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College students, take note: Now is a very good time to be entering the job market.

Entry-level salaries are continuing their upward trend, according to data released last week by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"What we have seen over the past few years are really phenomenal increases" in pay for college graduates' first-time jobs, says Camille Luckenbaugh, NACE employment information manager.

According to NACE's Fall 2000 Salary Survey, business administration grads in the Class of 2000 received an average salary offer of $36,357, up 9.1 percent from the year before.

Information systems management graduates enjoyed the highest salary offers among graduates with business degrees, netting an average of $43,953 annually. That's up 5.2 percent from 1999.

Even liberal arts grads fared well. The salaries paid to history majors jumped 11.4 percent, for an average of $31,599, for example.

-- Atlanta Journal and Constitution

73% carry multiple plastic

The proportion of American families having at least one credit card jumped by more than 40 percent between 1970 and 1998, research by the Federal Reserve shows.

In 1998, 73 percent -- or nearly three-fourths -- of American families had one or more credit cards, up from 51 percent in 1970, according to the surveys of consumer finances, a series sponsored by the Fed, sometimes jointly with other agencies.

Credit cards issued by banks, gasoline companies, retail stores, travel and entertainment companies and other issuers such as car rental and airline companies were all counted under the surveys.

Bank-type credit cards with a revolving feature such as those issued under the MasterCard and Visa brands showed the most notable increase during the period. In 1998, 68 percent of families reported having a bank type of card, compared with 16 percent in 1970.

-- Associated Press

Learn about asset allocation

Understanding asset allocation can help minimize the degree of investment saving risk. How much should you put into different investments, and what kinds of diversification options are available? A few answers and suggestions can be found on the World Wide Web.

Here's a few places you can go to learn more about asset allocation:

SmartMoney at is overdrawn ts/TakingAction/AssetAllocation/. Examines asset allocation variables and goals.

Stockpoint at is overdrawn . Online questionnaire helps investors determine where to invest money.

Cyberhaven at is overdrawn . Analysis of diversifying your investment portfolio. at Offers asset allocation basics and advice.

Family Internet at is overdrawn -alloc.html. Provides background information, insights and quiz on asset allocation.

-- Knight Ridder/Tribune

The wealthy have goals

Want to be a millionaire without making a TV appearance? Charles B. Carlson, manager, Strong Dow 30 Value Fund, suggests:

"Set a goal -- any goal. When they started, most of the 170 millionaires I interviewed couldn't form a strategy, but each had a goal -- retirement, leave money to heirs, etc.

"Buy only stocks and mutual funds. Since 1926 there was only one 20-year period when large-company stocks didn't outperform government bonds.

"Invest every month. The only way to make your million is by investing regularly.

"Quickies: Buy and hold, and hold, and hold. . . . Swing for 'singles,' not home runs. . . . Start with health care, technology and financial services stocks."

-- The Baltimore Sun

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