It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joeâ€¦
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of whatâ€™s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.Â Hereâ€™s what caught my attention over the past weekâ€¦
I know a lot of you have been sitting on pins and needles all week long, waiting for me to announce whether or not I was going to move the world headquarters of Len Penzo dot Com from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Chicago, New York, or Miami.
After talking things over with the Honeybee and Kobe Bryant – okay, okay, I actually talked to a Kobe poster in my son’s bedroom, but close enough – I’m happy to say I’ve decided to continue to blather about personal finance and other vitally important matters from here in Los Angeles.
Now on to more important tasks at hand, like going over some of my favorite posts from the past week.
PT Money – My Financial Advice for LeBron James.Â Â I never did understand all the fuss surrounding LeBron James – or any other sports figures for that matter.Â Why do we idolize people who are gifted at tossing a ball through a hoop, or hitting a baseball, or throwing a tight spiral 60 yards down field?Â I know: Shut up, Len, you’re just a bitter engineer. No I’m not.Â Okay, okay.Â Yes I am.
Financial Samurai – Even LeBron James Doesn’t Listen to President Obama.Â Still, I really don’t get why people are so enamored with LeBron.Â After all, greatness is measured by championships and he has, let’s see here… carry the one, ah yes – ZERO!Â To paraphrase the Big Aristotle, Shaquille O’Neal, the guy has been a champion at every level except college and the pros.
Frugal Dad – Are You Spending Intentionally?Â Well, considering I like to eat and food costs money, then I guess the answer is yes.Â Wait a sec, that’s not what Dad meant…Â Check out his article to find out what he was really getting at.Â (And before you clog my email in-box with nasty letters telling me that I shouldn’t end my sentences with a preposition, think again, baby!)
Canadian Finance – Less Is More: Cheap Home Upgrades that Offer a Big Payoff.Â I wanted to share an extremely valuable upgrade that the Honeybee and I made here at our home that cost less than $20.Â If you’re interested, click here.
…And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Wisebread – How to Save Money Buying a New Car
My Journey to Millions – Learning the Hard Way
Bargaineering – Share Expenses With Neighbors
Live Richly - Stranger In His Own Land
The Saved Quarter – Best of Yakezie Roundup (Hey, what do you know?Â A round-up made the round-up!)
Green Panda Treehouse – What’s the Difference Between a Credit Report and a Credit Score?
The Digerati Life – How to Survive a Job Loss
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From July 2009:
Parents: Before You Name Your Baby, Learn How to Spell. – One of the joys of having an eponymous blog is that I don’t feel obligated to always write about personal finance.Â And if I see one more kid’s name with an oddball spelling – based upon some woefully misguided idea that it somehow makes them “unique” – well, I’m gonna hurl.
(I know what you’re thinking:Â Hey, Len, you dummy, you already featured that post last week! Guilty as charged.Â But yesterday I ran into a young woman who spelled her name Makenzye.Â As Frost famously said, I’ve got miles to go before I sleep.)
Credits and Debits
Credit: With China currently holding $2.45 trillion in US Treasuries, they have publicly ruled out the use of the “nuclear option” when it comes to unloading their vast holdings of US debt.
Debit: Last year I wrote an article regarding China’s use of the nuclear option, warning that we were becoming increasingly vulnerable to foreign policy pressures from China precisely because of our inability to control government deficit spending; with each passing day the ever-increasing debt we accrue makes America increasingly more beholden to those who loan us money.
Debit: If you read the piece, you might notice that some of the data has since become just a bit dated – after all, I wrote it a little over 13 months ago.Â For example, since then the National Debt has risen approximately another $1.5 trillion dollars.
Credit: When it comes to debt, at least consumers can take solace in the fact that, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.57 percent.Â That is the lowest level in the 39-year history of the survey.
Debit: While low interest rates are great for people who can take advantage of them, as the Financial Times correctly noted, “More than America needs cheaper money, it needs businesses and consumers to be optimistic.”Â That’s a tall order for me and lots of other Americans concerned about: 1) the end of the Bush tax cuts at the end of this year and the macroeconomic impacts of higher taxes in 2011…
Debit: …2) this administration’s aversion to austerity which continues to decimate our currency and spend us into economic oblivion, all in the name of feeding its unprecedented expansion of Big Government…
Debit: …and 3) the institution of Obamacare, a tyrannical socialist entitlement program that will most certainly cost us all far more than its supporters have publicly stated, and was passed against the will of a majority of the American people.
Debit: Heck.Â How can you be optimistic about the economy when 4) even hookers are now having trouble drumming up business?Â Yep.Â According to the Associated Press, “A Florida man went to the police after getting robbed by a woman he intended to pay for sex, but refused when she flashed a smile full of bad teeth.”Â Â That really bites.
Debit: Anyway, put it all together and you’re left with a lot of uncertainty – and it’s tough to be optimistic about the economy when consumers and businesses are uncertain about the future of this country.
Credit: Other than that, though, I think the future of this country is just peachy.
By the Numbers
Here are some poll numbers from recent surveys conducted this week by Rasmussen and Democracy Corps…
35 The percentage of homeowners who say they owe more on their home than it is currently worth.
22 The percentage of homeowners who expect the value of their home to rise within the next year.
30 The percentage of homeowners who expect the value of their home to fall over the next 12 months.
23 The percentage of adults who currently feel the economy is getting better.
31 The percentage of adults who felt the economy was getting better at the start of 2010.
55 The percentage of adults that say “socialist” is a reasonably accurate description of Barack Obama.
25 The percentage of adults that say “socialist” is NOT an accurate description of Barack Obama.
Letters, I Get Letters
This week’s letter comes from somebody using the moniker Blue Sky:
“Why should I believe anything from an anti goverment (sic) wacko blogger like you?“
Well, because continuing to keep your head buried in the sand for extended periods of time can lead to reduced oxygen flow to the brain.Â (And for the record, I may be a “wacko,” but I am certainly not “anti-government.”Â I am for a limited Federal government within the bounds specified by the US Constitution – there’s a big difference there.)
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: Len@LenPenzo.com
I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee â€“ 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 is a list of countries who spent the most time per visit at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days (minimum 3 visits):
1. Cayman Islands (an average of 19 minutes 13 seconds per visit)
2. Venezuela (9:49)
3. Bahrain (7:36)
4. Malaysia (7:27)
5. South Africa (5:40)
6. Qatar (4:17)
7. Portugal (4:11)
8. Chile (4:01)
9. Ecuador (4:00)
10. Hong Kong (3:35)
For the record, Canada is ranked 19th at (2:26) and the United States comes in at number 25 at (2:08).
Regardless of how long you find yourself here at Len Penzo dot Com, thanks for visiting!
Oh yes, and here’s a friendly reminder for ya: if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please make sure you follow me on Twitter.Â And, if you’ll be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too!Â
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Money Stories @ Out of Debt Again