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Wal-Mart CEO: Recession Has Changed Consumers for the Better Suggesting that retailers are closer to working men and women than any other industry, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott addressed the public once more in his farewell address after ten years at the helm of the retail megastore. Scott offered a candid take on the country's current economy and where its going. Hes confident that the first half of 2009 will bring more of the same struggles for both retailers and consumers, and its his belief, as ... Giving Obamas Stimulus Package a Closer Look President-elect Barack Obamas proposed economic stimulus package has garnered a great deal of hope and optimism from those being directly affected by the recession, but that doesnt exactly mean our countrys financial tide will turn on January 20 when the Illinois senator is sworn into office. In fact, Obamas camp has been quite tentative recently in their willingness to offer up a specific estimate of how many jobs could be created in the next year. And, ... States Struggle to Support Their Unemployed As unemployment rates rise nationally, individual states are now facing the challenge of generating enough funds to pay for jobless benefits. The National Association of State Workforce Agency reported this week there are thirty states across the country turning to the federal government for federal aid to solve a crisis thats seemingly feeding upon itself less people in the workforce means less state-generated money, which in turn means less funding for the unemployed. When the economy is going ... Fannie Mae Foreclosures Wont Evict Renters Others Not So Lucky Fannie Mae announced Sunday that renters dont have to fear eviction if their landlords get foreclosed. The loan association has reworked policies to allow tenants that are up-to-date on their rent to remain in their homes even after the foreclosure is underway. Its a move that falls in line with Fannie Mae and Freddie Macs late November announcement that they would place a holiday moratorium on owner-occupied homes until January 9. Until recently, foreclosures across the country ... 6 Reasons To Pay Off Debt Sooner Rather Than Later Debt (and plenty of it) is the predominant way of life for millions and millions of Americans. Good, bad or indifferent, it is the mode of operation for most of us. That simple fact is the primary reason why the current "credit crisis" is as severe and wide-reaching as it is. Whether you are carrying a little bit of debt or so much that you are struggling to make the payments, there are some good reasons for paying it ... Keeping “Zombie” Debt D.E.A.D The spread of "zombie debt" means that millions of dollars of debt long forgotten may come back to haunt the people that owed it in the first place. A distant relative of much hated debt collectors, 3rd party collectors buy bad debts for very low prices. Whatever money is collected yields a large profit margin with little, if any overhead. Like any collection process, there is a danger of collectors going too far and using questionable, if not overtly ... Instead of Foreclosure There are many reasons why record numbers of homeowners are facing foreclosure. Some got caught up in mortgages that didn't match their incomes; others got behind when interest rates adjusted upward; still others didn't know options other than foreclosure were possible when cash ran short. Coupled with the other economic problems (high gas prices, increasing food costs, possible recession) facing the nation, losing a home can be devastating. If you have already or think you might fall behind on ... Nothing Else Is Quite The “Same As Cash” It is virtually impossible to watch television or read newspapers without seeing ads for "same as cash" financing options. On first look, those options seem very appealing, especially for large purchases. In fact, there doesn't SEEM to be a downside to "same as cash" promotions. What's not to like about no down payment, 0% interest, and deferred payments? Maybe nothing. Before you sign one of these great deals, however, be sure to understand all aspects of the agreement. Once you ... Deal With Debt Differently It's the time of year when DEBT becomes a "four letter" word. Consumers that spent more than they should have for Christmas gifts are dreading the arrival of the next credit card bills. This dread and a promise to not get into this financial situation "ever again" has become an annual event, just like decorating the tree and finding full stockings on Christmas morning. What if there was no "holiday debt dread" to deal with at the beginning of ... Setting a Holiday Budget For longer than I would like to admit, my holiday budgets have consisted of buying gifts now and figuring out how to pay for them later! I have always STARTED my holiday shopping with specific spending limits in mind but I have not stayed within those limits very well. Even the most disciplined and conscientious money managers can fall behind during the holiday season. Let's face it, the period between mid-November and the New Year is full of holiday ... Handling Debt Collection Harassment Have you ever been harassed by debt collection agencies? If you have, you know that being behind on debt payments adds stress and late charges to bills that, for whatever reason, are not current. No one WANTS to be in that situation. Debt collection agencies use a variety of methods and tactics to collect money owed to the creditors that hire them. If you are behind on payments, you are still obligated to pay the debt but you do ... America, We Are Eating Ourselves To Debt! The idea that a link exists between Americans shrinking wealth and bulging waistlines is not a new one. While the details of such a link have been difficult to prove, increasing numbers of Americans are classified as overweight or obese and the savings rate of Americans has hit negative numbers. Linked or not, both of these issues are serious. They can and should be addressed! WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SAY? In 2003-2004, 66% of American were classified as overweight or ... DIAGNOSIS: ARM "Mr. Gage? Dr. Banks is ready for you." DR. BANKS: What seems to be the problem today? M. GAGE: I am worried about losing my house. My house payment is going up - a lot! DR. BANKS: Tell me about that. M. GAGE: Well, when I bought my house a couple of years ago, I got a mortgage with a really low monthly payment. Before I applied for the loan, I remember being worried about being accepted. I had ... Put your article here… If you have an article that you would like to have featured on My Money Thinks, submit it for our blog carnival consideration. We are accepting articles related to all areas of personal finance and we want to read what you have written. SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Saturday, August 25, 2007 Links to accepted articles will be posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 ALL submissions should be sent to http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_2240.html We cannot wait to hear from ... Pros and Cons of Debt Consolidation Debt consolidation has become a popular way to reduce interest rates and monthly payments for people that owe money to several different creditors each month. In spite of its popularity, debt consolidation is NOT the best solution for everyone. Before you agree to a debt consolidation process, analyze the pros and cons of this tool. DEBT CONSOLIDATION PROS: Money or credit for debt consolidation is relatively easy to obtain. Often, homeowners can use the equity built up in their ... Debt Consolidation: Considerations Before You Commit How many different "monthly payments" do you make each month? With credit cards, car loans, and mortgages, the average American household has 7 credit accounts. That translates to large amounts of monthly interest charges and minimum payments. Increasingly, Americans struggle with the number of accounts they have AND with making those monthly payments. People are looking for ways to lighten that monthly load. One way to "lighten" the load is debt consolidation. Debt consolidation is the process of grouping a ... 5 Reasons to reduce or eliminate debt 1. TO RAISE YOUR CREDIT SCORE One component of your FICO score is based on your debt load. Debt load is calculated by looking at the #number of credits accounts you own and the proportion of revolving debt to the amount of credit available. Reducing or eliminating debt will increase the amount of credit AVAILABLE to you and, thus, lower your debt ratio. 2. TO LOWER YOUR INTEREST RATES ON MONEY YOU BORROW Lenders will loan money at lower interest rates ... My Life (In Credit Card Years) Recently, I pulled my credit reports from all 3 of the credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). As I looked through the information in those reports, I was struck by the parallel between my credit card life (financial) and my real life (personal). I was in college from August, 1985 until May, 1989. During those years, I had a couple of summer jobs and a couple of on-campus jobs. I lived on campus and all my expenses were paid by my ...