November 1st, 2011

Consumer Confidence Drops at the Worst Possible Moment

**Today’s guest post is contributed by LearnVest.**

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Hey, let’s have a quick catch-up quiz to see how you’re feeling about the economy:

  • How do you feel about current business conditions? What about in the next six months?
  • How do you think employment is doing?
  • Do you think it’ll get easier or harder to find a job in the next six months?
  • How do you think your family’s income will change in the next six months?

You basically just took a consumer confidence survey. And if you’re like the 5,000 U.S. households surveyed last month, you might not be feeling so good.

On the last Tuesday of each month, the Conference Board, a global research organization, releases results on how confident regular people are feeling about the economy and their own finances. The consumer confidence index was started in 1985, and the first results were set at 100. Since then, the index has fluctuated around that number.

This month, the results were as negative as they were in March 2009, at the height of the recession: Our current consumer confidence score is 39.8. Economists would like to see it at at least 90, which would indicate the economy is on solid footing.

Collectively, consumers (read: anyone who buys anything) feel pretty glum about the economy. Translation: They’re worried about employment, and their incomes seem insecure.

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October 27th, 2011

Pros and Cons of Using Layaway This Holiday Season

It’s not even Halloween yet and the mania around holiday shopping has already begun. The latest ploy to send holiday shoppers into a spending frenzy? The reemergence of the layaway plan. In response to customer demand and the current state of the economy, Walmart has decided to join other major retailers like Sears, Best Buy and Toys “R” Us in bringing back the old-fashioned layaway program commonly used in department stores for years.

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October 13th, 2011

Will Bank Transfer Day Take Down Big Banks?


Occupy Wall Street has received a lot of media attention due in large part to the protests and arrests occurring in New York and other major cities. Many consider the conversation around the dissatisfaction of banks to be a constructive idea, yet despite their growing following, Occupy Wall Street has yet to put any plans into motion to change the system.

That all changed this past week when an event called “Bank Transfer Day” emerged on Facebook encouraging people to switch from their current bank to a credit union by Nov. 5. While the event’s creator is not directly tied to Occupy Wall Street, many of its followers have shown support for the event, and it could mark the turning point for the movement.

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August 16th, 2011

Credit Karma Chat: What does the U.S. credit downgrade mean for you?

Bethy and Justine get specific about what the credit downgrade is and what it means for consumers

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August 10th, 2011

4 Steps to Avoiding Your Own Credit Downgrade

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We discussed earlier what you should do with your money in light of the country’s credit downgrade, but what can the country’s credit troubles teach us about our own finances?

Just like the national debt gets a credit rating, your credit score, given by each of the three consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), is your personal rating of creditworthiness.

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August 8th, 2011

6 Tips on Dealing with the U.S. Credit Downgrade


There’s a lot of information floating around the World Wide Web about the recent U.S. credit downgrade. But what is the important information that consumers should know? Here we go over a few basics and how you should react in light of the changes in our economy.

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May 26th, 2011

Fact Sheet: What’s in a Dollar Bill?

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You know that one dollar bill you just shelled out for a small coffee?

Ever thought about what’s it made of or where it came from? We answer those questions and more in our quick dollar-bill fact sheet. Read on, big spender!

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May 13th, 2011

Friday Roundup: Housing Market News

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In a town hall aired Thursday, Obama urged banks to help out struggling homeowners, recognizing that lots of U.S. mortgage borrowers are still struggling, reports CNN Money. But if banks are to help homeowners by doling out longer-term mortgage modifications and principal reductions, it's going to take some time.

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March 29th, 2011

Are You a Returnaholic?

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Last holiday season, retailers lost over three billion dollars to return fraud. That’s why according to the National Retail Federation, 17% of stores last year tightened up their return policies.

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March 8th, 2011

Who Do You Love? Banks Battle It Out With Flashy New Ad Campaigns

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Banks these days just aren’t what they used to be. The numbers prove it.

A new study shows that the banking industry experienced minimal growth in 2010 as compared to 2009.

So, banks are combating the negative buzz with some new, out-of-the-box marketing strategies.

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