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Monday, July 31, 2006

United profitable

United Airlines reported it's first profit today since... quite a while ago (it just came out of bankruptcy). This is interesting to me because it represents a successful turnaround and restructuring process during bankruptcy. United cut a lot of capacity and lowered costs (dumping their pension liability helped of course) during the past few years and it's good to the results of that.

Another reason why I care is because I blogged about United's hiring as a leading indicator of better times ahead way back in my 2nd blog post. This is also a sign that my United Mileage plus miles won't become worthless after all.

One other interesting point mentioned in the article is that United hedged 28% of its third quarter oil costs at $69.84 a barrel. I wonder how that compares to other airlines?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Carnival of Personal Finance, right here! (week #57)

Welcome! This is the 57th week of the carnival of personal finance! If you're new here, feel free to browse around and look at some of my older posts - I like to write about many topics beyond personal finance (including a recent post about life in North Korea).

Now on with the carnival! I received 42 submissions this week and here they are. They are ordered by primarily by the time of submission. Bolded and italicized articles are the best in my opinion, while some submissions will be penalized for being incoherent or being a general waste of time.

Praveen Puri from My Simple Trading System introduces us to the technique of constant value investing.

Emmanuel Oluwatosin gives some advice on how much money one needs to be their own boss.

Blogtrepreneur discusses how he uses ebay to make money on the internet.

Pacesetter Mortgage Blog helps answer the problem of revealing your income to your mortgage broker.

We're In Debt rambles on until he gets to his point about a system for keeping receipts. (574 words)

Penny Foolish shares a well organized and written guide on how to start a blog. (2921 words)

FMF at Free Money Finance presents some Alternatives to Retiring. Some work, most don't. (ie. working is the opposite of retiring, not an alternative!)

Consumerism Commentary, like many others before him, tries to decide between ING direct or HSBC direct.

Frugal Wisdom from Wenchypoo's Warehouse submits a LONG article about "Inflation". (1439 words)

frugal underground shares with us tips on how to find an affordable vacation rental.

jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity presents Spread Your Savings Across Multiple Online Banks

AboutPMI at About Private Mortgage Insurance shares a Sample Letter to Cancel Private Mortgage Insurance

Ian Anderson from Myquo.com shows us why your house might not be your biggest investment.

Insureblog wonders why people purposely ignore and don't care about how much their medicinal care costs.

Amanda at Young and Broke explores the creation of an emergency fund.

Free The Drones Blog shares hints and instructions on how to improve your credit score by fixing common mistakes in your credit report.

Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade presents Agents Refusing to Make an Offer on Real Estate.

mimi from Pocket Change discovers the joy of Books on CD and offers a tip on how to listen for free.

Jeff Howard rehashes the boring Roth IRA vs Traditional IRA comparison. I swear every single money blog has done one of these articles, we don't need anymore!

Stock Market Beat has a short post on Data Point Investors.

Paul's Tips shares an excellent article on tackling the question of to rent or to buy?

Nick from Trading Winner helps us choose an online stock broker.

2million gives us an interesting and inside look at negotiating a property price. I had to look this up, but FSBO apparently stands for For Sale By Owner. Unique article.

Queercents shares some thoughts and facts about owning a vacation home.

Single Ma's Fabulous Financials highlights why she likes credit cards and high limits. Common knowledge for most money bloggers, but well presented. Worth a read for those that are new.

My 1st Million At 33 gives some solid advice on accumulating wealth from the 20's to the 50's. One hint: it involves saving.

Getting Out of Debt shares a story and advice on shopping and credit card debt addictions.

Nick from Punny Money wants to help you marry your wife, not her lawyer.

Jonathan from MyMoneyBlog analyzes a credit card rewards program and figures out how to get a free set of tires.

It's Just Money talks about how Southwest's in-flight magazine "sells out." A post about him not reading the first thing on the page.

The MotherLoad shares her first experience using ebates.

Accumulating Money gives us some faulty retirement assumptions.

Journey To Financial Freedom explains how to set your personal level of financial freedom.

InvestorGeeks presents a well written article detailing your options if the USD declines and inflation rises. In error, they also submitted another article analyzing CD laddering. I'm including both because they are excellent, well thought out articles.

My Financial Awareness writes about tithing and how the law of tithing does not merely apply to finances. The Dali Lama, Dilbert, and Mother Teresa are all mentioned in this unique post.

Money and Values ponders how much money one should keep in a checking account.

Pragmatic Finance explores and compares some target retirement funds.

The Prince of Thrift wants to share his financial mission statement with us.

StopBuyingCrap.com reminds us not to let the boring nature of personal finance stop us from caring.

nickel at fivecentnickel.com dissects and analyzes Bank of America's "Out of State" Check Policy

NCN submits some basic and sound advice for the financially out of shape.

Business Opportunities Blog compiles 10 questions to help you figure out if buying a business is right for you.

Okay, and that's it! I hope you all enjoyed the wide variety of topics and posts. The carnival next week will be held at AllThingsFinancial. Take care.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

North Korea - what is it really like??

With their recent test missile launch, stories about North Korea are dominating the media again. We know North Korea is ruled by a dictator by the name of Kim Jong-Il (remember him from Team America World Police?). We know North Korea has nuclear ambitions and capabilities. We know it's a dangerous place, etc etc.

But have you noticed, all the reports are just based off of how crazy and dangerous Kim Jong-Il is, and how his people are starving and suffering as a result of his lunacy? Think about it, we really don't know what North Korea is like. How do North Koreans live? What do their cities look like? Is everyone really starving and living off their fields?

I recently stumbled upon two photo essays that I'd like to share with you. One is by Time Magazine, cleverly titled "Exposing North Korea". This one is very professional, every picture seems to be perfectly thought out and choreographed.

The other one is a less professional, and is taken by a Russian web designer by the name of Artemii Lebedev. These pictures are simply stunning and candid, as they are forbidden pictures (the North Korean Government apparently tries to control what pictures you can take). The pictures are here, and the translated version is here.

I hope you enjoyed those pictures as much as I did. It certainly makes the secret North Korean society a little more human.

I will be hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance on Monday, July 17th. Please feel free to submit any articles to me at my email address (in my profile).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Congrats Italy! Vacation time for me.

Wow what a finish for the Italy Germany game. I hope you guys got to see it. I'm still cheering for Portugal though.

On a completely unrelated note, I'll be going on vacation for a week or so. So posting will be sparse. Enjoy the summer weather!