Posts by Mandi Woodruff
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance5 hrs ago
If you’ve been on the receiving end of an unsolicited phone call from a debt collector, you’re far from alone.
More than one-third of Americans (35%) had debt in collections in 2013, putting their credit and job prospects at risk, according to by the Urban Institute, which analyzed credit reporting data for more than 7 million consumers. The report is based on data from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies.
In order to be released to debt collectors, unpaid balances have to be more than 180 days past due. Of the 35% of Americans with non-mortgage debt in collections, the average amount owed was $5,178, according to the report. Although researchers weren’t able to break down the types of debt by category, they can include things like credit card balances, student loan debt, medical or utility bills, parking tickets and even gym membership fees.
Delinquent debts are prevalent across the country. Overall debt on things like credit cards, student loans and auto loans increased by $129 billion -- or 1.1% -- in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter, according to the
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
(Warning: Video contains some adult language)
Just a spoonful of star power has brought new buzz to the ongoing minimum wage debate in the U.S.
In a posted Thursday, “Frozen” star Kristen Bell puts a modern-day spin on the Disney classic “Mary Poppins.” In her take, the iconic British nanny reimagines the classic tune “Just a Spoonful of Sugar” as a rallying cry for minimum wage workers.
“Just a $3 increase can make a living wage,” Bell trills, as her character packs up her things in protest of her low wages.
There are plenty of workers in the U.S. who would agree with her. For the last two years, minimum-wage workers have held protests and rallies in more than a dozen U.S. states.
On Friday, more than 1,000 for a two-day expo to discuss strategies that might help keep the minimum wage debate going strong. They’re calling for a hefty pay raise — from today’s $7.25 federal minimum wage to $15 — and a union.
The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised , when workers got a 70-cent bump from $6.55 to $7.25. In his 2014 , President Barack Obama threw his hat into the ring, pushing lawmakers to raise the wage to $10.10.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
If you want to get better at managing your finances, stop fussing over dollars and cents — instead, take a good hard look at how you perceive time.
Philip Zimbardo, psychology professor at Stanford University, has long studied the link between how we perceive time and the choices we make in our daily lives. He literally wrote the book on it — called — in which he debuted his “Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory,” a 61-question quiz that measures the way in which people think about time differently.
In done in partnership with , a website that educates consumers about financial products, Zimbardo used his index to explore the link between our perception of time and its impact on how we manage our finances. He and MagnifyMoney.com co-founder Nick Clements asked more than 3,000 people in six different countries to take the quiz. Before doing so, each participant had to answer questions about their overall financial health (level of debt, bankruptcy history, etc.) and rate their financial knowledge on a scale of 1-7.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance5 days ago
If you’re thinking about switching banks, this summer may be a lucrative time to make the leap.
A by found that more than a dozen of the top 50 U.S. banks are offering free cash giveaways in an effort to attract new customers.
Fifth Third Bank is dangling a in front of new customers who open a new checking account and have at least $100 direct deposited. Not to be outdone, Chase is offering new customers a $150 bonus when they open a basic checking account and $250 for opting for their Premier Plus Checking account with a $100 direct deposit.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance6 days ago
Like a clingy ex lover, some businesses just don’t know when to let go when a customer wants to call it quits.
The experience of one whose attempt to cancel his subscription earlier this month went viral reminded us just how desperate businesses can be to hold us captive.
It’s easy to understand why. Sometimes companies need us more than we need them. That knowledge can certainly work in your favor, especially if you’re trying to negotiate better rates or service. But if you’re determined to break up with a company altogether, there’s a good chance they won’t make it easy.
Here are a few services that won’t let you go so easily — and tips on how to let them down, with minimal hurt feelings:
Cable and Internet providers
In 2013, ditched their cable providers, according to financial research firm SNL Kagan.And in a recent survey by , more than half of consumers said they would ditch their current cable company if they had a choice. Thanks to offerings from subscription services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, and newer services like Verizon FiOS, Dish Network and DirecTV, they finally do.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance11 days ago
This week, Illinois became to sue companies that allegedly duped indebted college graduates into paying for student loan services they could have easily gotten for free.
It most certainly won’t be the last.
The business of bogus has been booming for years. With more than 40 million Americans collectively shouldering a $1.2 trillion student debt load, there is no shortage of customers willing to try anything to ease their burden. Capitalizing on borrower anxiety, these companies promise to either consolidate their loans or have their debt forgiven. They charge unknowing borrowers a hefty fee, and make off with the cash without ever doing anything. The phenomenon is much like the wave of predatory mortgage loan servicers that preyed on underwater homeowners in the wake of the 2008 housing crisis.
‘I knew I shouldn’t have listened’
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance11 days ago
One afternoon in early July, Nicole Dykstra made her usual commute to class at the Everest Institute in Kalamazoo, Mich. Dykstra, 43, is halfway through a nine-month massage therapy program at the school, which is owned by the for-profit university giant Corinthian Colleges International ( ), based in Santa Ana, Calif.
When she arrived on campus, she and her classmates were greeted by several unfamiliar faces — the campus president and both directors of career and student services.
“They said our campus would be closing,” Dykstra recalls. “They said they had saturated the market in that part of the state and enrollment was down.”
She wasn’t entirely surprised, but the gravity of Corinthian troubles had yet to fully sink in at the time.
Like many students at Everest Institute, Dykstra had been inundated by the school’s for years. Each time another commercial came on, she usually rolled her eyes and flipped the channel.
“I had heard negative things about Everest before,” she says.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance14 days ago
On paper, Luigi Galvan’s family looks better off than most. Together his parents earn about $120,000 per year — more than twice the current in the U.S.
That kind of paycheck may be plenty to support a standard family of four, but Galvan, 17, is one of seven children, including a younger brother who is disabled and requires expensive medical treatment. When he was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year, his parents knew they would need help affording the $32,000/year it would cost him to attend.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance18 days ago
A recent report by the found that the majority of people who graduated from college at the onset of the Great Recession were doing relatively well four years after earning their diplomas. Compared to graduates in the past, however, they still have a lot of ground to cover.
In "Baccalaureate and Beyond: A First Look at the Employment Experiences and Lives of College Graduates, 4 Years On," researchers followed more than 17,000 members of the college class of 2007-2008 for four years to see how they fared in the workforce. In 2012, only 6.7% reported being unemployed. Overall, they were doing better than the rest of the country, which had an average 7.9% unemployment rate the same year.
They are also managing to find full-time work. Of the 83% of graduates who had found jobs four years after graduation, about 85% were working full-time (35+ hours per week). Eight percent said they were working part-time. All in all, 2007-2008 college graduates earned an average $52,000 a year four years after graduating.
- Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance19 days ago
When planning for retirement, most people fret over one basic question: How much money will I need to last until I die?
Some experts encourage us to save 10% of each paycheck and pray for the best. Others say we should aim to save our ending salary. Many of us still obsess over hitting that elusive million-dollar mark, despite the fact that have managed to cobble together $1,000 for retirement.
In a new book, Atlanta-based investment advisor , offers an alternative to the traditional line of thinking. Rather than focus on a dollar amount to reach for, Moss decided to figure out what retirees needed to be truly happy in retirement.
“I wanted to go beyond simple income numbers,” Moss says. “I wondered what it really takes to get somebody to a point where they truly feel they have a cushion and they are also enjoying life.”