Health care costs are part of the problem
Here's a statistic that should give us all pause: The average credit card debt of seniors grew by 26% between 2005 and 2008, CreditCards.com reports. For the rest of us, the increase was a comparatively modest 3%.
Also, CreditCards.com says: "According to a study (.pdf file) released in July 2009 by New York City-based Demos, a public policy group, consumers 65 and older carried $10,235 in average card debt last year." That is a lot.
And that's very troubling, considering that so many retirees are living on Social Security and no other savings, and face considerable medical expenses despite government-run Medicare. The dreaded "doughnut hole" is just a drop in the bucket compared with the other potential health care-related demands on their money.
What's happening here?
Surprise! People with the highest credit scores
Conventional wisdom would seem to dictate that someone with an excellent credit score is less likely to walk away from a mortgage than someone with poor credit.
That's not so, syndicated real estate columnist Kenneth Harney writes in a story The Washington Post headlined "Good credit scores, deadbeat choices." In fact, people with excellent credit scores are 50% more likely to "strategically default" on their mortgages -- intentionally walk away -- than are lower scoring borrowers, according to a study by credit bureau Experian and consulting firm Oliver Wyman.
Bank returns interest rate to previous level, 12.99%
Ann Minch, the California woman who took her fight over a credit card rate increase to YouTube, apparently has extracted the concession she sought from Bank of America.
In a new video posted Saturday, she said Bank of America had agreed to return the interest rate on her $5,943.34 balance, which had been hiked to 30%, to 12.99%. The bank's first offer was 16.99%, which she said she rejected.
Live Nation venues offer all concerts for one price
With the recession taking a bite out of concert ticket sales, concert promoters have come up with all kinds of deals and discounts this year to lure us into the venues. For good music, we don't need too much luring, if we can afford the tickets.
Live Nation has continued to offer promotions every Wednesday with discounts on concerts nationwide.
Now, Live Nation is offering a concert pass. The Live Nation Club Passport gives music lovers entry into every concert the rest of the year at participating venues for $49.99 -- if the show isn't sold out. That includes all fees except parking.
Group says taxing surgery drinks would improve health
Is it time to tax sugary drinks?
Another group is saying yes. In a paper published in the Sept. 16 issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of public health experts is advocating a tax of one cent per ounce on sugary beverages, The New York Times reported. The tax would apply to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages and many juices and iced teas -- but not sugar-free drinks.
Truly "found money," those stray pennies and dimes will add up -- if you save them.
I'm superannuated enough to remember penny candy. Finding a cent was cause for celebration, because it would buy Squirrel Nut Zippers (the candy, not the band), Smarties, Pixy Stix or a host of other treats.
I still pick up pennies. Also nickels, dimes and any other American paper or specie I see on sidewalks, in parking lots or pooled in the rejected-change bin of those Coinstar change-counting machines.
You can find a home for anything, or anything for your home, at this wonderful site.
No matter how odd the item, you can probably unload it. Earlier this week I gave away a half-pint of keys.
It's not easy, but you CAN do it
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
Here is one of the most frequently asked questions in all of personal finance: "How do I get out of debt?" At one level, eliminating debt is simply about following a few steps:
- Stop going into more debt.
- Spend less than you make.
- Pay off debt with the difference.
If you follow these steps, eventually you'll be debt-free. The problem is that following these steps isn't always so easy. And to make matters worse, there is a lot of "help" out there that can make matters worse. From debt-consolidation companies to books like Kevin Trudeau's "Debt Cures," which I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy, there are a lot of promises being made that getting out of debt is easy. It's not.
In fact, tackling your debt may be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. You have to control your emotions, which can play a big part in how we make financial decisions. You have to educate yourself about everything from home loans to credit cards to credit scores. And you have to discipline yourself in the way you manage and spend money.
The fact is that controlling your spending and paying off your debt is not an easy thing to do. But the good news is that you can do it. If you want to be debt-free bad enough, you can make it happen.
To help you reach your goal of being debt-free, I've assembled a list of 23 tips and tools.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Cheap LED light bulbs cost more upfront -- between $8 to $10 apiece -- but begin to pay off within 18 months.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'