This weekend is a flurry of activity: book group, office party, family Christmas. Somehow I need to find time to write about personal finance! The last couple weeks have been crazy, but I’m focusing on January. I know that in a few weeks, things will have calmed down and I’ll be able to devote my attention to writing again. Here are some articles from around the way:

  • At Consumerism Commenteray, Flexo discusses overspending for kids. I think he makes a great point. I’ve seen many parents who lavish their children with expensive things. They do it because they love their kids and want them to be happy. But does this really create happiness in the long term?
  • A guest post at Free Money Finance argues that cash has been the riskiest investment since 2002. This confuses me. I’m no financial expert, but my understanding is that risk measures the likelihood that an investment will lose money. While it’s true that the U.S. dollar has actually lost value over the past few years, does that mean it’s risky? Either I don’t understand risk or the author doesn’t. Or both.
  • There’s still a lot of discussion about gift cards at various personal finance sites. The Mighty Bargain Hunter argues that gift cards are gifts, and can be appropriate in certain circumstances.
  • After a conversation with his son, NCN at No Credit Needed created some charts to show the expected rate of return for specific small investments. He discovered that if you save $10 a day for 50 years (and can get a 5% return on your investment), you’ll have $791,335. It’s always fun to play with numbers like this. But it’s even more fun to actually begin investing.
  • Five Cent Nickel took a look at the best 529 plan. I don’t have kids, and so am unfamiliar with college saving methods. (If anyone wants to write about this, I’m open to publishing a guest post.)

Time for some chores, and then it’s off to Kris’ office party. She has a great group of co-workers, so we should have fun!

This article is about Spare Change