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Personal Balance Sheet, June 2008 ($155,596, -1.5%)

by Luke Landes

Last month, I shared my belief that I would not make my net worth goal for the year, and June has been a step backwards. I ended the month with a modified net worth of $155,596, over $2,000 down from the end of May. For any readers new to Consumerism Commentary, I post financial updates ... Continue reading this article…

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Heads Up: E*TRADE Bank Increasing Savings Account Interest Rate Tomorrow

by Luke Landes

With some anticipating rate increases from the Federal Reserve, we might start seeing more banks increasing the interest rates offered on savings account. E*TRADE Bank is ready, and they’ve announced an increased from 3.15 percent to 3.30 percent APY starting tomorrow, July 2. I keep my company stock purchase plan investment with E*TRADE, though not by my ... Continue reading this article…

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The Problems Investors Should Have With the Wisdom of Crowds

by Luke Landes

Which rule applies to investing: the wisdom of crowds or herd mentality? According to James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds, all you need in order to make good decisions — good investing decisions being a subset of all good decisions — is a diverse, independent, decentralized, and aggregated crowd to follow. Let the ... Continue reading this article…

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Where Did You Come From, Where Did You Go (June 2008)

by Luke Landes

As June comes to a close, I’d like to thank visitors, readers, and commenters who enjoyed or contributed to Consumerism Commentary over the past month. I particularly like to mention the blogs and related websites that helped sustain Consumerism Commentary by linking here and providing paths for visitors to arrive. Here are the websites, not ... Continue reading this article…

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RepairPal Helps You Make Car Service Decisions

by Luke Landes

I’ve come across a number of interesting websites thanks to the Wall Street Journal podcast, the Tech News Briefing, including the E-Report with Tom Dziubek and and Paul Herrmann. (Note: Tom has interviewed me three times for the E-Report.) Most recently, the podcast informed me about RepairPal, a website that helps you find a local ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Now a Good Time to Buy Bank Stocks?

by Luke Landes

I don’t think “market timing” is a good investment strategy — in fact, it’s not a strategy at all — but it can be a worthwhile experiment if played with money you don’t mind losing. One way to time the market is to buy low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investments act as mutual funds — ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Through a Bear Market: Don’t Cut Your Losses

by Luke Landes

Despite contributions totaling thousands of dollars so far this year, since January 1, the value of my investment portfolio is down 10 percent. That’s enough of a decline to make anyone consider giving up on the stock market. It’s an understandable point of view. My 401(k) offers an automated interview to help you choose your asset ... Continue reading this article…

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Again, More $25 ING Direct Bonus Links

by Luke Landes

Once again, I have refreshed the list of ING Direct $25 bonus referral links. New customers are eligible for a $25 bonus just y opening an account and depositing at least $250. Consumerism Commentary readers have been very helpful by providing these links for other readers. As a reward, ING Direct provides the referrer with ... Continue reading this article…

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SteamVac Results: Very Good and Weekend Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Earlier today, I put the Hoover SteamVac I purchased last week to the test. The SteamVac required assembly, but the instructions were straightforward. The parts are mostly plastic and they had a “cheap” feel, but when the SteamVac was assembled, the construction was lightweight and easy enough to move across the carpet, even with full ... Continue reading this article…

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7 Ways to Lose Your Money

by Luke Landes

The idea of “getting rich slowly” may well be a fallacy. While slow and steady is a great method of accumulating wealth over long periods of time thanks to compounding interest and returns, the power of inflation — real inflation, not government-reported inflation, eats away at the value of your funds almost ensuring you will ... Continue reading this article…

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