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

June 2011

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card $250 in gift cards

by Luke Landes

The offer you are interested in has expired. Read our Citi cards review.

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America’s Lost Decade

by Luke Landes

Larry Summers, former economic adviser to Barack Obama and Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton’s presidency, shared his thoughts on the economy through opinion pieces in the Financial Times and Washington Post. His concern is the possibility that the United States is heading for a “lost decade” similar to Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s. This ... Continue reading this article…

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How a College Meal Plan Wastes Money

by Luke Landes

Meal plans at college are convenient. A student’s food costs are wrapped into each semester’s tuition bill, allowing them to focus on academics and college activities rather than finding the money for each meal. Many colleges offer similar meal plan choices, and the two most popular options are plans that offer either three meals a ... Continue reading this article…

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Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Review

by Luke Landes

When the Credit Card Act was passed years ago, many thought it would be the end of credit card rewards programs. Despite increased costs of operations, credit card issuers continue to beef up their attempts to attract new customers, with bonuses for signing up and growing perks. The best cards you’ll find today seem to ... Continue reading this article…

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Family Earning $225k Annually, No Emergency Fund

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine featured a story about Rick and Amy Mendez, a couple in their early forties with two children, earning an income of $225,000. They have a healthy retirement plan balance, and they needed to borrow from their 401(k) to pay for an emergency. Here is a family of four earning $225,000 a year, with ... Continue reading this article…

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7 Tips for Using Student Credit Cards

by Luke Landes

If you’ve just received your first student credit card, congratulations. Perhaps you’ve used pre-paid debit cards in the past, or maybe this is your first time with plastic. Credit cards are just tools for spending the money that you do have, and are not inherently good or evil. If you use them well, they will ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Tips for College Graduates

by Luke Landes
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College graduation like when you beat Ganon, the resilient bad guy at the end of the classic video game, The Legend of Zelda, for the first time. You’ve been through many levels of challenges, perhaps even used a few “cheats” along the way, and did anything necessary to grow your knowledge and skills, many of ... Continue reading this article…

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Three Big Financial Mistakes That Could Be Devastating

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, a friend of mine quit his job at a bank to focus on his own company. That can be a risky life change by itself, but in addition to his change in income, he and his wife were expanding their family. While I’m sure they would have been fine remaining in ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 112: Megan Wurm, Money Matters Ambassador

by Luke Landes

Today’s guest on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast is Megan Wurm, the 2011 teen ambassador for the Money Matters: Make it Count program operated by the Schwab Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Flexo joins Bryan on this follow-up to Episode 100, when Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz introduced us to the program which Megan won, ... Continue reading this article…

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GE Capital Bank May Buy ING Direct

by Luke Landes
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Update: Capital One has purchased ING Direct. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Ally Bank was considering buying ING Direct, the United States deposit bank arm of the Dutch ING Group. In exchange for a European bailout, ING was forced to agree to sell ING Direct by 2013. As the date nears, more rumors ... Continue reading this article…

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Report: Credit CARD Act of 2009 Good For Consumers

by Luke Landes
MasterCard credit card

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which designated the Federal Reserve Board to introduce new regulations for the credit card industry, has been successful in increasing transparency for consumers. As a result of the new regulations, the actual interest rates cardholders pay is now closer to the advertised ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You Still Waiting for the Homebuyer Tax Credit?

by Luke Landes
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The first-time homebuyer tax credit was a major incentive that the government, in collaboration with the real estate industry, initiated to stimulate the economy. It’s understood that the tax incentive worked in the short-term, encouraging more home purchases for a period of time that continued to be expanded by Congress. Nevertheless, the housing market continues ... Continue reading this article…

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Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Review

by Luke Landes

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is continually one of the best-reviewed cards from this issuer and card owners are most likely to rate highly on customer satisfaction surveys. The card offers excellent incentives and a low interest rate. New cardmembers of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express can ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Choose the Best Savings Account

by Luke Landes
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Born in the 1970s, I didn’t get to experience the days when anyone with a bank account could earn 18 percent APY in their savings. When I started being aware of interest rates — something that didn’t happen for me until I was out of college, struggling to earn a living, and thinking of a savings ... Continue reading this article…

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Reverse Foreclosure: Man Seizes Bank of America’s Assets

by Luke Landes

Imagine this: You, accompanied by the sheriff’s deputies, walk into your local Bank of America branch. You tell the sheriff to remove cash from the tellers’ drawers and seize the branch’s furniture and computers. It’s like a dream come true, especially for someone who has been on the receiving end of a bank’s foreclosure. Now ... Continue reading this article…

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Upromise Review

by Luke Landes

Upromise takes the concept of earning cash back on everyday purchases and aligns this benefit with saving for college or paying off student loan debt. You buy groceries anyway; Upromise helps you earn cash back on what you buy and use that money for your education expenses, the education of a relative, or for any ... Continue reading this article…

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Life After Salary: 401(k) Rollover Complete

by Luke Landes

In late April, I described the process for rolling over a 401(k), and last week, I finally got around to doing it myself. I quit my day job nearly six months ago, and I’m slowly unwinding all of my employer-related investments. My 401(k) was worth about $106,000 and was my largest investment account, so I ... Continue reading this article…

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Student Checking Accounts Comparison, May 2012

by Luke Landes
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As we head into summer, thousands of young adults will be heading to college for the first time. It’s important to get started on the right financial foot, and a free student checking account is an essential tool, particularly when combined with a savings account. Obtaining a student checking account that’s convenient for both students ... Continue reading this article…

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Avoid Late-Night Infomercial Scams

by Luke Landes

I’m usually awake late at night, and I’ve occasionally helped myself shut out distracting noise late at night by keeping the television audio on at a low volume. Invariably, the late night programming is centered around show-length commercials for a variety of products. Kitchen devices seem to be some of the most popular products sold ... Continue reading this article…

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Beat the Market By Lying

by Luke Landes
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Selling newsletters offering stock-picking advice is a big business. This is how sites like The Motley Fool survive, and it’s also a big draw for products carrying Jim Cramer’s name. You may remember Jim Cramer from such CNBC entertainment broadcasts as “Mad Money.” This is a fun show where Jim runs around, punches in sound ... Continue reading this article…

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