From the monthly archives:

June 2010

I just got back from a week long trip to visit family in upstate New York. Ever since I left the great state of New York people always ask where I am from. My answer is simply, New York. I can’t even count how many times I have been asked what it was like to live in a city that big. The fact is I have never even been to New York city. I grew up in upstate New York where Canada is closer than the city and the shores of Lake Ontario were where we spent our summer days (if we were lucky). This week my theme is a tribute to the often overlooked piece of New York.

The image above outlines the “pieces” of New York, I spent the last week in the green piece over there by Lake Ontario, I grew up a bit further south where the men are orange and basketball and lacrosse are king. It is a beautiful part of the state and surprisingly similar to where I live now, minus all of the snow.

Editor’s Picks

Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents Checked Baggage Fees List, this hit home for me this past week. Travelling with two kids we had our luggage plus child seats. Don’t forget that you can check child car seats for FREE! We always use a travel bag with our car seat and then through a bunch of necessities in with it, like diapers and wipes. They would otherwise take up a good bit of room in regular luggage.

Chris from Stumble Forward presents Buying A Timeshare Vs All Inclusive Resorts: Which Is Better, This was a pretty interesting comparison. My wife, kids, and I are all going to an all inclusive resort later in the year and look forward to the “included benefits.” One thing to keep in mind is the amount of alcohol you would normally consume on a vacation. If you drink a lot you can really maximize the value of all inclusive.  (please don’t get drunk though just to make it more worth while…. even if I might ;-) )

Jaime from Eventual Millionaire presents What I Learned from the Prosperity Game. I don’t know what it was about this that really caught my eye. I think it was the idea of going through and trying to determine how you would spend exorbitant amounts of money. What would you do if you had to spent $1,000,000 in one day? I can’t even begin to fathom how I would unload that much cash in a day, but would you really be getting something you wanted?

J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents To DINK or Not to DINK, and by DINK he is talking about dual income no kids. Having just traveled with two kids for a week, on my own I really realize what it takes to raise and care for a family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I really don’t think you should make your determination on whether or not to have kids based solely on finances or fear of not having enough money. If you don’t want kids that is cool with me, but if you do want kids don’t fool yourself into thinking it is in your best interest not too because of money.

Paul Williams from Provident Planning presents Raising a Cow for Beef: Month 10. This was pretty wild. For all of you animal lovers don’t look into this cows cute little eyes, he is destined to be steak. I have never heard of someone raising a single cow for slaughter. As you can see from this breakdown there is a lot inefficiencies in managing a single animal that are overcome when dealing with a herd but all the same this is a neat experiment. I don’t think the wife would let me keep a cow in the back yard though.

Career

Jeremy from Generation X Finance presents Caretaking As a Career Option – What’s In It For You?.

Kristia from Family Balance Sheet presents Are You Wasting Time and Preventing Yourself From Your Million Dollar Dream?, and says, “A lesson learned from successful million-dollar small business owners.”

The Financial Blogger from The Financial Blogger presents Sometimes, Not Asking for a Raise is the Best Strategy to Get One, and says, “Say what? This eager young Gen Y TFB won’t ask for anything? Does this even make sense? I actually think that this is the best strategy to get a raise this year ;-) . I fought so much last year that I thought of giving my boss a break. You know why? Here’s why:”

Money Management

Daniel from Sweating The Big Stuff presents I Went To Bank Heaven Today, and says, “A daydream about getting back at the banks!

Grad Money Matters presents Ah, the Financial Implications of a Dreamer Marrying an Uber-Realist….

Squirrelers from Squirrelers.com presents Saving is Great, but Don’t Forget to Make Money Too!, and says, “Many of us focus on ways to save, but let’s not forget that we need to make the money that we want to save!”

2 Cents from Balance Junkie presents Have We Become a Society of Financial Adolescents?, and says, “Here’s a comparison of the psychological characteristics of teens and the financial habits of our modern culture. See any similarities?”

Bob from Christian Finances presents 12 factors that affect your homeowner insurance rates, and says, “An important part of any good financial plan is to have a goal for moving forward, and also to have a good defensive financial plan. Of course, insurance is a key component in financial defense…”

Austin Morgan from Foreigner’s Finances presents Why You Need an Emergency Fund, and says, “It’s the surgeries, broken water heaters, and lost jobs that require our finances to go in to a spiral. This post examines how an emergency fund can prop up your finances in the face of life’s unexpected twists. ”

Finance

Pop from Pop Economics presents Why you procrastinate, and says, “This story is about procrastination. Why do we do it even thought we know it’s bad for us and can make things worse? What kinds of people procrastinate more than others?”

Ray @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents Beware the Debit Card, and says, “While credit cards are much maligned in the personal finance community, use of debit cards come with their own set of problems that can catch you unawares if you do not know how these things really work?”

The Erie Canal runs (ran) 363 miles from Albany, NY to Buffalo, NY. A segment of the canal ran through where I grew up as a kid. The photo here is actually from just outside the town I grew up in. I have actually been on this very spot. It was pretty cool to find the picture while working on this theme.

Reviews

The Mighty Bargain Hunter presents Review of Gregory Karp’s The 1-2-3 Money Plan, and says, “Just what the title says! No surprises here … ;)”

Investing

The Modern Gal presents Have You Become More Financially Risk Averse.

Darren from MORE than Finances presents Coverdell Education Savings Accounts – What Are They And How Do They Work?, and says, “Most parents hope to send their kids to college one day. But with rising costs, they look for different ways of saving to afford it. One method is through the Coverdell Education Savings Account. What is it? How does it work? What are some of its benefits and drawbacks?”

Kristina from DINKS Finance presents What Type of Investor are You?, and says, “If you don’t know what type of investor you are, ask yourself – “Am I willing to take risk?”

RJ Weiss from Gen Y Wealth presents The One Document That Every Successful Investor Has, and says, “Although your situation might be fairly simple right now, as you age, life begins to get a little more complex. Your investment policy statement will act as your compass to your financial plan.

Eric from Narrow Bridge presents How IPOs Work: A Tesa Motors Case Study, and says, “A look at how IPOs work for both the company and investors and how you can buy into next week’s Tesla Motors IPO.”

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Can You Roll Over Your Old 401k Into Your New 401k, and says, “Changing jobs? Have questions on what you can or can’t do with your “old” 401k? Should you roll it over into an IRA, cash it out, or roll it into an existing plan. Here are a few tips.”

Mike Piper from Obvlivious Investor presents Are ETFs Bad for Investors?, and says, “Much ado has been made about the ways in which ETFs are being misused. But is the rise in ETF popularity really such a bad thing?”

Dividends Value presents Why We Are Dividend Growth Investors, and says, “We have all heard it… Stodgy, for old people, yawn, boring! These have all been used to describe dividend growth investing. As a dividend growth investor, I sometimes think our strategy is the most misunderstood. Periodically, it is good to remind ourselves why we are dividend growth investors.”

Panda Mike from Green Panda Treehouse presents Why Asset Allocation Is So Important, and says, “Can’t you just pick a few stock market indexes, build your portfolio and open your account statement in 30 years just before your retirement? If it was so simple, I would not have a job anymore ;-) Find out why asset allocation is so important”

Dividend Growth Investor presents Five Dividend Stocks which beat Index Funds , and says, “There are several issues with indexing; some of it stemming from the fact that decisions affecting inclusion of firms are not made in accordance with a consistent strategy in mind. Back at the top of the internet bubble, many tech companies were added at inflated prices, only to be removed when prices were at their lows. This excessive turnover lowers portfolio returns. In fact, if the S&P 500 never added or removed any of its original components, it would have outperformed the results of the S&P 500 over the past 50 years.”

Lake placid which was home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics is well known for its skiing. It is one of only three places to have hosted the Olympics twice. In addition to skiing Lake Placid is often used as a starting point for climbing the 46 high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.

Budgeting

Jason from One Money Design presents Benefits of Personal Budget Tracking Software, and says, “Budget tracking software helps save time, improve accuracy and can help you learn more about your spending habits(good or bad).”

Funny about Money presents How Do You Organize Your Budgeting, and says, “Funny wonders if she’s getting altogether too OCD about tracking budget items.”

Real Estate

MD from Studenomics presents How Young People Can Get a Home Mortgage.

Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents Homeowners, Are You Treading Water?.

Credit

Michael from The DoughRoller presents How 5 Financial Blunders Will Affect Your Credit Score, and says, “Depending on your current credit score, these five mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars over the long-run”

Sean from Grow Money presents How to Deal With Credit Card Debt.

PT from PT Money presents The Best Cash Back Credit Cards, and says, “A thorough review of some of the better cash back cards available today.”

Saving

Sun from The Sun’s Financial Diary presents Financial Challenges for the Class of 2010.

Ace from Ace of Wealth presents The Secrets of Fighting Impulse Purchases, and says, “With as much as 70% of all in store purchases being impulse purchases, it can put a huge dent in anyones budget. Being aware of why you do it is just as important as how to prevent it. Make yourself better prepared for impulse purchases. Learn how it happens and use these tips to prevent it. Your wallet will thank you.”

Jill from My Dollar Plan presents Flexible Spending Account Changes on the Way, and says, “This is a great debriefing of the changes coming to FSA’s as part of the new health care bill.”

The Adirondack mountains are located in North East New York and are contained within the 6.1 million acres of the Adirondack Park. The park contains both the 46 high peaks and the actual Lake Placid. The 46 high peaks are the 46 peaks climbed by Robert and George Marshall from 1918 to 1924.

Frugality

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog from Canadian Finance Blog presents How Small Savings Can Make A Big Difference, and says, “Reducing bills can make a big difference. A couple small savings can have the same effect as a big raise at work!”

Kevin from Financially Poor presents Ask and you shall receive.

Debt

The Smarter Wallet from The Smarter Wallet presents Are There Benefits To Payday Advance Loans?, and says, “Payday loans are dangerous, but could there actually be benefits to using them? Here’s a contrarian view of payday loans, a high risk form of debt that a lot of people misuse. Perhaps there is a “right way” to using them…”

Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Fix Your Bad Credit Yourself or Use a Credit Repair Service?, and says, “Should
you repair your own credit or hire someone to help? Here’s a discussion.”

FMF from Free Money Finance presents The Cruel World of Payday Loans, and says, “The worst of the worst when it comes to accumulating debt — payday loans!”

Other

Jason from Live Real, Now presents I Smell a Scam.

Neal Frankle from Wealth Pilgrim presents Should You Use A Professional Trustee For Your Trust?, and says, “Naming a professional trustee for your living trust is a dangerous proposition. Let me share an example.”

Craig Ford from Money Help For Christians presents What To Do When You Have A Late Estimated Tax Payment, and says, “A how to guide for those who forgot to make their estimated tax payments.”

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I have dubbed this the Bloody Friday update. I have been putting off doing the update because I knew what it was going to look like. I know I have supported all of the decisions I have made over the last month. And while I don’t necessarily regret them you certainly get a good perspective on things when you write it all down. My net worth took a $30k hit last month. All of that hit was buying my wife’s new car. We paid a good chunk of change down on it so we could avoid being upside down. I could always “fudge” the number and put the value of the car in, it is $12k over what we owe but I do not consider a car an asset so that ain’t happening.

As you may have noticed I have been in and out of writing lately. I am working on time management but I have been working on building up my business and it is taking more and more of my time lately. I am really enjoying the work I am doing, if you are interested in keeping up you can check out my recent projects, I also do WordPress consulting and programming if you ever need help with your blog.

Assets
Cash Savings$13,932.00-$5,636.00
IRA$10,180.00-$495.00
Roth IRA$4,081.00+$112.00
401k$53,606.00-$1,382.00
Other Investments$760.00+$68.00
$82,559.00
Liabilities
Credit Cards$2,643.00+$921.00
Car Loan$22,108.00+$22,108.00
$24,751.00
Net Worth$57,808.00-$30,362.00

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Another month has passed in the life of my garden and I am starting to be all but a little disappointed this year. There are certainly some high points so far. Mainly my green beans and peppers which are doing great so far. I have managed to collect around 4 heads of broccoli and quite few green beans. The radishes i planted came and went pretty quick but they were tasty. I have been having problems with my Zucchini this year. It appears my poor soil this year is causing a phenomenon known as blossom end rot. I have unfortunately not had the time to try to rectify this issue so unless just plain old miracle grow will fix it I am probably going to have to chock the zuchini up as a loss this year.

In addition to my failing zucchini harvest I have completely lost my slicing tomato. I don’t know what happened but the thing shriveled up and died pretty damn quick. I will tell myself i bought a bad plant from the store but more likely there was a disease or fungus that was in the soil from the year before that took hold and reeked havoc. I may need to build out a third vegetable bed next year for tomatoes so I can better rotate my crops. My Cherry tomato is like 5 feet tall but starting to show signs of disease. I hope to get a few good handfuls off of it before it also goes the way of the dodo.

In addition to the diseases i have been fighting back a number of pests this year. Most notably has been the infamous cabbage worm. These little green buggers take up shop on your broccoli and eat the crap out of it. The worst part is they get in on the crowns and when you cut a crown off to eat you are surprised by several dozen icky green caterpillars. I treated with Sevin and it seems to have helped but I am not a big fan of dousing everything with poison. On top of the cabbage worms the local bird population has made a mental note of the location of my blueberry bush. Fortunately my harvest has been saved by a Halloween decoration (see the photo below).

I still have some hope for my peaches this year, it is remote but far better than years past. My blackberry crop is looking better everyday. With both wild and cultivated varieties well on their way to becoming edible. My cantaloupe still alive, albeit tiny. Hopefully as the summer months drone on it will continue to grow, and if I am lucky, make me a melon or two.

blueberry bush

Broccoli Side Crown

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Should you Invest with BP?

June 10, 2010
Thumbnail image for Should you Invest with BP?

The last fortnight has seen a BP continue the attempt to prevent oil pouring into the sea after their Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on 20th April. Since the rig exploded and subsequently sank, an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil have been finding their way into the seas of the Gulf of Mexico every single […]

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Group Buying, There’s Power in Numbers but Beware

June 9, 2010

Many consumers are finding that there’s power in numbers. Group buying sites, such as Groupon.com, LivingSocial.com, and BuyWithMe.com, offer steep discounts on local services that are being promoted that day. Local merchants get a burst of new traffic that will hopefully lead to new customers and consumers get great deals. You might have seen recent […]

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