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

January 2006

Another Broker Settlement Ordered – UBS

by Luke Landes

UBS is the latest brokerage being charged for deceptive trading practices. The company agreed to pay a $54 million settlement, $18 million of which will go back to wronged customers.

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Articles For Thursday

by Luke Landes

Here’s a snapshot of some of the reading I managed to sneak in while getting real work done in the office. As you can see, I didn’t have too much time today. * Why it’s smarter to buy a home rather than rent [focus] * Wall Street has a crush on Google but investors may ... Continue reading this article…

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Buying a House vs. Renting a House

by Luke Landes

Liz Pulliam Weston published a column explaining why it’s smarter to buy rather than rent a home. She cited some statistics that show that the average net worth of home owners in any income range are much higher than that of renters in the same range. Liz warns the readers to stay away from “buy ... Continue reading this article…

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New Nickel Debuts Today

by Luke Landes

A new version of the United States five-cent piece enters circulation today. The design features a full-face portrait engraving of Thomas Jefferson rather than the traditional profile. Update: The U.S. Mint has posted their press release about the new nickel. The coins will begin to appear in circulation over the next few weeks, but if ... Continue reading this article…

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Taxes and Your First Job

by Luke Landes

Yesterday I mentioned earier, this Thursday will be National Tax Advice Day. Yes, it’s a fabricated holiday to sell software and services from H&R Block, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some good information within their materials. H&R Block has advice for those people in their first job who might be filing their taxes ... Continue reading this article…

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Quick Guide to Asset Allocation

by Luke Landes

Rex Moore from The Motley Fool has posted Four Rules for Asset Allocation. It’s a quick general overview of where you should keep or invest money based on when the funds will eventually be needed. Rule No. 1: If you need the money in the next year, it should be in an interest-bearing savings or ... Continue reading this article…

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Today’s Reading

by Luke Landes

Here are some news stories I read today. * Jon Markman’s 17 stocks that always go up * Personal bankruptcies hit record high [focus] * Mortgage applications up 9.9 percent * Even rich folks have bag-lady syndrome [focus] * Keeping new year’s resolutions * Thousands of customers had problems with TIAA-Cref [focus] * Too much, too ... Continue reading this article…

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Close The Books On 2006

by Luke Landes

Analysts are saying that after the first few days of the year, the stock market has climbed as much as was predicted for the end of 2006. Is it time to get out now and wait for a buying opportunity in the third quarter? I’m not changing my plans. I’ll continue my systematic investments in ... Continue reading this article…

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Problems With TIAA-Cref

by Luke Landes

Apparently I was not the only person having problems with TIAA-Cref. When I contacted the company to report my missing contribution, the customer service representative was very helpful and assured me the account would be adjusted. I had complete confidence, and when I checked my account yesterday, the deposit had been made and backdated. My ... Continue reading this article…

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GMAC Bank

by Luke Landes

A reader emailed me to ask why GMAC Bank was not listed on my table of high-rate savings and checking accounts. They are currently offering 4.2 percent APY (4.3 percent APY on balances above $500), but there are restrictions and fees. I added the information from GMAC’s Money Market Savings Account to the list, making note of ... Continue reading this article…

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Bag-Lady Syndrome

by Luke Landes

Many of us fear that our financial security, or what we have of it, could disappear in a moment. Even wealthy people share this fear. It might not be unfounded. Jay MacDonald from Bankrate writes about bag-lady syndrome, a curious feeling plaguing women. Women tend to be unprepared and overwhelmed when widowhood or divorce suddenly ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Bankruptcies in 2005

by Luke Landes

Personal bankruptcies hit an all-time high in 2005. Two million people filed for bankruptcy last year. That includes a less-than-expected drop off in the filing rate after the new bankruptcy bill was enacted, making it more difficult for individuals and corporations to file. Lundquist Consulting provided the survey results. From their press release [non-permanent link]: ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Courses in High School

by Luke Landes

Schools in England are expanding their financial education curriculum to offer courses to 14-16 year olds in addition to the older students already served. These students can receive varying levels of certification in financial studies. Will this work in the United States? Not at the moment. Educational issues go in waves, and right now we ... Continue reading this article…

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National Tax Advice Day

by Luke Landes

To celebrate National Tax Advice Day (which I predict will soon become a major holiday which we’ll celebrate with staplers and shredders instead of tinsel and mistletoe) on Thursday, H&R Block has set up what appears to be a somewhat complete resource on calculating and filing your taxes. Sure, there are some light topics like ... Continue reading this article…

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Next Book Review – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

by Luke Landes

I wasn’t contacted by the publisher to provide a review of this book. However, I did see it in the store last month while shopping for gifts, and I decided to pick it up. Stay tuned for a review of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell at some point relatively soon. ... Continue reading this article…

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To Speak To An Operator, Press §

by Luke Landes

This is old news to many including me, but I heard a segment on the television news tonight about this helpful tool. It is worth spreading the information for those who haven’t heard about it. I can’t say that I’ve been flustered while navigating interactive voice response (IVR) systems. I do get frustrated when I ... Continue reading this article…

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Articles In The News

by Luke Landes

There are some interesting items in the news today, but not much that is inspiring me to write about the stories in detail. Here is what I’ve been reading. * How to Sell a Car When You Owe More Than It’s Worth. This is a dangerous position to be in. * Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best ... Continue reading this article…

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Recession Prediction

by Luke Landes

Predicting recessions is fun for the whole family. Even George Soros is doing it. The billionaire believes the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy too much, resulting in a “hard landing” for the economy in 2007. Less famous people are predicting the same. James F. Smith, who served as an economist for the Fed in ... Continue reading this article…

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Early Morning Carnivals

by Luke Landes

If you’re an insomiac, you can stay up all night reading the latest Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by All Things Financial. Another week of great articles have been included. Check out MyMoneyBlog’s post on tricky credit card offers and thoughts on HSBCDirect from Clutter2Cash. This is the 30th edition of the Carnival of Personal ... Continue reading this article…

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Hot Cars and Cheap Cars

by Luke Landes

The beginning of the year must be popular for talking about upgrading your vehicle. Recently, I mentioned the insurance discount for hybrid owners, but there are some additional stories about cars in the news. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine surveyed MSRP, service costs, resale value, fuel cost, and insurance cost to come up with a value ... Continue reading this article…

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