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Debt Reduction

Paid Off a Chunk of Debt This Week

by Luke Landes

With the savings rates falling like bricks lately, there is no advantage to me keeping my student loan payments low while keeping my bank account in the stratosphere. My student loan interest rate is 4.25 percent and I may not qualify for any tax advantages which would otherwise effectively reduce that interest rate. My savings aren’t ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 4: Know Your Interest Rates and Terms

by Luke Landes

The most basic piece of knowledge one needs in order to be in control of their finances is the importance of awareness. Many people will go through their lives blissfully ignorant of their own financial details. Why? For one, ignorance is bliss. The more financial trouble you are in, the easier it is to ignore ... Continue reading this article…

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Capital One to Get Out of Wholesale Mortgage Business (and Lay Off 1,900)

by Luke Landes

Just a week ago Capital One did the right thing by changing its policy about reporting true credit limits to the agencies that calculate credit scores. Hot on the heels of this positive change is another change that could be a good change for the company. Cap One is eliminating its GreenPoint mortgage company, which ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 3: Learn About Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

by Luke Landes

If you’re going to borrow against your home equity, you might want to understand the different options are available. David Bach in a recent column outlined the differences between home equity loans and lines of credit. Home Equity Loans. Generally called a second mortgage, this type of loan allows you to borrow a set amount ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 2: Use Equity to Build Assets

by Luke Landes

If a home equity loan is not ideal for paying off credit card debt, what other options are there for making the most of the cash that would otherwise be locked away? David Bach has a suggestion, and it is his second tip out of seven for dealing with your home equity. 2. Use home ... Continue reading this article…

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Seven Home Equity Tips, Part 1: Don’t Pay Off Credit Card Debt With Loan

by Luke Landes

Does it make sense to use a home equity loan to pay off credit card debt? As with anything, the answer is sometimes. While proponents of certain mortgage payoff acceleration loans might disagree, David Bach is offering some good reasons to let your home equity build without the burdens of extra loans or lines of ... Continue reading this article…

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Paying Off Debt: 6 Steps to Building a Better Snowball

by Luke Landes

The “snowball method” for paying off debt isn’t something out of the movie Clerks. It is a way to organize your outstanding debt in such a way that the funds you have available for paying off debt are optimally distributed in the manner that will allow you to pay off that debt quickly and cheaply. ... Continue reading this article…

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Another Case of Misleading Statistics

by Luke Landes

Everybody Lies. That’s the mantra from House, a simple but entertaining television show, whose premises are strangely applicable to personal finance. Recently, Liz Pulliam Weston evaluated a survey about consumer credit card debt that used a mistaken assumption to create misleading data about average household debt. When a survey says 90 percent of Americans are either ... Continue reading this article…

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Question for Readers: Get Rid of Debt Before Investing for Retirement?

by Luke Landes

Joe sent me a question about priorities. He feels his chosen career path is not one destined for the big bucks, but in pursuit of said career, he has racked up some debt. Fair enough, that’s a common situation. He also has some decent retirement investing options laid out in front of him by his ... Continue reading this article…

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Go to College Without Going Into Debt: Impossible?

by Luke Landes

According to the Motley Fool UK, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) has stated that unless parents are in the fortunate position to provide their children with “absolute financial support” during higher education, that students must accept debt as a fact of life. (Students Must Accept Debt, Motley Fool UK.) The rising cost of a ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Free Credit Advice

by Luke Landes

Here’s a new resource for getting free advice from credit counselors associated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The organization has teamed up with MSN, and during most weekdays counselors are on hand at the Ask a Credit Counselor Message Board to answer your questions. Here’s an example of a recent question and answer ... Continue reading this article…

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What Are You Talking About, Willis? High-Interest Loans.

by Luke Landes

If you’ve watched television late at night, as I do when I’m trying to come up with things to write about here on Consumerism Commentary, you might come across Gary Coleman pitching cash loans. Here’s the commercial I keep seeing (embedded video). If you can’t see it, here’s the direct link. Arnold’s talkin’ ’bout CashCall, ... Continue reading this article…

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My Struggle: Spending on Food is Really About Motivation

by Luke Landes

Donna Freedman’s MoneyCentral article reminds me of an issue with which I consistently fail each time I’ve made the attempt over the last few years. In the article, the author provides some success stories for those who have saved money by “brown-bagging” their lunch rather than buying each day. Here is one example: “I never ... Continue reading this article…

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Where to Put an Unexpected $5,000, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Unfortunately, I don’t have this particular “problem” at the moment. But if I had, CNN Money can provide some suggestions (43 of them) for dealing with the unexpected income. 1. Best return with no risk: Pay off your highest-interest credit card debt 2. Best 12-month return (risky): Vanguard Growth Index fund 3. Best 12-month return ... Continue reading this article…

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7 Ways To Kill Your Net Worth

by Luke Landes

If you’re interested in seeing your bottom line decrease each month, here are a few tips courtesy of CNN Money. Personally, I’d rather see my number go up each month, but perhaps that is just me. Ignore your money. Buying and holding doesn’t have to mean “owning and ignoring.” Asset allocation is one of the ... Continue reading this article…

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Guest Post: Stop, Drop, Roll

by Luke Landes

All this week, Consumerism Commentary will be featuring guest bloggers. In this post, NCN from No Credit Needed hearkens back to elementary school fire safety seminars and applies the familiar mantra towards debt. In addition to his main blog, NCN manages the No Credit Needed Network and the No Credit Needed Podcast. Many of you ... Continue reading this article…

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What I Did With My Bonus

by Luke Landes

After taxes, my bonus amounted to about $2,000. The funds arrived in my checking account this morning, but thanks to an automatic transfer, the entire sum has been whisked away to a savings account at ING Direct for “relocation.” This account contains the funds that should be used towards my next move, whether a down ... Continue reading this article…

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Advice Needed: Newly Found Debt and Debt Collectors

by Luke Landes

I received an email looking for financial advice for a young worker living paycheck-to-paycheck, who recently discovered the existence of an old debt thanks to the collectors who came calling. I wrote back suggesting negotiation with the debt collectors by showing the amount could be paid back over a period of time, but perhaps readers ... Continue reading this article…

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The Case Against a Life Without Debt

by Luke Landes

Getting out of debt is a great goal to have. Perpetual debt is like slavery. All the money you earn beyond your necessities for living is turned over to someone else in the form of debt service and interest, and in many cases even your basic needs are paid on credit. Creating and enacting a ... Continue reading this article…

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How Captain Kirk Handles His Space Bucks

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine has an interesting feature with money-related thoughts from celebrities — mostly former celebrities — who have learned much through experience since their earlier days. The first example is William Shatner, one of my… favorite actors. Shatner managed to barely scrape by no matter how much income was coming in. He constantly worried about ... Continue reading this article…

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