Well, it's time once again for me to try to gather up my thoughts on the blogs published earlier in the week. I've decided to change the name of this (usually) weekly feature because, with my new job and its rotating schedule, it's going to be very hard to ensure that I have time to gather up enough good articles by Thursday, and having a title without a specific day of the week in it makes it easier to post it on non-Thursdays. Calling it my ‘Weekly Thoughts' makes it easier to post on, say, a Saturday without seeming too odd. Rest assured, though, that I do think more often than once a week.
As for the name of this week's edition, no, my birthday is not this month; mine is four days before Halloween (October 27th, for anyone who doesn't want to do the math in their heads). Instead, this edition commemorates the birthdays of BOTH my younger sisters. The youngest had her birthday on the ninth (9-9-09 was the day she turned 23) and the elder of the two (the middle child) will have her birthday on Monday.
Unfortunately, neither of them have given me any suggestions for gifts, so I'm just going to have to wing it. One of the problems with trying to figure out presents when everyone is earning their own money, I suppose. I guess I'll have to distract myself with some interesting post from the past week of personal finance blogging:
Good Reads from Other Bloggers:
Mike's ING Troubles – Two articles from Stephanie of Poorer Than You, detailing the trouble her friend Mike had opening an ING account and then the resolution, which did not answer all of their questions (nor mine, now I know about this issue). It appears that ING was using a third party agency to collect data in order to verify identities of people, one which got the information wrong in this case. Although Rick was eventually able to open his account, the whole incident is more than a little worrisome, particularly as my major online bank is ING…
Guide to Getting Hired Quickly – My Life ROI provides some suggestions about how you can find a new job should you lose your current one, based on an article about someone who managed to do it in three days. The advice is all solid, from networking to doing research on the companies to which you are applying, although try to keep your goals a bit more modest than getting a new job in three days. Give yourself at least a week.
Enough with the Credit and Debit Card Confusion – A passionate and surprisingly persuasive argument made about favoring debit over credit cards. I'll be honest, I've always leaned more towards credit cards (paid off at the end of each month, of course) because of the rewards that are offered. However, if it's possible to get rewards on the same scale as Mr. ToughMoneyLove (namely, a 4.5% return on the cash in his linked account when he uses his card twelve times each month), I might have to switch my allegiance.
Why Do Companies Use Coupons and Rebates? – To maximize their profits, of course. The Weakonomist muses that companies use coupons and rebates to sell stuff cheaper without lowering the perceived value of the products. I think it's more likely just a way to discriminate on price; the coupon toting granny is only going to buy the special brand of bread if you make it cheaper than her normal stuff, while the hurried business man will buy it at the more expensive original rate. But such is the nature of economics; healthy disagreement is par for the course.
Mortgages and Interest Rates – It seems that Green Panda of Green Panda Treehouse is getting a new house (probably not a treehouse, though). She shares some advice on mortgages, including the difference between ARMs, fixed rated mortgages, and hybrids. It's a good read, and definitely a decent introduction to mortgages in all their glory. (It's not a bad complement to my own recent column on home purchasing, either.)
Where I've Been Featured:
The Carnival of Money Hackers-81st Edition was hosted by ABCs of Investing, and featured my article Financial Lessons: Credit Cards
I also had several articles tweeted by the Entreprener-Investor Network, or @EINetwork, so go me for that, I guess.