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

Bad week for the Dow; subprime loan holders pay credit card balances first; who is most likely to steal office supplies?

While still up 7.2 percent for the year to date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average did not have one of its better weeks. All but one of its 30 stocks lost ground, and the index fell 2.1 percent.

Given a choice between paying credit-card bills or the next mortgage installment on time, holders of subprime loans are more than twice as likely to choose the former, according to results of a new study by Experian Solutions, a specialist in marketplace analysis. While the trend held true all across the US, the growth in subprime delinquency was highest in the West: 15.3 percent versus 6.4 percent for bank-card debt. Borrowers with prime credit scores tend to pay their mortgages first, Experian says.

Most people hold onto financial records far longer than necessary, says Robert DiQuollo of Brinton Eaton Wealth Advisers in Morristown, N.J. He tells clients it's safe to toss out tax returns after seven years, canceled checks and credit-card statements after one year, and each pay stub once the next one arrives. But receipts for charitable donations should be kept for seven years, and one should never throw away loan-discharge notices, he says.

The number of employees who admit to swiping office supplies for personal use rose to 19 percent in the past year, a survey by recruiting specialist Spherion Corp. has found. The most common reason: because the taker "needed" them. On average, the worst offenders were in the higher salary brackets.
– Robert Kilborn

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