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

July 2007

Market Records

by Luke Landes

Third day in a row with market records, but not on all indexes at closing. Toby thinks I’m crazy for thinking “bubble,” but I’m not really thinking it anyway. S&P 500 at 1,549.52, Dow at 13,950.98, Nasdaq at 2,697.33. [Yahoo Finance]

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Think You Pay High Fees?

by Luke Landes

UBS apparently offers some investment accounts for which the fees can constitute an effective $8,800 per trade. They’ve been sued by the New York Attorney General and will now pay $21.3 million to settle those charges. I can’t help but wonder, taking all the fees charged in the 3,000 affected accounts, and subtracting the $21.3 ... Continue reading this article…

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My Car Gets 15 Miles Per Chicken

by Luke Landes

If you’re tired of complaining about gas prices, no matter who is doing the complaining, you may be happy to hear about a new alternative fuel. Chicken fat (tallow) is the latest product to be considered for biodiesel. Tyson is hoping that the technology works out; corn prices increased to follow its energy-related demand, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Lessons from Television Fiction: The Office

by Luke Landes

Now that my new cable company is providing me with the works for less than $15 a month, including a digital video recorder, I find myself wasting more time watching television while doing other work. One of the shows I can’t get enough of is The Office. While the characters are a bit exaggerated, there ... Continue reading this article…

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Stupid Investment of the Week: Rich Dad Academy

by Luke Landes

Related: Analyzing a Kiyosaki cornerstone: Is Your Home an Asset or Liability?. Chuck Jaffe, a writer with MarketWatch, set his sights on the Teach Me to Trade seminar last year, and ordained the event his “Stupid Investment of the Week.” This year, he attended Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Academy,” and came to the same conclusion. ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Finance Blog Roundup, Philadelphia Edition

by Luke Landes

This weekend, I will be visiting King Tutankhamon in Philadelphia. I’ve wanted to see this exhibit for a long time, and it’s closing at the end of September. The exhibition is sold out later on, so now is the time to go. Here are some articles from other blogs that caught my attention this week, ... Continue reading this article…

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The Issue of Gas Prices: Complainers vs. Complainers

by Luke Landes

Just like any major media issue in this country, the issue of gasoline prices has two sides: those who complain about the prices, and those who complain about the complainers. The facts support both sides of the argument. Simply, gas prices have increased sharply over the past few years, but are still less than prices ... Continue reading this article…

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Congress: Tax Preparers Must Police Their Clients

by Luke Landes

Thanks to a new law signed in May, tax preparers, whether certified public accountants, lawyers, or your local H&R Block, can be assessed strong penalties for filing returns with “questionable or aggressive tax items” on behalf of their clients. This new regulation will go into effect for 2007 tax returns. The Wall Street Journal says ... Continue reading this article…

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Upcoming Downtime on Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary and a bunch of other sites I host like pfblogs.org, Carnival of Personal Finance, and Meta Best Blog Win will be down on Friday night (early Saturday morning) from 2:00 am for about 5 hours. The server is being moved to a larger facility in Los Angeles. Please bear with us. This move ... Continue reading this article…

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The Market Broke

by Luke Landes

The market broke all kinds of records today. My investment accounts are flying high (relatively speaking) for the time being. S&P 500 at 1,547.70, Dow at 13,861.73, Nasdaq at 2,701.73. [Bloomberg]

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College Graduates: Starting Salaries Jumped This Year

by Luke Landes

Here are the latest figures for average starting salaries. * Chemical engineering: up 5.4 percent to $59,361 * Computer engineering: up 4.8 percent to $56,201 * Mechanical engineering: up 4.6 percent to $54,128 * Electrical engineering: up 3.2 percent to $55,292 * Civil engineering: up 5.4 percent to $48,509 * Computer science: up 4.1 percent to $53,396 * Information science: up ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s 2007 Goals: Status at the Halfway Point

by Luke Landes

Back in December, I set some goals for myself for the upcoming year. Now that 2007 is halfway complete, it’s a good chance for me to take a look and see how I am doing in these particular pursuits. Income goal: Earn $40,000 in revenue outside of my day job. Stretch goal: $60,000. According to ... Continue reading this article…

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A Parking Spot That Costs More Than Average House

by Luke Landes

The National Association of Realtors claims that the median price for sold homes in May was $223,700. Would you pay more than that for a parking spot? Perhaps this is an indication of how crazy the market is in Manhattan, where a parking spot at 246 West 17th Street is fetching $225,000 — and has ... Continue reading this article…

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Whole Foods CEO Internet Scam

by Luke Landes

The Chief Executive Officer of Whole Foods, John Mackey, has been posting on internet message boards, promoting his company’s stock (example) and pointing out the faults of others in the same category (example). I find it unlikely that a few messages affected the stock’s price to a significant degree, but that’s not the point. Is ... Continue reading this article…

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Be Grateful for Generation Y

by Luke Landes

Be grateful for Generation Y. They don’t settle for meaningless work, they don’t worry about being seen at their desks, they play well with others, and they don’t put up with jerks. [Penelope Trunk]

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Overdraft Fees Becoming More Popular

by Luke Landes

There are two very specific ways banks are raking in the dough — your dough — thanks to slight changes or details in their policies. In the past, if you were to write a check or use your ATM/debit card to withdraw an amount higher than your balance, the check would bounce or the debit ... Continue reading this article…

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House Won’t Sell? Your Price is Too Low?

by Luke Landes

Last December, I criticized a Kentucky couple for complaining that their house wasn’t selling at the price they were asking. They thought they were asking a fair price, but it’s only a fair price if someone’s willing to pay it. Either price your house to sell, or wait around for someone to come along. But ... Continue reading this article…

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This Week in the Archives: Blue Lion Edition

by Luke Landes

There’s something exciting when the five lions combine to form Voltron, despite the fact it happened every episode. Also, Princess Allura was hot. Here are some articles I’ve written in past years at Consumerism Commentary. From July 8-15, 2006: * July 9: Excel Template for Income and Expense Report * July 10: Excel Template for ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: What to Do After an Emergency?

by Luke Landes

Here is a question from a reader: I’d be interested on a post about what to do after you’ve dipped into your emergency fund considerably. How quick should you replenish it? What are the best ways to replenish it? Is it worth backing off on funding things like Roth IRA’s to build back your emergency ... Continue reading this article…

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Share Your Story Ideas

by Luke Landes

In last month’s reader survey, I received some comments about topics or stories you’d like to see covered at Consumerism Commentary. If you have any tips or ideas, please shoot them over to me at the tips email address (tips at this domain name) or leave a comment here. If you’ve got your own story ... Continue reading this article…

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