Sure, if Goldman defrauded its customers, hang ’em high. As for the guys who bet against the American Dream, or at least the version where people buy $500,000 houses for no money down? Two cheers for them.
Remember Mom’s department store credit card? High APR, low credit line, good only at the store? It’s back. As of April 29, Target no longer issues Target-branded Visa cards; customers who want to open a credit account at the store will be issued Target store cards, usable only at Target stores or Target.com.
“I’m writing an article on how to come in under budget on a home remodel,” I said into the phone. Then I had the hold the receiver away from my ear so as not to be injured by the hysterical laughter. But if you’re licking your lips at the prospect of a new kitchen or bathroom, you can avoid some of the most common budget-busting mistakes.
photo: Jeremy Brooks Let’s say you’re ready to take advantage of low (and possibly rising) home loan rates and buy a little chunk of something to call your own. Just three years ago, walking into the bank was like walking...
The logic is simple: renting is just flushing money down the toilet; buying a house gives you a piece of something to call your own. You earn home equity and end up with something tangible to pass down to your heirs–or to sell or refinance when you retire. There is a kernel of truth to all of this. But it’s mostly crap.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, he showed off its high-resolution screen, touted its revolutionary features, and said things like “boom!” and “wow!” a lot. But what made the crowd go wild was the price. “What should we price it at?” asked Jobs. “If you listen to the pundits, we’re going to price it at under $1000, which is code for $999. I am thrilled to announce to you that the iPad pricing starts not at $999,” said Jobs, “but at just $499.” That trick is called the anchoring effect and marketers use it against you all the time.
Planning a trip abroad? Have a great time, and don’t worry about traveler’s checks: wherever you’re going, no matter how piña colada and palm-frond-oriented, they probably have a full array of ATMs and credit card terminals to keep you happy.
But be forewarned: pickpockets have their eye on your wallet. Their names are Visa, Mastercard, Citibank, and a host of other light-fingered financial professionals.