Online Update

May 4, 2007

MEDICAL RECORDS
Confidentiality remains a concern

One in six adults withholds medical information from their healthcare providers because they're worried about confidentiality, says an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive. That percentage rises to 21 percent of respondents who say they're in poor or fair health. What's more, about half of all adults believe that patients have lost control over how their medical records are used by organizations such as life insurers, employers, and government health agencies. In general, 70 percent say they're satisfied with the way doctors and hospitals protect their personal health information. That percentage, however, dips to 60 percent of those reporting that they're in poor or fair health.

INVESTING
More help in deciphering those statements

A popular investor education brochure that explains how to read and analyze your brokerage account statements has been updated to include new content on fee-based accounts. Copies of the brochure are available at the websites of the three financial organizations that produced it: Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (www.sifma.org), the North American Securities Administrators Association (www.nasaa.org), or the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (www.sipc.org). You'll have to do some digging to find the brochure at the SIFMA site, so try one of the two others first.

MONEY MANAGEMENT
Optimistic teens may face a harsh awakening

Teenage boys expect to earn an average annual salary of $173,000 when they grow up, while girls are a bit more modest, predicting they'll bring home an average of $114,200, says an annual survey released by Charles Schwab & Co. Eight in ten teens ages 13 through 18 say it's important to have a lot of money and 73 percent believe they'll earn plenty when they're on their own. But while nearly two-thirds say they're prepared to take on the grown-up financial world, only 41 percent say they know how to budget money, 34 percent know how to pay bills, and only 26 percent understand how credit card interest and fees work.