Finance & Economy
Once upon a time, the banks wanted your business so badly they actually gave you a free toaster as an incentive to make a deposit. That’s a time few remember — a tale told by elders to amuse the younger generation.
Very quietly, and without any of the fanfare with which it was announced a year ago, the government ended its safety guarantee for money-market mutual funds. Last Sept. 18, the Treasury Department’s Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Funds was allowed to expire.
Like crabgrass in spring, debt-settlement firms are spreading fast all over the country. Tempting radio commercials tell you they can negotiate with your credit-card issuer so you’ll pay as little as 40 percent of what you owe. Don’t fall for it. Most debt-settlement companies require you to divert your current payments to a savings account giving them the leverage to negotiate.
It seems the credit-card companies have all the power these days, in spite of the benefits of the new Card Act, which took effect in February. If you make the decision to close your credit-card account, assuming your credit is in good standing, it might have a small impact on your credit score.
There’s a lot of talk these days both on the street and in the news that the United States is poised to enter a season of inflation. Some insist that things are so economically serious we need to get prepared for “runaway inflation.” Inflation is, by definition, “a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.”
Banks have taken big financial hits over the past year, in part because of the subprime mortgage meltdown. Now they are scrambling to recapture their losses.
If you own a credit card, you know that the issuer of that card can do as it wants with your account. Millions of cardholders have witnessed just how much control the issuer has, from arbitrarily increasing interest rates to slashing credit limits.
If you have money in an Individual Retirement Account, or an IRA rollover account, you’ll be faced with a big financial decision next year. Should you convert your current IRA, on which you’ll pay taxes when you withdraw the money, into a tax-free Roth IRA?
People are seeking refuge from the volatility of the stock market by switching to bond funds.