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Carnival of Personal Finance – Invest in Yourself

by on March 25, 2012

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Welcome to the 354th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance!

Investing is a hot topic in the world of personal finance, but it doesn’t have to refer to your stock portfolio. This week, we received a variety of submissions with great advice on how to invest in your own quality of life, whether that’s work, family, pets or spending priorities. While you’re balancing your checkbook, take a moment to adjust your life balance too.

Editor’s Picks

Should you pay attention when a company goes public? Maybe, but maybe not. Control Your Cash presents IPOs for Beginners, and says, “You have no idea what an IPO is, do you? Read this and learn how to avoid squandering your money while thinking you’re being smart. ”

Ladies, it’s time to get serious about your portfolio. You deserve to be a superstar investor too! Diva from Diva In Debt presents Investing Fundamentals for Women – Business & Financial Acumen, and says, “What are the basic investing fundamentals that women need to know in order to be a successful investor? Diva in Debt shares her perspective.”

We can’t say this enough: avoid debt if you can, and pay it down ASAP. Janet from Credit, Eh presents Paying Down Debt: One of the Best Investments in Your Future, and says, “Few of us think of paying down debt as an investment in future financial success. This is a mistake. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to pay down debt.”

We’re all told to think about the future, but what’s our motivation? Maybe we need a visual reality check. Donna Freedman from Frugal Cool presents Be good to the future you, and says, “A study at New York University has put a new face on retirement. Or, rather, an old face. Participants in four money exercises were shown elderly visages, both their own (thanks to age-progression software) and other people’s. It’s time to start caring about far-off versions of ourselves.”

Mortgage Amortization? What’s that? Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents What is Mortgage Amortization and How Does it Work?, and says, “People get confused when they hear the term Mortgage Amortization. Don’t be. It’s not that confusing. See what mortgage amortization is and how it works.”

Budgeting

Jason from One Money Design presents How to Dress Well on Less, and says, “A woman’s wardrobe can often get quite costly; however, it doesn’t have to be so. A lady can dress well on less (and dudes can too)!”

Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents How and Why Do You Spend Your Money?, and says, “Do you know where your money goes?”

Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents What’s a dollar worth?, and says, “Nicole and Maggie talk about different metrics to conceptualize what each dollar you spend is actually worth to you.”

Career

One Frugal Girl presents A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs.

Kathryn from Financial Highway presents Interview Questions and Answers, and says, “This guide not only tells you what the interview questions are but also provides insight into what the interviewer is really asking and what types of answers will help you get the job.”

Credit

Money Walks presents What Can Affect my Credit Score?

Martin from Studenomics presents Do You Know Who Has Your Credit Card Number?, and says, “A scary look at credit card theft.”

Michal from Credit Card Offers IQ presents 7 Things To Consider When Applying for a Credit Card, and says, “It’s really important to understand how you will use the card.”

Debt

Squirrelers presents Is Most Debt Bad?, and says, “We all have our own comfort level with debt. This leads me to this question: is all debt truly bad? Or, is some debt toxic while other debt is understandable? This post discusses the notion that all debt might not be equal.”

Daniel Ray from Taking Charge presents What’s the matter with 20-somethings?, and says, “Kelly Dilworth does a great job telling why her generation is taking longer to achieve the personal and financial milestones than her parents. Unlike previous generations, Millennials have a huge overhang of debt.”

Dave Hilton from Debt Black Hole presents Cylons & Debt Collectors Have A Lot In Common, and says, “A few ways Bill Collectors remind me of the Human Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.”

Economy

Darwin from Darwin’s Money presents The REAL Inflation Rate, and says, “Most Americans feel the government inflation numbers aren’t representative of the real inflation they see year to year. Here’s your solution.”

Finance

Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance presents What do Low Interest Rates Mean & How to Profit from Them?, and says, “Learn 3 strategies to grow your wealth,in spite of the prevailing low interest rates.”

Ricky from Qwoter presents Take Money Out of 401k, and says, “Cashing out your 401k before retirement can be very expensive, so you may want to think twice before doing so.”

JP from Novel Investor presents Financial Emergency Kit: Are You Prepared?, and says, “Emergencies happen every day. But when the impossible happens, will you be ready? Having a financial emergency kit will make a big difference if the worst should ever happens.”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents Spend Like You Want to Grow Rich, and says, “According to U.S. author and wealth researcher, Thomas Stanley, who has been surveyingAmerica’s affluent since 1973, most U.S. homes valued at a million dollars or more (as of 2009) were not owned by millionaires. Instead, the majority of million-dollar homes were owned by non-millionaires with large mortgages and very expensive tastes. In sharp contrast, 90 percent of those who met the defined criterion to be a millionaire— having a net worth of more than $1 million— lived in homes valued at less than a million dollars.”

Frugality

Philip from PT Money Personal Finance presents Travel Cheap with Rewards Credit Cards, and says, “Tips for saving money on travel, including travel seasons, bidding on accommodations, and using rewards cards and loyalty programs to maximize your dollars.”

Femme Frugality presents Why (Your Kids) + (The Library) = Best Friends, and says, “The library offers many free programs that can enrich your family.”

Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget presents Energy Conservation Tips for Convenient Living, and says, “If you’re not careful, your electric bill can go up. Here are tips on how to conserve energy and save.”

Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance presents 8 Cheap Date Ideas That Don’t Break the Bank, and says, “If you are looking to save cash and keep your sweetheart happy, look no further than my 8 cheap date ideas that don’t break the bank.”

Elle from My Financial Reviews presents Make Retirement Easier – Automate Contributions, and says, “Planning and investing for your retirement doesn’t have complicated or difficult. While you should definitely have some overall plan with your money, getting paralyzed by all the options and choices you have can make unproductive and leave you financially vulnerable. Automating your retirement contributions is the solution.”

Matt from Dividend Monk presents Intel Analysis: Where are their Growth Opportunities?, and says, “Intel’s rock solid balance sheet, dividend growth prospects, Chinese demand, and mobile exposure.”

Money Thinking presents 4 Things to Do While Rates are Low.

Investing

Bret from Hope to Prosper presents The Stock Market Makes a Comeback, and says, “Last week, the Dow finally crossed the magical 13K mark and is holding steady. More impressive, the S&P 500 closed above 1,400 for the first time since 2008 and the NASDAQ composite closed above 3,000 for the first time since 2000.”

Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents Common Investments Simplified.

Pierre from Intelligent Speculator presents Would You Rather Buy Facebook or Amazon?, and says, “Which company do you think is a better buy?”

James Petzke from Critical Financial presents 4 Wise Investment Tips that Make Your Life Worth Living, and says, “This article contains 4 key investing tips that will help you make the most of your money.”

Money Management

Rob from Dough Roller presents How Much Car Can You Afford, and says, “The general rule of thumb is that you should not spend more than 20% of your monthly take-home pay on cars.”

Tie the Money Knot presents Who Pays for Dinner With In-Laws?, and says, “When people go out to dinner, how the check is handled can sometimes be easy, or it can be an uncomfortable situation. When it comes to dealing with in-laws (or parents), what are some good approaches in terms of how to handle such situations?”

Young from Youngandthrifty presents What the Baby Boomers can teach us about saving for retirement, and says, “We see stories in the news every day about how the Baby Boomer wave is hitting retirement age, and many are finding themselves caught unprepared. But why?”

Ryan Yates from Deliver Away Debt presents Waiting for the Big One – Avoiding Financial Disasters, and says, “Whether it’s an environmental or personal catastrophe, have you ever noticed how some things only change after a disastrous situation? Don’t wait for a financial ‘overdose’ before you seek help and make the necessary changes to get your financial life on the right track.”

Echo from Boomer & Echo presents Why Leasing A Car Can Make Sense For Young Families, and says, “Let me start off by saying that young families shouldn’t be fooled by lower lease payments. There are, however, some advantages to leasing a car.”

Jeremy from Modest Money presents The Mistake Of Buying An Expensive Car, and says, “Over the years I’ve made my share of financial mistakes. There were minor splurges here and there, but I see my biggest financial mistake every time I leave my apartment. Sitting outside my rundown apartment is my Ford Mustang, the most expensive car in the parking lot.”

Other

Tim from Faith and Finance presents How to Be More Productive with 3 Simple Folders, and says, “I’m always having new ideas and never had a system to keep track of them. This simple method has kept me focused and helps to clear my mind more often.”

Shaun from Money Cactus presents Finding Your Passion, and says, “Finding your passion will make a huge difference to everything you do. Here are some ideas about how to find your passion and increase your personal wealth.”

Justin from The Family Finances presents The Costs and Benefits of the Family Dog, and says, “Where I discuss the financial implications of our family dog.”

Sean from My Next College presents Student Car Loans, and says, “Students still must have adequate income to afford the payment and insurance.”

Money Beagle presents Bronchitis And A Double Ear Infection, and says, “What does it cost for two sick kids? Click and find out!”

Real Estate

The Lean Times from TotallyMoney presents 5 tips for smart renting, and says, “5 simple tips for saving money on renting”

Taxes

Victoria Lindsay from Lend Not Borrow presents Keep the Mortgage or Keep the Tax Deduction?, and says, “An article that is direct and clears up any confusion on whether it is best to use the tax deduction or keep the mortgage.”

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