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 hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday. I sure did, which is why I’ve got a very abbreviated espresso edition for you this week. I know — but I’ll be back with a more traditional cup of joe for everyone next week.
Okay, off we go …
Credits and Debits
Debit: This year’s so-called El Nino weather pattern has turned the North American climate upside down with almost-tropical temps in the Northeast and downright cold weather here in Southern California and the rest of the West. Yes, anything below 60 degrees F is freezing in my book.
Credit: Heck, it was 72 degrees F in New York City on Christmas Eve. So it’s no wonder that one the biggest beneficiaries there have been the Big Apple ice cream vendors, who say sales are up an average of 26% this month.
Credit: No matter what the temperature is where you are, I want to wish everyone a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! I think it’s going to be a very interesting one for all of us.
Last Week’s Poll Results
Do you expect 2016 will be better or worse for you than 2015?
- Better (44%)
- About the same (31%)
- Worse (25%)
Nearly 900 people responded to last week’s question and I’m happy to say that fully three-quarters of you expect 2016 to be either an improvement over this year — or at least no worse. I love your optimism, folks!
The Question of the Week
By the Numbers
Despite another year of near-trillion dollar deficits, the US economy continued its downward spiral in 2015:
85 Percentage of American men who had jobs in the 1950s.
65 Percentage of American men who are employed today.
43 Percentage of Americans today who spend more than they make each month.
– $905 Median household net wealth for the poorest 20% of Americans in 2000.
– $6090 Median household net wealth for the poorest 20% of Americans in 2011.
19 US worldwide rank in median wealth per adult.
49Percentage of all 25-year-old Americans who still live with their parents.
1,500,000 Number of Americans who currently live on less than $2 per day — that number has doubled since 1996.
70 According to a Pew survey, the percentage of Americans who now believe “debt is a necessity in their lives.”
$15,950 Average credit card debt of American households with at least one credit card.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Other Useless News
Here are the top 5 articles viewed by my 8261 RSS feed and weekly email subscribers over the past 30 days (excluding Black Coffee posts):
- Beware the Four Horsemen of Personal Finance
- When Is the Right Time to Stop Giving Gifts to Nieces and Nephews
- The 5 Major Money Personalities
- The Handy Dandy Gift Guide of Practical Presents Under $25
- 7 Questions You Should Always Ask When Buying New Clothes
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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! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
After reading my post explaining why I’m not impressed by people who drive fancy cars, Linda Lee felt compelled to share this:
I have zero debt. I have an MBA in Finance. I (have) 3 BMWs: 328i, X3 and M3. I also own a 2011 28 ft Sea Ray Sundancer power cruiser and a gorgeous 3bd/3ba downtown Chicago loop condo.
Good for you. Now maybe you should consider buying some humility.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: 123rf.com