Danielle DiMartino Booth tell us what is really going on at the federal reserve board and why this might not end so well. We discuss her new book, Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America.
1 in 4 Auto Shops in Dallas Could Be Overcharging Women for Repair
One of the reasons Tony Joe hosts the Special Car Corner edition on Fridays on the Prudent Money Radio Show is so you can learn what to look for and want not to do when it comes to repair jobs on your cars. It can be expensive. This is especially the case when it comes to getting ripped off. Let’s face it – People know very little as it is about money. For car repairs, I would suggest that people know even less.
As a result, you have to trust. Oftentimes, you have to make that call quickly. Car repairs demand your attention immediately. Repairpal.com did an interesting study to see what was really going on.
They had both a male and female customer separately call a random sample of 40 repair shops getting sample estimates on the same types of repairs. They even varied the types of cars they used.
Based on an undercover study that used anonymous calls, here is the shocking truth:
Nationwide, women are overcharged by an average of 8% compared to men.
In big cities like LA, San Francisco, and New York, women are can be overcharged by a whopping average of 94%.
In Dallas, 25% of auto shops routinely quote higher prices for women clientele.
In a study conducted across multiple cities by RepairPal —the largest car repair estimator website and nationwide network of certified repair shops—women are still struggling to get the the same fair price for repairs at the auto shop.
WOMEN ARE OFTEN DENIED OVER-THE-PHONE QUOTES
While not a single shop denied the male participants a quote, an astonishing 18 shops told our female participants to bring their car in to the shop for an estimate.
Key Takeaway – Ladies if they won’t to give you a quote over the phone, go somewhere else.
WOMEN WITH A LUXURY CAR WERE QUOTED HIGHER RATES
When women called the shops to inquire about repairs for their BMW, the shops routinely gave them a higher quote than the men who called about the same car issue.
Tony Joe Rule of Thumb – If the quote is $500 or more get a second opinion.
STEREOTYPES ARE STILL STRONG AMONG REPAIR SHOPS
The most likely scenario is that shops are taking advantage of what they believe to be a general lack of automotive knowledge amongst women. It’s stereotypical and unfair, to say the least.
Key Takeaway – There is a reason repair shops are one of the least trusted businesses and have the most amount of complaints.
Repairpal.com is an excellent source for getting a good idea of what is a fair estimate. Do a little homework. That is not advice only for women. That goes for the guys as well. I know that I know nothing about what the true costs are for automotive repair.
Photo credit: CNBC.com “The top 10 investment scams”.
How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by an Advisor
Investor scams are alive and well. I am amazed by the number of bulletins I receive through email that detail investment scams that are uncovered. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can avoid being ripped off. It is a matter of looking for red flags.
Red Flag #1 – High Interest Guarantees
When you are looking at a guaranteed rate of return, it should be in line with other guaranteed returns. If it is higher than the going rate for guarantees, there is a risk of some sort. A local financial advisor was brazenly advertising a 12% guaranteed rate of return backed by real estate. Now keep in mind, the best guaranteed rate is around 3%. Of course, it was later discovered that this advisor was running a Ponzi scheme.
Red Flag #2 – Writing a Check Directly to an Advisor or Investment Company
Not to say that in every instance when you write a check to an advisor you are getting ripped off. However, just about in every scheme that is busted by regulators a check was written to an advisor. It is a red flag. What keeps that advisor from depositing that check into his or her bank account?
Red Flag #3 – Investing in Unregistered Investments
Regulators raise a huge issue with advisors that sell unregulated investments. Not to say that in every instance when unregulated investments are involved you are getting ripped off. However, just about in every scheme the investments are unregulated.
Red Flag #4 – High Return, No Risk
This is good rule of thumb for any scam as well as for any legit investment. Anytime an advisor promises big returns with no risk, something is wrong. Either they are running a scam or they are just trying to sell you a bad investment. A legitimate advisor will tell you of the pros and the cons of any investment. Every investment has pro and a con. Even a money market has risk.
Red Flag #5 – Just Because It Is on the Radio Doesn’t Make it Legit
You would think that if an advisor was going to break the law they would do so in secret. Thus, if an advisor is on the radio talking about investments with big guaranteed returns, it must be legit. Right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Often a scam artist will be bold enough to talk about the scam on the radio as well as on their company website. There are two advantages for the scam artist. First, talking about it in public gives it some legitimacy. Second, common sense would tell you that no one would break the law that publicly and risk getting caught. This is how investors get ripped off.
The bottom line is that investment scams are happening all of the time. Unfortunately, investors just assume that it is not the case and blindly give these scam artists their money. Look for the red flags so that you can make better decisions with His money.
Great Resource for College Financing and Funding – Every Parent Should Read This!
I wanted to take the opportunity to make you aware of a new Prudent Money Contributor, John Hupalo. John is an expert in the area of college funding. Just this morning we did a general show on financial aid which will air Thursday, February 9. In March we are going to do a show exclusively on student loan debt, how to eliminate it, and how to effectively use it. He is really committed to free education. I wanted you to be aware of these resources:
YouTube Channel for My College Corner
Website – www.inviteeducation.com
Book – Plan and Finance your Family’s College Dreams – The most comprehensive book on funding college education that I have come across. Any parent with kids that are going to college need to be reading this book.
Do you have a financial aid or student loan question? Send it to the Ask Bob resource and I will get it to John. He is 100% available to help any of the Prudent Money readers or listeners in this area.
Also from time to time, I want to share with you some of the great information that he is writing about. This week I wanted to share with you his article on co-signing student loans. John says this is the best way to help your kids borrow for college. Here is the link!
Eliminating the Johnson Amendment Could Be Bad for the Church
Photo Credit: Ninja Marketing
Valentine’s Day Offers on Coupons.com
Do you know what you are getting your Valentine this year? How about a few ideas and save some money in the process. Coupons.com is a great resource for discounts. Look below at all of the money saving offers.
- John Hardy – Free Artisan-Crafted Chocolate with Your Order + Complimentary Shipping & Returns
- Kay Jewelers – 20-40% Off Valentines Day Gifts + Free 2 Day Shipping
- SendFlowers.com – Up to 50% off Sitewide
- FromYouFlowers – Up to 50% off all Roses & Flowers
- ProFlowers – Up to 40% Off Valentine’s Day Flowers & Gifts
- Clinique – Valentine’s Day Gift Set for Only $49.50 with Any $29.50+ Purchase
- 1800Baskets – Valentine’s Day Gifts! 20% Off Site wide
- FTD Flowers – Exclusive – 25% Off Sitewide
- Shari’s Berries – 20% Off $39 Valentine’s Day Strawberries & Sweet Treats
- Macy’s – 25% Off Go Red Sale
I usually don’t send out my client letters that I write. I am making an exception because of what I am seeing. Watching what is happening in the stock market is like watching the formation of a category 5 hurricane. The thing you have to remember about hurricanes is that one minute they can look ominous and the next minute they can fizzle out turning into a tropical storm. At the same time, if there is a category 5 hurricane forming you need to pay attention.
As I have said time and time again on the Prudent Money Radio Show, you have to pay attention to the environment. That is the only way you can judge risk.
Everything is literally in place for a big move and I don’t believe it will be a big move up. The evidence is so overwhelming that at a minimum we should see a 15% to 20% decline. One word of instruction with this blog piece. Oftentimes people don’t think that they can understand information about the market. If you just read through this piece you can get a real good idea of what I am writing about. If you have any questions, contact me below.
Let me start with something that I wrote in my last letter.
These statistics came from John Mauldin’s newsletter. The statistics show that at the minimum a decline of some sort is on the horizon. Here are the numbers – bear in mind these are about 30 days old.
It has been 116 days since we had a 5% correction. (decline)
Since 1928, the average number of days before a 5% correction occurred was 50.
We have been 210 days without a 10% correction. Since 1928, the average number of days before a 10% correction occurred was 167.
It has been 1955 days since we suffered a 20% correction. Since 1928, the average number of days before a 20% correction occurred was 635. In secular bull periods the average number of days was 1105. In secular bear periods the average number of days was 486.
Here is the concern about a multi week decline. I saw an article where a Wall Street Analyst who is never negative about anything was predicting a “nasty decline.” The blurb caught my attention because if this guy sees something negative it must be something. The article started off with some commentary and then he is quoted as saying that “he sees a nasty decline of -5%.” Seriously? -5%? A nasty decline in my book would be anything over -20%. This is a perfect illustration for my point.
It has been so long since this market has run into trouble that any type of decline is going to feel like a nasty decline. The media is going to over dramatize it. Thus, a -5% decline could easily turn into a much larger decline.