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January 19, 2006


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Americans for the first time since World War II have a negative savings rate; this unwillingness to spend less than you make has been driven in part by the rise in consumer credit, the ability to use a house as an ATM through constant refinances, and overall low interest rates. This year we're seeing an increase in credit card minimum payments and rising interest rates slamming shut the door to refinancing. In addition, over the next 18 months we'll see over 3 million homeowners watch their mortgages adjustment for the first time just in time for a softening real estate market. Cutting up your credit cards and resisting the urge to spend money on all but the most necessary items is definitely a good plan.

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