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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 31, 2003

Dollars and sense

Advertiser staff and news services

Personal finance is a foreign concept for kids. A report by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. says 60 percent of pre-teens cannot explain the difference between cash, checks and credit cards. The report also found 38 percent of high school seniors do not understand the financial advantage of paying more than the minimum required payment on a credit card.

Yet teen spending is on the rise, an average of $135 per month on clothing in spring 2002, up from $110 in 2001, the report says. Northwestern Mutual says the facts highlight a need for educating teens and even their parents about the importance of personal money management. The National Council on Economic Education has developed www.themint.org , which features games, calculators and activities to make learning about money management fun.

Wacky work titles

Think your job is odd? Check out these job descriptions: Lego model maker (he plays with Legos all day), crack filler at Mount Rushmore (not the drug kind, silly), fish counter during spawning season at Ballard Locks in Seattle, riddler at a California winery (someone who rotates champagne bottles), matzo cracker at a bakery in New York (to be sure they crack along the imprinted lines).

All these are profiled in "Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations," by Nancy Rica Schiff (Ten Speed Press, paper, $16.95), a nifty book filled with striking portraits of people in unusual professions, each accompanied by a succinct description. There's the duckmaster, who wrangles the waterfowl who parade daily through the lobby at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. And a diener? Pronounced "deener," it's someone who works at a hospital preparing cadavers for the pathologist before autopsies are performed.

Whatever you do for a living, it's got to be better than that.

Jeans improvement

That DIY craze isn't just for home-improvement projects.

Think do-it-yourself denim: faded jeans done your way, courtesy Armani Exchange.

The Custom Sanded Jeans come with a sandpaper pocket swatch and sanding block, allowing individualists to scuff patches of the indigo-washed denim wherever they please, be it the pocket, knee or booty areas.

The people at Armani Exchange expect these to be a popular item, "just because of the trend of customizing things and making things your own," said Patrick Doddy from the company's corporate office in New York.

The jeans are $88, available in low-rise boot styles for men and women at the A/X stores in Waikiki (923-1663) and Ala Moana (942-8147).