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Entries in Money (10)

Friday
Apr202012

Allergic to Money? New UK Coins May Irritate Some

Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Who doesn’t love money? A little jingle in your pocket usually brings a smile to the face, but two new coins in the United Kingdom might leave some people literally itching to get away from them.

The UK has decided to coat their 5p and 10p coins with nickel, a material that causes a skin reaction similar to that seen with poison ivy in some people.

Specifically, people who have a skin allergy to nickel may develop an allergic contact dermatitis when they come in contact with the metal. This means that handing the new coins could lead to a skin rash consisting of redness, swelling and itching for those unfortunate enough to have this allergy.

According to two dermatology experts in the U.K. who wrote a report appearing in BMJ online on Thursday, these people may even be at increased risk for hand eczema, a condition in which the palms become inflamed and covered in itchy, potentially painful blisters.

The coins’ composition is being changed as a cost-cutting measure, but the authors say the cost to treat those affected by allergic reactions might be steep. They contacted Britain’s HM Treasury asking for data on the amount of nickel that is released from the new coins onto the hands.

According to Dr. Danielle Greenblatt, co-author of the letter and specialist registrar in dermatology at the Guy’s and St. Thomas’s MHS Trust in London, the treasury admitted it did not have answers to her questions.

“There hasn’t been any research that I’m aware of on these new coins to show what effect they may have,” says Greenblatt.

Nickel is one of the most common skin irritants in the world. Five percent of men and 27 percent of women had a reaction to nickel in a skin patch allergy test performed in a 2007 Norwegian study of more than 1,200 people.

Nevertheless, nickel is currently used in coins around the world.  Typically it’s part of a mixture of metals, called an alloy, with nickel representing 5 to 25 percent. According to the U.S. Mint, the American nickel, dime and quarter are all composed of a copper-nickel alloy.

These new British coins are different since they would be coated in pure nickel rather than having the metal simply mixed in. This actually reduces the total amount of nickel in the coin, down to 2 or 3 percent, but it means that the entire surface of the coin -- the part that comes into contact with the skin -- would be made of nickel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Love or Money? What Singles Really Want

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Like The Beatles sang: All You Need Is Love. But if push came to shove, would you give up a high-paying job for your significant other?

Chemistry.com’s survey of 1,600 singles suggests that love does conquer all, or at least it does for most people. The survey revealed 74.6 percent of men and 70.3 percent of women said that if they could only have one or the other, love would win out over a high-paying job.

However, things get a bit stickier when it comes to dealing with finances as people deepen their relationships. For instance, 20.7 percent of men said they would be willing to pool their money with that special person in their lives after a year of dating, but a mere 7.7 percent of women were open to the same idea.

Should they get engaged, 33.4 percent of men had no problem with combining finances, but even then, only 14.4 percent of women were agreeable to pooling their money.

In spite of this apparent wariness, women still thought that men should be the primary breadwinner in the relationship rather than vice versa, by 38 percent to 15 percent.

Acknowledging the tough economic climate, just 17.8 percent of single guys said they regularly spent money on “fun stuff” for themselves, while 19.9 percent of women didn’t mind splurging on themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

Growing Number of Mothers Making Money on Clinical Trials

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- Yvette Santana, a 37-year-old mother of four who was diagnosed with diabetes, is one of a growing number of mothers who participate in clinical trials to make extra money.

Before she started participating in studies five years ago, despite working two jobs, Santana could not always afford to buy an $80-box of glucose test strips to monitor her diabetes. She would sacrifice her health to pay bills and buy groceries for her family.

"It gets very hard. You have to see what's more important, your kids and their needs or your own. And as a mother, it's always your kids," said Santana.

But participating in clinical trials provide her with insulin, health check-ups, and free strips. Santana says now she's stable and healthier than she's ever been.

Jennifer Martinez, a 33-year-old mother of four, is not struggling as much to make ends meet. She lives in a two-story brick home in an upscale community. Both she and her husband participate in studies to make extra money, which they use to go to Hawaii once a year.

Martinez started participating in studies when she was 23 so she wouldn't have to put her children in day care.

"It was really just to be able to stay at home with my kids," Martinez said. "I did one study and thought, 'Okay, that's like a lot of money in a short amount of time.' So I started to kind of pick it up and do a little bit more."

Martinez surfs the Web several times a day to find study announcements. She looks for "not crazy studies" -- taking medications that don't affect her heart or her brain and have only minor "over-the-counter symptoms" like nausea. She says she's never had a side effect.

Martinez makes an average of $7,000 a year participating in studies, but has made up to $13,000 in one year. She does about three studies a year, but if she has a big bill to pay or Christmas is coming up, she'll do an extra one.

Her advice to other moms? It's tough to get accepted for studies. You have to be diligent and respond to announcements quickly.

One company Martinez works for is Clinical Trials Texas. Kay Scroggins, the president and CEO of CTT, founded the company out of her home in 2001 with one study.

The company pays all volunteers a $40-to-$100 stipend per visit for their travel and time. The stipend depends on what kind of procedure the study entails.

Scroggins says these studies have "changed a lot" over the last 10-15 years.

"The qualification criteria to be in the study are much more complex and so in the industry we talk about the squeezing the funnel so to speak because you start with a large population and as you go through the criteria one after the other you start eliminating people. And so you come down with a very small group of people that would actually qualify for this study."

About 10 percent of the patients involved in the studies are healthy, according to Scroggins, and all others have pre-existing conditions.

When doing preliminary testing on volunteers, the company has found several cases of breast cancer, hepatitis and HIV.

"They would not have found that if they would not have been in a study," said Scroggins. "A lot of our patients will come in and be very depressed and be put on a medication that they may not have been able to have access to otherwise and seen a big improvement where they're back working. They can interact with their families again."

Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the Penn Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, says that clinical trials are usually safe, but there are some risks you should be aware of.

"There are risks that something could go wrong, but it depends on what you're doing and what degree of research is involved. The more they're paying you, the more your radar should go up. They're paying you more because there's more risk or more pain involved."

Caplan also warns that if something goes wrong, your insurance company often will not cover it.

"You have to read the fine print. The company may say that those costs will be covered by your insurance company. I'm here to tell you they won't. Your insurance company will not pay for any injuries you get serving as a subject in a trial you signed up for."

Caplan says he can see why participating in studies is attractive, especially to people who don't have medical insurance, but he says you can't kid yourself. "Don't think that being seen by clinical trial technicians is a substitute for health care. At the end of the day, these companies are trying to deliver data to the pharmaceutical companies. They are not your doctors."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov142011

Six Prescriptions To Get Meds for Cheap -- Or Free

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Each year, millions of Americans pour tons of money into the pharmaceutical industry, buying prescription drugs which can often be pricey.

So how can consumers better fight these high costs?  ABC's Consumer Correspondent Elisabeth Leamy offers six tips:

1. Get Two Prescriptions for the Same Medication.

Just in case a new medicine doesn't agree with you, you don't want to waste money on several months' worth.  So instead, ask your doctor to write you two prescriptions: One that will last a couple of days or weeks, and another, longer one that you can fill after that if the medication agrees with you and helps you.

2. Beware of Prescription Drugs That End in "ER," "CD," and "XR."

These initials stand for "extended release" and "continuous delivery."  They are often variations of medications that were big money makers for the manufacturer, but lost their patent.  Manufacturers sometimes invent slightly new versions of their biggest blockbusters and patent them in an attempt to keep the dollars flowing.  That's their right.  And it's your right to ask if older, cheaper, generic drugs will work just as well for you.

3. Save Not Just by What's Written But How It's Written.


If you want to try pill splitting, where you buy higher dose pills then split them in half, ask your doctor to write "use as directed" instead of detailed dosing instructions.  Some insurance companies don't allow you to get more than a month's supply of medicine at a time.  So, if your strategy is to get 30 higher dose pills and split them so they last two months, that could be a problem.  Exactly how you take those pills can be a private matter between you and your doctor.  Ask your doctor to explain the pill-splitting protocol during your office visit instead of on the prescription pad -- and be sure the prescription you take is appropriate for splitting.

4. Look into Drug Discount Cards.

Drug discount cards allow you to purchase approved drugs for 15 to 40 percent off.  The Together RX Access card is the broadest, offering close to 300 brand name meds plus a pile of generics from several different manufacturers.  To qualify, you must not be eligible for Medicare.  For more information, visit www.togetherrxaccess.com.  Medical manufacturers who do not participate in this discount card may have others of their own.

5. You May Be Able to Get Your Meds for Free.

The only thing better than getting your prescriptions at a big discount is getting them for free.  That, too, is possible, thanks to pharmaceutical companies that want to help people out -- and maybe burnish their reputations a little in the process.

The biggest pharmaceutical companies each give away more than $200 million worth of medicine every year.  PhRMA, or Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade organization for the pharmaceutical industry, has a great clearinghouse service called the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.  This program will link you with the maker of your drug.  Go to www.Pparx.org for access to more than 475 different assistance programs.  The site is easy to use and will give you a great starting point.

6. Pharmaceutical Company Websites Can Be Sources of Freebies and Discounts.

The more commercialized prescription drugs have gotten, the more drug companies have borrowed pages from more common products' playbooks.  So figure out who makes medicines you take routinely and check out their sites.  You may see coupons for discounts or even free samples.  You then work through your doctor and pharmacy to take advantage of these offers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov092011

Older Adults May Drink, Smoke More When Financially Stressed

Hemera/Thinkstock(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- Stress can lead people to the bottle as a way of self-medicating, and now a new study finds that older adults, especially men and people with less education, are more likely to drink and smoke when experiencing financial woes.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Albany studied more than 2,300 adults over the age of 65.  They found that 16 percent of study participants reported increasing financial problems over the 14-year study period, between 1992 and 2006.

Three percent of the study population reported increases in heavy alcohol consumption and one percent said they upped their smoking habits.

But those numbers increased significantly among men who experienced financial difficulties -- they were about 30 percent more likely to begin heavily drinking when compared with men who did not have money problems.

Experts speculated that men may drink more during these times because they feel they've failed as the "breadwinner" and may have less social support than women do.

"Many people believe that the health behaviors of older adults are entrenched --  that they are set in their ways," said Benjamin Shaw, lead author of the study and associate professor and chair of health policy, management and behavior in the School of Public Health at University at Albany.  "If any change does occur, most people would expect to see a slowing down of activity, which with regard to alcohol and smoking would involve reductions in consumption."

Shaw said older adults are particularly vulnerable because they are usually retired, and may feel like they have less control and less time to recover from a financial setback.

Researchers did see a decline in drinking among older women who fell under financial hardship.  Older people with higher education levels also seemed to cut back on alcohol if money problems came into play.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct132011

Materialism Increases Likelihood of Marital Discord, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PROVO, Utah) -- Focusing too heavily on the "for richer" part of the nuptial vows could spell disaster for a marriage, according to research published Thursday by Brigham Young University.

In a survey of 1,700 married couples, researchers found that couples in which one or both partners placed a high priority on getting or spending money were much less likely to have satisfying and stable marriages.

"Our study found that materialism was associated with spouses having lower levels of responsiveness and less emotional maturity.  Materialism was also linked to less effective communication, higher levels of negative conflict, lower relationship satisfaction, and less marriage stability," said Jason Carroll, a BYU professor of family life in Provo, Utah, and lead author of the study.

Researchers gauged materialism using self-report surveys that asked questions such as to what extent do you agree with these statements?  "I like to own things to impress people" or "money can buy happiness."  Spouses were then surveyed on aspects of their marriage.

For one out of every five couples in the study, both partners admitted a strong love of money.  These couples were worse off in terms of marriage stability, marriage satisfaction, communications skills and other metrics of healthy matrimony that researchers studied.

The one out of seven couples that reported low-levels of materialism in both partners scored 10 to 15 percent higher in all metrics of marital quality and satisfaction.  Interestingly, the correlation between materialism and marital difficulties remained stable regardless of the actual wealth of the couple.

Study authors and marriage experts noted that the findings probably have to do with the personality traits that go along with materialism.  They will be published Thursday in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Mr. Mom: Recession Shifting Men's Roles

Stay-at-home dad Wayne Moyer, shown with son Matt, says his bike is his "manly escape." (Courtesy of Wayne Moyer)(LAS VEGAS) -- Wayne Moyer, a 39-year-old father of three, has a new appreciation for stay-at-home parents. After losing his job in 2009, Moyer entered full-time fatherhood -- a change that has challenged his stamina and his ego.

"The stress of work is far less intrusive than being a stay-at-home dad," said Moyer, who lives in Womelsdorf, Pa. "But I think the hardest part for most of us men is to give up the role of being the one who earns the most money to our wives. It just feels completely unnatural."

Like many men of his generation, Moyer was raised almost exclusively by his mom. But the dismal economy is forcing families to reorganize resources and rethink roles. And men like Moyer -- once breadwinners -- are reinventing themselves as caregivers.

"They're not providing money, but they're providing this labor that wives have been doing for years," said Kristen Myers, an associate professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.

Myers and doctoral student Ilana Demantas have been studying the recession's impact on the so-called "breadwinning ideology." And what the uncovered after interviews with 20 recently unemployed men whose domestic roles have been turned upside-down was an unprecedented shift in attitudes about gender.

"They take care of the kids; they go shopping; they clean. These men have really embraced this new realm that they wouldn't have chosen," said Myers, who with Dementas presented the study findings at the American Sociological Associations annual meeting in Las Vegas. "They hope it's temporary and they can go back to work. But in meantime, they're changing their perspective."

But the transition has been far from seamless. Many of the men interviewed for the study initially felt like the loss in income translated to a loss in masculinity.

"Not only have they lost their jobs, they've also lost an important aspect of how to be men," said Myers, adding that many of the men interviewed felt defeated and depressed. "But they're making the most of it and learning new things. It's an opportunity to live richer, although poorer lives."

Moyer admits that being Mr. Mom has challenged his masculinity. So he takes every opportunity to get out on his Victory Vision tour bike -- a motorcycle he won in a raffle six weeks ago.

"It's my manly escape," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug102011

Financial Stress: Investors Experience Emotional Fallout

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The stock market cliff dive that began three weeks ago and reached a crescendo Monday has crushed the spirits of some investors who had been crawling back from the 2008 financial crisis.

Many psychologists say they are now trying to cope with the emotional fallout from some people who thought they were recovering from their own financial downturn.

"I liken this as the acute phase of natural disaster," said Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. "And at its core, it's psychological. Not financial."

The Dow fell more than 600 points Monday, its biggest point loss in a single day since Dec. 1, 2008 and its sixth biggest point drop ever.  While gains on Tuesday were a step in the right direction, some experts say investor sentiment may take longer to turn.

Unlike the height of the recession, where the steady worsening eased some people into an emotional lull, the market's volatile drop and influx can bring about a vicious cycle of anxiety-induced impulsive behavior, Klapow said.

"You're seeing people who may not make the soundest financial decisions just so they can do something to manage their emotions," said Klapow.  "We don't know what's going to happen right now."

Many seem to be equipped with a financial game plan during stable but bad times, said Klapow.  But instability strips people's sense of control, he said.

"Lack of control is one of the most anxiety-provoking situations," said Klapow.  "One could liken it to being diagnosed with an illness with an unknown prognosis."

The physical symptoms of financial stress and anxiety are much like that of general anxiety, and can include constant worrying, chest tightness, and nausea.

"The stimulus that's causing the anxiety is different because finances are tied to so many things," said Klapow.

For many, finances are tied to their standard of living and their quality of life; everything from their spending habits to how they use their free time.

Psychology experts say that it's a person's perception of how much control they have over their finances, not the amount of money invested into the stock market, which drives his or her level of anxiety.

The perception that a sudden loss could be life-changing -- no matter how many dollars they started with -- could trigger more intense feelings of anxiety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Stress on Rise Amid Financial, Employment Concerns

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) - A new report suggests that stress is on the rise in the U.S. as Americans grow more concerned about their finances.

The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker index jumped from 54.2 last month to 58.7, which represents the third straight month that the index, which measures a household's overall financial difficulties, has increased.
 
According to the report, 9.7 percent of Americans have missed a payment on a major bill, with 3.2 percent missing their mortgage payment. Both figures have increased from a year ago.

In a separate Consumer Reports survey, 6.7 percent of respondents said they had lost their job in the past 30 days, with just 5.2 percent of those getting a new job in that time.

The combined factors of job and financial strain suggest a rise in stress, according to Consumer Reports Stress Index. The index rose to 59.3 in February compared to 55.4 a month ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan042011

Money Main Cause of Stress in Americans

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON ) – Most Americans say that money is their primary source of stress, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association.

The APA found that 75 percent of Americans consider money their biggest stressor regardless of whether they had too much money, or too little.

Nikiya Spence, a licensed financial therapist and money coach, told Consumer Affairs that issues over money can have serious consequences on financial and personal behaviors.

"People inherit problems around money from their family and this can have to do with spending and how they grow to feel about money in general," Spence said. "These underlying feelings can cause problems when it comes to finances if you're not aware of them.”

Spence said that most problems with handling money, such as spending addictions and over and underspending, are subconscious and caused by dysfunctional emotions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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