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    Claim: former Corinthian students hounded for student loans they don't owe

    Sen. Warren blasts Department of Education for its role

    Once you take out a student loan, you have to pay it back. It can't be discharged in bankruptcy, for example.

    But there is one scenario where you might be able to walk away. The law allows consumers to discharge some student loans if the school they were attending closed its doors.

    It happened last year when Corinthian Colleges shut down, and more recently when ITT went under. As we reported just a few weeks ago, students who were attending ITT when it closed and had not completed a degree program may be able to cancel their student loans by applying for a student loan discharge.

    So Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was not pleased when she learned that the U.S. Department of Education was working to collect loans from former Corinthian students who might have otherwise been eligible to cancel their debts.

    Troubling new data

    "These troubling new data suggest that instead of focusing on getting these students the relief they are entitled to under federal law, the Department's student loan bank - working with its loan servicers and debt collectors - is instead intentionally collecting on debt that it knows may be eligible for discharge," Warren wrote in a letter to Secretary of Education John King.

    Warren says the evidence suggests that, instead of helping borrowers who might be eligible to discharge their debt, the government is assisting debt collectors who she said are hounding former students for money they might not owe.

    The lawmaker said she received information provided by the Department of Education that showed only a small number of former Corinthian students have been able to discharge their student loan debt. But she says it appears as though some 80,000 former students might be eligible for the relief.

    Instead, she says most of these students have had tax refunds and other government benefits seized. She suspects many of these former students are unaware of their rights.

    Adding insult to injury

    "Instead of adding insult to injury for tens of thousands of Corinthian victims by pushing scores of them into debt collection, the Department of Education should stand up for these students as it has promised to do for more than a year and immediately halt all collections on this debt," Warren wrote.

    Warren says the government agency should use its existing authority to discharge Corinthian borrowers' debts and make sure that no other students are being hounded for debts they don't owe.

    Who's eligible

    If you attended Corinthian or ITT using Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, or Federal Perkins Loans and were enrolled when the school closed, you may be eligible for relief.

    First, contact your loan servicer about the application process to discharge a loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says you may also need to contact your school to obtain your academic and financial records.

    You may also need to contact the licensing agency in the state where you attended school to get help in acquiring those records. The documents may help support your discharge claim.

    You can get more information about that here.

    Once you take out a student loan, you have to pay it back. It can't be discharged in bankruptcy, for example.But there is one scenario where you might...
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      New California law protects surviving spouse from foreclosure

      Previously, lenders were not required to even talk to surviving family members

      The U.S. foreclosure crisis has thankfully passed, but foreclosures still occur. In California, fewer will now occur because the homeowner has died.

      California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed a law that sponsors say will protect survivors from unnecessary foreclosures. The Homeowner Survivor Bill of Rights (SBOR) will stop lenders from foreclosing on widows, widowers, and other relatives of someone who has died and is not listed on the mortgage.

      Previously, the California Reinvestment Coalition contended that foreclosures often occurred because the lenders refused to speak with survivors not on the mortgage.

      New rights

      Under the new law, mortgage servicers will be required to talk with surviving homeowners and provide clear information about their options and the process to assume the mortgage, and maybe even seek a modification. The new law goes into effect in January.

      Kit Dillon Givas, a surviving homeowner from Sacramento, said she did not expect she might lose her house when her husband died earlier this year.

      “Instead of spending time to properly grieve, I've spent the last six months trying to get Ocwen, my mortgage servicer, to talk to me about how to keep our home of 28 years,” she said. “I’m glad other survivors like me won't have to go through what I have.”

      Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, says the new law not only protects survivors, it also will help stabilize communities, since it will prevent needless foreclosures.

      Limited federal protection

      California is the rare state that now has a law protecting a surviving spouse. There is no such federal law, however, there is a federal statute that provides limited protection, under certain circumstances.

      According to Bankrate.com, a surviving spouse whose name is on the deed, or who has been left the house in his or her spouse's will, may be eligible to assume the mortgage. The law, enacted more than 30 years ago, places limitations on the lender's ability to foreclose in this circumstance when the mortgage is up to date.

      If you find yourself in this situation, your first step should be to make sure the mortgage is up to date. The next step should be to make an appointment with an experienced real estate attorney to guide you through the process.

      The U.S. foreclosure crisis has thankfully passed, but foreclosures still occur. In California, fewer will now occur because the homeowner has died.Cal...
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      Personal incomes rise in August, spending barely budges

      The personal savings rate held steady

      Consumers saw their incomes rise in August and held on to most of it.

      The Commerce Department reports personal incomes edged up $39.3 billion, or 0.2%, last month, with disposable income (DPI) -- what's left after taxes -- also up 0.2%, or $31.9 billion.

      Personal consumption expenditures (PCE), on the other hand, rose just $6.2 billion -- less than 0.1%.

      The increase in personal income in August primarily reflected pay raises, personal income receipts on assets, and government social benefits.

      Personal outlays -- the total of PCE, personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments -- rose $6.1 billion.

      Personal saving rose $12.9 billion -- from July -- to $807.6 billion, with the the personal saving rate and personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income holding steady at 5.7%.

      The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.

      Consumers saw their incomes rise in August and held on to most of it.The Commerce Department reports personal incomes edged up $39.3 billion, or 0.2%,...
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      Pending home sales pull back in August

      It's the third decline in four months

      Pending home sales cooled in August following the first increase in three months during July.

      The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), which is based on contract signings, fell 2.4% last month to 108.5, the second lowest reading of the year and down 0.2% from a year earlier.

      Lower inventories faulted

      Suffering supply levels have taken the wind out of the momentum the housing market experienced earlier this year.

      "Contract activity slackened throughout the country in August except for in the Northeast, where higher inventory totals are giving home shoppers greater options and better success signing a contract," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "In most other areas, an increased number of prospective buyers appear to be either wavering at the steeper home prices pushed up by inventory shortages or disheartened by the competition for the miniscule number of affordable listings."

      Yun adds there is growing evidence that without more new home construction, the current housing recovery could stall. Housing inventory has declined year-over-year for 15 straight months. Properties in August typically sold 11 days quicker than in August 2015 and -- after increasing 5.1% last month -- existing-home prices have risen year-over-year for 54 consecutive months.

      "There will be an expected seasonal decline in new listings in coming months, which could accelerate price appreciation and make finding an affordable home even more of a struggle for would-be buyers," added Yun.

      Following last month's decline, existing-home sales in 2016 are expected to be around 5.36 million -- a 2.1% increase from last year and the highest annual pace since 2006 . The national median existing-home price growth is forecast this year to rise around 4%.

      Activity by region

      • The PHSI in the Northeast rose 1.3% in August to 98.1 and is now up 5.9% from a year ago.
      • In the Midwest, the index dipped 0.9% to 104.7 and is 1.7% lower than in August 2015.
      • Pending home sales in the South dropped 3.2% to a reading 119.8 for a year-over-year decline of 1.5%.
      • The index in the West plunged 5.3% to 102.8 and is now 0.6% lower than a year ago.
      Pending home sales cooled in August following the first increase in three months during July.The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports its Pen...
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      Model year 2016-2017 Volvo XC90s and S90s recalled

      The drain hose for the air conditioning may leak into the passenger compartment

      Volvo Cars of North America is recalling 43,766 model year 2016-2017 Volvo XC90s and S90s manufactured April 15, 2015 through September 19, 2016.

      The drain hose for the air conditioning may leak into the passenger compartment due to a drain hose installation error during manufacturing.

      Significant water drainage into the passenger compartment may adversely affect air bag deployment in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury.

      What to do

      Volvo will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the air conditioning drain hose for proper installation, replacing the hose as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on November 14, 2016.

      Owners may contact Volvo at 1-800-458-1552. Volvo's number for this campaign is R89707.

      Volvo Cars of North America is recalling 43,766 model year 2016-2017 Volvo XC90s and S90s manufactured April 15, 2015 through September 19, 2016.The dr...
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      Adams Farm Slaughterhouse recalls beef, veal and bison products

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      Adams Farm Slaughterhouse of Athol, Mass., is recalling beef, veal, and bison products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

      Based on an epidemiological investigation, seven case-patients have been identified in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and West Virginia with illness onset dates ranging from June 27, 2016 to September 4, 2016.

      Traceback information was available for five case-patients and indicated that all of them consumed beef products supplied by Adams Farms Slaughterhouse.

      The raw intact and non-intact beef products originated from animals slaughtered on July 15, 25, and 27, 2016, and August 3, 8, 10, 11, 17, 24 and 26, 2016, and further processed and packed on various dates between July 21, and September 22, 2016.

      The recalled products bear establishment number EST. 5497 inside the USDA mark of inspection and have lot numbers 120361, 121061, 121761, 121861, 122161, 122261, 122361, 122461, 122861, 123061, 123161, 123261, 123561, 123661, 123861, 124561, 125261, 125861, 125961, 124261, 120461, 120961, 121161, 121661, 124461, 125061, 126661.

      The following products are being recalled:

      WHOLE BEEF CARCASSES, BEEF CUTS, BEEF TRIM, BEEF FOR STEWING, BEEF FLAT IRON, CHUCK ROAST BONE/IN, CHUCK ROAST BONELESS, ROLLED CHUCK ROAST, STANDING RIB ROAST, ROLLED RIB ROAST, RIB EYE STEAK WITH/BONE, RIB EYE STEAK BONELESS, BONELESS RIB EYE STEAK, DELMONICO STEAK, SIRLOIN STEAK, NY STRIP STEAK, SIRLOIN STRIP STEAK, T-BONE STEAK, PORTERHOUSE STEAK, TENDERLOIN STEAK, BONELESS NY SIRLOIN STEAK, SIRLOIN STEAK, NY SIRLOIN STEAK BONE/IN, EYE ROUND ROAST, TOP ROUND STEAK, TOP ROUND ROAST, BEEF KABOBS MADE FROM TOP ROUND, SHOULDER ROAST, LONDON BROIL STEAK CUT FROM THE SHOULDER, BOTTOM ROUND ROAST, FACE RUMP ROAST, TRI TIP ROAST, LONDON BROIL STEAK MADE FROM ROUND, SKIRT STEAK, FLANK STEAK, GROUND BEEF, GROUND BEEF PATTIES, BEEF LOIN NY SHELL STEAK, BEEF CLUB STEAK, BEEF HEART, BEEF LIVER, BEEF OXTAIL, WHOLE LIVER, BEEF BRISKET, WHOLE TENDERLOIN, FACE RUMP, BOTTOM ROUND FLAT, WHOLE CHUCK BONE/IN, WHOLE CHUCK BONELESS, WHOLE RIB EYE, WHOLE SIRLOIN STRIP, TOP BUTT, WHOLE TOP ROUND, AND BEEF SOUP BONES (SHANKS).

      VEAL WHOLE CARCASS, VEAL CUTS, VEAL TRIM, OSSO BUCO, VEAL STEW MEAT, GROUND VEAL, VEAL SHOULDER, VEAL RIB CHOPS, VEAL LOIN CHOPS, VEAL STEAKS, VEAL ROUND STEAK, VEAL CUTLETS, VEAL TENDERLOIN, VEAL ROAST.

      Also being recalled are the following products from Bison slaughtered on August 17:

      BISON CUTS, BISON TRIM, BISON FOR STEWING, BISON FLAT IRON, CHUCK ROAST BONE/IN, CHUCK ROAST BONELESS, ROLLED CHUCK ROAST, STANDING RIB ROAST, ROLLED RIB ROAST, RIB EYE STEAK WITH/BONE, RIB EYE STEAK BONELESS, BONELESS RIB EYE STEAK, DELMONICO STEAK, SIRLOIN STEAK, NY STRIP STEAK, SIRLOIN STRIP STEAK, T-BONE STEAK, PORTERHOUSE STEAK, TENDERLOIN STEAK, BONELESS NY SIRLOIN STEAK, SIRLOIN STEAK, NY SIRLOIN STEAK BONE/IN, EYE ROUND ROAST, TOP ROUND STEAK, TOP ROUND ROAST, BISON KABOBS MADE FROM TOP ROUND, SHOULDER ROAST, LONDON BROIL STEAK CUT FROM THE SHOULDER, BOTTOM ROUND ROAST, FACE RUMP ROAST, TRI TIP ROAST, LONDON BROIL STEAK MADE FROM ROUND, SKIRT STEAK, FLANK STEAK, GROUND BISON, GROUND BISON PATTIES, BISON LOIN NY SHELL STEAK, BISON CLUB STEAK, BISON HEART, BISON LIVER, BISON OXTAIL, WHOLE LIVER, BISON BRISKET, WHOLE TENDERLOIN, FACE RUMP, BOTTOM ROUND FLAT, WHOLE CHUCK BONE/IN, WHOLE CHUCK BONELESS, WHOLE RIB EYE, WHOLE SIRLOIN STRIP, TOP BUTT, WHOLE TOP ROUND, AND BISON SOUP BONES (SHANKS).

      The recalled items were shipped to farmer’s markets, retail locations, and restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut and eastern New York, and may have been shipped to neighboring states in the immediate area.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased these products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact Ed Maltby at (978) 249-9441 x 105.

      Adams Farm Slaughterhouse of Athol, Mass., is recalling beef, veal, and bison products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.Based on an epidem...
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      Model year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles recalled

      The front passenger air bag may inflate unintentionally

      Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling 7,589 model year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles manufactured November 30, 2015, to June 14, 2016.

      An airbag inflator manufacturing error may result in the inadvertent partial inflation of the front passenger airbag, increasing the risk of a crash or injury.

      What to do

      Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front passenger air bag assembly, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 13, 2016.

      Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's number for this recall is G0W.

      Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling 7,589 model year 2016 Toyota Prius vehicles manufactured November 30, 2015, to June 14, 20...
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      Walmart recalls tripod stools

      The plastic collar that connects the three legs can break

      Walmart of Bentonville, Ark., is recalling about 2,600 tripod stools.

      The plastic collar that connects the three legs can break, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves Mahco Inc. tripod stools with three steel legs and a REALTREE logo pattern camouflage polyester fabric seat. The steel legs have plastic caps on both ends and a round plastic hub that connects the three legs. The stools measure about 17 inches high by 13 inches wide.

      There is a black polyester carry strap attached to the bottom of the stool seat. Mahco Inc. is printed on an orange and black hang tag attached to the stools.

      The stools, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from June 2016, through August 2016, for about $6.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled stools and return them to Walmart for a full refund.

      Consumers may contact Walmart at 800-925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.walmartstores.com and click on “Product Recalls” for more information.

      Walmart of Bentonville, Ark., is recalling about 2,600 tripod stools.The plastic collar that connects the three legs can break, posing a fall hazard to...
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      Wells Fargo under siege as anger of scandal grows

      California hits the bank where it hurts

      The enormity of what Wells Fargo did to many of its customers appears to be sinking in, and anger is building.

      Wells Fargo CEO John Stumph was back on Capitol Hill Thursday, facing lawmakers who, if anything, are angrier now than they were the week before when Stumph appeared before them to try to explain how thousands of bank employees opened accounts in customers' names, without their knowledge, just so the employees could hit their sales goals.

      It may be too soon to know if the scandal will cause huge numbers of current Wells Fargo customers to look for another bank, but the scandal has already caused the state of California to do so.

      “Wells Fargo’s fleecing of its customers by opening fraudulent accounts for the purpose of extracting millions in illegal fees demonstrates, at best, a reckless lack of institutional control and, at worst, a culture which actively promotes wanton greed,” said California Treasurer John Chiang, in a statement.

      Losing California's business

      Because of the bank's actions, Chaing announced the state will suspend its financial ties with the San Francisco-based financial institution. That means no investments by the Treasurer's Office in Wells Fargo securities.

      It also means the state will stop using Wells Fargo brokerage services and will drop the bank as a managing underwriter on state bond sales. The sanctions will remain in place for at least 12 months.

      That's likely to get Wells Fargo's attention, since the state Treasurer controls nearly $2 trillion in annual banking transactions, manages billions of dollars in investments, and is the largest issuer of municipal bonds in the U.S.

      In a letter to Wells Fargo, Chaing said he is trying to help the bank understand that “integrity and trust matter.”

      Warren not letting up

      In Washington, the scandal seems to have united a divided Congress in its condemnation of Wells Fargo. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been the most vocal and most scathing, however, particularly when she confronted Stumph at a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

      “You haven’t resigned. You haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings,” she said. “You haven’t fired a single senior executive. Instead, your definition of ‘accountable’ is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves. It’s gutless leadership.”

      Warren says the bank “squeezed employees to the breaking point” in an effort to drive up the price of its stock. Some present and former bank employees, meanwhile, have sued Wells Fargo, claiming they were the biggest victims of the scandal.

      Meanwhile, Warren and seven other members of the Senate have sent a letter to the Department of Labor, requesting it investigate Wells Fargo for potential violations of wage and hour laws as it pushed employees to hit sales targets.

      The enormity of what Wells Fargo did to many of its customers appears to be sinking in, and anger is building.Wells Fargo CEO John Stumph was back on C...
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      Americans' diet improves, sort of

      A new report finds Americans are still eating too much, and too much of the wrong things

      It's not just how much we're eating, but what we're eating, that needs work. To put it simply, Americans eat too much and also eat too much of the wrong things, according to a report card on the American diet published today in Nutrition Action Healthletter.

      The average American consumes about 2,500 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, up from about 2,000 calories a day in the 1970s -- more calories than the average sedentary consumer needs.

      The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which publishes the newsletter, gave the American diet a D+ in the category of Meat, Poultry, & Seafood.  Chicken began edging out beef starting in 2004, but Americans still eat more red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and veal) than white meat. 

      Red meats, especially processed meats like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausage, raise the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and stroke, the report notes. 

      Fruits & vegetables

      The report card gives Americans’ Fruit & Vegetable consumption a B-, saying that Americans are ignoring experts’ advice to fill half their plates with vegetables and fruits. Vegetable consumption (minus white potatoes) climbed in the late 1980s but has been inching down since. Fruit (minus juice) has been fairly flat.

      Grains got a C-, since we’re still eating far more (mostly white) flour in bagels, buns, tortillas, muffins, cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies, pasta, and pizza crust than in the 1970s.

      CSPI issued a D+ on Beverages because sodas (which are mostly sugary, not diet) are still the dominant beverage.

      “It’s clear that Americans aren’t now following, nor have they ever followed, the advice dished out by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other health authorities,” said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman, author of the Nutrition Action article. 

      “Americans are eating the diet recommended by food manufacturers and restaurants’ marketing departments, which encourage overconsumption of everything except for fruits and vegetables,” she added.

      It's not just how much we're eating, but what we're eating, that needs work. To put it simply, Americans eat too much and also eat too much of the wrong th...
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      Survey shows some consumers are already shopping for the holidays

      Others are annoyed that the holiday season is starting so early

      We've yet to leave September behind, but many consumers are already noticing prominent holiday displays in stores around the country.

      This has prompted many consumers to get into the holiday spirit a little early and start shopping. A survey conducted by CreditCards.com shows that 14% of Americans have already started buying items for the holiday season. However, a scant 1% of consumers have finished their shopping already, which means retailers will have plenty of time to lay it on thick to attract customers.

      The survey also found where, or through what medium, shoppers were likely to buy items this year. Out of 1,000 adults who responded, 58% said that they would do their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. Twenty-one percent said they would do their shopping online, while 11% said they’d buy items with their mobile device; this last method is preferred mostly by Millennials, with one out of every five of them saying that’s the way they’ll likely shop this year.

      Starting too soon?

      But while some consumers are ready to embrace the holidays, there are many more who take issue with starting so early. The survey found that 73% of consumers agreed with the statement “it is annoying that the holiday shopping season has gotten earlier.” However, experts say that it makes sense from a business perspective.

      “If the consumers are asking for holiday products earlier in the year, you are more than likely to see retailers start having a small assortment by late summer and build up their inventory as we move into the holiday season. It is natural that retailers are reacting to this trend,” said Ana Serafin Smith, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation.

      This doesn’t stop some people from griping anyway, though. Many have taken to the internet to voice their displeasure that they can’t get through autumn without being assaulted by images of sugarplums, festive decorations, or an imminent “winter wonderland.”

      Creative dissent

      One videographer named Jon Murray even went so far as to create a music video parody of One Republic’s popular song “It’s Too Late To Apologize.” His aptly named video, called “It’s Too Soon for Christmastime,” can be viewed below.

      “I like having that month-and-a-half of time to get stuff together. Once you go longer than that, it’s not special. It starts losing the specialness of it, because it becomes a two- or three-month-long process,” said Murray.

      But regardless of what Murray or others like him want, the holiday season is sure to ramp up in the month of October, so consumers should be prepared. 

      We've yet to leave September behind, but many consumers are already noticing prominent holiday displays in stores around the country.This has prompted...
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      Ibuprofen, other common painkillers, linked to heart failure

      Largest-ever study of its kind confirms the risk of commonly use painkillers

      Habitual use of ibuprofen and other common painkillers raises the risk of heart failure, according to a new study that's the biggest of its kind ever conducted.

      Researchers at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy found that many popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) double the risk of heart problems. Taking ibuprofen, for example, raises the chance of being hospitalized by 18 percent for 14 days.

      The authors say the study illustrates the dangers posed by the easy availability of over-the-counter drugs. 

      “This study offers further evidence that the most frequently used individual traditional painkillers are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission for heart failure. Moreover, the risk seems to vary between drugs and according to the dose,” said lead author Dr. Giovanni Corrao.

      The problem is not that NSAIDS cause heart damage but rather that they can unmask existing but undiagnosed heart failure, the researchers said.

      The findings are based on almost 10 million painkiller users from Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.

      “The study reinforces the need to carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of using NSAIDs," said Helen Williams, consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. "Measures to help reduce risk include using medicines with a lower risk of cardiovascular problems, minimising the prescribed dose to the lowest dose that is effective and where possible, limiting the length of time the patient takes the medicine."

      “People regularly purchasing NSAIDs over the counter, such as ibuprofen, should seek advice from their pharmacist or doctor," she added.

      The research was published in the BMJ

      Habitual use of ibuprofen and other common painkillers raises the risk of heart failure, according to a new study that's the biggest of its kind ever condu...
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      Generation X increasingly worried about retirement

      Bad timing has affected members' ability to save

      It's only natural that people approaching retirement worry a little about whether they'll be able to get by without a paycheck. Maybe people with a few million socked away don't think about it much, but the rest of us worry.

      A survey by American Funds – part of Capital Group – finds members of Generation X are increasingly concerned. And maybe with good reason.

      After all, Baby Boomers had years of savings behind them when the Great Recession hit. Many Millennials were still in school. Generation X was just approaching its prime earning years when the unemployment rate soared past 10%, almost overnight.

      "After experiencing the dot-com bust, the global financial crisis and the housing collapse, as well as stagnant wage growth during their formative adult years, Gen Xers — or Generation AnXious — are wary about their financial future," said Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group.

      And of course, career disruptions have affected retirement saving. Millennials learned the Great Recession lesson pretty well, and many of its members started saving for retirement by age 25.

      Even though time is beginning to run short for Generation X, financial advisers say it's never too late to start saving for retirement. A good target, says wealth management advisor Michelle Perry Higgins, is putting away 20% of your income.

      Bad timing

      But Generation X is a victim of bad timing. Not only did the Great Recession hit it in mid career, there were big changes taking place in employer-based retirement systems just as Generation X was entering the workforce.

      A 2014 study by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies calls Generation X the “401(k) generation.” It entered the workforce along with the introduction of 401(k) plans and the decline of defined benefit plans. Because the plans were new, early participants didn't get the same education and guidance that are standard practice today.

      "Most [GenX members] are saving for retirement but many have not saved enough,” the report said. “Questions about the future of Social Security loom for them. The first Gen Xers will start becoming eligible for full benefits at age 67 in the year 2032, just one year before the Social Security Trust Fund’s forecast depletion.”

      Working past 65

      The report found that 54% of Generation X employees expect to still be working at age 65 and beyond, and increasingly that is becoming an idea embraced by Baby Boomers as well.

      In an interview with Yahoo Finance, New Jersey financial adviser Ann Minnium said she has several clients who are enjoying a successful retirement because of their willingness to work – not full-time, but part-time.

      "The part-time income was the missing piece that completed a seemingly unsolvable puzzle," she said.

      And that doesn't mean you have to keep doing a job you hate. Instead, it allows you to do something you enjoy, which might not seem much like work at all.

      It's only natural that people approaching retirement worry a little about whether they'll be able to get by without a paycheck. Maybe people with a few mil...
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      Why OPEC's oil cap could be good news for America

      Gas prices aren't going back to $3 a gallon anytime soon

      The news that OPEC ministers have agreed in principal to capping production sent oil prices surging on world markets late Wednesday.

      Bloomberg News reported the oil ministers, meeting in Algeria, agreed in principal to try to cap production at around 33 million barrels a day. For the first time in two years, the world's major oil producers appear to be on a path that would reduce output and raise prices.

      But the consensus among industry analysts appears to be that this is no reason for consumers to panic. We're not going back to $3 a gallon gasoline anytime soon.

      As CNBC reported, Goldman Sachs panned the OPEC move, suggesting it won't move prices much in the short run and will only raise them to around $53 a barrel next year.

      Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, says he doesn't expect the OPEC move, which he says is more of a "framework" at this point, to have much impact at all. He notes that it would only be a reduction of 900,000 barrels a day. He also suggests that if higher oil prices become a reality, it could be a boost for American energy producers.

      Welcome news for U.S. producers

      “There's no doubt that a sustained rise in energy prices could be a net gain for U.S. energy producers in states like North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and perhaps a stimulus in those areas where energy production has been shut down,” Laskoski told ConsumerAffairs.

      In fact, Investors Business Daily reported Wednesday that U.S. oil producers are already gearing up to increase production next year. It estimates that U.S. oil rigs in operation will average 579 for 2017, up nearly 30% from this year.

      “Analysts forecast 11,151 new wells to be drilled next year, up 25% from the 8,915 wells expected to be started this year,” the publication reported.

      So any reduction in output from OPEC is likely to be picked up by American producers, along with Russian operators. The oil glut might be reduced, but it isn't going away.

      The result could be gasoline prices that rise by a few cents a gallon and stronger economies in oil producing states.

      The news that OPEC ministers have agreed in principal to capping production sent oil prices surging on world markets late Wednesday.Bloomberg News repo...
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      A little more oomph for the U.S. economy

      Initial jobless claims inched higher last week

      The third and final look at how the nation's economy was doing in the second quarter is a bit brighter than the earlier estimates.

      According to the Commerce Department, real gross domestic product (GDP) -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy -- grew at an annual rate of 1.4%.

      An earlier look at how the economy was performing put expansion at an annual rate of 1.1%. This latest estimate is based on more complete source data than was available at that time.

      Still, the general picture of economic growth remains the same, with the most notable change being an increase in nonresidential fixed investment; the previous estimate had it declining.

      Corporate profits, meanwhile, fell $12.5 billion in the April-June period after surging $66.0 billion in the first quarter.

      The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.

      Jobless claims

      First-time applications for state unemployment benefits edged upward last week, but remained well below the 300,000 level for the 82nd consecutive week.

      The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial benefit applications were up by 3,000 in the week ending September 24 to a seasonally adjusted total of 254,000. As it released the latest numbers, the government revised last week's tally down by 1,000.

      The four-week moving average, considered by many economists to give a more accurate assessment of the labor market, came in at 256,000, a decline of 2,250 from the previous week.

      The full report is found on the DOL website.

      The third and final look at how the nation's economy was doing in the second quarter is a bit brighter than the earlier estim...
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