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The Clark Howard Podcast

Author: Clark Howard

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Save more and spend less is more than just a motto for money expert Clark Howard; it’s a way of life. Clark and his crew — Team Clark — are on a mission to empower people to take control of their personal finances by providing money-saving tips, consumer advice, hot deals and economic news to help everyone achieve financial freedom.

Clark is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and a consumer reporter for television stations around the country. His podcast, The Clark Howard Show, receives more than one million downloads each month and is a hub for listeners to get valuable advice on-demand any time. Clark answers questions on the most popular business and consumer topics including; how to buy a cars, financing a home, retirement planning, shopping for insurance and getting the most out of your savings. Join the conversation and submit your question to www.clark.com/askclark .

Clark spearheads two free resources — Clark.com and ClarkDeals.com — to encourage consumers to save more, spend less and avoid ripoffs.

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Harvard University researchers began a health study in 1980. Time Magazines reports subject lifestyle factors were tracked for 40 years. Healthy lifestyle factors include no smoking, no excessive alcohol, regular exercise, healthy weight and a low-fat, plant-based diet. Findings indicate those who practiced 4 out of these 5 healthy lifestyle choices enjoyed more disease-free years - After age 50, 10 more years for women, 8 more for men. Women's lifespans increased by 14 years, men's by 12. So both quality and quantity of life are enhanced with healthy lifestyles. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer were the areas of risk examined. CA HMO Kaiser Permanente has been testing Samsung heart monitoring watches. Among the 4,000 distributed so far, KP finds that after a year of monitoring, the readmission rate for program members is much improved over non users. Those without monitors were 5 to 8 times more likely to have a recurrence of heart trouble. This monitoring program is set to expand. Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
California has passed a law requiring gig employers to classify most workers as employees vs. independents. A Gallup survey reveals this may be a mistake. Over 90% of tax filers have W2 income. One in 4 workers has a side gig in addition, in order to earn more money. Half work extra simply because they want to. More tax filers than ever are working side hustles in addition to regular income. There are cases where large companies lay people off to hire independent workers to avoid paying benefits. But for the most part, we're doing side jobs for the money and by choice, so it's likely best to keep government regulation out of side job classification. Perhaps in trying to do the right thing, California did the wrong thing in this case. Workers are driving the trend in supplemental self-employment. According to the NYT story: "Some politicians and places, like California have sought to curb self-employment, on the theory that employers have created the gig economy in an effort to evade their tax and regulatory obligations. The reality is more complicated." It's gotten difficult for dealers to sell vehicles and they're desperate. So fraud on loan applications has become a big problem that could land you - the buyer - in jail. Dealership finance departments are more tempted to put down false incomes, that the buyer unwittingly signs. The WSJ reports nearly 1 in 4 auto loan apps have inflated income numbers to facilitate approval. Remember, you're on the hook if later you can't pay and they say you lied about your income. If you're working a deal, read the paperwork and don't sign your name to a lie on income, because you could end up as a defendant.  Long time listeners know Clark despises extended warranties. These are peddled mostly on electronics and appliances, but can extend to products like running shoes! Clark has new math on TV warranties, heavily pushed by retailers. UPA and Northwestern University research found that people assume things will break often, so at least 1 in 5 consumers will buy into the "protect your investment" warranty pitch, paying 1/4th the cost of the item extra on average. Over a 6 year period, these researchers tracked 45,000 TV purchases. The fail rate was roughly 5 out of 100. So people are spending 25% more for a 5% fail rate. NOPE. Electronics are far more reliable than we realize. The failure rate on appliances is higher, while the warranty purchase rate is lower. We're not as excited about appliances. Either way, forgo warranties. You're better off paying for repair or replacement than for warranties. These purchases are not investments. They're consumption.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Bankrate did a survey on outcomes from lending to family or friends, cosigning for them or giving them your credit card. 4 out of 10 lenders to family and friends report they didn't get paid back. Someone comes to the bank of family or friend because they can't get the money elsewhere, so that borrower is ultra-high risk. There are times we'll give out of obligation or love. Clark's 2 part rule for lending to family or friends: One time only IF you can afford it. And, look at it as a gift, not a loan. Clark's been tilting at windmills lately consulting with the hospital industry about billing problems. The industry filed suit against the government ruling to disclose prices up front. Kaiser Health News (KHN) reports on a case of hospital billing that illustrates the problem. The big problem in American healthcare is rapidly escalating hospital prices, and the industry fights so hard against price disclosure in advance. This must be fixed to get costs under control. We need to force hospitals to do the right thing. The American Cancer Society reports there's a decline in cancer death rates over one generation and over the past couple of years for specific cancers. In one generation, deaths from lung cancer, which is the deadliest form, declined precipitously. The main reason is a decline in smoking, down to 13%, clearly cause and effect. In addition, there's been great improvement in survivability of lung cancer due to early detection. Smokers are encouraged to be checked out as lung cancer is symptomless in initial stages. Colon cancer deaths are way down due to colonoscopy early detection. The fatality rate is 50% higher in men because men are less likely to see doctors. The survival rates are much higher for women due to early detection. Survival rates are much improved with both breast and prostate cancer. USA Today reports melanoma survival rates are much improved. This good news all starts with each of us getting appropriate checkups and screenings. If you can't remember the last time you saw a medical professional, maybe that's something you need to change.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Reverse mortgages have been a caller topic for Clark for 2 decades. When people are house rich and cash poor, reverse mortgage -wherein the mortgage company sends you a check every month while you still live in the home, appears to be a solution. Routinely Clark goes through a checklist to determine the severity of the financial situation, and warns of the high fees involved. USA Today investigated the industry, finding many bad players looking to steal people’s homes via foreclosures. This opened a floodgate of people confirming this was their experience. The reverse mortgage market has been dirty forever. Ads with trusted spokespersons lure people into this. There are situations where a reverse mortgage does make sense. But any legit lender has you go through independent third party financial counseling for evaluation to see if reverse mortgage really is appropriate. Have a knowledgeable family member or lawyer review any documents before signing up for a reverse mortgage because of thievery is so prevalent. Shame upon them. They know this is wrong and do not care.  Special Warning: Ads in print and online for CDs with high interest rates are appearing. But they’re not really CDs and the rates of 4.5 to 5.5% aren’t that high historically. These are NOT CDs, NOT FDIC insured. Your money is at risk. This is a version of a promissory note and many people over the years have been burned by this. Some of these offerings are from crooks, others from fly by night outfits. In either case you can end up losing ALL the money. Clark went into the travel agency business at age 25, sold out his chain of agencies at 31 and essentially retired. Circumstances brought him into broadcasting. The industry has changed greatly since he sold his agency in 1987. Travel is much more popular today, and we can book ourselves. But most of us travel infrequently and become bogged down in details when trying to plan travel. See our updated guide to make planning easier, the Clark Howard way. Barring work travel, Clark’s key rule is that everything is driven by finding a deal. By so doing, he has been to every continent except Antarctica. For those with wanderlust – there are so many deals! Follow the bargains, have to guts to go to new places and see the world. Follow deals so great you’ve got to buy them. That’s the Clark Howard way! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Carl Richards, "Sketch Guy" columnist for the NYTimes, breaks down financial advice to simple sketches and is able to address motivation and how we work against ourselves. Clark is unapologetically dull and believes creating financial security should be dull as well, achieved slow and steady like a turtle. Many are always looking for the big score, the hot tip. So Clark's favorite Sketch Guy message: "The path to long term change is slow, simple and boring". Your investing should be boring so that you can have an exciting life. If your goal is to become a millionaire, if you start in your early 20s, it can be done by retirement. That goal is a heavier lift the longer you wait to start. But you start when you start investing what you can. The earlier you start and the more money you add over time, the more financial security you create for your life. Start early in a Roth or your retirement plan at work. Many bought smart TVs on sale over the holidays. Many of these TVs are vulnerable to hackers getting into your home system. Dig out the owners manual and implement a secure password - replacing the default password. You may have brought a potential trojan horse into your home. Secondly, cover up the camera. You do NOT want a hacker able to spy on you.  What to do after a car accident to ensure your safety and best consider insurance options. Check out Clark's online guide here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Optometrists are independent. Even as they’re renting space in a Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart or Target – the remain independent. This results in different prices within a retail chain. But as a general rule, the cost of getting a full eye exam and prescription averages around $70. If you go to an optometrist in a traditional office or an ophthalmologist, the price goes up. With a prescription plan through work, a once a year eye exam may be covered with just a copay for most practices. Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Teachers, non-profit workers and some hospital workers are shuttled into inferior 403b retirement plans. 401ks have gotten more affordable with steadily lower costs for employees, lead by Vanguard and Fidelity. Teachers on the other hand get cheated repeatedly. 403b plans are often sold by insurance company sales reps, selling ultra high cost plans often wrapped in annuities. A WSJ investigation has uncovered just how dirty this system is, rife with horrendous kickbacks paid for by the 403b workers without disclosure. Worse still, an analysis reveals the same contributions over time in a typical 401k adding up to $250K in retirement savings, would only yield $155K in a comparable 403b, ravaged by expenses. A private sector 401K with $500K is equivalent to a 403b of $310K - all contributions being equal, typical expenses on both. A 401k One million vs $620K in a 403b having made the same contributions - all because of rip off fees in 403bs. While members of the House and Senate indulge in partisan fits, they could be stopping the rip off of teachers by insurance companies. Allegedly, $722 million has been stolen in a cryptocurrency Ponzi known as BitClub Network, which for 6 years solicited funds from would-be investors to go into cryptocurrency mining pools. There were big money incentives to recruit others into the network. 5 men are charged with running a scheme "built off the backs of idiots" - to use their words, NBC reports. Recall the cryptocurrency mania of recent years. That money evaporated as it became hot with con artists. Be careful jumping on bandwagons.   New federal data shows the change in the nature of work is so extreme, you ignore it at your peril. College is not a normal path in every family. The latest data shows nearly half of all factory workers have a college degree. As recently as a generation ago, factory and manufacturing jobs did not require higher education, but the nature of manufacturing has changed. The manufacturing industry has roared back in the U.S. But employment in this sector is minimal as advanced robotics and computer tech is increasingly engaged. The human jobs in factories now require highly skilled workers with advanced tech educations. Well-paying jobs require thoughtful, strategic levels of education - not necessarily college. The idea that education ends isn't compatible with the pace of technological change. We need to be prepared for the nature of work to steadily morph. To sit still is to fall behind. Stay in an education and training cycle through your working lifetime to maintain career mobility. State technical colleges should design curriculum in concert with what employers are looking for, anticipating where jobs are and where they're going, and offering affordable training for those jobs.    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Wall Street analysts predicted the demise of Costco Wholesale not that long ago, believing it had no chance against Amazon. But Costco and Sam’s Club are doing well. In fact Costco is booming. People willingly pay membership fees. The Krazy Coupon Lady reports that consistently across items, Costco and Sam’s Club are 10 to 15% cheaper than Amazon. Many use both warehouse clubs and Amazon. Though Costco offers savings, they also offer temptation to buy more. Clark’s answer: Not cart. Hands only shopping limits the purchase and preserves the savings. Outstanding credit card debt has gone up roughly 50% in the last 8 years in the U.S. A Wallethub survey reports more than a third of card users have maxed out their credit cards. Another third are afraid of doing so. This is NOT good for your long term financial health. The average card carries an interest rate of 16 – 18%. Buying on credit when you can pay the bill in full monthly is great. But maxing out your credit card costs you big in interest and demolishes your credit score. Seriously think this through before you pull out a credit card and charge it. Clark reported on his experience going from a professional home burglar alarm to a self-install system. Clark chose Ring and took 3 hours to install it. Monitoring works out to $8 a month when paid annually. Feedback centered on privacy issues with Ring, owned by Amazon. Back to the drawing board. Independent alternatives are getting good reviews. Google’s Nest and Simplisafe charge around $300 a year for monitoring. Kangaroo - Kangaroo Home Security | Simple and affordable alarms and sensors rotates specials and like Ring, costs around $100 a year for monitoring. Kangaroo’s equipment is comparable, but independent from giant ecosystems. TechHive reviews Minut Smart Home Alarm - a very different system using heat technology. Instead of arming the doors and windows, it senses intruders to trigger the alarm. Minut monitoring is $8 a month, sold around the world – quick and easy to install. Technology is a big disrupter in this industry. Traditional systems have high equipment and monitoring costs and often come with contracts you should never sign.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The merger between wireless giants T-Mobile and Sprint has cleared a major hurdle as a federal judge ruled in favor of the deal. Clark explains his take for consumers, including information about the impact on home internet service. Today, we pause to salute companies that value their employees. One great way to do so is profit sharing. Especially in a service businesses, workers are core and key to progress. Delta has paid huge bonuses, having profited from the grounding of the Boeing Max, while Southwest suffered losses from the Max grounding, but still made a profit and gave their employees bonuses equal to about 6 weeks pay. Only 1/3 of companies share their profits. Business doesn't exist without employees. Rewarding workers with a share of what they made happen is KEY to motivating them. The companies that do best take care of their employees first. No matter what industry you’re in, its ultimately about serving the customer. Rewarded employees are more committed. The word ‘password’ has been used as a password. It’s important for security to do better. Firefox and Google Chrome users have access to password managers. More sophisticated password managers generated unique passwords as needed. We creatures of habit tend to use the same passwords, which basic pw managers simply echo. More advanced programs offer more protection, including Dashlane and LastPass. Many more have entered the market. A WIRED review rates 1Password as the best overall manager, which auto generates unique passwords for $36 per year per person, $60 for a family. Bitwarden gets great reviews for free. These tools help place a barrier between you and a hacker. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Some have lost a tremendous amount of their savings betting on Tesla. Know that betting on any one enterprise is risky – Apple, Amazon – stocks that become stories. Amazon went through a cycle that wiped some stock holders out. When you invest in an individual company, you’re creating risk. You could come out ahead, or lose a great deal or both. First build a base and create a strong core in funds wherein your money is well spread out. The U.S. represents 3% of the world’s population and 22% of the world’s economic activity and declining. Make sure your diversification includes international funds. Schwab teaches to build core investments first. Only then should you chance individual stocks with money you’re not depending on. Protect the future you’re building. Live on less than what you make, and protect the rest of that money going forward.   Clark was given a fake debit card from AT&T for dropping DirecTV. He was issued a partial refund on a debit card - receiving a check is not an option. Clark’s card kept being declined. He then registered the card and was texted the balance. The declines came because the balance was less than attempted purchases. It won’t allow another form of payment! Clark tried to get it to 0, and now it’s expired with .72 cents left on the table. So the company keeps that money – what’s known as breakage. This is why many companies use debits - knowing it won’t all be spent and they’ll get that much back. Clarkrageous that companies think this way, instead of doing right by their customers. A type of data breach has become a life and death threat for many businesses. Many ransomware attacks don’t hit the news unless the company must publicly disclose they’ve been hacked. School boards and local governments must disclose. But we usually don’t hear about it from companies, who often have to pay to get their operations back. This crime is escalating, hitting companies of all sizes and can destroy a business. Have automatic backup of your data daily on a hard drive or cloud service. This can help restore your business activities. Have cyber insurance added to your business liability coverage. Backup data every 24 hours and have cyber insurance. The insurer will want to know what steps you’re already taking to protect your business. Take the time to make these things happen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mortgage rates have plummeted recently. This is creating even more competition in the housing market. If you are planning on staying in your home for a while you could save a lot of money in interest payments by refinancing soon. Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
There's a major problem happening all across the country. People are trading in cars that aren't paid off. This can lead to a whole lot of issues. Never trade in a car that you haven't finished paying on. US Bank fired an employee who spent her own money to help a customer on Christmas Eve. Clark thinks this is ridiculous! Clark is a romantic at heart. But he also likes to save money. So he gives you his favorite tips for saving money around Valentine's Day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Most taxpayers are eligible to free file. But only 2% who qualify use the IRS free file site. Most software vendors are in the IRS Free File program, but tout their paid software instead. Go to IRS.gov - Free File: Do Your Federal Taxes for Free | Internal Revenue Service. Some of the software includes free state tax filings as well. If you don’t like the one you’ve selected, you can bail and try another. If you make over $69K a year, you’re not eligible for Free File. In that case, try Credit Karma Tax to file for free. They want that info to target you for offers. Business owners or those with complicated tax situations need a pro. Small business owners can consider hiring an enrolled agent or your CPA who does tax. Warning: there’s been a steady increase in the number of unqualified people doing tax returns. No certification is required. Anyone can claim to be a tax preparer. Many have turned out to be con artists and thieves, who lie to generate a big refund directed into their account. Make sure your preparer signs the return and look it over. If you see false information, do not sign your name to that return. Dan of Cleveland got a notice from the post office to come pick up more mail than can be delivered. He arrives to a pile of 55,000 letters! His lender, the College Avenue Student Loan Company, sent him the same statement for his daughter’s tuition 55,000 times. Postage alone was around $11k and the information in the letter wasn’t even correct. The student loan industry is in disarray, rife with incompetence and abysmal record keeping. The industry is flat out broken. Keep your records. Run your own amortization schedule and track your loan. Make sure the balances and interest rates are correct and that payments are properly reflected on time. Watch them like a hawk. VISA - the most powerful of the 4 credit card networks (Visa, MC, AMEX, Discover) – will roll out fee structure changes this spring and fall. They’ll begin charging higher merchant fees where credit cards are dominant, and lower fees in low use sectors in an effort to manipulate buying behavior. Merchants that accept Visa won’t have a choice, unless they’re large enough to negotiate their own processing rates, like Amazon and Walmart. Everyone else will be at the mercy of Visa. The cost for online merchants will go up. Smaller businesses may have to bump up prices to deal with this. Online purchases will potentially cost more than in-store. Tuition payment by credit card can cost 2.9% more. That’s an industry with low market share for Visa, so they’ll be dropping those rates and subsidizing them with higher fees charged elsewhere to try to get market share in student tuition payment for private schools, pre-schools and colleges. Visa/MC cartel fees are typically the second largest expense for merchants. Remember you can offer customers a deal for paying with cash and giving them part of what you save as a way to reduce expenses. Visa may be trial ballooning, waiting to see what the other card networks will do. Consumers may see different pricings for different payment methods. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Pharmacy mistakes filling prescriptions are becoming more common as volume increases on a small number of players who allegedly put the pharmacists under unsafe quotas. Investigative reporting by the NYT reveals that pharmacists with the major chains are under pressure to fill prescriptions and the resulting errors. Another recent report states 1.5 million people have been adversely affected by Rx mistakes. Oversight by state pharmacy boards has failed. Marketplace pressures being applied to pharmacists is creating unsafe conditions, putting the public at risk. Simple prevention tips: Pharmacists are human. Always look at the prescription before you leave the store. Packaging describes the shape, size, color and markings of the medication. The same med may look different from different manufacturers. When a med goes off patent to generic, it’s appearance can change. Look at the name on the label first as many drug names are similar. Then check the actual medication and be very careful verifying you have the right prescription. We can make sure the medicine we receive are correct as best we can tell. Check before you leave the pharmacy and have them verify before you leave. Take these steps to protect your and your family’s health. Clothing manufacturers and retailers are in full clearance mode on winter goods. From light to heavy weight, this is the week to start looking for great deals on winter wear. Scandal has rocked the U.S. Dept. of Education because they have failed to honor the law on forgiving student loans for public service workers including police officers, fire fighters, teachers and others that work in nonprofit or service capacities. Certain public service professionals were promised Federal loan forgiveness after 10 years of on-time payments. The rules were drawn in a way that triggered denials due to technicalities for 99% of applicants. This caused such an uproar that the Dept. of Education has passed new rules that will allow around 3/4s of those declined to now receive their loan forgiveness. This is not widely reported so spread the word to those you know who may be affected. Those declined should apply again. Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) is how many will qualify for loan forgiveness. Don’t give up and great thanks for your community service. This was a promise made that should be kept. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Last year there was the mad rush of discount stockbrokers to cut commissions on various kinds of trades to zero. Nobody's laughing anymore at the once obscure app Robinhood. Now millions use the app to trade stocks at no commission. Finally Chuck Schwab had enough and decided to stop charging commissions as- which set off an earthquake. The stocks of various discount (now free) brokers just collapsed because the investment community thought this was financial suicide. It wasn't, because brokers earn money offering other services including checking accounts and credit cards - services superior to banks. Thus money has migrated out of stodgy, high-cost, low-service banks into credit unions, online banks and no cost brokers. Brokerage stocks recovered from the zero commission earthquake and new money coming in has shot through the roof. Know you can do a checking account with a zero cost broker. Bank shares are included in some index funds meaning you make money from them vs. the other way around, as they're in the business of looting your wallet. Special Warning. For years we've faced fake emails pretending to come from banks so most people are aware of that approach. Now we see reports that criminals have figured out how to take it a step further. They now send a notification that an account has been compromised, including a duplicate banking landing page, now with code that transfers your input to the REAL banking site. You'll get the 2 factor authentication text, and enter that number - which they also duplicate, giving the criminals full access to your account. Anytime you get an email you think is from your bank or any financial institution, never click a link. Go separately to the official bank site. If there is an issue, you'll be on the real site and know if all is well or if there's an issue. Screen time can be isolating. Clark's banned gadgets at the family dinner table. No point in being alone together. Turns out our constant companion cell phone induces human loneliness. Having grown up in the digital era, young adults report greater degree of loneliness. It's not the same communicating online vs face to face. The WSJ reports how young adults in the workplace report greater loneliness. When all communication is digital - young workers report feeling twice as lonely as older workers who grew up analog and are more likely to talk to co-workers face to face. In person contact can create a warmer, more fully connected work environment. Whether at work or in your social life - being around people can make you a happier, more connected person. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Variable pricing has made it even harder for consumers to book travel. But there are some important things to know when you are looking to book airfare, hotels, and rental cars. Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nonprofit and hospital workers, teachers and other 403b workers suffer much confusion from this rip off form of retirement plan. It’s a scandal that we give teachers a plan so inferior to the 401k. The surrender charge is how 403b insurance companies handcuff people  to the plans. This often massive penalty fee is imposed for exiting their rip-off plan to put money in a low cost IRA – costing about 1/40th what the 403b takes. Remember 403b = rip off! A financial planning firm found that a young worker would be better off paying a 40% surrender charge to the insurance company to invest at lower cost elsewhere. Over that working lifetime, that worker would still make more money than paying the rip-off fees imposed by the 403b. Some surrender charges are only 15%. If you’ve got 10 years or more working life, it’s generally worth it to pay the surrender charge to get out of a 403b. Clark reported months ago on an investigative series from the Detroit Free Press about severe problems with the Ford Focus and Fiesta. 2 million people have now been affected by vehicles with defective transmissions. A class action lawsuit was filed 8 years ago on this matter. Possibly the Free Press series finally pushed forward a settlement. There’s no cap on payouts to these car owners. Ford has to pay to make people whole who owned or own a Fiesta or Focus who have filed a claim. Also revealed, Ford knew about the problems on model years 2011 – 2016 and had a procedure in place to BLAME THE CONSUMER as a strategy to avoid paying for repairs. Even though the great recession reportedly ended in 2009, the job market remained terrible until 2012. We’ve been on a steady economic and employment upswing since. But there are times when all seems lost, and a worker must reinvent their role in the marketplace. After a job loss, Clark advises that you draw on what you know. Your best opportunity in your next chapter draws on your education and experience. The Detroit Free Press profiled car salesman Brian. This family man worked extremely long days and was abruptly let go. Knowing that people hate going to dealerships, Brian decided to become a car buying concierge. He gets paid regular commission by the dealerships he uses for clients, and charges the buyers nothing. He sells around 35 vehicles a month via word of mouth, gets more time at home with family and makes more money. He helps clients determine the right vehicle for them through a questionnaire. He delivers, helps with the paperwork and either takes in their trade-in or Ubers from their home. We often undervalue what we know and how we can serve others. Businesses have a hard time changing, which means opportunity for experienced individuals who come up with a way to serve people better. You may be your best boss ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We tend to just accept that prescription glasses are costly. There is an international cartel that’s been buying up both retailers and frame manufacturers for eyeglasses in order to corner the market and take prices through the roof. BUT, when there’s market concentration to push prices up, there’s always a rebound effect. Now there’s a fast growing marketplace of discounters offering eyeglasses at a fraction of cartel prices. Frames and lenses complete can be had for as little as $15. Consumer Reports has put together ratings for the discounters. Number 1 - Costco Optical, 2 – Warby Parker, 3 - Zenni Optical. In fact, every single discounter rated got at least a good score. Know you can get good eyeglasses for under $100 – even for bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses. -For contacts, 1800Contacts is now offering a free online eye exam for contacts, with an eyeglass Rx. See our guide. There are enormous price differences for contacts. Beware merchants pushing high cost lenses. Many of us use hand sanitizers thinking we’re protecting ourselves from germs. If using Purell, you may even think you’re protected from the flu. The company has even claimed the product can prevent Ebola! No more says the FDA. They’re reclassifying Purell as an unapproved drug because of these outlandish claims. The real advice from the FDA and the CDC is to simply wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Only default to hand sanitizer when there’s no alternative. Also we worry about catching colds and flu on airplanes. The Journal of the National Academy of Sciences finds you have to be within 3 feet of a sick person for them to be a potential hazard to your health. Don’t worry the whole plane is contagious. Via permissions, Facebook tracks you OUTSIDE of Facebook, when you’re not using Facebook or any of their services. Under pressure, in an effort to stave off legislation that would restrict their tracking activities much more, Facebook now offers the tool, Off Facebook Activity, allowing you to see and curtail this tracking. At sign up we unwittingly give Facebook permission to spy on us everywhere we go online. They know all. Third party apps are reporting to Fb what you’re doing online. They know what articles you read, podcasts you listen to, music etc. They can then build an ultra-deep dossier for sale and for targeted ads. Producer Joel used the new tool to delete the info and found it very easy.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Google search results now present in a way making it more difficult to distinguish between results and ads. Anyone can be buying those ads which could be scams, rip offs and fake companies. Legit ads are also there but you should know what’s an ad. There’s almost no delineation anymore to tell you something is an ad. “Ad” is in tiny type and they can be mistaken for search results. You need to know to look past those. Also, we generally don’t get past the first page of search results. Take more time to refine your search. Or use DuckDuckGo as your default search engine for clean search results, no tracking. MarketWatch reports a huge number of homeless veterans are eligible for special housing vouchers designed for vets from the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. 11,000 of the vouchers now go unused. Veterans need to know there is this great voucher program available from the VA. Make sure any vets you know are aware of the housing voucher program. Auto insurance rates have gone up roughly 50% in 8 years. For a time, fatality rates were way up due to device distraction, subsiding now with state texting-while-driving laws. WIRED points out a new pain point. If you’re cited for texting while driving your insurance rates will go up 20 – 25%. Another rate hike factor involves the high safety tech in cars today. Vehicles now have so many safety devices that accidents are less severe, happening less often. But ironically, a simple fender bender can render a vehicle totaled by the insurance company, as so much tech is in the fender, they don’t want to repair it. Often a single airbag will deploy, and they’ll total the vehicle out. All these totals is having an impact on rates. As vehicles turn over in the fleet, cars get safer overall. In 2021 Ford will install tech allowing vehicles to communicate. The problem of sun glare will be addressed by red light dash warnings. Safety measures so much a part of the future, will bend this curve on insurance rates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We face unknowns with the Coronavirus outbreak. Some practical matters to be aware of. Historically, odds favor the virus not becoming widespread in the U.S and Canada. The travel industry is in ongoing response mode. Isolation has begun with Chinese cruises generally canceled around affected areas. Airline policies vary including refunds on flights to China and other parts of Asia. The stock market - especially travel companies - are being hit hard right now in the wake of the Coronavirus too. FedEx and UPS have issued warnings in the last 24 hours to be aware of receiving a text or email claiming you have a package scheduled for delivery. These phony messages contain viruses. If you click and answer the questions, criminals get your personal info. Set up your own personal account with FedEx and UPS to receive for clear notifications that don’t require you to click to open. New factors will be weighed more heavily in the new FICO scoring model. Lenders are starting to get nervous as more people carry debt. Here we are with low unemployment yet more people carry debt. There are hundreds of credit scores. Even using the same scoring model, the credit bureaus will come up with different scores from different items on credit reports. These scores indicate a general direction. All this only amplifies previous advice about how to protect your credit reputation. Come up with an effective way to make sure every bill gets paid on time, every month. Also, lowering your utilization rate will be even more impactful moving forward. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (20)

Mike Miles

Love the show helped me get out of debt, buy a house, and start my own retirement plan. My favorite part is when he discuss topics that are going on in the country and world. Best part is he seams like a super nice guy and he treats his own employees like there his family!!!

Oct 10th
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Pocket Glitter

I have so much respect and admiration for Clark Howard, beyond his financial advice (which I love). If you're local to the Atlanta metro area then you know his work with Habitat for Humanity, foster children and many other kind endeavors. He's really a good person. 💙💚💛💜❤

Apr 3rd
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R C

a goldmine of info!

Mar 25th
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Melissa Noakes

Background music is getting garbled the past week or so.

Mar 23rd
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Carolyn Smith

Clark, talk about Education Grants for the Incarerated. It is important to clear ones name as much as possible. *Pardon *Sealed Records *Reduction of Charges from Felony to Misdeamnor. If People are to have a Second Chance, they need to be able to qualify for License such as a Barber's License.

Feb 1st
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Carolyn Smith

Wow, 6 Children? A 10 Month Tour of Duty in Americorps offers work experience, a stipend for living expenses, healthcare insurances and leadership training. A "Grant will pay for 2 years of Community College. *C.L.E.P Examines allows credit College Credit which saves money. *AP Classes in High School *Prepping for ACT and SAT Examines plus taking the examine twice raises score 150 points in average.

Jan 16th
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R C

Watch out putting your pictures on Google photos! Don't think you have any rights to them once they are uploaded.

Jan 11th
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Melissa Noakes

The last two episodes won't play. Other shows podcasts play and Clark's prior to 12/24. Please fix - I miss the show!

Dec 26th
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Austin Peek

Thanks for your show Clark! Thanks to you, I'm on my way to becoming a millionaire now... that's why I also listen to the Millionaire Interviews Podcast 😊. Keep up the great work. 👍

Jul 11th
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Jim Maroon

Always helpful to listen to. And fun. Clark is so obviously nice.

Jun 18th
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Nightrun007

Good financial advice. Don't listen to RB who doesn't even know how to spell "advice" let alone determine what that would be. ;)

Apr 6th
Reply (1)

R B

marginal financial advise. interesting finance related topics.

Jan 31st
Reply (2)

Anthem Grimm

CLARK!!!!!!$$$$$%%%%%

Jan 9th
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joel larsgaard

Best podcast for anyone wanting to get a handle on their finances!

Dec 16th
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iTunes User

Clark is only on for 1 hour in my market, and at the worst time. Now I can listen to him at MY leisure!!!!

Aug 30th
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iTunes User

They have deleted the commercials, and this is an awesome podcast! Thanks, Clark!

Aug 30th
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iTunes User

Obviously some of the reviewers have not listened to the show recently. All of the commercials have been edited out (THANK YOU Clark Howard!!!). Valuable information is found on this show. Clark gives great suggestions about "spending less, saving more and avoid getting ripped off'. I don't miss an episode! Great drive time show.

Aug 30th
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