Can You Hear Me Now?

I think I’ve got everything working again, but it’s hard to tell.

Realizing that if you can read this, the site is more or less working for you, I would nevertheless appreciate emails from readers still having problems of one kind or another.

Please Stand By…

We are experiencing technical difficulties at BMA. I realize that the site may seem just fine to many of you, but others have been getting malware attacks and/or very slow load times. Instead of posting today, I will be attempting to fix them once and for all.

Mythical Money Myths

Chicklet-currency My job as critic of personal finance advice is made a lot easier if other writers concisely summarize their points of view in easy to digest and refute bullet points. It gets even better if the other writer is argumentative, taking a neatly delineated position on a question which I can contradict.

So when I saw that Free Money Finance yesterday posted a list of Money Myths, my heart leapt. And I was not disappointed. There were eight myths listed, with bullet point explanations and links to fuller arguments from previous posts. What could be easier?

By my scoring, one of the myths really is untrue, two are so subjective that it could go either way based on interpretation, and five are not myths.

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Loopy Academic Research as Explained by the Times

Today I am going to write about The New York Times again.

I know. I know. I shouldn’t. I promised to stop taking the Times seriously a while back. But I just can’t stay away. Including the Thursday re-run I wrote about it twice last week. I just can’t help it. Moths and flames.Grads Kit

On Wednesday last the Times published Looking Ahead to the Spend-Down Years. I am honestly not sure how to characterize the topic of the article, other than to say it had to do with retirement and money and cited the work of several clueless academics with evidently too much time on their hands.

The piece was illustrated with creepy but eye-catching computer generated images of a man’s head as he aged. This was explained in the first few paragraphs.

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Is Homeownership a Good Idea?

This is actually two questions in one. There is the personal finance version: Is owning a house a shrewd move for a consumer? And there is the broader policy one: Is home ownership something that the government should be Mcmansion_under_construction W. Marshencouraging as much as it does?

Both are good questions. The first is of great practical importance to many people. But the second is probably more interesting. And it is nearly impossible to discuss one without the other.

Brett Arends at the Wall Street Journal gives it a good try in his latest column, taking as inspiration a recent Time cover story that is entirely on the policy question, to write on the personal finance version.

He starts out by making the point that a Time cover reading “Rethinking Homeownership” is as good a sign as any that the real estate market is bottoming out. He shows us a 2005 Time cover reading “Home $weet Home” that was, in hindsight, a clear indication that the market was then about to peak. I do not disagree, but I would have been much more impressed with Arends if I hadn’t read this blog post at The Big Picture two days earlier that made the same point with pictures of the same two Time covers.

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