Diamonds and Dogs #17

Jun 13, 2013 by

In each post of the Money Counselor “Diamonds & Dogs” series, I pick three items—an article, a website, a video, an image—that in my humble opinion would be especially valuable—the Diamonds—in helping Money Counselor readers make better money choices. And to balance the three Diamonds, I pick just one lame item—the Dog.

money idea gems3 Diamonds

    • If you live & breathe you’ve had a discount or other incentive dangled in front of you in exchange for using a retailer’s branded credit card for a purchase. The store’s marketing and finance bright boys and girls have put their collective sneaky minds together and calculated that the discount and more is, on average, likely to be recovered through interest charges when customers don’t pay off the account balance in full. But my blogosphere friend Travis at Enemy of Debt learned of a way to outsmart the whiz kids. Read his “I Know a Secret about Kohls…” to wise up.

  • If Greg at the promising blog ThriftGenuity keeps publishing pieces like his “A Payday Loan Affiliate—Are You Kidding Me?”, I’ll be obliged to add him to the Money Counselor blogroll soon. (I know—big whoop. 🙂 ) See, for you non-bloggers, here’s how it works: Some self-annointed personal finance bloggers dole out advice on how to get your money ducks in a row all while taking money themselves in exchange for links to websites and publishing “reviews” for financial companies selling worthless and in many cases harmful services and products that target the financially vulnerable, naive, and under-educated. The services these companies peddle help assure continued financial servitude and challenge for the companies’ customers. Greg has the integrity to put the financial well being of his readers and the credibility of his blog ahead of a few bucks in his own pocket, and for that I salute him.
  • All too often we presume that being green is more expensive than being, what, brown? Non-green? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, that’s old school horsehockey. In “5 Ways to Reduce Waste and Save Money at the Same Time“, Sustainablog gets you started on the path toward personal financial and environmental sustainability.

 lame money adviceA Dog

Check out this 2-minute 20-second “Waiting in Cash” advertising video from Charles Schwab, then let’s talk.

Here Ms. Kathy Jones of Charles Schwab explains to us financial heathen why we should put our money in a (Charles Schwab, no doubt) bond fund instead of holding cash. She makes valid points, I don’t dispute that. What troubles me is this, Kathy: No where do you bother to mention that the principal in a bond fund is at risk, while cash holdings are not. Do you consider this fact irrelevant?

Oh wait, here it is:

Charles Schwab disclaimer

The universal Wall Street “We’re not responsible if you take our advice” disclaimer.

This does indeed tidy up Kathy’s pleasantly reassuring if wholly self-serving presentation. Cash-holding speed readers will note in paragraph four during the exactly five seconds that this disclaimer is on the screen: “Fixed income securities are subject to increased loss of principal…”. Okay, I feel better. For a minute there I thought the reason Kathy left out that pesky detail about principal risk may be that Charles Schwab doesn’t earn outrageous “management” fees from investors who hold cash.

Nominations Please

Do you have a nomination for a Diamond or Dog? Send it to me please. I’ll give you credit if I use it in a “3 Diamonds and a Dog” post.

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