Carnival of Financial Planning – Edition #150 – July 16, 2010

The Carnival of Financial Planning takes a long-term view of personal financial planning for individuals and families. We focus on efficient and sustainable personal financial planning practices that can lead to lifetime financial security.This edition is arranged by subject heading, so that you can browse efficiently.


The Skilled Investor, Editor

Budgeting and Economics

Matt T. Henterly presents How to Use the SimpleChecking Free Online Finance Tool posted at The SimpleChecking Blog, saying, “ is a free online tool that allows users to track income and expenses and organize household finances.”

Learn Save Invest presents The Best Financial Advice posted at Learn Save Invest.

KCLau presents Global Spending: How People Spend their Money posted at KCLau’s Money Tips, saying, “Results from a World Bank study entitled Global Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures 2005 International Comparison Program spanning 2003 to 2008.”

Super Saver presents Living on a Cash Basis was a Good Experience posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “Living on a cash basis quickly taught me financial responsibility.”

Roshawn Watson presents Will the Economy Collapse In 2011? posted at Watson Inc, saying, “With the steep increases in federal, state, and local taxes scheduled for next year, will economic activity be stifled to the point of economic collapse in 2011?”

The Financial Blogger presents Why The Loonie Is As Strong as a Bear? posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “It has been more than a year that our Canadian Loonie has been beating on the greenback and we have now reached the moment when most economists predictions will become reality: the elusive state of parity between the Canadian and US dollar.”

Joe Plemon presents Why Don’t the Economic Experts Tell Us the Truth? posted at Personal Finance By The Book, saying, “We hear lots of predictions about the economy, but rarely the truth. This post explores why.”

Roshawn Watson presents Why Is Debt Really Decreasing? posted at Watson Inc, saying, “In the first quarter of 2008, our debt to disposable income peaked at a staggering 131%. This means for every dollar we earned, we spent $1.31. As of March, our debt as a share of our annual income is presently 122%. If you think this change indicates that we have collectively been so scarred by the “Great Recession” that we are now behaving fiscally responsible, think again. There is a surprising and sad reason why our debt has gone down. Hint, it has nothing to do with frugality.”

Sustainable Life Blog presents Cash Flow posted at Sustainable Life Blog, saying, “Tips on how to manage cashflow.”

The Skilled Investor presents Save More Money posted at Personal Finance Strategy, saying, “Budgeting and self-control in consumption is far more important than clever investing. Expenditure control and budgeting works, while “clever” investing usually is counter-productive.”

Estate Planning

FMF presents Trusts and Wills Defined, Part 2: What is a Trust? posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “Just what is a trust — and why should you consider having one?”

Financial Planning

Ryan @ MFN presents What to Do With an Enlistment Bonus posted at The Military Wallet, saying, “What should you use a large cash bonus for? Pay down debt, invest, spend?”

Kenc629 presents College Scholarships: There are more than you think | College To Careers posted at College To Careers, saying, “An informative article concerning financial planning and scholarships in college.”

Dividend Tree presents Building Core Competency for Long Term Survival posted at Dividend Tree, saying, “whether it is running a business or individuals investment portfolio, it is important to build a core competency for long term sustainability. In my case, I focus on good quality companies that consistently pay or have potential to pay growing dividends over time.

The Investor presents Wealth preservation strategies of the rich posted at, saying, “The way you invest changes when you’re more concerned about keeping hold of your money than about growing it.”

Mike @ Green Panda presents Prioritizing Financial Goals posted at Green Panda Treehouse.

Miranda presents Automate Your Savings Accounts posted at Moolanomy.

Mike @ Green Panda presents Financial Guru Review: Jean Chatzky posted at Green Panda Treehouse, saying, “Jean Chatzky helped families create systems to get out of debt and in control of their finances. She even moved into one family’s home to jump start the process.”

The Financial Blogger presents My Financial Goals Reviewed posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “In order to achieve my financial goals, I keep an update every 6 months so I can make sure to make adjustments to my original plan if necessary.”

Joe Plemon presents Which Comes First: Earning or Saving? posted at Personal Finance By The Book, saying, “The number one financial principle is to live on less than you earn. Right? Or do you need to get those earnings up first? This post helps the reader think it through.”

Larry Russell presents No Load Mutual Funds posted at Top Index Mutual Funds, saying, “Superior past performance has simply not been shown to be a reliable predictor of superior future performance. However, low costs can lead you to the best mutual funds.

Financing a Home

Jeff Rose, CFP presents Different Types of Mortgages posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “Here’s a look at the basic mortgage options and the other kinds of mortgage loans you may be eligible to receive to finance your home.”

mike presents Primary Residence as Your “Best Investment” posted at Mike, saying, “Is your house a good investment?”


FMF presents No One Cares About Your Career Like You Do posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “You have to look out for #1 when it comes to your career.”

Consumer Boomer presents Finding a High Interest Savings Account posted at Consumer Boomer.


Dan presents Significant Factors Impacting Financials? ETF Plays to Consider posted at ETF Base, saying, “Significant Factors Impacting Financials – ETF Plays to Consider. With Financials at a tipping point, it’s instructive to consider how to play either likely scenario – a breakout or a new collapse.”

Praveen presents Caveat Emptor: If An Investment or Opportunity Appears Too Good To Be True, Beware! posted at My Simple Trading System, saying, “Beware of investment opportunities that seem to be too good to be true.”

Zach Scheidt presents Solar Selloff Close To Exhaustion? posted at ZachStocks, saying, “Solar stocks are off sharply due to Euro-Zone concerns. Trina Solar could end up being an exceptional value if earnings remain somewhat stable and management is able to calm investor fears.”

Chet presents How money loses its power of buying things posted at Money Obedience, saying, “Purchasing power risk is a hidden financial risk that is often overlooked when you want to “play it safe.”

Dividend Tree presents Dividend Investing and Businesses with Moat posted at Dividend Tree, saying, “In general, companies with moats in their business are very good dividend growth providers. However, the opposite may not be true.”

The Skilled Investor presents Market Timing posted at Investment Portfolio Management, saying, “Always stay invested to earn risk premiums. You must have your money invested and at risk to get risk premium returns. Jumping out and in or “timing the markets” doesn’t work.”

PT Money presents Should You Invest with Exchange Traded Funds? posted at Prime Time Money, saying, “Use ETFs, the other low cost, index based investing tool to help you in your retirement goals. ETFs are great for beginners with little capital.”

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Stock Market Trading: How To Keep Your Shirt On posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “On trading in the stock market.”

Dividend Growth Investor presents Will higher taxes bring dividend stocks down? posted at Dividend Growth Investor, saying, “Back in 2003 the Bush administration cut the top rates on dividends and capital gains to 15%. After seven years the preferential treatment of investment income is set to expire. If congress doesn’t extend the tax cuts, the top rates on dividend income could increase to as much as 39%. This leaves many investors wondering whether dividend stocks will be negatively affected by the tax hike.”

Dividends4Life presents Stocks Trying To Entice Investors With Their Dividends posted at Dividends Value, saying, “The goals of an income portfolio are much different than those of a capital appreciation portfolio. The good news is an income portfolio consisting of quality dividend growth stocks can not only succeed, but excel during a market downturn. Dividend investors are focused on building a stream of steadily rising income from solid companies.”

Tomas Escent presents Stock Trading Automation posted at Nerds on Wall Street

mike presents Low Cost Ways To Buy Dividend Stocks posted at Mike, saying, “How to save money on stock purchases.”

Managing Debt

Jeff Rose, CFP presents Will Credit Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score? posted at Jeff Rose, saying, “You’ve probably heard that applying for a loan can affect your credit score. Indeed, many realize that when a creditor looks into your credit in order to make a decision about a credit application, it can have a negative impact on your credit score. The fact that some inquiries into your credit can hurt your score has led to the myth that all credit inquiries can hurt your credit score. The truth is that there are two main types of credit inquiry: “Soft” and “hard.” Only the hard inquiry is damaging to your credit score”

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Maximize Your Gas Credit Card Rewards! How To Pick The Right Rewards Card posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “You can leverage rewards cards and save money when you spend, if you know how to use credit cards wisely.”

Learn Save Invest presents 5 Steps To Debt Reduction posted at Learn Save Invest, saying, “Here are 5 tips you need to master in order to reduce your debts.”

The Smarter Wallet presents Are Debt Counseling Services The Way To Debt Relief? posted at The Smarter Wallet, saying, “On debt counseling services.”

Jessica Bosari presents How To Get Out Of An Upside Down Car Loan | posted at Billeater, saying, “Options for you if you are upside down on your car loan.”

Big Cajun Man presents Found Money Trap posted at Canadian Personal Finance Blog, saying, “Found money should go on debt no matter what!”

Craig Ford presents Student Loan Debt Forgiveness | For Ministers & Non-Profit Workers posted at Money Help For Christians, saying, “How ministers and non-profit workers can have student loan debts forgiven.”

Ryan @ MFN presents Improve Your Credit Score Quickly posted at The Military Wallet, saying, “These tips will show you how your credit score is determined and give you methods for improving your credit score quickly.”

Jeri Ford presents 10 Tips For Maximizing Returns on Credit Card Rewards posted at Help Me Travel Cheap, saying, “How to get more rewards from your credit card.”

Jim & Martha presents Chase Sapphire Review posted at Wanderlust Journey.


Super Saver presents Disputed Price Increase on Phone Bill and Won posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “Last month, our phone bill was up 12%, with no changes made on our part. We disputed the increase and the phone company agreed.”

studenomist presents 3 Reasons Why Your New Business Won’t Succeed posted at

Madison DuPaix presents 4 Quick Mid-Year Financial Checkups posted at My Dollar Plan, saying, “Now that the year is half over, make sure you’re on target with this great mid-year financial checklist.”

Pasadena Financial Planner presents Vanguard Investment Performance posted at Top Mutual Fund, saying, “Compares Vanguard’s actively managed mutual funds and Vanguard’s passively managed index mutual funds. Vanguard investors should read and understand this study.”

Retirement Planning

Jeff Rose, CFP presents 3 Things You Must Know About Inheriting an IRA posted at Jeff Rose, saying, “With the exception of financial experts, deciphering the rules of individual retirement accounts can often leave a person confused and frustrated. While the gist of most IRAs is relatively easy to comprehend, once a person begins investigating the rules, requirements and exclusions, things tend to get a bit tricky. This becomes even more apparent when you find yourself named as a beneficiary of an IRA from a friend or family member who has passed. Inherited IRAs constitute some of the largest assets left in an estate. For this reason any heirs who find themselves in a position of deciding what to do with an inherited IRA should think carefully about all the options before making their final decision. Since this decision can have a huge impact on your own personal finances (in both positive and negative ways) most beneficiaries will benefit by consulting with a tax professional or financial advisor experienced in this area. The following information is provided to help you understand what options are available to you. Distribution of assets for some IRAs must begin at age 70 1/2 (April 1 of the year following this birthday), therefore some of the options are based on whether the owner of the IRA died before or after that cut off date.”

Consumer Boomer presents Roth IRA vs. 401k How to Decide posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “Deciding whether a Roth IRA or a 401k is the better retirement account depends on your own unique situation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for which type of retirement account is more advantageous to every person”

Super Saver presents Is $1 Million enough for Retirement? posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “Maybe yes, and maybe no. However, it’s a good start.”

Larry Russell presents Roth IRA Conversions posted at Best Financial Planning Software, saying, “Trying to decide about a traditional IRA to Roth IRA conversion without first having a comprehensive lifetime financial plan in place makes absolutely no sense. Without such a plan, you cannot figure out whether or not you are likely to achieve the tax savings in retirement that would warrant paying higher taxes now.”

Super Saver presents Choosing a Retirement Plan posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “I selected the defined contribution plan since there is a 140% employer match and I’m 100% vested after 5 years”

Joe Plemon presents Should You Roll Your 401(k) to an IRA? posted at Personal Finance By The Book, saying, “The accepted wisdom is that when leaving a 401(k) employer, one should roll the 401(k) to an IRA. Good advice, but not always valid.”

Jeff Rose, CFP presents Traditional vs. Roth IRA: Decide Which is Best for You posted at Jeff Rose, saying, “Whether you are self-employed, or whether you work for “the man”, an IRA can be one way to increase your retirement nest egg. When you go to set up an IRA, though, you will need to decide whether you want a traditional IRA, or whether you want to go with a Roth. You will need to consider your options, and think about the pros and cons of each type of IRA. Below, this helpful infographic from offers a look at the key differences between the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA, answers common questions about IRAs, and provides a helpful flow chart that can help you determine which course of action is likely to be best for you:”

Risk Management and Insurance

BWL presents The 5 Best Car Insurance Companies posted at Christian Personal Finance, saying, “These are the 5 best and worst car insurance companies as rated by JD Power…”

Big Cajun Man presents Self Insured Company Disability Plans posted at Canadian Personal Finance Blog, saying, “Sometimes insurance is not as safe as you might think (in Canada at least)”

Jeff Rose, CFP presents Reasons You Should Buy a Short Term Disability Insurance Policy posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “A short term disability policy is insurance which pays a percentage of an individual’s salary for a specific period of time if the individual is injured or ill and can’t perform the responsibilities of his or her job. Short term disability coverage typically begins between 1 and 14 days after the individual is unable to work, although many employers require that their employees use their sick days, and sometimes paid vacation days, before they can collect short term disability.”

Consumer Boomer presents How to Get Cheap Medical Health Insurance posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “When searching for medical health insurance, it can be an overwhelming task because there is so much information from competing insurance companies. You can not sign up for insurance without carefully reviewing what the coverage entails which can take a lot of time. Health insurance is only as good as what is covered under the insurance plan. If you are looking for insurance based solely on price, you can be wasting serious money when coverage doesn’t meet your medical needs.”


DepositAccounts presents 10 Mistakes People Make with Their Bank Accounts posted at Deposit Accounts, saying, “It is possible to make mistakes with your bank patronage, resulting in lower returns than you could be getting or even in losses. Here are 10 mistakes people make with their bank accounts.”

Jim & Martha presents Passport Fees Increase July 13th posted at Wanderlust Journey.

KCLau presents Are You Rich in Internal Assets? posted at KCLau’s Money Tips, saying, “pay attention to the internal assets”

Jeff Rose, CFP presents How to Find the Best Money Market Rates posted at Consumer Boomer, saying, “Saving money is an important component in the overall management of your personal finances. It is not enough to make money and avoid debt, you must also put money aside to be used in the event of an emergency or financial hardship. Beyond saving for short term goals, the need to save for long term goals such as retirement is also important.”


Mike Piper presents How is a Sole Proprietor Taxed? posted at The Oblivious Investor, saying, “When you start earning self-employment income, are there any things you need to do before next tax season rolls around?”

Ryan @ MFN presents Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension for Military and Overseas Federal Employees posted at The Military Wallet, saying, “There is an extension to the homebuyer tax credit, which is available to military members and federal employees who live overseas.”

Mike Piper presents Tax Brackets: Which Income Tax Bracket Am I In? posted at The Oblivious Investor, saying, “A guide to how tax brackets work as well as tables with the 2010 tax brackets.”

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Date published: July 17, 2010. Last updated: July 17, 2013.

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Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years in the USAF and also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google