Most people don’t set out to go bankrupt, but a fresh start offered by the maneuver could be a wise and necessary move to recover from such setbacks as poor financial choices made when you were young, medical disasters or a divorce. [More]
If you were to subtract the cost of health care expenses from family incomes, an additional 10 million more Americans would be considered in poverty by official measures, the U.S. Census Bureau said this week in a new report. [More]
A record number of Americans classify as the poorest poor, according to a new report. Right now, 1 in 15 Americans live at least 50% below the official poverty level of $22,314 per annum for a family of four. That’s making do with about $11,000 a year split between four people. [More]
Low-income residents who rely on federal assistance to keep the heat on may be in for a rough winter. Because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s allotment for heating assistance has plunged to $1.7 billion this year from $4.5 billion last year, thousands of homes may not be able to keep the heat on. [More]
The way we currently measure poverty is, shall we say, based on a paucity of data. New York is deploying a new system of measuring poverty that aims to give a greater depth and richness to the poverty picture. [More]
The Office of Management and Budget released its latest census data report today and it doesn’t paint a terribly rosy picture of the current economic situation. [More]
No matter what the gross domestic product says, the recession isn’t over for you unless you’re gainfully employed and not mired in pay freezes or threatened with downsizing. But as the economy slowly recovers, you can use what you’ve learned during the economic downturn to strengthen yourself for whatever is coming next. [More]
Although poverty isn’t much fun, it can be entertaining and informative to impose severe restrictions on spending for a short period, just to see what you’re made of. [More]
A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that credit card reward programs have a sneaky hidden cost that the card holder doesn’t have to bear. This occurs because the fee that a retailer pays to run a credit card varies with every card, and reward cards cost more to process–in other words, the card issuer passes the cost of the rewards program on to the retailer. The retailer adapts by raising prices across the board, which distributes the cost of the reward program among all shoppers. [More]
The recession continues to rot America’s cultural core, this time by attacking one of our most cherished traditions: prom. Gone are the ice sculptures and $1,000 dresses. America’s children are now buying dresses off racks and trading limos for the family car. Imagine!
It turns out kids in wealthier homes have higher IQs, not because of genetics but because of environment. Surely you can be frugal (or just plain poor) and raise a smart one? A psychology professor suggests you focus on praising effort over achievement, and teach delayed gratification—something that also helps when it comes to financial responsibility, so it’s a win/win skill. You should also explain that IQ is expandable, not inherent: “Students exposed to that idea work harder and get better grades.”
Chicago Democrat Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill last month that supposedly reforms out of control payday lending, where interest rates can exceed 300%, but actually gives payday lenders the freedom to charge annual interest rates that can exceed, um, 300%. It doesn’t sound like much of a reform, and in fact Gutierrez has been heavily funded by the payday lending lobby. But luckily for you and me, Stephen Colbert explains why this is all a good thing.
If the Salvation Army is a charity that you usually support, they could really use your help this year. Donations are down and, according to a press release issued Tuesday, former donors are now “clients.”
Last week, Slate published a list of children’s books about poverty, unemployment, shoe-eating, dust bowls, depressions, and recessions. From a late-19th century series called The Five Little Peppers through to 2007′s How To Steal a Dog, the list captures over 100 years of poverty-level slice of life–what we might call the Plight of the Raggedy Children.
Very Short List notes that “America’s lotto kiosks are currently reporting heretofore unheard-of earnings,” despite the average rate of return—53%—being less than slot machines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon recently completed a study in which they primed people to feel relatively poor, then offered them a chance to buy lottery tickets, and the results suggest that the poorer you feel, the more likely you’ll waste your money on a lottery.