Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Green Home Building on the Rise

Green home building is projected to continue to climb in the next few years as Americans increasingly search out energy-efficient and environmentally responsible homes, industry experts reported this week.McGraw Hill Construction reported that last year, the green home-building industry accounted for 23% of residential construction and is projected to grow to between 26% to 33% by 2016. This increase would more than double the value of the industry, growing from $36 billion in 2013 to $83-$105...
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CFPB Begins Taking Payday Loan Complaints and Makes First Action

Consumers who feel taken advantage of by one of the most infamously predatory businesses – payday lenders – now have a place to send their complaints. In early November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it would begin taking complaints on payday loan businesses via its complaint form found at ConsumerFinance.gov/complaint or by phone to 1-855-411-2372. Some of the potentially illegal practices you can complain about include: unexpected fees or interest, unauthorized charges to you bank...
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BBB: Be Alert for Health Insurance Scam

Americans should be on alert for scammers posing as government workers, the Better Business Bureau advises. The purpose of the scam is to fool you into sharing your personal information, which can then be used to commit identity theft.The scam starts with a phone call from the con artists who claims that you have been selected to receive insurance cards through the Affordable Care Act - also known as “Obamacare.” In order to receive your insurance...
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FTC Survey: 25.6 Million Victims of Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission has released the results of its latest survey on fraud. Conducted in late 2011 and early 2012, the survey reveals there were 25.6 million victims of fraud. Here are the top 10 fraud categories: Weight-loss products, 5.1 million victimsFraudulent prize promotions, 2.4 million victimsUnauthorized billing for buyers’ club membership or internet services, 1.9 victimsWork-at-home programs, 1.8 million victimsCredit repair scam, 1.6 million victimsDebt relief, 1.5 million victimsCredit card insurance, 1.3 million victimsBusiness...
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FTC Reports the Top 10 Complaints of 2012

When consumers have trouble with businesses, the Federal Trade Commission is often the go-to government agency for complaints. Each year, the FTC compiles a report on the complaints it received from the previous year. In 2012, the FTC’s biggest complaint category was identity theft. That makes the 13th year in a row that identity theft has topped the FTC’s list of complaints. Eighteen percent of all the FTC’s complaints were related to identity theft, similar to...
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IRS: Use Refund Tracker Tools Once per Day

IRS: Use Refund Tracker Tools Once per Day
The IRS tax refund tracker tool has become so popular for people expecting a tax refund that the IRS has put out a notice asking taxpayers to limit their inquiries to no more than once per day. As more returns come in, the IRS said it is experiencing high traffic on “Where’s My Refund?” at irs.gov. The large large traffic volume is expected to limit the availability of the tool on both the website and the...
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Should the Federal Minimum Wage Increase to $9?

In this week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama recommended the minimum wage be incrementally increased to $9.00 per hour and be tied to the inflation rate after that. Having the Federal minimum wage indexed to inflation would help make sure that employees are paid a wage that keeps up with increased cost of living. All workers can benefit from increased minimum wage. Generally, other wages move up when the Federal minimum wage goes...
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USPS: Saturday Mail Delivery to End in August

The U.S. Postal Service announced on Wednesday its plans to drop Saturday letter delivery to street addresses beginning in August. The move is expected to save the financially ailing agency an estimated $2 billion per year. “The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO....
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NAR: 2012 Most Affordable Year in Housing

Americans who were able to get a mortgage and bought a home last year took advantage of the low prices and great mortgage rates in the most affordable housing year on record. Housing affordability set an annual record in 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday.In 2012, the NAR’s National Housing Affordability Index hit its record high at 194, topping the previous record of 186 in 2011. The index is based on the relationship...
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Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Admit Responsibility for Financial Troubles

Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Admit Responsibility for Financial Troubles
Almost two-thirds of Americans admit that their financial troubles are of their own doing, according to a December poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Of poll respondents, 63% said their financial woes self-inflicted for reasons such as overspending or being financially unorganized, and 37% said their problems were caused by events beyond their control such as job loss or medical bills. "The poll results are encouraging, as the first step to correcting a problem...
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