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…
I’m off to shop for some new patio furniture with the Honeybee, so let’s get right to it today, shall we?
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Redeeming Riches – How to Learn the Art of Complaining. When it comes to the art of complaining, I used to think my kids had it down to a science, but it turns out they have a lot to learn. Take it from Gary, who says: “Know when to stop talking. Use silence to your advantage. State your case and then just be quiet.” Yes! That’s brilliant! You know, I was so genuinely impressed with this article that I immediately forwarded it to the Honeybee. Of course, she took immediate offense at my innocent gesture and then proceeded to harp on me for the next 30 minutes because she thought I was mocking her. I know.
Yes, I Am Cheap – Last of the Unmarried Mohicans. The biggest revelation from this post was that most newlyweds in New York “expect” cash gifts of at least $200 per attendee. Hmm. If I do the math correctly that’s, let’s see, 62, take the square root of 7, carry the one… Ah, yes. Four-hundred dollars per attending couple — and the newlyweds actually expect that from each guest? Talk about a New York state of mind. That’s not a wedding gift; it’s extortion. (But I’m not complaining. Okay, yes I am. I’ll stop talking now.)
Early Retirement Extreme – Saying No to a New Car. Jackie has had the same (used) car for 20 years. See why buying a used car and keeping it for as long as you can is one of the smartest financial moves you could ever make.
Get Rich Slowly – What Is My Financial Obligation to My Family? Should you loan money to your family members? I know this much: if you’re a New York newlywed and your brother is looking for a couple of spare hundies to pay the rent, you really have no excuse. Just sayin’.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Control Your Cash – It’s Not What You Earn. It’s What You Negotiate.
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Divorce Over 50: Tips On Keeping Your Head
The Military Wallet – Is Your Frugality Actually Costing You?
The Digerati Life – 10 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Small Business Owner
Hope to Prosper – Real Estate 101 – Market Dynamics
Financial Samurai – How to Pay off $35,000 in Credit Card Debt In One Month
Buy Like Buffett – What Is A Dividend?
Canadian Finance Blog – What Would Cripple You Financially?
Monevator – The Monevator HYP: It’s Alive!
Green Panda Tree House – What Are Your Retirement Needs?
Engineer Your Finances – Debt Consolidation: The Pros and Cons
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From June 2009:
The Top 5 Worst Jobs for Teenagers – Before you decide to let your complaining teenage kids and their raging hormones out of the house this summer so they can get a job that let’s them earn a little extra spending money, you may want to make sure they aren’t applying for one of these openings.
Credits and Debits
Credit: Did you see this? Iron-fisted leader Vladimir Putin decided to try and give the Russian automotive industry a boost by taking a 2011 Lada Granta — also known as “Europe’s Cheapest Car” — for a test drive in front of the press this week. Too bad it took five tries before it finally started, as you can see in this video. Hey, what do you want for $7800?
Credit: There is no truth to the rumor that Putin had the entire Lada Granta engineering team taken out back and shot after the botched test drive demonstration.
Credit: A reporter for one apologetic automotive website stated that for $7800, “No miracle is expected and future (Lada Granta) drivers should brace for concessions.” Heh. Right. You mean like expecting to get from Point A to Point B without the aid of a tow truck?
Debit: Zillow is now predicting that the housing market will not bottom out until sometime in 2012 after it was reported that the value of U.S. homes fell during the first quarter of 2011 at the fastest rate since late 2008. U.S. home prices were down another 8.2 percent from the previous year.
Debit: Zillow also reports that 28.4 percent of home owners currently owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. That’s up from 27 percent in the last quarter of 2010.
Debit: For what it’s worth, a total of $56 billion in new debt was auctioned by the U.S. government last week. That’s enough to exceed the federal debt ceiling when the three- and 10-year notes settle this coming Monday. The question is, will Congress cave and raise the debt ceiling yet again?
Debit: Meanwhile, even though we’re only seven months into the 2011 fiscal year, the government has already racked up a deficit of $869.90 billion. April’s $40 billion deficit was the 31st monthly deficit in a row.
Credit: Finally, the New York Daily News reports that a recent poll shows that 25 percent of all adults living in New York — and 36 percent of New Yorkers under age 30 — plan to leave the state. Over 60 percent of those folks cite economic reasons like the cost of living, taxes, and a lack of jobs. The other 40 percent were deathly afraid of getting an invitation to attend a wedding there.
The Question of the Week
Other Useless News – A Big Mother’s Day Last Week!
I don’t know about the rest of you mothers out there, but I had a terrific day last Sunday. That’s because Len Penzo dot Com had over 23,000 page views on Mother’s Day thanks to a ton of referral traffic from MSN and MSN’s Smart Spending blog! In terms of total page views, it was enough to make last Sunday the single biggest day ever here, beating the previous mark of 22,000 page views set on September 3, 2010.
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By the Numbers
The automotive industry, by the numbers:
806 million Number of cars on the road worldwide.
250 million Number of cars operating in the United States.
94 Percentage of trips from an American home that involve a car.
23 Seconds between car thefts in the United States.
14 Percentage of U.S. auto sales coming from Southern California.
1949 Year the VW Beetle was introduced in the United States.
2 The number of Beetles sold in the US in 1949.
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!
If I am to believe everything I get in my email inbox, The FBI has apparently been keeping tabs on me: “Sir, we have logged your IP address on more than 40 illegal websites. Please answer the attached questions.”
Before you take me in, let me just say this: any pirated mp3’s I may have accidentally downloaded from any nefarious websites were only being used for a school research project.
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Yes, I Am Cheap
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.