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…
I apologize for the dearth of reading links this week, but my schedule has been even more cramped than usual. Okay, let’s get right to it!
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Darwin’s Money – The Inflation Conspiracy? EAT ME. Don’t let the politically correct title fool you. One of these days Darwin is going to stop acting like a typical milquetoast and tell us what he really thinks.
My Journey to Millions – What Do You Do At Night? I Try to Make Money. Says Evan: “I work 50 or so hours a week, have The Wife, and The Baby in my life and I still find time to do side ventures…so why the hell don’t you?” Alright already! Sheesh; I’m working on it. (What did everybody have for dinner this week, anyway?)
Mighty Bargain Hunter – We Do Like Our Monthly Charges, Don’t We? Why is it so hard to cancel some monthly memberships, even though we don’t use them? Good question. I’d like to ask Darwin and Evan their opinions but, on second thought, I think I’ll wait until they get in a better mood.
Bargaineering – Money Leaks: Forgetting to Pay Your Bills. If you ask me, categorizing a failure to pay your creditors as a “money leak” is a little bit like telling your wife you had a minor fender bender — after having the car demolished in a head-on collision. Okay, so I’m guilty of a little snarky hyperbole of my own here. In any case, Jim shares some great tips for saving money by making sure you always remember to pay your bills on time.
Free From Broke – Half of Americans are Financially Fragile. How Not to Be One of Them. Financially fragile people are folks who have little or no hope of coming up with a spare $2000 in 30 days. Uh huh. I bet I know what Evan would have to say about that.
And Here’s Some Other Post You Might Enjoy…
Hope to Prosper – The High Cost of Automobiles
Frugal Dad – 62 Money Saving Tips to Survive Another Recession
Money Help for Christians – One Huge Lesson I Wish Big Biz Would Learn from this Small Fry
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff – Ten Money Tips for Students and Recent Grads
Everyday Tips and Thoughts – Don’t Get Trapped By Fixed Expenses
Lazy Man and Money – Bitcoins: The Future of Money or the End of the World?
Wealth Pilgrim – How I Got My Free Credit Score Online With No Credit Card
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From November 2009:
Flexible Spending Accounts Provide Free Money. Why Pass It Up? – If you’re looking for ways to defray healthcare costs, check out this article to see why you should at least consider looking into FSAs.
Credits and Debits
Credit: Is a badly-needed stock market correction finally in the works? After the sixth successive weekly decline, the Dow is now off almost 7 percent from its multi-year closing high reached in April.
Debit: I’m one of those who strongly believe the stock market’s rise over the past year was primarily due to the Fed’s insane quantitative easing (QE) campaign. The underlying economic fundamentals simply do not support the stock market’s collective rise over the past year.
Credit: The recent stock market decline should be no surprise to my readers. After all, last November I predicted the resulting inflation, and rising stock and commodity prices that ultimately came from the Fed’s latest QE campaign. Just sayin.
Credit: With the Fed’s artificial stimulus almost gone, I’m not the only one who believes stock prices will now continue their decline to more reasonable levels.
Debit: I’m not so sure about a decline in other prices, however. That’s because historically, it takes about 36 months — give or take several months — before the money printed by the Fed generates a visible increase in prices.
Debit: The Fed’s initial quantitative easing campaign started in March 2009; that was barely 28 months ago. If you think inflation is noticeable now…
Debit: As for people who have sacrificed and managed to save up a nice retirement nest egg over the years — you better pray hyperinflation stays away. Otherwise, that nest egg may not be able to cover the price of a loaf of bread in a few years.
Debit: For their part, one China ratings house believes the US government has now printed so much money that the value of the dollar is practically worthless. In fact, the ratings house says the US is already essentially in default.
Debit: Finally, did anybody see this one? For those of you looking for yet another reason as to why the federal government is way too big, consider this. According to CNS the government “spent over $3.6 million funding research that involves getting monkeys to smoke and drink drugs such as PCP, methamphetamine (METH), heroin, and cocaine and then studying their behavior, including during different phases of the female monkeys’ menstrual cycles.” Heh. Does PETA know about this?
Credit: My only question is why on Earth did the NIH use monkeys when there are plenty of people out there who would have gladly volunteered for that job?
By the Numbers
Fun with the US National Debt, based upon this article from Reuters:
67 Miles a stack of $1000 bills would reach into the sky in order to retire the trillion-dollar National Debt in 1981, as noted by President Ronald Reagan.
900 Miles a stack of $1000 bills would reach into the sky in order to pay off the $14 trillion-plus National Debt today.
$125 billion Amount Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the US government is currently borrowing per month. (Although, in February alone, the government borrowed almost twice that.)
1 Number of iPads the federal government could buy each of its citizens for $125 billion.
$40,000 Amount the US government borrows every second.
$106 billion The combined net worth of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
28 Days that Gates’ and Buffett’s entire fortunes would fund the government’s deficit spending. Then what? (Clearly, the government doesn’t have a revenue problem.)
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News
Here is a list of states whose readers spent the most — and least — time on average here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past month.
1. Alabama (6 minutes 1 second)
2. Utah (5:39)
3. Kansas (5:31)
4. Montana (5:30)
5. Missouri (5:02)
46. Oklahoma (2:40)
47. Maine (2:36)
48. Massachusetts (2:35)
49. Mississippi (2:26)
50. Delaware (2:25)
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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!
After mentioning personal finance blogger Stacy Johnson’s movie-star good looks last week in this column, Fish apparently decided to visit my About page: “Nope…..u still ugly!”
So does this mean you won’t be asking me out for a date any time soon?
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Well-Heeled Blog
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.