Carnival of Personal Finance #213

This week the carnival is hosted by our friend Baker at Man Vs Debt. It’s the New Zealand edition because "my family and I are currently backpacking and job-hunting in New Zealand." I’m suspicious. Sure, we’ve all combined backpacking and job hunting at some point in our lives, but New Zealand? Reminds me of a certain southern governor.

Baker did have the good taste to select my post about the guessing of Social Security Numbers as an editor’s pick. I’m sure you’ve all read it by now, but you might have missed the Flag_of_New_Zealandlengthy comment left over the weekend by the authors of the academic paper that started the whole thing.

Another editor’s pick was from Good Financial Cents on the income caps on Roth IRA contributions effectively going away in 2010. It’s a topic I’ve discussed on this blog and one that will undoubtedly get more play as 2010 approaches. My personal opinion is that the government will close this particular unintended loophole sooner or later, but it’s worth understanding in the meantime. Also, the post makes reference to the Violent Femmes, which is a plus.

Tough Money Love had a reassuring post on the virtues of being a vulture consumer. I’m not one who thinks that acting in your own economic interest needs to be morally justified very often, but for those who feel slight pangs of unease at profiting from the misfortune of others, this post should make you feel better. If you didn’t buy that foreclosed house, somebody else would, and at an even lower price.

Penny Jobs tells us that The Most Pragmatic Way to Deal with the Economy is to be Realistic. Unlike those many things that are dealt with most pragmatically by being unrealistic? Sadly, one man’s realism is another’s fantasy of economic apocalypse.

Speaking of realistic views of the economy, Darwin’s Finance made several good points in The New Normal Is: Abnormal – It Won’t Last. As profoundly different as the current economic situation feels now, the old normal will be normal again soon and we’ll be buying bigger cars than we need and maxing out the credit cards. Darwin gives it two years. I’m not sure it will take that long.

But while the lessons of profligate spending are still in your head, you might want to read Marilyn Brodeur’s post on eHow (not really a blog) on how to get bumped from a flight. On purpose.

On the other hand, Bret Frohlich contributed a well reasoned post on how being frugal may be a waste of effort. You’re probably better off concentrating on increasing your income rather than squeezing pennies from the outflow.

And finally, Single Guy Money is concerned about the stress that state governments are under lately and their ability to pay tax refunds promptly. As a result, he has decided to adjust his withholding so that he won’t be owed a refund next year. In other words, he was perfectly happy to make an interest-free loan to the government as long as there was no credit risk.

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