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UNPRECEDENTED CONSUMER SAVINGS PROGRAM RESPONDS TO AMERICANS' OVERWHELMING WORRIES ABOUT SAVING FOR THE FUTURE

 UNPRECEDENTED CONSUMER SAVINGS PROGRAM RESPONDS TO AMERICANS'
 OVERWHELMING WORRIES ABOUT SAVING FOR THE FUTURE
 NEW YORK, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- An unprecedented savings program for consumers called START(SM) was launched today in response to the overwhelming concerns of Americans about saving.
 According to the dramatic results of a survey by Yankelovich Clancy Shulman, also released today, the top worry of 71 percent of Americans is saving for the future, surpassing job security and making ends meet. Over 60 percent of respondents anticipated they would be unable to meet their retirement and financial goals without new savings alternatives.
 The patented START savings plan is designed for the millions of Americans who find it difficult to save for tomorrow because they are spending money on everyday necessities. With this program, while consumers purchase products and services from START participating companies, including Spiegel, MCI, Club Med, GE Capital Small Fleet, USTravel, Eddie Bauer, the Right Start Catalog, and others, they are taking the first step to saving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for their future.
 With START, a member makes long-distance telephone calls, takes vacations and business trips, leases a car and purchases home appliances, clothing, gifts and other merchandise at usual competitive prices from START participating companies. A percentage of the purchase price is then contributed on the member's behalf into a special escrow account maintained by Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company of New York, the exclusive escrow agent for START. Contributions of up to 6 percent are based on the level of the member's cumulative annual spending.
 Once the escrow account balance reaches $100, the START member can open a STARTPlus(SM) Annuity, into which funds can be automatically transferred. The annuity is offered and guaranteed by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, the exclusive annuity provider for START, Inc. Over the member's lifetime, the money grows with the power of tax- deferred, daily compound interest, which can yield significant returns upon retirement. Members may also elect to receive a cash disbursement from escrow.
 Save or Spend? Yes
 "American consumers are struggling with the save vs. spend dilemma. START empowers members to save while they spend and gives businesses the ability to build customer loyalty at the same time," according to START Chairman Larry Andreini. "We believe that the START program is the first step in redefining the relationship between the consumer an the corporation," he added.
 "By joining forces with START, MCI will continue its tradition of saving Americans money," said Timothy F. Price, senior vice president, MCI Consumer and Commercial Markets. "Together, MCI and START will change the way consumers spend and save for the future."
 "People have come to expect quality merchandise and good service. The key to success in the 90s is to find ways to give them more than they expect," stated John Shea, CEO and president, Spiegel, Inc. "While START offers a saving benefit to consumers, the program also offers participating companies a chance to ensure customer loyalty," he added.
 The START introductory offer includes a one-time enrollment fee of $25, which is available to members who join before Dec. 31, 1992. The program is being promoted with an aggressive marketing plan incorporating public relations, print, broadcast and direct mail advertising on both national and regional levels. Additionally, START is growing its member base through direct and agent relationships with professional associations, corporations, corporate benefits providers, charities and educational institutions. START memberships will be available to individuals through relationships that they already have, with groups they know and trust. Associations such as National Association of Female Executives, the NFL Players Association; companies such as GO Corporation and Centennial Financial Group; benefits providers such as American Benefit Systems, Pearl & Associates and U.S.A. Insurance Marketing are making memberships available to their specific groups.
 The START alliance includes marketing relationships with leading companies specializing in employee and member benefits programs. "Together, these organizations have relationships with thousands of corporations and groups representing millions of people," noted C. Lloyd Mahaffey, president and CEO of START. "We believe this will be an extremely effective and efficient way to bring START to the American public."
 START, Inc. is a privately held financial services corporation based in Herndon, Va., in suburban Washington. The company offers a patented savings program which enables individuals to accumulate finds for the future through purchases made today from START participating companies.
 -0- 3/24/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: START and the START logo are service marks of Spend Today And Retire Tomorrow, Inc./
 /CONTACT: Tom Kilcoyne of START, 703-318-5200 or Jim Monroe or Kathy Chasteen of Fleishman-Hillard, 202-659-0330, for START/ CO: START, Inc. ST: Virginia IN: FIN SU: PDT


CK-AH -- NY020 -- 1019 03/24/92 11:40 EST
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Date:Mar 24, 1992
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