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The Clark Howard Podcast

Save more and spend less is more than just a motto for money expert Clark Howard; it’s a way of life. Clark and his crew — Team Clark — are on a mission to empower people to take control of their personal finances by providing money-saving tips, consumer advice, hot deals and economic news to help everyone achieve financial freedom. Clark is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and a consumer reporter for television stations around the country. His podcast, The Clark Howard Show, receives more than one million downloads each month and is a hub for listeners to get valuable advice on-demand any time. Clark answers questions on the most popular business and consumer topics including; how to buy a cars, financing a home, retirement planning, shopping for insurance and getting the most out of your savings. Join the conversation and submit your question to www.clark.com/askclark . Clark spearheads two free resources — Clark.com and ClarkDeals.com — to encourage consumers to save more, spend less and avoid ripoffs.

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10.2.19 Credit score drops; Investment cons are alive and well; When to ditch an old car?

We borrow principally for a home, vehicle, credit cards, student loans. A long-held frustration is how scoring models punish you for eliminating debt. Paying off a loan (other than credit cards) could drop your score 50 points. Don't worry about it. If your score is healthy enough, the payoff score pinch does not matter. You DO NOT raise your credit score by leaving a balance open on a credit card. That's a myth you pay interest on. With cards, using very little of your credit and paying on time boosts your score. The Securities and Exchange Commission ( the Federal agency overseeing the investment industry)  reports that in recent years, 4.3 million Americans have been ripped off in investment schemes. The average loss: $150K. Historically the cons target small business owners, entrepreneurs, and senior citizens. The promise of non-traditional investments have of late touted 8-12% returns - which may appear initially, till the scheme collapses leaving its victims broke. Many times people dump their old car because it's no longer reliable. That's a good reason. But when it comes to the dollars and cents of this, Clark and Consumer Reports differ. Consumer Reports advises that when the cost of repair exceeds the remaining value, that's when it's time to let go. Clark recommends when the cost of a repair exceeds 50% of the remaining value - that's when to dump it. Ironically, you may need to pay for the repair anyway in order to trade/sell it. Otherwise, you get clobbered on value. Most people tire of and dump a vehicle prematurely and that is expensive. The longer you keep a car, the better for your wallet. The depreciation curve is a dive through the first 4 years, into gentle decline, as your money works for you. As the vehicle fleet steadily moves to electrics, they're more reliable. Today batteries are much more efficient. The cost of ownership on electrics is much less than gas engine cars. The best deal: Buy a used electric car and drive it for a long time.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

2 Oct 2019

Rank #1

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8.15.18 Millennials eat out too much; Why to avoid auto-pay; Aldi organics

Most Millennials spend more money eating out than they save for retirement. That's not good!; Auto-pay could be a disaster for your bank account. Clark tells you why to avoid it and how to pay your bills properly; Aldi is massively expanding their stores and their organic food selection. And their prices are still the best around. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

15 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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2.26.19 New expensive cell phones; Student loan forgiveness lawsuit; Zestimates gaining accuracy

New cell phones are coming. Foldable screens are coming soon, but with a hefty price tag attached; 3 individuals eligible for PSLF won a fight against the Department of Education in a court of law; Zestimates are gaining accuracy but Clark tells you why they still are far from perfect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

26 Feb 2019

Rank #3

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10.8.19 Low investing fees go lower; AT&T sends early termination bill to deceased family; Too much politics

Follow-up: the financial industry continues its radical transformation. Technology has made it possible to invest at a lower cost. Last week Schwab announced no commission stock buying and selling. There are free and low-cost robo advisors and robo/human hybrids. Investing with high-cost companies could cause you to end up with 40% less money than investing the same amount with their low-cost rivals. Even Ally bank is offering a no-fee robo-advisory service. Vanguard will soon launch its low-cost Digital Advisor service too. AT&T – get your act together.  A long-time DirecTV customer passed away at age 102 and AT&T went after the relatives for the early termination fee in strong terms. Only after the story went public did AT&T waive the termination fee, but didn’t apologize until they received more bad press. Where’s the heart and humanity? How stupid.Roughly 1 in 4 American adults is extremely politically engaged. This past weekend, Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush enjoyed a football game together. As their pictures circulated, ugly reaction ensued, with some referring to Bush as the ‘enemy’.  After all the mean-spirited postings came an enlightened one which expressed that seeing Ellen and George Bush together restored their faith in America. When we lose sight of the fact that we’re all Americans in this together, we make our country weak. People we disagree with are still our fellow Americans.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

8 Oct 2019

Rank #4

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10.7.19 Google gives you more control over your data; Veterans wrongfully denied coverage; ATM fees

Current privacy concerns have Google in the spotlight. Google lives in fear the U.S. will finally pass privacy laws outlining restrictions and consumer rights, as exists in Europe. The Right to be Forgotten and to control online info in Europe puts them way ahead of the U.S. in the privacy realm. Google’s preemptive strike is a newly launched activity suite tool allowing users to better control their info and have their tracking data wiped automatically.  Sign into Google. Type in myactivitiy.google.com. There you’ll see everything Google has on you – massive. Then you have the right to have them wipe out everything 90 days old and older. You can choose 90 days to 1.5 years to let Google retain your activity info until they delete it. The Inspector General is like the cop inside a federal agency there to expose wrongdoing and enforce the law. The  VA Office of Inspector General found that 1 in 3 veterans who’ve sought emergency healthcare, are denied their medical claims by the VA, even when perfectly legitimate. Inexcusable and Unacceptable. The men and women who have served and put their lives on the line for American freedom deserve to have the promises made to them carried out.The average ATM charge in the U.S. is now $4.72. The cost to a bank is around .02cents. Beyond outrageous. Why do they do it? In the aftermath of the last decade’s banking scandals, the federal government bailed out the big banks and let small banks sit and spin. This led to a massive closure of smaller banks, and thus less competition. 4 big banks now have half of all banking market share. ATMs are disappearing around the country as people use less cash these days. Also, we now have an ever-expanding roster of online banks, offering lower costs and far better savings rates. The big banks pay essentially 0 on savings vs around 2% offered by online banks. And – credit unions have filled the void left by small local banks going away. Credit Unions provide much better deals than banks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

7 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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8.20.18 Home internet prices; Credit scores on the rise

5G is coming to certain markets by the end of the year. Home internet prices are currently on the rise...but not for long. Clark discusses how 5G technology will create more competition in the home internet space and drive prices down over the long haul.; Clark recounts a story of one man taking the time to help his fellow man having a really difficult time.; Credit scores are going up for many Americans. Clark discusses why that is happening and how you can maximize your credit score. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

20 Aug 2018

Rank #6

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4.26.19 How to quit smoking; Clark Stinks

Clark used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day. And he gives his thoughts on how to quit; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

26 Apr 2019

Rank #7

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5.1.19 Getting a mortgage if you are self-employed; New-style payday lenders; Robot baristas are on the way

Getting a mortgage is getting easier for self-employed folks; Clark warns against using apps that will advance you cash before your paycheck comes in; Robot baristas are making their way into high-traffic areas like airports Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

1 May 2019

Rank #8

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10.9.19 Low inflation creates job opportunities; Scam season is in full swing; How much allowance is good?

We have the lowest unemployment rate in years, while wages remain relatively static. Most aren't seeing meaningful pay raises. Certain sectors of the economy are seeing layoffs, job losses, and closures. Many corporate sectors predict a recession or believe they're already in one. For others, times are great. Manufacturing is suffering because of the trade wars, here and abroad. The greatest job growth is in education, healthcare, state, and local government and the hotel industry. College graduates are in demand. As for static wages - for the low to mid-income earners, in particular, better pay may be found by changing jobs. Get a better offer to negotiate with your current employer if you want to stay.  Until you have the confidence to shop what you're worth in the marketplace, employers won't pay more. Be your own advocate. Find better opportunities. You don't ask, you don't get. The NFL season is underway and scams follow. The season is about 1/3 over now. A variety of scams pop up every season, most around PCH - a legit, high-interest organization and popular target for scammers. The Fraud Watch Bulletin reports 2 versions big right now. One comes as a phone call pretending to be from PCH saying you've won and need to wire fee money. The other is a small fake check, requesting you wire money to receive the big check. Both bogus. PCH reminds all they never ask winners to send fees, taxes or other money to collect a prize. Pre-teens and teens pretty much spend whatever money they get. For school-age kids, money burns a hole in their pocket and vanishes. The American Institute of CPAs does an annual survey of allowance and finds the average kid in the U.S. now receives a weekly allowance of $30. That's doubled in just 3 years. Parents have lost their minds. Clark has recommended stepping up allowance yearly. The amount can match their age or grade and should be used to teach. The 3 jar system is a known method. Allowance is divided 3 ways: for spending, savings, and charity. Allowance should be in cash to teach the finiteness of money. And with an allowance comes responsibility. Parents give the money and should set ground rules about allocation - 3 jars or something similar. The savings can be for any specific goal chosen by the kid. Create a sense of purpose for money. If you just hand it out with no guidelines, they learn nothing and it disappears. Parents must teach the concept of spend and save.  Giving can be time or $  for charity.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

9 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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8.21.18 Following a scammer trail; Elon Musk should sleep; New 3% down mortgages

Clark brings LA Times columnist David Lazarus on the show to discuss how he thwarted potential scammers and followed the scam to its logical conclusion; Elon Musk is apparently working 120 hours a week. Working that much actually has harmful effects on your creative output; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have introduced new 3% down mortgages. There are pros and cons to these new offerings and Clark discusses. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

21 Aug 2018

Rank #10

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4.22.19 Which home improvements pay off?; Ponzi scheme busted; How to cut dental care costs

Which home improvements make sense in order to maximize your money?; A ponzi scheme was busted in Florida and ordered to pay over a billion dollars in fines; How can you cut the costs of your dental care? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

22 Apr 2019

Rank #11

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6.26.19 How to become a 401k millionaire; Cryptocurrency scams; Carry on bag rules

Clark talks about how you too can become a 401k millionaire - and why a Roth 401k might be your best bet on the way; Watch out for crypto scams that are proliferating; Carry on bag rules are a nuisance. Clark tells you how to save money and get around most of them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

26 Jun 2019

Rank #12

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10.16.19 Cell phone plan deals; 401k early withdrawal changes; Financial advice for different generations

Of the 4 major cell carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint - all the growth over the past 4 years has gone to T-Mobile, steadily taking market share. But all 4 also have captive discount brands on their networks, at a lower cost. The price points have kept moving. Total Wireless is a joint venture on Verizon's network, The 4-line family plan shares 100 gigs of data per month, starts at $100 a month, and it is available for $95 with auto-refill.. Available at Walmart and TotalWireless.com. Verizon's second discount brand, Visible is geared toward young adults, offering a single line at $40 a month - unlimited data - available only through Visible.com via their app. Metro PCS - now Metro by T-Mobile has gone up from 4 lines for $100 to $120 per month, including Amazon Prime and hotspot. Cricket Wireless - AT&T's captive brand - offers 4 lines for $100 a month with speed limitations, but adequate for most basic surfing and video. Starting in January, people with 401ks will have a much broader hardship latitude to make withdrawals under new regulations issued by the IRS. Clark HATES this. It's very difficult to ever restore retirement money taken out of a 401k. Statistically, those who take out loans end up with way less than those who never do. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Just say NO! Consider the money off-limits.Young adults now face more difficult money choices than prior generations. Over a full lifetime, 3/4 of kids end up more successful financially than their parents. That's a slowdown from 90% historically. There's a lot of uncertainty today and new challenges for young adults. Student loans are brutal for students and parents alike. Many in retirement are still burdened by parental loans. There are so many college choices, this can be avoided with planning and attending less expensive schools. Clark's tuition per year was $2400 in the '70s. Heavier burdens today require new decision making. Buying a home involves geographic considerations for affordability. Pensions no longer exist. Young adults are choosing no-car lifestyles in walkable communities. No car expense makes for a lot more financial breathing room.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

16 Oct 2019

Rank #13

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9.28.18 Clark Stinks; Car dealerships are having a hard time right now

Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here; Car dealerships have had a hard time keeping younger employees and keeping up with the times Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39mins

28 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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11.23.18 Moving to make more money; Everything you need to know about PMI

Relocating can have a major impact on your salary; Feel like you are throwing away money every month on PMI? Clark gives you all the details about PMI and avenues to get rid of it so you can keep that money in your pocket. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

23 Nov 2018

Rank #15

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3.1.19 Cars that stay on the road longer; Clark Stinks

Clark tells you which cars end up staying on the road longer. It might be worth considering one of these in the future; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a "Clark Stinks" to share you can leave it here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

1 Mar 2019

Rank #16

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Clark Howard 1.10.18

Special edition: Clark Howard Day 2 from CES in Las Vegas discussing advances in consumer electronics Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

1hr 12mins

10 Jan 2018

Rank #17

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8.16.18 Solar power prices; Neighborhood girl busted for selling cookies; Vanguard's dim view of economic future

Solar power is starting to make more and more sense for everyday Americans as prices drop; A neighbor called the cops on a little girl selling cookies at the end of her driveway. That's Clarkrageous!; Vanguard predicts low returns in the market over the next decade. What should we do with that news? Clark gives you his take. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

16 Aug 2018

Rank #18

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11.26.18 Cyber Monday; Bitcoin crashing; GM layoff announcement

Black Friday is over and Cyber Monday is here. Clark talks about shopping for deals and how travel deals are likely to be the star tomorrow; Bitcoin is crashing. It's still a speculative buy and not worth purchasing now; GM announced plant closures and layoffs today. This directly impacts how much you'll pay for a new car now and in the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38mins

26 Nov 2018

Rank #19

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1.3.20 The impact of running even just a little; The most reliable vehicles

The CDC reports a massive decline in the smoking, down to 13% of the adult population. The same week, a dramatic decline in lung cancer was reported recently. And more people are living 5 years+ after diagnosis. In addition, the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds that if you run, even just once a week, you reduce the risk of early death from any cause by 27%, from heart disease by 30%, from cancer by 25%. Lifestyle changes make a big difference. Running twice or more a week doesn't dramatically increase the benefit! So get your weekly run on to dramatically improve your health and lifespan. After housing, transportation is our biggest expense. So it's important to choose the most reliable vehicle. The vehicle market is way overstocked. Carmakers are suffering sluggish sales and bloated inventory. There are deals all over. But, it's not a deal if the car isn't reliable. Consumer Reports does a deep dive for their annual automobile reliability survey. Again, LEXUS emerges as the most reliable vehicle, followed by Mazda, Toyota, Porsche, Hyundai's Genesis, Hyundai, Subaru, Dodge, KIA, Mini, Nissan & Honda. There are specific models listed within these makes. Lexus, Toyota and Mazda have 3 out of 10 each, Hyundai has the last 5. Consider reliability when buying a vehicle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37mins

3 Jan 2020

Rank #20