Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
By: Eric Gursky
Old thinking: If you can stomach the ups and downs that come with risk, you'll be rewarded.
New rule: Risk isn't about your stomach. It's about making or missing an important goal.
You know you have to consider risk. But what is risk? Many of us have learned to think of risk as synonymous with volatility. For years, what came down reliably bounced back even higher. You could easily conclude that risk tolerance was just a matter of taste. As long as you had the fortitude to see the occasional loss on your 401(k) statement and not panic, you would capture superior returns over time.
As you now know, the "over time" part of that last sentence is the real risk of relying too heavily on stocks. The longest period of negative returns for U.S. equities is 16 years, according to data collected by Wharton economist Jeremy Siegel. And we're at over a decade as of late February.
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Posted by: Shea McCabe
Amid the worst recession since the 1930s, Monster Worldwide, parent of online job site Monster.com, has been busily investing in its business.
Over the past three years, it has spent more than $200 million to redesign its Web site for job seekers; to purchase ChinaHR.com to boost its presence abroad; and to buy Trovix, a technology company with a vaunted new search tool that should appeal to Monster's key clients: staffing companies and corporate human-resources departments.
At the same time, Monster says it has been cutting costs -- by 25%, or $164 million, in the first half of 2009 alone.Read more...
General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., bucking decades of tradition, are weaning themselves from dependence on profit- sapping discounts after factory shutdowns curbed dealers’ supply of cars and trucks.
Incentives on GM, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC autos plunged 26 percent to $3,278 in August from a March peak, while discounts industrywide fell 22 percent to $2,474, according to researcher Edmunds.com. The U.S. automakers’ vehicles sold for an average of $2,000 more in the second quarter than a year earlier, said researcher J.D. Power and Associates.
“As we suffered through the worst automotive recession in our lifetimes, the lesson automakers learned was to stay under control and not bloat inventory, which you have to follow with huge incentives to move the metal,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst at J.D. Power. “From now on, we’re going to see a more cautious approach to incentives.”
Monday, September 14, 2009
Posted by: Lisa Matthys
Written by: Christine Dugas
Nevada has replaced Tennessee as the state with the most bankruptcies, as filings continue to stack up nationally.
From January to August, national bankruptcy filings reached 954,911, up from 703,732 in the same period of 2008, according to Automated Access to Court Electronic Records. In August, filings were up 22% compared with August 2008.
It is likely that filings will total 1.45 million this year, says Robert Lawless, professor of law at the University of Illinois.
After the bankruptcy law changed in 2005, filings had slowed.
"But we're now heading back close to where they were before the law was enacted," Lawless says. "It's not surprising, because the 2005 law did nothing to change the underlying economic reality of why people file for bankruptcy."
The 2005 reform aimed to curb bankruptcy abuse and make it harder to erase debts.
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Written by: Lisa Matthys
Intuit Inc., known for their tax preparation and financial-management software (Quicken), agreed to purchase Mint.com for $170 million on September 14th, 2009. Launched two years ago, Mint.com is a free online service that allows consumers to track their expenses and investments. The service is able to pull information from users’ checking and savings accounts, investments, loans, and other financial data and compile charts and graphs to show spending habits and trends. Mint.com also hosted advertisements with ways to save on personal finances based on consumers’ individual data. Mint.com had received approximately $17 million in venture funding, with investors such as Shasta Ventures, Benchmark Capital, and First Round Capital. Prior to the acquisition, Mint.com competed with Intuit’s Quicken Online and was growing rapidly with more than 1 million consumers. By buying its competitors (Mint.com, and previously Paycycle in June 2009), Intuit is eliminating potential threats within their competitive environment. With Intuit’s acquisition, Mint.com will be the primary personal finance web site, and Quicken Online will be aimed at customers who use the Quicken desktop software. Financially, the transaction has cut earnings for the year ending in July by 2 cents a share, but Intuit feels that there will be no material effect on earnings in fiscal 2011.
Posted By Michael Rivezzo
Green Sherpa is a great option for students especially for freshman that start college. They offer personal finance software that consumers can track,budget, and plan finances and expenses. It also can forecast future cash flow based on past expenses and income.
Most financial planners want students to grab a pen track every expense they spend. But most students are busy with school work and other things that college students do on the weekends. So this software is an important necessity for every college student. The software categorizers all expenses and also alerts students when bills are due.
The software integrates bank accounts and also credit cards so you can combine all your personal finances into one application.One of my favorite applications that Green Sherpa offers is that you can make financial goals such as saving money for a car, and you can track the progress via the website.
The Green Sherpa software is available for a free 14-day trial then is available montly for 7.95 a month
Written By Anne Marie Chaker
Posted By Michael Rivezzo
Students are borrowing dramatically more to pay for college, accelerating a trend that has wide-ranging implications for a generation of young people.
New numbers from the U.S. Department of Education show that federal student-loan disbursements — the total amount borrowed by students and received by schools — in the 2008-09 academic year grew about 25% over the previous year, to $75 billion.
The amount of money students borrow has long been on the rise. But last year far surpassed past increases, which ranged from as low as 1.7% in the 1998-99 school year to almost 17% in 1994-95, according to figures used in President Barack Obama’s proposed 2010 budget.
The sharp growth is “definitely above expectations,” says Robert Shireman, the deputy undersecretary of the Education Department. “But we’re also in an economic situation that nobody predicted.” The eye-opening increase in borrowing is largely due to the dire economic environment, which is causing more people to seek federal loans, he says.
The new numbers highlight how debt has become commonplace in paying for higher education. Today, two-thirds of college students borrow to pay for college, and their average debt load is $23,186 by the time they graduate, according to an analysis of the government’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, conducted by financial-aid expert Mark Kantrowitz.
Only a dozen years earlier, according to the study, 58% of students borrowed to pay for college, and the average amount borrowed was $13,172.
The ripple effects for today’s heavily indebted young people are becoming palpable. A growing body of research suggests that tough loan payments are affecting major life decisions by recent graduates, forcing them to put off traditional milestones, from buying a first home even to marriage and having children.
Ironically, the rising levels of borrowing may be contributing to the accelerating cost of college, some college finance experts say. Loans can give colleges an artificial sense of a family’s ability to pay tuition. To some extent, that false sense of security gets built into the assumptions schools make when setting prices, say experts. The idea is that as prices rise, families borrow more and more, spurring prices to rise further, which in turn requires more borrowing.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
Posted by: Srividya Srinivasan
Regardless of being formally educated, people still have a difficult time comprehending finances. The lack of financial literacy has been a major issue in the United States lately; financial illiteracy is rampant in the United States. According to Richard Briesch, an associate professor of marketing at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, a recent study by Harris Interactive found that 57 percent of households do not have a budget, 32 percent do not have any savings and 26 percent admit to not paying all of their bills on time.
The financial crisis that is currently happening now is a strong example of how important financial literacy and how detrimental financial mistakes are. “ ‘If we are thinking we are going to address the lack of financial literacy by informing people at one seminar, let's not even start that discussion. You don't cure pneumonia with an aspirin,’ said Annamaria Lusardi„©, professor of economics at Dartmouth College. Lusardi is editor of Overcoming the Saving Slump: How to Increase the Effectiveness of Financial Education and Saving Programs.” This issue is not a simple fix and more financial education could help increase everyone’s financial knowledge. The U.S. government has a site devoted to providing financial education, and banks and other financial institutions provide free financial education as well. However, the statistics from studies show that these tactics are not effective when taking into account the current state of the world’s finances.
Posted by: Srividya Srinivasan
Article by: Pamela Yip - The Dallas Morning News
I've always supported initiatives to make it easier for consumers to save, so I was encouraged by President Barack Obama's announcement of steps to help American families build their retirement savings.
Among the most intriguing steps is one that enables taxpayers to opt to receive their federal income tax refund in the form of an I Savings Bond, starting next year.
The "I" stands for inflation, and the main purpose of these bonds is to protect the bondholder from inflation.
To do this, I bonds adjust their rate every six months to track changes in the level of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. In periods of deflation, I bonds protect your investment by never losing value.
Allowing taxpayers to obtain their refunds in the form of Savings Bonds is a great idea, said Ken McDonnell, program director of the American Savings Education Council, a coalition of public- and private-sector institutions committed to making saving and retirement planning a priority for Americans.
Posted By Rico K. Setyo
By Steven Juetten
I know the calendar doesn’t say it’s officially Autumn until September 22, but in my book, the day after Labor Day is the start of Fall. To me, Fall is a time to harvest, to reap what we sowed, and to gather. Here’s my personal finance challenge to you for my un-official first day of Fall. Harvest your spending information. Note that I did not write “harness your spending.” I want you to gather your spending information.
For the month of September, I want you to record every expense you have over $3. If you have a partner, spouse and/or family, enlist their help. If you charged something on a credit card in August, and you pay the credit card bill in September, record it. If you spend $7 on popcorn at the movies, record it.
I’ll write about what I want you to do with your records in early October. For now, record every expense. Use a pencil and notebook, an on-line program like BudgetPulse.com or a personal finance program like Quicken. Group your expenses into broad categories like:
Mortgage or rent
You’ll notice there is no category titled “miscellaneous.” That’s because I want you to be accurate and complete in your expense record. In addition, there is no “credit card” category for the same reason. You’ll need to break down the items listed on your credit card statement into specific categories in order for this exercise to be useful.
Read more here
By Rico K. Setyo
Nearly everyone who is working has some type of financial plan for the future as they retire. Many employers provide their workers with these plans, and many individuals get their own external retirement plan. However, many people seem to forget that not every plan is bulletproof. There are three major uncontrollable factors that can alter an individual’s vision of retirement: a change in the economy, “a change in family status and a change in health” (Moeller).
There are many different retirement plans available for working individuals. An article from Reuters mention the types of retirement plans such as 401(k), Defined Benefit Pension, Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Keogh Plan, Qualified Retirement Plan and the Roth Individual Retirement Account. Even though these plans are meant for retirement, some of them have been used as an emergency fund when drastic changes to the economy, an individual’s family or health occurs. An important factor to think about when planning for retirement is making sure you look at the situation in a long-term perspective because if you keep spending for current short-term needs, you won’t have any funds for your leisure retirement.
One article mentions the idea of investing in skills such as education, training and networking because the traditional assets like stocks, bonds, cash and a home will not be enough when you retire (Farrell). The current “economic and market environment has prompted many Americans to rethink their retirement strategies” (The Spectrum).
By Melissa Korn
Posted by Albert Tirado
Shopping for college gear is expensive, but shopping for a college itself can cost nearly as much.
Guide books, application fees, charges for taking standardized tests, charges for sending said test scores to schools and actually visiting the schools in question can easily cost the families of college-bound students a few thousand dollars. While some of those costs are unavoidable, there are ways to trim expenses without hurting Junior’s chances of getting into Favorite State University. Here’s how:
One inevitable expense families incur when on the college hunt comes from exams, as most colleges require a score from at least one standardized test. Registration for the SAT and ACT costs $45 and $32, respectively. Students are allowed to send SAT scores to up to four schools for free but must shell out an additional $9.50 for each school after that (plus $27 for rush reporting); the ACT charges $9-$13.
Students with extraordinary need (those who receive free or reduced-cost lunches at school) can contact their college counselors about obtaining fee waivers. John Boshoven, counselor for continuing education at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., recommends other needy students ask their schools to forward test scores to colleges along with official transcripts. High schools get the scores automatically, and some universities will accept those scores as “official.”
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by Minjune KimStudents who came from different countries may not able to afford huge college tuition but they still want to study in the states. They may find a student loan or scholarship to support their tuition. I found some articles to show how school offer them tuition or how student find the way to fund tuition
The new policy of Tuck Business School at Dartmouth should be a great benefit to suitable MBA candidates. The school has recently announced that intend to provide funding opportunities despite the current economic climate. The Tuck School of Business in collaboration with Dartmouth College has announced that it will offer a new institutional loan designed exclusively for international students. The school’s commitment to supporting its international students should in theory draw more applications and serious interest abroad. Funding will be made available at very competitive rates despite the existing pressures on loan availability and the economic climate. Tuck’s new loan was developed to provide financial assistance to international students without requiring a U.S. cosigner. A student with demonstrated financial need may borrow up to the cost of attendance, less other financial aid, based on a needs analysis by the financial aid office. The loan is already available for incoming students. It has zero origination fees and the rate to borrowers,currently 9 percent, is variable and adjusts annually.
To find scholarship, do not be afraid to take risks by stepping outside your personal and academic comfort zones. Apply for competitive international scholarship programs. The application process, while long and arduous, is a valuable learning experience that will help to clarify your goals. College is a rigorous, exhilarating process. As you set off to forge your own path, make it your mission to seek out research and fellowship opportunities along the way. The rewards are tremendously fulfilling, and in the end you will become a more adaptable and globally minded citizen of the world.
Here are some examples of students who pursue scholarship. Masha Brussevich, a senior economics major from Kazakhstan, has found many routes to pay for college."I got scholarships when I applied to Kent (State)," Brussevich said. "I used to be a (resident assistant). I thought it was a good opportunity, a great way to apply social skills, and I got to be hall enforcer. It was a lot of work. It was fun. But it was also kind of boring at times."Brussevich said she chose Kent State because she felt it was a good choice for her future."I always wanted to do something in business, and I like math," Brussevich said. "I chose Kent State because it has a good College of Business and Administration, and I was familiar with the area."Tian Zhuang, freshman zoology major from China, was attracted to Kent State because of the environment."I liked this environment because it is smaller and better for studying," Zhuang said. "Also, it was easy to be accepted here.""In high school, I was an exchange student in Chicago for 10 months," Zhuang said. "Chicago is a big, loud city - not good for studying."Zhuang has an F1 student visa and is currently looking for a job on campus.
written by TOM LAURICELLA
Posted by Minjune Kim
Going back to college later in life is a great way to bolster a career, re-enter the job market or simply expand horizons. And it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Not only can adults benefit from most of the same financial-aid programs and college-savings plans as recent high-school graduates, there also are options for older adults alone -- which can significantly reduce the cost of learning.
Tom Miller, a 68-year-old former Marine and art director for a Wall Street firm, is on his second round of going back to school. And that's on top of the master's degree in fine art he earned earlier in life. Between 1997 and 2003, Mr. Miller used his veterans benefits, which help cover the cost of education, to save more than 80% on his tuition as he earned a certificate in entrepreneurial studies and business management at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. Today, he takes an art class at that same college for just $250 per semester, through a Fairleigh Dickinson program for older adults called the Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning. A typical class at the university is three credits and costs $2,511, or $837 per credit, though it can vary. Both financially and from a personal fulfillment standpoint, "it's very rewarding," Mr. Miller says.
For those looking for help with the cost of going back to school, a good first stop is financial-aid site FinAid.org. It provides a wealth of information on loans and scholarships, including a page on financial aid for older students. (Click on a link on the home page that says "other types of aid.")
When it comes to financial aid for older students, "if you're pursuing a degree, just about everything that works for a traditional 17-year-old will work for you," says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org. He adds that there even are some schools that offer scholarships just for older adults. That said, there are some restrictions that may pose a problem for some senior students. For instance, the federally sponsored Pell Grants program, which provides money to low-income students, is available only to those who don't already have a bachelor's degree.
Older students also may have their own concerns. Mr. Kantrowitz hears from individuals who need a student loan but worry about what would happen if they die before the debt is paid off. "It's a bit morbid, but it is a concern...that the loan will be held against the estate," he says. With the federal Stafford loan program, however, the debt is forgiven should the borrower die.
Many older adults will find they may not need to pay full tuition. Purdue University in Indiana, for example, waives half the tuition for people age 60 and older (but with a cap on the number of credits taken with the discount). It's even cheaper for those who don't want to pursue a full degree. Most schools provide bigger discounts for students who "audit" classes; they participate in class but don't take tests or get credit toward a degree. At the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in New York, anyone 65 or older auditing a class pays one-quarter of the regular tuition. That lowers the cost of a typical class to about $640, from more than $2,500. And in more than 20 states, including Texas, Florida and North Carolina, public colleges offer free tuition to older adults auditing classes. One thing to remember: Space may be limited, and schools usually give priority to for-credit students. Moreover, some schools restrict when audit students can register. At C.W. Post, for example, registration for audit students is allowed only the week before school starts. "But it usually seems to work," says Rita Jorgensen, director of adult student services at the school.
Consider 529 Plans
It also pays to consider another tool that has become common for younger students: 529 college-savings plans. These accounts allow money used for college expenses to be invested free from federal income taxes. Many states also offer tax breaks for contributing to 529 accounts.
"It's almost a no-brainer," says Joseph Hurley, who runs Savingforcollege.com, a Web site specializing in 529 plans. That said, those planning on attending school within the next several years should be wary of putting money into investments that could lose money. And a handful of states, such as Louisiana, have minimums on how long money has to be in an account before it's withdrawn in order to receive the full benefits of the accounts. Still, Mr. Hurley notes that some state programs, such as Michigan's, have investment options that offer high-yielding but safe accounts. Michigan's Principal Plus Interest Option currently provides a 3.75% guaranteed return from plan manager TIAA-CREF. That rate could change at the end of September. Some people may be able to take advantage of 529 accounts opened for children or grandchildren. "You can always change the beneficiary back to yourself, or you can open [accounts] with yourself as the beneficiary," says Mr. Hurley.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Posted by: Stefanie Marty
Moises Mari, a 24-year-old senior at Rutgers University, got his first credit card at 16 by lying about his age on the application. “None of my friends had one, and I wanted to be the first,” he says. “I was surprised how easy it was to get through the system. I was issued one within a few days.”
The era of “No Student Left Behind: Credit Card Edition” will come to an end early next year, thanks to the new credit card law. (Starting in February, the law restricts students under 21 from signing up for their own cards.) But, in the meantime, college kids now arriving on campus may see issuers making one last-ditch plastic pitch through offers of free pizza, iPods, or T-shirts. “These are very large businesses, and they can’t sit back and do nothing or their businesses will shrink too much,” notes David Robertson of the Nilson Report, a credit card analyst. So a little friendly parental advice from you couldn’t be timelier.
College students are just as hooked on plastic as their parents. Some 84 percent of college students have credit cards — more than half have four or more — and the average balance is $3,173, according to a survey by student lender Sallie Mae. (That’s on top of the $19,999 median loan debt for undergrads.) Many students seem unable to rein in their card use. More than three-quarters carry a monthly balance, and 60 percent in the survey said they were surprised how high their balances had reached. They are, in short, a card issuer’s dream: young, plastic-addicted, and willing to carry a balance into eternity.
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Written by: Stefanie Marty
The use of credit cards is not only prevalent in the US households; it is also common on college campuses among students with debt and credit problems. Due to the few financial ties of college students they represent an attractive demographic to banks.
With the increasing cost of college, the use of credit cards by students gets more and more versatile. More than 50 percent of the students pay books by credit card and about 35 percent charges the credit card to pay tuition. Banks contribute a lot to this increasing use of credit cards. Since the introduction of credit cards to students in the late 1980’s banks have gotten more and more aggressive to promote the cards to college students amongst others by distributing free gifts or by negotiating credit card partnerships with colleges.
Research shows that in 1990 about half (54%) of undergraduates held at least one credit card; a number which increased to 83% in 2001. And in 2008 76% of students reported that credit cards have been marketed to them near college campuses.
Research conducted tried to find connections between the credit card use behavior and the financial knowledge. In contrast to the expectations, students with high financial knowledge had higher credit cards balances than students with lower financial knowledge. This fact together with other findings of the study shows that the use of credit cards on college campuses is of more complexity than expected. As Robb and Sharp show in their study, limiting access to cards is not the leading way for preventing students from a financial crisis. It is much more important for the students to make rational decisions.
After conducting the study of credit card attitudes of college students, Joo also suggests further research on this important and complex topic. There are different components that must be taken into consideration when evaluation someone’s credit card use behavior. The impact of components such as gender, academic major, numbers of credit cards owned, parents’ use of credit card or psychological factor is not clear. Joo insists on a good credit education which will lead to better credit card behaviors of students.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Posted By Adam Lindheim
BusinessWeek asked business undergrads to tell us about their favorite professors. Here's another installment in the series.
Not too many college-aged kids can say they have already created a personalized mutual fund 401(k) plan. But North Carolina State University finance professor Bill Sloan's students can. After developing a diversified portfolio from a menu of 12 to 13 investment choices and quantifying their risk tolerance, these personal finance students are prepared to deal with their retirement savings before they've even joined the workforce.
Preparing students for their future can pay off. North Carolina State undergrad business students who responded to BusinessWeek's 2007 survey, frequently named Sloan as their favorite professor. He has also received the Distinguished Undergraduate University Professor award at North Carolina State. Students say his real-world application of classroom material and depth of knowledge make him a star teacher.
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By Adam Lindheim
With the president’s speech on Wednesday, the debate of a national health care plane has reached its climax. There are two sides to the issue, one being whether or not everyone should be insured by a government supplies health care plan, or if we should continue on our current path of private health care. Those who believe we should have a national plan believe it is necessary because of the lack coverage of their insurance companies. Others would rather control their own medical decisions, and some believe the plan just is not properly formatted to complete its mission.
In a recent study by Drs. David Himmelstien and Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School, and Deborah Thorne a Sociology professor of Ohio University found that American’s filing for bankruptcy was for the most part solidly middle class before the medical disaster hit. Of those surveyed two-thirds had owned their home, and three-fifths had gone to college. Medical problems caused Sixty-two percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 according the Harvard study. Seventy-eight percent of those filers had medical insurance, including sixty point three percent who had private coverage. This is a drastic change if we are to compare these numbers to 1981. Only eight percent of families filing for bankruptcy in 1981 said that a serious medical problem was the cause to their bankruptcy. In a 2001 study done by the same researchers, they found that a serious illness or medical bills had caused fifty percent of all bankruptcy filings. “For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments and deductibles that an illness can put you in the in the poorhouse,” said lead author Himmelstien. “Unless you’re Warren Buffet, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.” This study reinforces President Obama’s call for reform in the medical insurance industry. There is still a strong resistance to this reform by not only those who have private insurance, but doctors as well.
Arthur Feldman a cardiologist and chair of the department of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, as well as the author of the book Pursuing Excellence in Healthcare: Preserving America’s Academic Medical Centers. Feldman wrote an article in the Washington Post called “10 Things I Hate about Healthcare Reform.” I have chosen the 3 points I agree with the most, but all of them are valid points and should be considered all the equally important. Point Three on Feldman’s list is “Prevention wont magically make cost go down.” President Obama believes by paying for vaccines, and attempting to prevent disease costs will go down. Dr. Feldman believes prevention will actually make costs go up, because you will have to continually provide care for these diseases, and believes as long as things like McDonalds, cigarettes, alcohol, and the pollution of the environment are around so will sickness. Point six was “We have to streamline drug development and shake up the FDA.” There are to many hurdles to get drugs passed, and the FDA is to small to pass drugs threw the system that can help patients. Plus new clinical trials for drugs are now done outside the U.S, which takes money out of the U.S. economy. Point 7 was “We can’t fund health-care reform by cutting payments to doctors.” Dr. Feldman believes we need to pay for quality in order to receive the proper care we need and deserve. Cutting payment to doctor’s can only create a hairy mess. Other than Dr. Feldman’s beliefs, American citizens all over are protesting their beliefs trying to influence the government,
In Raleigh, North Carolina Protestors stormed their capital building expressing their beliefs. There were those who had filed for bankruptcy because of their high medical bills, and those who wanted their medical coverage to stay between their insurance companies and their doctors. Wednesday night President Obama will deliver his speech to the whole nation, and a eventually congress will make a decision, but until there I would suggest trying to stay healthy.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
posted by John Smith
Americans feel far worse about their financial situation than they have in the past seven months and continue to be pounded by financial woes driven by increased credit card, health-care and personal loan issues, according to the Consumer Reports Index September ’09 Report.
The CR Sentiment Index is at 38.1, the lowest level since October 2008. The nonprofit organization also noted that the CR Trouble Tracker continues to increase to its highest level in the past seven months with almost 38 percent of Americans experiencing at least one major negative personal finance event in the past month.
While consumers continue to be distressed about their personal financial situation, there are indications their outlook may have stabilized. The CR Retail Index remained stable from the previous month, while interest in shopping for large-ticket items like a new home, and new and used cars looks strong for the month of September.
Posted by: Lisa Matthys
As the current economic crisis highlights the perils of money mismanagement, local educators are launching courses on personal finance alongside traditional math-curriculum mainstays like algebra, geometry, and calculus.
For the first time this fall, Medway High School will offer a semester-long course, open to all students, that will cover income, spending, credit, saving, and investing .
Wellesley High School will also offer a new senior-level course on personal finance this year, while Acton-Boxborough Regional High School allows students to work at an in-school credit union for course credit.
And the finance teachings don’t always stop in the schools: Today, the Bellingham Public Library is hosting sessions on teaching children about finance, for kids and their parents.
Click here for more.
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox voluntarily posted his personal finances online to support legislation that would require financial disclosure from public officials. With a combined salary (him and his wife, Laura) of over $193,000, Cox called for new laws that will require financial disclosures of all state elected officials and local officials who earn more than $65,000 a year. Michigan is currently one of three states not requiring disclosure. With the personal financials of elected officials withheld, it is uncertain as to which lawmakers may have conflicts of interest on specific issues. By publishing elected officials finances, questionable practices could be reduced. However, opposing arguments do subsist. If such requirement was imposed on Michigan, “everyday folks” who seek office may be discouraged to run. Currently, the House has already passed public disclosure legislation. For the past five months, legislation has been with the Senate awaiting action. Only time will tell as to when all elected officials will need to disclose personal finances, as only three states have opt out. As for the Republican, Mike Cox, if his voice is heard, it will put him in the running for governor of Michigan.
Written by: Lisa Matthys
Start your kids saving early.
Article by: Srividya Srinivasan
How many children are informed about financial planning at an early age? Parents don’t discuss their financial situations with their kids. And usually just shell money out of their wallets. By not teaching them the value of money, children don't realize the importance of every dollar.
According to Todd Mark, Spokesperson for Consumer Credit Counseling Service, "We know that the savings rate in our country is atrocious. As a matter of fact, last year was the first time since the Great Depression that we had a negative savings rate as a country. So, as adults that have obviously very little value on savings, we're not passing it on to our kids - to put much aside in savings - either." If parents were to advise their kids to encourage them about the value of saving money, it will help set them in the right direction initially. They don't have to force their kids to save money, just strongly encourage, which will ultimately go a long way.
Often when teenagers start earning their first paycheck, they become more money conscious. The simple cost for lunch makes them realize the amount of time they have to work just to earn the money. Psychologically, whenever kids earn their own money, they are more cautious when spending rather than when they are using their parents’ money. That is why allowances are often helpful in teaching kids financial concepts at an early age.