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Monthly Archives

September 2014

Surrender To Yourself

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blog-imageAs parents, spouses, professionals, friends, caregivers and whatever other titles we have collected throughout our lives, it’s very easy to spread ourselves thin. We have responsibilities to so many others and often neglect ourselves. And not just in the physical or emotional sense. Mentally, we lose a lot of who we are because we’re so busy being so much for so many other people.

When we allow ourselves to be overrun by the business of everyday life – taking the kids to soccer practice, lending a shoulder to cry on for our friend over drinks, maintaining our heathy marriage – our authentic selves get put on the back-burner. Who has time to go after what they really want when there are so many things that need to get done? Not you!

But that’s not true. You – with all your responsibilities, obligations and burdens – are in the perfect position to embrace the greatness within you, even if you don’t feel that you have enough time to better yourself. How do you do that? By giving up a little bit of that control factor. Yes, you have 30 things to do and not enough time to do half of them. But the beauty of letting go of that control is that you will conquer what you can do while accepting what you can’t. And you won’t beat yourself up over what doesn’t get done either. Read More

Student Loan Debt Becomes the Norm

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student-loan-debtEver increasing college tuition and inadequate college savings are being blamed for 40 million Americans carrying at least one outstanding student loan, according to new studies from the credit bureau, Experian. In comparison, only 29 million  in 2008, an increase of 84 percent.

Borrowers are carrying approximately four open student loans each, which is up from less than three in 2008. At the same time, the average balance has risen from $23,000 to $29,000. The increase has boosted the nationwide student loan debt to all-time record highs of $1.2 trillion, an 84 percent hike since the beginning of the recession.

Legislators are seeking a way to provide relief to borrowers with a variety of proposed regulation that would allow the option to refinance open loans at a lower rate, require direct details about loans and protect consumers who have had a co-signer pass away or file for bankruptcy; both issues that can lead to disastrous credit issues.

Student lenders are continuing to approve student loans to borrowers so young, they don’t have a proven financial track record or enough credit history to have built up a real credit score. “Student loans are the only credit vehicle where a lender continues to extend credit year after year without knowing the person’s ability, or even willingness, to pay,” Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics at Experian, said of the issue.

Despite the seemingly negative aspects of student loans, the positive is that if a borrower is in a strong enough financial situation to make payments on time, the student loans can actually help you establish and build credit early on. If you’re not, it can have the exact opposite effect. Rod Griffin, Experian director of public education noted that payment history and making on time payments effects your credit score just like any other form of debt.

Like this blog? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, be sure to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter Financial Consciousness. And join the conversation on Facebook where we’ve grown together and act as a community to promote financial healing.

Home Depot Center of Massive Security Breach

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news-imageHome improvement giant, Home Depot, has confirmed a credit card breach that could turn out to be the biggest security breach of any retailer’s data to date. Home Depot Inc. confirmed on Monday that its payment security systems were compromised while data experts warn that the damage done could rival Target’s breach last year.

The data theft is not likely to have affected online customers, rather in-store purchases made in various locations across the United States and in Canada. Home Depot also assured that there is no evidence that personal identification numbers, or PINs, were compromised.

KrebsOnSecurity, a security website, was the first to report the breach about a week ago. It stated the problem could affect purchases as far back as April and in as many as 2,200 stores. Brian Krebs, who founded and runs KrebsOnSecurity, estimated that the breach could even be larger than Target’s when hackers gained access to 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other bits of customer data, compromising many and leaving them searching for help with credit cards and how to control the damage done by the security breach.

Retail breaches have shaken customer’s confidence at a time when privacy concerns have reached an all-time high. Pressure to improve security has been placed on retailers to protect customer data so they can feel safe that their personal information is secure when they’re out spending their hard earned cash. Home Depot is urging customers who have purchased from their stores to “review payment card statements carefully and call your bank or card issuer if you see any suspicious transactions.”

Like this blog? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, be sure to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter Financial Consciousness. And join the conversation on Facebook where we’ve grown together and act as a community to promote financial healing.

Payday Loans To See Crackdown

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payday-loanCompanies offering payday loans can expect to see Federal action against their predatory loans in the near future. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun supervising the payday loan industry in the beginning of 2012 and is taking steps to rein in abuse. The Bureau has produced a critical report on the industry and has required two payday companies to provide refunds and pay fees in the million dollar range due to the findings. The Bureau also plans to put rules in place that could provide additional protection for consumers.

The Bureau’s report also cited findings that some states were allowing payday lenders to charge over 500 percent in annual interest rates. Some also practice illegal tactics to recover money by harassing borrowers, calling them multiple times per day, garnering money directly from personal bank accounts and trying to arrest them under false pretenses.

Payday lenders have been around for years. The typical loan average is about $375 where the full balance is due in 14 days. It sounds reasonable, but if the borrower doesn’t pay the loan back in time, they get hit with a slew of interest and late fee charges.

Regulators across the U.S. are now seeking to impose stricter rules in an attempt to regulate payday lenders. Experts believe the move is a step in the right direction but is a smaller issue of a bigger problem. A professor with NYU Stern of Business, Arun Sundararajan states, “One the one hand, it’s a good move because the people are getting these loans don’t understand how bad things can get if they don’t pay them back. So one solution is to go after the lenders who are being exploitative, but it’s also important that we recognize there is a significant fraction of the United States that is unbanked.”

Going after payday lenders will protect borrowers from getting caught in the debt cycle, but industry experts say the root of the issue is providing safer credit solutions for Americans that don’t have enough banking options or help with personal finance.

Like this blog? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, be sure to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter Financial Consciousness. And join the conversation on Facebook where we’ve grown together and act as a community to promote financial healing.