ProBudgeting.com

Personal finance budgeting and planning

The Next Scam

Every few years there is some sort of financial crisis that comes about because of one person’s ability to fool those who allow their desire for money to cripple their common sense.  This was true in the 1930s with insider trading, during the Savings and Loan scandal, and now, of course, with the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.  A little over a century ago, P.T. Barnum, a person who put the “art” in scam artist, allegedly said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  Nothing has changed in the intervening time.  Government watch dogs cry, “mea culpa,” and create a bunch of regulations that are designed to prevent that particular form of scam.  Then the scammers come up with a new way to separate people from their money.
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Potential Financial Impact of H1N1

Any factor that alters “business as usual” is going to have some kind of differentiated impact on various sectors of business world wide, and the H1N1 virus is no exception.  Already, the virus has affected cruise lines due to outbreaks of the virus on board ships.  As the flu season begins to flourish in the northern hemisphere, we can expect the H1N1 influence on economics to strengthen.
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Avoiding Student Loans

College is the new high school but unfortunately it costs money.  It is very difficult to get a decent-paying job without a college education yet at the same time you can graduate with a four-year degree and the equivalent of a house’s worth of debt to pay back.  What can you do?
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Avoiding Scams: Social Pressure

One way that predators succeed in scams is through social pressures.  For example, you have talked with the person about one set of terms but when it comes to the actual signing of papers, the papers reflect a different set of terms.  Or, as you are getting ready to sign the papers, you are being hurried or pressured into signing without reading.  Or, perhaps you have been told you have to make the decision right now because otherwise it will not be available.  Or, the sales person tries to use people you know against you (”your children/friends/spouse will be disappointed….”).  At that point, many people do not feel they have the right to stop the deal or they feel that the social consequences of stopping the deal (anger, etc.) make it impossible to do anything but sign on the dotted line.
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Computing on the Cheap

Buy a new computer and it seems you are only just beginning to lay out the money necessary for being fully functional.  Along with the machine and its operating system, you need productivity software.  Maybe you need several forms of specialty software to manipulate images and photographs or to write out music.  Of course, you need virus protection.  The professional version of each of these pieces of software can run several hundred dollars; depending on the computer you bought, you could easily double the amount of money you have in the whole thing.  And then, when you buy the next computer you are probably going to have to buy more software due to changing operating systems or limits on the number of machines onto which you can load the software.
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Avoiding Scams

The rule for avoiding scams is, “if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”  Yet, as often as that is said, people still get sucked into scams.  It seems there is a need for more information in order to prevent problems.
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Automobile Insurance

When you buy a car and you are paying a loan, you are generally required to carry full coverage insurance:  if the car got totaled, the people to whom you owe money would get their money back.  After the loan is paid off, you frequently have a choice.  You can continue to pay for full coverage or you can reduce your coverage so that if you have an accident, you will not get any money back for your vehicle.  You will continue to have coverage for other drivers and their cars; just none for your car.
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