The TimelessFinance Sunday Reader is not your typical PF carnival. In fact, it is not a carnival at all. It’s a weekly round-up of interesting and informative articles that I, Joe Wood, serve to you garnished with a healthy dose of my own opinion. For comic relief, and because bad writing and poor decision-making is in no danger of extinction, the PF Fail of the Week tradition lives on. Send your suggestions (and PF Fail nominations) to firstname.lastname@example.org who will help me pick the cream of the crop.
This week’s Sunday Reader is brought to you by Adina’s photo, which isn’t going anywhere despite her limited participation.
Garth Turner, our Dear Leader at GreaterFool.ca, has a way with words especially when it comes to (1) wooing women and (2) describing the plight of overextended, under-prepared Boomers. As he says, ”…they completely misunderstood risk. They feared loss, when they should have feared poverty.” With more than half of Boomers unable to swing an extra $500 in monthly expenses, the writing on the condo’s glass balcony couldn’t be clearer (assuming it hasn’t exploded). But don’t read Garth’s post and feel superior because you’re a Gen X, Y or Z. A falling tide lowers all boats.
Speaking of The Honourable Garth Turner, Nelson at Financial Uproar unleashed his inner Wise Beard Man on a hapless article. Janine from My Pennies, My Thoughts had this to say about Nelson’s excoriation of the post in question:
— Janine (@apenny4athought) January 17, 2013
Satire is an important component of American-style freedom, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be outed as a communist sympathizer, but I got very few lulz from the original post. In fact, I was disappointed by it. Maybe even “sad” if you can imagine a robot like me having such emotions. Under the guise of personal finance blogging, the post supported the nearly-delusional choices of a couple that can’t afford bad advice. Saying it’s OK for a couple with $30k+ of student debt (where one person is about to lose her job) to go buy a $7500 vacation is a disservice to Readers. And if you aren’t in it to help people, why are you writing?
Miranda at Prairie Eco Thrifter wrote a great article about the difference between looking rich and actually being rich. I could retire for years at this point without any income, ignoring my partner’s significant earning potential; yet when I met Adina she thought I was a homeless guy harassing her for change (in fairness, I was trying to bum a quarter). In a credit-addicted, money-stupid society, the average person cares about the impression he leaves than the house-of-cards reality behind his noveau riche facade.
Take a walk through any suburban neighbourhood and you might conclude that you’re trespassing on an enclave suited for a modern day remake of The Great Gatsby. Sure, I could have qualified for a $600,000+ mortgage and we only spent $125,000. I don’t have a 3-car garage for you to gawk at, because I’m not going to spend real money for the ethereal thrill of impressing you (and the more likely human reaction to ostentatious displays of imaginary wealth is jealousy, not awe, which is an emotion I have no wish to inspire). In Toronto, the median salary is negligibly higher than the City of Kawartha Lakes; meanwhile I see far more people driving Audis on the DVP than on the 115. Did those rich-looking folks buy their luxury cars in cash? Not most of them. Meanwhile some people would look at me and guess that I live in my 03 Malibu. Good. It’s a fine American motor vehicle.
The Personal Finance Fail of the Week is a reader nomination. Sarah Gilbert at Get Rich Slowly decided to tackle the so-called morality of personal finance, failing miserably to grasp the concept of morality in the process. Her “brilliant” conclusion:
If check-bouncing is immoral, so is falling down and breaking your smart phone.
The whole post is actually just a glorified justification for her bouncing of a cheque, despite the fact that she understood it was risky to write the cheque in the first place. She wrote about the debacle previously and readers called her on the flippancy of her actions and her lack of any apparent remorse. Rather than take the apologetic route, Sarah decided to go on the offensive and proclaim that it ain’t no thang. It’s just an unfortunate accident, OK guys? 100% like that time Bridg had her iPhone stolen. Really, we the Readers of GRS should feel like the dumb ones, not Sarah.
Except that writing a cheque, the clearance of which you know is a crapshoot, does not make bouncing a cheque into a legit accident. Unlike breaking your smart phone, bouncing a cheque has negative consequences for other people. Another key distinction relates to the Criminal Code; see if you can spot the difference!
- If you can afford a hundred iPhones you can break them all without catching a charge from the po-po (but remember to clean up after yourself — don’t leave dog **** like an iPhone lying on the grass).
- Try bouncing a hundred cheques and even Canada’s criminal-friendly “justice” system might sentence you to actual jail time. (If jail time is inconvenient, ask to serve it on weekends.)
A cheque is a binding contract for payment. Respect it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me from this Sunday Reader, I’ve got to go gas up the Malibu or I won’t have any heat tonight.