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

November 2005

Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* Hedge funds risky to economy. * Fed may be ending rate hikes. * Honda Civic wins Car of the Year. * Out-of-state 529 plans are not tax-deductible. Here’s another reason to reconsider investing in these plans unless you know without a doubt where you’ll be sending your child to college.

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Ben Bernanke’s Only Stock

by Luke Landes

Ben Bernanke has only one stock in his portfolio: Altria Group/Philip Morris/Marlboro [MO]. This has been talked about by Jeremy Siegel, CNN Money, Henry Blodget at Slate, and the New York Times. Altria is included in a few of my mutual funds I hold for retirement. The company is also the biggest portion (4.73 percent) of ... Continue reading this article…

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For Carnival Hosts

by Luke Landes

The badge for the Carnival of Personal Finance is now available, and the hosting guidelines have been updated to include the badge suggestion. Here is the code to use on your website if you’d like to link to the Carnival schedule and information page: <a href=”http://carnivalofpersonalfinance.com/”><img alt=”Carnival of Personal Finance” title=”Carnival of Personal Finance” src=”http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/wp-content/uploads/2005/11/cpf_badge.jpg” ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Excessively Spoil Your Kids, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Last year, I wrote about pricey gifts available for children of those with money to burn. Now that we’re back in the holiday season, I noticed a new article from CNN Money with the latest updates for the upscale gift shopper. While last year’s article mentioned the most expensive toys, this year’s list seems comparatively ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival

by Luke Landes

The Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted on Frugal for Life who has done a wonderful job as usual. Check it out. I’m currently on vacation in California, and I probably won’t have too many chances to get online, so this will probably be a light posting week for me.

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Downtime, Flight Time

by Luke Landes

Sorry for the downtime Consumerism Commentary readers experienced earlier today. My web service provider was having some router problems, but everything seems to be fixed… for the moment, anyway. We weren’t the only ones with computer issues; the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) had to suspend trading for some time earlier today because of a ... Continue reading this article…

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I Can See Them Sitting On My Desk

by Luke Landes

I received three checks in the mail yesterday for quasi-volunteer work I did this fall, but sadly, I left the checks sitting by my computer at home. I won’t be back home until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so that’s about $350 I won’t be adding to my bank account until later. Why bother issuing paper ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* Google breaks past $400 * MIT presents its new $100 laptop, whose special features include a hand crank. * Interview with ex-head of IRS: Honest guys are getting screwed. * Gift cards have tricky fees. * States ranked by highest average closing costs when buying a house. There’s more variation in the top 10 ... Continue reading this article…

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Questions to Ask About Gift Cards

by Luke Landes

We’ve recently explored whether gift cards denote laziness. If you do buy a gift card, be careful. We’ve been trained to think that gift cards are as good as cash in the store that offers them. Now that we’ve been trained, the stores like to throw curveballs, catching us off guard. Here are some questions ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You Pursuing Your Passion?

by Luke Landes

I am struggling to determine my “dream job.” I would like to get out of the rut I believe I am in, but I’m not quite sure what to do. How do people determine their dream job? I think most individuals stumble upon it by accident, while others — possibly many more — never find ... Continue reading this article…

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The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

by Luke Landes

Jungle Magazine, a publication focusing on business education and the eminent Master of Business Administration degree, has done a good job writing up Consumerism Commentary for one of the magazine’s past issues. I believe the article was published earlier this year but only recently did it become available online. They let the cat out of ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* The newest redesign of MSN Money is in preview, and I’m not impressed. * Consumers use home equity to pay for holiday gifts. No surprise; they also use credit cards. Some use equity to pay off credit cards. Debt warp! * Online advertising is soaring. MSN charges between several thousand and one million dollars ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Stress About Investing

by Luke Landes

Kiplinger’s presents four mantras for stress-free investing. If you’ve been feeling nervous about the stock market lately, perhaps considering these ideas will put you in a relaxed state of mind. 1. Think Long Term The longer you have until your savings deadline, the more risk you can afford to take. If your goals are decades ... Continue reading this article…

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Regular Rundown

by Luke Landes

* The future looks dark for hedge funds. * Don’t ask for a big raise this year; ask for a bonus instead. * GM is still at a 23-year low. In trouble or buying opportunity? * Bernanke will keep politics out of his decisions at the Fed. * Kiplinger’s top ten online banks list doesn’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Dealing With Two Companies

by Luke Landes

I am still in the process of trying to resolve my unaccepted balance transfer to a new Discover Card with a 0 percent APR offer from my existing Wachovia Visa card (offered by MBNA). I am told this will be resolved within five business days. It’s also been a major pain dealing with the University of ... Continue reading this article…

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Gift Cards Denote Laziness?

by Luke Landes

Do you give gift cards? Liz Pulliam Weston does not like gift cards or gift certificates and she believes they say that the giver doesn’t care about the recipient’s wishes and desires. But young people seem to be happy to receive gift cards and they grow increasingly popular.

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Carnival Monday

by Luke Landes

Now that we have a Carnival of Personal Finance today, don’t forget to check out the latest Carnival of Debt Reduction at Frugal For Life. Speaking of Frugal for Life, they will be the host of next week’s Carnival of Personal Finance. If you are submitting an article, always please use this email address for ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival of Personal Finance #22

by Luke Landes

Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance, 22nd Edition! I’m not quite sure what happened to this week’s actual host, so I’m filling in. I may have missed your submission — please send me a quick note and I’ll add yours in if I did. Here are this week’s submissions, in reverse order of arrival. ... Continue reading this article…

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Start The Week

by Luke Landes

The surgery earlier this weekend seems to have been successful, and I haven’t run into any painful problems yet. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and tips; it helped a great deal. As a nice beginning to the week, I noticed that my favorite gas station was offering regular unleaded at a “low” ... Continue reading this article…

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Out of Commission

by Luke Landes

I’ll be out of commission today and probably for the next few days while I’m recovering from surgery. In the mean time, feel free to browse some recent posts or start from the beginning? I found myself upon an advance copy of Lee Eisenberg’s new book, The Number, (blog here) which will be released on ... Continue reading this article…

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