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…
Never mess with the 8 Ball. As I told you in this space last week, my Magic 8 Ball — the same one with the astounding 70 percent success rate — fearlessly predicted that the Green Bay Packers would win the Super Bowl. Of course, they did with a little help from the Pittsburgh Steelers. (So I guess that gives my 8 Ball a 73 percent success rate now.)
Okay, on to the rest of my babbling blather and this very special Valentine’s Day version of Black Coffee…
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Mighty Bargain Hunter – My Daughter Groks Negotiation… Kinda. Tell me I’m not the only one who looked at that title and said “WTF?” Sheesh. You know, I consider myself to be a proud nerd at heart, but I guess I’m really slipping; I always thought “Grok” was just a common surname of European Neanderthals. Guess I was wrong.
Slate (via Monevator) – The Eligible Bachelor Paradox: How Economics Explains the Shortage of Available, Appealing Men. I have an embarrassing Valentine’s Day confession to make. It took me a long time to finally grok women — which to a lot of folks with a small, er, vocabulary probably sounds like an unfortunate personal problem. Trust me, it is. I mean was.
MSN: Smart Spending – 4 Unusual Twists on Valentine’s Day Gifts. Guest writer Lou Carlozo — who happens to be the Green Dad columnist at Dealnews.com — proves he groks the ladies better than most men. That’s because although red is the traditional color of love, Lou realizes that some women actually prefer their Valentine’s Day gifts to be green.
Military Wallet – What to Do If You Don’t Have the Investing Gene. Says guest writer Hank Coleman: “Many people have had the luxury of marrying someone who fits them well. If you do not have a spouse or someone in your life who wants to help handle investing, then you may need to find professional help.” This article really resonated with me because the Honeybee and I are complete opposites in many ways. As such, I’ve often felt like I should find professional help, but Hank has now convinced me. (See, that’s what happens when married couples don’t grok each other enough.)
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Live Richly – In Defense of Default
Investor Junkie – In Business, It’s All About Focus
Oblivious Investor – How Much Work Is Do It Yourself Investing?
Darwin’s Money – How Arbitrage Works
Control Your Cash – Us 1, American Express 0
Monevator – Reasons to Buy a House Instead of Renting
Mom Vesting – Don’t Fail to Plan
Hope to Prosper – Seeing Your Financial Future
Car Negotiation Coach – How I Saved $202 at Home Depot and You Can Save 9% on Every Purchase
Wellness on Less – When Will Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Really Pay?
Ironclad Finances – All Your Worth: Making Adjustments
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From February 2010:
Valentine’s Day Quiz: How to Tell If You’re Dating A Deadbeat – Yes, your current snuggle bunny may be putting on a show for you now, but can that person really maintain their current lifestyle when you finally decide to tie the knot? This borrows heavily from the quiz from Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, authors of the excellent personal finance book Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey.
Credits and Debits
Credit: Here’s my favorite commercial from last week’s Super Bowl. I thought it was the funniest one, by far…
Credit: Not everybody approved. Boo-hoo. Someone calling themselves Beadle1023 said of the Pepsi Max commercial, “These corporations treat (men) as if we’re just a bunch of impulsive horn dogs.” Uh-huh. But they can’t lie, Beadle; it’s against truth-in-advertising laws.
Debit: MSNBC reports that the national average for gasoline prices is at the highest mark ever for this time of year, after crossing the $3.12 per gallon mark on Friday. The previous high was set back in 2008, when the national average price at the pump eventually went on to hit an all-time high of $4.11 in July of that same year. Will history repeat itself this year?
Debit: In other news, I see Groupon now has over 3,000 angry customers because they were allegedly offering a Valentine’s Day “deal” for FTD flowers that was anything but. The customers alleged that their Groupon “deal” actually ended up costing them between $10 and $20 more than if they had simply got the advertised FTD Valentine’s Day bouquet direct from FTD’s regular website.
Debit: According to CNN Money: “Disgruntled shoppers also noted that high service and shipping charges further depleted the voucher’s value. Others found that bouquets would not be delivered before Feb. 15, the day after Valentines Day.” Aside from all that, though, Groupon swears the deal was pretty darn good.
Credit: Even so, to make things right with its customers, Groupon has decided to offer a brand new Valentine’s Day deal with FTD: get two flower bouquets and pay for three.
By the Numbers
2.1 million Number of marriages that took place in 2009.
69 Percentage of people 15 years and older who have been married at least once in their lives — either currently or formerly.
28 Median age of men who get married for the first time.
26 Median age of women who get married for the first time.
19 Among those who have been married, percentage of people married twice.
8 Average length, in years, of first marriages ending in divorce.
5 Among those who have been married, percentage of people married three or more times.
9 Number of times Zsa Zsa Gabor has been married.
8 Number of times Larry King has been married.
15 Estimated percentage of women who will send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. (Just don’t use a Groupon, ladies.)
Other Useless News
Hey, check this out! Speaking of Valentine’s Day… Assuming he’s still game, I am very excited to announce that world famous gynecologist to the stars, Dr. Dean from the The Millionaire Nurse Blog, will be guest hosting next weekend’s edition of Black Coffee so I can properly celebrate my, um, 25th birthday! Even though I am neither a millionaire or a nurse, I love Dr. Dean and his blog; we’re definitely two peas in a pod. So with that in mind, please make Dr. Dean feel at home next week by treating him with the same level of outrage and disrespect some of you show me in your letters and occasional hate mail.
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! ðŸ™‚
Letters, I Get Letters
If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions, 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. ðŸ˜‰
And the Winner of My $100 Reader Appreciation Giveaway Is…
Congratulations to Flo (who entered under the moniker of ContestItalia)! Thank you to everyone who entered! If you didn’t win, don’t despair. I plan on holding another giveaway later this year. ðŸ™‚
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
Carnival @ Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.