Black Coffee: Monks, Marriage, and Lazy Kids

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. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…

If this edition of Black Coffee seems a little light, well, it is. But I have a good reason! This week me and the Honeybee are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and so, of course, it’s time to celebrate! For example, this afternoon I’m going golfing with her dad. Then, my father-in-law Tony and I will probably have a beer or two on the 19th hole.

You know, if we’re not out too late, I think I might even take the Honeybee out to dinner at a fancy-pancy restaurant tonight.

I know; I’m not sure how I put up with her after all these years either.

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Simple Dollar – The Danger of the Rich Act. In this excellent piece, Trent notes that just because you’re financially comfortable doesn’t mean you should abandon the simple pleasures in life. He’s right, you know.

Live Richly – From Gunslinger to Monk. I don’t know how Jen does it, but she has a knack for coming up with fascinating people to interview. For example, this week she talks with ex-drug addict and teen runaway Ken Goldberg. When he was 10, he tried to poison his father. And if you think that’s bad, it gets even worse: Ken is also a lawyer.

Invest It Wisely – How to Prepare for an Uncertain Future. Ironically, the only constant in life is change. In this post, Kevin shows us why it’s important to adapt.

Prairie EcothrifterWhat is Passive Income? Says Derek: “There is most likely a 90 year old man somewhere that does not lift a finger, yet his business is still generating income today.” I don’t know about that, but I can certainly vouch for a certain teenager with no income at all who lately has refused to lift a finger around my house.   That is, unless it’s time to eat.

And Here’s Some Other Articles You Might Also Enjoy…

Money Talks News – 5 Tips to Save on Summer Camp

Out of Your Rut – Knowing Your Needs: Whole Life Insurance vs. Term Based Policies

Money Beagle – No Stone Unturned: Expanding Our Search for Cheap Milk

The College Investor – I Started Moving my Finances and Business to the Cloud

Yakezie – One Angry Customer and One Brilliant Business Plan

Consumerism Commentary – Are Online Banks Safe?

Go Be Rich – I’m Trying to Give You My Money!

The (Not S0) Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed

From October 2010:

Why Marriage Makes It So Hard to Control Remodeling Costs. (Well, Kinda Sorta.) – I love the Honeybee dearly. I really really do. But dang it, that gal can be so expensive at times. Here’s just one example of what I’m talking about… (Yes, folks, despite my ribbing, she’s definitely worth it.)

Credits and Debits

Debit: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) proposal for $2 trillion in budget cuts, saying any cuts include action on closing tax loopholes. Said Senator Reid: “You can’t do $2 trillion just in cuts,” which begs the burning question: Why not?

Credit: As I’ve said here dozens of times before: the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. There is no need to raise taxes, or hold those cuts hostage to closing tax loopholes.

Debit: If you ask me, the $2 trillion in cuts requested by Speaker Boehner is spread out over a ten year period.   In the grand scheme of things, I say it doesn’t go far enough. Especially when you consider that it is essentially only $200 billion each year from annual budgets that run more than $3 trillion.

Credit: ABC News reports that that fewer Americans are getting married and more marriages are lasting longer, according to the most recent US Census Bureau figures. Since 1990, 77 percent of folks who said “I do” managed to reach their 10-year anniversary.

Credit: Maybe marriages are lasting longer simply because divorce ain’t cheap. A friend of mine recently got a divorce and he had to split the house with his ex-wife; he got the outside. (I know, that’s an oldie.)

The Question of the Week

If you could choose your birthday, which month would it be in?

View Results

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By the Numbers

More marriage data from the US Census Bureau, ABC News, and other sources:

33 Approximate percentage of adults who never marry.

28 In 2010, the median age for men who get married the first time. (It was 23 in 1950.)

26 In 2010, the median age for women who get married the first time. (It was 20 in 1950.)

83 Percentage of all married couples who have been married at least 5 years.

55 Percentage of all married couples who have been married at least 15 years. (Including me and the Honeybee.)

35 Percentage of all married couples who have been married at least 25 years.

6 Percentage of all married couples who have managed to last more than 50 years. (Including my mom and dad, who have been happily married for 51 years.)

8 Median number of years that first marriages ended in divorce.

$24,066 On average, the amount US couples spend on their weddings. (That doesn’t include the honeymoon or rings.)

$3,150 Cost of the average diamond engagement ring in 2009.

$20,000 The average cost of a divorce.

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!

Iris wrote in to ask this burning question: You suggested you think most people cheat on their taxes. So tell me. Do you cheat on your taxes?”
“Iris,” huh? I find it interesting that you can’t spell Iris without IRS. Coincidence? I think not.

Other Useless News

If you happen to enjoy what you’re reading — or not — 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!

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And last, but not least…

3. Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! Thank you. :-)

Carnival News

This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:

No carnivals this week; I lost my tickets.

I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.


  1. 3


    Thanks for the inclusion Len and congrats on your anniversary. We will hit the two year mark this year. Have a long way to go to catch up to you.

    • 4

      Len Penzo says

      Thank you, Miss T! Although it’s 15 years, it seems like 40. (Now, now… I’m kidding, folks.)

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