WHAT WILL ALAN GREENSPAN'S legacy be? Though credited with spawning the nation's biggest economic boom, economist Stephen Roach writes in Foreign Policy that the Federal Reserve chairman next year will leave behind a generation of Americans with little savings and a lot of debt. "Greenspan shares some blame for this problem" by promoting the idea that assets such as real estate and stocks are a form of long-term savings. With that in mind, Americans went in hock borrowing against their homes to pay for current spending rather than put money in the bank, Roach says. That "leaves a savings-short U.S. economy in precarious shape."
NEXT TO BUYING a home or funding your children's education, buying a car is the most expensive purchase you'll make. And car-related expenses, such as gas, maintenance and insurance, can take a big bite out of your budget. Before you begin looking for a new car, Bankrate.com says you should know your limits. Experts say don't spend more than 10 percent of your gross income on total car expenses. And if you're financing, make a down payment of at least 20 percent.
RED HERRING WARNS that forecasting technology trends "is a treacherous undertaking." But the magazine goes out on a limb anyway to identify the "top 10 trends for 2005." One will be "the death of distance," it says, as telecommuting and working from a remote location will become a reality.
2004 WAS THE BEST sales year ever for Porsche in North America. The company sold 33,289 cars in North America, an increase of 11 percent over 2003 and 10 percent above the previous record year, 1986, when Porsche Cars North America sold 30,471 cars.
CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES reached a 10-year low of 80 last year. A New Generation Research report says low interest rates and better access to financing helped troubled businesses amass cash and pay debts. Among the notable public companies filing for bankruptcy were Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts and US Airways Group.
FUR SALES INCREASED about 15 percent to a record high of more than $2-billion in 2004, according to Fernandina Beach research firm Southwick Associates. "We have seen an increase in considerably younger customers," said designer Dennis Basso, who operates New York and Aspen, Colo., stores under his name and sells at Saks Fifth Avenue. "Fur has become a mainstream part of fashion."
Compiled from Times wires and Web sites.