Financial Adviser Suggests Couple Discover Rich Uncle

Trenton, NJ – The financial adviser hired by John and Amy Becker had only one suggestion for the couple after reviewing their finances: they should try to discover a rich uncle, and they should do it as soon as possible. According to the adviser, Chase Decklan, the couple has no other options to generate more income and thereby get themselves out of the large amount of debt they have accrued.

“They both have college loans they’re paying back, they’re living in a house they really can’t afford, and they have credit card debt,” Decklan said. “Neither one has a high-paying job or any real marketable skills, and there are no other assets or investments to generate income, either.”

“Really, they have no other choice,” Decklan said. “It’s time for them to get out there, call their parents, and see if there’s a rich uncle somewhere down the line. Even a great-uncle. Something. Someone that has a lot of money and would feel obligated, due to familial guilt, into helping these two out.”

John and Amy say they don’t know of any rich relatives in either one of their families, and don’t see much hope of discovering one, either.

“I don’t even have any uncles,” John said. “I have a great aunt that won the lotto once. But that was, like, fifteen hundred dollars, and I think she spent it all on towels. She likes really nice towels.”

“I have uncles, but they don’t have any money,” Amy said. “One of them is crazy, though, so he might be willing to rob a bank or something like that, and help us out that way. That’s about the only thing I can think of right now.”


CEO Wondering if His Full-Time Workers Would Mind Being Considered Part-Time

Topeka, KS – Leo Merck, CEO of Inline Products, Inc., held a meeting with all the company’s full-time employees Friday afternoon to ask if they would mind being considered part-time, according to people who attended the meeting. The employees in question would still work full-time hours, they would just be treated as part-time from a human resources point of view, which would mean having their health care and other benefits cut significantly.

“He basically just came out and asked us,” said one witness, who preferred to remain nameless for fears of possible repercussions for speaking with the press. “He just said, ‘I have a question for all you men and women, who have done such a wonderful job here as full-time employees: What would you think about being considered part-time?’”

The employees were taken aback, according to the witness. One of them raised their hand and asked a question.

“She wanted to know if we were being demoted to part-time status,” the witness said.

Mr. Merck apparently replied that no, that was definitely not the case.

“He said, ‘No, no, there is no way I would demote you people. You’re much too valuable to be moved to part-time status,’” the witness said.

What followed was confusion, with the majority of the group not understanding what Mr. Merck was getting at.

“He had to kind of gather himself again, and be more specific,” the witness said.

It was at that point that Mr. Merck explained the plan. The current full-time employees would work their normal, full-time hours, but as far as human resources and any government agencies were concerned, they would officially be classified as part-time. The move would help limit health care costs for the company, among other costs of providing benefits, as part-time employees receive less than half the employer-sponsored benefits of full-time employees.

“It would improve profitability for the company, is what he said,” the witness said.

Once people realized that what was happening was in effect they were being stripped of a good portion of their benefits, “there was stunned silence. Then a few people objected.”

Mr. Merck assured the employees the change was not going into effect immediately, as he was merely suggesting it as an option, to see what the employees thought. He urged them to think it over carefully.

“He said we could give feedback to him anytime, via email. He then thanked us for being such understanding, loyal part-time employees, and walked out.”


New Head of Regulatory Agency Already Lining Up Jobs with Companies He’s Supposed to be Regulating

Washington – Joel Armansky, the newly-appointed Director of the Federal Pharmaceutical Compliance Commission, a governmental regulatory agency tasked with overseeing the activities of pharmaceutical companies, isn’t wasting any time lining up his next job, which he hopes will be with one of the companies who lead the industry he is tasked with regulating.

“I’ve spoken with almost all the major players,” Armansky said Friday. “Merck, Pfizer, you name it. I’m trying to see where the best opportunities are, after I leave my post here.”

Asked if there was a quid pro quo in place, or anything expected of him in return for the potential opportunity to advance his career, Armansky said, “No, not anything specific. I mean, obviously, I can’t regulate them or perform actual oversight. That’s a given. But I wasn’t planning on doing that, anyway.”


GM Executives Hope Crash Victims’ Families Understand Recalls Are Very Expensive

Detroit, Michigan – Executives and attorneys at General Motors are looking for a graceful way to tell families of crash victims that they didn’t recall cars the company knew had potentially fatal safety flaws because such a recall is incredibly expensive.

“It’s tricky, because you want to strike the right balance,” said Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive. “You don’t want to offend the grieving families, obviously, but you also want to point out to them the basic reality: yes, we could have recalled these cars and mandated these problems be fixed, but doing that is so very, very expensive.”

On Friday, GM expanded its recall to include 971,000 additional later-model vehicles. The total number of vehicles that have been recalled due to a faulty ignition switch is now 2.6 million, including all model years of the Chevrolet Cobalt. At least 12 deaths have been linked to the ignition issue, in which the car’s engine completely shuts down and all power is cut off to steering, brakes and airbags, if the ignition key is jostled, say by a driver’s leg. The jostling causes the ignition switch to go into “accessory” mode, which shuts down the engine and power.

Ms. Barra released a statement Friday, on the heels of the announcement of the additional recall.

“We are taking no chances with safety at this point, since a lot of people have already died because we took chances with it before,” the statement said. “We’re giving our customers the peace of mind they deserve, provided they haven’t already been killed in a head-on collision because the engine in the car they were driving suddenly turned off, without warning, because they had too many keys on their keychain, hit the keychain with their knee, and jostled the ignition switch.”

GM faces several lawsuits, though they will not confirm the exact number, as well as both congressional and Justice Department investigations into its conduct. Why did it wait so long to call for a full investigation, or institute a recall?

These are some of the same questions that victims’ families are asking. And that’s why GM’s legal team is meeting with executives until late into the night tonight.

“We’re grappling with, ‘How do you say this?’” said Dan Ammann, GM’s president. “Safety comes first, of course. But money comes before that.”

“Recalls cost an insane amount of money,” Ms. Barra said. “For a company like us, they’re what we call cost-prohibitive. The cost prohibits us from doing it. Now, is that more important than the fact that our customers are not safe driving our vehicles? No, of course not. But yes.”


7 out of 10 Americans List ‘Winning Powerball at Some Point’ as Their Retirement Plan

Washington – A new poll by the nonprofit Center for Retirement Security finds that 7 out of 10 Americans’ only plan for retirement is an expectation that they might someday win the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot.

“We found that a large majority of Americans are simply hoping to win one of the multi-million dollar jackpot prizes available in their state,” said Brooke Jacobi, an economist with the center. “They’re looking for that money to finance their retirement. Other than that, most have no plan, and no savings to speak of.”

Of the nearly 1,500 Americans polled, all between the ages of 35 and 55, only 12% currently have money set aside for retirement. 23% say they are planning to die prior to retirement, in order to stave off the problem altogether.