A Week's Worth

• Oh Henry! It looks as though Toyota has passed industry icon Ford to become the world's No. 2 automaker (behind No. 1 GM). Preliminary figures released Friday showed the Japanese automaker sold 6.78 million vehicles last year versus the 6.72 million sold by the corporate legacy of Henry Ford.

• Hidden fees: It may cost more to own that mutual fund than its expense ratio suggests. A new study of 30 of the largest funds by the Zero Alpha Group, a nationwide network of investment advisory firms, found that, on average, 43 percent of a fund's real charges were not included in its expense ratio. The main culprit was trading costs, which aren't tallied in the expense calculations. One solution: Sock your money in a pillow. Better solution: Invest in index funds, where trades are far less frequent.

• Excuses, excuses: Thinking of taking a personal day? Try something more convincing than the lines Accountemps came across when it asked 150 executives to recall the most imaginative reasons they'd heard from employees. Among them: "My cat has hairballs." "My garage door is broken." "I'm going to jail." One worker was honest, at least: "I need a leave of absence to try another job. But if it doesn't work out, I'd like to come back."

• Mark your calendars: The Monitor is hosting a panel of four experts on ethical investing this Thursday. The event will be here in Boston from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. To reserve a seat, call 800-261-2006. If you prefer to see the Webcast, log in to www.csmonitor.com. Yours truly will be moderator.

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