From the category archives:


More Americans Debt Free, But Seniors Struggle

March 22, 2013

Tim Mullaney reports that according to new census data, more Americans are debt free, but for those with debt, their total indebtedness has increased 40%! Unfortunately, the biggest increase is among seniors. The percentage of U.S. households carrying any debt dropped to 69% in 2011 from 74% in 2000, the government reported. But the median […]

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Consumers Are Having an Easier Time Paying Debt

April 5, 2012

Further signs that the economy is improving. Timely repayments improved on all 11 of the consumer loan categories tracked by the American Bankers Association in the final quarter of last year, the first time that has happened since 2004, according to the organization’s chief economist.

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Details on the New Foreclosure Prevention Program

March 5, 2009

The Obama administration announced details of its new foreclosure prevention program yesterday. Interest rates on loans could drop to as low as 2% for some borrowers. The cost to tax payers is expected to be approximately $75 billion. Under previous programs by the Bush administration, lenders were urged to voluntarily modify mortgages. Even though a […]

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Drive One, Pay for Two

February 19, 2009 has nice article on dealing with another bubble that inflated during the times of easy credit: negative automobile equity. The article states that as much as 25% of all automobile borrowers are “under water.” Here’s how that works: The value of the trade-in is $8000; balance on the loan for that trade-in is $10,000. […]

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Gasoline Near Five Year Low

December 30, 2008

According to a  AAA survey, gasoline now costs $1.619 per gallon.  This is the lowest level since January 2004 when gasoline averaged $1.617 per gallon. Gasoline is now down $2.50 per gallon since its record high of $4.114 in July of this year. The falling price of oil is behind the drop in gasoline.  Oil […]

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Gallup Poll Shows 40% of Americans Currently Worried About Money

December 23, 2008

The Gallop organization recently completed a poll that shows about 40% of Americans are worried about money.  The same poll at the beginning of the year showed the number at 30%. While the 40% number is high, it is actually down from its peak of 45% in October. Another interesting point from the poll was […]

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On the Virtues of Being Cheap

December 19, 2008

I enjoyed Neal Templin’s response to a reader’s suggestion that he was so cheap his family would “breathe a sigh of relief when [he] die[s]” in an article from The Wall Street Journal this morning: “I also know that we live in a society that has lived beyond its means. Much of the wealth around […]

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Banks Working Harder to Collect Credit Card Debt

September 10, 2008

According to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, big credit card companies are ramping up collection efforts on their credit card portfolios. Citigroup has hired a number of new collectors and have increased the frequency of calls to delinquent account holders. American Express is offering to cut interest rates and fees, while Bank of […]

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All of Inflation’s Little Parts – The New York Times

May 16, 2008

Very nice infographic from the New York Times showing a visual representation of how much the average American spends on each of the 200 categories that make up the Consumer Price Index (the most common measure of inflation). The largest component – by far – is “Owner’s Equivalent Rent”, which seeks to estimate the amount […]

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The Giant Pool of Money

May 13, 2008

One of the highlights of my week is seeing a new episode of “This American Life” pop into my podcasts folder in iTunes. For those of you not familiar with the show, it is a one hour radio program produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. This weeks show “The Giant Pool […]

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