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Carnival of Money Stories #76

Welcome to the 76th Carnival of Money Stories, a collection of the best money-related stories from around the interwebs this past week.  I'd like to kick this week's edition off with a short money story of my own; and I will, because it's my blog and I can do whatever I want to.

The True Story of How I Almost Won a Million Bucks. 


Back in my college days I found myself with nothing to do one chilly autumn afternoon when the phone rang.  It was my mother with a hot tip. 

You may have heard of the Ricola Mystery Cougher Challenge; if you haven't, it really doesn't matter because I'm going to explain it to you.  The Challenge: you hear a stranger cough, you offer said stranger a Ricola cough drop, you win a million dollars.  Bam.

Mom heard on the radio that the Mystery Cougher would be near my campus at noon. 

I would be there.  Waiting…

Long story short, I was right next to the MC, I hesitated, the guy next to me didn't, I didn't win the million bucks.

The Moral of the Story: Work hard, save, invest, and always offer a stranger a cough drop (just in case).

The End


Now, if you are an avid carnival reader, you know that the host usually says something along the lines of, "There were so many good submissions this week, I had a hard time choosing my favorites!"

Well, there were so many good submissions this week, I had a hard time choosing my favorites.  Good stuff everybody.  


Editor's Picks 

Should I Be Doing My Own Taxes? @ Money Thinking

Boats & Cottages @ Free Money Finance

Time To Be The Hardnosed Landlord @ Yes I Am Cheap


Living Stories

Dirt Locked @ Minting Nickels

I Eat Before I Go to Lunch @ Thousandaire

Why I Borrow So Much @ The Financial Blogger

10 Pantry Essentials @ Bucksome Boomer


Inspirational Stories

Working Hard For What You Want @ Free From Broke

We Made It! @ Money Beagle

Retiree Financial Lessons from the Recession @ My Wealth Builder


Contemplative Stories

The Story of The Widow's Mite: Do We Have it Wrong? @ Christian PF

Is Money Talk Rude? @ Funny About Money

Brett Favre May Lose $100 Million @ Faithful With A Few

A Moment With a Compulsive Shopping Addict @ Danielle Liss

A Tale of Recovery @ Financial Tales


Family Stories

Fun Fall Traditions @ Squirrelers

What Our Parents Taught Us About Money @ Prairie Eco Thrifter

Where Do You Start @ Canadian Personal Finance Blog


Useful Stories

8 Best Personal Finance Apps for Android @ My Dollar Plan

We Refinanced Our Mortgage @ The Sun Financial Diary

The Pros and Cons of Buying Newly Built Homes @ Spruce Up Your Finances

Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card Review @ Wanderlust Journey


Saving Stories

Are You Really Getting the Best Deal @ Good Financial Cents

19 Tips for Saving a Bundle of Money on Home Appliances @ Len Penzo dot Com

Do You Live Within Your Means? @ Green Panda Treehouse



If you didn't see you post included this week, it's not because it wasn't excellent, it just wasn't a money story.  

Submit your posts here for next week's carnival at the Canadian Finance Blog.  It's going to be awesome. 

Article publié pour la première fois le 18/10/2010


Life insurance fraud costs international life insurance providers and estimated $68 billion dollars annually. Wow! $68B is a lot of dough – the kind of dough that makes people go crazy with desire; and commit serious crimes. Life insurance fraud cases are, as you would probably expect, at all-time highs. That means that people are comitting insurance fraud, more and more, because they feel forced to provide for their families in seemingly impossible scenarios.

They don’t want to “go out”, leaving their loved ones to struggle in the midst of an insane world – and so they try to get over on life insurance companies. It’s not the most novel idea, but it is a popular one. All the major insurers have fallen victim over the years, Allstate, GEICO,  even GIO have had to deal with these unfortunate events.

Extreme Cases of Life Insurance Fraud

Johnny works as a mortician journeyman, and he has a social issue. You see, Johnny doesn’t like playing by the rules. He likes games of  chance instead. He believes he has the “perfect crime” planned: a life insurance fraud scheme.

He knows he can do it. He has connections. He uses them to forge fake IDs, procure fictitious medical documentation and all other necessary items to fool the life insurance company out of their death benefit payouts.He loves his family and sees no other ways to make sure they are provided for after he passes. He steals a body, fakes a death, gets a doctor to sign off on medical documents and then collects life insurance benefits on someone who never really existed.

Life Insurance Fraud 2014

Modern technologies have empowered life insurance companies to detect fraud schemes easier and more effectively. DNA testing, a backlogged judicial system and $68B worth of massive inspiration to stop fraud have insurance fraud investigators hopping through their careers like bunnies; never able to completely thwart the onset.

That $68 billion is annual losses keeps those companies hiring more investigators, keeping those investigators actively investigating – and stumbling in overall inefficiency like never before. Remember: life insurance fraud is at all-time high levels.

How record high life insurance fraud affects your wallet:

Get one thing clear: life insurance companies, as well as all other types of insurance companies, do not incur long-term losses. They just don’t. They employ actuaries, some of the smartest people alive, to ensure that they do no lose money long-term. That means that every single time someone gets away with a life insurance fraud scheme, the insurance company will redefine their premium pricing schedules to absorb those losses. YOU will pay, along with the rest of everyone, for the losses life insurance companies pay out to fraud. Insurance companies do not take losses; they distribute their costs to their policyholders.

Bottom line about extreme life insurance fraud:

Extreme life insurance fraud is on the rise. Because economies are suffering while governments increase revenues, people are more and more desperate. They turn to crime, sometimes to fraud. Criminals who want to succeed get extreme, and this results in some very intricate plans to take money from life insurance companies. Even with all the investigators in place, these companies continue to lose profits because of extreme life insurance fraud.

Article publié pour la première fois le 30/04/2014


I Get Less Done When I Have Nothing to Do

If life were a sentence, it would look something like this:

Big Event…………..Something Exciting…………..Lots Going On…………..Etc.

Life is neither grammatically correct, nor is it always good times and shenanigans.

During those bouts of excitement, my productivity is at its peak.  While in the middle of our move, for example, I was able to go to work, come home and pack, found the time to exercise and even solved the riddle about how to achieve peace in the Middle East (that post is soon to follow; if I ever get around to it, that is).

Now, as I wait for December 1st and our flight to Japan, there’s really not too much left to accomplish.  A few final bills have filtered their way in, I have a couple of phone calls to make, I suppose, oh, and I have a load of laundry to do.

You know what?  I’m getting none of it done.

Let’s talk physics – a science I’m not entirely convinced really exists in a post Matrix universe, but let’s talk about it anyways.

The law of inertia states that a body in motion will tend to remain in motion and that a body at rest will tend to remain sitting on her butt, reading cheesy romance novels.  That’s just science.

Inertia applies to our lives in many ways.

Our Attitudes: A grump will tend to remain a grump (just ask me about it on one of my bad days).

Our Relationships: Crappy communication will tend to stay crappy.

Our Finances: Spenders will tend to spend.   Savers will tend to save.

But, on the bright side, inertia cannot stop change; hinder it, yes, stop it, no. 

The full law goes: a body in motion will tend to stay in motion and a body at rest will tend to stay at rest, UNLESS acted upon by an external force.

Change may not be easy.  But if I’m ever going to get some laundry done, it’s absolutely necessary.  And there is no motivating force quite like the prospect of running out of clean underpants.

Laundry may seem like a small change relative to those you would like to make in your personal finances.  It’s certainly easier to continue spending money on the “fun stuff” rather than contributing to your Roth IRA.

The answer to making these changes is to find the greatest motivator.  Don’t move a mountain with a shovel, do it with a nuclear warhead.

Don’t change your spending habits by thinking of what you should do (make IRA contributions), do it by thinking of the specific goals you hope to achieve (beach-side, piña colada retirement) or what you hope to avoid (dirty underpants).   


Article publié pour la première fois le 08/11/2010


Five Tips for Saving Money on Your Energy Bill

These days, everybody is looking for ways to save money here and there. And with the cost of energy being higher than ever, this is one of the main monthly expenses that renters and homeowners alike are looking to cut down on. So if you are tired of paying a ridiculous amount of money for your energy bills month after month, what steps can you take to cut down on your energy use and reduce your monthly expenses in the process? The good news is that doing so is a lot easier and a lot less painful than you might think.

For starters, consider making as simple of a change as turning down your thermostat a couple of degrees during the colder months of winter and turning it up a few degrees in the summer. Your body will quickly adjust to the slight difference in temperature, but those couple of degrees can mean significant savings on your next energy bill. Not to mention, your furnace and AC units will work less and your maintenance and repair costs will be smaller over time.

Another tip to consider trying is that of cleaning out or changing your furnace and/or air conditioning unit’s air filters. Over time, dirt, dust and debris can build up in the filters and cause the machinery to work harder than it should. This reduces energy efficiency and results in a higher bill for you.

Furthermore, if there are rooms or certain spaces of your home that go mostly unused, consider shutting off the vents to those areas while they are vacant. This will allow air to circulate better within the home, giving your furnace or AC unit a break and reducing the square footage of the space that it needs to heat or cool in the process. You would be surprised at how much money this could save you.

Another consideration to keep in mind as a way of cutting down on energy costs is that of better insulating your home. You can do this by placing draft guards around doors, windows and other drafty areas of your house. Furthermore, having energy-efficient windows and doors installed is a great way to keep warm air in during the winter and keep your home cool during warmer months of summer.

Finally, it is never a bad idea to do some research on energy rates (New York and other states’ residents can choose who supplies their energy) to find out if you could be saving money by using a different energy company. This is something that many homeowners do not even realize may be an option, but it can save you a significant amount of money if you find a cheaper energy company to switch to.

Overall, energy bills are sky high these days but there are steps you can take to improve the overall energy efficiency in your home and save some money in the process. Be sure to give some of these great tips a try!

Article publié pour la première fois le 31/01/2013

1 comment

June 2010 Archive

Pardon the dust.  It is an archive afterall.


June 28  My Confession

Article publié pour la première fois le 01/07/2010


Time is Money – Part 1: Introduction

Today’s article is the beginning of a series of articles that will center around one basic question. My husband is a big fan of Adam Carolla. He listens to his podcast quite regularly. He recently shared with me a thought Adam shared on his show.

One day Mr. Carolla was sharing his opinion (as he is want to do on any and every subject) on what is the best economic use of one’s time. Someone was arguing that he was being a little too wasteful in his spending and if he would simply look for discounts and deals, he could save a little money. Adam responded by positing the following question: is it better to use one’s time trying to save money or by making money?

When we usually think of increasing our economic wealth, we think of saving money. This blog alone has hundreds, if not thousands of tips for how to save money: eat more regularly at home, decrease your electricity use, shop smarter at the grocery store, the list of ideas goes on and on. This is the mentality of those who clip coupons religiously. Come on, admit it, you’ve seen these reality shows about extreme couponing, so you know what I’m taking about. People will spend hour after hour planning, scheming, and basically working a full time job cutting and using coupons. And, admit it, when you see them walk out of the supermarket with three cartloads of groceries and a bill of only two dollars, your mind starts to think, “that’s a good idea, I’d like to save money on my groceries like that!” It seems like these couponing fanatics have got something for nothing. But have they really?

The flip side of the argument is that the old adage is true: time is money. Adam Carolla fell on this side of the argument. Why spend time thinking of a thousand ways to save money when you could spend that time making money. When you take a good look at it, he has a point. Let’s return to our couponing example. Instead of spending all of their time planning on how to save some money at the grocery store, if that same person pooled their resources into starting a business or working at their own job, they could come out on top financially. A quick example: my husband is an attorney who charges $175 an hour for his services. Assuming that is what he actually took home (its not, believe me) it would make a lot more sense to spend his time working than cutting coupons.

Of course, the math on this is different for everyone, but my hope is that you will do that math for your own situation and spend your time accordingly. Therefore, in the next few articles we are going to explore how one can save time and therefore money. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to pay someone to do those chores you hate to tackle yourself. We’ll take a closer look at some of those chores and how to save time on them in the next few articles.

Article publié pour la première fois le 25/10/2013