In Florida, it is legal to use a cell phone while driving and police officers are not authorized to stop a driver for using a cell phone while driving as the primary offense. Will Florida join the ranks of states that have decided to give the police more tools to combat unsafe driving practices involving cell phones and smart phones?
Many Orlando residents are considering “strategic default” and voluntary foreclosure to fix their “underwater home” problem. Earlier this week I reported on a survey by the National Association of Independent Landlords, showing that most non-corporate landlords are OK with renting to families and individuals who have lost their homes to foreclosure, if it was an isolated event and they showed an otherwise good track record of paying their bills on time. Now, another study confirms that creditors are now beginning to take into account the deepening mortgage foreclosure crisis when assessing the credit worthiness of borrowers. Credit monitor TransUnion reports that those who only default on mortgages are less likely to default later on new car loans or credit cards than are people who default on mortgages and at least one other debt at the same time. This was the result of a study, entitled “Life after Foreclosure,” on 129,000 homeowners followed over a 12 to 17 month period. The study found that credit scores for mortgage-only defaulters bounced back quicker, with credit scores rising a median 8 points 12 to 17 months after defaulting on a mortgage. The results of this study were similar to a study performed by credit monitor FICO, which last month reported that mortgage-only defaulters were savvy about credit, with better credit histories than other mortgage defaulters.
The August 13 edition of the Orlando Business Journal reports that profits for Central Florida hospitals are up by 88% for 2009. The untold story is how medical debt and illness continue to be a primary cause of financial crisis for families who must resort to bankruptcy protection for their medical debts. While the health care industry in Orlando enjoyed this surge in profits, the American Journal of Medicine reported that illness and medical debt were the cause of 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed during 2007 in the United States. Most of these medical debtors were well educated, owned homes and had middle class incomes. Astonishingly, most were insured before their medical crisis. This Harvard Medical School study showed that since 2001, the number of medical bankruptcies had increased by nearly 50%.