Archive for 'Issues' Category


Is there a financial literacy crisis among US teens?

Published 8/12/14

Is there a financial literacy crisis among US teens? By Justin Boyle

In what might seem like a dispatch from the Tell-Me-Something-I-Don't-Know Department, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released data last month that indicate American teenagers have a below-average grasp of personal finance for their age.

The NCES study, known as the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, asked 28 million 15-year-olds various questions that tested their financial literacy and problem-solving skills. The results revealed that many kids from the U.S. don't know much about income tax or basic compound interest, let alone financial planning or investment principles.

Is this a crisis? Here's a look at the numbers.

The stats don't lie

First, the bad news: Just 9 percent of U.S. students tested at level 5 or above for financial literacy. That's the level that includes long-term investment planning, big-picture financial concepts and unstated implications in financial documents, which, frankly, many adults don't even understand.

What's more troubling is that 18 percent of U.S. students surveyed tested below level 2 on the study's rating scale.

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What an Internet Tax means to you

Published 1/31/11  (Modified 3/22/11)

What an Internet Tax means to you By MoneyBlueBook

I recently bought a laptop over the Internet. Shopping online, I found a great price and I didn't have to drive around to different stores to compare products and features. But is it fair that I didn't have to pay any sales tax because I bought the laptop online?

Retailers say the playing field should be leveled out with an Internet sales tax that would be collected at the point of purchase. Now I am not fan of paying more taxes, but the thought of helping put a local company out of business because I like to shop in my pajamas doesn't sit well with me either.

Taxing e-commerce

During President's Clinton administration, the Internet Tax Freedom Act was signed into law to protect commercial aspects of the Internet. The law prohibits federal, state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet or adding taxes that would limit Internet usage. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) has now been renewed through Nov. 1, 2014, but the law does not address the collection of sales tax. So a few states have made it mandatory for online retailers to charge a sales tax, while a few others left the burden on the consumer to self-report their sales tax.

The latest twist is that some states have now decided that large retailers like Amazon or Overstock should be forced to collect sales tax even

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Living Near Power Lines: Is it Dangerous to Your Health?

Published 8/28/09  (Modified 6/17/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

The Internet is quite a mixed bag of information - a wild, wild west cornucopia of unfiltered and unadulterated questions and answers. Among the nuggets of knowledge, there's an endless supply of trashy material and unsubstantiated half truths. For every debatable issue imaginable, there are legions of supporters and oppositions on both sides of the divide. Search engines like Google and Bing do nothing to segregate the legitimate articles from the biased quackery and it's often up to the readers themselves to differentiate fact from fiction. Such is the case with a very contentious and controversial issue of mine that's literally hitting close to home - the issue of living next to power lines and whether they have any negative impact on one's health.

From the various articles available online, you'll frequently read comments and posts from individuals claiming that their personal cancers and miscarriages were the direct results of living too close to nearby power lines. Though when subjected to scientific scrutiny, this does not necessarily indicate a definitive connection between the two, it's easy to see how the passionate and emotional voices could come to such conclusions. In my case, both of my parents are survivors of lymphoma cancer. Both of them successfully completed their chemotherapy treatments and both were able to cure themselves of the cancers that plagued their bodies for months. However, as far as I know - they and I have never lived in close proximity to power lines of any sort. However, if we hypothetically had, I'm sure I would

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How To Stop Receiving Paper Junk Mail and Save Trees

Published 6/18/09  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

After finally returning home from an extended three month overseas trip to spend time with my parents, I was greeted back home by an overweight mail box stuffed to the brim and absolutely overflowing with junk mail. Although I had authorized my mail to be temporarily redirected to my brother's address while I was away, a very great deal of unsolicited junk mailers, expired coupon booklets, and pre-approved credit card offers still mysteriously winded up in my inbox. All in all, the entire paper pile, weighing in excess of many pounds, ultimately found its way straight into my trash can in a matter of minutes - fulfilling its pointless life cycle as not only a complete waste of my personal time, but as a fruitless consumer of precious natural resources.

Save The Environment and De-clutter Your Life By Reducing Junk Mail Trash

According to online statistics from sources such as the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD), a non profit organization based in Maryland whose stated mission is to protect the environment by helping Americans develop sustainable consumption habits - simply by eliminating the amount of junk mail you receive every day can significantly reduce the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, as well as greatly reduce the landfill space usage and carbon footprint that you leave behind. For example, according to numbers provided by CNAD, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and various sources, did you know that:

  • The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equivalent to 1.5 trees every year, which comes out
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Second Stimulus Check For Obama 2009 Economic Stimulus Package?

Published 2/4/09  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Tax Cuts, Social Spending, and New Jobs - But What About Stimulus Checks?

A second economic stimulus package for 2009 is on the way and from the looks of things in the news, it appears newly minted President Barack H. Obama and his Democrat controlled House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are determined to ram the lucrative spending proposals through the legislative meat grinder no matter what, much to the chagrin of skeptical and deficit-weary Congressional Republicans.

As Congress debates the wisdom and intricate details of the current version of the 2009 economic stimulus package, it's clear that something needs to be done very soon to jumpstart and save our suffering economy before we spiral into a full blown economic depression. The unemployment rate is rising fast and everywhere you turn, there seems to be a never ending stream of unemployment and layoff news being announced everyday. The stock market has already shed more than half of its value since its peak in 2007, and billions to trillions of dollars worth of wealth have already been eliminated from the economy. Major banks and financial giants like Citibank, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase, once the financial pillars of our economy and the lifeblood of our credit industry, are now clinging onto U.S. government bailout money for dear life - hoping to still be in business at the end of every quarter.

With its almost limitless resources, it's clear the federal government must intervene somehow and put this broken economy and financial system back on track to prosperity.

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The MonaVie Acai Berry Super Fruit Juice - Mona Vie Scam?

Published 12/30/08  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Review of MonaVie and The Acai Berry Fruit Juice Company's Health and Marketing Claims

MonaVie. Mona Vie. The word actually sounds like a spin off of some french phrase (mon ami), but when I hear the name, two things immediately come to mind - acai berry juice and multi level marketing pyramid scheme. The MLM business scheme or pyramid marketing concept usually elicits a series of red alert alarm bells in my brain's BS scam detector, however, I'm willing to take a closer look at MonaVie before rendering my personal critique and verdict. After having tried out and actually tasted the MonaVie acai berry fruit drink, I have to admit, it's a rather sweet and tasty beverage - sort of a crisp combination of grape juice, blue berries, black berries, and a hint of dark chocolate. There's not much negative commentary I can sling at the MonaVie product in terms of taste alone, but the outrageously expensive price tag and the rather suspicious marketing approach of the company leave much to be desired.

As an ordinary American consumer and a casual observer, I'm not sure what to make of this whole MonaVie acai berry fruit juice craze that seems to be sweeping the health and fitness world. The product's been featured on the Food Network and on daytime talk shows for women like the Rachel Ray show, and eagerly touted by popular television hosts like Oprah Winfrey as the ultimate nectar of the gods. At least several medical commentators have appeared on The Oprah

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