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

April 2011

Best Return on Investment for Bachelor’s Degrees

by Luke Landes

Since a college degree is the baseline for most middle-class jobs for people not yet old enough to have equivalent experience, and getting that experience in the first place would be difficult without a college degree, it always surprises me that people question the value of getting a college degree at all. While it’s true ... Continue reading this article…

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British Airways Visa Signature® Card Earn Miles Toward International Flight

by Luke Landes

Editors Note: This offer is no longer available. It’s never completely safe to sign up for a credit card due only to its initial bonus. Many cards entice customers by offering a decent cash back bonus, then turn around and charge a high annual fee with a ridiculous interest rate. Before you know it, you’re ... Continue reading this article…

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Elmo Teaches Kids About Saving Money

by Luke Landes

I have many things in common with my friends in the same age range as myself. Among these shared experiences that define a generation, for the most part, we all watched Sesame Street as children. When we reminisce, we remember Mr. Hooper. We remember when Big Bird was the only character to be able to ... Continue reading this article…

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Chase Freedom® $100 Cash Back Bonus Credit Card

by Luke Landes

One of my favorite cash back credit card offers has always been the Chase Freedom® card, primarily because of the initial bonus offer combined with a great cash rewards program and low APR if you apply with excellent credit. The Chase Freedom® card provides all new Chase cardholders a $100 statement credit after spending $500 ... Continue reading this article…

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Last Minute Tax Filing Tips

by Luke Landes
Tax

With one week before the deadline, many people are just starting to think about filing their tax return. The problem I’ve often encountered with waiting to the last minute is it’s easy to miss important items. Many years ago, I filed in the manual style: my only tools were a calculator and pencil. Although my ... Continue reading this article…

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Working With a Financial Adviser: How to Prepare for the First Date

by Luke Landes

This is a series on finding, selecting, and working with financial advisers or planners. Recently, I evaluated the types of financial professionals and described the common certifications to help readers start on the right track. I also wrote about selecting the right planner. When you’ve narrowed your choices to a few, you’re ready to start ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 103: Lost and Found, Geneen Roth

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Geneen Roth, author of Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money. Geneen has appeared on national television shows including The Oprah Show, 20/20, and The NBC Nightly News. Geneen is the author of eight books, including The New York Times bestsellers When Food is Love ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Electric Orange Checking $50 Bonus

by Luke Landes

(Ed. note: ING Direct became Capital One 360 in 2013.) I’m aware that many regular Consumerism Commentary readers already have ING Direct savings accounts. Those who have been reading this website since the beginning know that I’m a fan. Their interest rates may not be at the top of the chart these days, and there ... Continue reading this article…

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Ink Classic Business Card

by Luke Landes

You may have noticed that I’ve reviewed a few different versions of the Chase Ink small business product line, including a charge card designed for ultimate purchasing power and a cash back card offering big bonuses for maximum spending. The Ink Classic® Business Card is a rewards business card offering bonus points in addition to ... Continue reading this article…

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Government Shutdowns, Late Paychecks, and Real Motivation

by Luke Landes

People who work for the federal government are concerned today. A shutdown of the federal government due to the lack of functional ability within the Congress might result in delayed paychecks for many government workers. Worse, if the furlough affects workers who handle Social Security payments, people relying on the government for income will not ... Continue reading this article…

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The Saver’s Dilemma

by Luke Landes

At Consumerism Commentary, I’ve been writing about putting money into high-yield savings accounts for as long as this website has been around. Just as people started getting the message, banks pulled the rug out from under their customers. The Federal Reserve made cash easy and cheap from banks to access, and since the low federal ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover More Card Review

by Luke Landes

Twenty years ago, Discover was considered the joke of the credit card world. Discover cards weren’t accepted anywhere, and people who owned a Discover card were sometimes embarrassed to take it out of their wallets. Even just a few years ago, Discover was the butt of a joke on the cartoon Family Guy, where Peter ... Continue reading this article…

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Working With a Financial Adviser: Selecting the Right Planner

by Luke Landes

This is a series on finding, selecting, and working with financial advisers or planners. Recently, I evaluated the types of financial professionals and described the various professional certifications to help readers start on the right track. This article looks at the research you can do to narrow down your choices, getting you to your initial ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Track Gold and Silver Bullion in Quicken

by Luke Landes
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Despite the convenience of Mint.com for tracking personal finances, it’s not flexible and in-depth for my needs. I’ve stuck with Quicken as a desktop program for many years. It’s unlikely I’ll move my data to the “cloud” until Mint.com or a similar service provides all the functions included in Quicken. Even the desktop version of ... Continue reading this article…

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Increase Your Credit Score

by Luke Landes
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Somewhere along the line, American consumer society has progressed to the point where access to debt is almost essential to living a middle class life. If owning a house is the modern American dream, most Americans wouldn’t be able to achieve this without the help of the finance industry. As a result, our finances rely ... Continue reading this article…

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Citibank Changes Overdraft Procedure: Fewer Fees

by Luke Landes

At the end of March, Fifth Third Bank changed its procedure for dealing with overdraft fees. When a customer has many debits (withdrawals) posting on the same day, and they are not real-time debits, banks often start with the largest amount. Ordering the debits from largest to smallest ensures that customers who do not have ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Balance Sheet, March 2011 ($664,370, +7.4%)

by Luke Landes

My financial for March are finalized enough for me to publish the numbers. Although I like the reports I post every month to be as accurate as possible, there are often things I forget or haven’t been finalized, like income from additional sources or bills from vendors. Unfortunately, last month’s net worth has been revised ... Continue reading this article…

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Call For Guest Articles, the Personal in Personal Finance, and the Lottery

by Luke Landes

Later this month, I will be traveling to southern California to visit my family. I usually travel to the west coast for vacation twice a year, once in the spring and once around Thanksgiving. During this time, I’ll still be working, but I often use this as an opportunity to feature a select number of ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 102: Tax Preparation, Tom Dziubek

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary Podcast host and producer Tom Dziubek returns this week, in the role of a guest. Tom has spent the past few months working for a financial services firm focusing on preparing and filing tax returns for clients. Today, Tom is joining me to speak about common and uncommon issues households experience with their ... Continue reading this article…

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Baseball Statistics for Player Salaries

by Luke Landes

If you love baseball, you might also love statistics. I suppose analyzing players’ performance numbers gives spectators something to do during long at-bats. Very few other sports engage fans by providing scorecards, and learning how to score a game is like learning a language or a code. I enjoy baseball, as much as a Mets ... Continue reading this article…

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