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

December 2006

Collecting Commemorative Coins for Investment Purposes

by Luke Landes

I like collecting coins, but I’m not an avid hobbyist. Every year, if I am not given a gift of the standard Proof and Silver Proof sets of coins from the U.S. Mint, I’ll buy them for myself. It’s not an investment so much as a small hobby. Last month, Mighty Bargain Hunter pointed out ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

A Penny Saved corralled a huge number of submissions for the latest Carnival of Personal Finance, edition #79. Even after weeding out spam, it’s a large collection. Here are some to check: * Liberal Arts to Law School? * The High Cost of Procrastination * How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft * And my ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Make Saving Automatic

by Luke Landes

In July 2002, I opened an account at ING Direct and created a scheduled transaction. Every two weeks, when my day job paycheck was deposited, a portion of this money was automatically passed through directly into my new Emergency Fund. A few months earlier, I became eligible for investing in my company’s 401(k). This is ... Continue reading this article…

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Costco vs. Tiffany, Who Has the Bargain on Diamonds?

by Luke Landes

At my father’s house for dinner last night, one of the guests brought up a story on Good Morning America in which shoppers and diamond experts compared their findings from Costco with those from Tiffany & Co. The GMA shoppers visited both stores, purchased stones, and reported their findings. First, at Tiffany, Good Morning America ... Continue reading this article…

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Frugal Answer: Make Your Own Holiday Gifts?

by Luke Landes

I made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you But I get the feeling that you don’t like it What’s with all the screaming? You like monkeys, you like ponies Maybe you don’t like monsters so much Maybe I used too many monkeys Isn’t it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup: This Week’s Good Articles

by Luke Landes

Here are a few articles from my buddies at the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond from the past week. AllFinancialMatters says fixed rate mortgages back in style, according to a Tampa Bay Online article. Blueprint for Financial Prsoperity advises us not to be afraid of investing. Five Cent Nickel has three easy steps for protecting your privacy. ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Don’t Chase Trends

by Luke Landes

Here’s a continuation of the latest miniseries, based on Fortune Magazine’s 10 Rules for Building Wealth. Today’s declaration is, “Don’t chase trends.” Another term for this activity is timing the market, poorly at that. If you see an asset class that’s catching fire – like real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the late ’90s or ... Continue reading this article…

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More Security at Citibank’s Credit Card Access Site

by Luke Landes

As I logged into Citibank’s credit card website to review their extended warranty offer, I was presented with the option to assign new security questions, whose answers may be verified occasionally. I could have postponed changing the security settings, but after a few visits to the website, it would be mandatory. I also noticed CitiBank ... Continue reading this article…

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Popular Personal Finance Posts From pfblogs.org

by Luke Landes

Here’s the latest from the Popular Personal Finance view at pfblogs.org. This particular view takes everything posted among personal finance blogs in the last 24 hours and orders the articles with the most clicked at the top of the list. * Don’t laugh at my car, from Tired but happy. She drives a clunker, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Wealthiest in the World: I’m in the Top 10%

by Luke Landes

According to the Global Rich List, my estimated income of $70,000 for this year puts me in the top 0.85 percent in the world on the basis of annual earnings. However, according to a new global study commissioned by the United Nations, my net worth of under $70,000 translates to “only” the top 10 percent of all ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Don’t Try to Beat the Market

by Luke Landes

Here’s the bottom line about investing, straight from Fortune Magazine’s 10 Rules for Building Wealth: “Even the best fund managers have trouble beating the S&P 500, so give up the chase.” If the professionals — people who spend hours each day studying the markets — can’t do it consistently, why do you think you can? ... Continue reading this article…

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Free Downloads of Mozart Sheet Music

by Luke Landes

This is right up my alley. Ricemutt from Experiments in Finance brought this to my attention. The International Mozart Foundation has digitized and made available the musical scores to 24,000 of W.A. Mozart’s compositions. You can find the library online at the Digital Mozart Edition. Here’s some frugal entertainment, with very little expense: Get your ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Keep it Simple

by Luke Landes

When you condense a wealth of financial knowledge into 10 “rules,” you’re taking part in a process known as “simplification.” Perhaps not ironically, that happens to be Fortune Magazine’s third rule for building wealth. Choosing three or four index funds – say, an S&P 500 fund, an EAFE fund, and a small-cap stock fund – ... Continue reading this article…

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Purchased a New Notebook Computer: Customized Dell Inspiron E1705

by Luke Landes

I’ve finally pulled the trigger. If you’ve been following along, I’ve been looking for a new computer since August, to replace a five-year-old Fujitsu laptop that has seen better days. I had a tough time with Circuit City a few months ago, so I continued looking. With the help of a former co-worker, we decided ... Continue reading this article…

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Letter From Reader: 2007 Financial Literacy Calendar

by Luke Landes

Hi Flexo, Just a quick note to say thanks for all the blogging. I’m addicted to your site and the information you provide on personal finance. Keep it up! I recommend you to all my friends. Also, I am a CPA in Texas and get emails from the Texas Society of CPAs (go figure). In ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Use Your 401(k)

by Luke Landes

Fortune Magazine is looking at 10 Rules for Building Wealth, and here is the second item on the list: Use your 401(k). If you have access to a 401(k) or 403(b) at your job, particularly if the plan offers employer match, then it makes sense to invest in the plan. The employer match is basically ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express and Spinal Tap?

by Luke Landes

I never thought I’d see the day a song by the “mostly fictional” band Spinal Tap (Gimme Some Money, their first single from “1965″) is used in a commercial for a completely non-fictional product. That day was today. I haven’t found a video online yet of this American Express commercial, but look out for this ... Continue reading this article…

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Rule for Building Wealth: Start Early

by Luke Landes

Fortune Magazine is featuring 10 Rules for Building Wealth. Rule number one is something I wish I had known years before I did: Start early. By starting early and saving a negligible amount per month, thanks to compounded interest and earnings on earnings, you can end up with more money than someone who starts later. ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Be the CFO of Your Own Life

by Luke Landes

I think there is a point in every person’s life at which he comes to a realization and has to make a decision that shapes the course of his life. This happened to me in the early part of the year 2002. I’ll spare most of the details, but at this time I realized I ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted at KirkWalsh.com. Here are some of my favorite submissions this week: * Free Money Finance has several ways to save on taxes. * Five Cent Nickel has free bonus money for business credit cards — this is on my list of to-dos for 2007. * Blunt Money ... Continue reading this article…

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