Today on the Clark Howard Show, we discussed:

1. Jobs and the Unemployment Report. The numbers came in a lot better than expected, with only 247,000 jobs shed. The official unemployment number fell to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent. Economists said the the reason for the decline is 400,000 people were so fed up that they just gave up their job search. The stock markets have chosen to ignore that and are up today.

2. Jobless and with Bad Credit. All week on the Clark Howard Show, we’ve discussed the importance of having great credit. One caller was able to shave $700 off his insurance premium by having great credit. But having bad credit can sink your job prospects, as employers are pulling credit histories even for jobs that don’t have anything to do with finance.

3. The birth rate is down due to the recession. But the USDA’s child rearing cost numbers are out for 2008, and if you have a baby, it could cost you at least $221,000 to raise that child to age 17! According to the USDA’s new study, child-rearing expenses vary by household. In a two child, husband and wife family, annual expenses ranged from $8,330 to $9,450, on average for households with before-tax income less than $56,870. Household spending between $56,870 and $98,470 will spend between $11,610 to $13,480. And, for households with before-tax income above $98,470, they’ll spend between $19,250 to $22,960. What about the totals? You’ll spend a total of $166,000 if you earn less than $57,000; $221,000 if you earn up to $98,000 and $367,000 if you earn more than $100,000 per year. Remember, that’s only birth to age 18. It doesn’t eve include college. Crazy.

4. SCAM ALERT: Beware a new scam that touts a “Google work from home” job that pays six figures per year. It’s a scam.

5. Best Advice for College-Bound Kids? It’s all about Statistics. The New York Times had a great story today about how college-bound kids might want to get a doctorate in statistics. Those who graduate with a doctorate in statistics are able to earn $125,000 as a starting salary!

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.

Websites, Resources, Phone Numbers and Links Mentioned on Today’s CLARK HOWARD SHOW is a non-profit advocacy organization and HUD-certified housing counselor. NACA allows you to buy a house with nothing down, with no closing costs. It also does refinancing, and offers lower interest rates. It is legitimate. There are a few things to watch out for, including the 3-year membership fee you must pay. It’s not for everyone, but worth checking out.

Down Payment Assistance Programs. Atlanta Development Authority; Georgia Dream Homeownership Programs.

When searching for a down payment assistance program, type the following into a search engine:

city/county/state and down payment assistance. For example, you might type in “Georgia down payment assistance” or “Atlanta down payment assistance.”

Remember that down payment assistance programs are typically tied to income and/or location. If you earn too much money, you won’t qualify for most of them.

USDA Zero Down Loans

Daniel followed up the call about down payment assistance program to say that he recently closed on a house with a 5-acre garden using a USDA rural home loan. These loans do not have closing costs, and allow you to have credit that isn’t perfect. You can also finance some or all of your closing costs. Mortgage brokers who handle FHA loans usually can do a USDA loan as well.

Read more: USDA Rural Development Loan Programs Click on where it says “single family.”

Can I Sell My House via a House Raffle or Lottery?

Georgia state law prohibits anyone except a nonprofit from holding a raffle. And, even if you are a nonprofit, you have to get a license to hold the raffle from the count sherriff’s office. And, you have to keep records for three years, file certain paperwork with the state, etc. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT ENGAGING LEGAL COUNSEL.

I’ll post information from the statute on another page on the website, so you can read it for yourself. Thanks to Frank Alexander, real estate law professor at Emory for providing some of the state statute.

UPDATE: Just published a whole story on house raffles.

FHA and VA Streamline Refinance Options

David called to say he just had to accept a 20 percent paycut. His FHA loan was totally affordable before – but now things are a little tight in his budget. He wanted to know if he should refinance.

FHA offers a streamline loan modification, according to Jeffrey, a lender with Wells Fargo. Here’s what Jeffrey had to say:

“Absolutely, FHA does do a streamline. You can do it with or without an appraisal. In this market (Georgia) and in FL, they are typically done without an appraisal. Without the appraisal is less of an expense to the borrower.”

Jeffrey went on to write that an FHA streamline can only be done as long as there is a BENEFIT to the borrower. “When I was brokering to TB&W (Taylor, Bean and Whittaker), we had to complete a form that would outline the benefits of the new loan. It has to show either a 1.0 percent drop in rate or a $50.00 (minimum) reduction in principal and interest payment from their current payment.”

There is also an FHA 203(k) streamline refinance. Here’s what Jeffrey had to say:

“Wells Fargo is offering a NEW version of the FHA 203K Streamline loan. We call it the REMODEL EXPRESS program. It allows for up to $35,000 in repairs or upgrades to a home. It can be used to refinance or purchase a home. The value is based on 110% after the repairs. So if the value is $100,000 before the repairs, we will lend up to $110,000,” Jeffrey wrote to me in an email.

“All the repairs are done by licensed, bonded and insured contractors from Home Depot, Lowes or Sears. The client/borrower goes to the store and gets what they want to be done in the home. With the 203K Streamline, they have to hunt down contractors and that can be very daunting. This way they do not have to do that. The client does not have to have HUD inspector do an inspection. As a matter of fact, if they do $15,000 of repairs/upgrades, there is no inspections. All the repairs are completed by the contractors within 90-days of the closing.”

Read more about 203K loans on our topic page. We also have more information about 203k loans here.