Today on the Clark Howard Show – August 6, 2009

1. Deutsche Bank published a study yesterday called “Drowning in Debt – a Look at “Underwater” Homeowners.. The study found that 26 percent of homeowners owed more than their house was worth in March, 2009. But by 2011, nearly half of all homeowners (48 percent) will be underwater with their mortgage, and owe more than the house is worth. Why did this happen? In a word, it’s all about home equity. U.S, consumers have been greatly enriched by rising home values coupled with “easy credit,” enabling them to monetize their home equity early and often. Some economists estimate that homeowners were extracting 25 to 30 percent of every dollar of increase in home equity, primarily for consumption — hello Gucci, Prada, Coach and Tiffany’s. The Joint Center for Housing Studies reports that home equity has fallen an average of 43 percent from 2005 peak levels to 2008.

2. Are women sick of being frugal? Aside from the obvious sexist nature of this study, a new study from Boston Consulting Group found that pets, sex, and food make women happier than shopping. BCG asked 12,000 women in 21 countries what makes them extremely happy and came up with the following: Pets (42%); Sex (27%); Food (19%); Shopping (5%); Other (5%) and the Economy (2% – must be people who are married to short sellers on Wall Street or who have shorted the markets themselves).

The Chicago Tribune reported that 27 percent of women say they are sick of penny pinching and are ready to splurge on new clothes, vacation, a night out, and decorating their home. The study showed 48 percent of women say they can afford to splurge but it has to be “different or special.” And, 50 percent of teen girls say they would cut back on little things so they could afford the one expensive item they want. Let’s hear it for deferred gratification.

3. Mortgage rates fall to 5.22 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage – first time in 3 weeks. The 15-year averaged 4.63 percent for the week. The Fed is still trying to push down long-term interest rates.

4. Initial jobless claims fell more than economists predicted. Applications dropped to 550,000. It’s the fifth time claims have been under 600,000 since January. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance to 6.3 million. The pace of job cuts isn’t slowing fast enough to keep unemployment from rising. Economists predict the jobless rate will rise nationally to the highest point in 26 years. And that’s the OFFICIAL number, not the much-bigger UNOFFICIAL number (the U-6).

And, let’s not forget that more than a half million people lost their jobs this past month. By any stretch of the imagination, a perfectly awful number.

Join Ilyce Glink’s Fan Club on Facebook and Get a FREE EBOOK

We’re doing a push this week to get as many people signed up for my new Ilyce Glink FAN CLUB on Facebook. If you sign up by the end of the day, you’ll get a free copy of my ebook “How to Save $50/month.”

Share with your friends! If you spread the word and we get 3,000 people to sign up for the fan club, we’ll also send you a SECOND free ebook: “How to Fix Your Credit History and Score Forever,” which includes information not currently found anywhere on

To sign up for my fanclub, go to Ilyce Glink Fan Page on Facebook.

Ilyce Glink Fan Club members will get a special sneak peak of my new book, BUY CLOSE MOVE IN! which will be for sale starting next April. Fan Club members will also get special discounts and offers associated with our live events, videos, and other items offered at the Think Glink Store.

Sign up today to get all the benefits!

Free Books and Ebook Deal

We have free books we’re giving away. Go to the Think Glink Store to get your free copy of my books: 50 Simple Steps You Can Take to Disaster-Proof Your Finances or The REALLY Useful Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder

You pay the shipping, and we’ll give you as many free books as you want!

Here’s our Free Ebook deal: Buy 3 Get 1 Free! Choose any 3 ebooks and we’ll give you one of those for FREE!! Use the discount code: freeebook Go to the Think Glink Store and click on EBOOKS to order the ones you want. The discount will be given once you enter the code and go to the next page.

Join us for Ilyce Glink’s How to Profit From Foreclosures on October 24, 2009

We had a bunch of Clark Howard listeners sign up for the event yesterday – thank you for joining us and I hope everyone else listening to the show will consider joining us as well. It’s going to be an amazing event, filled with experts you can trust! (Why? Because my team and I will vet everyone who is going to be there. You won’t be hit up for a pitch to spend $3,500 for someone’s DVD program on how to make millions with foreclosures. It’s just excellent and honest information.)

If you missed yesterday’s show, here’s the basic information on the program:

Following my successful Makeover Your Money day last May, we’re announcing that the ticket window is open for my next event, How to Profit From Foreclosures. There are so many foreclosures in Atlanta, and whether you’re buying for investment or you’re buying a home to live in, there are tricks and strategies you’ll want to know about – and the only place you can find out all the information you need to make a smart move with foreclosures is at our event on October 24, 2009.

The event will include three panel discussions covering the following:

  • Tips from top bankers, agents, lenders and REO specialists on how to find foreclosures and negotiate for them.
  • Tips from top tax experts and attorneys who know how to negotiate a foreclosure deal and keep you on the right side of the IRS when it comes to investing in foreclosures
  • Real life stories of successful investors who have made a great living and built up a fantastic amount of equity investing in foreclosures – without gimmicks and expensive DVD tutorials to sell. You’ll hear their secrets and what has made them rich and successful.

Sign up now for Ilyce Glink’s How to Profit from Foreclosures and get YOUR foreclosure questions answered.

Georgia Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Rodriguez wanted to know about the Georgia Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Here’s where to go to for more information:

Please feel free to contact Brian Williamson at (404) 679-1587 for more on the general policies for NSP 2.

FHA 203(k) Program Link

Here’s a link to more information about this program on the website.. We’ve also put up this helpful article about 203(k) programs on our site.

Green Tax Credits

John is building a concrete house using insulated concrete. His house will have an enviable energy efficiency rating of R-45. He wanted to know what green tax credits he’d qualify for. He’s not putting in solar panels, a geothermal heating unit or some of the other heavyweight credits – too bad since he’d get 30 percent of the price paid for. Still, here’s a link to the available tax credits on the EnergyStar website.