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

2012

Joe Biden’s Net Worth vs. Yours: Bad Comparison

by Luke Landes
Joe Biden

Recently, J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy pointed out that you may have a higher net worth than Joe Biden, the Vice President. Biden’s net worth is about $215,000, lower than one might expect for a person in his position, and that’s due to his debt load. I could name a few financial oversharers who ... Continue reading this article…

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Learning to Say No

by Luke Landes
HuffPost Live

Earlier this week, I appeared on HuffPost Live, an online television channel, to talk about saying no to spending. Social situations make it difficult for people to admit among friends that they can’t afford whatever the social activity might be, such as dining out or going to a club. The discussion was couched in fashion. ... Continue reading this article…

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For Financial Freedom: Reduce Expenses or Grow Income?

by Luke Landes
Penny

The frugal approach to growing wealth focuses on what you spend. The Millionaire Next Door, one of the most popular wealth motivation books, shows how spending wisely is the most important factor in increasing net worth. The book contains anecdote after anecdote about millionaires who live below their means and keep their wealth by maintaining ... Continue reading this article…

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6 Considerations Before Using Credit Cards in a Foreign Country

by Jason Steele
Kremlin

This is a guest article by Jason Steele. Jason is an expert in travel and credit cards. He contributes several of the top personal finance sites on the Internet including the blog at Credit Card Forum. In this article, Jason shares what everyone should know before using a credit card outside the United States. In ... Continue reading this article…

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Rescheduling My Life: Grocery Delivery

by Luke Landes
Groceries

On Sunday, I decided to take another shot at improving my time management skills. For as long as I can remember, time management has never been my strength. Always drawn to activities I find exciting, sometimes my responsibilities suffered. I’ve been through a number of programs and read a number of books designed to improve ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover Bank Forced to Pay $200 Million Refund and $14 Million Fine

by Luke Landes
Money Hand Refund

There’s no place for deceptive marketing tactics. Discover Bank‘s credit card customers allegedly found themselves on the receiving end of a sales pitch without knowing it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), teamed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), uncovered evidence of slimy sales tactics. In many cases, consumers thought they were adding free ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi ThankYou Premier Card

by Luke Landes

Today’s Citi ThankYou® Premier Card does not offer the same enticing bonus once available. For a period of time, new users were treated to a sign-up bonus of 30,000, 40,000 or even 50,000 ThankYou points. The sign-up bonuses may return in the future, but for now, the benefit is no longer available. Without the sign-up ... Continue reading this article…

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6 Tips for Using New Disposable Income

by Luke Landes
Tiara

Recently, an Ask Metafilter reader announced he is earning enough money to feel rich, with disposable income for the first time in his life. He probably meant discretionary income. If you want to get technical, to have disposable income is everything you earn minus required tax payments. Everyone has disposable income. Discretionary income, however, is ... Continue reading this article…

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Podcast 168: Liz Weston, There Are No Dumb Questions About Money

by Luke Landes
Liz Weston

The Consumerism Commentary Podcast has been on hiatus this summer, but Tom and Jay are returning soon with monthly podcasts featuring interviews with authors, industry experts, and CEOs. In the interim, I will be featuring a few Podcast Special Editions, hosted by myself, also featuring a number of great interviews. The first of these Special ... Continue reading this article…

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6 Milestones for Entering the Middle Class

by Luke Landes
Child reading

If you’re wondering about the chance your child has to breaking into the middle class by adulthood, a new study by the Brookings Institution provides some clues. The study breaks down the financial development of a person from childhood through adulthood into a number of milestones. With the achievement of each milestone, success for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Romney Versus Obama: Who Will Be Better for the Economy?

by Luke Landes
James K. Polk

Here’s a topic that’s sure to get the public crotchety: politics. Just like I don’t talk about the most intimate details of my personal finances with my friends, I generally don’t discuss politics on Consumerism Commentary. I have friends who consider themselves Democrats, other friends who consider themselves Republicans, and others who prefer not to ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Don’t Make Your Financial Decisions For You

by Luke Landes
Sheep

Some feedback over the nine years of writing about money on Consumerism Commentary indicates that there are some readers — not necessarily daily readers and fans of a website, but those who are searching online about some finance-related topic and are at best passing by any particular website — are looking for quick answers. People ... Continue reading this article…

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Are Consumers Really Concerned About Savings?

by Luke Landes
Savings piggy bank

A survey released by Chase today concluded that 74 percent of Americans are concerned about having enough money in savings, but only 34 percent have increased their savings since the economic downturn. There’s more to the survey, but this fact alone raises more than enough questions to consider for an entire day. What does it ... Continue reading this article…

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Pay Your College Tuition By Selling Companionship

by Luke Landes
Love

When I was an undergraduate in college fifteen years ago or so, I convinced my girlfriend at the time to stay enrolled. She was interested in moving back to her home state and pursuing her degree at a less expensive school, but for some reason, I encouraged her to stay at the university with me, ... Continue reading this article…

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Betterment Gifts: A Better Gift Registry

by Luke Landes

I introduced Betterment to readers last year as an alternative method of maintaining a brokerage account. For an annual fee of 0.15 percent to 0.35 percent of your assets invested with Betterment, the company provides a goal-focused way of investing for retirement and saving for future financial goals. The service handles asset allocation automatically based on goals, ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks Raise Interest Rates, Savers Give Up Hope

by Luke Landes
Savings

This week, several banks raised interest rates for diligent savers taking advantage of so-called high-yield savings accounts. American Express Bank, a cousin of a credit card company you’ve probably heard of that reorganized as a bank holding company to better position itself for government protection and balance sheet building, raised its interest rate. Ally Bank, ... Continue reading this article…

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The Poverty Rate Remained Flat Last Year

by Luke Landes

In 2011, the percentage of Americans living in poverty declined from 15.1 percent to 15.0 percent according to the census figures released within the last few days. According to the Census Bureau, this is not a statistically significant change, meaning the number of Americans in poverty, 46.2 million, is roughly the same as in 2010. ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s Time to Create a Will

by Luke Landes
Coins

I’m almost ashamed to admit this: I don’t have a will. I’m not happy about that, and it’s a situation I’ll change within the next few weeks. After being surrounded by so many intelligent people at the Financial Blogger Conference this weekend (please read my review), my lack of attention to this important facet of ... Continue reading this article…

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Ignore Your Mail and Lose Thousands of Dollars

by Luke Landes

The prevalence of junk mail and spam has certainly made weeding out noise more difficult over the last decade. With email, software does a great job of hiding the junk and making the legitimate messages obvious, but there are occasional mistakes. Spam might show up in my inbox a few times each week, while I ... Continue reading this article…

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Achieving Financial Independence

by Luke Landes

Today is the first full day of the Financial Blogger Conference, an annual gathering of bloggers who write about personal finance, investing, and other related topics. This is the second year of the conference’s existence, and hundreds of bloggers, writers, and representative from financial service companies are here at the hotel in Denver. The conference ... Continue reading this article…

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