As technology elbows its way into financial payments, cash and paper checks become relics of the past. Employers pay employees not by writing checks but by loading money onto their prepaid re-loadable debit cards. Students receive their financial aid and meal plan swipes on their student ID cards. The government pays Social Security, SNAP, and other transfer or welfare payments through prepaid cards. Parents give their children prepaid debit cards as flexible gifts that let them pay with plastic well before they are of age to get credit cards.
Many families from across the country come to Florida to enjoy the year-round warm weather and water. Florida is one of the most popular destinations for aquatic sports and swimming, but unfortunately, it is also the most dangerous to young children and infants. According to data from the United States Swimming Foundation, Florida led the nation with the most child drowning deaths in 2017, with a total of 51 fatal child drowning incidents in pools or spas. In child drowning deaths, over eighty percent involve children under the age of 5. Nationwide, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4.
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%.