Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recommended Articles & Commentary

Here are some of the personal finance articles that I enjoyed this past week, with some opinion thrown in for good measure: 

Have you recently tried to use the free annual credit report website? Changes that have been made by the credit reporting agencies have made this website largely impossible to use. I have a post planned for this topic based on my recent experiences, but it appears others are having the same horrible customer experience

Saving advice wrote a good post comparing how saving small amounts of money is much more effective, and easier to do than making additional small amounts of money. This is probably true to a point: there is a given point beyond which saving is probably no longer easy to do without a major impact on lifestyle. 

All Financial Matters published an article about a proposal to eliminate the 401K approach to retirement, and replace it with a $600 tax credit and a government managed retirement account which will be funded by a mandatory retirement tax. Talk about a crappy idea! Yes, I agree that there are big problems with the 401K plan system as it currently stands, one of which is the fact that a 401K is tied to an employer and the investment options it offers. Another is the fact that most individuals are simply unequipped to make reasonable retirement planning decisions. However, this does not mean that I want to turn over my retirement planning to a government agency or to accept their investment decisions on my behalf. 

The NY Times published an article this week comparing the cost of health care in various countries around the world, taking into account each country's GDP. There is a very tight correlation between per capita GDP and spending on health care, with most countries located more or less on a straight line on a graph. However, the U.S. is dramatically outside this line with spending per individual much higher than would be expected given our GDP. What's more, our medical service (as judged by medical outcomes) is not better than that of other industrialized nations. This is mandatory reading to anyone who thinks the health care system requires reform.

Moolanomy has a post about investing in tough markets, highlighting the importance of asset allocation, diversification and continuing to invest when the market is down. I am a big believer in regular contributions - in fact, Friday was our regularly scheduled monthly contribution into our stock portfolio. I was very happy that the market declined 5% that day. I love discounts.

This week I also particiapted the Carnival of Personal Finance which was hosted by The Digerati Life this week. My article Avoiding Getting Laid-Off was my weekly submission.

1 comment:

Pinyo said...

I agree, market downturn is a great time to buy. I've given up market timing ages doesn't work.