Carnival of Personal Finance #103: The 24 Edition
I have to admit, I was quite disappointed in the TV show 24 this year. Jack Bauer just didn’t seem himself, so I decided to give Jack a call and find out what he did after he left the beach house. This week’s Carnival of Personal Finance will walk through the NEXT 24 hours after Jack’s long, exhausting day of battling terrorists.
However, before I jump into the story, I’d like to recommend subscribing to Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money’s RSS Feed or Email Newsletter. Both are free, and bring a little bit of excitement and humor into your day (well, for those days I think I’m exciting and funny).
Now for the story:
When we last left Jack, he had shut himself off from the world (electronically), and was just leaving his ex-girlfriend’s father’s house on the beach. He’s been out of touch with the world’s events for the last 2 years while he was locked up and tortured in China, and was just recently brought back to foil some terrorists who have acquired a bunch of nukes…
Hour 1: 6:00AM – 7:00AM
Immediately after leaving Raines’ house, Jack realizes that he hasn’t had any calcium the entire time he was being tortured in China. Well, he’s quite concerned about osteoporosis, so luckily he ran into Stacie from Building Nutrition and learned the cost comparison of calcium from foods vs supplements. He decided to grab a box of Total at 7-11 and munch on his way home.
Unfortunately, between pretending he was dead and his 2 years in China, he sort of lost his home. He reminisces about his little vegetable garden, and can’t wait to build another one soon. However, prices have gone up on materials since his last garden. Just then, a paper drifting in the wind smacks him in the face. He pulls it away and sees an article by Make Your Nut titled How much does it cost to build a vegetable garden. What great timing!
He continues wandering down the street, pondering his next move. Perhaps he should go apply for a home loan, considering he’s now homeless. Fortunately he remembers Home Mortgage 101 by Josh at My Credit Scores. He just wishes he had his laptop so he could put together a home-finding worksheet [Lazy Man and Money]. He decides to head over to the bank.
Hour 2: 7:00AM – 8:00AM
On his way to the CTU Credit Union, Jack notices literally dozens of payday loan businesses. He doesn’t remember so many of these sleazy shops being around before his long hiatus. He wonders how easy it would be to sign up for a payday loan online [Rich Minx], and is glad he doesn’t have an actual paycheck to tempt him.
That got Jack thinking about his old debts. He wonders if he’ll have to settle his debts to save his credit rating [Mortgage News], but at this point, all he can think about his how bad he has to go to the bathroom! It’s been over 24 hours since his last potty break on the plane back from China, and he can’t hold it any longer! He runs into a 7-11 (half a block away from the first one), but finds a random small dog in the bathroom. He decides to keep it.
Hour 3: 8:00AM – 9:00AM
An hour later, Jack finally leaves the bathroom with his new dog Curtis (named for his best friend he shot a day earlier). Since Curtis is his only friend in the world now, he thinks he should probably get some pet insurance [InsureBlog] to help make sure THIS Curtis sticks around for a while.
Jack realizes that he’s quite a distance away from the credit union, so he should probably hail a taxi. As he’s waiting for a taxi to show up (c’mon, this is LA, not New York), he sees a local gas station and wonders whether the higher gas prices are a new reality [Wisdom from Wenchypoo] and decides he should take some preemptive steps to cut gas consumption [Authentic Bartender Blog].
He reminisces about his time in Australia (sometime in the past) and the awesome fuel discount vouchers [Cheap as Chips] they offered. Hmm, maybe he’ll just use mass transit from now on, or go buy a rundown “jalopy”, because that’s how he feels, and our cars really say a lot about us [The Happy Rock].
Hour 4: 9:00AM – 10:00AM
Finally a taxi shows up, and Jack orders the cabbie to the CTU Credit Union. On his long drive, Jack wonders whether he should hire a financial planner [Listen Money Matters]. His finances are scattered everywhere, and he’s not quite sure whether he’s still eligible for a government pension.
However, the former and current President Palmers provided well for all that Jack went through for the last half-decade of his life, and the insurance money he received when Nina killed his wife is still in the bank. Maybe he really does have enough money to be considered “rich” [Mr Credit Card]. Good thing he was friends with those presidents. He didn’t get along too well with the last prez…
Jack recalls that he has some money in CDs, Money Market accounts, Mutual Funds and straight stocks. He really hopes his investment fees haven’t killed his earnings [My Own Millions].
Hour 5: 10:00AM – 11:00AM
Man, this taxi ride is taking forever! Jack should have expected all that missing traffic from yesterday would come back with a vengeance today. To keep his mind off the thousands who died in the nuclear blasts yesterday, Jack continues to think about his future, especially financially. He wonders if he should have been a little adventurous and invested in a self-directed IRA [My Retirement Blog]. Maybe his friend Blain has some advice about online investing [Stock Trading 101], or perhaps Agent Sully can give him some tips to make investing easy [Life Learning Today].
Hour 6: 11:00AM – 12:00PM
Finally! Jack arrived at the CTU Credit Union! It took over 2 hours to go 5 miles. Now THAT’s LA traffic. At least he had a lot of time to think about his life. He decides that he’s going to need all that money he placed into CDs as a down payment for his new home. He’s glad he read the article about CDs or Money Market Accounts [Money Walks] before he was kidnapped to China. He should have earned a hefty sum in interest during that time.
Jack goes into the bank, but there’s a pretty long line. People must have left work for and early lunch to get to the bank. He waits over an hour just to speak with the bank manager. Good thing he bought that box of Total cereal this morning, cause otherwise he would be starving!
Hour 7: 12:00PM – 1:00PM
While waiting to speak with the bank manager, Jack ponders some more about what he should do with his life. His wife is long gone. Audrey has gone crazy (rightly so, as he can only imagine what they did to her after what they did to HIM!). He has no idea where his daughter is. His brother and father are dead. His life is in shambles. He remembers back to when he had a happy family, and they used to work hard to save money as a family [Life, Lived]. They even had to think of ways they could save money at the car wash [Life of Baz], just so they could afford those trips to Disneyland. He wonders if he should just become a wandering “hired gun”, but he’s not so sure about retirement options for sole proprietors [Great Fx Small Business Buzz].
Hour 8: 1:00PM – 2:00PM
He finally sits down to speak with the bank manager about his savings and investments. However, there’s something funny about this guy. He can’t quite place it, but the guy doesn’t seem too professional. The guy calls himself “Nacho”. Jack just thinks he’s been out of touch for a bit too long.
Anyway, Jack runs through the mortgage application process to get prequalified on a home loan. He’s not sure where he’ll buy yet, but he’s pretty certain that he could make a good deal flipping a home, right? (little does Jack know the current housing market!)
Nacho seems to be the talkative type and decides to blab about the 5 money and currency facts banks never tell you [The Digerati Life] and the key to valuing stocks [The Mad Money Analyst]. He also hands over a massive list of Personal Finance resources [The Frugal Law Student] to Jack, but just then, he realizes he gave away too much valuable information and shuts up. Whoops!
Hour 9: 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Jack finishes up the pre-approval and finds out that without a regular paycheck, he’s only qualified to buy Yolanda’s Chicken Shack in southeast Compton…as soon as it goes into foreclosure. Well, back to the drawing board. At least he doesn’t need to worry about the cost of hiring people to work on his lawn [A Penny Saved], but he also won’t become an accidental millionaire [Free Money Finance] anytime soon .
For a brief second, he does ponder cashing out on his Roth IRA to pay for a house [FiveCentNickel], but decides he needs a steady retirement more than a home right now.
Hour 10: 3:00PM – 4:00PM
Before Jack leaves the bank, he grabs a lollipop from the front counter. He’s finished off his box of Total Cereal, and is still ravenously hungry. He stops at a teller station and withdraws some cash from the joint savings account he set up with his wife [We’re in Debt] so many years ago. He’s real glad he wasn’t one of those rich people who don’t save [My Wealth Builder]. He now accepts that his finances are a mess, and he’ll have to set up a better budget [No Credit Needed, also hosting the Carnival of Debt Reduction] if he’s going to make it through these next few months and years on his own.
Jack wonders where he should eat. He’s been eating rice and bugs for the last 2 years in his Chinese prison, so (almost) anything is a welcome treat now. Of course the first thing he runs into when he leaves the bank is a Jack-in-the-Box. He runs in like a madman and yells out his order of 5 Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburgers to the quivering 16 year old cashier. Oops! Guess he just had a flashback of his CTU days where they gave him a bonus for yelling everything he said. He does some mental accounting [Well-Heeled: 20Something Money] and decides it’s a good deal considering the massive amount of calories he’s burned the last 24 hours.
He takes his order and scarfs down all 5 burgers, and tops it off with a chocolate milkshake. Now he’s sleepy. REALLY sleepy. He wanders out to the local park and finds a comfy bench for an afternoon nap. Not surprisingly, he passes out almost instantly.
Hour 11: 4:00PM – 5:00PM
During the first hour of Jack’s nap, he dreams about his life when Kim was in high school and his wife Teri was still alive. Jack is standing with Teri in the kitchen discussing how Kim’s high school curriculum needs a few basic finance courses [My Credit Group]. (Unfortunately, the last time Jack knew where Kim was, she was in Valencia where the nuke exploded, but that was years ago) [Wikipedia].
Jack’s dream then jumps to when he was talking to his child about finances [Blogging Away Debt]. Little Kimberly’s answers were just so cute!
Hour 12: 5:00PM – 6:00PM
In Jack’s second hour if his much-needed nap, he dreams about his daughter’s little lemonade stand when she was in kindergarten. It reminds him that in order to make money, sometimes you just have to think like a kid [Grad Money Matters]. He then has a little chuckle as he relives the 21 humorous frugal vs cheap mistakes [The Frugalist] he and his wife made while trying to pinch pennies.
Hour 13: 6:00PM – 7:00PM
Jack continues to dream, and this next dream is of him winning a small lottery. That’s right, Jack is a risk-taker, even if the odds are against him! He knows he should avoid common financial mistakes [Blunt Money], but he also wants to spend a little of his financial windfall [Plonkee Money] on himself. However, he’s made a lot of enemies, so travel is out of the question. What else would he spend his money on? He figured he should probably just put most of it towards his retirement [$1 Million to My Name].
Hour 14: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Next, Jack dreams of his younger days with his wife Teri, when together they thought up 10 reasons why sex is financially rewarding [Mommyandmurray’s PF Blog]. (oh yes he did!)
Jack’s happy dreams quickly turn into nightmares though. He dreams about having horrible in-laws [Save to Quit] that put extreme pressures on his finances even before he was married to their daughter! They even make him buy a big, expensive diamond (probably from a cartel) [The Frugal Zeitgeist], which puts him into a load of debt. He then dreams about the insane hoops he must jump through to consolidate all of the debt [Debt Consolidation] his in-laws forced him into.
Perhaps his in-laws were just raised in a different time and feel fine about debt. Jack doesn’t want to live in a world of debt [The Money Well]. However, Jack doesn’t all debt is bad, as long as it can actually help you make money.
Hour 15: 8:00PM – 9:00PM
Just then, Jack wakes up from his nap. Still coming out of his dream, he recalls an article he read from his friend Jim about the best cashback rewards cards [Blueprint for Financial Prosperity] and thinks he should get his purchases to pay him a little in return. He also thinks that using credit cards will simplify his finances [Money Smart Life], as long as he manages them responsibly. However, now that he knows how credit card rate increases works [Credit Card Lowdown], he has to be extra vigilant about his spending and debt repayment.
However, Credit cards aren’t for everyone! Just one slip and he has to remember the 20 wrong things for credit repair [Mint Blog].
Hour 16: 9:00PM – 10:00PM
Jack gets up from his park bench and decides he doesn’t want to spend his life on a bench. He feels it’s time to upgrade to a motel until he determines what he wants to do with his future. He wanders over to Wanda’s “Show-and-Tell Motel” and checks in for the night (sneaking his new puppy Curtis into the room with him).
Now that he doesn’t have to worry about buying a home, he can invest his money rather than paying down a mortgage [Get Rich Slowly].
Hour 17: 10:00PM – 11:00PM
Now that he has his own little place for now, he can get back to thinking about his investment portfolio. It’s been quite some time since he’s had to manage his own money. He’s let most of it up to the government and his wife, but the last few years have really been crazy. He’s worried he really needs to catch up, but better late than never when saving for retirement [Fil-am Personal Finance].
Jack does figure he’ll have quite a few more shares on a number of stocks he bought years ago due to stock splits [Accumulating Money], but that only means more shares, not more money. What he’s really interested in is how his Exchange-Traded Funds are doing compared to his Mutual Funds [A Financial Revolution].
Hour 18: 11:00PM – 12:00AM
Jack lays down for the night, but he can’t seem to fall asleep because of the nap he took earlier. He tosses and turns while numbers and stock tickers run through his head. He wonders if Exchange-Traded Funds will become actively managed [Money Crashers] and whether he should be leveraged into equities [Million Dollar Journey].
Hour 19: 12:00AM – 1:00AM
He then has a vision out of nowhere of the Dough Roller robbing Peter to pay Paul, which is just weird since he has no idea who the Dough Roller really is. He decides he might as well just watch some TV since he’s getting nowhere with this sleep thing.
He flips on the tube and watches an infomercial for this crazy new product called the “One Million Dollar Generator” [Worldwide Success]. Apparently, you can get rich with just pennies a day!
Hour 20: 1:00AM – 2:00AM
Jack finishes up the infomercial, then wonders if his favorite comedy sitcom, Will & Grace, is still on the air. He flips around for a while, but doesn’t find it, even in syndication! The nerve! That was an awesome show. Just as he was about to give up, though, he came upon an interview with Megan Mullally by Queercents. Well, if he can’t get his fill of Jack, Will, and Grace’s goofy antics, at least he can see his favorite character, Karen, talk about money and finances. It’s odd that she doesn’t have a martini in her hands at all times though. Maybe that was just Karen.
After the interview finishes, a news program jumps on the screen with a special report. Apparently, credit card companies are issuing new cards for existing cards [Advanced Personal Finance] without the card holders agreeing to the change! Jack notes that he needs to read the full terms when he applies for credit cards.
Hour 21: 2:00AM – 3:00AM
Still not able to sleep, Jack continues to flip through channels and comes to some interesting tidbits of insurance information like the top 5 insurance policies you do not need [Plus6], as well as dropping your rental car insurance [Personal Finance at KMull.com]. He also ran across a few newscasts about selling products on eBay such as:
Channel 5: Ten reasons I did not bid on your eBay listing [Saving Advice]
Channel 14: Are inflated shipping charges on eBay bad? [Mighty Bargain Hunter]
Hour 22: 3:00AM – 4:00AM
In the next, and hopefully final, hour of his sleepless night, he wanders across a broadcast about these crazy people called “hypermilers”. Apparently gas prices have really shot up since he’s been gone and people are doing some crazy things to save on fuel. However, hypermiling may not actually save much money [Getting Green] for a number of reasons. Jack figures he might try a few of their methods when he gets the chance, but most of the ways they save gas is a bit too dangerous (and potentially against the law). Jack doesn’t break the law…HE IS THE LAW!
Hour 23: 4:00AM – 5:00AM
Right after the hypermiling broadcast finishes, a madman pops up on the screen calling himself David Bach. He talks about a book he’s written called Automatic Millionaire, but Jack does some of his own calculations and figured that David Bach’s math is misleading [Money, Matter & More Musings].
Hour 24: 5:00AM – 6:00AM
Finally, Jack feels exhausted enough to finally fall asleep. He drifts off into a dreamless sleep for an hour until…
Someone starts pounding at the door. It sounds like a group of people are standing outside and one of them yells through the door:
“Jack, it’s CTU! We need your help!”
Jack groggily thinks “Oh no, not again”……
For this edition of the Carnival, we had 81 submissions, of which I used 63 articles. If you submitted an article and don’t see it here, it’s either because I deemed it a little off-topic or just a little too specific, or it was outright spammy (just a few). There were some articles, though, that were quite good, but I just couldn’t fit into the storyline. Sorry.
I have my wife Stacie to thank for the 24/Jack Bauer theme. Also, I have Nick to thank for the idea of a story in the first place. I loved his CoPF #68 (Oregon Trail) and Festival of Frugality #35 (Celebrities Edition). Nick is far funnier (in writing) than I, but I recognize these types of carnivals are much more interesting for readers than link lists, but they take tons of time to put together! TONS!
I also want to direct you to two other major carnivals issued this week:
Carnival of Debt Reduction hosted by No Credit Needed Network (link forthcoming)
I highly recommend bookmarking all three of these carnivals so you can take your time reading through ALL of the articles this week. It’s a massive amount of financial information and education, and we want to make sure you absorb ALL of it!
Thanks for checking out the 103rd Carnival of Personal Finance. Be sure to bookmark Getting Green for the 104th edition next Monday!
As a note, I did create the images of Jack with a box of Total cereal and Jack on the Toilet. I didn’t create the photo of Jack squatting with a white dog. I know the two dogs don’t match, but NYAH!