The US Government is Spying on You and Links

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The NSA is spying on Americans under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Through a program called PRISM (and likely others) the government has the ability to capture and store every type of electronic communication you make.  The plan was to use these programs only overseas, but it has been revealed that all kinds of communications of innocent Americans are being tracked and stored as well.  Your phone calls can be recorded, who you called and how long the call lasted is recorded, your e-mail and web browsing can all be tracked (and should be assumed, is tracked).

This is a massive story that should be on the front page of every news website and newspaper in the country, but it is being kept under wraps.

One great example: Lavabit, a secured, encryped e-mail company, recently abruptly shut down.

It was revealed in July that Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who spilled the beans about the PRISM program to a UK newspaper, was a customer of Lavabit’s services.  This led to a surge in new subscribers to the company’s services.

The owner of the one-employee (literally the owner and an intern) company shut the company down and posted a letter on the company’s website saying, essentially, he was asked to do something by the government he felt he could not due and maintain his conscience or his 100% encrypted and secure service.  Oh, and he was also given a gag order so he couldn’t tell the public or his customers exactly what the government asked him to do.  The order was likely from a secret court that you and I, and Congress, will never see.

Scary.

Later that evening a second encrypted email service, Silence Circle, preemptively shut down.  They figured they were next.

What does all this have to do with your personal finances?
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Have You Thought about Renegotiating Your Life Insurance Premiums?

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With life insurance, many of us just accept the fact that the premiums are set at the outset, and that once they are locked in, you are stuck.

The good news is that this isn’t always the case.

It’s actually possible for you to contact your insurance company when your risk profile changes and negotiate a better monthly premium.  This applies to term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

If you have been making positive changes in your life, consider asking for a reassessment to see if you are eligible for lower premiums.

When to Renegotiate Your Life Insurance

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Review: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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Are you looking for an incredible travel rewards credit card that allows you to earn free nights at high-end hotels and resorts AND can be used towards airline miles programs?

How about a card that, besides rewards, comes with additional travel benefits, purchase protections, and more?

Then look no further than the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Starpoint® Rewards Program

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Diplomatically Say No to Friends and Family That Want to Borrow Money – 6 Tips

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One of the hardest things you will ever have to do in life is to look a friend or family member in the eye and say no.

It’s hard enough to do this when you’ve been asked to watch someone else’s kids, or attend some event.  It’s even more difficult to tell a loved one no when he or she is asking for money.

However, you might not want to lend money to family and friends since relationships can be ruined.  As awkward as it is to say no in these situations, the awkwardness can be even more intense when you have a loan (particularly an unpaid loan) between you.

If you don’t want to get involved with lending money to friends and family, here are 6 tips to help you say no:

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1. Make it Your Policy

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