Tuesday's Money Buzz: AmEx Paying You to Go Away and more
American Express is paying customers to go away. The credit card company is giving $300 to some customers who pay their debts and close their accounts. Have things really gotten this bad where even credit card companies, notorious for offering incentives to sign up, are now giving away money to scram? It's all about de-leveraging. AmEx has clearly decided that they are prone to lose more money by keeping high risk consumers on their books than by paying them to leave.
U.S. Airways is scrapping its fees for water and soda on board flights after customer complaints made the airline rethink its policy. It could be a sign of things to come as bookings have taken a nosedive in the recession. Don’t be surprised if some airlines back off their extra luggage fees if jet fuel prices remain low.
Toll Brothers will pay up to $2500 of your monthly mortgagefor six months in the event you lose your job if you buy and finance a home through the company. It sounds like a brilliant marketing plan but whether it helps the homebuilder unload its inventory of expensive homes is another story.
Major market indexes are trading at levels not seen since 1997. To give you a sense of perspective, that was the year of Titanic, Spice Girls and the Teletubbies. But it also helps to remember that the worst 25-year period for stocks since 1950 still had a rate of return of nearly 8%, proving that the OTM mantra of long-term investing remains strong, even when the markets are not.