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Consumer Daily Reports

Trusted reliable news sources from around the web. We offer special news reports, topic news videos, and related content stories. Truly a birds eye view on news.

Consumer News: ‘Burnout’ is a major workplace issue, survey says

PhotoSummer is nearly over, and if you have yet to take any vacation time this year, you probably aren’t the only one in your office who hasn’t.

The U.S. Travel Association reports that American workers left 768 million vacation days on the table last year, a 9 percent increase over 2017. The researchers found that more than half of all U.S. workers don’t use all their available paid time off.

So perhaps it’s not that surprising that 96 percent of senior managers at U.S. firms believe their employees are suffering some degree of “burnout,” according to a survey from Accountemps. The condition is defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome resulting from workplace stress

A separate survey found that 91 percent of employees described themselves as at least “somewhat burned out.” Managers were asked to rate the level of burnout among their staff. They had the choice of rating it a 1, which means there is no workplace stress, to as high as 10, meaning the staff is completely fried.

The average was right in the middle, at 5.6. However, 20 percent of the managers rated their staff burnout at eight or higher. Twenty-eight percent of the employees rated their burnout in the eight to 10 range.

Constant interruptions

Interestingly, the managers attributed high burnout levels to high workloads placed on employees. But when the researchers asked employees, they blamed their burnout on working conditions such as constant interruptions.

"Employees are often okay with working hard if they know that their efforts will not go unnoticed by their employers and it helps them advance their careers," said Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half. "However, maintaining high productivity cannot come at the expense of staff members' well-being and engagement."

While improving working conditions may go a long way toward relieving burnout, encouraging employees to use their allotted vacation time may also help. As we reported this week, a study from Syracuse University found taking a vacation can actually work to improve health by reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researcher Bruce Hruska said people who take frequent vacations tend to have lowered risk for metabolic syndrome and metabolic symptoms. He said the researchers actually saw a reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease that correlated to the amount of time a worker spends away from the job.

Read more ...

Consumer News: Ten percent of college students think credit cards are ‘free money,’ survey finds

PhotoA new survey of 2019 college students found that 10 percent have the mistaken belief that credit card charges don’t have to be repaid -- that they are, in effect, “free money.”

That item is most likely the shocker in the WalletHub survey, but the interaction with a sample of  college students shows other troubling gaps in financial literacy. However, many students are aware of those gaps.

When asked to grade their financial knowledge, 30 percent of students gave themselves a letter grade of a C or worse. Female students appear to have greater self-awareness on that score than their male counterparts. Five times more women participants graded their financial knowledge an F when compared to men.

Fourteen percent of students said they would rather miss a credit card payment than miss a party, and one in 10 students concede that their parents would not approve of their credit card purchases.

“Understanding how to manage money is an invaluable life skill. And you probably won’t learn much about in school,” the survey editors write. “So you’ll have to take things into your own hands.”

Financial literacy resources

For students, having the right credit card is one step toward financial stability. Don’t make the mistake of signing up for a card that has an annual fee -- there are plenty of good rewards cards that have no annual fee.

Choose a card that rewards you for the purchases you are most likely to make. For college students, that’s most likely groceries. WalletHub suggests the Discover it® Student chrome, citing its $0 annual fee, its 1 - 2 percent cash back on purchases, and the fact that it doubles all the rewards cardholders earn the first year. It also offers an introductory APR of 0 percent for six months on new purchases and has a $0 foreign transaction fee.

Consumers can check out some of the additional financial literacy resources below for more helpful information.

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Consumer News: Gaia Garden Herbal recalls Gaia Balancing Tea

PhotoGaia Garden Herbals is recalling Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary brand Gaia Balancing Tea.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

The recalled product, which contains no UPC or product codes, was sold in Canada's British Columbia province from June 12, 2019, though July 22, 2019.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, bu discard or return it to the store where purchased.

Consumers with questions may call Gaia Garden Herbals at (604) 734-4372

Read more ...

Consumer News: The Apple Card is now open to all iPhone owners

PhotoThe Apple Card, the company’s entry into the credit card market, is now open for all iPhone users. Over the last 10 days, it has only been available to select customers.

Apple says its customers can quickly apply for the new credit card through the Wallet app on iPhone and start using it right away. Apple announced the card earlier this year, partnering with Goldman Sachs, saying it wanted to help consumers better manage their money.

“We’re thrilled with the overwhelming interest in Apple Card and its positive reception,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay. “Customers have told us they love Apple Card’s simplicity and how it gives them a better view of their spending.”

The Apple Card is like many regular credit cards. It doesn’t have an annual fee and it offers 3 percent cash back on Apple purchases and 1 percent on all other purchases. 

The card has gotten a rather lukewarm reception from personal finance experts who note that most cards now don’t charge an annual fee and offer rewards as generous or more than what the Apple Card pays.

Other cards may have better benefits

“The only people who should consider applying for the Apple Card are those who pay their bills in full every month and spend a lot via Apple Pay,” WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou told us earlier this month. “Everyone else is better off with one of the best rewards credit cards or one of the best 0% APR credit cards.”

The Apple Card, after all, is still a credit card that charges credit card interest. When the company announced the product in the spring, it said its rates would be lower than most credit cards. They are, but not that much lower -- topping out at around 24 percent APR. The average credit card rate is around 15 percent.

Papadimitrious points out that the Apple Card doesn’t offer 0 percent introductory rates, and its lowest interest rate -- the one offered to customers with the best credit -- is 12.99 percent.

Added utility

That said, loyal Apple customers may find added utility with the card. It’s extending 3 percent Daily Cash to more merchants and apps. And from now on customers will receive 3 percent Daily Cash when they use Apple Card with Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats.

There could be an additional advantage. If you own an iPhone and have been turned down by other credit card companies, the Apple Card might be your best bet. CNBC reported last week that consumers with subprime credit scores are being approved for the Apple Card. 

Apple reportedly sought a banking partner willing to approve as many of its U.S.-based iPhone users as possible, within the bounds of responsible lending. One iPhone user approved for the Apple Card told the network he was “shocked” that he was approved because his credit score is 620.

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Consumer News: Mercedes-Benz expected to support California’s emissions standards

PhotoMercedes-Benz may be the next automaker to agree to meet California’s tougher auto emissions standards, the New York Times reports. 

In July, California negotiated with four automakers -- Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen -- who committed to making cars that meet the state’s stricter standards instead of the national standards proposed by the Trump administration.

Sources tell the Times that Mercedes-Benz is also expected to agree to meeting the state’s emissions rules, but the automaker hasn’t yet confirmed that it will do so. 

Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, and General Motors also met with the White House last month and one of those three automakers also intends to voluntarily “disregard the Trump proposal and stick to the current, stricter federal emissions standards for at least the next four years,” the Times said. 

More automakers siding with California

Collectively, the six automakers who plan to adhere to California’s standards would represent more than 40 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. Last week, a group of House Democrats encouraged 14 other automakers to agree to the deal California made with Ford, BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen. 

“Our districts and the country as a whole need the auto industry to help us address climate change, and in the near-term that means a serious commitment to greenhouse gas reduction through emission reduction from vehicles,” wrote lawmakers led by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Paul Tonko (D-NY). “We encourage all automakers to come to the table and work towards pragmatic solutions that will better protect the planet while preventing years of litigation and economic uncertainty”

President Trump has said rolling back Obama-era rules governing vehicle pollution standards would help major automakers keep their car prices down for consumers. However, the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken the 2012 rules “could be rendered irrelevant if too many automakers join California before the Trump plan can be put into effect,” the Times noted. 

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Consumer News: Insomniacs could be at increased risk for severe health complications

PhotoA new study conducted by researchers from the American Heart Association found that consumers who suffer with insomnia could also be at greater risk for more serious health concerns. 

The researchers discovered that insomnia can increase the risk for consumers to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke. 

Understanding the risk factors

The researchers took a genetic approach to better understand how insomnia can lead to more serious health issues. 

Using medical records from over one million participants enrolled in public studies, the researchers were able to test their genetic make-up to see if certain diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, were more likely when insomnia was present. 

During their tests, the researchers found that those who had a specific gene that predisposed them to insomnia were also more likely to develop heart disease or be at risk for a stroke. 

These findings emphasize the need for consumers suffering from insomnia to seek out medical professionals to help get to the bottom of this pervasive condition and prevent any serious health episodes. 

“It’s important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it,” said researcher Susanna Larsson, PhD. “Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management.”

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