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

August 2011

Appeal Your House’s Assessment to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

by Luke Landes

The comparison of owning a home in New Jersey or Long Island with owning a home in New York City shows that the city has one financial advantage: property taxes. In New Jersey, it’s hard to discuss the cost of owning a home without talking about property taxes. With high property tax rates, it’s worthwhile ... Continue reading this article…

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$1.2 Trillion in Secret Fed Loans

by Luke Landes

We know about TARP, the program that used taxpayer money to lend to the biggest Wall Street banks tin an effort to prevent the collapse of the financial industry. The Federal Reserve loaned more money to Wall Street, however, in secret. The details are only coming out now thanks to the Freedom of Information Act ... Continue reading this article…

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Taxing Wall Street Transactions

by Luke Landes

We pay a sales tax on most products we buy, so why isn’t there a tax when you buy stocks and bonds? In the United Kingdom, a tax on stock purchases raises four billion pounds annually. It’s hard to estimate how much revenue a tax on financial transactions would generate in the United States, but ... Continue reading this article…

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Universal Life Insurance

by Luke Landes

Every once in a while, I receive financial questions from readers. I am not a financial adviser, so I usually suggest those needing significant assistance with their financial decisions to seek the advice of a professional. However, I don’t mind answering general questions that might be helpful for a wider audience. If you have any ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 122: Living Large in Lean Times

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan talks with professional penny-pincher Clark Howard about some of the more than 250 ways to save money from his new book, Living Large in Lean Times. Bryan and Clark discuss car purchases and insurance, saving on printer ink, college loans, getting free medications and the many new ways ... Continue reading this article…

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Best 12 Month CD Rates, July 2014

by Luke Landes

The best 12 month CD rates may not be impressive overall today compared with historical rates. With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low for the near future, all types of deposits will not command the interest rates that were common before the recession. With nowhere to go but up, it may not make a ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Shedding 6,000 Jobs So Far This Year

by Luke Landes
Bank of America

Financial giant Bank of America is eliminating 3,500 more employees. With this addition to the 2,500 already lost this year, the score is up to 6,000. The bank is trimming the workforce to sell of businesses, like global credit cards and life insurance portfolios. The company’s profits overall aren’t growing fast enough, particularly due to ... Continue reading this article…

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Platinum Card from American Express Review

by Luke Landes

Charge cards have always had a reputation of being not for the average middle-class credit card user, primarily because many come with high annual fees and offer perks that the typical American consumer can’t afford or doesn’t want to pay. While this may be true for most charge cardholders, as long as a consumer doesn’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Retail Marketers Attract Shoppers With 13 to 20 Seasons

by Luke Landes
Cadbury Egg Easter

I always wondered why stores like Target and Wal-Mart added groceries to their already wide variety of products for sale. I figured these stores were attempting to be more of a one-stop-shop for all shopping needs, keeping customers in the store longer, and providing less of a reason to go to the supermarket, grocery store, ... Continue reading this article…

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Using Twitter to Predict the Stock Market

by Luke Landes
Twiter

A perfect predictor for stock market movements is the holy grail of investing. If you knew with certainty that the stock market would increase tomorrow, you would buy to take advantage of the change, and if yo knew with certainty it would decline, you would sell. If a predictor could be proven to be perfect, ... Continue reading this article…

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Making Life Decisions

by Luke Landes

This is a bit of an introspective article, which, while it does have relevance to personal finance, is a little heavier on the personal side and lighter on the finance side. One of the hardest issues for me is making big life-related decisions. This has always been a problem for me. I tend to picture ... Continue reading this article…

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Nice Guys and Girls Earn Less

by Luke Landes
Business Suit

A new academic study to be presented next week focuses on workplace data gathered over the past twenty years. Questioning the reasons for the patters they found, the researchers from Cornell University and the University of Notre Dame conducted business simulations to get to the roots of the issue. As a result of the data ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover Student More Card $20 Cashback Bonus Review

by Luke Landes

The offer you are interested in has expired. Read our review of Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus.

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Are Credit Card Annual Fees Worthwhile?

by Luke Landes

The best credit card deals are often spoiled by an annual fee. Annual fees can range from about $50 to $2,500, with the high end reserved for the super-select American Express Centurion Card (the “black card”). In return for this fee, credit card issuers provide a range of benefits beyond what typical no-fee cards offer, ... Continue reading this article…

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Wells Fargo Testing $3 Monthly Debit Card Fee

by Luke Landes
Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Bank, the primary brick-and-mortar bank I’ve been holding onto for my branch-based banking, ATM deposits, and immediate check-writing, is jumping on the debit card fee bandwagon. Chase was one of the first banks to start playing around with fees and debit card changes. Chase increased its ATM fee to $5, eliminated the short-lived ... Continue reading this article…

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Quicken Loans Review

by Luke Landes

For the time being, S&P’s downgrade on United States debt has yet to produce an increase in mortgage interest rates as some predicted. Borrowers can still find mortgage loans for such a low cost that if they qualify, low interest rates combined with lower house prices would make owning a house more affordable than ever. ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Market Improving, Will Economy Follow?

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released their quarterly evaluation of the credit markets, and they are reporting some good news for consumers. Total consumer debt dropped $50 billion since last quarter, ending at $11.4 trillion on June 30. Mortgage balances and home equity credit balances declined, contributing to the overall decrease. Debt not ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett Doesn’t Want to Be Coddled

by Luke Landes
Warren Buffett Coddle

Update: The concepts implied by Warren Buffett have formed the basis of President Obama’s Buffett Rule proposal. Warren Buffett is staying in the news. I wrote recently about his desire to continue investing in stocks during market volatility, and today he published an opinion piece in the New York Times. He laid out the facts ... Continue reading this article…

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Nominate Your Favorite Blogs and Products for the Plutus Awards

by Luke Landes

I don’t normally like to interrupt the stream of personal finance articles with something that’s more related to the website than it is to money, but this is an important message that can help support the entire community of blogs that focus on writing about personal finance. If administration-type articles don’t interest you, skip ahead ... Continue reading this article…

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Extreme Couponing: Woman Arrested for Stealing Newspapers

by Luke Landes
Grocery shopping

I’ve spoken out against the concept of “extreme couponing” a few times already. In search of ratings, television shows — and in particular, “reality” television shows, use creative editing to make practitioners seem crazier than they are, but the concept has caught on so well, some people, in real reality, stop at very little in ... Continue reading this article…

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