Friday, September 28, 2012

Are your bank fees higher?

Are your bank fees higher?
In Bankrate's 2012 Checking Survey, almost every checking fee they follow went up, with some bank fees rising 25% or more. The average monthly maintenance fee for a noninterest-bearing checking account rose to a record high $5.48, an increase of 25% over last year. The minimum balance to avoid a monthly maintenance fee has nearly doubled in the last two years, reaching $6,117.80. Making matters worse, if you don't make that threshold, you'll be on the hook for a $14.75 monthly maintenance fee.
ATM fees have become routine, especially for using other bank ATMs.  "Our recent survey showed that 72% of the largest credit unions still offered free checking." Members buy only what they need using the “tricks of the trade” and pay zero fees:

Long-term care insurance and alternatives
Please read all the exclusions and restrictions in at least three policies before buying. Consider that half of all policies lapse before any benefits were paid. Most owners were unable or unwilling to continue paying their premiums. Even if an owner has LTCi and goes to a facility, only half collect from the policy. If you need home care or use a residential facility, you may not collect benefits. When LTC benefits were paid, they were usually far below the actual cost of care. For many of the longest-term residents, benefits were used up before the nursing facility stay ended. Consider using the premiums to buy assets that can be used for LTC or legacy or retirement supplement, whichever is needed.

Decades of federal dollars, NOT entrepreneurs, helped pay for the natural gas boom
Pioneers in gas drilling say government research and tax breaks helped launch boom. The current new gas billionaires did NOT put up the money to assure their own success. The government did. In 1975, the Department of Energy began funding research into fracking and horizontal drilling, where wells go down and then sideways for thousands of feet. But it took more than 20 years to perfect the process. Millionaires like Romney say they did it all themselves. Not true.
GOP wants to eliminate the Department and every other government bureaucrat in Wash.

RomneyCare—emergency room for uninsured—disputed by doctors
"Emergency care is not health insurance," according to Dr. David Seaberg, president of theAmerican College of Emergency Physicians, responding to a statement by Governor Mitt Romney on 60 Minutes about how uninsured patients get medical care in emergency rooms. Most people need comprehensive care and can save with a high-deductible policy:

KS regulator ask GOP governor to set health exchange plan
GOP governor declines. He is waiting for election to see if he will comply with law to have exchanges for citizens to buy insurance. This will make it more difficult for uninsured to meet the deadline in 2014.

AR Gov embraces health care overhaul
Arkansas Gov. Beebe now wants to use ObamaCare to widen government-funded coverage to thousands of additional families. He’s relying on the move to help prevent a Republican takeover of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Gov. Mike Beebe, the first Southern governor to back the law's expansion of Medicaid, has become an unlikely advocate for a central part of the overhaul that would expand Medicaid, a position made easier by the fact that he's not seeking re-election. Beebe has said he thinks lawmakers will support expanding eligibility when they see the broad benefits. The Department of Human Services has estimated expanding the state's Medicaid rolls by 250,000 people will save the state $372 million over the next several years. Republicans have expressed skepticism about that figure, noting that it factors in savings from other parts of the federal health overhaul. 

SD agrees to Fed health exchanges
South Dakota will not set up its own health insurance exchange, instead deferring to the federal government to operate and pay for a key component required by the federal health care overhaul. Each state has the option of making or renting exchanges. 

Are extended warranties right for you?
Experts agree that you should choose warranties backed by manufacturers and not third parties. Most cars have solid reliability records on engine/powertrain so you won’t need one. Check reliability at JD Power, etc.
Sellers have considerable mark-ups on contracts – as much as 50%. Warranties are the profit line for most retailers. Some use warranty sales as sales bonus plans. Staples is a good example of what companies use extended warranties for—extra profit, not service. According to Staples employees, they are told: no warranty, no computer. The advertised computer is not in stock if you don’t buy the computer but is in stock if you do.
65% of Consumer Reports respondents spent significantly more for the extended coverage than they reaped in repair savings. Twelve percent noted they had difficulty getting warranty repairs because of contract terms or disagreements with an administrator. CRrecommends you put the $1,500-$2,300 you might spend in a moneymarket fund and "insure" yourself. Members self-insure for all large purchases:

NJ Gov Christie fails to help homeowners in foreclosure—losing $300 million
ABC News reporter Jim Hoffer asked the governor to explain why New Jersey ranks last out of 18 states who have received hundreds of millions in funds from the US Treasury Department to help unemployed or underemployed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.
Specifically, New Jersey has distributed less than $4 million of a $300 million grant, placing the Garden State in last place among states that have received grants from the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund. The GOP governor has spent a good deal of time during the month of September campaigning out of state on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He allocated only 5 employees to the program. 

Best homeowner’s insurance services survey
The 2012 survey by JD Power is done. Amica Mutual ranks highest in satisfaction (859) for an 11th consecutive year among homeowners award-eligible insurance companies and performs particularly well in all five factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction. Following Amica Mutual in the rankings are ACSC (AAA) (824) and Erie Insurance (822), respectively. USAA, an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families and therefore not included in the rankings, also achieves a high level of customer satisfaction. Find your carrier on the list at
Members find that quality service need not be expensive when you buy what you need.

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Romney violated his own rule: Extra tax payments make him “unqualified” to be president!
Romney’s returns showed that the couple paid $1,935,708 in taxes on income of $13,696,951. Romney had claimed fewer deductions than he was entitled to just to keep his rate at such a level. Romney told reporters in August he had never paid below 13 percent in taxes in any given year over the past 20. Had he taken the full charitable deduction, it would have pushed his tax liability below 13 percent. Romney also said that "I don't pay more than are legally due, and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president."

Redistribution of wealth . . . to the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy!
Americans don’t understand why the wealthy don’t pay Social Security tax on ALL income.
Currently, workers pay the tax on the first $110,000 in income. Everything above that threshold remains untouched. Why? The current cap was set in 1983 to expose "90% of total national wages to the Social Security tax." Because of inequality in income growthsince then (the rich growing richer), the amount of wages escaping such taxation has grown from 10% to about 15%. It is said that if we raise the taxable portion, we will return to historical intent and also address the erosion of income equality since 1983.
Removing that cap entirely while leaving benefit levels the same could ensure Social Security's solvency for the next 75 years
Since the wealthy make more they should pay more. This seems fair. If you make $110,000 you pay $6826 but if you make $220,000, you pay only $6826. If you make $22 million, you pay only $6826.
Americans don’t understand why they pay 40-50% taxes in total and Romney and friends pay under 15% taxes in total.

Who owns your account now?
Morgan Stanley dropping the Smith Barney name from the joint venture it co-owns with Citigroup Inc.
Auto insurers Permanent General and The General to American Family Insurance. 

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

No comments: