Monday, January 25, 1999

MONEY BRIEFING


Wireless phone calls remain more expensive

        Though costs are dropping as competition heats up, wireless calls are still generally more expensive than land-line calls.

        “It's probably not advantageous to go totally wireless if your calls are mostly local,” Tim Ayres of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association told Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

        Nearly 64 million Americans own wireless phones.

        Even though digital wireless voice technology reduces static and dropped calls, regular phone lines are still more glitch-free.

        Kiplinger said if someone is a heavy long-distance user or travels a lot — running up big calling-card or roaming charges — at least a partial switch to wireless may pay off.

DHL finds Frankfurt slowest place to travel
        Drivers trying to navigate the busiest parts of financial centers like New York or San Francisco might be surprised to find that compared to Frankfurt, Germany, traffic in the U.S. cities is a breeze.

        DHL Worldwide clocked how long it took its couriers to complete a trip of about 3 miles through the central business areas of big cities around the world. It took couriers 17.5 minutes to make the trip in New York and 21 minutes in San Francisco, while in Frankfurt, the trek took 53 minutes. Couriers managed surprisingly short trips in London, at 13 minutes, and Paris, at 15.

Simplifying lifestyle may not be so simple
        Many people talk about living the simple life, but Lutheran Brotherhood of Minneapolis said motives must be analyzed before making any decisions.

        “Ask yourself what you hope to gain from a simpler lifestyle,” financial planner Angela Wethor said.

        “Some people do it to save money or to get out of debt.

        “Others choose a simpler lifestyle to de-stress or to escape commercialism and live in a way that better reflects their values.

        “Still others just want to spend more time with their families.”

        Ms. Wethor said there are many ways to accomplish the goal, depending on what one's desires are.

        What will you have to give up?

        “To reduce expenses, you may have to move to a smaller house or rent instead of own. And you might have to be a little more creative when it comes to entertainment — a special dinner and a game of Scrabble at home rather than a night on the town.

        “Giving something up doesn't mean you deprive yourself or your family — you just look for simple pleasures.”

Credit card basic tool in financing a business
        It is almost a rite of passage for struggling independent film makers, six months out of school and a week away from bagging groceries for a living, to finance a movie on a credit card. Well, perhaps their example has helped inspire a generation of business owners.

        According to a survey of 504 small and midsized businesses by Arthur Andersen's Enterprise Group and National Small Business United, a trade group, 47 percent of the owners said they had used credit cards to finance their businesses in the previous 12 months. That was up from 34 percent in 1997 and 17.3 percent in 1993.

        Credit cards are now the leading financing instrument used by these businesses, the survey said; commercial loans were second, at 45 percent.

        — Gannett News Service, the New York Times and the Associated Press

       



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