Brian Banmiller's blog

Art Imitates Life

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Want some free advice on how to deal with mortgage scams? Take in a movie.

The movie may be pure fantasy. But the message you may get before it starts will be all too real. In an attempt to help struggling homeowners being bombarded by clever criminals taking advantage of struggling homeowners by pitching a variety of mortgage scams, The Federal Reserve is placing advertisements amid movie previews before the main feature, telling people about the scams and how to avoid them.

Sandra Braunstein, Director of the Federal Reserve’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, says the purpose is to reach a different audience, get people’s attention and then direct them to a website with tips on how to avoid scams.  read more »

Fear of Fraud Bigger Than Terrorism


Since that terrible attack on 9/11, Americans have been understandably afraid of terrorism. But with the recent worldwide economic meltdown, most Americans are now more concerned about economic terrorism. And so is the federal government.

First, a global forecast that looks out to 2025 and conducted by the National Intelligence Council reported last month that global power is shifting from West to East with energy and economic issues being the key drivers of the shift. According to Aviation Week and Space Technology, “the report also warned that the diffusion of scientific knowledge and technology will place dangerous capabilities within reach of terrorist organizations.”  read more »

Economic Survival Guide

Bookshelves are filled with self help books. How to lose weight. How to have confidence and now the one we all need, how to get your money back.

Ali Velshi is the Chief Business Correspondent for CNN, host of "Your $$$$" and has now an author. His first book “Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis.” is on the shelves and it's a book Velshi says you can read in a few hours and finish feeling like an investor. Velshi says the recession has taught us the dangers of overspending and when the recession ends this is a lesson we shouldn’t forget.

“Life is not going to be like it was before. We have been over consumers for decades. We as a country consume more than we produce, we as individuals consume more than we produce, we buy too much on credit.”  read more »

Flying Is For the Birds

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More commercial and private planes are taking flight worldwide than ever before. Unfortunately, so are large birds such as geese and pelicans. And if you don’t think they can harm planes, check out the pictures I found for this article. As a private pilot and airplane owner, these pictures and a recent article in USA Today shocked me.

USA Today reports that bird populations are increasing, according to Richard Dolbeer, a retired Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist who created the Federal Aviation Administration's database tracking system for bird strikes in 1990. "In most cases it's going to be these large birds that are going to cause a catastrophe or a significant strike event," Dolbeer said.  read more »

Flights Cancelled For Lunch

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Just when I thought I’d heard it all, this headline on AvWeb caught my eye last week. The independent aviation news source was reporting that Air New Zealand would have to cancel 25 regional flights so tower staff at five small airports could comply with new labor rules.

According to AvWeb, the new rules required lunch breaks to be scheduled, rather than allowing staff to take them as workload permits. The result is the five towers would have to be closed twice a day for up to 45 minutes while staffs had their meal breaks. Imagine how many private pilots would have to circle the field and burn up gas waiting for tower staff to finish their lunches. Commercial carriers are also impacted.  read more »

Tax Myths Busted


Spring has sprung, meaning its tax time but this season is painful enough without paying more than you owe. So beware the tax myths that could cause you to empty out the piggy bank.

Jeff Schnepper, a former Professor of Taxation, Accounting and Finance and author of “How to Pay Zero Taxes” has compiled a list of five tax myths that can cost you money. Schnepper says from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy our culture is full of myths, and in the world of taxes these myths can cost you big bucks if you don’t know the rules.  read more »

Print Getting Smeared


According to MarketWatch, the Sun-Times Media Group Inc. has become the second newspaper publisher in the Chicago area, and the latest among several around the U.S., to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at a time of unprecedented advertising revenue declines in the newspaper industry.

The company said that while it has already taken a number of steps to cut costs, they just weren't enough to offset massive print ad losses. Earlier this month, Hearst Corp. opted to shut down print operations of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, turning it into a Web-only publication with a small editorial staff. In February, it warned that it might shut down the San Francisco Chronicle unless it could find a way to drastically cut operating costs.  read more »

Making and Saving Money Now


Ask once-poor people how they found riches, and many will tell you saving money instead of spending it did the trick. So here are some ideas I’ve gleaned from experts that can help you weather the economic storm.

Eat out for less:
Many restaurants are offering less expensive entrees. For example, Chili's, Texas Roadhouse, TGI Fridays, and Outback Steakhouse are offering entrees ranging between $7 and $10. Even upscale Morton’s steakhouse has a value deal.

Entertainment deals:  read more »

Bashing Capitalism for Votes


I know Americans are as furious as I am that AIG would pay bonuses out of one hand, while the other hand is taking billions from the government. And those who made stupid mistakes should not be rewarded. Any who committed crimes should be prosecuted.

But this Wall Street bashing has gone too far. A lot of pandering politicians find it easier to blame Wall Street for bringing down capitalism, when it is capitalism that will save Wall Street.

First, it was the Obama Administration, its Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and democrat Senator Chris Dodd who first approved those bonuses, citing contractual obligations. But after the media showed its bright spotlight on the bonuses, the politicians ran for cover under the shade of a Washington tradition, the blame game.  read more »

Hire Your Own Economic Coach

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Every team has a coach to offer structure and stability through exciting wins and tragic losses. And with this economy now going through the agony of defeat, maybe what we all need is our very own coach.

Kim Fulcher is a professional life coach for her San Francisco bay area based company, My Life Compass. Fulcher says a life coach helps you focus on what’s important in today’s weak economy. Even if you’re out of work and your stock portfolio has plummeted Fulcher says instead of falling victim to fear or uncertainty, use the opportunity to go after what you really want in life.  read more »