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For Children: Old Dreams, New Financial Education

A NATIONAL poll of more than 1,000 children aged six to 17 finds some age-old aspirations:

Answering the question, "What is your wildest dream for when you grow up," nearly 18 percent (and 30 percent of boys) said a sports star, with baseball, basketball, and football the top activities. The second most popular career was medicine, at 16 percent of responses (more than one-fourth of girls wanted to be doctors, veterinarians, or other health specialists).

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Girls' other "dream" professions included teaching (12 percent), performing arts (10 percent), law (4 percent), and modeling (3 percent). For boys, far behind athletic stardom were law enforcement/fire fighting, medicine, flying/space exploration, and science/engineering, all garnering 4.5 to 6 percent of responses.

Boys were more likely than girls to be motivated primarily by enjoyment of the activity (40 percent versus 25 percent) and salary (15 percent versus 8 percent). Girls were motivated more by an interest in helping people or animals (25 percent versus 8 percent for boys). The Life Savers division of Nabisco Foods Group sponsored the Gallup Organization survey. Learning capitalism

Move over, Monopoly. Kids have a new way to learn the concepts of capitalism, and it's not a board game. "The Young Investor" is a newsletter written for youths aged eight to 14. (P.O. Box 150661, Fort Worth, TX 76108).

The start-up publication covers topics such as "How is currency manufactured? What is the magic of compounded interest? What are stocks and bonds?" The first issue explores the history of money and includes several puzzles. Fact check

College enrollment rises: An all-time high 63 percent of recent high school graduates enrolled in colleges or universities in the fall of 1992, the United States Labor Department says.

Small-business blues: An index of small-company optimism has fallen to its lowest point in more than two years, from a seasonally adjusted 102.1 this January to 97.0 in April, the National Federation of Independent Business reported yesterday.

The survey also found about 70 percent of business owners dissatisfied with federal government policy, and more than half dissatisfied with state policies.

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