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

January 2007

US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 6: The Dollar

by Luke Landes

What are the expert economists saying about the state of the dollar throughout the year? James Pethokoukis from U.S. News & World Report assembled some opinions on the dollar’s predicted performance for the paper’s Annual Investing Guide. The big issue is the trade deficit. The dollar has been falling, so will foreign banks give up ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Here are a few articles I found interesting from the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond over the past week. * Mighty Bargain Hunter wrote about dollar cost averaging. * Free Money Finance has some advice: if you want to get rich, get in shape. * Five Cent Nickel has three don’t-miss tax deductions. * Blueprint for Financial ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Your Tax Info (1099-INT) From ING Direct

by Luke Landes

If you have a savings account at ING Direct, you should now be able to download the tax form that outlines the amount of interest you received throughout 2006. Here’s how to get it. Log into your account at ingdirect.com by providing your account security information. Click the “Tax Info Available Now!” icon located on ... Continue reading this article…

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Review: The Maui Millionaires by David Finkel and Diane Kennedy

by Luke Landes

The introduction of The Maui Millionaires by David Finkel and Diane Kennedy, CPA read like a sales pitch. This turned me off immediately. I felt like I was sitting in one of those free seminars with one of those energetic, motivational speakers, whose goal was nothing more than to sell me some abstract concepts and ... Continue reading this article…

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NetFlix: It Might Be Time to Dump It

by Luke Landes

When I ditched expensive digital cable television and reverted to $16/month basic cable with less than 30 channels (many of which do not broadcast in English), I decided to sign up for NetFlix. The theory was the mail-order DVDs would fill in the entertainment void due to the lack of Comedy Central, Cartoon Network‘s Adult ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Has a New Website

by Luke Landes

If you visited HSBC Direct today, you may have noticed their new website. It has a new, Flashier look and easier access to features, like savings calculators. Once you log in to check your account, you’re presented with the same interface that has been around, at least since the time I opened my account last ... Continue reading this article…

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Idiots in New Jersey Finally Allowed to Vote

by Luke Landes

(Do you foresee jokes about New Jersey becoming a red state by 2008 as a result?) Thanks to a ruling last week, “idiots” have been granted suffrage rights in the state of New Jersey. Prior to last week, this was strictly forbidden by New Jersey’s constitution. In 1844, language was added to the state constitution ... Continue reading this article…

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Suze Orman Teams Up With TD Ameritrade

by Luke Landes

Vince from Investorial and GuruWatch is skeptical of Suze Orman’s new relationship with TD Ameritrade. Here are the details of what she is promoting. You can receive a $100 bonus by opening up an account with TD Ameritrade in March and by following the “Save Yourself Plan,” which involves automatic monthly investments of at least ... Continue reading this article…

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Best Credit Cards for 0% Balance Transfers

by Luke Landes

If you’re going to play in the credit card arbitrage game, first, make sure you’re a Type B credit card user. This means you avoid fees and interest, and use credit cards as a tool without letting the issuers use you to make money for the corporations. Next, you have to find cards with no ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in the Archives

by Luke Landes

I’m continuing a retrospective this entire year, to benefit new readers who may have missed these articles the first time around. Here is a taste of what you may have missed this week over the past few years. Some have active discussions you may find interesting. From January 15-21, 2006: * Getting in (Physical) Shape ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 5: Real Estate

by Luke Landes

Where is real estate heading in 2007? It depends on who you ask. Alex Markels has submitted his thoughts to U.S. News & World Report for their annual investing guide, and the outlook is grim. Here are some points to take away from the article. * According to the UCLA Anderson Forecast, median new home ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

Today’s Carnival of Personal Finance was hosted by Amanda at Young and Broke, There are lots of great articles to read, and so many it will take all week. Here are some highlights. * My Financial Awareness: Recognizing Resistances to Financial Planning * Frugal Law Student: I’ll Pass on the iPhone * Poorer Than You: ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Here are not-to-be-missed articles from the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond from the past week. AllFinancialMatters flexes his financial advisor muscles and fields a reader’s question about 401(k)s. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity will tell you how much income is needed to buy a median-priced house. Five Cent Nickel shares reader-contributed advice for correcting Roth IRA over-contributions. Free ... Continue reading this article…

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Forget About the Latte Factor

by Luke Landes

See also: Put Your Savings Into Hyperdrive, Part 4: The Expensive Coffee-Related Drink Factor. I’m sure a number of regular Consumerism Commentary readers have heard about “The Latte Factor®,” the idea (trademarked by David Bach) that cutting back on a cup of gourmet coffee each day will result in wealth in the long term. My ... Continue reading this article…

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Kayak.com Lets You Search for Cruises

by Luke Landes

I travel by airplane twice a year (plus or minus one) and it seems every time I fly, there are new online tools. First, years ago, Expedia allowed me to find low prices across multiple carriers. Then Priceline debuted, allowing travelers to “name their own price.” Although I’ve experimented with the tool, I never used ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 4: Technology

by Luke Landes

The biggest news in technology recently seems to be Apple‘s announcement of the iPhone (and they’re already getting sued by Cisco over the name) as well as Apple TV. Perhaps it will be an exciting year for the technology sector. David LaGesse reports that analysts are looking at short-term enthusiasm for technology, thanks to upgrades ... Continue reading this article…

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National Tax Advice Day 2007

by Luke Landes

Tomorrow, January 11, 2007, is H&R Block’s National Tax Advice Day. This “holiday” occurs right before the IRS begins accepting completed tax forms, to build awareness of of H&R Block’s products and services. The company has established a website for taxpayers to access free tools and generalized advice. There have been improvements since last year. ... Continue reading this article…

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Question from Reader: What’s a Decent Rate of Return?

by Luke Landes

Frequent reader Doobie emailed yesterday to pose this question: What’s considered a decent rate of return for a stock/fund/etc? I always wondered that when I look at my 401K’s performance. I know it’s good when I’m not losing money, but even when it’s making money I’m trying to find a decent benchmark as to what’s ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 3: Oil

by Luke Landes

Every year, US News puts together an annual investing guide that evaluates certain sectors of the market. Marianne Lavelle writes about the recent and future performance of Big Oil, but there aren’t any revelations. According to the article, the easy money in oil was made in 2006, although there were signs of trouble. Here is ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 2: Drugs

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, it was common for people to leave my company in the financial industry for greener pastures in the pharmaceutical industry. Salaries were higher, bonuses were up, and people were making money off their stocks. Lately, this has cooled. US News & Word Report, in the annual investing guide, agrees: Drug patents ... Continue reading this article…

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