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

January 2011

50 Cent Plugs Stock to 3.8 Million Followers on Twitter, Stock Soars

by Luke Landes

Here’s a fun experiment. You don’t need many materials, just a little bit of work. Here are the steps: Create a huge following on Twitter. Put your money into a little-known stock with low trading value. Write several messages on Twitter to almost 4 million followers about how good the investment is. Watch the valuation ... Continue reading this article…

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Why You Should Care About Your Wallet and Your Waistline

by Philip Taylor

This is a guest article by Philip Taylor, the owner of the blog PT Money. Philip created PT Money to share his own experiences with successfully managing his money. It’s no secret that our money and our health are connected. More people want to excel with these two things for their lives more than any ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 90: Getting More, Stuart Diamond

by Luke Landes

On today’s episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Stuart Diamond, Wharton Professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning former journalist and author of the book Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World. Stuart and Tom discuss many topics including Stuart’s negotiation background, how to negotiate successfully with others as ... Continue reading this article…

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Running in the Snow

by Luke Landes

One of my goals for 2011, like most people who make New Year’s resolutions, is to lose weight. Earlier this week, I started a training program that will lead me to be able to finish a 5K. To track my progress and to assist with training, I’m using an application for my phone, RunKeeper. RunKeeper ... Continue reading this article…

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Wachovia to Wells Fargo Transition

by Luke Landes

In addition to my bevvy of online savings accounts, I have standard, twentieth-century brick-and-mortar banking accounts, though only at two banks. I opened an account at TD Bank (formerly Commerce Bank) several years ago — because everyone loves being able to visit the branch on a Sunday. My primary branch accounts for personal and business ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Buy Facebook Shares Now

by Luke Landes

Update: As of May 2012, Facebook is trading publicly. You can purchase Facebook shares like any other stock trading on NASDAQ, using a discount brokerage or a full-service broker. I mentioned recently that although Goldman Sachs appears to be trying to come up with a plan to skirt the regulations set forth by the Securities ... Continue reading this article…

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Low Savings Interest Rates: Good or Bad?

by Luke Landes

No one’s happy with savings account interest rates these days. Even so-called high-yield savings accounts are closer to zero than they have been in a long time. For me, they heyday of savings accounts was when they were earning 5 percent to 6 percent APY several years ago. Some people remember when savings accounts earned interest rates ... Continue reading this article…

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The Myth of Ownership

by Luke Landes

Who really owns all of your stuff? It’s comforting to think that everything that we have in our possession, acquired by legal means, belongs to us. That’s not always the way it works, however. The myth of ownership is expected to apply to people who buy their possessions with credit and can’t afford to keep ... Continue reading this article…

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About the Consumerism Commentary Staff and Writers

by Luke Landes
Luke Landes

Luke Landes, chief editor and founder Read Luke’s articles / Facebook Profile / @luke_landes / Contact Luke Landes has been building online communities since 1990, and he has been writing for the web since 1994. In 2003, Luke founded Consumerism Commentary to learn more about personal finance, hold himself accountable for his financial decisions, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Standard Deductions and Exemptions for Federal Income Tax

by Luke Landes

Most taxpayers can choose between itemizing tax deductions to reduce taxable income, which requires accurate record-keeping and support, and taking the standard deduction. The standard tax deduction is a fixed amount that reduces the amount of money on which taxpayers owe the federal government. Generally, if you can show that you’ve had more deductible expenses ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover Bank Online Savings Account Review

by Luke Landes

Interested in opening a savings account at Discover Bank? Read this article first. Note: I’ve recently updated this review to indicate that transaction downloads for Quicken are now available. Last year, I noted that E*TRADE Bank will be moving some customers’ accounts to Discover Bank. The only customers affected by this move are those who ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumerism Commentary Store

by Luke Landes

Welcome to the Consumerism Commentary Store! Have you registered for an account on Consumerism Commentary? If you have, and you have logged in, you can earn points for leaving substantial comments on recent articles. (Comments consisting of only, “Great post!” or “I agree with you!” will not earn points, for example.) Note: all users must ... Continue reading this article…

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2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes
Income tax

Latest information: 2012 tax brackets and rates 2013 tax brackets and rates The extended deadline is here for filing your 2010 income tax return. Since the Bush era tax cuts were extended, the income you’ve earned in the United States this year is subject to the same low rates as last year, but the margins ... Continue reading this article…

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Kids Play in the Stock Market, Adults Go Elsewhere

by Luke Landes

Financial planners love to give examples about a hypothetical investor who placed $2,000 in the stock market every year since he was eighteen years old in 1950 and retired rich thanks to the stock market’s returns. They talk about the power of compound interest and getting rich slowly, investing in low-cost index mutual funds. There’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Life After Salary: COBRA vs. Individual Health Insurance

by Luke Landes

One month ago, I notified my boss at the corporation where I worked that I would be leaving. I was headed for the new frontier. Leaving my salary and benefits behind, I looked to the horizon and contemplated what I needed to do in order to keep my life secure. My biggest concerns besides maintaining ... Continue reading this article…

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Year-End Personal Balance Sheet, December 2010

by Luke Landes

I’ve been tracking my personal finances for about ten years now, and I’ve been making the information public but anonymous on Consumerism Commentary since 2003. This, in addition to learning about money, was my primary purpose for creating this website and it still is a major part of what I do. I don’t pay as ... Continue reading this article…

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Best of Consumerism Commentary 2010

by Luke Landes

This was a fantastic year for Consumerism Commentary. Readership has grown by 10 percent since 2009, and I’m happy with these results considering the website has been around since 2003. There are many readers who were with Consumerism Commentary since its start — thank you! And for those who may be new to Consumerism Commentary, welcome. ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 89: Concerns and Challenges With Self-Employment

by Luke Landes

On today’s episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Consumerism Commentary founder Flexo about his recent decision to leave his day job and become fully self-employed. Flexo discusses his decision to quit as well as many of the challenges that face self-employed people, such as choosing the right retirement and health insurance ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Control of Your Finances

by Luke Landes

This series explorers the concrete steps anyone can follow to take control of your finances. Many years ago, I felt like I was a victim of circumstances. Bad things, like job losses, apartment losses, and debt — even my girlfriend leaving me — were other people’s fault, a result of the world around me. I ... Continue reading this article…

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Welcoming 2011 With Goals and Resolutions

by Luke Landes

Welcome to 2011! I’ve been reading 2010 recaps from friends and bloggers for the past few weeks and the general consensus is that people are happy to see the year go. With unemployment, health issues, and even death, the new year is being welcomes with open arms. I’m looking for a good year as I’ve ... Continue reading this article…

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