Financial News

Voting Guide: Barack Obama on the Economy and Financial Issues

Last spring, I presented a non-partisan look at both the Democratic and Republican candidates. We’re moving into the home stretch with the election just three weeks away. As I did yesterday with John McCain, I’m providing an updated look at their views about issues related to the economy, including the current financial crisis, health care, taxes, and retirement. Most of these are copied from the Barack Obama website. I relied on CNN’s election center to expand on…
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Is the Sky Falling? My View on the Bailout.

When I left work Thursday I had an account with Washington Mutual. By the time I got home, I had an account at JP Morgan Chase. The transition was smooth. No one waited in line. No accountholders lost a dime. Is that how a crisis unfolds? I’m not an economist, but I do have common sense. I’ve listened to the politicians and I’ve listened to the economists. Although…
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How to Avoid Overdraft Protection Fees

Welcome readers of US News’ Alpha Consumer blog! If you want to know more about our budgeting system, I’ve linked to a few budgeting posts about halfway down this post. If you’d like to learn more about how we paid off $40,000 in debt in one year, I detailed it last September. This morning I heard a story from the Financial Times, by way of NPR, that banks earn $38.5 billion a…
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How the GM Bankruptcy Affects You

If you own a Chrysler or GM car, you may be wondering how the GM bankruptcy and Chrysler collapse affect you. Rest easy – your car is still covered by the warranty. If you’re in the market for a car, you’re probably seeing great deals on the American brands. The question is how comfortable you feel buying one. Here’s what you need to know. Warranties during Chrysler and…
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2009 Economic Stimulus Package Recap

It’s officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This plan comes in at $787 billion. It won’t make everyone happy, but it will help some people and that’s the best we can hope for given the partisan nature of our government. I’m not going to summarize the entire bill, but here are the key points that will impact many Americans. Visit the New York Times for a complete…
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The Personal Impact of the Consumer Price Index

Yesterday morning NPR reported that the consumer price index had risen 4.1% since December 2006. They also reported that although wages have risen, they’re actually lower than they were in 2000 when adjusted for inflation. I exhaled a stunned breath when I heard the first part. That’s a hefty jump for one year. According to NPR, it’s the biggest increase since 1990. When I heard the second part, I instantly…
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A Review of the Inaugural Address: Where Do We Go from Here?

Yesterday at 12:01 PM, President Barack H. Obama was sworn in. He then gave a 20-minute inaugural address. Like most speeches of its kind, it was large on grand phrases and hope, but a little light on solid promises. However, it did present a good picture of the direction we can expect our country to go during the next four years. It also held some promises for the…
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Protect Your Business by Setting Up an LLC

When Joe the Plumber confronted Obama about small business taxes, my first thought was that this guy doesn’t know enough about business income and expenses to run a small business properly. If this business makes more than $250,000 a year in profits and has employees, then it shouldn’t be set up as a sole proprietorship. At minimum, it should be a limited liability company. So for all of…
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Forget the Bailout: Open Enrollment Reminder and TV Commercial Rage

Yesterday was pretty exhausting for everyone. So, today’s post focuses on the things we can do something about, like checking on our open enrollment periods and fighting back against commercials that assume American consumers are idiots. Open Enrollment Reminder Guardian Unlimited produced a video starring Mia Hamm about open enrollment. You might not want to check your 401K holdings this week, but you should make sure your health insurance still meets…
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