It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joeÖ
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of whatís been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Hereís what caught my attention over the past weekÖ
Hey, folks, guess what! Len Penzo dot Com earned two nominations for the 2nd Annual Plutus Awards:
- For the second consecutive year, this platform was nominated for Most Humorous Personal Finance Blog.
- This year, I’m especially proud to say, Len Penzo dot Com was also nominated for Best Personal Finance Blog, Single Author. Hooray!
Unfortunately, the rules prohibit me from paying you for your vote. They also discourage people from voting multiple times — which is ironic considering the awards ceremony on October 1st is being held in Chicago.
There goes my chance of winning this year.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Personal Dividends – How to Have a Yard Sale. Says Briana: “Remember, youíre not an actual store. You should be willing to be flexible on the pricing.” You mean like acquiescing to those bargain Nazis who argue with me for ten minutes over the price of a Backstreet Boys CD — that I’m selling for 25 cents — because they supposedly can get it on Ebay for a dime? Uh huh. I’ve got seven words for people like that: Get the hell off my yard, knuckleheads!
Wisebread – Tips for Accomplishing More in a Day. Ironically, every time I tried to finish reading this post, I kept getting distracted by the strange photo that accompanied the article. Somebody let me know if it was any good.
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – 14 Traits of the Rich: How Many Do You Have? In this post Barb chides Money Magazine for including this obvious trait: the wealthiest people have no kids. I agree, Barb. Frankly, it makes me wonder why Money didn’t also include this little “nugget” on their list: Wealthy people have lots of money. (Psst. Pass it on.)
Monevator – How Did Warren Buffett Get Rich? Speaking of rich people, my favorite blogger from the other side of the pond, the Investor, gives a great run down on how Mr. Buffett became so fabulously wealthy. Now riddle me this, Batman: If Buffett — who is currently worth $50 billion — really believes those in America making more than a million bucks are coddled because they don’t pay enough taxes, then why doesn’t he just liquidate all his assets and voluntarily write a check for $49 billion to the US Treasury? I’m just askin’.
Little House in the Valley – When $1,000,000 Isn’t Enough. My friend, Jennifer, takes a few moments to remind us when a million bucks isnít enough. In my case, being that I’m married to the Honeybee, that would be, let’s see, ah … 24 hours a day. Just don’t tell that to Warren Buffett.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Hope to Prosper – 3 Reasons to Stop Living in the Past
Wealth Pilgrim – Living Trust Trustee — Who Should It Be?
The Penny Hoarder – Does BP Oil Owe Us $6000?
Financially Poor – What is the Financial Freedom Revolution?
Fiscal Fizzle – 10 Financial Victories from College
Everyday Tips and Thoughts – How Remote Garage Door Openers (and Other Trends) are Ruining Society
Beating Broke – Evaluate the True Price of Dining Out to Save Money
Sweating the Big Stuff – Facebook as a Shopping Tool
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From May 2009:
Inflation: Your Four Best Defenses for Preserving Your Wealth – Here are four key ways savers and fiscally responsible individuals who have built up significant savings and investment accounts can defend against the pernicious effects of inflation.
The Question of the Week
Credits and Debits
Debit: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Weekly Standard just highlighted a comprehensive survey that found the $787 billion stimulus wasn’t as effective at hiring the unemployed as it was shifting already-employed workers between jobs. On the bright side, it’s the first survey that actually found the stimulus to be effective at something.
Debit: The stimulus certainly didn’t help create any new jobs in August; essentially zero net jobs were created during the month. That’s the first time since 1945 net job creation was zero.
Debit: Now the economy has a bigger problem rearing its ugly head — declining worker productivity. Increased productivity is a big reason behind rising living standards and it gives companies the latitude they need to increase employee wages.
Debit: Economists are hoping declining productivity is an indication that companies have become so lean that they have now reached a point of maximum efficiency, and will need to hire more workers to meet additional demand. The problem is, with a lackluster economy, where is that additional demand going to come from?
Credit: The answer, of course, is that an economic recovery — and the demand that will surely follow in its wake — will not come unless current economic policy is completely reversed; only fewer regulations, smaller government, and lower taxes will encourage future business investment and expansion on a widespread scale. That’s my story, folks, and I’m sticking to it.
Debit: Speaking of bad economic policy, remember the Community Reinvestment Act signed by Jimmy Carter? Thatís the misguided law that kicked off the feel-good practice of making home loans to people that couldnít afford them. We all know how that eventually turned out. Well, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that, last year, the Department of Justice created a ďfair lendingĒ unit that has been essentially pressuring banks to reinstate that failed practice. Unbelievable. What makes them think the results will end up any differently this time?
Credit: One of the few good things about the Jimmy Carter era was that, back then, teenagers could throw rocks at cars and expect to receive little more than a one-fingered salute from irritated drivers. Iím sure one mischievous teen in San Diego was wishing it was 1977 all over again after he got shot with a crossbow arrow fired from a targeted car. Well, you canít say the driver didnít make his point.
Debit: I see Canada is now warning folks to stay away from buying ďfreshĒ semen. I know. Donít be mad at me though; Iím just reporting the facts here. †
Credit: If it makes any of you feel better, the ban is limited to online semen sales only.
Credit: Yes, as a matter of fact I did plagiarize myself with those last four credits and debits. I featured them in a guest post I wrote for my friend, Dr. Dean, while he was on a “working vacation” this week at some indulgent seaside resort in Costa Rica.
Other Useless News – Another Record Month for Traffic!
August was another record month at Len Penzo dot Com with 170,000 page views! Thank you again to everyone who dropped by to read an article or two over the last 30 days or so — whether you’re a newbie or a long-time reader. If you are a newbie though, I really hope you’ll decide to stick around and become a regular here.
Hey, if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading — or not — please donít forget to:
1. Click on that ďLikeĒ 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. ūüôā
By the Numbers
With sub-prime loans apparently making a comeback, here’s a look at the sub-prime mortgage crisis, according to Wikipedia:
80 Percentage of sub-prime mortgages that had adjustable rates.
124 Percentage increase in the price of a typical American home between 1997 and the height of the housing boom in 2006.
5 Percentage of all loans that were sub-prime in 1994. (The loans were worth $35 billion in all.)
20 Percentage of all loans that were sub-prime in 2006. (Total loan value of $600 billion.)
2 The median down payment percentage for first time home-buyers in 2006
3 Median income multiple required to buy the median American home between 1981 and 2001.
4.6 Median income multiple required to buy the median American home in 2006.
0 Net increase in median income between 2000 and 2007. Despite the massive run up in home prices, people’s incomes just didn’t keep pace.
77 USA household debt as a percentage of annual disposable income in 1990.
127 USA household debt as a percentage of annual disposable income in 2007.
Top 25 Referrers for August
Itís the first weekend of the month, which means itís time once again to thank the Top 25 referring websites to Len Penzo dot Com.
1. MSN: Smart Spending
2. The Simple Dollar
3. Money Talks News
5. Yahoo Finance
6. Time Magazine: Moneyland
11. Credit Karma
12. Living Like No One Else
13. Money Crashers
15. Oblivious Investor
16. Money Help for Christians
17. Reason Magazine
18. (tie) Fabulously Broke in the City
18. (tie) Out of Debt Again
20. Lazy Man and Money
21. Green Panda Tree House
22. Canadian Finance Blog
23. Everyday Tips and Thoughts
24. Yes, I Am Cheap
25. Frugal Families
Thank you to everyone who refers their readers to this little olí blog! Itís much appreciated.
Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment ó 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!
This week, Tom from Oral Answers dropped me a line to tell me he found an editing error: “I think you meant to say ‘… Own A Good Paper Shredder,’ unless you were going for the caveman style: ‘I Len. Me Own Good Paper Shredder.'”
Thank ewe, Tom — and if you hapen to Sea any uther misteaks hear in the fewture, please let me no.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.