A Week's Worth

Positive, finally: After spending most of 2005 in the red, equity mutual funds have pushed into positive territory, according to Lipper. Small-company funds gained the most, up roughly 2.5 percent on average for the year, while large-company funds eked out about a 0.75 percent advance. Investors focused on the positive - an unexpected rise in consumer sentiment, for example - and ignored the negative, such as new highs for oil (above $58 a barrel) and the nation's current account deficit, which measures foreign trade.

Jobs that matter: Half of 50- to 70-year-olds want positions that contribute to the greater good. And they want those jobs now as well as in retirement, says the MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures New Face of Work Survey. Those industries most often mentioned: education, social services, and retail.

Spare a buck? More than a quarter of Americans have no excess cash after paying living expenses, according to an ACNielsen survey. That's tops among 38 nations. Following the US: Portugal, Brazil, Chile, and South Korea.

Fictional TV dads have moved up the income ladder since the days of Ward Cleaver, according to estimates by Salary.com. The "Leave It to Beaver" father and accountant would have made $46,617 a year in today's dollars. That's peanuts compared with today's TV dads, like lawyer Sandy Cohen on "The OC," who earned an average $195,000. The top tele-papa of all time? Blake Carrington of "Dynasty," who netted $856,515.

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