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Weekly Financial Planning and Personal Investment Articles

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

Carnival of Financial Planning – Edition #214 – December 9, 2011

Welcome to the December 9, 2011 Edition #214 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

J.B. presents The Black Market They Don’t Make Movies About posted at My University Money, saying, “The majority of the “underground economy” as it sometimes known is actually common services that people simply perform for cash and then keep the tax man out of everyone’s pocket.”

Jason P. presents Tips to Design on a Dime posted at One Money Design, saying, “When you don’t have the budget to create the beauty desired according to the “magazine standards.””

Beating Broke presents Have a Holiday Spending Plan: Don’t Dread January posted at Beating Broke, saying, “Follow these tips to rein in your holiday purchases this season.”

Matt presents The Wow Factor: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck posted at Living in Financial Excellence, saying, “Learn to rank your choices on your own personal Wow Factor scale, and you will find that your satisfaction with your budgeting and spending choices will increase substantially.”

Theresa Torres presents How to Stretch Your Marketing Budget posted at Sadia Komal.Com, saying, “Many small businesses don’t have the kind of budget to properly market their products or services and this is where a diversified marketing strategy becomes important.”

Shaun presents How Much Money Does the Average Family Plan to Spend on Christmas Gifts in 2011? posted at Smart Family Finance, saying, “Most of us will be purchasing gifts this year for family and frieds. Data on family spending on Christmas presents reveals interesting information on when and how to buy your gifts this holiday season.”

LM presents Importance of Financial Planning | Definition of Financial Planning posted at The Wealth Steps Blog.

Anna presents Save on Holiday Entertaining posted at Good Cents Savings, saying, “Learn a few ways to save on holiday entertaining. It is possible to have a great holiday party and still keep costs down!”

Financial Planning

Annette presents Catching Up with the American Dream posted at CreditDonkey.com Tips, saying, “The American Dream is not so much an entitlement of address; but rather, it is a fusion of national values and personal effort.”

Fred Lee presents Baby Budget Buster: Small Steps for Family Finances posted at Parenting Squad, saying, “In the insightful words of my grandfather, “If you wait until you have enough money before having kids, you’ll never have them.” To help out with family finances, put some of these tips to work in your own household.”

humble savers presents Financial Adviser Fees – The Cold Hard Facts | Humble Savers posted at Humble Savers, saying, “How is it that financial adviser fees can easily be $350,000 on a your $200,000 investment portfolio?”

Alex Leigh presents 10 Ways to Save Money during Christmas 2011 posted at The GLC Money Saving Blog, saying, “Christmas is coming up and with so much spending it’s a great time to plan financially and save some money.”

Cash Flow Mantra presents Paid Off a Business Credit Card posted at Cash Flow Mantra, saying, “In the near future, I will be considering my overall goals for 2012 some of which will include financial goals for my LLC. As I sit down and reflect on this past year, I am encouraged by the progress I have made and will be looking forward to even more in the year ahead. Having a sense of what is possible will make it easier to sit down and work out those goals.”

Beck presents Do Your Children Understand the Value of Money? posted at Money Mum, saying, Your child might be in nappies now, but even at an early age, you can teach positive financial behaviour.”

Dan presents Why You Shouldn’t Do What You Love for a Career posted at Sweating the Big Stuff, saying, “Making money is great, but doing what you love for a living can be dangerous. Here’s why!”

Jason presents Little Monster Late Fees posted at Live Real, Now, saying, “Last week, I paid a late fee to daycare. I neverpay daycare late. Except last week. She finally got paid on Thursday. Over the 12 years we’ve had kids there, we’ve paid late maybe 5 times. I hate late fees. What’s the fix?”

FMF presents The Complete Guide To Building Wealth In Two Sentences posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “The truth behind wealth building is public domain knowledge, simple to understand, and nobody is going to get rich selling it you. In fact, it is so simple it can be explained in just two sentences.”

Larry Russell presents Identity theft protection posted at Personal Investment Management and 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.”

SB presents 5 Steps to Fix Financial Failures posted at One Cent at a Time, saying, “If you are in a financial mess, there are ways to come out of that. Here is the list of 5 steps to take to overcome financial failure. Admit fault, seek help, Manage debt, adjust spending and increase earning”

Aloysa presents Battling Shopping Addiction: Self-Assessment posted at My Broken Coin, saying, “Discover how I am going to fight the battle against shopping addiction. I’ve struggled with this problems and here is my personal story.”

Kevin presents Thousandaire Countdown #4 The Adult Baby Song posted at Thousandaire, saying, “The number four song on the Thousandaire Countdown is the Adult Baby song. It talks about an adult baby and why taxpayers shouldn’t fund his lifestyle”

Financing a Home

Justin presents Mortgages – Interest Only or Repayment posted at Money Is the Root, saying, “Getting a mortgage is probably the most important financial product you will ever get – it’s certainly likely to be the most valuable – so it’s important that you get the right one for your circumstances. In the post-economic crash world, some people are finding it harder to find the right deal, even though there remain many good deals around.”

D.J. presents Why First Time Home Buyers Should Use a Mortgage Broker posted at The Family Wallet, saying, “One of the options that every first time homebuyer should look at is a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have a number of advantages over traditional loan companies.”

D.J. presents Why First Time Home Buyers Should Use a Mortgage Broker posted at The Family Wallet, saying, “One of the options that every first time homebuyer should look at is a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have a number of advantages over traditional loan companies.”

Financing Education

Super Saver presents Morningstar’s Top 529 College Saving Plans posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “I was pleased to confirm that our choice was among top plans based on investment options and low expenses.”

Corey presents Graduation from College and Its Financial Challenges posted at 20s Finances, saying, “Graduation from college marks a pivotal point in young adults’ lives. It forces them to deal with many financial challenges at one point.”

Marie presents PLUS Loans: An Explanation posted at Money Spending Mommy, saying, “If you want your child to graduate without having to worry about debt, a PLUS Loan is a great way to get the money he needs.”


Investor Junkie presents Starting a Business: Monetize What You Know posted at Investor Junkie, saying, “Starting a side hustle is a dream for many. However, it’s easier to start a business based on something you know. You don’t always need specific knowledge to be successful with a business, but it can smooth the way. If you are expert in an area, there are ways to build a business around what you know.”

Miranda @ Financial Highway presents 4 Creative Business Ideas posted at Financial Highway, saying, “Do you want to start your own business and make a little extra money? It can seem daunting at first, since there are so many others out there trying to get something started. Here are 4 creative business ideas that can help you get started.”

Mike @ Green Panda presents Get a Job in Your Field After Graduation posted at Green Panda Treehouse, saying, “How to find work right away and start investing.”


Dividend Growth Investor presents How to Build a Retirement Dividend Portfolio with only $1000/month posted at Dividend Growth Investor, saying, “If a dividend investor saves $1000/month and is able to allocate them to dividend growth stocks which yield 3% at the time and grow distributions at 7% per year. After 21 years this investor will be able to generate over $20,000 in annual dividend income based off the $240,000 investment.”

Dividends4Life presents 10 High-Yield Stocks With A Low Price To Book posted at Dividend Growth Stocks, saying, “When looking for value-priced stocks, the Price-To-Book (P/B) ratio is one that I like to focus on. P/B is calculated as share price divided by book value per share. Book value is most often calculated as Assets less Liabilities.”

Mike Piper presents What are Muni Bonds? And Should I Own Any? posted at The Oblivious Investor, saying, “Municipal bonds offer interest that’s free from federal income tax. But are they a good fit for *you*?”

Darwin presents Surprise! Here’s how the ROI on Your Real Estate Investment Can Crumble AFTER You Buy It posted at Darwin’s Money, saying, “Just when you thought you’d heard every story about a real estate investment gone wrong, here’s an entirely new genre to sink your teeth into. See what happened to this ROI right after closing!”

Frank Bertin presents Best Index Funds posted at Top Index Funds, saying, “Top ten no load index funds that track the Standard and Poors 500 composite index in terms of lowest costs.”

MR presents Having Stock Dividends Pay Money For Allowance posted at Money Reasons, saying, “Why not establish a passive income stream via dividend stocks now? This will take the mystery about of such a concept and make it more real.”

Janet Russell presents Professional fund manager performance posted at Personal Investment Management, saying, “If investment mutual fund managers were truly skilled at beating the market, then you would expect mutual fund manager performance prowess to persist over time. 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.”

Marc Ryan presents Investing in wine- if the price goes up, it must be an investment posted at IndependentInvestor.info, saying, “Since the Dow Jones hit 10, 000 on March 30, 1999 traditional investing has been challenging, to say the least. Stock markets have been volatile, and overall have been disappointing. Over the same period gold and many other commodity markets have been booming. Wine has been no exception, with the media widely reporting rapid price increases. Many wine drinkers/investors ask themselves if they should add wine to their investment portfolio. In this first commentary in a 5 part series on wine investing we look at two recent published research reports on wine which have received much media attention.”

Mirelle Rowden presents Fixed Income Mutual Funds posted at Best Bond Mutual Funds, saying, “Vanguard dominates this low cost United States bond mutual funds marketplace for direct purchase accounts with both low and high minimum deposits.”

Managing Credit and Debt

Barb Friedberg presents Where to Get a Loan; Help, I?m Really Struggling posted at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, saying, “Once in awhile, you may need a loan to help you through a rough patch; consolodate credit card debt or pay off medical bills. Learn about peer to peer lending and borrowing not from a bank, but from other ordinary folks.”

Chelsea Prescotti presents How to Dispute a Credit Report | CreditScore.net posted at CreditScore.net, saying, “Simply put, your credit report is a record of all of your financial activities that involve the use of credit, such as with loans or credit cards. It lists any remaining balances you may have on your accounts and also documents whether you have been reported due to unpaid bills. While your credit report is supposed to be a good representation of your credit history, according to the most recent statistics available, about 70% of all credit reports contain some sort of error that may hinder consumers from acquiring important loans, credit cards, insurance, mortgages or even a job.”

Luke Lee presents Debt Consolidation – Your 4 Options posted at Debt Consolidation Advice, saying, “Debt consolidation is a general term and refers to the practice of consolidating/combining multiple bills and payments into a single payment. This can be done through debt relief programs, such as debt management and debt settlement, or through taking out a loan to pay off individual debts and then paying back the loan. Here is a simple breakdown of 4 ways you can accomplish debt consolidation.”

Glen Craig presents Get Your Credit Score…For Free posted at Free From Broke, saying, “Your credit score is a crucial number to your finances! Being able to get your credit score for free helps you monitor as well as correct your credit score.”


John presents Should You Buy a Pet as a Christmas Gift? posted at Passive Family Income, saying, “Before you consider giving a pet as a Christmas present, think carefully about the responsibility you are also giving the recipient. Consider the following typical expenses:”

The Skilled Investor presents Timing Does Not Work posted at Personal Financial Management, saying, “Always stay invested to earn risk premiums. 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.”

Suba presents Scrooge vs Santa : Gift giving is a huge waste of money! posted at Wealth Informatics, saying, “If there is a division of the Government that wasted $82 billion an year, how would you feel? Every year that is how much we waste with the current state of gift giving. What went wrong and how to fix this?”

Tripp Danner presents No Load Mutual Funds posted at No Load Fund, 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?”

Bob presents How To Find Discounted Gift Cards posted at Christian Personal Finance, saying, “While some may think that giving gift cards are a little impersonal, I think you can still make someone happy with a practical gift card. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get a discount on gift cards? You can. Here’s how!”

Charles Chua C K presents Malaysia’s Credit Rating and Ringgit Foreign Exchange Rates posted at All About Living with Life.

Kristine McKinley presents Congress Expected to Extend Payroll Tax Holiday into 2012 posted at Social Security Retirement Income, saying, “Before the end of the year, Congress will be voting on whether the current payroll tax holiday will be extended into 2012 or it will be allowed to expire at the end of 2011. Without an extension, taxes for the average American family would be approximately $1,000 higher next year.”

Fred Lee presents Holiday Spending Plan: 6 Financial Principles for Avoiding December Debt posted at Parenting Squad, saying, “Christmas is almost here, again. Be sure you have a plan to spend your money wisely on others.”

Michael presents The Best Job I Never Took posted at Money Beagle, saying, “Planning the right career choice can sometimes mean saying no.”

Dr. Dean presents Cloned Banks: Why That’s Not A Good Idea! posted at Dr. Dean’s TheMillionaireNurse.com Blog, saying, “Let me tell you a tale that could be the gist of Stephen Kings next Scfy thriller-except it’s NOT! It’s an explanation of new banking regulations that will keep you on the edge of your seat.”

Retirement Planning

FMF presents Five Retirement Surprises posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “Although I found a lot of material on planning and preparing for retirement, I didn’t find much on actually being in retirement. To help all of you future retiree’s out there, here are 5 surprises I have found in retirement and some suggestions for you on each.”

Brockton Eaton presents Lifetime Investment Strategies posted at Retirement Investment Strategy, saying, “The investment research literature repeatedly demonstrates that a fully diversified, low cost investment strategy is superior.”

Philip presents Stop 401k Contributions to Pay for Private School? posted at PT Money Personal Finance, saying, “I recently received this question from a reader: “Would you ever advise someone to suspend 401K contributions to fund a child’s K-12 education?”

Walter Binkle presents Large Mutual Funds posted at Mutual Funds, saying, “Retirees can save a lot by paying attention to mutual fund expenses. Each of these S & P 500 index funds is among the least costly on the market.”

Lazy Man presents Wht Does Day One of Retirement Look Like? posted at Lazy Man and Money, saying, “In the past I’ve asked the question: What’s Your Definition of Retirement? I came up with some answers for myself. In some ways, I almost felt that I was retired. I guess I might call it quasi-retired, because it’s not like I wake up each morning and decide whether I’m going to play badminton or whether I’m going to catch a matinee.”

Risk Management and Insurance

101 Centavos presents A Brief History of Insurance posted at 101 Centavos, saying, “The need to protect ourselves against risks is one of the oldest and insurance is the perfect way to do so, learn more here!”

Risk Management and Insurance

Tyler presents Low Cost Auto Insurance: 6 Do’s and Don’ts to Save on Auto Insurance posted at Auto Insurance Companies

Paul Vachon presents Gap Insurance ? What is it? and Do I Need it? posted at The Frugal Toad, saying, “When you purchase a new vehicle the minute you drive it off the lot the value of the vehicle depreciates, up to 30% depending on the make and model. If you purchase a vehicle and finance it with less than 20% down you just might be upside down the minute you drive your new vehicle off the lot. Gap insurance covers this negative equity.”

Sam Puri presents El Paso cop discovers firsthand what a federal DWI posted at CarInsuranceQuotes.com blog, saying, “If you’re busted for DWI in a national park, according to Ardoin, you can be hit with a Class B misdemeanor. Maximum punishment: six months in federal prison, a $5,000 fine and five years of probation.”


Miss T. presents Home Improvements that Pay You Back posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter, saying, “For those of you less green and money conscious folks, I can tell you that being green also saves you money. Eco- friendly methods are proven to be cost efficient. Today I wanted to share with you how you can be green in your home and at the same time make money. Here is how:”

John presents Your Holiday Guide to Gift Cards posted at Wallet Blog, saying, “On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…eight things to know about gift cards this holiday season. Sure, you might have been expecting some milk maids or something, but with gift cards firmly entrenched as the most popular type of holiday present and the U.S. agriculture industry not what it once was, you might find this more useful.”

Bradson Oakley presents Bond Index Funds posted at Best Bond Funds, saying, “Higher bond fund expenses tend to mean lower net returns to individual investors. It is not worth paying higher bond fund fees.”

Miss T. presents Energy Efficient Could Be Worse for the Environment posted at Prairie Eco Thrifter, saying, “Ultimately, energy-saving appliances aren’t the cure-all to environmental problems. New technology doesn’t save the planet; we do. Increasing the longevity of household appliances will protect both your budget and the environment. Live above the “go green” hype, and refuse to buy anything new until you have to.”

Marissa presents Free personal finance software review posted at Thirtysixmonths, saying, “A review of two of the best free personal finance softwares out there, Mint and Wave accounting, that can be used both for business and personal.”

Ciana Locke presents Index Funds posted at Best Index Mutual Funds, saying, “The dominant issue in choosing among passively managed index mutual funds and ETF funds benchmarked against the S & P 500 is that securities industry management and trading fees are all over the map from reasonably low to shockingly high.”

YFS presents Lessons from Frugal Billionaires posted at YourFinancesSimplified, saying, “YFS provides insight on lessons you can learn from famous frugal billionaires.

Jason P. presents How to Teach Teens to Save Money posted at Comments for Childrens Savings Accounts HQ, saying, “Help ensure that you’re teenager turns into a financially responsible adult.”

Charles Chua C K presents Wisely Selecting a Savings Account posted at All About Living with Life.


Super Saver presents Higher Tax Advocates’ Hypocrisy posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “If I were an advocate of higher taxes, I would gladly pay higher taxes. However, that is not the case for these two well known higher tax advocates.”

Darren Marks presents Free Tax Advice by Phone… From a Software Company? posted at Consumer-Rankings, saying, “Introducing a great new free service just in time for Tax season. TurboTax is now offering free tax advice by phone from professional accountants and tax preparers in the hopes of getting some of those using this service to convert into customers.”

Jim presents What Tax Bracket Am I In? posted at Bargaineering, saying, “If you were ever curious what tax bracket you were in, this post is for you. Knowing this is crucial if you want to properly plan your finances.”

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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