Are Medical Credit Cards Unhealthy for Your Finances?

You need some expensive medical care yet don’t have the insurance or money to pay for it. Should you use a medical credit card that’s pitched at some doctors’ offices? A new report by the nonprofit Consumer Action warns that some of these cards can be unhealthy for your finances. They usually offer a zero percent introductory rate, though after that period, card terms can vary greatly. The problem is that these terms often are difficult to uncover. So patients …

Your Most Embarrassing Number, and It’s Not Weight

Which number is your most embarrassing –  age, weight or credit-card debt? Surprise, it’s debt, according to a poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Thirty-seven percent of nearly 2,200 respondents say they would be the most red-faced to admit their credit-card balances. Credit scores came in second on the shame scale, with 30 percent saying they would not be comfortable disclosing their number. Consumers have fewer qualms about divulging weight and bank balances, according to the foundation. (Twelve …

Rent to Own? It Could Cost You Big Time

As the holiday shopping season gets under way, you may be tempted to buy that fancy flat-screen TV, a laptop with the latest technologies or a stylish sofa to replace the one your cat uses as a scratching post. (I’m talking to you, Indy). To pay for that big-ticket item, you may be tempted by rent-to-own deals in department stores that now offer them, like Kmart and Sears, according to a Bloomberg report. , rent-to-own deals usually take advantage of …

Older Patients Steered Into High-Interest Credit Plans

Consider this: An older patient visits the dentist. The treatment she needs is expensive and not covered by Medicare. So the dentist offers her financing, on the spot, through a credit card plan. She accepts and gets the work done right away. When she gets the first month’s bill, she’s stunned to learn that the financing plan carries an interest rate of 30 percent. That scenario, you might be surprised to learn, appears to be a growing trend in doctor’s …

A Lifetime of Debt

Growing up 40 years ago, one of my favorite pastimes was playing The Game of Life, the classic Milton Bradley board game that takes players through their simulated lives – from college to retirement – with make believe jobs, families, and other life-changers all along the way.  It was always a lot fun to play, and it gave me a chance to fantasize a little about what my own real-life future might be like. The other day I ran across …