From the monthly archives:

January 2008

Beware of Companies Offering to Raise Your Credit Score

January 31, 2008

I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times titled: "What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores". It details some of the tactics that companies are using to artificially inflate individuals credit scores, including piggy-backing on stranger’s loans.  This practice, using "seasoned primary accounts", attaches an individual with poor credit to a […]

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Using Spending Limits To Avoid Money Arguments

January 30, 2008

Photo: jenn jenn Terri Cullen, writing in The Wall Street Journal, shares a good technique for avoiding common money arguments: The ‘$500 Rule’. Here’s how it works: she and her husband have a standing agreement that if she needs to spend over $500, she will check with him first.  Vice versa, her husband will check […]

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New Home Sales Down 26% in 2007

January 29, 2008

The New York Times is reporting that sales of new homes fell by 26% last year.  This is the biggest drop since the US government began keeping records in 1963. Prices are also declining.  The December median new home price declined 10.9% from a year ago, to $219,200.  For the full year, new homes did […]

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Avoid This New Form of Identity Theft

January 28, 2008

Photo: Andy Field I just heard about a new method of identity theft that is pretty brilliant. I know this has been said a million times, but you would think that someone smart enough to come up with something like this could make a good living honestly. Anyway . . . How it works: You’re […]

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Avoiding Impulse Spending By Naming Your Money

January 27, 2008

I don’t agree with everything Dave Ramsey espouses, but one thing we definitely agree on is that you have to give your money a name. First off, I think it is extremely important to have a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses set aside in a savings or money market […]

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Details of Proposed Economic Stimulus Bill

January 24, 2008

Photo: Susan Walsh, AP UPDATE: The House and Senate have passed the final version of the Stimulus Bill. You can read the details in this post: Details on Final Stimulus Bill. Congress and President Bush appear to have made a final agreement on the contents of the forthcoming economic stimulus bill. Highlights: Tax rebates of […]

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Falling Mortgage Rates Creating Refinancing Boom

January 24, 2008

The Mortgage Bankers Association released their Weekly Application Survey yesterday, and it yielded some interesting statistics.  Applications to refinance are up 92% since the beginning of November, while purchase applications are up 7%. Refinancing applications represented 66% of the total last week. The average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage was 5.49% last week. […]

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How to Get Your Grown Kid to Leave Home

January 23, 2008

Photo: exfordy I found an interesting article in the February, 2008 issue of money magazine titled: "Get Your Grown Kid to Leave Leave (Finally)". It’s presented in a comic book type format, that illustrates how one needs to be prepared with answers to the excuses that you child will inevitably provide. Here are some key […]

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Best Super Bowl Pool Squares

January 22, 2008

It’s that time of year again, when the the super bowl “football squares” sheet begins to be passed around the office.  While I don’t think participating is a good financial decision, it is interesting to know optimal strategy. In case you are not familiar with the typical office football pool, here is a brief introduction […]

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Mortgage Rates Lowest In Over Two Years

January 21, 2008

Unless you have been following the mortgage markets closely, you may have missed the dramatic fall in rates over the last few months. According to, the National Average rate for a 15 year fixed mortgage was 4.93% over night, and 5.42% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. As illustrated by these charts, these rates […]

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