Black Coffee: The ‘On the Road Again’ Edition

black coffeeIt’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.


What a week! A six-day business that included stops in Florida and Ohio trip left me with little time this week to put together a full-bodied robust cup of Black Coffee for you. as a result, I have a very brief espresso edition.


Don’t blink. Off we go …


Credits and Debits


Debit: California passed legislation that will end up raising the minimum wage by 50% over a six-year period. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill despite admitting that “economically, minimum wages may make little sense.” Heh. “May”? That’s Reason #2845 why California is the land of fruit and nuts.


Credit: The minimum wage in New York will also increase by 67% to $15 per hour over the next three years. Hey … do you hear that? If you don’t, you will soon; that’s the sound of entry-level jobs being sucked out of the Empire and Golden States – and it’s getting louder.


Debit: Meanwhile, Americans will spend more on taxes this year than food, clothing and housing. Combined.


Debit: What’s that? You don’t really think all of those federal government entitlements, services and the countless bureaucrats who support and “manage” them are free, do you? Don’t laugh; apparently, 62% of Americans do. At least that’s how many are in favor of a “free” college education. I know.


Credit: For his part, Stanley Druckenmiller, who is arguably the greatest hedge fund manager of the last 25 years, recently said this: “The current picture of expected tax revenues combined with benefits promised to future generations is the most unsustainable situation I have seen ever in my career.”


Debit: Of course, that “free stuff” mentality will eventually disappear – but not until the US dollar loses its status as the world’s reserve currency. Sadly, some people are mispricing the risk of such an event ever occurring – and almost everyone else doesn’t even know what a reserve currency is.


Last Week’s Poll Result


How many pairs of shoes do you own?

    • 6 to 10 (33%)
    • 3 to 5 (26%)
    • 11 to 20 (18%)
    • More than 20 (14%)
    • Less than 3% (9%)

Almost 800 people participated in last week’s poll and it turns out that 3 in 5 people own between 3 and 10 pairs of shoes. Incredibly, 1 in 7 own more than 20 pairs. Wow!


The Question of the Week


Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.


(The Best of) By the Numbers


A portion of my six days on the road included six different flights. Thankfully, flying is the safest way to travel – and here are a few facts to prove it:


0.05 The fatality rate for commercial buses per 100 million passenger miles.


0.003 The fatality rate for scheduled airlines per 100 million passenger miles.


7229:1 Your lifetime odds of dying as an air traveler. (This number includes more dangerous non-commercial air travel.)


4982:1 The odds you’ll kick the bucket as a pedal cyclist over your lifetime.


907:1 The chance of meeting your maker while riding on a motorcycle.


749:1 Your lifetime risk of buying the farm while walking.


415:1 The odds of you giving up the ghost while driving during your lifetime.


85 The fatality rate risk multiplier for helicopters compared to driving.


Sources: Business Insider; Slate


Other Useless News


Here are the top – and bottom – five states in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:


1. New Hampshire (2.09 pages/visit)


2. Hawaii (2.06)


3. Maine (2.02)


4. Arkansas (1.98) (Thanks, Trey!)


5. Idaho (1.97)




46. New Jersey (1.51)


47. Georgia (1.51)


48. North Dakota (1.39)


49. Nebraska (1.39)


50. West Virginia (1.14)



Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like my friends in New Hampshire … for the second month in a row!) – or not (ahem, West Virginia) – please don’t forget to:


1. Click on that Like 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!


3. Subscribe via email too!


And last, but not least …


4. Consider becoming a Len Penzo dot Com Insider! Thank you.


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:


Taddy left this comment after reading his personal finance horoscope:


Scorpio here too, and I’ve been eating cheeseburger helper for most of a month.


Okay. But please vary your diet by occasionally eating something from the other three bachelor food groups too: ramen, beer and mac & cheese.


I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.


Photo Credit: brendan-c



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