Cheapskate Answers to Your Money Questions

When you write about personal finance for a living, lots of folks ask for your advice about their own money issues and problems. That places me in a difficult position because, while I’d like to help, in many cases there are just too many variables when it comes to offering good financial advice to people I barely know. And then there’s the “How dare you!” factor. That’s especially common when you primarily give advice about the spending side of people’s finances, …

Free Financial Advice? What’s Not to Like?

Need financial advice on estate planning, retirement savings or something else? You can get it for free. From Sept. 27 through Nov. 8, hundreds of financial planners will be available to meet one-on-one with people in 25 cities in an annual event called Financial Planning Days. The initiative, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses Financial …

FICO Eases Pain of Medical Debt on Credit Scores

FICO, the nation’s leading credit-scoring company, is making two changes that could benefit consumers with debt that has gone into collection. In its newest scoring model, FICO will no longer count debt in collection that has been repaid or settled. The company will also discount medical debt in collection, so it has less of a negative impact on consumers’ scores. More than half of unpaid collections involve medical bills. The medical changes alone could boost a consumer’s score by 25 points, FICO said when announcing …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Insects are a food source for one of every three people worldwide. (Learn more at Yahoo) 2. The debts and unpaid bills of more than a third of Americans have been reported to collection agencies. (Learn more at Urban Institute) 3. Handshakes share 20 times more germs than fist bumps. (Learn more at AARP) >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  4. A new smartphone app simulates a retro camera by making you …

Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

Oldest Americans Weathered the Recession Better Than Others

Many Americans are still reeling from the last recession, although the oldest among us weathered the economic decline better than other age groups. That’s according to a recent report by the Census Bureau that looked at how Americans ages 65 and up fared during and after the 2007-2009 recession. These older consumers were somewhat buffered by more conservative investment strategies as well as high homeownership and a resistance to squeezing all equity out of their property by refinancing. It wasn’t …