Banks are reducing the rewards you normally get for using their credit cards. So, it may be time to find a better card. Fidelity Investments used to offer a card that paid 2% of all your charge volume into a college savings plan. Well, that program is no longer available to people other than those who already have the card. Now, the company has reduced the benefit to 1.5%. And there is now a cap on how much you can earn each year for your child's education. Unfortunately, many other banks are following this trend. That doesn't mean you should close the accounts you have. Keeping them open helps your credit score. Just don't use that card anymore. On another note, Fidelity has a new Visa card that gives you 1.5% back into a Fidelity investment account. There is no limit on earning power. Capital One has a card that earns you 1% each month, plus an additional. .25% at the end of the year. Of course, that could change too. Always keep your options open.
Lenders and borrowers are both drowning these days. One in eight people are delinquent in mortgages these days and typically they are people who put no money down on their homes. They borrowed 100 percent of the purchase price and now they can't pay it back. So, lenders are not getting paid and are having to foreclose on those properties – something they hate to do. As a result, the pendulum is swinging back toward more stringent policies and requirements for borrowing. The likelihood of putting no money down, for instance, is dwindling. Countrywide, one of the largest lenders out there, is telling customers already that they will need at least 5 percent. If you're thinking of buying a home, remember that. It's protection for you and the lender. Whatever you do, do NOT get a "Pay Day Loan." They're so damaging to you they have been banned in several states!
Saving for retirement has become so confusing these days that it's very possible for people to get scammed by con artists. The biggest targets are senior citizens and people who are close to retirement. Insurance companies and brokerage houses are duping older people out of their hard-earned money in trashy variable annuities. There are stories published about this all the time. The latest one is going on in Massachusetts, where "certified senior advisers" were putting older folks into garbage annuities. One 82-year-old got taken in an annuity sale and her money was locked up for two years. She had no money on which to live as a result. Annuities have massive commissions and horrible tax treatments. You are the only cop on the beat in this game because there are no laws preventing what these people do. Don't go to any free breakfasts, lunches or dinners where salespeople try to help you with your money, and don't let your loved ones go.
February 17, 2009 will be the last day TV stations can broadcast analog signals and must go entirely digital. For many people with older TVs, they will no longer be able to pick up signals over the air without a digital-to-analog converter. The government has been fussing around with the idea of converter rebates and coupons for people who want to keep using their old TVs. Now they have a plan -- to give each household a max of 2 coupons for $40 each (with a 3-month expiration date) starting next year. No one's saying yet how much each converter will cost. Here are the details: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/dtv/DTVconsumers.pdf . If you are in the market for a new TV, don't be fooled by low prices, make sure you get a digital TV!
And now for some fun freebies:
Sea World and Busch Gardens are inviting active military and their families to enjoy their theme parks for free for one day. Click on this link for more information go to: http://commerce.4adventure.com/store/os_application.asp
For a free travel bag with sunscreen, hand gel & bandages for kids go to http://www.choc.org/funbag/
If you've always wanted to become a writer, then you might be interested in the free course M.I.T. is offering now. You don't get college credit, but you get some great instruction. Check out http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Writing-and-Humanistic-Studies/index.htm
For a 1 year free subscription to "Computer Shopper" go to http://www.magsforless.com/pd_computer_shopper_magazine.cfm
And finally, register for a free child's first aid kit at First Register at:http://www.healthpromotionsnow.com/Pages/HomePage.asp?Selector=ProductSamplesThen go to: http://www.healthpromotionsnow.com/Pages/HomePage.asp?Selector=Step1_Regular&P_ID=75586and click on Request Sample
Wal-mart will send you a free sample of Alavert (allergy medicine) by clicking here http://walmart.triaddigital.com/enhancedrendercontent_ektid11998.aspx
Wal-mart will also send you a free sample of Curel Cream by clicking http://walmart.triaddigital.com/enhancedrendercontent_ektid11732.aspx
Domino's will give you some free MP3's at http://www.dominos.com/home/dtPlayer.jsp
And finally, if you love to throw parties then check out this offer for a free Presidential Debate House Party Kit! (It includes coasters, cocktail napkins, stickers, and more) http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/choice-action-center/take-action/house-party/
Have a terrific week!