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.
I was out of town for most of this past week. As a result, I’ve got a lot on my plate this weekend — which is why I am offering up an espresso edition of Black Coffee for you today. I know. But I’ll return next week with a standard full-serving fare. Scout’s honor.
(No, I’m not a Boy Scout, but sometimes I play one on the Internet.)
Okay, off we go …
Credits and Debits
Debit: You know the stock market is deep into “irrational exuberance” territory when you consider that, on paper, Facebook is now worth more than WalMart — even though WalMart’s revenues exceed Facebook’s earnings by more than 40 times. Um, can you say “Pets.com“?
Debit: On a somewhat related note, a new poll finds that 72% of Americans are afraid that an economic crash is looming on the horizon. Hey … maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought. Oh, never mind. Yes, I am.
Debit: In other news, the US Congress approved fast-track authority for President Obama’s trade agenda, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — also known as “Obamatrade” — which he is currently negotiating with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.
Debit: According to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Obamatrade will transform America into another version of the European Union, forcing the US to cede its sovereignty on trade matters to an unelected self-governing regulatory commission. (As if we didn’t already have enough of those to deal with.)
Debit: More specifically, the Center for Immigration Studies says Obamatrade would permit an international tribunal to “greatly expand access for foreign workers in dozens of occupations including engineering, veterinary medicine, construction, hotel and restaurant work, transportation, and recreation.” If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, it should.
Credit: Then again, if Obamatrade is even half as successful in the trade department as Obamacare has been at improving America’s healthcare system, then I’m not sure what everyone is so worried about. Oh, wait …
Debit: Unfortunately, foreign workers have this nasty habit of depressing American wages — which is why it boggles the mind that any US politician would ever willingly push for a larger foreign workforce within his national borders. With friends like them, who needs enemies?
Debit: After all, according to a recent study, more Americans than ever are now delaying major life events such as retiring, getting married, and having children because of money worries; 51% to be exact. Don’t worry though — more foreign workers will fix that.
Debit: In fact, 22% of Americans said money issues caused them to put off buying a home in 2015, compared to just 14% in 2007. Unfortunately, as Zero Hedge notes, more than 25% of all US renters now pay at least half of their income for housing. I’m sure more foreign workers will fix that too.
Debit: According to MarketWatch, there are now 70 million Americans “teetering on the edge of financial ruin.” Just wait until they find out that they’re this close to losing their job to a foreigner who will happily work here for lower wages. Well, that’s assuming they have a job.
By the Numbers
Here are few more results from that recent study on the effect of Americans’ finances on their buying habits:
13% Americans whose finances is forcing them to delay having a child in 2015.
5% Respondents in 20o7 who delayed having a child for financial reasons.
12% US citizens who are delaying marriage in 2015.
5% Americans who delayed getting married in 2007 due to financial constraints.
18% Americans who are delaying retirement this year because they’re worried about money.
9% Respondents in 2007 who delayed retirement for the same reason.
60% People who are delaying a major life event this year because of a lack of savings.
50% Folks who are delaying a major life event in 2015 because they are worried about the economy.
Source: New York Times
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
Would you try to avoid flying on any airline that charges a fee for soft drinks, juice, coffee and tea?
- Yes (58%)
- No (36%)
- I’m not sure. (6%)
More than 400 people responded to last week’s question, and a clear majority say they do their best to stay away from fee-happy airlines that charge passengers $1.99 for non-alcoholic beverages. I do too.
Other Useless News
Here are the top 5 articles viewed by my 6842 RSS feed and weekly email subscribers over the past 30 days (excluding Black Coffee posts):
- Notes from a Car Mechanic: 6 Simple Money-Saving Tips
- 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Being Frugal
- 10 Financial Rules of Thumb that are Really Old Wives’ Tales
- Social Security and My $152,000 Challenge to Uncle Sam
- How to Make Yourself Richer by Understanding Money
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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! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
Janice sent me this note after reading my article on how to prepare for an economic collapse:
I had no idea you were a prepper!
Yep. Wouldn’t you like to be a prepper too?
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
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