401(k) plan: Is it ever a good idea to make an early withdrawal?
News from Christian Science Monitor:

401(k) plan has $ 38,000 and reader has $ 11,000 in credit card debt. But early withdrawal from 401(k) plan comes with hefty penalties. See question No. 1 in the reader mailbag.

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.
1. 401(k) early withdrawal concerns
2. Soccer in America
3. Money, sanity, and in-laws
4. Keeping old magazines
5. Frugal vitamins
6. Tossing unhealthy foods
7. Divorce and credit
8. Switching credit unions
9. Preparing vegetables
10. Dealing with emotional old photos

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Trent Hamm

The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our bu…………… continues on Christian Science Monitor

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US consumer credit rises in April
News from Los Angeles Times:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies in Washington before Congress about the health of nation’s economy. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press / June 7, 2012)

The amount of money U.S. consumers owe continued to rise in April as Americans took on more debt to pay for big-ticket items such as college and cars.

Total consumer credit outstanding rose $ 6.5 billion, an annualized 3.1%, according to a report from the Federal Reserve. That followed an increase of $ 12.4 billion in March.

The increase occurred even as consumers paid down credit card debt. Revolving debt outstanding, which includes mostly credit cards, fell $ 3.4 billion i…………… continues on Los Angeles Times

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Steve Martin – February 4, 2005 (Edited Episode)

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US consumer cut back on credit card use in April

Posted by administrator | 09/06/12 | Tagged Credit Card

US consumer cut back on credit card use in April
News from WBOC TV 16:

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer borrowing increased more slowly in April, restrained by a sharp reduction in credit card debt.

The report suggests Americans may be resisting their credit cards after seeing employers pull back on hiring this spring.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that consumers increased borrowing by $ 6.5 billion in April. That’s just half the March gain.

The increase was driven by a $ 9.96 billion rise in a category that measures auto and student loans. That offset a $ 3.4 billion drop in credit card debt, the first decline since January.

Total borrowing rose to a seasonally adjusted $ 2.55 trillion. That was slightly below the all-time high of $ 2.58 trillion reached in July 2008, eight months after the Great Recession began.

Consumers had begun to use their credit cards more freely at the start of the year, a move that coincided with solid job gains over the winter. But hiring slowed sharply in April and May, which may have forced some to cut back on their plastic.

Employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and just 77,000 jobs in April.

The economy added 252,000 jobs a month from December through February. Since then, job growth has slowed to a lackluster 96,000 a month.

April’s borrowing increase was the smallest…………… continues on WBOC TV 16

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Credit card debt is down, but don’t cheer
News from Christian Science Monitor:

Credit card debt has fallen. But for those deep in debt, the picture hasn’t changed much. Many still use credit cards for day-to-expenses.

It sounds encouraging: Since the beginning of 2010, the credit card debt of the average American household has fallen by $ 2,150.

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From around $ 15,000 in 2006 to a peak of $ 18,000, average credit card debt then plummeted to around $ 14,500 by the end of 2010 and hasn’t moved much since. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly as good as it sounds.

Credit card debt has dropped not so much because the job market is improving or borrowers are more financially responsible. It has fallen mainly because in 2010 banks gave up trying to collect bad debt.  In the second quarter of 2010, the charge-off rate, which is the percentage of debts declared uncollectible, spiked over a full percentage point from the same period in 2009. Banks took their losses and wiped those delinquent loans off their books.

The result for households? With fewer seriously delinquent accounts skewing the average, the typical household in the

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