On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

clear-day
73°
Clear
H 90° L 68°
  • clear-day
    73°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 90° L 68°
  • clear-day
    90°
    Today
    Clear. H 90° L 68°
  • clear-day
    90°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 90° L 64°
Listen
Pause
Error

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

podcasts: The Clark Howard Podcast

Money expert Clark Howard shows you practical money-saving ideas to help you Save More, Spend Less, and Avoid Ripoffs. He helps you keep more of what you make and invest your money wisely.

Most Recent Episode:

9.18.19 Fed rate cut impact; Twisted tax law hurts military heroes; Medical bill shock

Topics: The Federal Reserve lowers interest rates again to reduce the severity of economic slowdown and to help prevent a recession. The Fed is acting defensively. This will lower interest rates for car buyers and on credit cards. HELOCS historically follow, but many banks put a floor in recent contracts. Re-shop to get a lower rate if need be. Saver rates decline as well. Online bank savings rates have already dropped about 1/3 of 1 point.  The smart move now is to lock in money you won’t need into a 1 year CD to earn more. Oddly, when the Reserve lowers their rates, mortgage rates often rise to compensate for inflation long term. But if the economy slows, you’ll see mortgage rates go down.

Two years ago with the new tax bill, Congress made a mistake that has dramatically affected military families. Gold Star families are entitled to survivors’ compensation. Congress made a clerical error, changing the tax on those benefits from 12 to 37%. This is punishing families who’ve already made the ultimate sacrifice of losing a loved one in service. The U.S. House passed a bill to fix this last spring 417 to 3 – basically unanimous. Now that correction is tied up in the Senate and Mitch McConnell will not allow this to be voted on. This needs to be fixed now.

Kaiser Health News has exposed the UVA Medical Center for ruining lives by confiscating homes and garnishing wages under a hospital bill shock system exploiting state codes to sue people blind. This after billing at rates way beyond what’s reasonable and customary. UVA isn’t the only perp here. Recent stories expose medical providers in TN and GA. No one in medicine is interested in telling patients what treatment will cost. One consumer was given a quote yet was billed 52 times that amount after a procedure. What does it take to be a consumer? You choose what you buy, based in part on known costs to fit your budget. Healthcare is the only thing that doesn’t follow this. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Posted: September 18, 2019

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry
 

More Episodes:

9.17.19 Gas price fluctuations after Saudi attack; Equifax breach settlement follow-up; How gig workers get paid

Topics: Saudi Arabia represents a huge percentage of world oil production. The recent drone attack took half their production offline. But it appears they will be back to full production in a matter of weeks. In addition, fall is a slow time of year for oil consumption. After Labor Day, demand declines. Factor in recession in some countries and a slowing U.S. economy bringing down demand. Meanwhile, U.S. production has increased. A decade ago, the U.S. produced little oil, and faced shortages driving up costs to $147 a barrel, compared to $60 last trade. We may see a brief minor spike in prices at the pump.

Equifax conned the states and the Feds to reduce their settlement liability to $125 per affected person and is still hitting back over the number of applicants. Now that want you to verify information again. You have 4 weeks to reverify your application.  

California has passed legislation making app-based workers employees vs independent contractors, starting in January. This includes Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and the like. There’s been a large movement by employers pushing the private contractor designation, to avoid paying benefits. We need a class of employment falling somewhere between a contractor and full-time employee. Uber and Lyft predict their labor cost will rise 20- 30% in California from this change. This current system of off or on is exploiting and harmful to workers. Ratio employment would help ease the income inequality problem in the U.S. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.16.19 Car rental warnings; Update on Apple's battle with independent repair shops; Scientific study touts benefits of being an optimist

Topics: Clark recently returned a rental car. He had 5 pics of the car. Why? After returning, sometimes weeks later you may get a notice saying you owe for damage. They may have already charged your card for the damage. All contracts say your check-in slip is subject to later inspection and damage charges. Clark takes pics of the car upon return, so if this happens later – he’s got dated pictorial proof. Clark had noted a ding and windshield chip on the initial ticket. You’ve got to protect yourself. Also, for at least 20 years Clark has advised travelers to rent from an off airport rental site to save money. Many airport rentals come with massive junk fees. Because many people have been avoiding airport rentals, cities are fighting back by imposing nuisance fees and requiring affidavits. If you pick up a non-airport rental in a metro with an out-of-state license you must sign an affidavit stating you did not fly in the last 12-24 hours. Clark’s nomad brother rented a car this way for one day, then turned it in for a longer term rental having satisfied the time limit – to save big money. It’s work, but you have to know how the car rental game is played to avoid getting burned.

Previous Clark Rage: In order to maintain an Apple controlled monopoly, Apple had been refusing to supply parts to independent repair shops. This lead to legal action and resolution. Apple is now selling parts and allowing access to manuals to independent repair shops. This will give users more choice and competitive pricing, and ease the repair backlog. Instead of industries operating closed shops, the free market should rule.   

Clark has been accused of being unrealistically optimistic. He’s OK with that. The National Academy of Sciences Journal published a Boston U School of Medicine study finding tremendous benefit for inherent optimists. Men and women innate optimists have around 15% more longevity, accounting for other factors. Optimism was found to be about 25% genetic. That means 75% is in our control. Optimistic women are 50% more likely to see 85 or older. Optimistic men are 70% more likely to see 85+.  The study found that positive people recover from illness, injury or surgery sooner and are generally healthier.   

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.13.19 Gaming addiction is now considered a psychological disorder; Clark Stinks

Topics: The World Health Organization has declared excessive gaming a psychological disorder.  A MarketWatch survey reveals the number of people spending an hour or more a day playing video games increased 20% over the last year. Many believe they'll go pro and earn a living and become reclusive and obsessive in the endeavor, gaming constantly. For parents, it's a tug of war you want your kid to win, so game time should be strictly limited.  Who knew the pro athlete mentality would translate into gaming.  The winner of a Fortnight competition won $3M, reinforcing others to abandon all else for gaming. But, for athletes and gamers, almost no one makes the cut as a pro and those who do have a short career.   

Clark answers his critics on Clark Stinks. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.12.19 The dangers of annuities; Criminal investigations of insurance claims are on the rise; Clark's advice using instant payment apps

Topics:
Beware of annuity sales. Annuity sales subsided when fiduciary rules were in place - rules that have now been pushed aside, causing new sales to skyrocket. Insurance companies and banks push these because they have humongous fees and commissions. These contracts allow the insurance companies to change the terms at any time and the tax treatment is generally not favorable. When you're getting a vague investment pitch ASK if it's an annuity. If so, walk away.

File an insurance claim, and the next thing you know police are accusing you of a criminal act. It's happened. When shopping insurance, make sure the company is solid. Clark routinely recommends choosing insurance  companies that get the highest ratings. Cost is secondary in this area. A Buzzfeed investigation reveals some insurers investigating big claims, will direct law enforcement against the insured. Clark had a co-worker who had just moved, suffered a fire, and was accused of torching his own house. Insurers working with police to start a criminal investigation to delay or deny a claim - this is hopefully rare but raises the stakes on how important it is to be with a company that rates high in serving customers. Don't just go with the cheapest insurance company.  

The Cash app has now eclipsed Venmo as the top app for sending money to family and friends - special emphasis on family and friends only. These apps operate efficiently, making it easy to send money. When shopping online, particularly with sites like Craigslist, eBay etc - if the seller requests payment by one of these apps, consider that a red flag for a con. They vanish and your money is gone. ONLY use apps to pay someone you know because once you pay, the money is gone. Zelle is being pushed by banks but does not have any meaningful consumer protections compared to Cash app and Venmo. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.11.19 Permissions and privacy issues with family tracking apps; Robocalls are still surging; Hydroponics and the rise of controlled agriculture in America

Topics: Clark's family uses the Life360 app, allowing everyone to know each other's location. Teens use such apps, including Apple's Find My Friends, Google Maps location share & Snapchat -  to keep up with friends. What are these apps doing with the info? What are you permitting them to do? You can choose to wipe history clean. With any of these free services, the apps can make money with the info we're sharing. Location sharing can be very loaded and problematic in relationships and you should consider this before signing up. Also, know that teens can get around some of these location services, so you need to use it with their cooperation.

The scam calls keep coming. Major cell phone carriers are starting to validate traffic with each other, but there are still many fake calls coming in. Follow this simple rule: Only answer the phone when you recognize the person calling. If caller ID says it's a business or government agency, only answer if you're expecting the call. Otherwise let it go to voicemail and you can call back if it's legit. Don't trust Caller ID. It's past broken

There are moves around the country to grow food in warehouse environments. Advantages: Climate control, water conservation, no pesticides for easier organic certification. The WSJ reports a company building a 60 acre greenhouse, offering exponentially more productive than farmland - 50x over the output of traditional agriculture over the same acreage. Other countries are further along in this pursuit. Controlled agriculture lowers risks from the elements and allows us to increase our domestic food supply.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.10.19 Artificial intelligence based lie detector created for airport security; Beware genetic testing scams targeting seniors; How Clark Team member Chelsea helped her dad save over 3k a year.

Topics: We face many challenges with how to use technology for security. There's a race to develop screening tech to quickly assess facial images and determine threat levels. AI systems are being developed along these lines, including one called the Avatar (Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real time), a system using AI techniques to assess threat levels, funded in part by the federal government. The subject answers questions on camera during the assessment. The developers claim only 80% accuracy.     
       
A cold call lab test scam is costing people their identities and money.  Kaiser Health News reports on an ongoing scam operating around the U.S. wherein senior citizens are contacted and told they're due for Medicare directed testing. Contacted by criminals receiving kickbacks, by phone, in person or on social media, the senior may even be driven to undergo genetic testing that Medicare is then grossly over-billed for.  Make sure your loved ones know not to agree to any test unless ordered directly by their doctor.     

Save more, Spend less- Team Clark lives this. Team member Chelsea helped her Dad, a small business owner, save over $3,000 a year by cutting 3 monthly bills one Sunday afternoon. The task took 2 hours. Chelsea knew how he could save on cable, internet and cell phone. 












Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.9.19 Making prescriptions cheaper; Living paycheck to paycheck on a high income; Safe deposit boxes aren't safe

Topics: Government attempts to rein in prescription drug prices haven't worked. We have the most expensive med prices on the planet. And the way we get and pay for meds is changing. Some doctors have dispensing machines for routine meds in their offices. GoodRx is a force for negotiating lower prices and comparison shopping. The next wave may be online sellers. Amazon has bought into the industry - not a big play yet. But there will be incentives with employer plans to fill prescriptions with online providers. The key to lowering costs is being prepared at your doctor appointments to proactively ask for cheaper Rx alternatives. Have the $4 list from walmart.com. And employ GoodRx and other discounters - while in the office, before you have to go pick up a medication. 

MarketWatch reported on a couple reaching out for financial guidance, unable to make ends meet on $500,000 a year. They could easily live AND be saving huge, but their expenses are crazy. Beware what economists call 'the marginal propensity to consume' - As income goes up, so go people's expenses. Control impulses and wants or you could end up in a financial hole no matter how much you make. 

Safety deposit boxes were not safe at all. New bank terms of service have removed their liability for theft or any other circumstance. The NYT reports how banks have washed their hands of this and regulators do nothing about the disappearances. The situation is so bad, if you have items of value, have your own fire safe box in your home.  






Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.6.19 Clark creates a $500 savings challenge; Clark Stinks

Topics: We’re 10 years into economic expansion and people are still struggling. Most are in debt and unprepared for any unforeseen expense or emergency costing $400 or more. Hopefully, this economic downturn won’t turn into a full-blown recession, but we’re already getting calls from people who’ve been laid off. We are in a slowing time of uncertainty, so we need to prepare as we can. Recommendations for having 3 to 6 months of pay on hand are daunting and unrealistic for most. So start smaller with Clark’s $500 challenge. Think about saving $10 a week / $40 a month until you get to $500. Many online banks have no minimum, so put $ in regularly. Micro save. Take the baby step to begin creating some space in your life. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck with no cushion in your life, make this small start. What can you do to squeeze some money into savings? Get started small and keep building.

Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here.







Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

9.5.19 Texting gets you a ticket; Student loan forgiveness now more difficult; Payroll loans popularized

Topics: AAA reports deaths from red-light running collisions have hit a 10 year high. Fatalities are up 30% in the last few years. Likely distracted driving is the root cause. Clark pauses for a second when a red light turns green in case someone blows through the corresponding red light of an intersection. If you move too quickly, you could be T-boned by a red-light runner. Meanwhile, police are cracking down on device distraction, posing as construction workers and finding other ways to site hands-free violations. The consequences of distracted driving are often deadly.

Many for-profit schools are student loan mills. They heavily recruit and advertise to fill their classes via student loans. But many of these schools have gone insolvent or engaged in bust-outs, leaving students with incomplete training.  The principal players of the school may have made off with millions, leaving students in debt. Under the federal regulation known as  ‘borrower’s defense’ - students received loan forgiveness when schools failed to deliver on their promises. But NEW regulations just proposed by the DOE will leave students fully exposed for such debt, with the near impossibility of forgiveness, even when defrauded by a loan mill school. 

Payday loans carry interest rates of 400-800%. They take advantage of desperation. A minor financial problem quickly becomes catastrophic as theses snowball on people unable to pay. Meanwhile, more than half of Americans now can’t afford an unexpected expense. What began as a small experiment 2 years ago, has spread. Now 1 in 7 employees work for companies that provide emergency loans or pay advances at around 4-10%, to reduce the number of employees in extreme financial distress. This is enlightened self-interest for participating employers. Employee Assistance Funds are another way companies are helping workers – usually a one-time-only benefit. And employee emergency funds are a way for workers to help out each other in times of need. Ask about these programs when needed.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Audio temporarily unavailable
refreshretry

News

  • They take their football seriously in Philadelphia. Even scholarly types can go overboard when their beloved Eagles lose. >> Read more trending news  During the fourth quarter of Philadelphia's 27-24 televised loss to the Detroit Lions, the Fox network handling the broadcast showed an angry Eagles fan shouting as the telecast broke for a commercial. The angry fan was identified as Eric Furda, the University of Pennsylvania's dean of admissions since 2008, according to the The Philadelphia Inquirer. The clip quickly went viral, as it resonated with other angry Eagles fans. Furda admitted he was the culprit on Twitter, but only after he posted Sunday that he was 'not sure what the refs were looking at today.' Furda took a more apologetic tone Monday morning. 'After further review of the play I will take the 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct,' Furda tweeted. 'But I will not lose my passion for Philadelphia and Penn sports!' The Eagles, who have lost two straight games after beating Washington in their season opener, travel to Green Bay to face the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night.
  • A Michigan toddler died last week after authorities said her head became stuck in a car's power window in Detroit. >> Read more trending news  According to WXYZ-TV, Kierre Allen, 2, was inside the parked 2005 Mazda 3 with her father, who had fallen asleep, last Monday when the window somehow closed on her head, authorities said. The 21-year-old man awoke to find the child caught in the window, he told police. Kierre's uncle took the pair to a nearby hospital as the father tried to revive the girl, WJBK-TV reported. Doctors said she was dead when she arrived. Police arrested the girl's father, who had outstanding traffic warrants, authorities said. He has not been charged in connection with Kierre's death, the Detroit News reported.
  • A Cobb County school nurse was arrested Thursday after administrators noticed students’ medications were missing. Lindsey Waggoner, 38, is accused of stealing more than $1,500 of medication from Barber Middle School in Acworth, according to an arrest warrant obtained Monday by AJC.com. Cobb County school police allegedly found her in possession of 209 pills, including Adderall, generic forms of Ritalin and Focalin, and Evekeo. The drugs are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. Principal Tia Amlett sent a letter home to parents alerting them to the investigation and arrest of a staff member, although the employee was not named.  “We have made contact with families who were directly affected by this situation and will continue to pursue policies that ensure such behavior does not go unnoticed,” she said. It was not immediately clear if Waggoner was fired following her arrest. As of Monday morning, she was still listed on Barber’s website. Amlett said she was being dealt with “according to district policy and state laws.” Waggoner, who is from Kennesaw, is facing a single felony charge of theft by taking. She was booked into the county jail Thursday afternoon and released a few hours later on a $15,000 bond.  In other news: 
  • The 178-year-old tour company Thomas Cook has shut down, potentially stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers who booked their trips with the company stranded across the globe. Thomas Cook was known for the package tour industry, The Associated Press reported. It had four airlines and 21,000 employees in 16 countries. All of the employees have been laid off and will lose their jobs. The ripple effect of Thomas Cook's collapse is expected to be felt across all of Europe and North Africa, the AP reported.  Officials at hotels are now worried about confirmed bookings that had been made for winter. About 600,000 people had been scheduled to travel with Thomas Cook through Sunday. Some subsidiaries were trying to get local connections to get people home, the AP reported.  The British government has stepped in to get 150,000 U.K. customers back to their homes starting Monday. The government has hired charter planes to get people home free of charge, and officials expect the process to fly everyone back to the U.K. will take about two weeks, the AP reported. >> Read more trending news  There are 50,000 people stranded in Greece, up to 30,000 in Spain's Canary Islands, 21,000 in Turkey and 15,000 in Cyprus all trying to find a way home, the AP reported. Thomas Cook officials blame competition from budget airlines and travelers booking their trips themselves though the internet as to why the company struggled financially and eventually shut down, the AP reported. The uncertainty also was brought on by Brexit and the drop in the pound that made it more expensive for British travelers to afford trips abroad, the AP reported. Despite the fact they no longer are being paid for their work, some Thomas Cook employees are still reporting for their shifts to help make sure those who are stranded can return home, Metro reported. One now-former employee said on Twitter that she will be at her post to help stranded customers. Employees at a different Thomas Cook location also posted a sign on their location saying they would open Monday morning to help customers, Metro reported. 
  • A second-year Georgia Tech student was confirmed dead Sunday after a swimming accident in the Chattahoochee River. James Strock was last seen Saturday afternoon swimming in the area of the West Palisades Trail at Paces Mill Park, according to school officials. Teams searched through dusk before turning to recovery efforts Sunday morning, dean of students John M. Stein said in a letter to the Georgia Tech community. A Georgia Tech spokeswoman confirmed Strock’s death Sunday evening. It is unknown if his body was recovered from the river. Strock was pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer engineering and was interested in robotics and quantum computing, according to his LinkedIn page. He was set to graduate in 2022. According to Tech officials, Strock was from Uganda and moved to the United States at age 16. He was an active member of the campus community, attended a campus ministry and could often be found in the recreational center. Strock completed a co-op program with DataPath, a communications and computer software company, in Lawrenceville over the summer. “On behalf of Georgia Tech, we offer our deepest condolences to James’ family and friends during this difficult time,” Stein said in the letter to students, faculty and staff, which was shared on Reddit. “I have been in constant contact with his family and will continue to be there to support them.” Grief counseling is available on campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the week at the campus Counseling Center and in the student services building. Students may also call 404-894-2575 for support after hours. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: 
  • A federal judge will hear the arguments Monday for the first time from opponents of Georgia’s new anti-abortion law as they ask him to stop the measure from going into effect. Gov. Brian Kemp in May signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion laws, outlawing the procedure in most cases once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity. It is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has asked U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones to stop the law from going into effect while the case makes its way through the court system. The ACLU argued in a June complaint that the law violates a woman’s constitutional right of access to abortion until about 24 weeks of pregnancy, as established in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. The ACLU has argued that “politicians should not be second-guessing women’s health care decisions.” In its response, the state said Georgia’s new anti-abortion law is “constitutional and justified” and asked Jones to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the measure. “Defendants deny all allegations in the complaint that killing a living unborn child constitutes ‘medical care’ or ‘health care,’” attorneys wrote. The state hired Virginia-based attorney to represent Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Department of Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, members of the Georgia Composite Medical Board and its executive director. ACLU is representing SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood Southeast and other abortion rights advocates and providers.