Let’s Hit the Links: Week #6


Oh yeah!


Forget the Super Bowl. Read these articles instead. Okay, read them during the commercials.

This Deadspin article about the replay process is either groundbreaking or a waste of time. You decide.

44% of challenges on 1080i-broadcast games resulted in a reversal, compared to only 38% on 720p broadcasts. Taking the different number of challenges on each network into account, a replay challenge of a game broadcast on NBC, CBS, or the NFL Network was 5% more likely to reverse the call on the field than one on other networks.

Greg was welcomed back at ProBlogger with this article about blog carnivals.

I’m not talking about running guest posts, nor contributions from freelance or staff writers. I mean leveraging the work of dozens of other bloggers in your genre, for your mutual benefit.

Kathryn at Kathryn’s Conversations explains why ugly people have such a hard time in life:

Even when no sex is involved, good-looking people charm interviewers, get hired faster, are more likely to make more sales and get more raises. You look good and you’re compensated in return. People like to do business with people that they like, and people they like to look at. Being good at your job is a bonus.

Kathyrn’s bio tells us she’s “an expert in cutting through the onslaught of excess information; I read over fifty daily news briefs and pop culture trends (more on my research experience below), then curate and communicate any information that will help you to grow both financially and personally.”  Which means she can curate and communicate to us that attractive means to attract attention, prosperity and admirers.

I like when people agree with me. Eric Nisall at DollarVersity.com wrote:

Rather than choosing something that is realistic and achievable, people tend to set their sights on things that are unrealistic, then look to point the finger elsewhere rather than take responsibility and be accountable for the decisions they make. 

Keeping with the responsibility theme, Teacher Man from MyUniversityMoney.com tells recent college grads to (wo)man up and get on with their lives:

I can see the attraction to piking your head out of the proverbial gopher hole that is your university/college, being terrified of the chaos around you, and diving right back into safer surroundings in the form of a graduate degree.  This will definitely extend your period of youthful bliss and allow you to feel intellectually superior to man around you; HOWEVER, it is probably not what is best for you in the long-term, at least not from a personal finance perspective.

No wonder those college students don’t want to leave academia. Atlanta’s CBS TV affiliate looked into the startling trend of college students receiving food stamps.

A sum of $200 is awarded to program participants each month, which is to be used toward grocery bills.

According to this story, a basic meal plan at Georgia State University runs $1,700. Why doesn’t the state just buy these students said meal plan and save $700?

Finally, 2 entries from the category of “Who put this guy in charge of the economy?”

Steve Sailor wrote about the Obama family finances:

The Obama thinking appears to have been:

1. Borrow against home equity and consume.
3. Get rich!

But, hey, it worked.

Over at the Washington TimesRichard Rahn takes a closer looks at the President’s proposed Buffett Rule:

 The actual tax rate Mitt Romney, Warren Buffett and most other wealthy people pay on dividends, when correctly calculated, is about 52%, as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes the federal and state corporate-level profits tax burden, plus federal and state taxes on dividends.

There’s a lot more good stuff about double taxation, the difference between dividend, capital gains and ordinary income and how the US stacks up against other industrialized nations vis-a-vis the taxation of these different kinds of income.  Read it all before you start talking about inequity in the current tax system.


What did you do last weekend?

Exhausted after climbing Florida's highest (mole)hill

Britton Hill in Lakewood Park, Florida is the home to the lowest state high point. The park, along with commemorative marker (shown above), is so far north it’s almost in Alabama. According to Wikipedia: ” …as of 2010, the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel Miami is the highest non-natural point in Florida. Topping out at 789 feet, the tower is more than twice as high as Britton Hill

Carnivals and Links:

Don’t Mess with Taxes included my article Don’t Play Fair in the Tax Carnival #96-Dealing with Tax Dragons

Product Placement:

Receive paycheck – deposit – pay bills – hope you have enough to cover them – repeat. That’s no way to live. Nor does it have to be.

You’re just one person, with the same daily 24-hour allotment everyone else has. In other words, how much you can earn is far more limited than how much your money can earn. If you work 40 hours a week and want to double your income, there are two direct ways to do it:

1. Put your money to work for you.
2. Work 80 hours a week.

The people who build wealth via passive income vastly outnumber those who do it just by the sweat of their brows.

Read The Unglamorous Secret to Riches and find out how the people who earn more than you (while somehow having more time on their hands than you) manage to do so.

It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You don’t have to sell anything, or even talk to anyone. AND NO, IT’S NOT MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING, EITHER. COME ON, GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF CREDIT.
But it works. And it’s relatively simple. And no, it’s not particularly exciting.

Pick-up my latest eBook through Amazon Kindle:

What’s on my Kindle:

3 great business reads:

Winning by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch
Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Let’s Hit the Links: Week #5

The Constitution, with its system of checks and balances, not only allows for gridlock, it practically guarantees some degree of it. The Founders knew that gridlock can be a very good thing. If nothing can be agreed upon in Washington, harm to the country is limited. Considering the Obama administration’s ideas of what caused our problems, and how to solve them, the wisdom of the founders certainly shines through today.

Ron Paul

Remember this quote the next time you read about how gridlock and obstruction in Washington are bad things. Ron Paul wants to reduce the impact of the federal government on its citizens’ lives, cut $1 trillion in spending during his first year in office, and restore individual liberty by returning to Constitutional basics.  You may not agree with (or like) everything he says, but you know he’ll stand by his beliefs.  That’s called integrity, a trait the other candidates would do well to emulate.

Still wondering which candidate is right for you? Take this quiz at Reason.com.

Here’s what I’m reading during the commercials in the Republican debates and State of the Union address:

Garth Turner  at the Greater Fool Blog (via Financial Uproar) sounds like he’s auditioning for a job at Control Your Cash:

Most people – the vast majority – will continue down their path to financial ruin. Utterly lacking in self-control, they’ll spend unearned money chasing stuff they want, but do not need. There’s no clear plan to repay any of this borrowing. Just a vague notion things will turn out, and an ingrained sense of entitlement.

Nelson from Financial Uproar, guest posting at Sustainable Personal Finance, explains the problem with electric cars:

The average Canadian spends about $2200 per year on gasoline. Even if driving a Volt cuts that down to $1100 per year, (which I think is a generous allowance) you’re still waiting 13 years before the investment becomes worth it. And that’s not factoring in a dime for the extra electricity needed to charge the thing.

Despite the cogent financial argument against electric (or hybrid) cars, the commenters still think electric cars are feasible.  The industry just needs more government subsidies and higher gas prices.  Of course the best way to get higher gas prices is to increase taxes.  It’s a win/win for big government and the electric car makers, and a great big loss for the taxpaying consumer.

My other half teamed up with the brilliant Paula Pant to pen this post championing content over clicks at ProBlogger:

But until the day the robots achieve sentience, there will always be an audience for innovative content spawned from inquisitive human minds. And unlike link analysis or pageview counts, worthwhile content is impossible to engineer artificially.

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic tries to do the math on the “Warren Buffett’s secretary pays more taxes” meme:

There is no way at all to pay effective federal income tax–or even effective federal income tax + payroll tax–that sums to 35.8%.  You can–just barely–get a marginal tax rate of 35.8% if she is making almost exactly the taxable social security limit of $110,000.

McArdle herself is best in small doses but her commenters are some of the smartest on the web.

We waded into the Suze Orman prepaid debit card controversy over at Control Your Cash with this account of Greg’s appearance on the self-proclaimed personal finance expert’s show.

Sister, your card is for people who will never be rich, largely because they’re swallowing advice undigested from an imbecile. Your card is only for people whose credit is already so horrible, no bank or credit union will let them open an account.


What did you do last weekend?

Crazy Horse's completed head is 87½' high.

Started in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is both huge and unfinished. The latter, because the foundation that owns it relies solely on private donations. The family-run foundation owns the land, supervises the building of the monument, and operates a bustling visitor center.  No taxpayer funds have been or will be used to build this magnificent tribute to the Oglala Lakota warrior.

Here’s the family’s mission statement:

  • Continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture;
  • Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
  • Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center;
  • And by establishing and operating the Indian University of North America, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians

Here's what the finished monument will look like. It'll be 641' long and 563' high.

With Mount Rushmore just 17 scenic miles west, you can easily view both monuments in one trip.  In 2007 the LA Times wrote:

If you take a right turn on the way out of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and head west on South Dakota 244, the two-lane route will take you winding through a gorgeous Black Hills medley of pines, slopes and jutting boulders.

Eventually, you reach U.S. 16, and turn south toward the town of Custer. But before you get there, you’ll see Custer’s nemesis on your left.

Carnivals and Links:

No joy.

Product Placement:

Still haven’t bought my book?

Create weelth, get rich,debt free

Here’s a free sample.

What’s on my Kindle:

End the Fed, Ron Paul

The Revolution, Ron Paul

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman


Negotiating: It’s Not Just For Men

Do you hate to ask for what you want (or think you deserve)? You’re not alone.  Linda C. Babcock, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon and author of Women Don’t Ask, looked at the ways men and women negotiate. She got the idea when her female doctoral students complained that they weren’t offered teaching assistant positions, despite never asking for them:

“The dean said each of the guys had come to him and said, ‘I want to teach a course,’ and none of the women had done that,” (Babcock) said. “The female students had expected someone to send around an e-mail saying, ‘Who wants to teach?’ “

Need more proof? Read this anonymous post from a manager for a multinational tech company:

“…a woman will enter the salary negotiation phase and I’ll tell them a number will be sent to them in a couple days. Usually we start around $45k for an entry level position. 50% to 60% of the women I interview simply take this offer. It’s insane, I already know I can get authorization for more if you simply refuse. Inversely, almost 90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more upon getting the offer.

The next major mistake happens with how they ask for more. In general, the women I have negotiated with will say 45k is not enough and they need more, but not give a number. I will then usually give a nominal bump to 48k or 50k. Company policy won’t let me bump more than 5k over the initial offer unless they specifically request more. On the other hand, men more frequently will come back with a number along the lines of 65k to 75k, and I will be forced to negotiate down from there. After this phase, almost all women will take the offer or move on to somewhere else, not knowing they could have gotten more if they asked.

At the end, most of the women I hire make between 45k and 50k, whereas the men make between 60k and 70k. Even more crazy, they ask for raises far less often, so the disparity only grows.”

The First Rule of Negotiation: Ask for What You Want

Whether it’s a salary, a promotion, a specific behavior, or getting the best deal when buying a car, you have to know the outcome you want and what you’re willing to do to get it.

Babcock conducted experiments to figure out why women wouldn’t ask for what they wanted.  She claims that her results show that men don’t want to work with women who ask for what they want.  Babcock also quotes the absurd trope that women make 23% less then men, so I’m disinclined to take her word*. It’s more likely that the men weren’t turned off by women asking for what they wanted, but by the way those women did so:

The Second Rule of Negotiation: Keep Your Emotions in Check

Be willing to walk away from any deal.  As women, we often show our emotion by talking loudly or shrilly. We talk too much. Or worst of all, we cry. To control your emotions, detach yourself from the outcome.  Pretend you’re negotiating for someone else. It’s easier to be tough on someone else’s behalf.

The Third Rule of Negotiation: Give to Get

Find out what the other party wants, then figure out how to give it to them. Juliet Nierenberg, author of Women and the Art of Negotiation explains:

One of the most overlooked features of negotiating successfully is trying to figure everything from the other point of view. We’re so stuck in our own point of view that we don’t stop to consider, how will they look at all of this? What possible things are going on in their minds?

Looking at the transaction from the other party’s viewpoint gives you valuable information about when to compromise, when to hold your position, and when to walk away.

The Fourth Rule of Negotiation: Be Prepared

She who has the most information wins. Do your homework. Know more than your opposition, but don’t use the information to prove how smart you are: use it to make your case. Being prepared will also calm your nerves.

Being prepared doesn’t mean you should do all the talking.

The Fifth Rule of Negotiation: Stop Talking

State your case concisely. Provide the relevant facts to back up your argument. Then, shut up.

One of 2 things will happen. The other person will jump right in with a response, or the silence will deafen you.  Either way, keep quiet until the other person asks you a direct question.

You can learn and eventually perfect negotiation. Just like driving a car or tying your shoes.  Start by using the 5 rules in low-risk situations. Evaluate your performance and outcomes. As you practice, you’ll improve.

*The article quoting Babcock linked above even debunks that statistic: “That figure does not take differing professions and educational levels into account, but when those and other factors are controlled for, women who work full time and have never taken time off to have children earn about 11% less than men with equivalent education and experience.”