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It's not the first time someone has lost coverage because they underpaid by a penny. And it likely won't be the last.

By Karen Datko Jul 8, 2010 2:10PM

Jobless and undergoing chemotherapy, a Colorado leukemia patient learned that she no longer had health insurance because she underpaid the premium by a penny.


The story of La Rosa Carrington, 52, was relayed by the Colorado Springs Gazette. What's even more remarkable is, this isn't the first time an insurance company or benefits administrator has dropped coverage over a lousy cent.

"We’ve seen it before," June Harryman, a supervisory benefits adviser for the federal Employee Benefits Security Administration, told the Gazette. "It's not the first, and it won’t be the last."


Here's how this came about:


The economy here and abroad will determine the fate of interest rates. With rates near 4.5%, it may be time to consider refinancing.

By Teresa Mears Jul 8, 2010 12:40PM

As mortgage rates hit a new record low this week, two questions come to mind:

  • How low will rates go?
  • And when will they head back up again?

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan fell for the third straight week, to 4.57%, down from 4.58% last week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average rate for a 15-year loan was 4.07%, up from 4.04% last week.

The 30-year rate is the lowest since Freddie Mac started keeping records in 1971 and the lowest recorded by the Bureau of Economic Statistics since February 1955, when home-loan terms were shorter than 30 years.


Who is going to take care of me when I can no longer care for myself?

By Karen Datko Jul 8, 2010 11:27AM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


Lately I've been considering where I'm going to live during the next and presumably last stage of my life.


It's a question that was brought into sharper focus when I fell and hurt myself badly enough that I couldn't easily take care of my home or myself. The shoulder still isn't healed, but even though it hurts quite a lot, on and off, all the physical work around this house still has to be done. Caring for the pool (a daily project), dealing with the quarter-acre yard, cleaning and maintaining a four-bedroom house -- they all represent physical labor. And there's no one here to help.

Just now I ache all over my body, as though the shoulder pain spread to every other joint all the way down to the toes. But none of the work can be put off just because my back hurts.


Clearly, I'm not going to be able to care for this house for many more years.


Here are some tactics for teaching deferred gratification -- and how a 4-year-old boy has responded to them.

By Karen Datko Jul 8, 2010 9:44AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


The single biggest personal-finance lesson that anyone can learn is that of delayed gratification.


Delayed gratification means that you hold off buying that new cell phone so that you can pay cash for your car in a few years. It means that you immediately save some of your paycheck instead of giving yourself the possibility of spending it now.


The more often you practice delayed gratification, the sweeter the gratification becomes later and the more possibilities unfold in your life. Delayed gratification brings financial stability and with it, lower stress. It brings the realization of bigger dreams, too.


It's one of the things that I most want to integrate into the lives of my children.


The question is obvious: How do you possibly teach delayed gratification to a 4-year-old?


With much of the nation suffering in a heat wave and utilities stretched to capacity, it's time for some cooling tips.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 7, 2010 6:04PM

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


With much of the country in the grips of a searing heat wave, it's time for a quick review of cool ways to save energy.

Start by watching the following short news story, then meet me on the other side for more:


Are bosses being unreasonable when they expect you be reachable?

By Karen Datko Jul 7, 2010 4:34PM

For more U.S. workers, taking vacation doesn't mean you totally disconnect from the job. Far from it, in fact.


Cindy Krischer Goodman wrote about the phenomenon for The Miami Herald. A CareerBuilder executive she quoted said a vacation totally free of work no longer exists for professionals. Goodman and her husband are packing laptops and wireless cards for their next trip.  

And so, as we plan on taking time off this summer, we have no real intention to cut ties with our offices. It should be no surprise that most American workers think as we do. With companies staffed lean, fear of job loss still an issue, and technology putting the Internet in our pockets, this likely will be the most difficult summer ever for workers to detach.

Not everyone agrees on what we should and shouldn't carry, but it's wise to be cautious.

By Teresa Mears Jul 7, 2010 2:35PM

We've all seen the credit card commercial that asks "what's in YOUR wallet?"


It's a good question for all of us to ask ourselves from time to time, not just listing what's in our wallets but re-evaluating what should and shouldn’t be there.


Chick-fil-A is celebrating 'Cow Appreciation Day' with free meals. This year, cows will tweet and share locations on Foursquare.

By Teresa Mears Jul 7, 2010 11:22AM

How far would you go to get a free meal? Would you dress like a cow?


If you would, Chick-fil-A has a deal for you. The fast-food chain is celebrating Cow Appreciation Day on Friday, July 9, by providing free combo meals to customers who arrive in full cow costume from head to toe.


Those who are "too chicken" (to use the company's words) to dress completely as cows can get a free entrée with a partial costume. The promotion is good all day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children can dress up and get a free meal, too.



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