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

2012

Never Rent a Self-Storage Locker: One Million Reasons

by Guest Author
Storage

This is a guest article by Christine Bilger from Quizzle/Zing. Have you ever watched “Storage Wars”? It’s a real-life series on A&E which follows professional buyers as they scour repossessed storage units for treasures. The buyers on the show will bid hundreds of dollars for the lockers without even knowing what’s inside. It’s pretty hit-or-miss. ... Continue reading this article…

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Take Advantage of Economic Cycles

by William Cowie
For Sale Space 640

This is a guest article by William Cowie. William is committed to helping people let the economy work for them, and writes at Drop Dead Money. A few days ago, Flexo asked a great question: Are you better off now than before the recession? To better understand the implications of the question, take a look ... Continue reading this article…

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Chase Reversed My Annual Credit Card Fee

by Luke Landes
United Airlines

For about two years, I’ve been using a credit card from Chase that offers rewards in the form of miles for the airline I travel the most frequently, first Continental Airlines, then United Airlines. I opened the Continental OnePass Plus MasterCard two years ago, at that time one of the credit cards for airline miles ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks Won’t Let Everyone Refinance Mortgages

by Luke Landes
Big house

Mortgage interest rates are still low, a great relief to first-time home buyers, real estate investors, and households considering refinancing their higher-rate loans initiated over the past few years. Banks aren’t too eager to hand those low-rate mortgages out to everyone who wants them, however. If you read financial media, you’ve probably heard that this ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Tips for Dealing With the Job Shift Away From the Middle Class

by Luke Landes
Battersea

The middle class fared the worst in terms of job losses throughout the recession. The National Employment Law Project has consolidated findings from its studies and found that while there has been some economic recovery in the employment sector following the recession, the recovery changed the nature of the job market. Jobs with a mid-tier ... Continue reading this article…

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Simple Debit Card and Mint.com Debit Card: What’s the Fuss?

by Luke Landes
Piggy bank

I suppose I don’t understand Silicon Valley hype. I do, however, understand frustrations with the traditional banking system, and one techie start-up and one former start-up engulfed by one of the largest companies in personal finance management are taking the opportunity to see if they can replace some aspects of the financial industry. SmartyPig started ... Continue reading this article…

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You Can’t Take It With You

by Luke Landes
Beach

According to a recent study by the National Bureau for Economic Research, 46.1 percent of retirees die with a net worth of less than $10,000. There are two ways to achieve this outcome. The first is for those with a comfortable level of wealth in retirement. Wealth does an individual no good after he or ... Continue reading this article…

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Holding Old Company Stock, Still Waiting for Recovery

by Luke Landes

A few days ago, I asked if you were better off now than you were at the start of the recession. I mentioned that I considered myself in a better financial position today — overall, there wouldn’t even be an argument — but there are small details that still bother me. Not every piece of ... Continue reading this article…

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American Express Credit Card Customers Are Most Satisfied

by Luke Landes
American Express AmEx

For this sixth year in a row, American Express has topped the results of a customer satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power & Associates. With a score of 807 out of 1,000 points, consumers who hold American Express credit cards are satisfied with their experience more than customers with cards from all other issuers. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Giving Tuesday: Turning Black Friday on Its Head

by Luke Landes

It’s approaching that time of year again. The holiday shopping season, with the massive retail marketing campaigns surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will be the industry’s final major push in an attempt to turn consumer confidence around and inspire spending. Over the past two years, companies have seen the potential social media — communication ... Continue reading this article…

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Recovery From the Recession: Are You Better Off Now?

by Luke Landes
Broke money empty pocket

It’s easy for me to turn the pages of my life back to December 2007, at the very beginning of the recession that featured the failure of Wall Street, tightening of the credit market, and damage to worldwide wealth in real property and in the stock market. All I need to do to determine my ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Confuses Account Holders With Fee Notice

by Luke Landes
HSBC

Millions of HSBC Direct customers received a strange email yesterday or the day before indicating a few changes to the bank’s fee structure. (HSBC’s former name for its Online Savings Account service is HSBC Direct; the new name will be HSBC Advance.) The statement seemed to indicate HSBC would be instituting a new, high fee ... Continue reading this article…

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Life Insurance: Who Needs It?

by Luke Landes
Life saver

Vote today for Consumerism Commentary or your favorite blog in the People’s Choice Plutus Award! Simply type www.consumerismcommentary.com into the ballot or click the button next to your favorite. Having worked for an insurance company in the past, I may be more critical of the industry than most. Don’t get me wrong. It’s very important ... Continue reading this article…

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Crowdfunding, From Start-Ups to Popular Musicians

by Luke Landes
Crowdsurfing

Starting a new business that has up-front costs can be one of the most frustrating things about being an entrepreneur. I suppose there are many people out there who don’t mind going to friends and family, begging for money, promising great returns, and ignoring the risk inherent both in starting a business and in borrowing ... Continue reading this article…

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Moving to Another Town to Find Singles (Rich or Otherwise)

by Luke Landes
Philadelphia Love

There are many reasons to move from one city or town to another. I would expect moving for a job is one of the most popular reasons. If you have a great job working for a company, but they decide, with or without your agreement, that you would benefit the company more working for a ... Continue reading this article…

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Stock Lock-Ups at Facebook Cause Falling Share Prices

by Luke Landes
Facebook

Today is the final day to vote for Consumerism Commentary and your favorite financial blogs in this year’s Plutus Awards. Take a moment — after reading this article, naturally — to show your appreciation for the best writing about money management and personal finance outside of mainstream media. Starting soon, voting will open for the ... Continue reading this article…

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Should Congress Eliminate the Capital Gains Income Tax?

by Luke Landes
Paul Ryan

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has selected a running mate, Paul Ryan, who has proposed eliminating the income tax on capital gains. The Vice President of the United States doesn’t have the authority to change the tax law, of course, so there’s no reason to think this idea or the rest of Ryan’s fiscal plan will ... Continue reading this article…

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The Poor Are Priced Out of Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

Reminder: This is the last week to vote for Consumerism Commentary and your favorite financial blogs in this year’s Plutus Awards. Take a moment — after reading this article, naturally — to show your appreciation for the best writing about money management and personal finance outside of mainstream media. It’s no surprise that low income ... Continue reading this article…

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Going Into Debt Gives Away Your Power

by Luke Landes

Debt fuels the financial industry. Without the profit that lenders of all types earn by collecting interest and other fees, the economy wouldn’t be able to hum along. When the economy struggles, the industry does what it can to maximize what it earns from its borrowers, and some companies seem to be more comfortable than ... Continue reading this article…

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Individualized Coupons Aid Price Discrimination

by Luke Landes
Grocery store

I’m not a fan of allowing companies to track every purchasing decision I make, but I’ve sacrificed some of my expectations for privacy in return for convenience. I use my credit card for most purchases, and over the years, credit card issuers could have created a database with my transaction history and could theoretically use ... Continue reading this article…

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