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Carnival of Personal Finance – Gettin’ Hot in Here Edition

July 19, 2010
Personal Finance
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

If you’re on the East Coast, you know that it has been hotter than Hades these past few weeks. But hopefully that means that more of our readers are hiding indoors and surfing the web ;-)

For those of you who are new to our site, please get inside where it’s air conditioned and peruse our blog for the latest credit card news, cash back and travel rewards program updates, and the occasional warning about credit card scams. And if you want to find the best card for your needs, we have an extensive database of cards, with rewards calculators, APR calculators, and even balance transfer calculators.

With that out of the way, welcome to NerdWallet, and welcome to our heat wave edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance!

The Inner Circle (a few of our favorites)

J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents U.S. Presidents and Their Net Worth. I never get enough of reading about J. Money’s quirky take on finances, and his unending obsession with net worth.

Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Calculating Real Estate Investment Return. A great look at the true costs of home ownership. As we’ve all learned, housing isn’t always a great investment, and sometimes it’s just a liability.

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents 5 Steps to Fix Your Credit Score Fast. Jeff’s is one of our go-to blogs on financial advice. As a real-life independent financial advisor, he knows his stuff.

Austin from Foreigner’s Finances presents The Pros & Cons of Credit Unions. We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love credit unions, and this is a great breakdown of why you should (or shouldn’t!) consider switching.

Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Combine Credit Cards To Earn Up To 4% In Rewards.  Great post on how to be more ambitious with your credit card selections… plus we wrote it :-)

Pop from Pop Economics presents Does being smart make you better with money?. A subject near and dear to our hearts. Unfortunately we’ve found that you can find smarts in a book, but you’ll rarely find money.

Credit & Debt

Jeremy from Taking Charge presents The latest economic casualty? Falling FICO credit scores.

Craig Ford from Money Help For Christians presents Credit card consolidation and balance transfers | Do they work?, and says, “How effective is a credit card consolidation or balance transfer?”

Clint from Accumulating Money presents How Does Debt Affect People?

Frugal Dad from Frugal Dad presents The Secret to Getting Out of Debt: Forget Snowballs and Interest Rates.

Paul Williams from Provident Planning presents Qualifying and Applying for VA Loans, and says, “Can you qualify for a VA loan?  If so, you can save a lot on your mortgage.  Find out what it takes to get a VA loan and how you can apply.”

Kris Bickell from Debt Tips presents Is there really such a thing as good debt and bad debt?.


Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Why Banks are Out of Control, and says, “In the past decade, we have allowed banks to gamble with our future to increase their profits and this turned into a disaster.”

John from The Best Money Blog presents The Myth of Luck in Financial Success, and says, “Have you ever noticed that the people who attribute luck to success are often unsuccessful.”

Moneyed Blogger from Moneyedup presents Changes In Personal Bankruptcy Law, and says, “The way people file for bankruptcy will never be the same.  See what has changed and how it will affect you.”

Jason from One Money Design presents What are the Benefits of a 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage?, and says, “15 year fixed-rate mortgages offer several benefits, but there area few things you need to keep in mind first.”


Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents A Frugal Fact: The 6 Most Valuable Grocery Store Products Known to Man.

Ramsay from I Need Money presents Frugal Ways to Stay Fit, and says, “There are so many financial benefits to staying fit.  Make sure you aren’t over spending on your fitness.”

Miss Thrifty from Miss Thrifty presents How to fill your Morrisons trolley for £30, and says, “Morrisons is the our version of Safeway, trolley = cart and £30 is the equivalent of $45. The tips that I list here, however, are valid in any country. Thanks!”

Michael from The DoughRoller presents How To Obtain Your Very First Passport, and says, “A step by step instruction on how to get your first passport and just how much it will cost”

FruGal from FruGal presents Central Europe travels: Eating on the cheap.


Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Dividend ETF or Dividend Stocks?, and says, “Two differing paths are presented to aspiring dividend investors. One path is to do it on your own. Another path is to trust the experience of an investment professional and invest in dividend funds or dividend etfs. ”

Adam Williams from Rabbit Funds presents 4 Reasons not to use debt to make an investment, and says, “4 Reasons why one should be extremely cautious when using leverage to make an investment or increase the expected return on an investment.”

Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents GP 5 Things You Need To Look At When Trading ETFs, and says, “Let’s talk a little bit more about Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). This is probably one of the most popular investment products. Its popularity is soaring amongst smaller investors especially over the past 5 years.”

D4L from Dividends Value presents 8 Dividend Stocks With Above Market Performance, and says, “My goal as a dividend growth investor is to build a steadily increasing income and not necessarily to outperform the market via capital gains. However, as numerous research projects have shown, a conservative dividend-based investment strategy has consistently outperformed the market over time.”

JLP from AllFinancialMatters presents A Hypothetical Conversation Between a Stock Picker and an Indexer.

Kim Snider from Kimmunications from Kim Snider  presents What to do with your 401(k) or 403(b) if you leave your job.

MD from Studenomics presents More Reasons Why You Need a Online Savings Account .

Simon Zhen from Realm of Prosperity presents Dollar-Cost Averaging: Go Discount Shopping in the Stock Market.

2 Cents from Balance Junkie presents Inverse ETFs: Pros & Cons, and says, “Inverse ETFs allow you to profit if the market goes down. Here’s a look at how they work and how to use them.”

The Smarter Wallet from The Smarter Wallet presents Easy Investment Tips: Where To Invest Your Money.

ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Are You Afraid of the Stock Market?.

Money Management

FMF from Free Money Finance presents The Wealth of Farmers, and says, “Take a guess — which professions is more likely to make you a millionaire: farmer or medical doctor? If you said “doctor”, you’re wrong.”

Jason from Live Real, Now presents Beat the Check.

B Simple from Simple Financial Lifestyle presents Financially Prepare your Spouse in order to Simplify .

Squirrelers from Squirrelers presents Flexibility and Embracing Change Helps the Bottom Line, and says, “Keeping an open mind and being flexible to change can really help one’s long-term financial prospects”

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog from Canadian Finance Blog presents Capitalizing on Limitations, and says, “You can gain by capitalizing on your limitations. If you have been living within your means, use your raise or reduce your expenses to increase your savings.”


FT from Million Dollar Journey presents Ways to Save Money on a New Car, and says, “10 ways to save money on a new car!”

Miranda from Moolanomy presents Savings Basics: How to Get Started with Savings Accounts.

Kristina from DINKS Finance presents Funding Our Parents’ Retirement, and says, “Does your retirement savings strategy include saving your parent’s retirement?”

Andy from Saving to Invest presents How to Choose a 529 Plan And Save Now For Future College Costs, and says, “Given the rising cost of tertiary education, I figured the earlier I save the better and thanks to the tax advantages, one of the best ways to save for a child’s college education is to put money regularly into a 529 plan.”

PT from PT Money presents Internet Savings: Why it Will Dominate the Future of Personal Savings, and says, “Saving money is easy these days because of the internet savings account. They’ll only take more of the personal savings market share in the future.”


Jill from My Dollar Plan presents Is a Financial Fast Right for You?, and says, “Find out if you could benefit from a break from mindless spending…do you need a financial fast? ”

Helen from Science And Money presents Don’t Buy Life Insurance Through Your Employer, and says, “If you need term life insurance, it can be much less expensive to buy it directly through an insurance company than through your employer.”

vh from Funny about Money presents Figuring Out How to Work Smarter, and says, “Cobbling together Social Security and three freelance income streams isn’t enough to support retirement.”

Briana Ford from Go Banking Rates presents What Is an Underwater Mortgage?, and says, “The nation’s real estate crisis is so severe that it is dragging the rest of the economy down with it. Banks, which lent out mortgage loans almost indiscriminately, are now saddled with fatal amounts of bad debt because people can’t pay these mortgage loans.”

RJ Weiss from Gen Y Wealth presents Advice for the First Time Home Buyer, and says, “A few tips that saved me some money, that I didn’t find anywhere else when I was buying my first home.”

Neal Frankle from Wealth Pilgrim presents Overlooked Tax Consequences of Converting Traditional IRA to Roth in 2010 and Beyond, and says, “The tax consequences of converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA are onerous.  Generally speaking, you have to pay tax on any money you convert into a Roth and you have to pay that tax the year you convert.”

Jacob A. Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey presents What Taxes Do You Have To Pay on eBay and Amazon Sales?, and says, “A look at what taxes (state and federal) and when you are required to pay in selling items on eBay.”