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

March 2008

Balance Transfer Fees on CitiBank Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

Updated July 2nd to reflect additional removal of the no-fee offers. There was a time when credit card companies offered nice balance transfer offers, so savvy manipulators could earn interest on savings obtained from credit. While being charged a 0 percent introductory rate by the credit card, they’d be earning 5 percent or so in their savings ... Continue reading this article…

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The Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Quest for For Pillars has posted the latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance in with Canadian flair. In addition to the Top Hoser Picks, start reading with The Double Digit Myth (which I’ve also discussed recently), and Good News: You’re Standing in Your Own Way. My article, Teaching Financial Skills to Teens ... Continue reading this article…

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Turbo Charge Your Financial Transformation

by Guest Author

About the author: This is a guest post by the anonymous author of the blog Father Sez, a father of four children who wishes to share with and learn from other parents with the goal of preparing children for facing the world independently. You know your financial life is in a mess. You know the ... Continue reading this article…

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Anyone Fly Virgin America?

by Luke Landes

This weekend, I purchased tickets for the trip my girlfriend I will be taking to California in April. My general method of operation for purchasing airline tickets is to decide which dates will be best for traveling taking into account my schedule and my girlfriend’s schedule. She’s a teacher who doesn’t take vacations or sick ... Continue reading this article…

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Teaching Financial Skills to Teens With Learning Disabilities

by Luke Landes

Almost 3 million children in the United States have learning disability (LDs). Different types of LDs have different effects on a child’s ability to perceive, comprehend, and interpret information, and these effects can last into adulthood. For example, dyslexia and dysnumeria can make financial calculations difficult, and temporal problems can lead to a tendency to ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Waste $42 Million (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

“The check is almost in the mail.” Shortly, the IRS will send letters to everyone who filed a tax return for 2006 to let them know about the economic stimulus rebate checks. The actual checks won’t be in the mail until at least May. On one hand, it’s good to get information into the hands ... Continue reading this article…

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Hiring Our First CPA

by Smithee

At the age of 32, with our household income breaking the $100,000 (US) mark for 2007, I was finally convinced by family and friends to take our tax preparation to a specialist, a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”). I was always wary of the idea, primarily because since I started filing taxes at age 16, I ... Continue reading this article…

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H&R Block Catering to Younger Taxpayers

by Luke Landes

This year, H&R Block has assembled an online community to promote its tax preparation products and services. The H&R Block Digits website is a forum where visitors can talk with each other about taxes as well as other random topics, like the one titled, “When You’re All Done Having the Babies.” This new site is ... Continue reading this article…

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New Writer at Consumerism Commentary: Smithee

by Luke Landes

A new writer is joining me and Sasha on Consumerism Commentary. Like the two of us, Smithee is an “old-school” blogger who has been publishing on the web for 14 years. The following is from Smithee’s bio: I floated around from job to job, and from state to state, for most of my 20s, living ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Rid of Your High-Cost Variable Annuity Easily

by Luke Landes

Although Ben Stein likes variable annuities, these insurance products can be an expensive way of investing. They do “assure” a level of income over a certain time period, but depending on where you go to receive this product, you could be paying too much for a service that can be found somewhere else for less. ... Continue reading this article…

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Too Cheap for iPhone or Blackberry, But I Got My Mobile Web Access

by Sasha

My day-to-day existence includes nearly 4 hours of commuting, 8-12 hours of work where I’m without access to my personal e-mail, and very little time left over in which to live life to the fullest. In my endless struggle to balance work, friends and family, I find that mobile web access is a must. For ... Continue reading this article…

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Survey: Americans are Financially Illiterate

by Luke Landes

The new bill supporting financial literacy education introduced in the Senate recently may be a response to a recent survey that quantified apparent American ignorance in matters of money. The survey presented 1,000 people with a hypothetical scenario about credit card debt and asked them to compute how long it would take to pay it ... Continue reading this article…

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New Bill to Provide Grants for Financial Literacy Education

by Luke Landes

A week ago, U.S. Senator Patty Murray introduced legislation proposing an investment of $250 million to support personal finance education in public schools and colleges. Education is the key to improving the financial stability of future generations, and parents have the strongest side of responsibility. While the general media doesn’t encourage fiscal responsibility through excessive ... Continue reading this article…

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Bloggers: Apply to Host the Carnival of Personal Finance

by Luke Landes

Did you catch this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance hosted by The Baglady? She interspersed a plethora of good to excellent articles with facts (and widely-believed myths) about the homeless. Check out these tidbits bringing attention to the issue as well as the recent articles from the blogosphere at the the latest edition of the ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Get Money Back From Airborne

by Luke Landes

I mentioned yesterday that the makers of Airborne are being sued for $23.3 million for false advertising. This is a class-action lawsuit, so some of that $23.3 million will go back to customers who purchased the product and failed to see cold relief. If you purchased an Airborne product between May 1, 2001 and November ... Continue reading this article…

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The End of Bull Markets: Don’t Expect Great Returns Over the Long Term

by Luke Landes

Ever since I’ve been investing, nigh on six years now, the general sentiment has been that stocks are the key to long-term growth. Investing in the stock market is risky, but bumps even out over long periods of time resulting in close to double-digit annual growth. Young people like myself (six years ago) should invest ... Continue reading this article…

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Airborne to Pay $23.3 Million for False Advertising

by Luke Landes

Last winter, I had more than my normal share of sick days. This year, I’ve managed to stay healthier (knock on wood), but during my series of colds in 2006-07, I received many recommendations at work for Airborne, a product designed by a teacher. The concept didn’t make much sense to me. Yes, teachers, particularly ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, February 2008 (Net Income: $11,731)

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, I posted my monthly net worth report, including an increase of more than 8 percent over the month of February. This post contains my income statement, outlining my income and expenses as I recorded throughout the month in Quicken. When I don’t take realized gains into account, February 2008 has seen the largest amount ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, February 2008 ($135,649, +8.4%)

by Luke Landes

Every month I take the time to export reports from my personal copy of Quicken and post them to the web. This helps me keep myself accountable for my finances. And it’s fun, at least when the number go up from one month to the next. That was the case in the long short month ... Continue reading this article…

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Is it Better to Receive a Tax Refund or Owe the IRS?

by Luke Landes

When you work for a company that manages its payroll properly, federal and state taxes are withheld every pay period. The companies estimate your total tax bill based on your annual salary and divide that amount by the number of pay periods within the year. They get some help from the W-4 form you filled ... Continue reading this article…

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