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

September 2008

Who Do You Blame When You Lose $6 Million Overnight?

by Luke Landes

The New York Post presented an article about David Shorr, a shareholder of Lehman Brothers, who lost $6 million as the company filed for bankruptcy. David spent many years as an employee of Lehman Brothers, building up compensation in the form of stocks which are now worthless. “What the hell was he thinking?” asked Shorr, ... Continue reading this article…

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$100 Coupon Code: Bonus for Opening New Chase Checking Account

by Luke Landes

See our update with a new code. Chase is still offering $100 to new account holders who can find a coupon code. I get these in the mail every so often, and I don’t plan on using mine. It expires on September 30, so it must be used fast. There is a catch. In order ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken Financial Life for Mac: Rebirth of Quicken for Mac

by Luke Landes

I am not a Mac user, so until recently I was unaware that Intuit’s Quicken offerings for Mac are below standard in comparison to Intuit’s similar products designed for computers running Microsoft Windows. It looks like the inferior software is getting a much-needed rewrite from scratch and a new name, “Quicken Financial Life for Mac.” ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Dropped Rate From 3.50% to 3.25% APY

by Luke Landes

This morning, online bank HSBC Direct ended the extended promotion in which customers were offered a savings account earning interest of 3.50 percent annual percentage yield. This was planned; when the promotion was extended back in July, the company warned that after September 15, the interest rate would return to normal, which it has. The interest ... Continue reading this article…

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Calming Facts About Identity Theft

by Smithee

If someone successfully applies for a loan or a credit card using your identity, there will be a big mess to clear up. I don’t want to downplay the hassle, there. I would be extremely annoyed if that happened to me. However, what we hear on the news and especially in commercials for services like ... Continue reading this article…

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Something You Never Want to See in Quicken

by Luke Landes

I opened Quicken this evening to update a few financial items and I was distraught by what the software was trying to tell me. This is something you never want to see in a piece of financial software that analyzes your spending and offers hints for managing your money. I’m actually a little insulted. It’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Who Said Accounting Isn’t Poetic?

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, I did a very good job of tracking all my spending. As my income has increased since that time, I’ve found less value in keeping notes on the ultimate destination of every single cent. I believe that close scrutiny is required when someone is looking for ways to improve their finances, ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Will Buy Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers Declares Bankruptcy, What’s Left for Washington Mutual?

by Luke Landes

Going into the weekend, it looked like Bank of America was poised to save the failing Lehman Brothers. In an interesting dramatic twist, Lehman Brothers will file for bankruptcy while Bank of America will buy Merrill Lynch for $50 billion in stock. After the deal, Bank of America will be managing assets of $2.5 trillion. ... Continue reading this article…

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Ten Things to Do With $1,000 (Plus 21 More)

by Luke Landes

If you’ve suddenly come upon $1,000 you didn’t have the day before, you may get the urge to celebrate. $1,000 doesn’t open many new opportunities to you these days, but there are a number of options. Kiplinger has published a special with 37 ways to invest $1,000, but I have a few suggestions of my ... Continue reading this article…

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Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) Will Earn $9 Million This Season (and Weekend Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

If money is the ultimate judge, it’s better to be a fake doctor on television than it is to be a real doctor, at least if that fake doctor appears on the show House. Hugh Laurie, the British comedian-actor who affects a usually convincing accent in the program, will earn about $400,000 per episode this ... Continue reading this article…

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Choosing Your Major and Your Career For Earning Potential

by Luke Landes

If your goal in life is to earn as much money as possible, then you need to determine before you graduate high school what high-earning career path is best for you. You’ll need to weigh your skills and aptitude to decide the collegiate degree that provides you the best chance for professional success as well ... Continue reading this article…

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Whoo Hoo: Washington Mutual Next to Fail?

by Luke Landes

Shares in Washington Mutual, the country’s largest savings and loan bank, dropped over 30 percent in one day due to fears that this institution will be the next in a series of failures of financial companies. WaMu holds $310 billion in assets, a huge amount of deposits. The FDIC, which might step in to take over ... Continue reading this article…

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Introducing Fuelly

by Smithee

Fuelly is a new, free online service which helps you track your mileage. It pays attention to what kind of car you’re driving, how much you’re spending, and creates helpful charts to let you know whether your mileage is improving or declining over time. It has great support for mobile browsers, which is exactly what ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct Giving Away $25,000 to Customers

by Luke Landes

Liz Pullliam Weston, author and personal financial columnist, has teamed up with FNBO Direct (the online savings arm of First National Bank of Omaha) to sponsor a contest called “Pay Yourself First” in which five winners will each receive $5,000. Those who wished to participate sent in a one-minute video about why they save money ... Continue reading this article…

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Seized by the Government: Likely Results

by Luke Landes

Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) are companies that buy mortgages from lenders. Those lenders, by selling loans to the companies, have more cash on hand to lend to other individuals. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac then “repackage” the mortgages and sell them as securities ... Continue reading this article…

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Comparing McCain and Obama’s Tax Plans

by Smithee

American Presidential elections are a great big spectacle of promises, speeches, mud slinging, rumors, misinformation and debates. A lot of people make their decisions based on soft aspects like a candidate’s personality. I like to look for the hard numbers that you won’t find on the nightly news, and I found a good summary of ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct $25 Bonus Referrals Updated and MoneyBlogNetwork Roundup

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary readers have supplied more ING Direct bonus referral links to help other readers earn $25 for opening a new ING Direct Orange Savings Account. Additionally, I’ve sent emails to the first group of readers on the current waiting list to request more links. If you’re on the waiting list, start checking your email ... Continue reading this article…

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Get a $25 Bonus With the Amex True Earnings Card

by Luke Landes

The offer you are interested in has expired. Read our review of the True Earnings Card From Costco and American Express.

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Get Instant Updates: Subscribe to Consumerism Commentary

by Luke Landes

By subscribing to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed with feed-reading software such as Google Reader or aggregators such as My Yahoo, you’ll always be aware of new content here. If you prefer to have daily updates emailed directly to you, simply enter your address below.   Your email address will be used for nothing other ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Deal With Unpredictable Income

by Luke Landes

One of my concerns with the possibility of leaving my day job and pursuing self-employment through writing and managing websites is the unpredictable income. At the extreme, my biggest concern is the idea that it’s quite possible that the income could drop off permanently due to forces beyond my control. But even if that doesn’t ... Continue reading this article…

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