Often your non-monetary contributions to help can provide more benefit than just giving some money.
There are many ways to help without writing a check. You can volunteer to help someone learn how to read or how to speak English. You can take on a little brother or sister and give them a positive role model. You can provide extra food from your garden to neighbors in need using Ampleharvest.org. You can volunteer at Hospice. Help build housing for those in need. Volunteer Match can help you find opportunities like these in your area.
Baby a baby with A New Way of Life Reentry Project. Are your babies all grown up? Your lightly used car seats, strollers, baby clothes and toys can help a mom keep babies bouncing this holiday.
Step into a sisterhood with Birthing Project USA. Help a new life enter the world by becoming a “sister friend” to a mother-to-be. Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, a 2010 CNN Hero, started Birthing Project USA to battle high infant-mortality rates. The initiative pairs soon-to-be moms with volunteer “sister friends.” These mentors, who provide one-on-one sisterly guidance and support through the pregnancy and first year of the baby’s life, have welcomed more than 12,000 babies into 94 communities so far.
Sometimes it is far more convenient to give money to support a worthy charity. But if your financial situation makes that difficult there are many other options. And truthfully volunteering your time is often more rewarding to those you help and those who are doing the helping.
Municipal bonds seem safe. But the incredible long period of irresponsible spending and taking on long term liabilities (pensions, health care costs, infrastructure to maintain) and low taxes and selling off future income streams (to consume today) leaves those bonds with questionable financial backing in many locations. Municipal bond investments should be examined more closely today in light of the problems in the market.
Video shows the State Budgets: The Day of Reckoning by 60 minutes.
Muni experts, including an analyst from Standard & Poor’s, dismissed her predictions, saying the numbers don’t add up.
“States clearly have been funding municipal governments—for now up to 40 percent of their total expenditures,” she explained. “As the states become more compromised from a fiscal standpoint, that funding is going to end.”
Whitney added that it’s way too soon to see muni bonds as a buying opportunity. But she said that can change quickly.
“When you start to see the first major defaults in this area [the states and cities], when you see more defaults and indiscriminate selling—if you do your research now and figure out who’s protected where and which revenues are protected, there will be great buying opportunities,” Whitney said.
“People are complacent about these defaults. The news about all this isn’t out there yet,” Whitney went on to say. “And only when it is out there, then there will be a buying opportunity [for munis].”
Related: USA State Governments Have $1,000,000,000,000 in Unfunded Retirement Obligations – NY State Raises Pension Age to Save $48 Billion – What the Bailout and Stimulus Are and Are Not – posts on bonds
Unfortunately large banks have a very strong tendency to try to take as much of your money as they can get away with. Rather than having to stay ultra-vigilante (as though I am in business with a thief that I have to watch ever minute or expect my money to be stolen) I would rather pick those I going into business with to avoid those seeking to rip me off. Credit unions are usually the best bet. Some credit unions join nationwide ATM networks, so if ATMs are important to you check this out before selecting a credit union.
If you’re looking to avoid those fees, Ally, Charles Schwab (SCHW, Fortune 500) and USAA not only let all of their customers use out of network ATMs free of charge, but they also refund the fees that their customers are charged by other banks. State Farm Bank doesn’t charge you for going out of network and reimburses fees of up to $10 charged by other banks.
In general, the best advice is to avoid large banks like you would someone with a dangerous communicable disease.
BankSimple is a very promising new offering from Alex Payne, one of Twitter’s first employees and CTO of BankSimple, that promises “to simply put people first. Real customer service, no surprise fees, and a deep desire to help people is what makes BankSimple different.” Now the large banks are perfectly comfortable saying they try to help while trying to find any way possible to trick customers out of money. So Banksimple’s words don’t mean much. but I think there is a real chance they will be different. It is a great market to be in, huge amounts of money to be made and your competitors all treat customers egregiously poorly. That should give you a great opportunity to gain a huge market share.
They are not yet open for business but it might open in early 2011. They are not actually going to be a bank, but instead provide the customer value and partner with existing banks (so we can deal with someone that isn’t trying to rip us off and they can let some bank deal with the administration of managing the money.
The unemployment rate grew to 9.8% in November, and nonfarm payroll employment increased by 39,000 (less than the expected 150,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month, while employment fell in retail trade. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from -41,000 to -24,000, and the change for October was revised from +151,000 to +172,000.
The unemployment rate has now remained above 9% for more consecutive months since data has been gathered since 1940.
There are now 15.1 million unemployed in the USA. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0 %), adult women (8.4%), and teenagers (24.6%).
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 6.3 million and accounted for 41.9%. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed over the month at 9.0 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.3 million discouraged workers in November, an increase of 421,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in November (+39,000). Job gains continued in temporary help services and in health care, while employment fell in retail trade. Since December 2009, total payroll employment has increased by an average of 86,000 per month.
Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services continued to increase in November (+40,000) and has risen by 494,000 since September 2009.