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Debt Reduction

Citigroup Accused in Death of Customer

by Luke Landes

Three months ago, a healthy 49-year-old business man walked into a Citibank office in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss the matter of a $5,500 debt on his Citi Platinum credit card. The events that followed are unclear, but four hours later, the man left Citi offices in a wheelchair. Citi cars drove him to a nearby ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Invest $100,000 or Pay Off Mortgage

by Luke Landes

To someone with debt, receiving an inheritance can feel like winning the lottery. Occasionally, an heir doesn’t realize money will be coming her way and hasn’t planned for the windfall or thought about her options. Even those who do plan often realize that contemplating options for managing a potential windfall is quite different from making ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Live Within Your Means

by Luke Landes

For as long as I’ve been reading about smart money management, “live within your means” has been the underlying mantra that, when uttered repeatedly and internalized, will result in a much more fulfilling life overall. By living below your means, you are sure to come out the end of each month with a net worth ... Continue reading this article…

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Three Big Financial Mistakes That Could Be Devastating

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, a friend of mine quit his job at a bank to focus on his own company. That can be a risky life change by itself, but in addition to his change in income, he and his wife were expanding their family. While I’m sure they would have been fine remaining in ... Continue reading this article…

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Moving Back With The ‘Rents to Take Care of My Finances

by Glen Craig
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This is a guest article by Glen Craig, the publisher of Free From Broke and Parenting Family Money. See how he currently deals with his family and finances and find out how you can too. In the article, Glen shares his story of how moving back with this parents provided a second chance for his ... Continue reading this article…

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Pay Off Car Loan or 0% APR Credit Card First?

by Luke Landes

I always like questions about debt pay-off strategies because they’re partly about math and partly about psychology. The numbers are very important, and debt payoff strategies should not be planned or implemented without a good understanding of the long-term financial consequences. There are some cases where, from a personal perspective, it makes sense to formulate ... Continue reading this article…

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San Antonio: City With the Most Credit Card Debt

by Luke Landes

Experian is a credit reporting bureau, but it may be more accurate to characterize the company’s business as one focused on consumer information. The data they collect on people, even those with no relationship with the company, are substantial. This information was used to determine that the average consumer owed more than $4,200 in credit ... Continue reading this article…

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Contest: Win $1,000 for Shredding Your Credit Card

by Luke Landes

If you’re ready to get out of debt and willing to create a video about it, you could win $1,000 or other prizes from the folks at LendingClub and PerkStreet Financial. Submit a video of you shredding your credit card to qualify for the chance of winning a $1,000 grand prize in the form of ... Continue reading this article…

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No More H&R Block Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

by Luke Landes

One of the most popular services available surrounding tax season is also one of the most expensive. Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are great products from a lender’s point of view; they are low risk and they are expensive. From a customer’s point of view, they provide a means to get cash when a household files ... Continue reading this article…

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Wells Fargo Direct Deposit Advance

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary reader Yana wrote in yesterday to let me know about some changes in the terms for Wells Fargo’s Direct Deposit Advance service. At first, I was surprised that this service exists. At its core, the credit product offered by Wells Fargo is basically a payday loan, though it comes from a reputable financial ... Continue reading this article…

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Debt Settlement Companies Can Easily Skirt New Rules

by Luke Landes

A new regulation goes into effect today, potentially limiting the profitability of debt settlement companies. These companies can no longer ask for up-front fee payments from customers wishing to settle debt; clients need to pay only after the companies provide results. In other words, for-profit debt settlement companies, including those masquerading as non-profit entities, must ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Opinion: Is Debt Slavery?

by Luke Landes
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I’ve written several times on Consumerism Commentary, and other people have written and said many times as well, that debt is slavery. In fact, there is a popular book on the topic aptly titled, Debt is Slavery. It’s a convenient metaphor; if slavery is working without the benefit of enjoying the fruits of your labor, ... Continue reading this article…

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Student Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Card Debt

by Luke Landes

According to the latest statistics from the Federal Reserve and the publisher of FinAid.org, the total amount of money Americans have borrowed on government and private student loans at $830 billion has surpassed the total American consumer balance on credit cards, only $827 billion. As the Wall Street Journal mentions when sharing this information, this ... Continue reading this article…

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Our New Budget Could Mean Extra Car Payments

by Smithee

Last week I talked about the need for my wife and I to decide on a new savings goal. We had been saving ten percent of our paychecks each month in the Joint Savings Account, which allowed us to do some fun things and avoid credit cards, but wasn’t really a place for money to ... Continue reading this article…

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No More Credit Card Debt, Now We Need a New Budget

by Smithee

I’ve had thousands of dollars in credit card debt since 1997. I remember applying for a job in March of 2001 which I calculated would help me erase my credit card debt in about twelve months. I didn’t get that job. Nobody got that job, in fact, the entire web design sector was crashing, and ... Continue reading this article…

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Payday Loans Fees and Interest Rates: Fair Comparison?

by Luke Landes

I consider payday loans one of the worst forms of debt. That being said, in states where these services are still legal, they provide a way for struggling individuals to afford necessities like food and housing until their next paycheck, for a fee. Unfortunately, many borrowers don’t simply use their paycheck to pay back the ... Continue reading this article…

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Good and Bad Uses of Leverage

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, I suggested starting the decade off right by paying off debt. In general, debt is something that should be eliminated. Credit card debt is expensive and often unnecessary, personal loans generally carry a cost to personal relationships as well as interest, and mortgages hang around forever and make you a renter who ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-June 2010

by Smithee

Happy Friday. It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update, and I’m pleased to report that I’m still committed, and the plan continues to work. The weather is getting annoyingly warm, which is usually the time I start engaging in (metaphorically) self-destructive behavior, but I’m in the home stretch now, and ... Continue reading this article…

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New Credit Card Statement Design Means Lower Balances

by Smithee

According to an online poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (which exists to encourage you to set up a payment plan, but that doesn’t necessarily make their data suspect), Americans are more likely to pay more toward their credit card debt since their statements were re-designed to show just how awfully long ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-May 2010

by Smithee

Happy Vacation-makes-finances-a-bit-messy Friday! It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update. Since then, we managed to pull off something akin to a coup or a miracle. With help from my wife’s bonuses (which are only considered miraculous because mis-management at her company makes those difficult to realize), we were able to ... Continue reading this article…

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