining Finances

My girlfriend is broke. Not just a little broke, a lot broke. She's a student, one degree done, working on the second. Plenty of student loans, owes mom and dad money, negative net worth.

We're in different places financially, I've been working for a few years. I struggled a bit early on, with car payments, and rent, but am on a good positive path now. For the most part, she lives off of student loans, and part-time jobs. Good education is a good investment, and it will be worth it in the long run. But, debt is still debt.

I see that she's making some of the money mistakes I made early on. When we first started dating, I wouldn't dream of getting involved. However, the amount of debt she is taking on is small relative to my income. But I don't want to step in and become a rescuer. Learning the lessons early on, helped me get where I am now. I also don't want to lecture (that's her dad's job).

Her debt level is high though, and will take a few years to pay off. And I can see what kind of an impact it will have on our future finances. I am starting to think about our future finances will look like, when my postive net worth meets her negative net worth.

What impact will my being more established have on her financial knowledge? Will she be too dependent? How can we integrate our financial lives in a way that's fair?

More questions than answers on this one, I'm afraid. Time will tell.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When Doubling Down Isn't Worth It

Many employees are given the opportunity to purchase company stock, via a discounted purchase plan, in an RRSP, with a company match, or stock options. This can be a small or large portion of the employees' total compensation, and, particularly in the case of stock options, encourage an employee to stay with the company. So what are the downsides?

The largest risk is lack of diversification, essentially that your employment and your investment are in the same place. If your company suffers difficulty, your employment and your investment are in jeopardy. Also, many employees, "drink the kool-aid" and overestimate the potential of their company compared to others in the industry. They don't pay the same critical eye as they would to other investments.

So what to do? In my case, I can purchase 10% of my salary in stock at a discount. So I purchase the stock at the discount, and then immediately unload the shares to gain the discount. I reinvest the proceeds in other investments.

Which brings to me to the next point, you need to carefully evaluate the terms, conditions and tax implications of accepting the advantage stock. In my case, the only disadvantage is that the discount is taxed as income, not as a capital gain. If you take stock options, there will be vesting requirements, that will tie you to the company. At executive and director levels, there can be mandatory share ownership requirements, to force the executive to have skin in the game with the company. Although, these levels are usually compensated well enough to manage the risk in other ways.

At the end of the day, you need to carefully consider the gains available from taking company stock, evaluating the terms, and any tax implications, and avoid putting too many eggs in the company basket. Look for opportunities to take the gains, but then sell the stock and place the profits elsewhere to avoid taking too much risk in one place.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Queen of Versailles

On the train this weekend, I watched a documentary called The Queen of Versailles. Released in 2012, it follows billionaires David Siegel and his engineer turned beauty queen wife Jackie as they embark to build the largest single family home in America starting in 2008. Siegel is the founder of Westgate Resorts, a large timeshare business. David's plans for his home and his business are rocked by the financial crisis, putting the putting the Versailles project on hold, and the sale of PH Westgate in Las Vegas.

Two financial lessons jumped out at me while watching.

1. The dangers of cheap credit.
During the movie, Westgate's business is highly dependant on credit, both for themselves, and for the people buying time-shares in their company. They sell time-shares to people, at low monthly payments, for long mortgages. Instead of setting up a sustainable business, they leverage the mortages into new projects. When the credit drys up, the business cannot make the payments, resulting in the company having to sell their flagship property in Las Vegas. Near the end of the movie, he says that he should have only had 15 properties, instead of 30.

2. The dangers of being too invested in your own company.
Although the Siegel's paid cash for their current home, they took out a mortgage on the property to invest back into Westgate. When the company runs into difficulty, the creditors demand that David take a pay cut, putting their current home at risk. At my company, I have the option to buy shares every year at a small discount. Many of my colleagues buy these and remain invested. So their employment, their pension, and their investments are all tied into one company. I buy the shares to gain the advantage of the discount, but then sell and invest in other companies.

The movie paints an unsympathetic picture of a slightly out of touch billionaire wife trying to cut back and economize (While still eating caviar for Christmas breakfast). There are also some interesting side threads as the movie explores the mind set of people who buy timeshares, and the impact of the financial crisis on ordinary people. I would recommend a watch if you have a chance to find this movie.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What is a Trailing Stop?

Many investors, like myself, are primarily buy and hold investors. However, there are some slightly more advanced techniques, that can help to protect from losses, lock in gains, and remove emotion from investing.

One of the techniques that I use is a trailing stop. To be able to understand a trailing stop, first let's understand a stop or stop-order.

A stop is simply a request to buy or sell a stock at a certain price. If you own a stock, you can set a stop price to lock in profits, or limit losses. You set a stop below the current stock value and then if the stock drops, you will sell and be protected from losses. As the stock moves, you can adjust your stops to track the stock price, to lock in higher gains.

Which brings us to a trailing stop. A trailing stop automatically tracks the closing high, setting a stop a certain percentage below the closing high. For example, let’s say you buy a stock at $40 with a 10% trailing stop. So the stop (sell) price would be at $36. Then the stock rises to $55 over time. Then the stop (sell) price would be $50. The stock falls to $50, the stop is triggered, and you sell at $50, locking in a $10 dollar gain.

You can use this to follow a stock upwards. Let's say you hold a stock and you want to maximize your gains, but aren't sure if you should sell (or when you should sell). The trailing stop will lock in your gains as the stock goes higher, but then when it moves down, will lock in those gains.

The key is to set the trailing stop percentage wide enough that a sell won't be triggered by noise, but narrow enough to lock in a reasonable gain. You can either look back at the stock's history to get an idea of the variation.

You can set up a trailing stop with an investment account. In my case, I am with BMOInvestorline, and there is no cost to set-up a trailing stop, only commission to be paid if the stop is triggered. Also, it can only be done for stocks above $5, and in lots (a lot is 100 stocks).

This post is linked in: My Wealth BuilderMy Money Counselor

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is Your Home An Asset?

For many people, their home is their largest source of debt (mortgage), and their largest asset. It can be the largest determinate of networth. But is the wealth derived from this kind of net worth real? In my opinion, no, because the home is a highly illiquid asset and one always needs a place to live. You can sell a stock or a bond at your advantage, but could you do the same with your home? Many people are buoyed by a rising house price, but it's difficult to derive a real benefit from this. If your home increased in a value by 10%, chances are your neighbour's did as well. And so even if you move, within the same housing market, you don't end up with any extra cash in your pocket.

Issues like these lead to the phrase house rich and cash poor. So how can you get real value from your home?

1. Move out of town. If you move from a higher value housing market to a lower value housing market, you can realize the difference. For example, a house in the city might be $500,000, but the same size place in a smaller community out of town might be $400,000 due to lower land costs and lower demand.

2. Downsize. Reducing your square footage, moving into a condo, will let you pocket the difference.

3. Renovate (then move). If you put some sweat equity, then you can make your house increase in value more than your neigbour's. You won't realize this gain, until you move.

4. Reverse Mortgage. By obtaining a reverse mortgage you can access the equity in your home. This is neutral on your net worth, as your liabilities also increase, but you change your illiquid asset of home equity into liquid cash.

Paying off your mortgage is a clear benefit. It reduces your interest and frees up cash for building your other assets. It has to be counted with your debt. But what about your equity. Should you count it in your net worth. In my case I do, particularly since the asset offsets the liability of the mortgage. (You can pay off the mortgage if you sell) However, I also track my assets excluding the home, to make sure that I am building up more liquid assets as well. I have two main financial goals, reduce my mortgage and build my liquid assets. My home equity is increasing, but I really don't get too excited, as I know that when I sell, I'll be paying that higher price to someone else when I buy a new place.

How much of your networth does your home represent?

This post was linked in: The Yakezie CarnivalAspiring BloggerFine Tune Finances

Friday, August 9, 2013

Networth 2013

I have a New Year's tradition. On Jan 1 I update my books for my overall networth. I track it monthly, but it usually fluctuates due to changes in the market, higher or lower spending. Looking at it year over year shows the progress.

I also look at how much my networth changed compared to my income, and how my assets are distributed.

Increase in Networth as a % of Income

Increase in NW as a % of Income

For most years I have been able to keep my networth increasing by more than 40% of my income, which is well beyond my goal of 25%.

Asset Distribution (%)

Non Registered
Real Estate

For my assets, my goal is to keep 10% in cash, which also includes my emergency fund. I want to maximize my RRSP and TFSA. For real estate, I want to pay down my mortgage as fast as possible, but I don't want my house to be the primary contributor to my net worth. I don't consider my main residence as a real part of my networth, as the value isn't realized as long as you live in it. Rental properties or investment properties are a different story, but I don't have those in my portfolio yet.

What are your Goals for your Networth? How often do you track it?