Starting this week, debt settlement and other for-profit debt relief companies will have to start toeing the line.
Debt settlement companies negotiate with credit card companies and other creditors to lower the principal amount you owe, then -- after you've built up enough money -- pay off your debts in a single lump sum. This is not the same as credit counseling, which typically involves putting clients on a debt settlement plan, negotiating lower interest rates and payments, then paying the debt off in full with monthly payments over three to five years.
Despite economic goblins, the average consumer plans to spend $66.28. We suggest cheap costumes, including a DIY baby Gaga.
Consumers are willing to spend more this Halloween to hide from reality. We can't figure out if that translates as good economic news or not.
The National Retail Federation's annual survey finds that Americans plan to spend an average of $66.28 per person this year for Halloween, up from $56.31 last year. That brings spending back to 2008 levels.
We're not sure who's planning to spend $66.28, since most people we know are probably closer to a budget of $6.28, but the survey does say people 18 to 24 years old are the most enthusiastic about celebrating.
Southwest says it plans to continue its low-fare, no- or low-fee model once the acquisition of AirTran is complete.
The first thing I thought upon hearing of Southwest's plan to buy AirTran was: Does this mean Southwest Airlines is coming to an airport near me? Am I going to be free to move about the country? Please, let it be so. (No such luck.)
"They don't charge for luggage. I'm excited. If Southwest is coming here, that will be fantastic," Sharon Elliott told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the Atlanta airport, which would be one of 37 destinations added to Southwest's itinerary.
Nurses and doctors are the professionals who say they most need coffee to make it through the workday.
Who REALLY needs coffee in the morning?
According to a survey by Dunkin' Donuts, 32% of workers need coffee to get through the workday, and 43% of workers say they are less productive if they don't drink coffee.
While Dunkin' Donuts may have a vested interest in promoting coffee consumption, the company actually joined with CareerBuilder to commission a scientific survey of more than 3,600 workers nationwide to see which professionals need coffee the most.
Living simply allows me to craft a life that works.
- Quick quiz: Do you know your credit score?
(I'm not really sure which of the two bloggers wrote their post about the club, so I'm going to guess that it was Nicole. I have a 50% chance of being right.)
Nicole and her spouse are making some smart choices, such as paying the mortgage off early, being canny about retirement funds, and living on less than one salary. In this post she commented that throwing every extra dime and spare minute toward millionaire-hood would get them there faster.
The host of 'Dirty Jobs' says work is being marginalized. Is he right?
I write a lot at Get Rich Slowly about financial independence, by which I essentially mean early retirement (or semiretirement). That is, accumulating enough money that I no longer have to work. To me, escape from work has always seemed like the ultimate goal.
This is probably because my father held out retirement as a sort of promised land. He worked hard -- if not always effectively -- and he always made retirement and the end of work seem like the goal of life. And the sooner one reached retirement, the better.
But whenever I write about early retirement or financial independence, I get e-mail and comments from readers who never want to stop working. They love their jobs. Others write to say that we're not supposed to like the work that we do, but we're supposed to do it anyhow. It builds character, and helps us pay the bills.
I've never found these arguments convincing. To me, early retirement has remained the goal.
Recently, Eileen e-mailed a link to this video, with a one-line explanation. "This video is WEIRD and COOL and speaks to many GRS ideas like working and satisfaction," she wrote. I finally had a chance to watch it. The video made me pause to reconsider my notion of work.
Restaurant's sign spurs debate over bad behavior in public places, and how much we should tolerate.
A few nights ago, we rushed out to an office supply store for envelopes. Among the customers were a mother with two children, perhaps 5 and 11. The older girl was chasing the younger boy around a pole, and he was screaming and giggling.
I resisted the urge to speak sharply to them -- I do correct strange children in public -- but I couldn't help wonder what kind of mother thinks that kind of behavior is appropriate in a store. For that matter, what kind of children think that behavior is appropriate?
The issue of rude children in public places (and the adults who correct them, or want to) has been in the news recently after the national media picked up a story about a North Carolina restaurant that put up a sign saying "Screaming children will NOT be tolerated."
New changes will improve options for children and young adults and protect the coverage of anyone who is sick.
Now that several new provisions of health reform have kicked in, let's look at what effect -- if any -- they will have on you or your family. Most important: They provide more insurance options for children and young adults. Also of note: Insurance companies can no longer drop coverage of people who get sick.
- Car insurance:Compare rates on 2,400 vehicles
For many families, these changes couldn't happen soon enough. But more extensive reforms to provide affordable coverage to many of the nation's uninsured -- now a staggering 50.7 million people, according to the latest census report -- won't take effect until 2014. (A video by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an excellent overview.)
Here are the latest developments:
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