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

February 2009

Nine Banks Have Failed in 2009 So Far

by Luke Landes

Three more banks failed on Friday, bringing the 2009 tally to nine. When banks fail, the deposits (bank accounts) are transferred to another bank, sometimes with the FDIC facilitating the transition. Regardless of the process, bank accounts are generally insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, so you won’t lose your money if […]

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Tips for Auto Loan Refinancing, Add Yours

by Luke Landes

Occasionally, Consumerism Commentary readers email me with financial questions. If you want to see a topic discussed here, you can do this as well. Just email me at flexo or tips at this domain name. I can’t answer every email personally, but I’ll do my best to connect you with the resources you need. Last […]

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ETFs or Index Funds: Which are Right for You?

by Luke Landes

About the author: This guest article is presented by ABCs of Investing, a new website for novice investors which offers two short and simple investing posts each week. Feel free to subscribe the the RSS feed. With last year’s market meltdown affecting both managed mutual funds as well as their low-cost counterparts index funds and […]

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Personal Income Statement, January 2009

by Luke Landes

This post contains my monthly income and expense report. If you haven’t viewed my January balance sheet, read that first. I review these reports on a monthly basis, though I may soon move to quarterly, to ensure my finances are staying on track and I’m making sound decisions with my money. Many years ago, I […]

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: $15,000 Tax Credit for Homebuyers

by Luke Landes

This text refers to the original $15,000 tax credit amendment for all homebuyers which has now been superseded. The tax credit is now $8,000 and is available for people who purchase a house between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Here is how to claim the $8,000 home buyer tax credit on your 2008 […]

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Personal Balance Sheet, January 2009

by Luke Landes

2009 started off well. Since December 31, my “modified net worth” has increased 2.4 percent despite a sickly stock market, presenting a January bottom line of $188,566. It’s not only a tradition for me to publish my monthly financial reports, this transparency is the original purpose of Consumerism Commentary. People post about their lives online for […]

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Cash 4 Gold: Scam! Real Tips for Selling Your Gold Jewelry

by Luke Landes

Consumerist has pointed out a discussion on ComplainsBoard about Cash4Gold, an outfit that promises top dollar for trading in your gold jewelery. With the tight economy and gold prices relatively high, many consumers will find this a good deal. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to get the true value for your traded in items. A […]

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How Citigroup Used $45 Billion from the Government

by Luke Landes

Citigroup released a report today explaining how it “spent” the $45 billion provided to the company by the government as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). On a high level, the report accounts for $46.5 billion spent or allocated to a variety of programs across five categories: residential mortgages, personal and business loans, […]

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What You Need to Know About the FICO Update

by Smithee

Fair Isaac, the company that is responsible for the formula behind your FICO score, has been planning an update for a long time, and it’s now being put into practice, but not without a few wrinkles. Called “FICO 08”, the new re-tooling should provide a more accurate risk assessment for anybody with a credit history. […]

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Understand the Recovery Rebate Credit

by Luke Landes

According to the Internal Revenue Service, 15 percent of 2008 income tax returns that have been filed already have errors involving the recovery rebate credit. Here is what the government wants you to know: Some tax returns erroneously claim the credit, do not claim the proper amount of recovery rebate credit or mistakenly enter the amount […]

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