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  • 13 Incredibly Careless Things That Make Your Smart Phone Dumb And Vulnerable To Identity Thieves

    Identity Theft 

    Organized crime sees your smart phone as the most vulnerable entry point into our electronic financial system—an easy way not only to steal your identity but also your money. Says who? The Atlanta Fed. In a bit of classic understatement, the Atlanta Federal Reserve said recently many consumers simply don’t realize how vulnerable their Androids, iPhones and other devices can be. As the AP reported the Fed’s study showed “there are several things that can […]

  • Student loan

    5 Ways Student Loans Hurt Middle-Class Kids

    Education Blog 

    Student loans are supposed to help middle-class kids pay for a college education, but these days they can do more harm than good. It’s high time we did something about that. If you imagine a world where the federal government and private lenders actually partner with students, instead of treating them as a profit center, have I got a bridge investment deal for you. As things stand, the Affordable Care Act has a better shot […]

  • Just When You Thought You Knew Every Way Your Credit Report Could Be Used Against You (A Case Study)

    Personal Finance 

    Whether we are talking about mortgage loans, credit cards, auto or student loans, most people know that credit reports play an important role in our lives. And they, like you, understand that having poor credit can impede our efforts to gain financing at competitive rates and terms. However, as was recently pointed out by my friend John Ulzheimer who used to work at FICO, Equifax and Credit.com and who often serves as a credit expert […]

  • Should You Pay Off Your Ex’s Credit Cards?

    Blog Personal Finance 

    When the Love Boat morphs into the Titanic and you are flailing in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, the banks are not rescuers, they’re sharks. In other words, divorces can get messy — sometimes really messy — and it should come as no surprise that money is often at the root of the problem. Getting through the divorce is hard enough, but the money problems don’t always end when the papers are signed. […]

  • Good News (Finally) When It Comes to Medical Debt Reform

    Personal Finance 

    You could be excused for skipping over the piece in The New York Times the other day. After all, it did sound awfully familiar. Here’s how the article by Tara Siegel Bernard began. “Megan Barringer had no idea that a medical billing mix-up over a $742 charge for a back evaluation six years ago could end up costing her more than $33,000. “But the old bill, which she ultimately paid, had gone to collections and […]

  • How Much Student Loan Debt Is Too Much?

    Education Blog 

    Some call it the Student Loan Bubble — I call it crazy. And what better time to discuss student debt insanity than now, as countless soon-to-be graduates prepare to slip on their caps and gowns? An estimated 1.8 million students are graduating this year, many with degrees that perhaps aren’t worth a damn when it comes to actually getting a job. Nevertheless, many of them will soon be paying back the tens or hundreds of […]

  • 4 Big Problems With Social Security Numbers

    Government Blog Identity Theft 

    A Social Security number is like a skeleton key — able to unlock a kingdom of untold riches for identity thieves. It is the central piece of data needed to hijack our credit, steal our health insurance, use us as human shields and generally wreak havoc in our lives. And every day, two branches of the U.S. government — the executive and the legislative — put our identities and sometimes even our lives at risk […]

  • 9 Ways To Better Protect Your Identity When You Are Away From Home

    Identity Theft 

    I commissioned a poll last month to sample, among other things, people’s attitudes about identity theft. I was both surprised and disappointed to see that 4 of 10 people surveyed believe that the threat of identity theft is more a product of marketers selling identity monitoring and protection services than a real problem. The results in a follow up poll we took in the past two weeks are markedly different. Almost 70 percent of the […]

  • ‘The Best Form Of Consumer Protection? Self-Protection’

    Financial Literacy 

    We can debate — if you want — whether the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was necessary. (I think it was.) But there is absolutely no doubt that its director Richard Cordray has hit on a huge — but mostly overlooked — public policy problem. I’ll let him explain. “We must start with the importance of fostering broader recognition that educational and informational support in matters of personal finance are essential pillars of life […]

  • 5 Money Lessons Every New Graduate Needs to Know

    Financial Literacy Education Blog Personal Finance 

    Yes my friends, it’s that time of year again. No, not allergy season — graduation. That seminal moment in our lives when, in ceremonies of varying degrees of pomp and circumstance, our elders pass on the wisdom of the ages to those of us who are evolving from the shelter of the ivory tower to the stark reality of the “real world.” Tens of thousands of graduates will likely hear that Emerson nugget “Hitch your […]