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


She Spends Less Than She Earns: Zooey Deschanel

by Luke Landes
Zooey Deschanel

It’s not often that a young, female star of music, movie, and television can avoid financial scrutiny. Tales of financial woe tend to be much juicier, anyway. It’s not difficult to remember the Britney Spears train wreck. She couldn’t handle earning more than $700,000 a month. At least her antics kept her in the news. ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wants Payday Loan Feedback

by Luke Landes

While the mainstream financial industry has faced a dizzying array of government and quasi-government regulations through most of the last one hundred years, non-bank financial products have, for the most part, evaded regulations. Catering to lower-income communities, payday loan storefronts and check cashing establishments have managed to justify their business models. The more desperate you ... Continue reading this article…

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Buy Airfare Six Weeks in Advance

by Luke Landes

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), a company that processes airline transactions for travel agents and consumers, has analyzed 144 million transactions for domestic flights in 2011 to better understand airlines’ pricing schemes. The study found the lowest fares were available six weeks in advance of the departure date. I’ve always been under the impression that the ... Continue reading this article…

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The Lonesome, Pet-Free Life

by Luke Landes

For almost as long as I’ve been living without a human roommate, I’ve enjoyed the company of my cat, Rupert. I adopted Rupert from my friend who determined his newborn daughter was allergic to cats. He had already owned Rupert for a long time, and I knew I’d be the cat’s new owner for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Fix the Tax System By Taxing Consumption

by Luke Landes

An elegant answer to the over-complicated tax system is to shift the basis of the system from income to spending. There have been a variety of proposals to make this happen. It’s the core of the so-called Fair Tax and Herman Cain incorporated its concept into his 9-9-9 tax plan. Other proposals have called for ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 144: Best Things to Buy During Winter

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan J Busch talks to Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert. They discuss when and why it can be smarter to shop for certain items during the winter. Consumerism Commentary Podcast Best Things to Buy During Winter: S06E17 / 170 Download – RSS – iTunes Table of contents [00:00] Introduction ... Continue reading this article…

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How Is Your Budget Doing These Days?

by Phil Cioppa

This is a guest article by Phil Cioppa of Arbol Financial Strategies, LLC. Phil has over 10 years of financial service experience and specializes in asset management strategies, insurance planning and taxation issues. A budget is an important part of any financial plan, and right now is the best time to take another look at ... Continue reading this article…

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Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

by Luke Landes
Kodak Portra

There were rumors and predictions for a while, but today it’s official. Kodak, the company that revolutionized film photography and adopted digital photography early, has declared bankruptcy. The company has been struggling since the 1980s; I’m surprised it survived this long without filing Chapter 11. That’s what the company chose to do today, with debt ... Continue reading this article…

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Frugal Employers Will Lose Their Talent

by Luke Landes

During the recession, my employer, a firm in the financial industry, eliminated raises for employees at the Vice President level and above for one year. The company, although continuing to perform well compared to its peers, cut back bonuses and other benefits. It’s easy for employers to demand higher productivity for less compensation when the ... Continue reading this article…

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$362,000 in Income: Not That Much for Mitt Romney

by Luke Landes

It’s no surprise that politicians have difficulty relating to their constituents. When Mitt Romney was asked about his finances, he admitted two facts that would sound strange to most listeners. Romney considers what he earned from speaking fees in one year, $362,000, as “not that much.” Like most individuals who earn most of their income ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Reasons to Beware 401(k) Retirement Plans

by Luke Landes

Financial planners just love promoting 401(k) retirement plans. They have quite a few benefits, notably a tax deduction for contributions as well as a tax deferral for contributions and earnings. They’re also one of the most popular vehicles for introducing the working middle class to the stock market, something that might not have been accessible ... Continue reading this article…

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Save Money: Break Up Before Valentine’s Day

by Guest Author
Valentine's Day

This is a guest article by Jennifer Calonia, Junior Editor at GoBankingRates. In the article, the author encourages couples in failing relationships to break-up before holidays and their obligatory expenses are imminent. While it may sound like the antithesis of romance, calling it quits with your other half before the Valentine’s Day can be advantageous ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Solve the Financial Literacy Problem

by Luke Landes
Kid with money

Many Americans experience financial jeopardy at some point in their lives, and experts share an opinion about a strong cause: there’s no formalized way to learn how to use money properly, so most people must learn by experience, making mistakes as they learn what is necessary for building a solid financial foundation. It would save ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 143: Tax Law Changes in 2012

by Luke Landes

Today on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Bryan J Busch talks to Kathy Pickering, Executive Director of H&R Block’s Tax Institute. They discuss the difference between smart investments vs. emotional decisions, the importance of financial planning, and how most people are better off just buying an index fund and ignoring investment gurus. Consumerism Commentary Podcast Tax ... Continue reading this article…

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How Rich Are the Presidential Candidates?

by Luke Landes
Mitt Romney

When politicians are campaigning, some try to reinforce the idea that they are similar to most Americans. Candidates for President of the United States try to avoid being labeled as elitist, because some sort of connection and kinship with their constituency is important for winning the favor of voters who aren’t already entrenched with a ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

by Luke Landes

Although the home mortgage interest deduction is one of the most oft-cited benefits of owning a home, most taxpayers don’t take advantage of it because it requires itemizing taxes. If itemized deductions including mortgage interest paid throughout the year exceed the standard deduction, a taxpayer can take advantage of the benefit. The benefit isn’t as ... Continue reading this article…

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The Worst Celebrity Tax Problems

by Luke Landes

It’s with a tinge of schadenfreude that people are fascinated with the failures and foibles of famous celebrities. Every year, the IRS chases people who evade or underpay federal income tax, and actors and popular figures in the media, who often don’t manage their own finances, make the news. The latest is Lindsay Lohan. You ... Continue reading this article…

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Schwab Creates Low-Cost 401(k) Fund Choices

by Luke Landes

I used to work for a company in the financial services industry. Another branch of the corporation I worked for is involved with institutional money management. This department manages institutional investments like company retirement plans and pensions. This is a service they provided to other companies of various types, much like Fidelity and Schwab offer ... Continue reading this article…

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Good Debt and Bad Debt

by Luke Landes

Misuse of credit can destroy a family’s financial life. A household can crumble under the weight of debt, whether it has increased from a poor house-purchasing decision, a drastic change in the real estate market, a shopping addiction, an unexpected medical bill, or the lack of preparedness for an emergency. It’s no surprise people consider ... Continue reading this article…

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Choosing a Career Path By Chasing Hot Jobs

by Luke Landes
Oil field pipes

A recent article in Fortune Magazine predicts that one of the hottest jobs ten years from now will be data scientist. If this prediction is true, parents of teenagers in their first year of high school and their parents might consider encouraging their kids to develop the skills necessary to be in high demand by ... Continue reading this article…

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