Welcome to the last Carnival of Personal Finance for 2008, The Cheesehead Edition. I’m located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I send greetings from fellow Cheeseheads. We’ve had an interesting winter so far, with record-level snowfalls in December, followed by record high temperatures on Saturday, and now back to freezing temperatures. Hopefully this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance can warm some hearts…
If you have an interest in fraud and scams, this blog is the place to be. I regularly rip on those perpetrating fraud against unsuspecting consumers. I recommend subscribing to my feed… And if you like shorter takes on things, you can follow me on Twitter.
This week’s Editors Picks:
Her Every Cent Counts is contemplating hiring a professional to do her taxes this year. Check out what she found out… (And as a CPA, I can say that she should hire a tax preparer based on her situation. Avoid large “chain” tax preparers, and don’t look for the cheapest local tax preparer either.)
Debt reduction and consolidation are big business, especially for scammers. There are many sketchy companies offering these services, and consumers need to learn more about their options before they pay anyone to help them.
If you’re prospering right now, do you feel guilty? Should you have to fake it and pretend you’re in dire straits just because so many other consumers are?
Lottery tickets are a complete waste of money. And they won’t get you rich.
Discount shopping can be fun… so long as you don’t get lured into the traps retailers set for you.
In the treacherous world of Credit:
If you thought you had credit scores all figured out, think again! Our friends at FICO are changing how they calculate credit scores, and Yielding Wealth has the details.
Refinancing a mortgage at 4.25%? That’s about the lowest anyone could ever hope to get. See how Uncommon Cents is getting this done.
The hated Taxes:
Confused about capital gains? Saving to Invest details some of the more important points.
Time is running out, but you can probably still make a few wise tax moves before the end of 2008. Hurry!
And if that wasn’t enough, here are even more tips for getting your tax house in order before the end of the year.
Plenty of taxpayers are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, and it’s not just the rich anymore.
The wonderful world of Real Estate:
Can investing in real estate be better than saving money? Monogamoney suggests that it might be, and uses real life examples to demonstrate.
Foreclosures in your neighborhood? Think about the positives!
Zillow.com can help you compare the change in value of your real estate to other regions.
You’re selling your real estate, and you want a top producer to list it, right? Wrong. Searchlight Crusade explains why that top producer is probably not the best choice.
Being a landlord isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be. Learn from the mistakes of others before you go down the road of rental properties.
Investing (if you’re still up to it!):
Deposit Accounts details some of the pros and cons to putting your money in a Certificate of Deposit while the stock market is still topsy turvy.
When did you last look at your 401(k) account value? Think Your Way to Wealth is avoiding looking at his account, and here’s why.
If you live in New Hampshire and have children, you might want to check out the new Fidelity college savings plan available there.
Bernie Madoff might not be the only person running a huge Ponzi scheme. Maybe our stock market is the biggest Ponzi of them all.
Learn some investment lingo from David at Investing School, who is talking about conditional orders.
Also on the educational front, you can learn about investing in commodities, complements of Moolanomy.
Dollar cost averaging can help you reduce investment risk and build your holdings.
Employers have been cutting or eliminating their 401(k) matching funds. Does this mean you should stop your retirement contributions? Probably not!
Since when is buying a nobility title like “Baron” considered an investment?
Dividends4Life is offering some insight into hot stocks for 2009. Where will you put your money? And whose advice do you trust?
If you’re like most consumers, your retirement funds are ailing. MoneyNing offers some excellent tips for rebuilding your funds.
An interesting investment strategy: Watching crude oil prices and tying your investment decisions to them.
We could all do more Saving:
Blueprint For Financial Prosperity walks us through some options for saving for college. Costs are rising fast, and the earlier you start, the better chance you’ll be ready when your child is.
Thinking about using a debt reduction firm to help you manage your debts? Destroy Debt details how you can create your own debt reduction plan, rather than risk getting mixed up with one of the many dishonest debt help companies.
Considering debt consolidation? There are a few ways of going about it, and Discover Debt Freedom has the details.
The Smarter Wallet offers some ideas for quickly reducing your debt load, especially if the holidays have put some stress on your credit cards.
Accumulating Money offers some insight into the benefits of refinancing your debt.
Refinancing your mortgage? Learn about the yield spread premium and how you can use it to your advantage.
An option arm mortgage can be risky and expensive. Get the details at Stumble Forward.
Budgeting and Money Management, more popular by the day:
American Consumer news discusses a few the stupid money choices many consumers make. Change these, and you’re well on your way to a better financial situation.
Simple is often better. Three things can help you simplify your finances.
Giving the gift of cash to loved ones? Use these ideas to jazz up the present.
My Wealth Builder is hoping to live another 50 years on retirement savings after retiring in his 40’s. Here are a few strategies that anyone contemplating retirement should use.
What do you do if you don’t have health insurance? Take some simple steps to help reduce costs and minimize your exposure to health-related financial ruin.
Stock Trading To Go offers some basic tips for consumers working toward financial freedom.
Frugal can be fun:
Dan at Everyday Finance gives us insight into how he saved $250 a year on his cable and internet bill, just by being polite and persistent.
Has the recession changed the way you give gifts? Maybe it’s time to get back to the good old days when life’s necessities were often given as gifts.
Miscellaneous money matters:
Mr. ToughMoneyLove is softening up a little... and telling us that by practicing gratitude, we can get into a better money mood!
If you’re self-employed, the state of the economy might have you in a panic. Check out these practical tips for business survival.
New to the world of personal finance? Amateur Asset Allocator defines three basic principles of personal finance.
Have you lost your job or been laid off? Digerati Life has ten key points for you to consider as you regroup and look for a new job.
The new year is almost here. Have you made your resolutions? Money-related resolutions are always popular.
The good news in this time of economic turmoil? Neighbors are helping one another to avoid losing their homes.
Thanks for participating and reading. The Carnival of Personal Finance will be back in 2009!