NEWS 
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2009 Richest Counties in America

Stimson-Green Mansion by Patsy Bullitt CollinsI was a little surprised to learn that my home county, Howard County, MD, was the third richest county by median income based on 2008 data released by the American Community Survey. I always knew Howard County was one of the more affluent areas in Maryland but I figured that it wouldn’t stand a chance being compared to the suburbs around New York City, which pepper the rest of the top ten.

Another bit of data that I found both surprising and disconcerting was the percentage of those over 25 with at least a Bachelor’s degree in the richest counties. Arlington County, VA (#9) had a staggering 71% while three others counties (two in Virginia and Howard County, MD) had over 60%. Eleven counties had over 50%. While I knew that college degrees had a significant impact on one’s earning power, and I also know drawing causation out of so little data is dangerous, but this only confirms the suspicions that an advanced degree is almost necessary to get those high paying jobs.

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 Banking, Credit 
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5 Affluent Banking Credit Cards You Can’t Afford

That black beauty right there is the American Express Black Centurion Card. To make them, American Express harvested the cores of ten black holes and pressed them into little cards of pure consumerism-fueled spending bliss (hush all you physicists).

Want one? You’ll need $5,000 up front to pay for it, followed by $2500 a year in annual fees, plus a minimum spend of $250,000 a year. That’s right. A quarter of a million bucks. Whoo hooo, that’s some serious cash. But look at all the cool features of the American Express Centurion card! (a very extensive review of the AMEX Black by social marketing maven Neil Patel)

If that’s a little too rich for your blood, plenty of other companies are offering affluent banking services:

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 The Home 
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Forbes’ Best Home Renovations List

Forbes produced another list of the best home renovations/improvements in terms of their resale value and I thought it would be interesting to compare this list to lists I’ve seen, and blogged about, in the past. With all of these I looked only at the National Average values, since that’s what I’ve always looked at, and tried to pair them up with comparable renovations in past lists. The data they used is from Remodeling magazine’s yearly assessment/survey/magic but one of the lists I used was from a handyman-type site and not a magazine about remodeling.

Overall, Remodeling Magazine makes it sound like a lot of the renovations you make hold a lot of its material and labor value whereas the handyman site doesn’t paint as rosy of a picture. I’m inclined to believe that Remodeling magazine is at least somewhat biased, knowing nothing about it except that it likely sells advertising space to businesses in the remodeling industry, so I’d mark down their resale values a little bit. From a buyer’s perspective, which I was a year ago, I do know that more bedrooms and bathrooms the better (to a point, I’m only one person… I don’t need 8 bathrooms, I don’t even have 8 friends) but a renovated home office means nothing to me. So again, as I approached the other list, I believe the relative rankings of renovation value retention is likely correct though the actual values are subject to a multitude of factors a simple study can’t capture.

The comparative table is available after the jump. (oh, and if you’re going to replace your windows, you might be able to get a tax credit for it because of the latest energy bill)

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 General 
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Top Ten Corporate Hate Websites

Everyone loves a good rant. Got some awful service down at Baskin & Robbins? Let the whole world know! Microsoft Windows just crashed on you again? Scream at the top of your lungs! Well, enter the Internet, the information SUPERHighway. You can complain, rant, rave, moan, bitch, scream and belittle to your hearts content…

Forbes ran a story on the top ten nine (apparently one dropped off the face of the Earth after the article printed) Corporate Hate Websites and a little blurb on each of them. The best part is that it rates the “hostility level” and “entertainment value” of each one (not they they tell us how they score it but I doubt that really matters in such a scientific study). Enjoy!.

  • http://www.kbhomesucks.com
  • http://www.paypalsucks.com
  • http://www.allstateinsurancesucks.com
  • http://www.ms-eradication.org
  • http://www.amexsux.com
  • http://www.walmart-blows.com
  • http://www.verizonpathetic.com
  • http://www.untied.com
  • http://www.unitedpackagesmashers.com
  • Honorable Mentions:

  • http://www.dontflycontinentalairlines.com (5/10/06: No longer exists)
  • http://www.fordlemon.com

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