Data Breaches Continue – Protect Yourself

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Another Day, Another Breach

Have we reached the point where Americans react to data breaches with a yawn? Given the constant stream of new attacks and the staggering number of accounts involved, that’s an understandable reaction.

The sportswear retailer Adidas recently joined the list of companies successfully attacked by hackers. The size of the data breach isn’t fully determined as of this writing, but an Adidas spokesperson estimated that “a few million” consumers who purchased products through the company’s U.S. website could be affected.

So far, the breach involves contact information and usernames, along with encrypted passwords – but not credit card information or any personal information regarding health and fitness.

Adidas joins a long list of corporations hit by data breaches over the last few years, including Delta Air Lines, Sears, Boeing, Under Armour, Panera Bread, Hudson’s Bay Company, and Best Buy. Hackers have…

Home Prices Outpace Pay Increases

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Affordable Housing? What Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing is increasingly hard to find in today’s market. According to data from Trulia, America’s inventory of starter homes has decreased by almost half compared to six years ago while prices rose by almost 58%.

As consumers recovered from the housing crisis and Great Recession, more people became financially able to own a home. The existing supply was quickly consumed, leading to the current imbalance.

Recent polls suggest that affordable housing woes will continue through 2018 and beyond. According to a Reuters poll of property market analysts, home prices are expected to increase at almost double the rate of wages through 2018. Home prices are predicted to gain 5.7% more over the course of the year, while average annual earnings growth is predicted to be 2.8% – slightly above the predicted inflation rate of 2.5%.

At least inflation is expected to stay more in line with wages, hel…

Lenders Pulling Back on New Subprime Loans

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It’s tough living on the lower end of the credit score scale. If you have a credit score below 640 or so, you are generally given “subprime” lending offers for any form of credit that you request. From credit cards to auto loans and mortgages, you will be hit with higher interest rates and potentially other restrictions and fees.

According to credit bureau TransUnion’s Q2 2017 Industry Insights Report, you now have another problem to deal with – difficulty in getting credit at all.

TransUnion found that overall originations for subprime consumer credit have dropped sharply over the past four quarters. Total subprime originations dropped from a post-crisis peak of just under 6 million consumers in Q2 2016 to just under 4.6 million in Q1 2017. The last two quarters represent the first consecutive year-over-year decreases in overall subprime ori…

Trump and Bankruptcy

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Unless you have been in an isolation tank for some time, you know that Donald Trump is running for President of the United States. He of the iconic hair is particularly sensitive to discussions about bankruptcy, as his operations have declared bankruptcy multiple times. While the Donald may not like it, it’s fair to ask how a man who wants to be President can tout his business acumen and ability to straighten out the country while having filed for bankruptcy not once or twice, but several times.

Here’s why the question annoys the Donald: Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. However, his operations have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy four times between 1991 and 2009. There is a distinct difference.

As opposed to the Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcies generally used by individuals, Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows large corporations to stay in business while reorganizi…