New study says loan servicers lack financial incentive to modify mortgages.
At the start of the foreclosure crisis, personal-finance experts urged struggling homeowners to contact their lenders if they started to fall behind on their mortgages. The lenders want to do everything they can, homeowners were told, to avoid a foreclosure.
Now, the experts aren't so sure that's the case.
Consumers who have jumped through a frustrating series of hoops to achieve a mortgage modification -- a lower interest rate or more manageable payments -- are convinced that conventional wisdom is flawed.
Buck at The Buck List has a knack for finding sites you might not know about.
One thing we love about The Buck List -- and there are many reasons to love that blog (not many undertake the task of writing a humorous post about funeral planning) -- is the occasional cool Web site blogger Buck Weber finds and shares with readers.
Buck, whose blog focuses on how he makes and saves money in his current unemployed state, seems to be a magnet for the odd cost-cutting or time-saving Web site. Read his blog closely. He sprinkles them about like blogger's word candy.
Good timing, Buck. The microwave hasn't been heating evenly or well. We checked to see what the Samurai Appliance Repair Man had to say about that.
The Bank of America offer of free coverage has a catch.
I remember a few years ago when credit card companies would send out $5 checks to customers. The catch with the $5 check was that it enrolled you in some sort of service, usually identity theft or employment-related coverage, which was free for a month.
After a month, there was a monthly fee that was either flat, in the case of the identity theft service, or a percentage of your balance, in the case of the employment-related service.
Last week, I received letters from two banks reminding me of their complimentary offer of accidental death and dismemberment insurance. It’s clear in both cases that they're marketing promotions trying to get you to buy AD&D insurance from their partners. However, the two offers are very different in how they approach the customer.
Taking these precautions could greatly reduce your risk.
Identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in the world. The Federal Trade Commission has stated that there are more than 9 million cases of identity theft per year in the United States alone. Even if you've been able to avoid any issues thus far, chances are that you know someone whose identity has been compromised.
Note from Karen: It's National Protect Your Identity Week, sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Here's some related reading that you'll find very informative.
If you take anything from this post, realize you can never be too safe with your personal information. You need to be on your toes, especially around your co-workers, friends and family. Although you likely won't be liable for any fraudulent charges and/or spending, it can takes months of consistent effort to clean up. Here are some ways you can avoid becoming a victim:
State advises that if you plan to move there, you should have a job lined up first.
The job market is so tight that the state now posts a caution on its Division of Employment Security Web site suggesting people not move to Alaska unless they already have work lined up. "We have a fair amount of people who think that Alaska is the promised land, and they have misconceptions maybe about what is up here. And they load up the family and head out on the Alaska highway, and we want to encourage them not to do that until they have something lined up before they get here," (regional job center manager Brad) Gillespie said.
Sounds like great advice. When we lived in Alaska nearly a decade ago, we got calls from acquaintances Outside who assumed that a pipeline was always under construction somewhere (they're not), that jobs were plentiful, and that if all else fails, you can live off the land.
Apparently the dream lives on.
Make sure to move automatic payments to new card.
When you’re a victim of identity theft, one of the first things you should do is cancel all the credit cards that have been compromised. If you have regular payments charged automatically to a card, don’t forget to change those payments to another card.
Forgetting to set up new automatic payments for a bill can have serious consequences, as my late partner and I learned. She was the victim of identity theft in 2003, when several of her cards were taken over by another person, who charged a lot of items and had the bills diverted to another address in the next county.
Falling prices mean Social Security recipients will get no cost-of-living increase next year.
Under the time-honored formula used to calculate Social Security payments, recipients will get no increase AT ALL next year -- for the first time since the automatic cost-of-living adjustment was adopted in 1975. Prices have actually gone down, you may or may not have noticed.
Social Security payments cannot, by law, decrease when the cost of living declines, but neither are they supposed to go up when there is no inflation. And, the Los Angeles Times notes, "The decline in prices means that seniors will be able to buy more with the dollars they're already receiving."
But President Obama and many in Congress want Social Security recipients to get an increase anyway -- in the form of a $250 bonus.
Is this fair or even reasonable?
Online high-end shopping sites can throw the sage shopper off his or her game.
I have a favorite, although rather obscure, Monty Python sketch. An older housewife type (a "pepperpot") sits on a park bench. Another approaches dragging a car engine on a cart, saying she's been shopping.
"Did you buy anything?" asks the first.
"A piston engine!"
"What d’you buy that for?"
"Oooh! It was a bargain."
It's not their most memorable bit. But it deftly sums up a way in which we can short-circuit our own thinking when we shop.
- Bing: Best of Monty Python
As I've written here several times, when we shop we are not creatures of cold calculation. We can't be. There are just too many choices at the mall and not enough time to find the one optimal allocation of our money over everything we could buy. Instead, we operate on a set of learned behaviors that approximate the optimal outcome. One of those is bargain hunting.
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