1. John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, testified before the US House of Representatives about the coming retirement crisis. Thanks to the Personal Finance Blog for highlighting this one. Bogle makes many strong points about failings of our financial system that threaten retirement. An additional point I’d make is that with people living longer and the retirement age remaining fixed, we are spending in increasing proportion of our lifetimes retired. This seems unsustainable. If life expectancy increases, maybe the retirement age has to increase as well.
2. Canadian Financial DIY rated web tax preparation software. TaxChopper investigated the inconsistent results among different tax packages, and gave a detailed response.
3. Money Grubbing Lawyer tells a funny story about negotiating the price of his mother’s new car. The moral seems to be to control your emotions in a negotiation.
4. Canadian Money Review reports being charged for overpaying a Sears bill! This is the first I’ve heard of this one. The few times I’ve forgotten to pay a credit card bill on time, I made a big overpayment to avoid ongoing interest charges. I’ve never been charged a fee for this, but apparently Sears wants to profit from this situation by more than just failing to pay interest on a credit balance.
5. Larry MacDonald reports that house prices continue to decline and gives a breakdown of declines by region.
6. Canadian Capitalist doesn’t find much to like in BMO’s batch of new ETFs.
7. Big Cajun Man has some financial advice for new grads.
8. Dividend Growth Investor explains the fees charged for variable annuities.
9. Million Dollar Journey discusses the importance of spending money to enhance your life. I find I agree with this philosophy, but I fear that most people will see what they want in this advice. It’s intended to make us think twice about overspending for minimal benefit, but I could definitely see someone using “life enhancement” to justify blowing a lot of money on an expensive new car. Of course the good feelings about a new car fade in a month, and the extra $20,000 of debt lingers for years.
10. Four Pillars has some excellent advice about learning to be comfortable with public speaking. This skill has served me well financially.
11. Preet has some funny math to prove that the less you know the more money you’ll make.