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Santa Fe New Mexican: Sunday, October 2, 2005 - Page 26

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   New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico                                Mutual funds D2 Calendar D6 Update D6 Time Out D8 SUNDAY OCTOBER 2 2005 Long climb ahead Hurricane victims want to rebuild but who can they find to do the work Page D4 D THE NEW MEXICAN BROWN Consumer Watch Test your Internet speed free of charge Jfr providers claim that customers will be able to and download informa tion at a certain rate of speed megabytes per second for example but how do you know if the advertised rate is accurate u i I always thought you had to a take your Internet providers word for it or have a particularly wellinformed techie friend to help you determine otherwise it turns out its really easy Vi to test speed A number of Web sites do it for free although some require you ito pay for a subscription after a few free tests My favorite site is Speakeasy at It has a neat dial a needle that goes up and Mown as the site conducts your and when its finished it clearly tells you your upload and download speeds You might want to check it at dif ferent times of the day to see how your service varies But that isnt the only site that offers free speed tests You might also want to check out or And you can always look for your own I wouldnt be surprised if there are more Ever wonder why a gallon of whole milk is more expensive than skim or 2 percent milk Last week at Smiths for exam ple a gallon of whole milk was while a gallon of skim was According to Scott Franklin laboratory manager for the USDAs milkmarket admin istration milk with less fat is cheaper because the dairy industry uses milk fat to make such as butter The price for a pound of butter fat is so when you 1 buy milk with less fat in it dairy companies charge you less The value stays with the Franklin said The National Park Service announced last week that fees will go up at many nearby parks such as Bandelier National Monument Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Grand Canyon National Park The increases arent that large only per person at Bandelier and Carlsbad for example but lis is a good time to remind sople that they can buy a bass that will get them into as nany national parks as they ban visit in one year And its not just good for one person either At parks that admit people by the carload such as the Grand Canyon the pass admits everyone in your pass will also admit your spouse parents and children it parks that charge by the person The pass is well worth it for New Mexicans who have so many national parks in the area that its easy to visit three or four in the course of a year There are 13 in New Mexico alone Another deal to keep in is that Mesa Verde Please see WATCH Page D3 Gas prices soar and oilindustry profits rise but Is it gouging Louis Associated Press Latin Hiphop star Bimbo stages a protest against high gas prices in front of a Lower East Side station in New York By Mark Trumbull The Christian Science Monitor By tearing through the engine room of the economy two hurricanes have pushed gas prices to record highs and stirred a different land of storm populist anger at alleged price gouging State and federal agencies are probing thousands of consumer complaints And some lawmakers are urging a tax on the oil industrys windfall Though hurricane Rita didnt pack Katrinas punch some analysts say the aftershocks could be enough keep gasoline prices high for a while The recent S3 peak virtually matched the inflationadjusted high reached in 1981 One economist reckons that gaso line shouldnt cost that much until oil nears per barrelabout higher than it is today So where is that money going Are profiteers manipulating the market Economists say oil producers and refin ers not gas stations are reaping a wind fall Judging by history and laws of the market it will be very hard to find evi dence of impropriety Mindful of growing public anger President Bush on Monday pledged to tap federal reserves if needed Besides spurring official investigations that ire could prompt the federal gov ernment to revisit debates over energy policy and to give closer scrutiny to the question of whether mergers have stifled competition in the energy market Were getting to the point where we have to seriously think about any further concentration in the says Jim Bushnell research director at the Uni versity of California Energy Institute in Berkeley which studies oil and gas mar kets This may be the nub of the highoctane debate over pump prices Many states have laws that ban price Please see GOUGING Page D3 Economic forecasters start using the V word By Kevin G Hall Knight Ridder Newspapers WASHINGTON Eco nomic forecasters and Wall Street analysts are quietly hedging their bets after months of rosy reports about a vibrant economic outlook Theyre now mentioning the growing possibility of reces sion ahead Why Soaring gasoline prices nightmarish home heating costs this winter plunging consumer confi dence rising interest ratesand falling newhome sales Similar energyprice spikes rising interest rates and housing slowdowns played important roles in past reces sions While most forecasters caution that recession remains unlikely they nevertheless are dusting off the Rword which almost all of them brushed aside before hurricanes Katrina and Rita people are starting to hedge bets Obviously its an uncertain said Jay Bryson global economist for Wachovia the big bank based in Charlotte And that was before Fridays news that consumer spend ing had fallen by the largest amount since the Sept terrorist attacks Ed Yardeni a veteran Wall Street seer whos now with Oak Associates rose to prominence in years past largely on bullish forecasts but since Rita hit he sounds decid edly bearish The economy has been remarkably resilient in recent years but consumers may start to postpone discretionary See ECONOMY Page D3 Consistency pays for savers By Andrea Coombes MarketWatch SAN FRANCISCO Sav ers who consistently plowed money into their 40Kk plans over the past five years saw their account balances rise 36 percent on average according to a study released last week Consistent contributions and more recent stock market gains overcame the effects of the 2000 market crash to push average account balances to in 2004 up from at the end of 1999 for those who maintained their accounts throughout those years according to the study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute Please see Page D3 Couples problems show destructiveness of money fears Just as I was finishing my breakfast I heard the telephone ring I picked up the phone I said A depressed voice spoke and I immediately rec ognized it as the voice of Mar garet a client I had seen the previous day I need your she said Jack is starring to get on my back again Hes afraid I will bounce Put Jack I said I was exasperated There was a moment of silence then I heard Jacks voice Hi Fred he said I cut him offbefore he could ERED BROWN Money and Spirit continue Youve got to let Margaret I said firmly You have to let her manage the household finances without bugging her She knows that she can call me if she gets into trouble I can guide her You stay out of f Jack said I hear I let my voice soften Thanks Jack You just have to trust Jack replied and with these words our conversation ended I shook my head in despair Margaret and Jack had been coming to me for more six months as they tried in vain to support two adolescents on Jacks net monthly income of had tried practi cally everything I could think of to help them live within their means even having them report to me their expenses once a week as a way of moni toring their spending None of my suggestions seemed to work I had told them right from the beginning that it would be much less stressful if Margaret brought in some income to make ends meet but the couple was determined that Margaret be at home for their children and so far she had been unable to find a job that fit with their childrens schedules I had had other couples with two children live within per month but doing it required a lot of financial dis cipline and Jack and Margaret didnt have the tenacity to live within a spending goal During our sessions it became obvious that a major stumbling block to their man aging effectively was Jacks need to dominate the process Although Margaret had the checkbook Jack paid the larger bills and orchestrated their creditcard payments Most of the time Margaret Please see SPIRIT Page D3 Section editor Rob Quick 9863011 bobquick@sfnewmexican.com r Design and headlines Jim Gordon jgordon@sfnewmexican.com i   

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