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A Week's Worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Torrid Dow; paying for retirement is many Americans' No. 1 concern – and most don't understand their health plans, either.

The torrid Dow Jones Industrial Average scored its 29th record close of the year last week, rising 2.2 percent and pushing to within 93 points of the 14000 mark.

Nothing else seems to worry Americans quite as much as saving money for retirement. Fifty-one percent of respondents to a survey for InCharge Institute of America cited that as their No. 1 concern, versus 30 percent who said they fret over meeting current monthly expenses. Worry about setting money aside for the future tends to grow as one's income does, the survey also found.

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What, exactly, does "copay" mean? How about "out-of-pocket maximum?" The international consulting group Watson Wyatt polled 2,100 people covered by health insurance plans where they work and found that fewer than half understood such terms well enough to explain them to a friend. Yet, that will be increasingly important as employees assume more responsibility for managing their own coverage, Watson Wyatt says. It suggests that employers can help by distributing glossaries of key health insurance terms with easy-to-follow examples.

By now, you've probably heard radio ads for "free credit report" websites. But before you yield to temptation and visit one, Consumer Reports says you should know that many of them charge up to $160 a year for services you're not likely to need while drawing attention away from the source of the free data that you're curious about.


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