Odds and Ends

A few things too small for posts of their own have been cluttering up my (virtual) desk.

CreditMattersBlog today has a post on a column a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal by our friend Brett Arends on using your credit cards to raise money for an emergency fund.  It’s a stupid as it sounds.  The column, I C Cards (Andres Rueda) mean, not the blog post.  I have a rule not to pick on the same guy twice in a week, so I will keep from saying anything bad about Arends.  I’ll just give you a link to where somebody else does it.  (Note to any WSJ editors reading this: I would be happy to do Arends’ job for whatever you are paying him.)

CreditMattersBlog apparently noticed the Arends piece from a post by Liz Pullman Weston at MSN Money with the (for me) irresistible title “Why Suze Orman is Wrong – Again”.  In case you missed it, good ol’ Suze put out some advice on March 1 that caused quite a buzz.

I want you to only pay the minimum due on  your credit card balance and instead make it your top priority to build as much of an  emergency cash fund as you can.

Several people wrote to me about this suggesting I post on it.  One of the reasons I haven’t (until now) is because I don’t have much to say that isn’t obvious.  It’s bad advice for most people.  It contradicts just about everything the woman has written or said in public in the past ten years.

But I am also overcome with guilt.  In my review of Orman’s 2009 Action Plan I gave her a hard time for rehashing the same advice she’s always given and calling it timely.  I guess I didn’t fully consider the consequences of  her trying to say something new.  I apologize.

Speaking of apologies, the AP put one out last week.  Sorta.  On April 15, they sent out the following:

WASHINGTON (AP) In a story April 14, The Associated Press reported that taxpayers who file for an extension on their tax returns will be allowed to make 2008 IRA contributions as late as Oct. 15, 2009, well beyond the usual deadline of April 15, 2009. The story should have explained that only certain self-employed taxpayers can make 2008 IRA contributions after April 15 by getting a tax filing extension. Most taxpayers would still have to make those contributions by April 15, regardless of whether they filed for extensions on their taxes.

I would be the first to admit that whether or not filing an extension gives you more time to contribute to your IRA is an obscure point.  But the AP brought it up.  On April 14th.  And corrected it on April 15th.  Good thing everybody reads these things online, otherwise somebody might have read the bad info in their paper newspaper on April 15 and not gotten the correction until the next day.  That could have been bad.

One more thing deserving of a link: Political Calculations reminded me why they are on my blogroll with a post showing that you are more likely to die in bicycle accident than in an airplane.  Also, the most likely way to go that involves a wild animal is apparently as a result of hitting a deer with your car.  On average, 130 Americans die from that annually.

[Photo: Andres Rueda]

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