A week's worth: Quick takes on the world of work and money

Dow nears record high, money we forget about, and the trouble with office trinkets.

A 2.8 percent gain last week in the Dow Jones Industrial Average was its biggest since March, pushing the index to within 181 points of a new record high.

Almost half of Americans confess to forgetting where they spend a sizable chunk of their cash, a survey by Visa USA has discovered. The credit card giant asked 2,039 adults to estimate how much money they've lost track of. Forty-eight percent answered ... $45 a week (or $2,340 a year). The most forgetful: people in their early 30s, especially men.

So daunting is the thought of calculating how much life insurance one needs – and buying it – that 47 percent of respondents to a new survey said they'd rather submit to some other ordeal, such as waiting in line to renew a driver's license. The industry's Foundation for Education found that 3 in 4 Americans agree: Life insurance coverage is a necessity. Yet, it says, they'll pay $100 a month to subscribe to cable TV while complaining that the policy premiums are too expensive.

Family pride is admirable. But it can reflect poorly on one's professional image if he or she displays too many photos, examples of the kids' artwork, or comparable mementos at the office, University of Michigan researchers say. They studied how employees "put aside personal matters" in favor of "work-specific concerns" and found that the perceptions of managers and fellow staffers often rest on "the proportion of objects that reference ... nonwork life," especially when more than 1 in 5 in view at a desk or cubicle is personal.

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