25 Best Personal Finance, Investing & Career Posts of 2009

by Darwin on January 12, 2010

After sharing the best posts from around the blogosphere in Personal Finance and Investing with yesterday’s Carnival of Personal Finance I realized I didn’t do a look-back at 2009 from Darwin’s Finance.  In this list you’ll find thousands of dollars in money saving tips, career boosters, investing tricks and tax deduction ideas you may have never heard of.  I’ve intentionally selected articles that are still relevant and useful, even if they’re a few months old.

Personal Finance

How to Get a 0% Down Loan Even in 2010 – Amazingly, in the midst of the most substantial housing collapse we’ve seen in our generation, there are still 0% down loans being offered to millions of Americans under a USDA rural loan program.  The thing is, there’s nothing rural about many communities that qualify – which means you!  Find out more about the program if you’re thinking of buying.

The ONLY way to get your FICO Credit Score for free – Aside from learning how to do this, most people don’t fully grasp the implications their credit score has on their everyday life – from loan rates to employer screening trouble, the FICO credit score is far-reaching and a critical component of a successful personal financial plan.

Net Present Value – It’s not just for MBAs – This article shows how I used NPV to choose between multiple mortgage choices and how you should always perform a simple NPV analysis when confronted with tough financial choices.

What Statistics Really Mean – When someone throws out a fancy statistic, they often either don’t know what they’re talking about or they’re intentionally manipulating you into believing in their agenda.  Understand the tips, tricks and implications of statistics and how to apply these concepts to everyday life.

Don’t be a Slave to Energy Prices – Be indifferent.  By hedging your energy prices.  This article outlines several simple and low cost methods to hedge against rising oil, electric and natural gas prices.  Large corporations do this to avoid catastrophic impact to their bottom line, why don’t you?

What Would Happen if the US Dollar Were Replaced? Of late, there has been serious talk of foreign governments getting out of the US Dollar as their reserve currency.  Can you blame them?  Such an unraveling could have serious implications for all Americans.

Family Money – Fairness and Considerations in Gifting and Estate Planning – This uncomfortable topic is one many families choose to ignore.  Do so at your peril.  Consider your transparency and equity in how you treat your family members.  You’d want to be treated the same way, right?

9 Money Habits to Live by – Check out these basic methods to ensure financial success in your family’s budget.  Do you relate to these habits?

Living Paycheck to Paycheck is Costing You Thousands – The hidden costs of not having excess cash on hand every month.  Life Happens – and when it does, a hand to mouth financial lifestyle can put you further in the hole.

Puppy Love?  Think Twice, That May be a $100,000 Dog Over its Life – I was personally blown away when I actually calculated what our dog Jack will eventually cost us over his lifetime.  My wife and I went to college for less than Jack’s expenses over his lifetime.  Please make sure you understand and calculate your costs before buying that cute puppy on an impulse buy.

How FSA Plan Account Contributions Can Save You Thousands
– If you have a Flex Spending Account at your disposal and you’re not using it, you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table.  See all eligible expenses and how to take advantage of this tax deduction.

Start Investing Today: An Amazing Comparison of 25 vs 35 Year Old Starters – A picture can tell a thousand words.  Well, this has words and pictures showing an amazing difference in outcomes if you start investing at 25 vs. 35…even if the 25 year old STOPS investing completely when they hit 35!


How Stock Options Work – They’re not as complex and costly as you may think.  And they’re NOT just for speculation. Options can provide income and hedging in a conservative portfolio as well if used right.

How Covered Call Options Work – Understand how to generate income and smooth out market returns by selling covered calls.

3 Low-Cost Option Strategies for Stock Market Speculation – Using stock options to speculate on a biotech approval or pending court case that could wallop a small tech stock doesn’t have to be expensive.  See how these low-cost methods allow you to profit over 1000% on event-driven trading days for under $100 invested.

Investment Club Aspirations? Consider This…While an investment club was a positive experience for me overall, there were significant cost, tax, governance and performance issues that we didn’t consider at the outset.  Make sure you understand all the barriers before you embark on a partnership.

Leveraged ETFs are Evil – If you don’t understand daily rebalancing.  Please read before you EVER consider buying a 2x or 3X return ETF.

Advanta 11% Yield Notes Sound Great, Right? Find out what to watch for in an investment that seems too good to be true – and what happens to investors that ignored the warning signs.

Structured Notes – How they Work and Why You Might Want One – What if you could attain guaranteed ranges of returns that are MUCH higher than the crappy savings and CD rates out there today?  You can, with Structured Notes.

Wall Street Violated Nature’s Laws – A fun look back and how Wall Street violated the most basic laws of physics in their behavior and reaction to the financial crisis.

2009 Returns for Every Country – See what you missed by investing only in the US (or by avoiding stocks altogether in 2009).  Some countries returned over 100% on the year, with a financial crisis along the way.

Every ETF on Earth (Over 800 Listed) – If you can think of it, there’s probably an ETF for it.  Scan this list of 800 strong to see if there’s an ETF constructed for your strategy.

Want More on ETFs? Visit ETFBase (my latest project dedicated solely to ETFs)


Project Managers – Tips and Tricks – If you’re a current or prospective project manager, check out these tips and practices I follow as a Project Manager.

What’s the Best College Degree for Today’s Economy? It’s no longer Business.  See what the up and coming careers are in demand in this new economy.

Your Employee Stock Options Don’t Have to be Worthless – By executing option strategies against your underlying collateral, you can guarantee yourself a hefty return regardless of what happens to your company’s share price.

Make sure to stay tuned via email updates or RSS so you don’t miss similarly themed articles in 2010 and beyond!

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{ 1 comment }

1 Ideas To Make Money June 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I just have to say that the project managers tips and tricks is the best article I have read lately. Great post. There is so many great articles here but that is by far the best in my opinion.

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