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May 2007

Reminder: Quicken Premier 2007 Giveaway

by Luke Landes

As Quicken 2008 will likely be released within the next few months, I have a copy of Quicken Premier 2007 directly from Intuit to give away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered twice in the contest. I plan on picking the ... Continue reading this article…

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Where to Put an Unexpected $5,000, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Unfortunately, I don’t have this particular “problem” at the moment. But if I had, CNN Money can provide some suggestions (43 of them) for dealing with the unexpected income. 1. Best return with no risk: Pay off your highest-interest credit card debt 2. Best 12-month return (risky): Vanguard Growth Index fund 3. Best 12-month return ... Continue reading this article…

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Roth IRA Phase-Out in 2007

by Luke Landes

This year, if you (as a single tax filer) earn more than $99,000 (modified adjusted gross income — MAGI), your eligibility for the tax-advantageous Roth IRA phases out until you don’t qualify at all at $114,000. Couples are at a little bit of a disadvantage compared to two single tax filers as eligibility starts to ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Round-Up, Subway Series Edition

by Luke Landes

I spent some time on Saturday at Shea Stadium to watch an exciting Subway Series game. As I write this, tonight’s game isn’t looking as good for my team. Here are my picks for interesting posts from the Money Blog Network and beyond this past week. * How Much Does it Cost to Drive One ... Continue reading this article…

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Comparing a Lump Sum With an Annuity

by Luke Landes

Every since I wrote about the variable annuity sold to an 86-year-old, I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of situation in which this makes sense. Actually, I haven’t been putting effort into this issue at all, but this article from Charles Schwab happened to appear at the right time. Inside is a ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Offers 1% Cash Back to Some Customers

by Luke Landes

Perhaps you’re following the debacle in which ING Direct closed a large number of customers’ Electric Orange checking accounts due to bad credit, and then retracted many of the closings. Now, perhaps in a move to gain some public relations points after a major loss, they are offering cash back to what appears to be ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in the Archives: Jerks, Banks, and Lunch

by Luke Landes

If you’re new to Consumerism Commentary, you may have missed these articles from this time last year or two years ago. Here are some of the highlights. From May 16-22, 2006: * May 16: How to Succeed: Be a Jerk * May 16: Baby on the Way? Get Ready to be Shocked! * May 18: ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Lessons From Television Fiction: House

by Luke Landes

I have to admit there are are two or three television shows I enjoy watching each week. House is one of those shows. I’m drawn to this show for several reasons. I’m a fan of Hugh Laurie from his Blackadder days, and his American accent is usually very convincing. Also, the show takes place in ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Improvements I’d Like to See in Quicken 2008 (And a Giveaway)

by Luke Landes

I’ve been a user of Intuit Quicken for the past few years after being a loyal user of Microsoft Money (and MoneyDance earlier, when I felt I needed to run Linux on my home machine). While I think I’ve settled on the software that works best for me, I’m not completely satisfied. I’m waiting to ... Continue reading this article…

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Presidential Dollar Series: I Got a Bank Teller in Trouble

by Luke Landes

This past Saturday, I stopped in at my local bank (which happens to be the much-discussed Wachovia) to see if they were distributing rolls of the newest John Adams Presidential $1 coins. I know the release date isn’t until May 17, but I had a good reason for asking early. A few months ago, I ... Continue reading this article…

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3 Reasons Not to Buy a Home

by Luke Landes

On Sunday, I noticed yet another new article describing the benefits of renting over buying a house. I’ve been following these articles with interest as my lease is getting closer to its end date six weeks from now, and I’ve been thinking about what to do. In this article, Liz Pulliam Weston provides 3 reasons ... Continue reading this article…

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Postal Prices on the Rise Today

by Luke Landes

If you’re heading to the post office today, you might notice that the price of sending a letter has gone up. A first class stamp now costs $0.41. Other options have increased, too. It seems like just yesterday the cost of a first class stamp increased from $0.37 to $0.39. According to the United States ... Continue reading this article…

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Ethical? Bank of America Sells Variable Annuity to Elderly Person

by Luke Landes

I find these stories very sad. First of all, it’s always the customer’s job to be educated about any options they might be considering — particularly when they’re shopping around for financial products. When a customer isn’t educated for whatever reason, it doesn’t provide justification for salespeople to suggest products not in their best interest. ... Continue reading this article…

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The 100th Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

I’m happy to report that the latest Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted at My Open Wallet. This marks the 100th edition of the Carnival. The Carnival of Personal Finance has been going strong since June 20, 2005 and is soon approaching its two-year anniversary. There are a lot of articles — 100, in ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup, Mother’s Day Edition

by Luke Landes

Here are some of the more interesting articles I’ve encountered from the MoneyBlogNetwork and beyond over the past week or so. It was difficult to pick out articles that are not some sort of top five list this week. If you’re a blogger with something you’d like included next week in a similar roundup, send ... Continue reading this article…

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Wachovia Charging Monthly $5.95 for Microsoft Money and Quicken

by Luke Landes

Wachovia Bank April statements are now arriving in customers’ mailboxes. Some customers are in for a surprise. The bank is now charging a $5.95 service fee for many account holders who use Microsoft Money or Intuit Quicken’s “direct connect” feature to download transactions directly into the software (without visiting the website). The fee is listed ... Continue reading this article…

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Congratulations to Sarah, Winner of Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting

by Luke Landes

Over a week ago, I held a simple contest in order to give away one copy of Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting, by Laura George [my review]. To enter the contest, all I required other than a valid email address was a description of your “dream job.” Here are some of the responses. Congratulations ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Folds and the Boston Pops Incite Two-Person Riot

by Luke Landes

One of my favorite musicians, Ben Folds was about to perform with the Boston Pops for their opening night festivities on Wednesday night, when a fight broke out in the balcony between one individual and the individual the first thought was making too much noise during the concert. You have to watch out for Ben ... Continue reading this article…

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Automobile Insurance Premium Increasing, But Not By Much

by Luke Landes

Earlier this week, I received my updated policy information from Liberty Mutual, the company that provides the insurance for my Honda Civic. I was expecting a significant increase thanks to a minor car accident last October. Here are some details about my coverage, which I haven’t changed since purchasing this car. * Liability, bodily injury: ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in the Archives: Melatonin, Mortgages, and MBAs

by Luke Landes

Here are some of the more interesting items from the past on Consumerism Commentary. Check these out if you have some time to read. From May 8-15, 2006: * May 8: Americans Are NOT In Bad Shape With Credit, Sort Of * May 8: PlayStation 3 Plus Or Minus $596: My Generation Just Sighed * ... Continue reading this article…

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