I’ve been receiving a number of track-backs from other sites that scrape my site for content.
Essentially, they’re pulling in the first x amount of words and posting it as “blah blah had a great post: _insert_my_content_ read more here _link to my site_”
Now, should I be mad at this? There are two ways to look at this.
- They are stealing my content – but sometimes they ARE linking back to me – and without any filtering rel tags.
- They’re making money off of me – they have ads plastered all over their site, which essentially means they’re aiming at the suckers who click through on their ads instead of checking out the article (potentially getting *my* advertising money).
To be totally honest, I’m not sure whether I should lay the proverbial smack down on them – filing DMCA takedown notices (technically, some of them are citing me, and linking to me). What I see on a MAJORITY of blogs nowadays are just that – citations and links. Full of the occasional opinion posts – but even more full of “here’s my links of what other people wrote about Personal Finance” and in turn, those links tend to have people linking back and forth – and usually to the same article.
I guess the trade off from a scraper is I’ve got that many more links pointing at me – as long as I’m not the one setting up the spam sites to begin with. Anyone have any experience with scrapers? What have you done (or not done)?
posted in tips, zen |
So I got a few answers in my educational quest on estate taxes. I talked to an accountant that said if the deceased had paid taxes all ready, than I have nothing to worry about unless it’s property that needs to be sold.
Of course, I used my google-fu to supplement this answer and the always informative bankrate.com has the answer:
*Ohio has no inheritance tax.
*Because federal tax law totally repealed the federal credit allowed for state death taxes for dates of death occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2005, the Ohio Additional Tax on estates is constructively repealed. This change is prospective and applies to decedents’ dates of death occurring on or after July 1, 2005.
So now, once the cash is “in hand” I need to constructively figure out how I’m going to leverage it towards investing it – and doubling it!
posted in education, finance, financial planning, investment planning, retirement and estate planning |
Jan (@ Queercents) wrote a great post that I think most people involved with personal finance forget about – those expensive decisions that are worth making – and they do exist! Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and theses are where I feel it’s most true. I’m not necessarily duplicating her choices – but trying to keep them in the same line.
- College – this is a no brainer. Some people can get by on their good looks, their luck, their parents, or their natural talents. Some of us need that piece of paper to get our foot in the door. I was lucky to know some people, and impress them with my skills, but I know that if I ever want to be where I want to be, I’ll need that piece of paper.
- Living out of our comfort zone – This seems to be the story of my life. I moved out of my dad’s house before I was settled, I moved to the big city with just a job and a possible apartment room mate. From their I made it work – until I met a good friend that landed me an entry position at a good company. Then a guy I met there offered me a position at a great company – and here I am, working my butt off, trying to be father, husband, worker, student.
- Lunch – I do business lunches. I eat with managers when I can, and co-workers, and people from other departments and businesses. I *never* say no to lunch with someone, unless I know the person isn’t worth my time (or if I’m extremely busy – I’ve never met someone that isn’t worth having lunch with at least once!). I don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu – I try to keep it cheap and healthy (even when we’re eating at Chipotle).
- Traveling – Growing up, I’ve been to Canada, Disney World (with a friend), Florida (also with said friend), Virginia (family lived there), Tennessee (camping!), Washington (youth group), California (family again), Chicago (school), New York (friends), Colorado (family), Missouri (side trip) and the Bahamas (Honey moon). This year we’re planning on going to Niagara Falls (just because we’ve never been), New York City (to visit friends and celebrate a wedding) and Colorado (another wedding and vacation). All this, in budget!
- Our Wedding – Okay, I can’t come up with a correlation here, but where our funds were involved, we didn’t skimp – but my wife found the best deals to be had. A local woman “who just happened to have gone to culinary school and loved making cakes” made us this gorgeous, three tier chocolate (with white icing) cake. UN-believable.
Let’s keep this going – what expenses have you made that are worth it?
posted in finance, personal finance, random |
Due to the passing of my Grandmother, I’m finding myself in the midst of receiving an inheritance.
I’m currently looking at speaking to a lawyer about this, as the sum is substantial enough to warrant looking at protecting it. I’m forced to imagine Shawshank Redemption:
Mr. Hadley, do you trust your wife? [Hadley threatens to throw Andy off the roof] Because if you do trust her, there’s no reason you can’t keep that thirty-five thousand…If you want to keep all that money, give it to your wife. The IRS allows a one-time only gift to your spouse for up to sixty thousand dollars…tax-free…you do need someone to set up the tax-free gift for ya, and it’ll cost ya, a lawyer for example…I suppose I could set it up for ya. That would save you some money. You get the forms, I’ll prepare them for ya, nearly free of charge.
Thankfully, someone at work has pointed out a lawyer to speak to. My mission this week is to find out all I can about inheritance laws and taxes!
posted in law, life, zen |
It’s interesting that I’ve had the topic of first impressions come up a number of times recently. My wife often gets commented on her handshake (she’s a paramedic/firefighter, so she shakes a lot of guys hands, and being in a guy-dominated field, she shakes hard and firm). I talked over with my HR rep a couple times, and she’s mentioned how people will arrive for an interview in a suit and tie, and by half-way through they’re down to rolled up sleeves and no tie or jacket (we pride our company for being laid back at work – we’ve got a relaxed, cool atmosphere going on).
Having said that, I’d like to comment:
- Dress to impress: You’ve got to remember where you are interviewing at. Some places would love to see you in a suit and tie, and other places will see you as uptight. The position also determines.
- Look fit: People do look attractive people, but this is unrealistic. It’s like saying fat people will never be employed. I know plenty of “overweight” individuals that are excellent workers. It’s not being unhealthy, it’s portraying yourself as unhealthy. If you’re a big guy that has to interrupt so you can catch your breath after sitting down, people may look down at that.
- Give an impressive handshake: I know a guy who prides on messing with underlings by not allowing them a good handshake. Of course, he’s also a bit of a humorist.
- Focus on speaking: Speak effectively. Know who is interviewing you, so don’t drop techno jargon to non-techies. Also, don’t speak to them like they’re idiots either. Ask questions about their knowledge or get their background beforehand so you don’t end up looking like a fool to the HR guy who used to be a developer.
- Use the person’s name: This is useful. I was fortunate enough to get the business cards of everyone I interviewed with (some of whom had difficult names to spell accurately) and made sure to send a thank you to them for their time and drop their names when we spoke.
- Listen: This is important. Don’t just stare off or ignore them, actively listen and ask engaging questions to have them clarify.
- Shine the spotlight on them: I used this technique often. I interview the interviewer to show an interest in them, and get an insight into the company, the position, and the other interviewers.
There are a ton of resources, and it’s never really commons sense. Sometimes you need to read these things multiple times to make them stick until they become common-sense to you. I know it’s always helpful to revisit old topics to keep them fresh in my mind!
posted in impressions, zen |
Seeing Debt Hater’s post reminded me to check my tax refund – and behold – it’s there! State and federal taxes, in my bank account. What shall we do with this cash?
Pay down debt, of course! But what else?
The Wife and I are taking a much needed vacation to Niagara Falls, for a weekend of relaxation the end of this month. We’ve not had a vacation since after we found out about our son’s coming (back in November of 2006) and this year we decided Niagara was the place to see (I’ve never been). This year, I’ll have to mind my finances closely, as I’ve got three weddings to attend – one in Denver, Colorado, one in Brooklyn, New York, and one in Columbus, Ohio. A lot of travel, mostly in the middle to end of the year time frame, so we’re going to try and have “mini-vacations” all year long.
But at what expense?
We thought about how much money we’d have to spend on these trips, and since we picked up a new car, we’ve decided to drive – at least for Niagara – since it’s a six hour drive. We’ve landed a decent deal on a room (could’ve done without all the bells and whistles, but do to a strong vacation fund, we’re letting that slide). I recognize I need to update my networth – a lot of things have changed!
posted in debt, emergency fund, personal finance, zen |
I’ve been busy reading like crazy – books for work, books for school, books of interest – and it’s made me dwell on the thoughts of why I maintain blogs. I essentially own two – one for code and pop culture with two good friends, and this one.
I started Financial Zen because of a post I saw a post about starting a personal finance blog back when I wanted to et more active in writing – of course, all before the idea of being a father came in to play. I chose the name because I was getting into Buddhism, and also starting to read up on Ben Franklin and his 13 virtues. It lead me to thinking about becoming a better person, and who better to model yourself after? A spiritual person, and a founding figure of this country, who modeled himself in the idea of Jesus and Socrates?
Of course, this all changed when my son was borned. It made me think about it ten-fold if not more! Having a child just made me want to grow to be a stronger person then before – a role model, if you will, in this day and age of “celebrity” role-models where kids are looking at the famous to get their ideas and morals from (which is a tough act to compete with). It’s a main goal – one that surpasses personal finance and more-so focuses on being a good person – which is ultimately the goal of this blog, to track my progress – not just on becoming financially stable – but on becoming stable and strong in all aspects of life. In the coming months (and years) I hope anyone that stumbles upon my writings feels the same.
posted in life, zen |
Mrs. Zen and I have long been battling the decision of a dual income, or having her be a stay at home mom. As much as I’d love to be a stay at home dad, I’m the main bread winner – her income is basically pure profit, free to spend as we desire (and mind you, it’s going towards debt reduction). We recently traded in my 1996 Honda Civic for a 2005 Honda CRV – mainly because we had the extra income to do a large down payment, and trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s with packed bags, stroller, and dog in tow. Once in the Civic was enough – and with a dual income we could more than afford a new(er) car.
As was pointed out – the after tax and childcare income is about 13k. But let’s make some adjustments:
Our childcare is about $2,340 due to our baby-sitter service. We only use them for one day a week – for now. If Mrs. Zen becomes full-time salaried, that will change, but no matter how you look at it – her additional income is after all bills are paid.
Let’s tackle their considerations:
- Career Advancement Goals – There is *always* more to a career than money! What about happiness? Mrs. Zen desires a career in paramedicine – she enjoys staying at home, but she also loves her work (as do I!)
- How to Return To Work? – I can’t really argue this one – leaving for eyars ad coming back in – that’s potentially ‘resetting’ your career unless you continue your work part-time.
- Extra Expenses – I’ve got to agree – working has expenses, just as staying at home. If no one is home, the heater/AC is off, less electricity, and at work you may have “job functions’ – happy hours, lunches and the like (I *DO* consider these essential – I owe my current job due to lunch-time networking! And pizza.)
- Breadwinner May Become Workaholic Career Freak – C’mon, really? This is a personal thing, and if you can’t balance your career and life, you need to reassess your values.
- Coupon Clipping – I’ve got mixed feelings here. My brother-in-law works from home (ebay business) and is an excellent father and cooks, while also shopping at night. He’s thrifty and is business than some other people I know. Coupon clip, regardless, I say.
- Schools – This is something I’m still looking into. I moved into a certain area for its reknowned public schools – you can send your kids to a private school so that by the age of six they know three languages and a head start on other students. Do you really want to make your kid go through that? You’ve got to focus on your kids being kids and not being “intellectual geniuses” or “young athletes” – they’re not here to live out your dreams. Do what you can to provide, but don’t force your kids to be something other than children.
Now the stay-at-home parent conundrum is an interesting one – I’ve talked to work-at-home, stay-at-home and day-care parents, with plenty of pros and cons. Your children need you to be their parent, but htey also need to develop social skills and learn to go out on their own – not developing an attachment on you, needing you for everything. I’m a parent, and the wife and I are working on him not developing separation anxiety, but I’m still reading on the psychology of it all (which is a never ending quest!)
posted in baby, budget, education, employment, frugality, life, wealth, work, zen |
Remember what I said last time?
Some people smarter and more qualified than I – agree:
There has been a lot of hand-wringing about whether or not the U.S. economy is currently in a recession. This morning’s data will, I think, lead to a near-unanimous view that the U.S. economy is in a recession. Not only was employment growth in February negative, but the B.L.S. also tells us that the previous two months were worse than originally thought. Over the past three months, non-farm payrolls fell at an annualized rate of about 0.1 percent.
This is a natural flow of rhythm in the world market, however. I’m thankful I’ve got a good job at a good company. Bush is trying to stave it off. He’s all ready cut taxes, and then came up with this – so he’s appealed to “Big Business” and also “to the common man” – essentially Keynesian economics and not in the same year, of course, being his last year in office he knows he should do everything he can instead of leaving the office in a wreck. Who knows what the next candidate will do?
posted in economics, politics, work, zen |