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The mystery continues -- for 3 years now. Here are theories about what's behind the debacle.

By Karen Datko Sep 21, 2010 9:04AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Three years into the mortgage crisis, lenders are still way, way behind in modifying mortgages. What gives, exactly?

Here's the data: Most -- 60% -- of homeowners who're seriously late (60 days or more) on house payments haven't heard a peep from their lender's loss mitigation department. That's from a report last month by the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group. "Loss mitigation," as you might guess, includes forbearance, modifying or refinancing the loan.


Groundhog Day

Is it "Groundhog Day" all over again? Two years ago the same group was complaining about the same issue:


When you think of the library, you may envision driving to the nearest branch. But what if all you had to do was log on to the library website?

By Stacy Johnson Sep 20, 2010 5:02PM

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


You know e-books have arrived when the president of the United States is writing one.


On Nov. 16, President Obama's third book will debut. But unlike his previous two -- "Dreams From My Father" (1995) and "The Audacity of Hope" (2006) -- this one will also be available as a digital download. Called "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters," it's described as a children's book about "13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation."

But the book itself is part of a trend shaping our nation. E-books are no longer high-tech innovations for early adopters.


The latest venture for the 88-year-old actress is a line of hoodies with earbuds. Maybe respect for her will rub off on the rest of us.

By Teresa Mears Sep 20, 2010 4:06PM

Patricia Reid probably wishes she were Betty White.


While Betty is enjoying a new popularity and a new TV series at age 88, Patricia has been looking for a job for four years, even though at 57 she's young enough to be Betty's daughter.

The veteran actress' success is a reminder that being old doesn't mean being irrelevant. But many older workers are finding that, even if they'd like to work until they're 88, they may not get the opportunity.


The average age of vehicles on the list of most frequently stolen cars is 12 years.

By Karen Datko Sep 20, 2010 2:31PM

This post comes from Jim Sloan at partner site


The popular 1994 Honda Accord, followed closely by the '95 Civic and '91 Toyota Camry, tops the list of the most frequently stolen cars in the nation last year.

The ranking of the most popular targets of car thieves was compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing insurance fraud and vehicle theft.


NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi says he wasn't surprised that the plucky '94 Accord topped the list.


Some travel destinations are still recovering. Where to go before they get too pricey.

By Karen Datko Sep 20, 2010 1:38PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


As more people put off travel during the recession, incredibly cheap travel deals cropped up. But now, business and leisure travel are picking up -- and with them, hotel rates.

In Bali, for example, the average price paid for a hotel room during the second quarter of the year climbed 57% over the same period in 2009 (to an average per-night room rate of $203). New York City saw an average price jump of 14% (to $224) over the same period.


Does that mean it's a bad time to travel? Not necessarily.


A short -- and achievable -- list of rules regarding your finances.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 20, 2010 12:00PM

Want to drop a bad habit or develop a good one? You need a plan. Or, rather, you need a list.

We Americans love our lists. We especially love short lists. Just check the headlines on magazines, Internet news sites or blogs. You'll almost certainly see ones like "3 easy steps to lose weight/stop smoking/become a millionaire."

Having a list makes us feel we're already halfway to achieving our goals. Lists make us feel confident and in charge: I've got it all figured out! Now I just have to implement it!

It's never really that simple, of course.


Earning more than that may make you feel more successful, but it won't make you happier.

By Karen Datko Sep 20, 2010 8:40AM

This post comes from Sierra Black at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


A few weeks ago, I wrote about how money really can buy happiness -- if you spend it right. A big-screen TV isn't a ticket to happiness, but a vacation might be. Giving your money away can boost your well-being, and so can investing it in time with your family.

A new study from Princeton University hangs a price tag on that happiness: $75,000 (.pdf file). That's the annual household income that gives you the most joy for your buck. People with incomes below that magic number report less happiness, overall, than those at or above it.


The bad news: He got laid off. The good news: It happened AFTER he'd cleared his consumer debt.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 17, 2010 4:30PM

I feel very bad for Smithee, a staff writer for the Consumerism Commentary personal-finance blog. With no warning he was laid off from his job at a small Web design agency.

In a post called "Laid off, 2010 edition," Smithee wrote that the job loss was particularly frustrating because he had only recently -- and for the first time in his life -- managed to zero out his credit cards.

"I was just learning what it was like to walk around without worrying about paying all my bills on time," he lamented. "I was about to start seriously saving money and/or paying down loans faster than expected. I was going to be in a position to be more than a couple of months away from homelessness. I was stable, and I had plans."

Here's where I think Smithee errs in his thinking:



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