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

August 2009

Top Ten Highest Paid CEOs: What Would You Do?

by Luke Landes

Are you on this list? Chances are the following list of the highest paid CEOs does not include you, Don’t feel bad; I am not included either. In 2008, these ten individuals accounted for $2.2 billion in compensation in aggregate. Whether or not CEOs deserve compensation at levels 17,000 times higher than the average worker ... Continue reading this article…

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One-Third of Home Loans are Under Water

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, a coworker formed an investment partnership in speculative real estate. He promised investors a 10 percent annual return and was using the capital to invest in Florida real estate, earning 15 to 20 percent overall. As most of the real estate had not even been inhabited or built yet, the investments ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 17: Buying and Owning a Home in Today’s Market

by Luke Landes

In this episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast Tom Dziubek and I discuss home purchasing and ownership with David Crook, editor of the Wall Street Journal Sunday and author of Complete Home Owner’s Guidebook and Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook. Within today’s podcast, David Crook shares his evaluation of today’s real estate market and offers suggestions ... Continue reading this article…

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Some Credit CARD Rules Happen Earlier than Others

by Smithee

When the Credit CARD act passed earlier this year, we weren’t expecting to see many changes until February 2010, unless taken voluntarily by individual companies. Thankfully (for me, anyway, since I have a personal vendetta against many aspects of credit cards, admittedly due in part to my own foolishness), some of the rules described in ... Continue reading this article…

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My Grandmothers and the Cost of a Funeral

by Luke Landes

Ninety-three years is a long time to live. My paternal grandmother was that age when she passed away this past Saturday. I attended her funeral, a graveside service, earlier this week. She lived in Florida, but she was flown up to Long Island to be buried with her husband, who died in 1968. A couple ... Continue reading this article…

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Alumni Association Perks

by Jeff

As you’re reading this, I’ll probably be standing in a line somewhere or sitting listening to a speaker at my graduation ceremony. Yes, my long journey to a bachelor’s degree is finally at an end. Since I’m graduating at the end of summer, instead of in the spring, it kind of feels like I’m sneaking ... Continue reading this article…

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Good News for Mac Users: Quicken for Mac 2010 Coming Soon

by Luke Landes

Adriel, the product manager for the new Quicken product for Apple Mac, has posted an update about the software’s development. There is good news for users of Quicken 2007 who have been anxiously awaiting an update for the software on par with the updates that Windows users receive each year. First of all, the delayed ... Continue reading this article…

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Average Billing: Is it For You?

by Smithee

My electricity provider (which is Green Mountain Energy, because I’m an aspiring hippie), offers me the ability to make the same payment each month, based on the previous six months’ usage. Here in Dallas, people require air conditioning for roughly nine months a year, so our average monthly billing is about $300. I won’t say ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Card Use Increases Prices for Everyone

by Luke Landes

I use a total of three credit cards. The first is a card issued by Citibank that offers a rounded set of cash back rewards, my alternate is a Bank of America Visa Signature card, and for business expenses I use an American Express Blue Cash for Business card. But I don’t pay interest fees ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 16: Jeff Rose, Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports Autos

by Luke Landes

In this episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast Tom Dziubek speaks with Jeff Rose, Certified Financial Planner™ about financial planning. Jeff talks about different professional designations for financial planners and what it takes to become certified. He shares with Consumerism Commentary Podcast listeners some of the trends he sees with his clients, advice that could ... Continue reading this article…

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Posts of the Week

by Luke Landes

Here are some articles of note. 12 Step Program: Shopping Addiction? MLR (My Life ROI) offers an overview of a twelve-step program for overcoming an addition to shopping. What I really like about this post are the twelve ways to spot a shopping addict. People are notoriously inept when it comes to self-evaluation; perhaps someone ... Continue reading this article…

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Cash for Clunkers: The Revenge

by Smithee

The “Cash for Clunkers” program that we told you about on June 19 has received a shot in the arm in almost-last-minute actions by the House and Senate. They approved an additional $2 billion to continue the unexpectedly popular rebate program through Labor Day. Opponents of the program feel like: Richard Shelby, the top Republican ... Continue reading this article…

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Receiving the First Time Homebuyer Credit

by Luke Landes

Although receiving the first-time homebuyer tax credit initially took six weeks to receive, many customers have had problems receiving their credit from the IRS. As evidenced by the six hundred comments below, many have not been thrilled with the process, even those who filed the paperwork correctly and legitimately should receive the credit. For those ... Continue reading this article…

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Answering Mail: Using Debit Cards as Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

Every so often I address questions and comments I receive via email or Twitter. If you have a question, please contact me using the form on this page. I try to respond to everyone, but it might take a while before I read every email I receive. From A. Parker: What is the difference between ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial To Do Lists

by Jeff

There are so many different ways to organize, prioritize and classify-ize your tasks and responsibilities these days that you’d probably need a couple years just to sort through all of them on your own. You can have an organizer on your computer, your phone, in your pocket or a notebook, or even, if you’re short ... Continue reading this article…

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OCC Requiring Credit Cards to Report all Interest Rate Increases in 2009

by Luke Landes

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a governmental regulatory organization feeling the pressure with the White House proposing replacing many of their duties with a new consumer-oriented regulatory body, has sent out a warning to the CEOs of all national banks. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 requires credit card issuers who ... Continue reading this article…

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Donations to Rural Classrooms Worth Twice as Much

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, the personal finance blogging community came together to create the pfblogs.org Financial Literacy Challenge through DonorsChoose.org, a charity that facilitates funding for classroom projects needing money. The challenge was designed for bloggers to encourage their readers to provide tax-deductible donations through DonorsChoose.org to fund classroom projects focusing on increasing financial knowledge. ... Continue reading this article…

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Best of Consumerism Commentary, July 2009

by Luke Landes

Monthly subscription reminder One of the best methods of reading Consumerism Commentary and staying up-to-date with the latest articles and posts is through RSS subscription. 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 ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Percent of U.S. Post Offices Under Evaluation, 700 to Be Closed

by Luke Landes

The U.S. Postal Service has not been a thriving business for a while, and the recession has worsened its condition. In order to save $7 billion, the government is evaluating about 3,200 offices out of the total of 32,741, and 700 of these are currently marked for closure. Personally, I am a fan of the ... Continue reading this article…

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Mac Bundle Box 2009

by Smithee

I’m a previous customer of the Mac Bundle Box, and I’m always curious to see what’s on the offering block when it reappears. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it’s one of the best ways you can save money on Mac software. Not only can you get $460 worth of software for $50, but 10 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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