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

September 2005

Savings Account Interest Rates Updated

This article was written by in Banking, Saving. Comments Off on Savings Account Interest Rates Updated

The table of savings and checking account interest rates has been updated to include some moves by Presidential, UFB Direct, and Virtual Bank.

Save Some Money On Gas

This article was written by in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Save Some Money On Gas

Last week people were sounding the warning alarm for $5 gas at the pump. I didn’t echo the thought here because at the time on the surface it seemed somewhat reactionary. But some people are still claiaming we could shortly reach that… maybe.

Compare these two CNN articles. First, Rita could equal $5 gas, written September 22. Opening sentences:

Remember when gas spiked to $3-plus a gallon after Hurricane Katrina? By this time next week, that could seem like the good old days. Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation’s supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse.

Now here is a more recent article (September 28, today), in which Gerri Willis offers 5 tips for saving gas. The first few sentences:

Remember when gas spiked to $3-plus a gallon after Hurricane Katrina? By this time next week, that could seem like the good old days. Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation’s supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse. Analysts are predicting Rita’s aftermath could catapult gas prices to $4, even $5 a gallon.

Perhaps energy experts will come out once a week, every week, to declare that by “this time next week” we’ll see $5 gas. At some point, they will be correct.

Predictions aside, Gerri’s article does offer five tips as promised:

* Save from the start. Buy smart. At the very least, know the how your new car is rated in terms of gas mileage.

* Be high maintenance. Clean out the trunk, check air pressure in the tires, and keep your air filters clean.

* Find a buddy. Carpooling is a great solution for those who can give up some flexibility.

* Compare prices from home. Shop around for the best (lowest priced) stations on your route.

* Show us the deduction. Don’t forget the reimbursement rate for September through December 2005 is now 48.5 cents per mile. When I volunteer over the weekends this fall, I’m only getting 30 cents per mile in excess of 200 miles per day — a minimum I rarely reach. I suppose that’s why they call it volunteering.

A little tidbit gurus like to throw around is the first part of the phrase in the title of this entry. The second part is the sound Seth Green uttered as the voice of the character Chris Griffin in the new episode of Family Guy that was on earlier tonight.

“It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend.” Surely those who preach this phrase use an example of two people in the same position earning the same amount, having the same path to the current point in their careers. One spends more money than the other. The one who saves more builds wealth faster. Sure, that’s pretty straightforward.

But just like every other bite-sized nugget of “wisdom,” the credo just doesn’t hold up under real life circumstances. Take two frugal people in the same type of job. One is an event planner (and manager of that department) for a non-profit organization, the other is an event planner (and manager of that department) for a corporation. Let’s say they both have a decently frugal lifestyle and have expenses totalling $20,000 in the particular year we’re evaluating.

Our non-profit manager is making $40,000 during that year. Our corporate manager is bringing home $80,000. With the same conservative expenses, who is coming out on top, by leaps and bounds over time?

Our favorite phrase is often used in conjunction with the goal of becoming a “millionaire.” The fact remains that the individual with the highest net income at the end of the year, regardless of gross income or gross expenses, given the same opportunities for investment, is going to reach the goal first. Therefore, these two categories — income and expense — must be weighted equally. If you still believe that level of income is secondary to level of expense, someone has been trying to sell you something, and they have succeeded.

New York City Salaries

This article was written by in Salaries. 10 comments.

I heard this on the radio yesterday, but I couldn’t find it online as I was looking at the wrong magazine. (It appeared in New York Magazine, not The New Yorker.)

If you’ve ever wanted a good idea of how much money various people in New York City make, New York Magazine has conducted an extensive survey.

We’ve compiled a voluminous and eccentric list of hundreds of New Yorkers’ salaries, from the hedge-funder who pulled down more than a billion last year to the Chinese-food deliveryman making four figures (plus tips). There’s Calvin Klein and a guy who sells knockoffs on the street, a cantor and an imam, a first-year assistant district attorney and Sam Waterston, an honorary veteran of the D.A.’s office.

Many people didn’t want to talk about this kind of personal information, but the magazine did have a method of estimating — educated guessing — that could be considered accurate enough for this type of story. The numbers also don’t include perks, just base salary.

Here are some highlights:
[click to continue…]

What Are You Afraid Of? Part 2

by Luke Landes

Earlier, I posted a summary of the first half of Money Magazine’s newest feature, Your Six Biggest Money Fears. In the feature, six general fears regarding personal finance are discussed and debunked, and for each an alternate concern is posited. Outsourcing makes many white-collar Americans concerned about their job. Still, it’s mostly blue-collar jobs that […]

Read the full article →

What Are You Afraid Of?

by Luke Landes

CNN Money has an extensive feature on how general consensus is wrong again. The articles look at the biggest money fears, how they may be unreasonable, and what should worry the public instead. Here are the first three from the series. The remaining three appear in a follow-up post here at Consuermsim Commentary. While Americans […]

Read the full article →

Deciding to Go Back to School

by Luke Landes

Once in a while, we talk about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree here (see Is the MBA Worthwhile? and Good Time to Be an MBA). Free Money Finance had a discussion this week about going back to school as well. How do you know if going back to school is the right thing […]

Read the full article →

HOWTO Let Google Blog Search Access Your Full RSS Feed

by Luke Landes

If you have a popular blog that generates income through advertising, chances are you offer an RSS feed that contains only an exceprt of each entry. This is a good way to encourage readers to visit the blog to continue reading. In the similar interest of drawing traffic to the site, you should also want […]

16 comments Read the full article →

Emergency Funds, Doing Okay?

by Luke Landes

We hear all the time how Americans are not saving enough for emergencies. The “Emergency Fund” is heralded as the first step in getting a sound financial footing, before thoughts about investing in stocks or making large purchases enter the brain. The idea of putting aside cash for a (very) rainy day has been a […]

10 comments Read the full article →

ING Direct Offers New Feature

by Luke Landes

ING Direct is now requiring a new method to entering your secure PIN when logging in to view your account, involving a series of keystrokes that will be different each time you log in. This seems to be a method to thwart keylogging software. Here’s the notice: ING DIRECT is always working to provide you […]

Read the full article →
Page 1 of 212