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Rita Robison
Consumer and personal finance journalist offering money-saving tips
Interests: Plays, traveling., movies, reading, writing, photography, walking, research, getting together with friends
Recent Activity
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State and federal agencies are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits. The eight people infected are from North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Consumers shouldn’t eat food from the salad kits with this identifying information: UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and a best-before date up to and including 07DEC19. This information is printed on the front of the bag in the top right corner. Health officials advise consumers to check their refrigerators for the salad kits. If they find one, they should: Not eat it. Throw it away. Even if some of the kit was eaten and no one got sick, throw the rest away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where the salad kit was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator. Continue reading
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State insurance regulators on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance and Annuities Committee should reject a proposed industry friendly, anti-consumer annuity model regulation, the Center for Economic Justice and Consumer Federation of America said in a letter to the committee. They should continue work to create a true “best interest” standard of care for insurers, agents, and brokers to use when selling complex annuity products to consumers. “The fact that all the industry trade associations of insurers and agents selling annuities are euphoric about the proposed revisions while consumer groups are aghast at the anti-consumer nature of the proposal is stark evidence of how biased the proposal is in favor of industry interests over consumers,” said Birny Birnbaum, executive director for the center. “By allowing insurers and producers to falsely claim to be acting in consumers’ best interest when there is no such requirement and when there is no meaningful constraint on conflicts of interest that would compromise advice given to a consumer, the proposal will mislead consumers into expecting protections the rule does not provide.” The center and federation point to shortcomings in the current draft: Continue reading
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The University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Education Group, will settle for a record $191 million to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges that they used deceptive advertisements, which falsely described their relationships and job opportunities with companies such... Continue reading
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Divorce rates overall are declining across the country. However, they’re nearly doubling for baby boomer couples. This phenomenon known as “gray” divorce occurs when couples over the age of 50 choose to end their marriages. Couples under the age of 40 are delaying or avoiding marriage, and those who decide to get married most likely had divorced parents growing up and, as a result, are making a concerted effort to stay together. Meanwhile, boomer couples over the age of 50 – who caused the divorce rate to spike in the 1970s — are continuing to divorce at higher rates as they age. Most boomer couples have been together for more than half of their lives, which can make coping with a divorce during their older years extremely challenging. Some of these unique challenges may include: emotional and financial impact on adult children, division of assets and financial challenges, and loneliness and lost connections. Continue reading
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The holidays are upon us so if you want your gifts to arrive on time, careful planning is needed. To help you, DealNews offers the following information to so your presents will arrive on time and you won’t need to... Continue reading
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Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting was flying high this week, with a short airline ride to enjoy the company of her grandkids. She sat for hours in stiff steel bleachers waiting for her granddaughters’ teams to compete in cheerleading, got manicures and pedicures, sampled Asian ice cream, baked cookies, strolled a craft fair, and witnessed the usual family feuds, which she didn’t take part in. Meanwhile, her baby boomer blogging friends spent time this week on end-of-year reflections and holiday preparations: stuff, "free trial offers," Christmas tree styles, self-care toolkits, how to live longer, and age is a state of mind. Continue reading
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling about 528,594 model year Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees. The fuel-pump relays may have silicon deposits that interrupt electric current, and, as a result, the engine might not start or could stall. This recall affects 2011 to 2013 models that have had the relays corrected in a previous recall. By Jan. 3, customers will be contacted about going to their dealership for a free inspection and repair, the FCA said. Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Did you recently get an official letter from the Federal Trade Commission? Be careful. Scammers have been faking official-looking FTC letterhead to write frightening messages to people, threatening them. A Pennsylvania man received a letter saying his online and financial activities put him under suspicion of money laundering and terrorism. And, all his activities would “be under review.” Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
Twenty-three attorneys general urged the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday to adopt regulations to prevent consumers from being tricked by negative option marketing schemes. In a letter to the agency, they argue that the FTC should use its rulemaking authority to expand existing regulations. “We’re urging the FTC to take action and use its power to protect consumers from the harm of predatory marketers,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. With negative option marketing, a marketer makes an offer and the consumers’ silence or failure to respond is considered acceptance. Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but there are still deals to be had. Watch the sales, and you can find bargains. However, there are some items you want to avoid buying in December. Here’s what Dealnews.com recommends you look for and avoid in December: What to buy before Christmas DVDs and blu-rays Gift cards Jewelry Headphones What to buy after Christmas Toys, but particularly video games Holiday decor What not to buy in December Exercise equipment Bedding Winter clothing Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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During the week of Dec. 3, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences is asking families to make and eat a healthy dinner together. The AAFCS, formerly the American Home Economics Association, has chosen Dining In for Healthy Families as its theme because: There’s a nationwide obesity epidemic, especially in children and teens, and a lot of that has to do with unhealthy eating and lack of food preparation knowledge. Research has shown that the whole family benefits from family mealtime by having better nutrition, improving family communication, fostering family traditions, and teaching life skills, such as meal planning, budgeting, and food preparation. It supports what family and consumer sciences works for: creating healthy and sustainable families. Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Giving Tuesday, a day that follows Thanksgiving on Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, is designated for giving to charities and organizations. It’s a good reminder that charitable organizations need funding as Americans are caught up in the frenzy of holiday spending. However, caution is needed so that your money goes to worthwhile charities. Here are tips so that your Giving Tuesday donations go to effective organizations: Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Thanksgiving has come and gone and it’s finally December. Now it’s O.K. to sell holiday stuff and show those holiday movies on television. Our boomer bloggers are either contemplating the holidays or getting ready for them. They’ve posted articles on: holiday shopping, gratitude, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, leaving California, and moving to Florida. Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Cyber Monday has a reputation for being the leftovers from Black Friday. However, it can actually have the better deals. Americans spent an estimated 27 percent more money online on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday last year. One reason is probably it’s more convenient to order deals on Cyber Monday than fight the Black Friday crowds. Tips for shopping on Cyber Monday include: Make a plan. You need to have a holiday budget for spending. Don’t let possible deals on Cyber Monday lead you to overspent. Do research. Know what the prices are for the items on your list. That way, you won’t be fooled by deals that really aren’t deals. Abandon your cart. Sometimes, when you leave items in an online cart, a company will say they noticed and will send you a 10 percent off coupon to try to get you to go back and purchase the items. However, again, compare prices. Make sure you’re not paying more. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Stanley Black & Decker is recalling about 211,000 Stanley brand 16 oz. wooden handle nailing hammers. The molded grip on the hammer can come loose, posing an injury hazard to consumers. Stanley Black & Decker has received one report of a hammer grip detaching. No injuries have been reported. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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An analysis of 72 hours of children’s television programming in 2018 found that junk-food marketing hasn’t decreased since 2012, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group. Almost all the food and beverage advertisements reviewed during CSPI's analysis were for unhealthy products, as defined by nutrition standards developed by a federal interagency task force. The lack of progress comes despite the adoption in 2013 of uniform nutrition standards by an industry self-regulatory group. In 2018, CSPI researchers recorded six hours of children’s television programming on each of the 12 biggest channels that offer it. Twenty-three percent of all the ads during the six hours were for foods or beverages, up from 14 percent in 2012. Restaurants were the top category of food and drink advertised to kids, 35 percent; followed by candy, 22 percent; breakfast cereals, 12 percent; beverages, 10 percent; and snack foods, 6 percent. Ninety-nine percent of the food and beverage ads – 362 out of 364 – were for items that wouldn’t have met the nutrition standards developed by the Obama administration’s Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Kids, whose voluntary recommendations were abandoned due to intense industry lobbying. Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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With Black Friday as just the beginning, retailers are flooding the airwaves, internet, and newspapers with “deals.” To help consumers get through the holiday spending season, Jack Gillis, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, offers 10 tips top to help shoppers make good choices and keep from overspending. 1. Make a list: Decide how much you can spend this holiday and stick to it. When you make your list, include an amount for each person and, if you know what you’re getting them, what you expect to pay for the item. Adding your list up at the kitchen table can be an eye opener – so make adjustments early rather than when you’re running through the stores or typing on your keyboard. And when you’re shopping, keep a running total of your spending – it’s amazing how keeping tabs on your total will protect your wallet as it fills with receipts! 2. Shop around: You can easily save 10 percent, or considerably more, by comparing prices. When shopping around online, be sure you purchase from a secure site, review receipts for accuracy, and be mindful of shipping costs. If free shipping is available with a minimum purchase, be sure the additional items are really needed and don’t put you way over the “free shipping” requirement. Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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It’s estimated that 116 million people will be shopping on Black Friday, either in stores or online. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and it can be a good day to find bargains if you’ve compared prices and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Best wishes to you and all your loved ones on Thanksgiving Day. I'm fortunate to be able to celebrate with my daughter and her family this year. I’m thankful for my friends and family, my journalism work, and for our country, which I believe will be able to recover from all the attacks from the Right. If you’re one of the 41.9 million people driving to Thanksgiving dinner or the 3.1 million flying for the holidays, safe travels. Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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In order to get the best deals on Black Friday, be sure to make a shopping plan in advance. In addition, you also need to know what not to buy on Black Friday. Not every deal is a good deal,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
Interested in getting gift cards for the holidays for those hard-to-buy for friends and relatives? Dealnews.com offers this list to help consumers compare offerings. Store/Restaurant Buy Receive Offer Expires Applebee's a $50 gift card a $10 bonus card January 5... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
Provided by Nationwide Copyright 2019, Rita R. Robison, Consumer and Personal Finance Journalist Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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Yamaha is recalling about 10,100 2018 and 2019 Yamaha portable generators. The generator’s fuel tank can leak gasoline, posing fire and burn hazards. This recall involves model 2018 and 2019 Yamaha EF2000iS portable generators, with serial numbers 4543288 through 4553706. The blue generators have Yamaha and the model name printed on the control panel. The serial number can be found on a label below the exhaust outlet on the left side. Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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I’m stressed. The holidays are coming, and I’ve been working on my book about my journalism career instead of getting ready. However, I put on a “full court press” and have sent out my holiday cards and presents. Whew. It was a big job to do in a couple of weeks. Many in our baby boomer blogging group are also thinking about the holidays, but some also are addressing other issues and events. Since it’s Thanksgiving this week, Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting began to think about holiday trivia and traditions past and present, universal activities as well as annual events that take place closer to home. She summarizes her holiday musings in this week’s post “Thanksgiving Trivia.” Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
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I gave up on Black Friday years ago. I went with my daughter in Sacramento. It was my idea to go to the mall and get some great deals. However, we didn’t do any research, so we didn’t “happen into” anything great. I told her on my next visits, I’d rather go for a hike than go shopping again. However, you can score deals if plan ahead. See my article “Get Prepared for Black Friday With This Strategy Guide” for tips. Another source of information is “2019’s Best Places to Shop on Black Friday” by Wallethub analysts. Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide