It’s a quarter to two, there’s no one in the house…except Cassie and me. I’ve neglected visiting my blogging friends for so long, I’ve forgotten what they write about. So here’s a chance, in the wee hours, to do a little blog-hopping.
Frugal Scholar has been holding forth on any number of interesting issues. Yesterday she was riding my favorite hobby horse, Ol’ Income Inequality. Giddyap! La Maya glommed onto the same subject the other day, having recently come across the chart that shows how real income in the U.S. rose from about 1830 to 1970 and has been dropping ever since. More recently it seems to have dropped precipitously. While gut instinct tells me that we’re worse off now than we were under Bill Clinton (or hell…even under Ronald Reagan!), one needs to keep in mind that “real income” figures don’t necessarily take all the important metrics under consideration. For example, in 1830 (or even early 1970) workers didn’t routinely have their employers pay most or all of their health care insurance. Factors such as smaller household size, widespread two-earner households, the existence of passive income, and rising real consumption also come into play here.
Still at FS, take time to wonder at the real estate market, where Frugal trots out another of my pet hobbyhorses: foreign investors in distressed U.S. real estate. During the savings & loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the same darn thing we’re seeing now happened: as Americans defaulted on loans and lenders sank beneath the waves, Canadians rushed into the Arizona real estate market, turning homes all over established middle-class neighborhoods into rentals. As absentee landlords, they didn’t give one thin damn about who they were renting to or what the renters were doing to the property. Forthwith we saw blight spread through once pleasant and safe central city districts. The minute the economy improved, middle-class homeowners fled to the new suburbs, created as developers bladed the Sonoran desert at the rate of an acre an hour to accommodate people who wanted nothing more than to get quit of their ratty new neighbors and to move into HOAs and gated communities, which they imagined would protect their investments in their homes.
On a lighter note, over at A Gai Shan Life, Revanche solicits opinions on this cute little blouse she got at 50 percent off. Even at the mark-down, is it worth keeping? Revanche has discovered the benefits of investing in Vanguard’s Admiral Shares, where expense ratios are extravagantly low.
At Surviving and Thriving, Donna Freedman tries to cope with the anger she feels at the current vogue for open hatred. This is a long and thoughtful essay, well worth the read.
Over Forty and Loving It isn’t loving having to deal with punch-a-button mazes. Ugh. Just imagine being the poor wretch that you finally do reach, after ten or fifteen minutes of farting around in the phone tree. By the time I reach a person, I’m so furious it’s really hard to keep that angry edge out of my voice. I’ll bet those boiler room phone answering drones get sooooo much abuse from the public. What a way to earn your minimum wage!
Over at My Journey to Millions, Evan has come across a strange critter: the conduit municipal bond. I’d never heard of this before. It certainly is an eyebrow-raiser.
At Out of Debt Again, Mrs. Accountability reports that she and Mr. A managed to beat back their credit-card debt by over $5000 in just six months. Awesome! Congratulations, Mrs. A!
Speaking of the good fight against debt and for financial health, J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly has a nice post on how to combat the frugalist doldrums. What do you do when you think you just can’t bear to look at another budget ever again?
Holy mackerel! Did you know kids could become victims of identity theft, too? Over at Free Money Finance, FMF advises on this issue and suggests several ways to protect your kids.
Five-Cent Nickel is running an employment survey of his readers, asking what’s your job outlook. One of Nickel’s collaborators, Laura Martinez, does a good job of explaining auto title loans and their dangers.
At Brip Blap, Steve engaged the current “What’s in Your Wallet” meme the other day. He wraps up with an intriguing speculation about the future of wallets.
Simple Life in France, being preggers, visited a French dietition and ended up with a very interesting post on la différance between French and American viewpoints on what’s healthy.
And now, mes amies, daylight is breaking and I’m going back to bed.
Guercino, Aurora, Goddess of Dawn. Public domain.