Personal Finance

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2014

    Houston the Top City for Rising Credit Card Debt

    It seems that Houstonians are getting pretty darn comfortable swiping that plastic at the register again. So comfortable, in fact, that Houston has become the top city in the United States for rising credit card debt. We've finally made it onto the top of a list for something other than pollution, t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2014

    Houston Auto Lender Fined $2.75 Million for Screwing With Customers' Credit

    If you happened to need a sub-prime auto loan sometime in the past few years, and you happened to get said sub-prime loan from Houston's First Investors Financial Services Group, you may want to check your credit score. Seriously. These guys might have screwed you over. Last week, First Investors ... More >>

  • Music

    March 13, 2014

    How Will Obamacare Affect Musicians?

    The Affordable Care Act could offer a path to health care for struggling artists.

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2014

    248 Dogs Face Uncertain Future, And Their Rescue Organization Won't Tell us Why

    Until last December, Hewitt-based Happy Endings Dog Rescue paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to board dogs at the Lavon-based Camp Diggy Bones kennel. But word went out among the animal rescue community that Happy Endings, run by a woman named Linda Robinson-Pardo, suddenly lost a major ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 9, 2014

    Obamacare is Moving Along, But One Guy Says He's Paying for Insurance He's Not Getting

    Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield has lovely hold music. Just ask Fred Rhodes. He and his wife have taken turns listening to it since they found out that, despite having enrolled and paid for their new health insurance in December, they still aren't in the system. With the advent of the Affordable Care ... More >>

  • News

    November 14, 2013

    The San Jose Clinic Is Here to Take Care of Those Left Behind by the Texas Health-Care Debate

    Even after the Affordable Care Act, tens of thousands of Texans have no medical coverage. That is why the San Jose Clinic in Midtown still exists.

  • News

    July 25, 2013

    Getting Stuck: Uninsured Patients Slammed with Lawsuits by Not-for-Profit Hospital

    Memorial Hermann treats patients without insurance, tells them not to worry about the cost and then sues them for thousands of dollars.

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2013

    Survey: Debit Card Use Exceeds Credit Cards Since Recession

    The use of debit cards has markedly increased since the recession that began in 2008. Conversely, credit card use has lessened despite the fact that a healthy rebound from the recession has seen dramatic spending increases from the average consumer. This is all according to a survey of more than 600 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 24, 2013

    Houston, You're Damn Mellow When It Comes To Finances (Really?)

    A new study claims Houston is one of the best cities in the country when it comes to not getting too stressed about personal finances. This "Houston" that is talking about is apparently the one right here in Texas -- the one where we don't know too many people who aren't "stressed about ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 31, 2012

    Let's Get Ahead Of Ourselves: Romney Wins, Dies, And Paul Ryan Takes Over? Introducing Paul Ryan's America

    For a moment, let's talk fantasy. Let's say Mitt Romney somehow overcomes all of his apparent weakness -- Bain Capital rapaciousness, tax-record speculation, rich-guy aloofness -- and somehow ekes past President Obama in November in one of the narrowest victories in recent American politics. Democra ... More >>

  • News

    August 2, 2012

    Barbarians in the Ivory Tower

    America's for-profit colleges offer education only a con man (or a congressman) could love.

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2012

    Four Ways to Keep Your Technology and Data Safe During a Storm

    It's been a little wet in Texas recently for those who don't live here. When we get thunderstorms here, it can create some issues, particularly for technology, which, as you probably know, doesn't mesh very well with water or power surges from lightning. I mean, have you ever dropped your iPhone in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2012

    Comment of the Day: The Hazards Of getting Financial Aid At Lone Star College

    We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning or afternoon from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2012

    Lone Star College Students Say They're Getting Screwed On Financial Aid

    When a student who shall remain nameless started at Lone Star College last year, he heard rumors about problems in the financial aid office: botched paperwork, delayed disbursement, and even random cancelations of people's financial aid. Then it happened to him. First, his application got held up w ... More >>

  • Calendar

    June 14, 2012
  • Blogs

    April 23, 2012

    Brian Greenhouse: Son of Man Killed on Rodeo Amusement Ride to Get $1.9 Million

    A state judge has approved a $1.9 million settlement for the son of the man killed on a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ride in 2011. Brian Greenhouse, 46, was thrown 28 feet to his death on the Hi-Miler roller coaster at the 2011 rodeo. His family sued the rodeo and Ray Cammack Shows, which oper ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2011

    Thieves Suck: How to Protect Yourself When Your Stuff Is Stolen

    ​Sunday evening while I was out for a jog, my car was broken into and my purse was stolen. By some miracle of paranoia, I happened to have both my cell phone and wallet with me on the run, not for fear of them getting jacked, but because I'm always worried I might get lost, or need my ID if I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2011

    Christian Lopez, Overtaxed Yankee Fan, The Sequel (Where He Becomes A Charity)

    Christian Lopez: Now sponsored by the champagne of bottled beers​That's it, you win, Christian Lopez. I give up. You all remember, Christian Lopez, right? (It's only been like 24 hours since I last wrote about him. Please tell me you remember.) Just in case, Lopez was the ample Yankee fan wh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 24, 2011

    Payday Lending: Texas Takes Teeny, Tiny Step to (Barely) Regulate

    Gary Elkins: State Rep, payday lender.​Payday lending, where lower-income, lesser-educated, financially strapped people get some instant cash but sometimes end up paying 500 percent interest, is an industry ripe for some regulating, you would think. But that's why you're not a member of the T ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2011

    Texas Publishes Their Social Security Numbers, Now Someone's Trying to Scam Them

    Just give 'em John Doe's number, he won't mind.​Attorney General Greg Abbott is warning any Texans whose Social Security numbers were inadvertently exposed by the state government to, ummm, not just hand out that info to anyone calling to try to "confirm" things. More than three million emplo ... More >>

  • News

    March 10, 2011

    Betting Their Lives

    It's easy for a three-time felon to get $20 million for his investment company, as long as no one asks any questions.

  • Blogs

    February 18, 2011

    Christopher Purser: Indicted for Huge Fake-Insurance Scheme

    Insurance fraud for a tour boat that sank and killed 20​A Houston man is one of six people indicted for selling bogus insurance policies, including one to a tour boat that sunk and killed 20 people in a New York lake in 2005. Christopher Purser, 49, was one of the people who sold an insurance ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 14, 2011

    Lack Of Social Safety Net Tying Many Musicians To Day Jobs

    "I fantasize sometimes that my musical career would hit gold and help us escape these grim realities, but it's not something I really expect to happen." ​There are few issues in the current political climate more fraught with contention than whether or not the U.S. government will take a more ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 21, 2010

    Fishers of Men: Pastor And Associates Get Prison Time For Fraud

    Go thou and defraudeth FEMA....​It was almost two years ago that we wrote about the Fishers of Men scandal, a church in southwest Houston whose pastor and associates were charged with various financial shenanigans.It sparked a comment war between defenders and accusers that lasted so long and got ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2010

    As A Big Student-Loan Deadline Looms, Be Sure You're Using The Right Web Site

    ​Do you enjoy wasting hours when you're trying to meet a tight deadline to get federal aid for a college loan? Just log on to, and sign up for an ID, then spend hours getting material to answer all their questions. Ignore the many times an ad pops up, trying to sell you "professional ... More >>

  • News

    October 29, 2009

    No Justice

    We've bailed out the banks. When do we go after the crooks behind our financial collapse?

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2009

    Houston Woman A Star (Unfortunately) In The New Michael Moore Movie

    ​Michael Moore's new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, expectedly serves up a quick and dirty glimpse at the consequences of unfettered corporate corruption and exploitation. But the most disturbing story of corporate greed in the film, unfortunately, comes right from our own backyard.Houston widow ... More >>

  • News

    July 30, 2009

    Missing the Mexican

    Did we underestimate the popularity of Gustavo Arellano's column?

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2009

    Moratorium Is Over, So Foreclosures Spike Locally

    Photo by Paul KnightHarris County is seeing the result of failed government efforts to fix the housing crisis by issuing 90-day moratoriums on foreclosures.July was the worst month for foreclosures in the county since the savings and loan debacle, just 73 properties short of the record month -- Octo ... More >>

  • News

    July 16, 2009

    Cover Me

    Kathern Cathey thought she had an insurance policy that would save her life. Not exactly.

  • Blogs

    July 14, 2009

    Is the Honor System Dead?

    Photos by Robb WalshDriving back from vacation, I noticed a honey stand along the highway in the town of Shirley, Arkansas with a sign that said "Self-Service." I pulled over and took a look. There was sorghum, local honey, bee pollen, beeswax and honey candy for sale. You took whatever you wanted a ... More >>

  • News

    June 25, 2009

    ID Theft

    Someone gets your social, ruins your credit, upends your life. And gets away free and clear.

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2009

    Dastardly Plan To Make Poor Put Money Into Banks Apparently Working

    The Bank on Houston program, founded by City Controller Annise Parker in conjunction with area banks, credit unions and nonprofit organizations, says it's boasted early success. In three months 10,264 new accounts were opened; the goal for the entire first year was 10,000.People putting their money ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2008

    Be Thou Fishers Of Men, Or Scammers Of Government

    There's no scam like a religious scam. And there's no religious scam like one where the church involved has a really churchy name, like Fishers of Men. And that's what we have (allegedly) in Houston -- the US Attorney's office has indicted the heads of Fishers of Men for skimming millions in fake s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2008

    Gloom And Doom For Uninsured Texas Children

    There are two solutions to help the population of uninsured children in Texas, according to a Houston pediatrician: Pray for change or move to Canada. That's overstating it a bit, but Dr. Ana Malinow, a pediatrician and co-founder of the advocacy group Healthcare for All Texas, tells Hair Balls that ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2008

    Texas Continues To Shine At Being Uninsured

    Texas is at the top of the heap again – this time we are the most uninsured state, health care-wise, in the country. Woo hoo! Oh, snap, wait, that’s not a good thing, is it? The U.S. Census Bureau released a report today stating that the number of uninsured in America was down to just 15.3% in ... More >>

  • Calendar

    July 24, 2008

    Marilyn Logan

    “The Money Lady” reads from I Can’t Afford to Marry You

  • Blogs

    June 11, 2008
  • News

    May 15, 2008

    College Immaterial for High School Students in Vocational Training

    Good paying jobs, no huge loan burdens, exciting course work — the new vo-tech attracts more and more hi-tech students

  • News

    May 17, 2007

    In the Sub-Prime of Life

    Homeowners complain that Litton Loan is quicker to foreclose than it needs to be

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2006


    So the great news on December 20 was that President Bush signed into law an extension that allows Texas state residents (and residents of eight other states with no state income tax) to deduct sales tax from their federal taxes for the next two years. [Other renewed deductions were for higher tuitio ... More >>

  • Music

    September 21, 2006

    Jet Stream

    Chris Cester on Jet's new CD, Shine On

  • News

    January 26, 2006

    Costly Advances

    Payday lenders take care of you till your check comes in, and for a long time after

  • News

    January 26, 2006

    Eaten Alive

    Rent-to-own stores, pawnshops, payday lenders -- it's hope for sale, with interest

  • Calendar

    May 26, 2005

    Fun with Guns

    Have a blast at the Lone Star Shoot

  • News

    March 20, 2003

    College Credit

    Shopping spree for your first apartment: $2,500
    Spring break in Cabo: $1,000
    Avoiding college credit card debt: priceless

  • News

    March 28, 2002

    Living in a House of Cards

    Rank-and-file employees suspected something was wrong at Enron. Now they want someone to pay.

  • News

    October 28, 1999

    Placed in the Discard Pile

    About to be booted from the Fourth Ward, poor people are being told they are too poor to qualify for public housing in Houston

  • News

    December 28, 1995
  • News

    October 6, 1994

    Art of the Mortgage

    MFA's one-of-a-kind home loan program

  • More >>