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How to Buy Facebook Shares Now

by Luke Landes
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Update: As of May 2012, Facebook is trading publicly. You can purchase Facebook shares like any other stock trading on NASDAQ, using a discount brokerage or a full-service broker. I mentioned recently that although Goldman Sachs appears to be trying to come up with a plan to skirt the regulations set forth by the Securities ... Continue reading this article…

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Standard Deductions and Exemptions for Federal Income Tax

by Luke Landes
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Most taxpayers can choose between itemizing tax deductions to reduce taxable income, which requires accurate record-keeping and support, and taking the standard deduction. The standard tax deduction is a fixed amount that reduces the amount of money on which taxpayers owe the federal government. Generally, if you can show that you’ve had more deductible expenses ... Continue reading this article…

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2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes
Income tax

Latest information: 2012 tax brackets and rates 2013 tax brackets and rates The extended deadline is here for filing your 2010 income tax return. Since the Bush era tax cuts were extended, the income you’ve earned in the United States this year is subject to the same low rates as last year, but the margins ... Continue reading this article…

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Kids Play in the Stock Market, Adults Go Elsewhere

by Luke Landes
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Financial planners love to give examples about a hypothetical investor who placed $2,000 in the stock market every year since he was eighteen years old in 1950 and retired rich thanks to the stock market’s returns. They talk about the power of compound interest and getting rich slowly, investing in low-cost index mutual funds. There’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Gas Prices: Are You Ready for $5.00 per Gallon at the Pump?

by Luke Landes
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One of the benefits of no longer having a daily commute is I’ll be spending much less for fuel in my car. When I traveled to an office five days a week, and even when my travel schedule was changed to four days a week to allow one day for remote access, I filled up ... Continue reading this article…

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Is it Time to Buy a House?

by Luke Landes
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If you ask a Realtor or a national association of individuals within that profession whether now is the perfect time to buy a house, they would say yes. Of course, their answer was yes a year ago, when average prices were low, and their answer was yes a few years ago, when average prices were ... Continue reading this article…

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Life After Salary: The Human Connection

by Luke Landes
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Working in an office on a team with other employees is a social activity. Although there is work to be done and goals to accomplish, and although most of us stare at computer screens all day and spend most of the time in a cubicle or an office, many tasks require communicating with the people ... Continue reading this article…

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Life After Salary: Structure and Motivation

by Luke Landes
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Time management has never been my strength. I like working at my own pace, and the certain working structures, like deadlines, tend to annoy me rather than motivate me. It’s no wonder I’m excited about leaving a job with a typical standardized nine-to-five schedule. I allow myself distractions and breaks and often procrastinate. Despite this, ... Continue reading this article…

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How To Lose $10 Million Fast

by Luke Landes
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On Thanksgiving, the New York Times published a story about a man who had a check for $14 million ten years ago — $10 million after taxes — and who now has little to his name (Nick Martin). It’s not the sort of uplifting, family-focused feature article you usually see around the holidays, but people ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumerism Commentary Matching Charitable Donations for Thanksgiving

by Luke Landes
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Last year, Consumerism Commentary matched $3,584 in readers’ charitable contributions. For every dollar that readers donated and informed us, we made a matching donation to the World Food Programme (through the American arm of the organization, the Friends of the World Food Program). I felt this was a great way to give thanks to our ... Continue reading this article…

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A Return to the Gold Standard

by Luke Landes

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, is concerned about the future of our global monetary system. Once upon a time, every dollar in the United States needed to be backed by gold and silver because these metals were said to have intrinsic value. If the world is losing faith in the U.S. dollar as ... Continue reading this article…

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Black Friday Onslaught: Truly Frugal Holidays

by Luke Landes

With the first cold weekend after the summer, I can tell just by looking around that people everywhere have begun thinking about the holiday season. I’m not talking about Veterans’ Day or Thanksgiving; Christmas is the day on people’s minds as they erect their gaudy displays. The advertisements are not yet full-force on television, but ... Continue reading this article…

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The Worst Investment California Has Seen

by Luke Landes

I wouldn’t gamble more money than I could afford to lose. I also wouldn’t spend my own money in order to win an election, but I’m not, and nor will I ever care to be, a politician. Even those living outside of California have heard, the former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, spent more than ... 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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Income Infatuation and Online Dating

by Financial Samurai

This is a guest article by Sam, the author of the blog Financial Samurai and the founder of the Yakezie Challenge and Network. He writes a column for Consumerism Commentary every other Tuesday. There are 14 income selections one must choose on a particular online dating site my friend Craig recently joined. Take a look ... Continue reading this article…

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TARP Bailout: It’s a Success and Failure

by Luke Landes

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), created and enacted by President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008 with strong support from Republicans, has been deemed a success for taxpayers by President Obama’s administration on the date of its so-called ending, despite being criticized by opponents both liberal and conservative. Only $386 billion of the original ... Continue reading this article…

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Consumer Question: 10 Items for $10

by Luke Landes

Here’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy shopping for groceries. Items are priced in such a way it can be difficult to compare. Without keeping a price diary, it can be difficult to tell when a sale price is good. It’s a lot of work to shop right. Personally, I no longer sweat the ... Continue reading this article…

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Use American Express Membership Rewards Points on Amazon.com

by Luke Landes

I’m a fan of alternative currency; that is to say, I’m interested in how concepts like “points” and virtual currency are adapted to real transactions. In a move that makes complete sense, American Express has teamed up with Amazon.com to allow Membership Rewards points as an additional payment method. If you have an eligible American ... Continue reading this article…

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Obama’s Proposed Investment in American Infrastructure

by Luke Landes

President Obama proposed yesterday spending more than $50 billion over the next six years to modernize the transportation infrastructure in the United States. He is calling for renovations to or creation of 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of rail, and 150 miles of airport runways. The $50 billion would be an up-front cost, paid ... Continue reading this article…

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Philadelphia Wants Bloggers to Pay $300 Registration Fee

by Luke Landes

Though it was never intended initially, Consumerism Commentary and my writing is a business. I pay fees every year to ensure that the state in which I operate, New Jersey, is aware of my business. Business registration with the state is just one out of many possible fees governments charge entrepreneurs and small business owners. ... Continue reading this article…

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