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Residents of the biggest state carry the biggest debts, according to a new study.

By Credit.com Fri 11:37 AM

This post comes from Christine Di Gangi at partner site Credit.com.


Credit.com on MSN MoneyAlaskans have consistently carried high credit card balances for the past few years, possibly due to the high cost of living in the state.


According to data from the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports, sorted using Experian's IntelliView tool, only Alaska residents have carried an average credit card balance greater than $2,000 in the past three years, making it consistently the state with the most credit card debt.


Credit cards © CorbisAlaska is a bit of an outlier, with its average debt of $2,299 per card in the second quarter of this year -- the rest of the states carry an average balance between $1,366 and $1,817 -- but even with high balances, Alaskans followed d the national trend and reduced that balance over the past few years.


Here's how other states compare:

 

According to a new survey by WisePiggy.com, men use their smartphones much more than women to manage their finances.

By QuinStreet Fri 11:13 AM

This post comes from Peter Andrew at partner site WisePiggy.com.


Wise Piggy on MSN MoneyDo you find that the strangers sitting next to you on planes, in diners and at sporting events are always using their smartphones to tweet, send texts and emails, update Facebook, or play Angry Birds? Well, it turns out that -- mostly when they don't have a nosy neighbor looking over their shoulders -- they're also using their devices to do something else: Monitor and manage their money.


Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty ImagesThe popularity of smartphones as a tool for controlling personal finances was the key outcome of a survey recently commissioned by WisePiggy.com. A sample of 2,000 American homeowners, all of whom were age 25 or older and married with children, participated. Half were men, and the other half -- you'll never guess -- women.

 

Nearly half of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year, plus caregiving affects their jobs and retirement plans.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 3:45 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCaring for an aging loved one can take a toll physically and emotionally. But it also has a significant impact on your pocketbook, employment and retirement plans.


Family caregiver helping senior in wheelchair © Terry Vine/Getty ImagesAccording to a new survey from Caring.com, 46 percent of family caregivers (people who take care of a friend or relative for free) spend more than $5,000 a year to care for a loved one, and many people spend much more. Caregiving costs, including medical bills, medications, in-home care and sometimes nursing homes, really add up. Caring.com wrote:

"Caregiving can be a startlingly expensive endeavor that most people aren’t financially prepared for," said Caring.com CEO Andy Cohen. "But yet only 3 in 10 caregivers have spoken to their loved ones about how to pay for care. Having an open and honest conversation about finances is a sensitive, but necessary discussion to have."

Caregiving can also impact current employment and future retirement plans. Because of the amount of time required to take care of their loved one, one-third of those surveyed said they devote at least 30 hours per week to caregiving, and 50 percent of caregivers said they had to change their work schedule, they miss work or they often show up late or leave early. Sixty percent of survey respondents said their caregiving duties have a negative effect on their job.

 

Counterfeit goods are big business, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Here's how to figure out what's authentic and what's not.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:50 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou've searched for the perfect designer purse or electronic gadget for your significant other. It arrives just in time for the special occasion, but you're disappointed by the quality.


The item is a fake, the retailer is nowhere to be found, and you're out hundreds of dollars. What's a consumer to do?

 

A new survey on driver distractions and safety reveals what annoys motorists most.

By QuinStreet Thu 12:45 PM

This post comes from Mark Chalon Smith at partner site CarInsurance.com.

CarInsurance.com on MSN MoneyMen are more bothered than women by other drivers who talk on their phones but lane cutters irk the ladies more than guys, according to a survey by Progressive.


Older driver © Corbis

Progressive surveyed 1,700 people nationwide about their driving habits and also about their pet peeves when it comes to other motorists' unsafe (and often illegal) behavior behind the wheel.


The insurer, which says it conducted the survey to raise awareness about safe driving habits, found these driving behaviors by others bothered men and women as follows:

 

United Airlines is offering workers up to $100,000 to walk away from their jobs. Would you say yes?

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:29 PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyUnited Airlines is flashing some cash in the hopes of persuading at least 2,100 of its senior flight attendants to stop flying the friendly skies.


Unemployed man © Rubberball/JupiterimagesThe company's buyout proposal would put up to $100,000 in the hands of attendants who agree to part ways with the company. The airline is just the latest big company to use a buyout proposal to reduce costs and downsize their workforce. GM, for instance, used a buyout to shed 35,000 workers back in 2006.


Buyouts can be a win-win for both the company and workers. Employees get a tidy sum to fatten their bank accounts, while the company can eliminate high-paying senior positions in favor of hiring new workers at entry-level wages. In United's case, it's expected to allow the company to also call back 1,450 furloughed attendants.


Still, taking a buyout is no no-brainer. Here are some of the pros and cons of walking away with the money:

 

The Fed's latest statement confirms that it won't be coming to the rescue of depositors soon, but these institutions are worth following anyway.

By QuinStreet Wed 4:11 PM
This post comes from Robert Beaupre at partner site MoneyRates.com.

MoneyRates.com on MSN MoneySince the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has seemed to change direction as often as the wind. But at least one trend has stood throughout this period, much to the dismay of savers everywhere: historically low deposit rates.


After recent speculation that the Federal Reserve may raise rates – or at least signal new intentions to raise rates soon – the Fed today reiterated its commitment to low rates in the statement from its latest meeting.


For depositors, these words confirmed that the era of abysmally low rates on savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit will remain for the foreseeable future.


“The Fed’s low-interest-rate policy has been a boon to borrowers, but devastating to people who have seen the interest on their savings wiped out,” says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com.


Yet not all hope is lost for savers.

 

Self-serve gas stations may no longer be the easy prey of crooks with stolen credit and debit cards.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:07 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyNew anti-theft software is helping gas stations crack down on credit card fraud at the pump.


Pay-at-the-pump terminals at self-serve gas stations are the perfect place for thieves to rack up charges with stolen credit or debit cards. With no one to personally witness the transaction, thieves have little chance of getting caught.


Buying gas © Somos Image, CorbisAccording to Today, convenience stores and gas stations lose an estimated $250 million each year to credit and debit card fraud. Unfortunately, that loss has to be absorbed somewhere, and that usually means higher prices for paying customers.


Now new technology, Visa Transaction Advisor, or VTA, has been designed to recognize lost, stolen or phony cards, so gas stations can more easily distinguish between the rightful card owners and a thief. Today reported:

"This technology uses predictive analytics to help determine whether this is a high-risk transaction. If it is, then we send a notification back to the pump and the customer is prompted to go inside and complete that transaction," explained Mark Nelsen, Visa's vice president of risk products and business intelligence.
 

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