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

January 2008

Updated List of Savings and Checking Account Rates

by Luke Landes

Many banks have updated interest rates on high-yield savings accounts in the last few weeks. I’ve updated the interest yields listed here. Thanks to a reader who emailed me to let me know about UFB Direct’s latest rate drop.

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Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 5: Hide Your Savings From Yourself

by Luke Landes

Over the past week, I’ve been sharing some ideas for taking your savings to the next level. Try to take advantage of high-yield savings accounts while you sill can. With the economy in bad condition, it’s likely the Federal Reserve is going to lower the target interest rate, which will mean lower interest rates for ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Tax Forms Available Now

by Luke Landes

I just checked my ING Direct savings account and noticed that the bank has its customers’ tax forms ready to download now. Banks are required to generate 1099-INT forms, which report the amount of interest earned, for anyone who has accumulated more than $10 in interest throughout the year. I love the convenience of obtaining ... Continue reading this article…

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Helping Mom Retire, Part 1: Conquering the Stack

by Sasha

My mother and I have recently started the journey to retirement together. By together, I mean that she’s starting to consider retiring in the next few years, while I’m realizing just how much help she’s going to need in order to get there. I’m up to the challenge, but it’s going to be a lot ... Continue reading this article…

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A Case of Really Bad Timing

by Luke Landes

At the end of 2007, I contributed $5,000 to a Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund that I created for myself to distribute to non-profit organizations later, once I selected a cause to support. This was a case of really bad timing; since then my account’s value has dropped 6 percent. Suddenly, I have $300 less to donate ... Continue reading this article…

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Hedging Bets on Blu-Ray But Still Disappointed (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

Last year, I decided to become a “late early adopter” by taking the jump to high-definition entertainment. I upgraded my equipment, including a Toshiba HD DVD player. While cognizant of the HD format wars, I went ahead with HD DVD because the equipment was better priced for the mass market. I thought thought that due ... Continue reading this article…

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Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 4: The Expensive Coffee-Related Drink Factor

by Luke Landes

I’m on a quest to determine a number of financial moves that will accelerate savings beyond the typical snail’s pace. I’ve written so far about opening a high-yield account, keeping your change creatively, and automatic your savings. These are all basic concepts that can be applied in interesting ways with a little bit of attention. ... Continue reading this article…

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Inflation Watch: Consumer Prices Rose 4.1% in 2007

by Luke Landes

If you perceived a painful sting each time you opened a wallet in a grocery store or at a gas station last year, it wasn’t just you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has informed the public that the Consumer Price Index for 2007 is 4.1 percent, the highest inflation rate since 1990. The increase is due ... Continue reading this article…

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The Mole on Lump Sum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging

by Luke Landes

Recently, I asked whether I should fund my Roth IRA in one lump sum or dollar cost average throughout the year. It’s unlikely that I’ll qualify to fund a Roth IRA this year, so now this question is moot. Regardless, Money Magazine’s “The Mole,” an anonymous financial adviser insider, tackled this question (though with an ... Continue reading this article…

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Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 3: Automate Your Savings

by Luke Landes

If you’ve ever run from one point to another, you’re probably aware that there is a limit to your speed. With “analog” equipment like the bones, muscles, joints and tendons in your legs and feet, there are physical limitations that prevent you from going too fast. Don’t worry. Thanks to recent inventions, it’s quite easy ... Continue reading this article…

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My 2007 401(k) Performance and Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I received my final 2007 401(k) statement in the mail. According to their records, my account’s performance in the fourth quarter last year was down 3.50 percent while my performance for the entire year was up 7.09 percent. That’s a bit of a let-down from 2006, when my 401(k) performance was a strong positive 16.25 percent. It ... Continue reading this article…

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Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 2: Keep Your Change

by Luke Landes

Whether you’re trying to establish an emergency fund or putting money away to take your dream vacation, you can reach your goal faster by putting your savings in hyperdrive. Unfortunately, scientists have not yet perfected time travel. When they do, saving for retirement might only entail traveling back to the 18th century to deposit $1,000 ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Budget for 2008

by Luke Landes

I decided this year that a rudimentary budget would help me further analyze my spending beyond my monthly income and expense reports. Since moving to my new apartment last July, my discretionary expenses have been increasing. Perhaps designing a spending plan and evaluating my real expenses against the budget each month will help me rein ... Continue reading this article…

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Put Your Savings in Hyperdrive, Part 1: Open a High-Yield Account

by Luke Landes

Hyperdrive, also known as warp speed or a number of other terms in science fiction, refers to traveling faster than light. While theoretically impossible for objects due to the special theory of relativity, moving at this incredible pace is possible for your money. While you have a savings account earning continuous interest, you are becoming ... Continue reading this article…

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Case Study: Retire a Multi-Millionaire With a $11 per Hour Job

by Luke Landes

When it comes to getting rich slowly, I’m generally a skeptic. The typical path to getting rich slowly prescribes investing $1,000 a month for thirty years into the stock market, earning 8 percent each year. At the end of thirty years in this example, you will find yourself with $1.5 million, but there are major assumptions ... Continue reading this article…

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Importance of Budgeting Relates to Financial Condition and Habits

by Luke Landes

Businesses use budgeting to forecast income and expenses for the year. With a budget, individuals who manage companies’ money will have a decent of idea of how much cash they need at any time of the year to meet the company’s obligations. Personal budgets work the same way. At the beginning of the year, it’s ... Continue reading this article…

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This Month in the Archives: Goals, Messy Desks, and Asset Allocation

by Luke Landes

If you’ve joined Consumerism Commentary within the past year, you might have missed out on what was published here previously. Here are a few articles from January in past years to catch up. From the First Half of January 2007 Do I Have to Declare Goals? 10 Things Your Gym Won’t Tell You Don’t Feel ... Continue reading this article…

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Take This Rule of Thumb Quiz

by Luke Landes

I often rail against “financial rules of thumb” for their overly simplistic view of what are often complex situations. There is far too much potential for snappy catchphrases to lead people to refuse to think and evaluate situations on their own. Rules of thumb don’t take into account individual circumstances and even the most popular ... Continue reading this article…

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Misconceptions About the Transition to Digital Television

by Luke Landes

Whenever the subject turns to high definition television, I’ve always found a few people who are disappointed because they believe they need to sell their television and upgrade to high definition by February 17, 2009, they day the lights go out on analog broadcasts. This is a significant misconception, an incorrect assumption that is encouraged ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Stupid Financial Mistakes I Made in 2007: Failing to Remain Competitive Within My Field

by Sasha

I’ve made a few financial mistakes in the past year, but the last one I’ll share is perhaps the worst of all, since it’s about more than just money. If I don’t recover from this one, I could pay years of penance, not just suffer through one dismal tax year. My earning potential is something ... Continue reading this article…

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