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…
When I was a teenager I got to be a pretty good golfer. I was shooting in the high 70s and low 80s on the large courses by the time I was 17. For what it’s worth, I was good enough to make the high school golf team three years running. I know. It wasn’t a more glamorous, girl-magnet sport like football or basketball, but as a member of the varsity golf team I at least got to play all the free golf I wanted to at our home golf course — all year long.
Over the long march of time, my golf skills have atrophied quite a bit, simply because I’ve had other interests. If I’m lucky I now get out only three or four times a year, and if I break 90 I’m ecstatic. It’s been a few years since I’ve done that.
Today is one of those rare occasions where I’m getting out to play a round. Even though I haven’t played since last October, I fully expect to break 90. (Just between you and me, that’s because I’m only playing nine holes.)
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Pop Economics – When the Mob Makes You Lose Your Sanity. No, this isn’t about the Gambino crime family. It’s a treatise on the danger of succumbing to the herd mentality. Which only validates my decision to live as a sad, pathetic, loner. (Yes!)
Afford Anything – Money Doesn’t Care Where It Comes From. Says Paula: “Imagine you’re buying a car for $14,800 in cash. The seller is clear he absolutely won’t negotiate any lower. A text-message from your best friend, tells you she found the exact same car for sale 20 minutes across town for $14,700.” Paula then asks, “what would you do?” Psst. It’s a trick question folks: considering a 20-minute trip across town now requires about $106 worth of gasoline, I’d stay right where I was.
PT Money – Tax Preparation Checklist. It’s not too late to file your taxes without penalty; the deadline is Monday, April 18th.
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Extreme Couponing: Writ Large! So this woman hands a $1 coupon to a grocery clerk at the checkout counter who accidentally drops it beneath the scale. The clerk looked distressed so the woman says, “Don’t worry, it’s in coupon heaven now.” “Actually, that’s not true” the checker replied sadly,”That only applies to the redeemed ones.”
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Financial Samurai – Only the Poor or Super Rich Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Hope to Prosper – Real Estate 101: Renting vs. Owning
The Military Wallet – What Happens If You Contribute Too Much to an IRA
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From August 2009:
Is Your Employer Stealing from You? – Have you ever wondered why some employers often look the other way even thought they know that you’re walking out the door with a six-month supply of paper clips and correction tape? You may not know it, but maybe it’s because those employers make up for it by “stealing” money back from you.
Credits and Debits
Credit: The Consumer Price Index shows inflation increased only 0.5 percent in March to a very manageable 2.7 percent. Hooray!
Debit: Then again, anybody who regularly buys groceries and gasoline (that’s now over $4 per gallon in five states), probably finds that to be, well, pure unadulterated poppycock.
Debit: If you measure inflation using the reporting methodologies in place prior to 1980, inflation is now running at an annual rate of closer to 10 percent.
Debit: In other news, the Financial Times reports that the IMF says the US now lacks a credible strategy for reducing its debt problem. Ya think?
Debit: Fiscal conservatives were apoplectic when the federal deficit for all of 2007 was $161 billion, and the CBO warned that if nothing was done the 2012 deficit would be $300 billion.
Debit: How out of control is the federal spending now? The deficit just for the month of February 2011 was a record $223 billion. One month.
Debit: Meanwhile, this week Congress celebrated the approval of the just-approved 2010 budget (that should have been passed last October) because it ultimately reduced annual federal spending by only $352 million — from a budget that calls for $3.55 trillion in spending. Unbelievable.
Debit: To put that in perspective, that is essentially the equivalent of a household that originally planned to spend $50,000 this year, cutting back annual expenditures by $4.96.
Credit: Ron Paul (R-Texas), warned this week — as he has for years — that the collapse of the dollar (and our society as well) is inevitable unless the nation returns to a much smaller federal government limited to duties specifically allocated to it by the Constitution.
Credit: According to Paul, it’s “Better to look reality squarely in the face and tell people the difficult truth that government is simply not capable of managing people’s lives from cradle to grave as was foolishly promised.” More than a few people have argued that Paul should have said “managing people’s lives” — period.
Other Useless News
Many of you have probably noticed that the comments on my blog have been disappearing at times, or simply not working when you try to enter one for a particular post. Well, my WordPress database that stores those comments has been on the fritz for the past couple of weeks and I am doing my best to figure out the bug that is causing my comment data to corrupt. After three hours of debugging yesterday, I think I finally got things fixed. (It’s times like these when I wish I had a dedicated IT department to devote to these kinds of issues!)
By the way, if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading — or not — please don’t forget to:
1. Click on that “Like” button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!
2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!
And last, but not least…
3. Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! Thank you. ðŸ™‚
By the Numbers
Although I rarely play anymore, I love golfing. Here are a few interesting facts about golf:
$76 billion Revenues generated by the golf industry in 2007; golfing is bigger than the motion picture and recording industries combined.
$4,910,476 Total prize money earned by the top player (Matt Kuchar) on the PGA tour in 2010.
26 Events Matt Kuchar played in 2010.
$94,728,667 Career prize money earned to-date by Tiger Woods.
8 Minutes required for a dragonfly to cover the distance of all 18 holes at Augusta National golf course.
12,500:1 Odds that a player of average skill will make a hole-in-one on a par 3 hole.
18 Age when I had my first and only hole-in-one. (Sunset Dunes, Colton, CA; 13th hole, 137 yards, 7-iron.)
Letters, I Get Letters
This Sunday I was honored to host:
Yakezie Carnival: The Chuck Norris Edition. If you haven’t already done so, please check it out!
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Money Management International
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.