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Loose Change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2002

FED UP WITH FAXES: Tired of being inundated with faxed ads for phone accessories, credit services and stock tips, a Silicon Valley executive is suing bulk fax sender for $2.2-trillion. That's about $100-billion more than this year's federal budget. Steve Kirsch says that's how much consumers should get if the proper penalty is assessed for each junk fax, and damages are tripled as federal law allows. The suit seeks class-action status.

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OPTING FOR OPTIONS: Want stock options as part of your compensation? Sign on with a high-tech company. A survey by the American Electronics Association found that 84 percent of the nation's publicly held tech companies routinely grant stock options to employees.

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DEBIT FEES: A study on debit card charges reveals about one in four banks charges a fee each time a customer uses a debit card at store checkout counters. The fees range from 25 cents to $1 per transaction at 50 banks and credit unions surveyed by Dove Consulting in Boston.

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MONEY SMARTS: Generation Xers are generally financially astute and well prepared to weather the current financial downturn, a survey shows. New York Life Investment Management polled 530 Gen Xers, those born between 1967 and 1981, and found they have an average net worth of $117,000 with most of their wealth coming from salary. Most also began saving early. As a result, 69 percent expect a higher standard of living in retirement than their parents'.

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GETTING MORE CONSERVATIVE: The stock market's gyrations have made an impression on Gen Xers. In the survey by New York Life Investment Management, 22 percent of Gen Xers call their investment style conservative, up from 11 percent last year. Just 20 percent view themselves as aggressive investors, down from 36 percent in 2001.

-- Compiled by Cathy Keim from Times wires.

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