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February 2009

E*TRADE Bank Lowers Interest Rate, Effective Today

by Luke Landes

Looking for the latest interest rates? View our current and historical savings account interest rates page. The following information was posted on February 14, 2009, and is no longer current. Happy Valentine’s Day! E*TRADE Bank is celebrating the holiday by encouraging customers to go forth and be materialistic and to leave less money in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Only a Few Hours Left to Buy Your Experian FICO Credit Score

by Luke Landes

The number that credit reporting bureau Experian supplies to lenders when you apply for a loan, used to evaluate whether the company should extend credit to you, will soon be unavailable to customers. At midnight tonight, customers will no longer be able to visit MyFICO to buy their own credit score from Experian. After today, ... Continue reading this article…

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Read the Complete Stimulus Bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) – Updated

by Luke Landes

A little earlier today, the House of Representatives passed the compromised form of the stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), and the Senate is expected to pass the stimulus tonight. It won’t be long before the bill is signed into law by President Obama and the appropriated funds are doled out to ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s Not Just About the $400 Tax Credit

by Smithee

When talking about the 790 billion dollar stimulus bill currently nearing the end of its congressional marathon, it’s tempting for people to focus on the direct, short-term benefits, namely a $400 tax credit, and how such a thing won’t go very far in benefiting most people. I tend to agree, but I’m also the first ... Continue reading this article…

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Generation X Will Depend on Family and Government for Long-Term Care

by Luke Landes

According to a recent survey of 1,004 individuals born between 1960 and 1980, roughly Generation X, many expect their family or the government to provide care or funding for care as they age. Here are some of the more interesting statistics from the study, released by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an association of health ... Continue reading this article…

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Housing Market Crash Predicted in 2003

by Luke Landes

In 2003, John Talbott predicted the housing market crash, in a way. It’s true that when the real estate market is exuberantly celebrating an uncharacteristic increase in home prices, you can predict a crash and just wait for it to come true. Here’s what Talbott, a former Vice President at Goldman Sachs and author of ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate and House of Representatives Agree on Stimulus Bill Compromise

by Luke Landes

In the past few minutes, the conference including the Senate and the House of Representatives was concluded. They’ve come to a compromise between the two versions of the economic stimulus bill to be sent to the President of the United States to be signed into law. I’ll post more details when the Congress provides them. ... Continue reading this article…

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What Would You Ask the Banking CEOs?

by Luke Landes

Today, CEOs from the largest banks receiving the first batch of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), billions of dollars initially designed to loosen the credit crunch, will be visiting Washington today to be grilled by the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. There is no doubt that the bankers will be asked ... Continue reading this article…

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7 Tips for a Frugal Valentine’s Day

by Luke Landes

It’s a February tradition on Consumerism Commentary to look at Valentine’s Day from a perspective of moderation. Each year, I consider how a couple for whom frugality is important can still feel involved in the holiday of love. If you have some thoughts to add, please leave your comments at the bottom of this article. ... Continue reading this article…

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Stimulus Bill Passes Senate, Still a Long Way to Go

by Luke Landes

The Senate voted on and passed their version of the 2009 stimulus bill today, but that doesn’t mean homebuyers who stand to receive a tax credit of up to $15,000 should start celebrating yet. The Senate’s version of the bill is somewhat different from the House’s version. For example, the $15,000 credit for all homebuyers ... Continue reading this article…

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Chase Adding Annual Fee Out of the Blue

by Smithee

Updated March 31, 2009: Chase has been ordered by NY Attorney General to refund the money gathered from the process described below. I’ve always thought that credit cards with annual fees were a ridiculous notion. Other than having a credit history which requires you to get a secured card (been there), it’s usually no problem ... Continue reading this article…

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Nine Banks Have Failed in 2009 So Far

by Luke Landes

Three more banks failed on Friday, bringing the 2009 tally to nine. When banks fail, the deposits (bank accounts) are transferred to another bank, sometimes with the FDIC facilitating the transition. Regardless of the process, bank accounts are generally insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, so you won’t lose your money if ... Continue reading this article…

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Tips for Auto Loan Refinancing, Add Yours

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, Consumerism Commentary readers email me with financial questions. If you want to see a topic discussed here, you can do this as well. Just email me at flexo or tips at this domain name. I can’t answer every email personally, but I’ll do my best to connect you with the resources you need. Last ... Continue reading this article…

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More ING Direct $25 Bonus Links Posted, Now Required to Clear Cookies?

by Luke Landes

I’ve refreshed the list of $25 bonus referral links for new ING Direct customers, and I’ve discovered what seems to be an interesting problem, possibly making it more difficult to use the links. First of all, in order to qualify for the $25 bonus, you must be a new customer and you must deposit at ... Continue reading this article…

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ETFs or Index Funds: Which are Right for You?

by Luke Landes

About the author: This guest article is presented by ABCs of Investing, a new website for novice investors which offers two short and simple investing posts each week. Feel free to subscribe the the RSS feed. With last year’s market meltdown affecting both managed mutual funds as well as their low-cost counterparts index funds and ... Continue reading this article…

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Stimulus Watch: Track Federal Funding of Local Shovel-Ready Projects

by Luke Landes

Once the stimulus bill is signed into law, states and cities will receive funding for local shovel-ready projects that may help stimulate the economy. The Stimulus Watch website has compiled all of these projects and is presenting them in a way that allows visitors to browse, search, and participate. The website contains a wiki, inviting ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Income Statement, January 2009

by Luke Landes

This post contains my monthly income and expense report. If you haven’t viewed my January balance sheet, read that first. I review these reports on a monthly basis, though I may soon move to quarterly, to ensure my finances are staying on track and I’m making sound decisions with my money. Many years ago, I ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: $15,000 Tax Credit for Homebuyers

by Luke Landes

This text refers to the original $15,000 tax credit amendment for all homebuyers which has now been superseded. The tax credit is now $8,000 and is available for people who purchase a house between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Here is how to claim the $8,000 home buyer tax credit on your 2008 ... Continue reading this article…

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Is it Effective to Limit CEO Compensation?

by Luke Landes

Let’s say you are the chief executive officer of a formerly strong financial company. Either your company has faltered under your leadership or you’ve managed to steer clear of toxic assets but the slumping economy has affected you. Or perhaps you are newly hired, brought in to oversee a struggling shell of a company as ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, January 2009

by Luke Landes

2009 started off well. Since December 31, my “modified net worth” has increased 2.4 percent despite a sickly stock market, presenting a January bottom line of $188,566. It’s not only a tradition for me to publish my monthly financial reports, this transparency is the original purpose of Consumerism Commentary. People post about their lives online for ... Continue reading this article…

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