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CFPB turns its attention to payday lending

CharleneCrowell 600Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) focused on those little loans that come with triple-digit lending rates – payday loans.

The CFPB's public forum in Nashville coincided with the Bureau's release of a new research report. After analyzing 11 months of borrowing at 12 million storefront locations, CFPB's findings again confirm that the industry relies not on individual borrowers' ability to quickly repay, but on their inability to repay, resulting in individual borrowers taking out many loans each year.

In other words, the business model for payday lending is a debt trap. With numerous storefronts often concentrated in communities of color, many consumers are drawn in by convenient locations and promises of quick cash with no credit checks. All too often, borrowers discover that the terms of the small dollar loan cause even more financial stress and deepening debt.

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Should we lower our expectations for new Michael Jackson album ‘Xscape’?

xscape 600For the second time since his tragic demise, Michael Jackson is returning from the hereafter.

Not in the literal sense, of course. Michael's latest revival is that time-honored tradition, prized by record companies and estates riven by family feuds over cash, if not debt (for the record, Jackson's Herculean personal debts were in fact paid off more than a year ago). The King of Pop will come back to us via "Xscape," his latest posthumous release – or, according to The Rolling Stone's hair-splitting definition, "the first posthumous album of new music."

Depending on who you ask and how they define a new album, "Xscape" will be Jackson's third musical effort released in the wake of his death. Executive producer and music legend L.A. Reid, who literally raided Michael's music vaults to curate songs where his vocals were completed, will partner with hip-hop wunderkind Timbaland and a host of other artists to give the new music a "fresh, contemporary sound."

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New law would let residents vote on annexation

tate 600If you've ever had to buy clothes for your kids, you know how fast they can grow.
You've probably had to buy shoes or pants that were just a little too big. "You'll grow into it," you told them.

Cities are kind of like that. They can grow outside their city limits, and it's become a hot topic in the General Assembly in Nashville. It affects everything from how much you pay in taxes and what kind of services you get from the city.

As our Shelby County cities grow, their mayors and councils have a pretty good idea about where they'll grow within Shelby County. They write up growth plans and maps that spell that out which "reserve" areas they plan to bring into the city limits.

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The Neelys come back home with 3rd blockbuster cookbook

neelys 600They met in the 1980's at Melrose High School, star-crossed sweethearts who lost touch after graduation. A 10-year class reunion, marriage in 1994, a thriving family barbeque business in Memphis – 20 years later, America gets to come "Back Home With the Neelys."

"We know our home folk in Memphis will really get a kick out of this third book," said Patrick Neely, one half of the superstar cooking couple in their own Food Network Show.

"Gina and I tell stories about our grandparents, stories we can all relate to. Along with our recipes are the stories we can remember growing up, memories on my grandfather's back porch over there in Orange Mound. Those are our roots. Those are our beginnings, and we want to always remember them."

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Cleaning up your financial records

FinancialCleaning 600In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court settled a case between a widow and her deceased husband's former wife regarding who would receive the man's federal employee insurance benefits. The judges ruled in favor of the first wife, even though the couple had been divorced for more than 10 years when he died, because she was still the designated beneficiary on his policy.

Some people may not be aware that the assets in most bank accounts, retirement plans, and insurance policies convey directly to the people named on the beneficiary forms, even if they are different from the people named in their wills or trusts. Others simply forget to make the appropriate changes in writing.

If your beneficiary forms are out of date – and your intentions somehow become a matter of dispute – a state and/or federal laws or the administrator's plan documents could ultimately determine who receives your assets.

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