Credit catastrophe continues to cost after 'voluntary repo'


Folks, you are about to read a story about a young woman named Darlene, a car, a fraud and how it changed the path of her entire life.

This tale is just one example of so many out there, wherein lives are impacted forever and no one on the outside is the wiser. Names may have been changed to protect innocent people.

Is now the right time to sell your investments?

Here’s a question I get quite frequently from clients, friends, relatives and even strangers I meet at seminars: Is now the right time to sell my investments?

When I inquire as to what prompted the question, the responses run the gamut from “I read that stocks are overpriced right now” to “The loud-talking guy on TV said so.”

Why good advice on annuities is hard to find

Annuities are commonly sold by insurance companies as a solution for retirement. Unlike stocks and bonds, they provide guaranteed income for as long as you live – at least to the extent supported by California’s Life & Health Insurance Guarantee Association.

But getting help with choosing annuities can be surprisingly difficult. Here’s why.

Attaching a value to your airline miles and points

How do you value your frequent-flier miles and hotel points and maximize their value? If I were a tech bro (which I am not), I might have called it “travel hacking.” Instead, I will call it “optimizing your digital currency.”

Hotel points and miles you have both from actual flying and from credit card spending have significant value. However, the value may not be as clear as money in a bank account. There has been a rush in the past few years to market airline and hotel-branded credit cards that reward card holders with points and miles based on every dollar of spending. While this may seem good for consumers, remember that the airlines are carrying the miles as a liability in their balance sheets. It is in their best interest to encourage customers to use up their miles.

How to exercise due diligence to make the right financial decisions

I heard a radio commercial the other morning while commuting to work. It was from some real estate firm that promised to teach me how to buy, hold and sell properties with no money down and no risk. Imagine that: No risk! How could anyone turn down such an offer?

  It can be difficult to exercise the due diligence necessary to make good investment decisions. It is easier, however, to avoid making bad ones by watching out for questionable claims that suggest a questionable investment. Following are a few from my list.

When business rights trump personhood rights

Some people really are more equal than others. The people I speak of, by law, in the United States are corporations. How can that be, you ask?

First note that other than voting – and let’s face it, lobbying is a more effective gig – breathing and eating, corporations have been granted personhood via legal fiction in the U.S.

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