Updated on 08.08.11

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Catching Up Edition

Trent Hamm

I spent several hours yesterday just catching up on some of my favorite personal finance and personal growth blogs, bookmarking interesting posts and the like. These are (some) of my favorite articles that I found along the way.

Athletes Are Not Overpaid, Stop Whining About It I completely agree with this. Athletes are paid what the market will bear for them. Owners of professional sports teams choose to pay those huge salaries because they get a large net positive return out of those contracts. If someone were willing to pay you $10 million a year to play baseball, would you not sign? Also, if you could hire an agent for $1 million that could turn your contract into a $15 million a year contract, wouldn’t you hire that person? If you want to gripe about player salaries, don’t blame the players. Blame those who created the marketplace (the owners) and the people who support that marketplace with billions of dollars (the fans). (@ financial uproar)

Defining Quality Quality is worth paying more for, but what is quality? The real key is to figure out what traits you care about, judge just the quality of those traits, and largely ignore the rest. For example, when I’m buying a car, I care about reliability (1), fuel efficiency (2), and how my six-and-a-half foot frame will fit into the vehicle (3). iPod attachments? OnStar? Acceleration speed? The perfect color? I don’t really care, so I won’t pay for them. (@ seth godin)

How Much Do You Spend on Food? It depends a lot on what you choose to eat. If you eat nothing but the food on sale or what you can get with coupons, you can lower that number a lot. If you eat out a lot, or if you put restrictions on your food purchasing (organic produce, etc.), it’s going to cost more. (@ get rich slowly)

How do you move past a fear of regret when purging clutter? For me, I usually rely on the recognition that if I do end up regretting not having the item, I can re-purchase it if needed. Almost always, I never need that item again. (@ unclutterer)

How to Get Motivated Again When You’ve Lost Your Enthusiasm For me, I usually just go back to the core things that I loved about the thing in the first place. It’s easy to get off track (@ pick the brain)

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  1. Brian Carr says:

    I liked the athletes post. These guys and gals make a ton of money, yes, but if they weren’t worth it, they wouldn’t get it. Sports is a big business, so it makes sense many of these athletes would get big bucks!

  2. Johanna says:

    I’m of two minds about the sports salaries question. On the one hand, the free market is neither inherently moral nor inherently immoral. Saying “X happens because of the market” or “Y gets paid $Z because of the market” has no bearing on whether X is right or wrong, or whether Y deserves those $Z or not. The market simply has nothing to say about right or wrong, or being deserving or undeserving. So I don’t find the linked article – which basically says “Athletes earn huge salaries because capitalism and if you don’t like it then shut up” – very persuasive.

    On the other hand, if you want to watch sports but don’t want to support players who earn huge salaries, you have plenty of options. There’s minor-league sports, college sports, high school sports, women’s sports (what a concept). If you have a reason to prefer big-league professional sports to any of these (you want to follow the team all your friends are following, for example), that’s part of the reason why those athletes are able to make such large salaries. “I want to watch Major League Baseball but I don’t want the players to get any of my money” seems like a slightly strange position to me.

  3. Tracy says:

    I don’t know anybody that blames the players for player salaries being the way they are, so I’m not sure I’m buying your rebuttal. Usually, the criticism is leveled as a reflection of the values of our overall society.

  4. Brian Carr says:

    Sorry for the second comment – on the flip side of the athlete argument, you have situations like the NFL and NBA where billionaires and millionaires are fighting over tons of money that us common folk will never see. Who do we blame in that situation?

  5. jim says:

    The only time I’ve heard the ‘athletes make too much’ complaint is from people who don’t actually like sports much and don’t see much of any value in what athletes do. THey see the athletes playing a game for a couple hours a week and making millions which just doesn’t seem ‘right’ to them. The same person might make the argument that anyone being paid over $1m a year is making too much.

    Frankly I think its usually just jealousy or someones idea of ‘fair’ or what people value or don’t value.

  6. Jules says:

    The outrage surrounding athlete’s salaries, I think, is mostly due to mysticism as to *why* they can command these salaries, when people who do so much more for their communities with so little (i.e., the people who get new houses on Extreme Makeover Home Edition) need to scrape by just barely making it. Sports is seen as playing around–because the viewing public never gets a chance to watch the athletes practice and practice and practice and practice and practice, few people have any idea that it’s actually *work*.

  7. Des says:

    @Brian Carr “… Who do we blame in that situation?”

    What blame are we parceling out? Aren’t people free to bicker over their money, if they choose to? Why is it any of our business, frankly? Simply because they have more? I’m not sure I like the notion that just because someone has more money than me that I am somehow entitled to a say in how they spend it.

    I like what Tracy said above – that it is not so much that any one person or entity is doing something “wrong”, but more the fact that so much money filters into the entertainment industry rather than to seemingly more noble pursuits.

  8. Kai says:

    I think those points make sense if you’re speaking to the issue of where the money comes from. In our economic system, athletes get big money because a lot of people are willing to pay a lot to watch sports.

    but a valid point can still be made in ‘why does society so value sports as to pay athletes more than what theoretically *should* be more valuable?’
    and that’s an entirely different matter.

  9. jim says:

    Des, I think Brian might be refering to the contract negotiations and lockouts in NBA & NFL. When the owners and players fight about money it ends up with a lockout and possibly having the season being cancelled. That can upset the fans who want to watch the game or possibly bought season tickets in advance. Then fans may want someone to blame for the lack of games and possibly worthless tickets.

  10. //Ann says:

    Regarding “fear of tossing”, I’ve gotten pretty brutal (my motto: out de do’ wit’ yo’ bad self!). But it can be tough regarding sentimental stuff. I keep reminding myself “you can’t keep EVERYTHING”, but still… I was re-orging my small shelf of fiction yesterday (whereas I have entire WALLS of non-fiction), and was reminded, by finding a Rita Mae Brown book hubby had stood in line to get autographed for me, that I had previously given away or donated ANOTHER book that MOM had stood in line to get autographed for me – by ANNE RICE!! And now Mom’s gone, 2 yrs ago exactly… happens to the best of us… sigh.

    But… I reminded myself that I have a (sentimentally valuable, as well as materially) gold bracelet she gave me – at a lunch with her pals – and how the memory of her pride in showing me off that day is WAAAAY more valuable than any Anne Rice or solid gold or anything.

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