Blog: Cooley Selected as Co-Counsel to RadioShack Creditors’ Committee

Cooleys Corporate Restructuring amp; Bankruptcy Group was selected as co-counsel by the official committee of unsecured creditors in RadioShacks chapter 11 proceedings, which began on February 5, 2014. Quinn Emanuel will also serve as co-counsel to the Committee.

RadioShack, the perennially troubled consumer electronics retailer, filed for chapter 11 protection in Wilmington, Delaware with a plan to immediately liquidate and ultimately shut down up to 2,100 stores. The closure of a large number of RadioShacks locations will come as no surprise to anyone who has been following RadioShacks decline over the years. RadioShack has been generating significant operating losses for many years and management has been working to cut underperforming locations in an effort to turn around the struggling retailer. Last year, RadioShacks management publicly called for the closure of over 1,000 stores, but RadioShacks secured lenders limited the number of stores that the company could shutter to 200. These lender-imposed constraints do not apply in bankruptcy, so RadioShack is free to close as many stores as it deems appropriate to right-size its footprint to a sustainable level.

In addition to the store closings, the Debtors have proposed a sale of approximately 1,700 to 2,000 of the remaining stores to an affiliate of Standard General, a major equity owner and secured lender to RadioShack, along with an agreement with Sprint to operate a store-within-a-store in the go-forward locations. The proposed sale is subject to higher or better offers, but the Debtors are pushing a fast sale timeline with plans to consummate the sale by the end of the month. Cooley is assisting the Committee in ensuring a robust sale process, while also evaluating the merits of the Standard General bid.

Unfortunately, this case represents a significant challenge to the general unsecured creditors of RadioShack, whose claims sit behind a substantial amount of secured debt. Cooley and the Committees other advisors are working tirelessly to maximize the value of RadioShacks assets in the sale process, and in the coming months will identify and pursue other potential sources of recovery for general unsecured creditors.

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Should You Freeze Your Credit After a Data Breach?

With the news of different data breaches coming out on practically a weekly basis, consumers have become increasingly sensitive to the threat of identity theft, often asking how they can avoid it. There is no foolproof defense against identity theft, so one of the best things consumers can do is know how to quickly discover and stop the crime. You cant completely cut off thieves, but you can make their crimes more difficult to pull off.

You have the ability to freeze your credit files, so no new credit can be opened in your name. Keep in mind this action does more than keep out thieves: With a credit freeze, youre also putting your credit history out of reach, until you lift the freeze (or, to keep with the metaphor, thaw your credit). Its a high-maintenance strategy, and even though its a strong layer of protection, it doesnt eliminate your risk of becoming a fraud victim.

Advantages of Credit Freezes

If thieves get a hold of your personal information, they can do a lot of damage. A common type of fraud involves opening accounts under the victims name — the thieves get credit cards, buy cars or take out a loan, and when they dont repay it, the victims credit suffers. Until the victim realizes what happens, files a police reports and disputes the accounts, the negative information reported to credit bureaus continues to do damage.

When you freeze your credit, no one can open a new credit card or loan, not even you. Once you need access to your credit, you have to thaw it before a potential lender has the ability to review your application. You can continue to use your existing accounts, and a freeze doesnt keep you from getting your free credit reports or credit scores. (You can get free annual credit reports on AnnualCreditReport.com and you can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.)

The restriction can even help you stay disciplined. A freeze forces you to be more strategic and thoughtful about when you open new credit, because it can take time and money to thaw your credit, which can help you minimize the number of hard inquiries that show up on your credit report. (Hard inquiries are credit reviews made in the course of a lending decision, and they have a small, short-term negative impact on your credit score. Many hard inquiries in a short period of time can significantly hurt your score.)

Whether you could benefit from a credit freeze after a data breach depends on what information was compromised. If only your credit card information was stolen, getting a replacement card should reduce your exposure to fraud. But when identifying information is accessed, like your Social Security number, a credit freeze could be a smart move.

A lot of these breaches are a clean sweep — they get credit card information, your Social Security number, your birthday, said Adam Levin, identity theft expert and chairman and co-founder of Credit.com. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for people impacted by [the Anthem data breach] to freeze their credit, because they got everything.

Unlike a stolen credit card number, your Social Security number cant be changed easily (its a rare circumstance that warrants such a change), so you never know when someone might use it to commit fraud.

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Drawbacks of Credit Freezes

A credit freeze only prevents credit fraud — tax-related identity theft, criminal identity theft, medical identity theft and other abuses of personal information are still possibilities, because they dont involve credit reports or credit checks.

On top of those limitations, dealing with a credit freeze can be cumbersome. Unlike placing a fraud alert on your credit file, you have to contact each of the three major credit bureaus to freeze the individual files, and to thaw them requires contacting all three again. (Adding a fraud alert only requires contacting one bureau, and that information is shared across all three.) Depending on where you live, you may have to pay to freeze and thaw your credit, but its free if youre doing it because youre already a victim of fraud.

If you’re just very concerned about fraud and you don’t need to have access to your credit history, it might be the right thing to do, said Rod Griffin, Experians director of public education. At the same time, freezes can be very limiting, he said. For many people, having that credit history is important and they need it often.

Griffin recommends starting with a fraud alert if you receive notice your information has been compromised in a data breach. If you confirm youve been a victim of identity theft, you can request a seven-year extended alert, Griffin suggested, which requires lenders to call you when someone attempts to open credit in your name. The third and strongest step toward protecting your credit from unauthorized use is a credit freeze.

Even if you choose to freeze your credit, you should know it wont prevent identity theft, because identity theft is not limited to credit fraud.

Each person has to make an evaluation for themselves, Levin said. Is it safer? Yes. Does it give you more protection than a fraud alert? Yes. Does it prevent you from being victimized by several of the more sinister forms of identity theft? Not necessarily.

More on Identity Theft:

  • Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
  • What Should I Do If Im a Victim of Identity Theft?
  • How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life

Image: iStock

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Long-term Auto Loans: Do You Know How Long Is Too Long?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Here’s a disturbing question: Which lasts longer, the typical US marriage or the average American car loan? According to The Economist, the average marriage lasts eight years. While six-year car loans are typical, eight year — and even longer — loans are growing in popularity. Experian says one-quarter of vehicle loan terms fell between 73 and 84 months last year, compared with just 11% of loans back in 2008. So yes, car loans are beginning to give marriage a run for its money in longevity.

The most common term on new or used vehicles is the 72-month loan, making up about 40% of the credit market. That’s a substantial shelf life longer than the 36-month loan that launched the automotive finance industry. But Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive credit at Experian Automotive, says extended-term loans are not necessarily a bad thing.

Consumers tend to be monthly payment buyers, Zabritski says. To keep that payment low … spread that payment out over a longer period. Zabritski admits that you will pay more interest over the life of the loan, but she says to consider the difference between the average rates on a typical loan amount at a 60-month term versus a 72-month loan: You might only pay $500 or $600 more over the entire life of that loan, but youll save $50 or $75 a month. So the breakeven point comes pretty darn quick.

Implant Sciences Ships $750000 of Explosives Trace Detector Systems to Asia

WILMINGTON, Mass., March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ –Implant Sciences Corporation (OTCQB: IMSC), a leading manufacturer of explosives trace detection (ETD) and drugs trace detection solutions for homeland security applications, today reported the shipment of more than $750,000 in explosives trace detection systems to various customers in Asia. The shipments include a mixture of QS-H150 and QS-B220 systems, and will be deployed in military, aviation security, and critical infrastructure protection applications.

Asia continues to remain a strong market for the company, and our certification successes have helped build our sales in the region even more. Our year-to-date shipments to Asian customers for FY2015 already exceed all of last year, and we have additional opportunities in the pipeline, stated Dr. Darryl Jones, Implant Sciences Global Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

The mix of new and repeat customers validates Implant Sciences as a market leader and technology innovator, said Dr. Jones. We look forward to continuing to build our market presence in Asia.

About the QS-B220 Desktop Explosives and Drugs Trace Detector

The QS-B220 uses Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) to rapidly detect and identify trace amounts of a wide variety of military, commercial, and homemade explosives as well as illicit drugs. With significantly lower maintenance requirements than competing systems, the QS-B220 can be deployed for a much lower total cost of ownership than other approved products. Featuring a radioactive material-free design, push-button maintenance and diagnostics, and a patented inCal internal automatic calibration system, the QS-B220 brings new levels of performance and convenience to desktop trace detection users with unsurpassed ease of use.

About the QS-H150 Handheld Explosives Trace Detector

The QS-H150 utilizes Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) technology, providing fast, accurate detection of trace amounts of a wide variety of military, commercial, and homemade explosives. Built with no radioactive materials and featuring a low-maintenance, self-calibrating, and self-clearing design, the QS-H150 provides very high levels of operational availability. The QS-H150 has been proven to perform well in a wide variety of temperatures and challenging environments, from humid jungles to dry, sand swept deserts.

AboutImplant Sciences

Implant Sciences is a leader in developing and manufacturing advanced detection capabilities to counter and eliminate the ever-evolving threats from explosives and drugs. The Companys team of dedicated trace detection experts has developed proprietary technologies used in its commercial products, thousands of which have been sold across more than 50 countries worldwide. The Companys ETDs have received approvals and certifications from several international regulatory agencies including the TSA in the US, ECAC in Europe, CAAC and the Ministry of Public Safety in China, Russia FSB, STAC in France, and the German Ministry of the Interior. It has also received the GSN Homeland Security Award for Best Explosives Detection Solution two years in a row (2013 and 2014). All Implant Sciences products are recognized as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies by the Department of Homeland Security. For further details on the Company and its products, please visit the Companys website at www.implantsciences.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release and any related statements of management and representatives of Implant Sciences Corporation (the Company) contain forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, words such as plan, project, potential, seek, may, will, expect, believe, anticipate, intend, could, estimate or continue are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on managements current expectations and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the Companys actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks that the Company will be required to repay all of its indebtedness to secured lenders by the due dates; the risk that if the Company is unable to satisfy its obligations to its secured lenders and to raise additional capital to fund operations, lenders may seize the Companys assets and its business may fail; the Company continues to incur substantial operating losses and may never generate recurring revenue or profitability; the Companys independent registered public accounting firm has expressed substantial doubt as to the Companys ability to continue as a going concern; there is no guaranty that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or any other US or foreign government and law enforcement agencies or commercial consumers will purchase any of the Companys explosives detection products or that any new products which the Company may develop will be accepted by the TSA or by such other governments, agencies or consumers; economic, political and other risks associated with international sales and operations could adversely affect the Companys sales; liability claims related to the Companys products or the Companys handling of hazardous materials could damage the Companys reputation and have a material adverse effect on the Companys financial results; the Companys business is subject to intense competition; the Companys markets are subject to rapid technology change and the Companys viability will depend on its ability to develop and introduce new products; the Company may not be able to retain its management and key employees or identify, hire and retain additional personnel as needed; the Company may not be able to enforce its patent and other intellectual property rights or operate without infringing on the proprietary rights of others; and other risks and uncertainties described in the Companys filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K. Such statements are based on managements current expectations and assumptions which could cause the actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

Contact:

Implant Sciences Corporation
Company Contact:
978-752-1700 x 116

or

Investor Contact:
Laurel Moody
646-810-0608

SOURCE Implant Sciences Corporation

RELATED LINKS

http://www.implantsciences.com

Streetwear Company, Karmaloop, Inc., Files for Chapter 11 Protection

On March 23, 2015, Karmaloop, Inc., and one of its affiliates, KarmaloopTV, Inc., filed voluntary petitionsunder chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in Delaware. Karmaloop is based in Boston Massachusetts. The cases are docketed as case 15-10635, and have been assigned to The Honorable Kevin Gross.

The Declaration of Brian L. Davies, Jr.was filed in support of the petitions and various first-day motions. Mr. Davies is the Managing Director at CRS Capstone Partners, LLC, and is currently engaged as the Chief Restructuring Officer of the debtors. Mr. Davies had previously served as the interim CFO for Karmaloop.

According to Mr. Davies declaration, Karmaloop was founded in 1999 and specializes in the sale of global streetwear fashion and culture. According to Mr. Davies, the debtors businesses have fallen victim to the shift in retail purchasing that is occurring, especially among retailers in the young adult age bracket, as such consumers have moved away from purchasing traditional brands. Mr. Davies also cites to lack of capital, inability to fully adapt to business strategies that result in better margin opportunities, and over-ambitious expansion efforts, as reasons for the debtors financial crisis.

The Davies Declaration notes that the debtors are in default under their prepetition senior facility. As a result of the rapidly deteriorating liquidity position, the debtors were forced to file chapter 11 with a goal of salvaging their brands and business through a going concern sale. To meet those objectives, Mr. Davies indicates in his declaration that the debtors prepetition senior lenders have proposed to provide debtor-in-possession financing.

In addition to the senior debt facility, the debtors have two levels of junior secured debt, according to Mr. Davies. Approximately $10 million is owed to Eastward Capital Partners V, LP, and another $15 million of debt owed to other junior and subordinated secured lenders. In addition to certain trade debt, the Debtors also owe certain creditors unsecured amounts on promissory notes and loans. These total approximately $22 million.

ComCap Acquisition LLC, which is an affiliate of one or more of the pre-petition senior lenders, has agreed to act as stalking horse for the proposed 363 sale, according to Mr. Davies.

Standard Register Commences Voluntary Chapter 11 Reorganization, Enters …

DAYTON, OHMarch 12, 2015The Standard Register Co. today announced that it and its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company also announced that it is pursuing a sale process and has entered into an acquisition agreement with an affiliate of Silver Point Capital, LP The agreement was submitted to the Bankruptcy Court today. Under the proposed agreement, the companys assets will be sold for approximately $275 million plus the assumption of certain other liabilities. The sale agreement contemplates a Court-supervised auction process, which is designed to facilitate a competitive sale process. Subject to the results at auction, the closing of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of usual and customary conditions, including obtaining Court approval and all necessary regulatory consents. The company believes that this sale will right-size the business balance sheet by significantly reducing its outstanding indebtedness and other liabilities to better position the business for long-term growth and profitability in the hands of a capable buyer. Silver Point Capital is a private investment firm managing approximately $8.5 billion.

The company is supported by its existing secured lenders, including Bank of America, NA and Silver Point, who have agreed to extend $155 million in financing in the form of a debtor-in-possession (DIP) credit facility. The DIP facility should provide the Company with ample liquidity to facilitate its sale process and to fund operations. The company also has filed and expects to obtain approval for various customary motions seeking court authorization to continue to support its business operations during the sale process, including honoring employee wages and benefits in the ordinary course and honoring its customer programs. The company intends to pay suppliers under normal terms for goods and services provided on or after the filing date of March 12, 2015. The Company appreciates the support of its customers and suppliers and expects to continue its relationships with them in the ordinary course of business.

Standard Register has a fundamentally stable underlying business with a large, diverse customer base and a strong portfolio of solutions that include integrated communications, product marking and decoration (labels), document management, promotional marketing and technology/professional services, but our ability to invest in growth has been hampered by our debt structure and legacy liabilities, said Joseph P. Morgan, Jr., president and CEO.

In response to the traditional print market decline, Standard Register repositioned itself as a market focused integrated communications provider where today, the majority of both revenue and profit are being derived.

Morgan concluded, The Board and management team have conducted a rigorous assessment of all of our strategic options and believe that this process represents the best possible solution for Standard Register. We are grateful for the support of our lenders and have sufficient financing to fund our operations as we complete a process that should result in greater flexibility for investment in the future. We are thankful to our dedicated employees who continue to work diligently to deliver value and a high level of customer service.

As recently announced, Kevin Carmody, a Practice Leader with McKinsey Recovery amp; Transformation Services US, LLC, has been appointed Chief Restructuring Officer. The company indicated that it expects to provide additional details with respect to the Chapter 11 filing as soon as they are available.

The companys shareholders are cautioned that trading in shares of the companys common stock during the pendency of the bankruptcy process will be highly speculative and will pose substantial risks. The company believes it is probable there will be no recovery for any equity holder in the bankruptcy proceedings. Accordingly, the company urges extreme caution with respect to existing and future investments in its common stock.

Standard Registers legal advisor for the Chapter 11 proceedings is Gibson, Dunn amp; Crutcher LLP. Lazard Freres amp; Co. LLC serves as financial advisor to the Company.

About Standard Register
Standard Register is trusted by the worlds leading companies to advance their reputations and add value to their operations by aligning communications with corporate brand standards. Providing market-specific insights and a compelling portfolio of workflow, content and analytics solutions to address the changing business landscape in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and retail markets, Standard Register is the recognized leader in the management and execution of critical communications.

Source: Standard Register.

Houston company plans to ‘actively participate’ in Quicksilver bankruptcy …

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The news came two months after Quicksilver (OTCQB: KWKA) was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The company announced plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce last month. Its stock price is down 98 percent over the last 12 months.

Quicksilvers strategic marketing process has not produced viable options for asset sales or other alternatives to fully address the companys liquidity and capital structure issues, CEO Glenn Darden said in a statement. We believe that Chapter 11 provides the flexibility to accomplish an effective restructuring of Quicksilver for its stakeholders.

Officials with Quicksilver could not be reached to elaborate.

Quicksilver filed motions with the court to continue normal operations, including court approval to continue paying employees and royalty obligations, according to Quicksilvers investor relations site. Suppliers will be paid in full for all goods and services provided after the filing date as required by bankruptcy laws.

One vendor, Crestwood Midstream Partners, said recently that it expects to be paid $9 million for services in February alone. The Houston-based pipeline company said it plans to actively participate in Quicksilvers bankruptcy proceedings.

The filing includes all of Quicksilvers US subsidiaries. The companys Canadian subsidiaries were not included in the filing. Instead, Quicksilver reached an agreement with its first lien secured lenders that lasts until June 16.

The company set up a toll-free restructuring information hotline for employees, suppliers, royalty owners and investors.

The company hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP to act as legal advisers. Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. is serving as financial adviser.

Quicksilver is the latest victim of falling oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil hit a six-year low Tuesday, trading below $44 a barrel. Crude oil has lost more than 50 percent of its value since June, when it was trading over $100 a barrel. Natural gas prices have never really recovered from the 2008 crash, staying below $5 per British thermal unit. On Tuesday, it traded below $3 per Btu.

The company reported that it has 1 million gross acres and nearly 4,000 gross wells producing 242 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Quicksilvers own financial report estimated the companys value at $2 billion in November.

Quicksilver fell on hard times, first in 2008-2009 when natural gas prices collapsed, hurting the companys Barnett Shale operations. Like many drillers, Quicksilver headed to West Texas Permian Basin, where it drilled horizontally through the shale for crude oil.

These horizontal shale wells are costly to drill and require hydraulic fracturing, which also adds to the cost.

In 2013, Quicksilver entered i nto a joint venture with Eni, an Italian driller, to share the cost for the West Texas drilling operations.

The company also formed a joint venture with Tokyo Gas for drilling in the North Fort Worth region of the Barnett Shale, including a well near Texas Motor Speedway.

In May, 2014, Quicksilver sold its Colorado assets to Southwestern Energy Company, a transaction worth $180 million.

Nicholas covers the energy, manufacturing, aviation and transportation beats for the Dallas Business Journal. Subscribe the Energy Inc. newsletter

5 Bad Money Habits You Can Break Today

Bad habits. Theyre pesky, arent they?

Every once in awhile I catch myself in a bad habit. They almost seem inevitable. But Im always determined to squash them as soon as I recognize them. Im sure youre in the same boat.

When it comes to bad financial habits, there are some serious ones that can cost you thousands of dollars. Which of these habits are you guilty of committing?

1. Spending With Credit Cards When You Cant Afford It

Credit card interest rates are regularly well above 10%. That translates into a lot of interest charges if you dont pay off your credit card every month. Worse yet, many people get stuck in a cycle of credit card debt – a habit that seems to just not go away.

Many people make what they consider to be educated guesses as to whether they can afford to put new clothes or high-tech gadgets on their credit cards. The problem is that those who do often dont really know their future expenses.

If youre living paycheck to paycheck, even small emergency expenses can be enough to make you late on your credit card payments. And if youre late once, its so easy to push off paying your credit card debt until youre really hurting. Furthermore, late payments can hurt your credit, and if your credit score drops low enough it can mean higher interest rates for you in the future. (You can see how your credit card debt is affecting your credit by getting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Unless youre entirely sure you can pay off your credit cards every month, you may want to seriously consider not using them.

You may be asking, Hey Jeff, Im not sure how to stop using credit cards – I cant afford to live without them!

Thats a difficult situation, no doubt. In that case, youre going to have to look at both your income and expenses to determine where you can make improvements so you don’t have to depend on credit to make ends meet.

What Is Your Lifetime Cost of Debt?How much will you pay in interest over your lifetime? You may be surprised. Find Out Now

2. Not Tracking Your Transactions With a Budget

One of the best advantages of tracking your transactions is that you can see very clearly where you spent your money over time.

Try tracking your spending for a month (there are free budgeting software programs that can help with that, too). If you havent ever given a second thought to spending, this exercise will certainly help you do that.

When the month is over, categorize and add up your expenses. Many people overspend on the following categories:

  • Groceries
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Eating Out

These are categories you should monitor carefully.

Once you know how much youre spending in your categories, make a few goals. Try lowering how much youre allowed to spend in your problem categories incrementally, month by month.

Over time, because youve been tracking your categories and paying attention to your spending habits, youll find you can lower your budget category allocations – saving you thousands of dollars.

3. Waking Up Late

Im convinced that waking up late affects your finances. Allow me to explain.

All of us are pressed for time. If youre like many out there, you dread the alarm clock and reach for the snooze button too many times (that is, more than zero times).

But I bet theres something youd love to do if only you had more hours in the day. Maybe youd exercise, start a side business, or take some online classes. These are all activities that can either directly or indirectly result in more income.

For example, if you take some online classes, you can learn a useful and marketable skill that can earn you a raise, promotion or a better job.

Personally, I found that by waking up early I can have a few morning routines that get me pumped for my day ahead. The later I wake up, the less productive I feel, and the less productive I am.

You can also fill those early morning hours with some of those activities you always wanted to get to but never could. You just might find that even if you dont consider yourself to be a morning person, you could become one.

Instead of focusing on ways to improve your finances through just financial means, look at your entire life – its not as compartmentalized as it may seem and can have profound consequences on your money.

4. Consuming to Hopefully Find Contentment

Something deep down in me cringes when I hear businesses call people consumers. Sure, people consume, but thats not all they do. But maybe businesses sometimes refer to people as consumers because thats what so many do too often: they consume.

Ask yourself if you consume more than you produce. Is your goal in the morning to wake up and say, I wonder how I can please myself today? Or, is your goal to serve others?

Albert Einstein was quoted in the June 20, 1932 New York Times as saying: Only a life lived for others is the life worth while. Theres so much wisdom to that.

But there are other benefits to serving others above ourselves, as well. Have you noticed that when youre busy serving others and making money, you spend less? Perhaps youve noticed the reverse.

Dont consume to seek contentment. Contentment isnt found in consumption, its found in servanthood. Follow this advice, and youll likely keep more cash in your wallet, too.

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5. Using Investment Accounts as Emergency Funds

It happens from time to time. Ive seen a few of my clients raid their investment accounts to pay for emergencies. Sometimes, it even becomes habitual. I understand why they do it, but the tax penalties can be high.

Also, if you use your investment accounts as emergency funds, youll lose all that potential earning power when you have to dip into it for emergencies.

A better plan is to have a high-yield savings account nicknamed emergency fund and not touch it unless theres a true emergency. And dont fool yourself, you really do need an emergency fund.

There are a whole host of emergencies that can crop up when you least expect it: lawsuits, medical bills, job loss, the list goes on and on.

Heres one habit you should get into: taking extra money youve earned every month and pouring it into your emergency fund. You may even put monetary gifts youve received into your emergency fund until youve filled it up (I recommend three to eight months’ worth of expenses).

Say Hello to More Money

Bad financial habits arent always easy to correct. Ill be honest with you, its often very difficult. It requires a shift in the way you think about money.

You might have some bad financial habits right now you dont know about. Brainstorm! Find every last one if you can. You can break a bad habit in less than a month if you stay focused.

Do it. Its worth it.

More Money-Saving Reads:

  • What’s a Good Credit Score?
  • What’s a Bad Credit Score?
  • How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life

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New Amazon Prime Credit Card Offers 5% Cash Back

Amazon and Synchrony Bank released a new credit card offer for Amazon Prime customers last week, offering 5% cash back on qualifying purchases and even promotional financing for orders over $149.

The store credit card is a credit product you may be familiar with at bricks-and-mortar retailers. Often, these cards offer a discount at sign-up, and promises of exclusive discounts or or coupons in the future. With the 5% cash-back offer on all purchases, is the new Prime card a good fit for frequent Amazon shoppers?

How This Card Works

Subscribers to Amazons Prime service are eligible to receive 5% cash back on qualifying Amazon.com purchases as a statement credit. Or, they can receive a variety of promotional finance offers. For example, cardholders will pay no interest on charges of $149 or more if the balance is paid in full within six months of purchase. Otherwise, the standard interest rate of 25.99% will apply. In addition, new applicants will receive an Amazon.com gift card loaded into their account instantly upon approval.

This card is offered by Synchrony Bank, and is not affiliated with any payment network, so it is only valid for purchases from Amazon. Applicants must be members of Amazon Prime, which costs $99 per year and includes free two-day shipping and access to their streaming video and music services. There is no annual fee for this card, but cardholders must be current Amazon Prime subscribers to receive the 5% discount or the promotional financing offers.

There are other store cards and credit cards that also allow you to save money on Amazon purchases. Here are a few offers so you can weigh your options.

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Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card From Chase

Chase offers this card that earns 3% back for purchases from Amazon.com, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases, and is accepted anywhere Visa is. New cardholders also receive a $30 Amazon.com gift card applied to their account at the time of approval. There is no annual fee for this card.

Sallie Mae MasterCard From Barclaycard

This card offers 5% cash back on the first $250 cardholders spend each month on gas and grocery purchases, and the first $750 spent each month on eligible book purchases. Interestingly, Amazon.com is coded as a book store, a legacy of their early origins as just a book retailer. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, and there is no annual fee for this card.

SimplyCash Business Card From American Express

Another strategy for getting discounts from Amazon purchases is to use Amazon gift cards, which can be purchased at some office supply stores. The SimplyCash Business Card from American Express offers 5% cash back for purchases at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services. It also features 3% cash back on a category of your choice including airlines, hotels, car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, advertising and shipping, and on all other purchases. There is no annual fee for this card.

Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express

This card offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent each year at US supermarkets, which often sell gift cards for Amazon. In addition, this card offers 3% cash back for purchases from select US department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.

Before you apply for any credit card, it can be helpful to check your credit standing so you can target your search to credit cards that fall within your credit range. You can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, and theyre updated every 30 days.

At publishing time, the SimplyCash Business Card from American Express and Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

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Note: Its important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

USA Synthetic Fuel Corporation Files Bankruptcy; Will Pursue A Sale

On March 17, 2015, following the lead of Quicksilver Resources Inc., USA Synthetic Fuel Corporation filed its own voluntary chapter 11 case in Delaware. A copy of the petition is here. The case is docketed as case no. 15-10599, and has been assigned to The Honorable Mary F. Walrath.

The Declaration of Dr. Steven C. Vickwas filed in support of the petition and other first-day motions. Dr. Vick is the CEO and President of USA Synthetic Fuel Corporation. According to the Vick Declaration, The Debtors are an environmentally focused, development state energy company pursuing low-cost, clean energy solutions through the deployment of proven Ultra Clean Btu Converter technology. The technology converts lower-value solid hydrocarbons, such as coal, into higher-value energy products.

Dr. Vick states in the declaration that in 2012 the debtors obtained approximately $36.6 million in aggregate principal amount of secured debt financing, and used those funds to procure land and other materials for ultimate construction of an Ultra Clean Btu Converter in Lima, Ohio.

Efforts to lauch a $700 million bond and equity offering were cancelled when the Debtors failed to make certain payments under their prepetition secured indebtedness as a result of liquidity issues, mounting liabilities to employees, tax authorities, professional advisors, an appraisal of a Coal Asset, and an SEC investigation into certain accounting practices and internal controls.

In August 2014, the Debtors received a term sheet from their prepetition secured lenders which suggested a transaction in which the lenders would purchase substantially all the assets of the debtors in a bankruptcy 363 sale. By March 2015, the debtors had found no viable alternative to the proposed transaction. As a result, the debtors have entered bankruptcy with the purpose of auctioning their assets off with the prepetition lenders acting as the stalking horse.