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As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Am I Required to Report All Income to the IRS?

by Luke Landes

In general, if you have to ask whether you need to report certain income to the IRS, the most likely answer is, “Yes.” Here are some examples, courtesy of MSN Money. Q. I hosted a party to sell products to my friends (and use my social circle for multilevel marketing from some corporation), and the ... Continue reading this article…

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8 (or More) Ways to Benefit From the ARRA

by Smithee

Our financial crisis is being combated on many sides, with a seemingly endless series of opportunities for people facing serious hardships. I thought it would be helpful to summarize all the options created as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and give you just the facts that you need in ... Continue reading this article…

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Three of the Largest Closed Hedge Funds are “Madoff Feeder Funds”

by Luke Landes

Last year, hundreds of hedge funds, special mutual funds generally open to wealthy investors which specialize in alternative investments like derivatives, shut down due to the economic crisis. Three of the ten largest hedge funds to close were funds that invested exclusively or almost exclusively in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, leaving investors with nothing. While ... Continue reading this article…

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Can an Emergency Fund Be Too Big?

by Luke Landes

Being prepared for financial emergencies is a primary step on the path to creating and maintaining solid footing, but as with other good things, too much of a positive can be negative. Every individual’s or family’s situation is unique, so it’s difficult to prescribe a hard and fast rule about the right size of an ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Find Better Loan to Pay Off Student Loan?

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, readers email me with questions about their own personal finances. Considering I share so much of my own, it’s always interesting to get a peek into the issues other people are concerned about. In fact, right now, I am actively seeking reader questions to serve as launching points for a discussion I plan to ... Continue reading this article…

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Oversight and Regulation: Too Much or Too Little?

by Luke Landes

Many economists are citing the lack of regulation of the financial markets as one of the primary causes of the recent economic collapse. Alan Greenspan, once a believer in deregulation, blames the crisis on the financial industry’s inability to monitor itself. A pattern of financial deregulation over the past two and a half decades paved ... Continue reading this article…

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Which Comes First: Paying Off Debt or Starting Emergency Fund?

by Luke Landes

Taking the first few steps to ensure your future financial stability can be daunting. There is so much to do, trying to decide where to start can result in wasted time, and wasted time is wasted money. Eliminating debt is often the first priority, and rightly so. If debt is in the form of credit ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Survey: Who are Consumerism Commentary Readers?

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, I conducted a short survey of Consumerism Commentary readers. I do this once in a while to try to develop a picture of who you are. A few people have expressed interest in seeing the results of this survey, so here are some of the statistics. 58 percent of Consumerism Commentary readers are ... Continue reading this article…

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Investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

by Luke Landes

Bernard Madoff is on his way to jail, having plead guilty to defrauding investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. While his victims thought they were investing with a legitimate manager, Madoff simply deposited clients’ money in a Chase Manhattan bank account and paid “returns” to earlier investors from the contributions of newer investors. The bulk ... Continue reading this article…

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FDIC Might Be Underfunded: Should You Withdraw Your Money From Banks?

by Luke Landes

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the federal organization that insures that customers do not lose deposits held at banks when those banks run into trouble, is finding itself in trouble. For years, Congress hasn’t allowed the FDIC to collect insurance premiums from banks, bowing to the strong banking industry lobby. Now that banks have ... Continue reading this article…

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