Queercents bids farewell for now.

After drawing 1.5 million page views with nearly 2,500 posts from over 50 contributors; Queercents is taking a time out.

More precisely, its leader needed a break. Since 2006, Queercents has consumed my early mornings and a good deal of my weekends, but it’s time to pass the torch to someone better equipped to write its next chapter. By the end of the year, an improved Queercents will live on, albeit without me, at a gay destination attracting 10x the traffic than we ever could.

In the meantime, we’re on pause, but our searchable archives remain with more than a few timeless ideas about money. So feel free to stick around.

Over the years, it’s been a pleasure leading a team of committed volunteers producing relevant financial content for the LGBT community. I consider Queercents a collective success because of these writers. I also extend my appreciation to Serena Freewomyn, Paula Gregorowicz and Elizabeth Byrne; each put in extra effort behind the scenes. I’m proud of our accomplishments, excellent content, brand awareness, and loyal followers… after all; a blog is only here for its readers.

And a reader I will become. And then maybe I’ll become something else. When I’m done resting. But rest assured, whatever it is, it will probably touch on the topic of money… because I like money. I like to think there’s some good in money. I hope this site helped you see the good in it too! Be well and prosper!

Queercents will be back in new form soon…

Eight ways money can buy happiness

Awhile back, Gretchen Rubin, projector of all things happy, listed 8 tips for how money can buy happiness. The entire list is a worthy read, but I wanted to emphasize number two and her suggestion that couples should use money to:

End marital conflict. If you’re constantly arguing about the unkempt lawn, or the moldering laundry, see if you can throw some money at the problem. Can you hire the teenager down the street to clean out the garage?

Better yet, can you hire a cleaning service to clean the entire house? You betcha. In an effort to save money a couple of years ago, we canceled our cleaners. Of course, this experiment lasted about 2 minutes before we started bickering about who was going to clean the toilets that weekend. We just couldn’t make what should be a simple act of frugality work.

I remember when I wrote about it, My Open Wallet left this comment, “I think for a couple, housekeeping can be an issue that is worth resolving via outside help– either a cleaning lady or a therapist!” Read the rest of this entry »

Monetizing the Hate: queer sites should mimic this mommy blogger

I’m a mommy and while I don’t read any mommy blogs, one of my mommy friends pointed me to this post by Heather Armstrong, the famous mommy blogger. She recently launched Monetizing the Hate, an online depository that aggregates all the hate-mail submitted at Dooce and she surrounds it by advertising. A lot of advertising. Ads galore. A good post at Jezebel elaborates on the Dooce-hate money-making venture.

This got me thinking that queer blogs should take a page from Armstrong’s playbook and profit from the hate too. After all, gay-bashing is still alive and thrives on the anonymous Internet. While Queercents doesn’t get much hate mail (unless I’m writing about the cost to circumcise my son or trying to get my equity line reinstated), there are plenty of sites that do. Destinations, such as The Bilerico Project, Pam’s House Blend, and John Aravosis’ AMERICAblog, that focus on politics or things that resemble the gay-agenda… you know, the kind of content that provokes the trolls.

They should start monetizing the hate and make a little moolah in exchange for all the effort that goes into moderating comments.

Photo credit: Dooce.

Finance “advocate” in The Advocate

My latest column for The Advocate appears in the Oct Issue.

You can also check out the articles online:

1. Yours, Mine, and Ours: Avoid relationship penalties by creating both individual and joint bank accounts.
2. Trading Faux Fun at WeSeed.com
3. In Defense of Luxury… even as conspicuous consumption is put on hold.

Image credit: Advocate.com.

Queercents on Marketplace Money

On Friday’s Marketplace Money, Host Tess Vigeland and Economics Editor Chris Farrell answer questions about how same-sex couples should handle assets and protect retirement money from over-taxation.

Farrell points the listener to, “a pretty good web site which I’ve only recently been spending some time on called Queercents.com.” Nice to hear we’re noted as a resource in the Getting Personal part of the program.

To catch it, be sure and click the “Listen to this Story” button for just that segment, rather than the “Listen to the Show” button. Hat tip to Dana at Mombian for catching this on NPR and letting me know.

And while we’re on the subject of money segments, if you like podcasts, Trent at The Simple Dollar, lists several money podcasts that he listens to (as well as a few other suggestions from his commenters) including: Planet Money, Marketplace and Marketplace Money. All worth a listen.

Image credit: Marketplace Money.

Step aside housing crash, cupcakery is the next bubble

Daniel Gross at Slate magazine writes that the current recession (starting in late 2007) fueled the cupcake boom in America. He’s predicting the bubble is about to burst:

The cupcakeries are succeeding for a few reasons. They’re peddling a product that is simple, obvious, and generally affordable. Most of the new joints charge about $3 for a cupcake. And they’re certainly a useful rebuke to Starbucks, whose industrialized baked goods are barely edible…

In America, bubbles form because any good business idea gets funded a dozen times over. That’s the American way. Cupcakes are now showing every sign of going through the bubble cycle. The first-movers get buzz and revenues, gain critical mass, and start to expand rapidly. This inspires less-well-capitalized second- and third-movers, who believe there’s room enough for them, and encourages established firms in a related industry to jump in.

Aaron Gordon, a cupcake shop owner told the Washington Post:

“We are coming close to a bubble now. One or two more shops is about as much as the public can support. After that, the folks with the highest-quality cupcakes and best locations will be the ones who survive.” Read the rest of this entry »

Why do people spend money to store their stuff?

“You can’t take it with you but you can certainly find a place to stash it away.” – Tom Vanderbilt

I’m captivated by the self-storage industry. More notably, my business sense is boggled trying to understand the demand for it and why people waste money to store their stuff. Sure, there are good reasons… most are temporary like moving and you’re caught in between homes. With one in ten households renting a storage unit, the reasons for most have nothing to do with being in transition but rather choosing to store items we no longer need or want.

I’ve written about this before when I linked to this excellent article in Slate. But this weekend, The New York Times Magazine visited the self-storage self with fresh eyes noting that the “non-economic use” has been purged by the recession:

But the collapsing economy created an opportunity, and in some cases an ultimatum, for Americans to reassess the raft of obligations and the loads of stuff we accumulated before things went wrong. We’ve been making difficult decisions, and for a lot of us, that has involved rolling up the door of a storage unit and carting property in or out. The storage industry’s expansion in the first flush years of this decade was both enabled by, and helped enable, the extreme consumption that defined America then. The people coming through the gates now are defining who we will be when this turmoil is over. Read the rest of this entry »

Queerfiction giveaway from Queercents

From time to time, Kensington Books provides us with free titles from its Gay and Lesbian section to give away to our readers and contributors. Each book is a gay-themed work of fiction and has absolutely nothing to do with personal finance. But they’re free and there is always something nice about free.

Besides, you have the rest of the recession to read the latest nonfiction money books. For now, take a breather and escape with one of the two books below by telling me why you need a break from our regular scheduled personal finance programming. I’ll pick two winners after the holiday weekend. Here are the books:

Object of Desire by William J. Mann

Danny Fortunato seemed to have it all. He was cute, funny, sexy, smart—the hottest go-go boy in West Hollywood. When he danced on stage, all eyes were upon him and all men desired him. But something always kept Danny from ever really believing he was the golden boy that others said he was…a secret that he’d carried with him ever since he was a teenager.

Twenty years later, living in Palm Springs, Danny is celebrating his 41st birthday—although “celebrating” might not be the right word for how he feels about his life today. To the outside world, he’s still golden: he still has his looks, and he still loves Frank, his boyfriend of nearly two decades. But something is missing in his life. Passion. Romance. Adventure. The same something that’s been missing ever since that day when he turned fourteen, when his sister Becky disappeared and his whole world flipped upside-down. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Live on Practically Nothing

We’re still looking for a new vlogger to take over where Clint left off. In the meantime, here is a video about how to live on practically nothing from my new favorite how-to site, Howcast.com.

Video credit: Howcast.com.

Annie Leibovitz and the $24 million question

When I first heard about the financial woes of Annie Leibovitz, the gay media had latched on to erroneous reports that it was somehow related to the “gay tax” incurred from inheriting the estate of the late Susan Sontag. That theory took about three seconds to dismiss, but I’ve been hooked on the unfolding drama ever since.

Then an article in The New York Times pointed the finger at the root cause and I posted about how Jean Chatsky used Leibovitz’s story to deconstruct the behavior of creative types. Even then, I was amazed at how someone who had achieved her commercial success could be so utterly challenged with the financial aspects of day to day life.

But now I’m a believer. The New York Magazine has a fascinating read with its recent study by Andrew Goldman in How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz? It’s several pages long, but basically explains how she had spent her way into a $24 million hole through the pretense of unlimited means:

Leibovitz had also built a life that had become extraordinarily expensive to maintain. It wasn’t just the mortgages on the homes. It was the Range Rover, the trips to Paris, the chef and housekeeper, the handyman, the personal yoga instructor, the terrace gardener, and the live-in nanny… Read the rest of this entry »