Archive for September, 2013

10 Ways the Government Shutdown Could Affect You

Posted on September 30, 2013 by Saldutti

If the Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on how the U.S. should pay its bills, the federal government will shut down tomorrow, October 1. At a time when the economy’s finally showing signs of life, that could be troubling. Shutdowns don’t come cheap. Federal agencies have to use up time, energy and resources to plan for one. Shutting down and then reopening the government also costs money. According to the Congressional Research Service, the two previous shutdowns – in late 1995 and early 1996 – cost the country $1.4 billion. But what would a shutdown mean for you? Would your…

Lay Off the Latte and Perk Up Your Mortgage Payment

Posted on September 27, 2013 by Saldutti

Interest – it’s insidious, like lighting money on fire (but without the excitement of watching something burn). Sure, it’s a necessary part of the financial system and there would be no incentive to loan money without it. When reviewing our mortgage statements, many of us try to figure out how to cut the “Total Interest Paid” number down significantly. It’s well-documented that kicking in a few extra bucks every month on your mortgage can have significant financial benefits in the long term. For instance, if you have a $200,000 30-year fixed home loan at 4.5% APR, you’re paying around $1,013…

Legit Debt Collectors vs. Scammers

Posted on September 26, 2013 by Saldutti

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has advised consumers to learn how to tell a real debt collection effort from one that is clearly a scam. According to the BBB, complaints about scam debt collectors grew 18% over the past 12 months. The complaints typically involve consumers claiming that someone is contacting them over a loan they never took out. Instead of lumping the scam collection complaints together with complaints about legitimate collectors like Saldutti, LLC, the BBB urged consumers to learn how to identify a scammer vs. a real ARM company.  Some red flags they noted were: Calls seeking payment…

Start Your Holiday Planning Today

Posted on September 23, 2013 by Saldutti

Thanks to the handy Christmas Countdown 2013 Clock, we have determined that Christmas is only 92 days away.  With the holiday shopping season getting ready to ramp up, a bit of pre-planning may make the post-Christmas season a bit merrier for you. Americans planned to spend an average of $854 on presents for family and friends last year. However, for many families there is no planning ahead, no savings — and so the spending winds up adding to an already outrageous amount of consumer debt. Budget – Planning ahead can help you to navigate this season and avoid derailing yourself…

Money Mistakes that We ALL Make

Posted on September 20, 2013 by Saldutti

For all the financial advice we find in books, magazines, and online, we still make a lot of mistakes when it comes to money. Some of these mistakes might not cost us much, but others can cost us a small fortune. And even the small mistakes, multiplied over a lifetime, can add up to a princely sum. In the hope that we can make better financial decisions, U.S. News & World Report compiled this list of some of the common money mistakes many of us make every day: Budgeting for the short-term. Research suggests that creating an annual budget instead…

Years After the Recession, Many Still Struggle

Posted on September 18, 2013 by Saldutti

Four years after the recession officially ended, many Americans are still struggling to recover financially with lower incomes and, in some cases, going hungry, according to two recent surveys that underscored the unevenness of the U.S. economic recovery. According to a recent Gallup poll, 20% of U.S. adults said that at times in the past year they did not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their families. That’s nearly as many hungry Americans as in 2008, when the nation was submerged in its deepest economic slump since the Great Depression nearly 80 years earlier. “These findings suggest…

Where Americans Spent Their Money in 2012

Posted on September 17, 2013 by Saldutti

Fresh from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: all of American spending in one big color wheel. If pie charts aren’t your thing, here’s the same data in a bar chart: Averages are misleading, particularly when the rich are running away from the rest. So, digging deeper into BLS data, The Atlantic broke out percent spending by category for the richest and poorest 20 percent. For the poor, food, clothes, and housing account for more than 60% of all spending. The rich have more left over for leisure, insurance, and savings.  The term consumption takes on a more literal meaning when…

Happy 5th Annivesary to the Financial Crisis

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Saldutti

Over the course of one week five years ago, the U.S. financial system was brought to its knees. As a reminder of just how bad that week was, consider this timeline: 9/15/2008: Lehman Brothers Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On the same day, Bank of America announced its intent to purchase Merrill Lynch for $50 billion. 9/16/2008: The Federal Reserve Board authorized the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to lend up to $85 billion to AIG under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. 9/16/2008: The net asset value of shares in the Reserve Primary Money Fund…

Caution: Money Traps to Avoid

Posted on September 13, 2013 by Saldutti

Managing your money successfully can be like walking through a minefield. You might be cruising along, making good progress, then suddenly you become tempted by one of the millions of marketing messages we see every day. Perhaps it’s a deal “you don’t want to miss” or a dog-and-pony show from a slick salesman. For a few minutes, you consider taking everything you’ve learned and throwing it out the window. Don’t do it … you know better. These are money traps. They will drop you into a dungeon of financial despair. You might have fallen for one of these mistakes in…

Why isn't 9/11 a National Holiday?

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Saldutti

In New York City, Sept. 11 is something of a somber, unofficial holiday, with quiet memorial events around the city and twin beams of light rising from the Manhattan skyline. It is not, however, an official federal holiday – which is why businesses and schools don’t shut down. Instead, Congress dubbed it a “National Day of Service and Remembrance,” which lawmakers officially named “Patriot Day” in 2001. Congress has the power to make Patriot Day a permanent federal holiday. Right now, there are 10: New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Columbus…