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Four Retirement Mistakes, Part Three: Taking a Check

by Luke Landes

When planning for the future, one or two small mistakes can undo years of progress. A recent article from Kiplinger takes a look at four very speicific mistakes that can be made in managing retirement accounts. I’ve already looked at the unintended consequences that early withdrawal and interrupting annual payments could have. This is the ... Continue reading this article…

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Net Worth of $100,000: Not Looking Good for This Month

by Luke Landes

When I reviewed my finances for the end of May 2007, I predicted I would be breaking the six figure barrier around the end of the first week of June. That didn’t happen, and it looks like I’ll be putting off that milestone for another month or so. Thanks to the fact I signed my ... Continue reading this article…

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Four Retirement Mistakes, Part Two: Interrupting Annual Payments

by Luke Landes

Reminder: So far there has been a very good response to the Consumerism Commentary reader survey. If you have not yet done so, please complete the survey so I can learn about you and improve this blog. I’ve been reading a Kiplinger article outlining four retirement mistakes, and so far I’ve written a little about ... Continue reading this article…

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Four Retirement Mistakes, Part One: Early Withdrawal

by Luke Landes

Reminder: So far there has been a very good response to the Consumerism Commentary reader survey. If you have not yet done so, please complete the survey so I can learn about you and improve this blog. Retirement savings compete with day-to-day expenses for your hard-earned money, so it’s a great accomplishment to put anything ... Continue reading this article…

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Trading Off Your Financial Security For Your Kids

by Luke Landes

An article on SmartMoney starts by providing an example of a family living on an income of $30,000. The parents in their young twenties struggle to pay their monthly bills, but spare no expense when spending on their child. For both her first and second birthday, the couple threw their daughter a birthday bash that ... Continue reading this article…

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Millionaires in the Making: The Cicottes

by Luke Landes

I haven’t written about one of these in a while, but the latest Millionaires in the Making from CNN Money looks interesting. It’s interesting to note that CNN changed the format of the series into a blog, allowing comments (if you’re willing to leave your city and state along with your name). Now, about the ... Continue reading this article…

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Follow-Up: John Adams Presidential Dollar Coins

by Luke Landes

A few weeks ago I put myself on the waiting list for John Adams coins at my local Wachovia branch. I happened to be in the bank this past weekend, so I asked if they had any available, despite not having heard from them. The tellers were able to come up with three rolls. I ... Continue reading this article…

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President Bush Holding Up Traffic in New Jersey

by Luke Landes

Here’s a good case for working from home, which I would have done today had I known about this. President Bush will be fund-raising near my office today, and in the short time he’ll be coming and going — which happens to line up with rush hour — major roads I usually travel, including the ... Continue reading this article…

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Roth IRA Phase-Out in 2007

by Luke Landes

This year, if you (as a single tax filer) earn more than $99,000 (modified adjusted gross income — MAGI), your eligibility for the tax-advantageous Roth IRA phases out until you don’t qualify at all at $114,000. Couples are at a little bit of a disadvantage compared to two single tax filers as eligibility starts to ... Continue reading this article…

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Presidential Dollar Series: I Got a Bank Teller in Trouble

by Luke Landes

This past Saturday, I stopped in at my local bank (which happens to be the much-discussed Wachovia) to see if they were distributing rolls of the newest John Adams Presidential $1 coins. I know the release date isn’t until May 17, but I had a good reason for asking early. A few months ago, I ... Continue reading this article…

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Postal Prices on the Rise Today

by Luke Landes

If you’re heading to the post office today, you might notice that the price of sending a letter has gone up. A first class stamp now costs $0.41. Other options have increased, too. It seems like just yesterday the cost of a first class stamp increased from $0.37 to $0.39. According to the United States ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Folds and the Boston Pops Incite Two-Person Riot

by Luke Landes

One of my favorite musicians, Ben Folds was about to perform with the Boston Pops for their opening night festivities on Wednesday night, when a fight broke out in the balcony between one individual and the individual the first thought was making too much noise during the concert. You have to watch out for Ben ... Continue reading this article…

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Fraternity Alumni Associations: Something Valuable?

by Luke Landes

When I was an undergraduate, I was in a fraternity. When I say that to people, I always provide a quick qualification: it was more like a music service or honor society than a fraternity. We didn’t have a “house,” and most of us didn’t do the crazy things you see in movies. While I ... Continue reading this article…

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Do You Need 80% of Your Current Income in Retirement?

by Luke Landes

If you’re planning for retirement, you might be concerned with determining how much income you’ll need to support your current lifestyle. I’ve seen 80 percent tossed around as this magic percentage. That is, if you make $100,000 in your current lifestyle (and manage your expenses appropriately), the fewer expensive you’ll have in retirement mean you’ll only ... Continue reading this article…

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Weekend Spending Update

by Luke Landes

It’s been a busy weekend. On the entertainment front, I caught Spider-Man 3 with some good friends I don’t get to see very often. It was good, but not spectacular. The tickets cost $10.25 including the $1 “convenience fee” for ordering them in advance online. It was a good thing I did, they show was ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Your County a Millionaire County?

by Luke Landes

CNN Money has a slide show featuring the top ten counties with the highest number of household millionaires. Do you live amongst them? Perhaps you are one. Los Angeles, California with 268,138 households, home of Donna Martin Cook County (Chicago), Illinois with 171,118 households, home of the Oprah Winfrey Show Orange County, California with 116,157 ... Continue reading this article…

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Transferring My IRAs From TIAA-Cref to Vanguard

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, Vanguard announced they have simplified their account fees. Effective on Thursday, here is the new fee structure. * All fund accounts with a balance of less than $10,000 will be assessed a yearly fee of $20. Now that’s straightforward. In the old configuration, my recently-opened 2006 SEP IRA would have been charged $20 anyway. ... Continue reading this article…

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Excerpt From Suze Orman’s New Book: Women & Money

by Luke Landes

Yahoo Finance is featuring an exclusive excerpt of Suze Orman’s latest book, Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny. If the book follows the standard formula, this excerpt is from the introduction and outlines the 8 qualities of a wealthy woman on which the rest of the book will expound. Here are ... Continue reading this article…

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Workers Adapting Slowly to Changing Retirement

by Luke Landes

The Employee Benefit Research Institute recently published their results from their 2007 Retirement Confidence Survey [pdf]. It casts a dark cloud over the state of retirement savings. Here’s a summary of some of the findings. Half of workers less confident about pension benefits. While half of all workers have less confidence in pension, they do ... Continue reading this article…

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Rats All, Folks!

by Luke Landes

One of the several things I like about Consumerist is they follow up with stories most people forgot about long ago. Remember the story about the KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in New York City infested by rats? Consumerist has been following the story over the past two months, and they are now reporting that the NYC ... Continue reading this article…

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