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

November 2007

Year-End Tax-Saving Move: Reduce Capital Gains

by Luke Landes

As the year draws to an end, I start turning my mind more towards taxes. I’ve been thinking about taxes this entire year, as a matter of fact, thanks to my underestimation of income. I believe I’ve made the adjustments necessary to avoid facing a large tax bill and penalty, and CNN Money has provided ... Continue reading this article…

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ShareBuilder Acquired by ING Direct

by Luke Landes

I received this email last night, and it was news to me. I’ve had no problems dealing with ING Direct, nor have I had any problems dealing with ShareBuilder. I have accounts with both companies. For a while, ShareBuilder was offering significant bonuses to those who opened accounts, and ING Direct has always had their ... Continue reading this article…

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3 Things You Need to Know Before Giving to Charity

by Luke Landes
3 Things You Need to Know Before Giving to Charity

This is a guest post from Steve, who writes about finance and life at Brip Blap. As the holiday season approaches, calls for donating to charity begin to multiply. Americans donate over $240 billion per year to various charities, and that’s simply in terms of money; the contributions in goods and services add even more ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Credit Freeze Worthwhile?

by Luke Landes

TV Girl wrote into Consumerism Commentary (and a few other blogs, so I expect to see responses elsewhere) with the following question about credit freezes: I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey talk on his radio show about freezing your credit report, but I haven’t heard much (if anything) about this issue in the pf blogosphere. ... Continue reading this article…

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Year-End Tax-Saving Move: Green Energy

by Luke Landes

CNN Money is offering seven suggestions for reducing your tax, all possible before filing your 2007 taxes. The first suggestion is to “re-energize” your home. You can reduce your tax bill by up to $500 if you install insulation, windows, doors or central air conditioning that meet certain energy conservation standards. You also can take ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumption Is Investment

by Luke Landes

This is a guest post from Mrs. Micah, who maintains the blog Mrs. Micah: Finance and Life, in which the author is starting to deal responsibly with her $100,000+ debt. Every purchase you make is an investment. Too often we think of our purchases as consumables. Some are, like food, but even those should be ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup II, $1 Headphones Edition

by Luke Landes

On my flight the other day, I was pleased to learn that Continental Airlines reduced the price of its somewhat proprietary headsets for use when watching movies during the flight from $5 to $1 a set. I wasn’t too interested in seeing the movie offered, Transformers, so I just continued with my pattern of listening ... Continue reading this article…

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Investigation: Russ Whitney Should Resign as CEO and Chairman

by Luke Landes

For those who follow real estate investing gurus, it might be interesting to note that Russ Whitney’s company, through an internal investigation, is calling for the founder’s resignation. Russ Whitney, the founder, chief executive officer, and chairman of the Whitney Information Network has in the past aligned himself with Robert Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekly Blog Roundup I, Blogging From the Airport Edition

by Luke Landes

I arrived early to the airport for my flight to California today. When checking into my full flight, I was able to switch seats and select the exit row. I’ll have a few more inches of leg room than I would have had, had I not been able to switch. There is WiFi here at ... Continue reading this article…

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More Education and Higher Incomes: More Likely to Have Had Music Education

by Luke Landes

Existence of music education in one’s curriculum is related to higher incomes and more education later in life, according to a new study by Harris Interactive. Three-quarters (75 percent) of American adults were involved in some type of music program while in school. Half (51 percent) were involved in chorus while 42 percent had some type of ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Card Jacked Up Interest Rate: Cancel the Card?

by Luke Landes

Kimberly Lankford from Kiplinger recently handled a question from a reader. Capital One raised her interest rate from 9.9 percent to 15.9 percent on her account, and she’s wondering what her options are. You could decline the rate change and continue to pay off your balance at the old rate… Capital One would then close your account ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Easy Ways to Save Money Without Much Effort

by Luke Landes

The holiday season is approaching, so I know I’ll be spending more money. I have even begun planning a vacation, and I want to make sure I can afford it. Additionally, I am projecting that my side business will make less money in the future and not allow for the career transition from full-time cube ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett: Don’t Repeal the Estate Tax

by Luke Landes

If you are lucky enough to inherit (for example) $10 million in property or investments from deceased relatives, you are also lucky enough to pass a good portion of that to the government in the form of estate taxes. It is kind of a strange concept. Why should that money be taxed? It is simply ... Continue reading this article…

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A Car’s Resale Value: Does it Matter?

by Luke Landes

When I purchased my Honda Civic a few years ago, I chose this particular car because it was economical and reliable. I knew that Civics hold their value well, but I wasn’t planning on selling the car for many years. Kelley Blue Book recently announced their awards for best resale value. If you need a ... Continue reading this article…

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Facebook Goes Corporate: Become a Fan of Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

If you’re a member of Facebook, my favorite social networking application so far, you can now become a “Fan” of Consumerism Commentary. Facebook is now allowing companies and brands to have their own pages on the system. The implementation is much better than the experience on MySpace, where non-people have profiles alongside people. Rather than ... Continue reading this article…

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Sold My Third Quarter Stock Purchase Plan Shares

by Luke Landes

I took some time this morning to apply for clearance to sell my company stock purchase plan shares. A recent question from a reader reminded me that I needed to do this before my opportunity would disappear for another few months. The sell was executed this morning, and I was able to get a good ... Continue reading this article…

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My Picks From the Top 100 Undiscovered Websites

by Luke Landes

PC Magazine recently published a list of their editors’ picks for the top 100 “undiscovered” websites. The list spans a variety of categories from reference to music to health. Consumerism Commentary readers are probably familiar with a few of these sites, particularly those in the “money” category. Here are some of the highlights throughout. Hard ... Continue reading this article…

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Gift Cards: Customers Lost $8 Billion Last Year

by Luke Landes

Here’s another reason not to give gift cards or certificates as presents this holiday season (or any other time). According to estimates by TowerGroup, $8 billion was lost by consumers last year who let their gift cards go unused — expired, lost, or ignored. Consumer Reports also says that their latest survey shows that 27 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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Pros and Cons Of New 401(k) Auto-Enrollment Rules

by Luke Landes

Employees who do not specifically choose to do anything with the retirement plans offered by their employer are being targeted by the Labor Department. Under new rules, individuals who do not make their own choice will be automatically placed into 401(k) plans in which their investments will be allocated in a mix of stocks and ... Continue reading this article…

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Members Only: Discounts Offered When Flashing the AAA Card

by Luke Landes

I received a notice in the mail the other day reminding me to renew my roadside assistance service from AAA. For the last several years, I have been a member of AAA “Plus,” which offers the standard service and extra distance for free towing. I’ve decided to downgrade to the standard AAA plan. Before owning ... Continue reading this article…

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