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 whats been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Heres what caught my attention over the past week
Welcome to a very special and very short – espresso edition of Black Coffee.
I just finished up one of those weeks from you-know-where and I am just happy to see it go.
Long hours at the office left me extremely squeezed for time this week. On top of that, my web service provider who I am normally extremely happy with basically had a technical issues that had their servers down for well over 24 hours.
Of course, when their servers are down, Len Penzo dot Com is down too. More on this in a few paragraphs…
Oh well, the good news is thats all behind me now, and all I see in front of me now is blue sky!
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Monevator – The Index Investor’s Road Map for Avoiding Financial Hazards. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. I love the Brits. It is no secret to my regular readers that my favorite money blog from across the pond is Monevator. For example, I defy you to find an American money blog that manages to provide excellent tips on index investing and the term “collywobbles” in the same article. Oh, you know I’m right on this one, people.
Deliver Away Debt – Earning One Million Dollars. Jeff recently added up every dollar hes earned since being gainfully employed and it turns out he has already earned over a million bucks. So where, he asks, did all the money go? Two words, Jeff: Taxes. (Wait, thats one word. I should have said Too much government. Oh, never mind.)
Mighty Bargain Hunter – – Conservative Is Not Same Thing As Prudent. I know what youre thinking and, no, this is not a political piece. Its actually about investing and its a darn good article too.
Canadian Finance Blog – 22 Tips on How to Avoid Personal Financial Disaster.There is some very good advice here, and the list is quite thorough. Id like to add another though. Two words: Prenup. Okay, one word.
…And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Money Funk – What is Debt Recycling?
My Financial Objectives – Vacation in Low Season: How Much Could You Save?
Money Help for Christians – Getting Out of Debt: A How-to Guide
Car Negotiation Coach – How to Buy a Car on Craig’s List
Young and Thrifty – Real Estate Commissions Decoded
Wealth Pilgrim – Mortgage Unemployment Insurance Whats the Catch?
Bucksome Boomer – 3 Lessons from Babies
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From August 2009:
Try Your Luck at This Tricky Money Quotation Quiz – Can you match these 15 money quotes to the list of 15 famous people I provided? You may just be surprised at some of the answers! (I know. That is a textbook example of blogger marketing. You probably won’t be surprised at all.)
Credits and Debits
Debit: Dont look now, but Osama Bin Laden wants action on global warming.
Debit: In other news, Bank of America, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase, have now halted tens of thousands of foreclosure cases in 23 states because their employees may have signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.
Debit: How could this happen? Well, a Bank of America official admitted in a deposition to signing between 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month. The official was quoted as saying “I typically don’t read them because of the volume that we sign.”
Debit: Before you laugh, Ill wager that most homeowners who signed their home loan documents including those who are now being foreclosed upon – didnt read them before signing on the dotted lines either. Im just sayin.
Debit: Meanwhile, an analyst revealed this week that Wal-Mart’s prices rose this month to the highest level in almost two years. Could this be a sign that higher inflation is just around the corner?
Debit: By the way, just where is the high inflation that I and many others have been warning will come as a result of our government’s monstrous trillion dollar annual deficits, a $14 trillion national debt, $110 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and the Fed’s continued lax monetary policies? Patience, folks; once the economy picks up, it will come. To paraphrase the Beatles, the lag between monetary policy and its impact on the economy is often a long (and winding) road.
Credit: Speaking of monstrous deficits, one benefit of Californias inability to rein in the size and scope of its bloated state government: the decriminalization of marijuana. It turns out California just can’t afford to prosecute people for this offense any more. Folks caught with up to an ounce of pot will now receive nothing more than a citation for $100.
Credit: Yep. Thats cheaper than most speeding tickets.
Letters, I Get Letters
This week I got 14 letters! Im not kidding! Too bad all but two of them were all related to the same depressing subject. Here is a small sample
“Is your blog down? I can’t access it.”
Yes. It started at about 12:30 in the morning on Friday. It remained down for the next day and a half. It was especially disappointing for me because I was fortunate to have articles featured at Wisebread and MSN that day – and this little ol’ blog depends on those referrals to drive most of its traffic.
From Dr. Dean:
“Len, is your blog offline, or is it my end?”
You can rest assured that your end is doing just fine, Dr. Dean. Mine, on the other hand, feels like I got the rubber glove treatment.
From Angie :
“What happened to your blog, yo?!”
As best as I can tell, my web host provider decided to send all of their competent engineers on a one-week vacation and let the interns run everything. See what happens when you put the kids in charge?
” Not sure if you realize this but I am getting an error when I try to access your most recent post when clicking from Wise Bread and it even looks like your home page is down. Just wanted to let you know so that you are aware (I had a similar error with one of my sites earlier this week that I am still stressing about).”
I guess if there is a silver lining, most readers think my blog is one big error even when the servers are running properly so maybe they wont even notice.
“I left a voice mail, I figured maybe you weren’t getting emails either. Whats the name of your host? “
Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to drop me a line and tell me my blog was down. That was very thoughtful and I really appreciate it. Needless to say, it was a crappy finish to a crappy week.
If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions (assuming my web host provider, Mud, manages to keep its servers up and running), please feel free to drop me an e-mail at: Len@LenPenzo.com
I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee assuming I get one, that is.
If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mailbag I’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. ๐
By the Numbers
A few stats on my week from you-know-where:
435 The number of times this week I found myself saying Yes, boss!
372 The number of times this week I caught myself knocking my head against the wall for one stupid reason or another.
35 The number of hours my blog was offline this week.
$1.25 trillion The amount of money I bet my web host provider cost its clients this week. Okay, maybe Im exaggerating just a little bit.
$164 billion How much bailout money I plan on asking the government to reimburse me for lost blog income ($3), and mental anguish ($163,999,999,997). I’m entitled to it! Right? Anyone? Anyone?
Other Useless News – Another Record Month!
Ah, it wasnt all bad – at least September ended on a high note! I have three big pieces of news this week I wanted to share
First, I’d like to thank Wisebread co-founder Will Chen for his article at CBS Moneywatch listing me as one of his 10 favorite personal finance peeps to follow on Twitter. I know. At least Will managed to save his reputation with his other nine picks. Hey, nine out of ten ain’t bad!
Second, I wrote my first post for American Express’ new website, Currency. The article, entitled “Live and Learn: 5 Tips to Make Your Kids Financially Smarter,” was a companion piece to my recent blog post entitled “Teach Your Kids How to Be Personal Finance Losers! (In 6 Easy Steps.)”
Finally, September was another record month here at Len Penzo dot Com with over 100,000 page views! The majority of my traffic here has always been driven by word of mouth and referrals, rather than search engine traffic. This month was no different, as a good chunk of this month’s traffic was referral-based – so thank you to everyone who took a minute to link here last month! I really, really, REALLY appreciate it.
Here now are the Top 25 referring sites for the entire month of September (excluding search engines and aggregators):
1. MSN: Smart Spending
2. The Simple Dollar
3. Get Rich Slowly
4. The Globe and Mail
7. Time Magazine: It’s Your Money
8. Frugal Dad
9. Frugal Hacks
10. Cool to be Frugal
13. Green Panda Tree House
14. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
15. Joe Taxpayer
17. Political Calculations
19. Living Like No One Else
20. The Nest
21. Provident Planning
22. Sustainable Life Blog
23. Code Name Insight
24. Oblivious Investor
25. Deliver Away Debt
Here’s another friendly reminder for ya: if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please make sure you follow me on Twitter. And, if you’ll be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! ๐
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Well-Heeled Blog