Archive for June, 2013


Investing Lessons From a Food Diva's Downfall

Love her or hate her, it seems you can’t escape her. Celebrity chef Paula Deen keeps on making headlines as she’s dropped by sponsor after sponsor and products bearing her name are yanked from store shelves. Her fall from grace for making racist remarks isn’t just a topic for the tabloids, though. The collapse of […]

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Bitcoins, Babies and Bernanke: What’s Next for Digital Money?

The Bitcoin has only been around for four years. Although it’s still in its infancy, the digital currency created by an anonymous hacker has changed the way we think about money and how it’s used. Bitcoin stock has traded high and fallen low, and the network of goods and services that can be purchased with […]

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Can Online Home Buying Boost the Recovery?

Time was, buying a house was a straightforward process, largely controlled by real estate professionals who had the listings and banks who had the say-so over financing. But the Internet has changed all that. Last year, over two thirds of home buyers in the annual Home Buyer Survey said they’d used social media in the […]

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House Flipping is Still a Risky Business

In the years after the housing crash, house flipping hit the news as a surefire way to reap quick profits in real estate. Flippers would buy a cheap house, maybe a foreclosure, do some superficial cosmetic fixes and make a quick sale. But as a couple of high profile house flippers are finding out, this […]

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Today’s Rates and the Down Payment Debate

Is conventional wisdom crippling the housing recovery? It’s almost a given that a homebuyer can expect to produce a down payment of at least 20 percent in order to secure a mortgage. And the more a buyer can put down, the more they can save over the term of the loan. But given the unique […]

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The Fed’s Securities Buyup Ends: Why It Matters

The Federal Reserve has stopped playing coy about plans for its program to stimulate the economy by buying up massive amounts of mortgage-backed securities. After months of maybe yes maybe no, the Fed has finally announced an end to the plan by mid-2012. While that announcement shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise, the news […]

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For Some Landlords, Vacant is the New Rented

As consumer advocates push for expanded tenant’s rights laws, landlords are wondering where their protections have gone. As a recent op-ed column in The New York Times reveals, the  landlord presiding over an entirely legal eviction can end up vulnerable to a host of potentially dangerous outcomes from disgruntled tenants. And for some property owners, […]

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5 Red Flags That Your Lender is Lying

The mortgage industry has undergone intense scrutiny since the spate of risky loans that triggered the housing collapse of 2008. But in spite of lawsuit after lawsuit and numerous consumer protection regulations, the nation’s big lenders continue to ply their fraudulent practices on applicants for mortgages and refinancing. Now, the latest suit against Bank of […]

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What Happened to HAMP? Bank of America Strikes Again

In the years since the well-publicized “mortgage meltdown” of a few years ago the health of the housing recovery has been measured to some extent by the state of the foreclosure market. But as affidavits filed in yet another lawsuit against Bank of America reveal, the perennial bad boy of fraudulent banking practices has been […]

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Cash Buyers Win in a Hot Housing Market

After several years in the doldrums, the housing market is heating up, according to industry watchers. Rising prices, a tight inventory and interest rates that remain relatively low continue to entice buyers. And as those buyers vie for the available homes, one thing creates a clear advantage: the ability to pay cash. Recent data crunched […]

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No Credit? No Problem, Say Many Americans

In a world that seemingly runs on credit, more Americans, particularly recent college graduates, are skipping credit cards for the plastic equivalent of cash: the debit card. The shift, driven partly by choice and partly by economic and financial conditions, raises concerns that these creditless groups may be locked out of key areas of this […]

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New Voice, New Community for Expats Abroad

More and more Americans are choosing to live abroad for financial, political and lifestyle reasons. So the expatriate community continues to expand, supported by a range of publications, online resources and advisers. Now, a new online radio station aims to connect this far-flung community and [provide the answers they need to questions about finance, personal […]

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Landlord-Tenant Lawsuits Clog the Courts

You’d think it would be simple. Landlord meets tenant, tenant checks out, a rental agreement is signed: a match made in heaven. But judging from the number of landlord-tenant disputes reaching the courts, the relationship can also go sour. And because investors making money from rental real estate so often become the targets of lawsuits […]

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IRAs: Not Just For Retirement Anymore

It’s no secret that many Americans haven’t saved enough for retirement. And many who have created Individual Retirement Accounts are now using those accounts for purposes other than retirement living. While some soon to be retirees are tapping into their IRAs to cover unexpected expenditures, a growing number are using those funds to secure their […]

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Consumers Beware of Mandatory Arbitration!

Once upon a time, our system of American justice required a fair, impartial process before one could be convicted of a crime. It wasn’t (isn’t) perfect but at least it made an honest effort (most of the time) to carry out the mandates of the US Constitution. But now consumers have to worry that their […]

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The Making of a Bubble: Cycles of Boom and Bust

Worries of yet another “bubble” about to burst appear in financial news on a regular basis. After the term went mainstream a few years ago in connection with the rum-up to the historic housing crash, it continues to float up whenever there’s a surge of activity in one sector or another. Amid talk of a […]

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Founding Documents – Back to the Basics

America is sort of important to us – that’s why we put the word right in the title of our organization. One problem with the nation today is that sometimes we forget that America was built upon a small set of founding documents that laid out how the power in society should be divided. That’s […]

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New Employment Upswing Misses the Millennials

The statistics are encouraging: 175,000 new jobs added to the economy in May 2013. And, as this graduation season rolls on, that should be good news for the thousands of newly degreed individuals ready to hit the workforce. But, say some economists, the picture may not be so rosy. Fierce competition for those jobs plus […]

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Sallie Mae Splits for More of the Student Loan Market

Sallie Mae's splitting. In a move reminiscent of the evolution of federal mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the venerable student loan company SLM Corp is now taking aim at the lucrative private loan market. It's a move that echoes the mortgage lending spree that fueled the 2008 housing collapse and bolsters the concerns […]

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Reverse Mortgages: Feeding the Foreclosure Market?

Although “reverse” mortgages make up a relatively small part of the mortgage market, they default at a rate much higher than that of regular mortgages. Because these loans are typically marketed to retirees and older homeowners, loopholes in the loan structure are sending more homes into foreclosure – and changing the dynamics of the housing […]

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