Welcome to the Best of March 2008. Here you’ll find the best articles, posts, tools, resources and news about money, finance, and investing from the past month.
News & Analysis
New five dollar bill put into circulation
The new five dollar bill entered circulation on March 13, 2008.
A guide to the money in U.S. elections. Want to know how much the 2008 presidential candidates have raised and spent so far? Open Secrets can tell you. Who says you can’t buy an election?
Top 10 cheap green cars
A list of the top 10 “inexpensive” hybrid cars.
Emerging Credit Score
Experian launched a credit scoring system for consumers with little or no credit history. To develop the scoring model, it uses data such as demographics; internet, catalog and direct-marketing purchases and payment; trades, inquiries and public records; property and asset records; telecommunications and utility data; and; industry specific and custom scores.
Business Week’s Top 50 performers
Business Week announced its annual list of the 50 top corporate performers. Coach was #1, up from #2 last year.
Money Tools & Resources
Wide Open Wallet: 50 Awesome Open Source Financial Tools
A list of free, open source software to help you manage your money.
The Excel Magician: 70+ Excel Tips and Shortcuts to help you make Excel Magic
I recently ran across this helpful list of tips and tricks for Microsoft Excel.
40+ Alternative Income Ideas and Resources
Here’s a list of 40 ways to make a second income.
Get Your Stimulus Payment!
Here’s a tool to help older Americans who are not employed but received income determine if they are entitled to a stimulus rebate check. The AARP also as an article on this topic–Advisory About Economic Stimulus Payments
Tightwad Tuesday: Homemade Laundry Detergent
Want to make your own suds? Here’s how.
I ran across this site recently and thought you might find it of interest. It has links to numerous articles about budgeting, spending, investing, and so on. Here’s one of the links that’s interesting–Beginner’s Guide to Financial Statements
Here’s a nifty tool to save you some money in the face of rising gas prices. This website claims to know where you can buy the cheapest gas. Just plug in your zip code, and it brings up a list of filling stations near you listed by price from lowest to highest.
Smart Moves To Lower Your Health Care Costs
Some good tips on how to make the most of your health care dollar.
Articles and Studies
Iraq by the Numbers
Here’s a chart showing whether Iraq is better off now than it was five years ago. You be the judge.
Source: Via Cool Infograhics
1 marshmallow or 2? A study on the benefits of delayed gratification
Delayed gratification is a key to financial success (and stockpiling marshmallows).
A Practical Illustration of the Power of Snowflaking
Behold, the power of the snowflake. Here’s a great example of how to make a big difference in your finances with small amounts of money.
How I Earned $4,100 Without Working – The Beauty of Passive Income
Passive income is the holy grail of financial freedom. Here’s how one blogger netted $4,100 for doing “nothing.”
A Surprisingly Large Number of Things can be Lived Through
This is a good reminder of how good most of us have it as compared with others throughout the world, and that even with difficulties, you can prevail.
10 Ways To Reduce Clutter And Clean Up Your Act
Boy do I need to study this article!
Uncommon Lifestyles and the Truth About the 4-Hour Workweek: An Interview with Tim Ferriss.
Here’s an interview with Tim Ferriss, which ties in nicely with Tim Ferriss� 4-Hour Work Week: Fact or Fiction
The Case Against Roth 401(k)
Here’s an interesting take on whether you should invest in a Roth or Traditional 401(k). I think several good points are made here that are worth considering. Source: My Money Blog
2008 Social Security Trustees Report
I’ll let the report’s summary speak for itself:
Annual cost will begin to exceed tax income in 2017 for the combined OASDI [social security] Trust Funds, which are projected to become exhausted and thus unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2041 under the long-range intermediate assumptions. For the trust funds to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period, the combined payroll tax rate could be increased during the period in a manner equivalent to an immediate and permanent increase of 1.70 percentage points, benefits could be reduced dur�ing the period in a manner equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduc�tion of 11.5 percent, general revenue transfers equivalent to $4.3 trillion in present value could be made during the period, or some combination of approaches could be adopted. Significantly larger changes would be required to maintain solvency beyond 75 years.
Study: Payday Loans Cause More Bankruptcies
In last month’s “Best of. . .” article I included a link to a study performed by George Mason University suggesting that payday loans can actually help certain people in financial distress. Now Vanderbuilt has released a study showing a correlation between payday loans and bankruptcy filings.