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

October 2010

Who Really Owns Your Mortgage?

by Luke Landes

A family in New York is suing Citigroup. The bank’s mortgage servicing branch, CitiMortgage, is seeking a foreclosure claim against their house. The suit alleges that CitiMortgage does not own the mortgage, and can therefore not foreclose upon the property. The mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae. The D’Amelio family has been in default on ... Continue reading this article…

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Convert to Vanguard Admiral Shares Now

by Luke Landes

Last week, Vanguard decided to offer its lower-cost, more exclusive Admiral Class of fund shares to more investors. For most Vanguard index funds, any customer with a balance of at least $10,000 can convert their investment from the standard Investor shares to Admiral shares. Most managed funds require a $50,000 minimum to qualify. Previously, investors ... Continue reading this article…

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Today’s Top Three Consumer Mistakes

by Kimberly Palmer

This is a guest article by Kimberly Palmer. Kimberly Palmer is the author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, which was published by Ten Speed Press this week. The following post has been adapted from the book. I’ll admit it: I was recently suckered into spending more than ... Continue reading this article…

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Sue Your Broker When Your Investments Lose Value

by Luke Landes

I know Larry Hagman from watching re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie, but he’s apparently better known as the answer to the question, “Who played J.R.?”. Hagman’s now in the news, not because his next movie is in production, but because he has won $1.1 million plus legal fees in a suit against Citigroup. That’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 77: Pam Lassiter, The New Job Security

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks to Pam Lassiter, founder of the career management consulting firm Lassiter Consulting and author of the book The New Job Security: The 5 Best Strategies for Taking Control of Your Career. Tom talks to Pam about what’s changed since the first edition of her book which ... Continue reading this article…

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Chase Credit Cards and Blueprint Review

by Luke Landes

Chase is offering a number of popular credit cards, notably the Chase Freedom®, Chase Sapphire and Slate from Chase, which now include a set of features the company calls “Blueprint.” The Blueprint features give the credit cardholder some flexibility in organizing and paying off the various expenses he or she charges to the card. Customers ... Continue reading this article…

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Money and Dating, Meal Planning, and Mind Mapping

by Luke Landes

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that American Express launched a new community-focused website called Currency and that I would be participating as one of the writers. I’m proud to announce my first article was published yesterday. True Romance: Dating With Financial Attitudes in Mind takes a look at how you can survive early relationships ... Continue reading this article…

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Decision-Making Difficult for Ambivalent People

by Luke Landes

That title sounds a bit obvious. In college, a time that now seems long in my past, friends wanted me to take sides on a variety of issues. I didn’t see the need to feel passionately about issues which clearly had reasonable arguments on either side. I even took pride in my ability to see ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken 2011 Review and Giveaway

by Luke Landes

Are you looking for the latest version of Quicken? Here is my review of the newest version, Quicken 2013. Downloads of Quicken 2013 are available today. I’ve been using Quicken for six years, and I have eight years’ worth of financial data in my files. I had the opportunity to take the beta version of ... Continue reading this article…

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FNBO Direct Online BillPay Account $25 Bonus

by Luke Landes

As of today, FNBO Direct is offering a better interest rate on the bank’s bill payment account than most other banks offer on high-yield savings accounts. If you apply for FNBO Direct Online BillPay soon, you could qualify for a $25 bonus. If you qualify for an account, FNBO will provide you with a check ... Continue reading this article…

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TARP Bailout: It’s a Success and Failure

by Luke Landes

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), created and enacted by President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008 with strong support from Republicans, has been deemed a success for taxpayers by President Obama’s administration on the date of its so-called ending, despite being criticized by opponents both liberal and conservative. Only $386 billion of the original ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Investment Portfolio, 3Q 2010

by Luke Landes

Last quarter’s devastating investment performance resulted in an overall annualized return of -9.33 percent. The fact that the S&P 500, the benchmark I use for my investments, faced a -15.14 percent annualized return at that point was little consolation. The third quarter of 2010 proved to be kinder to my investments. I can’t take much credit for ... Continue reading this article…

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When She No Longer Supports You

by Financial Samurai

This is a guest article by Sam, the author of the blog Financial Samurai and the founder of the Yakezie Challenge and Network. He writes a column for Consumerism Commentary every other Tuesday. Patrick is one of the most ambitious people you’ll ever meet. After graduating summa cum laude, Patrick joined Morgan Stanley and made ... Continue reading this article…

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Buying Gold: ETFs and Bullion

by Luke Landes

Over the past few weeks, the price of gold (expressed in dollars) has increased to all-time highs. This is true if you don’t adjust historical prices for inflation. This and the price increase that began for the recession have fueled a surge in interest in investing in gold. Investors are looking to ride this wave. ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 76: Trulia and House Price Reduction Trends, Tara-Nicholle Nelson

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek talks to Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Manager of Consumer PR and Marketing at the real estate website Trulia. Tara talks about Trulia, their study regarding price reductions on listed houses and also gives tips on how to sell your house without drastically slashing its price. Consumerism Commentary Podcast #76 ... Continue reading this article…

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Car-Buying Options, Worst Commercials, and Money Index

by Luke Landes

Is it better to buy a new car, buy a used car, or lease a new car? If you ask personal finance writers, gurus, and bloggers, the answer is always to buy a used car without question — and without debt, if possible. Here is the problem with one-size-fits-all, mass-audience advice. In most cases, this ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, September 2010 ($427,529, +11.5%)

by Luke Landes

September was a typical month. I didn’t have many out-of-the-ordinary expenses. I bought some new camera equipment, with the biggest expense being a used lens for my Mamiya RZ67. I did a good job negotiating the price, too. I was able to get Adorama in New York to beat KEH.com’s price for the same lens ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Cash Back, SmartyPig Lowers Rate, and More

by Luke Landes

Here is what’s going on with some of my favorite online banks. For the next two months, ING Direct will be offering cash back for customers of the bank’s paperless checking account, Electric Orange. Every time a customer uses the ING Direct debit card for a purchase of less than $50, 1 percent of the purchase ... Continue reading this article…

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