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  • Debt

    The Biggest Credit Mistake People Make (Plus 3 Tips)Financial Literacy, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Some credit mistakes are obvious. Everybody knows the big one: Failing to pay your bills on time. If you’re looking to wreck your credit score, there’s no faster way. Some credit mistakes aren’t so obvious. What’s worse, the biggest secret credit mistake — the one most people don’t even know they’re making — actually happens when people are trying to turn their credit score around and be more financially responsible. That mistake is closing credit […]

  • It’s Not You, It’s Your Credit Score: 7 Ways to Improve It in 2013Financial Literacy, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    The dating world has been turned upside down (yet again). There is no new feature on Match.com, eHarmony, or Christian Mingle. Believe it or not, the culprit this time around is that universal theoretical measuring stick of financial maturity: the credit score. I came upon this fascinating story in the New York Times (though for a moment I thought I was reading a dating column in Cosmo). Apparently, the new normal involves both sides of […]

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    Europe: The Confidence Game That Could Break the BankGovernment, Banking, Blog, Money

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    The word “economy” comes from the Greek “oikos” or “house.” Lately, the global economy has been like a nightmare episode of “Holmes Inspection.” You know the one. The owner fixes one problem only to find a more insidious problem underneath. Confidence in the contractor quickly turns into fear of the unknown and soon a new floor turns into a new foundation. It all goes way over budget and none of it is to code. It’s […]

  • Hurricane Sandy, You Got My Home, but Not My IdentityBlog, Identity Theft, Money

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    Like millions of Americans, I was hammered by Hurricane Sandy. The home that I own on the New Jersey shore was obliterated by the storm. It is nothing but a pile of rubble. Gone. While I have 30 years of memories, there is nothing left but the memories. It is incredibly painful. I saw it coming and did the best I could to prepare for it, and yet I could never be fully prepared. I […]

  • When Debt Collectors Attack (Disabled American War Heroes)Government, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    When it comes to scandalous behavior by debt collectors, I thought I’d heard it all. This is an industry known for its bottom feeders, who routinely bully and intimidate the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Many debt collectors berate and humiliate people into paying off debts that never existed, and pursue people for years, even after the law, common sense, and human decency all demand that they cease and desist. Now, not all debt […]

  • The Alarming Ties Between Debt Collectors and District AttorneysGovernment, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Of all the debt collection scams, the ones that inspire the greatest panic come over the phone. A menacing, often almost incomprehensible voice, claiming to represent a creditor, demands immediate payment of a supposed debt. Otherwise, the caller threatens, the consumer could be arrested and thrown in jail. “Outrageous!” we tell the many consumers who contact us every week seeking help after being cowed and frightened by these bullies’ threats. To each of them, we […]

  • MegaBanks Finally Ready to Modify Mortgages… Don’t Miss Out!Financial Literacy, Money

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    Hell has frozen over! After years of lawsuits and investigations by federal and state law enforcement agencies — not to mention some hard-ass negotiations by the U.S. Department of Justice and 49 state Attorneys General (shout-outs to AGs Eric Schneiderman of New York, Beau Biden of Delaware, and Kamala Harris of California) — mortgage servicers are finally being forced to repay some of the billions of dollars they stole from American consumers. Unfortunately, the timing […]

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    5 Ways to Become a Credit AdultFinancial Literacy, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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      Let’s word associate: banks, mortgage brokers, credit card companies, credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, payday lenders…. Words like “daunting,” “challenging,” “black box” and “scary” come to mind. Most consumers I speak to express fear of the unknown — and fear of being humiliated at the checkout counter, the restaurant, in front of friends and family. Imagine, if you will, you are a grown-up at your own circumcision. How do you challenge them? What do […]

  • Dodd-Frank and CFPB Provide Stimulus to Economy With MilestoneGovernment, Banking, Blog, Money

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    During the endless hearings leading up to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, which has its two-year anniversary this week, and an even more taxing series of hearings defending its existence, Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who can rightly be called the birthmother of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said, “America needs a cop on the beat.” Well, this week the CFPB issued its first major ticket and it’s a doozy — […]

  • The Obamacare Scare: Medical Debt Collectors in Scrubs?health care, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Do you remember where you were last Thursday morning when every network interrupted its regular programming to announce the most anticipated Supreme Court decision since Bush v. Gore? It was not in the same category as the Kennedy assassination or Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” moment, but when it was reported that Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the Affordable Care Act case that saved Obama’s individual mandate — the centerpiece […]

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