Should You Get a Store Credit Card?


As fans all over the world eagerly await the December release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” we are continuously reminded that the global Star Wars phenomenon isn’t just about movies.

Sure, it all starts with the movies, which have earned billions of dollars at the box office. However, it extends far beyond the movie theater. There are novels, comic books, video games, lunchboxes, clothing of all shapes and sizes, breakfast cereals, action figures, bobbleheads and even a Darth Vader refrigerator — all of which you can buy with a Star Wars Visa credit card. But is this card something that Star Wars fans should add to their collection or something they should avoid like a confrontation with Darth Vader? Let’s break it down …

The card is part of Chase’s Disney Visa card program and is available in three different Star Wars-themed designs: one featuring Darth Vader, another with Yoda and another with R2-D2 and C-3PO. It also comes with rewards aimed toward fans of the films, including:

  • 10 percent off purchases $50 or more when you use the card at the Disney Store or (Reminder: In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, the company

Home Improvement Projects That Can Hurt Your Property Value


Are you considering converting your home’s garage into a man cave? Before you permanently ditch parking and storage space in exchange for a testosterone-friendly getaway, you may want to consider this: your garage man cave project could hurt your home’s value and make it harder to sell.

Turning your garage into a living space is one of four home improvement projects highlighted by MarketWatch that could end up sucking the value out of your home.

Homeowners need to think carefully before they get rid of their garage and turn it into a man cave, family room or extra bedroom, because it could make their home less attractive to many people, New York real estate agent Brendon DeSimone, author of the book “Next Generation Real Estate,” told MarketWatch.

A recent survey by real estate investment and operating firm Crescent Communities found that 74 percent of homebuyers said having a garage is extremely or very important. If you still want to proceed with your garage project, consider leaving the garage doors on the outside so if you do sell your house, a buyer has the option to easily turn the space back into a garage, Michele Silverman

We Need to Talk About Credit Card Debt


Americans are embarrassed by their credit card debt but don’t like to talk about it.

In a national survey, 42.4 percent of Americans reported having credit card debt, and the average balance is a staggering $10,902. According to a survey by the National Foundation for Consumer Counseling, 37 percent of Americans would be more embarrassed to admit the balance on their credit cards than their age or weight.

Why are so many of us afraid to talk about the problem that is haunting so many of us? And does our inability to talk publicly about debt cause bigger problems in the long run?

I Am a Failure

Credit card debt is viewed as a failure and weakness of character. People who spend too much are accused of living beyond their means, shopping too much and indulging in a life they can’t afford.

And to a large extent, this is true. Credit cards make it easy to shop without thinking. If you don’t have a budget, it is incredibly easy to spend just a bit more than you should. Countless studies show that spending with plastic means that we spend more. And we don’t just spend more money