Welcome to the latest Carnival of Personal Finance, edition number 46.
For those coming to Consumerism Commentary for the first time, you can learn a little bit about me, Flexo, and this blog. You can also peruse through what I’ve arbitrarily decided were my “best” blog entries of 2005. Thanks to everyone who submitted an article this week. It’s hard to believe we’re approaching one year for the Carnival. Here’s what we have: Read the full article →
For some reason, some time this weekend Consumerism Commentary reverted to the default WordPress display style. To anyone who viewed the site and was slightly confused, I apologize. It took me by surprise as well. Here’s what was happening this past week across the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond:
Free Money Finance began a series highlighting 20 ways to save money on your car.
AllFinancialMatters saved $489 on his car insurance by raising his deductible and dropping comprehensive coverage on one car. It’s so easy, a caveman can do it.
Mighty Bargain Hunter warns people not to get over-educated. Can one be “over-educated?” Knowledge, especially scientific/empirical knowledge (the basis of advanced learning in the modern world), is a quest that should last a lifetime. The trick is to get someone else to pay for your education.
Five Cent Nickel describes how he chose between two insurance agents — one picked up the phone, one did not.
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity asks for comments on the $100 gas rebate proposal that’s circulating the Senate.
Last week, thre of my favorite bloggers launched Queercents, a blog focusing on finances from a homosexual perspective.
Personal Finance Advice suggested shopping once a week (or less frequently) to save money.
No Credit Needed presents 10 practical ways to save money.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. I could use another day before going back to the office, but unfortunately, the space/time continuum does not bend to my will.
I started a new job this week. The location is much more convenient, the pay is better, the responsibilities are relatively similar, and the people are friendlier. In addition, it’s bound to be better for my career at the company in the short term and for my life in the long term.
Things are progressing slowly as I’m being granted access and given training to new systems.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking to various people, and it seems I’m coming into a situation where expectations for me will be very high. Apparently my interview was nothing short of stellar and I received rave recommendations from former coworkers who had previously transferred to a nearby department. This was totally unexpected and unasked for, and I’m sure it helped convincing the decision-makers that I’d be good for the job.
Not everything is positive. The cafeteria is just expensive as the one in my old office. (After all, it is the same company.) While I’ve quickly fallen into the habit of going out to lunch with my new coworkers, sometimes I spend less getting food outside the building than the overpriced cafeteria. Someday I’ll try bringing in my lunch again on a regular basis.
All in all, this is a good move. And there’s more positive news: I managed to crawl away from my Advanced Statistics for Managerial Decision Making class broken and bleeding, but with a grade of “B.” Now it’s time for Yet Another Finance Course.
(I wrote this late last night and it is being published in the morning. In case you were wondering, as I know some were, I do that once in a while so I’m not spending time blogging from work.)
TIAA-CREF has finally come through! You may have been following the saga. If not, here’s the short version: In order to reduce my tax liability from self-employment income, I wanted to open a SEP IRA. The SEP IRA lets you contribute tax-free beyond the Traditional/Roth IRA limit, but only as an employer. I employ myself and generated several thousand dollars last year, so I qualify.
There are more details about SEP IRAs here, but basically I was allowed to invest up to 25% of my income or $42,000, which ever amount is less. Needless to say, I didn’t invest $42,000. In fact, I only invested $858, but it was enough to turn my remaining 2005 tax liability into a tax refund.
I applied for the account in March and my application was received on time by TIAA-CREF in order for my funds to be deposited via EFT on April 7. I tried to leave enough time before the tax deadline (April 17) just in case I ran into problems.
Ran into problems I did. I think it’s just attributable to the fund company’s backlog during tax season, but they didn’t get around to funding my account. I called several times as I mentioned in previous posts, and I’m happy to report that today, the account was finally funded. I was assured the contribution would be “coded” to qualify for the 2005 tax year, even though it is now past the tax deadline and I didn’t file for an extension.
I chose the TIAA-CREF International Equity Index Fund (TRIEX) to increase my exposure to international stocks as I felt that sector could use a little boost in my allocation.
Throughout 2006, I will continue to contribute to the SEP IRA on a “once-in-a-while” basis. I want to make sure I don’t go over the limit (25% of self-employment income). I was spurred on to look into the SEP IRA account to reduce my tax liability after reading two posts on Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Thanks, Jim!