This Week in Financial Blunders

As we approach the end of 2013, it’s getting a bit harder to find worthy contenders for “This Week in Financial Blunders.” Many have smartened up from a rowdy year and have decided to reign it in enough for it to be a quiet news week. Fear not though, the bowels of the Internet always have stories about the strife of others. Enjoy this week’s financial blunders.

$ingled Out

Most of us expect to drop more money than we should on a date, but dating site OkCupid found a way to get people to drop money just to get a date. Buzzfeed Business reported on a new OkCupid feature, added in July, which allows users to promote their profile for a small fee. Starting at two dollars, users can pay for “bursts,” quick, 15-minute promotions of an account that put your profile on a “Spotlight” bar that most users see. It also lets users see how many people are now looking at their profile. Outside of membership fees, most dating sites make their money from paid search ads, but this new method is working so well that one user paid $1,800 in three months to promote his or her page. Worse than dropping $1,800 on a lavish (very lavish) first date? Debatable, but certainly a blunder.

An Officer and a Scumbag

Thanks to a new budget deal passed to prevent another government shutdown in January, American veterans are now battling congress for their pensions. CNN Money reported that one of the spending reductions in the new budget bill would reduce pensions for retired veterans by an entire point. Compounded, this could lead to a 20% or greater drop in retiree pensions over a period of 20 years. The Military Officers Association of America says an army sergeant first class would lose about $3,700 a year, and over 20 years the losses could be greater than $80,000. Although the pension cuts wouldn’t take effect until December of 2015, many are still stressing about what the cuts could mean for their household. These pension cuts mainly affect retired veterans under the age of 62, which is a big problem because most soldiers enlist in their twenties and retire from the armed forces in their forties. Retired after 30 years on duty, army colonel Michael Barron said, “They’re changing the rules of the game for folks mid-stream.” According to the House Committee on the Budget Report, “Current levels of military compensation are incompatible with the overall demands on the defense budget.” The veterans aren’t totally hung out to dry, though a few Republican senators are making more noise about these cuts. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) put it the best when he said, “Of all the people we could have picked on to screw, how could we have arrived here?”

And those are the biggest blunders in the money world for the second-to-last week of the year. If we missed any stories that you want to talk about, please comment below.


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