Paying Down Student Loans Versus Paying Down Other Investments

Tying to an article earlier that my colleague PKamp3 wrote, personal finance seems to have taken a dive in popularity in more recent years. As a writer for a confessedly self-aware personal finance crowd, this assertion may seem irrelevant, surprising, or, at worst, alarming. As a young college graduate, many of my fellow coworkers (as well as I) … [Read more...]

Refinance Your Mortgage and Pay the Same Amount? A Calculator to Determine if it’s Worth It!

There is a mortgage strategy variously described in different corners of the internet where a mortgage is refinanced... and payments stay steady.  For this strategy, a borrower is currently paying some monthly payment, and will continue to pay the exact same monthly payment after their mortgage is refinanced.  The benefits are usually explained as … [Read more...]

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...]