money links

just wanted to point out that there have been some great, really introductory, explanations about basic financial concepts in the nytimes these past couple of weeks as part of a series called "what you need to know". i encourage you to check out "credit scores: what you need to know" and "income taxes: what you need to know", especially since tax time is upon us, and since credit is growing more and more scarce.

also, music to my ears, the personal savings rate increased almost 1% between november and december last year, from 2.8% to 3.6% of disposable (net) income. while i'm so thrilled people are starting to save, i'm still disappointed at how low the savings rate is overall. up until the mid-90's, the national savings rate hadn't ever dipped below 5%, and in fact in 2006, it actually went negative. (look out for an article i wrote in the next issue of sadie magazine on the importance of the personal savings rate) on the other hand, reduced spending and increased savings will only prolong this period of economic contraction, which maybe is the price we pay for borrowing and spending other people's money.

any bailout plans aside, things will continue to get a teensy bit worse, so check out this askmefi link to asses the various pros/cons of online financial tracking programs. i used pear budget, then excel, and now mint + excel, but i'm a little crazy, obv. use what works for you, but use something - please!
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