Tag Archives: money

Meet Ray Dalio

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MDC shares the best line, “I remember my mistakes better than I remember my successes’

Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio sat down with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget to discuss his book “Principles: Life and Work.” Here Dalio explains the importance of learning from his mistakes.

“Principles: Life and Work” is the first of two planned books, and includes a short autobiography along with an expanded version of the “Principles” that all Bridgewater employees read when joining the company. Following is a transcript of the video.

Henry Blodget: And one of the other principles that you stress is this idea that you should teach your team to fish rather than giving them fish, but you gotta give ’em room to make mistakes. This is something that Jeff Bezos and many other incredibly innovate entrepreneurs have stressed again and again. We have to get over the fear of mistakes. This seems to be a key part.

Dalio: Well, you learn from mistakes and learn from pain. Like I say, you can scratch the car, but you can’t total the car. Okay. Mistakes is one of the best sources of learning, right. Successes mean you do the same thing over again, and okay, that’s fine, but mistakes that are painful stick. When I look back on my career, I think that the mistakes were the best thing that happened to me.

I remember my mistakes better than I remember my successes. Somehow there must be more of the successes to get me where I am, but I remember all the mistakes, and I remember the lessons. So that’s what I mean by pain plus reflection equals progress. So yeah, it’s okay for you to make mistakes. It’s not okay for you to not learn from those mistakes. That’s a principle in there, right. And so you have a culture that operates this way.

If you don’t have a culture that operates this way, it’s not gonna be self-reinforcing. And so the reason I’m talking about these types of principles rather than my economic and investment principles, which’ll come out in the next book is because these are the most fundamental principles, which are the basis of success. And they’re not just in investment, investment firms principles. It’s not just a hedge funds principles. It’s like life principles and how we’re gonna deal effectively with each other.

Quaaludes and Bill Cosby

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What is this connection to Bill Cosby and Quaaludes?

Until the revelations of Bill Cosby’s past sexual behaviors no one spoke of quaaludes, and that drug needs to be explained in it’s time frame connecting to the history of the Viet Nam War.

Before the United States Government pulled Quaaludes off the available market somewhere in the late seventies, they were known by many names, Ludes, Sopers, 714’s, just a few.

The angry war torn sixties bred riots in Los Angeles, Detroit, and many Cities across America, and cities were ready to go into flames after the deaths of MLK, and RFK. America’s youth were just about out of control.. All Americans were split between supporting patriotically or resisting patriotically the Viet Nam War.

Out of the blue one day in those late sixties, a muscle relaxant hit the streets. A new heart medicine, and this pill had an unexpected side effect, it removed any sexual inhibitions. Inhibitions fell away and an angry generation turned into a love mush. We made love not war and that was a way to cope with the insanity of it all.

The high from ingesting a Lude, is as if you were drinking all night without having the side effects of a hangover.

“Looking for Mr. Goodbar”, a film portraying a life taken over by quaaludes, was the only film exploring the affects of the soporific high and gave an accurate portrait of how one felt during and after. It is a very good movie.

The Love Drug by any other name never swept a new generation like the “quaalude”. You can have your blue pill, Viagra, or it’s equivalent, what the blue pill lacks is the extraordinary ability of a Lude to remove one’s inhibitions. Inhibitions disappeared, Can you imagine a tightly strung individual, who tried uppers and downers, who has smoked all varieties of hash and pot, and is still trying to cope with the Draft, the Politics, all that the Viet Nam periods generation endured, and comes across a pill that wants you to love the one your with, take your clothes off, enjoy your body and let worries fade away. What! You don’t get a hangover? Not unless you have four or five Ludes at a time.

Those were uptight times. The boomer generation and the small part of the preceding generations dreams and aspirations were thrown away with the death of JFK. That cover-up known as the Viet Nam War, hiding the atrocities created in conceiving the assassinations of the leaders of real change with more war and fear of Commie threats has ruined truth maybe permanently.

Quaaludes were a fix, albeit a way to calm the young among us. I am sure that if they were available today they would be as popular as ever. The side affects of Quaaludes were the breaking down of the immune system, Viral infections were common.

None the less having a Lude was good medicine and the boomers who enjoyed that moment of love have never lost the gift losing inhibitions brought, almost like what love in Paradise would be like. It was hard to come down from that.

With that historic small perspective you can now understand that two generations ago, when Timothy Leary rode that Magic Bus across America dropping LSD in little towns and villages, cities and countryside, when he spoke of that time he said most brilliantly, “How did I know not everyone wanted to fly”.

When we look back today, at yesterday, and how we played to cope with the insanity of Viet Nam by doing pills and drugs, we listened to the artists and they were doing the same drugs to cope. In the burbs the housewives were on pills, and today it seems everyone is on some pill or another.

If America comes off of the multiple highs each of us instantly gratify each day, then maybe we can forgive an old comedian who everyone hit on, well he is human after all, and he ain’t the first celeb Player fawned over, just the most recent society hungers to knock off their pedestal, the one we created.

LA or NYC

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I was born on 148th Street in 1965, and from then until the late 1990s it never dawned on me to live anywhere other than New York City. When I lived on 14th Street in the late ‘80s, I paid $140 a month to share an apartment with a bunch of other odd and dysfunctional musicians and artists. AIDS, crack and a high murder rate kept most people away from New York back then. But even though it was a war zone, or perhaps to some extent because it was a war zone, Manhattan was still the cultural capital of the world. Of course everything’s changed since. New York has, to state the obvious, become the city of money. People say your rent should be 30 percent of your salary; in Manhattan today, at least for many people, it’s hovering around 300 percent.

The gradual shift in New York’s economic fortunes and mores reminds me of the boiling frog theory. If you take a frog and throw it in a pot of boiling water, the frog will do everything in its power to escape. But if you place a frog in room-temperature water and slowly raise the heat, it will boil to death without realizing it’s dying. (I truly hope this theory will never actually be tested.) That’s what happened to me in New York. I was so accustomed to the city’s absurd cult of money that it took me years to notice I didn’t have any artist friends left in Manhattan, and the artists and musicians I knew were slowly moving farther and farther east, with many parts of Brooklyn even becoming too pricey for aspiring or working artists.

New York had entered the pantheon of big cities that people visit and observe and patronize and document, but don’t actually add to, like Paris.

During the 1990s, thanks to the cessation of the crack epidemic, New York became increasingly safer and more affluent, and less artist-friendly, but it was still the place I wanted to call home. What happened next reminded me of Gremlins: you’re not supposed to feed the gremlins after midnight or they metastasize. Gremlin midnight came to New York sometime in the mid-‘90s. I realized then that most people I met in New York were happily observing and talking about culture, but not necessarily contributing to it. It seemed New York had entered the pantheon of big cities that people visit and observe and patronize and document, but don’t actually add to, like Paris. No one goes to Paris imagining how they can contribute to the city. People go to Paris thinking, “Wow, I want to get my picture taken with Paris in the background.” That’s what New York became, a victim of its own photogenic beauty and success.

And, to again state the obvious, New York is exclusively about success—it’s success that has been fed steroids and B vitamins. There’s a sense that New Yorkers never fail, but if they do, they’re exorcised from memory, kind of like Trotsky in early pictures of the Soviet Communist Politburo. In New York you can be easily overwhelmed by how much success everyone else seems to be having, whereas in L.A., everybody publicly fails at some point—even the most successful people. A writer’s screenplay may be turned into a major movie, but there’s a good chance her next five screenplays won’t even get picked up. An actor may star in acclaimed films for two years, then go a decade without work. A musician who has sold well might put out a complete failure of a record—then bounce back with the next one. Experimentation and a grudging familiarity with occasional failure are part of L.A.’s ethos.

Experimentation and a grudging familiarity with occasional failure are part of L.A.’s ethos.

Maybe I’m romanticizing failure, but when it’s shared, it can be emancipating and even create solidarity. Young artists in L.A. can really experiment, and if their efforts fall short, it’s not that bad because their rent is relatively cheap and almost everyone else they know is trying new things and failing, too. There’s also the exciting, and not unprecedented, prospect of succeeding at a global level. You can make something out of nothing here. Take Katy Perry. She’s a perfectly fine singer who one minute was literally couch surfing and the next was a household name selling out 50,000-capacity stadiums. Or Quentin Tarantino, one minute a video clerk, the next minute one of the most successful writer/directors in history. Los Angeles captures that strange, exciting and at times delusional American notion of magical self-invention.

I don’t want to create a New York-L.A. dichotomy, because both cities are progressive and wonderful, and there are clearly many other great American cities. Artists aren’t just leaving New York for L.A.—they’re also going to Portland, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia and countless other places. And, as an aside, I don’t know why they aren’t moving to Newark. It’s 15 minutes away from Manhattan and remarkably cheap. I think it’s the unwarranted New Jersey stigma that unfortunately keeps people from crossing the Hudson. People would rather move to the worst part of Brooklyn and still have the magical “NY” in their address. That single consonant on their mail—”Y” as opposed to “J”— seems to keep people from making that 15-minute trek to Newark.

Plenty of other cities in the United States and abroad are, of course, interesting and beautiful, but I moved to L.A. due to its singular pre-apocalyptic strangeness. It seems equally baffled and baffling, with urban and suburban and wilderness existing in fantastic chaos just inches away from one another. There’s no center to L.A, and in many ways it’s kind of a fantastically confused petri dish of an anti-city. If you’re in New York, Brussels, London or Milan, you’re surrounded by a world that has been subdued and overseen by humans for centuries, sometimes for millennia. They’re stable cities; and when you’re in an older city you feel a sense of safety, as if you’re in a city that’s been, and being, well looked after. You feel like most well-established and conventional cities know what they’re doing. L.A., on the other hand, is constantly changing and always seemingly an inch away from some sort of benign collapse.

Nature, with all its empty, otherworldly expanses, is the constant, hulking neighbor to Los Angeles.

If you look at some of L.A.’s patron saint artists, like Robert Irwin and James Turrell, their work is about the vast, unknowable and at times uncaring strangeness of the world we live in—not the human world, but the natural world. And it makes sense: nature, with all its empty, otherworldly expanses, is the constant, hulking neighbor to Los Angeles. The moment you leave L.A., you’re in a desert that would most likely kill you if you left your water bottle at home. For southern California, humanity is the weird exception, not the rule.

L.A.’s strange environment and contradictions have also shaped the sound of my recent music. My last album, Innocents, is a fairly quiet and domestic record, almost like whistling in the dark in the face of the vast maw. And if I were more of a weird, brave artist—and maybe I’ll do this in the future—I would move out into the desert and let its vastness and uncaringness inform what I’m doing. So far I have made quiet sounds as something of a retreat into my home.

I should admit I have an ulterior motive in promoting L.A. I’m so outspoken about my love for the city because I want my friends to move here. When friends from New York ask me why I moved here, I say, somewhat elusively, “David Lynch lives here, there’s the Museum of Jurassic Technology, rents are relatively cheap, and I can run around outside 365 days of the year. Oh, and there are still recording studios in L.A.” And I’m always sending them real estate listings, especially when they complain about the cost of real estate in New York (in other words: constantly). If the weather is bad in New York in February, I’ll also be a clichéd Angeleno and send them a picture of me outside by the pool. Not just because I’m an asshole and I like shameless Schadenfreude, but also because I think they’d be happier here, especially those who are trying to start families. Even friends of mine who are making very good salaries of $150,000 a year feel dirt-poor when they picture raising kids in New York. My friends who are trying to start families in New York have given up on simple things, like ever having a 50-square-foot backyard for their kids. A good domestic life is simply more attainable here, as L.A has both invented and perfected that strange balance between the suburban and the apocalyptic. But let’s be clear, I have an agenda: I want my friends to join me here so I can sit with them by my pool in February and look at the weather updates for the rest of the Western world and feel smug together.

Source: thx MOBY, the village misses ya!

The Greek Debt 



MDC says, Greece has secured debt restructuring and medium-term financing. The deal with its creditors after seventeen hours of marathon talks with eurozone leaders will allow the country to stay in the eurozone. 

Greece will now have to rush legislation through parliament this week to to begin talks on a three-year loan.

“There are strict conditions to be met. The approval of several national parliaments, including the Greek parliament, is now needed for negotiations on an ESM programme to formally begin,” explained Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. “Nevertheless, the decision gives Greece a chance to get back on track with the support of European partners.

“Since the beginning of what’s been described as the “Greek case,” the [European]Commission never stopped to insist on the fact that we wouldn’t accept any kind of “Grexit.” There won’t be any “Grexit,” Jean Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, told reporters at a press conference after the talks.

The eurogroup president gave details of a privatisation fund of 50 billion euros to pay Greece’s debt.

“..and part of that agreement is that a fund will be set up which will … assets will be transferred to this fund, the fund will monetize these assets, either by privatizing or by running the assests and trying to make Jeroen Dijsselbloem. “That money will be used to deal with debt and to reduce debt. Also it will be used for repayment and recapitalization of banks.”

Analysts say Greece prime minister Alexis Tsipras has abandoned hope of the end to austerity he had promised Greeks when his Syriza party was elected in January.

Buffett Money 



CNBC featured Becky Quick this past Monday morning with her frequent super star guest Warren Buffett as sole commentator.  Like many listeners, I was interested in what #WarrenBuffett would say about everything, Buffett being the foremost investment guru the World might currently have, and to my great disappointment Mr. Buffett spoke about the Keystone Pipeline as if it were an inevitable proposition we should support because it comes from our friendly neighbors to the North, Canada and it would be bad form to not take this oil.  We can’t dis our friends in so many words.

My admiration of Mr. Buffett has been much like the rest of the world consistent and consistently interested in how he views the world and his positive take on business and the Stock Markets in general.  Buffett would share his investment philosophy with an enthusiasm unparalleled since we had Ross Perot running to become the President of the United States.

But the Keystone pipeline running through the heartland of America carrying dirty crude with no guarantees that this crude wouldn’t destroy land and water, life in all it’s forms and have a permanent negative affect on the environment and on life in general  is what keeps me up at night.

In Becky’s show, it was revealed that Mr. Buffett has this year again risen to the third most wealthy person in the world, and that his wealth increased approximately seventeen Billion dollars this past year.

I think of all the oil spills that are unfunded, the toxic spills that run coast to coast.  As a youth on Little Neck Bay I would see the oil slicks and the tar like substances that bled out of the coast line.  I was naive enough to think Little Neck Bay had it’s own Tar Pits.

Wouldn’t it be a little considerate of Mr. Buffett to at least donate some of his earned income from the Exxon’s of the world that made him filthy rich  or to at least cough up some dough to clean the messes that his investments might have been responsible in making.

The Buffett’s of this planet who all got rich on the oil game should contribute to cleaning up the pollution their wealth has created, instead of leaving it on the backs of the majority of the people who did not look to get rich on the exploitation of the planet.

The oceans are polluted with plastic and refuse killing marine life.  Fukushima may have been a great investment opportunity but there isn’t enough Buffet Money to clean up that toxicity.  Sabotage coming from an industry pushing pipelines is not to great a stretch of the imagination.  Trains freighting toxic substances along precious rivers could be made safe and running inland avoiding the permanent damage to waterways.

Mr. Buffett put down the pint of strawberry ice cream and check whether your five cokes a day have real sugar or the other stuff.   The planet needs a Pro Active Buffett fighting the most important fight in the planet’s history which is the battle between a living planet versus the unconscious God of greed.



The Old Man Steve Nash

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Steve Nash tried. MDC takes the great wise YODA’s comments, ” Do or Do Not, There is No Try.”

He came to Los Angeles with Dwight Howard in what was thought to be one of the moves that would make the Lakers contenders again. Obviously that team ran into a perfect storm of problems, among them a nerve injury to Nash that a couple of years later is still keeping him off the court. After a mini-controversy came up in Los Angeles following video of Nash playing golf, he wrote on his Facebook page an open letter to Lakers fans about where he is physically and what has happened the past two years. We’re passing that along.

I definitely don’t want to be a distraction, but I felt it best everyone heard from me in my own words.

I have a ton of miles on my back. Three buldging disks (a tear in one), stenosis of the nerve route and spondylolisthesis. I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can’t sit in the car on the drive home, which has made for some interesting rides. Most nights I’m bothered by severe cramping in both calves while I sleep, a result of the same damn nerve routes, and the list goes on somewhat comically. That’s what you deserve for playing over 1,300 NBA games. By no means do I tell you this for sympathy – especially since I see these ailments as badges of honor – but maybe I can bring some clarity.

I’ve always been one of the hardest workers in the game and I say that at the risk of what it assumes. The past 2 years I’ve worked like a dog to not only overcome these setbacks but to find the form that could lift up and inspire the fans in LA as my last chapter. Obviously it’s been a disaster on both fronts but I’ve never worked harder, sacrificed more or faced such a difficult challenge mentally and emotionally.

I understand why some fans are disappointed. I haven’t been able to play a lot of games or at the level we all wanted. Unfortunately that’s a part of pro sports that happens every year on every team. I wish desperately it was different. I want to play more than anything in the world. I’ve lost an incredible amount of sleep over this disappointment.

Competitiveness, professionalism, naiveté and hope that at some point I’d turn a corner has kept me fighting to get back. As our legendary trainer Gary Vitti, who is a close friend, told me, ‘You’re the last to know’ – and my back has shown me the forecast over the past 18-20 months. To ignore it any longer is irresponsible. But that doesn’t mean that life stops.

This may be hard for people to understand unless you’ve played NBA basketball, but there is an incredible difference between this game and swinging a golf club, hiking, even hitting a tennis ball or playing basketball at the park. Fortunately those other activities aren’t debilitating, but playing an NBA game usually puts me out a couple of weeks. Once you’re asked to accelerate and decelerate with Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving it is a completely different demand.

I’m doing what I’ve always done which is share a bit of my off-court life in the same way everyone else does. Going forward I hope we all can refocus our energies on getting behind these Lakers. This team will be back and Staples will be rocking.

MDC concludes, that Steve Nash should retire gracefully, but it’s all about the money. This is why he will go out as a complete “what’s his name” in a few years.

The Silver Fix

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MDC has been analyzing the price of silver and the value is below $18. The commodity should be priced much higher as in the mid 20’s. The silver trade has been played before and history only repeats itself.

Litigation alleging that Deutsche Bank AG , Bank of Nova Scotia and HSBC Plc illegally fixed the price of silver has been centralized in Manhattan federal court.

Lawsuits filed by investors since July over the alleged price-fixing were consolidated on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, following an order issued last Thursday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a special body of federal judges that decides when and where to consolidate related lawsuits.

The panel ruled that the cases should be handled by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan, who is already overseeing similar litigation over alleged gold price-fixing.

Three suits were originally filed in Manhattan, while two were filed in Brooklyn. The plaintiffs in the Brooklyn suits had sought to have the litigation consolidated there.

The banks had also asked that the litigation be consolidated in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, but the multidistrict litigation panel said Manhattan made more sense because the defendants all had corporate offices there and because the cases involved issues similar to the gold litigation.

The plaintiffs allege that the banks abused their power as participants in the silver fix, a London-based benchmark pricing method dating back to the Victorian era, in which banks set silver prices once a day by phone. In August, the system was replaced by a new benchmark system administered by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Thomson Reuters.

HSBC spokesman Neil Brazil declined to comment.

Representatives of the other banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case is ; London Silver Fixing Ltd Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 1:14-md-02573. (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Matthew Lewis)

Source : Reuters

Work Work Work until Your Dead

The Great Recession has had a huge affect on people’s retirement plans — and many households are not adequately prepared for the future. This is according to the results of a new Federal Reserve survey.

Adults now expect to keep working past retirement age. According to the survey, 40% of non-retired adults over the age of 45 have delayed their planned retirement date because of the recession.

For the most part, non-retired adults ages 55 to 64 don’t expect typical retirements. 24% of those surveyed expect to keep working for as long as possible; 18% expect to pick up a part-time job after retirement; and 9% expect to become self-employed after retirement.

Additionally, some people were forced into early retirement because of the recession. Approximately 15% of those who retired since 2008 reported that they retired earlier than they intended.

And not only are people’s retirement plans changing, but the survey results suggest that many households are not prepared for retirement. 31% of non-retired respondents (including 19% of those aged 55 to 64) said that they don’t have any retirement savings or pension.

Almost half of adults reportedly “were not actively thinking about financial planning for their retirement”. A whopping 25% of adults reported that they had done no financial planning for their retirement, and 24% said that they had thought “only a little” about it.

In addition to not saving, many Americans have a spending problem.

“Just over half of respondents were putting some portion of their income away in savings, although about one-fifth were spending more than they earned,” wrote the study’s authors.

Source; businessinsider

The Legalization Battle

MDC says, the battle is on and it will all come down to money and politics.

Opponents of marijuana legalization argue that decriminalizing pot increases crime, creates juvenile delinquents and can even lead to more marijuana-related deaths. But there is another reason for the crusade against marijuana that involves some people losing lots of money as the country becomes increasingly pot friendly, according to a recent report from The Nation and a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The biggest players in the anti-marijuana legalization movement are pharmaceutical, alcohol and beer companies, private prison corporations and police unions, all of whom help fund lobby groups that challenge marijuana law reform. In 2010, California Beer and Beverage Distributors funneled $10,000 to Public Safety First, a political action committee, or PAC, that led the opposition to California’s Prop 19. The initiative, if passed, would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

Corrections Corporations of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies in the U.S., has spent nearly $1 million a year on lobbying efforts. The company even stated in a report that “changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances … could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

Among the largest donors to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a New York City-based nonprofit that campaigns against teen drug and alcohol abuse, are Purdue Pharma, makers of the painkiller OxyContin, and Abbott Laboratories, which produces the opioid Vicodin. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA, a Virginia-based anti-drug organization, also receives donations from Purdue Pharma, as well as Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson that manufactures the painkiller Nucynta, according to The Nation.

The reason for opposing marijuana reform is simple: Legal weed hurts these companies’ bottom lines. “There is big money in marijuana prohibition,” the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C., notes in a recent series on marijuana lobbying efforts, including who funds legislation to keep the drug illegal.

Part of the missions of groups like Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CADCA is to lobby Congress to maintain marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the U.S. government considers the drug as having a high potential for abuse, has no medical use and poses risks to public safety. Nevermind that more than 22,000 people die every year in the U.S. from overdoses involving pharmaceutical drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three out of every four pharmaceutical overdose deaths involve painkillers — more than heroin and cocaine combined.

“I think it’s hypocritical to remain silent with regard to the scheduling of hydrocodone products, while investing energy in maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” Andrew Kolodny, a New York psychiatrist and head of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told The Nation. “I don’t think it’s inappropriate for them to be advocating on marijuana, [but] when we have a severe epidemic in America — one the CDC says is the worst drug epidemic in US history — it makes you wonder whether or not they’ve been influenced by their funding.”

The idea is that drug companies want to sell expensive drugs by downplaying the medical benefits of marijuana, alcohol and beer manufacturers do not want to compete for customers with legal pot, and private prisons need to fill their beds with convicted drug offenders. That means marijuana advocates have some pretty large — and well-funded — enemies to contend with.

Source: international times

Dealing with Debt

Owing on balances you can’t afford is bad enough, so the last thing you need is a debt collector hounding you about it. And don’t think for one minute that they’ll cut you any slack. These folks are in it to win it, and they want to make as much money as they can.

Unfortunately, many take unfair and illegal advantage of debtors because many debtors lack basic knowledge about their rights. To avoid falling for collectors’ traps, you must understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Trade Commission explains some of your rights here.

Here are nine little-understood facts your debt collector doesn’t want you to know:

1. You are not obligated to communicate with collection agencies

Tired of receiving the phone calls and letters from pushy collection representatives urging you to pay or else? You can stop those companies dead in their tracks with a cease-and-desist letter.

But understand that they may pursue legal action if you do so. And the agency has the right to notify you via mail of the termination of collection efforts or their intention to turn to the court system for assistance, if applicable.

When a debt collector initially calls, don’t ignore it, and don’t ignore any summons to appear in court about the debt. In that first call or in a follow-up letter, the collector must provide details about the money you supposedly owe.

After that, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

If you dispute a debt (or part of a debt) in writing within 30 days of when you receive the required information from the debt collector, the debt collector cannot call or contact you until after your dispute has been investigated and the debt collector has provided the verification of the debt in writing to you.
You can also request that the creditor give you the name and address of the original creditor. If you make that request in writing within 30 days, the debt collector has to stop all debt collection activities until the debt collector provides you that information.
If the debt collector reaches out to you before the investigation is complete or starts to harass you about the outstanding balance, they may be in violation of the FDCPA. You can file a complaint with the attorney general’s office in your state, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Or you may be able to get free legal help.

2. You don’t have to disclose personal information

There is no law mandating the disclosure of identifying information, such as your Social Security number and your date of birth, to debt collectors. They may insist that it’s required to verify the debt, but it’s not.

3. Paying off an account in collections won’t wipe it from your credit reports

That account in collections will remain on your credit reports for seven years, FICO says, even if you pay it in full.

However, when you negotiate with the collections agency to settle the debt, either by full or partial payment, you can ask that they have the debt removed from your credit reports. If they agree, make sure you have that in writing from them before you pay it off. (See: “Ask Stacy: Can You Help Me Clean Up my Credit History?“)

4. Your assets are not at risk, yet

During the collection process, the representatives are allowed to bug you, with limits, in an effort to collect on the delinquent account. But they cannot garnish your wages unless a judgment is issued in court.

That doesn’t apply to all debt. For instance, the federal government does not need a court order to garnish your wages for student loan debt.

The rule doesn’t apply when you fall behind on your mortgage or car loan. In some states, no court action is required to foreclose on a house. And the repo man doesn’t need a court order to take your car.

Take a look at Nolo’s article to get an idea of which of your assets may be at risk.

5. You may not have to fork over a big chunk of cash immediately

The debt collector wants the largest possible amount it can get from you to beef up its earnings. But you may be able to set up a payment plan that fits within your budget.

Just remember that the collector is not legally required to agree to a payment plan. But you can ask.

6. You may be able to negotiate the best deal at the end of the month

It turns out, you may be able to score the best deal with debt collectors toward the end of the month. Fred Williams, a former collection agent and author of “Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices,” told Daily Finance:

I think most agencies go on a calendar month schedule. The end of the month is when collectors’ bonuses are determined. In addition to the increased threats made because they were under pressure to make their quotas, that’s also the time to get a deal because they’re under pressure to bring in the money quickly. They want a settlement, cash in short order. The end of the month is a time to close the deal.
7. You may be able to work with the original creditor

In some instances, the original creditor will be willing to work with you to collect the amount owed. However, if it has already sold the account to a third-party debt collector and charged it off in the books, you’re left with only one option. And that’s working with the debt collectors.

8. Your delinquent debts are nobody’s business

Unless you have spouse or co-signer, or an attorney working on your behalf, debt collectors must keep their lips sealed about your outstanding balances. And if they reach out to others in an effort to locate you, all contact with those people must cease once you are located.

Consumer lawyer Sukhman Dhami told Credit.com:

We call these “third-party disclosures,” a violation of Section 1692c(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and they are exceptionally common, particularly when the debt collector leaves a message on a public answering machine. These public answering machine violations are called “Foti” violations after the landmark case Foti v. NCO Financial Systems.
9. You may be off the hook

Debt collectors probably won’t tell you this, but once the statute of limitations on debt in your state has lapsed, you’re off the hook, although that likely won’t stop them from trying to collect the money. Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer Jonathan Ginsburg told Credit.com:

“In most states, the statute of limitations runs four to six years from the date you last made a payment. And that’s the catch. In some states, a voluntary payment on a stale debt can revive the debt and make it legally collectible. Stale (or zombie) debt is big business,” he adds.
Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson added this advice:

Keep in mind that after the statute of limitations expires, unless the debt has been charged off or discharged in bankruptcy, you still owe the money. In other words, the statute of limitations doesn’t wipe out the debt, it just reduces the legal remedies available to collect it.
So if you find yourself in this situation, the smart move is to call a consumer lawyer (you can find one at the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ website) and ask the attorney what to do.
Another word of advice when dealing with debt collectors: Never fess up until you have confirmed the validity of the debt and the authenticity of the collection agency.

Source: Money Talks News

Who has the Money

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A new report from Oxfam notes that the richest 85 people in the world have the same amount of combined wealth as the bottom 50% of the world’s population. Let’s take it from them.

It’s bad, as the report notes, that the richest 1% of the world’s population own 65 times more wealth than the bottom 50%. And it is sickening just how small a share of the pie the bottom 50% of people own. But the fact that 85 lone individuals—about the number of folks you could fit in a moderately crowded Olive Garden on a Friday night—own the same amount of wealth as three and a half billion of their fellow humans really throws the whole thing into stark relief. Never have I heard such an attractive argument for just confiscating the assets of the very rich.

MDC says, the minions lineup for a lottery ticket and a dream to play powerball, doesn’t that tell you something?

Hell, let them keep a few million dollars each. They’d be set for life. Take the other trillion dollars and put it to work for the public good. Nationalize their companies, liquidate their assets, and use the proceeds to fund schools and public health and infrastructure and social services. It is no exaggeration to say that the assets of these 85 individuals could be taken and used to save tens or hundreds of thousands of lives, and meaningfully improve tens of millions more lives. And the only cost would be seven dozen angry—but not materially hurt—billionaires.

The gratitude of mankind is, after all, worth far more than money.