Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: Cats as Stock Analysts?

J.D. of Get Rich Slowly made me laugh by posting about cats as stock market analysts. Honestly, it's one of the better (or at least, more entertaining) suggestions of how to reform Wall Street that I've heard lately. At the very least, it would make for more interesting shows on CNBC:

"Now, Mittens, if the Dow is going up, bat the rubber mouse; if it's going down, pounce on the ball of yarn."

But that's not the only thing that made me think this week:

Young People in Debt - Studenomics writes about several of the societal forces that lead young people to get into debt, specifically credit card debt. He touched on convenience, media pressure, and the feeling many young people have that they need to reward themselves. I would add in some of the practices of the credit card companies (only requiring you to pay a tiny amount of the total debt each month) as a major contributing factor.

10 Things You Must Do After College - My Life ROI (a relatively new blogger, whom I have begun to follow) gives several useful actions you should take while you're young, such as starting a Roth IRA, building your network, and start a rainy day fund. All very reasonable actions to take, and my only quibble is that you should be doing most of these things during college, if not before. If you're old enough to hold a job and you haven't started checking things off this list, what are you waiting for?

Three Financial Lessons Learned the Hard Way - The current market conditions are proving a harsh and brutal teacher, as Lazy Man and his wife are discovering. One big thing I took away from his story is the importance of establishing your risk tolerance well before investing, and being willing to follow it, even in bad times. It's easy to say you'll be able to handle a drop in your portfolio's worth, but much harder to actually resist pulling out when it happens to you (as I can certainly attest).

The Magic of No-Spend Days - Mrs. Micah, as part of her Where's My Money Going? Month, writes about the joy and awe of days when you don't spend any money. This is an excellent concept; one of the greatest pleasures I had when I kept a written log of my credit card purchases was seeing how long I could stretch between using my cards. Which reminds me, I need to start using my credit book again...

Lending Club Experiment: Starting Out
- Stephanie of Poorer Than You writes about her first steps into using Lending Club, a Peer to Peer lending website, allowing people to make small loans to strangers (or vice versa) and collect interest for their troubles. It's a really, REALLY interesting concept, and I'm planning on taking her up on her offer. (The offer of a getting a referral and, as a result, an added $50 bonus, that is).

101 Tax Deductions for Bloggers and Freelancers - Paul Michael on Wise Bread lists a truly impressive amount of blogging related tax deductions. I had no idea about most of these; it doesn't do me much good for this year's tax return, but some of these suggestions might help me out next year.

The Giving Pocket - Trent of The Simple Dollar relays his tendency to carry extra money in his wallet, in order to help people in desperate need (not a bad idea). He tells a story about helping a child he found eating out of a garbage can by leaving a meal from McDonald's by a dumpster. I just have no words for this; God bless anyone who helps others in this fashion.

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