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2005

Happy New Year!

This article was written by in Administration, Saving. 3 comments.


Happy New Year!

Have a great new year! Thanks to all the readers who made 2005 a successful year for Consumerism Commentary. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge through the blog, which is my definition of success.

Just to see where I’m coming from, here is my first post, which included a net worth update and here’s the latest from the end of November. Don’t forget to check out the Best of 2005!

By the way, for a new years treat, ING Direct has increased its interest to 3.80% APY, but they’re still below some others.

See you all next year!

horse stolen from FMF

Free Money Finance is running an informative series on how to get your blog to 100,000 visitors and beyond. Unfortunately, so far he has neglected an important traffic grabber that was discovered by the Seattle Times. (This relates to personal finance because of the proliferation of “monetized” blogs — you know, with ads, like Consumerism Commentary.)

Apparently, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, the most popular (widely-read) story in that paper in the past 109 years is a story about a man who died from having sex with a horse. This article was not the only horse-sex article in the top 20. It’s what the people want.

Look for more horse-sex articles here, as I try to gain readership. Or… maybe not. (Apologies to FMF for stealing his horse picture.)

Nickel over at Five Cent Nickel reminded me that postage rates are going up on January 8. One of the most convenient things I’ve discovered last month is the ability to print postage yourself, using your internet connection and printer.

I’ve known this service has existed for a while, but I had been under the impression that fees are involved. As I discovered, that’s not true. You can print your own postage directly from the U.S. Postal Service for free! For some items, you will have to know the weight of your package (watch it!) but it doesn’t hurt to provide a conservative guesstimate if you don’t have a scale.

Printing my own labels and stamps has come in handy since I started selling used items on Amazon.com.

Are you planning to buy or sell a house in 2006? Personally, I think 2007 or 2008 will be my year. Regardless, Bankrate.com is presenting ten mistakes in real estate to avoid in 2006:

* Not understanding the length of the buying/selling process. Patience pays off.
* Exposing your hand. Contain your enthusiasm.
* Skipping the loan preapproval step. Let them know you’re serious about buying.
* Assuming the appraisal equals actual value. Don’t trust them, get a comparative market analysis.
* Timing the bubble “burst.” Markets are more likely to fade than pop.
* Hiring the wrong agent. Try one who is smart, empathetic, experienced and dedicated (SEED).
* Missing the big picture. You might find the perfect house, but don’t forget to look at things like commute distance, taxes, schools, and homeowner associations.
* Not knowing what you’re signing. Review the legally-binding contract!
* Poor timing. Not market timing, personal timing. Buying a new house before you’re able to sell the old? You could get stuck with two mortgages.
* Not completing your due diligence with a criminal search. You might have to research the community for sex offenders on your own.

I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of living in apartments with inpermanence and would like to settle down. There are still too many questions in my life to make such a long term investment, in my opinion. Perhaps that will change by 2007 or 2008.

Mean National Prosperity

by Luke Landes

On Marketplace last night, Robert Reich talked about a cognitive disconnection regarding the American economy. While the country’s gross national product has been increasing, individuals (other than the top 20 percent) haven’t been seeing any benefits from the increased productivity. Usually increased productivity goes hand-in-hand with increased wealth. Rather than income and net worth increasing with ... Continue reading this article…

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Reminder: Carnival of Investing

by Luke Landes

I will be hosting the first Carnival of Investing in 2006 next week. Please feel free to submit articles to me at this address or use this form. Let’s build a collection of the best investing-related blog entries of the week.

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My Investment Holdings

by Luke Landes

I was wondering how my investments were doing this year, so I whipped up a table. It appears my managed funds have generally outperformed my index fund. Some notes: * My 401(k) was recently rebalanced (it’s automatic on a quarterly basis). * The YTD Return is annualized based on either the most recent information or ... Continue reading this article…

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Looking Ahead to 2006

by Luke Landes

Yahoo Finance is presenting a feature on the 2006 outlook. The intent of the numerous articles within the feature is thwarted by the first sentence in the first article: “Don’t believe anyone who claims to know.” We’ve reached a difficult and puzzling fork in the economic road. In one direction lies the ugly prospect of ... Continue reading this article…

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Yield Curve Flipped

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, the yield on long term Treasury notes was lower than that on short term Treasury notes, creating an “inverted yield curve.” This is a fairly popular economic indicator, and just about every time this has happened in the last thirty years, the U.S. economy headed into a recession. It’s likely not a cause-effect ... Continue reading this article…

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Reading Company Income Statements

by Luke Landes

Every month, I post my personal income statement (here’s November’s). I break down my income and expenses in each category and show how they’ve increased or decreased over the last few months. This helps me (and any readers) get a good sense of my financial well-being. The Motley Fool offers an introduction to company income ... Continue reading this article…

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Survey Results: Direct Deposit

by Luke Landes

According to a survey, current seniors have no problem using Direct Deposit but baby-boomers — the next generation of retirees — do not trust the technology. Of the 59 percent of baby-boomers who use the service, 21 percent say they prefer banks, 19 percent say they don’t trust Direct Deposit, and 18 percent say they like receiving a paper ... Continue reading this article…

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The Remainder Of The Year

by Luke Landes

The last few days have been quite crazy between traveling and visiting my girlfriend’s family for Christmas. Here is a list of items I need to accomplsh or work on between now and the end of the year, which happens to be very soon. I’ll update this list as I think of more items. * ... Continue reading this article…

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Festival of Frugality, Carnival of Investing

by Luke Landes

The Festival of Frugality has been posted at Free Money Finance. This week’s edition included mt thoughts on efficient and frugal food shopping, something I plan to put into action this week to plan for my next shopping trip. Next Monday, I’ll be hosting the Carnival of Investing (most recently hosted by AllThingsFinancial). Bloggers may ... Continue reading this article…

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More Stuff From Kiyosaki

by Luke Landes

I saw Yahoo Finance posted a new column from Robert Kiyosaki today. With an open mind, I decided to read it, thinking perhaps he has something positive to say. I wasn’t planning on commenting about the article until I read the third and fourth paragraphs. He’s trying so hard to sell his point of view ... Continue reading this article…

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Interesting Blog Articles

by Luke Landes

If you missed these articles in the last week, make sure you take a look. * Jim mentioned something on Blueprint for Financial Prosperity that I discussed with Amy yesterday. Just because a store is offering a deal, it doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile to make the purchase. If the deal is for something you don’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Carnival is Up! MightyBargainHunter is hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance #28. For more information on the Carnival of Personal Finance, take a look here. At the moment, I’m trying to deal with the spam comments that have found their way through my defenses over the last few days.

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Best Of 2005

by Luke Landes

As the year is coming to a close, and I will be less available over the next few days, the opportunity is perfect for taking a look at Consumerism Commentary and compiling a list of “best” (or most popular) entries from the year. This will be the 570th entry in 2005, but only a few ... Continue reading this article…

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Predictive Product Markets

by Luke Landes

If you like stock market games and products, you’ll probably get a kick out of Smarkets. This website allows you to create an account with $10,000 which can be used for trading products whose prices change based on Amazon.com sales rank. I created a trading account and I’ve begun adding some products. As far as ... Continue reading this article…

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Congress Raises Student Loan Interest Rates

by Luke Landes

When congress cut federal funding from student loan programs, they raised interest rates for Stafford loans from 4.7 percent to 6.8 percent and PLUS loans from 6.1 percent to 8.5 percent. These rates will go into effect on July 1, 2006. A student with a balance of $10,000 upon graduation, taking a full ten years to pay off the ... Continue reading this article…

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Google At $575?

by Luke Landes

Here’s one analyst who thinks Google [GOOG] should be at $575 sometime within the coming year.

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