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

January 2006

Merrill Lynch Broker Allegedly Steals $320,000

by Luke Landes

A broker from Merrill Lynch allegedly stole more than $320,000 from an elderly woman by forging her signature. Peter Lau, 37, who was the victim’s broker, stole some 28 checks from the victim and forged her signature before depositing them for his own use from June 2004 to December 2005, Brown said in a prepared ... Continue reading this article…

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Insurance Discount for Hybrid Car Owners

by Luke Landes

In February, Travelers Insurance will begin offering a 10 percent discount on insurance for owners of hybrid vehicles. Their research shows that these drivers are safer than average, typically married, and between the ages 41 and 60. Before buying a hybrid car for the insurance discount, make sure hybrids make sense for you.

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Did You Catch These?

by Luke Landes

Here are a few articles that I’ve enjoyed by other bloggers in the past week or so. * Free Money Finance mentions store return policies, a hot topic after the holidays. Stores are getting stricter and you have to play by their rules. * JLP from AllThingsFinancial talks about the Alternative Minimum Tax. * Jim ... Continue reading this article…

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Supersize My House

by Luke Landes

Slate is presenting an interesting essay slideshow on McMansions, the supersized abodes we love to hate. Why are Americans obsessed with big houses? The booming economy of the 1980s created great personal wealth, and wealth found expression in domestic architecture, as it always does. These large houses were variously referred to as trophy houses, starter ... Continue reading this article…

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The Yazbecks: Future Millionaire Couple

by Luke Landes

CNN Money’s back in the Millionaire in the Making game with an article featuring Paul and Audrey Yazbeck. She’s an account and he’s in the military, and they earn $125,000 combined each year. The couple emphasizes starting to save early on in life and budgeting to keep expenses down. A sidebar included with article breaks ... Continue reading this article…

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My Retirement Investment Changes

by Luke Landes

Based partly on feedback when I listed my investment holdings, I made some changes to my retirement contributions for 2006. In my 401(k), I shifted around my percentage allocations to increase international and small-cap exposure at the expense of large-caps, which are currently overweighted. In the Roth IRA, I’ll be investing in a small-cap equity ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Order Wine in a Restaurant

by Luke Landes

If you’re the type of person who enjoys wine, you’d like this article explaining how to order wine in a restaurant. There are good tips within the article which will help you save your money and your respect. Some of my favorite tips, expanded upon in the article: * Read the wine list. Note the ... Continue reading this article…

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Employment Trends in 2006

by Luke Landes

According to surveys, we should start to see some encouraging trends for those of us working for a living. Richard Castellini from CareerBuilder.com has the story. Trend 1: Bigger Paychecks. Employers plan on offering more to existing employees and new hires. Gain an advantage by knowing where you stand within the market for your position. ... Continue reading this article…

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Stocks Are For Suckers?

by Luke Landes

The book I recently reviewed focuses on investing in index funds and letting the portfolio sit for decades — “buy and hold.” It’s a strategy that has been popular since the market took a downward spin when the tech bubble gave out. Not everyone agrees that it’s the best strategy. Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of ... Continue reading this article…

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Review of Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People by Jane Bryant Quinn

by Luke Landes

I just finished reading Jane Bryant Quinn’s new book, Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People. I’ve had it for a few weeks but the holidays stole my reading time. Now that you’ve read my excuse, let’s get to the review.

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UFB Direct Offers 4.35% APY

by Luke Landes

Here’s a new savings account interest rate update. Hot on the heels of ING Direct raising their interest rate to 3.8 percent APY to match UFB Direct, the latter raised their rate on their no-minimum account to 4.0 percent. If you deposit more than $25,000, you’ll qualify for their Jumbo Money Market Account rate of 4.35 percent. I ... Continue reading this article…

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Rebate Scams

by Luke Landes

One piece of advice by those who love frugal shopping is to take advantage of rebates whenever possible. Many people followed this advice in the recently passed holiday shopping season. Most of those purchasers will not receive their rebates. According to Senator Chuck Schumer, the most diligent customer who follows the complicated instructions exactly has ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnival of Investing #3

by Luke Landes

Welcome to Consumerism Commentary, this week’s host of the Carnival of Investing! The Carnival of Investing is a new Blog Carnival that collects the best blog entries in the past week or so that focus on the topic of investing. In the words of Mr. B. Rhymes, c’mon, c’mon, let’s get to it.

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CNN Money Redesigns

by Luke Landes

Fresh for the new year, CNN Money redesigned. The new layout is cleaner, but some of the deeper pages have some placement issues.

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Income Statement, December 2005

by Luke Landes

Take a look at my balance sheet for year-end 2005 if you haven’t already, then read below for my income statement. How much did I spend this year? The chart below shows my expenses December 2004, 2004 total, November 2005, December 2005, and 2005 total for a number of comparisons. Let’s take a look…

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Balance Sheet, December 2005

by Luke Landes

What a year! In my personal finances, I’ve mad some advances, but not without letting a few things fall between the cracks. The market turned sour in the last week of the year, and that had too much of an effect on my investment balances. Keep reading for some tables that show my progress over ... Continue reading this article…

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Carnivals for the New Year

by Luke Landes

Welcome to 2006! The latest Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted at The Real Returns, so check it out! Also, I’ll be hosting the Carnival of Investing tomorrow, so email me your late submissions and I’ll get them in.

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