linklings, plutus award nomination edition

If you had to rank the biggest rewards from blogging, #2 would definitely be the recognition of your peers (#1 is communicating directly with readers – I love getting emails, even if I’m Mr. Procrastination in answering them). But in the #2 category I was surprised to hear from Flexo over at Consumerism Commentary that I’m one of the nominees for “Best Personal Finance Blog for Careers.”

I’m doubly surprised considering the quality of the other nominees:  Bargaineering,Brazen Careerist, The Digerati Life and Squawkfox.  I’ve appeared with Jim (and Lynnae of being frugal – another nominee for “best frugality blog”) on Marketplace Money.  SVB of The Digerati Life is a blogging friend and a fellow member of The Money Writers network, who has a far better employee-to-problogger/webguru story than I do.  Kerry from Squawkfox has a fantastic blog that, like mine, goes all over the place (and has written some great pieces on resumes).

And if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know how much I like Penelope Trunk‘s writing; she’s amazing.  I also owe her a lot; she and Lazy Man were the first two big-time bloggers to get in touch with me, link to brip blap and – most importantly – encourage me.  Without the two of them I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing this today.

So given all that I’m actually not even going to ask you to vote for me, though feel free to go here and vote.  With all sincerity I can say that it’s just nice to be nominated.  I’m very grateful.

And if you’re interested, #3 is making some money.  #4 is the simple enjoyment of creating something outside yourself.  And here are my Marketplace Money appearances:

Off to the links:

  • Writing a Financial Mission Statement: I have a mission statement for this blog – if you were around for the first 3-4 months of brip blap you saw it. I haven’t had it up in a while, but I may dust it off soon and repackage it as my financial mission statement. To summarize it? You need to have just enough to stop worrying. More is too much, less is not enough.
  • Ten Things Millionaires Won’t Tell You: The only item I take exception to: “I shop at Wal-Mart.” I’m having a bit of Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus thinking about Wal-Mart these days. I have justified buying things there in the name of saving money, but Wal-Mart’s an economic menace: they are on the wrong side of the debate on unions, health care, buying American, supporting local communities and even – in the long term – frugality. Buy products from there, and see how long those crap products made by non-union child labor in Malaysia last you. I’m still going to be a millionaire, but I’m not going to do it shopping at Wal-Mart.
  • Square Foot Gardening: How To Grow Vegetables In Your Own Backyard: Awesome. If you didn’t see it the first time around, check it out. I spent the last weekend prepping the herbs for the garden. Next weekend? Citrus trees. The next? Veggies. Did I mention it’s in the 70s here in Florida?
  • Credit Card and Debit Cards No Longer Have Automatic Overdraft and Over Limit Protection: That’s fine with me. Keep track of your spending.
  • Selling Wine – Almost Like Blogging: I like the concept of limited networks: networks with an optimal size that would suffer from growing. I’m in the network with Lazy Man, of course, so I know what he’s talking about. I was lucky to make it in on one of the last couple of rounds of expansion of the neighborhood, and I’ve enjoyed being in the network immensely – but I’d be slow to add new members, too, considering how well we interact right now.
  • 10 Ways to Save Money on a New Car: I know it’s not popular to buy new, but I’m very much in the “buy-new-and-drive-for-10-years” category of car buyers; I’m simply not comfortable buying used, and I’ve had very good luck buying new so far. Please knock on wood for me.
  • Graduate School Costs & Options: Side note: graduate school is a more cost-effective career investment than undergraduate, but due to the fact that you can’t get the one without the other it’s actually less effective as an investment. Discuss!
  • New Credit Card Laws to Protect Consumers Begin: By and large, good news.
  • Free Online Tax Filing, Tax Preparation Services & More: If the kind souls at TurboTax would accept me into their affiliate program I might promote their software – that I’ve used for about six years – but they don’t, so check out these alternatives 🙂
  • Those Who Don’t A-S-K Don’t G-E-T: Absolutely true.
  • Dear President Obama: We Need Healthcare Reform Right Now.: I restrain myself – again – from political shrieking, but yes, ram it through and be done with it. American health care is broken. I’m not voting for anyone who doesn’t at least TRY to do something.
  • Being Frugal is Foolish: I know Jim’s doing a Devil’s Advocate post, but to a certain extent I agree.
  • Online Tools for Mindful Consumerism: Check out GoodGuide – I was quite surprised about some of my favorite “good” products.
  • Independent Contractor vs. Employee: What’s the Difference?: It’s a distinction that most people don’t get, but if you have someone who works IN your household, they are an employee, not a contractor. How did that come up? Read the next article…
  • How I Made My Peace with Hiring a Housekeeper: I agree. I hate cleaning, and it’s one of the activities I’m willing to outsource to simplify and improve my life – much like I enjoy outsourcing the maintenance and upkeep of my cars.
  • On The Brink by Henry M. Paulson Jr.: I had a few choice comments about Mr. Paulson. I am, to put it mildly, no fan.

photo by hiperia3d

7 comments

  • Congratulations on your nomination and good luck!

  • First, congratulations on your nomination. I've told you elsewhere that I believe your strength is in your ability to relate career decisions to personal finance.

    Second, in defense of Walmart, here you have a company that was started and run for a couple of decades with a single focus – good stuff cheap (if I can steal that tag line from Building 19). As this strategy succeeded, it became larger and more dominant, and found itself rather surprisingly having to deal with a much more complex mission in society. It is struggling with that, but seems to be moving in a direction that is more acknowledging of those responsibilities (not sure about unions myself; I saw their destructive power growing up, but you and I can agree to disagree). That said, if you've ever been to Bentonville, you know that the company has an unusual and strong culture, almost like a cult.

    • @Curmudgeon: I could probably have a whole blog devoted to Walmart and the love-hate relationship I (and many Americans) have with it. I have dealt with them as an auditor of their vendors, and have had to sit through dozens of tortured meetings explaining their near-mafia-like tactics with their business partners. At some point, Walmart has to acknowledge that – as of right now – their legacy will be the company that flooded America with cheaply made imported junk, crushed thousands of local businesses and reversed the rising trend in American workers' wages, all through their power as the largest employer in the history of the world. They are a capitalist success story, no doubt, but I doubt anyone working for $10 an hour with no healthcare in a small town in which most local businesses have been crushed appreciates it, even as they buy another pair of Malaysian-made blue jeans. And yes, we'll have to agree to disagree on unions 🙂

  • Oh yes, and health care. I couldn't agree more, but I think what is turning many Americans off right now is the complex and overarching solution that is on the table. You may be correct that it's worthwhile trying anything, but once enacted, most government programs tend to take on a life of their own. I've studied it, and it is misleading of its supporters to describe it in any way, shape, or form as a way to keep down health care costs. Let's at least be honest about that.

    • @Curmudgeon: I am not enthusiastic about the current plan(s) floating around. That having been said, if even a small measure of reform occurs I view it as a societal plus, simply because the defeat of another health care plan, 15 years after Clinton's and approx. 35 years after Nixon's would silence any hope of anything happening for another generation.

      Despite the fact that I consider myself moderate or libertarian on many issues, health care is one where I skew far, far left. Personally, I'd like to see a simple solution: allow anyone to buy into a (means-based) public health insurance plan. Let's see if the average private insurer that spends 15-20% on administration can compete with the “bloated bureaucracy” of the government than spends 6% on administration for Medicare. If the vaunted capitalist titans of the insurance industry are so much better than the government, nobody will buy in and the case will be closed. The open secret is, of course, that the insurance industry can't compete, because their first obligation is to the shareholder, not the insurance holder.

      So the current plan's crappy, but if we don't do something now we'd all better get happy with the idea of paying $2000 a month for health care insurance that drops us as the first sign of illness, like David's story in my link roundup. That may save money for the government – by not getting into that arena – but the cost to society is going to be horrific. Get ready for people getting treated for cancer in emergency rooms, the current “public option.” Why 36 of 37 industrialized countries have gotten past this debate and we haven't is a testament to the stupidity and downright corruption of the two major parties in America, and the insanity of continuing to support either of them, and particularly one of them.

      *whew*

      OK, now I'm going to go drink coffee – should be able to boil it off my forehead 🙂

    • Ha, it was an enjoyable rant. I don't think I'm far left on anything, but I agree completely that health care has to change. For a variety of reasons I won't get into, I just don't see anything being proposed that will lower costs yet maintain quality unless we tear down the private insurance system and start over from scratch.

      On the same subject, here is a two sentence description of health care reform by Paul Krugman that I think nails much of the contradiction we face:

      By all means, let's ban discrimination on the basis of medical history—but we also have to keep healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that people purchase insurance. This, in turn, requires substantial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can afford coverage.

  • @Curmudgeon: I am not enthusiastic about the current plan(s) floating around. That having been said, if even a small measure of reform occurs I view it as a societal plus, simply because the defeat of another health care plan, 15 years after Clinton's and approx. 35 years after Nixon's would silence any hope of anything happening for another generation.

    Despite the fact that I consider myself moderate or libertarian on many issues, health care is one where I skew far, far left. Personally, I'd like to see a simple solution: allow anyone to buy into a (means-based) public health insurance plan. Let's see if the average private insurer that spends 15-20% on administration can compete with the “bloated bureaucracy” of the government than spends 6% on administration for Medicare. If the vaunted capitalist titans of the insurance industry are so much better than the government, nobody will buy in and the case will be closed. The open secret is, of course, that the insurance industry can't compete, because their first obligation is to the shareholder, not the insurance holder.

    So the current plan's crappy, but if we don't do something now we'd all better get happy with the idea of paying $2000 a month for health care insurance that drops us as the first sign of illness, like David's story in my link roundup. That may save money for the government – by not getting into that arena – but the cost to society is going to be horrific. Get ready for people getting treated for cancer in emergency rooms, the current “public option.” Why 36 of 37 industrialized countries have gotten past this debate and we haven't is a testament to the stupidity and downright corruption of the two major parties in America, and the insanity of continuing to support either of them, and particularly one of them.

    *whew*

    OK, now I'm going to go drink coffee – should be able to boil it off my forehead 🙂