Some weeks, there’s just too much to write about. This is one of those weeks. [Notice that I've fixed the grievous typo; no need to tell me about it again!] Not only is my brain percolating with my own ideas for articles, but the internet is abuzz with interesting stories about personal finance. Pity the blogger with a ton of material!
Rather than waste time with a long intro, I’m going to jump right in. Here are some recent articles you folks have sent me, or that I’ve found through my own web surfing:
Earlier this week, I sang the praises of index funds. If you’re interested in index funds, but don’t know where to start, you may want to consider ETFs, or exchange-traded funds. Nearly all ETFs are index funds, but they’re traded like stocks. Confused? Kiplinger’s has an informative article on how to make ETFs work for you. This isn’t just a light-weight breezy piece; it contains solid info.
Elsewhere, that lovable curmudgeon Warren Buffett is at it again. He has a talent for making both liberals and conservatives angry. In this case, Buffett says that the rich should be paying higher taxes. “Taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further,” Buffett told ABC News. “But I think that people at the high end — people like myself — should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.”
Next, GRS reader Brendan Quinn sent me a link to presentation he recently gave to fellow students at Boston College. In his talk entitled Your Money: Buy Anything You Want, Guilt-Free, Brendan covers what he calls the three rules of personal finance:
- Spend less than you earn.
- Make the money you have work for you.
- Prepare for the unexpected.
I think it’s great to see college students taking the initiative to teach each other about financial literacy. Great work, Brendan!
Last week, The New York Times published a story about Nick Martin, who inherited $14 million ($10 million after taxes) in 1998. “But as so often happens to those lucky enough to realize the American dream of sudden riches,” writes Geraldine Fabrikant, “the money slipped through the Martins’ fingers faster than they ever imagined.” I used to mock folks who squandered sudden riches like this (and there are countless similar tales), but lately I’m more sympathetic. As Flexo at Consumerism Commentary wrote about this story, “It’s easy to be judgmental. The internet is a place where armchair quarterbacks feel comfortable. Very few people know what would happen if the same situation — an unexpected windfall — occurs to them.”
Finally, here are two recent articles from USA Today. Cindy Perman has a long (and controversial) piece about Americans dying with debt. Many boomers have little saved for retirement. But more than that, the article reports that “nearly 40% of retired Americans said they’ve accumulated credit-card debt in their twilight years — and aren’t worried about paying it off in their lifetime”. In happier news, here’s a short piece about a homeless Arizona man who returned a backpack containing $3300 cash and a laptop. Now, that is an awesome story.
There are plenty of other great stories in my stack, but this is already one of the biggest “Spare Change” round-ups I’ve ever posted. We’ll call this good for now.
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