November 29, 2012

Credit Card Comparison Site Survey

Shopping for a credit card? Want to see how your current card(s) stack up? Get some help from Consumer Action. "For more than two decades, Consumer Action conducted its annual Credit Card Survey, compiling the interest rates, fees and obscure terms and conditions that cardholders are subject to. This annual overview and “pulse point” on the industry helped consumers choose credit cards and served as a record of the growth of anti-consumer practices in the industry. The evidence we collected helped get the CARD Act—one of the most successful consumer protection updates—signed into law in 2009. With the rise of the Internet, comparing credit cards has become a business model for dozens of companies. The sites make money when consumers click through and apply for a card. The business model demands that the information be kept continuously updated—something we, as a non-profit, lack the ability to do. So, instead of conducting another survey of individual credit cards this year, we take a look at the plethora of card comparison sites to determine which ones offer the most useful and complete information." Details at:

Fraud against Seniors linked to Overconfidence

"The seniors who are most confident of their knowledge about money and investments are also the most likely to fall victim to fraud." None of my college students think they will ever become investment fraud victims; of course, they don't have the financial stash of the baby boom generation. Research reveals that: "Fraud against the elderly can arise from 'that combination of not knowing but thinking you know,' also known as overconfidence. If you're willing to admit it in yourself or have parents or grandparents where you observe this cocky overconfidence, you might want to take action to protect your financial security or inheritance. Check out the details (the photo illustration is worth it!): BTW, free financial seminars top the list of frauds.

13% haven't paid off LAST Christmas!

"Consumer Reports says 13 percent of Americans are still paying off credit cards that they ran up to buy 2011’s holiday gifts."  It's time for a reality check if you are running a balance on your credit card.  Check out the details about the psychology of holiday shopping and carrying a credit card balance when you have $ in savings to pay it off. With interest rates on saving below 1% and average credit card APRs at 15% ( it makes NO sense to carry a balance. Don't buy more stuff until you've paid off last year's holiday bills!

November 28, 2012

Gift Cards: What's New, What's Hot, What To Avoid

Listen (or read) about the latest in gift cards from National Public Radio (4 min. audio) 
One important factor that's missing is that gift cards teach children that it's all about spending and shopping. It's not possible to save part of what you receive in a gift card. Holiday gifts of cash are one way that parents can teach children that they should save part of the money they receive and also donate a portion to the less fortunate. Parents who want to teach their children to save and to make donations should reconsider the message of gift cards. Consider stuffing the stocking or envelope with old fashioned cash or checks and following up with a lesson on thrift and charity. If kids don't learn this at home, where will they learn?

How to Make Yourself Save

"To become a serious saver, start hiding money from yourself. It works every time — if you don’t see it, you won’t spend it. You won’t notice that it’s gone. Really, you won’t" advises Jane Bryant Quinn in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
1. start a retirement account
2. start a savings account
3. claim zero exemptions on your income tax withholding
4. save all "found money"
5. If your income is irregular, put 10 percent of every paycheck into savings.
Read the details at:

November 27, 2012

A Minimum Tax on the Wealthy

“SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”
Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.” 

Read the rest of what legendary investor Warren Buffet has to say in The New York Times, Nov. 25, 2012, about tax rates on the wealthiest Americans:

November 26, 2012

RFID cards: Electronic Pickpocketing

As the holiday season gets underway with a vengeance, you need to educate yourself about Radio Frequency Identification technology in debit and credit cards. Watch this YouTube and take action to protect yourself if your cards have embedded radio chips.

Children need Allowance Guidance

Empowering kids with budgeting habits: Allowance as a tool for success
 “Parents give their children allowance with the hope that handing them cash will teach them money management, but most are only learning how to spend it, rather than how to save it. The average child with an allowance pulls in $65 per month, totaling $780 per year — a sum that provides a child enough money in a year to afford an Apple iPad or three Kindles and still have money left over.”  But Rachel Lowry writes in the Deseret News that “experts say that as parents work to teach their children money management, shifting the focus away from entitlement and towards charity can be crucial.” Find out more about how to guide your child’s values through their allowance at:

November 22, 2012

Alternative Gift Market in Logan

The Alternative Gift Market is 9 am-2 pm December 1, 2012 at Logan's First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Center St.
To help with publicity contact Jenny Norton at
435-757-9660 or email
Give, in honor of a friend or relative, an alternative gift of food, medicine, livestock or education. These gifts will be sent to areas with great needs around the world and here at home. When you purchase an alternative gift, you will receive beautiful gift cards with informational inserts describing your gift. These cards then can be mailed to persons on your gift list, a shared blessing for both the donor and the recipient. Your gifts of peace and compassion will change the world! These alternative gifts are life-saving gifts of hope. They empower the poorest of the poor on our planet to sustain life and to build a future for subsequent generations. When people of privilege and abundance share with their world neighbors, a more peaceful, equitable global community can flourish. At this year's Cache Valley Market, you can enjoy shopping and learning about the projects, celebrate holiday traditions and treats from around the world, a bake sale and purchasing your gifts. For more info:
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