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The government has launched a program that actually reduces mortgage principal.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 22, 2010 3:48PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

We've all watched as program after program rolls out of Washington, D.C., for those hapless homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments. And we've all seen or heard stories about people who simply stop paying their mortgage and walk away from their obligations.

Where's the help for the many homeowners who continue making payments on a mortgage that exceeds their home's value? It's finally here -- if you qualify.

 

Mortgage companies used a processor who signed 10,000 foreclosures a month -- without reading them or using a notary.

By Karen Datko Sep 22, 2010 2:01PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

News organizations are writing about a breathtaking revelation that potentially affects foreclosures around the country. As The Washington Post explains:

Some of the nation's largest mortgage companies used a single document processor who said he signed off on foreclosures without having read the paperwork -- an admission that may open the door for homeowners across the country to challenge foreclosure proceedings.
The legal predicament compelled Ally Financial, the nation's fourth-largest home lender, to halt evictions of homeowners in 23 states this week.

The Post added that "hundreds of other companies, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may also be affected because they use Ally to service their loans."

 

Anheuser-Busch plans a national happy hour Sept. 29, plus a month of free samples, in hopes of winning over younger drinkers.

By Teresa Mears Sep 22, 2010 1:45PM

Have we become such a nation of snobs that we've abandoned the brewskis of our forefathers and will drink only beer made in small batches no more than 10 miles from our homes?

Is the Tea Party drinking tea?

 

Responding to the decline in sales of the iconic Budweiser, which traces its roots to 1852 in St. Louis, the company is hoping to gain new fans by offering free beer.

 

Sure, it's cheaper to buy olive oil than make your own. But what other foods, products and services are best left to someone else?

By Karen Datko Sep 22, 2010 11:31AM

This guest post comes from Coupon Sherpa.

 

In an effort to be as frugal as possible, some of us have taken do-it-yourself a bit too seriously.

 

Sometimes it makes more monetary sense to buy a product or pay for a service than go the DIY route. For example, anyone who's tried to change the oil in their car and gotten a face full of gunk knows using Jiffy Lube is well worth the extra cost. On the other hand, it's kind of ridiculous to hire a maid when money is tight and you have the time (and physical ability) to handle the job yourself.

In fact, there are times when doing it yourself can cost you more money than hiring a pro. There's a reason most of us don't attempt our own plumbing. (If only my landlord would read that last sentence!)

 

Prepaid cards are a secure way to access your vacation funds, but watch out for fees and restrictions.

By Karen Datko Sep 22, 2010 8:52AM

This post comes from Nora Dunn at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies.

Our Travel and Money series has discussed various ways to address money and security issues while you're abroad.

Today, the topic is prepaid travel cards, which can be a useful -- and secure -- alternative to debit cards and credit cards, as well as a way to hedge against currency risk.

 

American Express' Currency seeks to give advice that Gordon Gecko-era parents can't provide.

By Teresa Mears Sep 21, 2010 3:50PM

A new website wants to teach young adults about personal finance and, in this era of social networking, let them share what they've learned with their friends. They can even earn gold stars for good behavior.

Currency, created by American Express with a team of more than 25 personal-finance writers and bloggers, hopes to fill the gap with a robust website made up of articles, blog posts, online courses and a social networking "game."

 

Today's young adults are starting their financial lives in an economy more difficult than their parents or perhaps their grandparents have ever experienced, creating the need for different kinds of advice, say Currency's creators.

 

It pays to be skeptical of expensive services that repair shops say you need.

By Money Staff Sep 21, 2010 3:48PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

Finding a good mechanic or shop you can trust is difficult, so when you find one, it pays to stick with them. That's why I take my car to the same place every time I have an issue.

 

There have been a couple times when I, or my lovely wife, have taken the car in for a minor issue and they sent us on our way without a bill. Once, one of us rolled over tar that stuck to the tire, leading to a shake and some thumping. We took it in and they scraped it off, free of charge -- they didn't even charge for labor. That's good service and, when you think about it, how business should be done.

That's what makes some car maintenance scams so egregious. It's businesses thinking of the short term, rather than the long term, and wanting to make a quick buck.


Many of these are scams because they don't rip you off outright; they just overcharge you for a service you don't need:

 

As full-time jobs disappear, everyone's talking about freelancing as the future. A pro's advice on how to do it right.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 21, 2010 1:40PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

I was a freelancer back when it wasn't cool.

 

In 1997, I was fired from my job as a weekly newspaper editor. So I decided to work for the only boss I could tolerate: myself. But prior to the millennium, the only people who freelanced for a living were either famous or inferior.

"Why would you give up a full-time job with benefits and one bad boss to work for no benefits and a bunch of bad bosses?" my best friend asked me.

 

Back then, it was a good question. These days, the answers are much clearer:

  • Benefits ain't what they used to be.
 

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