Should You Refinance Your Mortgage? A Calculator to Help You Decide!

Conceptually, it's easy to grasp why and when you should refinance your mortgage. In practice, inertia is the main reason people hold back from refinancing.  With that in mind, we present these mortgage calculator which will allow you to see how your current mortgage will compare with the mortgage you are considering.  Perhaps if the math is … [Read more...]

Online Banks, Credit Unions, Credit Cards and Bank of America – Avoid Debit Card Usage Fees!

Here's an interesting move on the part of Bank of America... account holders who use their debit card at any time during a month will be expected to pony up $5.00 at the end.  The fee doesn't apply if you use your debit card at ATMs, just when you use it to make purchases.  It's just the latest of the big banks to make waves with debit card fees - … [Read more...]

Dr. S&P or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Credit Rating Downgrade

Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  What do all of these sovereign states have in common?  As of yesterday, Standard and Poor's rates their debt as a lower default risk … [Read more...]

Improper Analogy

A recent article reviewed the new debt agreement as follows: "It's like a 400-pound man boasting that he plans to drop 20 pounds over a decade, while his doctors warn about the risks of losing weight so fast." I found that analogy grossly misinformed. It's much more like a 400-pound man who is gaining 50 pounds a year who plans on being 850 … [Read more...]

Student Loan Debt…

... is higher than credit card debt in our country (hat tip: Wall Street Journal).  How can this be?, you may ask, when the number of news stories on credit cards seem to vastly outweigh the corresponding reports on student loans.  Well, yes, credit card stories seem to outnumber student loan stories by a ratio of about 15 to 1, according to … [Read more...]

More Fallout From the Credit CARD Act

Like I mentioned in my article yesterday, this week ushers in the new credit card laws.  On Monday, the provisions of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 took effect, to the joy of consumers everywhere.  Well, not all consumers.  Confused?  Don't be.  The new credit laws will increase the cost of credit for people with worse credit scores. Welcome New … [Read more...]

The Death of Personal Responsibility

Happy Monday morning!  Did you know that today is the day that the credit card rules enacted in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 go into effect?  Most likely you have seen increased communication from your credit card companies already, as they attempt to predict the effect of the rules on their profit (and change your rates preemptively).  However, I … [Read more...]

Cutting Up the Card

Credit card issuance was down significantly in 2009.  In hard numbers, through October issuance was down 46%.  Simultaneously, debit card usage was up between 10 and 20% worldwide according to Visa and Mastercard's Results.  The trend is evident; consumers are moving away from debt and trying to make purchases out of funds they already have. The … [Read more...]

Revolve Debt to Fund an Emergency Fund?

CNN's Walter Updegrave fielded a question this weekend which, simply, sort of shocked me.  A reader wanted to know if he and his wife should temporarily stop paying the full balance on their credit cards in order to build up an emergency fund.  Is this really an option that some people are considering? What To Do! As Walter states, the only thing … [Read more...]

Reactions to Credit Card Laws: ‘Consumer Friendly’ Offerings

Even though I lifted the moniker from this article on CNN Money, the scare quotes are appropriate.  I've written about the Credit Card Act of 2009 and its unintended consequences.  Lucky for you, the law is starting to bear fruit.  We've seen issuers who offer cards with 79.9% interest rates, at least this article features a few cards with … [Read more...]