In the News

Lawmakers frustrated over China's trade policies got something from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke they seldom received from predecessor Alan Greenspan: sympathy.

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With many people facing increasing levels of debt and more stringent bankruptcy laws making it more difficult to eliminate even crippling levels of debt, being on the same general financial page is more important than ever.

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Ambling said the best money advice she can give someone is: "If you don't have it, don't spend it. People have to learn to say no."

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The author compares her reason for writing this book to being a nervous airplane traveler: "If something is going to go disastrously wrong," she writes, "it's likely to happen during those initial minutes. Becoming an established adult is the same way; it is during the first ten to fifteen years after school that the outcome of the rest of adulthood is determined."

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Draut lays the blame on public policies that "have failed to address changing realities in the workplace, in the economy, and in the home."

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The common theme of the books is soaring debt, brought on by two phenomena that this group's baby boomer parents didn't face: the high costs of a college education and the easy money offered by purveyors of credit cards.

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And much of that debt has been accrued covering everyday items. Seven out of 10 households reported using their credit cards to pay for car repairs, basic living expenses or house repairs, in effect using debt as their "safety net," according to that same study. One out of three families reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses for on average four of the last 12 months.

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In tomorrow's State of the Union address, President Bush is widely expected to promote an expansion of Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, as the new cornerstone of his ownership society agenda.

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It's never too early -- or too late -- to start funding your retirement. With Social Security and defined-benefit plans disappearing, you can no longer trust the federal government or your employer to take care of you. You're on your own.

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"People are very busy and boards are invested in the current director," said Frances Kunreuther of the Building Movement Project in New York, which studies generational differences in organizations. "That's who they have relationships with and that's who they're comfortable with."

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