Carnival Of Personal Finance #118: Fun Money Facts Edition

by golbguru on September 17, 2007

Welcome to the 118th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance - the fun money facts edition. As is the “tradition”, this week too there were more than 100 submissions to the carnival - of which only 88 managed to survive till the end.

To make the arrangement of 88 entries look less intimidating, I have broken them down into “bite-sized” categories. Depending on your reading speed, it should take you about 30 minutes to an hour to read through each category. Also, to break the monotony, some interesting money facts are thrown in between the categories so that you can “space out” a bit. :)

Each entry below comes with a line quoted from the original post - chosen in a way to best describe the feelings, observations, features, sarcasm, or other such characteristics that I was able to derive from the post.

The best way to browse around this enormous pile of blog posts is to use the index below - click on the category you want to read first, and then hit the browser back button to get back to the index - and then choose whichever category you want next. Of course, you could simply scroll through the entire length of the carnival, but then I won’t be responsible for numbed index fingers.

Due to the broad nature of certain entries, they have been only loosely categorized based on one of the topics they addressed. So take it easy if you come across an occasional, seemingly stray entry.

So, without further ado, let me hand over your survival tool for the carnival:

~$$~

On September 20, 2007, for the first time in history, the United States government will use an all-digital approach to reveal a new paper money design when it unveils a new $5 bill with enhanced security features. The new $5 bill will enter circulation in early 2008. It will be followed by a new $100 bill.

Officials from the U.S. Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Secret Service will unveil the new $5 bill design through an online video at 9:00 a.m.

~$$~

Editor’s Choice (5 entries)

Here are some entries that I liked - some food for thought for all of us. The first three articles revolve around the same central theme of personal responsibility when it comes to finances, and yet they cover areas that are subtly distinct from each other. Without implying any redundant pun, I have to say that the buck really stops here for a lot of personal finance problems. Financial responsibility is one of the first things we need to accept and tackle, but unfortunately, it’s one of the most difficult (and invisible) features of personal finance out there.

Debt for example doesn’t happen over night, people who find themselves very deep in debt have no one but themselves to blame for their situation.

Take a minute to check out your true surroundings, and not the fake ones created on television.

People’s expectations have simply shifted. A perfectly good working refrigerator isn’t good enough anymore. It has to be a gigantic stainless steel one.

  • The Cost of Fear by Jean @ Growing Up. I can personally connect with this experience in many instances in the past. All you have to do is just ask … but it’s surprising that something as simple as this can’t be accomplished by a whole lot of us.

How much money have I lost over the years because I was too timid to haggle, or simply to ask for a better deal?

  • Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt: Understand The Big Picture by NCN @ No Credit Needed. NCN really takes then “big picture” to the heart … and displays a huge flowchart in the post. :) Excellent lesson here - it’s important to visualize how a given singular financial decision can affect numerous aspects of your financial life.

… you must have a plan. You must prepare for the future. You must understand the long-term implications of the decisions that you are making today.

~$$~

Why, when you flip a coin over after looking at the heads side, is the picture on the tails side upside down?

All U.S. coinage is produced with what is commonly called a “coin turn.” That means that the reverse side (tails) of the coins is upside down to the obverse side (heads). While we have researched the history of this practice, we have been unable to determine the exact reason for this custom. The Mint still produces U.S. coinage in this manner for traditional reasons and not due to any legal requirement.

~$$~

Budgeting and Saving (7 entries)

…if I were trying to pay off debt (which I am), I wouldn’t put every single extra penny toward my debt.

By determining your needs (life basics) and then increasing our expenses by our wants you’ll feel the impact of these decisions a little more.

Use credit cards with extreme caution.

Savings jar, you are my little bank. You are not only beautiful on the outside, but you also are training me to maintain the good habit of saving money!

This is when I realized that I was still pretty far away from one of my biggest goal; offering my wife the possibility to stay at home and take care of our two kids.

Anything that restores or strengthens bonds with family and friends. Those bonds pay dividends that the Federal Reserve can’t manipulate.

If the student loan is at a very low interest rate and has a long term repayment then it is OK to continue a separate savings scheme, rather than putting all our energies into paying it off.

~$$~

More than half of a dollar bill is considered legal tender, and only the front of a dollar bill is valuable. If you could separate the front of a bill from the back, only the front half would be considered “money.”

~$$~

Career (4 entries)

Our current goal is to become more financially self-reliant with lives that have improved work/ life/ family balance.

Being happy, is I think more important than being wealthy.

Leave your best work on your desk (or computer screen) when you are away.

External sources for salary data are a huge negotiating point when you’re talking with your boss/hr representative about a raise or starting salary.

~$$~

Do you know the purpose of the ridges on the edges of coins? Without ridges, it is possible to scrape metal off coins without it being obvious. In the days when coins were made of silver or gold, a person could have made a good, but illegal, living from shaving coins and selling the precious metal.

~$$~

Consumerism and Smart Shopping (8 entries)

Finance and late charges are the “bread and butter” of any company that gives out credit. It’s as simple as that.

If you stick to paying cash for cars, paying yourself, and slowly upgrading to newer cars every year or two, you’ll soon own a nice car without any car payments.

I shouldn’t have spent that money. I didn’t really need that. That purchase was a mistake.

Usually when you trade plans with someone else, you’ll pay a much smaller fee than if you just want to get of your contract to begin with.

If they can use their selling tactics to distract us from the fact we’re spending money, we’ll hand over the cash and leave happy customers!

Don’t let PayPal’s ease of use get to you.

My company offers a straight $250 reimbursement on gym fees in a given 12 month period.

But this $3 ATM fee is bulls***t.

~$$~

A mile of pennies laid out is $844.80. By this standard, America is about $2.5 million wide, coast to coast.

~$$~

Credit, Debt, and Credit Cards (11 entries)

From my perspective, each one of us are handed the key to financial imprisonment the minute we established our credit worthiness…

One of the difficulties in navigating the transition from debt-laden to deb-free is that the money you’ve been allocating for paying off your debt now seemingly has no purpose.

Get your financial house in order, most importantly your spending habits, before you even remotely consider a debt consolidation loan.

I have seen so many people calculate their Debt Freedom Date and get all fired up about attacking their debt. They sell everything and everyone in sight.

For a total spending level of $1,000 per month, of which $450 is grocery, gas and drug, the AmEx Blue Cash would earn $223, while the Chase VISA would earn you $285.

So I may spend less at the grocery store if I have cash, but I spend any change on a pretzel on the way out and a vanilla half-caf latte the next morning when I am barely awake.

Many credit card companies provide extended warranties on items you purchase with their card. In some cases, the manufacturer’s warranties are doubled.

If a card comes with an annual fee, it’s just not worth applying for, unless it comes with a great upfront bonus and a year free of annual fee.

Capital One & Discover don’t have a foreign transaction fee charge

But I figured that if I get a charity credit card, then at least a portion of the money I charge to the card will be automatically donated to charity and it will not really come out of my pocket.

You won’t be productive and rational if you are still fuming or unprepared.

~$$~

Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on a U.S. currency note. It appeared on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891, and the back of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896.

~$$~

Frugal Experiences and Ideas (7 entries)

A couple of months ago I did some more exploring in the basement and found more returnable items and got another credit for $137 at Home Depot.

On the invitation RSVP guests will check off which McDonald’s extra value meal they want…

However, if you spend less than you earn, and have a plan to ensure it stays that way, you’ll always be rich.

What I’m getting at is that things don’t have to cost a lot of money for them to be enjoyable.

Whole house fans typically use about one tenth the electricity of comparable-sized air conditioners.

… some nice ideas for gifts that shouldn’t cost you more than ten dollars.

Make a huge dinner for yourself on Sunday night, and bring the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.

~$$~

The approximate weight of a currency note, regardless of denomination is (1) one gram. There are 454 grams in one (1) U.S. pound, therefore, there should be 454 notes in (1) one pound. If the troy system were used, there are (12) twelve ounces in (1) one pound; therefore, if one note weighs approximately (1) one gram, then (1) troy pound contains approximately 375 notes.

~$$~

Insurance (5 entries)

It is lovely to live near the ocean, but that’s where insurance costs the most.

On the other hand, one of the better known facts about HECM reverse mortgages is that upfront costs are very high and pose a major obstacle for many seniors considering a reverse mortgage.

Health insurance isn’t an all you can eat buffet.

Agents?! Who needs agents in this Internet age?

From what I’ve heard, the appeals are a joke, they generally don’t change their decision…

~$$~

During the Civil War period, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was called upon to print paper notes in denominations of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. The reason for this is that people hoarded coins because of their intrinsic value which created a drastic shortage of circulating coins.

~$$~

Investing: General Discussions (9 entries)

I tend to focus too much on investing for retirement, and am eager to put all of our spare money into either our Roth IRA’s or 401(k).

The optimal buying point of any stock is the “pivot point”.

While there are many examples of concentration creating great wealth, concentration can also significantly reduce wealth.

Rises and falls in the stock market are normal, frequent and not a reason to sell quality investments.

Typically precious metals like Gold, Silver and Platinum do well in times of a weak currency.

I have sold most of my stock positions in August and my money is mostly in cash. I will take this time and opportunity to do some research on companies.

If you are likely to sell based on volatility, volatility does indeed hurt.

Turbulent markets can be really useful because we all need the occasional reminder that being greedy and taking really high risks does not guarantee really high returns.

Index funds are generally a safer alternative than mutual funds and are a great starting point for a beginning investor.

~$$~

The vignette on the back of the $100 note is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. There are three people depicted in the engraving. Two (a man and a woman) are in front of the hall close to the building; the third person is a man pictured looking toward the building. There is no record that the man and woman are embracing.

The hands of the clock are set at approximately 4:10. Although the time is not readily identifiable to the naked eye, it may be verified if examined under twenty-fold magnification. There are no records explaining why that particular time was chosen.

~$$

Investing: Analysis and Information (8 entries)

As shown above, the best part of this analyzer is I can customize the data so the result can be closer to what I want.

Instead of all your capital being stuck in one term, it allows you to diversify your interest rates/exposure as the term/maturity comes due.

You can’t beat free stock trades!

According to contrarian analysis, there is way too much excitement about this little latest rally.

Among their suggestions are being weary of REITs and looking outside of the U.S. market by way of global mutual funds or index funds.

Young investors and those having a longer time horizon for investing should seriously consider this as a rare and excellent buying opportunity.

Rather than book 3 rooms in a hotel at over $200/night each, we decided to stay in a vacation rental.

In the bigger picture when the PPI falls, especially if it falls as part of a trend and if the fall is in the less volatile core numbers, it is one indicator that economic activity is declining.

~$$~

Until July 1929 U.S. currency was 7.42 inches by 3.13 inches. Currency printed since 1929 is 6.14 inches by 2.61 inches, a size easier to handle and less expensive to produce.

~$$~

Money Management (5 entries)

Sell your modest, fuel efficient vehicle, and upgrade to your “favorite, gotta have it” SUV.

It will take a good hour to go through all of your bills with care, but if you can even eliminate $20 worth of monthly spending, you’re saving $240 a year.

… a comprehensive list of online software for budgeting and money management tools.

The reason I began with credit cards is because I continually hear my cousins “wanting this and that”, and how their mom usually buys it for them.

It just makes me feel better to have a record of everything on credit card statements, my own personal sheets than to keep it in envelopes especially since we do travel quite a bit.

~$$~

“In God We Trust”

The phrase was first used on the U.S. two-cent coin in 1864. It appeared on the nickel, quarter, half-dollar, and silver dollar and on the $5, $10, and $20 gold pieces in 1866, on the penny in 1909, and on the dime in 1916. Dropped from the nickel in 1883, the phrase reappeared on the nickel in 1938. All U.S. coins now issued bear the motto.

~$$~

Money Related Thoughts and Information (8 entries)

Rule of 114 can be used to determine how long it will take an investment to triple, and the Rule of 144 will tell you how long it will take an investment to quadruple.

… try to rollover your 401k money before you get married

As your income increases, it will balance the equation and you’ll have more money to spend and save/invest.

You can’t have all quarterbacks on your fantasy team, and you can’t have all growth stocks in your portfolio.

The cheat sheet is the garlic necklace you need to repel that paper pile for good. Maximum impact, minimal effort.

From a monetary standpoint we may have gotten a better deal by purchasing in bulk, but if we aren’t going to use the item for a few months, what else could we have done with that money?

  • Top 50 Christian Business and Finance Blogs by Laura @ Bootstrapper. Again, just including this list because it may appeal to certain sections of personal finance readers. Move on to the next section if you don’t like to see long lists.

~$$~

The ridges on the sides of coins are called reeding or milling. A dime has 118 such ridges. A quarter has 119.

~$$~

Real Estate (4 entries)

FHA loans are truly for first time home buyers, people with past bad credit and low to middle income borrowers

As things sit, you might come away with a few thousand dollars if you sold now, and then you can buy something you can really afford.

There is no question in my mind that the housing market has a long way to fall before hitting bottom. The only question is whether it will drag the rest of the economy with it into recession.

Most people would see danger in taking loans to pay rent yet borrowing for instantly-consumed housing via a mortgage is essentially the same type of debt.

~$$~

The average life of a dollar bill is between eighteen months to 21 months. Five dollar bills last about fifteen months, with twenties remaining in circulation for two years. Ten dollar bills have about the same lifespan as singles do, and the larger denomination bills can last up to eight years.

~$$~

Retirement (7 entries)

Many business owners are looking to both enhance their retirement as well as reduce their current tax obligation by deferring as much income as they can into a retirement plan.

I think it’s always good to have a simple estimate of what one would actually need to retire tomorrow if you had to.

Do they think their parents have a fabulous lifestyle when the lifestyle is being provided for through a company pension and Social Security, rather than assets generating income?

So, more and more of us are not becoming “Empty Nesters”, in fact we are turning into a “flop house” for our 20 year old kids?

A few things to keep in mind before you decide to do something like this… First, you can only do this once within a one-year period for each IRA.

For those mutual funds that are not efficient but perform well, you can make a home for them in an IRA because the earnings are tax free (temporarily).

As you state that you retired in 2005, it seems that you would fall under the category “You or your spouse have stopped working or reduced your work hours”, so you may be able to have your premiums reduced.

~$$~

If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19, the largest amount of money in coins you could have without being able to make change for a dollar.

~$$~

There you have it! The next edition of this carnival will be held at Blunt Money. Read these submission guidelines (carefully) if you are interested in contributing your article.

Money facts quoted from: PBS.org, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, US Mint.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt 09.17.07 at 2:35 am

Thanks for the inclusion and for pulling this all together. I can only imagine how long it took.

2 The Financial Blogger 09.17.07 at 2:52 am

88 posts ! wow! I guess you didn’t sleep much over the weekend!
thx for hosting this (huge) carnival!

3 MillionDollarJourney 09.17.07 at 2:57 am

Thanks for hosting and including my article!

4 glblguy 09.17.07 at 3:22 am

Excellent, excellent job. Thanks for hosting!

5 Everything Finance 09.17.07 at 3:31 am

This is an impressive list. Thanks for including my article.
Good job hosting!!

6 Melissa 09.17.07 at 3:53 am

I love the money facts - very creative! Thanks for including my post and great job hosting.

7 Ben 09.17.07 at 4:15 am

My eyes are bleeding from reading so much! Nice job, well put together.

8 Art Dinkin 09.17.07 at 4:32 am

Wow, lot’s of stuff for me to read this week. Just gave it a quick glance for now. The money facts and quotes add to a great carnival. Thanks for hosting and for including my post.

9 hgstern 09.17.07 at 5:16 am

 
OMG….An *outstanding* job!

Thank you for hosting, and for including our post!
 

10 Pinyo 09.17.07 at 5:30 am

Thank you for an awesome carnival. I love how you quote everybody. You certainly put a lot of work into this. Thanks!

11 Flexo 09.17.07 at 5:37 am

Thanks for hosting!

12 The Happy Rock 09.17.07 at 6:22 am

Beautiful setup. Thanks for the hard work!

13 J at Home Finance Freedom 09.17.07 at 6:46 am

Thank you for hosting my article, “Do Not Confuse Houses with Housing: Housing Myths Part 5.”

14 SAHMmy Says 09.17.07 at 7:02 am

Thanks for including my Paper Purge post, and for hosting this ginormous roundup!

15 Patrick 09.17.07 at 7:18 am

Great job hosting, Golbguru. I love the money trivia! :)

Thanks for including my article. ;)

16 Dan at Everydayfinance 09.17.07 at 8:42 am

Hey, thanks for posting. Although I don’t do lefty rants on my site (it’s a finance site after all), this health insurer thing’s hitting everyone. I will update on result of my appeal; keeping fingers crossed. Dan

17 The Baglady 09.17.07 at 8:45 am

Thank you for compiling this list! It looks great!

18 The Digerati Life 09.17.07 at 8:59 am

Thanks for hosting. This is a great carnival :)!

19 Blain Reinkensmeyer 09.17.07 at 9:47 am

Thanks for hosting Golb, great carnival. I hosted the Festival of Stocks this week and it was only 30 entries and took me over 2 hours to put together. I can’t imagine how long this took ya!

20 FIRE Finance 09.17.07 at 10:33 am

Excellent hosting! Great organization and easy to read format. Thanks Golbguru for your wonderful efforts. Keep it up.

21 MoneyNing 09.17.07 at 5:20 pm

Wow great list! Too bad I couldn’t participate this week!

22 KRG 09.17.07 at 6:58 pm

Great job hosting the carnival and thanks for including my post!

23 1MansMoney 09.17.07 at 8:07 pm

Thanks for including my Balancing Act post. Great Carnival!

24 plonkee 09.18.07 at 7:29 am

I love the little vignettes of information.

25 jeanjeanie 09.20.07 at 7:12 am

Thanks for the featured link! Thanks also for all the work you put into this carnival. Great job!!!

26 Millionaire Mommy Next Door 09.23.07 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for including my post! I’ve linked back here in my Money, Personal Growth and Family Blog Carnival Roundup (September 21, 2007 Edition) at:
http://millionairemommynextdoor.blogspot.com/2007/09/money-personal-growth-and-family-blog.html

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