April 29, 2016

Best of Blogs for April 29th

Every Friday afternoon I share some of the more interesting or notable posts that I have seen in the personal finance blogs and other sources for the past week

MyMoneyBlog discusses Secret Shame: Will We Ever Talk Openly About Money?


MoneyTips lists 2016’s Top 50 Social Influencers in Personal Finance & Wealth found via TheBigPicture.    They seem to have made a clerical error and failed to list my name.

Also found this via TheBigPicture, though it doesn't really have anything much to do with personal finance... Mapping Every Power Plant in the United States
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April 28, 2016

Home Lot Sizes in the US

The median size of a home lot in the US is 0.25 acres.   This does not include mult-unit housing like apartment complexes, etc.

The data on home lot size is from the American Housing Survey 2013 national tables.

Here is a graph of the size distribution :



(numbers in thousands)

Percentage distributions :


Table form:

size  #
Less than 1/8 acre   16,223
1/8 up to 1/4 acre   25,008
1/4 up to 1/2 acre   16,841
1/2 up to 1 acre  10,199
1 up to 5 acres   20,593
5 up to 10 acres   3,117
10 acres or more   4,177

I live in an area with relatively small lot sizes where most lots are 1/8 acre or less.   So I'm a little surprised that most home lots are larger.   But I'm not especially surprised.   Where I grew up our neighborhood was full of lots in the 5-10 acre size range and I think a lot of people had 1/4 acre size lots in the city boundary.

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April 27, 2016

What is the Normal Retirement Age For Social Security?

I think a lot of people still associate 65 years as being the normal (full) retirement age for Social Security.   But that hasn't been the case for people retiring for many years.  

For most people now the full retirement age is 67 years. 

The statement you get from Social Security will list your full retirement age, but if you don't know it you can look below.      If you are between 56 and 73 years old then it 66 plus a number of months depending on your exact age.

Below is a table that I directly copy/pasted right off the Social Security website:

1937 or earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
1943--195466
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 and later67


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April 26, 2016

Its Worth It To Leave My TV On All Day Long

We have a newer TV that we bought earlier this year.   It is a 58" Samsung LED.    The TV has built in apps and wifi and we can watch Netflix, Youtube and Amazon Prime among other things direct through the TV.    Its a neat feature that we use quite a bit.    However when you turn on the TV it takes a while to initialize the apps and you have to wait a while.    When you first power up it takes a couple seconds for the TV to come on.    Then you hit the smart hub button and select the app you want.    Then it will initially give a message that its "Preparing the TV... please try again later."  with an OK button and no other choice.    The TV is probably setting up its internal computer and connecting to the network.     It takes about a minute for the TV to turn on and then get to the point that you can load the apps.  

The TV uses about 60W of electricity.    If I leave the TV on for 1 hour then it uses 60 Wh.    Thats 0.06 kWh.     A kWh costs me about 11c.     So leaving the TV on for 1 hour costs about 0.66c of electricity.       Leaving the TV on 3 hours is roughly 2c.   If I left it on all day long it would be roughly 10c.

If equate my time to be worth the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour then 1 minute of my time is worth 12c.

Because turning the TV off takes 1 minute that is worth about 12c.    Therefore...

Leaving my TV on all day is worth it to save the 1 minute of my time.

Now I cant exactly magically take 1 minute of my time and turn it into money.  But I do value my free time more than minimum wage.   If I could pay money to do away with all the wasted time in my week and it added up to 2 hours then I'd happily spend 1 hour of that time in a money making endeavor in order to pay the money and end up with 1 extra free hour.   I  don't think I'll leave my TV on all day because I don't like wasting electricity.   But if I know I'm going to be using the TV off and on over a day I may leave it on a few hours to save waiting 1 minute multiple times after it powers up each time.

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