Target gets flak for a commercial that makes fun of the Halloween outfit a mother made for her little boy.
Perhaps you have been living under a rock the last few weeks, as I have, and therefore are not aware of this serious Halloween scandal:
They should be ashamed! Actually, I think the 15-second spot is funny. It shows a mother taking pride in the Iron Man costume she has made for her young son, a costume that falls apart as soon as she goes to get her camera. Then Target shows a store-bought Iron Man costume, and the words "Life's a moving target" appear on the screen.
The video of the ad has had more than 102,000 views on YouTube.
While we find it hard to be outraged by the ad (sometimes a commercial is just a commercial), we don't necessarily agree with it. The homemade Iron Man costume is quite cute and would work fine if the mother found a better way to attach the light to the boy's chest. We LIKE homemade costumes.
More couples are cohabitating without the legal benefits of marriage. Here are some basics they need to know.
Here are some sobering statistics:
- 7.5 million opposite-sex couples are living together -- 13% more than this time last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 30s and 40s have lived with someone in a sexual relationship, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
- That same survey says 41% of couples living together don't really care about getting married.
I call these statistics sobering not because I'm passing moral judgment but because I suspect that many unmarried couples haven't properly considered the financial ramifications of living together. That's a mistake, because they're not afforded the same protections and advantages that married couples have.
- Buying a house together? Check mortgage rates near historic lows
Books, magazines and the Internet are full of financial advice for the newly engaged. (Money Talks News has provided advice for everything from wedding insurance and divorce insurance to money and marriage.) So here's some financial advice for the unmarried.
Facebook, Zynga accused of handing out user information.
Two class-action lawsuits target Facebook and the largest maker of Facebook applications, alleging that the companies breached consumers' privacy by illegally sharing their information with third parties, in violation of Facebook's own policies.
Both suits follow a Wall Street Journal article detailing a disturbing apparent data breach -- or, more accurately, "leak" -- of consumer information.
Here's what you need to know before jumping on one of these tempting offers.
This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.
Interest-free balance transfer offers started drying up more than two years ago with the beginnings of the credit crunch, as I wrote in my February 2008 column "The credit card party is officially over."
Now, as default rates fall and credit card issuers get bolder about winning market share, 0% offers have come roaring back.
"It's kind of shocking how aggressive some of these offers are, because of lot of experts thought these balance transfer offers were an endangered species," said Curtis Arnold, the founder of card-comparison site CardRatings.com. "I didn't think we'd see their extinction, but I never thought it would rebound as fast as it has."
Arnold points to the Citibank Platinum Select MasterCard as a prime example. Citi started the year offering a 0% balance transfer offer for 12 months. Then Citibank sweetened the term to extend to 15 months, then 18 months. Now, qualified applicants can get 0% for 21 months, with 0% on purchases for 12 months, and the fee has dropped from 5% of the balance to 3%.
In areas of the country where income has fallen, it often is.
Is your rent too high?
Super-long-shot New York state gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, was the topic du jour after stealing the show at Monday night's debate. McMillan is such a tireless advocate for the renter that, during a cell phone conversation with Wall Street Journal reporter Erica Orden, he stopped a man on the street to ask if his rent was too high.
The question got us thinking.
An ex-worker says favored employees got cars and jewelry and one even got a house for falsifying documents.
Employees of a Florida law firm that's under investigation by the state received gifts of cars, jewelry and even a house, plus had their mortgages and other personal bills paid by the firm, according to a former employee.
Former administrative assistant Kelly Scott said one employee got a house from the firm, as well as having his personal bills paid, in exchange for fabricating and backdating documents.
Scott's deposition and several others were released by the Florida Attorney General's Office, which is investigating the operations of the law firm of David J. Stern and several other foreclosure firms.
Over-the-counter medications will no longer be an eligible FSA expense in 2011.
This is the time of year known to millions of workers around the country as the fall "open enrollment" period. Only this time, an estimated 33 million workers who have medical flexible spending accounts will need to be aware of new restriction that go into effect on Jan. 1.
If you are in this group, you are probably deciding how much of your pretax salary to divert into your account for next year or how to spend what's left in your 2010 FSA so you don't forfeit it under the annual "use it or lose it" rule.
Halloween is now part of a 12-week year-end holiday shopping marathon.
Halloween can be a bag of financial tricks. Total spending for Halloween this year is expected to hit $5.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry association. U.S. shoppers on average will spend $66 on costumes, candy and decorations, according to NRF's 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. That's up from $56.31 in 2009.
The average $66 Halloween shopping bag will be filled with costumes ($23.37), candy ($20.29), decorations ($18.66), and greeting cards (nearly $4), the survey showed. (See also "28 ways to have cheaper Halloween fun.")
"In recent years, Halloween has provided a welcome break from reality, allowing many Americans a chance to escape from the stress the economy has put on their family and incomes," said NRF president Matthew Shay. "This year, people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm, and will have an entire weekend to celebrate since the holiday falls on a Sunday."
But you don't have to buy into the hype. Here are five reasons why you should postpone your Halloween celebrations:
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