In case you haven’t heard, three credit unions got into a bit of trouble last week. Well, a lot. They had to be bailed out. Credit unions have been sort of rediscovered by consumers lately, with their lack of “gotcha” fees and product features and historically sturdier lending standards that helped them survive the crisis that many banks didn’t. So we won’t be surprised to hear that the statement above alarms you and you probably have questions.
Low interest rates drive investors a little mad. We divide our money into two buckets—the cash and the portfolio—and then we get jittery if the cash doesn’t seem to be bringing us regular gifts in the form of sweet, buttery interest payments.
I thought if I was loyal to a particular airline, the airline would reward me with upgrades and free tickets on my favorite routes. That’s how frequent flier programs worked that way in the distant past. Not any more. There are just too many paying customers chasing too few seats, and it looks like only George Clooney is loyal to one airline. But there are two classes of reward programs that, even today, work exactly like the frequent flyer glory days.
A number of financial bloggers and mainstream news outlets have recently noticed something: the early withdrawal penalties charged on long-term CDs are puny. They’re more of a slap on the wrist than a pound of flesh.
Surely you’ve heard that there are a lot of people in the US who don’t have a bank account. The “unbanked,” as they’re called, feature in all sorts of political arguments—about predatory lending, about personal responsibility, about the state of America’s finances.
This summer, a friend asked me a question that saved me $85 on my taxes. Next year, it’ll probably save me even more. And while I’m not always the sharpest pencil in the cup, I can’t be the only person who didn’t know that this extremely common situation qualifies for a hefty tax credit of up to $1,200.