Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Debt Ceiling and Your Credit Card

What do they have in common?  According to, If the Debt Ceiling Isn’t Raised, Your Credit Card’s Interest Rate Will Be.  Briefly, the author says that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause the U.S. to pay … Continue reading

Posted in Credit, Current Events | Tagged , , ,

Finally, Distressed Homeowner Relief!

Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) has been featured on American Public Media’s Marketplace.  Take a moment to go look at what they’re doing to help distressed homeowners save their homes by adjusting the terms of their loans.  It’s jaw-dropping … Continue reading

Posted in Banking, Current Events | Tagged , , , , ,

Before You Go And Buy Your First House…

… Consider This: You will now be a homeowner.  That means you can paint the walls without having a landlord grouse at you.  That also means that if anything breaks, you’re on the hook.  Here’s a brief list of areas … Continue reading

Posted in Credit, Financial Planning, Investments, Spending | Tagged , , , ,

One Disposable Razor Per Year?

How frugal is too frugal?  The inimitable Clark Howard, host of the aptly named Clark Howard Show,* which is about saving more, spending less, and how not to get ripped off, has pushed the envelope on just how frugal a … Continue reading

Posted in Handy Ideas, Spending | Tagged , , , , , ,

Reasonable Loss Aversion

Science has confirmed it: you and I hate losing money more than we like winning money.  The term for our preference for avoiding losses is called “Loss Aversion.”  As it turns out, we loss averse people feel twice as bad … Continue reading

Posted in Handy Ideas, Investments | Tagged ,

Leverage: Double-edged Sword or Executioner’s Axe?

Leverage – it’s when you use borrowed money to make an investment, in the hopes that the profits from the investment will exceed the cost of the borrowed funds.  Usually it’s portrayed as a double-edged sword – leverage can cut … Continue reading

Posted in Credit, Investments | Tagged , , , ,

How Compound Interest Works

You may have heard of compound interest before, or compounding.  But how does it work?  Well, this is your lucky day!  I’ll show you how it works. It’s easiest to imagine interest in terms of bank products, like savings accounts … Continue reading

Posted in Banking, Financial Planning | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

How to Make a Debt Snowball

So you want to pay down your debts.  How are you going to do that efficiently?  Use the Debt Snowball.  Just like a cartoon snowball rolling down a slope, the debt snowball builds momentum as it goes.  You’ll need to … Continue reading

Posted in Credit | Tagged , ,

The Gateway Seminar

There are a lot of people looking for financial advice.  They want to learn how to get rich in real estate, get rich in stocks, or just plain get rich.*  Since there is demand, there will be supply, and so … Continue reading

Posted in Financial Planning, Investments | Tagged , , ,

Capital and Capitalism

Come here, kids, and sit around my knees.  Let ole’ grammy Abigail tell you a story.  It’s a story of frustration and hindsight, and a lesson to you all.  Let’s begin at the beginning. I came to financial awareness in … Continue reading

Posted in Handy Ideas | Tagged , , ,

The Secret History of the Credit Card

Here’s an oldie but a goodie!  Presented by Frontline through PBS (the same snappy reporting squad that brought you “The Madoff Affair“), “Secret History of the Credit Card” is a fascinating foray into the industry America loves to hate.  Pay … Continue reading

Posted in Banking, Credit | Tagged , , , ,

Overcoming Job Loss Risk

There is no such thing as a safe job.  No such thing.  So please, please don’t count on your paycheck.  Instead count on your ability to get another job.  There’s your job security — the ability to rustle up more income … Continue reading

Posted in Income | Tagged , , ,

Reporting on the Bernie Madoff Scandal

One of the biggest challenges in reporting on current finance topics is making the central concepts understandable to the lay person.  Happily, Frontline from PBS skillfully simplifies the Bernie Madoff scandal in “The Madoff Affair“, while still giving the viewer … Continue reading

Posted in Current Events, Investments | Tagged , , , , ,

Living Large by Sarah Z. Wexler

It seems that, from time to time, I run in to a certain kind of book.  It’s a book that reads like it was created to get the author paid.  “Living Large” reads like that type of book. A series … Continue reading

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , ,

Here’s Why I Don’t Live On The Edge

Yeah, Financial Planners sometimes make financial mistakes, too.  Just because you think ahead doesn’t mean that you won’t goof something up. Case in point: it’s last night, I’m running errands, and I’m tired.  I go to the bank’s ATM to … Continue reading

Posted in Banking, Financial Planning | Tagged , , ,