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Which Credit Cards Should I Close?

One of the most common questions I get has to do with the impact of closing credit cards, “Which card or cards should I close?”  Most consumers are aware of the fact that closing credit cards can lower your credit scores but that’s really where the facts end and the fiction begins.  I wrote briefly about the impact of closing credit cards here but the topic deserves a deeper dive …Read More

Quick Thoughts on Why Buying a Home Still Makes Sense

Some good news on the housing front today as the National Association of Realtors reported today that existing home sales rose 3.5% in March.  But there still seems to be a concern that there’s no real momentum in the housing market as a whole. Talk of housing always reminds me of something Papa O’Hara tells Scarlett in “Gone with the Wind.”  He tells Scarlett that land is “…the only thing …Read More

Tips on Lending Money to Family and Friends, Part 2

Following up on the posting earlier today, we wanted to offer still more tips on avoiding trouble when lending money to friends and/or family. Don’t be an enabler. If the borrower is engaged in a destructive lifestyle, and is habitually in financial hot water, be emotionally supportive but not financially supportive.  A better use of your money would be to pay for professional counseling to get to the root of the problem, since …Read More

Tips For Making The Most Of Your Tax Refund

With tax day behind us, many consumers now find themselves counting down the days until the tax refund arrives in the mail, or is transferred into one’s account. According to Kiplinger.com, about 70 percent of all filers get tax refunds and are anticipating a tax refund averaging $2,200. Americans more than ever are choosing to efile and with more consumers filing their income taxes before April, the extra cash can’t …Read More

The Dangers of Paying the Minimum on Your Credit Cards

Because of the CARD Act, creditors must print on credit card statement the amount of time to pay off the card’s balance (and interest paid) if you just made minimum payment required.  I’ve spoken with many consumers and I can tell you that a lot of people think the information is a misprint.  How can it take 22 years to pay off a $15,000 credit card debt?  Needless to say, …Read More

Florida Youngster Has Amazing Grasp of Money Skills

The level of financial responsibility demonstrated by Jordan Lane-Palmer, winner of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s (NFCC) 2011 National Financial Literacy Poster Contest, could be the envy of many adults. Lane-Palmer, a 9th grade student at A.W. Drewfoos Jr. School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida was one of more than 1,800 students across the nation who submitted posters around the theme of “Be a $uperhero! $ave …Read More

NFCC Receives Grant to Participate in HUD Pilot Program to Further Assist Seniors

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the recipient of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program grant to assist seniors who have taken out a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and who are delinquent on their property charges, such as taxes and insurance, thus putting their home in danger of foreclosure. The HECM product, also known as a reverse mortgage, allows seniors age 62 and above to tap …Read More

When to Teach Kids About Money?

When they were born, a relative gave each of my twin sons a piggy bank.  We immediately set it aside, but as my kids have gotten older (they’re now three), they’re starting to learn what a piggy bank is.  Sort of. Here’s a quick transcript of last night: As spoken by my three year old son:  “Mommy, get me my piggy bank! And I need money!” Heard five minutes later: …Read More

Consumer Debt is Down, Spending Up. But It’s All Good.

The latest consumer debt numbers are out, and the news is good.  Consumer debt decreased in February, as card holders held back on using their plastic. Overall, consumer debt was down to $794 billion, as illustrated in the graphic.  This decrease continues what has been a steady decline in card balances.  Beginning in September 2008, card balances have gone down nearly every month.  Balances did rise in December 2010, but …Read More