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You might not want to answer it truthfully.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 9:02PM

There's an all-too-common job interview question that "FMF" at Free Money Finance finds stupid and useless: "What is your biggest weakness?"

Seriously, are you going to answer that one honestly? "I'm a compulsive liar." "I chew my cuticles until they bleed. It makes a real mess at my desk." Or how about: "I'm obsessed with all things George Clooney. I have his face tattooed on my rear."

FMF also offers some humorous possibilities, including "I like to sleep on the job since I find the sounds of office machinery to be soothing."

You'd be a fool to be honest about your worst weakness or fault, he says, so what's the best way to answer that question?


Patience, strategy and the occasional gamble are keys.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 8:38PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Having grown up on Long Island, I didn't have many opportunities to watch NASCAR on television, so I never truly understood the intricacies of the sport. Since college, I've come to appreciate the difficulty of NASCAR and the skill it requires. 

Last weekend I was watching a few laps of the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway, and I finally understood why NASCAR fans love the sport.

By the way, for all the junk people say about NASCAR not being a sport, I dare you to tell a trucker to get a real job. Driving 500 laps requires an unreal amount of time. Can you imagine the concentration and endurance it takes to go 500 laps at nearly 200 mph, constantly maintaining vigilance, and your life constantly at stake? If you accept golf as a sport, NASCAR certainly is a sport.


Do you know how to swim, perform CPR or jump-start a car?

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 8:20PM

Marc at Marc and Angel Hack Life says his list of "50 things everyone should know how to do" is far from inclusive. Oh dear, because there are a number of things on the list of 50 that we need to get cracking on.

This list of essential skills is impressive and, better yet, entertaining. Marc's brief explanations about why you should know each thing often have just the right amount of sass. (Our pick for No. 51: Know how and when to be sassy.) For example, Marc writes: "Swim -- 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. Learning to swim might be a good idea." 

Plus, Marc provides helpful links that can help you master each vital skill.


Challenge participants learn that it's not easy -- or nutritious.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 8:00PM

The $25 Challenge is over in Illinois, and we're sure the participants are thrilled about that. They agreed to spend no more than $25 on food for a week -- that's about $3.50 a day -- and blog about what they learned during the experience.

It was a real eye-opener for most. When you have so little money for food, you realize that "there is food all around you, all the time, but you can't eat it," wrote Frank Finnegan, who was planning yet another dinner of ham and beans. He added, "Forget nutrition. When shopping, the only thing that matters is price."

He makes a number of good points. It is difficult -- but not impossible -- to buy fresh vegetables and fruit when you're working with a tiny food budget. And you'd better make sure you can stomach repetition in your diet. You quickly learn that when you're buying and cooking in bulk to stretch limited dollars, food becomes a means to get necessary calories rather than a delicious treat.


You might be a star, but you're still expendable.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:53PM

In honor of that upcoming blessed event known as the start of the NFL season, we'll point you to RacerX's post "What the Green Bay debacle can teach us" at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Money.

Backstory, short and sweet: Green Bay icon Brett Favre retires, changes his mind, but the Packers have already transitioned to another quarterback. Favre will wear green this season, but the logo will be that of the Jets.

So what does this have to do with personal finance? RacerX says:


Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:21PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


There was a pretty good post over at Wise Bread the other day on how if a credit card company forgives some of what you owe, what was forgiven is income you have to pay taxes on.


On the one hand, this is a point worth repeating because it seems to surprise most people. On the other hand, the post neglects to mention an important exception, and, moreover, feeds into the belief that this is an irrational fluke of the tax code. It isn't. It makes sense.


You owe Credit Card Corporation (CCC) $5,000. Realizing you are unlikely to pay them back in full, and now regretting lending you the money to begin with, CCC agrees to settle the debt for $2,000 cash. You sell your PEZ dispenser collection on eBay and send them a check.


Blogger cut off a charity that pushed too hard.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:14PM

Has a charity ever pushed and annoyed you to the point that you've cut them off?


When do you draw the line at giving? When they've hired a telemarketing company that pesters you, or if they send you too much mail?


"FMF" of Free Money Finance raised the question in a recent post called "Off my giving list." He stopped giving to a group he had generously supported because a telemarketer who called his house wouldn't take no for an answer.


A too-brief, jargon-filled resume isn't helpful.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:06PM

This post comes from Julie Rains at partner blog Wise Bread.


Many people are job hunting these days. I have worked with job seekers for many years and have found that these five common assumptions frequently derail a job search.


Being open to anything will increase my chances of landing a job. The search ought to have a focus: You should be targeting opportunities in a certain discipline or function; or you should identify the strengths you'd like to leverage and then uncover positions that match those strengths. The résumé should convey that focus; otherwise, you can't differentiate yourself from other candidates because you're not really great at anything but rather average at many things.



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