Those wondering where to move to escape the horror of the recession, consider North Dakota. Six-figure salaries are possible, just don’t expect it to be easy, notes CNN. The North Dakota oil boom, centered on the Bakken oil formation, has kept the state’s unemployment rate the lowest in the U.S. at 3.5 percent. Jobs are plentiful, yet grueling work hours, lack of housing and harsh winters have kept many from tapping the well of opportunity.
Williston, N.D., has become an oil mecca
Various small towns along the Bakken oil formation in northwest North Dakota – including Williston, Watford City and Belfield – [...]
The hotel industry is one that most of us patronize only occasionally. For many travelers, the proliferation of new hotel fees are proving very surprising. Here are the most common new fees and how to avoid them.
An extra $800 million in fees
The hotel industry, in 2001, generated about $1 billion in add-on fees and services that were, at one point, included with the cost of a room. In 2011, that figure is expected to clock in a record profit of $1.8 billion. This additional $800 million is expected to come from fees for early cancellations, housekeeping, room-service gratuities, even holding [...]
It is only natural at this time of the year to consider a possible zombie apocalypse. You need to ask yourself — am I financially ready, should the dead begin to rise, walk the earth and feast on the living? Here are a few tips that may help you feel more prepared. Oh, and these tips work for other kinds of unexpected disasters as well.
Zombies are slow
Zombies, horrifying as they may be, are stupid and slow. They are actually quite easy to destroy and contain. We are predicting that it will be chaotic for a time, but that society will [...]
Numerous large retail banks have announced in the past year that they will be adding new debit card or checking account fees, which has not gone over well. The consumer backlash has caused some of the largest banks to backtrack, and JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have canceled their planned fee hikes.
Big banks flinch
The Dodd-Frank Act mandated a cap on how much banks can charge merchants when customers use debit cards, which took effect on Oct. 1, according to the Wall Street Journal. Swipe fees were capped by the Federal Reserve at $0.21 per transaction from the previous average of [...]
Millions of Americans enjoy seafood, but Consumer Reports cautions that they may not be eating the fish they thought they bought. A recent Consumer Reports investigation found that more than 20 percent of fish was mislabeled.
Something fishy about seafood
According to USA Today, $80.2 billion was spent by Americans on seafood. That kind of money always draws scam artists looking to make a quick buck.
According to USA Today, a recent investigation by Consumer Reports found that few consumers were getting the kind of fish they believed they were. Consumer Reports took 190 samples of frozen and fresh fish from stores and [...]
Many Americans were outraged last month when Bank of America announced that it would begin charging customers $5 a month to use their debit cards. Similarly, many larger banks said they would be following suit. However, with a little effort a person can find a high-yield checking account with a local bank, a regional bank or a credit union that will pay you to use that same debit card.
What you have to do
There are certain rules that must be adhered to in order to keep a fee-free high-yield checking account. Those rules will vary from institution to institution, but generally [...]
When economic times are tough, the number of visitors at local libraries spikes. Library services have been growing to meet this increased demand, and most local libraries offer free services many patrons don’t even know about.
Magazines and periodicals
The magazine subscriptions that can cost hundreds of dollars per year are probably available at your local library. Even if the library does not have a physical copy of the periodical you would like to read, it likely has a subscription to an online service that provides electronic copies of most magazines. Canceling your magazine subscriptions could save you a bundle.
Job search services
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. homeowners are suffering through foreclosure. According to the real estate data tracking firm RealtyTrac, September data indicates that 1 in every 605 housing units in the U.S. received a foreclosure notice. While the pace of new foreclosures has slowed when compared with last year, the top 10 foreclosure states noted in the RealtyTrac study indicate that the U.S. real estate market is still deeply troubled.
September figures down 30 percent
In September 2011, 214,885 foreclosures were filed in the U.S., according to CNBC. That represents 30 percent fewer foreclosures than September of the previous year, but RealtyTrac [...]
The incomes of America’s wealthiest 1 percent tripled between the years 1979 and 2007, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. The incomes for other categories grew at a much slower rate. The new report gives more fuel to the the national deficit reduction debate as well as to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The 1 percent
“For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007,” said the report. The Congressional Budget Office is a nonpartisan arm of Congress.
Breaking it down
The remaining earners from [...]
Student loans have overtaken credit cards as the nation’s chief source of long term debt. To address this trend, the White House announced a new initiative Wednesday to reduce that burden. The initiative is one of several moves the president is making to boost the economy without the support of Congressional Republicans.
‘Make a big difference’
Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussed the initiative with reporters on Tuesday:
“These are real savings that will help graduates get started in their careers. These changes could make a big difference in the lives of current college students and recent graduates as they enter one of toughest [...]
The hopes of high school seniors for lower college costs have been dashed, according to a recent report issued by the College Board. The educational foundation has just released a report showing that the cost of college rose dramatically in 2010 and shows no sign of stopping.
Declining state revenues forced tuition rates higher
According to MSNBC, the recent survey of higher education costs by The College Board, a non-profit educational foundation comprising several thousand institutions of higher learning, revealed tuition went up by 8.3 percent this year for in-state students at four-year colleges. The increase is mostly attributed to decreased state [...]
Whenever something becomes popular among consumers, it naturally leads the unscrupulous to scam people. For instance, the craze for organic foods has naturally resulted in organic food fraud.
Money naturally draws in fraud artists
In the past decade, organic foods, or foods that have been farmed without pesticides or genetic modifications, have become quite popular. In 2010, according to the PRI.org, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated organic foods were a $26 billion industry by 2010. That kind of money always draws fraud artists.
It’s hard to say
According to a 2010 article in the Washington Post, food fraud, or mislabeling food products, may [...]
It’s never too early to think about retirement, and the economy does not seem like it will be getting better any time soon. Getting the most out of any retirement plan just makes good sense. But a new study suggests many 401(k) contributors are missing out on an opportunity to double their contributions.
30 percent fail to get matching funds
The newly released study from the insurance consulting firm Aon Hewitt showed that nearly 30 percent of 401(k) participants are failing to contribute enough to receive matching funds from their employers. The study looked at 3 million 401(k) contributors whose plans provide [...]
A recent report shows a deepening pessimism from the American public regarding its financial system. More than three in four Americans surveyed said they do not trust the nation’s financial system. Analysts say that regulators can work to rebuild that trust. But the public must also be educated enough to know when the system is failing them.
Down 2 percent from June
The latest numbers from the quarterly Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index are down to 23 percent who trust the financial system from June’s figure of 25 percent. The survey measures public trust in banks, the stock market, mutual funds [...]
Some people may have noticed ads promising access to government grants for a fee. These are government grant scams, and there are a lot of them.
Promise of free government money is usually an empty one
Millions of ads are currently out on websites advertising that there is a lot of government grant money available and a company will help you get some. Don’t click on the ads. It is probably a scam.
The way it works is pretty simple. An ad on a website advertises something like “Free federal grant money for you!” and promises thousands of dollars. If people contact the [...]
Despite banks becoming monolithic villains and stocks crashing every week, the past few years of dismal economic conditions have been good for alternative financial service providers. Payday lenders and other non-mainstream credit providers have been doing well.
Alternative services booming on markets
The past few years have been dismal economically. Though it is repeatedly insisted that the recession ended in 2009, little improvement seems to have occurred. Stock markets continually tick up only to plunge back into the abyss, and no one is hiring.
However, the alternative financial services sector is thriving. According to the Wall Street Journal, First Cash Financial has reported [...]