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You can't Simonize the in-laws

A new survey shows that the nation's adoration for its automobiles is as potent as some of the engines that power them.

Of the 516 respondents to the unscientific study conducted by, 27 percent said they love their wheels more than their in-laws.

But in-laws aren't the only ones who are taking a backseat to cars. The survey found that 45 percent of the married respondents rated their vehicles the most important thing on a list that also included their spouses and children.

A third said they name their car, and 21 percent of men said they would spend their Saturday afternoons washing and waxing their vehicle.

A majority of women said they'd rather spend their Saturday afternoons with their spouses, compared to only 39 percent of men.

Reservations about retirement

If you're retiring at 65 and have designs on spending the rest of your life on a beach or a couch, you might want to come up with another plan.

A recent study of newly enrolled members of Scan, a Long Beach, Calif.-based non-for-profit health plan for senior citizens, found that non-working people 65 and older were at a 159 percent higher risk for ending up in a nursing home compared to those who continued to work.

"Activity may give you a better quality of life," said Dr. Timothy Schwab, Scan's chief medical information officer. "Staying active helps you stay healthy."

Scan is trying to determine which seniors are at risk for nursing homes admission and develop programs to prevent them from entering, he said

According to AARP, 13 percent of Americans 65 and older -- about 4.5 million people -- still work. Schwab predicts that number will rise as more take advantage of legislation passed last year that lets them draw full salaries without affecting their Social Security benefits.

Gotham apartment: $787,708

The average cost of a Manhattan apartment was little changed in the fourth quarter as consumers shrugged off a slumping stock market and took advantage of falling mortgage rates, according to a new study.

The average price stood at $787,708, compared to $789,225 in the prior quarter, concluded a report from residential brokerage firm Douglas Elliman, prepared by appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc.

Based on the report, housing prices appear to have leveled off after a 7.7 percent decline in the third quarter. Real estate officials were concerned job cuts at Internet companies and a 39 percent drop in the Nasdaq Composite Index would cut into the city's housing market.

Be polite on corporate pole

Improving business etiquette not only helps you interact better with co-workers and clients, but may speed your climb up the corporate pole, says Marjorie Brody, a motivational speaker on career enhancement and corporate etiquette from Jenkintown, Pa.

Brody offers 10 suggestions for behaving in a more genteel manner around the office and improving workplace courtesy.

She advocates smiling and greeting co-workers, replacing the toner or fixing paper jams in the copier, responding to all written correspondence within 48 hours, leaving concise voicemail messages, mastering table manners and learning what constitutes good small talk.

Steer clear of discussions of health, personal tragedies, gossip, dirty jokes, politics and religion. Brody's list of safe subjects includes the weather, traffic, travel, hobbies, pets, sports, children and books.

Other verboten behavior: using slang, foul language and jargon on the job.

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