3 Diamonds and a Dog #6

May 25, 2012 by

In each post of the Money Counselor “Diamonds & Dogs” series, I pick three items—could be an article, a website, a video, an image—that in my humble opinion would be especially valuable—the Diamonds—in helping Money Counselor readers make better money choices. And to balance the three Diamonds, I pick just one lame item—the Dog.

3 DiamondsThree Diamonds

  • Some marketers cynically exploit some consumers’ preference to live sustainably and with consciousness of the environmental impact of their purchases. In “Why Buying Green Is Not Always Eco-Friendly,” the author discusses the charlatans’ techniques and what being a truly green consumer is all about.
  • If you’ve studied investing at all, you’ve likely come across the term “asset allocation.” In this extremely readable “quick guide to asset classes,” you’ll learn about the major asset classes, what’s good and bad about investing in each, and how the classes compare with respect to risk.
  • As a reel (aka human-powered) lawnmower man, how could “Real Men Use a Reel Mower” not make my cut? In this fun article John explains the pros and cons of reel, or cylinder, mowers, and reviews a couple of models. (If you’re thinking “what’s this have to do with money,” you have much to learn, grasshopper.)

lame money adviceA Dog

The Dog in this edition of 3 Diamonds and a Dog is payday lending, a predatory practice targeting the poorly educated, financially desperate, and otherwise vulnerable. Effective APRs on payday loans often range up to 400% or more. Always alert for lucrative opportunities, Big Banks are now rushing into payday lending  (re-branded by the marketing wizards as “direct deposit advance” or similar) to compete with the garish storefront businesses you’ve likely seen peppering low income neighborhoods. Check out his 3-minute video from the Center for Responsible Lending to learn more about the practice:

The payday lending industry argues that it’s merely filling a niche and meeting the needs of some consumers. (So do prostitutes and dope dealers.) I’ve no doubt that many impoverished, addicted, formerly incarcerated, and otherwise severely challenged people have little or no recourse but to use payday lenders. But I refuse to accept that lending them money at 400% interest to keep them (barely) afloat is the best (for them or us) option our society can come up with. And by sucking up their scarce financial resources, the practice certainly helps assure that the financially desperate will remain so.

Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission has to say about payday lending: “Payday Loans Equal Very Costly Cash: Consumers Urged to Consider Alternatives“. The reality of course is that, for some, “alternatives” may not exist.

If you have a Google AdSense account, please consider banning payday lenders from advertising on your site(s). Here’s how:

  1. In the AdSense admin screen, click ‘Allow and Block Ads’
  2. Click ‘edit’ next to ‘General categories’
  3. Click Finance category name
  4. Click Credit & Lending category
  5. Click Loans
  6. Click Personal Lending & Borrowing
  7. Click in the gray box to the right of the green checkmark in the Payday and Emergency Loans line to block these advertisers from your site.

Notice you must repeat these steps for your feed, if you’re using AdSense in your feed. Click the dropdown menu next to “General categories > Product” at the top of the page and choose Feeds.

Thanks for considering.

Nominations Please

Do you have a nomination for a Diamond or Dog? Send it to me please using the Free Advice link at the top of the page. I’ll give you credit if I use it in a “3 Diamonds and a Dog” post.

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