After a couple of days off, here are some of the articles I recommend this week from the Carnival of Personal Finance and the Festival of Frugality. The Carnival of Personal Finance this week had a Doctor Seuss theme. My god, it must have taken MBH forever to put that thing together. Multiple kudos!
Moolanomy offers a post about how inflation, taxes and the eroding value of the Dollar are impacting the real value of our investment. You can't do much about inflation, but you can do something about taxes and the value of the Dollar. Investing in tax efficient index funds, and holding onto your investments rather than trading will do a lot to reduce your tax bill. To protect yourself from the falling Dollar, diversify internationally.
The Online College Blog has a post about the best 25 online MBA programs. To which I must respond: are you kidding me? Why would anyone want to get an online MBA? An MBA is a degree which most people get to advance their professional career. It is not typically considered a program that people take for academic interest alone. If you are indeed planning on getting an MBA, let me teach you the first lesson for free: return on investment. Don't undertake a project that is bound to have a negative return. Very few employers give any weight or value at all to an online MBA degree. Now, if you are planning on using the knowledge you gain to start your own business, maybe that would be a different matter. But if you have your eyes set on corporate America? Save your money and your time. If you are serious about getting an MBA, take a look at this website.
Financial Reference complains that laws can distort incentives and wreak havoc on free markets. Boy, do I agree. In this day and age companies routinely and efficiently lobby into law incentives, programs and regulations that give them an unfair advantage over the competition. Such incentives include subsidies, outright restriction on competition, contract awards and so forth. If there is a problem with the free market it's that it is far less free than it needs to be. Unfortunately, the specific example given in the article is a really bad one: yes, if you are violating parking regulations (even by 10 minutes) you should get a ticket. If there is a rule on the books it needs to be enforced. That does not mean that the rule itself is appropriate.
Millionaire Mommy Next Door has a post after my own heart: she advocates renting as a way of building personal wealth. I agree. By spending $24,000 a year to rent our place in Silicon Valley rather than buying a house for about a cool million, we are able to let our diversified portfolio grow, without sinking the bulk of our assets into bricks.
The Financial Blogger has a post about how having a second child is not that expensive. Maybe in wonderland. It's true that the incremental cost of the second child is lower than that of the first. Yes, you can re-use the stroller, the crib, some clothes and so forth, but the truly big costs are still very much there: education, health care, housing and pretty much everything else. Numbers 2 & 3 came to us as a single package and had a big ol' bill attached to their tiny baby butts. Love them to pieces, but those little buggers are expensive.
An honorable mention this week goes to Cheap, Healthy, Good for their amazing post: 11 Things Dwight K. Schrute Has Taught Me About Food and Frugality. I laughed myself silly.