For a quick take on the latest consumer news, check out Monday's Consumer Confidential segment on KTLA-TV:
Financial advisors. Financial advisors aren't required to act in your best interest. They just have to steer you into "suitable" investments, and those might not be ones that come with the lowest fees and commissions. A new rule being cooked up by the Labor Department would change that. It would impose a fiduciary duty on financial advisors to look out for clients. We shouldn't need such a rule, but with the greed of the financial industry, apparently we do.
No savings. According to a new study by Bankrate.com, about a quarter of all Americans have more credit-card debt than savings. That means they're just a single mishap away from financial trouble. It's hard in this era of wage stagnation to set money aside for a rainy day, but the experts say you should have at least three months' worth of expenses on hand. That's good advice.
Free shipping. Target is lowering the bar to qualify for free shipping. The retailer used to require online purchases worth at least $50 to avoid shipping charges. Now you have to buy just $25 worth of stuff. That's well below Wal-Mart's $50 limit, as well as the $35 limits of Amazon.com and Best Buy. Probably just a matter of time before other big retailers follow Target's example.