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Best Financial Planning Articles this Week

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Best Personal Financial Planning and Personal Investment Articles this Week from Personal Finance Blogs

Carnival of Financial Planning – Edition #215 – December 16, 2011

Welcome to the December 16, 2011 Edition #215 of the Carnival of Financial Planning.

The Carnival of Financial Planning takes a long-term view of personal financial planning for individuals and families. We focus on efficient and sustainable personal financial planning practices that can lead to lifetime financial security.

This edition is arranged by subject heading, so that you can browse efficiently.


The Skilled Investor, Editor

Budgeting and Economics

Justin presents The Importance of Cash Management posted at Money Is the Root, saying, “I’m willing to bet that many of you who read this article will probably disregard the need to forecast and manage your cashflow. I can’t urge you enough that it can and will help improve your life and your finances.”

Don presents Controlling Christmas Costs posted at Money Reasons, saying, “This is how I control Christmas Costs in the past, present and future. These strategies work for me and perhaps will work for you!”

Investor Junkie presents Mint.com Review – Should I Use Mint? posted at Investor Junkie, saying, “Mint is great for creating, and tracking your budget. It’s great you can get alerts via Email to ensure timely bill payments. It’s unfortunate that Mint’s investing area is very weak for all of but the basic investors.”

Janet Russell presents Personal Budget Software posted at Best Financial Planner, saying, “If you do not understand how much you spend and how much you are saving and investing, you simply do not have a financial plan. This situation dramatically increases your family’s long-term financial risk.”

Lisa presents Creating a Budget the Easy Way posted at Thriftability, saying, “Before starting, remember that budgeting is for you. It is for your security and peace of mind. It needs to make sense to you and fit your lifestyle. No one is going to come to your house to make sure you are keeping your books ‘correctly.’ For a private citizen keeping track of their own money, ‘correct’ is what works for you.”

Estate Planning

Paul Vachon presents Estate Planning Basics – What You Need to Know posted at The Frugal Toad, saying, “Have you ever thought about what would happen if you became incapacitated or died? What would happen to your home and other assets? Do you have a will and does your spouse know what your final wishes are? An estate plan is a set of legal documents that will make sure that your final wishes are taken care of.”

Financial Planning

Dough Roller presents Credit Card Minimum Payments will Maximize Your Financial Pain posted at Dough Roller, saying, “I’m not talking the minimums your card issuer suggest, rather the minimums you set for yourself. Paying a little more goes a long way”

SB presents Only you can take care of your finance posted at One Cent at a Time, saying, “You, only you are responsible for your own financial life. Each cent drains and each cent you miss to earn is because of you. You are your biggest coach and biggest enemy when it comes to personal finance.”

Jason presents Fighting Fair posted at Live Real, Now, saying, Arguments in your marriage aren’t–or shouldn’t be–intended to draw blood. Fights happen. If your goal is to win at any cost, you will both lose, possibly everything.”

Walter Binkle presents Fixed Income Funds posted at Fixed Income Investing, saying, “The bond investment fund market is no place for an individual investor to try to beat the market and get higher returns through attempts at clever fixed income investing. Even professional bond market money managers do not beat the bond market.”

Ashley presents Accountability Partner posted at Money Talks Coaching, saying, “Yesterday I wrote about how my accountability partner, my husband, kept me from spending $5,000. It’s important to have an accountability partner to keep spending in check. Even if you don’t have a “spending problem” it’s still helpful because anyone can fall prey to a good sales pitch or shiny .”

101 Centavos presents Caffe Break: Walk-away Negotiating posted at 101 Centavos, saying, “Learn about walk away negotiating, be perpared to use this techique if you have to.”

Daniel presents Give This Gift If You Want To Piss Off Your Husband posted at Sweating the Big Stuff, saying, “I love getting surprises, but there’s one I wouldn’t be too thrilled with. If Lauren ever does this to me, we’d have a problem. What do you think?”

Larry Russell presents ID theft protection posted at Personal Financial Planning, saying, “As a threat to your financial security, you should take the potential for identity theft very seriously. Identity theft sometimes entails a loss of your money, but whether or not you lose money, it can take a very large amount of your time to rectify. Taking these steps to prevent an occurrence is prudent.”

Kevin presents Thousandaire Countdown #2 HTPC Rap posted at Thousandaire, saying, “The HTPC Rap is my best and only rap song. It’s also the second best song I’ve ever done.”

Shaun presents Will a College Degree Increase Your Odds of Becoming Wealthy? Gallup Poll Finds Half of the Wealthiest 1of mericans Have a Graduate Degree posted at Smart Family Finance, saying, “Do you want to better your odds at become part of the wealthiest on percent of Americans? Gallup polling results show that you should consider getting a graduate degree. Half of those in the top 1of ge earners have one.”

Frank Bertin presents Index Funds posted at Best Investment Strategies, saying, “Short-term mutual fund trading is a zero sum game played against other very well informed mutual fund traders and other securities market traders. On average, higher mutual fund turnover is far more likely to result in lower investment fund performance — instead of superior risk-adjusted performance.”

YFS presents Work Hard and Shut Up! posted at Your Finances Simplified, saying, “I promise you, that if you worked this hard at anything your life would be different! Mrs. YFS and I were at our local IHOP to take advantage of some of their seasonal pancakes and stumbled upon this very ambitious and dedicated employee who is the basis of my story. ”

Peter presents Love Your Children? Take Care of Your Financial Health posted at Bible Money Matters, saying, “We parents love our children, but sometimes the best way to show that, in addition to time and attention, is to take care of our own financial needs so that our children don’t have to.”

Janet presents The Gift of Good Finances: Financial Giving this Christmas posted at Credit Cards Canada, saying, “Financial gifts can help the recipient get on the right track, and be a great way to show that you care.”

oilhand99 presents Financial Analysis: Which Payment Option Would You Rather Have posted at Trees Full of Money, saying, “If you’ve ever wondered whether to take a lump sum of cash over an annuity or other form of structured payment, this article will give you the skills to calculate the most advantageous payment structure for you!”

Financing a Home

Emmie presents Renovating Your Home on a Budget posted at Wallet Watcher, saying, “Turn your dreams into reality by converting your home into a blissful sanctuary without spending a fortune. By doing pre-renovation research on design, materials and colour scheme and adopting the above-mentioned strategies, it is possible to cut costs without compromising on quality”

Financing Education

Jules Wells presents Financial Education posted at Rational Financial Planning, saying, “A financial planning reading list about personal financial planning and investment management.”


PITR presents Keep My Day Job? posted at Passive Income To Retire, saying, “In my plan to retire from passive income, I have often questioned at what point will I quit my day job. It is hard to pass up on some of the benefits that my day job offers. Find out what my plan is.”

Julie presents The Top Three Things I’ve Sold Online posted at The Family CEO, saying, “These are the top three things that I have sold online that were big wins for me!”

Evan presents The Value of Earning a Side Income posted at My Journey to Millions, saying, “Even a relatively small amount of extra cash can go a long way. To show you what I mean, let’s look at two examples–retirement (with a good chunk of side income) and credit card debt (with a relatively small amount of side income).”

Miranda @ Financial Highway presents 50 Home Business Ideas posted at Financial Highway, saying, “Many of us want to earn extra money from home. And, indeed, starting a home business can be a good way to cultivate additional income, and help you reach other financial goals that you might have. From creative business ideas, to the more mundane, here are 50 home business ideas.”

FMF presents Being Beautiful Can Earn You a Fortune posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “Want to earn more money? Become more attractive.”

Eddie presents Thinking of Going Back to Former Employer – Would You? posted at Finance Fox, saying, “Returning to a former employer is real trend and it’s happening in all industries. The trend is appropriately dubbed as boomeranging. No one said, all relationships are perfect the first time, maybe the second time around is the charm.”

Will presents Want To Blog Full-Time? Ignore “Warnings”;, Listen To Advice! posted at Former Banker, saying, “Becoming a full-time blogger takes time, money, dedication, and unfortunately, most people who try will fail. Which side you end up on depends partly on getting the right information.”


Eric J. Nisall presents When Investing You Really Need To Think For Yourself posted at DollarVersity, saying, “In life most people are happy to let others do the work and thinking for them. When it comes to investing, that attitude can get you in deep trouble.”

The Financial Blogger presents Tips For Young Financial Advisors posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “How to make money in the financial world.”

Steven Zussino presents Why Lululemon (LLL) is a poor stock and why you should sell posted at Canadian Personal Finance, saying, “Have all the retailers like Nike, Under Armour, Joe Fresh, and even Walmart started ambushing the expensive clothing of Lululemon? The answer is YES. This stock has gone done well for shareholders but I feel it’s time is up.”

Janet Russell presents Fund manager performance posted at Personal Investment Management, saying, “The effort to find those few supposedly superior money managers willing to sell their services sufficiently cheaply is a costly, time consuming, and futile, “Where’s Waldo?,” searching exercise for the individual investor.”

Money Cone presents If You Own Mutual Funds or ETFs, Don’t Ignore This Metric posted at Money Cone, saying, “Lipper Metrics are just a tool to help the investor navigate the ocean of ETFs and mutual funds. Having an understanding of this rating system should go a long way in making the right decision when it comes to investing.”

Finley Merriwether presents Best Bond Mutual Funds posted at Low Cost Bond Funds, saying, “Vanguard dominates this low cost United States bond mutual funds marketplace for direct purchase accounts with both low and high minimum deposits. Investment research overwhelmingly shows that lower cost fixed income funds tend to yield higher bond investing returns. ”

Jack Ping presents Top No Load Mutual Funds posted at My Investment Funds, saying, “There are over 60,000 different mutual fund investment share classes sold worldwide. Some mutual funds and ETFs must be better than others, but which ones are they? How can you tell before the fact?”

Dividends4Life presents 7 High-Yielding Mega-Cap Stocks posted at Dividend Growth Stocks, saying, “There is perceived safety in size. Giant corporations aren’t randomly grown. Instead, they are carefully built through superior management and foresight. Often these are more mature companies that also offer stability and predictability, usually at the expense of dynamic growth. These are your mega-cap stocks.”

Managing Credit and Debt

J.R. Weber presents December 2011′s Best Credit Card Balance Transfer Offers posted at Smart Balance Transfers, saying, “An analysis of consumer balance transfer options available this month.”

Jeri Ford presents Will I Lose Points or Miles When I Cancel My Credit Card? posted at Help Me Travel Cheap, saying, “Learn what happens to your miles if you cancel your credit card.”

azra panjwani presents What You Need to Know About ‘Balance Transfer Day’ posted at ReadyForZero Blog, saying, “How to do a successful balance transfer (in light of balance transfer day). When it’s a good idea, what to watch out for etc.”

Theresa Torres presents A Happy Holiday Season Means Staying Out of Debt posted at CreditDonkey, saying, “Most of us can’t help it, but during the holiday season, we tend to go over our budget. Here are some tips to help us manage our finances and have a happier and less indebted holiday.”

Chelsea Prescotti presents Can One Piggyback to Increase Credit Score? posted at CreditScore.net, saying, “When you say the phrase “piggybacking,” it instantly conjures up images of someone riding on someone else’s back to get to the same destination. The process of piggybacking credit scores to improve a credit rating has been going on for a long time.”

Corey presents Getting a Bank Loan posted at 20s Finances, saying, “Learn about what factors you need to consider when you are going to take out a bank loan and why you should use it as a last resort.”


Penny presents Cell Phones Are Like Soup? posted at Penny Pinching Professional, saying, “Have you ever looked at your cell phone bill and wondered what it reminded you of? The answer is a can of soup!”

101 Centavos presents Caffe Break: Walk-away Negotiating posted at 101 Centavos, saying, “Continuing with a series of short blog posts on anything that I can write about in between bouts of writer’s block and indecision, filling in the nooks…”

Paul Vachon presents Ready to go Travel? – Try a Vacation Rental for Big Savings posted at The Frugal Toad, saying, “Vacation rentals are becoming a popular choice for today’s traveler because of the flexibility they can offer. Vacation rentals come in a variety of options: budget studios, luxury highrise apartments, cottages and cabins, and bed and breakfast inns. Vacation rentals also offer flexible length of stays from overnight to monthly to accommodate the tourist as well as the business traveler.”

Joe Plemon presents Our Ten Dollar Christmas Challenge posted at Personal Finance By The Book, saying, “Instead of being overwhelmed by a gift exchange, our family is doing something different this Christmas.”

Intelligent Speculator presents Even Warren Buffett Has Terrible Ideas posted at Intelligent Speculator, saying, “Even Buffett has his days.”

Bradson Oakley presents No Load Mutual Fund posted at No Load Funds, saying, “There is no good evidence that investment sales loads and other 12b-1 sales fees charged to investors result in higher mutual fund and ETF performance. In fact, the opposite has repeatedly been shown to be true.”

A Blinkin presents I Only Listen to Techno – crats posted at Funancials, saying, “Technocrats are becoming very popular in within our debt-stricken governments. Greece and Italy have already placed two technocrats in charge of their countries, now which countries will follow?”

The Skilled Investor presents Investment Timing Does Not Work posted at Financial Management, saying, “You must have your money invested and at risk to get risk premium returns. Jumping out and in or “timing the markets” doesn’t work.”

John presents 4 Frugal Ways to Have Fun as a Family This Holiday Season posted at Passive Family Income, saying, “Most schools have two weeks off during Christmas, and if you haven’t planned carefully, you may have stir crazy kids and exasperated parents. Instead, take a day or two to unwind from the busy holiday season and relax together as a family. Not only will you all be happy because you are spending some enjoyable time together, but you may also be creating memories together. Consider some of these activities listed below.”

Sustainable PF presents Dangers to Stockpiles posted at Sustainable Personal Finance, saying, “Right after we moved into our new house, I started buying extras of almost every non-perishable food item we ever used just so I’d have it ready in my awesome pantry for the next time we craved it. Long story short, having a stockpile has not been good to us.”

Craig Ford presents 45+ ‘Two Thumbs Up’ Christian Book Suggestions posted at Money Help For Christians, saying, “Christmas book suggestions for Christians.”

Charles Chua C K presents 7 Don’ts to Avoid a Scam Effectively posted at All About Living with Life.

Dr. Dean presents Shoplifting: Top Ten Holiday Favorites! posted at Dr. Dean’s TheMillionaireNurse.com Blog, saying, “Shoplifting is an enormous drain on a retail businesses bottom line. Massive amounts of money are also spent trying to decrease the drain on profits. Find out how the holiday spirit affects the most popular items of theft.”

Retirement Planning

N.W. Journey presents Self Employed Retirement Plans posted at Networth Journey, saying, “Discover your retirement planning options if you are self-employed.”

Hank presents Three Christmas Gifts To Give Your Children That Keep On Giving posted at Money Q&A, saying, “There are a few examples of Christmas gifts to your children such as Roth IRA contributions that will keep on giving long after the holiday season has ended.”

Matt presents How Much Do You Need to Retire posted at Living in Financial Excellence, saying, “Most people wait until they’re ready to retire and then wonder if they can retire. If you wait that long, it’s waaaaay too late, and you probably won’t be able to retire. You need to have a plan early and start working the plan early.”

Frank Knight presents Best S&P 500 Mutual Fund posted at Best Mutual Funds, saying, “The no load index fund strategy of the Schwab S & P 500 Index Fund tracks the S and P 500 stock index. This no load index fund was listed as one of the top 25 lowest cost index mutual funds in a research study.”

Risk Management and Insurance

Glen Craig presents What Are Consumer Driven Health Plans and How do They Work for You? posted at Free From Broke, saying, “Consumer driven health plans have the potential to create significant savings for both employers and employees. See how they can work for you.”

FMF presents Ten Insurance Policies You Need To Own posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “There’s a balance between being underinsured and having too much insurance. Here are 10 policies you should at least consider before you decide on your specific insurance needs.”

Sam O presents NTSB calls for ban on all cellphone use while driving— even hands-free phones posted at Auto Insurance News.


Sustainable PF presents Green Christmas Tree Options posted at Sustainable Personal Finance, saying, “We usually strive to stick to our financial plan but when it comes to Christmas trees we are willing to shell out a few extra bucks to do the sustainable thing. We will be looking into a potted tree in the near future.”

Miss T. presents Saving Money by Taking Your Own Lunches to Work posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter, saying, “If you work out how much you’re spending on work lunches in the average work week, you might be surprised to know just how much money is being frittered away. You can save money by taking your own lunches to work and depending on what you’ve previously been grabbing in your lunch break, it might be a lot healthier too. Here are some tips on making it work for you.”

Aloysa presents Is Hoarding The New Frugal? posted at My Broken Coin, saying, “My friend is a very frugal person: she counts every penny, she evaluates every purchase, and she does her research before she decides to buy anything whether it is a car or a pair of shoes. Read her story here!”

Kelsey presents 6 Tips for Eliminating Food Waste posted at Money Mum, saying, “Using leftovers and budgeting wisely can save money – and resources. Learn to become cognizant of how much food you really do dispose of, and then consider these tips to improve the efficiency of your kitchen:”

SavingMentor presents Shopping at Costco: The Lazy Way to Save Money on Almost Everything posted at HowToSaveMoney.ca, saying, “Shopping at Costco is actually almost too easy as you always find so many great products that you never knew existed before, so you may end up spending much more than you originally intended to. To stay on budget, it is important to go in with a list of things you need and then stick to it religiously. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

Jim R. presents Credit Unions versus Banks : Not Exactly Win versus Fail posted at Free By 50, saying, “Thinking of dumping your bank for a credit union? Credit unions may provide better service than banks on average. However not all credit unions are created equal and credit unions aren’t miles ahead of banks in general.”

Charles Chua C K presents 7 More Effective Ways to Save Money posted at All About Living with Life.


Linsey presents Taxes and Your Small Business: Are You Ready posted at 1099 Mom, saying, “If you are a very new business, and haven’t begun to track your expenses and income for the year, it’s not too late! If you are an old pro, and simply need to collect all your documentation for easy tax preparation, now is the best time to get started.”

Madison presents 17 Tips for End of Year Tax Planning posted at My Dollar Plan, saying, “Don’t let the busy-ness of the holiday season make you forget about end of year tax moves!”

Philip presents Deadline for Qualified Charitable Distribution Approaching posted at PT Money Personal Finance, saying, “Discusses the laws for tax-free qualified charitable distribution provisions, the benefit of it, and the deadline.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Financial Planning using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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