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

April 2013

Financial Role Models vs. Money Classes

by Luke Landes
Financial literacy and role models

Non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses promote financial literacy education as the solution to a society of citizens unskilled with managing their own money. If only we could have mandatory money management classes in high school and earlier, advocates claim, the United States would be a nation of savers, free of most debt other than mortgages, […]

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Anne and Matt March 2013 Net Worth

by Luke Landes
Anne and Matt March 2013 Net Worth

This month is Insurance Month in the series Naked With Cash. Each month, seven Consumerism Commentary readers anonymously share their financial reports to gain insight about their progress towards their goals. Read this introduction to learn more about the series. Anne and Matt are twenty-seven years old, living in the Midwest, with two children. Read […]

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What To Do If You’ve Donated to a Fraudulent Charity

by Luke Landes
Charity scam and fraud

It happened after September 11, Katrina, Sandy, the Boston Marathon, and other disasters, man-made and natural, around the world. After serious tragedies, when a compassionate public is at its most vulnerable, unscrupulous individuals find taking advantage the world’s generosity comes easy. Within hours — even minutes — of the news, new operations spring up, offering […]

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5 Responsible Uses for Your Tax Refund

by Luke Landes
5 responsible uses for your tax refund

For most citizens of the United States, tax season is over. There’s no longer a need to run around gathering documents. You’ll stop seeing television commercials for TurboTax and H&R Block in which each insinuates the other is a deficient company. You can stop thinking about government’s wasteful spending and income redistribution — which always […]

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Keep Your Old Credit Cards Open

by Luke Landes
Credit Cards

There may come a time when you have no need to keep your credit score as high as possible. Perhaps you have no need for debt now and in the future. It’s not common, but there are a few methods of arriving at that point. You’ve fashioned a life for yourself off the grid. You […]

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Pay Off a Mortgage Early, Affording a Smartphone, and JCPenney’s Gimmick

by Lance

A few times a month, Lance from Money Life and More will stop by to share some of the best articles from across a variety of publications, including other blogs and mainstream media. I am excited to be starting a new series here on Consumerism Commentary! The goal of my new series is to share […]

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Are Financial Planners Hurting Investors Approaching Retirement?

by Luke Landes

If you’ve watched the financial industry over the course of the last decade, you’ve probably noticed some important contradictions. It’s a good indication that taking generalized investment advice and applying it to your own situation is not a smart idea. Anyone who retired at the height of the recession is going to understand exactly what […]

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Prepaid Debit Cards Are Riskier Than Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

Thanks to heavy marketing campaigns, including endorsements and partnerships with everyone from Russell Simmons to Kim Kardashian to Suze Orman (it’s hip! it’s popular! it’s financially smart!), use of prepaid debit cards has surged. Prepaid debit cards were once a fringe financial product. They were intended to be used by people who have a communal […]

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Psychological Barriers: Admitting There’s a Problem

by Luke Landes
Barrier

It’s difficult to get into this topic without sounding too much like a motivational speaker. I am strongly averse to most motivational training. Here’s my problem: Motivational training, in the corporate world, encourages teamwork — good — but often at the expense of personal identity and independent thinking — bad. The nuances are subtle, though; […]

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Who Needs a Budget?

by Luke Landes
Money Jar

There are a number of excuses for ignoring the concept of budgeting for one’s own personal finances. Budgeting has a poor reputation. It’s not fun, it’s time-consuming, it’s depressing. While budgeting can be one of the most important steps for beginning a journey towards financial independence, there’s a tendency to ignore this in favor of […]

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