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

2008

FNBO Direct Savings Account Opening and Review

by Luke Landes

While I’m generally happy with my ING Direct account for a good portion of my savings, I’m looking to spread the money around to take advantage of some higher interest rates. One of the banks I’ve targeted is FNBO Direct, the online arm of First National Bank of Omaha, currently offering 0.70 percent interest yield as ... Continue reading this article…

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Washington Mutual Acquisition: What Happens to Savings Accounts?

by Luke Landes

Late Thursday night, JPMorgan Chase confirmed that it has acquired the deposits (bank accounts), assets, and “certain liabilities” of Washington Mutual. The acquisition has created the largest depository institution in the United States, with over $900 billion in bank accounts alone. WaMu branches will become Chase branches as the acquisition progresses over the next two ... Continue reading this article…

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Charitable Giving: A Case of Bad Market Timing

by Luke Landes

I made a mistake, and I should have known better. Last year, I struggled with coming up with a needy non-profit organization that I felt I should support through charitable giving. The indecision stems from the desire to contribute to an organization with a mission that reflected one of my passions and the lack of ... Continue reading this article…

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Mark Cuban to Government: Show Us How the $700 Billion Will Be Spent

by Luke Landes

I swear I’m trying to write about topics other than the massive national bailout of the financial industry, but there always seems to be something interesting to say. Yesterday, it was Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and chairman of HDNet who offered interesting insight. He suggested that the United States Treasury Department list ... Continue reading this article…

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Washington Mutual Increases Savings Account Interest Rate to 4.0% APY

by Luke Landes

February 5, 2009 update: The following information has expired. Washington Mutual no longer offers these rates. Washington Mutual wants your deposits. I received word that starting tomorrow the bank will offer 4.0 percent APY on its online savings account, maintaining its position at the very top of the list of popular high-yield savings and money market ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi Raised My Credit Limit

by Luke Landes

Last week, I received an official-looking notice in the mail. You know the type: the envelope requires you to tear the perforated edges in a specific order and contains security ink so the contents cannot be seen until opened. There is a return address on the envelope but no business name. In my experience, the ... Continue reading this article…

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Gas Stations Charging Credit Users More Than Cash Users

by Luke Landes

Clark Schinger owns a gas station. Like an increasing number of gas station owners, he is charging his customers who use credit cards a surcharge for every gas purchase. Effectively, there are two tiers of prices: one for customers who use credit cards and one for those who use cash. This is apparently not against ... Continue reading this article…

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$700 Billion to Bail Out the Financial Industry: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

by Luke Landes

Over the weekend, President Bush asked Congress to grant the United States Treasury Department the authority to purchase $700 billion in assets from troubled financial companies. The government would create a corporation, like 1933′s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, to buy mortgage-backed securities at a discount and sell them later for a profit. This is by ... Continue reading this article…

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Why Put Your Money in an Investment Earning 0%?

by Luke Landes

Yesterday I mentioned that the U.S. Treasury was able to raise $40 billion in a one-day auction of 35-day Treasury bills. When you bid for these investments, you could either compete with others by offering to invest at the lowest interest rate you’re willing to accept or bid “non-competitively,” accepting whatever the Treasury Department determines ... Continue reading this article…

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Where Did the Federal Reserve Get $85 Billion for AIG?

by Luke Landes

When I heard the news that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is making $85 billion available to American International Group in the form of loans, one of my first questions was about the source of the money. Does the Federal Reserve keep an emergency fund available to bail out companies during financial crises ... Continue reading this article…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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