Originally created 11/05/06

Inside today



INSIDE TODAY

HOSPITALS TRYING TO REDUCE WAIT TIMES

After years of overcrowding, overbooking, and drawing angry complaints, many hospitals and doctors' offices are finally doing something about those long waits.

BIZ BITES

CUSTOMIZING CARS NOT JUST FOR YOUTHS

Not all consumers add flames and neon lights to their wheels, but most personalize their cars through some kind of modification, according to a recent survey from Consumer Reports.

More than three-fourths of consumers ages 18 to 34 and 74 percent of 35- to 50-year-olds personalize their vehicles, while 68 percent of drivers 55 and over change their cars.

The auto tuning trends cut across gender lines, too, with 70 percent of women and 77 percent of men doing it.

"The common perception is that the only modifiers today are young men, but the fact is, making a car uniquely your own is an equal-opportunity indulgence," said Jeff Bartlett, the deputy editor for autos at Consumer Reports.

MANY WIDOWS FEEL FINANCIALLY SECURE

Financial comfort comes with independence for many women, a recent survey shows.

Sixty-eight percent of divorcees and 65 percent of widows said they feel more financially comfortable now than when they were married, according to a study from OppenheimerFunds Inc.

More than half of widows reported that they enjoyed investing and learning about different investment options, and 45 percent said they felt qualified making their own investment decisions.

Oppenheimer surveyed 275 women aged 55 and older with at least $500,000 in investable assets.

TALK TO US

Layaway lamenting

Many stores are getting rid of layaway. What do you think? Sound off to Laura Youngs at (706) 823-3486 or laura.youngs@augustachronicle.com.

REACH US

Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at: (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.