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Carnival of Personal Finance #366: Use Your Head Edition

June 17, 2012
Personal Finance
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Welcome to the 366th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. We call it the “Use Your Head” edition because this week, we read a ton of posts encouraging people to step back and think critically about their money management process. It’s one thing to provide a plan of action, and quite another to encourage people to find one themselves. At NerdWallet, we think the best personal finance strategy includes just a little bit of both. We encourage you to browse through this week’s selection of stories and tips, and get inspired. Read on for the best of the blogosphere, and use your head!

Editor’s Picks

My dad was my first financial literacy guru too! Roger Wohlner from The Chicago Financial Planner presents Dad’s a Financial Planner I’m Scarred for Life, and says, “With Father’s Day almost upon us I was reflecting on what, if any impact having a Financial Planner as a father has had on my kids. I have no idea what the answer is but I thought I’d share some stories related to this topic over the years.”

More people should talk politics without resorting to name calling. Bret from Hope to Prosper clearly expresses his opinion, but keeps his cool in The Government Returns to Fiscal Sanity, and says, “I generally avoid political posts on my finance blog. But, the recall election in Wisconsin offers such dramatic implications for the future of our nation, it deserves some objective analysis.”

And finally, a friendly reminder that it’s not always about money. Roshawn Watson from Watson Inc presents The Art of Doing Less, and says, “Should you be getting more bang for your buck, time, or other resource? In this article, we will discuss how you can have a lot more with less by visualizing your future, determining your core contribution, and investing in yourself.”


PK from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Mortgage Interest Deduction A Good Idea?, and says, “My cowriter penned this article on the warped incentives in mortgage deductions – and the behind the scenes lobbying when banks and political interests get together. So… should the deduction be canned?”


Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth It?, and says, “Ever worry about identity theft? Would you like to keep tabs on your credit? A credit monitoring service may be for you. See what they do and if they are worth it.”

CCS from Credit Card Smarts presents For the Best Credit Cards, You Need Good Credit, and says, “Credit cards have some great offers and perks available. But the only way you get the best credit cards is when you have good credit.”


Philip from PT Money Personal Finance presents Donating Bone Marrow for Transplants to Make Money, and says, “Discusses the implications of a movement to pay for bone marrow donations.”

eemusings from Musings of an Abstract Aucklander presents Giving money away – do you do it?, and says, “Everyone can afford to give something. But how do you decide who gets your donations?”

Family and Relationships

TTMK from Tie the Money Knot presents Avoiding Gold Diggers who Marry Primarily for Money, and says, “Financial compatibility is important in marriage, as many of us might agree. However, what about those people who actually marry primarily for money? This post discusses such money strategies, and how to avoid such a fate.”

Financial Literacy

Tim from Brilliant Finances: Personal Finance How To presents Getting Out of Debt Starts with Behavior Change, and says, “Dave Ramsey on The Dave Ramsey Show March 6 said, “I think the first thing you need to understand is that normal is broke. Your behaviors create your money situation. If you follow normal people’s behaviors, you’re going to get normal people’s results, which is broke. I don’t want to be normal. I want to be excellent.” This post aims to get people thinking about what it takes to get out of debt.”

Eric J. Nisall from DollarVersity presents My Biggest Money Mistake – Treating Debt Like Free Money, and says, “Everyone makes mistakes in life. This is especially true when it comes to money. And it’s most true when you are young and inexperienced.”

Frugality / Budgeting

Donna Freedman from Frugal Cool presents Take a bite out of orthodontist bills, and says, “Braces make a world of difference — and not just for cosmetic reasons. Here are some ways to bring down the costs.”

Justin Bouchard from My University Money presents Tablets – What To Look For When Buying One, and says, “A few weeks ago I became the proud owner of an ASUS tablet. Before I purchased the tablet I spent hours reading reviews, playing with them in stores, and researching the many different aspects tablets have to offer. No tablet is perfect, but I’ll run through some of the more common areas of concern and talk about my purchase decision.”

Janet from Credit, Eh presents Paying for an Education: RESP, and says, “One of the smartest things you can do for your child’s future is to save up for college. The cost of college continues to rise, so it makes sense to prepare as much as you can ahead of time. One of the best ways for Canadians to get ready for the cost of college is to use a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).”

Elizabeth from Women’s Money Week presents Check for Cell Phone Discount Codes to Save Money, and says, “Have you checked your cell phone provider for discount codes lately? Chances are you are eligible.”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents Your Money or Your Life, The Crossover Point, and says, “Last time in this series we created a chart that lists both monthly income and monthly expenses. Each month a point is added for both measures on the chart, with a line then being drawn from point to point to create a line for each. In this article we’re adding another measure to the chart.”


D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents Cash Just May Be Your Riskiest Investment, and says, “Quantitative easing (QE), it is such a benign sounding term. It is somewhat relaxing rolling off your lips. Unfortunately, this rose has thorns. QE in simple terms is the government printing money and buying financial assets (e.g. bonds, etc.) in an effort to stimulate the economy.”

Karl Marrion from WiseStockBuyer presents How Do Stock Options Work?, and says, “Options can be confusing at first, but they can be great for managing risk.”

Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents My dividend crossover point, and says, “The dividend crossover point, is the point where your dividend income meets or exceeds your expenses. For many dividend investors, this is the point synonymous with financial independence. After all, after years of sacrifice, wise investment and sticking to a plan, investors would finally be free from a nine to five job.”

Ray from Squirrelers presents Is Gold Overrated as an Investment?, and says, “Some people view gold as an intergral part of an overall asset allocation. A question might be: Why?”

Green Panda from Green Panda Treehouse presents Do You Love Taking Risk (on your investments)?, and says, “Are you playing it safe or taking risks with your money?”

Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Covered Call ETF Vs Pure Dividend Stocks, and says, “Which investment strategy will you choose?”

Ray from Squirrelers presents Is Gold Overrated as an Investment?, and says, “Some people view gold as an intergral part of an overall asset allocation. A question might be: Why?”


Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance presents Solving Homelessness in America, and says, “Denver recently passed an “outdoor camping ban” which, in practice, is simply a law making it illegal to be homeless. This is far from a solution to the homelessness problem, it will just move the homeless to surrounding cities and states. It made me think about actual solutions to homelessness in America.”

Jason Price from One Money Design presents President Obama Only Paid Off His Student Debt 8 Years Ago –, and says, “Recently our president informed the world on Twitter that he only paid his student loans off 8 years ago. That’s a serious concern as he’s lived most of his life with student loan debt, even though he’s president of the United States.

Real Estate

Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings of the Half Tenured presents House prices really do affect fertility, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss an article that finds that when house prices go up, that increases fertility for home owners and decreases it for renters. Have housing prices affected your fertility?”

Jacob  from My Personal Finance Journey presents Buying vs. Renting a Home – Which is the Better Financial Move?, and says, “This post asks the question of whether or not one should buy or rent a home. Though the answer is not black and white, this point addresses several factors to consider allowing one to make a decision based on one’s own particular situation.”

Running a Business

Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents Female Entrepreneurs: How to Be a Start Up Queen, and says, “Whether you’re in a dead-end job, fresh out of college, or just looking to start up something you feel happy doing, as a woman, you face a few challenges that your bearded counterparts do not.”


Paula from Afford Anything presents Why Winners Quit Ruthlessly, and says, “”Winners never quit” is a myth. In truth, winners quit frequently, ruthlessly, and without regret.”

Deacon Hayes from Well Kept Wallet presents Street Performer Raises Money for School Tuition, and says, “While we were in Vegas this past weekend, we saw a man performing on the street. He had a sign that said “Trying to Pay For Tuition, Anything Helps.” With student loan debt in the United States over $1 Trillion, I found this guy to be inspiring.”

Money Beagle presents My Garage Is My Kryptonite…What’s Yours?, and says, “If my garage were a representation of my money management skills, I would be in BIG trouble! What’s your organizational kryptonite, be it money or non-money related?”

Tyler Kirkpatrick from Poor Student presents Replacing Work Days To Achieve Financial Independence.

Mike from The Financial Blogger presents What Can Be Done in 6 Hours, and says, “How you can increase your income with a limited amount of time (6 hours to be specific).”


Chris Holdheide from Stumble Forward presents How To Create A Strong Password – 4 Tips That Will Make Your Password Unbreakable, and says, “Learn about 4 things you can do to create strong passwords that will protect everything from your online banking account to your twitter account.”