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

2009

Podcast 28: Dan Solin, Investing for Retirement

by Luke Landes

In today’s episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, our guest is Dan Solin, author of The Smartest Retirement Book You’ll Ever Read and other books in the “Smartest Book” series. Tom Dziubek talks with Solin about planning for retirement. Production Number: S02E02 Segment Number: 41 To listen, use the player above (Adobe Flash required), download ... Continue reading this article…

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Opening an SFGI Direct Savings Account Earning 2.25% APY (Updated)

by Luke Landes

It’s not every day that I find a bank account offering more than 2 percent APY, but as of October 30, 2009, I’ve discovered one thanks to a reader. “Ski Naut” contacted me yesterday to ask about SFGI Direct’s offer of 2.25 percent APY. I had not heard of the bank, so I looked into it. SFGI ... Continue reading this article…

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$50 Bonus for New Prosper Lenders

by Luke Landes

Peer-to-peer lending institution Prosper is offering a $50 bonus for new lenders who sign up for for the service and bid on two loans. Peer-to-peer lending is an interesting way for people to qualify for loans and to lend money to others. In an economy where savings account interest rates are under 3 percent or 2 percent, ... Continue reading this article…

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GMAC Asking for a Third Bailout From Taxpayers

by Luke Landes

Through today, GMAC has received government bailout funds totaling $12.5 billion. The company is asking the Obama administration for $5.6 billion more. One might say that in a true democracy, GMAC would need to ask permission from each taxpayer whose funds would go towards shoring up the company’s balance sheet, a move that would make ... Continue reading this article…

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ING to Sell Online Bank ING Direct By 2013

by Luke Landes

Update: Capital One has purchased ING Direct. Here in the Untied States, ING Direct, a banking arm of the large financial company ING Group from the Netherlands, offers more than just high-yield online savings accounts. The bank also offers investments and mortgages, and some of the latter may have been too risky, like those sold ... Continue reading this article…

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Hulu and the Subscription Model

by Smithee

This is an editorial by Smithee and a plea for your help in shaping the future of entertainment. At our house, we enjoy some Hulu programming on occasion. Even though during the recent DVR years I’ve become accustomed to skipping commercials, I don’t mind them on Hulu, for these reasons: I’ve only seen one per ... Continue reading this article…

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List of Failed Banks, Updated April 9, 2010

by Luke Landes

Over 100 banks failed in 2009. Most of these are smaller regional banks who, in order to compete with larger banks, offered risky loans and are now facing customer defaults. Larger banks were offered government bailouts to prevent failure, but these smaller banks whose failures are not seen as major risks to the economy are ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Zen Principles to Guide Your Money and Your Life

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, I visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Japanese gardens are designed precisely to appear natural, resulting in an interesting collision between nature and man. There is a set of principles or aesthetics that guide the creation of Japanese gardens, including the dry gardens commonly called ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 27: Man Vs. Debt and Frugal Travel

by Luke Landes

The Consumerism Commentary Podcast has now completed six months of broadcasts without missing one week. This is as good a place as any to declare the “First Season” of the podcast complete and begin the “Second Season.” In the premiere of Season 2, Tom Dziubek and Flexo speak with Adam Baker, the creator of the ... Continue reading this article…

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Net Neutrality Simplified

by Smithee

Depending on how you get your news, the topic of network neutrality can seem boring, or confusing, or both. Possibly you haven’t yet heard about it, or you’ve already formed an opinion. The reports I see are too often complicated, lacking reasoned arguments and full of hyperbolic guesses as to what the future might hold. ... Continue reading this article…

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Pay Czar Ordering Bailed Out Companies to Reduce Pay

by Luke Landes

The executives of these companies had to see this coming. When a company is “too big to fail,” it becomes a public institution in senses of the phrase but the most literal. And for a number of banks and other financial companies in the past year, the public has become a partial owner thanks to ... Continue reading this article…

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Investor Psychology: Why We Fail to Make Good Financial Decisions

by Luke Landes

Investors make better decisions when they separate emotions from the thought process, but it’s practically impossible to achieve the goal in perfection. Regardless of how hard one tries, emotions will always be present. The best an investor, or anyone who makes decisions about finances, can achieve is awareness of the ways psychology prevents optimal decision ... Continue reading this article…

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Senator Dodd Going Ahead With Overdraft Legislation

by Smithee

We told you last month about banks deciding to let customers opt out of overdraft fees, first announced by Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, and then the next day by Wells Fargo (and Wachovia, which it owns). These big banks made the changes very soon after lawmakers announced an intention to try to ... Continue reading this article…

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New Graduates Facing Unemployment May Never Reach Income Potential

by Luke Landes

The unemployment rate for young workers between the ages of 16 and 23 is 18 percent, and that is an increase of five points from a year ago. That age group includes high school drop-outs as well as college graduates, and for these people the future looks bleak. Adults are taking the minimum-wage jobs teenagers might ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 26: Mark Frauenfelder, Creator of Boing Boing

by Luke Landes

Tom Dziubek and Flexo speak with Mark Frauenfelder, the creator of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of the MAKE magazine. Frauenfelder also writes for Credit.com, and within this interview he shares details about some of this website’s new services including the Credit Report Card (reviewed here). Frauenfelder is a proponent of the do-it-yourself (DIY) lifestyle, ... Continue reading this article…

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Google Editions: E-Books From Anywhere

by Smithee

In addition to Sony’s and Amazon’s electronic bookstores (about 100,000 and 330,000 titles available, respectively), booksellers now have another huge option for getting their books into our hands: Google Editions, which will launch next year with between 400,000 and 600,000 titles. Not necessarily a store or a device Google Editions is built on top of ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken 2010 Review and Giveaway

by Luke Landes

Are you looking for the latest version of Quicken? Here is my review of the newest version, Quicken 2012. Downloads of Quicken 2012 are available today. Note: This is a long article containing an in-depth review of the new version of Quicken. If you are just interested in the giveaway of Quicken 2010 Deluxe, scroll ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Create Your Own Extended Warranty

by Luke Landes

In my article the other day about the deal I got on a new computer despite my immediate need, I neglected to mention something important: I refused the extended warranty that the salesperson offered numerous times. Any extended warranty is almost always a bad deal. When I was a teenager, I had a short-lived job ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Adding Annual Fees to Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

With the current and upcoming changes in the credit card industry due to the Credit CARD Act and other regulations put in place by the Federal Reserve, banks and credit issuers are maneuvering as much as possible to be in a good position to continue making money off their customers. Public corporations have responsibility to ... Continue reading this article…

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Ten Things to Do With $1,000 Right Now

by Luke Landes

Mention to your friend that you suddenly received an unexpected $1,000 and I would be willing to bet he could come up with several suggestions for you. Most of those suggestions will likely involve handing the money over to him. My first suggestion is to refrain from telling your friend when you have $1,000 more ... Continue reading this article…

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