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Bargaineering 2009 Annual Financial Review Week

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Since Career Week was so successful, mostly because of all of your insightful comments, I thought I’d bring you another “week” of focused posts. This time, since we are so near the end of the year, we’ll be focusing on an annual financial review. In reality, the topics in this series apply to any time of the year,not just year’s end, but you have to take a look at least once a year.

I hope the tryptophan from Thanksgiving has cleared your system because I need you fully awake this week. In each of the four areas, I’ve picked a few topics designed to “optimize” your personal finances. Some of them are very basic, like getting more interest out of your savings accounts, while others may be a little more complex, like optimizing your asset allocation. Regardless of the topic, I hope you let me know what you think of it. You guys made Career Week a success, I hope we can do the same with the Year End Review.


  • 10 Reasons Why Credit Unions Kick Ass – This was an oldie but goodie that I think does a great job kicking off the week.
  • How to Minimize Bank Account Fees – Banks make a killing off fees and chances are you’ve been dinged sometime in the last year. I’ll share some tips on how to avoid them and an easy way to get them back.
  • Highest Savings Account Rates – The quickest way to squeeze a couple more nickels out of every day is to put your savings in a place that will give you a higher interest rate.




  • How to Adjust Your Tax Withholding – If you’re one of the many millions that receive a tax rebate in the Spring, consider adjusting your withholding so you don’t give the government an interest free loan each year.
  • How to Spend Down Your FSA – An FSA is great for getting tax free money for medical expenses, but we always end up with a few bucks left over near the end of the year. Here are a few ideas for how to spend it wisely.
  • How to Set FSA Amount – Put a little too much money into your FSA last year, in this post I write about how we set our FSA amounts for the year.

I hope you enjoy the week and let me know if there’s a topic you think I should cover!

(Photo: joelanman)

{ 21 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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21 Responses to “Bargaineering 2009 Annual Financial Review Week”

  1. hoht says:

    Cool, I’m going to be looking forward to this week. Especially the section under credit utilization.

  2. aua868s says:

    I am looking forward for the mutual fund video!

  3. Debra says:

    Hi, Jim. I assume that all of your section headings above are intended to be links to more extensive discussions. After the first one (on credit unions), none of the rest work. I notice the first one is blue and all the rest black. Am I missing/misunderstanding something, or is there some way I can compensate for this on my own computer? Or does your article just need a little tweaking? Please let me know as I’d like to read all these other sections.

    Thank you

    • Jim says:

      You are correct, they are supposed to go to more extensive discussions but they won’t be “live” until later this week. Only the first one is “live” at the moment. You aren’t missing anything… this is sort of like a programming guide for the upcoming week. 🙂

  4. Awesome series, Jim. I’m particularly excited for the charge card post–I don’t know much about them, so it will be a great learning experience.

    I’m also looking at HSAs at a potential insurance vehicle, so perhaps your FSA posts will address some of the same principles.

    Should be a great week!

  5. javi says:

    Great timing, I need to set up my FSA soon. This is something I have been wanting to learn more about.

  6. JK says:


    I agree that asset allocation is the toughest nut of them all. So much confusion, so many companies selling you stuff that take advantage of that confusion. As an aspiring Boglehead I don’t think anyone should buy a managed mutual fund – ever… look forward to your post.

    One suggestion – you should add a post on how to determine emergency cash requirements and how to stash it.


  7. zapeta says:

    I’m looking forward to the discussion! Thanks!

  8. nice – look forward to it!

  9. eric says:

    Awesome looking forward to it..the personal credit report reminder would be so convenient 🙂

  10. Jim – What about one on how to differ as much income as possible to avoid taxes until one moves to a no income tax state upon retirement?

    Now that’s something I’d be highly interested in!

    Sounds like a great line-up.



  11. When you get to the investing section please consider including some information on bonds, specifically the tax free ones. I understand the basics and it appears that a some bond mutual funds pay out great interest rates with low risk and they are more predictable than stocks. I am not the huge stock market fan I used to be and am looking for safer alternatives.

  12. pcallaghan says:

    Looking forward to the banking and the tax withholding… with recent house purchase my tax withholding is going to need to change.

  13. How do we manage to stretch our small paychecks, or find a better paying job?

  14. Izalot says:

    I would love to see a report on FSA’s especially those with past experience with certain company’s debit card and collect on items. I had a friend that had a miserable time collecting when he had all receipts that pointed medical.

  15. James says:

    great. the one on asset allocation is very timely and should be very helpful

  16. jsbrendog says:

    i try to make my whole year my “year end review” because if you stay on top of it then you don’t have to go in and make sure it is all well and goood. But, at the same time, i realize how unrealistic this may be so bring it on

  17. Shirley says:

    Re: Your Mutual Fund May Be Ripping You Off

    As a senior with my entire IRA in Mutual Funds, I’m in a hurry to see this one! Hopefully you will tell me that Morgan Stanley Smith-Barney knows what they are doing.

  18. Shock says:

    Great theme for this “week” series.

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