Sunday Reader – Auctions, Pre-Nups, Fat, Skinny, and Atlas Shrugged

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Editor Joe’s Note: It’s Remembrance Day in Canada. Before we begin, let’s take a moment to honour our brave Veterans, who have given so much to safeguard our freedoms and protect fragile peace abroad. Let’s also remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, our Canadian war dead. Do something kind and patriotic this week.

Sunday Reader - Adina J - TimelessFinance

I (Adina J), a self-confessed personal finance snob, select a handful of excellent PF articles from the week gone by. The TimelessFinance Sunday Reader serves these pieces to Readers of refined tastes. And because we all need a bit of comedic relief at the end of a long week, I’ll label one Personal Finance Fail — a self-explanatory category. (Submissions: adinajtf@gmail.com)

This week’s Sunday Reader has nary a single post about investment strategies, retirement vehicles, money-making tips, or other general PF know-how. Instead, we sample some topics of more general scope, and you will be free to draw your own conclusions about their applicability to your financial affairs.

First up, guest writer Matt Ainslie wrote about auctions on Get Rich Slowly. As a dedicated thrifter, I find the idea of auctions intriguing. Maybe I’ve watched one too many episodes of Storage Wars, though. Aside from a glimpse into the inner workings of auctions, Matt also shares insights into his bidding strategy. This one bears repeating: “The immediacy of needs is the basis for modern retail, and those who have satisfied as many needs as possible before they experience them pay the least to satisfy them.” Just make sure that you have a big enough garage.

Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks asked if you would consider living in the world’s skinniest house. This post is worth checking out for the photos alone, and the sheer coolness factor of a “house” built in the crawl space between two buildings (44 square feet split over 3 levels). As I luxuriate in my 1600 square foot suburban Versailles, I wonder how long it will take some wily developer in Vancouver to bring this micro-living concept to our own shores?

101 Centavos wrote about his weight loss experience this week. I know, it doesn’t sound like something anyone except his wife might be interested enough to read, but add yourself to that list. Consider it a reminder that the cumulative consequences of (small) bad habits take a while to make their full effect felt, and take just as long to redress. The message here ain’t sexy, but then again most things whose success depends on will-power and hard work usually aren’t.

Speaking of sexy, Financial Uproar‘s very own Nelson wrote about prenups this week. Specifically, about why prenups are not as simple as you think. After an eye-opening chat with a lawyer, Nelson learned an important lesson: in a marriage, there is no “mine, yours, ours”. Not as far as the law is concerned, anyways. If you want to get a sense of how screwed you are likely to get in the event of divorce, read his post and weep. And, ladies, take note: that last sentence (and Nelson’s post) is addressed to you as much as your male counterparts.

And if you still haven’t read this epic ControlYourCash article, check it out.

This week’s Personal Finance Fail comes from the author of Thousandaire who explained why, in his opinion, “Paying Interest Isn’t Always So Bad“. If the title doesn’t make it clear enough that you’re about to read a money-stupid article, we’ll share a spoiler: he’s not talking about leverage. At least, not in the reasonable “leverage to invest” sense. No, he wants to use his credit card like paper towel to clean up his questionable decisions. An 11.24% APR paper towel. And I thought Bounty was expensive.

Look, buying a house isn’t an inherently bad idea. Neither is getting engaged (Editor Joe’s Note: please see Nelson’s article about pre-nups first). But if you are so strapped for cash that you can’t manage to do both at the same time without having to rely on stupid expensive debt, then don’t. Re-think your timing. Especially when:

“I had to sell essentially all of my stocks, drain my Roth IRA, and even take a loan against my 401k to get the money for the down payment…”

Actually, never mind. Our comment section witnessed enough whine last week. Carry on! (Editor Joe’s Note: And add some Axe body spray to your sidebar’s Amazon widget, dawg. Atlas Shrugged only gets you so far with the ladies.)

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4 Comments… Share your views

  1. Mrs. 101 prefers to read other things. I read it aloud to the dog. She paid attention, but only because I was holding a dog biscuit. Thanks for the mention.

  2. That pre-nup article is scary, even though I knew most of it before I read it, it sucks to confirm suspicions. I make significantly more than the person I’m dating, and have substantial investments…I’m going to investigate this faux-marriage thing, be common law but throw a ceremony/reception, exchange rings, vows/etc everything but the license part…I wonder if that could make a pre-nup actually work and split things the way you both want at the start of the relationship? I’ve been to 4 of my parents weddings…its not that I’m cynical about romance, but I know what divorces can do to the people involved, emotionally and financially. And I know that even people who start out with the best of intentions can end up divorced.

    I liked 101C too! Great stuff…have to steal the line about the drunk celebrity stalker…

    • “I’ve been to 4 of my parents weddings…its not that I’m cynical about romance” – you’re definitely not cynical about it, you’re a realist. There are real commitments in life, like raising a child together, and then there are government-created paper (legal fiction) commitments.

  3. That pre-nup article was definitely scary – thanks for sharing! Marriage seems pretty scary to me as far as finances go :/

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