The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Edition

Right now, I’m in the middle of “crunch time” with my book, as I hit a big deadline for it on June 1. I’m basically obsessing over it at this point, polishing little pieces here and there and wondering if it’s good enough. My June 1 deadline is that I have to turn in a very rough draft of the manuscript, with a “final” delivery date of July 1 for a version that can go through their editing process.

So, for this week’s roundup, I went back to my big grab-bag of the best posts from a mountain of personal finance blogs and found ten more gems worth sharing.

Why You Can’t Trust Real Estate Agents When Buying A House Our agent was a friend of ours who did a spectacular job for us. Touch on your social networks and see if you can get a personal connection to an agent – that’s worth more than any ad. (@ quest for four pillars)

10 Things that Bring Success in Personal Finance #8: Live a Frugal Life I truly believe that frugality is the key to any personal finance success. If you can’t master the “spend less” half of “spend less than you earn,” you’re going to have a lot of problems. (@ prime time money)

Putting $70,000 into Prosper.com Sorry, I would never put that much money into peer-to-peer lending. The trust factor on Prosper isn’t high enough for me to feel comfortable there. (@ dual income no kids)

Poverty to Prosperity This is simply some good all-around advice. (@ free money finance)

Bridesmaid Dresses – We Need a Solution! For my wedding, my wife and her sisters collaborated and found some pretty cost-efficient bridesmaid dresses. They just all shopped around a lot – during that timeframe, I was finding every reason possible to not see yet another pastel dress. (@ mrs. micah)

Hack Your Credit Score? Using Prosper as a middle man to guarantee loan repayment? Interesting. (@ lazy man and money)

The Laws of Simplicity – Law 1: Reduce This is basically decluttering, something I’ve found a ton of value in over the last year or so. (@ financial understanding)

Putting My Teenage Son on a Budget This is something that would work well if you have a good relationship with your teenage son. For some kids, it would result in an even bigger war. (@ debt free revolution)

The Money Spectrum Over the last two years, I’ve watched myself slide from one extreme end of this spectrum to somewhere approaching the other end. Nice. (@ millionaire money habits)

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  1. Thanks for the spotlight, Trent :) The Teenager has already asked me to take him to the grocery store this morning.

  2. Carrie says:

    I have been doing an on-going study on the success of lending over Prosper.com and all I can say is Watch out when lending below a C credit rating. Using data from http://www.ericscc.com/ I have been looking at the default timelines of these loans, and after the first 6 months, almost 40% of the Below a C credit risk had defaulted. My studies are not yet complete because the loans I am following have not yet matured, but already the data is frightening.

    Looks likes the DINKS are rethinking prosper too.
    http://www.dinksfinance.com/2007/04/rethinking-our-prosper-strategy.html

  3. April says:

    The real estate agent post piqued my interest because I have a real estate license. I’m no longer an agent, however, because I discovered that I liked real estate law and contracts, but HATED sales.

    There are some great agents out there who really are looking out for their clients. One agent who consistently had the highest sales went above and beyond for each client. She would insist on at least seven inspections while a new home was being built, and she personally went to each one to review the work, whether her client wanted to go or not. She would point out mistakes that the contractor hadn’t caught. She went to every closing, even though you don’t really have to do that. She pointed out issues that attorneys would miss.

    Then there are others who are going to use lines on you to get you to close the deal and couldn’t care less about you after getting paid.

    I’d say to pick carefully, and don’t discount all agents based on the actions of some. Sometimes it really is the client who is being unreasonable…thinking they can sell a house for X amount because it’s what they need to make, not realizing that buyers don’t care what the seller needs to make, etc.

  4. Personally, I don’t enjoy being linked to blog posts that are several months old. Some because I read them at the time of post, but mostly because the conversation surrounding them is pretty much dead. And the conversation is often the best part.

    Perhaps other readers disagree.

  5. Mrs. Micah says:

    Good luck with that manuscript. I remember about 13 months ago I was pounding away on a senior honors project. So much pressure!

    @Stacking Pennies — one thing I like about my bridesmaid dresses post is that people are still periodically commenting…if not holding active conversations. Lively conversation is optimal, but I think the best posts still keep something going.

  6. JimmyB says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth April.

    It’s very difficult to be a real estate agent when the media works very hard to destroy our reputations.

    I’ll tell you one thing though.. in the current market, real estate professionals seem to be needed more than ever.

    I’m working with sellers who truly believe their home is the greatest on the block and price it as such (even though homes in the neighborhood have sold for far less).

    I’m also working with buyers who think they can get a steal on a house and place offers 20% off asking price. I blame that on “real estate advisers” on big media telling buyers to low ball because sellers “are desperate”. Not where I live, across the river from NYC.

    As it always has been, real estate is a localized business. So when the media and heavily read blogs make blanket statements about the whole nation, it just makes things worse for all of us.

  7. Katie says:

    I also disagree with StackingPennies. The great thing about the internet is nothing is ever old. Every post is new to the person who has just discovered it. It’s age doesn’t change whether or not it is an interesting or helpful article. If it is one you’ve already read then just don’t follow the link.

  8. Seb says:

    Thanks the link, Trent!

  9. Cassie says:

    I just wanted to say that I thouroughly enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us all!

  10. ericabiz says:

    Hi Trent,

    If you’re going to link to old posts, that’s OK, but you might want to dig around on the sites for updates. For instance, the DINKs who intended to put $70K into Prosper ended up becoming disillusioned with it:

    http://www.dinksfinance.com/2007/12/prosper-cause-for-concern.html

    -Erica

  11. rkt88edmo says:

    RE: Prosper DINKs

    Holy Cow – talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. They will either clear it all and win or drown.

    This guy wants to know the inside financials on Prosper to invest his money but is completely upside down himself – hmmmmm. Sounds more like he needs a prosper loan if he could get one to stop the bleeding – but 1,800 a month probably exceeds the prosper limit.

    I’ve thrown $150 into prosper just to experiment and take part as a goodwill exercise. I’ve averaged 13% so far on one loan in the AA, A and D categories, and just made a new $50 B loan with the income and principal I’ve collected. I plan to keep rolling it all over for as long as prosper lasts, or as long as there are loan seekers that I can get comfortable with.

    We’ll see how it goes.

  12. Trent Trent says:

    “If you’re going to link to old posts, that’s OK, but you might want to dig around on the sites for updates”

    I asked the blog owners to send me their best articles and then posted them here.

  13. rkt88edmo says:

    Now realizing these are stale – I think a more interesting part is seeing the progression – In the case of the DINKS we can see the evolution and follow the story across the three posts linked above and in the comments and find out where the story went (without having to wait realtime) – that is a good use of stale content.

  14. Aryn says:

    I’m just going to give you a bit of moral support, Trent! I’ve been in that crunch before a book deadline, that panic, of what’s good enough, what still needs polishing. Well, here’s the secret: it’s never perfect, but eventually you just have to let it go. So, do the best you can and then send it in. Since this is the rough draft, you’ll have time to polish, but once you send in the final galleys, you just have to let it go and know that you did the best you could.

  15. Four Pillars says:

    Thanks for the link!

    Mike

  16. The real estate link was really a disservice even with your “counterpoint” about the positive experience you had, personally, with your agent.

    Sure, there are terrible Realtors in the world. Rude. Inconsiderate. Unprofessional. Most of us take our job seriously and really want to do right by our clients so they (drum roll, please) refer us to more clients.

    There are awful doctors (I’ve been to a few who ask what’s wrong and then whip out the prescription pad without really digging into what’s wrong), terrible lawyers, unscrupulous financial advisers cum stock brokers who just want to sell you the company fund/stock, auto mechanics…on and on and on.

    It seems like Realtors are fair game for everyone because we do, in fact, become entwined with people’s live to a surprisingly intimate degree. Since a house is also a large investment of both money and emotion we either walk on water or should be roasted in hell.

    Sure. Check us out. Talk to us. But stop slamming all Realtors and referring to posts that are far from fair, balanced or even factual.

  17. mary says:

    Don’t store bars of soap with Cheerios. Your Yogurt Bursts will soon smell and taste like them unless they are eaten up too soon.

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