Time for me to eat a little crow. Last week I wrote a tepid review of personal finance magazines, concluding that they’re worth the subscription cost, but that they’re hit-or-miss with their content. The September issue of Money arrived in my mailbox yesterday. It’s all hit.

This issue includes several pieces on money management for college students, a one-page comic (!!!) about dealing with contractors, a review of personal finance software, a brief overview of rental properties, some excellent Q&A columns (including a question about dividends I’ve always had), and some fantastic articles:

  • “The Best Advice of All Time” — 20 rules for investment success (I like this article so much that I may write it up for tomorrow)
  • “Your Money and Your Brain” — an excerpt from a new book about behavioral economics by Jason Zweig
  • “You Can’t Go Home Again” — a feature on post-Katrina New Orleans
  • “Value Judgments” — exploring the complex relationship between price and value

I’ll share these pieces as they become available via the CNN/Money web site. Meanwhile, here are some other personal finance stories I’ve enjoyed lately:

Scientific American: A Wealth of Smarts Does Not Guarantee Actual Wealth
“Just because you are smart doesn’t mean you can balance a checkbook, or tackle any of the other tasks that might make you wealthy. A detailed study of 7,000-plus Americans followed since their teen years in the late 1970s reveals that intelligence provides more earning power but not necessarily more accumulated wealth. ‘The smarter you are, the more income you have,’ explains economist Jay Zagorsky of Ohio State University, who analyzed the data. ‘For wealth, there is no relationship.’”

Dumb Little Man: 22 Secrets to Discovering Your Dream
People sometimes say, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” There’s truth in this. But how can you know what it is you love? Sometimes it’s there right in front of you, but you’re unable to see it. These ideas can help you discover the things that are important to you.

Jethro’s World: Bigger Hammer Theory
My brother describes how he dealt with a credit card company when they charged an unexpected late fee. Sometimes to get the job done, you need to use a “bigger hammer”. In this case, he threatened to close other accounts with the bank until the they agreed to waive the fee. I’ve used similar techniques to deal with other erroneous charges from banks and utilities.

This article is about Spare Change