no apple

Get A New iPhone? Heck No!

Every Fall a strange phenomenon happens within the U.S; hordes of people with money to burn line up outside of their local Apple store days ahead of a potential announcement to be the first in line to toss money at a “genius” before scurrying off with the latest gadget.  This year my friends, the latest gadgets are phones from Apple.  Before I go on, I have to make a full disclaimer that the only Apple product that has ever entered my home came off of a tree, and unless they were in a pie I wasn’t too fond of them either.

I have the pleasure of working in Manhattan some days and get to pass by fanatics who camp outside of the Apple store for two weeks at a time.  It’s not that I begrudge them sticking with a company and products that they love, but I often wonder where these people get the money from to buy these products because they are clearly not going to work any time soon.

We get so wound up in having the latest, brightest, most whiz-bang thing what we hardly stop to ask if we actually need the thing that we are buying or if it makes sense to replace a perfectly good phone with another phone that you really don’t need.  If the iPhone was the official phone of heaven and Jesus herself came floating down from fluffy white clouds to encourage me to purchase the iPhone so that I could live with Her for eternity, I would seriously have to ask Jesus if she was getting kick backs from Steve Jobs – and could I have a piece of the action. […]

poor definition

Mom Fired For Working At McDonald’s While Kid Plays In Park…Was She Wrong?

Despite my headline, let me first say that it appears as if McDonald’s has communicated with this mom’s attorney that there was a misunderstanding about her employment status and that she been offered the right to return to work.

See what had happened was, Debra Harrell, a McDonald’s employee in North Augusta, South Carolina was arrested and charged with a felony with unlawful neglect towards a child for leaving her 9 year old daughter in a playground for hours at a time while she worked at the nearby McDonald’s. The girl would then make the 1.5 mile trek to the McDonald’s located inside a Walmart where her mom worked in time for lunch. […]

U.S. Students Fall Behind: Seemingly Get Dumber By The Minute

Every three years the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA administers a test designed to measure 15 years old worldwide on their proficiency in reading, math and science.  The latest study conducted on test results taken from 65 countries in 2012 show that U.S. students continue to lag behind their counterparts, falling behind most of the world’s most-developed countries in math, science, and reading.   The test was administed to 510,000 students between the ages of 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months.  They represented about 28 million 15-year-olds globally.

Where only 23 countries outperformed the U.S. in mathematics in 2009, 29 nations and other jurisdictions now outperform U.S. students in that area.  In an age where students have more access to computers and the internet, 19 locations outperformed the U.S. in reading, a staggering jump from just 9 three years ago. On the bright side, just 22 nations outperformed the U.S. in science, up from 18 three years ago. Sidebar: All of the creationism being taught in schools isn’t helping with our students’ ranking in science either folks. […]

financial aid - Student Loan

Student Loan Rates Double

Planning on taking out student loans? On July 1, 2013, subsidized Federal Stafford student loan interest rates doubled from 3.4% to 6.8% in one swoop. Haven’t heard too much about it? That’s because that rate might not ever affect anyone’s loans.  Does that surprise you?

Subsidized Stafford loans are typically issues to students showing need. Consequently, only about 26% of all loans issued are through this program. Student loans are usually issued around August or September right before a semester begins.  This rate increase will only affect new loans. […]

Social Security

No Social Security Paper Checks Soon

If you are on Social Security or has a parent on Social Security play close attention: come March 1 the U.S. Treasury Department will no longer issue paper checks.  The federal government’s “Go Direct” campaign is an effort to save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years. With only two months to go, the Treasury department continues to mail more than 5 million paper checks each month to beneficiaries.

The “Go Direct” campaign began in December 2010 targeting recipients of payments from federal benefits programs — including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income disability, Veterans Affairs and government pension plans.  Roughly 93% of payments are now being made electronically, but with 5 million checks still being mailed  mailed each month the government is spending an additional $4.6 million in monthly costs since each mailed check costs 92 cents more than a direct deposit transfer. […]

Food Prices Are About To Explode

Food Prices Are About To Explode

If you don’t already know, the U.S. is currently in the throes of a massive drought that is being hailed as the worse in a quarter century.  A heat wave that hit the entire nation resulting in record temperatures above 100 degrees affected crops from corn to wheat so badly that food prices around the entire world is expected to rise considerable, thereby pushing inflation even higher. […]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just secured its first settlement which it wrestled away from Capital One Bank in the amount of $150 million for its aggressive and misleading marketing of credit card add-ons. Capital One will have to reimburse more than 2 million customers for fees for services such as credit monitoring and payment protection plans.

But the real story here is what the heck is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry! The new agency is only one year old, but it’s already been busy working to protect you.  Their main tasks are to educate consumers, enforce rules and restrictions, and gather information on consumer behavior as it relates to the financial markets.  According to their site, their core functions include:

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money - potential 36% return - Almost 30% of Americans Have No Savings

Almost 30% of Americans Have No Savings

According to our friends over at Bankrate.com, 28% of Americans have no emergency fund, up from 24% in 2011.   The general rule of thumb is to have about six months’ worth of either income or expenses saved, with some financial gurus saying to go to as much as two years worth of expenses. The survey also found that 49% of Americans have roughly three months worth of expenses while 25% have the recommended six months worth of expenses saved.

As someone who lived ‘hand-to-mouth’ as my mom used to say, for a long time, I know that saving money for an emergency fund can seem both daunting and counter intuitive.  This is especially true when you are attempting to pay down debt or if you are barely getting by.  But, the need to save for an emergency still exists. […]

Why High School Seniors Are Choosing to Stay Close to Home

Why High School Seniors Are Choosing to Stay Close to Home

It is the dream of many upcoming high school graduates to leave their home and start their own independent life. However, many more than usual will be making the choice to remain close to home when they go to college. They are doing this in larger numbers for a variety of reasons:

Economics

Remaining close to home is a huge economic benefit to the recent high school graduate. He or she will be able to potentially remain living at home depending on the distance from the school and the willingness of the parents to take care of them. Therefore, the student could save on the room and board costs that he or she would have to pay for if they are allowed to stay. […]

The Food Stamp (SNAP) Challenge

The Food Stamp (SNAP) Challenge

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutritional Service there were 46,326,352 individuals in 22,155,497 households receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits in February 2012, the latest date for which figures are available. That’s up 4.8% from February 2011, but down -0.3% from January 2012.

The average monthly benefit was $132.98 per person. That’s roughly $33.25 per week, $4.75 per day or $1.58 per meal for 3 meals per day, seven days each week. It occurred to me that the daily allowance wouldn’t cover one way of my commute to work.
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Social Security Statements Move Online

Social Security Statements Move Online

As of 2011, your annual Social Security statements are no longer being mailed to your home. Did you get that memo? I didn’t and neither did you since the Social Security Administration didn’t send one. What they have done instead was introduce online access to your statements beginning the week of May 29, a move that could save the government more than $70 million each year. According to a Reuters article, more than 130,000 individuals have signed up as of May 10.
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