Carnival of Personal Finance #211

I had it all figured out. Last week’s review/roundup of the Carnival of Personal Finance went well, so I thought I’d do it again this week. I planned to spend yesterday leisurely reading through the posts and writing it up in time to get it posted nice and early today.

Keyboard a-Michael MaggsNot so much. The carnival only appeared this morning, leaving me just a few hours to run through it. Yes, I could have come  up with another post idea yesterday, but, you see, I had a plan.

This week’s carnival is hosted by Green Panda Treehouse. Is that blog name a cultural reference that everybody who is younger than I am gets? There is a picture of a green panda on the banner, which helps me. I thought it was the tree house that was green.

There are five editor’s picks, two of which are on finance related marital problems and two of which discuss how expensive it is to own a house. Something on your mind Green Panda?

Savings Toolbox shared a good post on why automating payments is not always a bright idea. Turns out that actually reading your bills before paying them is often advisable.

Financial Methods had a post asking New Account Bonus Deals-Worth the Trouble? The answer is possibly not, but the post did contain the tidbit that "Overdraft fees account for approximately 30% of profits for most banks." Sounds like numerical fiction to me, but I don’t have the time/energy to follow-up right now.

Anna Bleker at Taking Charge had a great post on a topic I didn’t realize I was fascinated by. Why do credit cards still have embossed numbers? Turns out it is only partly what was once described to me as the English Reason. ("That’s the way we’ve always done it.")

Penelope Pince at Pecuniarities has a lunatic dog with what sounds like a very inconvenient obsession with the TV remote. She is much more successful at using this as an analogy about how humans deal with money than you might expect.

There was a short and educational post What Are Annuities? at DepositAccounts.com. Spoiler alert: they are not deposit accounts.

Darwin’s Finance has a post on Structured Notes. The post explains that these are financial cocktails made out of other commonly available financial instruments that you could buy yourself, e.g. zero coupon bonds, options, etc., but are really the debt of (possibly shaky) financial institutions, so you also have to worry about the credit risk of the issuer. And then it tells you to buy the notes anyway. Survival of the fittest?

And finally, Kyle at Amateur Asset Allocator compared owning REITs to directly owning rental property. It’s a good topic I will be plagiarizing in the near future. Kyle hits on the right issues, but winds up wussing out and concluding that the choice depends on the investor’s needs and wants. No. REITs are a better investment. Owning rental property is, at best, for a few, a better part time job.

[Photo: Michael Maggs]

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