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

December 2005

HSBC Follows Fed, Raises Interest Rate

by Luke Landes

HSBC Online Banking now offers an interest rate providing a 4.25 annual percentage yield. There’s a $25 bonus as well! Take a look at the latest checking and savings rates for more information. Speaking of bonuses, I have one ING Direct $25 bonus left. ING Direct is currently offering only 3.75 percent APY and to obtain ... Continue reading this article…

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A Hedge-Like Fund For The Rest Of Us

by Luke Landes

Amanda Cantrell from CNN Money evaluates the performance of mutual funds that act like hedge funds. Is their performance worth the expense? Here are the details of the four funds the author evaluated: Fund Exp Ratio Sales Chg YTD Rtn The Gateway Fund [GATEX] 0.97 percent   4.52 percent Diamond Hill Focus Long/Short [DIAMX] 1.75 percent 5.00 percent 12.12 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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No Need To Panic About Flex Spending Accounts

by Luke Landes

Many people take advantage of employer’s flexible spending accounts. These accounts allow you to defer income which can be drawn upon to reimburse you for medical expenses. The benefit is the funds in these accounts are not considered income for tax purposes. In order to make the best use of these accounts, you have to ... Continue reading this article…

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Open An Account At Every Bank

by Luke Landes

If you have a small business and you take a number of personal checks from the local community, you might benefit from this advice from Consumerist: simply open up business checking accounts in as many area banks as possible. This way you can take every customer’s check to his or her own bank — also ... Continue reading this article…

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Cop Steals Arrestee’s Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

It’s for cases like these that credit card companies offer fraud protection. A guy was arrested in Chicago last month for being involved in a bar fight. While he was incarcerated for the night, a cop allegedly did his own holiday shopping using the cards confiscated from the person. Here’s what was purchased:

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Working Environments With High Health Risk

by Luke Landes

I had a frustrating morning with one of my bosses today. It was the kind of encounter where you have to get up and walk away for a few minutes to refocus. I stool in an empty conference room for some time, talking myself down from my crazy thoughts such as quitting before I had ... Continue reading this article…

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Movable Type Enhancements

by Luke Landes

Last night, I added support for FastCGI to Consumerism Commentary. This supposedly speeds some things up around here, mostly administration tasks. If you notice any problems with the website, please let me know immediately! Note: I have since disabled FastCGI as it seemed to cause problems with my comments and trackbacks, though I believe everything ... Continue reading this article…

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Federal Reserve Does What Is Expected

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve bumped up the short-term rate target to 4.25 percent, while hinting the increases may come to an end at some point. This activity practiced by the Federal Reserve Board at their meetings is a very strange ritual. If you think about what they do, you may come to the conclusion it’s more like ... Continue reading this article…

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New Jersey Nest Eggs Incubating

by Luke Landes

A.G. Edwards has compiled results from a survey and has developed a “Nest Egg Index.” The statistics measured include participation in retirement plans, debt levels, home ownership — all major contributors to net worth. I found some items within the results personally interesting: My home state of New Jersey tops the index [cnn] of states, ... Continue reading this article…

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Blogosphere Supernova

by Luke Landes

About a year ago, I gave a shout-out to the other finance blogs on the internet — there weren’t many blogs in this category back then. Take a look at the comments and see the germination of personal finance blogs that have become some of the most popular out there. On my sidebar I keep ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Return Unwanted Gifts

by Luke Landes

Here are some tips for returning or getting rid of that tacky gift that has no place in your house, the tasteless joke present that you’d be embarassed for your children to see, or any otherwise unwanted present. Marshall Loeb from MarketWatch suggests these tips: * Try to return the item to the store as ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted at Wealth Junkie! And there was much rejoicing and reading great personal finance articles, like Donor XY by Nina at Sitting Pretty and Get Fit, Save Money by InsureBlog. The latter article ties in directly with one of my resolutions for 2006. Next week’s Carnival, the first ... Continue reading this article…

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Microsoft Will Pay You To Use MSN Search

by Luke Landes

Here’s an interesting twist in the Search Wars (turning everyone attention away from the Browser Wars, I suppose): Microsoft will pay individuals [WSJ/free] to use its search engine, sharing the ad revenues with the casual user, most likely through discounts in software packages. The biggest hole in this plan is easily snuffed out by the ... Continue reading this article…

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Resolutions for 2006

by Luke Landes

In December, I start to reflect on the year that’s almost complete and begin looking forward to new new year in which I can use the opportunity to resolve to improve some aspects of my life. Here are my resolutions. (These may change all the way up to December 31, so check back for updates!) ... Continue reading this article…

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Pope is Anti-Consumerist

by Luke Landes

The well spoken-of Pope Benedict is warning Christians about “rampant materialism” which he believes is diluting the Spirit of Christmas. The trouble with this statement is that it belies the initial spreading of the Christianity meme. Marketing has been a big part of Christianity since the early days of the religion, whether it involved spreading ... Continue reading this article…

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A Look At The Number, Part 5: Your Passion

by Luke Landes

This is Part 5 in a series about The Number by Lee Eisenberg. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, and Part 4 is here. The third and final section of The Number is about discovering your Number, the net worth or yearly income required to live independently of working. ... Continue reading this article…

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Taking a Break From Writing Papers

by Luke Landes

This is turning out to be one of the busiest and most expensive Decembers I have yet experienced in my short lifetime. I’m almost done with holiday gift shopping although I still need some items for my close relatives. Luckilly, although tiringly, I’ve been working some overtime which will hopefully fill in some gaps in ... Continue reading this article…

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Backfired Bankruptcy Bill

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, a new bankruptcy bill was signed into law, making it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy. The credit industry loved this and spent a lot of money lobbying for the bill, as they stood to gain billions of dollars in fees. Apparently, this isn’t happening [msn]. The number of bankruptcy filings ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s Budget Crunch Time

by Luke Landes

At work, I’m in the midst of working on the 2006 budget for a division of a large company. I’ve been putting in 12 hours days in the office, followed by several hours from home through the VPN. Two of my MBA courses are overlapping this week as well, and I have three and a ... Continue reading this article…

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Getting Rich Is Simple

by Luke Landes

Harry Domash presents an overview of attaining $1,000,000. (I wouldn’t exactly call $1,000,000 in assets or net worth rich, but perhaps that has more to do with location.) Breaking it down, discipline is the most important aspect of getting there. Invest $500 each month and you’ll be on your way, thanks to compounding interest. The ... Continue reading this article…

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