Carnival of Personal Finance #215

This week the travelling circus of money pitched its tents at Good Financial Cents, where my post on when to take Social Security was an editor’s pick. socialmediavenndiagramSeeing my name at the top of a carnival always puts me into a good mood. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Squawkfox was also an editor’s pick with 6 Surefire Ways To Avoid a Mortgage Meltdown. It’s a solid post with tips that would have been considered painfully obvious ten or fifteen years ago, but are worth giving out now in the Great Aftermath. My one objection is to the idea that ordinary folks buying more house than they can afford is somehow different from "that whole subprime lending mortgage mess". Ordinary and well intentioned people spending more on a house than they could afford is exactly what got us into that mess.

Useful and important tips on spotting an investment bubble were contributed by Steadfast Finances. Not that I think this will help in the future. One of the remarkable things about investment bubbles is that in the late stages many, if not most, participants are perfectly aware it’s a bubble. They just think they can get out just before it bursts.

There was a post on diversification from The Personal Financier. He’s in favor of it, which is good, but he does a poor job of defending it from unrealistic expectations. Diversification reduces volatility. That’s it. It will not increase your long-run returns and in fact will tend to lower them. That diversified portfolios did poorly over the past year is not evidence that diversification "didn’t quite work, to say the least."

I am not one to judge the domestic arrangements of others, but I have always privately thought that married couples with separate finances were nuts. Now Bible Money Matters makes the case that separate finances are actually unholy. I wonder if we will see a law banning it on the ballot in California.

Best title of the week goes to Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck with Top Ten Ways to Save Money While Ruining Your Life.  Of course, it’s not on how to ruin your life cheaply so much as how to be so cheap that you ruin your life. But still, it’s a great title and fits with some of my thoughts on frugality. The list does not include saving money by trying to groom your dogs at home, but The Upside of Money had that one covered. "The dogs can always wear hats til their hair grows out."

And speaking of ruining your life on a budget, Realm of Prosperity explained How Twitter and Facebook Can Hurt Your Career. Actually, the post is a bit unfair. Twitter and Facebook are merely enabling technologies. A person who posts on the internet that they think their boss is an idiot and that they have snuck out of work early because there is so little to do was going to be fired eventually. Social networking just accelerates the process. And isn’t making office work go faster just what computers are for?

[Totally awesome Venn diagram used totally without permission from its owner, despair.com. Click here and buy a t-shirt so I don't feel so guilty.]

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