Monday, July 28, 2008

Show Your Support for DownPayment Assistance

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has re-issued a proposed rule that would eliminate all private downpayment assistance programs.

Nehemiah has a long history of successfully advancing homeownership opportunities for homebuyers. For over 10 years, they have helped more than 290,000 families achieve their homeownership goals.

The proposed rule comment period ends on August 15, 2008. Submit a comment through our thge Nehemiah website to voice your support and let the Federal housing officials and your congressional representatives know how you feel about preserving private downpayment assistance as an option achieving your dream of becoming a homeowner.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How the Federal Minimum Wage Increase Affects You

The Federal Minimum Wage increased on July 24, 2008 to $6.55. This raised the minimum wage by $.70. Approximately 2 million Americans make minimum wage. This results in approximately an additional $5.60 a day, $28 a week and $112 a month for a 5 day work week. An additional increase will occur next year and raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Twenty-three states including the District of Columbia have a minimum wage higher than the new federal requirement which affects approximately 60% of American worker and are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

The poor and middle class are greatly affected by the current recession. The minimum wage could not have come at a better time, however it is not enough. Many Americans are struggling just to make end meet and to buy basic necessities and have to use credit cards just to buy food and gas.

The average family is spending approximately $4,655 more on basic necessities such as food, housing and gas. Child care costs have also increased for those with children under age 5 to $1,508 a month and for after-care with older children to $622 a month.

Americans will have to find ways to reduce expenses and make their money stretch further. If you like to eat steak for dinner substitute it for chicken or fish, eat hotdogs and beans for dinner or breakfast food for dinner. Fix tuna casserole or other types of casseroles for dinner to save money on food costs. You can also shop at wholesale stores, buy items or sale, use coupons, carpool to work, shop at thrift stores or discounts stores such as Ross, Marshalls or JC Penny.

The key is to cut expenses in every area you can. You will have to make sacrifices to make ends meet but it is possible. Think of creative ways to save money by reusing items, holding a yard sale or bartering services with others who have businesses. It will take a lot of hard work and discipline to make it through these tough times but if you make it through you will know that you are a survivor. Good luck to you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

IndyMAC - How Does This Affect Your Part 2

The FDIC created a website to help IndyMAC customers to determine if their account is fully insured which will help answer customer questions about their IndyMAC accounts at

The FDIC was started in 1933 in response to bank failures. Types of accounts covered by the FDIC are: savings, checking, trusts, CDs, IRAs and other deposit accounts and are insured up to $100,000 per depositor in each bank or thrift the FDIC insures.

The FDIC insures deposits only. It does not insure securities, mutual funds or other types of investments.

Securities including mutual funds, that are held by a broker, or a bank's brokerage subsidiary are not insured. The Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC), replaces missing stocks and other securities in customer accounts up to $500,000, including up to $100,000 in cash, if a member brokerage or bank brokerage subsidiary fails. For more information contact:

Securities Investor Protection Corporation
805 15th Street, NW Room 800
Washington, DC 20005-2215

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Check Your Bank's Rating

There is a FDIC bank "problem list" that is not published to prevent consumers from closing their accounts. There were reportedly 90 banks on the list as of the end of the first quarter. Those that receive a rating of 4 or 5 are put on the list (Reference from CNN Money)

However, with 5 large bank closings this year you may want to find out the rating of your bank. A rating of 1 is the highest, a rating of 5 is the lowest.

1. Go to and search for Safe Sound or Safe Scan
2. Then select bank or credit union
3. Search by institution name (select the first letter of the name of the bank) or search by other criteria

List of "Problem Banks" Taken from

Citigroup - $83.3B/$36B/$22.7B (7)
Posted on July 18, 2008 9:03 AM
Merrill Lynch - $47.25B/$34.4B/* (1)
Posted on July 17, 2008 8:36 PM
JP Morgan Chase - $11.0B/*/$6B (3)
Posted on July 17, 2008 7:15 AM
Wells Fargo - $2.9B/0/$23B (2)
Posted on July 16, 2008 12:40 PM
US Bancorp - $1.6B/*/* (0)
Posted on July 15, 2008 12:13 PM
National City - $200M (0)
Posted on July 14, 2008 5:45 PM
Lehman Brothers - $7.2B/$6B/$42 (2)
Posted on July 11, 2008 10:05 AM
Wachovia - $6.8B/$10.5B/$30.4B (4)
Posted on July 10, 2008 11:23 AM
Bank of America - $4.4B/*/$31.4B (4)
Posted on July 8, 2008 12:16 PM
Barclay’s PLC - $6.4B/$7.8B (0)
Posted on June 30, 2008 6:02 PM
HBOS PLC - $2.5B/$4B (0)
Posted on June 25, 2008 1:45 PM
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce(CIBC) - $6.7B (0)
Posted on June 23, 2008 11:44 AM
Morgan Stanley - $23.2B (0)
Posted on June 19, 2008 1:38 PM
Fifth Third Bancorp - $155M/$2B (0)
Posted on June 18, 2008 5:16 PM
Goldman Sachs - $6.2B (3)
Posted on June 17, 2008 5:15 PM
Washington Mutual - $1.6B (2)
Posted on June 14, 2008 5:35 PM
Royal Bank of Scotland - $3.6B/$24B (2)
Posted on June 4, 2008 5:34 PM
Societe Generale SA- $13.7 /$8.5B (0)
Posted on June 4, 2008 3:08 PM
BNP Paribas SA-$2.5B/ $0 cash (0)
Posted on June 4, 2008 2:39 PM
UBS - $45.0B/$41.5B (2)
Posted on June 1, 2008 11:22 AM
Royal Bank of Canada - $1.4B (0)
Posted on May 29, 2008 6:07 PM
Bank of Montreal (BMO) - $611M (0)
Posted on May 29, 2008 1:02 PM
Mizuho MFG - $5.4B (0)
Posted on May 22, 2008 2:09 PM
Bayern LB - $9.8B (0)
Posted on May 19, 2008 7:42 AM
WestLB AG - $4.8B (0)
Posted on May 19, 2008 7:35 AM
Natixis - $3.4B (1)
Posted on May 19, 2008 7:31 AM
HSBC Bank PLC - $6.6B (0)
Posted on May 19, 2008 5:32 AM
Credit Agricole SA-$13.8B (0)
Posted on May 12, 2008 5:18 PM
Credit Suisse - $5.95B (0)
Posted on May 2, 2008 5:20 PM
Deutsche Bank - $18.6B (1)
Posted on May 2, 2008 5:19 PM
Mitsubishi Financial Group - $760M (0)
Posted on April 23, 2008 12:54 AM
SunTrust - $718.7M-$1.5 B (1)
Posted on April 13, 2008 6:33 PM
Bank of NY Mellon - $118M (0)
Posted on April 9, 2008 11:19 AM
Sovereign Bancorp - $1.580B (0)
Posted on April 8, 2008 1:29 PM
IKB - $12.91B (0)
Posted on March 20, 2008 8:13 PM
DZ BANK AG - $2.1B (0)
Posted on March 7, 2008 9:52 PM
HSBC - $26.5B (0)
Posted on March 5, 2008 5:25 PM
Commerzbank - $855M (1)
Posted on February 15, 2008 9:48 AM

Sources:, CNN Money, Bank Implode

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Check to See If Your Bank is On Bove's List

As of March 31, the FDIC put 90 banking institutions with $26.3 billion of assets on its "problem list." This list did not include IndyMac, which had about $32 billion of assets, and close to $19 billion of deposits.

On July 12, 2008, Dick Bove, a veteran banking analyst for Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., released a report entitled "Who Is Next? The report states that the banking system as a whole "is not anywhere near the danger that existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s despite all of the whining by public officials."

The report includes a list of banks and thrifts that are in the "danger zone." Bove ranked the list of 107 banks and thrifts with more than $5 billion in assets by two measures of risk which represent about 79% of the banking industry assets.

Some of the institutions listed were: Flagstar Bancorp, Downey Financial, Bank United Financial, Corus Bankshares, Doral Financial, IndyMac Bancorp, FirstFed Financial, Oriental Financial Group, Washington Mutual, BFC Financial, FirstBanCorp. and Santander BanCorp.

Washington Mutual released a statement, On Monday, to dispute Bove's list saying it had recently raised $7.2 billion in capital. "The company significantly exceeds all regulatory 'well-capitalized' minimums for depository institutions. In addition, WaMu has current excess liquidity of more than $40 billion and a national franchise with approximately $150 billion in retail deposits," it said.

More than 300 banks could fail in the next three years, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy, who had in February estimated no more than 150 banks.

Five banks that have failed thus far in 2008 are: IndyMac Bank, Pasadena, Calif., Douglass National Bank, Kansas City, Mo., First Integrity Bank, NA, Staples, Minn., ANB Financial, NA, Bentonville, Ark, Hume Bank, Hume, Mo.

Check to see if you bank is on Bove's list by searching on google and clicking on the link .pdf file from

Also check to see if you bank is FDIC insured by calling 1-877-275-3342 or visit the FDIC website and click on the Bank Find link under the Consumer Resources section to search for your bank.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How to Save Money With Coupons

With the economy on a down-slide today, it is most important that we consumers save money as best as possible. One way of doing this is through an old reliable method known as "Coupon Clipping". There are many ways of obtaining coupons today and sacrificing the time to do so is well worth the savings. One way is investing $1.50 by buying the Sunday paper.

There are loads of coupons and what is great is that most coupons do not expire for months. Furthermore, you may use them at other places besides the supermarket. Places of acceptance CVS, Target, Kmart, etc. Now for the places such as Sam's Club, they do not accept manufacturer's coupons. But all is not lost, they have a mailing list of their members and mail out their own coupons.

Other places to obtain coupons are directly from the stores via the Internet and CVS has set up little kiosks within their stores. All you have to do is swipe your CVS card and coupons print right out and the other great part is that you do not have to use them that same day. Get on the coupon emailing and postal mailing lists, Valupak, does this via the Internet and postal mail for establishments within your area.

I get coupons for the salon, car wash, home repairs, etc. Going to the dealership to have maintenance done on you car can be expensive, not if you are on their mailing list. You can receive coupons for low cost or free oil changes, free 10-20 point inspections, 10-20% percent off of repairs and so forth.

These savings can add up all it takes is a little time and you can spend $150 per week and save almost $100. Beware of groups and clubs that want you to pay for your savings, what you pay them per month to receive their services you can get for free. Other savings come in the form of registering your email address with companies/stores you shop at on a regular basis. They will email you the latest sales and coupon codes for extra savings. Stores that do this are: Macy's, J C Penney, CVS, and so forth. Some will even send you links to receive free samples.

Example of how I make coupons work for me. On a Sunday night while relaxing and watching television I sit down with my coupons, weed out the expired ones, take out the coupons I will need, and clip fresh coupons from the Sunday paper. I have a small plastic portfolio that I keep in my car all times just in case I stop at the store. I went shopping at the CVS last month, I did what I call coupon shopping. That is only buying what I had coupons for, items that I need. My total came to $95.00, with my CVS card and CVS coupons and manufacturers coupons my new total was $40.00. That is a savings of $55.00. Furthermore, I was able to obtain more CVS bucks.

I am a single woman and I need to save has much as possible. Furthermore, don't forget to refinance, this is advice from Harrine Freeman. Refinancing has also saved me money. Well until next time, clip coupons and save, save, save.

Teri Ghaffaar

Monday, July 14, 2008

End Rising Gas Costs By Getting a New Car

According to, the following ten cars can be bought for under $14,000.

The following cars are the 10 most fuel efficient:
Toyota Prius
Honda Civic
Smart Fortwo
Nissan Altima
Kia Rio
Toyota Camry
Toyota Yaris
Mini Cooper
Honda Fit

Visit the Vehix website to find other fuel efficient cars and rankings for 2008.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

IndyMac Closing - How Does This Affect You

On Friday, July 11, 2008 one of the largest banks in the county IndyMac, sadly closed its door. Customers were turned away and forced to wait until Monday to make their transactions. This is the second largest failure of a financial institution. On July 14, 2008, the bank will be taken over by the FDIC. Customers who have $100,000 or less in the bank will be able to get their money bank. Customers who have more may only get a portion of their money bank. This action brings more light to the economic crisis our country is experiencing. Take heed to this and start changing your spending habits and develop a plan to protect yourself. Here are 6 ways to protect your money.

1. Research. Look at the bank or mortgage company's financial history for the past five years. If the company revenue has been steadily declining you might want to consider switching companies.

2. Negotiate. Call your bank or mortgage company to find out what would happen if the business went under and what are your options. Develop a plan to protect yourself.

3. Diversify. Make sure your bank is FDIC insured. If not, move your money to a bank that is. If you have more than $100,000 in your bank, split the account into multiple accounts. Open additional accounts at others banks to keep the balance below $100,000.

4. Plan. Consider buying a safe for your home or apartment and keeping some money in your safe in the event your bank closes and you need to access money quickly.

5. Protect. Pay bills on time or before time. Don't wait until the last minute to pay a bill because with this economy you never know what may happen and you increase the chance that you may be charged a late fee.

6. Deposit. Perform bank transactions early in the morning. This ensures your deposit will be applied the same day. Don't wait until the last minute to make transactions, this increases the chance that your transaction may not be applied to your account the same day and may cause a check to bounce.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Gas Program Offers Gas at $2.49 a Gallon

Current gas prices range from $4 to $5 a gallon depending on where you live. Discounts are non-existent or no longer available to drivers. I have spoken to several baby boomers and they said “it has never been this bad”. Many Americans are struggling just to make ends met and driving is now seen as a luxury. What can we do to ease the pain at the gas pump?

First, I recommend writing your congressman and the White House and demand lower gas prices. Also, write the major oil companies such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil and demand they lower their gas prices. Second, reduce trips to the gas pump by rolling the windows down instead of using the car air conditioner, combine nearby trips on the same day, buy or trade in your gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient car. Third, you can comparison shop by using sites such as GasBuddy or MSN to find the cheapest gas in your area.

A fourth option is to buy gas and locked in prices at the GasLockedin website. The program was created by AGRP along with advertisers and is called the National Gasoline Relief Program designed to reduce gas prices. You may have seen the commercial offering gas at $2.49 per gallon. Many car dealerships are offering gas at $2.99 a gallon for a period of time in exchange for buying a car.

The AGRP is a much better deal because each advertised offer covers the difference of the national price of gas to $2.49 a gallon with 15 gallons per offer. A gas card is sent within 7 days of finishing all requirements. This program requires your participation in any advertiser program of your choice in exchange for the gasoline. This program is available in approximately 97% of the country. All you have to do is enter your zip code to see if the program is offered in your area. Good luck on your search for cheaper gas!