Smart SpendingSmart Spending

‘Bests’ of the decade with a money twist

Time to look back at some personal-finance highs (and lows) of the past 10 years -- and a bit of silliness.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 6:00PM

Now that the Aughts or Ohs or whatever this decade is called are nearly over, let’s reflect a bit on the best they produced when it comes to our money.


Could this exercise be as fun as “best TV shows” (“The Wire” wins!), best movies, best songs, best theme park rides -- the usual compendia that come at the close of every decade?

Let’s hope so. Here are some of the “best (or most notable) of the decade” lists with a personal-finance twist:


Let's start with SmartMoney’s “defunct product of the decade.” What has disappeared in the last 10 years that you’ll miss the most? Among the findings of SmartMoney’s reader poll:

  • Payphones: About 24% mentioned their demise -- making them No. 1.
  • Yankee Stadium: 15%.
  • Tower Records (and probably the experience of going to a record store): 14%.
  • Polaroid film (although this product may make a comeback): 13%.
  • Floppy disks (yes, really): 12%.
  • Saturn car: 11%.

What would you add to that list?

Another fun read is Frank Ahrens' “Best (and worst) of the decade: Financial heroes and villains” in The Washington Post. Topping Frank’s best:

  • Apple’s Steve Jobs.
  • Nouriel Roubini, known as “Dr. Doom.”
  • Our personal favorite, Elizabeth Warren, chair of the committee that oversees TARP. Does anyone have more credibility in Washington these days?

Who would disagree with Frank’s worst -- Bernie Madoff?


Top 10 money movies of the decade” comes from Adam Baker at Man vs. Debt. You're sure to find one of your favorites on Baker's list, which includes his favorite quote from each movie (salty language alert). Our favorite movie quote from among them is from “”: “What do you mean … it’s over?”


On a more serious note, Madison at My Dollar Plan presented the “Top 10 financial stories of the decade” -- one for each year -- with help from other PF bloggers, including this positive note from the Financial Samurai about 2008: “If we can survive 2008, we can survive anything. There will never be a bigger financial downturn in our lifetimes than in 2008!” Thank goodness there were 11 things to celebrate about 2009. (For another take, check out SmartMoney's "The financial decade in review.")


Finally, we nominate this response from a customer-service rap at Steep and Cheap as the best customer service of the decade. Backstory: Andrea of Fools and Sages had requested free shipping even though her husband had previously screwed up that part of their order. In part, the CS rep said:

We would marry you if you weren’t already married. And we weren’t a company, but rather a young shy boy lost in the throes of love, yea, a misty-eyed dreamer looking towards the future, still unscathed and unpolluted by the hardships of mid-adulthood. We would ask your housemaid to deliver white flowers to you, with an anonymous note that read “Heaven nor hell could provide me the joy and pain your approval or lack thereof might impose upon me.” ...

It ended: “But none of that could ever happen, so instead I just gave you a full refund on your shipping costs. I think it was like 8 bucks. Thanks for the love.”


Honestly, can you top that customer-service story? Enter your nomination below.


And while you're at it, give a little thought to what the decade without a name should be called: You can do better than the Oh-Ohs, no? How about the Greeds or the Dirty Aughts, or the Lost Decade? Goodness knows the 2000s were the worst decade for stocks -- in history.


Related reading:



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.