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December 2011

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the largest serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. Find various topics in this blog, including personal finance, credit counseling, housing, budgeting and student loan help. Click here to speak with an NFCC-certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

Life Insurance 101

By Jason Alderman Life insurance has no one-size-fits-all option. Singles with no dependents often need little or no coverage. But it can be an important purchase for people whose families depend on their income to cover daily living costs, mortgage repayment, college, retirement or other major expenses. According to Larry Davidman, owner of online insurance brokerage TermWorks.com, your life insurance needs likely will change as family circumstances evolve. “Once you …Read More

Tips for 2012 Financial Resolutions

By Gail Cunningham As the new year approaches the NFCC offers these financial resolution tips for 2012:     Have adequate savings. You might ask yourself how you paid for your last emergency. If it was with a credit card, that’s a red flag. A person who cannot afford an emergency is not likely to be able to afford the interest, late charges, and over limit fees that could be associated with adding …Read More

Safe Places for Your Money

By Gary Silverman, CFP® A very common question these days: “I have some CDs up for renewal, where can I get a good CD rate and are there any other SAFE investments that I can use? I’m gun-shy since I lost a LOT in the stock market downturn.” Folks are still scared of the stock market. It is quite understandable that they are a bit gun-shy after going through what …Read More

Fake Check Scams Continue to Spread

By Jason Alderman The other day I got one of those annoying emails from a supposed Nigerian prince promising rich rewards for helping to move money out of his country. It’s hard to believe those kinds of scams are still thriving, but they are. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, fraud (including fake checks, bogus sweepstakes and work-at-home schemes) is now among …Read More

Low and No Cost Gift Ideas

By Sara Gilbert The November poll hosted on the NFCC’s website, www.DebtAdvice.org, revealed that 40% of respondents do not intend to spend any money on holiday purchases as they anticipate experiencing further financial distress in the future. The poll sends a strong signal that a significant number of people lack enough confidence in their financial future to begin spending, even on traditional holiday expenses.   “Historically, consumers have put aside …Read More

Consumers Dreaming Of A Black Christmas

By Gail Cunningham While retailers are busy trying to stimulate enough holiday sales to put them into the black financially, consumers are dreaming of a black Christmas, one that keeps them in the black on their personal ledger sheet. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending tempted millions of shoppers to part with some cash, or at least pull out the plastic, many have now not only returned to financial …Read More

Ask Stacy: Help…. My Credit History Has Disappeared!

By Stacy Johnson Hi Stacy, Thank you so much for taking time to read this email. I hope you may be able to provide me with some guidance on how to handle this situation. Here is what occurred: My husband and I went to apply for a mortgage a month ago, only to find that my husband’s credit had merged with another man’s credit. While we were in the process of disputing …Read More

Deadline Approaches for Mandatory IRA Withdrawals

By Jason Alderman Reaching your 70th birthday is a momentous cause for celebration. But thanks to a quirk in our tax code, a potentially more important milestone arrives six months later. That’s because IRS rules say that, with a few exceptions, you must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from any IRAs, 401(k) plans and other tax-deferred retirement accounts you own beginning in the year you reach age 70 ½  …Read More

Cards for the Bank or Plastic Averse

Reloadable prepaid cards are magic bullets to help overspenders and those who steer clear of banks. But they won’t build your credit and can cost you plenty in fees if you’re not careful. “If you know what questions to ask and you spend some time shopping, prepaid cards can be a positive tool for managing money and can even be a substitute for a traditional checking account,” says Jennifer Tescher, …Read More

Spending Your Savings Common Practice

By Gary Silverman, CFP® Are you a saver or a spender? Most of us are a bit of both—being only one is illogical. Many of us would also save more given the chance. At least that’s what you may think. However, several studies, as well as my own personal experience, show otherwise. A recent report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College looked at the spending habits of …Read More