I had lunch with a good friend today. Over Chinese food, we talked about personal finance. (Surprisingly, this isn’t a hot topic in my social circle.) We discussed the lure of new cars, and the virtues of buying used. We talked about the drawbacks of trading up from a small home to a large home. And we pondered what sorts of investments we ought to make in the coming years. I write about personal finance all the time, but it felt good to actually have a conversation about the subject.

Here are some of the personal finance stories I’ve been following lately. First up, Julie wrote with a word of warning:

Macy’s flipped my store card and sold my data to Citibank so they could issue me a Mastercard. I got a Citi card in the mail, ready to be activiated, and thought that I was a victim of identity theft. So I cancelled the card. I called called Citi to report the problem, and they informed me that it was due to my inactive Macy’s card that the new credit card was created.

Sounds slimy to me. It sounds slimy to The Consumerist, too. They have a whole exposé on the incident, which affected 3.5 million customers!

Elsewhere, Marketwatch has launched its Community section, which attempts to bring social networking aspects to financial news. You can tag and rate stories, leave comments, and attempt to predict the performance of various investment options.

Finally, here are two great sources for free educational material:

Both of these lists are excellent if you’re into self-education.

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