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The Business of Life with Betty Liu

  Monday, 1 Jul 2013 | 6:18 PM ET

Do Trendy 'Cleanses' Help or Harm the Body?

Posted By: Lisa Flam, TODAY.com
Bill Noll | E+ | Getty Images

Believers make one at home or plunk down $8 a bottle, hoping a juice cleanse will detoxify their body and perhaps help them lose weight.

With celebrity backing, cleanses have blossomed into a $5 billion industry. Consumers say drinking them makes them feel great, although experts warn there is no proof they work and can even be dangerous, according to a report on TODAY Monday.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 | 11:40 AM ET

Switcheroo: Turning Office Guilt Into Productivity

Posted By: Martha C. White, NBC News
Frank and Helena | Cultura | Getty Images

We all have them: those work tasks hanging over our head that we keep putting off even though doing so makes us feel even worse.

Tap into that guilt over unaccomplished tasks and use it to make you a more productive worker, said Nick Jehlen, partner at design consulting firm Action Mill.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013 | 7:56 PM ET

With Group Effort, Japan Suicides Fall to 15-Year Low

Posted By: Takehiko Kambayashi

Japan has long been plagued by suicide. It has one of the world's highest suicide rates and it's one of the leading causes of death among men. But last year the number of suicides fell below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, according to the government.

Though suicide is still a big problem in Japan, often linked with how the economy is doing, the decline provides the country a rare glimmer on the issue, following economic downturn a year after the devastating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power meltdown, which had some observers bracing for a higher than average number of suicides.

Why the dip? Some say the community-based efforts of experts, activists, and citizens groups urging the government to address the social problem and draw up countermeasures is starting to work.

Such efforts have been bolstered by $113-million government subsidies, says Hisanaga Sasaki, an associate professor of health sciences at Akita University who researches suicide prevention and mental health. The people forced the government to confront the issue. The subsidies compelled government officials to take action, rework laws, and set up hotlines, and that has helped local communities, Mr. Sasaki says.

"The efforts made through cooperation with volunteers, civic groups, and local government officials have been effective in tackling the issue," Sasaki says.

On Jan. 17, Japan's National Police Agency announced that the number of suicides declined to 27,766 in 2012, the first fall below 30,000 in 15 years.

Notorious

The large number of suicides in Japan is attributed mainly to the country's protracted economic downturns. Many see bankruptcy as a personal failure, rather than a symptom of a temporary economic problem. In many cases, bankruptcy causes business owners to kill themselves just as samurai warriors used to practice hara-kiri, a ritual form of suicide, to show they accept responsibility for their deeds.

"As they keep blaming themselves for business failure, saying, 'I've done wrong' or 'I've caused trouble to society,' that totally impairs their judgment," says Hisao Sato who started a suicide prevention program in 2002 in Akita city, some 720 miles north of Tokyo. The region is notorious for being home to the highest suicide rates.

»Read more
  Friday, 17 Aug 2007 | 3:02 AM ET

Green On Green

Posted By: Betty Liu
Two things have happened recently that made me realize we are at the "tipping point" of environmental awareness. One is that my company began implementing some green initiatives - a company whose rubbish bins were often filled with styrofoam cups and lunch boxes and where dozens of television and computer monitors used to hum ceaselessly overnight. The other is that Live Earth was a total flop audience-wise. Not because people were unaware of the need to protect the environment, but because everyone, including people like me, had already heard enough about it. Eighteen years after Time magazine put "Endangered Earth" on its cover, yeah, we do finally get it. »Read more
  Friday, 3 Aug 2007 | 3:01 AM ET

Landing The Best Deal

Posted By: Betty Liu
No matter how many new investment options we have at our disposal, property remains the classic choice. It's no wonder. Land is something you can see, feel and step on. You can easily understand the value of a good location. »Read more
  Friday, 20 Jul 2007 | 3:29 AM ET

Financially Savvy

Posted By: Betty Liu
More and more women in Asia are making financial security a personal goal.  I find Hong Kong women in particular, financially savvy. They know a good bargain when they see one and how to get it. They are avid savers and often the ones who handle the family finances. It is these kinds of successful women - women who have average-paying jobs but who have become financially secure by following a few simple rules - who have given me the best financial advice. Here are a few gems I've gathered over the years that may help you get the financial freedom you seek. »Read more
  Thursday, 5 Jul 2007 | 11:51 PM ET

Managing A Crisis

Posted By: Betty Liu
This week, we have been taking a look at the Asian Financial Crisis, a decade past.  At the time of the crisis, those affected couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I began this column many months ago by noting that I am an optimist. Optimism is a key trait to why some people survive layoffs, disease, bankruptcy while others never recover. It is, in other words, crucial to helping you survive a crisis. This week's column discusses exactly this -- how to manage a crisis. »Read more
  Friday, 8 Jun 2007 | 4:16 AM ET

A Taxing Matter

Posted By: Betty Liu
Someone told me the other day that taxes and interest rates are the pornography of a good financial newspaper. If that’s the case, then brace yourself for a whole lot of sex in the next few paragraphs. »Read more
  Friday, 25 May 2007 | 4:46 AM ET

The Business Of Bonding

Posted By: Betty Liu
About ten years ago, my editors dubbed me the Bond girl... for all the wrong reasons. It was my coverage of debt capital markets that earned the nickname. Since then, I've had an affection for fixed income markets. Yes, bonds are rather dull and poorly understood but they are frankly one of the most important things you need to know about, in order to make sound financial decisions. »Read more
  Friday, 18 May 2007 | 3:54 AM ET

Vacation Values

Posted By: Betty Liu
As summer approaches and families prepare for long vacations, be careful those weeks of respite don’t turn into a massive financial burden when the season’s over. Holidays can be financially dangerous with a capital “D”. That’s because many vacationers tend to spend lots of money they don’t have. »Read more

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