W gave a big fat veto to healthcare for 4 million kids, supposedly because there might be some abuse of the system. If that's the case, we need to shut down every government program in place. It's not the case though. There's just too much money at stake in healthcare. This is changing though because every year, there are fewer and fewer people with health insurance. When insurance companies can't make money, they will start lobbying for a change. Probably something we don't like but it will be a change. How about making health insurance mandatory like car insurance?
Pennsylvania is adding a couple new slot parlors and Massachusetts is adding three new casinos. The government makes a lot of money off of casinos so these things are going up all over the country. I read that the government gets about half the take so people protesting in PA are pretty much out of luck. We are headed for some pretty rough times financially as a country and lotteries and casinos are just going to make things worse. Desperate people are going to risk money they can't afford hoping to be the big winner and solve all their financial problems. There is likely going to be a lot of get rich quick infomercials in the next couple of years and the people making the commercials are going to get rich quick.
If you answered yes, you might be a very smart person. You would probably be wrong but you might be very smart.
A study was done on the effects of a high IQ on things like income, net worth, and bankruptcy and while there seems to be a correlation between smarts and income, not so much on the other two categories.
Having a slightly higher IQ than average can lead to a reduced chance of bankruptcy. These must be the people that are smart enough to know that they can't outsmart years of experience and closing loopholes.
There are lots of smart people working for the credit card companies that watch for people gaming the system.
I did manage to find a loophole that they haven't closed yet. Yet. I'll let you in on the secret but try not to let it get back to the companies or they may close the hole.
Here's the deal. If you don't borrow any money from them, you don't have to pay them any interest or fees. Shhhh. Pass it on.
I guess the secret is out now so I don't feel bad in spilling the beans here. Fast food is bad for you. There I said it. I can't take it back. Now you know the ugly truth. Sugary pop the size of your gas tank, deep fried potatoes which has the effect of creating a cancer causing combination, and greasy burgers on white bread, it turns out, are not good for you. This may come as a shock to some of you so I'll give you a minute to process (ha - process) it before I move on.
Avert your eyes if you can't take too much more because I'm going to let another cat out of the bag.
Credit cards are sucking the financial life right out of people. The interest rates, the fees, the games, the fees, the unethical practices, the fees, the illegal practices, and the fees are chewing right through people's bank accounts and destroying lives.
People, of course, play their part in all of this carnage. They apply for the cards and use them when they shouldn't and think that it's all free money and fun and wonderful until the bills start showing up that they can't afford.
What happens when you combine credit cards and fast food?
Here are a couple of things that you may already know.
Credit card companies send out there bills shortly before the due date in the hopes that you'll wait a couple of days before replying. Miss the deadline and they get to go after all the extra money.
Credit card companies set the due dates on weekends and holidays when they won't actually be in the office to process the payments. When they come back to work, your payment will be processed as late.
Maybe you didn't know this one.
Many credit card companies don't just have a due date but they have a due time. You have to pay your bill by the 15th and before 2pm (as an example) or it's considered late. Go online after work and make the payment? Too late even if it's the right day.
The cut off time obviously makes it too easy and too tempting for the greedy blood suckers credit card companies because a new practice has reached daylight.
Credit card companies just wait for the due time to pass before processing your payment. Checks are set aside, queued in a specific order, "lost", until they are conveniently found after your due time is past. Then they process it and add on a late fee and increase your interest rate.
When I first heard of this, I tended to believe it because, well, I trust credit card companies as much as the politicians that they have bought to represent me. I didn't pass it on though because as evil as I think they are, it might just be a nasty rumor.
Well, a probe in India has found that credit card companies including Citibank, HSBC, ICICI, and HDFC Bank are doing just that. Guess what? If they are doing it to their customers in India, they're doing it in the United States as well.
"The report has also alleged that the banks delay delivery of bills and realisation of cheques towards payment just to charge increased interest rate, late fee and fines etc." [emphasis added]
I guess when all the weird rules can't get you enough money, just cheat and steal.
What's in your wallet?
A blood sucking leach that has chewed it's way through the leather and is now trying to get a pound of flesh in any way that it can.
I was asked about the possibility of redeeming Sword Points for air miles and I have decided to go ahead and do that. I wasn't too sure how it all works so I'm going to my mentor, Capital One. I will model my Reward Miles after their No Hassle plan because, really, who wants any hassle when they are getting a free plane ride?
So here's the deal. I am going to offer a new way to earn Sword Points. It's going to be easy and when you have enough points, you get a free airline ticket.*
The newest way to earn Sword Points is to purchase them. Simple enough, eh? For every dollar you send me (plus 14% interest**), you will earn 1.25 Sword Points. You can then redeem the Sword Points for tickets. I can give you the whole breakdown later but for now you can use this guideline. If you redeem 60,000 Sword Points, I'll give you a free ticket worth $400.*
This means that you will only need to send me about $48,000 (plus 14% interest**) and you're off on vacation.***
Pretty sweet deal for you! I'm nice that way, just like my buddies at Capital One who are always bending over backwards for you, the valued customer. It's amazing that they are still in business the way they just give away money.
5 Sword Points awarded to EditorMum the old fashioned way, for pointing me toward Mouse Print where I found the information for this post. They have information on all kinds of fine print, not just money. Check it out and tell them Success Warrior sent you.
Unless you've been a business owner, you may not realize something about credit cards. Yes, you pay interest on the balance when you use the card but the retailer also pays a fee everytime someone uses a credit card at their store. They make less money everytime someone uses a credit card. If they weren't making much before, this can seriously cut into their bottom line.
In my book, I mention that businesses would much rather have you pay cash than charge (unless it's their own credit card). They have to take credit cards though because so much business is transacted that way. Some profit is better than no profit.
How much do credit card companies make? Last year, credit card fees for convenience stores exceeded the profits for the stores. How's that for business? They make more money than the business itself.
That particular industry is starting to fight back. They are letting people use their driver license as a debit card. You don't need to get a debit card (because regular readers will remember what a pain a plastic card can be). If your license has a magnetic strip, they will turn it into a debit card for you.
The Catholic church has to pay a settlement of $10 million for the sex abuse and subsequent attempt to hide the abuse by moving pedophiles to new areas where they could strike again on unsuspecting victims.
How do they plan on paying this settlement? They don't. They are asking the church members to pay it for them. Each region has been set with a goal amount to raise to settle the debt.
It seems odd to me that people would pay the fee levied as punishment for the people that preyed on their children. That takes a level of faith or indoctrination that is far beyond my ability to comprehend but this is a blog about money, not religious brainwashing.
Catholics in Spokane Washington are being asked to donate $1,000 per family on top of their normal get-into-heaven contribution. And what if they can't afford it? Put it on a credit card, the church is urging. Hey, and you'll earn airline miles. Read Local Catholics Asked To Pay By Credit Card [emphasis not mine] if you think I'm making any of this up.
As the more astute of you may have figured out, I like to study success. It's been a hobby of mine for a long, long time. I got more serious about it when I was a cop because I equated success as a matter of life or death. It turns out that all those books, seminars, classes, and discussions with like-minded people were all a waste of time. I found out today how easy it is to be a success and to know that you are successful. The answer was in a banner at the top of a web page.
It read, "How to know your a success," or something very similar. I was clicking off the page when it caught my eye.
All my efforts for all this time and the answer is so simple. Now I feel dumb.
So I applied for an American Express Rewards card and asked them for the one that would make me look the most successful.
"Would you like the gold or the platinum?" the helpful sales rep asked me.
"Actually, do you have one that plays 'Hail to the Chief' as I take it out of my wallet?" I asked.
"We do sir but you don't make enough money to qualify for that one," she said, trying not to sound *too* condescending.
"But I want to be a success," I whined.
"Sir, you can still be a success with a gold card," she offered. It sounded like she was offering a life-saver to a child to make up for the fact that the kid can't have the banana split. A pepp-o-mint life-saver.
"I want to be a success. I want to be a success," I screamed in a high pitched voice while I stomped my feet.
"Sir, if you don't calm down, you won't even get the gold card. All the other successful people will have an American Express gold card except you." she said. That got my attention and I calmed down. I didn't want to screw up my chance at being a success.
"Okay," I said, "I'll take it but do you have a little plastic case and a lanyard so I can wear it around my neck so that everyone that sees me knows I'm a success?"
You remember Joe Camel, right? The poor guy was just out looking to have a good time and smoke a cigarette or two. He was accused of being part of a conspiracy to get younger people (read children) to start smoking and there was a great campaign to ban him from ever showing his face again. Cigarettes are harmful and addicting and it's not fair to try and entice children to begin hoping that you will create life-long customers.
If that's so bad and sugar addiction now kills far more people than smoking, why is Shrek allowed to sell sugar-laden cereal? Ah, but that's a subject for a different post.
Let's talk about what Visa has learned from Joe Camel.
Hasbro is taking the money out of their Life game and players will instead use credit cards to make purchases. They have changed the rules too in order to reflect the fact that players are going to get to the finish line dead-ass broke. It used to be that the player with the most money won the game. A capitalist theme if there ever was one but still better than this new twist. Now players will acquire life-points.
What the hell is a life-point? I have no idea and none of the articles that I read were able to help me out. Maybe you get points for learning how to get a cash advance from one credit card to pay for your other credit card so you can free up enough money to put in the bank so that the check you wrote to cover your mortgage payment doesn't bounce. That should be worth a few life points, I would think.
Whatever life-points are, there is absolutely no doubt that as much money as Visa has, they are morally bankrupt. I have read the spin that both Visa and Hasbro (maker of the game "Life") have tried to put on this game release. What they have to say is such crap that I don't even need to debunk it. The bottom line is that they are trying to entice children to begin using credit cards in the hopes of creating life-long customers. Thank you Joe Camel, marketing guru, for showing the monetary value of preying on children.
And thank you PTE Rick for the tip. 5 more SW Reward Points.
Yes Mark, you can have points for the Sallie Mae info. =)