Palace guardsman Cameron Reilly has found himself in a royal mess. 

The guardsman was recently relieved of his duties and won’t be standing guard for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. reports that Reilly was dismissed from working tomorrow’s big event after a posting on his Facebook page called the bride-to-be “stuck up” and said “she gave him only a brief wave while she looked the opposite way.”

A spokesman for the Scots Guards said the guard has been suspended and the situation is under investigation.

Let this be a lesson about the potential impact of things you post about your job on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Employers—or even people who don’t mean you any good—are watching.

So ask yourself before posting: Is revealing this picture, criticism or thought worth losing my job?

They Can Pay, But They Walk Away

There’s a name for the folks who can pay their mortgage, but just won’t. They’ve been dubbed “strategic defaulters.”

A study by FICO, which created the credit scores most lenders use, has found that many homeowners are intentionally defaulting on their mortgage because their homes have lost significant value and are underwater.

“Mortgage payment patterns have shifted, and some borrowers are intentionally defaulting on their mortgages because they believe it is in their best financial interest, and because they believe the consequences will be minimal,” said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO.

FICO cited studies from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that found in September 2010, 35 percent of mortgage defaults were strategic, up from 26 percent in March 2009.

This relatively new behavior is the latest sign of just how profoundly the mortgage crisis has reshaped consumer attitudes about their homes and their finances. It is largely driven by plunging home values, which have left nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeowners underwater, or owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, writes The Washington Post’s Dina Elboghdady.

New York Times blogger Carl Richards, who is a certified financial planner, hit the mark when he said that your home still holds value even if you owe more than it’s worth.

“A few years ago, investing in real estate, including the house you lived in, became America’s favorite spectator sport, with most of us either joining in or wishing we could,” Richards wrote. “But in the past no one knew they were supposed to be scared while they lived in their house. The only time you cared about the real estate market, such as it was, was when you needed to move.”

So here’s the Color of Money Question of the Week: Are strategic defaulters right to bail even though they can pay their mortgage? Send your comments to and put “Walking Away” in the subject line. Please include your full name, city and state. And if you’ve walked away when you could pay, tell me why?

Young, Happy and Broke

A recent poll shows that younger Americans are still upbeat despite their money woes.

An AP-Viacom survey found young adults ages 18 to 24 expect to face financial challenges in their senior  years.

“Young people today are more pessimistic about their economic futures than young adults in a similar poll in April 2007, eight months before the recession began,” writes AP’s Connie Cass.  “And most say they cannot afford the things they want or are struggling at least a little to make their money last through each week. About half are dependent on family members for financial support.”

The possible struggles appear to have little effect on job choices, however. More than 90 percent of those polled plan to pursue a career in something that makes them happier, rather than wealthier. 

Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

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