A Week's Worth

Led by AT&T and General Motors – yes, General Motors – the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.2 percent last week, its best performance since May 2005.

Better than half of the 250 largest US counties pose a "very high risk" of being too pricey for soon-to-be-retirees to maintain their current standard of living, a new study has found. Americans for Secure Retirement compared local costs of living with such factors as assets that can be converted into income and concluded that the six counties where the risk is highest are all in Florida: Lee, Marion, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Volusia.

Mentally calculating what your air conditioning is costing this summer even as it keeps you cool? Nature has a way to cut the cost by up to 75 percent, the Tree Care Industry Association says. It advocates planting deciduous trees on the south side of your home for maximum shading of the roof, and trees with lower crowns to the west, to shield against afternoon sun angles.

If a job search is getting you nowhere, don't rush the decision to give up. Try a new direction, such as graduate school, one counselor advises. University of Southern California Prof. Jerald Jellison suggests waiting for "the sting of rejection" to pass before committing to another option. He also recommends setting small, doable goals, and rewarding yourself – if only with a latte – once they're achieved.

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