Accounts can be canceled without advance notice.
A Wall Street Journal story discloses what may be a surprising fact: Credit card companies can cancel your card without giving you advance notice.
The story relates how a lawyer tried to use her American Express card to pay for a spa treatment and was surprised to learn that her card was no good. The same thing happened to a man who wanted to pay for a sushi meal with his HSBC Cash or Fly Platinum MasterCard. (Both said they have very good credit.)
- Bing: Best credit cards
We have to wonder: Has this happened to you? Is it embarrassing, or do you calmly reach in your purse or wallet for a backup? Shouldn't the card companies be required to give you warning?
Older cars build character and skills.
The first car owned by Paul Van Lierop, the FiscalGeek, was a 1977 AMC Gremlin, presented to him for his 16th birthday. The year was 1989. If cars are a personal statement, it was a disaster.
"'Wayne's World' had not come out," Paul wrote. "AMC Gremlins, Pacers or Hornets were definitely not cool. I was actually laughed at by scores of kids the day I drove it into the parking lot of our high school."
Why would he now insist that his own kids' first cars will be equally used and unhip? He listed seven good reasons in a post called "Why my kids will drive a piece of crap." It's a fun read and also prompted many readers to reminisce about their first vehicles.
Study: 45,000 die each year because they're uninsured
A new Harvard study estimates that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health insurance -- and that's after other factors like income and unhealthy behaviors are taken into account.
"Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease," an article by the Cambridge Health Alliance reports.
The study says the uninsured have a 40% higher risk of death than people who have private health insurance -- like the insurance you get through your job. Or, to put it another way, a person dies because of a lack of insurance every 12 minutes.
Of course, some people neglect their health. But many, we suspect, don't see a doctor because they're afraid of the cost. Doctor visits and tests can add up to an intimidating amount, even if you're uninsured but have a good income. A CNN story put a human face on some of these avoidable deaths -- a freelance cameraman, a self-employed mother of two, and a 25-year-old woman who worked in a movie theater.
So we had to wonder: Have you put off visits to the doctor because of financial considerations?
Congress may consider nationwide ban.
The vast majority of U.S. drivers believes handheld texting while driving is very dangerous and should be banned nationwide, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates on behalf of the Ford Motor Co., found that 86% of U.S. drivers believe handheld texting while driving is "very dangerous" and 93% support a nationwide ban on it.
Before you ask, decide if it would work for you.
For today's information workers, offices don't make sense. Why commute in rush-hour traffic to sit in a cube and write, research, and make phone calls -- all things you could do anywhere? For many workers, ending -- or at least reducing -- daily treks to the office may be as simple as asking their employer. Especially in challenging economic times when employers can't always offer raises, companies may actually see telecommuting as an affordable way to keep employees happy.
- Bing: The worst commutes
If you have ever considered telecommuting but don't know how to approach your manager about working from home, here's a look at things to consider before requesting a telecommuting arrangement and a way to propose working remotely to your manager in the best possible way.
Foreclosure? Job loss? It's time to be brutally honest.
An anonymous GRS reader submitted a question last week that hits close to home:
I have a family member who this past year has been in serious financial trouble. He is one of the most ambitious and intelligent people I know and I would have never imagined him getting in this kind of trouble. His ambition may have been his downfall as he keeps shooting for the stars and has fallen short on some of his business ideas, which may have put him in a more vulnerable position when the economy turned south. He is now living in debt and struggling to put food on the table for his wife and four young boys. He has had to live on credit cards for several months and they are all maxed out. I have never seen firsthand anyone in this much trouble. My question to you is: When faced with job loss and depleted savings, how can you avoid going into credit red? To what lengths would you go to avoid living on credit cards and missing payments on just about everything? In the situation, is credit rating even worth anything?
As I say, this situation hits close to home.
Marketers want to mind too much of your business.
Why, when we're confronted, do we tend to blurt out the truth, even when it works to our disadvantage to do so? Chaucer had it right when he said that "truth is the highest thing that Man may keep." Sometimes we should keep it to ourselves.
Asked in the right way, we'll often reveal private, sensitive information that's strictly none of anyone's business, that's valuable to people trying to manipulate us into buying products and services, and that can be used to pester or even harass us. Warranty cards with long lists of personal questions are especially egregious: What about your favorite sporting event and the magazines you read is needed to guarantee a flashlight's performance? And how often do you give your phone number to companies that have no need to know it?
There are several calculations to consider.
Particularly for those looking to buy their first home, the big question is always: How much house can I afford based on my income? I can still remember when my wife and I tried to crunch the numbers when we bought our first home back in 1993. I was scared to death that we wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage payments. But we did, and as the months and years went by, our mortgage payments became more manageable.
If you're considering buying a home, it helps to have an idea of how much you can afford. It's very important to think of this question from two different perspectives.
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