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…
Let’s get right to it this week; I’m in a grumpy mood. Okay, I’m not grumpy, really. I’m actually just a bit depressed because the gnomes got voted off America’s Got Talent last week.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Enemy of Debt – Is Netflix Really the Devil? Brad wants to know why so many folks out there are upset about Netflix just because they raised their prices. I’m with you, my friend. Why is everyone complaining? It’s really quite simple: If you don’t like fact that Netflix raised prices 60 percent, stop using their service. In fact, do us all a favor and start up your own mail-order DVD rental business.
Dough Roller – Which Netflix Plan Is the Best Netflix Plan? Michael’s not a complainer. In fact, he did a terrific job here analyzing the new prices and breaking down the various options in order to help you make the best decision. My only nit is that his otherwise excellent article failed to answer this burning question: Who the heck pays $43.99 per month just so they can have 8 DVDs out at a single time? I mean, come on; how many DVDs can somebody watch in a weekend? When do these folks have time to mow the lawn and clean up around the house? Are there really that many compelling movies coming out of Hollywood these days? I’m rambling again. Let’s move on.
Mighty Bargain Hunter – Netflix Is Still Cheap. I’m with MBH here. In fact, the Honeybee and I actually made out like a bandit on Netflixes-es’s new price plan. We used to pay $10.86 for our 1 DVD at a time option, which also included streaming, but the new single-DVD plan they switched us to costs only $7.99 without streaming — which is fine by me since we never used that option anyway. Hey, it still beats me driving the family to the movie theater and then paying upwards of $60 just so we can eat overpriced popcorn, listen to the guy behind us talking on his cell phone, and then watch 20 minutes of trailers and another 15 minutes of commercials — among other things.
DINKS Finance – Generic Drugs Are Cheaper! But Are They Better? Well, probably not if you’re smoking them.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
The Canadian Finance Blog – How Much Mortgage Can I Afford?
Monevator – How to Live Off Investment Income
Ironclad Finances – One Year Anniversary
Financial Samurai – How to Make $50,000 for Free from the Government
Bucksome Boomer – Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
Wealth Pilgrim – Bear Market Withdrawal Strategies for Retirees
Afford Anything – Is Managing Money too Complicated?
The Penny Hoarder – 2012 Elections: How to Profit from Them
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From June 2009:
18 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About the National Debt – The US national debt currently sits at $14.3 trillion. Keep in mind that total excludes unfunded liabilities including Social Security and Medicare. When you add them, the US is more than $100 trillion in the hole. I know. Those who think this number can continue increasing without any serious economic repercussions are fooling themselves.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Don’t look now, but earlier this week Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the central bank is considering the implementation of a third round of money printing, otherwise know as QE3.
Credit: Hey, if it’s QE3 Ben wants, then why not? After all, QE1 and QE2 were a smashing success — assuming the goal was to virtually destroy the dollar’s value and spark higher inflation in food, gasoline and commodities.
Debit: Of course, as soon as “Helicopter Ben” announced he planned on firing up the money printing presses yet again, the dollar took another severe beating. Funny how that works, huh?
Credit: The sad truth is Ben Bernanke is truly a one-trick pony — afraid or unable to admit that his Keynesian policies are an utter failure.
Debit: Speaking of failed policies, high taxes and strict regulations have resulted in companies fleeing California for more business-friendly states at a rate five times what it was just two years ago.
Debit: The business climate in California is so bad that Chief Executive magazine has ranked the Golden State as the worst place to do business seven years running.
Credit: A Florida woman claims to be having serious trouble convincing people she is a living breathing human being after Chase Bank USA declared her dead last year. Despite notifying the bank she was alive, Chase officials were not convinced.
Credit: The woman is now suing Chase bank. A spokesman for Chase told Len Penzo dot Com that, “If the plaintiff doesn’t realize she’s dead, that’s not our problem. Besides, this lawsuit is completely without merit because dead people cannot legally sue anyone.” Okay, they didn’t really say that. At least I don’t think they did.
By the Numbers
148,000 Average number of people who die on any given day.
36 Interval in seconds that someone dies from cardiovascular disease.
42,000 The average number of deaths each month in the US due to cancer.
264,000,000:1 The odds of being fatally attacked by a shark.
9,300,000:1 The odds you’ll be killed by a random act of terrorism.
20,000:1 The odds you’ll give up the ghost in a plane crash over your lifetime. (Or approximately 1 in 11 million for any given flight.)
100:1 The odds you’ll die in car accident during your lifetime.
Other Useless News
On a related note, last week over a beer and a couple hot dogs (with ketchup), my father-in-law Tony shared this valuable bit of advice with me regarding long life: “Len, the real secret to longevity is living.” He’s got a point there.
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The Question of the Week
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!
I found this note from Allison in the Len Penzo dot Com complaint box: “I sent you a message over a week ago and I’m wondering why you haven’t replied yet.”
I’m really sorry about that, Allison. I’m forwarding your complaint to my day-job boss. (Here’s hoping he has a sense of humor, or I suspect my response time will be much quicker in the very near future.)
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Bucksome Boomer (Editor’s Pick – Hooray!)
The Yakezie Carnival @ Money Reasons
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.