As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

August 2005

Stupid Investment of the Week

by Luke Landes

On MarketWatch, Chuck Jaffe presents his Stupid Investment of the Week. In this case, it is the STAR Trader Workshop. If workshops like these have superfans, I am the farthest from one. Luckilly, Chuck lost only time and not money by attending an introductory workshop. This seminar, as advertised on television infomercials, is supposed to ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Regret

by Luke Landes

Jeanne Sahadi regrets her past mistakes of inaction. We can all learn from her mistakes, I believe. In the article, she mentions three actions she wishes she had taken which would have improved her financial situation. Use a Roth IRA to save for a down payment. Roth IRAs are generally thought of accounts for retirement, ... Continue reading this article…

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Vacation In Total

by Luke Landes

So, how much did I spend on my vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia? Let’s take a look.

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McMansions and McBacklash

by Luke Landes

Backlash is growing against McMansions, especially in communities where there isn’t enough room for them, according to Les Christie from CNN. Personally, I’d rather have a smaller house on a larger lot than a larger house on a smaller lot. According to this article, in 1950 the average new house was 963 square feet and ... Continue reading this article…

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No Tips, Service Charge Instead

by Luke Landes

A fancy restaurant in New York City is eliminating tips and opting for a mandatory service charge of 20 percent of the bill. The restaurant has a noble mission. The cooks are struggling at minimum-wage jobs while waiters, also minimum-wage workers, retain all the benefits of the tips. However, I’m not sure that this is ... Continue reading this article…

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Mr. Housing Bubble

by Luke Landes

Whether or not there exists a housing bubble, t-shirthumor.com stands to win with a hot t-shirt design that’s affordable for any over-extended homeowner facing foreclosure. The design is a box of “Mr. Housing Bubble” soap with a “Free Balloon Mortgage Inside” and a tagline inviting you to take a bath in the real estate market. ... Continue reading this article…

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Natural Gas Bills in NJ

by Luke Landes

The company that provides electricity to my apartment is PSE&G (a division of PSEG, which is merging with Exelon, just to confuse matters more). They successfully lobbied the state of New Jersey to be allowed to raise customer prices, so I’ll be looking at a 10.6 percent increase in my heating bills.

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Welcome Again to WSJ Readers

by Luke Landes

Once again, Consumerism Commentary was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Welcome to any new readers! (Of course, it would have been helpful if the online article contained hyperlinks to all the websites mentioned.) Updates have been a little slow over the past seven days as I had been on vacation and am now trying ... Continue reading this article…

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Starting Salaries Up

by Luke Landes

Starting salaries for recent graduates have gone up in the past year. Various engineering fields are at the top of the list. The starting salary for my current field, accounting, is up 6.1 percent at 43,003. Teaching, my previous occupation and the field for which I originally spent many years in education, is up 0.9 percent at ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Moves Up But…

by Luke Landes

ING Direct has once again raised the interest rate offered on its online-only savings account. They now offer an annual percentage yield (APY) of 3.3 percent. This is still below the offerings of a number of other online institutions, but ING Direct gets great marks (in my opinion) for customer service and interface usability, if those ... Continue reading this article…

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Back to New Jersey

by Luke Landes

A short while ago we arrived home in New Jersey from our vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia. More on that later. It would take me a year to catch up on the messages posted on personal finance blogs in the last five days, but I should mention at the very least that the Carnival of Personal ... Continue reading this article…

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And We’re Off

by Luke Landes

We’re about to get into the car to drive down to Williamsburg, Virginia, for a mini-vacation, returning Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, I’ll be bringing my computer with me — I have school work to do while we’re gone — so it’s likely you’ll still hear from me occasionally over the next few days.

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Your Money Is Dumb

by Luke Landes

(It’s all right, mine is, too.) Here’s a lovely article from Slate, You and Your Dumb Money. The author succinctly explains the difference between smart investors and dumb: Smart money (big-time hedge-fund managers, private-equity honchos, leveraged buyout kings) reliably outperforms the market. Dumb money (individual investors, the sort of people who casually watch CNBC for ... Continue reading this article…

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Frugal Wines

by Luke Landes

If you like wine and you like saving money, you might enjoy this article. The New York Times is featuring an article describing some great wines under ten bucks. In the white category, several come from South Africa. Some of the reds on the list come from the United States. There’s a winery in Williamsburg ... Continue reading this article…

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Vehicular Mileage Update

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I passed 30,000 miles on my new Honda Civic. This is probably the point where I should stop calling it “new.”

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The Emergency Fund

by Luke Landes

The first time I heard of the “Emergency Fund” concept was several years ago when I was checking out the message boards on the Motley Fool. I wasn’t in great financial shape at the time, but with my new job, I was seeing some improvement. Now that I understood the importance of an amergency fund, ... Continue reading this article…

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Savings Account Interest Rate Updates

by Luke Landes

Some Internet-based banks have raised the interest rates offered on their savings account. Check out the latest comparison, which features upward movements from UFB Direct, Capital One, and Virtual Bank.

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$50 Bonus From ShareBuilder

by Luke Landes

Updated June 24, 2010. Jonathan at MyMoneyBlog tipped me off to a deal at ShareBuilder, an online brokerage that lets customers invest small amounts with a low fee structure. I didn’t qualify for Jonathan’s CostCo discount as I’m not a member of the shopping club. It did inspire me to perform a Google site search ... Continue reading this article…

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Start Saving More

by Luke Landes

Want some quick ideas for saving money? Bankrate (via Yahoo) gives us 15 ways to squeeze your budget. Most of these I already do, while some could use a little more work. Here is one that could afford more attention from me: Create a budget and track your spending. I track my spending but I ... Continue reading this article…

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Competitive Online Bank Accounts

by Luke Landes

For those who read this blog — or, for that matter, any blog dealing with personal finance — there are no suprises in this article from CNN Money, Online savings accounts duke it out. The article discusses ING Direct and its newer rivals in the higher-interest online-only savings bank scene, Emigrant Direct and HSBC. An ... Continue reading this article…

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