Carnival of Personal Finance #214

This week the carnival appears at Poorer Than You with a US Presidents theme. That’s not a group particularly known for handling personal finances well. I think the only two that accumulated serious money outside of politics were Washington and Bush the Elder. But several of them are pictured on our money, so I guess it’s a natural connection anyway.

Five_Presidents Darwin’s Finance contributed a post that warms the dark cockles of my cold heart, Median vs. Mean: Know the Difference or Risk Being Manipulated. Actually, there are quite a few concepts you should know or run the risk of being manipulated, but median and mean are a good start. I do have one issue with the post, though. Darwin says that "average does not always equate to mean." I suppose anything is possible, but the word "average" is defined as arithmetic mean. You can look it up.

My grim view of things was further reinforced by Modern Gal’s When Personal Finance Jumps the Shark. Too much of PF advice is repetitive drivel. (And yes, I am old enough to remember that episode of Happy Days.)

In the it’s-harder-than-you-think department, Realm of Prosperity shared 8 Things That Do Not Affect Your Credit Score. Except that it’s really only 7. #3, an overdraft on your checking account, will likely increase the ratio of outstanding debt to credit lines.

Continuing with the crazy eights, we have 8 Reasons Credit Cards Beat Debit Cards from Bargaineering. Bizarrely, he leaves out the reason at the top of my list, the free float (interest-free loan) you get between when you buy something and when you pay your credit card bill in full.

Speaking of credit, from The Sun’s Financial Diary we learn that the Commonwealth of Virginia has started a new program to loan its employees up to $500 at a modest 24.99% interest. How thoughtful of them. I wonder what the media reaction would be if a company, e.g. WalMart, was similarly thoughtful.

And our last credit themed highlight is a long and thorough College Student’s Guide to Credit Cards at the Dough Roller. Just in time. Given that this financial kegger will come to an end in February, when marketing on campus becomes more restricted and issuing cards to those under 21 becomes illegal, I’m betting it will be an intense fall semester of college card marketing.

Creating the Perfect Faith shared analysis of Sex and the Wallet. Regular readers of BMA will recall that I have several times been disappointed by post titles that implied a discussion of the monetary aspects of sex and failed to deliver. This time I was not disappointed. Condoms are cost effective. Stay away from expensive lingerie and invest in rechargeable batteries for your "toys." It’s a good and practical post, but I think it misses the larger point. The best things in life may not be truly free, but they are a very efficient use of your entertainment/recreation dollar. (And what it they weren’t? What are you saving up for? A flat screen TV? Get real.)

Finally, as some of you may be aware, it is a Federal law that no person old enough to remember Fonzi waterskiing is allowed to use Twitter. I was okay with that, until I discovered from My Life ROI that you can use Twitter to get a Job. Suddenly, the reason for my continued unemployment becomes clear. As soon as my daughter gets back from camp I will have her explain the post to me.

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