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Kids and Money -- November 30, 2008

Posted by billspaced | 9:48 PM | 4 comments »

Welcome to the November 30, 2008 edition of Kids and Money. There are 37 submissions, so this is a HUGE one. It will also be my last post for a week or so. The family and I are going to Disney Land. It's my almost-3-year-old's birthday gift. We're driving (yuck) but it's better than flying with two toddlers.

Here are some of the highlights:

FMF presents Free Money Finance: The Biggest Raise You'll Ever Get posted at Free Money Finance, saying, "You'll get a big "raise" when your kids go off on their own."

MoneyNing presents My Parents Taught Me About Personal Finance posted at Money Ning, saying, "My parents taught me everything about personal finance!" 

Jeremy Zongker presents 76 Ways to Save Money While Saving the Environment posted at Destroy Debt. 

hank presents How Is What We Are Going Through Now Different From The Great Depression in the 1930’s? posted at My Investing Blog. 

Here are the rest, in no particular order. 

Khan presents College in 2020: Have You Started Saving? posted at Higher Education and Career Blog, saying, "It can be hard to fathom your little child will one day grow up and need to pay for college." 

Steve C presents Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money - Part 1 posted at 

Jim presents Teaching Kids About Money: Tessy & Tab Money Manager Kit posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. 

Joe Manausa presents How To Stay Calm In The Real Estate Market posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "The entire financial world appears to be a scary place right now. Many people are starting to “smell opportunity” and yet are a bit too fearful to act on their instincts. The goal of this article is to get you to consider doing some homework and creating a decision matrix so that you can start to take advantage of the opportunities when you are ready." 

NtJS presents We Bought You A Piggy Bank For A Reason! posted at not the jet set, saying, "Few things draw snarls, glares or eye-rolls from parents like a child asking them for money. Sometimes rightfully so after witnessing a barrage of, 'Can I have a quarter? Can I have a dollar? Can I have this? Can I have that? Mommy, where's your purse?'"

Dave presents Cheapo Music - Free and Downloadable posted at Cheapo Groovo. 

Dollar Frugal presents Groundhog Day Goals - November!. 

Mr Credit Card presents Saving for Your Child's Education with UPromise.

Polly Poorhouse presents 10 Cheap Things to Do With Kids posted at Economic Crunch, saying, "There's plenty of stuff to do with kids that doesn't require going into debt. No need to feel guilty..."

Joe Manausa presents Discover The Secret To Making A Perfect Home Buying Offer posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying, "There are so many infomercials and advertisements claiming that you can buy a home for mere pennies on the dollar that many potential home buyers are confused about what they should do.

The goal of this short article is to help you develop a mindset that will allow you to buy the home of your dreams without paying too much for the home." 

Tony Huynh presents Money: What Steps I Have Taken to Save It posted at, saying, "This article is about patching up the leaks and keeping all that money you make." 

Jeff Rose presents Our Son Just Turned One, Starting College Tomorrow posted at Jeff Rose, saying, "With our son just turning one, we had some decisions on what to do to start saving for college." 

One Family presents Frugal Living – Skiing Story posted at One Family's Blog, saying, "How can average American families with kids ski on a budget?" 

Heather Johnson presents 100 Awesome Ivy League Video Lectures posted at Online 

Dave presents Free Education posted at Cheapo Groovo. 
Jeremy Zongker presents Save Money By Reducing Household Expenses and Good Saving Habits Start Early posted at Money Blog. 

KCLau presents Buy term and invest the difference posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "In this post, I will share my view about the reality and practical part of making use of this well-known strategy of buying term and investing the difference." 

Michael Bass presents Should you cosign for a friend or family member? posted at Debt Prison, saying, "The following two examples are from Debt Prison readers who were faced with issues regarding co-signers. The first cosigned for a boy friend… to later have him default and dragged into court. The other is from a young man who is defaulting on a debt in which a friend’s father graciously posed as the co-signer." 

Steve C presents More Mistakes Parents Make With Kids And Money - Part 2 | posted at 

Jim presents Holiday Photo Deals posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. 

MoneyNing presents Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) posted at Money Ning, saying, "FSA are one of the few ways of helping us save money on child care that can get very expensive! Remember to take advantage of it for the year of 2009!" 

Don presents When Mom and Dad are away, College Students play posted at D.P. Lawson, saying, "We'd all like to think our kids are hard at work when they go off to College. However, some stats don't lie. Here's what you little Miss or Mister Perfect may be doing while away at College on Mom and Dad's dime." 

Lane Wright presents Personal Loans via Social Lending posted at Fast Signature Loan. 

Raymond presents Funding A New Bank Account With A Reward Credit Card For Arbitrage posted at Money Blue Book. 

Finance Tips 101 presents Have You Considered Debt Consolidation? posted at Finance Tips 101. 

The Smarter Wallet presents Create Your Family Holiday Traditions and Save Money! posted at The Smarter Wallet. 

Annette Berlin presents Crafty Dollar Store Gifts For Kids posted at Craft Stew, saying, "With the economy on a downhill slide, and the holiday season coming up, everyone is on the lookout for inexpensive gifts this year. If you’d love to give something crafty to the kids in your life, your in luck. Your local dollar store may have just what you’re looking for." 

mom & dad presents Cheap LEGO: Where and How to Buy It posted at 

Steve C presents 5 Misconceptions Your Child Probably Has About Your Finances | posted at 

KCLau presents If either one of the joint-account holder dies, who gets the money? posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "Let’s say you have a joint account with your spouse in a local bank. Due to an unforeseen accident, your spouse passed away (touch wood). Are you entitled to withdraw all the money in the account, say RM100k? The answer is not simply a “yes” or “no”. It actually depends on the bank’s rules and regulations. What I learn is that there are three possibilities." 

Cory Albertson presents Erase Debt and Live With Less Stress posted at Debt Relief, saying, "It's sad but true; people with more debt have more stress in their lives and people with more stress in their lives have shorter life spans. Erase debt to elongate your life!" 

Heather Johnson presents 100 Free College Rankings (Traditional, Unorthodox and Just Plain Crazy) posted at LearningXL.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Kids and Money using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Money isn't everything. It's the only thing. Wait. That's only for football.
Enjoy life. Spend time with your family.

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Origins of Black Friday

Posted by billspaced | 5:49 AM | 0 comments »

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Trillion Dollar Deficits As Far As You Can See

Posted by billspaced | 2:23 PM | 0 comments »

Below is an excerpt from an excellent piece by Mike Miller, a deficit hawk turned Keynesian. Basically, he says that we need the deficit spending, citing a great quote from the master himself, John Maynard Keynes,

"When the facts change, I change my mind," John Maynard Keynes once growled when grilled about an inconsistency. "What do you do, sir?"

How to love your trillion-dollar deficit - Nov. 20, 2008
In ways that 9/11 didn't, today's economic meltdown really does change everything, at least for a few years. Every day brings fresh proof that the credit crunch and the exhaustion of debt-fueled consumer spending threatens to dangerously collapse aggregate demand. There's simply no way to avoid a major recession without the federal government stepping in to bolster demand until we work through the subprime hangover.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that we'll be seeing HUGE, unforseen 8 years ago deficits.

All thanks to mindless wars, politicians run amok, and banks gone wild.

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My Advice For President-Elect Obama

Posted by billspaced | 10:35 AM | | 0 comments »

This week's group writing project at The Finance Blog Network is to give President-elect Barack Obama advice on what to do about the economy, energy policy, education, health care, small business, and retirement/social security.

The Economy
Obviously, at least to me, the most pressing concern is the economy. It's been wallowing in deep doo-doo for at least a year now. In fact, it is my firm belief that we never fully recovered from the recession we suffered in 2000-2001. Jobs never really roared back, and the three things made it appear as though we had pulled out of the slump:

  • Housing
  • Stock market
  • Commodities (oil and gold, most importantly)
As you know, all three of these markets have taken severe lumps. In fact, housing and commodities suffered bubble-bursting, while the stock market, whose bubble burst in 2001, only got back up to its pre-2001 highs, and then fade, then fell precipitously by nearly 50 percent. Just look at your 401k. It's now a 201k, if you know what I mean.

That said, what to do? I think there are several things a president can do to boost the economy. One is symbolic. It's something our current president either can't do, has tried to do and has failed, or simply doesn't want to do, and that's instill confidence in the American public's psyche. US Treasury Secretary Paulson has had difficulties in this area, too, and he's a money-man. He looks truly scared out of his wits whenever I see him on TV.

So, in short, it won't be an easy row to hoe for Obama. He does have in his favor history. While the Great Depression lasted more than a decade, it did end. And ushered in a BOOM time for nearly 50 years (save for a part of the 70s, which was largely led by external forces out of our control (but of course not beyond our sight, though we chose to avert our eyes!)).

The second thing that Obama should do is begin a MASSIVE fiscal stimulus package. I know, it feels wrong to widen the deficit now, since it seems to be rising out of control and our national debt has doubled in 8 years. But economically speaking, it's the right thing to do.

I'm not talking about a repeat of the feeble "stimulus" package pushed through earlier this year, where folks got $300 to spend on...well, does anything you don't need cost $300 any more? The idea there was that people would spend the money on junk they didn't need (people will always spend money for things they need, or they'll steal them. That's the definition of need.). However, not much "extra" spending occurred with this aid.

No, what Obama needs to do is re-build our eroding infrastructure (highways, bridges, docks, energy grid, pipelines, rail) and create new infrastructure in the form of wind, solar, and other "alternative energies," broadband, and other high-tech (but labor-intensive underpinnings). He should also focus on farming. I know, I've pooh-poohed the farm bill, but that was aid for the sake of aid. Nothing productive comes out of giving people money for nothing. This is why welfare, while a necessary safety net, has been a miserable failure and should be a temporary crutch, not a lifestyle.

But I digress. A public works project would get stuff built in return for wages that a lot of people aren't getting right now, because they don't have

J - O - B - S

Jobs are the underpinning, the bedrock, of any healthy economy. A massive government system of projects would employ people, who would then go out and buy YOUR stuff. The money multiplier would be back at work. Consumerism would come back to life.

Did you know our economy is 70-80 percent consumer spending? If that continues to decline, we face issues that no president could rectify.

I've already alluded to a public works program that includes energy, specifically so-called "alternative energy." Wind and solar are free sources of energy. We just have to get better at harnessing that power. It's easier said than done, though. Just look at fusion. Right. You can't. The only fusion we've been able to effect is destructive (nuclear fusion, or bombs). It's been nearly 70 years. But we have to start somewhere.

Now is as good a time as any. Don't think that just because oil is in the sub-100 dollar range that it will stay there. Oil is becoming more scarce every single day. Remember, "They're not making any more of it." This is a short-term deal. Oil will surpass $100 in less than a year. And that's okay. Because at the end of the day, the price of oil will be whatever the consumer will bear, and if he can bear higher oil, it means (most likely) that he's earning a living again and wages might actually be rising!

So, put on your "incentives" hat, Barack, because you're going to have to convince private enterprise to invest capital (that it doesn't have right now) in these emerging industries. You might want to think, "Co-op" or (shudder) regulated markets with regional monopolies. Gurantee GE that it'll get an 8 percent margin on a 300 million person population base for energy, and I can guarantee that they'll be on board. When things are cookin', open the market.

As you might have guessed with my Kids and Money carnivals, I believe that we don't teach our kids about money. But I'll go farther than that. Our kids have fallen behind nearly every industrialized country. We could be confused with a third-world nation if you looked at our education base. In short, our education system sucks. Here's what needs to be done.

Drop "No child left behind." It's been an utter failure. Go back to the way things were 50 years ago. Reading, writing, and arithmetic. Everything else is gravy. Mashed potatoes are better with gravy, but gravy by itself is pretty gross. That's our education system today.

Turn the pay scale upside down. Administrators, who add very little, if any, value make more than double what senior teachers make. Forget trying to recruit top-notch educators to inner-city schools. Encourage college graduates to become teachers by paying off their student loans over the course of 10 years, raise the starting salaries, and boot out ineffective administrators. Give teachers housing incentives, sign-on bonuses, and other carrots that private enterprises have been doing for decades.

Health Care
One of my main areas of disagreement with the Obama camp is on the subject of health care. They frame it in terms of health insurance, that everybody should have access to affordable health insurance. I disagree. There is no god-given right, nor constitutional right, to health insurance. In fact, if you're in your early twenties, single, with no dependents, you may not need health insurance.

You may want catastrophic health insurance, but do you need a $10 co-pay for a once-a year doctor visit? Seems silly to me to force people who don't want or need insurance to pay for it.

The most pressing issue in the health care industry is rapidly rising costs. I don't know the root of the problem, but I can tell you from personal experience that it's ridiculous for a Tylenol tablet to cost $10, but it does. I don't pay that, but my insurance company does, so you can bet my employer and I ultimately share that cost. It's a waste.

That seems to me to be the root of the problem. Waste. Drug companies seem to be getting richer, but at everyone else's expense. It's a zero-sum game: What the pharmas get, we give.

Small business
Nothing needs to be done here, in my opinion. Unless, that is, you want to talk about eliminating taxes altogether. I don't agree that any business should pay corporate taxes. The shareholders get taxed on profits; taxing the business is double-taxation, and when shareholders go buy something, they pay sales tax.

I really wish somebody of influence could effect the change that needs to be made in our tax system: A tax on consumption. But only for non-necessities. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy a boat. Simple.

Social Security
Social security taxes are currently taken out of your pay check as a payroll tax. It's highly regressive, made even worse by the income limit on which it's based. I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's something like $90,000. If you make $1 million, you pay no more than I do in payroll taxes. That, to me, is ludicrous.

  • Eliminate the income cap.
  • Raise the retirement age.
  • Do a means-test. 
All three of these things are politically off-limits. But, as our leader, you have chosen to take the mantle and lead us down the right path. Solving social security (and the even-worse Medicare deficit) is a simple math problem.

Social security was not meant to be a retirement system. It was a safety net. It's been bastardized over time to be a public 401k plan. That's wrong-headed.

I don't believe we should privatize social security. It really should be a small government program that helps retired folks meet ends. It is not a be-all end-all program. And if you're wealthy, you don't need the funds. Yes, I know it's socialism (hence, the "social" part of the name), but this is a case of "Pay me now is cheaper than pay me later."

Sorry for the long diatribe. Probably more than you wanted to know about my "policy prescription" for President-elect Obama. I'm confident that he and his really smart advisers will come up with the programs and policies necessary to get us out of this mess. And if they can't/don't, we can always invade Canada and Mexico.

Money isn't everything. It's the only thing. Wait. That's only for football.
Enjoy life. Spend time with your family.

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Kids and Money -- November 14, 2008

Posted by billspaced | 12:05 AM | | 2 comments »

Welcome to the November 14, 2008 edition of Kids and Money.
Steward presents Learning Entrepreneurship From Kids posted at My Family's Money, saying, "Kids can teach us a lot about a lot of things, I just never thought they would teach me about what it takes to start a thriving business." 

Thao Tran presents Recycle Bottles and Cans posted at How to Make Money at a Young Age, saying, "Effective ways to make money at a young age." 

Raymond presents How To Calculate and Track Your Net Worth posted at Money Blue Book. 

Mark Montgomery presents The Credit Crunch and Financial Aid: What Will It Mean for College Admissions? posted at Great College Advice. 

Sarah Scrafford presents Ditch the Backpack: 100 Essential Web Tools for Virtual Students posted at eLearning Gurus. 

Jim presents Five Personal Finance Teaching Gifts for Kids posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. 

Livingalmostlarge presents just because you can afford it… posted at LivingAlmostLarge, saying, "It's funny how our parents can regress us to childhood so quickly." 

KCLau presents Financial Consideration for New Parents in Malaysia posted at KCLau's Money Tips, saying, "Recently, there is an interesting post written by Xin Lu at Wisebread about the financial consideration of having a newborn baby. The article is more catered to the situation in the USA. Although it might differ in terms of currency, the other facts might similar and worth our study. This sparks the idea of writing this post to share with you the financial side of being a new parent in Malaysia." 

Michael Bass presents Buy Clothes at Salvage Stores posted at Debt Prison, saying, "They buy salvage items from around the country for say 10%… and then resell for 60% and often less." 

Mr Credit Card presents Greatest Secrets Of The Coupon Mom | Ask Mr Credit Card's Blog.

nickel presents How to Become a Millionaire - Lessons From an Eight Year Old. 

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Fun, Cheap Halloween Costumes To DIY, A Photo Gallery posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "It's a bit late, but I thought to discuss how we prepared for Halloween this year... or how we fared.... :) ." 

Ben Dinsmore presents Financial Advice for New or Expecting Parents posted at Trees Full of Money, saying, "If your family is expecting the arrival of a "little one" in the near future, you may want to consider these financial moves BEFORE the baby is born to help ease the financial stress, and allow you to concentrate your focus on your bundle of joy." 

The Smarter Wallet presents How To Shop For Back To School Supplies: Don't Pay Twice!

Todd presents Why Must Parents Pay For College. 

Save Money presents Revising My Budget. 

KCLau presents Case Study: Financial Goals of a Malaysian working in Singapore.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Kids and Moneyusing our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Money isn't everything. It's the only thing. Wait. That's only for football.
Enjoy life. Spend time with your family.

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An Encouraging Economic Analysis

Posted by billspaced | 12:57 PM | 0 comments »

Here is a piece of encouraging economic analysis from the folks over at The Tycoon Report by Teeka Tiwari called 5 Bank Panic Mega-Trends.

We’ve seen the CRB Index, which is an index made up of 19 different commodities, fall 30%. This is a broad-based index that touches every person on the planet. A 30% reduction in the cost of “daily use” commodities is like a tax rebate check for the entire planet.

2. Oil prices are down near 40% from their highs. This is the equivalent of a global tax cut. Those saved dollars flow right to the bottom line of corporations and consumers alike.

3. Lower commodity prices will translate into beefed up corporate earnings surprises (to the upside).

4. $700 billion in bad bank debt is about to be wiped clean of America’s banking balance sheets. This will allow the banks to re-liquefy, re-leverage and re-loan, which will stimulate economic growth.

5. The credit markets will become unstuck and short-term credit, which is the life blood of all major corporations, will begin to flow again.

6. There is a strong possibility that we will see coordinated global interest rate cuts.
Good news, indeed!

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More Mortgage GOOD News!

Posted by billspaced | 2:30 PM | 0 comments »

The federal government is now streamlining a process that gets borrowers out of foreclosure and into mortgage relief. The process up to now has been on a case-by-case basis (job tip for those of us out of gainful employment: there has to be a ton of jobs coming to deal with this mess. All at a customer-service-type level. And where there are customer-service reps, there are management positions); but still, the program will seek to find folks out there whose payments are greater than 38 percent of their income. That's still a huge number.

Forget daycare for your children! You might be better off just bailing (though I don't condone that).

Government Announces New Program for At-Risk Mortgages -

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Citibank Joins JPMorganChase in Moratorium on Home Foreclosures

Posted by billspaced | 2:25 PM | 0 comments »

Citibank joins Chase in placing moratorium on home foreclosures. Here's a little-known fact:
Since early last year, Citigroup has helped about 370,000 families avoid foreclosure, representing more than $35 billion in loans, the bank said.
Citigroup Gives Lifeline To At-Risk Homeowners By Imposing Moratorium On Most Foreclosures

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WaMu Bank Branches Chase Doesn't Want, FDIC Gets

Posted by billspaced | 9:56 AM | 0 comments »

The nation-state becomes ever-more powerful. Seems the FDIC gets to keep the real estate that Chase doesn't want as part of its takeover of WaMu.

Tell me this? Why doesn't Chase keep all of them, create a new business unit called "Property Management" then sell the property or sub-lease it? My gosh, most of this is in New York. I can't imagine lease rates have gone down dramatically...but I certainly am no expert in that regard.

Uncle Sam Set to Take Over WaMu Branches | The New York Observer

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