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Debt Reduction

Debt Collections: Do You Have To Pay?

by Luke Landes

People who borrow money generally understand that they will eventually need to pay borrowed money back to the lender. This understanding, whether codified in a contract or not in any particular case, makes lending and borrowing money work as an economic mechanism. It’s interesting that regardless of what’s written in a contract, most debt can […]

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Good Debt and Bad Debt

by Luke Landes
See-saw

Misuse of credit can destroy a family’s financial life. A household can crumble under the weight of debt, whether it has increased from a poor house-purchasing decision, a drastic change in the real estate market, a shopping addiction, an unexpected medical bill, or the lack of preparedness for an emergency. It’s no surprise people consider […]

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Under-reporting Personal Household Debt

by Luke Landes

If you want to know how much credit card debt Americans have, don’t ask the borrowers. For years, economists have sought debt data from both borrowers and lenders for credit card debt and four other debt categories. Borrowers report their debt balances by responding to household surveys, like the Survey of Consumer Finances. Lenders report […]

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Smithee Update: Six Months in San Diego

by Smithee

This article is by Consumerism Commentary staff writer Smithee, who is juggling about a dozen clients and creative projects as a freelancer. It’s been a year since I was laid off and decided to become a full-time freelancer, and it’s been six months since my wife and I made a risky decision to move the […]

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Should You Stop Saving and Investing When Paying Off Debt?

by Luke Landes

The concept of multitasking, for a person, is a myth. When someone says they are multitasking, they are quick task shifting. We can move our attention quickly from one task to the next, and shift back again, but it’s practically impossible to focus on two different things at the same time. To excel at anything […]

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The Debt Snowball

by Luke Landes
Debt Snowball

The “Debt Snowball” is one of the most popular methods for approaching a variety of debts, with the intention of paying them off. The process has existed for as long as debt has been around, but the method has been commoditized, packaged, and popularized by a variety of personal finance experts, gurus, and speakers. Dave […]

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Don’t Take Out a Loan From Your 401(k)

by Luke Landes

As a very last resort, employees with active 401(k) retirement accounts have an option to take out a loan against their future. Borrowing money is never a good position to be in, but if you’re borrowing money from yourself, you ease the pain. 401(k) plans permit borrowing at interest, and paying interest to yourself can […]

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Pay Down Debt or Build an Emergency Fund?

by Luke Landes

Although I’m not a financial professional and I don’t normally give advice, I’m relatively comfortable offering some opinions when it comes to strategy. A reader presented this question to me recently. I’m open to answering questions as long as the answers don’t involve giving stock picks or legal advice. My wife and I recently moved […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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