Don’t Feed the Alligators

A Personal Finance Blog from a Small-Scale Landlord’s Perspective
07.06.2008
Busy Bees

Busy Bees
photo figure credit: Chris

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks of traveling for work and getting ready to host an Independence Day cookout. I’m still trying to catch up on creating some new posts as well as dispensing with the backlog in my RSS Reader.

I managed to find some time to participate in one Carnival this week at the Military Finance Network. The theme of this Carnival of Financial Goals was Financial Independence. I submitted my article on Financial Independence Day. The rest of the carnival entries can be seen here.

I also enjoyed a number of other peoples’ articles this week:

  • Nickel writes about the difference between Cheap and Frugal. This segues nicely into –
  • Glbl’s entry on Walmart: There is a Price for Cheap. This article is primarily about the inconvenience of shopping at Walmart. However a number of readers point out all of the rest of the things that are wrong with Walmart.
  • The Boston Globe published a book review about Spend ’til the End. This review is about the latest offering from Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff who argues that most people are saving too much for retirement at the risk of not enjoying themselves enough while they’re young. While I doubt this assertion is true, Kotlikoff really seems to be advocating that each individual or family create a sustainable lifestyle now that will carry them into retirement on a modest budget. Sounds pretty common sense to me. My take on it is that it’s always going to be worse to have too little money in retirement than too much. After all, if you save too much money, you always have the option of retiring early.

Two parent oriented articles (though written by economists…) that I found interesting this week were:

  • Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame claims that a speech he gave a few years ago for TED bombed. The speech presented his analysis on the efficacy of child restraint systems versus adult seat belts for children over the age of 2. I thought that the speech was great, as did a number of his other readers. I think that we need more of this kind of science influencing lawmakers who are just as likely to enact “feel good legislation” that costs everyone a lot of money, makes everyone feel better for it, but accomplishes little or nothing.
  • Joshua at Game Theorist writes about the “war” he and and his wife have been waging against child #3 in their household. This certainly brings new meaning to the terms “shock and awe” and “the surge.”

If you liked this article, you may be interested in seeing some related articles:


3 Responses to “Weekly Feeding 7-6-2008”


  1. Rachel Says:

    Kotlikoff’s not too crazy. What you do shapes you — there’s no point earning a lot, saving a lot and living like a pauper in preparation for a lavish retirement, because by the time you live 35 years of that, you won’t know HOW to live lavishly anymore. It won’t be to your taste.

    (That said, I oversave, according to some people. But then, I’m living a much richer life than I grew up with, so I feel like I am very comfortable. Yay for growing up poor, I guess.)


  2. MITBeta Says:

    I agree, Kotlikoff’s suggestion is not crazy. But relative to most people’s lifestyle to income ratio, they need to save more or scale down their lifestyles. So simply saying that people are saving too much is a bit disingenuous in my opinion since this isn’t where most people are already.


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