The Cost of Living


Every month you shell out big bucks for your bills, rent or mortgage and anything else to keep your home up and running. While everyone's bank account takes a hit there's a big difference when you start comparing zip codes.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report of the most expensive cities for housing costs, gleaned from information gathered by surveying renters and homeowners in metropolitan areas. The bureau then calculated each cities median housing expense based on rent and mortgage payments, utilities and property tax. They found that in cities such as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. where cost of living is high, median incomes also tend to be higher.  read more »

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 »

Trust: Can it make a Comeback?

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I may be dating myself but I actually do remember when deals were closed with a handshake. And when someone said “My word is my bond” you simply believed it. Or when a customer said “The check is in the mail” it really was. Trust was the grease that made the wheels of commerce turn more efficiently.

Not anymore. And that lack of trust is threatening to deal a body blow to our way of life.

Certainly one can argue that greed and deceit have been part of business dealings since the dawn of commerce. And maybe our 24 hour news cycle just makes us more aware of human weakness. But somehow we never dreamed that lying, cheating and stealing could get so rampant as to permanently damage or bring down the entire U-S economy.

Now I am not so sure.  read more »