A new study found that Americans' overall satisfaction with credit card companies is at an all-time high.
This post comes from Krytal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
American Express has long been America's favorite credit card company. But after seven years at the top, AmEx is now sharing the No. 1 spot with Discover.
The eighth annual J.D. Power survey found that overall credit card customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. When considering interaction, credit card terms, billing and payment, rewards, benefits and services, and problem resolution, consumers' overall satisfaction with the 10 credit card companies in the survey came in at 778 out of 1,000 points.
American Express and Discover tied, scoring 819 each. Chase was next with 789 points.
AmEx and Discover operate under two entirely different business models. While American Express offers 21 cards with different rewards and fees, Discover has just one card, offering cash-back rewards and no annual fee.
Buried in medical debt? Here are steps you can take to lower the bill, sometimes quite substantially.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.
If you or a loved one has ever experienced a serious illness, you know how quickly the medical bills can pile up.
One day, it's a bill for services rendered by the anesthesiologist. The next day, the radiologist wants his cut. Wasn't this all supposed to be included in the hospital bill?
Fortunately, limits on out-of-pocket expenses included in the Affordable Care Act for 2014 apply to many insurance policies, whether you get your insurance through your employer or purchase it on your own.
That means an individual can pay no more than $6,350 out of pocket for in-network care. The limit is $12,700 for families. That limit includes co-payments and deductibles, but doesn't include the cost of monthly premiums.
But there are still ways to rack up big medical bills:
Cash is still king for the older crowd when it comes to purchases of less than $5.
This post comes from Krytal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.
If your cup of coffee is less than $5, chances are you're going to pull out cash to pay for it, unless you're a millennial. Then you're more likely to whip out plastic, regardless of how big or small your purchase is.
A reader just retired and is worried that her retirement income won't be enough. She should be.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
As members of my generation, the baby boomers, start entering retirement in droves, more and more of us may ask a question similar to this week's reader question:
I just started collecting Social Security retirement. If I'm having so much trouble living on my allotted amount now, at age 65, what's going to happen later when I have real medical expenses and prices keep skyrocketing? -- Patricia
How hard has this 'wealth drain' hit the middle class?
This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Credit.com.
There are two ways to measure how people are doing financially: How much they earn, and how much they own. The second category gets less attention, but it can be just as important. And it’s very likely that you own a lot less than you did before the Great Recession. In fact, odds are roughly 50/50 that you own less than you did in the year 2000, according to the latest Census data. That’s stunning. And it’s another reason you might feel restless.
With so much talk about "1 percenters" and the minimum wage recently, I feel like the big, often economically silent middle of America hasn’t gotten the attention it has deserved. Let’s call them the “20 to 80 percenters.” I know that doesn’t have much of a ring to it, but it’s a pretty important group. And here’s the sad truth about what they own.
Last week, the Census Bureau released new figures on net worth, broken out in quintiles -- the top 20 percent, the 20-40 percent, the 40-60 percent, and so on. Net worth is a pretty simple, but important, number. It’s basically the value of folks’ homes, savings, retirement accounts and other financial assets minus their debts -- mortgage debt, credit card debt and so on.
If you worry about money after the streetlights come on, these actions may help you rest easier.
This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site MoneyRates.com.
Like car alarms that go off at 3 a.m. or those echoing drips in the bathroom sink, financial worries are costing many Americans sleep, according to a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
Nearly four out of five poll respondents said that money worries kept them awake at night. Those results might be a little skewed, because the poll was taken via the NFCC website, and presumably many of its visitors are people with credit problems.
Still, the point is valid -- when someone has money problems, those problems tend to creep around in the middle of the night, making misery.
Keeping money worries at bay
Here is the key thing to remember: The middle of the night is not the time to confront your financial fears. You need to work on them in the light of day, when you can do something constructive about them.
Here are some positive steps you can take to put your financial worries to sleep:
If you're nervous about going to court over a debt, don't be. Show up, say this simple phrase, and you're on your way.
Studies show the majority of consumers being sued over a debt fail to show up to court, often resulting in a default judgment. The judgment means you're required to repay the debt -- which, given the circumstances, will likely be a significant financial obstacle -- and your credit standing will suffer as a result.
Avoiding your debt collection lawsuit practically guarantees you'll have a judgment placed against you, but you don't have to sit back and let that happen. Showing up is the first step toward winning the case or settling your debt, and the next step is even easier: You need only say two words.
It's no wonder that people, even those who make an upper-middle-class income, aren't saving for retirement and are spending all that they earn.
This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Money Talks News.
Editor's note: This is part of a series by Bob Sullivan called The Restless Project.
It seems like a simple enough question: How much money does a normal American family need to afford to be … normal? You already know what I'm about to say next: Coming up with a realistic average family budget is fraught with peril.
There are obvious geographic problems: What's normal in New York City is not normal in Omaha. There are honest questions about what "need" is: Some parents feel their kids need private school, others don't. Is normal a three-bedroom house in a leafy neighborhood, or an apartment? So it goes.
A brilliant professor friend of mine named David Cloutier, who is working on a book for Georgetown University Press about luxury, kicked this question around on Sunday. His research addresses the issue that people often confuse need and want, and this leads to all sorts of trouble, including financial trouble. (Here's one of his essays).
Of course he's right: We all know folks who spend too much on granite countertops, Wolf ovens, Cadillac Escalades, and a fourth bathroom. On the other hand, I am often in the position of defending middle-class Americans who are slowly slipping further and further behind, even while it seems like they make a lot of money.
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