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…
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Couple Money – More People Preparing to Eat Dog Food in Retirement. I expected this article to be a taste test comparison between Alpo and bargain-brand dog food. No such luck. Instead, I was treated to this excellent guest post from the “Get Out of Debt Guy” (a.k.a. Steve) who explains why immediate bankruptcy is preferable to raiding your retirement account when you’re overwhelmed with debt.
Financial Samurai – How to Save More for Retirement if You Don’t Make Much Money. Of course, nobody would ever have to worry about eating Alpo in their golden years if they followed most of Sam’s advice in this primer on how to save money with a smaller income. I say “most” because Sam curiously turns his own logic upside down midway through the otherwise excellent piece. Ironically, while Sam effectively argues from a platform based upon self-reliance and personal responsibility, he also suggests those same folks would be better off voting for politicians who don’t. Just sayin’.
Minting Nickels – Perfection Not Required. Says Lindy:“Sometimes, you don’t have to know what you’re doing to make money.” Oh yeah? If that’s true, my blog should have made me richer than Warren Buffett by now.
Afford Anything – You Are What You Think. Apparently, there is a corollary to the Law of Attraction that says your brain is incapable hearing the word “not.” To paraphrase Paula, if you tell yourself, “Don’t mess up,” you’ll mess up. Fascinating, if true. I’m going to test out that theory by telling myself I’m not going to get lucky tonight.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Control Your Cash – How to Go Broke in Real Estate
Money Help for Christians – How to Be Thankful Even When You’re Not Feeling It
Bucksome Boomer – Delay Your Gratification and Grow Rich
Little House in the Valley – I Know I Should Buy a House, But I’m Not Ready
My Broken Coin – Stop Being Cheap and Invest in Yourself
Free From Broke – How to Get a Bargain When Apartment Hunting
The Free Financial Advisor – 5 Steps to Care for an Older Car
Bible Money Matters – How to Protect Your Financial and Personal Information When Shopping Online
Fabulously Broke in the City – Shopping is Cheaper in the US
Green Panda Tree House – When You Should Not Get into Dividend Investing
The Millionaire Nurse – A Growing-Mushrooms-at-Home Case Study
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From July 2009:
Bernie Madoff Starts His 150-Year Prison Sentence – This commentary on the guy who got 150 years for swindling investors out of $50 billion has the distinction of being the shortest post on my blog. And you thought my 100-word articles were quick reads.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Despite raising income tax rates last year by 67% (yes, as in “sixty-seven percent”) — not to mention sharply boosting corporate tax rates — the Illinois state comptroller announced this week that there’s still a debt crisis in the “Land of Lincoln.” Yep; to the tune of $8.5 billion.
Debit: Incredibly, the solution of Illinois governor Pat Quinn is to “borrow” (that’s a code word for “tax”) $4 billion more. Whaaa?
Credit: How much more proof do you need that raising taxes — temporary or otherwise — does absolutely nothing to curb free-spending politicians’ addiction to your money? I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.
Debit: Meanwhile the governor of my dysfunctional home state of California, “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown, is now proposing additional tax hikes to close the Golden State’s $9.2 billion deficit caused by his spend-happy legislature.
Debit: At the same time he is pushing mindless government boondoggles like the $98-billion bullet train to nowhere. Well, it’s “nowhere” unless you consider the proposed initial 130-mile run between Fresno and Bakersfield “somewhere.”
Credit: To paraphrase the Washington Post, yes, the California bullet train goes nowhere, but at least it will go nowhere fast.
Debit: Speaking of failed government boondoggles, last week solar-energy firm Solyndra asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to pay 24 of its remaining 84 employees bonuses amounting to up to a half-million bucks. I know.
Credit: It ain’t all bad though; a bank is foreclosing on convicted felon O.J. Simpson’s Florida home. Being that the 64-year-old Simpson is serving a nine-to-33-year prison sentence in Nevada, I suspect he won’t need it anyway.
Debit: No joke: A woman was arrested earlier this week at a McDonald’s in Burbank, California after allegedly offering sexual favors in return for Chicken McNuggets. Uh huh. Chicken McNuggets.
Credit: I know; I can’t explain that one either. Maybe the McRib is off the menu again.
Other Useless News – Passionate Pizza People, and More Reader Questions
Earlier this week I wrote an extremely popular post on sneaky pizza delivery fees. And while it got a lot of comments here, at partner MSN Smart Spending it garnered even more (over 250 of them), many quite passionate.
In other useless news, according to Google Analytics, here are some of the more curious questions visitors entered into Google’s search engine last month that led them, somehow, some way, to Len Penzo dot Com:
- Are those magic 8 balls really true?
- Are twins social security numbers numerical? [sic]
- Can I get a mortgage when I make 10,000$ [sic] a year?
- Can an 86 year old get a 30 year loan?
- How black coffee help my sex life? [sic]
- How much did dirty harry’s trousers cost?
- How many 46 year old idiots can’t survive on their own?
- How long will a [sic] pace salsa (mild) remain edible?
- How do people in shit neighborhoods afford nice cars?
- Is barbeque bad choice for a wedding?
- Is bubbles [sic] in a whirlpool tub bad?
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By the Numbers
Here’s a closer look at the pizza business:
$35 billion Total pizzeria sales in 2010.
57 Percentage of pizzerias owned by independents.
52 Percentage of sales that are controlled by pizza chain restauranteurs.
15 Percentage of the monetary pie that belongs to Pizza Hut, the top pizza chain in terms of sales.
9 Sales percentage that belongs to Domino’s, Pizza Hut’s closest competitor.
3.14 Approximate value of “pizza pi” which, as any math geek will tell you, is the ratio of a circular pizza’s circumference to its diameter.
1 Massachusetts’ rank among the states in pizzerias per capita. (3.40 per 10,000 residents.)
1.07 Pizzerias per 10,000 residents in Hawaii, which ranks it last in pizzerias per capita.
Source: PMQ Pizza Magazine (Except for the “pizza pi” tidbit; that one is all me.)
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!
Um, actually, I got no letters this week. None. Zippo. (Yes, folks you could have had your name in lights if you had only dropped me an email.) But E-Dogg left me this comment after reading my stupid fees post:
Guess what Len … you owe me a $5.00 ‘reader fee.’ Yes the info was good, enjoyable and at times humorous, but, alas, I read it, and that’s my fee. Contact me by e-mail for payment options. (I charge extra for dealing with dirty cash).
The check is in the mail, E-dogg. (If you don’t receive it in a few days, the postal service lost it.)
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.