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

avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Luke Landes. Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View 's Google Profile.

Luke Landes

In our detailed Zions Bank review, we cover its savings products, rates, and fees. We also compare it to other online banking options.

zions bank review

As of today, Zions Bank offers one of the highest interest rates among high-interest savings accounts. But is it worthwhile to move your money there to take advantage of this interest rate? Today’s interest rate environment is not the best for moving money from bank to bank in search of the highest rate. So the more appropriate question is whether Zions Bank is a good choice for someone who is not currently taking advantage of a high-yield savings account.

If the money you keep for short-term expenses like emergencies is earning only 0.25% APY or less, open a high-yield savings account anywhere and start giving your cash a chance against inflation. Even if it’s not at Zions Bank, any high-yield savings account is better than none.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.55% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at CIT Bank.

I’ve gone through the process of opening a Zions Bank savings account. This article contains a review of my experiences.

About Zions Bank

Before opening an account with the bank, I performed cursory research to understand the company that would be holding my deposit. Deposits at Zions Bank are FDIC insured up to the federal maximum. I wouldn’t even consider opening a savings account at a bank that did not offer this protection or the equivalent protection available at credit unions.

Zions Bank is based in Utah and has been in business since 1873. The corporation was formed by Brigham Young as Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company and was the territory’s first banking institution. The Church of Latter-Day Saints was involved with the bank’s operations until 1960, following a merger with other Utah banking institutions. After a series of name changes, the bank’s parent corporation is now known as Zions Bancorporation.

Zions Bancorporation operates 130 Zions Bank branches in Utah and Idaho. But the investment company’s operations span the western United States. The parent company is traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange (ZION). Zions Bank has a two star rating in Bankrate’s “Safe & Sound” system.

Opening a New Zions Bank Online Savings Account

The first page of the savings account application asks for your personal information. As expected, Zions Bank asks for your Social Security number, as well as your mother’s maiden name. You will use this information for identity verification when communicating with the bank. For communications, Zions’s customer service is available from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Mountain Time every day except Sunday.

Zions suggested I open the bank’s free checking account after completing the application, but I declined. The bank offered several additional features. I declined the ATM account access option because there are no bank-owned ATMs local to me. I also declined the Visa credit card as I have no need for another credit card at this time.

Click the image to the right to zoom in.

Funding the Zions Bank Online Savings Account

New customers have three options for funding the initial deposit, which carries a minimum of $100. The application offers electronic funds transfer (EFT), check, and wire. If you select to fund your account via check, the opening process takes longer. This process requires you to send a check through the mail and wait for the bank to receive it. The EFT process is the quickest, but it requires finding your bank routing number and account numbers. If you’re funding the account from an existing checking account, you can easily find this information on your checks.

I will be funding my new Zions savings account with an electronic transfer from ING Direct. Although I have the bank’s routing number memorized from the many times I’ve used it to fund new bank accounts, I always verify the number by logging into my account at ING Direct.

USA PATRIOT Act and Government Regulations

You may have noticed that opening a bank account in the past few years has involved more scrutiny for the applicant. To fight against terrorism–or against the funding of terrorism–banks are required to ask more questions about your purposes for opening a bank account. You will need to let Zions Bank know if you are a foreign government official, whether you plan to make deposits of physical cash (not electronic transfers), whether you plan to send or receive more than three wire transfers, if you plan to keep more than $1 million on deposit at the bank, and whether you are a business owner. You will also need to provide your occupation or industry and the name of your employer.

Like all savings accounts, Zions Bank will limit your withdrawals by internet, ACH, or telephone to six per thirty-day cycle. This is a federal regulation for savings accounts. But each bank can choose how it wants to handle violations of this rule. Zions charges customers $15 per withdrawal over the limit of six in each statement period. However, ATM withdrawals are unlimited. The Zions Bank Online Savings Account charges no other fees.

Once you provide all the information requested and agree to electronic disclosures, terms, and fees, the application is complete. Zions Bank will process the application within two business days. But your confirmation already includes your new account number.

Zions provides instructions for accessing your new account right away. But you won’t be able to access your account until you receive confirmation by email. Your login name is the same as the email address you provided during the application process, and your default password is the first two letters of your mother’s maiden name followed the month and year of your birth.

Accessing Your New Zions Bank Savings Account

Twenty-six hours after completing my application, I received my second email from Zions Bank to notify me that I could now access my account online. Using my email address and the password described above, I logged into ZionsBank.com.

Note: The password is case sensitive. And though I entered my mother’s maiden name capitalized properly, my password worked only when entering the two letters in lowercase.

After entering your default password, you will have the opportunity to select a security image and phrase, now a common practice when banking online. And you’ll pick three challenge questions that will be used to verify your identity and register your computer the first time you log in and any time you view your account from a new computer.

After assigning answers to your chosen questions, your account will bring you back to the main Zions Bank home page. You’ll need to log in again. Once you are logged in and choose to register the computer, you will have the option of turning off paper statements and will see your account listed. If you log in right away, you will probably be viewing your account before your initial deposit makes its way to the bank. Zions Bank will present you first with your balance screen, which shows you the balances across all the accounts you hold at Zions Bank. You can click on the name of any of your accounts to see that account’s activity. In my case, there was still nothing to see.

The process of opening my account at Zions Bank was flawless.

Zions Bank Rates

So opening an account with Zions is easy. Zions Bank also recently revamped its entire online presence and interface, which makes the banking experience much better. But the primary reason why Zions Bank isn’t a well-known national brand is simple. They have lousy interest rates.

Zions Bank provides a variety of deposit products.  Savings, Money Markets, IRA’s and CD’s can all be opened with no minimum deposit.  Here’s a rundown of the interest rates you can expect to receive on each offering.

  • Online Savings Account – 0.06%
  • Money Market Account – 0.50%
  • Anytime Interest Checking – 0.02%
  • High Yield CD’s – 0.05% – 1.01%
  • IRA Money Market – 0.14% – 0.20%

Simply put, those are awful. Zions Bank used to be a good high-yield online savings opportunity; but it has become the opposite. If you’re looking to stash money away into a quality online bank, look elsewhere. Checking out our best high yield savings account page is a great place to start.

Bank Data

Zions Bank
Routing (ABA) number 124000054
Established July 10, 1873
FDIC certificate 276579
Savings interest rates Click here to see rate
Money Market interest rates Click here to see rate
Location One South Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84133
Direct Connect Supported
Web Connect Supported
Mint/Yodlee Supported

{ 3 comments }

401(k) contribution limits can change every year. We’ve got the latest limits released by the IRS for 2018, as well as prior years.

401(k) contribution limits

401(k) plans are the primary retirement savings vehicle for the middle class. This is particularly true as more employers automatically enroll new employees in the plans. And for those who have the ability to maximize their contribution each year, the new calendar year offers an additional opportunity.

In 2016 and 2017, the maximum contribution limits were the same. For retirement accounts–which include 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, most 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plans–these stayed at $18,000. In case you were holding out for an increase, I have good news: for 2018, these contribution limits will go up to $18,500.

Of course, savers and investors aged 50 or older can take advantage of an additional catch-up contribution. This effectively increases the limit for those approaching traditional retirement age. In 2018, these taxpayers can contribute an additional $6,000 above the regular maximum of $18,500. As a result, if you are 50 or older, you can contribute a maximum of $24,500 into these tax-advantaged accounts in 2018.

Resource: Maxed out your 401(k) or looking for better investment options? Check out an IRA at WealthFront.

Total Contribution Limits and Examples

The total contribution limit, including employer contributions, has also changed. It is now at $55,000, up from last year’s $54,000.

The benefits of a 401(k) plan are, by design, directed primarily at people who most need an incentive to save for retirement. This may help contain the tax benefits within the middle class. The government does this by applying a maximum level of compensation to which matching benefits apply.

In 2017, only the first $270,000 in an employee’s compensation over the course of 2017 may be applied to the company’s matching formula. That goes up to $275,000 in 2018. That’s a sufficiently high maximum. It should cover more than just the middle class.

To illustrate,say a company matches an employee’s contributions at a rate of 50% up to a limit of 5% of the salary. An employee with a $100,000 salary contributes $15,000 to her 401(k). She will receive, at most, a $5,000 matching contribution (5% of the full $100,000 salary).

An employee at the same company earns $400,000 in compensation. She defers $15,000, so the matching contribution will be $13,750 (5% of the $275,000 maximum compensation, not $20,000).

The IRS has additional rules that require a company to balance benefits between employees earning $120,000 or more and all other employees.

Finding Account Fees

Beginning in 2013, new regulations required 401(k) plan administers to explicitly state in quarterly statements how much investors are paying in fees. Previously, this information was not easy to discover. You could (and should) look at the various prospectuses in search of management expenses fees or expense ratios, expressed as a percentage of assets. But there were at least two obstacles:

  • The expense ratios force you to do your own calculations to determine how much money you’re spending in fees.
  • Not all fees are included in expense ratios. Some funds, like annuity-based mutual funds, don’t have expense ratios but certainly have fees.

Now finding those fees is easier. The regulations that started in 2013 are still in place today.

Maximizing Your Contributions

To maximize your 401(k) contribution in 2018, spread the $18,500 across the number of paychecks you plan to receive throughout the year. That’s a contribution of about $1,541 each month for those age 49 or younger. The calculation for those over 50 who want to max the contribution is about $2,041 per month.

If your employer records your contributions as a percentage of your paycheck, remember to change them to account for raises and bonuses. If you are expecting your company to match your contributions at some level, and you reach your 401(k) contribution limit before your last paycheck, you may miss out on free money.

The following table illustrates the change in 401(k) contribution limits over the past several years.

Year 401(k)
Maximum
Catch-Up
Contribution
Maximum
Allocation
2018 $18,500 $6,000 $55,000
2017 $18,000 $6,000 $54,000
2016 $18,000 $6,000 $53,000
2015 $18,000 $6,000 $53,000
2014 $17,500 $5,500 $52,000
2013 $17,500 $5,500 $51,000
2012 $17,000 $5,500 $50,000
2011 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2010 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2009 $16,500 $5,500 $49,000
2008 $15,500 $5,000 $46,000

Take Control of Your 401k

Track and Analyze your Investments for Free: The easiest way to track and analyze all your investments, regardless of where they are located, is with Personal Capital’s free financial dashboard. By far the best financial tool we’ve ever used, Personal Capital enables you to connect all of your 401(k), 403(b), IRAs, and other investment accounts in one place. Once connected, you can see the performance of all of your investments and evaluate your asset allocation.

retirement fee analyzer

You can also see the fees you are paying through Personal Capital’s Retirement Fee Analyzer. I was stunned to learn that the fees in just my 401(k) could cost me over $200,000, requiring me to put off retirement for three years! They also offer a free Retirement Planner. This robust tool will help you plan for retirement and show you if you are on track to retire on your terms.

retirement planner

Try Personal Capital

{ 2 comments }

We’ve complied a list of the best student checking accounts in 2017. Options include online and traditional banks that pay bonuses, high interest rates, or both.

best student checking accounts

As we head into a new year, thousands of young adults will be heading to college for the first time. It’s important to get started on the right financial foot. A free student checking account is a good tool, particularly when combined with a savings account. Obtaining a student checking account that’s convenient for both students and their parents should be one of the first steps after deciding which school to attend and before moving in. For those students living at home, finding a convenient student checking account may be even easier.

The best student checking accounts often have desirable features, like no monthly fees, free checks, and low or no minimum balances. Completely free student checking accounts are a little difficult to come by, but many can be made free with a little effort. I often wish I could still qualify for free student accounts. After graduation or otherwise leaving the world of academics behind, you often find that you’ll need to pay fees or maintain a balance to maintain the same level of service from your bank.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.55% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at CIT Bank.

Here are some of the features of common student checking accounts. There may be differences depending on where you live. Why focus on the big banks first? Consumerism Commentary readers check in from all over the country–well, all over the world, really–and at least one of these banks will be in everyone’s backyard. Big banks aren’t the only games in town, though, so continue reading for more options, some of which might be more attractive.

If you’re in need for accounts specifically for adults, check out our best online checking accounts reviews.

Best Student Checking Accounts

Chase College Checking–Chase Bank is a large nationwide financial institution with many branches throughout the United States. Chase Total Checking is the basic checking product offered, and the student version of their checking account adds to these features and reduces the fees. Chase College Checking comes with a free debit card, online bill payment, mobile banking, and account alerts. You need only $25 to open a checking account at Chase. The monthly service fee is $6, but it will be waived for the first five years the account is opened. After that, it can be waived when you have a monthly direct deposit set up, OR maintain at least a $5,000 average daily balance.

For a limited time, Chase is offering students a $50 bonus to sign up for a Chase College Checking account. After your initial deposit is made, make 10 qualifying transactions in the first 60 days and the bonus is yours.

Chase also offers a version of this account for high school students, too. For high school students, there is no monthly fee when the account is linked to a parent’s account. It’s easy to convert the account from high school checking to college checking once the student is enrolled in an institute of higher learning.

Ally Interest Checking–While not specific for students, Ally Interest Checking is a fantastic option for students to consider. The best feature is that Ally has NO monthly maintenance fees. No rules to follow; just the peace of mind that you’ll never be charged a monthly fee for this product. They’ll also refund up to $10 per month from other bank’s ATM fees. They’re on the Allpoint ATM network so any of those ATM’s can be used fee free. Checks can be deposited remotely using your smartphone and money can be transferred person to person (fee free) using Popmoney.

Remember, this is Ally Interest Checking. All balances less than a $15,000 minimum daily balance (MDB) will receive a 0.10% APY and all balances greater than a $15,000 MDB will receive a 0.60% APY. While the higher interest rate may be attractive, I have two reasons why it’s really not. First, it’s rare for a student to have more than $15,000 in a checking account and second, if they do, that money should be placed in a high yield savings account or CD. Current interest rates are more than double that of 0.60% … no sense in leaving the money in checking.

Wells Fargo Teen Checking–If you’re a high school student, the Wells Fargo Teen Checking account might be for you. Created specifically for High School students between the ages of 13 and 17, this account gives parents oversight into a teen’s bank account. Students will get their own debit card and parents can set the limits on purchases and withdrawals. There is no monthly service fee so long as you agree to paperless statements and the initial deposit required is just $25.

Parents will receive daily alerts via text message, email or online every time there’s activity on their child’s debit card. You’ll also have the option to use Overdraft protection by linking a Wells Fargo savings account just in-case. All Wells Fargo Teen Checking accounts include their standard security features like zero liability protection and 24/7 fraud monitoring.

Santander Student Value Checking–The Santander Student Value Checking account is the most straightforward offer of any student checking account. It’s available to any student ages 16-25. There is no monthly fees associated with this account and the minimum deposit to open is a cool Hamilton ($10). While this account does not earn interest, there is also no minimum balance required to keep the account open.

If you own a Santander Student Value Checking account, you can choose to open either a savings or money market account with Santander, and that account too will not carry a monthly service charge. ATM withdrawals from non Santander ATM’s will cost you $2 (plus whatever the other bank charges) which can get expensive if you plan to make a lot of ATM transactions.

Key Student Checking–KeyBank offers a very terrific student checking option centralized around no fees. The minimum deposit to open the account is $50 and there is no minimum balance to maintain. The Key Student Checking account is available to any student age 16 or older who has a valid social security number. The nicest benefit comes if the form of ATM refunds. When other banks charge you a fee for withdrawals, KeyBank will reimburse you up to $6 of those fees per month.

There is a $5 monthly fee associated with the Key Student Checking account. That fee can be waived in one of two ways:

  1. Have deposits of at least $200 per month
  2. Make at least five account transactions per month

Bank of America Core Checking–Despite another large network of bank locations, Bank of America wants to direct its student-customers towards “eBanking.” These accounts are designed to encourage staying out of bank branches and banking completely with ATMs, online, and mobile. With the account, students will receive a free debit card, online and mobile banking, a savings account with “Keep the Change,” a feature that automatically rounds your spending up to the nearest dollar and places the remainder into a savings account for you.

The Bank of America Core Checking product is perfect for students. Any student under the age of 24 will get the monthly fee waived. If you’re older, then the $12 monthly fee can be waived in any of the following situations:

  • You have at least one direct deposit each month of $250 or more
  • You maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500
  • You enroll in the Preferred Rewards Program

Unfortunately, there is no refund on ATM fees. The minimum opening deposit on a Bank of America Core Checking account is just $25.

Try the Bank Down the Street

Your local community bank, regional bank, or credit union. These banks are some of the largest banks in the United States in terms of assets. It’s likely one or more of the four banks above will be convenient to both students and their parents or guardians. These aren’t the only choices, however. As long as each major national bank feels they only need to compete with the other three major national banks, there won’t be much incentive for the big companies to offer the best products. Smaller banks don’t have the resources to mount strong marketing campaigns that can compete for your attention. Credit unions hardly advertise at all.

It may take a phone call, but you might find that smaller banks offer better deals for students than what the large banks offer. As long as your checking account is protected by FDIC or NCUA insurance, you shouldn’t feel that smaller banks are riskier than larger banks.

{ 20 comments }

The debt avalanche is the fastest and cheapest way to pay off you debts. But is it always the best way? Sometimes the debt snowball may be better.

debt avalanche

When it comes to math, things are pretty straightforward. No matter what language you speak, one and one always equals two. And, in theory, finances should work this way, too. After all, money is based on math.

Ah, but here is where we run into a problem. Because money isn’t just about math. It’s also about a host of human factors, including our emotions, unexpected circumstances, and even physical state. Have you ever tried to spend less at the grocery store when you’re hungry? You know what I mean!

This is why experts argue about the best way to pay off credit card and other debts. There is actually a mathematically correct way to pay off debt. It’s known, typically, as the debt avalanche. If you stick to it, the debt avalanche is definitely more efficient and fast than the debt snowball popularized by Dave Ramsey.

But following the debt avalanche, even though it’s the “correct” way to pay off debts, isn’t always the best option. First, let’s talk about what the debt avalanche actually is. Then, we’ll talk about when it might not be the best option.

What is a Debt Avalanche?

You probably have already heard about the debt snowball if you’ve read anything in the personal finance space. It’s the idea that when paying off your debts, you should start with the smallest balance debt first. Once you pay off that debt, you put extra money plus that debt’s monthly minimum payment towards your next smallest debt, and so on.

The idea here is that you get a quick win up front by paying off one or two of your smaller debts quickly. This approach doesn’t account for interest rates at all.

The debt avalanche, on the other hand, is all about interest rates. Here’s how to do it:

1. Order your debts from highest to lowest interest rate. Often times, your credit cards will be at the top of the list with their exorbitant interest rates. But you’re not worried about provider or loan servicer. Only the interest rate you’re currently paying counts.

What should you do about introductory rates? It depends. But you might decide to back burner these debts until the interest rate hikes.

For instance, say you’re currently paying 0% interest on a credit card. In 15 months, the interest rate will jump to 17.99%. Right now, just leave the card at the bottom of your to-be-paid list. That’s where it belongs with that introductory interest rate. Just pay attention to when the interest rate rises. Then, you may need to reorder your debt payoff plan to account for the card’s increased interest rate.

Resource: List of 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards

2. Pay the minimums on all of your debts each month. This is essential. If you can’t pay more than the minimums, at least pay that.

3. Put any extra money towards highest interest debt first. Don’t think you can find any extra money? Check out this list of ways to start paying off debt today. Whatever extra you can scrape together or pull out of your budget goes towards this debt, even if it’s the largest balance debt on your list.

4. Repeat every month. Eventually, you’ll pay off that first debt. Once you do, move towards putting extra money–plus that first debt’s minimum payment–towards the second highest interest rate debt on your list.

It’s really pretty straightforward. The only thing that makes it different from the debt snowball is the order in which you pay off your debts.  So what’s the difference, mathematically, and why is the debt avalanche not always the best method to use, even though it’s the most efficient? First, the math.

How Does the Math Play Out?

If you know anything at all about basic math and interest rates, it’s not hard to surmise that the debt avalanche will be the more efficient option for paying off debts. When you pay down the principal on your highest-interest debts first, you pay less interest overall. And since you’re paying less overall interest, you’ll pay off your debts faster. Sometimes, the difference is significant, but sometimes it’s not.

To run the numbers, we’ll use this calculator.

Let’s say you have the following debts:

  • Credit Card one: $2,500 balance; $70 minimum payment; 18.99% interest rate
  • Credit Card two: $1,000 balance; $25 minimum payment; 10.00% interest rate
  • Student Loan: $15,000 balance; $150 minimum payment; 8.99% interest rate
  • Car Loan: $8,000 balance: $250 minimum payment; 10.00% interest rate

With a debt snowball, you’d pay off your debts in this order: Credit Card two, Credit Card one, Car Loan, Student Loan. With a debt avalanche, you’d paid them in this order: Credit Card 1, Credit Card 2/Car Loan (your choice!), Student Loan.

Since there’s not much difference in order, there’s also not much difference in outcome. It you pay $1,000 per month total towards your debts, you’ll pay them off in 30 months either way. You’ll pay $3,347 in interest with the debt snowball and $3,309 with the avalanche.

So the debt avalanche saves you money, but not a ton. This is generally going to be the case if the method you choose won’t dramatically alter the order in which you pay off your debts.

But what if the method did make a big difference? Let’s look at another scenario.

  • Credit Card one: $7,500 balance; $150 minimum payment; 18.99% interest rate
  • Credit Card two: $500 balance; $25 minimum payment; 9.99% interest rate
  • Student Loan: $15,000 balance; $150 minimum payment; 10.00% interest rate
  • Car Loan: $8,000 balance; $250 minimum payment; 12.o0% interest rate

So under a debt snowball, you’d pay them in this order: Credit Card two, Credit Card one, Car Loan, Student Loan. Under a debt avalanche, you use this order: Credit Card one, Car Loan, Credit Card two, Student Loan.

Let’s also say that money is tight, and you can only put $600 a month towards your debts. In this case, it would still take you the same amount of time to pay them off–74 months. But you’d pay $13,367 in interest with the debt snowball and just $13,143 in interest with the avalanche.

The bottom line here is that these differences will amplify with a bigger spread in interest rates, a larger overall balance, or a longer time taken to pay off your debts. But unless you have huge amounts of debt, the difference may not add up to more than a few hundred bucks in interest.

So is It Really Best?

Here’s the bottom line. The math will always come out in favor of the debt avalanche method. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best method for paying off your debts. In fact, research shows that for most people, the debt snowball method is more motivating and more effective. There’s a reason, after all, Dave Ramsey’s program has been so successful over the years!

With that said, there are some other important factors to consider when making this decision, including:

Whether or not you can refinance your debts. If you have a decent credit score, you may be able to move some of your debts around to much lower interest rates. This is a good move, as long as you don’t use those freed-up credit card limits to rack up even more debt. Refinancing through 0% introductory APR credit cards or personal loans can help even out the math with super high interest debt.

How you drive your financial decision making. If you’re like most people, your money decisions are driven more by emotions than you’d like to admit. Even if you consider yourself a logic-driven person, it’s hard to remove emotion completely from your spending and saving choices. So take this into account, and be honest with yourself. If small wins up front will keep you motivated to pay off your debts, use the debt snowball. If you can stay the course regardless, try the debt avalanche.

Your actual interest rate situation. If you have one debt that has an incredibly high interest rate, while the rest are more average, it’s probably best to pay off that debt first. If you can’t refinance it, just push through and pay it off–even if its balance isn’t as low as some of your other debts. This will free up more money to keep pushing on with getting out of debt, too

So remember, the debt avalanche is the mathematically correct way to pay off your debts. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only answer. The important thing is really that you continue making payments on your debts so that you work towards becoming debt free.

{ 192 comments }

The Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2018

by Luke Landes

Find the best prepaid debit cards of 2018, including low fee cards and those you can use for free. We compare features, fees, and bonuses. Prepaid debit cards have always been a controversial topic. Some cards carry insanely high fees just for making everyday purchases. Suze Orman’s entry into the prepaid card business, the Approved […]

35 comments Read the full article →

50 Tips to Help Establish Your Emergency Fund

by Luke Landes

50 Ways to build an emergency fund. Tips, tricks and strategies on saving more for emergencies and where to keep your rainy day money. There’s a reason Dave Ramsey’s famous Baby Step #1 is to build an emergency fund. It helps people get on track for becoming financially independent. I don’t agree with everything Ramsey […]

14 comments Read the full article →

Pros and Cons of Interest-Only Mortgage Payments

by Luke Landes

Interest only mortgage payments appeal to many because of the low monthly payment. But are they a good way to go? We list the pros and cons. A while back, a Consumerism Commentary reader named Ryan suggested I write about interest-only mortgages. I thought this was an interesting request. So I definitely wanted to address […]

9 comments Read the full article →

Can You Eliminate $500 of Your Expenses Each Month?

by Luke Landes

How to Save $500 a Month: Saving money doesn’t have to hurt. We’ve developed a plan to help you save an extra $500 a month without sacrificing your lifestyle. Even when you’re good at managing your money, it’s surprisingly easy to let things get out of control. When you’re young and broke, you can be […]

19 comments Read the full article →

The Best Investments for a Teenager

by Luke Landes

It’s never too early to start investing. In fact, we wish high school students invested even a little. So here are some tips on how to invest as a teenager. It doesn’t hurt to start talking to even young kids about investing. But when they’re teenagers, the can–and should–get hands-on experience. Like many other kids […]

9 comments Read the full article →

Wal-Mart Offering Check Cashing Services

by Luke Landes

Walmart checking cashing service offers a low cost way to cash a paycheck. But is it the best way to get paid? We give you several free alternatives. Google the words “cashing checks.” Below the paid ads and a Google map of various check cashing locations in your area, you will find Walmart.com. A one-stop […]

10 comments Read the full article →
Page 1 of 27012345···50100150···Last »