Tricky interview question from Steve Ballmer

Should you play this game? Check out the interview question that Steve Ballmer loved to ask when he was a Microsoft. Naturally, the relevance of the question depends on the job in question, as you’ll see in the video . . .


College presidents rake in the big bucks

Is the college game rigged against you? No, we’re not talking about fixing college football games. We’re talking about the problem of college costs and runaway student debt. With that in mind, this article about salaries and expenses for college presidents will probably get your blood boiling.

E. Gordon Gee makes millions as president of Ohio State University, but a Dayton Daily News investigation found the university spends almost as much for Gee to travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres.

Since returning to Columbus as the university’s president in October 2007, the 68-year-old Gee has pulled in $8.6 million in salary and compensation, making him the highest paid CEO of a public university in the country.

But his expenses — hidden among hard-to-get records that the university took nearly a year to release — tally nearly as much: $7.7 million.

Gee’s spending is kept out of the public eye because it can be tallied only by examining multiple reports, including the quarterly discretionary expense reports delivered to the trustees and not easily obtainable by others. The Daily News first requested records documenting Gee’s work day, housing, American Express statements, travel expenses, discretionary spending reports and other data in September 2011. The university did not fully respond to the request until August 2012.

Those records show Gee stays in luxury hotels, dines at country clubs and swank restaurants, throws lavish parties, flies on private jets and hands out thousands of gifts — all at public expense.

The Daily News investigation found the university spent more than $895,000 for gatherings at the Pizzuti House, the president’s mansion, between April 2008 and June 2011.

Yes, Gee raises a ton of money, bet when if ever will tuition-paying students see any of the benefits beyond new construction on campus? Things have to change.


Dealing with Debt Collectors

Debt comes in all shapes and sizes and while there may be good debt, such as financing your mortgage or taking out a loan to fund your small business, there is also a great deal of bad debt. This debt can add up and before you know it, you’re getting those collection calls asking for the money you borrowed. In this article, you’ll learn a little about how to handle those calls and what you should do to minimize the damage to your pocketbook.

Know the Laws

Assuming your debt was sold to a third-party collector, you’re not in for the easiest time of your life. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector cannot lie about legal documents, make up a document to look legal when it isn’t, and they certainly can’t say you’ve committed a crime. They also can’t impersonate a government official or an attorney. If you feel harassed by their phone calls, tell them so. Under no circumstance are they allowed to harass you.

Under the FDCPA, threats and dishonesty such as the following are not allowed:

● Threats of a lawsuit without actually having the intention of doing so.
● Claims of garnishing your wages if this is not legal.
● Lying about the amount you owe.
● Saying you will be physically harmed.
● Telling you that you will be arrested if you don’t pay.

Handle Your Debt and Don’t Panic

Hanging up the phone, missing collector calls, or just “waiting it out” are bad ideas. If a debt collector calls to inform you that there will be a lawsuit against you, you should consider getting an attorney. You’ll want someone who has a proven track record of success and extensive knowledge of the FDCPA. Once you have proper legal representation, it’s a smart move to direct debt collectors to your lawyer instead of handling them yourself.

Take the time to ask your collector for a breakdown of the amount you owe such as the principal, the interest accrued, and any sort of fees you may have been charged. After you discover the exact amount you owe and why you owe it, you can face the music and pay it immediately, or you can wait. It’s not recommended that you wait due to the possibility that a debt collector could take legal action, though there is a statute of limitations.

Some statutes can be as short as 3 years and others as long as 10. Until then, you run the risk of being sued and will continue to have debt on your credit report.

Am I Being Scammed?

Don’t automatically assume someone is an actual debt collector and give them your personal information. Remember that they are required to tell you who they are. Scammers often ask for your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number in an attempt to plague off your fears and trick you into paying a nonexistent debt. These criminals are known to pose as law enforcement agents and threaten their victims with jail time if they don’t pay.

What Other Steps Can I Take?

Debt collectors can only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you still find yourself annoyed by their constant calls, send them a proper letter describing your wishes. You can reduce how often they call or eliminate communication entirely. There are also letters available for you to request official documentation of what you owe on your debt. Also, be sure you purchase delivery confirmation and only send the letter through certified mail.

Don’t ever admit you owe the debt in any capacity. Should you come to an agreement to pay the debt, ask them to send written acknowledgement of your payment terms. Don’t pay without getting this confirmation to avoid any future issues involving misunderstandings or missed payments.


Keep your cool, choose your course of action, and stick to it. Remember to do continuous research if you plan to settle the matter on your own and understand how the system works to achieve the best possible outcome.

Courtesy of CashNetUSA.


6 Financial Advantages for College Students

College Graduation.

For many people, the knowledge that you gain while in school is more than enough incentive to pursue higher education. For some, however, the little extras that come along with going to college make it that much better. When considering the option of college, think about the other financial advantages that you will have.

Health Insurance

There are a few different options with health insurance. One of the most beneficial to students is the ability to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan for a longer period of time. This can save a lot of money in the long run. Keep in mind the restrictions to this; for example, if you are married, you will not qualify.

Car Insurance

Many auto insurance companies offer discounts for students. You can find the discounts available by calling your insurance provider or checking out websites like Sometimes, you may be able to get larger discounts if you have good grades. 

Cell Phone Plans

Have you looked at the price of cell phone plans recently? It can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, if you are a student, many cell phone providers are willing to give you a break. Talk to your cell phone provider and find out if they offer a discount for students. You’ll never know unless you ask!

Checking and Savings Accounts

Many banks today are offering great deals for students. With a copy of your transcripts or student ID, you may be able to get highly reduced, or even free, bank accounts. Many of these accounts come with both checking and savings options, which is a great benefit for students. Having the ability to start putting money away into a savings account now will greatly benefit you in the future.

Local Businesses

Have you ever seen an advertised student discount at the places you shop, eat, or otherwise frequent? If so, you may already know the best places to find a great financial advantage. Many restaurants and other service-based industries offer a discount with a student ID. This is a great way to save a little money on the things you do regularly.

Tax Benefits

As a student, you may be able to get great tax benefits. Whether you do your taxes yourself, or you have someone do them for you, make sure to look into the options you have as a student. Each year these benefits differ, so don’t forget to check every year.
There are many benefits to being a student. Some of the benefits may seem small in the short run, but when you look at the overall savings that you will come across as a student, you start to see the bigger picture. Carry your student ID, you never know what discounts you may come across.


How to Work Smarter Not Harder

A lot of people have developed the silly philosophy that to get ahead a person has to work as hard as they can. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with working hard, but working with some intelligence and a plan can do wonders for your success. You can do less physical work, less repetitive work and take up less of your day while you make more money if you plan effectively. You can also make use of systems that will make your work easier, and some systems will even do much of your repetitive work for you.

Making it Smarter

The first step in working smarter is to figure out the point of your work. What are you going to do with a particular day? A lot of people are so stuck on the dogma of doing a bunch of rote tasks in a particular order that they forget why they’re doing them. If you can’t figure out why you do something, try cutting it out entirely for awhile. The important tasks will show their importance if they’re absent for awhile because your work will be hurt without them. Useless tasks and busy work are expendable, and you won’t miss them after awhile.

Using Your Time Well

When you plan, you tend to get more done. Even a simple to do list scribbled on a piece of paper is a great way to put proverbial rockets on your day. The more organized you are the better prepared you’ll be to get your day’s work done faster and easier. While it might be easy to fire up a game of Angry Birds, setting up the latest MetroFax app for the iPhone is a far more effective way to use your time. The new app just released, and will be a big help in working smarter. Considering how many apps are out there you can do a lot without even having to move. Even rush hour traffic can be time productively spent with nothing more than your smart phone.

Use Systems to Your Advantage

Smart phones are great for systematizing almost everything in your day. However, computers are even better about it. You can automate everything from your business expense payments all the way up to your to do list, and you can even automate ordering dinner for those long nights of working. As well, you can make sure your cash flow figures are correct through a site like By that point, you’re working a whole lot smarter and probably not as hard.

Proactive thought and the use of systems can do a lot to make your work day a lot easier. Naturally, these require some thinking, so you have to work smarter. When systems begin to do a lot of the rote work for you it becomes a lot easier to get through your important work. When you know what your important work is you can do it a lot more effectively. The less busy work that clutters your day the more effectively you can accomplish your to do list. It all comes down to doing what you’ve got to do by the end of the day.


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