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…
As you read this, guess who is sitting on a beautiful beach somewhere in Maui.
Actually, I’m talking about me and the Honeybee!
Without the kids.
I know. Somebody pinch me.
I just love Maui. In fact, this will be my fourth trip there in the last 15 years. I promise to dish the surprising financial dirt in a coming post.
Do you think my boss will catch on if I call in sick five days in a row this week? Yeah, me too.
It doesn’t really matter; I think I’ve already used up all my sick days this year anyway.
The Question of the Week
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Darwin’s Money – My Kid Flooded Our Home. Says Darwin: “Sometimes my kids do things that, well, test me. Last night I received a frantic call from my wife that water was pouring through the ceiling, soaking multiple rooms going all the way down to the basement.” Hey, I’m a parent to younger kids too. If that’s just a test, then I’m really worried about the final exam.
Get Rich Slowly – Our Roof Repair: A Typical Tale of Working with Contractors. Coincidentally, it turns out one evening this summer JD had trouble of his own with copious amounts of water pouring through a bedroom ceiling. No, it wasn’t Darwin’s kid. Or maybe it really was, and JD is simply covering for him by blaming it on shoddy contractor work. Right. You know what? On second thought, I bet it was Darwin’s kid.
Online Investing AI – The One Thing That Buys Happiness. Although I’m sure JD and Darwin would probably disagree, the answer is neither competent contractors or waterproof floors and ceilings.
Frugal Under Forty – Things I’ve Learned from the Stock Market. Although Mr. Frugal provided a panoply of stock market lessons in this post, one particular piece of advice he gave really resonated with me: always have a Plan B. Yep; I think that basically sums it all up.
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Afford Anything – Why I Quit My Job — And Why I Almost Didn’t
Control Your Cash – Getting Fired Never Felt So Good
Hope to Prosper – Money Fail: The Payment Mentality
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Estate Taxes: Do You Care?
Krantcents – Personal Best
Ironclad Finances – Misadventure in Home Repair
Wealth Pilgrim – Which Job Is Right For Me?
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From May 2010:
8 Big Reasons You’re Getting an F in Personal Finance 101 – If there was a class called Personal Finance 101, and you found yourself swimming in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, the odds are your grade would be an F. Consider this post a little friendly counseling designed to help bring up your grade.
Credits and Debits
Debit: The number of first-time home default notices in the third quarter of 2011 increased 14 percent over the previous period; that’s the first increase after five consecutive declines.
Credit: The rise is attributed to banks finally working through their huge backlog of foreclosed homes. That’s good news when you consider the entire housing market will continue to languish until these foreclosures are flushed from the system.
Debit: Of course, most people run into trouble with their mortgage payments after they lose their jobs. Last week saw another 405,000 Americans file for unemployment benefits — that unnerving pace has pretty much continued since April.
Debit: The bleak jobs picture is probably why Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index had its worst performance since the first quarter of 2009. Only eight percent of those surveyed had a positive view of the economy.
Debit: I bet that eight percent includes double-dipping Chicago union officials, some of whom, according to a report in this week’s Chicago Tribune, stand to receive annual pensions of over $400,000.
Debit: The index fell to minus 50.8 for the week ending October 9th — the fourth consecutive week the index ended under minus 50. That’s only happened three times since the inception of the index in 1985.
Debit: I’m not sure consumer confidence is going to increase much as long as the White House continues to tout the $447 billion jobs bill by noting the proposed legislation will “support” existing jobs. As Hot Air observed, that promise has even less meaning than the “jobs saved or created” claim used to justify the previous $787 billion stimulus.
Credit: Aside from “jobs supported,” Hot Air readers proffered a few other potential selling points for the bill’s sponsors including: “jobs envisioned,” “hobbies acknowledged” and “The American Jobs Act will also support healthy prostate function and help with stubborn belly fat.”
Debit: Meanwhile, the president stopped off at an Orlando pub this week to drink beer with four unemployed construction workers. If I was unemployed you wouldn’t catch me drinking beers in an expensive downtown pub.
Debit: Then again, if you’ve got 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, maybe time and money isn’t a pressing concern. I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.
Credit: At least the boys were drinking all-American Budweisers.
Debit: Well, except for the president; he drank a Guinness. I know. (I just hope he picked up the tab.)
Credit: Did anybody see this? Three young women suspected of raping countless male backpackers and footsloggers walking along Zimbabwe roads during a chilling two-year reign of terror were finally captured by police last week. Hooray!
Credit: Ironically, since the arrest of the alleged rapists, Zimbabwe highway authorities have suddenly observed a perplexing drop in the number of male hitchhikers. Go figure.
By the Numbers
This week, as part of his campaign to get “the rich” to pay more taxes, Warren Buffett revealed that his 2010 adjusted gross income was $62,855,038. Here’s a little on Buffett and taxes:
$39 billion Buffett’s net worth as of September 2011, according to The Richest People.
$39,814,784 Buffett’s taxable income last year.
$15,300 Amount Buffett paid in payroll taxes in 2010.
16 Percentage of their total income the average American pays to the federal government in income and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center.
20.1 Percentage of their total income the average American millionaire pays to the federal government in income and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center.
17.4 Percentage of Buffet’s taxable income that he paid to the federal government in income and payroll taxes. ($6,923,494)
2.7 Percentage of all federal income taxes paid by the bottom fifty percent of Americans (i.e., those with an adjusted gross income of $33,048 or less in 2008).
45 Percentage of Americans who paid absolutely NO federal income taxes in 2010, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Other Useless News
According to Google Analytics, here are ten financial questions people “googled” over the past 30 days that led them to Len Penzo dot Com:
- Living in Colorado on $70,000 per year?
- Is $40,000 a good salary for four people?
- How can I survive on less than 35000 living in maryland?
- Can I live on $30,000 a year in the bay area?
- Living on $20,000 per year in dallas?
- Can a person live on $17,000 a year in usa?
- Can you survive in California on one income?
- How much should I earn if I want to buy a 40000 car?
- Can I buy a luxury car on $100k salary?
- 73 year old man, 23000 [sic] mortgage pay off early?
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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!
For some reason Louie felt an overwhelming need to deposit this question in the Len Penzo dot Com mailbox: “Hey Len! How many calories are there in a booger?”
Heh. You don’t really expect me to bite on that one, do you?
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.