Carnival of Financial Planning – Edition #213

Best Personal Financial Planning and Personal Investment Articles this Week from Personal Finance Blogs

Welcome to the December 2, 2011 Edition #213 of the Carnival of Financial Planning.

The Carnival of Financial Planning takes a long-term view of personal financial planning for individuals and families. We focus on efficient and sustainable personal financial planning practices that can lead to lifetime financial security. 

This edition is arranged by subject heading, so that you can browse efficiently.


The Skilled Investor, Editor

Budgeting and Economics

J.B. presents Managing Your Impulsive Buying Habits posted at My University Money, saying, “Impulsiveness can be fun at times, but it has a way of surprising you at the end month when that credit card statement comes in the mail.”

Super Saver presents Four Things Not to Buy and Save Money posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “Not buying the same four items may not work for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that most people have at least one item that is nice to have but not a necessity.”

Beating Broke presents We Conquered Black Friday posted at Beating Broke, saying, “We stuck to our list, only buying one extra item on Black Friday. We not only kept to our budget, but we beat it! When we were done with our busy morning of shopping, we had everything on our list, and we’d spent less than $150!”

Rogan Seager presents Retirement Savings Calculator posted at Retirement Savings Calculator, saying, “Valuable future investment portfolio assets and future investment returns slip through many people’s fingers at the checkout stand every day, because they spend beyond their long-term means.”

Control your Cash presents What coverage should you get when renting a car? (II of II) posted at Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, saying, “About the different kinds of insurance add-ons car rental companies charge, and why they’re largely a waste of money. We saved the best one for the end, one that can end up costing you more than the rental itself.”

N.W. Journey presents Pay Yourself First posted at Networth Journey, saying, “Learn the importance of paying yourself first”

Sustainable PF presents Family Finances posted at Sustainable Personal Finance, saying, “Who handles your family finances? Is it just one person or is it a joint effort? When it comes to the personal financial plan for a family, there are many ways to approach managing the budget.”

Estate Planning

Marie presents Should You Ditch Your Bypass Trust? posted at Family Money Values, saying, “Many married couples have Bypass Trusts set up to ensure that each of their individual estate and gift tax exclusion amounts are used to the fullest. Now that tax laws have changed to automatically transfer the exclusion, should you get rid of your trust?”

Financial Planning

humble savers presents Five Ways to Save – To be a Millionaire | Humble Savers posted at Humble Savers, saying, “The simple facts for wanting to reach a cool million”

Jen presents Net Worth Update~ November 2011 | Master the Art of Saving posted at Master the Art of Saving, saying, “Last month, our Net Worth increased by $692.17, which really seems great compared to this month. This month our Net Worth has decreased by $1,655.60 and it really sucks. Increases in other areas helped to somewhat offset a good amount of our vacation spending, so that’s cool. Hopefully next month will go better.”

Carlos Sera presents An Actual Tale | Financial Tales posted at Financial Tales, saying, “Today I release An Actual Tale – “How Financial Advisors Lie” for those that want to understand how the stock market calculates rate of return. If you think that the stock market averages 10-12% per year for example—you better understand what that means to your pocketbook. It does not mean you will make 10-12% per year. You will make less. If you’re asking yourself, “What is the difference between average returns and actual returns,” this tale will answer that question.”

SteveR presents Tips For Avoiding Consumer Debt Over the Holidays posted at Debt Consolidation, saying, “Holidays are meant to be joyous occasions full of togetherness for friends and family.”

Matt presents Six Ways to Control Home Remodeling Costs posted at Living in Financial Excellence, saying, “Diving into a remodeling project without proper preparation, however, is a risky prospect. You need to commit to planning and forethought to make sure that your modest remodeling idea doesn’t become costly. Below are some tips to get you started.”

Corey presents How Being Thankful Affects Your Finances posted at 20’s Finances, saying, “Learn how being thankful affects your approach to finances. Read my article and see if you agree?”

D.J. presents Why Do I Need to Assign a Power of Attorney? posted at The Family Wallet, saying, “Everyone should at least consider having a POA. Should you become incapacitated without having a POA, a judge will have to appoint an agent to manage your affairs; agent responsibilities do not automatically default to your closest relative.”

Marie presents What Happens to Your Assets During a Divorce? posted at Money Spending Mommy, saying, “If the divorcing couple can come to an agreement on the division of assets, the issue may not need to go to court. Otherwise, all assets must be reported to the judge and he must make a decision. The division of assets depends on several factors, and it is not always equal.”

Larry Russell presents Identity theft protection and prevention posted at Personal Investment Management and Financial Planning, saying, “As a threat to your financial security, you should take the potential for identity theft very seriously. Identity theft sometimes entails a loss of your money, but whether or not you lose money, it can take a very large amount of your time to rectify. Taking these steps to prevent an occurrence is prudent.”

Corey presents Alternative Plans For Financial Independence posted at Money Reasons, saying, “Don’t stick with just one plan for financial independence! Who knows, perhaps Plan B will get you there instead!”

Jon the Saver presents 5 Ways People Waste Money on Their Cars posted at Free Money Wisdom, saying, “Below are five common ways people waste money on their cars.”

Frank Knight presents Investment Asset Allocation posted at Retirement Planning Software, saying, “When you are already there and invested in an asset class, you are following a passive asset allocation strategy. Tactical asset allocation strategy advocates suggest that you can anticipate the crowd, but flow-of-funds studies show that almost all tactical asset allocation fund flows are late money flows that chase performance after valuations have already moved.”

Suba presents Year End Financial Planning Checklist posted at Wealth Informatics, saying, “This time of the year is an excellent time to check your financial state and make changes. I have included a handy checklist and a calendar to have a “wealth checkup” in all areas of finances.”

Financing a Home

Kevin presents How to Find the Home of Your Dreams posted at Invest It Wisely, saying, “When we first started home shopping, I thought we’d look at different places, eventually fall in love with one and decide to go for that. The reality was actually somewhat different!”

Financing Education

Aloysa presents The Best Things in Life Should Not Cost You a Thing posted at My Broken Coin, saying, “Thanksgiving is the time to reflect on life, time, relationship and family. I asked myself one very simple question that was asked by humans a gazillion times. Can money really buy happiness?”


Will presents Why I’d Rather Earn More Money Than Spend Less posted at Former Banker, saying, “Frugality can only get you so far. You need to kick it up a notch if you want to really build wealth”


Dividend Growth Investor presents Should you follow Buffett’s latest investments? posted at Dividend Growth Investor, saying, “Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. Investors who closely followed Buffett’s moves in the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) stock portfolio between 1976 and 2006 would have significantly outperformed the market. So should investors follow his latest moves?”

Hank presents Four Places To Find Great Stocks To Invest In posted at Money Q&A, saying, “One of the biggest complaints that I often hear is that people do not know which stocks to invest their hard earned money in. Here are four easy ways to find great stocks.”

101 Centavos presents Centavos Dividend Portfolio: Uptrend Update posted at 101 Centavos, saying, “The market popped a bit yesterday, and what better time to post a dividend portfolio update? Find out how my portfolio is doing.”

Glen Craig presents Don’t Get Too Hung Up on the Value Investing vs. Growth Investing Debate posted at Free From Broke, saying, “People like to pigeon-hole their investing style. Some stick to value investing while others are growth investors. Don’t get hung up on the value investing vs. growth investing debate. Many stocks blur the lines.”

Intelligent Speculator presents Yahoo (YHOO) As Alive As A Zombie posted at Intelligent Speculator, saying, “We look at the negatives of Yahoo.”

Frank Bertin presents Index Funds posted at Top Index Funds, saying, “Top ten no load index funds that track the Standard and Poors 500 composite index in terms of lowest costs.”

FMF presents Is My House an Investment? posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “Just because something costs a lot doesn’t mean it is an investment. An investment is something that pays you money. For most families the largest purchase they make will be their house. It is crucial to understand how to consider real estate holdings in every aspect of wealth management, from asset allocation to retirement planning.”

Janet Russell presents The illusion of superior professional mutual fund manager performance posted at Personal Investment Management, saying, “If investment mutual fund managers were truly skilled at beating the market, then you would expect mutual fund manager performance prowess to persist over time. The effort to find those few supposedly superior money managers willing to sell their services sufficiently cheaply is a costly, time consuming, and futile, “Where’s Waldo?,” searching exercise for the individual investor.”

Cash Flow Mantra presents Warren Buffet, Intel and Me posted at Cash Flow Mantra, saying, “There are plenty of good ideas out for investing out there. I think the problem comes because there can be too much information for some people to decide. Should I invest in individual stocks or mutual funds or exchange traded funds? Should I use bonds or preferred stocks or CDs for income? How much international exposure should I have?”

Ken Faulkenberry presents Is Investment Asset Allocation By Age Rule of Thumb Valid? posted at AAAMP Blog, saying, “Asset allocation by age is now being questioned by many financial analysts because of changing market conditions and a growing debate on valuation investing vs. buy and hold investing.”

Mirelle Rowden presents Fixed Income Funds posted at Best Bond Mutual Funds, saying, “Vanguard dominates this low cost United States bond mutual funds marketplace for direct purchase accounts with both low and high minimum deposits.”

Dividends4Life presents 9 Low-Risk, High-Yielding Dividend Stocks posted at Dividend Growth Stocks, saying, “If your goal is to accumulate wealth for a comfortable retirement, then there is no risk-free path. Yield and risk tend to follow each other. As risk increases, the investor demands more yield to compensate for that risk. Sometimes it is desirable to accept higher risk for a higher yield. Other times we may be accepting higher risk and are not being adequately compensated for the additional risk.”

Managing Credit and Debt

Control your Cash presents Peeling Back The Onion Of The Durbin Amendment posted at Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, saying, “Unintended consequences from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.”

Jacob presents Four Letters That Will Help You in Your Debt Payoff Journey posted at My Personal Finance Journey, saying, “This post describes four different letters one can strategically write in order to help attack debt and become more secure in their overall financial goals.”

Marjorie presents Get your credit card interest rates lowered posted at, saying, “I show that no matter what their situation, there is a way to tackle the high interest rates on their credit cards.”

Jim presents What Is A Good Credit Score? posted at Bargaineering, saying, “It’s easy to get all worked up about credit scores but what exactly is a good score? What does it affect and why does it matter?”


DanielPacker presents Why You Shouldn’t Do What You Love for a Career posted at Sweating The Big Stuff, saying, “Making money is great, but a lot of people say that if you love what you’re doing, you’re in an even better position. I argue with that and will make a convincing argument that doing what you love for a living could be a bad thing.”

Bob presents How to Raise Money for Community Service Projects or Missions posted at ChristianPF, saying, “If you are trying to raise money for a community service project or a mission trip and you know that others would like to help you reach your goal then here are a few ways to raise the money.”

Boomer presents How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft posted at Boomer & Echo, saying, “Identity theft is the fastest growing crime North America. The majority of cases involve unauthorized purchases on credit cards and debit card skimming.”

The Skilled Investor presents Market Timing Does Not Work posted at Personal Financial Management, saying, “Always stay invested to earn risk premiums. You must have your money invested and at risk to get risk premium returns. Jumping out and in or “timing the markets” doesn’t work.”

Peter presents Thanksgiving Day: Should It Be the Only Day We Give Thanks? posted at Bible Money Matters, saying, “I know first hand that it isn’t always easy to be thankful, especially when you’re in the midst of hard times. It’s so much easier to dwell on the misery and allow the negative to overwhelm.”

Tripp Danner presents No Load Funds posted at No Load Fund, saying, “There are over 60,000 different mutual fund investment share classes sold worldwide. Some mutual funds and ETFs must be better than others, but which ones are they? How can you tell before the fact?”

Odysseas presents What’s the Connection Between Unions and Your Wallet? posted at Wallet Blog, saying, “Unions are inextricably tied to the U.S. economy. They have served an important purpose, ensuring that there is a balance of power between management and labor. But what if things have gone too far? Could unions actually be costing Americans jobs by forcing companies to outsource? And, if so, what’s the solution?”

Craig Ford presents 10 Easy to Plan, Cheap, and Fun At Home Date Ideas posted at Money Help For Christians, saying, “10 fun date ideas you can easily enjoy at home.”

Retirement Planning

Christine presents Retirement Plans for Teens posted at Me, My Kid and Life, saying, “This article is about planning for a self-employed teenager’s retirement.”

Brockton Eaton presents Long Term Investment Strategies posted at Retirement Investment Strategy, saying, “The investment research literature repeatedly demonstrates that a fully diversified, low cost investment strategy is superior.”

Mr. Money presents Retirement: Know Your Housing Options posted at Smart on Money, saying, “As you prepare for retirement, one of your challenges is going to be figuring out where to live. The process of aging means that you might need special care as you get older.”

Walter Binkle presents Large Cap Mutual Funds posted at Mutual Funds, saying, “Retirees can save a lot by paying attention to mutual fund expenses. Each of these S & P 500 index funds is among the least costly on the market.”

Super Saver presents Avoiding “Big Company” Organizations posted at My Wealth Builder, saying, “After taking early retirement, I decided to work for smaller companies which allowed me to avoid corporate bureaucracy and better leverage my experience and personal strengths.”

Risk Management and Insurance

FMF presents The Dangers of Life Insurance Policy Loans posted at Free Money Finance, saying, “Borrowing from a policy can be helpful when times are tough, but loans must be used responsibly. The policy can relapse if the loan is not repaid, and the loans can be complex and destructive if not handled with care.”


Jason P. presents Best Instant Access Savings Accounts posted at Childrens Savings Accounts HQ, saying, “Access your money without penalty using instant access savings accounts and help your child save for the future.”

Steve Zussino presents Save on Foods Coupon Stacking Guide posted at Grocery Deals in Canada, saying, “Save on Foods Grocery Store can be an amazing place to shop for those who are looking to save money. This store not only has amazing weekly deals, but for those who want to save as much as possible on groceries, they offer ‘stacking.'”

Lina Zussino presents Ways to reduce the cost of baby food posted at Baby on a Budget, saying, “The problem with buying pre-made baby foods is that it can seriously burn a hole in your pocket, especially if you have a hungry baby!”

Chelsea Prescotti presents Top 10 Things You Should Never Buy New posted at, saying, “Shiny new toys are always nice to have, even as an adult. While those nifty new items might feel good, they are not always a wise choice. When it comes to new versus used, the following ten items are things you should always buy used, when feasible. You won’t give up value, but you will save cash, provided the items are in good condition.”

Miranda presents 45 Ways to Save Money posted at Financial Highway, saying, “Do you want to start your own business and make a little extra money? It can seem daunting at first, since there are so many others out there trying to get something started. Here are 4 creative business ideas that can help you get started.”

Bradson Oakley presents Bond Mutual Funds posted at Best Bond Funds, saying, “Higher bond fund expenses tend to mean lower net returns to individual investors. It is not worth paying higher bond fund fees.”

Don presents Frugally Saving Money By Taking Advantage Of A Very Unusual Opportunity posted at Money Reasons, saying, “Do you see dollar signs when you see roadkill along side of the road? I knew a guy that did, and this is his story.”

SavingMentor presents How to Save Money by Using Coupons posted at, saying, “I think coupons are a great way to cut your monthly budget on groceries and household goods, though one must be cognizant of spending more money when you’re trying to save money. I have a tendency to fall into trouble with this, as I go for the purpose of saving money and end up buying a few things that weren’t on my ‘list’.”

Ciana Locke presents Market Index Funds posted at Best Index Mutual Funds, saying, “The dominant issue in choosing among passively managed index mutual funds and ETF funds benchmarked against the S & P 500 is that securities industry management and trading fees are all over the map from reasonably low to shockingly high.”

Jason presents Black Friday Mayhem posted at Live Real, Now, saying, “In my mind, shopping major sales early in the morning with 5000 people who wish they’d have thought of bringing pepper spray is just an example of Hell beta-testing a new level of pain.”

YFS presents Must Know Shopping Tips for Cyber Monday posted at YourFinancesSimplified, saying, “YFS tells you how to make the most from Cyber Mondays by providing shopping tips.”

Clint Cora presents How Business Speaker Avoiding Airline Baggage Fees posted at Motivation Diversity Success Blog, saying, “How I avoided those ridiculous airline baggage fees during my last trip”

Jason P. presents Easy Crockpot Meals: Save Time and Money posted at One Money Design, saying, “Looking to save some extra money? Consider using a crockpot to make things easier and to help watch your spending.”


Finley Merriwether presents Retirement Planning Calculator posted at Retirement Plan Calculator, saying, “Tax-advantaged retirement savings plans give you the opportunity to make investments with deferred taxes in 401k, 403b, 457, Keogh, Simple, or other employer sponsored retirement plans.”

Investor Junkie presents Tax Benefits of Donating to Charity posted at Investor Junkie, saying, “During the holidays, many people’s thoughts turn toward giving to others. While you might want to give, just for the joy of charity, there is no reason to discount the advantage that can come with donating as well. Consider that when you donate to charity, you do a good deed, and you can reduce your tax liability.”

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

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About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. Thank you for the inclusion!

  2. AAAMPblog says:

    Great variety of posts. Thank you for including me!

  3. thefrugaltoad says:

    I’m sorry I missed this one!

  4. Nice to be on board. Missed this one and just received a couple of hits from the website. Cheers

  5. Thanks for the post, those links should keep me busy for a while 🙂