Tag Archive for 'personal-finance'

Are you maxing out your 401K contributions?

Piggybank 401KI made an extraordinary thing today, I spent some time reviewing my 2007 finances, something I usually don’t do until it is too late and I have to file the tax return. :-(

A couple of changes happened this year that affected our family financially. My wife was certified as a Montessori teacher and got a pay raise. Also some revenue started to trickle in from the ads I have on this blog which resulted in extra income. This is good but it also means that very likely we will have to pay more taxes this year.

Giving money to the government is not something I like doing very much, especially considering where a lot of it goes, so I started to look for a quick fix and it is very good that I did so today because come the end of the year and there would probably be very little that I could do.

I examined my 401K account and as of today I contributed around $8,400 by saving $800 a month. These are pretax savings which means that for each $1000 depending on your tax bracket you get around $200-300 back from Uncle Sam in a form of tax refund.

If I continue at the current rate, by the end of the year I will have $9,600. This is $5,900 short of the IRS limit of $15,500 set for 2007. If I don’t take the opportunity to max my contributions I will potentially be losing on $1,770 in tax savings ($300 for each $1,000).

So the fix I have worked out for myself is to bump up my contributions to meet that $15,500 goal by the end of the year. I have only 2 1/2 months left and it will not be a simple task, but since I wasn’t spending all of that extra cash we have been receiving lately, I think I will be able to manage.

There is one complication though. My employer has a limit on how much I can contribute from each pay check, which means I may still be somewhat short. Despite the fact, I am glad I had the time to think about it today and didn’t miss this by far the hottest bargain I ever had!

Image courtesy of Fotosearch

Comparing Finance blogs, follow up analysis

I spent some time last night collecting stats and putting them together. The result is a huge table with a lot of numbers which by itself is pretty useless unless you want to use it as a reference.

My goal however was not to impress you with the amount of information but to find if Alexa and Technorati can be valuable tools in estimating a blog (or any website for that matter) popularity.

My assumption was that if blogs belong to the same category and the visitors demographics is similar then Alexa and Technorati ranks can be very precise when compared in a group relative to each other.

How the data was analyzed

The sample set included 62 Personal Finance blogs and you can browse the complete table with raw stats here. I fed this data into a statistical analysis tool and ran several correlation tests between the data sets.

Correlation in statistics is a number ranging from -1.0 to +1.0. The closer it is to +1 or -1, the more closely the two variables are related. A value close to 0 means little relationship. If you want to find more about correlation, here is a good article with some real life examples.

In addition I threw in another statistical coefficient, significance level. This is a number from 0 to 1 which shows how likely a result is due to a pure chance. For better readability, I will show (1 - significance level) so values close to 1 will mean the correlation is more significant (is likely to be true).

Sample size shows how many blogs are included in a particular calculation. Since some blogs lack certain stats, the calculations will exclude these blogs from the original set. Bigger sample set means better calculation precision.

Results: high correlation

Here are the most interesting findings. The correlation of 0.9 or more indicates that the values are highly related to each other. Please note however that correlation highlights overall statistical trend and doesn’t exclude exceptions. A good example is Not Made of Money which lags by both Alexa and Technorati but still scores impressive daily visitors counts.

Correlation Sample size Significance
Technorati to Visitors 0.95 29 ~1
Alexa to Visitors 0.86 33 ~1
Technorati to RSS 0.78 33 ~1 to Visitors 0.77 33 ~1 to RSS 0.72 43 ~1

Below is a scatter plot matrix which shows how the dots distribute around X/Y coordinates where Y is 1/Technorati and X is daily visitors.

Technorati to Visitors

Results: some correlation

Here are some results that show less correlation but are still very interesting to see. P/V is the number of pageviews divided by number of visits. It indicates how long the same visitor stays at the website before they leave or how often they return back during the day.

Correlation Sample size Significance
Alexa to RSS 0.46 43 0.99
RSS to Visitors 0.45 24 0.95
RSS to P/V 0.38 24 0.95
Google Rank to 0.31 62 0.98
Google Rank to P/V 0.25 33 0.83
Google Rank to Visitors 0.21 33 0.75
P/V to Visitors 0.20 33 0.73

Blogs with most devoted readers

Here is another interesting list. This is a list of blogs sorted by the pageviews to visitors ratio. The high P/V can indicate two things:

  • The blog has good design and convenient navigation which encourages new visitors to stay longer and browse around;
  • The blog has devoted readers, the kind who come back several times a day to comment or check on updates.

In either case I encourage you to check out these blogs. Whatever the reason for high P/V may be, they must be doing something right.

Note, not all blogs from the original list are included since some bloggers do not publish their SiteMeter stats.

# Blog P/V
1 Blogging Away Debt 2.80
2 Mighty Bargain Hunter 2.59
3 Personal Finance Journey 2.52
4 Free Money Finance 2.01
5 The Simple Dollar 2.00
6 Experiments in Finance 1.89
7 My Two Dollars 1.85
8 Not Made of Money 1.84
9 Get Rich Slowly 1.81
10 Consumerism Commentary 1.78


The correlation numbers above have exceeded my expectations. Alexa and Technorati turn out to be very good indicators of a blog/website popularity if used against a group of blogs/websites from the same category. Technorati seems to be better than Alexa which goes along well with this other study done at SEOmoz.

The last list can also be of some interest, mostly for bloggers. It looks like these blogs are doing a great job with their content and/or design and encourage readers to stick around for longer. Check them out and let me know in the comments what you think about it.

Comparing Finance blogs. Is Alexa worthless?

I have heard not once that Alexa ratings are worthless. While I agree that Alexa may not be very precise in general, I believe it is a good indicator if websites from the same category are compared. The critical piece here is that the visitors’ demographics is similar. If this is the case then approximately the same percentile of visitors to each site will use Alexa toolbar, which in turn will mean that the Alexa rank will be equally weighted.

Let’s use Personal Finance blogs as our target category and verify how well indirect indicators like Alexa and Technorati correlate with direct ones, RSS readers and daily visitor/page view counts. Here are the kinds of stats I was able to collect:

Alexa Rank Alexa rank, 3 months moving average. Calculated based on data from visitors who use Alexa toolbar in their browsers.
Google Page Rank Google Page rank, updated once every 3 months. Number of back links to the blog is one of the factors affecting this number
Technorati Technorati Rank is calculated based on how many times the blog is linked by other blogs in the past 6 months
RSS Readers RSS readers count via FeedBurner. I have collected these numbers using the same trick that I used in the past Number of times the blog (with and without “www” prefix) is tagged in
Daily Visitors Average daily visitors data for the past week. I was able to collect it because many blogs publish their stats via SiteMeter.
Daily Page Views Average pageviews data for the past week. Collected via SiteMeter as well.

The table below is just raw data. I spent all night compiling it and didn’t really have time to make any conclusions (the analysis is now available here). I will take a closer look at it tomorrow and will share with you what I find. Meanwhile you are welcome to do your own analysis in the comments. ;-)

Alexa Rank Google Page Rank Technorati RSS Readers Daily Visitors Daily Page Views
The Simple Dollar 24189 5 1499 6455 843 13426 26893
Get Rich Slowly 26883 6 1428 19258 1884 8037 14552
Personal Finance Advice 33005 5 1934 266
I Will Teach You to be Rich 38348 6 3861 2394
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity 40822 5 8745 3411 50 2867 4437
My Money Blog 44138 6 7297 606
Consumerism Commentary 44278 0 10294 2981 214 1859 3303
Five Cent Nickel 44837 5 11891 2518 144 2701 4489
Free Money Finance 51194 6 5731 270 3044 6104
Clever Dude 63252 2 18394 417 39 491 680
Zillow Blog 69853 6 10328 2068 74
My Financial Journey 71352 4 21625 221 20 696 917
Lazy Man and Money 78837 4 412 20 426 754
All Financial Matters 79074 5 19206 2911 281 1783 3005
Money, Matter, and More Musings 90057 4 3215 772 45
Money Smart Life 91747 4 18394 368 16 709 1207
Punny Money 93784 5 35187 517 30 335 537
Neville’s Financial Blog 99697 5 18766 195
Fat Pitch Financials 104790 5 20162 1037 65 473 825
Mighty Bargain Hunter 105539 5 18976 880 81 763 1973
The Digerati Life 109456 4 2648 442 21
Personal Finance Journey 110272 6 25967 387 893 2251
Wheaties for Your Wallet 113019 6 44
The Sun’s Financial Diary 119299 4 368 16
No Credit Needed 121289 5 19077 49
Blogging Away Debt 133798 5 13230 875 76 1022 2865
My 1st Million at 33 146675 5 15264 717 91
Rate Ladder 156128 2 81 9
Binary Dollar 157077 4 363 23
Boston Gal’s Open Wallet 162412 5 18556 544 108
Getting Green 186997 3 40597 146 22 879 1357
Finandom 188080 3 90666 70 0
Getting Finances Done 190984 5 28759 1 521 802
2 Million 198539 2 25090 51
My Two Dollars 205657 4 48187 109 7 512 948
Generation X Finance 225513 4 33779 472 43 721 1088
Stop Buying Crap 240275 5 1208 123
The Finance Journey 242233 4 65769 7 104 180
Hustler Money Blog 266905 3 176 14
Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge 286264 5 43923 57 0 210 362
Queer Cents 294863 5 0 768 1299
Canadian Capitalist 309444 5 641 53
We are in Debt 329162 4 30980 499 41
My Open Wallet 329535 6 18871 460 128
Money Musings 329587 4 50507 1454 0
My Money Forest 352494 5 56308 124 21 73 95
Blunt Money 352903 3 51777 5
Ask Mr Credit Card 380771 3 0
Make Love Not Debt 389132 5 28290 94
Frugal Duchess 390220 5 32285 22 316 436
No Limits Ladies 400449 4 3712 23
How to Make a Million Dollars 402206 4 76349 21 6 61 83
Young and Broke 403449 5 71
Experiments in Finance 413163 5 56308 94 25 401 759
Zen Personal Finance 438991 6 20162 75 312 514
Its Just Money 439008 5 30980 9 607 978
Tired But Happy 457058 5 27 271 366
Single Ma’s Fabulous Financials 458701 5 27256 190 24
Fire Finance 462317 3 6579 87 6
Poorer Than You 465178 0 86478 102 2 174 284
Not Made of Money 471813 4 105218 198 2 838 1546
My Retirement Blog 495712 2 120609 0 60 93

Update: The experiment was in part inspired by this great analysis done at SEOmoz blog

Top 30 Personal Finance blogs by FeedBurner

If you have been reading my blog for long enough you probably noticed that I like love metrics of different kind. I run a monthly roundup on Bargain Hunting and Price Comparison websites. Collecting all One Deal a Day sites was also fun. You can find more lists like that if you click on the Resources menu at the top.

I have been somewhat into reading Personal Finance blogs lately and I was surprised to find that people who write these blogs have a very active community. They even had the very first PF blogger meet up recently some place around DC area.

Regular readers don’t usually leave a lot of blog comments and my blog is a good example. OK, the Judysbook story did touch the nerve but that was it. It is usually quiet here. Quite to the contrary Personal Finance blogs are filled with readers discussing financial problems. The thing is most of them are other PF bloggers who are used to writing.

Anyway, my point is, I tried to organize a few blogs I read regularly and decided to go a little further. I used this little trick to build a list of top 30 personal finance blogs sorted by number of readers as reported by FeedBurner. Only those blogs are listed that enable FeedCount Chicklets in their Feedburner Publicize channel (it turned out most blogs I read have it).

It should be noted that the counters in the image are dynamic and even though I initially sorted the list in descending order the numbers will change over time and the entries will misalign (they might already be out of order as you are looking at them). The number in parenthesis is what the counter value was at the time of compiling this list.

Have I missed your favorite blog? Add it in your comments. By the way, the idea was inspired by Will Chen from WiseBred who sorted blogs by the number of votes on

1 Get Rich Slowly (6643)
2 My Money Blog (3900)
3 Blueprint for Financial Prosperity (2466)
4 Dumb Little Man (2401)
5 Five Cent Nickel (1946)
6 The Simple Dollar (1701)
7 All Financial Matters (1619)
8 Consumerism Commentary (1464)
9 My Personal Finance Journey (1344)
10 Zillow Blog (1202)
11 Personal Finance Advice (967)
12 Mighty Bargain Hunter (548)
13 Stop Buying Crap (531)
14 Money Musings (359)
15 My 1st Million At 33 (332)
16 Boston Gal’s Open Wallet (289)
17 Punny Money (250)
18 Everybody Loves Your Money (234)
19 Wise Bread (226)
20 My Open Wallet (214)
21 Money, Matter, and More Musings (190)
22 We are in Debt (176)
23 Generation X Finance (163)
24 Binary Dollar (151)
25 The Sun’s Financial Diary (146)
26 Queer Cents (129)
27 Blogging Away Debt (104)
28 Lazy Man and Money (97)
29 Single Ma’s Fabulous Financials (79)
30 Not Made of Money (76)

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