Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance, and thank you everyone for contributing and reading!
The spirit of Disney has permeated my life. So it is fitting that the 235th Carnival of Personal Finance (my first time hosting!) shall feature one of Disney’s most beloved characters, Cinderella.
Editor’s Picks will be bolded and highlighted in red.
Now, let’s head to the Most Magical Place On Earth, where this journey begins.
With Cinderella’s Castle as backdrop, Magic Kingdom is full of majesty and romance. Unfortunately, after years of an “I can afford it” (A Gai Shan Life) mentality and too much stuff (Free Money Finance), prompted by glorious offerings in glossy magazines (Oil and Garlic) and a real estate downturn, Cinderella’s Royal Kingdom is going through a Royal Recession.
And Cinderella’s wedding? Cost a pretty penny. Plus, the King has been through some medical bills (Chief Family Officer) that put a strain on the Royal Treasury. If they need more money, they might have to join the Lending Club (Debt Free Adventures).
The rude awakening was when Prince Charming had to get a home appraisal (Bad Credit Advisor) then take on a mortgage bond (Build Your Finances) for the beautiful castle. The financial stress has added tension to the previously happy marriage.
“Oh no!” Cinderella thought, “How to fix this mess that we have found themselves in? We need to start saving money (Single Guy Money). I want to be debt-free in one year! (Personal Finance By The Book)” Because even though Prince Charles and Princess Di made Royal Divorces OK, Cinderella and the Prince wanted to save their marriage and their finances.
In search for answers, the pair ventured into Epcot, the park of the future. First step, the couple got a free FICO score (The Smarter Wallet), then planned for an annual financial checkup (If I Were A Wealthy Girl) for the upcoming year.
“We also need to set up an emergency fund (Budgets Are Sexy),” Cinderella decided. “Maybe high-yield accounts savings accounts? (Doughroller). And, should we have forced saving mechanisms (Modern Gal) for our own good?”
“What about our heirs,” asked Prince Charming, “The King is asking to hear the pitter-patter of little feet in the palace!” “Maybe in a few years. Babies are expensive (Live Real Now). We have to figure out how to straighten our financial situation so we don’t outlive our savings (My Wealth Builder).” Cinderella exclaimed, “besides, I want to graduate Royal College first.”
In terms of investing, the couple also decided to review their asset allocation (Tonka Beans) to ensure its appropriateness for their personal situation as royalty of indeterminate European country, and explore dividend investing (Dividend Value).
But even with a myriad of royal investment advisers around, it’s difficult to find truly skilled fund managers (The Oblivious Investor) who can help them accumulate steady passive income (Personal Finance Analyst).
“I suppose at the end of the day,” the Prince concluded, “we ultimately have to understand what’s in our portfolio (Narrow Bridge Adventures).” Oh it’s so sexy when he talks personal finance! Cinderella thought to herself. The sparks are coming back into the Royal marriage…
Aside from their personal situation, Prince Charming and Cinderella must prepare for their responsibilities as heads of state – time to organize the Royal Office! (Suburban Dollar). The Royal Kingdom isn’t doing so well, but might there be positive effects from the recession (Automatic Finances)? Cinderella and the Prince decide to look to other countries for lessons.
“The United States seem interesting. They have many ideas, such as a cash for caulkers program (Your Money Relationship).” Prince Charming said, “although the country is a decidedly less magical land.”
Because Cinderella realizes that a princess must not only be beautiful, she must also be smart and well-informed in order to serve her people! Speaking of serving – in the spirit of the season, the Royal couple has decided to donate to 15 worthy charities (Foreigner’s Finance).
In the animal kingdom, it’s typically the males who are more colorful and adorned to attract females of the species. But among Disney characters, do men make women spend more money? (Fabulously Broke) Cinderella has to look pretty for Charming – after all, she snagged a prince. Then again, she is naturally beautiful. So who knows!
Before Cinderella became a princess, her army of animal friends helped her with chores, dress, and even musical accompaniment. Cinderella wants to reward her friends with gifts they really want (Steadfast Finances), but now she needs to save money.
“You could look for deals,” Prince Charming said, “but beware of suspicious terms and conditions (Realm of Prosperity).” And Cinderella fell in love with the Prince all over again.
While at Animal Kingdom, Cinderella attended a financial literacy workshop given by Nemo, a Fish Financier. There she learned about the money lessons found in Finding Nemo (Minting Pennies), how to simplify her finances (Gen Y Wealth), and how to deal with fraud (Hope to Prosper).
Fast forward a year.
Cinderella and Prince Charming have learned the value of a financially prudent lifestyle and avoid the “never enough” syndrome (The Personal Financier). Their days of excess (Man vs. Debt) is over, relatively speaking. For example, instead of spending thousands of dollars on new gilt hardcover books every month, Cinderella has taken to reading the millions of old gilt hardcover books in the Royal Library to save money (Millionaire Nurses).
With the money they’ve saved through the year, Cinderella and the Prince negotiated an early repayment of all their debts – because you can negotiate anything (Get Rich Slowly) - especially if you’re royalty!
The end of financial stress and fights about money has returned Cinderella and Prince Charming to the happy days of yore.
After graduating (with honor) from the Royal College, Cinderella and Prince Charming began a public education campaign to education citizens of the Royal Kingdom on financial literacy issues. Work shop topics include tax savings (Accumulating Money), credit savings (Ask Mr. Credit Card), balance transfers (Credit Card Offers IQ), year end tax strategies (Amateur Asset Allocator), how to decide between renting and buying (Studenomics), and preparing for the unexpected (Miss M).
In order to further engage the citizenry on financial issues, the Prince and Cinderella also plan on holding Citizen Forums.
There, people can share their or their family’s stories about money (Small Steps for Big Change), and discuss topics such as the link between obesity and debt (Big Spender), good faith estimates (Searchlight Crusade), why frugality works (Eliminate the Muda), how entrepreneurs can save for retirement (PT Money), work-life balance for the small business owner (Money Help For Christians), and what is one’s true hourly wage (Christian Finances).
As a celebration for their financial success and popularity with the people (because everyone loves talking about personal finance!), the King sent Cinderella and Prince Charming on a romantic excursion to…
Where the glamour and glitz of old-time studio system still live.
The lights, the camera, the action! And 9 months later, Baby Prince was born. (woo heir!) The proud parents have already established a trust (Good Financial Cents) for him.
Cinderella and the Prince are determined to give Baby Prince a good financial education so that he can grow up to be a good money manager. As the Baby Prince grows older, Cinderella will be contacting royal tutors to teach Baby Prince on subjects such as ETFs (Dividend Investing and Mutual Network), mutual funds, fixed income (The Dividend Guy), annuity payments vs. lump sum (Stumble Forward), and the Royal Roth IRAs (Brain Dead Simple Financial Organizing).
But for now, the Royal Family is just enjoying being with one another…
(all image credit to Walt Disney Corporation)