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

2008

Predatory Bank Fees Could Lead to the End of Banks

by Luke Landes

About the author: Karney Hatch is a filmmaker whose new documentary, Overdrawn!, explores the predatory lending practices of major national banks with Ralph Nader, Joel Bakan, a loan shark, and many others. In all the number crunching and legalese surrounding predatory fees of various sorts, it’s easy to forget the visceral reaction that they cause ... Continue reading this article…

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Lessons Learned From Losing a Quarter Million Dollars

by Luke Landes

About the author: This guest article is presented by Debtkid, who recently begun working part-time for LendingClub. He regularly writes at Debtkid about his journey to become debt free. A few years back, I was playing poker at a bachelor party. There were about 12 guys there, and the pot was around $100. During the ... Continue reading this article…

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Will You Have a Cash-only Yuletide?

by Smithee

There’s a story circulating that customers are using cash instead of credit for their holiday purchases this year, more than they have for many years past. I found this story detailed in Newsweek. Here are the highlights you should know: Credit card issuers are raising interest rates and fees, while lowering spending limits Some analysts ... Continue reading this article…

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The Battle Royale: You Versus Yourself

by Luke Landes

About the author: Matt Wallaert is a behavioral psychologist and the Lead Scientist at Thrive, a free financial advisory website that helps people organize their finances and plan for the future with personalized feedback from its behavioral advisory engine. Twenty six and addicted to buying suits at Goodwill and geeking out on psychology, he lives ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs, Monday, November 24, 2008

by Luke Landes

Reminder: While I am on vacation this week, Consumerism Commentary is featuring articles by other writers. Please read Criminal Charges: Volume XVII, the first of this week’s guest articles. Rescue Deal for CitiGroup. Citi is too big to fail, so the government is preparing an injection of $20 billion in addition to the $25 billion ... Continue reading this article…

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Criminal Charges: Volume XVII

by Luke Landes

About the author: This guest article is presented by Jeremy M. Simon, who writes for Taking Charge. Jeremy’s articles focus on payment card and debt trends impacting consumers. Thanksgiving is nearly here, and credit card misdeeds show no sign of letting up, meaning yet another well-stuffed edition of Criminal Charges, my weekly roundup of news ... Continue reading this article…

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Guest Posts Coming, Monthly Prize for Best Comments

by Luke Landes

Guest article schedule Here’s a quick administrative note. While I am visiting family in California this week, Consumerism Commentary will be featuring a number of guest authors. The “Take Control of Your Finances” series will be on hold until I return, but I will be around for occasional posts. The guest authors will be on ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances Part 6: Get Out of Debt

by Luke Landes

Debt is like indentured servitude. You work and earn income, but you hand over that income to someone else. With debt, your finances are controlled by someone else, not you. For example, credit card companies have the right to change your interest rate at almost any time with advance notice. In fact, CitiGroup recently raised ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs: Thursday, November 20, 2008

by Luke Landes

Happy New Year? Not For Some. At the beginning of 2009, employees who take part in a 403(b) plan, which is like a 401(k) plan for non-profit organizations, will have fewer investment options. This change will bring 403(b) plans in line with the expectations for 401(k) plans. The change will probably mean higher expenses and ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances Part 5: Build a Better Budget

by Luke Landes

This is the next installment in a series at Consumerism Commentary about taking control of your finances. Please consider subscribing to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed for updates. It’s no secret that budgeting is a chore. Although this piece of personal finance carries an ugly reputation, even a simple form of budgeting will help you ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs: Wednesday, November 19, 2008

by Luke Landes

5 Money Mistakes in a Bad Economy. Here are the mistakes: continuing to use credit cards, withdrawing or taking a loan from your retirement funds, paying for college without loans, grants, or scholarships, neglecting to invest, and taking home-equity loans. Bid to Ban Sale of Obama Tickets. Tickets to presidential inaugurations have always been free, ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances Part 4: Use High-Yield Savings Accounts

by Luke Landes

This is the next installment in a series at Consumerism Commentary about taking control of your finances. Please consider subscribing to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed for updates. If you’re on your way to spending less than you earn, then you’re going to need a good place to put your excess income. Even before setting ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs: Tuesday, November 18, 2008

by Luke Landes

I’ve added more $25 bonus codes for new ING Direct customers last night. If you have at least $250 to deposit into a high-yield savings account, use one of these codes to receive a small boost. You’d Better Watch Out: Gift Cards Can Be Lumps of Coal. If you are considering getting someone a gift ... Continue reading this article…

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Citigroup Credit Card Rates Going Up: A Mystery

by Smithee

Every Tuesday, Smithee presents an article about his own experiences with and observations about credit cards. Do you have a credit account with Citigroup? I probably do. I think I started one with Rooms To Go when we started paying for our very comfortable bed. They said it would be interest free for however-many months. ... Continue reading this article…

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GM Wants You to Fear its Collapse

by Luke Landes

Should American taxpayers bail out the automobile industry? Automakers headquartered in the U.S. have failed to make products consumers wanted to buy, whether due to a lack of quality, lack of targeting, or a lack of convincing marketing. Democrats in the Congress want to extend $25 billion of the $700 billion bailout bill to reach ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs: Monday, November 17, 2008

by Luke Landes

Announcement: As a reminder, I am featuring guest authors next week. If you’re interested, please read my posts by following that link and contact me to discuss a topic. I’ll need all submissions by Friday. Thanks! Americans are Digging Deep to Save Money. Frugality is the new trend, with a new USA Today poll that ... Continue reading this article…

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Goldman Sachs and UBS Executives Will Forgo Bonuses

by Luke Landes

One of my concerns about the original bailout bill was that the money paid to financial institutions would be used to pay for outsized executive bonuses. While companies must offer outrageous compensation to attract and keep the best executive talent, the market place has forced the price upwards. That worked well when the financial industry ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct Rated Best Online Savings Account By Kiplinger

by Luke Landes

See the review of the best online savings accounts. Kiplinger Magazine picked several banks when naming the best savings and checking accounts for 2008. Here is what they’ve chosen. Best online savings account: FNBO Direct. I am a fan of FNBO Direct, and I’ve started moving more money into this account thanks to its high ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances Part 3: Spend Less Than You Earn

by Luke Landes

This should come as no surprise to Consumerism Commentary readers or anyone who has spent time reading anything relating to basic money management advice. Once you’ve decided to improve your financial condition and spent some time tracking your spending, you may have come to the conclusion that your situation declines each month because you’re allowing ... Continue reading this article…

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News and Blogs: Friday, November 14, 2008

by Luke Landes

America’s 20 Best Health Plans. Unsurprisingly, my plan is not on this list from MSN and US News & World Report. The top award goes to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England in Maine and Massachusetts. I should take advantage of my Aetna plan more by visiting a doctor for a check-up once in ... Continue reading this article…

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