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Tuesday morning! Here's your post-Super
only reliable source for un-common
cover-your-backside strategies that you
can't find anywhere else!
your best shot...try to put me out of
Forward this e-mail to everyone in your Address
with any luck, we'll make everyone a little
smarter in 2003.
the word and share the wealth of information
Have you ever wondered how the
folks at Consumer Credit Counseling Service are paid? What
sort of success rate do they have for their
They are without a
doubt, the best known non-profit debt counseling service on
the planet with spin doctors that rival the Third Reich!
And CCCS is facing some stiff competition...lots of
upstart debt counseling companies-non-profit or not
pressuring the "voluntary" commissions paid to
CCCS and others in the business. Read
the complete CCCS story by clicking here.
And if you'd like to listen
to a re-play
of their recent
appearance on my Los Angeles radio show, click
here and listen to/judge for yourself.
Gotta new home in your
future this 2003? What about re-financing your
current mortgage to take advantage of these record-low
interest rates? Then get
your hands on a copy of Ben's
new 2003 Home Buyer's Guide. The
price is right [free!]
and the information, invaluable.
Before you start cleaning out the closets, packing up and
scheduling the movers, click
here and get a little smarter...first.
One of your top goals this
year should be a no brainer...be prepared!
As in being prepared for anything that could be thrown at
you or your family, with an eye towards minimizing the
traumatic, financial or legal impact life's curveball
creates. Let's do three things-one of which is even free
will help you prepare for worst possible case scenarios:
Call your automobile insurance agent first thing tomorrow
morning and make sure you've got Un-insured and
These are coverages that protect you in the event you're in
an accident with someone who's either driving without
insurance or has the bare minimum (lowest limits) coverage
required by law. This extra level of coverage is so damned
cheap, you're crazy if you don't protect yourself from the
Check the limits on your homeowners (or renters) and life
insurance policies. Have your insurance agent review your
policy limits with you-and explain in terms you can clearly
comprehend-where you're covered and where you're not...and
for how much.
I know I know I know:
Insurance is the only thing we buy, and hope we'll never
have to use it. It's also something you'll wish you had when
the you-know-what (eventually) hits the fan. Play it safe
and invest in preparation and piece (or is it
"peace"?) of mind for a change, alright?
This one won't cost more than a few minutes of your time, so
no whining and no excuses. Get off your rear and update the EMERGENCY
information card in your wallet
or purse. Oh...you don't have one? You're a thrill seeker,
aren't ya? Do it now! I'm about to give you a free web-based
resource that will create a card that you can print and fold
and tuck away in your wallet in a matter of minutes. But
first, read on...
This card needs to contain
current contact information so in the event a perfect
stranger attempting to assist you in a time of need can
deliver you to familiar (and supportive) hands.
You don't need to give up information like your Social
Security Number, but the card does need to contain
Next-of-Kin/Best Friend information for the top three
relatives or friends you want contacted in an emergency.
Include current pager or cell phone numbers, current home,
work and even e-mail addresses.
Be sure to include your full
name, current address and home and work telephone numbers:
If you know your blood type, put this down too, as well as
any allergies or special medical information that would help
an emergency medical technician care for you.
I know I sound like a refugee from the Boy Scouts, but you
really want to take the time to get this into your purse or
wallet...and hope you'll never need to use it! The link I'm
about to give you to create/print a personal Emergency ID
card isn't perfect, but it's better than nothing-and if
you're reading this now there's a better chance that you'll
do something now than put it off and eventually forget about
it altogether. Here's
the link to create a free, temporary Emergency ID
Bought any music CDs over the
last few years? Here's a way for you to make a few
bucks...with no strings attached!
The music industry said they weren't guilty of price-fixing,
but because they're so gosh-darned generous, they decided to
spend over $125 million in cash, CDs and legal fees.
all about it
and then click
here to see how you can get your check
an e-mail from someone who wants to know what to do:
"I just got a letter from Providian telling
me that they checked my credit report and have decided
to cancel my credit card! Can they legally do this?"
If it hasn't happened to you (yet), it might in the months
ahead. What can you do?
- Check your credit reports at least once a year to make
sure the information being reported about you is hopefully
flattering but at the very least, accurate.
- Be aware that if you're having problems with any of your
creditors, or you've been loading up on debt, this is all
the excuse and reason many credit card companies need to
jack up your interest rates, even if you're current and
within your credit limits with them!
The best way to get outta
the trap with these loan sharks? Pay off the cards and
close the accounts ASAP. If you've gotta home, you'll
really wanna think about pulling out some equity and
paying off the cards with a tax-deductible loan. If you
want some terrific information on home mortgages (or any
part of the home buying process) you'll wanna check
out Ben's new 2003 Home Buyer's Guide, just released last
You're on the clock:
Valentine's Day is now 17 days away; wanna make some points
and save some cash? Give flowers...just not
You'll get ripped on
rose prices...so why not send unique flowers that'll
last three times as long for 1/3 the price! Ben's
no-brainer choice? TropicalColors.com!
Order on-line or call 'em toll-free: (800)
Do you have Caller ID? Do
everyone a favor...pick up your phone and press *87:
Unbeknownst to most consumers, when you signed-up for Caller
ID, your pals at the local phone company "helped"
by automatically activating ACR (Anonymous Call Rejection)
on your phone line. ACR rejects any incoming phone calls
from anonymous callers. The phone company does this because
they don't want everyone blocking their identity when
calling, potentially rendering Caller ID useless. Because I
believe you're smart enough to decide which calls to take
(and which calls to ignore), I'm empowering you with the
technical knowledge necessary to neutralize the phone
company. (Want to permanently block your identity from
showing up on all outgoing phone calls you initiate? The
scoop's right here on the website.....
Would you undress or shower in
front of a camera in plain view?
want to start treating cell
with the same level of
respect! You're not gonna believe why you could find
yourself having your Cell Phone confiscated in locker rooms,
bathrooms or secure areas around the world. Say
cheese and read more about it.....
Wake up, Einstein:
They're called Handicap PARKING permits...not
Handicap DRIVING permits!!! (Know anyone
that uses one?) If so, you can help
eliminate one of my biggest pet peeves by spreading the
word, far and wide: Handicap parking placards are not
supposed to hang from the rear view mirror while the car's
in motion. (It even says so right on the placard itself.)
The last thing any driver-especially handicap parking
permit-toting drivers need is something (else) swinging back
and forth, blocking their vision and creating a hazardous
distraction while they drive. Wake up and put 'em away!!!
With the emotions of the
holiday season almost behind you by now [aren't they?], the
credit card bills have been showing up [or pouring
into] your mailbox:
Get ready for the
reality of your own personal financial condition to become
even more clear (and more depressing) than ever before. Your
#1 goal this year? Bite the bullet and pull the
Bankruptcy is one alternative
that the credit counseling services hope you won't consider:
If you don't seek their advice and assistance, they won't
have a chance to collect any "voluntary"
commissions on the monies they collect in their
"non-profit" role of debt repayment assistance
counselors. The latest insights and developments concerning
proposed (and probably inevitable later this year)
bankruptcy laws changes are available
right here on the website.
Now's a good time to tie-up
those loose ends with your friends at the IRS:
They're not going away anytime soon...and with the tough
economy, there's more pressure on them than ever before to
collect more taxes. Want more information on how to start
the process on your terms? Here
I came across a little
technique your creditors might be benefiting from that
could set you up for late charges!
love how smart you
guys are...here's an e-mail that
proves it, and may save you some money on late fees for
the rest of your life! "Just
a heads up, Ben: I'm in the printing business, and suggest
your readers/listeners/viewers pay special attention to how
their credit card payment coupon is SUPPOSED to line up with
the address window in the return envelope. Many times, the
envelope is made incorrectly or the statement coupon is
sized wrong. Either way, the return address is partially
hidden, causing delays in getting the payment posted.
Result? Late fees! I suggest ignoring their instructions to
not staple through the check and the envelope. That way, the
address is sure to stay visible. So what if it causes
"extra work" on the part of the credit card
posting department. If they want their money, let them do
the extra work. This happened on a couple of major credit
card company bills recently...and they're not alone. Keep up
the great work. Sincerely, Greg N. in Dallas"
know the return portions of your credit card billing
statements always tell you to not staple the envelope. I
know all about their automated sorting equipment that
opens our envelopes containing checks and payment coupons.
But the Post Office has automated sorting equipment
too...and if the return coupon doesn't line up through the
little window in the envelope properly, your payment gets
there late. And they get to pop you with another late fee!
I'd never encourage you to staple their precious
envelopes, but you might wanna make sure before you
seal the envelope that the entire address is clearly
visible through the window. If it's not? A little
piece of tape will help keep it in place...or a staple
if you're one of those thrill-seeking types that likes to
really push the "envelope" [no pun intended] in
life. (You know who you are: You're the wild ones
who run around the house with scissors..or drink milk
that's a day-or-two past its expiration date.)
another way your bank is setting you up for
failure...while setting themselves up for bigger profits!
According to a recent story in The
New York Times: "At
least 1,000 banks are encouraging customers with low
balances to overdraw their checking accounts, allowing the
banks to skirt credit laws and collect billions of dollars
in new fees.
The banks' programs cover checks
that would otherwise bounce and even allow people to
overdraw their accounts with ATM and debit cards. The fees
are paid disproportionately by low- and moderate-income
people, according to industry consultants who help banks
create and market the programs. One consultant advises
banks to maximize the fees by opening branches "in
supermarkets, particularly supermarkets with a middle to
down market and a family target market."
Banks say that they are offering a
service that enables people to avoid paying bounced-check
fees to retailers. But many inside and outside the banking
business say the programs, while extremely profitable for
the banks, are a bad deal for consumers and amount to
The move to encourage overdrafts is
a major shift. In the past, when consumer groups
complained that bounced-check fees were excessive, banks
generally responded that high fees encouraged people to
use their checking accounts responsibly. Now, with banks
increasingly dependent on fees from consumers, overdrafts
have become a source of profit."
Bouncing Bottom Line?
1. If you don't
balance your checkbook, you will end up padding the bank's
bottom line...they are going to get you one way or the
2. Should the banks
to be faulted for wanting to find ways to be profitable?
Of course not...but their tactics encourage consumers to
make stupid and potentially expensive financial mistakes
are suspect, at best.
3. Less than 25% of
the nation's checkbook carrying populace balances their
account every month: You snooze...you lose! If you don't
balance your checkbook, you're asking for trouble and
setting yourself up for disaster. Should the bank make a
mistake and you fail to catch it within 60 days of your
statement date, you're screwed. Period. End of discussion.
read more about it?
you be sleeping with the enemy?
Valentine's Day coming up soon, it seems timely to
discuss the darker side of love. Here's the inside
scoop from Houston-based Private Investigator Ed
Pankau on "How To Catch A
Cheating Spouse [or significant other]":
home a little earlier than expected:
Then hit the re-dial button on all the phones. You may
not be the only one surprised by who answers the other
end of the phone.
your significant other have a cell phone?
The same re-dial feature comes in handy here, too.
Phones, Part II:
Most of them have a
history of the last 10 phone calls dialed. Hmmmm...might
be worth reviewing sometime when the other person's in
the shower or indisposed.....
Does your spouse have
one? Why not? Don't you care about their safety? Then
get 'em one...then make sure you have the bills [or
copies of the bills] sent to you so you can peruse the
"calls made" list. Make sure you specify
with the cell phone company that you want a bill that
includes a detail of all incoming/outgoing calls.
worth noting when you get a look at the phone bill?
Check to see who receives the first call they make
(when they leave for the day), and the last call they
make before arriving home.
your spouse/significant other travel?
After they leave their hotel, call the front
desk/business office/cashier a few hours later, and
tell them you're the assistant for [name of target]
and that they either didn't get/don't have/lost their
bill/receipt [pick one]. "Could you please
fax a copy to our office? Here's our fax
number..." They'll never be suspicious you'll
have a chance to inspect the charges incurred. You
might be surprised at the amount of information on a
hotel bill [especially if the target has an expense
account]: Room service, in-room movies, mini-bar and
[drum roll, please] a detail of the phone numbers
called. (Have fun...!)
Scents and style are
always two big warning flags that something's going
on. She's wearing new perfume? He's wearing new after
shave? New boxers [if they wore briefs]? New briefs
[if they wore boxers]? New thigh-highs? Garters?
Underwear? Lacy bras? Bustiers? New romance almost
always triggers new purchases in these areas. Believe
hours on end surfing the Internet?
your spouse/significant other is practically
obsessive-compulsive about checking their e-mail,
there's probably more than just business e-mails
they're looking for. There's software out there that
monitors kids on-line activities...it works just as
well to monitor older-kids on-line time. Spector Pro
automatically records everything your spouse, children
or employees do on-line. Features include stealth
e-mail monitoring, chat and instant message recording,
complete keystroke logging and more. Check it out and
then check them out: www.spectorsoft.com
get a copy of a phone bill? A credit card statement?
Run a license plate?
background on someone...perhaps outside of
conventional channels? Then you need to find an
Don't ask/don't tell: They
name a price, you pay...they get you what you need.
Illegal? Perish the thought.
Effective in the world of personal intelligence? Play
to win kids. Wanna know
where to find an information broker? Check
out my one-stop shop for the intelligence community...
the Rockford Files re-enactment...learn how to analyze
their handwriting instead!
Baggett's the founder of www.handwritinguniversity.com
and one of the best handwriting analysts around. He's
got all sorts of free stuff on his website [of course
he's setting you up to spend some dough...but it's
reasonably-priced and if you don't like it, you'll get
your money back]. There's more science at work than
here and get the free e-book Bart offered on the show.