Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For March 13, 2011

Across all genders, age groups and ethnicities, rank of "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get" on the list of movie lines that most reflect people's life philosophy, according to the DDB Life Style Study: 1

Ranks of "There's no place like home" from "The Wizard of Oz" (21 percent), "Carpe diem" -- Seize the day -- from "Dead Poets Society" (8 percent) and "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'" from "The Shawshank Redemption": 2, 3, 4

Source: DDB.

When asked how much a car dealer makes as profit on the sale of a $40,000 vehicle, percentage of respondents who answered $4,000 or greater (a profit of 10 percent or more), according to TrueCar's Online Automotive Buying Behavior Report: 55

In reality, percentage profit a dealer makes on each new car sold: 1 to 3

Source: TrueCar Inc.

Percentage of U.S. households with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million -- not including the primary residence -- that say they are likely to purchase equities over the next 12 months, according to a report released by Spectrem Group: 52

Average cash balances, including money market funds, checking, savings, Treasury bills and CDs in ultra-high net-worth households at the end of 2010: $659,000

Percentage of their investable assets that this represents: 10

Source: Spectrem Group.

Percentage of Americans who have more emergency savings than they do credit card debt, according to a poll conducted for Bankrate.com: 52

Percentage who have more credit card debt than emergency savings: 23

Percentage who have neither -- which means they're one unplanned expense away from having high-cost debt: 19

Source: Bankrate.com.

Percentage of American adults who say they have a favorable opinion of unions that represent workers at private companies, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: 48

Percentage who say they have a favorable opinion of unions that represent people who work for state or local governments: 48

Percentage of people who say that when they hear of a dispute between unions and business their first reaction is to side with business: 43

Percentage whose first reaction is to side with unions: 40

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Percentage of dentists who say women professionally whiten their teeth more than men, according to a survey conducted for the Chicago Dental Society's 146th annual Midwinter Meeting: 60

Percentage of dentists who report that basketball was the sport that resulted in the most dental injuries for their patients: 30

Percentage who said hockey: 20

Percentage of dentists who think that smiles are getting so perfect that they look artificial: 50

Source: Chicago Dental Society.

Though toothpicks have been used throughout history by both civilized and primitive cultures, year that the first toothpick-making machine was developed by Charles Forster in Boston, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1869

Year that Silas Noble patented a similar machine that is still in use today: 1872

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of renters who are looking for a bigger apartment, according to apartments.com: 13.3

Percentage who are shopping for a less expensive apartment: 9.7

Percentage who are moving due to rent increases: 6.7

Percentage who want to live in a safer neighborhood: 5.7

Source: Apartments.com.

Ranks of North Dakota, Washington, D.C., South Dakota and Alaska on the list of the areas with the best job markets in 2010, according to the Gallup Job Creation Index 2010: 1, 2, 3, 4

Ranks of Nevada, New Jersey, California and Oregon on the list of places with the worst job markets: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Gallup.

Compared to other planning activities, percentage of pre-retirees who are calculating the effects of inflation on their retirement planning, according to a report from the Society of Actuaries: 72

Percentage of retirees who are making the same calculation: 55

Source: Society of Actuaries.

Idle Thought

"I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law." -- Aristotle

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)