Black Coffee: My Favorite Blogs, Money News & Opinions #47 (The How to Retire By 40 Edition)

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…

The Honeybee and I are headed to the beach for the rest of the weekend. We’re over-due for a little badly needed “us” time.

Today I am going to the lightning round. Instead of the usual half-wit quips I make for each post, I have decided to regale you with a list of my favorite English words – one for each post. (Just for the record, absolutely ZERO editorial commentary is implied!)

Personal Finance by the Book - Why Joe and Jan Do Not Have Long Term Care Insurance. Bumbershoot: An umbrella.

Smart On MoneyIs It Okay to Just Walk Away from a House If You Owe More than It Is Worth? Bloviate: It’s what I do. To speak or write verbosely.

Bible Money Matters - 8 Things Every High School Graduate Must Know About Money. Eructation: An instance of belching.

Magical PennyLessons from Watching My Investments Drop In Half. Snollygoster: A shrewd person, usually a politician, not guided by principles.

Smarter Wallet - Borrowing from Your 401(k)? Hardship Withdrawal Considerations. Hemidemisemiquaver: A musical 1/64 note.

Live RichlyPanama: Gateway to the World. Snickersnee: A large knife.

Watson Inc.Seven Reasons for (and Against) Tracking Net Worth. Kerfuffle: A disturbance or fuss.

MonevatorThe End of Oil. Pettifogger: A person who tries to befuddle others with his speech. A shyster.

Planting DollarsThe 12-hour Workweek. Mugwump: A person who remains politically undecided or neutral.

Wealth PilgrimLegal Zoom Review: Is It Safe? Hoosegow: Prison

The Oblivious InvestorWhat Is A Single Premium Immediate Annuity? Slangwhanger: A politician or editor who attacks others.

The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed

From June 2009:

Extended Warranties: 4 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Commit – My old barbecue had been with me for so many years that it was clearly ready for the scrap heap. But as many guys will tell you, after countless cookouts and parties we tend to get attached to our barbecues the same way we get attached to our dogs. Um, okay, Len. But what’s that got to do with extended warranties? Oh, you’ll see…

Credits and Debits

Debit: On Thursday, a week-long rout in stocks deepened, with U.S. benchmark indexes losing the most in more than a year, as reports cast doubts about the strength of the economic recovery and European leaders struggled to contain the region’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrials lost 376.36 points, or 3.6 percent, to 10,068.01 for its biggest tumble since March 5, 2009. Both the S&P 500 and Dow closed at their lowest levels since Feb. 10.

Credit: Then again, on Friday, the Dow ended with solid gains after starting the day lower and dipping below 10,000; at the end of the day, the Dow finished up 125 points thanks to a rally in financial shares.

Debit: Despite Friday’s recovery, noted economist Nouriel Roubini says stocks are likely to continue their aggressive decline and shed another 20 percent in value as the world economy weakens. We’ll see.

Debit: Maybe we should extend unemployment benefits to 20 years… has learned that 32 states have run out money to make unemployment benefit payments and have since been relying on the federal government to supply them with the missing funds. The worst offender to-date is California, which has borrowed $7 billion.

Debit: Why are states finding themselves in such financial distress? A big part of it is excessive government pay and pensions, especially when compared to the private sector. The New York Times reported on Friday that thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year. Even more astonishing is that nine more did so in their 30s. These absurd pensions are only possible by government-sanctioned pillaging of the treasury at the expense of the taxpayers.

Debit: The New York Times report also noted that “roughly one of every 250 retired public workers in New York is collecting a six-figure pension, and that group is expected to grow rapidly in coming years, based on the number of highly paid people in the pipeline.” New York, California and the US Government is no different than Greece. It’s time for voters to demand that these ridiculous government pensions – city, state, AND federal – must be repealed.

Credit: It should be obvious to anyone now that the interests of government employee unions are fundamentally opposed to the interests of taxpayers. The only real solution is to make public employees unions illegal. (Yes, I’m a slangwhanger.)

Credit: Finally, an 88-year-old woman found herself in a New York emergency room after she overdosed on bok choy. Apparently, raw vegetables in the Brassica rapa family, which includes bok choy and cabbage, release an enzyme called myrosinase, which can send the victim into a coma. Ironically, eating cabbage in normal quantities usually results in severe gas that tends to puts others in a coma.

By the Numbers

Numbers from the previously cited New York Times article on runaway government pensions…

3700 The number of retired public workers in New York state getting pensions of over $100,000 per year.

0 The total amount taxes deducted from those pensions each year; the pensions are exempt from state and local taxes.

$2,000,000,000 The amount New York City budgeted for its pension fund contributions in 2010.

64 The total pension contributions as a percentage of the entire New York City police budget, one of the highest pension contribution rates in the US.

$261,037 The current pension of George M. Philip, who retired as chief executive and chief investment officer of the New York State teachers’ pension fund.

$280,000 Philip’s current salary, who has since gone back to work as the president of the State University of New York at Albany. Apparently his government pension wasn’t enough to live on.

Letters, I Get Letters

Somebody going by the name Акаунт ЕООД said this:

“Лен, Съгласно Закона за Електронната Търговия Ви информираме, че това може да е непоискано търговско съобщение.”

I’m sorry, Акаунт, but my Russian is pretty poor. The only thing I know how to say is “Пасс борщ, товарищ!” (ha ha ha ha ha!)

If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at:

I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee – assuming I get one, that is.

If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mail bag I’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. ;-)

Other Useless News

Here are the Top 10 US states in terms of average time spent per visit at Len Penzo dot Com so far during the month of May (minimum of 25 visits).

1. Wyoming (11 minutes 13 seconds)
2. Nevada (7:27)
3. Rhode Island (5;24)
4. Montana (5:17)
5. Delaware (5:03)
6. Oregon (4:59)
7. Tennessee (4:36)
8. Texas (4:10)
9. Connecticut (3:42)
10. Michigan (3:21)

I love Wyoming! It is an extremely beautiful state. I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years on business trips to the Cheyenne area. I’ve even flown into the airport at Riverton and camped along the Wind River.

The state with the worst, um, attention span here over the same period are my friends in Louisiana, who managed to average a whopping 2 seconds during the 49 times somebody visited – er, assuming you could call 2 seconds that a visit. What is really amazing is that despite the short time span they’re here, Louisianans still manage to visit 1.06 pages on average. That is some quick clickin’ baby! Hey, let’s see if I can’t get those numbers up a bit over the next month. I’ll be sure to report back the results when I get them.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to refer their readers to my little ol’ blog! :-)

As a reminder, if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please feel free to follow me on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! :-)

Carnival News

This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:

- Money Hacks Carnival at Yes, I Am Cheap (Editor’s Pick – Hooray!)

- Carnival of Personal Finance at Canadian Finance Blog

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