Clark Howard Show Notes, November 24, 2010

It was a jam-packed show. Here are the highlights!!!

Foreclosure Process, Jobless Claims, Mortgage Rates, Black Friday, Free Books and More

Foreclosure Process INEXCUSABLE

The process banks used to foreclose on properties leading up to the foreclosure freeze was “inexcusable,” according to an Obama administration official.

Michael Barr, the U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions, spoke in front of the Financial Stability Oversight Council this week to summarize the findings of regulators’ probe into the nation’s mortgage foreclosure industry. “The bulk of the examination work to date focused on the foreclosure process has found widespread and, in our judgment, inexcusable breakdowns in the foreclosure process,” Barr said.


Foreclosure Process Inexcusable, Treasury’s Michael Barr Said
Washington Post Blog
Financial Stability Oversight Council

Jobless Claims at 2-year low; spending rises

Americans increased spending for a fifth month in October and filed the fewest unemployment claims in more than two years last week, pointing to strength in the largest part of the economy as the fourth quarter began.

Household purchases advanced 0.4 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in September that was larger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. Incomes climbed 0.5 percent. Jobless claims fell by 34,000 to 407,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, Labor Department figures showed.

Consumer Spending Rises, Income Rebounds

Mortgage Rates Stabilize

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), which found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) and the 15-year (FRM) edged up slightly this week. The 5-year ARM also rose, while the 1-year ARM fell a bit from the previous week.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.40 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending November 24, 2010, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.39 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.78 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.77 percent with an average 0.7 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.29 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.45 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.40 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.18 percent.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.23 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.26 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.35 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.


Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey

New Home Sales Fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — New home sales tumbled in October while the median home price dropped to the lowest point in seven years.

Sales of new single-family homes declined 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units in October, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the fourth time the sales rate has dropped in the past six months. New home sales are just 2.9 percent above August’s pace of 275,000 units — the lowest level on records dating back to 1963. Many economists believe it could take three years for the industry to get back to a healthy annual rate of sales of around 600,000 homes. The median price of a home sold in October dipped to $194,900, the lowest level since October 2003.


New Home Sales Fall

Black Friday Deals are Online

Shop online, avoid the stores. Here are some great links to the best deals for Black Friday.



While Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving in the United States — is one of the biggest retail shopping days of the year, tech-smart consumers are increasingly turning to the internet for the best gadget deals. Last year, 84 million people in the United States went online from mid-November to mid-December to shop for gift items, which was up 12 percent over the year before, according to comScore, a company that tracks online traffic.

Furthermore, the growth in online purchases is expected to outpace that in brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season. Analysts are predicting 9 to 16 percent increases in online sales, compared to a 2.3 percent increase in real-world spending, as calculated by the National Retail Federation.

Have you ordered your FREE BOOKS yet?

Ilyce’s Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe and Sweet Potato/Apple Casserole

Every year, I get a lot of requests for my Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe. Here’s a link to my Turkey recipe. If you make it, let me know how it turns out!! (And let me know what you think about my turkey picture at right!)

Red garnet yams
Granny Smith apples
Maple Syrup
Tiny bit of vegetable oil (I like olive)
margarine or butter (if desired)

Peel yams and apples. Cut yams into 1/2″ thick rounds. Core apples and then slice about as thick as the yams.
Oil a baking dish. Alternate the yams and apples around the pan, one layer thick. (You can add a second layer if you like)

Drizzle with oil and maple syrup. (I do a little heavier on the maple syrup than the oil). Dot with margarine or butter (if desired). Sprinkle with Cinnamon.

Cover with tinfoil and bake 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes and apples are soft. Serve.


Give The Gift of Great Information This Holiday Season

Have you ordered your FREE BOOKS yet?

On the show today, I also talked about book deals and a GREAT gift-giving opportunity: Free books from and Free Ebooks. See below for details.

Give the FREE Gift of Knowledge: [50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Disaster-Proof Your Finances( and the REALLY Useful Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder.

The books are FREE (and retail for $15 each) – you pay the S&H. If you want to buy 10 books or more, send an email to and he’ll work with you on a shipping discount. The books retail for $15 and you get them for FREE. That’s the best deal going.

Warning: We’re on our last box of the Really Useful Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder, so order soon if you want one. Once they’re gone, they’re GONE!!!!

Check out our selection of Ebooks and Podcasts for Purchase!

We have terrific ebook packages on investing in real estate and managing your money. There are more than twenty ebooks and podcasts for sale on the site. Use the discount code freeebook for our buy-two-get-the-third-free deal. This time, you pay a little for great content, and nothing for shipping!

Today’s Callers

I suggested the following websites/organizations to today’s callers:

For Loan Modification Assistance: which is the former Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Greater Atlanta (404-527-7630)

To File a Complaint Against a Big Box Lender: (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – OCC – which regulates the big box lenders)

For Small Business Loans: Small Business Administration.
You might also try: for mentoring and possible business partners

For Shopping for a New Car:

Make sure you get your car financing ahead of time!! If you get 12 percent financing on a great new car deal, it’s not a real deal.

Don’t Miss Ilyce’s Show on Sunday Mornings, 11 to 1 on Newstalk WSB

I’ll be filling in for Clark the rest of this week, so tune in!

Check out Ilyce’s Blog on CBS

Check out Ilyce’s Blog on the Equifax Personal Finance Blog