Update 03/15/2017: The Fed has announced a quarter point increase as expected.
For almost 10 years, while our economy has been struggling to recover from the recession, one thing that has been a big plus and important to people has been the historic lows in interest rates, but that may be about to change. While the job market was down, the stock market was down, and the emotions of the American people were down, interest rates were adjusted so that many people were still able to afford to buy a home and use their credit cards. But, the Federal Reserve Board (a.k.a. the Fed) raised interest rates last December for just the second time in the last 10 years. That may be the beginning of a huge change over the next couple of years, and that begs a lot of questions.
What a Fed Interest Rate Hike Could Mean
1. How certain is a rise in interest rates?
There is little doubt that interest rates will go up again, beginning this coming week. On Wednesday, March 15th the Fed is expected to announce just that. It’s a move that was almost guaranteed by the good news about the job reports released last week, increases of 235,000 jobs and the drop of the unemployment rate to a low 4.7%. There was also good news about wage growth that further indicates the recovery is moving along at a much better rate than before. Continue reading
It’s practically a given that you’re in debt. According to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, 80% of Americans have some form of debt and 39% of Americans have credit card debt, which is typically high interest debt. And 69% said debt is a necessity in their lives! It doesn’t have to be…paying off debt helps to bring financial security to your life. As part of America Saves Week 2017 (#ASW17), today I’m going to talk about how to pay off high-interest debt.
While a low-interest mortgage to secure housing or education may make sense, carrying high-interest credit card debt is a financial disaster waiting to happen. Some of us can’t stay away from racking up huge debt no matter how much money we earn. It has little to do with age, gender, background, or even where you live. It is, however, a common thread that results in spending money we just don’t have. Habits like that are not only hard to break but can result in financial suicide. It happens every day to someone. Continue reading
Please welcome Stacy Barbee from Oak View Law Group for today’s guest post on debts you can’t discharge in bankruptcy.
“Today, certain people file for bankruptcy, business and individuals, and it no longer has the stigma it once had. Now it’s almost considered wise, a way to regroup and come back again.” – David Dinkins, former mayor of New York City
Bankruptcy, a popular debt solution, allows you to pay most debts and make a fresh financial start. But, there are a few kinds of debts that aren’t dischargeable. This means you can’t get rid of a few kinds of debts in bankruptcy. If you’re planning to file bankruptcy (especially without getting any help from an attorney), then it’s important to know about the debts that aren’t dischargeable. Otherwise, you might apply for bankruptcy unnecessarily and end up wasting time and money.
Debts That Can’t Be Discharged
This is a great time of the year for most of us: getting together with our family and friends and enjoying the holidays that we have looked forward to all year long. Who doesn’t love the holiday season with the food, parties and spiritual joy we all can share? And look to the beginning of a new year when we can plan for improvements just up ahead! But I say most of us enjoy it because there are some who don’t quite see it that way.
Acute Financial Stress
According to a study done by Payoff, about 23% of all Americans and an even higher percentage of millennials suffer from what is known as AFS, Acute Financial Stress. This “disease” is caused by one’s reaction to financial stress which of course the holidays’ emphasis on spending and shopping can trigger. This and so many other financial issues can turn someone’s life completely upside down and even lead to a physical and/or mental debilitation resulting in things like heart disease and mental health problems. It has been compared with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as to its reach and severity among Americans today. Continue reading
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When you go to the doctor, they check your vital signs like blood pressure and temperature to make sure you’re healthy. But what about the vital signs for your financial health? These numbers tell you if you’re financially healthy (or not!) and can give you goals to shoot for.
Over time I’ve learned the hard way that I have to go to the doctor and get checked out or else my health suffers. It’s the same with your money. If you don’t pay attention to your financial vital signs, you’ll be headed for disaster. Continue reading
Have you ever thought about the possibility of filing for bankruptcy? You know it happens all the time. Today, many people find themselves drowning in debt and unable to keep up with their obligations. They find themselves in a desperate situation and bankruptcy offers a pathway back to stability. While it’s better to take responsibility and pay down your debts, there are times when this simply isn’t an option and bankruptcy is the only way.
If you haven’t done it yourself, I am betting you probably know of someone or some business that has declared bankruptcy. In fact, it’s become so common that even a presidential candidate can have had multiple business bankruptcies and still garner respect and admiration as a responsible and savvy money manager (as incredible as that might seem). Today it’s become the way to “liquidate debt” or “reorganize debt” in order to manage financial problems. It even may turn a very negative situation into a positive one. Continue reading
Every once in a while, if I’m lucky, I stumble onto something that intrigues me and I feel like I must share it with you. That is exactly what I’m doing today, when I share the surprise I had in discovering the new reality TV show “Life Or Debt” last month on Spike which airs Sunday nights at 10 pm Eastern.
The show is a reality show in the truest sense possible. It deals with real life, real people and real problems. It’s the kinds of problems that most of us have dealt with at some point, but in this show it’s magnified with a huge lens that puts the problems under the microscope for all of us to view. Continue reading
Are you the kind of person who is smart about your money? Do you think about your spending in advance? Do you have a budget and almost never deviate from it? Do you actually know where you money comes from and goes every week? You’d be very surprised to know that a lot of people haven’t a clue about those things and in fact can’t control their spending. That’s hard to believe I know, especially if you’re a person like me, who makes knowing about my money a real priority. But for a lot of people, spending money, shopping, and going out on the town isn’t something they think about like I do. In fact, for many people, spending money (even when they don’t have any left) is an overwhelming urge or need. It’s a compulsion and is really part of an addiction. It’s called Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD).
CBD spending comes from someplace within the mind and is almost always a desperate attempt to satisfy some negative emotions like anger or sadness. It may be an attempt to block out something like stress or a sense of inferiority that buying something new or spending to an extreme will cure, if only for a moment. Continue reading
All my life I have resented and feared debt. I’m sure I’m not alone. At various times in life you’ve got to face facts and your fears because sometimes there’s just no escaping it. I thought today I’d review my adventures in debt for your information (and perhaps my own therapy). So this is a story, not about a man named Brady, but of one named Gary! Sit back and take the journey with me and maybe when the dust clears you might just feel better knowing that you aren’t alone.
Today is New Year’s Day and I’d like to wish everyone happiness, health, and prosperity for 2016. And how do we get to happiness, health, and prosperity?
Resolutions: every new year we make a list of them and then by February they just seem to disappear in the cold north wind. I know you know what I’m talking about. You’ve pledged to lose some weight or to give up your nasty smoking habit, but it’s so much easier to say it than to do it. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
Well, when it comes to your financial resolutions, it’s much the same. Making resolutions that can make real changes in your life is something that most of us think, talk about and plan every year. But what becomes of that plan?
About a year ago, I wrote about how to make a better plan, by setting measurable goals, dealing with setbacks, engaging others, and more. This year I’d like to talk about what some of those financial goals might include. Continue reading