Don’t Feed the Alligators

A Personal Finance Blog from a Small-Scale Landlord’s Perspective
08.23.2008
Hay is for Horses!

Creative Commons License photo figure credit: law_keven

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to compile some of the best things I’ve read lately.  The list below is pretty long, so let’s jump right into it:

I participated in the Carnival of Financial Goals earlier this month with my post on declaring a Financial Independence Day.

NCN wrote about a major motivation for keeping his financial house in order.  As the parent of a young daughter myself, my perspectives on what really is important have changed a lot in the last 2 years, and I certainly can empathize.  It’s great that NCN is in a position that frees him up from having to worry about anything other than family at this time. I hope Baby Girl is doing well.

The Freak-est Links points us to a website run by the Maine State government on how to calculate the value of your public library.  I calculated a $260 annual value of our local library.  Not bad!

Living Almost Large writes about Dreading the Envelope — you know, the one that gets passed at work when someone has a baby or something like that?  This article really changed my perspective on this practice.  I work in a relatively small office (~20 people).  A few months back a co-worker’s house burned to the ground.  He lost everything.  This was the only time that the envelope has been passed in the 3 years I’ve worked in this office.  I was torn on if and how much to give.  On the one hand, I can’t even begin to understand how devastating a loss this must have been.  But on the other hand, we’re responsible and have insurance (and so did he), so why should we need to give any money at all?  In any event, this situation is a true need compared to a birthday or baby shower, and in that light I will not hesitate to give more should the occasion ever present itself again.

Glbl asks for reader input on whether money earmarked for college should be given in one lump sum or allocated over time.  Many argue that young adults are still too immature to handle large sums of money responsibly (ie not blow it all in Vegas instead of using it for tuition…).  My argument, however, was that most young adults are “too immature” because they haven’t had the proper training on how to handle money.  So use this opportunity as a chance to educate the recipient on how to be financially responsible, budget, etc.  Otherwise you’re putting the cart before the horse.

J.D. writes about how to support your favorite bloggers (cough, cough).  While I don’t have any ads on Don’t Feed the Alligators at this time, most of the suggestions are still apt:

  • Participate in the discussion — really, please do! You can do so anonymously, and I never share or reveal email addresses, even if I know who you are.
  • Tell your friends — word of mouth, or email both work great!
  • Click on ads that truly interest you — not applicable here, but works well elsewhere
  • Link to stories that you like — if you’ve got your own blog or website and see a story you like, how about a linkback?

Madison writes about how to earn free money using the US Mint.  While this scheme is not for everyone, it certainly piqued my interest.

A spirited discussion follow David’s post on the large percentage of American corporations that pay no federal income taxes.  The biggest point that I would like to make here is that if you’re going to argue with someone and cite a fact, you have to be able to back up the fact with something other than the equivalent of saying, “It’s true, look it up!”  I never took debate classes, but it seems to me that it is the arguer’s job to look it up, not the audience he is trying to convince.  At the very best case, it doesn’t make for a very compelling argument.

Lastly and just for fun, J.D. links to a video made by two average guys who “compete” in a number of Olympic events and compare their results to those of Olympic caliber athletes.  This really underscores how incredible Olympic athletes are.  Hats off to all competitors and especially to US Gold Medal winners!

Tune in next time for a very special blognouncement!

3 Responses to “Weekly Feeding 8-23-2008”


  1. David Says:

    Thanks MITBeta, appreciate that…


  2. AnnMarie Says:

    Just started reading your blog and am checking out the children category. I just had to comment ASAP on the envelope passing. For something like a fire, even if you have insurance, there are so many costs that simply aren’t covered. For instance, let’s say you have insurance that will cover replacing 100% the cost of your house and absolutely everything in it brand new, as well as renting some place until your house is rebuilt.

    A) Do you actually have a picture of everything in your house? Sure, maybe you did this a year ago. What about all the stuff you bought since then?
    B) What about the things that can’t be replaced like pictures, scrapbooks, the book your favorite college teacher gave me?
    C) What about all the meals you’ll be eating out instead of making at home because you no longer have the time since you are dealing with insurance agents, buying stuff for your house, planning the new house, and making the gazillion of decisions required?
    D) What about all the gas now to travel to/from house and where you rent and all the places you have to go to buy stuff?
    E) What about all the time you are losing for other productive things to spent all that time doing the stuff in D?
    G) What about the extra work to re-landscape your yard? In my case, I’d also lose my entire garden, which is a lot of food dollars I suspect insurance would never cover.
    H) All those things you bought on sale now have to replaced at full price. (No, not everything, but frankly, I’m going to want a bed, sheets, and some decent clothes right now, not when I can find them at the thrift store.)

    You seem to have already realized it’s worth contributing to this person, but I just wanted to point out specific reasons why insurance doesn’t necessary cover everything that happens. And that’s all assuming your insurance actually covers replacing everything!

    I got a diff. perspective on these types of things when my FIL was hospitalized 2 hours from his home. There were so many things that insurance didn’t cover that MIL was paying out of pocket gas, tolls, parking, hotel, meals out, taxi, childcare, etc. I’d never ever thought about all those types of expenses for people with major medical issues until it hit our family.


  3. MITBeta Says:

    I agree with your points. Some of these items are certainly covered by my coworker’s insurance, and if they’re not, the per diem he gets for housing is way more than he needs, so the extra can certainly go towards some of these.

    I don’t regret having given the money I did, but this coworker ended up making out very well in the end… in fact he readily admits that the fire might be the best thing that ever happened to him… ironic, isn’t it?


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