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January 5th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Your financial resolutions for the new year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Instead of the more traditional New Year's resolutions to lose weight or hit the gym, how about getting your financial house in order in 2011?

According to one recent survey, a whopping 70% of consumers say their top financial resolution is to decrease their debt. That's followed by improving their credit score, relying less on credit cards and saving more.

USA Today takes a look at five easy financial resolutions that could save you big money.

  • Order your free credit reports. This is especially important because a damaged credit report can hurt your ability to get a job.
  • Get a medical exam. Preventive health care can help your doctor identify medical problems before they become serious, thus reducing future health care costs. Thanks to changes in Medicare and the new health care law, millions of Americans can now get free physicals.
  • Update beneficiaries on your insurance policies, pensions and retirement plans. Experts say people often forget to do this and if they unexpectedly die, the money doesn't go where they want it to.
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions. Many workers reduced their retirement savings during the economic downturn, when companies froze matching contributions. But many of these companies are starting to match again.
  • Re-balance your 401(k) portfolio. Financial advisers recommend reviewing your investment portfolio at least once a year. Ignoring the changes in the market can cost you a lot of money.

Here’s my question to you: What are your financial resolutions for the new year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Money • Personal Finances
January 5th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Moderate Senate Democrats already looking ahead to 2012?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the new Congress convenes today, the next election in 2012 already looms as a possible impediment to the Democrats' Senate majority.

Politico reports that several moderate Democratic Senators up for re-election in two years will be more likely to buck their own party in order to save their seats.

And it's already started. During the lame duck session of Congress, when Harry Reid tried to prevent an extension of the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, three moderate Democrats defected. When the Republicans proposed deep spending cuts, two more Democrats joined them. And yet another moderate jumped ship when Reid pushed through President Obama's tax compromise.

In all, 21 Senate Democrats - plus two Independents who caucus with them - will be up for re-election in 2012.

You can bet these Democrats are well aware of the "shellacking" their party took in the midterms; and they don't want to be the next casualty. As Senator Claire McCaskill - who is up for re-election herself - puts it: "If you're in re-elect mode, there's a tendency around here just to hide under a chair instead of making the tough calls."

Meanwhile Republicans are worried that Senate Democrats may try to eliminate the use of the filibuster now that they have a smaller majority of 53 seats. Some Democrats are proposing a rule change that would require only a simple majority of 51 votes - instead of 60 votes - to break a filibuster.

The GOP calls this a "naked partisan power grab."

Here’s my question to you: How effective can Senate Democrats be if some moderate members are already looking ahead to 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Democrats • Senate