Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Recommended Articles

Once again it is time for my Tuesday morning article recommendations:

This week's Carnival of Personal Finance is hosted by My Retirement Blog, an excellent blog that I read regularly. Our kind host did me the honor of selecting my article Rent is Not Waste as the top Editor's Pick for this weeks Carnival. Good deal.

This week's carnival included a whole bunch of articles that I read and appreciated last week here are some of my favorites:

Money, Matter and More Musings posted an article about the fact that signing the back of your credit cards is a useless security feature. Absolutely. Two of my cards are unsigned, and very few times does a sales clerk even check to see if there is a signature on the back. Even when they do check, and see that the card is unsigned, very rarely do they ask for an ID. Checking is sort of an automatic, meaningless gesture for them. The one exception to this rule: Best Buy. I always get asked to show my ID at Best Buy, and I am glad to do so.

Advanced Personal Finance has a good post about how to deal with a lousy 401K plan. The advice is all good, but he leaves out one critical piece of advice: lobby your company to change the plan. Companies are generally interested in offering a good 401K plan to their employees. The problem is that in many cases the person running the plan is someone from HR that has little or no understanding in personal finance or investment strategy. If you offer your insights or formally file your complaints regarding the plan, there is a good chance that your suggestions will at least be considered. Be aware that companies are always worried about the possibility of being sued by employees unhappy about the company's 401K plan. Each 401K plan is managed by at least one trustee who has a fiduciary responsibility to run the plan for the benefit of its participants. That’s a very big incentive to listen to employees.

For those thinking about asset allocation, the Finance Buff offers some useful advice about how to build a portfolio while limiting complexity to a level you are comfortable with. Generally speaking this is sound advice, but I have some posts coming up about other asset classes that are not adequately addressed by the proposed strategy. Stay tuned. It's going to be interesting.

Chief Family Officer has a post about how much you should stash away in your flexible medical spending accounts. Personally, I check our medical spending each year, using Quicken and follow that amount. However, I find it bizarre that the government (or employers) makes individuals guess their medical spending in advance, and penalizes them for guessing incorrectly by taking any remaining funds they haven't spent. Talk about promoting waste and creating unnecessary complexity.

Also, check out the Festival of Under 30 Finances hosted by How to Make a Million Dollars.

The Festival of Frugality this week was hosted by My Two Dollars. This week I also participated in the Carnival of Financial Planning.

1 comment:

TFB said...

Thanks for the mention. Congrats for winning the Editor's Choice. You earned it. Well done. I look forward to your comments on the asset allocation piece.