This week’s picks for the best in personal finance from around the web.

Bull market or prelude to a bust? (MSN). On the one hand, some market watchers are starting to get a little nervous.

Growth stall obscures U.S. consumer, business gains: economy (Bloomberg). On the other hand, other analysts say one dark cloud does not a bad storm make.

Will your kid’s B.A. pay off? (Money). New online tools can help you get a sense of what to expect from different degrees at different schools.

Paying for college? Your kids’ grades may suffer (Main Street). New research explores the impact of parental financial support on their kids’ college performance.

Want to disinherit a relative? It’s complicated (NBC).  Some cautionary tales about unequal estate distributions.

And from the blogosphere…

6 reasons cutting your landline is a bad deal (Wise Bread). Last week’s roundup included an article touting the benefits of canceling your landline. Here’s the other side of the story.

At what point do you no longer need an emergency fund? (Amateur Asset Allocator). One writer’s take on an alternative way to pay for those financial rainy days.

Lifestyle inflation: never, ever, ever (like, ever) (Blonde and Balanced). How one couple tamed the “more” monster.

Managing mom’s money (JD Roth). Lessons from a real-world experience of helping older parents with their finances.

New plan to pay off your student loans (20s Finances). It’s a familiar solution in a new wrapper – pay less each month over a longer period of time. But paying less each month means paying more in interest over the long haul.

For more ideas, encouragement and conversations about using money well, be sure to subscribe to this blog, “like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.

Matt Bell

By Matt Bell

Matt Bell is Sound Mind Investing’s Associate Editor. He is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, leads workshops at churches and universities throughout the country, and has been quoted in USA TODAY, U.S. News & World Report, and many other media outlets.

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  • Jim Jackson

    Matt – I’m glad you’re speaking to this. As a 52 year old, I’m an SS exempt licensed minister and saving as aggressively as practical (maximum 403-b contributions since age 30). I’m trying to figure out what, if any medicare benefits I will receive based on the 30 plus quarters of FICA I contributed to before I became a minister. My current statement reads that I’ll receive $440 per month in SS payment upon retirement at age 62.5. It’s a bit of a weird topic because I don’t want to be cared for by Uncle Sam when I retire, but if I’ve paid in I figure I’m entitled to some benefit from that source.

    Do have you insight to this or know how I can find out about it?

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