Archive for February, 2015

The Slacker's Guide to Getting Out of Debt

Posted on February 27, 2015 by Saldutti

Want that debt gone with as little effort as possible? Here are some fast and easy tips for paying down your credit card and other debt.  Even a slacker can be debt-free. Here’s how. 1. Consolidate Your Debt – Dealing with multiple due dates each month? Who needs that hassle? Consolidate your debt and simplify your budget and your life.  Got credit card balances scattered across several cards? Transfer your balances to a credit card with a low balance transfer interest rate and a roomy credit line.  You could pay that low rate for up to 18 months and you’ll have one bill…

New Studies Indicate the Best Way to Reach the Unbanked

Posted on February 26, 2015 by Saldutti

More banks should think about how to attract consumers who rely heavily on alternative financial providers like check cashers and payday lenders, two recent studies suggest.  This under-served market generated $103 billion in revenue in 2013, an increase of 7.1% over the previous year, according to a report by the Center for Financial Services Innovation and Core Innovation Capital. The unbanked and underbanked aren’t as opposed to using mainstream financial services, based on a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey. Nearly half of unbanked households – 46% – say they have had bank accounts in the past. Of those, 49% say…

San Francisco Leads Nation in Salary Needed to Buy Home

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Saldutti

You’ll need to earn more in San Francisco than throughout the rest of the country to afford a median-priced home, according to a quarterly report from HSH.com.  San Francisco topped HSH.com’s list of salaries needed in 27 metro areas to afford a median-priced home with a whopping income of $142,448 in the fourth quarter of 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, Pittsburgh stayed the most affordable of the 27 metro areas, thanks to having the lowest mortgage rate at 3.98% and a decline in home prices. The required salary there stood at only $31,716 in the fourth quarter….

Lenders Step Up Loans to Subprime Borrowers

Posted on February 24, 2015 by Saldutti

Loans to consumers with low credit scores have reached the highest level since the start of the financial crisis, driven by a boom in car lending and a new crop of companies extending credit.  Almost 4 of every 10 loans for autos, credit cards and personal borrowing in the U.S. went to subprime customers during the first 11 months of 2014, according to data by Equifax. That amounted to more than 50 million consumer loans and cards totaling more than $189 billion, the highest levels since 2007, when subprime loans represented 41% of consumer lending outside of home mortgages. Equifax…

U.S. Banks Supposedly Unscathed by $1B Cyber Heist

Posted on February 23, 2015 by Saldutti

No American banks were affected by a worldwide cyber ring that reportedly stole up to $1 billion from banks in 30 countries, U.S. officials and banking executives say.  Last week, a report shed light on a complex, multinational cyber crime group that had been infiltrating banks for two years, making off with millions of dollars from financial firms, including some in the U.S. Hackers spent months monitoring bank employees to learn their patterns and evade detection when transferring money out of the bank.  The malware used in the attack was dubbed “Carbanak.” In a confidential memo blasted to private companies,…

Mind Your (Table) Manners: 7 Rules of Dining Etiquette

Posted on February 20, 2015 by Saldutti

If most of us are honest, we’ll fully admit that we love going to restaurants.  Eating out is one of the biggest issues for people when it comes to tightening up their budget. That’s why some budget-conscious people will do anything to keep from giving up their eating-out habit – and that includes breaking some basic rules of money etiquette in restaurants.  DaveRamsey.com lists these 7 habits people commonly practice in the name of saving money. Under-tipping – If you tip less than 15% for standard, good service, then you’re a bad tipper.  Most restaurant servers don’t make the federal…

Americans Borrowing More, Delinquencies Climb

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Saldutti

Household debt – including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans – rose $117 billion from October to December to $11.8 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  But more Americans fell behind on auto and student loans. The share of auto-loan debt 90 or more days overdue jumped to 3.5% last quarter, from 3.1%. A similar rate for student loans rose to 11.3% from 11.1%. While Americans have made considerable progress fixing their post-recession finances and are now taking on new loans judiciously, some are struggling with auto and student loans, whose rapid growth has…

Worth a Second Glance? It Pays to Double-Check

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Saldutti

Remember the last time you picked up fast food, and that nice teenager overcharged you for two adult meals instead of the two kids’ meals you ordered?  You weren’t too happy.  But nobody’s perfect. Not you and not fast food employees. That’s why it’s so important to double-check your bills, receipts, premiums and paychecks before they end up costing you.  DaveRamsey.com shows us 9 more everyday scenarios where it pays to pay attention. Shopping Receipts – Between fumbling for coupons and scanning the magazine rack, it’s easy to get distracted in the grocery store checkout lane. But before you exit…

Time for a Change? 15 Tips for 2015

Posted on February 17, 2015 by Saldutti

We’re 48 days into 2015.  How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?  It’s still not too late to get started.  A new calendar year is a good time to evaluate your financial habits and consider improvements — all in the interest of having more loose change, of course.   PNC Bank suggests these 15 tips for a financially fit 2015. 15. Cyber Security – Clean up your online practices and start over. Change your passwords, get a new debit card, and consider limiting its use at retailers you suspect to be at risk for a hack. 14. Take…

Presidents Day Fun Facts

Posted on February 16, 2015 by Saldutti

Today we celebrate Presidents Day, the federal holiday reserved for honoring the leading men of our country. It’s officially “Washington’s Birthday” (although George was actually born on February 11, 1731) but the name has evolved informally over the years to honor not just the first president, but all 43 of them. Keeping this theme in mind, here are several fun facts you probably didn’t know about our past commanders in chief.  See how well you know your presidents with the following trivia.  Barack Obama is our 44th president, but there actually have only been 43 presidents: Cleveland was elected for…