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

2012

Albert Einstein’s Philosophies For Growing Wealth

by Luke Landes
Albert Einstein

Although blogs and newspapers alike have oft posthumously placed a familiar quotation pertaining to compound interest — it being the most powerful force in the universe or man’s greatest invention — in the mouth of Albert Einstein, there is no evidence he ever said such a thing. He might have; the sentiment matches what seems ... Continue reading this article…

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Life Is Short: Toxic Financial Attitudes

by Luke Landes
Drinks on beach

There’s a good reason I can’t get into extreme savings for retirement. When desperate financial times call for desperate financial measures, there is a good incentive to cut all unnecessary spending and eliminate bad debt. Many people even wait until they hit rock bottom before reforming their approach to their finances, because the effects of ... Continue reading this article…

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I’ll Worry About It Later: Toxic Financial Attitudes

by Luke Landes
Tortoise

At various times throughout my life including the present, I’ve been guilty of having attitudes that could be damaging to my hopes for financial independence. I am generally a laid-back person, and my lack of what can be called “urgency” has certainly damaged my corporate ladder-climbing options. Although I’m fine with that, and I have ... Continue reading this article…

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Nothing Bad Is My Fault: Toxic Financial Attitudes

by Luke Landes
Danger

The difference between financial independence and a life of financial frustration comes down to attitude. The way you approach all aspects of your life, not just money, has a significant effect on your long-term financial growth. Personal philosophies dictate how you act and how you react to any situation you face. It’s worth the time ... Continue reading this article…

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Concierge Medicine As a Replacement for Insurance

by Luke Landes
Doctor and medicine

Although I’ve mostly figured out how to get my financial life in order, other aspects of my life still need work. For example, I’ve visited a physician only a few times over the past ten years. I should be seeing a doctor about once a year if I were to listen to the typical medical ... Continue reading this article…

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Black Friday: The Dark Side of Humanity

by Luke Landes
Darth Vader

It is a sad commentary on our culture when not only are people willing to trample and hurt each other to scramble for what is perceived to be a “good deal” but when such trampling is glorified by the media. (Crazy people drive ratings, and ratings drive large advertising profits for the media!) No one ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Settlement Postcard Checks

by Luke Landes

Bank of America’s journey with its overdraft fee class-action lawsuit is coming to an end. Earlier this month, the bank began processing its “refunds” to customers who were affected by a debit processing priority policy that greatly benefited the bank at the expense of its customers. In short, a customer with $500 in the bank ... Continue reading this article…

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The Black Friday Hoax

by Luke Landes
Holiday presents

This is the time of the year when American consumers become focused like a laser on finding deals from retailers. There is some compulsion to buy more stuff as the holidays approach — as gifts for friends and family, in the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah, and as gifts for ourselves. After all, with the ... Continue reading this article…

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Stop Paying For Services You Don’t Use

by Luke Landes

Earlier this month, I described a reader’s situation. She discovered she had been paying a fee for a credit life insurance product offered by her bank. The policy was no longer active, but that didn’t stop the bank from taking her money. I took the opportunity to dissect the product itself to discover whether it ... Continue reading this article…

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Sadness Inhibits Progress Towards Financial Freedom

by Luke Landes
1929_45637940414_5787_n[1]

Visiting my family this week and through Thanksgiving, I’ve been helping my mother rearrange old photographs, scan some for our online family tree, and place many into albums that will protect them for the future. One of her favorite observations about me is, “You were such a happy baby.” My personality hasn’t changed much. I ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Fundamental Financial Skills You Can Practice

by Luke Landes
Trumpet

An interesting article in Fortune explored how employees can practice basic career skills like professional musicians and athletes use their non-performance time or non-competitive time to practice. This struck a chord with me due to my background with music. I studied music education in college with the intent of being a high school teacher, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Stock Market: Time to Go All In

by Luke Landes
Donkey

I don’t advocate trying to time the market. It’s impossible to predict with any kind of consistent accuracy what the stock market will do, and the impossibility increases — regardless that the concept defies logic — as the time frame is shorter. I’m still looking at a horizon far enough in the distance that the ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Becoming Capital One 360

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, Capital One’s acquisition of ING Direct was approved and finalized. Consumerism Commentary readers responded, for the most part, by stating they plan on closing their ING Direct accounts in protest. I preferred to wait and see. The conflict and attitude arises from ING Direct’s history of being consumer friendly and on the ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Optimize Your Retirement Investing Priorities

by Luke Landes
Golf in Retirement?

The law in the United States is designed to encourage each working citizens to save for his or her own future. Through tax advantages, there are subtle incentives for investing in certain types of accounts. These incentives encourage financial literacy, boost use of the economic machine of the financial industry, and shift the burden of ... Continue reading this article…

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Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits

by Luke Landes
Retirement savings IRA

You have more time than you might think to contribute to your 2012 traditional and Roth IRAs. Rather than an end-of-year deadline, you have until you file your 2012 taxes to make that contribution. Federal taxes for 2012 will be due on April 15, 2013, so this is the deadline for establishing and contributing to ... Continue reading this article…

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Are Class-Action Lawsuits Good for Consumers?

by Luke Landes
Scales of Justice

Over the past few days, thousands of Bank of America customers have begun noticing unexpected credits in their checking account transaction activity. Thousands more will see the credits when their receive their paper statements for November, and even more will receive checks in the mail. The long battle with Bank of America over overdraft fees ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Life Insurance: You Don’t Need It

by Luke Landes
Money

Occasionally, Consumerism Commentary readers send in questions or stories they’d like to share with a wide audience. These questions and stories come to me through email, via Facebook, and through this website. Recently, a new reader who discovered Consumerism Commentary due to my multi-year coverage of Bank of America (primarily the articles pertaining to the ... Continue reading this article…

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Price Gouging: How to Know and What to Do

by Luke Landes
Price Gouging

Price gouging is often a problem after natural disasters, but what appears to be gouging might not always be a plan by unscrupulous business owners to take advantage of needy consumers. During regular operations, there is rarely a need for a business to increase prices sharply for its customers. Businesses generally, but not always, pay ... Continue reading this article…

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Aftermath of Sandy: Check Your Insurance Coverage Before the Storm

by Luke Landes
Hurricane Sandy

I hope all Consumerism Commentary readers affected by Hurricane slash Extra-Tropical Storm slash Low-Pressure System Sandy are alive and safe and have avoided damage. I lost power for sixteen to eighteen hours, and although I live near a canal, flood waters didn’t reach me. Many of my local friends are still without power, and my ... Continue reading this article…

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Resist Planned Obsolescence or Accept the Financial Consequences

by Luke Landes
Old phone

Products of all types — cars, incandescent bulbs, your iPad and iPhone — are designed with planned obsolescence in mind. The need or desire to replace products quickly and a shorter product life-cycle are a consistent drain on wealth. In the previous generation, the latest television sets were big household expenses, just like they are ... Continue reading this article…

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