Carnival of Personal Finance #210

Part of the deal when you participate in a carnival is that you link to it from your blog. My weekly Carnival of Personal Finance links have been getting less perfunctory lately, to the point where I thought I would try making a proper post of it. It’s an excuse to discuss a lot of personal finance advice from several blogs at once, which certainly fits into the theme of BMA.  So here goes.Fenway_park

The carnival is hosted by Suburban Dollar this week with a delightfully kooky theme, the beyond vintage video game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.

One of four editors picks this week was Happy Rock’s post 16 Year Old Skips The Last Two Years Of High School To Play Proffesional Baseball.  The gist of the post is that this is a bad thing. It is about Bryce Harper, a 16 year-old from Nevada recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, who dubbed him the "Chosen One". He plans to skip out on 11th and 12th grades in order to enter next year’s baseball draft. This is a maneuver that will probably net him a sum in the high seven figures.

How could this possibly be a bad idea? I know guys who would pay in the high seven figures to play professional baseball.  And some of them would pay extra if they could’ve avoided the second half of high school. Granted, Bryce’s education will suffer. He might, for example, not learn how to spell "professional" or the difference between "to" and "too" or (gulp) "beat" and "beet".

The blog Sound Money Matters shared Nine Signs It’s the Right House For You, and One Sign It Isn’t. Apparently being sound with money involves being as emotional as possible when shopping for a house. This is also the first of at least two posts in this carnival whose current title does not match what browsers think it is called. I believe this is an indication that the title was changed, but I am not technologically hip enough to be sure. IE thinks this post is called "Ten Ways to Know You Found the Right House for You".

Weakonomics had a good post explaining why everybody is talking about inflation and what it might mean.

Fiscal Geek had arguably the most practically useful post of the carnival on how to Revive your Cell Phone or Electronic Devices from Water Damage. The instructions are seriously non-obvious. I’m hoping never to have the opportunity to test them out, but if I do and it works I will feel very clever and talk about nothing else for several days. has an explanation of why The Transition to Dual-Income Families Has Not Increased the Wealth of the Nation, i.e. the material well-being of those families. It is sure to upset the earnest liberals who like to bemoan the plight of the middle class. Families are no better off today with two incomes than they were thirty years ago with one because of higher taxes. I don’t know if that is true, but I love how it upsets conventional wisdom.

Green Panda Treehouse had an evenhanded discussion of Suze Orman. (And what’s the fun in that?)

Don’t Quit Your Day Job posted on how investing in the company that employs you is not a bright idea. That ought to be an obvious point, but given how often people double down on their employer through stock options, ESPPs, etc., I guess it is a point worth repeating over and over again.

Taking Charge gave us some mildly amusing stories of recently caught identity thieves. My favorite is the 25-year-old who stole mom’s credit card and ran up a $300 phone sex bill. (People still do that?) Mom called cops. Son is looking at 10 years.

And finally, The Digerati Life shared the post Can Stock Trading Software Make You Money? The one and only correct answer to that question is "of course not". Stunningly, the author takes a stand I think can be described as cautiously optimistic, repeating some of the possibly illegal claims of the vendors of these things. I wonder if she’d be interested in a beautiful older bridge over the East River I have for sale.

Anybody who seriously entertains the idea that a software package that they can buy will beat the market should ask themselves the following question. If you wrote a piece of software that beat the market, would there be any circumstances under which you would sell it to others?

This is the other post that has another title under which it is known to browsers.  This one’s other name is "How Stock Trading Software Makes You Money". Unless you are the snake oil salesman pitching it, it doesn’t.

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