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Showing posts from February, 2011

Five Quick Ways to Bankrupt Yourself

It's always been easy to go bankrupt but the recession made it that much easier, with 15 million people unemployed and struggling to pay their bills. An astonishing 1.5 million people went bankrupt in the past year, up 20 percent from a year earlier. "It's easier than most people realize," said Samir Kothari, co-founder of, a site that helps people find the best, most cost-effective providers for everyday services like cellphones, cable, credit cards and gas. "There is a general lack of financial discipline in the way people live their lives, manage their money and plan -- not that they don't do it well, but rather that they don't do it at all," Kothari said. Remember the days when Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft Money software for managing your personal finances became popular? Millions of people bought the software, but as it turns out, they were used about as often as infomercial exercise equipment: Only about 10 percent of the peop…

What Is the U.S. Government's Credit Score?

By: Stephen Simpson Credits to: Investopedia

Although the U.S. government has the luxury that the market for its debt is the single largest securities market in the world, there is growing concern about the creditworthiness of the government and its ongoing ability to borrow. What would happen if the federal government were subjected to the same standards as its citizens and assigned a credit score?

• What Fuels the National Debt?

While the credit rating agencies jealously guard the formulas by which they calculate credit scores, a few general concepts are widely acknowledged as major factors. Let's look at how the United States would stack up for each element that goes into a credit score.

Are Bills Paid on Time?

Paying on time is good, paying late is bad. Having a debt go to collection or discharging debts through bankruptcy is very bad.

Generally speaking, the United States has a very good record of paying its bills on time. The national government has defaulted on its debts …

15 Insurance Policies You Don't Need

By:by Lisa Smith Credits to: Investopedia

Fear of the future sells insurance. Because we can't predict the future, we want to be ready to cover our financial needs if, or when, something bad happens. Insurance companies understand this fear and offer a variety of insurance policies designed to protect us from a host of calamities that range from disability to disease and everything in between. While none of us wants anything bad to happen, many of the potential catastrophes that happen in our lives are not worth insuring against. In this article, we'll take you through 15 policies that you're probably better off without.

1. Private Mortgage Insurance
The infamous private mortgage insurance (PMI) is well known to homeowners because it increases the amount of their monthly mortgage payments. PMI is an insurance policy that protects the lender against loss when lending to a higher-risk borrower. The borrower pays for this insurance but derives no benefit. Fortunately, there a…

Republicans: Halt taxpayer aid for Fannie, Freddie

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal taxpayers should stop propping up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Congress will wean the country away from its reliance on the two huge but fiscally feeble housing finance companies, House Republicans said Wednesday. Democrats conceded that changes are needed in Fannie and Freddie, which have swallowed $150 billion in federal aid since the government took them over in September 2008. But they cautioned that care must be taken to avoid jeopardizing the popular 30-year fixed rate mortgage and the access to the housing market that the two companies have helped provide to millions of moderate-income families. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are ready to push specific plans or timetables for overhauling Fannie and Freddie through Congress. That underscores divisions over how to fix the way the nation's $11 trillion housing market is financed, and a hesitation over making drastic changes in such an enormous sector even as the economy starts rebuilding strength…

Foreclosure Myths Debunked

By: Broderick Perkins

When millions of foreclosures suddenly flooded the market at the onset of the housing crash, home owners knew little to nothing about holding onto their homes or how to recover if they got the boot. Misinformation and fraud compounded the effects of slow regulatory action and lackadaisical response from the lending industry. Uncharted waters were submerged in rumors, speculation, conjecture and ignorance. Years later, foreclosure myths endure. Freddie Mac, one of the nation's largest home loan investors, initially charged with expanding opportunities for home ownership and now focused on the liquidity needs of the mortgage market, is also about myth busting. To set the record straight on foreclosures, it offers "Top Foreclosure Myths" and the truth behind those false beliefs. To wit: Myth: You should stop paying your mortgage so you can leverage assistance with your mortgage payments.The approach, called a "strategic default," can become a tactica…