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2012 was the year when people started freely telling casual friends they were broke—or living in their car. It was the year that contract-thumping moralists lost their voice. It was the year that sleeping on a friend's couch became acceptable and accepted.

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A July 15th survey summarized in Bloomberg.com reports the average Canadian household's wealth at $363K as opposed to the U.S. average of $319K. If capitalism builds wealth, why are Canadians wealthier than we are?

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Debt collectors want one of two things: your money, or your peace of mind. They count your guilt, fear, or anger as wins – not as good as money, but getting close. If you're cheerful when they call, it pulls the rug out from under their feet.

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Credit rating declines due to home foreclosures or short sales are not as dramatic as commonly reported. More important, consumers' damaged credit ratings are rebounding most of the way to their original levels in far less than seven years.

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The wealth of a nation continues to drain from middle America into the vaults of Wall Street. It is time for Americans to set aside their 1970s moral values, and stop paying debts on underwater homes and overpriced credit cards, because America needs your money to build a new economy.

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For over fifteen years I’ve worked out personal finances with families and singles in trouble. The numbers usually scream “walk away!” Most people don’t – until they’re financially ruined. This is why people keep paying – and why you are not morally obliged to pay.

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Growing up in a diplomatic family you learn to keep your nose to the wind, and read the writing on the wall, in case political turmoil suggests a flight for the border. The skills were useful doing business in South America, helping me skip one step before revolutions started.

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I do not know how political sage Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince, would have estimated the OWS prospects of success. However I am certain of the warning he would be giving the ruling class, the one-percenters: they are pushing the people too far.

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Criticism of Occupy Wall Street protests is so anecdotal and insubstantial that you have to wonder if Ronald Reagan is speaking from the grave. This is a brief guide to the realities behind the mainstream spin.

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