Carnival of Personal Finance – “Ask the Right Questions” Edition

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

When you think about being successful in life, it all comes down to the questions you ask yourself and others doesn’t it? My experience tells me that our questions propel our lives. There is really no more cogent influence in our thinking than the questions we formulate and ask. I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced there are 4 kinds of people:

  • Those who think they know it all and don’t really need to ask questions.
  • Those who ask questions but not the right ones.
  • Those who do ask the right questions.
  • Those who ask the right questions because they continually ask if they are asking the right questions.

In reality, we are a combination of all four of the above. Obviously, the most successful people find themselves in the fourth group more often than not, don’t they? (Did you see me just ask a question?)carnival of personal finance

Here is the Carnival of Personal Finance. These posts all qualify to be included because they are asking the right questions if you ask me. Hopefully, they will help you ask yourself the important questions as well.

But before you dig in, think about one question I have for you.

What important question have you forgotten to ask yourself recently? What area in your life do you most want to see a shift in? What questions do you need to start asking yourself in order to succeed?

Editor’s Picks

I love the following posts because they demonstrate some very interesting thought processes and I hope they help you do some out-of-the-box question formulation as well.

FMF from Free Money Finance presents What If I Lost My Career? Envision, then Act, and says, “The bottom line is that whatever your job situation, you can’t bury your head in the sand and think that your employer will always take care of you.”

Miranada @ Financial Highway from Financial Highway presents 50 Home Business Ideas, and says, ” Many of us want to earn extra money from home. And, indeed, starting a home business can be a good way to cultivate additional income, and help you reach other financial goals that you might have. From creative business ideas, to the more mundane, here are 50 home business ideas. ”

Penny from Penny Pinching Professional presents Career Fairs Part (II), and says, “This is the second in a four part mini series about how to be success at career fairs. Read the whole series to find out how to make a great impression on recruiters and move yourself to the top of their candidate list.”

Credit and Debt

NCN from No Credit Needed presents No Fuss Debt Reduction, and says, “This article is for those who are looking for an easy-to-implement debt reduction plan.”

SB from One Cent At A Time presents 5 Steps to Introduce the Concept of Credit to Your Teens, and says, “Here are some tips for parents, to teach your children the value of credit history, and helping them to establish good credit history from the age they have access to credit.”

Kris Bickell from Debt Tips presents Credit reports & credit scores: what’s the difference?

Marjorie from CardHub.com presents How to improve your credit score?, and says, “Credit scores are calculated from a lot of different credit data in your credit report. The first step to improving your credit score is understanding what a credit score is and what affects it.”

Bob from Christian Personal Finance presents Get out of debt with the Debt Snowball Method, and says, “Creating a debt snowball is my preferred method of getting out of debt. The strength of using this method is that it focuses on the behavioral side of finance rather than the mathematical. Since we are not robots that always do exactly what we know we should, I recommend this method for most people.”

Resolutions for 2012

Kennedi from Face and Fitness presents Top 10 New Years Resolutions, and says, “Great New Year’s resolutions: Pay off those credit cards, pay down those student and car loans, make an extra payment on the mortgage. ”

Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey from My Personal Finance Journey presents 2011 Year-End Financial Goals Review and Progress Update, and says, “This post revisits the short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals that Jacob set out for himself in the beginning of 2011, and provides a comprehensive review of the progress made on those goals at the end of 2011.”

Barbara Friedberg from BARBARA FRIEDBERG PERSONAL FINANCE presents Foolproof New Years Resolutions; Part 1, and says, “Do your New Years Eve Resolutions fizzle fast? Learn about how to achieve your financial and personal goals for the future. Not your typical New Years Resolutions article!”

The Lean Times from TotallyMoney presents 4 financial resolutions you need to keep.

Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff presents Board Gaming in the New Year.

Shaun from Money Cactus presents 10 Things to Live By For 2012, and says, “Resolutions are about things that you have had no interest in doing in the past, so why would you change that in the future? Do the things you want to do instead.

John from Passive Family Income presents Setting Financial Resolutions that You Will Keep: Part 1, and says, “Follow these five tips to set and resolve your financial goals for this year.”

Big Cajun Man presents Lifespans of Financial Resolutions, and says, “Let’s stay on my vendetta on New Year’s Financial Resolutions and their ability to make us miserable, cause guilt, angst and indigestion.”

Peter from Bible Money Matters presents Setting SMART Goals for the New Year, and Reward Yourself When You Meet Them, and says, “I’m happy to report that I was able to meet most of my goals last year, but it was in no small part due to how I set them.”

Mr. Money from Smart on Money presents New Year’s Resolution: Give More.

Money Beagle from Money Beagle presents 2012 Financial Goals.

Bryan at Pinch that Penny! from Pinch that Penny! presents A Frugal Confession, and says, “In this post, I confess to a bad financial habit I have, and I resolve to get better at it in the future.”

Real Estate & Investing

Alex Garcia from Vaue Investing HQ presents Walter Schloss.

Well Heeled Blog presents Spending Goal: $2,000 on Clothes, and says, “Most of personal finance is about how to earn, save, and invest money. Yet, spending money with intention is just as important. That is why I have made a goal of spending $2,000 in 2012 on something that is important to me: a wearable, chic, cohesive wardrobe. ”

Sean Smarty from Grow Money presents 7 Emerging Markets to Invest In.

Dannielle from Odd Cents presents How to Claim Funds in a Dormant Bank Account

Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents Best Dividend Stocks for 2012.

Dan Meyers from Your Life, Their Life presents Dollar Cost Averaging: How to beat a “flat market”, and says, “If you look at the starting point and the end point, the market has been flat the last 12 years. However, it’s still possible to make money!”

Matt Bell from Matt About Money presents Living Life to the Full, and says, “Simple, meaningful financial success is all about putting 11 principles into practice.”

Dan from ETF Base presents Best ETFs of 2011.

Squirrelers from Squirrelers presents Diversification of Investments AND Income, and says, “We often read about the need to diversify one’s investments, and not put all our eggs in one basket. This post explores taking this concept and applying it to diversifying income sources too.”

Glen Craig from Free From Broke presents To Do This Year: Buy Renters Insurance, and says, “With buying a home so risky many are turning to renting. But what many are forgetting is that they should buy renters insurance as well! See some reasons why.

Boomer from Boomer & Echo presents Consider A Life Annuity, and says, “If you want to turn your retirement savings into something that more closely resembles a true pension, then you might want to consider purchasing a life annuity.”

D4L from Dividend Growth Stocks presents 6 Dividend Stocks For The New Year, and says, “As we start a new year, this is the time that people make their resolutions. In addition the timeless resolutions of losing weight, quitting smoking, start exercising, et. al, some people are resolving to get their finances in order in case the economy turns down in 2012. Here is one more resolution may want to consider…”

Paula @ Afford Anything from Afford Anything presents Gunmen Kidnapped My Tenant, and says, “One of my best friends gave me the following advice about being a landlord: “It’s not just dollars and cents,” she said. “You’re providing people with a home. You’ll be intimately involved in their lives.” I’ve always known that. But the kidnapping of my tenant from outside our house is a sharp reminder. ”

Save Money & Budgeting

ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Revisiting the Latte Factor”

Annabelle from Shopping Detox presents Zooey Deschanel, frugal icon.

Adam from Magical Penny presents Hitting ‘Publish’ on your Saving goals, and says, “Reading personal finance blogs and books are great for getting you more clued-up, but if you do not ‘hit publish’ by opening a savings account or setting up an investment portfolio then you’re not going to building your savings up for the long term.”

Financial Uproar from Financial Uproar presents I Think I Figured Out Why Frugality Is So Popular, and says, “I`ve figured out why frugality blogs will always be more popular than blogs on investing or earning more. You`ll just have to click on through to find out.”

Nick from Step Away from the Mall presents 5 Spending Traps to Avoid in 2012.

Roshawn Watson from Watson Inc presents 3 Reasons to Focus on Household Cash Flow, and says, “There is clearly a significant disconnect between our knowing the importance of cash flow and our actions. Here are three reasons for a renewed focus on cash flow.”

Money Thinker from Money Thinking presents 4 Habits that Cost You and How to Cut the Costs!, and says, “We all have habits. Money Thinker looks at 4 costly habits and how to reduce how much you spend on them yearly. ”

Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Jan mortgage update: and musings on bank packages, and says, “Is it worth keeping a mortgage to get free hassle-free checking? ”

Flexo from Consumerism Commentary presents The Best Credit Cards 2012, and says, “The credit card deals I expect to be the best (for those who are responsible with their usage) for the year, as well as some industry expectations.”

Squeezer from Personal Finance Success presents How to save when shopping for clothes but still dress fashionable, and says, “Wearing clothing is a fact of life. But that does not mean that you have to spend thousands on your wardrobe to look your best. This article will provide you with tips you can use when shopping for clothes that will save you large sums of money. ”

Lindy from Minting Nickels presents Delay-n-Save, and says, “This article discusses the many things you can put off to save money. It’s not laziness, no really. ”

Michael from So You Think You Can Save presents 15 Simple Ways To Save Money, and says, “We could all use a few extra bucks in our pocket this year. A couple of these could help make that happen!”

Jackie Beck from MoneyCrush presents How to Budget Without Making it a Chore, and says, “Budgets have a bad rap. Somehow, people have gotten “budgeting” and “crash dieting” confused — thinking of them both as something restrictive to be suffered for results. But they’re not the same at all. Here’s how to budget without making it a chore.”

Sustainable PF from Sustainable Personal Finance presents Sustainable Living with a Growing Family, and says, “As a family grows so does the need for the many products involved in raising a child. Sustainable living with a growing family is a challenge that offers many rewards.”

Trent Green from Money for Regular People presents Check and Debit Card Budgeting Methods, and says, “Check and debit card budgeting methods offer convenience, flexibility, security and good recordkeeping, but have some drawbacks as well.”

Colin Williams from humble savers presents Budgeting – How It Can Make It Easier To Pay Off Debt

Lisa from Thriftability presents The Interest Calculator, and says, “Has it been awhile since you spent quality time with an insurance calculator? Whether it’s good or bad news, it pays to take a look at how rates can make or break your finances. Follow along for more.”

Miss T. from Prairie Eco Thrifter presents How to Garden Over Winter: Key Strategies for Success

Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget presents 5 Must-Read Personal Finance Books, and says, “Whether your goals are to pay off debt, save for a house, save for retirement, become wealthy, or open a business, you’ll find some of these resources helpful in reaching your goals.”

Saving on Tax

John from Wallet Blog presents Helpful Tips for Tax Season 2012, and says, “With the holiday season in the rearview mirror, we are all getting back into our normal routines. Unfortunately, that means starting to think about tax season 2012. To help ease concerns, the California Society of CPAs recently announced some important strategies for dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you cannot cover your total tax toll.”

Adam from Tax On Tax Off presents How to reduce your student loan | Examining the student loan interest deduction, and says, “An article to explain the Student Loan Interest Deduction – the Internal Revenue Service graciously allows, as a deduction from your income, the lesser of $2,500 or, the actual amount of interest you pay on your student loans.”

Eric J. Nisall from DollarVerstiy presents A Guide To Getting Ready For Your Tax Return

Cathy Moran from Money Health Central presents Pocket the Missing Tax

Money Walks from Money Walks presents 3 Sets of Mistakes we Make with Taxes and Tax Returns, and says, “Everyone makes mistakes, especially on their taxes. Money Walks explores three sets of tax-related mistakes. ”

J.P. from Novel Investor presents 2012 Tax Deadline And Other Important Tax Dates, and says, “With tax time starting, have those all important tax dates handy when you prepare your returns this tax season.”

Philip from PT Money Personal Finance presents Solo 401K Rules, and says, “Includes reasons for choosing a solo 401K, rules, deadlines, and contribution limits.”

Chris Holdheide from Stumble Forward presents How To Donate Your Timeshare To Charity, and says, “Learn how to donate your timeshare and get a tax break on it.”

Miscellaneous

Jon the Saver from Free Money Wisdom presents Beating Broke Interview, and says, “If it feels like there have been more interview posts than usual, well it’s true! I’ve had the chance to interview some awesome bloggers. Today’s interview is with Beating Broke.”

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