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Two economics professors at Virginia Commonwealth University found that buyers between the ages of 70 and 89 paid an average of 10.6 percent more for a new car or truck than younger buyers did.

George Hoffer and colleague David W. Harless think the reason is that older buyers tend not to use the Internet as much as younger buyers, and thus often aren't armed with as much consumer information when they make a purchase.

On another front, the study of 4,000 sales last February by about 2,300 dealers nationwide found that women paid an average of $29 -- or 1.9 percent -- more for new cars than men. But, Hoffer said, women also tended to buy vehicles that had been on dealers' lots for a shorter period of time, which suggests that they were purchasing more stylish or higher-demand cars and trucks.

"That difference is so insignificant it has no statistical validity," Hoffer said.

The Dallas Morning News

Credit card delinquencies drop

Fewer Americans were late making credit card and home equity payments in the second quarter, according to the American Bankers Association.

The number of credit card bills paid late in the quarter that ended June 30 fell to 2.99 percent of all accounts, down from 3.28 percent the previous quarter and a five-year low.

Past-due payments on open-end home equity lines of credit fell even more dramatically to 1.06 percent, the lowest rate since the ABA began measuring home equity delinquencies in 1983.

Economists said the drop in the credit card delinquency rate is a reflection of the low unemployment rate. But rising delinquencies among other types of loans, including auto and home improvement, show that rising interest rates are hitting some consumers hard.

"If there's a pinch with interest rates, it's that it forces those individuals just on the edge of meeting their obligations to decide what loan is going to be late this month," said James Chassen, the association's chief economist.

He said credit delinquencies rose in seven of eight categories the association examines for its composite figure, which rose to 2.30 percent from 2.14 percent last quarter.

Washington Times

Learn about ADRs
You don't have to check in with an overseas stock exchange in order to invest in a foreign company. American Depositary Receipts, or ADRs, allow investors to buy foreign stocks that list on U.S. exchanges. Foreign company shares that trade on U.S. exchanges are easier to buy and sell than those that stick to their native markets.

Where can you learn more about ADRs and how to purchase them? One place is the World Wide Web. Here's a few places you can go on the information highway to find out about ADRs: at Search for ADR stocks by country origin.

Investopedia at ADR insights, risks and resources.

The Bank of New York at Company profiles, statistics and where to purchase ADRs.

J.P. Morgan at ADR company, country and region information.

Knight Ridder

What to do with $30,000
"Many people now live on substandard retirement incomes because they got caught up in the 'status trap,' " says Primerica Financial Services. "To be comfortable in retirement, trade status for financial security.

"Instead of 'keeping up with the Joneses' -- fancy cars, big house, luxury vacations -- put $10,000 in an emergency fund, $10,000 in a long-term investment fund that would equal $73,280 in 20 years at a 10 percent annual return and use $10,000 to pay off existing bills."

The Baltimore Sun

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