Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lost Credit Cards

As a wonderfully ironic follow up to my somehow prophetic credit cards post from August 26th where I said:

Looking at this stack of cards makes me wonder just what the hell it is I plan to purchase - a small island maybe? Two of those cards mentioned I had forgotten I even had! If I lost my wallet I'd just have to call all the credit card companies and ask them if I have an account, and if so, could they please cancel it. At least I don't have a shopaholic card (your choice of colors)...

What a genius thing to say! Why, low and behold, what should I do the very next day? Lose my farking wallet of course! Thankfully, the freakin' day before I posted that stupid, stupid, stupid doomsday credit cards post, so had a list of all the cards I needed to cancel.

Can you imagine the cumulative hold time for canceling that many lost cards?!?! Unfortunately, I don't have to imagine... It's a lot! Two beers easy.

Even more fun, I still need to cancel my library card, get a new driver's license, replace my health insurance card - even get a new Safeway card. Ugh!

For your convenience, I've listed a bunch of the credit card company phone numbers below, just in case you've lost your cards and can't be bothered surfing to the their websites and hitting "contact us". I've also included the number for calling collect if outside the US (in parentheses). Aren't I special?

  • mbna - 800.421.2110 (302.738.5719)
  • Bank of America - 800.552.7302 (509.353.1830)
  • citi - 800.950.5114 (605.335.2222)
  • United - 800.537.7783 (847.888.6600)
  • REI - 877.REI.8742 < I hate dialing letters (701.461.2932)
  • American Express - 800.528.4800 (336.393.1111)

Oh hell. You can look the rest up yourself. You're on the blooming internet for cripe's sake...

Sincerely,

Nostra-freakin-damus

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reverse Mortgages

Huh? I've heard this mentioned a few times lately, so thought I'd do some digging and get the scoop for myself. And here you go...

According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), a reverse mortgage is a loan on your home that you typically don't have to pay anything back on until you die, sell your home, or move. Borrowers can can opt for an immediate cash advance at closing, a creditline account that lets them take cash advances whenever at any time during the life of the loan, monthly cash advances or any combination of immediate cash advance, creditline account, and monthly cash advance.

Most reverse mortgages require the borrower to be at least 62, but unlike most loans, reverse mortgages have no income requirements, as there are no monthly payment requirements. Also, unlike a traditional mortgage with rising equity and falling debt, reverse mortgages generally have falling equity and rising debt.

Another interesting point is that most reverse mortgages are nonrecourse loans, which essentially means you can never owe more than the value of your home at the time you move, die, sell, etc. Your other assets remain free and clear. So even if you opted for monthly cash advances and lived to be 120, borrowing much more than the value of your home, you only owe as much as your home is worth.

This just scratches the surface. For some great info on reverse mortgages, visit reverse.org. They know these things inside and out.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Credit Cards

Honestly, how many do we really need? Do we really need any?

Checking my wallet I have eight, count them, eight freakin' credit cards in my wallet (plus one debit card)! Sadder still, that's just the ones I carry. I also have a debit card and some English credit cards that I only use, you guessed it, when visiting the UK...!

I have a Citi Home Rebate Platinum Select card for cash back towards my mortgage, an American Express Blue Cash card for use at Costco, my low interest Bank of America Platinum Plus for big purchases, Alaska Airlines Platinum for air miles, another Bank of America Platinum (no idea why I have this one), a Capital One Business Platinum card in some effort to build a credit rating for my business, an REI Visa for the once a year I spend a fortune at REI (regular plastic, no metals) and hell, why not carry a United Mileage Plus gold class card for even more air miles...?

Looking at this stack of cards makes me wonder just what the hell it is I plan to purchase - a small island maybe? Two of those cards mentioned I had forgotten I even had! If I lost my wallet I'd just have to call all the credit card companies and ask them if I have an account, and if so, could they please cancel it. At least I don't have a shopaholic card (your choice of colors)...

The other thing I notice is that they've started making up new card classifications just so they can give you more cards. Platinum is different than platinum plus and platinum select how exactly?

I've managed to fix my credit and I suppose this is the down side, but it's sort of shocking. It wasn't that many years ago that I had to pay $60 a year for a card with a $250 credit line and 24% interest. Having put in the effort to fix my credit I'm careful, but I can see how so many people build such massive credit card debt. Give somebody the power to buy an island and they just might!

I need to get rid of some of these. It's time I went for my semi-annual call up and negotiate or cancel session. Try it sometime, it works. It's weird what good credit will do for you. Just call up each card, ask what your limit and interest rate are. Then ask for a better rate and/or higher limit. Some will even offer extra bonuses like 0% on balance transfer for the next year, etc. When your done calling, cancel the worst card.

Anyway, nobody is actually reading this, so I'll end here...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Morning After Pill

The FDA approved non-prescription sales of the morning after pill (Plan B pill) manufactured by Barr Pharmaceuticals today, but only to those over the age of 18. Those under 18 would still need a prescription.

Read the article >>>

As I'm sure we all might've expected, several things happened shortly after the news.

1. Barr stock rose (only $.11, but still decent).

2. Supporters hailed the decision, but cried foul at the age limit.

3. Opponents, primarily religious nutters and Bush supporters, threatened legal action over the fact that anyone can now get the Plan B pill without a prescription.

As for number one, I'm not really in the market for buying shares, but I can see this one continuing to rise.

Number two, I can see their point. Forcing young men and women to get a prescription the "morning after" before they can buy the pill just means more unwanted pregnancies. For those that miss the logic, it's pretty simple; if they wanted the pregnancy, they wouldn't want the pill...

Number three is pretty typical of that group. You know that group. They're made up of lots of smaller groups, many with wildly divergent agendas, but sharing one overriding driving force - that being to put their greasy thumbprints on every single thing the rest of us tries to do...

Every sperm is sacred. We get it... Oh? Not every sperm, just whenever a sperm gets near an egg? Oh okay, only when the sperm is likely getting in the vicinity of an egg and the two aren't married? Or is when the sperm is likely to die trapped in a condom? When the sperm is gay? I'm lost.

I guess I won't ever get it until I grasp the concept that sex is only okay when it is done strictly in order to procreate, and even then it's not supposed to be fun for either participant and they must be married (in a church by a priest). The woman is not allowed to feel pleasure and the man should be made to feel inadequate and self conscious about the size of his penis. Only then is sex okay in the eyes of that group...

The rest of us, we who are capable of seeing the upside of reducing unwanted pregnancy, teen pregnancy, drop out rates of teenage girls due to pregnancy and so on, need to keep pushing for sex education, easy access to condoms, non-prescription Plan B pills, etc. We've gotten lazy and the nuts have taken over the asylum.