Tag Archives: debt

What’s Greek to us

Greece is in major debt and the ancient country is facing some very modern problems trying to get out. As a newer member of the eurozone, the European countries who have adopted the euro as their one currency, more financially stable nations like Germany and France are nervous about the implications coming to Greece’s aid.

NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff spoke with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou about what his country needs from the U.S. and how Greece got into its current financial situation.

Marketplace commentator David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute falls on the side of questioning the expansion of the eurozone. He notes that the weaker countries in the eurozone are making sacrifices to stay in the club, and this approach will not help them succeed in the long run.

These governments — and others in Europe — are accepting higher unemployment in order to defend their currency…And yet, while Spain’s socialist government has seen its poll numbers drop, neither Spain, nor Greece, nor Portugal, nor Ireland is experiencing serious public pressure to quit the euro.To the leaders of these countries, the euro means Europe, and Europe means prosperity, stability, democracy, and peace.

How will the Greek crisis affect your investments here in the U.S.? Nightly Business Report spoke with foreign exchange experts on why investors here should care.

Standard & Poors analyst Alec Young:
Europe and the UK represent about two thirds of overseas market capitalizations. So anybody that owns an international mutual fund or an international ETF, there’s a very good chance, if it’s broadly diversified, that they do have significant exposure to Europe and to the UK.

Some experts say that while Greece is having trouble and there is a threat to other struggling eurozone nations, the fears about the global economy’s stability as a whole are secondary.

NPR’s Corey Flintoff spoke with economist Joseph Stiglitz:

The Greek crisis has contributed to the general air of uncertainty in international financial markets… Greece is one of five euro zone countries now struggling with big national debts. “The major implications are for Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland and therefore in some sense for all of Europe,” says Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University.
The problems in the euro zone could impact the U.S., too, Stiglitz says, especially if they dampen sales of U.S. exports to Europe.

Taking credit

Credit cards/ Credit: Flickr user Gordon

Credit cards/ Credit: Flickr user Gordon

It’s not even October and already I heard the local news show anchors yammering away this morning about planning for holiday gift-buying. Given that it’s September 29, that has to be some kind of record. That said, it’s always a good time to think about credit cards, credit card debt, and how to create a budget.

Here are a few great resources:

On Tavis Smiley’s Road to Wealth blog, columnist Michelle Singletary answers questions about the drawbacks of paying down debt with other debt.

“When you use debt to pay off debt, you are not paying off the one debt. You are merely transferring it to another loan. You are shifting your debt load, not lifting it. It’s like moving the rock from one hand to the other.”

If you have personal finance questions, submit them to Michelle here.

For those just starting out in the real world, Rochester, NY’s WXXI has a show called BizKids, which teaches kids about business and finance skills. In a recent episode (Episode 205), the show profiles Lauren, a teen who racked up over $1000 in debt. The BizKids look at how credit affects your life – and that starting early with good credit is the best policy.

Youth Radio took a look earlier this spring on how changes to credit card laws could affect young people.

While credit cards may be a challenge for some to manage, are banks doing anything to give for consumers ways to protect against bad spending habits?

The NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown talks to New York Times personal finance reporter Ron Lieber, who says that some banks are allowing debit card users to opt out of overdraft protection.

“And so that way people have the opportunity to say — to weigh all the fees involved and the potential benefits and to raise their hand and take some affirmative action and say, “Yes, I would like to be included in this coverage,” or, “No, I do not want to have it.””

New credit card rules that took affect this summer are also helping to protect customers from unexpected credit card policy changes.