IN THIS ISSUE #164
Larissa S. Bilker
Editor: Denise Troy
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If you and yours are bringing in $40,000 a year,
you're doing better than half the households in America. Or, as a Washington
think tank recently pointed out: If you're a teacher married to a policeman,
your combined household income puts you in the top 25 percent of all households
in the nation. If your household income is $170,000, you're among the nation's
top 10 percent wage. Anything in six figures means you're in the top 20 percent.
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Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker
If you plan to shop during this holiday season,
make sure you have a budget. The only bad part of budget is the word itself. I
recently heard my friend, and famous financial author,
Jean Chatzky say that "spending plan" is a better way to say budget.
She's right. So from now on, let's say "spending plan."
So, create a spending plan for this holiday
season and stick to it. See how good that sounds. (Jean,
that's a great tip!)
Just be sure to pay off your credit cards in
a timely fashion. Default rates are really on the rise. I just received a
notice from Bank of America that their default rate is now 32.24%! Holy cow!
Hey, if you're looking for some "Cool Books,"
then check out Dan Janal's
Cool Book of the Day website. I'm very honored that he picked my book,
Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, to highlight on his site. You
can see it
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information. I, too, look forward to receiving this newsletter every two
weeks. Keep up the great work!!"--Richie
"DebtSmart.com--love it, have been teaching
financial freedom courses for years. Currently training one of our many
indebted employees the principles of handling money."--Vicki
"I love your site, very informative."--Denise
"Love the site and the info!"--Michael
Money Saving Holiday Gift Ideas
by Scott Bilker
The holiday season is here! If you went shopping
last Friday, Black Friday, then I'm sure you noticed the rush to spend money!
Since you will have to spend, you need to spend smart. Spending smart, to me,
means getting a high quality gift at a great price.
You don't have to empty the bank to deliver
expensive gifts to family and friends. It is the thought that counts. That being
said, here are some suggested gifts for this season.
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The Perfect Christmas Gift
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Three Reasons You Should NEVER Own a Debit Card
by Jay Peters
Debit cards have become a
very popular way to pay for everything from fast food to rental cars. The
Federal Reserve reports that debit card transactions have been growing more
than 20 percent annually and have surpassed credit card transactions.
The appeal is understandable. Debit cards are
quick and easy to use.
But using a debit card can cost you hundreds
and even thousands of dollars. We'll show you why you should never carry a
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"Thanks for inspiring me..."
I really enjoy your newsletter and thank you
for all your great ideas and inspiration over the years.
I was horrified to discover, today, that I was
hit with a $39 late fee for failing to pay $21 on my no-intөrөst, crөdit card
at Best Buy through HSBC. I make it a point NEVER to pay interest or
penalties on any of my credit cards, and this was a rare oversight on my
part. I called HSBC Customer Service and was told they would be willing to
give me a 50% discount on the late fee.
I explained that I wanted the entire fee waived,
but she refused. I asked to speak to a manager but was put on hold for an
excessive period of time. I decided to call back and be more insistent, to
the point of threatening to close the card if they did not waive the entire
fee. I got the same response. I then made the following points:
||This was a one-time
||I have never asked for
a fee waiver before.
||I have accounts with
HSBC in three countries.
||I have at least half
a dozen credit cards with HSBC.
||I will not pay 100%
(let alone 200%!) in penalties simply for missing a small payment.
||I will close my
accounts (ALL of them) if I do not get a full waiver.
After waiting a few moments, the customer
service rep came back and said that it is not their policy but that because
I am such a good customer, her manager agreed to waive the entire fee in the
amount of $39.
As a single parent and Realtor struggling in
a tough real estate market, with no income for the foreseeable future, every
little bit counts. It just goes to show you, it pays to be insistent!
Thanks for inspiring me to threaten closing
down my accounts--and meaning it. I hoped it would pay off, and it certainly
J.A., Madison, WI
Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books
Household Math(tm): Choosing a Selling Price
Jack and Jill put their house on the
market to sell when 30-year fixed mortgage rates were 8%. They listed their
3-bedroom ranch for $135,000 because they knew that the monthly payment is
exactly what most people can afford.
Since that time 30-year mortgage interest
rates have fallen to 7%. Jack and Jill know that since mortgage rates have
dropped people can afford to pay more for their house with the same monthly
payment they would get at the old, higher rate.
How much can Jack and Jill sell their house
for now and keep the monthly payment as affordable as it was when they
originally put the house up for sale?
Answer this problem
5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account
by The Federal Reserve
1) Don't give
your account number and bank routing information to anyone you don't know.
Give out your account information for
transactions only if you are familiar with the company you are dealing with.
And if you have not done business with a company before, give out account
information only if you have initiated the transaction. Criminals may ask
you for your...
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