Archive for July, 2009

Will you try Chick-fil-A’s new spicy sandwich?

Over the years, many customers have asked Chick-fil-A to spice up its menu.

Well, the Atlanta-based chain is finally going to do it. AJC reporter Joe Guy Collier writes that it will roll out a new spicy fried chicken sandwich next year.

Will you try it? Do you think it’s a good move? Or do you think Chick-fil-A is messing with a good thing?

Chick-fil-A had been wary of adding another fried chicken sandwich to its menu, even though competitors like Wendy’s and Burger King have put spicy chicken offerings in their line-ups, Collier writes.

Given the competition, do you think Chick-fil-A is too late to the party?

Will the new sandwich just take sales from the existing offerings? Or will it add to the total?

Continue reading Will you try Chick-fil-A’s new spicy sandwich? »

Final part: Answers to your credit questions

This is the final installment of answers to your credit questions.

Thank you for submitting them. And thanks to Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta for answering them. (If you missed the previous parts, you can scroll down this blog for the other postings.)

Q: I was unemployed for about 3 years (job went to India). During this time, my credit took a hit. I had a rental property that I couldn’t keep up the notes on, and it was subsequently foreclosed on. Now I’m having trouble getting any kind of loan because of my recent credit bump. Is it the norm for lenders to ignore your total credit history, and just focus on the 1 or 2 bumps? It seems to me that a person’s total credit picture should be considered. Any thoughts or suggestions?

A: Actually, a foreclosure is a more of a negative on your credit record than a mere “bump,” such as falling behind on paying a credit card. A foreclosure can be a negative for seven years. For two years after a …

Continue reading Final part: Answers to your credit questions »

Your turn: Should more money go to ‘cash for clunkers’?

Over the past month, dozens of Biz Beat readers have commented on the government’s “cash for clunkers” program.

Well, here’s another chance.

The program is running out of money after only one week. A billion dollars is not what it used to be.

Should the federal government put more money into this program or not? What do you think?

Also, if you have participated in it, what was your experience?

Continue reading Your turn: Should more money go to ‘cash for clunkers’? »

Power Breakfast: Office market, clunkers, Christmas in July

Unfortunately, as predicted, Atlanta’s office market is deteriorating.

Tenants vacating office space made the second quarter of 2009 the worst for metro Atlanta’s office market since 2002, according to a new report.

AJC reporter Gertha Coffee writes that nearly 400,000 square feet of office space was put back on the market in the second quarter because of downsizing, consolidations and bankruptcies, according to the report by Colliers Spectrum Cauble.

With metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate continuing to rise, office vacancies will mount through the end of the year, the report said.

While the short-term outlook is bleak, 2010 could mark the beginning of recovery for the area’s office market, experts say.

Let’s hope the experts are as accurate on the upturn as they have been on the downturn.

Also in the AJC:

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Office market, clunkers, Christmas in July »

Part 4: Answers to your credit questions

Here’s the next installment of answers to your credit questions. Personal finance experts from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta supplied the responses.

Please return tomorrow for the final installment. Thanks. (By the way, you can see answers to other questions or the column with CCCS President Suzanne Boas by scrolling down this blog.)

Q: How much of an effect will paying off debt raise your credit score? I had three debts — house, car and one credit card. I have paid off the car (5K) and the credit card (1k) and need to raise my credit score another 40 points. I have one bad debt — an ambulance charge I thought my insurance paid for. I paid it off as well.

A: What is most likely holding your score down is the ambulance charge. If that is still reflected on your credit report, you need to contact all three credit reporting companies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — to dispute the charge through the process they provide. You need to provide them …

Continue reading Part 4: Answers to your credit questions »

Power Breakfast: Water, bankruptcy, tax holiday, health poll

There’s no Plan B for Gwinnett County. It’s Lake Lanier or nothing.

AJC reporters Dan Chapman and Pat Fox take a look at how devastating it would be for the county to lose access to Lanier’s water in the wake of the recent judge’s ruling on the tri-state water war.

“We probably have the most to lose,” Charles Bannister, chairman of the Gwinnett County Commission, told the reporters.

Water not only means growth for Gwinnett, but survival.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:


Continue reading Power Breakfast: Water, bankruptcy, tax holiday, health poll »

Part 3: Answers to your credit questions

Here’s the third installment of answers to your credit questions. Personal finance experts at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta provided the replies.

Please return tomorrow for more answers. Thanks. (By the way, if you missed yesterday’s column with CCCS President Suzanne Boas, here’s the link.)

Q: I recently paid off seven credit cards by refinancing our home. I want to close all but about two of the credit cards, but husband thinks it would be better to keep them open but not use them. Which is better?

A: First, we would never recommend that our clients refinance their home to pay off unsecured credit card debt. Credit card debt should paid off in two to three years at the most, while following a strict written budget.

There are two problems with using your home to finance credit card debt — you put your home at risk unnecessarily and you don’t experience the sacrifice of paying off the credit cards. The second point is important because although you …

Continue reading Part 3: Answers to your credit questions »

Power Breakfast: Water war, GWCC, Microsoft-Yahoo deal

Law firms have soaked up millions of dollars in legal fees during the water war over Lake Lanier.

And there’s likely to be more money in the pipeline as Georgia, Alabama and Florida deal with a recent judge’s decision that requires a resolution within three years.

Georgia has spent nearly $7 million on outside legal fees to fight the tri-state water war, AJC reporter Jeffry Scott writes.

Russ Willard, spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said Georgia paid $6.7 million to McKenna Long & Aldridge, since 1996. Before that, Willard said, in-house counsel handled the case.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Regional Commission said it has spent $5 million on the same litigation over the water in Lake Lanier, Scott writes.

The Atlanta firm of King & Spalding has been handling the Atlanta Regional Commission’s litigation in the case at least since 1999, said the ARC’s Julie Ralston, The $5 million total does not include the agency’s legal expenses from 1999 to …

Continue reading Power Breakfast: Water war, GWCC, Microsoft-Yahoo deal »

CNBC: Georgia’s workforce No. 1

CNBC ranked Georgia’s workforce No. 1 in the nation, while the state placed 10th in the cable network’s overall ranking of “America’s Top States for Business ‘09.”

Georgia placed third in two categories: Cost of Living and Transportation & Infrastructure.

The Peach State placed in the bottom half of the pack in Education (27), Economy (38) and Quality of Life (42).

Overall, Virginia placed first, followed by Texas, Colorado, Iowa and Utah. The network evaluated a total of 10 categories.

Continue reading CNBC: Georgia’s workforce No. 1 »

Part 2: Answers to your credit questions

Here’s the second installment of answers to your credit questions from experts at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta.

In addition, the blog item below this one is my column today about an interview I had with the president of CCCS, Suzanne Boas.

Please return tomorrow for some more answers to your questions. Thanks.

Q: My daughter was sent a letter about her Chase credit card that said that they would be upping the interest rate (she has not been late, etc.) and adding a bunch of fees. She has till mid August to cancel her card, and until October to pay it off. She was told she could NOT cancel her card between August and October! How can the company tell person when they can and cannot cancel their card?

A: I would have to see the notice to fully answer your question, but there is no rule or regulation that requires anyone to keep a credit card account open. You can cancel it anytime you want. Can your daughter pay the balance in full by October? If not, I …

Continue reading Part 2: Answers to your credit questions »