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Money Matters

March 21, 2004

Social Security won't meet needs


Washington was jolted recently when Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested Congress cut benefits for future Social Security recipients - a politically shocking idea to many.

Regardless of how that debate plays out, it serves as a fresh reminder the government could curb or cut its role in retirement funding for millions of people. Financial planners say Greenspan's musings ought to spur us to evaluate our finances for old age.

"Whether Social Security benefits are reduced, eliminated or remain the same, people need to have a financial plan that meets their retirement goals," said Michael Herndon, director of public and government affairs for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. "Social Security isn't enough for most Americans."

Workstation a sore spot for employees


Many of us are none too pleased about the condition of the workstations where we spend a good third of our days or more.

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When asked to grade their work spaces, nearly half of 1,003 employees gave them a C. Another 10 percent graded their work spaces a D, and 4 percent rated their spaces an abject failure. Only 6 percent said they work in a space that deserves an A.

Of those who graded their workspaces C or below, 59 percent said they would feel more valued at work if they had more input on defining their work environment.

A lack of privacy was the major irritant cited by workers (43 percent), followed by a bothersome abundance of cords on their desk.

Of those surveyed, 60 percent said they feel more productive when their space is tidy.

Kids' fleece-lined jackets recalled


Meijer Distribution Inc. is recalling 58,000 Kids Falls Creek PU Jackets with polar fleece in the hood.

The zipper pull on the jacket can come off and pose a choking hazard to small children.

The recalled jackets were sold in various colors for boys and girls. Girls' sizes include 2T through 5T, 4 through 7, and 8 through 19. Boys sizes include 2T through 5T, 4 through 6X, and 7/8 through 16. A label inside the jacket reads "Authentic Falls Creek."

Consumers should stop using the jackets and contact Meijer Distribution at 866-280-8419 or visit the firm's Web site at www.meijer.com for instructions on getting a refund.

Faulty space heaters recalled


Lasko Products Inc. is recalling 186,000 space heaters.

The power cord connection can overheat and cause the cord to separate from the space heater.

There are two types of heaters involved in this recall. The recalled model 5500 heater is an oscillating ceramic heater with dark gray vents surrounded by a bronze trim. The Model 5700 heater is an oil-filled radiator-type heater.

Consumers should stop using the heaters, unplug them and contact Lasko Products at 800-233-6373 or visit the firm's Web site at www.laskoproducts.com/recall_heaters.html for instructions on returning the heater to receive a free replacement heater or a product of similar value.

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