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I am a huge supporter of financial literacy, for both kids and adults. Financial literacy has become more complex since I was a fifth grader back in the 80’s (I know I am dating myself here). The financial services industry has exploded offering everything from online trading to debt relief. Tax laws make filing taxes a DIY nightmare, unless you purchase software like TurboTax with a step by step guide. And, applying for a loan or a credit card of any kind requires reading twenty plus pages of fine print. Read More.
The modest uptick in debt and continuing decline in most delinquencies are particularly significant, he said, given the history consumers have had with debt since the recession. Read More.
A typical young U.S. household—defined as one led by someone under age 35—had $15,000 in total debt in 2010, down from $18,000 in 2001 and the lowest since 1995, according to a recent Pew Research Center report and government data. Total debt includes mortgage loans, credit cards, auto lending, student loans and other consumer borrowing. Read More.
Here are seven personal finance myths that happen to be everyday beliefs about the way we consider and handle money. Many of these myths fool even the smartest of savers. The latest research will help you discern the facts and see through the smoke. Read More.
I doubt you’ll ever see Chase (or any other credit card company) put a warning label on their credit cards though, because that would essentially be an admission that their product could potentially be harmful to people. They would have to admit that they provide incentives such as low introductory rates to get people to open an account, hoping that they will get some number of customers that use their new line of credit to live beyond their means. They pay interest on their revolving debt forever, giving the credit card companies a constant revenue stream, but hurting their own financial picture.c Read More.
In financial markets, signs of exhaustion often precede a top. Higher education in the U.S. is giving similar signs. The weariness is apparent via rising dropout rates, declining international educational rankings, waning student effort, anger about student debt, chronic government intervention, and rising grassroots doubt about the value of higher education. All of these items, taken in context with EWI’s social mood forecast, point to a looming reversal. Read More.
Consumers may be deleveraging, but the proportion of people with more emergency savings than credit card debt hasn’t changed much,” McBride told Bankrate. “Given the poll’s 3.5% margin of error, one can make the argument that consumers haven’t moved the needle at all over the past 24 months. Read More.
Reading personal finance blogs can give [you] a different perspective on how others handle their finances,” says Travis Pizel from Enemy of Debt. “When I started blogging, I had about $95,000 of credit card debt. Sharing ideas—including ways to save money—is a powerful [way] to make getting out of debt a positive experience. Read More.
According to EBRI, the average debt for households age 55 and over increased from $73,727 in 2007 to $75,082 in 2010, and total debt payments as a percentage of income increased from 10.8% in 2007 to 11.4% in 2010. Read More.
The article reminded me just why Vonnie and I have worked tirelessly at our communication and handling of our finances. We’ve recently gotten caught up in the day to day business of reducing expenses and getting the most for our money. We’ve lost ourselves in the numbers, concentrating on the trees, and lost focus on the financial forest. Read More.
Retail sales data encouraged the idea that the payroll tax hike from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent, worth 1 percent of personal disposable incomes, would pass off with little impact. But the effect of the payroll tax was only partly in January," it said, indicating that only a modest impact would have been expected for January. Read More.
An Ameriprise survey of older workers with at least $100,000 in assets found that 22% weren't on track to pay off their credit cards by retirement. Read More.
MarketWatch reports that students who go to the most “affordable” four-year public colleges are more likely to drop out and to fall behind on their student-loan payments, according to a “College Scorecard” released by the U.S. Department of Education. Read More.
FTC investigators determined that at least a fifth of consumers have a material error on at least one of their credit reports, and at least 13 percent have one that affected their credit score. For at least 5 percent of consumers, fixing the problem would nudge them into a more favorable risk category, making it easier to open new credit lines and to secure more favorable interest rates. Read More.
Jeff Richardson, vice president of VantageScore Solutions, concurs.”As long as the lender is reporting the account as current during the previous month, and the weekly payments cover the minimum amount due, then there would be no impact from paying a bill weekly," he says. Read More.
Interestingly enough, 60% of divorces are caused by money problems,” says personal finance expert Carol Pepper, author of The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom. “That’s the number one cause of divorce; it’s not infidelity, it’s money. Read More.
Opponents says the last minimum wage hikes wiped out tens of thousands of jobs and helped aggravate youth and college student unemployment, now stuck stubbornly at 24.6%, higher than historical levels. Read More.
No one likes to owe the IRS money, in fact many of us will find every loophole possible to avoid having to pay in to the IRS come April 15th. Maybe this year you weren’t so lucky and the IRS will be looking to collect money you don’t have. Read More.
Would you pay a little more for the peace of mind that you don’t have to keep a receipt for an item? What do you think about retailers keeping track of your purchases electronically? Read More.
I also liked the Actions tab, which offers a checklist of actions you can take to keep yourself out of debt — from debt-consolidation options to stopping credit-card offers. Read More.
The average consumer carries thousands of dollars in credit card balances, yet many Americans are incredibly ignorant about debt. In working with folks who are overwhelmed with debt, I have met thousands of individuals who still subscribe to some very archaic and inaccurate beliefs. Here are some of the most common misunderstandings. Read More.
The long term unemployed in the U.S are having an easier time finding jobs, while the chronic problem of long-term joblessness may disappear in the months ahead, according to a study released Monday from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Read More.
On July 1st, 2009, we enrolled in a debt management plan with CareOne Debt Relief Services with $109,000 of credit card debt. CareOne negotiated a lower interest rate and monthly payments with each of our creditors that would allow for us to pay off our debt completely within 60 months. In return, the creditors closed our accounts to prevent us from accumulating more debt. Read More.
Yet in the past I’d insist upon doing the exact same thing with my finances. I wouldn’t pay attention to how much I was spending, completely ignoring financial danger. Read More.
According to the more recent TransUnion study, more than half of student loans are in deferred status where the loan payment has been temporarily delayed. Deferred loans now represent 43.5% of all student loan balances. Read More.
In all, 33% of all subprime student loans in repayment were 90 days or more past due in March 2012, up from 24% in 2007, according to a Wednesday report by TransUnion LLC. Read More.
Today, homeowners eligible under HAMP for the so-called Principal Reduction Alternative program are granted a reduction in their mortgage balance, among other options, so that their monthly mortgage payment is no more than 31 percent of their gross income. The reduction is typically deducted from the loan over three years, during which the homeowner must continue to pay their mortgage on time. Read More.
I’m one of those people that doesn’t believe in coincidences. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that people are brought into your life when you need them. I have some friends that entered my life when I desperately needed help and support on my journey out of debt. They’ve been walking along with me ever since, and I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me. Read More.
A troubling survey shows that older Americans are carrying more credit card debt than younger people, due mainly to job loss and medical bills, not because of a lack of financial responsibility. Read More.
You can avoid the fee by using a debit card, for one thing. And there are laws prohibiting these surcharges in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Read More.
Unemployment insurance claims fell by 5,000 compared to the previous week, down to 330,000. This is the fewest number of new unemployment claims in five years, since January 19, 2008. Forecasts estimated 355,000 claims, but the actual figures are about 7 percent lower. Read More.
The younger segment has been trained to think about debit, but not to think about the value of credit," says Matt Simester, managing director at the firm. "When you compound this with the difficulty younger consumers have had in getting credit, there is a clear need to develop products specifically for the younger segment. Read More.
Does this sound like you? I decided to do a little research to find out the “why” behind the inability to say no; to help keep you stress free and debt free, just by using one simple little word, no. Read More.
Which U.S. city has the lowest unemployment rate? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s Bismarck, North Dakota. Read More.
Researchers examined Capitol One credit card data for more than 32,000 people from 1997 to 2009, including borrowers age 18 to 85. The study, which appears in the January issue of the journal Economic Inquiry, was the first to examine both sides of the equation -- how people borrow and how they pay off their cards -- allowing researchers to forecast payoff times. Read More.
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. Read More.
Unemployment rates fell in 22 states in December reflecting a stable national jobless rate despite fierce budget battles in Washington. Unemployment rose in 16 states and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in 12, the Labor Department said Friday. Read More.
American consumers born between 1980 and 1984 carry on average of $5,689 more in credit card debt than their parents, born between 1950 and 1954, and $8,156 more than their grandparents, born between 1920 and 1924, at the same stage of life.The study also found that younger Americans’ payoff rate is 24 percentage points lower than that of their parents’ and approximately 77 percentage points lower than their grandparents’ payoff rate. Read More.
I recently heard a rumor that January was ‘divorce month.’ Really? I guess I am not surprised as the holidays can really take their toll on people; family gatherings, financial stress, and the pending New Year all have a way of pulling on those heart strings. Apparently, if you’re filing for divorce in January you are not alone. Read More.
When you’re in debt, there are shortcuts you can take to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying or even the amount of money you owe. They can be tempting but be aware that each of these shortcuts comes with a risk. Read More.
AARP's Public Policy Institute and Demos conducted a survey of U.S. middle-class adults age 50 and older found older households carried an average credit card balance of $8,278 in 2012. Read More.
January is the start of a new year, a blank page to re-write your destiny. Instead of making resolutions that won’t last, this year devise a plan to help you reach your goals, whether they are financial, health related, or personal. Read More.
Last year, the low- and middle-income 50-plus population had an average credit card balance of $8,278, compared with the younger generation's balance of $6,258, according to research conducted by Demos, a liberal public policy organization on behalf of AARP. Read More.
Far from paying our bills, the current generation of Americans -- or some of them -- have set records for default which probably have no parallel in the history of the human race. During the last five years, U.S. individuals have walked away from a staggering $585 billion in mortgages, credit card debts and other personal loans. That works out at about $6,000 per household. Read More.
Researchers say that people born between 1980 and 1984 have on average $5,689 more debt than their parents had at the same stage of their lives and $8,156 more than their grandparents. Read More.
The psychological burden of debt not only saps intellectual resources, it also reinforces the reckless behavior, and quickly, Dr. Shafir and other experts said. Millions of Americans have been keeping the lights on through hard times with borrowed money, running a kind of shell game to keep bill collectors away. The average debt for households earning $20,000 a year or less more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010, according to the Urban Institute. The averages for households in slightly higher brackets grew by 50 to 90 percent in the same period. Read More.
Since 2007 to 2008, the average pay for recent four-year graduates has fallen nearly 5%, while the average earnings of a typical American worker, as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is up 10%. Read More.
Thanks to the actions of congress we didn’t fall off the fiscal cliff, and he non-renewal of the payroll tax reduction will affect some people more than others. For my family it’s certainly not a cliff, but more of a financial pothole. Read More.
In Generation Opportunity’s national survey of more than 1,000 young adults, 64 percent said the availability of more quality full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lowering student loan interest rates. Without a good job, we can’t pay back student loans, cover rent or pay for other necessities. It’s simple math. Granted, Mr. Obama does not solely carry the blame — both parties have dropped the ball. Only 38 percent of millennials think Washington actually reflects their interests, and 47 percent actually think current economic policies are hurting them. Read More.
Let’s take a close look at the seven warning signs your debt is getting out of control. You don’t need to have all seven indicators to be at serious risk of a credit card meltdown. Even if only a few of these factors describe your situation, you should still take a hard look at your finances and consider the basic options for debt relief. Read More.
The CFPB’s rules, announced Thursday, require banks to verify that borrowers can afford a mortgage. They bar the so-called “no doc” and “low doc” mortgages popular during the financial crisis in which borrowers weren’t required to prove that they could afford to repay a loan. Under the new rules, mortgages will be limited to 43 percent of a borrower’s income. Read More.
This relief will benefit homeowners who received mortgage debt forgiveness as a result of a reduction in principal, foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Under the United States Federal Tax Code, any debt that is forgiven, including mortgage debt, is treated as income and, therefore, subject to income tax. As the expiration date drew near, homeowners rushed to complete short sales before the end of the year to avoid tax on the difference between their mortgage debt and the sale price. For many, this tax would have been thousands of dollars. By extending the Act, homeowners will not have to pay income tax on mortgage debt forgiven up to two million dollars. Read More.
The sharp difference in the borrowing gains illustrates a broader trend that began after the recession. Four years ago, Americans carried $1.03 trillion in credit card debt, a high. In November, that figure was 16.5 percent lower. Read More.
I have a confession to make…It’s been over a year since I tracked my household’s expenses. Yes I know better, yes that is horrible, and yes unfortunately, it’s the truth. Read More.
Consumer credit rose by a seasonally adjusted $16.1 billion in November, marking the second straight sizable gain, according to the Federal Reserve. In October, consumers racked up a slightly revised $14.0 billion in additional debt. Read More.
As we count down the days to a second term, a look at his record on college lending. Read More.
According to research from the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans make New Year's resolutions, but only 46% of those resolutions last beyond six months. Read More.
The Great Recession was supposed to have shown the dangers of overspending, but poor financial judgment continues to be a problem for some Americans. Reining in a budget can be unpleasant, but bargaining, justifying and even going into denial are no way to tackle money problems. Read More.
According to the New York Federal Reserve’s most recent report, consumers cut their overall household debt burden by a whopping $1.37 trillion from the third quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of this year. By the end of September 2012, total household debt was $11.31 trillion, and the four-year-long “Great American Debt Diet” was still on track. Read More.
For the first time in more than six years, the unemployment rate for adult women (those over age 20), seasonally adjusted, has surpassed that for adult men. Read More.
The extension means homeowners now will be excused from paying taxes on forgiven mortgage debt through 2013. The law, established in 2007, was set to expire Dec. 31. Read More.
Did you ever wonder why New Year’s resolutions never last? Each year as I resolve to quit all the bad habits I developed over the previous year, I always do. But if you take the right approach to a resolution such as “getting out of debt”, there’s no reason you can’t be successful. Read More.
About three months ago, I was honored to be a guest on Gerri Detweiler’s Talk Credit Radio program. I was thrilled to share Vonnie and I’s debt story and answer Gerri’s questions regarding how it has changed our lives forever. Read More.
Could you live on an average of less than $10,000 a year? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor 24.4 million households do. But at what price? Statistics from the Consumer Expenditure Survey show the bottom 5th of America get by, but are often in debt spending double their yearly income. Read More.
This new trend of carrying debt into retirement could be the new normal, as poor planning, unforeseen emergencies and a lack of desire to downsize take precedent in boomers' retirement plans. Read More.
These staggering numbers suggest the true scope of and unrelenting severity of financial distress that student loan borrowers face. Read More.
Three recent studies attempt to provide some insight into the problem. Collectively, they suggest that while some pro-saving government policies may not be helping most workers reach their retirement targets, the savers who are meeting their goals may not be reliant on those incentives anyway. Read More.
Few consumers expect to open new credit card accounts; most plan to charge holiday purchases and stay within budget. Read More.
The holiday shopping rush is on, and paying with a credit card makes it is easy to be in the spirit of buying and giving without paying attention to how much money is being spent. January credit card bills bring the cold reality of debt and interest payments, though, and you could be paying for Christmas 2012 long after the gifts are forgotten. Read More.
With frequent moves and the potential for overseas deployment, military personnel and their families face unique challenges when it comes to managing their money and saving for the future. Read More.
Americans took out more student and auto loans in September to boost consumer borrowing to a record level. But they cut back on credit card borrowing, a sign many remain cautious about taking on high-interest debt. Read More.
U.S. consumer credit expanded at a solid pace in September in a hopeful sign for household spending, although Americans appeared to use their credit cards more sparingly, Federal Reserve data showed on Wednesday. Read More.
November is an anxious time for many recent graduates as grace periods end and payments come due on student loans. And last Thursday, as the month began, the Department of Education issued final rules for the new Pay As You Earn plan, giving many federal loan borrowers a new income-driven repayment option. Read More.
The truth is credit agencies are businesses. As Consumer Expert Clark Howard explained in an interview, we, the consumers, "are not [even] the customers," for these businesses. Banks, credit card companies, even potential employers are the ones who pay for our credit reports. They are the customers. As a result, a consumer's satisfaction with the accuracy of their credit reports is not one of the credit reporting agency's primary concerns. As Clark Howard explains, credit agencies simply "slice and dice our credit information. Their only real objective is to package and sell, without an interest in [ensuring] that the information is wholely accurate. Read More.
It’s not a question of whether we can afford it. Vonnie and I have ran the numbers more than once and with the recent increase in our income it fits in our budget. Will moving to smart phones be worth an extra $2640 over the next two years? Read More.
My biggest concern is the fear of college tuition rising and the amount of financial aid falling," said Olive, who attends UNLV. "I have a hard enough time paying for school now; I can't imagine the struggle it would be if even more financial aid were cut. Read More.
Nearly one out of 10 Americans is dealing with debt collectors for an average of about $1,500 apiece, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Read More.
Young adults are carrying heavy debt loads from student loans, credit cards and even mortgages. That means new spouses need to know the rules regarding debt that was accrued before and after the wedding. And couples will need to develop a realistic plan to pay it off. Read More.
The drop in overall debt is in no small part because of foreclosures, delinquencies and write-offs by lenders which are slowing but not stopping. But the struggle to pay down old debts might not prove such a drag on economic growth in the future. Read More.
Of the 2,857 private student loan complaints that have poured into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's mailbox since March, Sallie Mae has proven the most popular target by far. Read More.
For the first time since April 2010, the number of open American credit card accounts topped 300 million. While credit limits on those cards have risen above $1.87 trillion, consumers are only using about 22% of their available credit, Equifax researchers told reporters. Read More.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time working women earned 81 percent of what full-time working men earned in 2010 leaving a “gap” of 19 percent between the sexes. Read More.
The value in knowing your options and choosing one that works for you is like taking your first step. Scary as it may be, making the decision to do something about your debt puts you in control of your debt instead of the other way around. Read More.
Some consumers in financial straits turn to debt settlement for assistance. For these consumers, the FTC regulations introduced in 2010 were a step in the right direction. While the rules exist to protect consumers who need help with unmanageable debts from deceitful players, it still is important to understand what these rules mean when seeking debt relief help. Read More.
Vonnie and I had made quick work of reviewing and revising our spending plan for the remainder of the month, so we started work on our finances for the first half of November. Read More.
Hopefully these ideas will help you get on your way to reducing your monthly expenses. Read More.
Parents, don’t let your babies grow up to be financially illiterate. That’s the take-away from a new study by the financial-services company PNC, which shows that twenty-something’s are saddled with an average of $45,000 in debt. Read More.
The Northeast unemployment rate has risen from 7.9 percent in April to 8.5 percent this past September. Read More.
The researchers analyzed data for 413 undergraduate students from seven different American universities, who took part in the College Student Financial Literacy Survey. Through an online survey, the authors examined credit card debt and number of credit cards owned. Read More.
No it’s not William Shatner the Priceline negotiator, it’s you the credit card negotiator! You’ve got credit card debt that is starting to get out of control and you’ve decided it’s time to take the preverbal “bull by the horns”. So how do you get started? Who do you talk to? Where can you turn for help? Read More.
U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 7.3% in mid-October, down considerably from 7.9% at the end of September and at a new low since Gallup began collecting employment data in January 2010. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.7%, also down from September. October's adjusted mid-month measure is also more than a percentage point lower than October 2011. Read More.
These unwanted fees, coined "gray charges," by BillGuard, a company that created a program to detect these charges on consumers' statements, include recurring membership fees, subscription fees, unwanted auto-renewals, cost creep (where a service or subscription gradually increases its cost over time), hidden fees such as foreign transaction fees or car rental surcharges and billing errors. Read More.
CFPB released a report today of more than 3000 complaints from citizens with student loan debt to private banks. Student private loan debt topped 1 trillion dollars, beating out credit card debt as the highest form of consumer debt, with the exception of mortgage loans. Most complaints were filed from citizens ages 22 to 29-- those who graduated from college during the worst of the recession and facing tough employment outcomes. Read More.
As the last three years have gone by, with each improvement in our communication about our finances, our relationship has gotten stronger, and we have become happier as a couple. Read More.
The amount of home mortgages, credit card debt and most other consumer liabilities now stands on par with 2006 or earlier, according to Moody's Analytics data. Read More.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the fewest since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low. Read More.
Overall, the researchers found that 27 percent of Americans paid more than 40 percent of their income toward debts, defined as "fixed expenses" in 2008, up from 17 percent who paid more than 40 percent of their income to fixed expenses in 1992. Read More.
Here, we see that the U.S. unemployment rate has been tracking pretty closely with where the two-year time lagged price of gasoline in the U.S. would put it - including the "unexpectedly" low 7.8% unemployment rate that was just reported for September 2012. Read More.
One place to start your search: The web site of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org), which lets you search for nearby advisers. You can filter the results based on advisers' area of expertise; though not all of them work with clients in your income range, you can search for advisers who work with "middle-income" clients — industry terminology for people in your situation. Read More.
Previously released data showed that retail sales posted their biggest rise in six months in August, while consumer confidence strengthened in September. Read More.
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