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Proposed rule would eliminate do-over opportunity.

By Karen Datko Aug 24, 2010 3:48PM

This guest post comes from Mary Beth Franklin of Kiplinger's Personal Finance.


An obscure strategy that allows Social Security recipients to boost their income by repaying benefits received in earlier years and then claiming a bigger monthly check based on their older age may soon disappear. Kiplinger has learned that the Social Security Administration is moving to eliminate the so-called do-over strategy.


If the agency gets its way, the new rule could take effect within a few months.


Massive recall has consumers worried about bad eggs.

By Karen Datko Aug 24, 2010 3:00PM

This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner site


The latest food-safety crisis gives new meaning to the term "bad egg." Millions of eggs have been recalled by two Iowa companies after being linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak.


Hillandale Farms issued a recall of eggs from two of its plants on Aug. 20, saying there have been laboratory-confirmed illnesses associated with the eggs. The announcement came just two days after Wright County Egg in Galt expanded its Aug. 13 recall to a total of 380 million eggs.


How can you tell if the eggs in your refrigerator are included in the recall? Here's what you should look for on the egg carton:


Lenders have tightened the rules, but crooks are finding new ways to steal, including identity theft.

By Teresa Mears Aug 24, 2010 2:02PM

The end of the real estate boom hasn't ended one unpleasant byproduct: mortgage fraud.


Attempts by lenders to tighten standards haven't ended fraud, but just forced crooks to find new schemes.


"There were plenty of opportunities for fraud on the way up and there are plenty on the way down," Clifford Rossi, a former chief credit officer at Citigroup and a teaching fellow at the University of Maryland, told Reuters, which did a special report on mortgage fraud.


Are the new restrictions on card companies worth the tradeoffs we were warned to expect -- less credit and higher interest rates?

By Karen Datko Aug 24, 2010 1:06PM

This should come as no surprise: Credit card interest rates in the second quarter of 2010 were the highest they've been since 2001. Some expect rates to keep rising.


Higher rates were the industry's response to the Credit CARD Act -- which limits some of the card companies's more egregious moneymaking practices -- as well as to high default rates among struggling customers. (As we noted last week, the final provisions of the CARD Act have kicked in.)


The higher rates are all the more notable given that other interest rates -- like those on mortgage loans and the banks' own costs of borrowing money -- are remarkably low, The Wall Street Journal observes.

Here is what has happened in recent months, according to The Wall Street Journal and other news reports:


Retailers slash prices, beef up sales as consumers cut back.

By Karen Datko Aug 24, 2010 11:06AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Cost-conscious shoppers are turning more to their closets than to retail stores for fall wardrobe options this year. Sales at clothing stores slipped in June and July, and because many of this year's fashion trends, including leather motorcycle jackets and gray everything, were popular last year, too, August may not bring an improvement.


"There's just no reason to shop," says Kathryn Finney, the founder of


Apparel retailers will be making a different case when they slash prices to lure shoppers back into their stores this month and into the fall.


How many days do you have to work each month to pay for your fixed obligations?

By Karen Datko Aug 24, 2010 9:01AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Every year, the Tax Foundation points to a day in April and proclaims it Tax Freedom Day. It's the day after which you have effectively earned enough to cover your tax liabilities for the year.


For 2010, that day was April 9. In 2009, it was April 8. The idea is that, based on what you are projected to owe in taxes, every hour you work until that day goes toward funding that liability.

It's more a gimmick than anything else, but it does underscore an important point: Each month you experience your own "Freedom Day."


Your personal Monthly Freedom Day is the day when you've earned enough that month to cover your fixed monthly obligations like your rent or mortgage, your car loan or your student loans. I'm going to help you calculate your Monthly Freedom Day.


Some are leery of dating people described as 'frugal,' but they like savers. How do you show you're financially smart but not stingy?

By Teresa Mears Aug 23, 2010 3:59PM

You may want a frugal mate, but do you want a frugal date?


Nearly half of you apparently do not. Asked which words came to mind when contemplating a blind date with someone described as "frugal," 27% answered "stingy" and another 15% picked "boring." Only 3.7% found frugal to be the new sexy, Ron Lieber reported in The New York Times, citing a study by ING Direct.


On the bright side, 56% of men and 42% of women did equate frugal with "smart." Women seem to be a bit more leery of the frugal label, with 33% of women equating it with stingy, compared with only 20% of men.


A new FCC study shows that your access is up to 50% slower than advertised.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 23, 2010 1:35PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


When your Internet service provider boasts about how fast you can access the Web, it turns out they're playing slow and loose with the truth.

A new report by the Federal Communications Commission shows that those advertised speeds are off by roughly 50%.



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