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« Archive for the ‘Debt’ Category

Not Your Debt: How To End Collection Calls

This blog post is in response to a question from one of our readers, who apparently lost the phone number lottery after she moved to Virginia. The phone company assigned her a new home telephone number that once belonged to someone on multiple debt collectors’ lists. She and her family received calls from collection agencies […]

Unscrupulous Spam Follows Pay Day Loan

Here’s another way the payday loan industry preys on unsuspecting customers. It sells their email addresses to unscrupulous scams trying to make a buck off of their financial woes. We found this out through Heather, an attorney from Philadelphia. It seems that Harold, a man Heather doesn’t know but who has a similar last name, […]

Banks Getting Into Payday Loan Racket

It seems you don’t have to be a sleazy payday loan store to offer payday loans these days. According to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center supposedly respectable banks are getting in on the action, too. Of course they don’t call them payday loans, because of the horrible connotation that carries. Instead […]

Don’t Over Borrow For Your Career

You need to consider whether the career you’re studying for pays enough to warrant all of the money you’re borrowing for a college education. Check out this PayScale College Salary Report on how much the typical grad can expect to make. If, for example, you take out $100,000 in loans at 6.8% interest and plan […]

Begging To Pay Off Student Loans

How pitiful is this: A new Web site that helps college grads beg for money to repay student loans. Borrowers start the process by signing up at and providing a copy of their loan statement. Then parents, relatives or even anonymous donors can use credit or debit cards to make contributions that are sent […]

Sallie Mae Looks For Savers

You may have heard that Sallie Mae’s getting into the banking business. But will its new savings accounts and CDs catch on? First, the yields aren’t that great — and already being cut. When Sallie Mae introduced its savings accounts in early March, it was paying 1.35% APY. Now it’s paying 1.25% APY. Although that’s […]

Bankers Slap Misleading Title On Their Bill

The Florida Consumer Protection and Homeowner Credit Rehabilitation Act. Sounds like a good thing, right? But it’s the misleading title of a 53-page bill the Florida Bankers Association has drafted and wants the state legislature to enact. The new law would make it faster and cheaper for lenders to repossess property by giving them the […]

Borrow From Lending Club, Get A Bonus

A loan from Lending Club might be the way to pay off credit card debts, make critical repairs to your home or even finance a wedding or adoption. You can borrow up to $25,000, and repay the loan in 36 equal monthly payments, with a fixed interest rate as low as 7.89% APR. If you […]

Deadbeat ‘Housewife’ Driving Me Nuts

Last month we took a look at all of the “Real Housewives” on Bravo’s reality shows that are having real financial problems because they’re living way beyond their means. Lynne Curtain, one of these icons for ostentatious spending had been evicted from her Orange County, Calif., home over $12,000 in unpaid rent and damages. Now […]

The Right Personal Finance Book For 2010

Emotions play a big role in how we spend our money. Way too big, according to a new book by psychiatrist David Kreuger. We use money to “alter our moods, increase our self-esteem, and control others,” Kreuger says. “We use money to try to soothe emotional pains and to buy the respect of others and […]

Real Trouble For Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives’

Are all the “Real Housewives” on Bravo’s reality shows as rich as they seem, or are some living way beyond their means? We regularly see these outspoken women from Orange County, Calif., New York, New Jersey and Atlanta shoulder the burden of wealth as they frequent only the best shops, restaurants and spas. But over […]

Free Videos, Sound Legal Advice

If you’re looking for easy to understand legal advice on all sorts of financial problems check out “Money, Credit and the Law — Know Your Rights!” It’s a free, six-part series of online videos produced by the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center. I like them because each video is […]

Docs Are Demanding More From Patients

I just had a doctor overcharge me (twice) and keep the extra money until I figured out what happened. First, I was charged a $40 co-pay for the consultation before a minor surgery. The next week I was billed another $40 to pay for part of the surgery the doctor’s office said was not covered […]

Call In The Regulators When Health Care Insurers Reject Legitimate Claims

Many families with medical insurance are shocked when an illness or accident strikes and their insurer leaves them with tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills. In most cases that’s because they’re underinsured. Their policies have such strict limits on how much the insurer will pay, that they’re left holding the bag most of […]

Lower your student loan payments

The government’s new Income Based Repayment Plan may allow you to write a smaller monthly check for your student loans starting July 1. The program will be open to graduates with one of the major types of federal student loans — Stafford, Grad PLUS or Consolidation loans made under either the Direct Loan or Federal […]

Credit cards offering to settle on the cheap

Fred took a different approach to paying off his credit cards. He deliberately missed a couple of payments, then called the credit card companies and asked them to slash his balances. Bank of America, Discover and Citibank all said yes, offering settlements from 40 to 60 cents on the dollar. No arguing, no fighting, no […]

More employers checking credit histories

Falling behind on your credit card payments, defaulting on an auto loan or losing your home to foreclosure could cause you to be turned down for a job. A new study by the Society for Human Resource Management found 42% of companies that do background checks on job applicants are pulling credit histories to see […]

Debt collectors still breaking the law

Debt collection agencies have been working their public relations agencies overtime, trying to convince us that they’re sympathetic to people who have fallen onto hard times in this awful recession. They’ve also promised that they’re following all the laws that regulate what they can and cannot do to get debtors to pay up. Are pigs […]

Medical bills now cause 62% of all bankruptcies

Medical bills, not credit card debt, are the major reason most Americans are file for bankruptcy. And the problem just keeps getting worse. A couple of years ago about half of all bankruptcies were caused by doctor and hospital expenses that families just couldn’t pay. Now a new study by the Harvard Law School, Harvard […]

Credit cards say they’ll offer more help

A new deal between the nation’s best credit counselors and the biggest credit card companies could help more borrowers repay their debts. The credit card companies have agreed to accept smaller payments, over a longer period of time, when members of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling negotiate repayment plans on behalf of struggling cardholders. […]

Payday loans take a hilarious beating

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c The Word – Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest Stephen Colbert dove into the fray over slimy lending last night with an hilarious look at the “Payday Loan Reform Act of 2009” introduced by Rep. […]

“Please pay your dead aunt’s bills…”

“Dead people are the newest frontier in debt collecting,” according to the New York Times. Creditors can always file a claim against an estate. But when there’s no estate to ding in probate court, collection agencies and law firms that specialize in asking family members for the money start calling. Although laws vary from state […]

Bounce a check, go to class

Paying all the fees for bouncing a check is costly enough. Should you also have to put up with a private company tracking you down and demanding that you attend one of its costly personal finance classes to avoid prosecution? In 2006, Congress passed a law that allowed district attorney’s offices to hire private companies […]

Invest in the market safely with indexed CDs

While you would probably love to be able to reap the gains of the stock market, you may not be willing to endure the risk and volatility that comes with that territory. At this point, you may be too close to retirement to be willing to subject your portfolio to a possible market downturn. However, […]

How Put / Call Features Affect Your Fixed-Income Portfolio

While many older Americans are afraid of the stock market with its risk and volatility, their perception of bonds and other fixed-income securities are often very different. Even though the values of many fixed-income investments fluctuate in the secondary market, the interest that they pay remains constant. Furthermore, the rates on many of these instruments […]

Understanding Your Credit Score

Credit scores seem to be one of the biggest sources of mystery and myth on the face of the planet. They are the financial equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle or Bigfoot. In fact, I would say that it’s the single largest subject I continually hear people give bad advice about. Since your credit score has […]

8 Easily Avoidable Causes of Business Debt

Entrepreneurs are the brave souls who make our economy go, or at least they were when our economy was actually going anywhere. Especially in this currently questionable financial climate, starting your own business is undeniably a dicey proposition. Start-ups go out of business all the time, often before they even have a chance to even […]

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Laws

People in debt sometimes find they cannot pay their bills. Various circumstances like illness, death of the bread winner, accidents, etc. happen to even the most stalwart of consumers. When the non payment escalates to the point that a debt collector enters the picture, the pressure becomes intense. Some debt collectors use unauthorized and unlawful […]