16 September 2014
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Kristin Edwards

Consumer Confidence Is on the Rise in the U.S.

According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence improved for the fourth straight month in August. The new confidence total is the highest the monthly index has found since October 2007, indicating a growth in positive financial sentiment across the United States.

The survey, based on a sampling of Americans, offers more positive news for those weary of gloomy reports and poll results. A secondary highlight of the Conference Board’s findings is a rise in the number of consumers who see jobs as “plentiful.” While the fact that just 18.2 percent of respondents see jobs as plentiful may seem meager to some, this is the highest total since 2008. This finding coexists well with recent data from the U.S. Labor

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15 September 2014
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Benjamin Flores

The Four Stages of Your Finances

We take for granted that there are stages of our lives we each go through, such as childhood, youth, middle-aged and elderly. So it is with our financial life, which also has, or should have, at least four major stages. Not everyone completes all four, but each of us should be aware of what those stages are, what is required to reach them, and the financial goals we should be pursuing at each stage.

Stage One Survival

Most of us have been in this simplest financial stage at some point in our lives. In fact, some people never leave it. For many this is often the beginning stage of financial life, when we are first starting out and trying to make it in the world of money. The focus of this first phase is to put together the financial means to be able to survive in the world without enduring major hardships.

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13 September 2014
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Benjamin Flores

Report slams Education Deparment use of debt collectors

Are debt collectors all wrong for the job of pursuing unpaid student loans?

The U.S. Education Department uses 22 collection agencies to pursue $89 billion in overdue student loans, paying them $1 billion in commissions in 2014, according to a report by the National Consumer Law Center, “Pounding Student Loan Borrowers: The Heavy Costs of the Government’s Partnership with Debt Collection Agencies.” The tab is set to rise to $2 billion in 2016.

The department does little about the complaints that collectors generate, the study found. The department tracks complaints poorly, and hands out bonus payments without regard to companies’ complaint records. Weak oversight of collectors was previously documented by the Government Accountability Office in a March report.

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12 September 2014
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Daniel Nelson

First-time buyers in July at highest level since 2007

The number of first-time buyers reached a seven-year high in July. Photograph: Manchan/Getty Images

More than 30,000 first-time buyers took out mortgages during July – the highest number since before the credit crisis hit, and a 25% jump on the same month last year.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said 30,200 home loans worth £4.6bn were advanced to first-time buyers during July, the highest number since 2007.

But buyers are having to take on record-sized loans to afford a home. Th

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11 September 2014
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Kristin Edwards

Keep it Open? 5 Reasons You Should Pay Your Bar Tab With a Credit Card

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If hitting the local watering hole is on the agenda this weekend, you’re probably thinking more about what you’ll wear than how you’ll pay for your drinks. But this is definitely something to consider, and there’s one payment method that should be used above all others.

1. With the right card, you’ll rack up extra rewards

The Nerds think you should use a credit card for every purchase you possibly can – after all, that’s how to earn big points, miles or cash back. But if you’re

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9 September 2014
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Kristin Edwards

UPDATE 1-Detroit needs to shed debt to afford improvements -witness

Related Topics

Detroit could not afford to undertake a series of necessary improvements without a courtapproved plan to shed a chunk of its debt, a city consultant testified on Friday at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing.

Charles Moore, a senior managing director at restructuring firm Conway MacKenzie Inc, said the six areas of Detroit’s government that have been targeted for $1.7 billion of reinvestment initiatives running through June 30, 2023, were essential for the city to provide adequate levels of services to residents and businesses.

“Without the plan, it’s uncertain to me how the reinvestment initiatives can be funded,” Moore testified during the fourth day of a hearing to determine whether the city’s debt adjustment plan is fair and feasible.

Detroit last year filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S.

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1 September 2014
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Benjamin Flores

When Should You Start Saving For Retirement?

Many Americans fail to plan for retirement. Gone are the days when an employee could just show up for work for 30 years and then collect a sizable pension for the next 30 years while they sat on a beach or hit the golf links. Today, workers are more likely to have access to a defined contribution plan. These plans have only what the employee puts into them, along with any employer matching funds. They are not guaranteed payoffs that last until death. Recent polls show that 60 percent of Americans have less than $25,000 put away for retirement. Millennials are not in any better shape for the most part. Only 17 percent expect to retire with 80 percent of their working income available.

The Time to Start Saving Is Now

It does not matter if one is 25 or 55.

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