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The costs of workers' compensation coverage and general business liability insurance also could drop, according to a RAND Corporation analysis of the Affordable Care Act.

By Money Staff Wed 2:35 PM

This post comes from Bruce Japsen at partner site on MSN MoneyThe cost of automobile insurance, workers' compensation coverage and general business liability insurance could drop by as much as 5 percent thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

Though the health law doesn’t cover cars or workers compensation, new analysis by RAND Corporation indicates it may help car owners and businesses with workers' compensation coverage because those premiums sometimes go toward treating people’s injuries, particularly those without medical coverage.

Couple driving in convertable © Blend Images, SuperStockLiability insurance companies reimburse "tens of billions of dollars" each year for medical care related to auto accidents, workplace injuries and related claims, RAND researchers say. Auto insurers paid $35 billion for "medical costs associated with accidents in 2007," RAND says, saying that totaled about 2 percent of all health care costs that year.

"Under reasonable assumptions, some effects can generate potential cost changes as high as 5 percent or more in certain states and for certain insurance lines," Rand researchers Paul Heaton and Ian Brantley write in their study summary.


Are you planning to tie the knot in the near future? Here are some financial issues you should examine first.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:30 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt's always fun to discuss the excitement of your wedding plans, but what about the not-so-fun topics? Among these are your personal finances and how you plan to handle money matters as a couple.

Unfortunately, a survey of engaged couples by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling "revealed that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, with 5 percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding."

That's not good. Before you take a vow to share the rest of your life with your significant other, you should have the money talk to determine whether you're on the same page. Here's a list of topics that should be at the forefront of your discussion.


Restaurants in cities with wage mandates are adjusting work hours, prices and suppliers to cope.

By Money Staff Wed 12:26 PM

This post comes from Julie Jargon and Eric Morath at partner site The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyAs lawmakers in the nation's capital are mired in debate over likely outcomes from raising the federal minimum wage, businesses hit with local wage increases across the U.S. already are grappling with the reality.

Fastfood working © Creatas/PictureQuestA Carl's Jr. franchisee in San Francisco offset the county's higher minimum wage—now $10.74—by using less shortening to make french fries. A White Castle in Illinois cut two jobs to match competitors' costs in nearby Indiana, where the mandated wage is lower. A California pretzel maker pays different wages at mall stores that straddle two cities.

The consequences of a minimum-wage increase cut across everything from the number of hours employees are assigned, to menu prices to how often a drive-through lane is cleaned, according to interviews with more than a dozen businesses. The real-world impacts can vary: Some companies had no difficulties passing along labor-cost increases while other businesses said they might close marginal stores to pare losses.

Such adjustments are rarely captured in the now-sizzling debates over whether a national wage increase would harm the economy or reduce poverty.


Some call the upscale supermarket 'Whole Paycheck' because you can spend a lot of money there in a flash. But we found some items that are cheaper here than at Safeway.

By Wed 11:02 AM
This post comes from Gina Briles at partner site on MSN MoneyNicknamed "Whole Paycheck" by snarky shoppers, Whole Foods Market has earned a reputation for unaffordable prices.

Whole Foods Market © Helen Sessions/Alamy
Although it's true the health-food giant stocks plenty of high-end goods, many items are actually less expensive than comparable products at a traditional grocery store.

Don't believe it? did some shopping cart reconnaissance at a Whole Foods Market and a Safeway store in the same Seattle-area neighborhood to compare the cost of over 200 similar products.

Here are 10 items that were cheaper at Whole Foods.

Millennials are turning to their parents to co-sign loans they can't get on their own. That carries risk for Mom and Dad.

By Apr 8, 2014 2:26PM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN Money About two-thirds of millennials have asked someone to co-sign a loan or lease — unsurprisingly, they're looking to Mom and Dad when they need the help, according to a recent survey by Experian Consumer Services.

Co-signers are necessary if a consumer wants a loan (or to rent an apartment) but cannot get approval on their own. The co-signer guarantees that payment obligations will be met, and if they aren't, the co-signer will be held accountable. In short: If the primary borrower screws up, the co-signer's credit suffers.

Bank Vault © Radius Images, JupiterimagesThe survey results were drawn from interviews conducted with 1,000 Americans between ages 18 and 30 from Jan. 24 and Jan. 31. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Of the two-thirds of respondents who have needed a co-signer, the most common reason (35 percent) was to take out education loans, and residential leases were a close second at 32 percent. Millennials also used co-signers to get car loans (19 percent), credit cards (17 percent), car leases (11 percent) and mortgages (6 percent).

Consumers should be extremely careful when considering co-signing a loan; the other person's behavior can adversely affect your credit standing, and it can take a while to recover from credit damage.

The survey shows a bit of good news:


Most people opt to eat out, rather than saving hundreds of dollars (and calories) by packing a sack lunch for work.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 8, 2014 2:16PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Sitting at your desk with leftover spaghetti and a salad may not sound like the most exciting way to spend your lunch break. Although it's cheaper and typically healthier than going out and buying lunch, it's still not a popular choice for most Americans.

Office worker © Digital Vision, Getty ImagesFilling your belly and saving money seems like a no-brainer, right? Brown-bagging lunch is common personal finance advice for how to save. So why doesn't everyone do it?

Huffington Post contributor Jillian Berman, who saves about $1,550 a year by regularly packing her lunch, wanted to find the answer to that question. She talked to Cornell University behavioral economist David Just, who studies why people choose to eat what they do.

Just told Berman that packing a lunch for work is a more rational choice.

Though it may be less logical, less healthy and more expensive, buying a lunch is the popular choice for most Americans.

Just said there are three reasons for that:


If you need new wheels and are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, here's a list of ecologically friendly vehicles to consider.

By Apr 8, 2014 11:23AM

This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyIf you're really into buying local and living green, you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle when it comes to choosing a car. Of the 12 Greenest Vehicles of 2014, none of them are from U.S.-based automakers.

Woman in car adjusting mirror © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc, Blend Images, Getty ImagesThe rankings system from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gives the highest scores for environmental friendly vehicles to nine cars from Japanese manufacturers and three from German companies. (On the flip side, five of the worst cars for the environment are from U.S.-based manufacturers. Yikes.)

Of course, someone looking at the Dodge Ram (worst vehicle on the list) probably isn't going to be attracted to a teeny Smart Car (best), nor would they be able to serve the same purpose. But assuming you're not shopping for a huge truck or flashy sports car (champions of poor fuel economy), and you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, these 12 cars highlighted by the ACEEE's Green Book are worth a look.


Does your car suck your wallet dry, or do you have an economics-friendly vehicle? Consumer Reports provides answers.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 7, 2014 4:56PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhen you're looking for a screaming deal on a car, it may be tempting to solely consider the purchase price of a vehicle when making a decision on whether to buy. But the sticker price alone doesn't give you the true picture of the costs associated with owning the car.

According to Consumer Reports, it's important to look past the purchase price and consider Filling fuel tank © Corbisother car-related expenses -- like depreciation, fuel, loan interest, insurance premiums, sales tax, and maintenance and repair -- before you buy a car. These expenses can mean the difference between an economical vehicle and a car that costs more a month than your rent.

Consumer Reports determined that the following vehicles are the most and least expensive to own (according to five-year owner cost estimates):



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