It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe…
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.
Greetings from the Financial Bloggers’ Conference in St. Louis, Missouri! I’ve been having a great time so far attending various workshops and meeting many of my fellow bloggers. I’ve also been enjoying a little St. Louis barbecue and some of their famous thin crust pizza too. Okay … a lot of it. Probably too much.
Anyway, as you might imagine, I have a busy schedule today so, as Pink would say, let’s get this party started!
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From March 2009:
What It Really Feels Like to be a Millionaire – Earlier this year I wrote a very popular piece that was picked up all over the Internet entitled “What It Really Feels Like to be a Billionaire.” A few days later, Dave Ramsey discussed the piece on his radio show. What’s funny is, the “Millionaire” article was just an earlier version of the “Billionaire’s” piece, only with slightly smaller numbers — but it went virtually unnoticed. I guess the lesson learned is this: If you’re going to go … go big!
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy …
Darwin’s Money – Buying New Windows: The ROI from Energy Savings Is Horrible
Dojo Blog – How Do You Handle a Windfall?
Spring Personal Finance – Frugality Isn’t a Virtue
Modest Money – Investment Options for Beginners
Free Money Finance – Millionaire Interviews
Credits and Debits
Debit: For those of you who think the US dollar’s hegemony — and the massive economic benefits that America enjoys because of it — will last forever, think again.
Debit: I suspect the recent budget brinksmanship on Capitol Hill — not to mention the Fed’s relentless $3 trillion quantitative easing (QE) campaign — is the primary reason why China is now openly calling for the “de-Americanization” of the world’s financial system.
Credit: China may feel the dollar ain’t worth crap — but don’t tell that to the guy who received a $500 check from the US Treasury after his dog ate five $100 bills he had carelessly left out. Before you get any ideas, the man first had to retrieve the malodorous remnants as evidence.
Debit: I’m sure China isn’t too happy that Janet Yellen will be replacing Ben Bernanke as the the next Fed chairman. That’s because history suggests she’ll be even more likely to use the printing press as a tool for “helping” the economy than her predecessor. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Credit: Sadly, the politicians who are plundering the Treasury — and the voters who aid and abet them — must be unaware that the decay, downfall, and disintegration of the world’s greatest empires were almost always due to currency debasement, not foreign invasions.
Debit: It’s too bad the Fed fails to recognize that QE has only helped boost the fortunes of their friends on Wall Street. Meanwhile, everyone living on Main Street are still waiting, as household debt in the US is now approaching its pre-crisis level in 2007.
Debit: Perhaps household debt is once again on the rise because families are trying to prop up their declining standard of living. According to the US Census Bureau, things are so bad that the typical US family now earns less today than it did in 1989.
Debit: With that in mind, it’s really no wonder that just 15% of Americans now believe that today’s children will be better off than their parents. So much for hope.
Debit: It also helps explain why folks are now selling more body parts than ever. In fact, as Bloomberg reports: “In all but two quarters since the beginning of 2011, ‘hair,’ ‘eggs,’ or ‘kidney’ have been among the top four autofill results for the Google search query, ‘I want to sell my…’.”
Debit: Meanwhile, the government continues to seize homes for as little as $44 in unpaid property taxes, which just goes to show that nobody ever really owns their home free and clear after paying off the mortgage because they still have to pay “rent” to the government. What’s wrong with that picture?
Credit: Seen on an Internet comment board: “Obamacare: The compassion of the IRS delivered with the efficiency of the Post Office. And your life depends on it.” Don’t forget the long lines of the DMV.
Credit: Actually, I think the person who wrote that is being a bit unfair to the Post Office. Yes, it’s a hopelessly bloated government money-sink (sorry for being redundant) — but at least they deliver the mail. Well … eventually.
Debit: In other news, Puerto Rico, with $23,000 of debt for every man, woman and child living on the island, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Detroit imploded after accruing $25,000 of debt for each of its inhabitants.
Credit: Finally … a Houston strip club is suing a man after he allegedly, um, stiffed the owners after racking up $321,857.72 in charges. In a single month. And you playboy bachelors out there say marriage is expensive?
By the Numbers
A recent story on CNBC reported that despite the poor worldwide economy, strip clubs are thriving — at least the ones in Europe:
300 Number of strip clubs in the UK.
$2.7 billion The current market value of those UK clubs.
$200 million Approximate annual worldwide sales of the Spearmint Rhino, the world’s largest strip-club operator.
8000 Dancers employed worldwide by Spearmint Rhino.
30 Average commission percentage that dancers turn over to club owners.
30 Percentage of strip club customers that are women.
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Result
How many hours per day, on average, do you spend surfing the Internet?
- 1 or 2 (33%)
- 3 or 4 (28%)
- More than 4 (26%)
- Less than 1 (13%)
With more than 200 people responding, last week’s poll revealed that although a plurality of folks spend just one or two hours per day surfing the net, a slight majority (54%) actually spent more than three hours per day on the Internet. In all, more than 1 in 4 people are actually connected to the web for greater than four hours. That’s a lot of surfing!
Other Useless News
Here are the top — and bottom — five Canadian provinces and territories in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:
1. Prince Edward Island (2.86 pages/visit)
2. Nova Scotia (2.71)
3. British Columbia (1.89)
4. Alberta (1.85)
5. Quebec (1.74)
9. Saskatchewan (1.64)
10. Ontario (1.62)
11. Manitoba (1.57)
12. New Brunswick (1.52)
13. Yukon Territory (1.00)
Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like the crazy canucks on Prince Edward Island, eh) — or not (you hosers living in the Yukon) — please don’t forget to:
1. Click on that “Like” button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!
2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter! And last, but not least…
3. Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! Thank you.
Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
Last week, Danny wrote in to ask me this:
“Why would you spend hundreds of dollars on a nav system for your car when you can buy a perfectly good map for 3 bucks?”
Let me guess, Danny: I bet you’re the type who loves to text and drive too.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.