Army Staff Sgt. David Madeux, 26, thought he was getting a good deal on a laptop that he needed to stay in touch with family while deployed to Iraq. He didn’t have any cash, but the business he was working with offered him financing.
“They had easy financing and they did it right then and there and I walked out with a laptop in less than 30 minutes,” said the Fort Campbell, Ky., soldier. What he didn’t know was that he had agreed to pay $189 a month for three years for a laptop that broke three months later.
Scams like these that prey on young, inexperienced soldiers and their families are increasing, said Holly Petraeus, who is the wife of Gen. David Petraeus and has become a leading advocate for consumer protections for the military.
“They are targeted because they have an absolutely guaranteed paycheck that comes in twice a month,” she said. “For a big installation like this one, that’s a whole lot of those paychecks. It makes a very big payroll and can be one of the biggest in the state.”
Outside the gates at Fort Campbell, like many military installations, businesses try to attract military customers with advertising and special deals, ranging from car and motorcycle lots, jewelry and pawn stores to housing. But because many military families move often, they don’t know which ones are reputable businesses, Petraeus said.
Read more here. It's terrific to know that someone is cracking down on this behavior, but honestly, I didn't know this was a problem? Had you heard of these scams aimed at the military?
The Applicant of the Day is a single mom in Carlsbad, California who is thiiiiiiis close to self-sufficiency for herself and her child:
I am a single mom of a 6 year old and have been unemployed for a year, exhausting all savings, 401k plans--everything is gone. I have cleaned houses, taken house sitting jobs, walked and taken care of animals to buy groceries, utilities, gas and car maintenance.
My health has suffered from the stress. I am suffering from an undiagnosed skin disorder and have incurred medical bills. My car has needed several repairs and is currently needing shocks, alignment and new tires. I have recently been hired by a company offering a base salary, health benefits and the opportunity to rebuild my 401k plan. The new job is an outside sales position, and I will need my car in good running condition in order to perform my job.
I am resilient. I keep thinking I have hit rock bottom, but last week I came home on a blown out tire to find an eviction pending notice on my door (and then find out that my car needed to new tires and alignment and shocks), it was a very stressful situation. But I keep a sound mind, calmness, and peacefulness in our house to keep moving forward. I know there is hope and kindness in the world, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make this work.
By funding this application, I will be able to use my first paycheck to catch up on utilities and get my car in good working condition for my new position. I know that there are kind people that are willing to help me and my son. There are so many moms in my position. My goal is to become sustainable enough to be able to help organizations such as this and continue to help the families that have reached out to me for help.
The Modest Needs Independent Living Grant is designed specifically to help individuals and families who live with a disability. Often these folks are uninsured. Sometimes they are insured, but the insurance company doesn't cover the cose of accessibility equipment. Severe disabilities--diseases like dementia and ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), for example--can require full time caretakers which causes the bank account to take a severe hit, whether you hire someone or leave your job to take care of a loved one.
A new University study published in Nature identifying evidence of a common cause in all forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease), a neurodegenerative disease causing fatal paralysis, opens a door to a cure for a disease that has long stumped scientists.
The study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that irregular protein degradation of ubiquilin2 is common in all forms of ALS. When the disease is present, the damaged proteins are not recycled and taken away, instead they accumulate in neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This accumulations causes the nervous system to lose its ability to relay messages to the body's muscular system, gradually depriving those with the disease of their ability to move and breathe. This discovery could have a broader impact on treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases also characterized by the irregular accumulation of proteins, like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Neuroscientist and senior author of the study, Dr. Teepu Siddique has been studying ALS for a quarter century. He said, "It was one of the most difficult problems in neurology and the most devastating, a disease without any treatment or known cause."
Terrific news! Dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS affect such a wide swath of Americans that this discovery must stoke the hopes of families in the thousands and thousands. Yay, science!
I am married with no children living at home. My husband has been disabled since 1975 and last June 2010 I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and had to stop working for a while. My medical care is 170 miles from our home (340 round trip). Since January 2011, I have made ten trips to Iowa City, where I must go for care as my insurance will only pay for their treatment. We live on my husbands disability which is $660/month so with the rising gas prices we have not always been able to pay our bills on time.
I had surgery related to my cancer in April, so we had expenses for the trip to the hospital, the cost of a motel for one night so my husband could be with me the day of my surgery, and then the cost for him to return home, and then drive to hospital to pick me up and return me home. This wasn't exactly unexpected, but with our fixed income, it really put us behind.
Now, with the heat, our electric bill is much higher than usual, and we just can't pay it. I have tried everything I can think of to receive help with our utility bill but nothing seems to help.
If we don't get help with this bill I will have to cancel my surgery set for August 9th until we get Alliant caught up because we can't be without electricity. The surgery is to reverse the ostomy bag so I won't need it anymore. If I have to delay my surgery it will delay me returning to work and we'll be worse off than before I had cancer.
Since I found out I had cancer it seems like everything is against us. Most of my friends or family don't know what to say to me so they just quit talking to me, so thinking that there are strangers that care and would help me seems like a miracle. I know once I catch up and I have surgery in August I will be back on my feet and working so that this won't happen again. It's nice to know that there are strangers that have faith that I can do it and will help me out so that I get a good start on getting our lives back together.
Weather-tracking maps on Monday suggest Irene could make landfall as soon as late Thursday. Though the tools are less reliable in advance of 72 hours from landfall, some models forecast that the Carolinas are vulnerable to a major storm with winds in excess of 110 miles per hour.
Regardless, 2011 already promises to be the costliest year in history for natural disasters around the globe.
By some estimates, insurers have lost as much as $90 billion already this year, 20 percent more than they lost in 2009 and 2010 combined. Insurers have not been able to raise rates for three years amid strong competition and readily available supply, but industry veterans say even a small storm now would be enough to trigger premium hikes.
"It wouldn't take much of a material event to cause significant firming," said Gary Prestia, chief executive of the U.S. business at global reinsurer Flagstone Re. (FSR.N) "It wouldn't take the typical $40 billion Katrina to push this into a firmer market than it is currently."
Are you in Irene's possible path? If you own your home, are you covered by a type of insurance that would help if disaster struck? And what do you think of the possibility of premium hikes? Let's hear from you.
She is a single woman in Duluth, Georgia who battles epilepsy. Her income is such that there is no money left for emergencies, so when her roommate vacated the residence without paying her share of the rent, this Georgia woman was left to pay the entire amount.
She was able to find a small apartment that she can afford by herself, but she must move into the property September 1st to claim the unit. The only thing she needs help with is the cost of the move.
This Georgia lady tells Modest Needs, 'This is a totally unexpected expense, I had no warning that I would have to move...I'm not going to give up or feel sorry for myself. I have learned from having epilepsy that you grow stronger from your trials.'
The apartment she found is very close to her school, which she is attending to get a degree in Health Science Information. She will have a work study program that will increase her income by $100.00 more per week. She just needs a hand getting into a place she can afford.
If someone owns a small color television set that is a hand-me-down from her sister, does that mean that this someone is not poor?
What if this same person has two televisions, both color TVs--a big, color set your last roommate sold you for $100 so she wouldn't have to move it and the smaller hand-me-down, does that mean this individual can not be in poverty?
What if they only work she can find is part-time work, and even those few hours require child care costs and no health insurance means constant out-of-pocket costs for her kids' doctor visits and she is just barely scraping by, but she has those two TVs and even a $20 DVD player she picked up at Wal-Mart around Christmas time? Does that constitute too many "luxuries" to be classified as poor?
Sixty-three percent (63%) of American Adults think a family that is adequately fed and living in a house or apartment that is in good repair is not in poverty. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only nine percent (9%) disagree, with 27% more who are not sure.
Similarly, 51% believe a family that has two color TVs, a VCR and a DVD player is not living in poverty. Sixteen percent (16%) say a family like that is poor. Thirty-three percent (33%) are undecided.
Still, 73% of Americans believe poverty in the United States today is at least somewhat severe. Twenty-three percent (23%) don’t think poverty in America is severe. These figures include 31% who say it’s Very Severe and three percent (3%) who believe it’s Not At All Severe.
The questions I posed at the beginning of this posted are hypotheticals, but not far at all from the scope of possibility. Are TVs a good measurement of wealth? Is food and a roof all you need to avoid the classification of poverty?
I'll admit I was suprised by the the number of people who think a simple roof and enough food means you can't be considered poor or in poverty. People who cannot afford adequate health care--which we all know without insurance (or even with it) isn't cheap--are always on the brink of losing one or both of those things when they get sick or get hurt. And does some old used color TV really make that big a difference?
Let's hear what you think! We want your opinion on this story, and we want to know if the results surpised *you*. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on these survey results and anything else you might have on your mind.