I haven’t posted a Best Reads article in some time due to the monster snowstorm that knocked out power and web access subsequently throwing a monkey wrench in my schedule, as well as the chaos revolving around the holiday season, so it’s time to highlight a few posts from around the web that caught my eye.
Also, I need to make good on my gentlemanly wager with the Financial Samurai blog and give him a shout out for correctly calling the SEC Championship game by picking Alabama over the Gators. Even though I grew up as an Crimson Tide fan, I mistakenly jumped on the Florida’s defense is just too tough bandwagon. Big mistake on my part, and a well deserved hat tip to you FS!
Money Crashers is hosting a blogger sponsored giveaway totaling $7400 worth in individual prizes. Lots of chances to win some fairly sizable gift cards, books and magazines that personal finance types love, as well as other notable items.
Mrs. Micah has a really good post on why she doesn’t want to retire early. This is an interesting situation because if you elect for early retirement, you’re blessed (or cursed depending on your point of view) with an entrepreneurial spirit, just what in the world are you going to do with yourself after you hang up your proverbial cleats? Buy a Lazy Boy and watch TV all day? Some people would rather keep their day job!
The Consumerist has an exceptional piece of investigative journalism with Best Buy Optimization Is A Big Stupid Annoying Waste Of Money. Few things piss off consumers more than padding your profit margin by stiffing them with an unadvertised service fee, unless of course the value that service provides adds no real value to the end user. And I thought Best Buy’s unscrupulous upselling tactics for Monster Cables was bad. Guess I was wrong.
The NY Times noticed a increasingly frugal trend that the Early Bird special isn’t just for retirees these days. When people feel poorer, they’re going to adjust their behaviors to keep more money in their wallets. Seems all of us are becoming more cost conscious, and a select group of savvy consumers are developing a preference for used stuff versus the new stuff on the retail store shelves.
Mother Jones cleverly adapted the Too Big to Fail financial crisis mantra of 2008 into an interesting ethical question: Too Big To Jail? They reason that even though Wall Street functions more like a (rigged) casino where the house can’t lose, Washington continues to talk a tough game to the general public but also continues to enable Wall Street’s bad behavior by rescuing them from bankruptcy, lowering their taxation rates, and refusing to make good on the regulatory oversights they promised. They also correctly reason that the only ones who have appeared to learned anything from the financial crisis are the ordinary consumers who have (temporarily?) adopted an educated consumer or frugal living lifestyle.
I’m not much for self promotion, but over 2009, the SF blog made some significant progress by breaking into the Top 100 Personal Finance blog lists at both Fire Finance and WiseBread. These are meticulously updated lists and include some of the web’s best bloggers, so it’s humbling to get such a mention.
I also participated in the Carnival of Personal Finance in December at The Well Heeled Blog where I was among the editor’s top picks!